Lush Solid Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

IMG_4179

I realised that in all my Lush posts, I didn’t actually have a picture of their solid shampoo and conditioner bars. So here they are – now you know what they actually look like. I find one of these lasts about a month for me, but I have very long, thick hair. My husband has short hair and I think he can make them last more like 6 months which is pretty awesome value! Pictured are the ones I use – Montelbano (the yellow shampoo bar) and Jungle (the green conditioner bar). Montelbano is full of lemons to add shine and Jungle has an exotic scent; also it is a very light conditioner so ideal for greasy hair. My husband uses Soak & Float which contains Cade Oil – designed to help with psoriasis,  dandruff and eczema. I also LOVE their BIG solid conditioner, which makes my hair seriously soft and shiny.

Lush now make the conditioner bars in an oval shape, so you can tell which is which, without looking. You can also buy little tins to transport them in, if you are travelling. I only have the round tins, as I bought them before they changed the shape. I cut down the conditioner to take it with me, as I don’t want to buy more. You should always allow them to air dry however, or they will go soggy. They do have a tendency to stick to the tin, so at home I store them on a wire soap rack.

IMG_4180

If you want to read more about ingredients and how to use them, you can go to the Lush website and they even have a video. We will never go back to buying shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles! These work so well, take up less space in our bathroom and  are fantastically compact for travelling. Plus, you can avoid any rules about taking liquids onboard.

Care to share your experiences with solid toiletries?

The Wonderous Magic of Microfibre Cloths!

Microfibre cloths seems a strange thing to get excited about. I’d read many Zero Waste proponents who advocated their use, as they just need water. I was sceptical to say the least. (And don’t shoot me, they are wrapped in plastic – I’m not perfect and it seems to be impossible to buy them unwrapped). As you can see, I was lucky to find these Spontex Microfibre cloths (pack of 5) at a bargain 1/2 price in the reduced section of my local Tesco. They come in a couple of different colours, so you can easily differentiate between task or rooms in the house. I decided to use blue for the bathroom. I didn’t want to spend money on something I was sceptical wouldn’t work, so that’s why I waited until I saw a good deal to pick these up.

I tell you – I can eat my words now! These things are literally like magic. Our shower was grimy, unfortunately we live in a hard water area and although we squeegee it and spray it with white vinegar after every use – it’s not very effective. Normally we spray white vinegar on and scrub, sometimes also using Cif but it never looks clean. There’s always this scummy film on the glass.

I dubiously took out one of these cloths and wet it, wrung it out and got to work. I decided to dry the glass straight away with a dry duster as I didn’t want streak marks. The results were pleasantly quick on the top parts where they weren’t so scummy. At the bottom of each pane, I really had to work hard with the cloth – it was a good workout! However, amazingly these cloths literally lift off the limescale – something we’d normally have to do with something sharp like a blade or fingernail!

After cleaning the shower cubicle inside and out, I was pretty tired. But another day I’m going to get to work on the taps, shower and also the tiles which are getting a similar build up on them. I literally cannot wait to see what else these can get gleaming clean! My husband tried cleaning the chrome towel rail since I called him in to see the results and he was SO impressed. The towel rail also now looks spectacular. We can only say that the whole bathroom looks like new, like it has just been fitted.

Here’s the before and after shots:

It is quite astonishing to think that all you need to keep your bathroom clean is a little water and these cloths. For such a tiny investment, we can now get rid of a multitude of expensive and potentially damaging cleaning chemicals. These cloths can go in the washing machine at 60 degrees C which I love, as that’s the temperature I wash all my towels and cleaning cloths at to keep them hygienic.

So tell me, do you use microfibre cloths? What do you use them for and how do you use them? Any tips of tricks?

Solid toiletries, hard water & clogging pipes!

I’ve been a little quiet of late, as I’m renovating my home. But I wanted to come back to talk about the difficulties of solid toiletries and hard water. It’s resulting in our pipes clogging far too frequently. From my internet reading, apparently the fats in solid soaps react with hard water (hydrolysis of fats) to form soap scum (a precipitate of the calcium salt of a long chain of carboxylic acid).

The problem we are having is this soap scum solidifying into big chunks of white mass once it gets into the drain outside. Believe me, this is not a fun job to rectify! You need rubber gloves up to your elbows and the large part of our Zero Waste attempts in the bathroom are being ruined by the need to purchase bottles of commercial drain cleaner. Since soda crystals are not strong enough to tackle this problem! The only long-term solution I can see, is the installation of a water softener.

Like me, this may all come as quite a surprise to you – as I thought the soap obviously dissolved in water!!! But the calcium and magnesium in hard water reacts to form an insoluble curd which lodges in pipes (yes, it really is like curds and whey! Only it smells gross!!! Is that TMI?!)

So, we have a problem for the time being- until we can afford to install a water softener. I would also only want to do that if the tap water we drink can remain unaffected, since my aunt had one installed and I can’t stand the salty, soft water. Until then, I am left wondering whether you can wash with something other than soap. Or whether for the sake of our pockets which are not infinite, we shall have to return to our old methods of cleansing.

Can anyone share any tips?