Girl on the Trail

Another weekend, another campsite, and the showers are wonderfully hot but without that camping-shower essential – a little shelf for the washing necessities. But that’s ok because my Shine shampoo tin is just the perfect size to balance on a water pipe. Handy or what!

Shampoo in a tin, you ask? Well of course, because we all need, inescapably, to reduce our plastic waste. According to campaigners Surfers Against Sewage, one mammal or sea bird dies every 30 seconds due to plastic pollution, while each of us in the UK creates 177kg in packaging waste every year. That’s three of me.

Six months ago I banned plastic hand wash bottles from our house and reverted to good, old-fashioned soap bars (sorry, not sorry, Strawberry Laces-loving teens). The next logical step is shampoo bars… but are they actually any good?

The answer, on every level, with Shine shampoo bars is YES, absolutely. When my bar arrives – prettily ensconced in recyclable cardboard, of course – I’m wary of its stone grey, rough texture. But, then, oh the scent! Now I am partial to a nice bit of lemon; lemon tea, lemon candles, lemon car freshners, and the citrusy aroma of Shine is gorgeous. Call me easily won over, but there are some things you don’t have to think twice about taking into the shower with you.

 The bar quickly whips up much more of a lather than I have any expectation of and – the real test with my hair – a thorough wash leaves my hair tangle-free for the Big Comb. In the name of research, I try out a few other shampoo bars and quickly realise how clever Shine’s design is. Rectangular bars are surprisingly hard to work with your hands to create a lather, but the round Shine bar does the job with ease. And when one of those other shampoos leaves my hair in a sticky mess, I’m saved by Shine really doing what it says on the tin.

 The Shine bar was created by Jonathan Harries, a hairdresser with more than 30 years’ experience and owner of the Shine salon in Brighton. Jonathan says: “I knew many of my clients would find the convenience of a shampoo bar appealing and are always looking for ways to reduce their plastic consumption. But as a hairdresser, it was important to me that there was no compromise on the results of a professional liquid shampoo. I had to create something that I would be happy to use in the salon.”

As a result, the Shine bar contains quinoa to help prolong the life of hair colour and is gentle enough to be used every day by the whole family. There’s no plastic and no mess, while the reusable storage tin makes it perfect for travel (no taking it through baggage), the gym and, of course, camping. It’s 99% naturally derived and perfect for vegans – it’s only tested on people!

At £9.50 for a 75g bar, it’s not a cheap option but our family of three (well, at least two of us… I can’t vouch for the regularity of one teen’s hair washing activity) has been using the bar for more than a month and it’s still going strong. Shine’s claim is that it lasts up to four times longer than standard shampoo and, at our rate, this seems about right. The teen who does regularly wash hair has sniffed her way through initial suspicions to declare that it’s actually ‘quite good’; high praise indeed from one hooked on Aussie Miracle Treatment.

 Now I just need all my lovely friends and family to READ THIS ahead of the next round of (*coughs*) birthdays and Christmas, and shops being stacked to the rafters with ever-so attractively but very definitely plastic-y packaged gift sets. This little family of three (possibly two) can’t save the world on our own, you know, and I’m ever so partial to a camp-tastic tin.

The Telegraph: The new soap stars that are raising the bar



Bin that plastic bottle of shower gel. The soap bar is back - and better than ever, writes Claire Coleman

Bars of soap are back - and in a big way. Once thought to be old-fashioned, drying and harbourers of germs, we shunned them in favour of shower mousses and liquid soaps.

Now, though, we've fallen in love with them all over again. Data from Kantar Worldpanel show that in the year to September 2018, Britons spent £68.3 million on barred soaps. That's up 2.9 per cent on the previous 12 months, confirming market analysis by Mintel in the preceding years.

Part of it is down to environmental concerns. A bar of soap requires minimal packaging and Kantar's researchers found that almost half of bar soap users say that they avoid products that are harmful to the environment.

But what about the fears that soaps are astringent and unhygienic? Newer formulations no longer dry skin out, while several scientific papers dispute the theory that bars spread germs. Then there's the luxury factor.

"Bar soaps are now slightly more indulgent than they have been in the past, as there is now a bigger opportunity for a more premium offering," says Tim Nancholas of Kantar Worldpanel.

He's not wrong - high-end names such as Sisley, Diptyque and Senteurs d'Orient offer bars costing as much as £33. But good soap doesn't have to cost the earth - here are some of the best bars for your buck...

Best for affordable indulgence

L'Occitane has a great range of soaps in some of its most-loved fragrances. The Almond Delicious Soap (£5.50) has flaked almonds to gently exfoliate, while the Verbena Leaf (£5.50) contains citrusy, crushed verbena.

Best for the face

Soap bars destined for the face are more likely to be called cleansing bars these days - presumably in an attempt to distance themselves from drying soaps of old - but they're a soap bar by any other name. French pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay has a Lipikar Moisturising Cleansing Bar (£5.50) designed to help improve the barrier function of dry skin.

Best for fragrance fans

Le Labo is one of those fragrance houses that all perfume geeks adore, as much for its chic and minimalist packaging as its scents. Four of its best-loved fragrances are available in bar form and, although an eyebrow-raising £32, they're a wonderful gift. Try Rose 31, a smoky, woody floral that the smart Fairmont hotel group uses for its in-room toiletries.

Best for beautiful packaging

Liberty is a treasure trove for soap lovers and its own brand soaps in gorgeous retro-modern packaging (£6.95 each) are a winner. Citrus fans will be in heaven - there's also lemon, bergamot and coriander, grapefruit and yuzu, and a fig variety for those that prefer something more floral.

Best budget buy

Made - as you'll probably remember from those television adverts - with a quarter moisturising cream, Dove's Beauty Cream Bar isn't described as a soap, but it is, to all intents and purposes, a soap bar that moisturises while it cleans. Whether you use it on hands, face, or body, it's famed for leaving skin feeling soft, not taut, and at £1.59 for two bars (Superdrug, and nationwide), it's definitely the budget buyer's favourite.

Best for traditionalists

With fragrances that date back to the 18th century, Floris is one of the UK's best known, and revered perfumers. Its bar soaps are available in a range of its perfumes, from classics, such as lily of the valley and white rose, through to more modern scents, such as the citrusy Cefiro. All come embossed with a 19th-century design and the royal warrants, so you'll know you're in good company.

Best for all-round goodness

Vegan, 97 per cent organic, and wrapped in FSC certified recyclable packaging, the soaps produced by BeCo sound virtuous, and that's before you know that they are all made in the UK by a not-for profit social enterprise that helps to create jobs for people who are visually impaired, disabled or disadvantaged. There are three scents - Spring Meadow, Wild Berries and Honey Blossom, and they're just £3 each. Available in Sainsbury's, Waitrose and coming soon to Co-op.

Best for your hair

Washing your hair with a bar of soap might sound counter-intuitive, but in a bid to go plastic-free, a number of smaller brands have launched shampoos in the form of cubes or bars. The Shine Shampoo Bar (£9.50, was formulated by a hairdresser with 30 years' experience who wanted a transportable shampoo - it comes in its own reusable tin - that lathered well and was kind to hair. This smells lovely, leaves hair clean but not stripped, and doesn't irritate the scalp.