This is not cheese

June 7

Acting on the tip of a friendly commenter to this blog, I rushed off to the store “Lush” to check out the concept of solid shampoo. I have to admit that the overwhelming fragrance almost chased me right back out, but in the interests of research (and of being able to exchange money for an actual consumer product that will clean my hair), I penetrated the wall of scent and struck up a conversation with one of the employees. I’ll call her “Allie”.

Yes, Allie showed me, they do have shampoo that comes in solid form. I ended up buying a slice of one that looked amazingly like parmesan cheese (it must be a comfort thing). I also bought a little conditioner bar, and a circle of body butter. This all came “naked”: no packaging whatsoever. Oh, joy!

Another interesting thing about this place: they sell their more liquidy stuff in little black plastic pots. They give incentives to customers (free stuff!) to return the pots to the store, then send the used pots to a facility that recycles them back into little black plastic pots. In other words, they practice closed-loop recycling. As Allie said, “Part of what we’re doing is showing other companies that this is possible.”

I will be trying the shampoo and conditioner as soon as possible (I don’t know if you’re keeping track but it’s been a week…). I have no idea the quality of this stuff, but today I learned a few things that have nothing to do with the particular brand. First, it never occurred to me that shampoo and conditioner could come in solid form. In my universe, shampoo was always liquid, and it always came in a plastic bottle. Today I saw that there are other options. Could paper-wrapped shampoo bars take the place of those endless shelves of plastic shampoo bottles at CVS? Why not?

And second, maybe closed-loop recycling has a role to play in all this. Which leads to the question: if a company is recycling a shampoo bottle back into a shampoo bottle, does that mean it’s ok for me to buy it?

Answering that is going to require more research. But for now, I’m heading to the shower.


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