How to compare the price and performance of the shampoo bar

Have you already heard of the shampoo bar?

A bar of soap that is not for your body but for your hair? And after the discovery of the shampoo bar, you can discover a whole solid world out there with solid conditioners, toothpaste, detergent and mascara’s as well.

This old fashioned solid bar is ready to be implemented into the new 100% responsible beauty routine. Solid means the shampoo bar doesn’t contain water, which also means it doesn’t need preservatives or a long list of non-understandable names of ingredients, which doesn’t convince the consumer to buy a save product. And of course by choosing solid you’re getting rid of single use plastics like bottles and lids.

For years LUSH was agreeing with these solid advantages, now also other brands are joining the sustainable revolution of personal care. Nature Box, Guhl, N.A.E. and Garnier’s Loving Blends are standing next to their fluid equivalent on the shelve at the drugstore. And the Happy Soaps and are selling their products online. Convincing the user with their shout out to save up over two or three bottles of 250ml shampoo and being economic - solid bars can be used for 30 till 110 (!) washing turns. This is quite an interesting fact to take into account for every sales channel (from retailer till online vendor), since the turnover rate of solids would be much lower than the watery bottled shampoo.

The price of a shampoo bar will always be higher than their fluid competitor when you compare them quickly just on price. Water is still the cheapest ingredient you can fill your bottles with. So you really need to convince the consumer to use a solid bar with other facts. Solid shampoo bars are only filled by concentrated and functional ingredients. But still there is a huge difference in price between fluid shampoo and solid cosmetic bars. Or not? Here in the Netherlands Guhl’s solid shampoo bar is 75 grams for 9,99 euro’s at the Kruidvat and Garnier’s loving blends asks 6,99 for 60 grams. Nature box has a round 85 grams piece for 7,49. They all claim to be a substitute for 2 bottles of 250 ml. offers a round piece of 60 grams for an average price of 7,95 and sell 70 grams for about 8,75. If you use 10 ml of fluid shampoo per turn, you can wash your hair 25 times with a bottle. The average price of a bottle of Andrelon or Elvive is 5 euro per 250 ml. So getting down to this, it means that 50 washing turns fluid-wise will cost 10 euro. And 50 washing turns solid-wise costs between 6,99 till 9,99. With the online offer of Happy Soaps you are most economic. They claim to do 90 - 110 washing turns for 8,75, saving up to 3 bottles. Of course depending on the fact how much shampoo bar you use per turn.

Strange enough the 60, 75 and 85 grams pieces of solid shampoo claim all to be a substitute for over 2 fluid bottles. But knowing more about solids you have a difference in the hardness of the shampoo bar. You have softer and harder compositions, also having to do with the choice of ingredients and the technique of production. The soft compositions ‘melt’ more easily and can give a sort of ‘layering’ effect after usage, than the harder bars. This means that some pieces don’t live up to the 50 washing turns they claim to offer. And it depends how you store the piece. You really have to look in detail and test the product to see how often you can use it, but more important how it performs.

There is much difference in performance and there is a challenging task for existing brands to live up to the performance standards of their fluid equivalent. You want to get away from your grandma’s experience, where that piece of old fashioned fatty acids dries the skin. Only new generations of solids will survive when they overcome this hazard and nourish the hair instead of attacking it with aggressive sulfates. It takes some time to get there, but it is such a good start to see new solid products moving up the market and turning consumers into solid tariers.