If your resolution is to ditch the plastic, thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to traditional shower gels.
Can you recommend a bar of soap to replace shower gel? I’m looking to cut down on my plastics! — Marie, Cobh, Cork.
Cutting down on the single-use plastics in your skincare routine is a noble cause that I can get behind and luckily, I’ve a few suggestions in my arsenal.
Now, when it comes to your skin in general, for the most part, I try to avoid stripping soaps like your classic hand soaps as they can compromise the skin’s barrier, the protective layer made of up of oils and dead skin cells.
So you’re looking for a bar of something that will help to give back to your skin rather than take from it, with nourishing, soothing ingredients.
If you want something totally soap-free, the Gallinee Cleansing Bar (€11, gallinee.com) is fabulous as it contains zero soap and their patented blend of prebiotics and hydrating, exfoliating lactic acid to help to balance your skin.
It’s formulated to be a pH level of 5.8, ideal for skin across your face and body as it’s the skin’s own pH. It can be used on your face and your body, so it’s a real belter of a product.
I’ve been speaking about the Codex Beauty Bia Collection a lot lately — but I have to mention the Bia Cleansing Soap (€20, codexbeauty.com). It’s made up of shea butter for moisture, bamboo charcoal to help absorb impurities, and essential oils to purify the skin.
It’s non-stripping, feels great, and I usually don’t have a preference towards smell but it’s that delicious true pine scent that is lovely for waking you up in the morning. On top of that, it’s certified vegan and it’s cold processed too.
If you’re super, super sensitive or very dry, I’d recommend MooGoo’s Fresh Milk Cleansing Bars (€5.95, pharmacies nationwide and moogoo.ie).
They’re ludicrously gentle, with olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and cow’s milk and very little else, with three options available.
The worry that many have when it comes to bars is the cleanliness factor and ensuring that you keep your bar intact.
You need to get yourself a tin to store your soap in or a soap dish to make sure that it’s kept hygienic and not just on the floor of your shower like your shampoo.
You need to dry it off and keep it dry after use as it is moisture that allows bacteria to thrive, and cut out the middle man wherever possible.
By the middle man, I mean washcloths, loofahs… Anything that’s not your hands!
These tools will just allow more bacteria to be passed to the soap so there’s really no need. If you don’t trust yourself to keep your bar dry, cut it up into chunks and bring a chunk in each time you shower.
As a New Year bonus, a tip for making your beauty routine a bit more sustainable is to find schemes where brands or stores help you to recycle containers.
L’Occitane, in association with Terracycle, recycle beauty waste from any brand, not just L’Occitane, and give you 10% off a new full-sized product for it — you can find the list of accepted packaging on their website.
I’ve been working with Symprove for a few months now, which means I’ve been taking Symprove religiously and the difference it makes to me, my mood, and my skin is substantial.
I first came across it two years ago and loved the concept — it’s dairy-free and has a delivery system that allows the liquid to transport the live bacteria to your gut without it becoming damaged.
If you’re looking for an easy way to kickstart your balanced new year, Symprove may be for you.
- Symprove Water-Based Probiotic Supplement (€99.99 for a four week supply, from meagherspharmacy.ie)