Lauren Federgreen shares her story of formulating natural shampoo bars to create great hair care products that reduce plastic waste.
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You know the challenges of finding great hair care products that work for your hair while also being better for the environment. We want moisturized strands and a clean scalp that isn’t stripped of its natural oils and clean formulas that still feel luxurious even with minimal packaging. Take a walk down your standard beauty aisle with the excess of unrecyclable plastic containers and it feels like we’re reaching for the moon. But, the good news is that some clean beauty brands are rethinking formulas and packaging to create natural products that boost hair’s shine and softness and are packaged better. One solution is solid beauty beauty products. A natural bar of shampoo can save water, reduce plastic waste, and when the formulas are great, the end results make your hair look and feel better.
We’ve written a few articles about the positive impacts that solid beauty products can have on the industry. An estimated 120 billion units of packaging are produced yearly for the beauty and personal care industries. Most of it is unrecyclable. Solid beauty products take less space, so minimal packaging is needed. And, instead of plastic containers, recycled paper that is also recyclable can be used. Bootleg Bath, a new personal care brand on the market, takes this to heart, using recyclable paper to wrap their shampoos and conditioners. While we’ve written and reviewed a few solid beauty products, Lauren Federgreen, the founder of the brand, is the first interview we’ve had with a founder of a solid beauty brand. So, it’s exciting to hear from the founder how, in her own words, she sees the role that solid beauty products can play in creating a more sustainable beauty industry. Lauren shared how she began formulating organic and natural ingredients to create her shampoo and conditioner bars in her kitchen during the pandemic.
Trying the bars, I first noticed the packaging. Not a piece of heavy plastic was in sight. Opening up the small paper box, I was enamored by the smell and how the shampoo cleansed my curls without stripping them of moisture. After sitting in the shower for the past three weeks, I’ve come to enjoy the bars more than their bottled counterparts. They take up less space and add a fragrant aroma to the bathroom. And I can vouch that even small hands can navigate using the bars during bathtime.
What initiatives has the brand taken to be carbon neutral?
Bootleg Bath has partnered with Sendle for the shipping and delivery of products that are ordered and distributed directly through our website. Sendle is a leader in sustainable shipping initiatives that offset emissions by contributing a portion of each package cost to fund sustainability projects through the organization South Pole. These projects range from restoring rainforest habitats to providing clean water access to communities in rural Africa.
What other initiatives has the brand taken to be eco-friendly?
Bootleg Bath is taking steps to reduce waste by offering bottle-free hair care products. By removing the water content from traditional bottled shampoo and conditioners, we have developed a line of high-quality, plant-based solid hair care products that are all sulfate-free, phthalate-free, and vegan. Additionally, all our Bar Soap is palm oil-free. Although there are sustainable palm oils available, the use of these still contributes to palm oil demand. We made the conscious decision to go palm-free to help reduce the world’s dependence on an industry that contributes to rainforest destruction.
How Did Bootleg Bath Begin?
Bootleg Bath began as a hobby in a condo kitchen during the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown and quickly evolved into a business vision that will hopefully change the landscape of natural bath products. The inspiration for the Bootleg Bath name as well as our cocktail-inspired products originated by drawing a comparison from the restrictions of Prohibition of the 1920’s and California’s stay-at-home order in 2020. Bootleg bath gives a nod to the 20s with a modern take on vintage style.
Where are the ingredients sourced?
All our high-quality ingredients are locally and sustainably sourced. We put an emphasis on working to support other small businesses with many of our suppliers being women-owned businesses.
Why didn’t you begin with a traditional water-based shampoo? (In case it’s not answered in the origin story question.
We are committed to reducing the world’s environmental footprint while delivering exceptional products! Solid haircare provides an equally high-quality shampooing experience but without the waste. By focusing on the bottle-free movement, we are able to bring a product to market in a zero-waste capacity that we are proud to stand behind.
How should we use & store the shampoo and conditioner to maximize its number of uses?
The best way to extend the lifespan of a natural bar product, both Shampoo and Conditioner bars as well as natural bar soap is by storing them in a dry, well-drained area and avoiding direct water contact when not in use. Everyone’s hair and body has different quantity requirements so there’s no perfect formula to determine how much product you should use. A little can go a long way so limit your usage to the amount your hair and body needs to feel well cleansed and conditioned.
How are you sustainable, eco in your everyday life?
I must admit, my family uses Bootleg Bath products for daily use so we are on the bottle-free beauty train already! ? We are avid recyclers, champion the reusable grocery bag movement, never use plastic wrap, straws, or wasteful storage, and believe in garden-to-table dining as much as possible. And we are solar and electric vehicle enthusiasts.