Five Things Friday: Waste-Free Soap Bar,Vegan Butter Recipe, Stationery Biking, Soap Nuts, Podcasts

Welcome to my third instalment of Five Things Friday! You can read the previous two here and here. In this weekly post, I try to talk about cool stuff that’s on my radar that would be of interest to my audience.

I have to be honest that I haven’t gotten up to much other than work and (attempted) essay writing this week, but there are still definitely five things that I want to bring to your attention! Let’s get started.

Waste-Free Soap Bar: // Yesterday, I wrote a full blog post sharing my thoughts on the Soap Works shampoo bar. My verdict? It’s not bad; I’m actually pretty happy with it. I will probably continue to try different soap bars, but I plan to finish this one, and I don’t dread washing my hair with it, the way that I did with the LUSH shampoo bars (I tried two of those—hated both because they were wayyy too drying for my hair). Read all about it here. And guess what? It costs about $2–3 and it lasts a really long time (I have long, thick hair and after four or five washes, the bar still looks almost completely unused). You can buy it here.

Vegan Butter Recipe: // I’ve been resisting vegan butter for the longest time, using coconut oil or vegetable shortening instead (I can buy them in bulk so it’s “waste free”) and not getting the same results you would with butter. Then I decided to look up vegan butter recipes, and this one looks promising. I’m thinking, weekend project. I will let you know how it turns out. Seems simple enough, and I already have most of the ingredients, such as olive oil, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, and a few others.

Soap Nuts: // It turns out you can do your laundry with a completely plant-based detergent alternative that is also unprocessed. Soap nuts look like nuts (thanks, whoever named them), and they’re a berry shell that naturally contains soap! I can buy them in bulk at Bulk Barn, and so far I am experimenting with them. You are supposed to be able  to reuse them in several loads of laundry, but my experience hasn’t been that! I will write a whole post when I figure out exactly what does and doesn’t work with regards to soap nuts.

Stationery Biking: // Change of plans! My seldom used stationery bike is now near my workspace, so I hop on to pedal a little every so often throughout the day. It’s great! One of the biggest “pros” of working from home is being able to actually move and exercise during breaks, even if they’re only five minutes long. This isn’t the biggest calorie-burning hack, though I do rack up 100–200 extra by the end of the day, but it’s just been good for the way I feel. I would really recommend it; there’s so much more to exercise than the calories we burn doing it.

Podcasts: // I am a bit of a podcast fiend, and I love listening to new podcasts, even if ultimately I’m pretty picky about which I “keep” on my regular podcast rotation. I’ve been listening to and liking a podcast called Elise Gets Crafty lately. If you’re hoping to make a living from a creative pursuit without actually losing the creativity side of things, I recommend exploring this one. It’s a bit eclectic in that there isn’t one specific theme or motif that carries from episode to episode (other than creativity—duh!). It’s a weekly show, and I love the interviews that Elise does with people who’ve managed to turn their creativity into something financially sustaining and value-giving. Check out her podcast here.

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Waste-Free, Vegan Soap Works Shampoo & Conditioner Bar

I have tried a few different waste-free shampoos, from baking soda and apple cider vinegar to the LUSH shampoo bars and now the Soap Works shampoo bar. So far, my favourite has been the Soap Works shampoo bar.

I have lots of long, thick, curly hair that is prone to dryness and sadly a little damaged from colouring (highlights), sun exposure, and heat styling. For these reasons, I try to stick to hydrating shampoos, and my favourite “container” shampoos are from the Andalou Naturals line, which you can find at Whole Foods. Aside from the plastic waste, those are really great—cruelty-free, non-GMO verified, and many of their products are vegan, as well. I find the Andalou Naturals  shampoos are extremely hydrating.

But I have been interested in cutting out plastic waste where I can, so when I saw the $2.50 Soap Works shampoo and conditioner bar at Bulk Barn, I knew I had to try it. At first, I thought it was a regular bar of soap because it is the same shape and size; it looks like just a regular bar of white soap.

After four washes, I feel like it works like a very basic shampoo. It’s not ultra hydrating, and my hair definitely feels as though it still  needs conditioner—which so far I haven’t figured out how to make or where to buy in waste-free form. When I use a packaged conditioner, my hair feels great, just as it would if I had shampooed with a much more expensive, packaged shampoo.

From some online reviews, it seems that this shampoo bar works best for fine, healthy or slightly oilier hair. I am personally pretty impressed, and I am going to keep using it. I know that the reason I am not getting perfect results has more to do with my hair than with the shampoo bar, but even so my hair feels much less dry than it did with the LUSH shampoo bar or the ACV/baking soda combination.

You can buy the Soap Works shampoo & conditioner bar at Bulk Barn or at Well.ca (where you can also read 73 reviews on it!).