Hair Reviews

I Went Suds-Less With Hairstory’s New Wash, And It Was Rough (At First)

If you had told me six weeks ago that I would love my hair without conditioner, leave-in, or any form of hydrator, I would have laughed. Same goes with the suds – the feeling of fluffy, clean strands was my favorite hair day… which is exactly why Hairstory’s New Wash scared the sh*t out of me.

So much so, in fact, that I almost gave up and wrote a review that simply said “I couldn’t do it.”

How’d I even end up here? It’s a simple story.


I had done plenty of research on Hairstory before I reached out to the company. I loved that the brand was inclusive – hair is hair, here! I also adored the idea of using an affiliate link to connect hairdressers with clients in a COVID-19 world. 

When I pitched an idea of writing a story on the brand, their lovely contact, Hannah, came back with a question: how would I feel about speaking to Wes Sharpton, one of their hairstylists?

wes sharpton in b&w restin ghis face on his fist, small smile on his face as he stares at the camera

Unsure of what the profile would be like, but thrilled nevertheless, I prepared for my interview. The morning of, I ran to my mailbox, and there was a box filled with the Hairstory goods: their New Wash, Powder (dry shampoo), and Hair Balm (to add texture when air drying). 

I proudly showed the box off to Hannah and Wes on the call, both of whom smiled in reaction to the joy radiating from my side of the screen. I couldn’t wait to try it!

And then, for three weeks, I couldn’t wait to be done trying it. But trust me – the story changes quickly.

A “Cream Cleanser”

People are sick of the chemicals stripping their hair of natural oils (the feeling my oily scalped loved) and are becoming aware of what’s lurking in those plastic bottles. So, many methods, like no poo and co-washing, are growing exponentially in popularity.

Popular alternatives to chemical-filled shampoo include apple cider vinegar, mixes with olive oil and/or coconut milk, lemon juice, tea tree oil, clay, and water on its own. 

Another alternative: Hairstory’s New Wash. Though they claim it isn’t exactly a no poo, it ticks all of the requirements to be one. So, the cream cleansing New Wash revolution is blowing up.

Hairstory’s New Wash – The Full Story

Hairstory has a cult following thanks to their New Wash; in fact, it’s what truly put Hairstory on the map. 

New Wash cleans and conditions with essential oils and naturally-derived ingredients. Some of the essential oils include ylang-ylang and rose, while natural ingredients include aloe, lavender and matricaria flower extracts, and peppermint and jojoba seed oils. The combination results in a cleanser that doesn’t strip your locks or scalp of good oils, and it doesn’t deteriorate your scalp’s protective barrier. And we all know that a happy scalp = a healthy scalp!

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The most enticing part of New Wash to me: Hairstory’s claim that you don’t need to condition afterward. My hair is beyond damaged from years of at-home bleaching and dyeing (sorry @ all hairstylists reading this), so I need the most intense conditioner for at least three minutes in every. single. shower session. It’s the only thing that keeps my hair from looking like I fed the ends through a woodchipper. 

So, skipping the step that took up the most time? I was excited. And good-for-you ingredients that wouldn’t strip or break? I was sold immediately.

Sustainability-wise, one 8-oz. pouch – not plastic bottle, but pouch – covers both your shampoo and conditioner, and you can go longer between washes. In total, New Wash reduces your plastic use by an astounding 91%. It’s also biodegradable and safe to use in open water sources. Just keep in mind that the use of keratin – aka a protein derived from sheep’s wool – means it is not vegan.

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After my interview with Wes, which also happened to be day three without washing, I skipped to the shower and prepared to enter the cleanser cream lifestyle.

It was not what I expected.

My First Experience With Hairstory

First, Hairstory also includes a little scalp massager, so you can really work through the formula and then rinse it out thoroughly. I didn’t get it at first, until I opened up my bag and the cream came out thick. It wasn’t gel-like, like a mask or a face cream or shaving cream – it was hefty. But I’m as curious as a cat with a death wish (or nine), so I dutifully followed the instructions and worked it through my hair with the massager.

new wash from hairstory, tess is smiling behind it as she holds up the orange and white bag to the camera

No suds. Not even slight foaming. I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell that I had shampoo in my hair had I not put it in myself, because it rubbed into my strands so gloriously. When I was sure I’d scrubbed my scalp enough, I rinsed out with the massager, letting every drop of the shampoo wash out. I went to rub my scalp, expecting to feel your standard stripped hair.

Nope. None of that. My hair felt nice and… okay, kind of oily still.

I was baffled. Hadn’t I just washed it, and intensely at that? I knew there weren’t chemicals to strip the hair, but it was only then that I realized just how badly foaming shampoo strips your strands.

The best part, though? My hair was SOFT. It was MANAGEABLE. I didn’t have to use conditioner for my brush to go through my hair!!!! It was a goddamn miracle.

After drying out my hair to a damp level, I flipped my hair over, applied Hairstory’s Hair Balm for some texture, tousled my hair, and went about my day. I was feeling pretty good… until I caught a glimpse of my hair. It was oily, it was greasy, it was messy, it was not cute. I felt mortified, as my friend was mere minutes away. 

tess holding up the hair balm, a white and blue bottle

I quickly located Hairstory’s Powder. Instead of a spray, it came out as a puff of white powder. I massaged it into my roots… and it made it worse. I looked like a hot mess. (Thankfully, my friend knows and respects that I’m a beauty editor, so he did not find it off-putting when I answered the door and said “my hair is greasy as fuck” with a very greasy head.)

tess holding up the powder bottle, which is hairstory's dry shampoo

I assumed this was a fluke, and, if not, it probably would sort itself out in the next wash or two. 

I reported this to Tara, QUILL’s Content Writer. She texted back a link to an article and a follow-up text: “it takes six weeks.” 

Oh dear god. What did I get myself into?

Wes Taught Me To Be Honest, So…

I will spare you the details, but the first three weeks were miserable. And it was my own curiosity that landed me here.

As someone who sudsed up her entire life, switching to chemical-free shampoo was terrible. My hair constantly felt dirty, it never sat the right way, and the Powder just didn’t help. I cut out the Hair Balm, and though I lost texture, my hair at least felt a little less greasy – I guess it’s just my roots that get super oily, and if I don’t brush, I don’t have to worry about hydrating it as much.

Still, despite my discomfort, I liked my routine. The massage into and off of my head was nice, and I adored not having to take five minutes to stand around while my conditioner worked its magic. When was the last time I had used a shampoo that allowed me to skip conditioner? Not ever, that’s when.

It was week four when I appeared on Zoom with the QUILL team, yelling “look at my hair!” and shoving my roots into the camera for all to see. And what did they see?

A normal, non-oily, healthy scalp and roots. 

It was a frickin’ miracle.

I had outlasted the pain and was entering the other side of the anti-chemical lifestyle: the lifestyle in which you give up stripping your hair for that sense of cleanliness, and fall in love with keeping it healthy and hydrated with its natural oils instead.

My Final Thoughts On Hairstory’s Products

hairstory line up of products

So, here’s my Hairstory review: New Wash is the only shampoo I’ll be buying from now on, and I think I’ll be skipping the Hair Balm unless I desperately need texture. And the Powder? It’s great in a pinch, but it just didn’t help the build-up that accumulated on my head so quickly. This isn’t Hairstory’s fault, or a weakness in their product – it’s my own hair being finicky and adapting to a major change.

I have no doubt that my hair will continue to adapt as I enter the famous week six (Tara, I did it! I really did it!). I’m only halfway through my first 8-oz. bag, so while the price is somewhat steep for those used to drugstore prices, it’ll last you just as long – if not longer! – than your daily salon shampoo bottle. Aka, if you’re looking for cream cleanser that won’t kill your hair, Hairstory’s New Wash is about to become your long-term relationship.

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I want to take a quick paragraph to thank a VIP, too: Hannah, thank you for gifting me these lovely products. I am so honored, and I hope you like the article on Wes! Please know: you made that happen. You made a cream cleanser gal out of me, and you helped me to produce one of my favorite articles. You’re a miracle worker.

While it’s tempting to use my regular shampoo just to compare after all this time away, I know I never want to go through those first three weeks again. So, to Hairstory’s New Wash I will stick, and never stray. Hold me to that.

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Did you like this review of Hairstory’s New Wash? Have you tried it before? Tell us below!

Read More Reviews:

Wes Sharpton & The Pursuit For Inner Peace
Mermaid Marissa: I Tried Three of Amika’s Hair Masks
Hair Profiles

Wes Sharpton & The Pursuit For Inner Peace

Hairstory’s Wes Sharpton doesn’t give me a chance to ask a question after I open with “Who are you?”

Instead, Sharpton launches into his full story. Who he is, how he got to Hairstory, the history of Hairstory, and where they are now.

It’s like he’s practiced telling this tale, the way it flows so naturally. I follow along easily, lost in his descriptors.

But I don’t laugh. No, I tear up multiple times instead throughout the hour-long journey.

When he gets to the end, he mumbles that he’s sorry for “blabbing” on. I tell him it’s fine; I only have two questions now, anyway. 

“Sure,” Sharpton says, nodding. I don’t know what he expects me to ask; maybe something about Hairstory, or a detail he left out. But it’s clearly not these two questions.

Have I piqued your curiosity? Good. Here’s Wes Sharpton’s story, from humble beginnings to Hairstory.


“My friends and I would always joke: I’m the original country queer. And that’s where my story started.” It’s a succinct intro, but Wes Sharpton makes it seem like the easy way to start the story.

Sharpton grew up in Oklahoma in the ‘90s, before he had the resources that we do now for the LGBTQ+ community – and when the state was extremely conservative regarding gay rights. “It was feeling like there weren’t enough of us in people’s homes yet to really like that I could feel…” He searches for the right word, eventually landing on: “safe.”

I quietly listen to him describe his strategies in school: taking different paths throughout hallways to get through class, never following the same one, because there was a lack of safety in familiarity. “I thought ‘if I am in this space and I keep doing the same thing every day, someone’s gonna notice my path to get to class and that’s gonna make me vulnerable to being beat up, or something like that.’” He shrugs. “It’s what you had to do to survive.”

b&w wes sharpton walking down the street, looking behind him at the camera

There was more strategy; making friends with those who could indirectly, unknowingly protect you. It helped Sharpton develop his “people smarts,” something he takes pride in.

“I think many people in my position had to get smart and quick! And we had to move in a way for survival, right? We had to be a little strategic for our own safety, like, ‘who do I need to align with to be protected?’”  I didn’t come out until 24; the thought of dodging and befriending solely for strategic reasons makes my stomach churn.

But Sharpton says it so casually, no shock factor attached to the words. As he says, “it sounds awful, but it was just the way that we had to navigate the world in that place, at that time.”

But through the media, Sharpton knew there was more out there for him, more than what conservative Oklahoma had to offer him. There was space for him. Space where he didn’t have to be strategic. 

“I just had an inkling in my mind: ‘there’s gotta be a place. There’s gotta be a place where not everything is like Oklahoma. I’m not gonna always have to change paths. I’m not always gonna have to switch gears. I can have a routine one day without fear.’”

A routine is something most youths take for granted through their adolescent lives. They wake up, quickly scarf down breakfast, go through the motions in school, and continue on to extracurriculars, or to do homework, or to visit friends, or to simply rest at home. And it happens every day. Rinse, wash, repeat. There is no strategy involved.

Sharpton did not have this luxury. But he did have those dreams of a better place.

“Growing up gay, poor, having learning disabilities… These are all challenges, but there is a gift in these obstacles: imagination,” he says, smiling. “The idea of seeing and training your mind to imagine something that isn’t quite there yet in reality is such a valuable gift.

“I could have a bigger vision of myself than others could, because I could imagine things that had not existed in the world yet, as we know them.”

He eventually made it out of Oklahoma. Here’s how.

After escaping school and its lack of consistency, Wes Sharpton gravitated toward fashion.  

a picture of a woman in nylon magazine with hair by wes sharpton

This is where I tear up for the first time.

“Can I be honest with you? Really honest,” he asks me. I say yes, of course, please.

“For me, my otherness was in the fashion world, which I believe I gravitated to because it wasn’t a place I belonged…” Sharpton pauses and looks at me.

“I never felt beautiful. I never felt pretty in my own skin. And I thought, if I can’t really have it myself, at least I can be a part of it. At least I could have a piece of something beautiful.”

My heart lurches to my throat. I swallow down the lump. Be professional, I tell myself. 

Sharpton continues on after telling me his secret about his experience at a “cheap” cosmetology school, where he learned the details of makeup and hair care. He had assumed he was going to be a makeup artist, but after being invited to a hair show – “which is really where people stand on a platform and cut hair” – he was drawn to the hair world.

“I thought, ‘dang, these people are cool…. Maybe there’s a space where I could do this.’ And then I started to cut hair. I ended up in New York, where I trained and worked at Bumble and bumble. for many years.” Goodbye, Oklahoma; hello, Big City.

However, the fashion world wasn’t what Sharpton expected. He was glad to have escaped his hometown and found his niche in cutting hair, but “a fashion set is not as amazing as people assume it is, there’s a lot of standing and waiting and then ‘go.’ There’s a lot of pressure.”

So, Sharpton leaned into hair cutting. He worked at salons for many years, perfecting his craft, therefore putting Sharpton on the map. But it was when his work made it into Vogue that he faced a major realization.

wes sharpton's hair cut in vogue magazine

“I thought, when I got into VOGUE, that I would be whole. And that would mean that I had made it and showed everybody and did the thing,” he says.

That’s understandable. Those who have felt othered, felt the doubt from those surrounding them… “making it” means you proved them wrong, that you are where you belong. But it was the opposite for Sharpton.

“I realized then that I needed to do some internal work, and that I’d need to align myself with things that I really loved and really believed in,” he tells me. “The press is interesting, right? It happens quick and it happens fast. I remember taking that moment and going, ‘okay, cool. This is great that this is going on in your life, but it won’t fix you.’”

He recalls doing an interview on what hair is best for your face shape; he felt “icky” after doing it, and he decided then and there that he would never tell someone how to be beautiful again. 

Instead, “I thought, ‘what if we stopped having these conversations about face shape? Why don’t you just come in and you tell me what you really love about yourself? Then I’m gonna focus on how I can bring attention to that.’”

So, when someone sits in his chair and complains about their face, he resets the conversation. He has the client tell him what their favorite feature is, and he highlights that instead. “You are not designed to hide. And I, as a hairdresser, am not designed to help you hide,” he says. “I’m not OK with the culture of criticism and having a ‘solution.’ I say, let’s blow that out of the water because this is a bunch of bullsh*t, and we don’t need to be participants in that.”

b&w photo of wes sharpton cutting hair

He was thrilled to make this change, taking a stand to never speak about face shape again and then bringing it into his personal practice. But, he tells me, he was tired. As his career grew exponentially, he was also growing tired. 

He dreamt of simplifying his life, ending his story and “opening a juice bar on the beach.” Something that didn’t exhaust him so much.

“I was really leaning into a little bit of that fantasy of thinking, ‘it’s time to wrap this show up. Maybe it’s time to do something different,’” he recalls. “And then Hairstory came into my life, a brand that is fully supportive of the hairdressing community.”

Ah, there it is. Enter: Hairstory.

The hair world was facing a crisis: what was once so exclusive had become accessible. People were able to buy hair products online, if not for cheaper on Amazon. The hairdressing community took a hit financially as e-Commerce capabilities grew – those who relied on product sales and in-person sales were losing out to a fast-growing and fast-moving Internet. 

“As e-commerce grew, we were almost abandoned by haircare companies who had previously said they were ‘pro the hairdresser,’” Sharpton says. ‘Hairstory did something different that appealed to me because it supported hairdressers in a way no other brand had done.’

The idea came from Hairstory’s CEO, Eli Halliwell: providing hairdressers with affiliate links, therefore rebirthing exclusivity – just online, this time.

How Hairstory’s affiliate links work, in Sharpton’s words: “Hairdressers are rewarded for their client relationships – so much so that, after one affiliate sale, the customer remains connected to their Hairstory hairdresser for eternity, with the hairdresser rewarded ongoingly.

“Eli told me; ‘Your clients are always connected to you, and we will always pay you and we’re always gonna do that every time that they return. We will always honor sharing your education about these products with your clients.’”

hairstory line up of products

Sharpton was drawn to the concept, because “the one thing that energized me the most was a big idea.” On top of this, he felt that Halliwell was supporting the hairdressing community, which had been so brutally abandoned by others.

Part of the reason behind the abandonment: the misconception by so-called “pro-hairdresser” companies that claimed that hairdressers were poor at selling their products, or simply didn’t know “how to retail.” But Sharpton strongly disagrees.

“This isn’t true!” he emphasizes. “It’s that our entire business is built on trust. We’re intuitive at our job and we have a personal connection with our clients that doesn’t align with pushing for retail sales.”

So Sharpton’s response to Haillwell’s big idea? “I thought, ‘here is someone who’s bringing something new and fresh that also allows [hairdressers] to participate, respects our work, and allows us to be considered,’” Sharpton says of Halliwell. “And it was really [hairdressers] being considered, which was bigger to me than the idea of the link.

“I was also drawn to [Hairstory’s New Wash] in a space that’s historically always been the same, shampoo, conditioner, detangler… What reinvention could happen from there?” Sharpton tells me. The unique New Wash – which helped to blow up affiliate links and what Hairstory is best known for – is “an all-in-one hair cleanser that rivals shampoo.” (Note: I’ve been using it for the past six weeks, and my review comes out tomorrow.) 

hairstory's new wash

So, Sharpton didn’t give up his hair cutting and start a juice bar. His excitement kept him around. He’s still with Hairstory to this day – the exact reason we’re on Zoom right now, my mic muted.

… Until it’s my turn to ask the follow-up questions.

I only have two.

The questions aren’t easy, and I’m aware of it. They’re direct, thought of as he closes his story, his vulnerable journey from “original country queer” to world-renowned hairdresser. But I don’t feel like asking Wes Sharpton easy questions after this story – this “Hair”story, if you will.

“What is your definition of beautiful?” I ask point-blank.

“I think that is such a hard question,” he says. But he doesn’t shy away from the question; he thinks hard about it.

“I don’t know that I’ll ever be whole, right? I don’t know that I’ll ever have that ability to be able to maybe be like, this is beautiful because I don’t know that I’ve dismantled all of the messages that say what isn’t beautiful yet. So my job is to try and dismantle a little piece of that in hopes that other people down the road either have to do less dismantling or hopefully one day have to do zero dismantling.”

Zero dismantling sounds impossible right now, but Sharpton is determined to do the work. 

“I just wonder what the world would look like if people thought they were enough already as you came in,” he says. “I would hope that in the future, that we could have the idea that there could be a space for all of us.”

wes sharpton holding a camera and smiling at the camera in b&w

I reflect on how I’ve struggled to feel beautiful all my life, and how the internal struggle pops up every single day. Sharpton drops another piece of wisdom.

“I would love to give you a clean, pretty PR answer, but I don’t know that it would be, I don’t know that it would be the truth. I thought about this today and I thought, you know what? You always have a choice to be as honest as you want. And sometimes your honesty means that you have to be vulnerable about the way that you view yourself in the world and why maybe you’re motivated to change that for others.”

Then he apologizes. I tell him not to – QUILL doesn’t look for clean answers. We look for the raw, real, brilliant, honest, vulnerable truth. And that’s what he’s given me here.

It changes my next question, but it’s just as pointed, and I’m almost scared to ask it: “Do you think you’ll ever be enough?” It’s a personal question for myself as well, and I’m hoping Sharpton hasn’t run out of wisdom, because I desperately need it.

I could summarize what he says, but I’m going to give his full quote, because I teared up and nearly cried as he dove into it. I hope you enjoy it, too. I think it’s an appropriate close to the interview. Please take this to heart.

“I think it depends, right? I think, at the end of the day, I think that what we really want is just to be seen, because I think the idea of being seen means that you have value, and if you have value, then maybe someone could value you. And that is because when it comes down to it, you’d like to imagine for yourself that if you could be seen, that you could also be loved.
“We want the baseline. Like, you’re good, right? Like, you’re here, you exist. You deserve to exist. You can be recognized. We want that as a baseline and everything else, and as far as enoughness goes, maybe it’s just doing the work to unravel why we have tricked ourselves into believing that we’re not enough.
“Sometimes challenging yourself to be like, ‘what if I did this incrementally better?’ There’s never an end to mastery, right? There’s only just the journeys along the way. That’s the joy of the whole thing. And so in some spaces, I want to be enough, but I also want a healthy challenge to still be better.
“I think for me, enough will never be there because there’s always growth. As a community, we are sometimes a little harsh on ourselves, and I think we’ve got to remember to let people learn and grow. And we’ve got generations of experiences that are new, and queer people are learning. I didn’t have access to some of the things that are around today, so I didn’t have a language around some things. It’s cool that we can grow together.
“And I would say, just be gentle. Remember people are largely on your side. I think sometimes we get a little bickering amongst ourselves and we get overwhelmed by things outside of our group that we’re not addressing and that are not moving us forward. So I think that can be something that we have to be considerate of; to be kind to ourselves and let people learn.

“Let people grow.”

b&w photo of wes sharpton looking at camera straight on

Thank you to Wes Sharpton for the honest, real conversation. Follow Sharpton on Instagram and his site. You can also follow Hairstory on their site and Instagram.

Read More Features
Hair Reviews

Mermaid Marissa: I Tried Three of Amika’s Hair Masks

“Try this,” read the note attached to my Amazon package. I would have been more baffled had this not become a routine. Tess, the QUILL Editor-in-Chief (and my best friend), is known to send random care packages… and beauty products for reviews to share with QUILL readers. I’m not complaining though — she knows exactly what I need when I need it. This is why I was thrilled to unbox Amika’s Soulfood, Flash, and The Kure hair masks, which would (hopefully) help my very sad strands. 


Living on a sailboat can take a toll on your hair, from wind tangling it to the sun bleaching it. I love my life afloat, but my hair definitely needed a little extra love to keep it looking fab.

So, after I unboxed my goodies, I went straight to the shower to try out the biggest one: the Soulfood Nourishing Mask.

amika soulfood hair mask


This ultra-luxurious hair mask is rich and creamy, yet doesn’t weigh hair down. It is packed with vitamins and nutrients to condition the hair making it soft, silky, and smoother than ever (thus its Soulfood name!) According to Amika’s website, Soulfood is “perfect for all hair types, especially those in need of deep hydration,” aka: me. Oh, and not only does it feel good but it smells good too! Keeping your locks smelling lovely all day long. Big win.

In addition to the Soulfood mask, Tess sent me the Flash Instant Shine Mask, which gives brilliant shine, softens, and hydrates hair in just 60 seconds… or so it says.

amika the flash instant shine hair mask

FLASH – $26

Honestly, I was more impressed with the Superfood, which definitely deeply hydrated my hair. The Flash mask was more liquid-like, and it worked better as a leave in product rather than a mask. I personally did not notice any extra “shine,” but I did appreciate another nice smelling product, especially when the wind ruffled my hair. 

I was 1 for 1 with one last mask to test: The Kure Intense Bond Repair Mask.

amika the kure bond repairing hair mask

THE KURE – $36

As mentioned, my hair dwells in a rough environment which unfortunately leads to a lot of dryness and breakage. I was really excited to give The Kure a shot, especially with Amika’s clinically proven promise to strengthen hair, reduce breakage, and prevent future damage. Made for people like me that have damaged hair due to everyday heat, environmental stressors, and chemical treatments, I was all about it!

On top of its clinically-proven benefits, it swears to be relatively fast acting. This rinse-out treatment doubles as a leave-in to strengthen your strands and repair damage in a mere 60 seconds. Multi-tasking has never been so easy, and I definitely recommend The Kure. 

My review’s bottom line: I was impressed with this product line and look forward to keeping Amika in my hair care routine, no matter where in the world I sail!

Marissa on boat with hair down

We hope my review of Amika’s hair masks with convince you to save your strands! Have you tried these masks? Did they help your hair? Sound off in the comments!

Read More Beauty Reviews:

I Went Suds-Less With Hairstory’s New Wash, And It Was Rough (At First)
I Tried Amazon’s Foreo Dupe, And I’m Actually Impressed
Hair Skin

Is Salt Water Good For Hair And Skin? Here’s The 411

It’s summer time, which means plenty of beach days! If you love swimming in the ocean, you may be wondering: is salt water good for my skin and hair, or am I damaging them? 

While it may seem like your hair is pulling a Jada Smith based on its entanglement post-swim, good news: you don’t have to give up that sea salt just because you have impossible knots and pruny skin. In fact, here’s why you should go diving even more before summer is over.


Salt Water for Your Hair

Okay, so those tangles you get? And that uncomfortable, straw-like feeling you get when your hair dries in the sun? That would be your hair shaft swelling with salt. And while, yes, too much swelling can be bad for your hair, salt water is still a fantastic addition to your routine.

First, that crusty feeling? It’s just the salt crystallizing in your hair – not your hair being stripped of precious oils. In fact, salt water is good for your hair in many ways, so long as you treat it afterward – just like any time you swim in a lake, or a pool, or shower with hard water, or… anything other than a standard shower with shampoo and conditioner.

Now, let’s go back to those nutrients in the deep sea. They’re just as good for your hair. For example, magnesium, potassium, and zinc create a healthy environment for your hair, encouraging growth and possibly stopping hair loss. After all, a healthy scalp = a happy scalp, does it not? (It does.) The exfoliation it provides to your scalp can help with gross buildup, too – it makes for a great natural shampoo.

And have you ever noticed that your hair looks full and wavy, perhaps even with perfect curls, after stepping out of the water? That’s because of that swelling. While too much can be bad, the right amount of salt water will give you that bombshell beach hair you’ve dreamt about.

Salt Water and Your Skin

I prune up like no other, but after reading about the benefits of salt water on skin, I’ll go wade in the water.

The biggest benefit of salt water: if you go into the deep end (like, 650-feet-deep-end), the water is filled with delicious nutrients – think magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium,… Basically, the amount of minerals that you get, thanks to a lack of light, plankton, and bacteria, are super beneficial. This is especially true for people who have skin conditions like eczema; a 2016 review investigated the benefits, finding that it may help soothe the skin condition.

It also potentially helps with psoriasis. So much so, that there’s a type of therapy that recommends incorporating sea salts in your baths – or, even better, bathing in saltwater sites directly. Though there are many theories as to why the salt water helps, most believe it has to do with either the warm temperature opening blood vessels or the suppression of the immune system in the skin.

Then, of course, there’s exfoliation. Salt scrubs are super popular for their exfoliation benefits, so it should come as no surprise that the salt water is just as good for your skin as Lush’s shower products. Salt water may also kill bacteria on your epidermis; combine that with acne-fighting exfoliation, and you have clear, happy, healthy skin.

Don’t Live Near Salt Water?

Okay, obviously there are plenty of people (read: millions) who don’t live near the beach, and summers are simply hot and sticky, with the occasional dip in the chlorine-filled pool. Luckily, there are so many products out there that will give your hair and skin the salt water dousing they desire. From salt sprays to salt scrubs, we recommend these!

Salt Products For Your Hair

Salt Products For Your Skin

We hope you make it to the beach this summer! Did you know salt water was good for your hair and skin? Are you planning on swimming now? Tell us in the comments!

Read More Summer Beauty Articles:

18 Unscented Sunscreens To Wear Every Day
Three Must-Have Makeup Products For A Beach Day
Mermaid Marissa: Here Are The Best 3 Ocean-Friendly Soap Brands
Hair Profiles

I Shaved With Hanni – Here’s How It Went

I heard about hanni forever ago, so I jumped on the trend and got the starter set… but I was always a little too intimidated to try and shave with it. So, today, I’m giving you a full-on hanni review, because you deserve to know about the incredible dry shave I had. Here’s why you should be dry shaving with this amazing brand, too.


Hello! It’s Tess, and I don’t shave enough. Here’s a full review on my dry shave with hanni for your education.

tess smiling at camera with glasses on

I decided to review hanni’s starter set, which comes with the weighted double-sized razor, a silicone cap for the razor, a pack of blades, a holder, a blade bin, and the Shave Pillow. It’s $68, but considering I get a reusable razor that’s good quality and the ability to shave on-the-go? I’ll take it.

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I’m gonna start this off by saying the color is gorgeous. I went with burgundy rather than pink, and I do not regret it. It’s bright, it’s fun, it’s me in a razor. The cool part: you simply twist the bottom, and the razor opens for you to put blades in. It’s so the blades and metal in general don’t rust, which, genius.

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The (very thin, very light) razor blades come in individual packaging – a mini envelope with a blade wrapped in wax paper. The envelopes read “no pressure,” which is adorable because 1. We love lil sayings in this house, and 2. It’s a reminder not to put pressure on when you’re shaving with the razor.

hanni razor with "no pressure" envelope holding razor blade

razor blade in hanni razor

I put the blade in gently, and it slides into the slot easily. After closing the razor head, this is what you see.

closed hanni razor

And now, the whole point of this starter set, review, purchase, etc.: the Shave Pillow!

The Shave Pillow goes on smooth, clear, and comfortably. It glides easily, and it’s light. It doesn’t feel weighted, like it’s pushing my hair down in preparation for a shave – instead, it feels like it’s prepping the skin. Which it is, of course, but I thought there’d be more of an effect on my hair, too. Good sign? Bad sign?

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The instructions say to use short strokes, rather than long strokes. It’s also a dry shave, but I’m paranoid, so I wet the razor anyway. Look, I know, the review isn’t as by-the-book now. Leave me alone, I’ve never dry shaved with this foreign Shave Pillow before!

Speaking of the Shave Pillow – the vegan and cruelty-free formula consists of ingredients such as softening olive oil, two different mushroom extracts (anti-inflammatories Turkey Tail and Reishi), hydrating glycerin, and protective vitamin E. Here’s the full list of ingredients, taken directly from the site. (The final ingredient is “Fragrance,” FYI.)

hanni ingredients list

The Shave Pillow also smells delicious – not overtly feminine, not overtly masculine. We love that! Reading over the smell’s details, hanni lists top notes as bergamot and leafy greens; middle notes as jasmine, ylang, and rose; and base notes as cedarwood, sandalwood, clove bud, and cinnamon. Yum, and also, who needs gender anyway?

So, I begin the shave, naturally applying pressure as per usual to a long stroke from ankle to knee. I’m a creature of habit, so I cut myself. Oops.


This time, I simply glide the razor and hope it works its magic. I also use a short stroke, running from my ankle and up about an inch, slowly working my way to my knee. Success! No cuts!

I continue doing this, and then the razor gets clogged and stops cutting. Flip it, bless hanni, and continue shaving.

I’m so close to being done, and the razor is now entirely clogged. Though slightly disappointed I couldn’t get a full leg in – but, okay, okay, I’ll admit it, I don’t usually use a double-sided razor (as if you couldn’t tell, right?) – I rinse the razor.

Nothing comes out. The Shave Pillow’s formula sticks with all of that sexy leg hair to the blade. I resort to tapping the razor-less sides on the sink, hoping to loosen the formula. Nope. It sticks. And sticks.

Unfortunately, I have to open the razor and wipe off the remnants of leg hair and goo with my finger. I don’t cut myself this time, but it’s a little annoying that I can’t just rinse and go. I think it’s because of the design (actually, I’m sure of this), which bums me out, because the concept is so cool! But sometimes modernity doesn’t equate to ergonomic. 

hanni dirty razor blade with leg hair and leftover shave pillow formula

Shuffling the blade into the razor and closing it again, I proceed to the next side. Same thing happens, and it’s a bummer then, too, when I have to open up the razor and wipe. But c’est la vie, right? I’m still saving on my water bill, my back doesn’t hurt from my tiny shower, and I haven’t cut myself, so it could be worse.

When I’m done shaving, I rub on some Stubble Cream from Fur (which I included in my Fur You review), rinse off the blade and razor, then dry each carefully. I tuck the blade in a dry spot, then close the razor and put on the silicone cap. And like that: I’ve shaved without turning on my shower and only turning the faucet on five times, including pre- and post-razor rinses. 

tess' NOT HAIRY leg woooo

Hours later, after the Stubble Cream has been absorbed, I rub my legs…

… and they aren’t entirely smooth, much to my chagrin.

Despite following the instructions, I have bumpy legs. I have to acknowledge that I am not the best at using weighted razors, and I probably just need practice to get a smooth shave. (I probably will still use my standard razor like the stubborn bish I am, but I gotta say it – manifest it, perhaps?)

Overall, I’m stoked on this purchase. I’ll be using my regular razor (though I’m trying a new one next week – can you guess whose?) most of the time, because I love ergonomic designs. But I can appreciate hanni’s attempt at being forward-thinking.

And to close out my hanni review, I’ll say: I hate shaving in my shower more than most things – my diagnosed scoliosis is not a fan, either – so being able to shave safely without having to fold myself in half or continuously apply when water accidentally erases an entire section of shaving cream? I’ll happily take it.

tess smiling at camera with hanni razor and a thumbs up

I hope this hanni review helped you decide on whether or not you should shave using the brand. (Yes, you should.) And if you have any questions, leave them in the comments!

Read More I-Tried-It Articles:

Will I Use Fur’s Shaving Products For Furever?
I Tried The Mighty Patch, And I’m Never Going Back
I Tried Out All Of Guide Beauty’s Products
Hair Makeup Skin

What Does Climate Pledge Friendly Mean on Amazon?

It’s the end of Earth Week! We’ve featured Nora Schaper from HiBAR, Marissa tried out five hair bar brands, The Detox Market had a sale, and spotlighted biodegradable glitter (and wipes that are biodegradable too!) for Coachella. But we didn’t feature Amazon… so today, we’re diving into a popular question: “What does Climate Pledge Friendly mean on Amazon?” We’ll be including the different certifications, and some of our favorite products from Amazon’s own certification, Compact by Design.

20% of all affiliate sales are donated to The National LGBTQ+ Task Force. Thank you for your support!


What Does Climate Pledge Friendly Mean, Anyway?

Basically: the Amazon Climate Pledge Friendly certification means that the product is, in some way, battling climate change. A certification stamp from Amazon means that the product “meets sustainability standards and helps preserve the natural world.” A product must have one element that contributes to its status as a more sustainable option – we’ll get into that.

Amazon determines what’s Climate Pledge Friendly through their partnership with third-party certifications, plus their own certification, Compact by Design. Examples include: Bluesign, Carbon Neutral by Carbon Trust, EWG Certified, Cradle to Cradle Certified, and MADE SAFE. 

So, in summary: you’ve found a product that says it’s Bluesign certified. This means they use less energy in the product process. Or maybe it says it’s an EPEAT product – they have been assessed based on specific criteria and have increased and implemented sustainability practices throughout the lifecycle of the product.

Carbon-Offset Certifications

  • Carbonfree Certified: analyzes carbon footprint of a product and its carbon emissions offset by reduction projects.
  • CarbonNeutral product by Natural Capital Partners: measures manufacturing processes’ carbon emissions, then makes internal reductions and offsets the remainder.
  • Climate neutral by ClimatePartner: analyzes the production process and carbon footprint, plus actions taken to lessen the footprint.
  • Reducing CO2: products lessen their carbon footprint with each year that passes.

Animal Welfare and Environmental Safety Certifications

  • Certified Animal Welfare Approved: animals are raised on independent, high-welfare, pasture-based, more sustainable farms.
  • The Forest Stewardship Council: products support responsible forestry.
  • Rainforest Alliance: certifies that products have been created with sustainable farming practices to help improve farmers’ lives and fight climate change.
  • USDA Organic: these products are grown and processed with soil and water quality standards in mind, among other criteria.
  • Regenerative Organic Certified: products have proper standards in place regarding soil health and land management, animal welfare, and social fairness.

Certifications for Healthy Standards for Workers

  • Fair Trade Certified: products are made with ethical standards in place, including safety, sustainability, and empowerment in the workplace.
  • Fairtrade International: verifies that production cycle adheres to ethical and sustainable processes, while also providing support to farmers tackling climate change.
  • Fair for Life: certifies fair trade and ethically- and sustainably-conscious supply chains.

Efficient Resource Certifications

  • Recycled Claim Standard 100: products are manufactured with 95%+ organically-grown ingredients.
  • Global Recycled Standard: products are made with 50%+ recycled content, while also meeting social, environmental, and chemical standards.
  • ENERGY STAR Most Efficient: recognizes brands and products that are efficient and reduce carbon emissions to the max.
  • Organic Content Standard Blended: requires 50%+ of materials to be grown organically.
  • Organic Content Standard 100: uses 95%+ organic materials throughout the creation cycle.
  • Bluesign: products are made with fewer resources, including less energy, throughout the production process.
  • EPEAT: compares products to criteria regarding energy use and reduction of sustainability impact across the product’s lifecycle.
  • ECOLOGO: promotes products containing one or more portions of the creation pipeline that reduce environmental impact.
  • Global Organic Textile Standard: certifies steps of production process of the organic textile supply chain based on social and ecological standards.
  • Green Seal: products reduce climate and environmental impacts at one or more stages of their lifecycle.
  • Higg Index Materials: provides data to consumers so they’re aware of the lower environmental impact of a product’s production process.

Chemically Safe Certifications with Available Products

  • MADE SAFE: prohibits substances that may harm environmental or human health throughout the production process.
  • Made in Green by Oeko-Tex: tests products for harmful substances, and also promotes products made in safer workplaces with less effect on environmental impact.
  • EWG Verified: confirms that products do not contain any of EWG’s known chemicals of concern and adhere to health standards.
  • Cradle to Cradle Certified: products are made with healthy and safer materials, as well as responsible and eco-friendly practices.
  • US EPA Safer Choice: products contain ingredients safer for the environment and human health.

Amazon’s Compact by Design

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Amazon’s Compact by Design certification means a brand has created a product with packaging that reduces excessive use of elements like air, water, and plastic. While the products may not look as aesthetically interesting (don’t we all love perfume bottles for their fun, unnecessary shapes, for example?), they save space and resources, from the actual containers to the packaging Amazon uses to ship.

Now that you know the certifications that are currently available to shop by, we recommend these products to feel ethical, sustainable, and overall environmentally- and socially-friendly when wearing.

If you’re interested in looking at some of Amazon’s Compact by Design products – it’s the only certification that’s specific to Amazon – we recommend checking these beauty products out, all on sale for 20% or more!

What does Climate Pledge Friendly mean to you? Are you going to shop more from Amazon now? Tell us below!

Read More Beauty Articles:

Leaping Bunny Certified: Here’s What It Means
Here Are The Best 3 Ocean-Friendly Soap Brands

11 Fragrance Free Conditioners For Scentless Showers

I wrote about fragrance free shampoo, offering plenty of options to give you a cleansing that wouldn’t leave you smelling like florals. But I made a mistake: I didn’t follow up with fragrance free conditioner!

So, I’m here to rectify my mistake. These 11 conditioners are effective at giving you the silky finish to washing your hair, but they won’t be a finish that’s strong in scent – especially if you’re using a fragrance free shampoo to avoid smell entirely.

Whether you want to use liquid or go eco-friendly with a conditioner bar, you’ll find a conditioner that works for you here, without fears of aromas following you around.

20% of all affiliate sales are donated to The National LGBTQ+ Task Force. Thank you for your support!


SEEN Deeper Fragrance Free Conditioner

seen fragrance free conditioner

SEEN’s fragrance free conditioner is aimed toward those with dry, frizzy, unmanageable hair, be it from environmental stressors or too much dye. It’s made without sulfates, silicones, phthalates, parabens, dyes, pore-clogging oils, gluten, formaldehyde preservatives, or animal testing, so you can feel confident with your hair and product choice.

BUY NOW – $28

Vanicream Hair Conditioner For Sensitive Skin

vanicream fragrance free conditioner

Vanicream’s existence is meant for providing you with options that are fragrance free, including hair products – like this conditioner, for example. Vanicream left out literally anything that could cause damage or create a scent – think protein, phthalates, parabens, gluten – and included ingredients like propanediol to help with hydration, and arginine to encourage growth.

BUY NOW – $9.37

Ultra Sensitive Conditioner

We love Lindsay Holden and Odele, so it’s a no-brainer that we’d include their fragrance free conditioner here! Completely unscented – not one essential oil in sight! – and certified by the National Eczema Association, your scalp will be the furthest thing from irritated, while ingredients like amino acids and oat extract moisturize and manage strands.

BUY NOW – $11.99

We just talked about being Leaping Bunny certified, and Attitude is just that! In the description, they acknowledge that it’s a scalp treatment – and we all know healthy scalp = happy, active scalp. Using the extracts of oatmeal in order to soften and moisturize strands, it lifts locks and makes them manageable without smelling like a thing. It’s hypoallergenic and tested by derms, so you know it’s real.

BUY NOW – $18.95

In The Buff

ethique in the buff unscented conditioner

I’m obsessed with the name of this conditioner bar. As you may know, sometimes even coconut oil gives your hair a smell. So, Ethique cut down on this and banned the ingredient from their totally fragrance free conditioner. Instead, THC-free hemp oil and cocoa butter nourish; Guar, made from a type of bean, smoothes and protects; and brassica alcohol binds it all together and stops tangling and breakage. And then it’s a bar. So… why isn’t this in your shower already?

BUY NOW – $17

Fragrance Free Moisturize Conditioner Bar

moisturize hibar conditioner bar without fragrance

We just featured Nora Schaper, co-founder of HiBAR, and we’re thoroughly convinced that this is the bar brand — after all, it’s the OG. Coconut oil moisturizes and seals strands from outside stressors, while rice protein provides an abundance of good stuff – think minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids – to completely hydrate and moisturize hair that needs a lil extra help.

BUY NOW – $13.95


cleaure hypoallergenic fragrance free conditioner

This hypoallergenic, fragrance free conditioner is perfect for those with sensitive skin and who want to save the environment. Made without SLS, parabens, dyes, formaldehyde, salicylates, alcohol, and fragrance, your skin and hair will be protected. Bonus: the bottle is ethically-sourced and recyclable, so even though you’re using a bottle, you’re still helping out the environment. Nice.

BUY NOW – $22

Nonscents Fragrance Free Conditioner

NONSCENTS unscented conditioner

We all know those brands that say “we’re unscented! … except for the 10 essential oils we included.” Or they’re “fragrance free” – synthetic fragrance free, not actually fragrance free. Nonscents (great name, no?) created this conditioner with the help of two hairstylists to fight back against all the smelly s*it, and the formulation makes it perfect for all hair types, whether you’re pin straight or ultra-textured.

BUY NOW – $23.99

No Scent No Colour Gentle Conditioner

philip kingsley no scent no colour conditioner

When Philip’s wife was going through chemotherapy, he took it upon himself to create a shampoo and conditioner combo that was sensitive enough for her. The result is this conditioner, with no scent, no coloring, and no BS to irritate your skin or strands. Instead, hydrolyzed elastin strengthens and adds body — perfect for those who may be losing hair and elasticity due to medical conditions or excessive damage, or simply want a blow-out-like ‘do. 

BUY NOW – $95 (33.8 oz.)

Fragrance Free Conditioner Bar

unscented conditioner bar

It lasts for approximately 50 washes, which is pretty good when you think about it – how many do you get out of your bottle? Completely unscented, you’ll find good stuff like nourishing cocoa butter and coconut oil, hydrating glycerin, moisturizing jojoba oil, silky-smooth olive oil, wheat germ oil for softening, and protective vitamin E. Nope, no essential oil in sight.

BUY NOW – $11.95

Hydrating Shealoe Creamy Fragrance Free Conditioner


Koils by Nature understood the assignment: people with coily hair need conditioner specifically for them, not a “for all” conditioner without fragrance. Those with type 4 hair love this conditioner, saying it hydrates and softens effortlessly. It’s probably due to ingredients like soothing aloe, nourishing shea oil, shine-adding grapeseed oil, and frizz-taming macadamia oil.

BUY NOW – $13.99

bow and arrow

Do you use fragrance free conditioner? Which brands do you use? Are you a conditioner bar or bottle person? Tell us in the comments!

Read More Haircare Articles:

18 Fragrance-Free Shampoos That Won’t Make You Smell Like Daisies
These Are The Best-Smelling Shampoos For Every Hair Need
Hair Interviews

Nora Schaper Speaks On Growing A Small Brand With An Innovative, Earth-Saving Product

An abridged conversation between HiBAR co-founder Nora Schaper and QUILL Editor-in-Chief Tess Aurore.


Tess: Nora, how are you doing? Thanks so much for being here.

Nora: Well, thank you for the invitation. How fun.

I think we can just jump right in and start with: tell me the story. I mean, you had all of these people come together with the same idea. How did that come to be?

We were all parents at the same school. Having kids, you really realize you want to make the world a better place for everybody, but especially for your children. My husband, Jay, and I had a previous business; we were making bath bombs and soaps. And while we were doing that, we were realizing we could formulate so many products and we wouldn’t need a package, or we could use a paper package. We could really make a big difference.

So you and Jay were the first co-founders. How did you rope the other two in?

I cornered Ward [Johnson] in the school parking lot to consult with Jay and I. He came by our house a few days later. The first thing he asked is: “what’s your why? Why are you doing this?” And we said, well, we think we can eliminate plastic. His face changed. And he said, “that is such an incredible mission and I need to be part of that.” So the three of us started working together.

And Dion [Hughes]?

Jay and I went to a housewarming party for another friend from school, and Dion was there, and he’d just come back from a trip to Mexico where he was on a remote beach. He said that they’d go out in the morning and rake the property line, and at the end of the property line, it was just plastic everywhere. He looked at all the plastic bottles in his shower, and he thought, “I’m part of the problem.”

So when we ran into him at the house warming party and he asked what we were doing, we said, we’re working with Ward, and we’re trying to eliminate plastic. He said, “oh my gosh, I need to be a part of that.”

Meant to be.

Yeah. The four of us banded together and we started talking about how we were going to do this. And we landed on haircare as being our first place to start, since shampoo and conditioner bottles are the main thing that are in everybody’s showers. 

Founders of hibar

You started this trend, this conversion from plastic to solid bars.

We’re really different from what’s on the market right now. And there’s been a lot more entry into the market, but we created the category. And now more and more people are entering the category, which is fantastic, because that’s really how we’re going to eliminate the most plastic.

I mean, the biggest part is having a great product. But you’ve also made it accessible.

It’s funny: when we said we were going on a grocery shelf at $12 or $12.95, people said that’s way over-priced, $10 is max for a grocery shelf. And we thought, well, honestly, we’re a premium product. Our ingredient deck is like a $30 bottle of shampoo, but it doesn’t have the water. Plus, our bars last as long as three bottles of shampoo. So it’s an amazing value.

And on top of that, your scents are gender-neutral – that was one of the first things I noticed. It makes it universal. Was that a conscious choice, so there was a broader reach?

It really was. People were telling us, “women are not going to use this product, you should just focus on men’s bars that they can use all over their body and on their hair.” But we really knew that to eliminate the most plastic, everybody needs to be able to use this bar. And specifically, we have to make sure that women will use the bar, because women are still 90% of the people, I want to say, who purchase our product, whether it’s just women using it or not.

Another thing I noticed is that you actually have a fragrance-free set. Every Saturday, QUILL writes about gender-neutral, fragrance free, and/or unisex products, and we’ve actually featured HiBAR for your fragrance free options. I was just wondering what led to including that, because in my research, not many places offer a fragrance free product.

[Our products weren’t] really highly-scented to begin with. And we thought, “our best channel is in the natural market, and there are so many people that have sensitivity to fragrances, and there’s a lot of bad stuff hidden in fragrances. If we really want to be inclusive again, we should offer something that is fragrance free.” So we decided to just roll it out in our Moisturize formula. 

hibar fragrance free shampoo and conditioner bars

Your new Face Wash bars are also fragrance-free. Speaking of which, you said you never solely intended for HiBAR to be a haircare-only brand. Was the Face Wash in the works for a while?

It was. We took a walk down the aisle in the grocery store and we thought, “everything that’s in plastic is on target for us to reformulate.” We looked at what had the biggest set, because that amounted to the most plastic, plus other products that we thought we could formulate. Face wash was next up on our list.

Was it a big jump, going from hair bars to the face bars?

When we set out for the hair bars, we were talking to manufacturers all across the US, thinking that we would just have somebody else make our product and then we would be educating and selling our product. So, like with our haircare, we thought we’d be able to just find a manufacturer. And then we learned, okay, well nobody’s doing it the way we’re doing it. So we’re having to invent a way to make something in which the ingredients are effective, but not released into water.

It’s completely crazy how we’re learning how to make these products. And they do take a long time, but we have been formulating and working and looking at face washes for probably over a year now.

You’ve put so much time, energy, effort, all of yourselves into these bars, yes. But I’m assuming it’s not just in the bars? Zero-waste is ambitious, there has to be plenty of behind-the-scenes work you don’t talk about.

Yeah, another aspect of our business that really doesn’t get enough limelight to me is that we have the nation’s only water-activated box taper. So we’re modifying our regular fulfillment equipment to work with our mission. We modified our box taper to accommodate water-activated tape, and they had to insert a water-activation piece in there.

And then we also have a pallet wrapper that we modified to have biodegradable pallet wrap, which is a different length than other pallet wraps.

Actually, Urban Outfitters approached us; they wanted us to sell our product to them, but they said it had to be shipped in poly bags. So we said no. And they made a change for our business to be able to put it in a box. I think that’s part of what HiBAR stands for: really inspiring people to think about how they’re doing things and to try something different. 

It really sounds like you have found your why, and you’re chasing it, chasing it, chasing it. 

If you stand by your mission, people will – if they want to be part of that – make accommodations to make it work. We just need to inspire people to make small changes a little bit at a time. And if enough people are doing that, then that’s where change will happen.

I love that. And again, I’m so honored that you would take the time to talk with me, Nora. You all are making a change.

Thanks for the great questions, Tess, I really appreciate it. We’re on our way!

Read The Full Profile On Nora Schaper Now

Nora schaper with hands raised smiling
Hair Reviews

I Used 5 Different Hair Bar Brands – Here Are My Honest Thoughts

There is no real surprise why many sailors sport a short haircut – the wind is not a gentle hair stylist and can leave your locks in knots with a salty-spray finish thanks to the sea. Although I admire those who rock short hair styles, I am rather fond of my long auburn hair and have taken great steps to find the best products for me and the sea, since I quite literally live right on top of it – no really, check it out!

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All things considered, my partner Chris and I try to find products that are eco-friendly (packaging and product) and work well for our skin and hair, but with so many incredible shampoo and conditioner bars on the market, it can be overwhelming to find the best fit for you. But don’t worry! We tested the top hair bars so you don’t have to. If you are looking to make the swap to plastic-free, look no further – these shampoo and conditioner hair bar reviews will inspire you.



hibar still photo with different bars for shampoo and conditioner bar reviewsThe first hair bar review I wanted to write about was HiBAR, because we featured co-founder Nora Schaper!

First impressions are everything, which is why great packaging means a lot to me. HiBar’s eco-conscious packaging makes me feel good from the start about my purchase – and their sample packs go a long way, giving you 3 shampoo bars and 3 conditioner bars to mix and match.

Their products are inclusive with formulas that work on hair types from pin-straight thin to thick and textured! I purchased their samples to try all 3 products and mixed and matched to find the right fit for me.

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A post shared by Hello HiBAR (@hellohibar)

The shampoo worked wonderfully, but unfortunately, the conditioner just didn’t really work for my hair. However, it did work well after my normal hair-wash routine as a leave-in conditioner that I brushed into my damp locks. I wash my hair about every 3 days and these samples last for months – I can only imagine that the full sized bars last longer, which means less plastic!

The Earthling Co.

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A post shared by The Earthling Co. (@theearthlingco)

The second review I must write is for The Earthling Co.’s hair bars, which come with a wide range of scents and in plastic-free packaging — heck yah!

I fell in love with The Earthling Co.’s conditioner bar. It was the perfect formula for my hair type, leaving my strands soft and tangle-free. Their shampoo bar is also great; maybe a little too great, considering Chris “accidentally” broke the bar in half and claimed one of the pieces as his own.

Although their website states that this shampoo is curly-hair-friendly and can be used on color-treated/bleached hair, I feel like they could be more inclusive and create a bar for different hair types, similar to what HiBar has done. If you are looking to swap out more of your plastic products for items that are earth-friendly, The Earthling Co. is a fantastic place to start.

Super Zero Bars

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A post shared by superzero (@superzeronow)

I had set my hopes high for this brand, but ultimately, my heart was crushed when I just couldn’t get their formula to perform with my hair type. This could just be an application error, because when I did more research, I saw that Super Zero’s website has a test to match you with the perfect bars… which I did not do beforehand.

Their packaging was definitely more plastic-y in comparison to the other brands which just seemed like greenwashing to me, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that their recycling practices are top-notch!


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A post shared by Ethique (@ethiqueworld)

If you give me a product that is “cute” at first glance, you have already won over my marketing centric heart *heart emoji here* Ethique has a number of plastic-free products, from cosmetics to hair care, which is why having a sample pack is super helpful when trying to figure out what works best for you! The sample pack gives you four little heart-shaped bars of shampoo and conditioner that look like milk chocolates at first glance. (As delicious as they look, I promise they are for external use only.)

The two sample combos worked pretty well on my hair, and I would say that the smell was fresh and clean while there was no buildup left over. The conditioner was a bit hard to work into my strands, but I took the same approach as with HiBar’s and made use of it as a leave-in conditioner, which seemed to help soften my strands. I would say this brand is definitely worth trying, especially if you get the sample pack which (if you wash your hair twice a week like me) should last you a few months.

Love Planet & Beauty 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner Bar

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This product is great if you are on the go with limited space or just don’t really bother with deep conditioning. As you can probably tell from my other reviews, conditioning is a big must for me, or else my hair will end up as a rat’s nest, giving me fits of rage. Even though this product didn’t suit my needs, my darling husband Chris loved the simplicity of the bar, and since it did have some conditioning elements, it made his hair soft and buildup-free. Wife’s review of this hair bar? It’s a pass. Husband’s review of this hair bar? It’s a yes, please.

TIP: The conditioners that didn’t work for me didn’t go to waste… I use them as leave-in conditioners as well as shaving cream that leaves my skin soft and protected from my safety razor.

marissa with long hair looking at camera for shampoo and conditioner bar reviews

Here’s the thing: no matter which brand you choose, you are taking a step in the right direction by saying NO to plastics and YES to healthy, happy hair – without adding to your carbon footprint. Switching to a hair bar is only one step you can take in your plastic-free journey, though, so be sure to check out our other articles for more inspiration and reviews! One small change can bring a world of difference.

bow and arrow

I hope my hair bar reviews helped convince you to try switching to plastic-free! Have you tried shampoo and conditioner bars? Any brands we should try next? Comment below!

Read More Haircare Articles:

Nora Schaper Won’t Stop Working Until The World Is Plastic-Free
5 Eco-Friendly Haircare Brands That Will Save The World
Hair Profiles

Nora Schaper Won’t Stop Working Until The World Is Plastic-Free

When I moved out of my family home for college, my local salon was the haircare aisle in Target. I couldn’t afford a $50 bottle of shampoo that lasted for as long as the $10 option at Target lasted. I mention this to Nora Schaper, co-founder of plastic-free haircare brand HiBAR, when she mentions how the bars landed in grocery stores rather than salons.

Turns out, salons were the original plan… but with so many hit by COVID, the brand pivoted to grocery stores. I commend them on the marketing strategy.

“Well, that’s unintentional,” Schaper chuckles, “but we’ll take the credit.”

As Schaper and I continue to talk, I’m quick to realize – a team of four planned as much as they could, and even then, they’re still rolling with unplanned punches. What separates them from other smaller companies: they’re Jackie-Chan-ing those rolls with each new punch, finding new avenues and strategies to propel the company forward. 

But I’ll let Nora Schaper tell you more.

A brief history: HiBAR was founded by four parents whose children attended the same school.

Founders of hibar

Schaper and her husband, co-founder Jay, had already been selling bath bombs and soaps through the natural market. It was throughout the manufacturing process that Schaper and her husband realized: “we could formulate so many products, and we wouldn’t need a package. Or we could just use a paper package.” It was a lightbulb moment to the two of them.

With this idea, “I cornered Ward [Johnson, another co-founder,] in the school parking lot and said, ‘Ward, would you consult with my husband and I?’ He said, ‘absolutely,’” summarizes Schaper. And when he went by their house and heard their idea, he had one question for them: what’s your why?

“We said, ‘well, we think we can eliminate plastic.’ And he said, ‘that is such an incredible mission, and I want to be a part of that.’”

Ward had plenty of business experience, which is what Schaper and Jay were looking for; he’d built a natural pet business and sold it, managing 50 employees and patents on his business process… a manufacturing process.

The three began brainstorming: how can we eliminate plastic most effectively, and where do we start? 

It was at a housewarming party that they ran into fellow co-founder Dion Hughes, who mentioned the amount of plastic he’d seen on the property line while vacationing in Mexico. When he heard what Ward, Jay, and Schaper were doing, he immediately jumped at the prospect of being involved.

The four brainstormed together, and “we landed on haircare as our place to start, since shampoo and conditioner bottles are the main thing in everybody’s showers,” says Schaper.

hibar founders darkened

Initially, the team was looking for manufacturers – the formula would be taken care of, and they would be the faces of the company, educating the public and consumers on why the product was ingenious. “But we learned that nobody is making the product the way we are.”

Two and a half years later, after research, plenty of trial and error, and the hiccups that come with, you know, creating a product that’s never existed, the team sold their first bar in October of 2018. The line consists of six full-sized shampoo and conditioner bars, all of which target different hair types and woes, rather than relying on one bar to cover every hair problem. 

Because I’m me, I lead the conversation to QUILL’s existence: HiBAR’s products are gender-neutral in scent (which we’ve mentioned in articles), and they also offer Moisturize as a set without fragrance. I ask if this was purposeful, if gender-neutral was the aim.

Schaper surprises me with her answer: “People were telling us, women are not going to use this product, that you should just focus on the men’s bar that they can use all over their body and on their hair. … [But] we really wanted to inspire and be beautiful for everybody.”

It’s worked, in my opinion. The bars are bright, a unique shape, and never lean toward stereotypical “masculine” or “feminine” colors. On top of this, the bars smell of light citrus – appealing to any gender. 

“We really knew that to eliminate the most plastic, everybody needs to be able to use this bar,” Schaper tells me, nodding firmly. “But specifically, we have to make sure that women will use the bar, because women are still 90% of the people, I want to say, who purchase our product, whether it’s just women using it or not.” 

It’s here where I express that, throughout my teenage years, my mother often bought the shampoo and conditioner for our whole family. And when I lived with my partner, I was responsible for buying neutral shampoos and conditioners.

“A lot of men were already using soap in their hair and on their body and using it for everything,” Schaper comments, and I laugh.

“We knew we’d get there one way or another,” she says, serious this time. Pleasant, but serious – a woman with a mission, who refused to give up for two and a half years to make sure every. Single. Decision. Was made — the right way.

It’s admirable, and I’m looking forward to moving to the fragrance free portion.

As I mentioned, HiBAR didn’t simply go, “we created a one-of-a-kind product,” clap their hands, and say, “that’s it!”

They worked hard to create multiple formulas for different hair types, whether you simply need to maintain your dream hair or hydrate dry ends.

hibar still photo with different bars

“We worked with a chemist from Aveda and she said, ‘you can’t make a solid product that moisturizes or that meets specific needs.’ She just said, ‘it’s not possible.’”

And like with most of us, this was the push the team needed to conquer their challenge. Jay, who is the formulator – though not a chemist, “more out of the box,” Schaper explains – took it to heart. The technical aspects of making shampoo and conditioner – think starting with raw ingredients, with the heat of lye and the efficacy of oils when creating soap at top of mind when creating a product that cleans, just one product that cleans – took significant time.

But they stuck with it. “We want to offer solutions for the top-selling formulas because that’s how we’re going to eliminate the most plastic. We were really looking at that from the beginning and then formulating different ingredients for different hair types, and doing research on different hair types, and then just testing the product on as many people as we could and getting feedback.” 

It was a long process. And it was a worthy process, because it’s been effective.

“Since then, we’ve eliminated over 3 million bottles from waterways and landfills, and we’ve saved over 550,000 gallons of water because our product is concentrated,” Schaper says, her face lighting up as she reveals these significant stats to me.

The fragrance free bars contribute to this. Currently only in the Moisturize formulation, Schaper reveals that the scentless bars are a large contribution, both financially and in the fight against plastic. “It sells pretty consistently. People really do appreciate that more than I expected,” marvels Schaper. “I thought it would be a smaller seller than it is.”

HiBAR_Pairings_Moisturize fragrance free

Though the scent is already so faint and neutral, the HiBAR team came together and had a conversation about how they could reach more people. “Our best channel is in the natural market, and there are so many people that have sensitivity to fragrances, and there’s a lot of bad stuff hidden in fragrances,” she says. So, the team thought, “If we really want to be inclusive again, we should offer something that is fragrance free.”

It’s not just Moisturize that’s fragrance free – the brand’s newly released Face Wash bars are also fragrance free, because “when you wash your face, it’s too sensitive to have all that heavily fragranced stuff in there,” Schaper tells me.

HiBAR had never solely intended to be a haircare brand, so the expansion into face bars – a decision made by walking through Target and picking which popular body products HiBAR could offer plastic-free – was no surprise to anyone at the company. But the transition from haircare to skincare was not as simple as one would think.

It began with manufacturing, yet again… and it ended with the team deciding to manufacture the product themselves. Enter: machinery, testing, ingredient manipulation. (“Most ingredients are water-soluble, and we’re not using water. So, we’re having to invent a way to make something in which the ingredients are effective, but not released into water.”)

Still, there were learning curves. Take, for example, Jay drying the face wash formula in 30°F weather on the loading docks in Minnesota to cool off and allow the bars to be released from the molds. “And it actually worked!” laughs Schaper.

The bars were originally supposed to be released last September, but have been delayed until now. Schaper is grateful for this. “It’s completely crazy how we’re learning … and they do take a long time. But we have been formulating and working and looking at face washes for over a year now, [and the delay helped] get us really dialed in and get it figured out.”

One example of something to figure out: excess hydration. Water droplets began forming on the waterless bars, and “we had to tweak the bars so they didn’t collect water. So, obviously, a lot more goes into it than it appears on the outside.”

They haven’t started producing in large batches yet, though they’re hoping this will begin in the next few weeks. There might be plenty to sweat, but I’m starting to realize that the team finds that to be part of the fun.

Schaper has been a delight.

Though she kindly says she has as much time for me as we need, I know better than to fill up this woman’s schedule. Plus, she’s been verbose – we’ve covered plenty of ground in our 30 minutes.

One thing we touch upon that’s also sustainability-related: their packaging. HiBAR has the nation’s only water-activated box taper; the brand is regularly playing around with the standard appliances and machinery to align with their mission. They modified their box taper to accommodate water-activated tape, “and we had to insert a water-activation piece in there.” 

They also work with a pallet wrapper which uses biodegradable pallet wrap. Naturally, the length differs from other pallet wrap, but it wouldn’t be HiBAR without some tinkering to save the earth, right?

Schaper shares with me that the bars aren’t simply changing consumers’ experiences – they’re changing behind-the-scenes processes, too. “Urban Outfitters approached us and wanted us to sell our product to them, but they said it had to be shipped in poly bags.” HiBAR refused, and Urban Outfitters changed their policy to allow for HiBAR’s eco-friendly shipping.

“I think that’s part of what HiBAR stands for: really inspiring people to think about how they’re doing things, and to try something different,” Schaper muses. When it comes to the brand’s future, “we just want to keep spreading the word and expanding our product lines so we can eliminate more plastic and really keep the ball rolling on this.”

But it gets personal for me as she continues her train of thought. “If you stand by your mission, people will – if they want to be a part of that – make accommodations to make it work,” she states.

It reminds me of QUILL and my mission, of what brought me to start this organization and fight for destigmatizing gender in beauty. Of what pushes me to get out of bed every day and write, reach out, interview, create ads, follow stats, work hard, embrace hustle culture: there are others out there who will find QUILL and join our mission, and we’ll start a revolution.

A snowballing revolution, I hope, just like HiBAR’s.

nora schaper holding hibar

A huge thank you to Nora Schaper for speaking with QUILL. Learn more at HiBAR’s site, as well as the brand’s Instagram.