Ever since zero waste influencer and Package Free Shop founder Lauren Singer changed my life by conducting a single-use plastic audit of my home, I’ve been completely taken with any and all plastic-free personal care products. We can’t shop our way out of the climate crisis and therefore, we need to buy fewer things overall. Since I won’t be giving up cleansing myself anytime soon, however, the prettily packaged, deliciously scented shampoo, conditioner, and face and body soap bars from the new sustainable personal care brand Peach bar soaps and shampoos caught my attention in a major way.
The amount of care that’s gone into every detail of the line is exactly what it takes for me to fangirl over a brand these days. The ingredients are impeccable from both an efficacy and a safety perspective, the packaging is legitimately sustainable, and the branding is about as far a cry as you can get from what you might think of when you hear the words “bar soap” or, worse, “bar shampoo.” “We want to prove to consumers that it can be a win-win—we can help you solve for sustainability, especially in beauty and personal care, while still having amazing product,” says Luana Bumachar, vice president of owned brands innovation at Peach’s parent company Grove Collaborative.
Use of these soaps replaces an average of 4.5 pounds of single-use plastic in the bathroom per person per year, and each bar lasts longer than a bottle equivalent would—the shampoo bar, for example, is the equivalent of 2.5 bottles of shampoo, or around 100 washes. Since the beauty industry is currently responsible for creating 120 billion units of packaging per year—most of which is unnecessary, and only about 9 percent of which will probably be recycled—this small-sounding win is actually a big deal. Plus, you’re saving emissions from a shipping perspective, too. “A lot of products are like 90 to 95 percent water,” says Bumachar, which increases their carbon footprint. “Our bars have zero water.”
Shop: Peach personal care, from $8
Peach isn’t the first brand to introduce bar products, but there are a few things that won me over. For starters, each category offers a range to meet distinct needs. So, instead of introducing one generic bar shampoo to cover all hair types, they’ve got three: one for moisturizing, one for volumizing, and one for strengthening. Their facial bars, meanwhile, come in a combination/oily formulation and a dry-normal formulation, and the brand even offers body and hand soaps with moisturizing and deep cleansing properties.
The ingredients lists are no joke, either. TBH, I was a little shocked at how premium they are. For example, one of the facial bars boasts blue tansy while the other is laced with hyaluronic acid, and both contain rosehip oil. Shampoos and conditioners, meanwhile, are also flush with oils such as monoi, hibiscus, and babassu. All are free of harsh surfactants, too—opting for coconut-derived cleansers instead, which Bumachar cites as the secret behind the bars’ surprisingly robust lather performance. “One of the biggest obstacles for people to switch to shampoo bars is the lather—you don’t want to have an underwhelming experience, because lather in shampoos equates with performance,” says Bumachar. “We were able to crack that.”
But perhaps more than anything, Peach’s joyful branding sets the company apart as well. It’s bright, like the product, with cheery vibes that extend to uplifting messages inscribed on the soaps themselves. “We believe we need to bring optimism and cheerfulness to this space,” says Bumachar. “We don’t need to have a boring solution to eliminating plastic out of our personal care routines.” Amen, and this is one of the first sustainable personal care brands I actually love more than it’s less eco-friendly equivalents. IMO, that joy is the secret sauce to getting single-use plastic out of our bathrooms, and lives, forever.