After reading PS’s November 2011 report on eco-friendly liquid soaps for onboard bathing, personal-care product maker J.R. Liggett sent us one of his Old-Fashioned Bar Shampoos to try out. Liggett has been making the 3.5-ounce shampoo bar from New Hampshire springwater for 30-plus years. (We reported on his Natural Traveler Kit in the December 2008 issue.)
This time, we tested the Ultra Balanced Shampoo Bar, which comes with the eZ-Pouch with eZ-Strip. The Ultra Balanced bar is made of jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, sodium hydroxide, and pure spring water. The bar is biodegradable and contains no fragrances, phthalates, or parabens, no animal products, and no detergents, sodium laurel sulfate, or sodium laureth sulfate, making it a safe choice for onboard use. While it can be used as a mild body soap and for shaving or washing clothes, the formula was designed specifically as a shampoo, unlike the multi-use liquid soaps we evaluated in November 2011.
Four testers used the unscented shampoo bar for multiple days, and all reported a creamy lather and good results that left their hair feeling clean but not stripped or dry. The Ultra Balanced Shampoo Bar’s jojoba oil works as a balancing agent to tone down oily hair or enhance oil production in dry hair. Unlike most conventional shampoos, Liggett’s bars require very little water to rinse hair clean—a bonus for onboard bathing. In salt water, the shampoo was an average performer, with results similar to multi-use products like Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps.
The water-repellent, washable eZ-Pouch is a small fabric travel bag that easily fits in boat bags, backpacks, purses, and gym bags. The pouch also has a loop so it can be attached to belts or backpacks, or hung from something. The eZ-Strip is a small patch of the same material as the pouch that is designed to be wrapped around the bar after use. Wrapping the bar in the eZ-Strip or setting it on the strip while bathing keeps the bar from collecting dirt, hair, or other shower-stall detritus.
The eZ-pouch sells for $10 and includes a 3.5-ounce Ultra Balanced shampoo bar; the bars, available in six formulas, retail for $7 each.
Bottom line: PS found the shampoo pleasant and effective. It’s one of the few multi-use shampoo/soaps we’d use on a regular basis, even at home. Testers were particularly keen on the eZ-Pouch and eZ-Strip; they made all the difference in the bar’s practical use for onboard use and traveling.