When I found out that Ethique came out with a ‘super-sensitive’ bar line, I was over the moon. Unscented, free of palm oil, and free of coconut oil? Yes, please. Like the rest of Ethique’s line of products, it is also SLS and SLES-free (sodium lauryl sulfate, and sodium lauryl ether sulfate)
Previously, I have been using Ethique’s Heali Kiwi shampoo and The Guardian conditioner bars. They worked well for my hair. But even so, my temperamental scalp wasn’t as happy as it could be. Due to iron deficiency and thyroid issues, I have indomitable scalp eczema. Vitamin supplements and using a shower head filter for the hard water alleviates the dry skin somewhat; but the itchy patches at the base of my scalp still persist after a shower, even if I didn’t sweat profusely (my major trigger for flare-ups). Using Heali Kiwi/The Guardian I still left a slightly heavy feeling on my scalp that felt a bit off, and the eczema itchiness appeared almost immediately after a shower.
I had a sneaking suspicion that Heali Kiwi and The Guardian was not a good match for my sensitive skin, either from the essential oils used for fragrance or from coconut oil. I’ve stopped using coconut oil on my body for years, but for a while I couldn’t find shampoo bars free from coconut oil and didn’t leave a greasy film on my scalp. How pleasantly surprised I was to find that Ethique came out with a coconut-free line!
…But first, a shout out to Ethique for their amazing ethical standards. They are certified vegan, cruelty-free and palm oil-free. All their products are biodegradable meaning they are safe to use outdoors (such as during a camping trip) if need be. Their use of packaging is the cherry on top of the cake, revealing their dedication to sustainability also extends to their shipping materials, all of which are compostable-slash-recyclable.
Though these bars don’t use coconut oil, it’s nice knowing the coconut oil Ethique sources for their other products is fair-trade. The coconut industry is as harmful as palm oil since its relaince on monoculture farming reduces biodiversity where coconuts can be grown. Fair-trade guarantees fair values for the produce and encourages biodiversity since there is less incentive for deforestation. Fair-trade workers receive higher income than non-fair trade workers, allowing them better standard of livings without pressure for relentless monoculture expansion.
Onto the products now~!
Both Bar Minimum shampoo and In The Buff conditioner are unscented, a huge bonus if you seek to avoid fragrance ingredients. The bars do have a very light smell to them—likely due to the babassu oil or cacao butter—but it doesn’t leave any scent in the hair at all.
I half-expected these products to be drying, but that was certainly not the case. Using these, I don’t feel the need to use any after-shower hair or scalp products. I don’t even feel the need to apply the steroid cream to my eczema patches! For reference, my hair is high-density, wavy, and prone to frizz. My scalp feels purely clean, without any layer of product left over. Unlike before, I hardly ever do an apple cider vinegar rinse to clarify and get rid of any build-up. I’ve only had to do so once since I first started using these products, and it has been well over one year since I’ve been using these two bars now.
Overall, my scalp is as happy as it has ever been—still not quite 100% cured but my eczema is so more tamed, and flare-ups are both less severe and less frequent. I don’t think I could fully get rid of my eczema, but using In The Buff and Bar Minimum seems to have gotten me as close as I could.
I warn that while products are for sensitive skin, they do sting the eyes (specifically the conditioner, I speak from experience, ouchie) so I would NOT recommend for small children. I recommend the Little Ethique™ line if you’re looking for products for little ones.
I’m super satisfied with these bars. If you have dry and/or eczema-ridden skin and want to avoid coconut oil in your products, I highly recommend Ethique’s Bar Minimum shampoo and In The Buff conditioner. Try out their sample-sizes and see if they’re a good fit for you, too.