It is safe to say that I’ve never had a reputation for knowing about, or even having the remotest interest in hair care products. But it is also true that, intermittently over the last 25 years, whenever I’ve found myself in a discussion of startup ideas and disruptive innovations, where everyone is excitedly describing their pet plan for “changing the world,” I have sometimes revealed my own revolutionary product concept, and I never even asked anyone to sign an NDA: shampoo in bar form. Solid shampoo. The fact that no one, not one single person, in all this time, has ever told me they think this is a good idea, to me has always seemed like evidence for the truly revolutionary nature of the proposal. Every dismissive laugh, every “Haha, no one will buy it!” has been like a trophy to me. People just don’t get it, that shampoo in bars is more convenient for travel, lighter to ship, and less bulky to store than liquid shampoo, is spill-proof, and most importantly it can be packaged in simple recycled paper as opposed to a wasteful plastic bottle with a pump mechanism that’s going to end up polluting an ocean and possibly choking a polar bear to death. Apparently those environmental and ergonomic differentiators are very difficult to understand. But luckily I didn’t have to waste years of my life actively pitching this concept, making prototypes, trying to develop a market, inventing founder’s stories about how I was just a simple guy hacking on shampoo formulations in his garage, looking for a better way. No, all I had to do was wish for it, and with no other discernible effort on my part, aside from waiting many, many years, poof! Over six companies selling shampoo in bars have now materialized — J.R. Liggett’s, Lush, D. R. Harris, Obia Naturals, Seanik, Chagrin Valley — everyone is doing it! I guess I had gotten a little lazy in following the market these past few years. Online product reviews today are full of newly formed bar-shampoo aficionados saying “Love it! Great idea!” Where were y’all a decade ago when I was crying out into the wilderness? Well, in any case, I am delighted to have just procured my first sample of bar shampoo and will be using it for the first time tomorrow morning. With so many people already on the bandwagon, I feel like a late adopter.
Update 12/11/2016: I switched over to solid/bar shampoo around Sep 7, 2016. My first bar of J. R. Liggetts, priced around $6, has lasted me approximately 3 months, up until today, Dec. 11, with daily use. Great product: compact, convenient to transport or store, long lasting, packed in recyclable paper, no toxic ingredients, pleasant lather, an easy and fun way to reduce your environmental impact — try it.