We Tried Everist’s Waterless Shampoo

Best Health tried out this Canadian brand’s waterless shampoo and conditioner to see if it’s an eco-win.

Canadians throw away about three million tonnes of plastic annually. Since only nine percent of that waste is recycled, most of the plastic we use end up in landfills and stay in the environment for years, harming our rivers and lakes and generating microplastics that end up in our drinking water.

One easy way to reduce the amount of plastic in your daily life is to swap out traditional plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles. According to a 2015 study published in the journal Science, it’s estimated that 552 million plastic bottles end up in landfills annually. Once the bottles are in landfills, it takes approximately 425 years for them to degrade.

The latest innovation in zero- and low-waste hair products come in the form of waterless shampoo concentrates from the Canadian brand Everist. Founded by two beauty industry veterans, Jayme Jenkins and Jessica Stevenson, Everist’s products are plant-based and packaged in a recyclable toothpaste-like aluminum tube. Aluminum is infinitely recyclable, meaning that it’s both 100 percent recyclable and the material can be recycled into new products without degrading (in fact, 75 percent of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today). There is a plastic cap on the tube, but it can be returned to the brand who upcycle them into future products. To properly dispose of the packaging, Everist suggests that you empty the tube, unroll it, rinse out the outside and drop it into your recycling bin.

To see if I could cut down on my plastic consumption, I tried Everist’s waterless shampoo concentrate to see if it’s worth the swap.

(Related: Do Shampoo Bars Work?)

What are waterless shampoos?

Traditional shampoos are about 70 to 95 percent water, so you’re usually slathering mostly water onto your already wet scalp whenever you’re washing your hair. In contrast, waterless shampoos contain just the active ingredients and cut out the water content, making the packaging lighter and, since the formula is concentrated, the product is also meant to last longer (Everist says that each 100mL tube is meant to last about three months).

Everist’s product contains plant-based ingredients like aloe vera, vegetable glycerine and coconut-derived cleansers—there are no harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, silicones or dyes. Another huge plus for Everist’s shampoo formula is that it’s pH balanced. A lot of products on the market are detergent or soap-based, which tend to have a higher pH (usually around 9 or 10) which can be good for adding volume but is way too alkaline for hair and leads to dryness, breakage and frizziness. Shampoos that pH balanced are naturally acidic, like our hair, to avoid making the scalp too alkaline.

And, as an added bonus, waterless shampoos are travel friendly. Since there’s no liquid content, they can be packed in a carry-on for flights (remember those?!). Plus, it minimizes the fear of shampoo spilling in your luggage (RIP my makeup brushes that were rendered useless after a shampoo bottle opened in my overnight bag).

(Related: 7 Dry Hair Tips to Keep Your Locks Happy)

How do you use waterless shampoos?

Once your hair is wet just squeeze the shampoo into your hands. According to Everist’s website, you should use half an inch for short hair, one inch for medium-length hair and an inch and a half for long, very thick hair. Once you have the appropriate amount dispensed, rub your hands together to activate the formula. From there, you use waterless shampoos just like normal shampoo: work the product through your hair to build a lather and rinse.

Is there anything I should beware of when using waterless shampoos?

“Any skin or self-care product can be overused,” says Dr. Monica Li, a Vancouver-based dermatologist and clinical instructor at the department of dermatology and skin science at the University of British Columbia.

Using too much product can cause the scalp skin to become dry, flaky and itchy, says Li. “If the scalp becomes further irritated, it’ll lead to inflammation, slowing of hair growth and even hair loss.” Li notes that dandruff might be a sign that your scalp is overly washed. To avoid irritation, follow the product’s instructions carefully to ensure you’re using the right amount.

Aside from overuse, waterless shampoos generally work as effectively as traditional shampoos in cleaning the scalp and removing excess oil and debris from your hair.

(Related: Is the Manta Hair Brush Worth The Hype?)

So, are waterless shampoos effective?

In short, yes! I was super excited to try a waterless shampoo, since I’m always looking for ways to cut down on plastics and I’ve been a long-time shampoo bar convert. While it took me a couple tries to get the right amount (I couldn’t figure out if my hair was medium-length or long, especially since it’s so thick), once I had mastered squeezing the perfect amount of product for my hair, it was smooth sailing.

I have pretty greasy hair so I’m always on the lookout for a shampoo that’ll soak up all that oil without stripping away moisture. I was pleasantly surprised with how the shampoo left my hair feeling fresh and clean, natural moisture still intact. Plus, I absolutely loved the experience of using the product: it smelled lovely (like rosemary, sage and orange), I got a good amount of lather, it spread well and felt super creamy in my hands. In fact, I’ve been using Everist’s shampoo for a little over a month now, and I haven’t had any problems with greasiness, which is usually an issue for me in the warmer months as I’m sweating more.

Overall, I really enjoyed using Everist’s waterless shampoo and I plan to continue using it—especially when you factor in the environmental win.

Everist Waterless Shampoo Concentrate, $28, helloeverist.com

Next, this is what you need to know about scalp care.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada