The Solid Roots Journey Part I

It All Started With a Job Change and a Writing Assignment

Image of Solid Roots solid shampoo and conditioner bars

Key Takeaways:

  • The question that kicked off this journey: How can I control what I am putting on my body and hair and also what I put into our environment?
  • Zero waste, DIY hair care led to using soap bars as shampoo which was a terrible idea.
  • I’ve always wanted to change the world, and building this company that can have positive impacts on human and planetary health might just be my own small way.

July 2018. I had just started a new job in science communication and was assigned to work on a fact sheet about the science supporting the notion that certain ingredients in personal care products had less than stellar safety profiles on human health. 

And it freaked me out.

I remember coming home from work and going to town “detoxifying” our bathroom. I wanted more control over what I was putting on my body. And I also wanted more control over what I put into our environment.

So I began looking for solutions. I started making my own deodorant (my arm pits were a priority, apparently), my own hand soap, my own makeup, and switched to tablet toothpaste that comes in a glass jar. You name it, I tried it. All  in an effort to reduce single-use plastic and have more control over the ingredients in my bathroom routine.  

My first attempt to get rid of the plastic bottles of liquid shampoo and conditioner was to make a soap bar for my hair. This was a bad idea. While being soap isn’t a bad thing, for many people it is not good for their hair. Soap is a cleansing agent that’s made when a chemical reaction called saponification uses lye  to turn  oils into the lovely bars you know and love. But soap is also very high in pH, which can damage hair over time. Our hair and scalp have a slightly acidic pH,  so we need to use products at that pH range to keep our hair and scalp happy. Anything alkaline will make it so that the outer cuticle of the hair doesn’t lay flat and leads to breakage and tangling, not to mention a greasy film on some hair types. 

After a deep dive into the chemistry of soap and hair, I  started making pH-balanced solid shampoo and conditioner bars. And it turned out that my products were pretty amazing! I was having loads of great hair days and my hair felt the softest it’s ever felt.

It was never my intention to start my own business of any kind, much less a company focusing on soap-free solid shampoo and conditioner bars, but here I am. I was making such positive changes for both my family’s and our planet’s health that my husband, Paul, suggested I take the leap. He could feel how passionate I was about these issues and knew I wouldn’t be happy just sitting around doing nothing when I could be making a change. It was great that I was having a positive impact through my own use, but why stop there? I could be amplifying that impact by making these products available to family, friends, and neighbors, and hopefully beyond. So that’s what I did.

I’ve always wanted to change the world, and this might be my opportunity in my own small way.  

Stay tuned for Part II of our journey!