Plus body wash: Are these dissolvable sachets the future of shower gel?

The zero waste wash is cleaning up our carbon footprint one shower at a time

Eleanor Jones
Thursday 15 July 2021 06:00
<p>You could reduce carbon emissions from your cleansing process by up to 80 per cent </p>

You could reduce carbon emissions from your cleansing process by up to 80 per cent

According to reports, the average household will go through an average of 24 bottles of shower gel per year – and sadly, they won’t all get recycled.

In fact, it’s estimated that only 50 per cent of all of our bathroom waste currently makes it to the recycling bin, with the rest left to languish in landfill. So when we heard about the launch of a new zero-waste, plastic-free option from the makers of Starface, said to reduce the carbon emissions of our cleansing process by as much as 80 per cent, our interests were immediately piqued.

Plus is a packaging-free body wash concept that could have the potential to change how we shower for good. Each small, solid bar comes in dissolvable “single-serve” sachets, made from FSC-sourced wood pulp and printed with non-toxic, bio-renewable ink, which somewhat magically dissolves down the drain while you use the soap inside.

Plus removes the excess water from the manufacturing process, meaning that it uses 38 per cent less water than conventional body wash. Instead, you add the liquid at source – simply hold yours under the spray of the shower and it’ll lather into a satisfyingly creamy series of suds.

There’s a choice of two scents – “summer” and “wave” which come with on-trend notes like neroli and coconut – while the third option, “cloud”, is crisply fragrance free. In addition to its eco credentials, the packaging is also pleasingly Insta-friendly – think pastel hues, bold san serif typeface and satisfyingly clean lines throughout.

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At surface level, the notion of Plus seems pretty revolutionary. But what is it actually like to use? Ahead of its UK launch, we put Plus to the test to see if it can really replace our bottled gel on a long-term basis.

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Plus body wash

Buy now £12, Cleanwith.plus

Each pack of 16 Plus sachets arrives in a compostable pouch, which you’ll want to keep hold of until you’ve used them all, as you need clean, dry storage for your collection. When testing in our relatively small bathroom, we quickly realised the potential peril of grabbing one out of the bag with already damp hands – because of the nature of the offering, a few rogue drops and everything could descend (dissolve) into chaos, so be sure to grab the one you need before you turn on the shower.

From there it’s simply a case of ripping it open and dropping the package under the flow. We felt some disbelief as the wrapper melted into the drain before our very eyes, but it did so seamlessly, and didn’t cause any clogs in our temperamental plumbing, like other products such as body scrubs have in the past.

The sheet inside smells good; when wet, it’s more akin in texture to soap than shower gel, so carries that classic old-school bar soap aroma, lifted with subtle florals. Rub it between your fingers and it evolves into a thick paste-like texture, with just about enough for one wash. However, we did feel we’d probably need to use two to get equivalent results to our usual shower gel application – perhaps we’re just excessively generous with our typical squeeze, but a small handful of soap didn’t feel quite enough for that squeaky clean feel.

Read more: 12 best plastic-free beauty products that aren’t adding to landfill

Plus will undoubtedly tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people – it’s vegan, cruelty free, and much kinder to the planet than many shower gels on the market. It has 80 per cent less carbon emissions involved in its shipping process than regular bottled body wash, and offsets 110 per cent by supporting verified Pachama forest improvement projects – a commitment that is certainly to be applauded.

We can see it being a great option for travel – because it’s waterless and compact, it would be ideal for your hand luggage, and stowing one in your bag is perfect protection against rogue public bathrooms that often have empty soap dispensers.

However, we can’t quite see Plus finding a permanent home in our daily routine just yet – and here’s why. If you shower daily, using one sachet per day, the cost quickly adds up to almost £24 per month. Those looking for an eco conscious way to get clean could just as easily reach for a sustainable bar of soap, and find a more affordable solution.

The verdict: Plus body wash

There’s a place in our hearts for Plus – we applaud the company’s commitment to reducing the unnecessary waste that plagues the beauty industry, and the product is really fun to use. While it’s one we’ll be saving for trips and transport right now, we’re excited to see where the product goes next.

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IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.