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Plastic free

On average, Australians use 130kg of plastic per person each year. Less than 12% of that's recycled. More frightening still, up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic will find its way into our waterways and into the ocean.

Once in the ocean, it endangers our marine wildlife. Studies show that it has begun to enter the food chain and end up on our plates.

Plastic is an incredibly versatile material, made to be strong and durable. Unfortunately, most plastics are made to be used once before being discarded.

They’re convenient for a few minutes, but often end up in landfills, by the sides of roads, as litter in parks and floating in our oceans for hundreds of years before breaking down into microplastics.

The truth is, plastic is everywhere and it doesn’t disappear. Our planet is experiencing a plastic crisis, and we at Honua Bars are determined to change this.

Biodegradable packaging

Our bars are housed in biodegradable cardboard packaging and shipped in compostable mailers. Our limited editions and accessories are wrapped in tissue paper and 'paper bubble wrap'. Our stickers are premium paper stock, and even the tape we use is compostable; it's called 'Composticky Tape (TM)', which is made of PLA (polylactic acid) and natural rubber adhesive. Zero waste is easy with Honua Bars!

Soap free

Our bars are not made of soap. Instead our bars are formulated with gentle coconut-based surfactants and are pH balanced to match your hair's natural pH. Some companies are selling soap and calling it a shampoo bar, but washing your hair with soap is definitely not good for your hair. Soap has a high pH and will leave your hair dull, damaged and prone to breakage and tangling. See our Soap Free page for a detailed explanation of this. 

Great for coloured hair

Honua Bars are not just good but great for coloured hair, due to the fact that they are formulated with gentle surfactants, have a mildly acidic pH and contain no sulfates. Sulfate-based surfactants can strip colour away faster than other gentler alternatives like SCI (Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate).

Aussie made

Our shampoo bars are made in Sydney, and our conditioner bars are handmade on the Gold Coast.

Vegan and cruelty free

We would never dream of testing on animals, all testing is in-house! All of our ingredients are vegan (as are we).

Sulfate free, SLS/SLES free

Sulfates are a common cleansing agent (surfactant) in shampoos, but they can be a little too effective if you have dry hair, coloured hair or a sensitive scalp, stripping out too much moisture. See our No Sulfates page for a detailed explanation of this. 

SLS and SLES stand for sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. They are the two of the most common sulfate-based surfactants. They are cheap to manufacture and thus most store bought shampoos will use them as the main cleanser. 

pH balanced

Most higher quality shampoo bars will nudge their bars into a pH range that is optimal for hair and scalp, using citric acid or lactic acid. The surfactants (i.e. cleaning agents) used in a sulfate free shampoo will typically have a nice low pH to start with, but the final pH of the product will be affected by all the ingredients. For example, the classic Honua bars formula with no citric come in at around a 6-6.5. This is already a pretty good pH for a shampoo, but we nudge it down to around a 5 so that it is sitting pretty right in the golden zone. 

The ideal pH for your actual hair strands is 3.67, but for the scalp it's 5.5.*

When the shampoo has a pH close to that of the hair, it closes the cuticles (overlapping scales on the hair shaft), which protects the hair shaft and prevents damage.

Soap, on the other hand, has a pH of around 9-10, and no amount of adjusting will get it into the hair friendly zone; attempting to do so simply causes the product to fail and break down. The best you could do is get it down to around an 8. 

If you wash your hair with a product with a pH too far out of the hair friendly zone then the cuticles are left open, which leads to dull, damaged hair prone to breaking and tangling. 


These guys got their soap down from a 10 to a 9; i.e. nowhere near the range needed for a good shampoo:

Head and Shoulders: "Almost all quality shampoos are pH balanced."


Paraben free

Parabens are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics and food to prevent them from spoiling; but not in our bars. Instead we use a low-tox paraben-free blend called Geogard 221. 

There is some scientific debate as to whether an accumulation of parabens could lead to hormone disruption. Neither the FDA and CDC have reported that higher levels of parabens in the body cause adverse health effects, however they acknowledge that the research is ongoing and there are some unknowns. 

In any case, as a wash off product a shampoo bar containing parabens would not contribute very much to a build up of parabens in the body when compared to makeup that soaks into the skin, or food that is ingested. It should also be noted that cosmetics and food usually contain only a very small percentage of parabens.

So on the whole, it seems very unlikely that parabens would be in any way detrimental in a shampoo bar scenario, but we decided to omit them anyway to be on the safe side.

Phthalate free

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products; but for hair care the relevant one is diethylphthalate (DEP), used as a solvent and fixative in some fragrant oils, but not ours. Most of our bars are scented with essential oils, and the few that have fragrant oils are from a premium Australian supplier that guarantees no phthalates, see their statement below.

Extract from Eroma FAQ: “None of our fragrances contains phthalates or parabens, and none of the ingredients is animal derived.”

It should be noted that reports on phthalates issued from the FDA and CDC did not find any evidence that phthalates pose a risk to human health, though the CDC added that there is more research to be done. Thus we ensured our products are phthalate free, just to be on the safe side.  

See both reports linked below:

Silicone free

Silicones form a film on the hair strands which makes them great for anti-frizz and anti-static, and it makes your hair look glossy. They come in water soluble and non soluble varieties. Our current range on Honua Bars has no silicones whatsoever; instead we have hydrolysed oats to give your hair shine. 

Silicones are in no way harmful but non-soluble varieties can build up on the hair, which have caused them to be much maligned in clean beauty circles. This can usually be fixed with a clarifying shampoo however. The soluble varieties on the other hand will wash off the next time you use any shampoo, and do not build up. 

There is some speculation that silicones are bad for the environment, but there is no real evidence to support this that we can find. Silicones do not bioaccumulate as they are too large to pass through cell membranes—a key requirement for bioaccumulation.*

Our conditioners have an anti-static silicone substitution called cetrimonium chloride. This awesome ingredient also has conditioning qualities. 

For now all of our bars are silicone free, but when we come to formulating a Honua Bars range perfect for curly haired ladies however, we will include water soluble silicones (that don't build up on the hair) to retain the desirable properties of anti-frizz and gloss, without the downsides of needing harsh sulfate-based shampoos to rinse them off.