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Plus shower gel
Courtesy of Plus

This dissolvable, zero-waste shower gel will change how you wash

TextAlex Peters

Launching in the UK, Plus is the sustainable body wash reducing your carbon footprint as you shower

Packaging is a hot topic in the beauty industry at the moment, and rightly so. The industry’s excessive amounts of single-use plastic and penchant for elaborate press mailers contributes more than 120 billion units of packaging into the world every year, less than 10 per cent of which is recycled. 

In an effort to change beauty’s wasteful culture and end this packaging crisis, a slew of companies and brands have emerged with sustainability in their hearts and zero-waste solutions in their hands. On Repeat, for example, a zero waste beauty packaging service, launched earlier this week with a mission to help brands create bespoke refill solutions and compostable or dissolvable packaging. 

Another brand hoping to make a difference is Plus. Launched in April, Plus combats shower routine waste with its just-add-water, no-bottle body wash. Available in two scents, as well as a non-scented option, the shower gel comes in the form of dry sheets which transform once water is added. The packaging is completely dissolvable, created using wood pulp from responsibly managed FSC forests, and the mailers are all compostable.

From the founders of Starface, Julie Schott and Brian Bordainick, as well as Cathryn Woodruff, Plus stems in part from Schott’s time as a beauty editor when she saw first hand the amount of waste the beauty industry generates. At a loss for a solution, she and the Plus team started brainstorming tangible changes they could make. “Body care was the clear first step,” she says. “Personal care items like liquid body wash are made from mostly water (with only a small percentage of active ingredients) and housed in single-use bottles.”

Traditional bottled body wash can contain up to 90 per cent water which means the majority of brands are just shipping water around the world unnecessarily in plastic bottles the majority of which will end up in landfill. “With Plus, we questioned whether water-based formulas and single-use plastics were necessary for an effective, uplifting shower experience, and found that they’re ultimately not,” says co-founder Woodruff. By eliminating water from the production and shipping stages, the brand has also reduced its carbon emissions by 80 per cent.

Now, following a successful launch in the US, Plus has arrived in the UK where it is hoping to help start to reduce the 10,000 tonnes of plastic waste a year created by bath and shower products, and provide one small but fun solution to a much bigger problem. “If Plus can spark conversation, and empower more people to make better choices for the planet, that’s a win,” as Schott says.

Plus’s credentials thus far are top-notch, but the question still remains – does it actually work? In order to shift deeply-rooted consumption habits, the product has to be just as good, if not better unfortunately, than the products currently in use. So I spent some time testing out the body wash and can now report back to you all about it. 

If you’ve read any of my Tried and Tested reviews in the past, you might be aware I like to begin with packaging. I know I’m not supposed to judge the book by its cover but this is the beauty industry after all and if there’s ever a place where you can ask for something to look good on your counter, it should be here. Luckily, when it comes to Plus, I think the packaging is great. It’s fun, colourful, and cool while still being chic. The individual sachets come in three colour schemes depending on what scent you’ve chosen: lavender and navy for ‘Waves’, orange and tangerine for ‘Summer’, and yellow and lilac for ‘Cloud’. As mentioned earlier, the mailers are entirely compostable and I duly deposit them in my compost bin feeling incredibly sanctimonious whilst doing so.  

Once in the shower, the product is very easy to use. You simply tear open the individual sachet, remove the sheet of shower gel from inside, and drop the packaging to the bottom of your shower where you can watch it dissolve in front of your eyes. It’s very satisfying. The sheet of body wash then transforms into gel once mixed with water and you proceed as usual. The only issue I encountered at this stage was where to put the sachet in the shower before opening it. It needs to stay dry because once wet it will dissolve, with or without the gel still inside it. Body wash is not the first step of my shower routine and when I left the sachet on the ledge where my shampoo is, it got too damp. You can solve this problem by using it when you first get into the shower or by keeping it outside the actual shower and then grabbing it when needed, as I then did.   

The gel itself is very nice and both scented options smell great. ‘Waves’ brings coconut, sea salt, and jasmine together for a very beachy vibe, while ‘Summer’ has neroli, orange, and lemon. Smell is something I can be quite particular and fussy about but I loved both and would be very happy to continue to use either. They both also perform their job of body wash very well. I will say, however, I wish there was more product in each individual sachets as I found one wasn’t quite enough for my whole body and I tended to use a second to make sure my legs were given a proper scrub. 

This leads us to the next point which is price. The body wash comes in packs of 16 which retail for £12 each which works out to 75p per shower. A small indie brand doing much-needed, innovative work on sustainability, Plus isn’t able to offer the discounted prices that big corporation-owned mass-produced brands can. But if you can afford to spend a little extra on your shower, I would highly recommend the Plus shower gels. They look good, smell good, work good, and cut down on plastic-waste so good. They are also ideal for travelling and won’t take up any precious room in that small plastic bag of liquids or in a suitcase. Overall, a big thumbs up from us.

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