My wife has been trying to develop an idea for a new product for some time. Frustrated by how wrinkled a single article of clothing can get when it’s put in the clothes dryer by itself, she’s been trying to identify some sort of solution. Each time she mentions this idea I say something like, “Why don’t you just throw a clean towel or two in the dryer along with it?” …which brings me to the subject of today’s post.

In a recent links roundup I mentioned seeing an ad or post for “paper shampoo” and mentioned I’d order a package and would review it. As promised…

What to make of a product like this? It’s a small plastic container with 30 sheets (about 1″ x 2″ in size) and is positioned as a no muss-no fuss alternative to conventional liquid shampoo. I paid $4.90 for a package of 30 sheets, plus shipping. I’ve seen other internet listings for the product with prices as high as $7.00! The product appears to have been originally targeted at hikers and campers; the plane graphic and reference to “Hand Carry On Airlines” is a clear label which has been added to the original packaging. The primary appeal is no liquids to spill or leak, and it can be used anywhere (the package touts that it “can even be used with seawater.”)

The instructions suggest you use 3-4 sheets per use – let’s assume three. $4.90 (I’ll ignore shipping) divided by 10 uses (30 sheets / three) = half a buck per use. That’s very expensive compared to regular shampoo.

Does it work?

Sort of. I used 3 sheets, and they produced a modest amount of lather. If you have long hair, I’m not sure how many sheets it’d require. I resisted the temptation to use my regular shampoo after trying this product and dried my hair… and it looked “normal.”

A few observations

  • The plastic container is not waterproof – I can clearly see gaps between its mating surfaces – so you couldn’t possibly bring it in the shower with you
  • It’s a bit difficult to separate the sheets
  • The packaging refers to the sheets as “single use.” Really??? Who writes this stuff? Who are they targeting??

My problem with products like this (and my wife’s idea – sorry, honey) is that there are other readily available alternatives out there that are simpler, much less expensive and which work just as well if not better.

My recommendation? Buy a travel sized container of shampoo and put it in your hiking or travel kit – or better yet, just throw in a hotel shampoo bottle. The risk of leakage is practically nil, and as an added bonus, the stuff actually works well. It even works with seawater!!

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