The science behind superzero

Spoiler alert: Making high-performance, planet-friendly hair care isn’t easy. Along the way, we faced a lot of challenges that forced us to rethink and reimagine how hair care could –– and should –– be done. We’re proud to have made zero compromises, creating a $18 bar that’s small enough to fit in your palm with the same value of a bottle five times its size. 

science behind superzero

Here’s how we did it (hint: it involves a lot of science and tech)

Bye bye, bottled water.

We started by getting rid of the first ingredient in most hair care products: H20. Liquid shampoos and conditioners are 80-90% water. Because they’re water-based, plastic is needed to contain, transport, and store them — creating a massive carbon footprint from the shipping and creation of the bottles. Then, when they’re all dried up, the bottles are tossed, resulting in billions of them polluting our landfills and oceans. That same plastic not only degrades the environment, but also decomposes into microplastic that makes its way into our food chain –– and into our bodies. 

We’ve never been ones to want plastic in our oceans or on our plates, so we designed superzero without the water. Our concentrated formulas come in bar form and activate in the shower, where there’s lots of water. This freed us from shipping bottled water around the world, lowered our shipping costs,  and allowed us to invest that saved money into things that directly affect your hair, like high-quality, all-natural ingredients.  

science behind superzero
Respect hair differences

The building blocks of our shampoos are similar to those for liquid shampoo: surfactants that bind dirt and oils and remove them with water; quats or conditioning agents that temporarily coat and fill in the gaps in your hair cuticle layers for a smoothness and enhanced shine; and other scalp nourishing or stimulating actives customized to specific hair types or scalp conditions like, for example, caffeine to stimulate the scalp or Brazilian Zizphus Joazeiro Bark Extract to fight dandruff. 

Picking the right active blend for each hair type is one of the most important parts of our process. After all, not all scalps are created equal. So we’ve mixed, matched, tinkered, and carefully considered different hair types and needs. All of our formulas feature only natural, vegan, and cruelty-free ingredients with absolutely NO petrochemicals, parabens or other preservatives, SLS, SLES, silicones, or synthetic colors or fragrances.

science behind superzero

Master the balancing act

We also took special care to make our shampoo bars pH balanced. The hair’s natural pH is slightly acidic, at around 4.5 to 5. But manufacturers often purposefully use high, alkaline pH products to swell the hair shaft and disrupt the cuticle layer of your hair, creating more space between the follicles to give the appearance of volume. Over time, this high pH harms your hair and eventually makes it lifeless and dull. 

Our bars are more pH neutral, featuring a pH closer to your natural hair. This ensures cuticles remain smooth and flat against your hair shaft, without any surprise damage done. 

science behind superzero

Get off the soap box

There are a lot of misconceptions about shampoo bars being soap. Given that bars are trending at the moment, some companies sell soaps as shampoo bars, using the same high pH trick we mentioned above to create the short-term appearance of volume at the cost of long-term cuticle damage. The technique for creating soap is called saponification and our formulas avoid that. 

To do that, we use mild surfactants, quats or conditioning agents, and other stimulating, nourishing active ingredients instead of alkalis. This ensures your hair doesn’t just look good after one wash, it looks great wash after wash (after wash after wash). 

Want to check if another shampoo bar is just soap in disguise? Look for the tell-tale ingredients like sodium stearate, sodium olivate, or sodium cocoate. 

As humans, we’ve been conditioned to believe that bigger is better. We want more, and why wouldn’t we? 

And while concentrated shampoo bars do, in fact,  offer more, they tend to look a little small stacked up to the competition of water bottles. There’s not much we can do to alter initial perceptions. But we can point out the facts: 

Every time you choose a bottle, you’re paying an 150% premium to cover hefty shipping costs and water that you already have in your shower. Despite their small size, our formulas are still a big deal, featuring two bottles’ worth of shampoo in every bar.