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faqs

We get a lot of questions about our products, so we’ve collected the most frequently asked questions for you to browse. If you feel your question still hasn’t been answered, feel free to get in touch.

Product FAQs

why is plastic-free packaging important

Plastic waste is an important environmental issue. Although you may see a recycling symbol on many plastic packages you buy today, the reality is that most of these plastics cannot be recycled. This is because there is no market for the resale of the downgraded plastic material after the recycling process.

In the past, many countries sold their plastics to China. However, due to lax environmental standards this caused significant pollution in China, as many factories treated plastic materials under high heats, resulting in fumes and smoke filling the atmosphere.

Today, the only plastics that can be recycled reasonably effectively are PETE (1) and HDPE (2). All other plastics are difficult or harmful to the environment to recycle, or there is no market for the recycled product.

However, even for plastics 1 and 2, recycling is not a silver bullet. Recycling any plastic material results in a downgraded plastic product that can only be re-recycled so many times.

In Switzerland, 83% of plastic ends up in waste incineration plants, another 7% is used in cement factories as an alternative fuel source and only 10% of the plastic waste is recycled.

Outside of Switzerland plastic can also end up in landfills and over time plastic decades into microplastic. These microplastics end up in our waterways where they are ingested by fish and pollute our oceans, rivers, and lakes. This is why we at Nul have a firm stance against using any plastic packaging in our products.

microplastic in cometic products

It’s estimated that worldwide around 12 million tons of microplastic ends up in the oceans. The majority of this is caused by “mismanaged” plastic waste. E.g. people discarding plastic bottles on the street which are washed into the oceans where they further degrade into microplastic. But there is also 1.5 Million tons of primary microplastic that directly flow into the ocean. These microplastics originate mainly from tyre erosion, synthetic fibers lost during the laundry, and use of personal care products with added microplastics (e.g. exfoliating beads).^

Personal care products account for around 2% of this primary microplastics in the oceans.

Some products contain ingredients with as much plastic as the plastic bottle they come packaged in. 2)

Even though not enough information is yet available to fully understand the implications of microplastics for human health, we should all try to avoid longterm exposure to microplastics via skin, inhalation or food consumption.^

At Nul we believe that cosmetics and personal care products do not require any added plastic and we work hard on providing natural alternatives without compromising functionality.

To find out if your toiletries contain microplastics, have a look at the list Der Bund from Germany publishes each year.

Why should I use a solid soap or shampoo bar instead of liquid?

Because we only produce solid soap and shampoo bars, we:

  • Reduce carbon emissions for transport: most bath and beauty products are 90% water, which greatly increases the weight of the product. By using solid bars, we drastically cut down the shipping weight of the product.
  • Eliminate the need for plastic packaging: because solid bars don’t contain water, very minimal (or no) packaging is required to store them.
  • Take up less space in your shower or bath: Because we don’t use water in our products, there’s no need to store large bottles in your shower. Meaning you have less clutter and more peace of mind.
  • Give you a product that will last longer: the solid bars are highly concentrated, and you only need a little for it to be effective. If stored correctly, our soap and shampoo bars can last for up to 90 washes.

why don't you produce liquid soaps and shampoos in plant-based plastic, glass, or aluminium?

While we understand that some people prefer liquid versions of soap, shampoo, and lotion, there are currently no good alternatives to mineral plastic for liquid products. Even plant-based materials, glass, and aluminum aren’t always environmentally friendly, as they are resource-intensive to produce.

The only environmentally-friendly way to offer liquid products is to create a circular economy where these containers are consistently reused until their end of life. This is something we’re looking into for the future, but for now, we’ll stick with trying to use as little packaging as possible which is only possible with solid products.

do you use sulfates?

We don’t use any sulfates in our natural cosmetics. While there are pretty good plant-based sulfates are out there, we know that many people are sensitive to sulfate compounds (including our founder!) so we don’t use them in any of our natural cosmetics.

Have a look at our what’s inside page to learn more about the ingredients we use.

do you use parabens?

No way! Parabens are harmful for the environment and for your health and we don’t use them in any of our products. Check out this article for more information about parabens:  https://www.ewg.org/californiacosmetics/parabens

Have a look at our what’s inside page to learn more about the ingredients we use.

do you use preservatives?

For our soap, preservatives are unnecessary as its pH level isn’t favorable for little nasties. However, we do use an eco-certified preservative in our solid shampoos as they are pH balanced and when wet offer a favorable environment for microbial growth.

Have a look at our what’s inside page to learn more about the ingredients we use.

what do you use for your colouring?

We use mica, a mineral colorant, to produce vibrant colors in our products. Although mica is natural, there are some ethical issues with mica mining. The industry is also notoriously intransparent about where the mica is sourced and the conditions of workers.

We work with a company committed to sourcing ethical mica and who sells no pigments sourced from mines in India or South Africa. Our supplier is also part of the “Made in a Free World” initiative that is committed to raising awareness of modern slavery and identifying solutions to rescue and care for victims of human trafficking and slavery. Learn more about it here.

Have a look at our what’s inside page to learn more about the ingredients we use.

what is the ph of your shampoos and soap?

pH levels are incredibly important for your hair. Your hair (because it consists of dead cells) has a pH of between 3.5 and 4.5. In contrast, your skin (if you’re not a baby) has a pH of 5.5. Your skin is also a living organism and is better able to regulate pH levels, where your hair can’t do the same. Because of this, we ensure our shampoos are between a pH of 4.5 and 5.5.

Interestingly, dog skin has a pH of 6.5, so we set the pH of our dog shampoo higher than we do for human shampoo.

Soaps are made from saponified oils. In the process of saponification (oil turning into soap) the oils are exposed to a very strong base. This means our soaps end up with a pH of between 7 and 9. These high pH levels are necessary to produce soap. But because our skin can regulate its pH level, they are safe to use. Our soaps are also moisturizing as we always leave about 5% unsaponified oils in the soaps to avoid drying your skin.

However, if you have incredibly dry or sensitive skin, you could use our shampoo bars as solid shower gel instead.

will your shampoo fade my hair color?

Because our shampoos have a low pH which matches the pH of your hair, it won’t strip your hair color. This is because the low pH of our shampoos doesn’t raise the cuticle of your hair like higher-pH shampoos. When the cuticle is flat, your color is locked-in for longer. You will find that most “color-preserving” shampoos have a low pH similar to our shampoo bars for this reason. However, the shampoo isn’t a toner so if you use a toner to preserve your color, please continue to do so.

how do I make the bars last longer?

Too much exposure to water or heat isn’t great for our bars. They need good drainage otherwise constant exposure to water will melt them away (shampoo bar or soap + water = liquid shampoo and soap!).

The best way to preserve your soap and shampoo bars is to take the bar out of the shower after each use to allow it to dry properly. But we know that’s not always practical, so using a soap tray, soapbox, or shelf out of the direct flow of water should be just fine.

Alternatively, you can make your own crochet soap bag to hang in your shower.

What is the best before date for your products?

Our soaps and shampoo bars have a best before date which is 14 months after the production date.  You can find this information on our product labeling right next to the hourglass symbol.

shipping and return faqs

how much does shipping cost?

Currently, we offer the following flat rates:

Switzerland

  • PostPac Economy + Packaging: CHF 6
  • Free shipping if you spend more than CHF 50

do you ship your items carbon neutrally?

Yes! We send all letters and packages carbon-neutrally within Switzerland. Nul will pay the “pro clima” surcharges automatically for all packages to offset  CO2 emissions.

Is your packaging for shipping sustainable?

Small orders

We use a cardboard envelope for our small-order packaging. If you’ve only ordered a very small quantity, you may also see compostable corn pellets in the envelope to stop anything from moving around in transit. We get these pellets from our suppliers and we keep them all to reuse in your packages. If you can, reuse the packaging material you receive from us to extend its useable life. Afterward, you can put it in the recycling.

Large orders

The best way to be sustainable is to reuse, reuse, reuse. For our larger orders, you won’t see any fancy packaging from us because we reuse every single box and packaging we possibly can. If we don’t have enough, we collect boxes and packaging material from our neighbors, the supermarket, and anywhere else we can find it. It does mean we can’t choose what the packaging is, so you might see a bit of plastic in there. But it’s better for us to reuse it rather than throwing it straight in the landfill.

where do you ship to?

During Nul’s initial launch, we only ship within Switzerland. If this goes well we will soon expand to the European market:

Because the environment and our carbon emissions are important to us, we only ship within Switzerland at this stage. Depending on how things go, we may open production facilities in other parts of the world which would enable us to ship to a larger number of countries without greatly increasing our carbon footprint.

What about import tax?

We ship from Switzerland. Import taxes and fees are imposed by the country you live in and we (sadly) have no control over this. We urge you to have a look at the import fees and limits in your country.

what is your return policy?

If you don’t like your Nul product, you can return it and/or get a refund within 28 days. We do ask that you fill out a detailed survey so we can understand why you don’t like it and learn how we can do better in the future.

can I make changes to my order once it's been placed?

Sure! As long as we haven’t already sent you your order, you’re welcome to change it. Please email us at info@nul.care with your order number and your requested change. If it results in a change to your order total, we will either refund you the amount or charge you the difference.