Switching to shampoo bars: Everything you need to know
Thinking of switching to shampoo bars? It’s a big decision to ditch the synthetic laden commercial shampoos for a greener, more natural alternative.
But ultimately it’s a better decision — for your hair, your body, and the environment.
Let’s dive into the wonderful world of shampoo bars! We’ve covered all the FAQs we get about shampoo bars, including:
Why shampoo bars are better than liquid shampoo
How to use a shampoo bar
How to store shampoo bars
Additional haircare options
WHY SHAMPOO BARS ARE BETTER
People often think shampoo bars are more expensive than liquid, so we often hear the question: Are shampoo bars worth it?
There are so many reasons why shampoo bars are better than commercial liquid shampoos. Here are a few:
1. Shampoo bars are better for your hair
Shampoo bars are great for the hair and scalp. They cleanse without stripping your hair of its natural oils.
2. They give a great lather
If formulated correctly, they should give a great lather. Our shampoo bars are formulated with coconut and castor oils to give a creamy thick lather.
3. Shampoo bars are better for the environment
Shampoo bars help you help save the planet. You’re purchasing less plastic and you’re not flushing a myriad nasty chemicals down the drains and into our waterways.
Win - Win - Win!
4. Shampoo bars travel well
I don’t know about you, but I’ve spilled liquid shampoo in my bag before. Not a pretty sight.
5. They’re actually cost effective!
One bar allowed to dry between uses should last quite a while. This however, would be affected by a number of factors like how often you wash your hair and how long your hair is.
Don’t forget, most commercial shampoos are up to 80% water! Shampoo bars are concentrated hair cleansers where you add the water.
So with these pretty awesome benefits, hopefully I have you about 80% sure you’re ready to commit to the switch.
Let’s get stuck into a few truths about what to expect when you do finally switch to shampoo bars.
SWITCHING TO SHAMPOO BARS
You may or may not experience a transition period where your hair is behaving a little weirdly. If you do, rest assured, it is just for a short time while your hair is getting used to the change from synthetic chemicals to the natural cleansers in your bar.
There are lots of factors that may determine how your hair responds to shampoo bars, like whether your hair is damaged, how much built-up residue is on your hair, and your hair type, among other things.
It is completely normal when starting out with natural shampoo bars that your scalp or hair can feel oily or dry, have a little extra frizz, or feel tangled or even waxy.
Hang in there. It’s totally worth it – I promise!
This is just your hair adjusting to the change. In the end, you will have synthetic-free, clean, shiny and healthy hair.
See, commercial shampoos contain harsh detergents that strip the oils from your hair and often replace it with a smooth coating of silicone. In response to this, our scalps can produce excess sebum.
When transitioning to a more natural, gentler approach, it may take a few weeks for sebum production to return to normal.
To make the transition that little bit easier, you need to be patient. All good things take time. Initially, your hair may feel a little wiry or just weird. That’s totally normal. This may be due to residual suds being left in your hair so to eliminate that issue, make sure you rinse out the suds from your hair thoroughly.
HOW TO USE A SHAMPOO BAR
So you're ready to use your shampoo bar? Let's go!
Step 1: Wet your hair thoroughly
Step 2: Wet the shampoo bar and rub it over your hair from the scalp to the ends
Step 3: Massage through to work up a thick, creamy lather
Step 4: Rinse thoroughly
We don't really favour one over the other for specific hair types. Both cleanse equally well so it comes down to personal preference.
What about conditioner? We’ve got that covered below, but first, let’s make sure you’re storing your shampoo bars the right way to get the most bang for your buck.
HOW TO STORE SHAMPOO BARS
You don't need a dedicated shampoo bar container to store your bar in. You simply need a little soap dish, like our wooden soap saver, that helps elevate your bar out of a puddle of water.
Resting your bars in puddles of water makes your shampoo (and conditioner) bars a mushy squishy mess and they really won't last long at all. Allowing them to dry between uses will ensure you get at least a few months out of them.
Storing both shampoo and conditioner bars correctly means you're stopping MANY plastic bottles going to landfill. See, worth it on so many levels!
ADDITIONAL HAIRCARE OPTIONS
USING AN APPLE CIDER VINEGAR HAIR RINSE
You may find that your hair benefits from an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse. A super simple, natural and nasty-free way to add body and shine to dull hair.
Our Rinse Your Locks herbal apple cider vinegar rinse is infused with hair loving herbs and is a concentrate but plain old apple cider vinegar works too. It truly can make a world of difference.
A few added benefits are that:
- The acidic nature of the vinegar can balance the pH of the hair after using a (potentially) slightly alkaline shampoo bar
- ACV contains alpha-hydroxy acid helping to gently exfoliate both your hair and scalp.
So, Apple Cider Vinegar for hair scalp is a win! It can reduce itchiness too.
Step 1: Simply add 1-2 tbsp of ACV to 1 cup of warm water and pour it over your hair after shampooing.
Step 2: Be sure to massage it through your hair and your scalp and leave it in for a few minutes.
Leaving the vinegar in for a few minutes helps:
- Smooth out the hair follicles by closing the cuticles that line the hair shaft
- Remove soap deposits
- Prevent tangles in long hair
- Balance the pH of the scalp
When I first switched to shampoo bars, I would do this religiously and it really did make all the difference.
Being completely upfront here, the first few times I did though, the smell of the vinegar was a little hard to take but I got used to it and now it's not an issue.
Now, many years later, it still does something magical to my hair, letting the natural curl just do its thing.
If you just can’t stomach the smell of the vinegar, you may want to try a tox-free (and of course zero waste) conditioner bar instead.
DO I NEED TO USE A CONDITIONER?
There is no simple answer to this one. Some people do and some people don't. It really depends on your hair type. Is it on the drier side? A bit oily? Is it straight? Or Curly? How has it adapted to the switch to shampoo bars?
You may find in time that you don’t really need a conditioner as natural shampoo bars contain conditioning oils that will leave your hair soft anyway.
But you may however want or need to experiment a little with using ACV and conditioner bars intermittently. You will find what works best for your hair. Again, I promise it's worth it!
Personally, I use an ACV rinse every time I shampoo and use a conditioner bar once a fortnight for a deep hydrating condition.
The great thing about conditioner bars, particularly natural ones like our Smooth Your Locks Conditioner Bar, is that it doesn't contain any water so it's concentrated with hair-smoothing and nourishing ingredients that are activated by water. No paying for water here!
A little goes a long way so you really only need to rub the bar across your wet, shampooed hair, comb through and leave it in for a few minutes.
The key with conditioner bars is to rinse thoroughly and you will be left with silky, soft hair.
We've had lots of feedback from our curly-haired friends who claim that their hair cannot live without conditioning, and if you're following the curly girl thang, they actually often skip shampoo (but this usually has to do with the harsh chemicals in conventional shampoos).
TURNING A SOLID CONDITIONER BAR INTO A LIQUID
So what if you want to ditch the chemicals and reduce your waste but much prefer using a liquid conditioner?
No worries at all, we've got a little tip for quickly making a liquid conditioner from your bar:
Step 1: Grate about 2 tablespoons of your conditioner bar into a clean bowl or jug
Step 2: Pour in approximately 1 cup of slightly cooled boiling water and whisk to dissolve the grated flakes.
Step 3: As the solution cools, it will thicken somewhat. You will get the feel for the consistency you like too; if you prefer it thinner, add a bit more water and if you prefer it as a thicker cream, simply add a bit more grated conditioner bar.
Step 4: Store your liquid conditioner in a clean, sealed bottle.
Step 5: Use this within a month as it is unpreserved and where there is water, there is potential for microbial growth. So make a fresh batch often.
We know that after a short period of time and experimentation, you can find a new, more natural routine that makes you, your hair, and the environment jump for joy.
Ready to switch to shampoo bars? We have a range of natural haircare products, including shampoo bars, conditioner bars, and ACV. Shop now to get free shipping across Australia for orders over $95.
Here's to your new naturally cleansed hair.
Tammy and Sarah x