Our guide to shampoo bars

We love that we don’t have plastic bottles in our shower cubicles which then end up harming the earth. But we also love the all-natural approach to haircare that they bring. However, we’ll also admit that the transition to a shampoo bar can seem like one of the hardest eco-friendly moves to make. So we decided it was time for a comprehensive guide that gives you the lowdown on everything you need to know. From how to store shampoo bars to how to use them and where you can buy the best UK shampoo bars.

If you’ve tried what you thought was a shampoo bar before, and ended up with lifeless or ultra-dry hair, we also beg you to read on. Something wasn’t right in your first approach, and we’ve got the answers.

The pros and cons of shampoo bars

Yes, we’re being honest with you. There are plus sides and downsides to shampoo bars. We believe the advantages outweigh the cons, and often the downsides are due to the particular product or way you’re using it.

The pros of shampoo bars

  • No plastic waste from shampoo bottles ending up in landfill or our oceans

  • Cost effectiveness as they last longer and are harder to waste than liquids

  • Affordable option for haircare and a low cost eco-switch

  • Travel-friendly, being lightweight and compact – no spillages!

  • Natural ingredients (SLS and paraben free)

  • Reduced carbon footprint in manufacture, delivery and due to no waste

  • Multi-purpose – a shampoo bar will work well to clean your body or even your clothes if needs be

  • Divine natural aromas and a natural haircare solution


Cons of shampoo bars

  • Some products labelled ‘shampoo bar’ are actually soap and this isn’t good for your hair

  • Natural products won’t last so long on the shelf

  • The transition to a shampoo bar takes a little time and effort

  • They don’t work as well in hard water areas


How do I use a shampoo bar?

We know the pros are compelling, but hold your horses. Whilst using a shampoo bar is pretty easy once you’ve transitioned, transition you must. 

Once you’re through the transition, you simply lather up the bar between your hands with some water. You then massage the lather into your hair and scalp, rinse and go (we go for an apple cider vinegar rinse).

However, to get to that point, you do need to transition between bottled shampoo and an all-natural shampoo bar.

The transition to using a shampoo bar

Shampoo bars are quite different to shampoo in a bottle. Before you start using a shampoo bar you want to get rid of the ‘build up’ you have in your hair of the residue of the commercial products you use. 

This means that if you go straight to using a shampoo bar, it may seem like it is leaving your hair dry and/or greasy. In actual fact, what’s happening is your natural oil production needs some time to adjust to the change.

The good news is that a simple rinse with baking soda is all you need to do to remove the synthetic chemical build up in your hair. The other issues are resolved by time and perseverance! Simply mix a tablespoon of baking soda and 250 ml of warm water and apply to your hair before you apply the natural shampoo.

Top tips for using a shampoo bar

There are some additional useful tips to know before you embark on your transition to shampoo bars. 

  • Don’t rub the shampoo bar directly onto your head and hair. Instead create lather with your hands, or with a natural sponge such as our wonderful konjac sponge. 

  • If you have chin length hair or longer, partition your hair into different sections and massage the lather in separately to each area.

  • Rinse really well. Then rinse again. We recommend using an apple cider vinegar rinse after every wash to begin with, and then about once a week thereafter. Whether you need to do this will depend on the shampoo bar you choose and the amounts of natural oil production you have.

How is a shampoo bar different from soap?

It’s important to check out what your shampoo bar is actually made from. Some bars are soap, and that won’t do your hair any favours and will put you off using shampoo bars again (make sure ‘lye’ isn’t in the ingredients). 

Shampoo bar FAQs

On top of the information provided so far, we tend to find newbies to shampoo bars have the same few questions:

How long does a shampoo bar last?

This depends on a number of factors. Different brands make different size bars, usually varying between 50 g and 100 g. Then of course there’s the fact that the longer and thicker your hair is, the more of a shampoo bar you will use for each wash. So really, ‘how long does a shampoo bar last’ is like asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’ That said; shampoo bars last longer than their equivalent in bottled shampoo. One bar can easily last 80 washes for many people. 

How to store shampoo bars

We are often asked how to store shampoo bars. A trick to make the bar last longer is to make sure it doesn’t sit in a pool of water between uses. So choose a soap dish that allows drainage and is away from water.

Can I use shampoo bars in a hard water area?

Yes, but you may need more of the shampoo bar which may leave more residue. Apple cider vinegar rinses will help, or using previously boiled water.

How long does the transition to shampoo bar last?

Again, this varies from person to person. Most people find it takes a few weeks. Other people seemingly need no transition at all, and others well over a month or so. Stick with it, it will suddenly click.

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