Switching to a Shampoo Bar

The bar soap is back!

This means we can ditch some of that pesky plastic and go back to our roots (…see what I did there? You’re welcome).

When I heard that shampoo bars were becoming a thing I was immediately on board. An environmentally friendly and plastic-free addition to the bathroom – don’t mind if I do.

But then I had an intense flashback to primary school and experienced a full body shudder at the memory of the cracked, black-veined, dermatitis-inducing bar of ick that my friends and I used to chase each other with. That bar of ick, dear friends (in case you hadn’t guessed it) was soap. 

The pull of sustainability is strong though, so I vowed to try some of these bars out and it turns out that I, in fact, LOVE a shampoo bar and they do not look as though the grudge is about to pop out of it at any given moment. Double. Win.

However, what I did experience was a short transition period where my hair went a tad waxy, so I thought I would put together a list of tips and things to bear in mind for transitioning to shampoo bars.

  1. Get a shampoo bar that is all-natural ingredients
    Not all shampoo bars are made of entirely natural ingredients. Now of course you can move to shampoo bars without getting an all-natural one if your mission is purely plastic related, but I found that all-natural ones are
    A. Better for you, and
    B. Better for the planet, which is the dream right?

  2. Make sure the bar is SLS and ALS free
    SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulphate) and ALS (Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate) are chemicals that give shampoo it’s foaming properties and help get the dirt out your hair. Sounds good right? While they do rid the hair of excess oil this also means that, in doing so, they can strip the hair and scalp of its natural oils which can lead to dryness and irritation. I have a sensitive scalp and since I’ve gone to shampoo bars it’s been way better. Might be ditching sulphates. Might be good karma, but I’m not complaining either way. (p.s It’s also good to avoid sulphates if you have coloured hair as they are so good at cleaning that they can take colour with it too. How’d ya like that nugget!)

  3. Make sure your conditioner is Sulphate-free and natural
    You’ll miss out on all of the goodness above if not! Some people choose not to use conditioner and find that their hair no longer needs it after the switch. I still do as my hair is quite dry and goes static without it. If you don’t want to buy a conditioner bar you can use a vinegar rinse instead…. Not tried that one though.

  4. Wash it right!
    Sounds like an obvious one but I was totally doing it wrong to start. Make sure you wet your hair thoroughly and get a good lather going. I found the best way to do this was moving the bar in circular motions directly on sections of my head (sides, crown, neck area etc.). You can work up a lather in your hands but I, personally, don’t have time to stand for 20 minutes doing this while precious water droplets flow down the drain…

  5. It won’t feel the same when you’re washing it
    Some articles say you don’t get the same “squeaky clean feeling” with shampoo bars but what I found is that you get exactly that – a very squeaky kind of “dry-when-wet” feeling. Odd. With the right conditioner however, I found that once my hair was dry, it was SO silky soft and smooth– like sweet vegan butter – only not greasy or oily… so that’s a really bad comparison.

  6. Ride out the transition
    Like any addiction or detox your body needs time to rid itself of the nasty chemicals associated with the “unhealthy product”. Synthetic shampoos leave a build-up of chemicals in your hair and your hair needs time to rid itself of these before it’s going to feel amazing. This could take a couple of days or could take a couple of weeks – it depends on how much chemical build up is in your hair, your hair type, how often you wash it, and all sorts of other gremlins. Think of it as a hair hangover… I certainly know I don’t look super bouncy, fresh and amazing on a hard hang and your hair won’t either. Mine went a bit … waxy… but others experience frizz. Your hair needs time to rebalance its oils – but the good news is that some things can speed this up.
    Such as….

  7. Do a Bicarbonate of Soda (baking soda) rinse
    What’s a Bicarb soda rinse? 1 tablespoon of Bicarb Soda mixed with 1-2 cups of warm water – simple. Before shampooing, wet your hair, pour on the rinse, work it through, rinse thoroughly, then shampoo. This helps get rid of the chemical build-up or any build-up of the shampoo bar if you’ve not rinsed it out too well previously. This is especially good for the “waxy” feeling.

  8. Check if your water is hard
    Hard water can lead to mineral build-up in the hair and this can cause problems! There are postcode checkers online to check this for your area. If your water is hard try installing a showerhead filter.

  9. Don’t dump a ton of other products on it
    Or you’ll be gunking it up with all the nasty chemicals you’re working so hard to get rid of. This will prolong the “transition” period so step away from the dry shampoo!

  10. Keep the bar out of the water flow when not using it
    I.e. don’t keep it at the bottom of your shower with water running over it. Your bar will last longer this way. You can also cut your bar into smaller pieces to keep more of it dry.

So, there you have it. You now you have beautiful, healthy, planet -friendly hair. I can hear the trees compliment your lush locks. Rainbows pale in comparison to you. Even the sun can’t get a shine like that. Worth the change, right?!

I would love to hear how you get on with your switch to shampoo bars, including any questions you have, so please comment below or let me know on any of my channels!


6 thoughts on “Switching to a Shampoo Bar

  1. I have just switched to a lovely solid shampoo but as you say it feels waxy as if I’ve not washed it so with try the Bicarbonate of Soda rinse and maybe a vinegar rinse afterwards?

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    1. Hi!
      Well done for trying the switch.
      It can be hard during the transition phase.
      A rinse is a good place to start but I’d go for one or the other. If not rinsed out fully the Bicarbonate of soda could react with the vinegar and cause a bit of a fizzy mixture in your hair! You can use both if you want if using a vinegar rinse in place of conditioner but just make sure you really rinse the bicarbonate of soda rinse out thoroughly!
      How long have you been using the bar for?

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      1. Only a week so far to be fair. I have the Rosemary soap you reviewed from the Natural Soap Company. I tried a Bs rinse followed with lemon rinse after washing and it feels better already. As my hair is very fine and dry I think a conditioner bar will really help.

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      2. Feel your pain! My hair took a little while to fully transition. Really pleased to hear the rises helped!
        Some people find their natural oils adjust so they don’t need conditioner but I definetly do! I have fine, dry hair and loads of it! So I really need a quality conditioner bar to stop the frizz and fly-aways.

        I hope the rest of your switch period goes smoothly. If you have any other questions or want to challenge me just get in touch! 🙂

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