Switching to shampoo bars is a great choice - not only for the health of your hair, but also for the health of the planet. So what are the benefits of shampoo bars, and are shampoo bars better than regular shampoo? Read on to delve into the (sometimes confusing) world of shampoo bars and find out if they really work.
Do shampoo bars work?
Shampoo bars work in exactly the same way as regular bottled shampoo. When you skim a shampoo bar across your wet hair, the active ingredients will begin to foam up just like regular liquid shampoo as soon as you begin to massage your scalp and hair.
Shampoo bar vs bottle
Our shampoo bars are made using similar ingredients as you might find in regular bottles of liquid shampoo minus the water, sulphates, and plastic. Did you know that bottles of liquid shampoo typically contain up to 85% water? Just think about those numbers - it means that you're essentially only getting 15% actual ingredients and you're paying for all that water content. Crazy huh? And don't get us started on the plastic bottles.
Our solid shampoo bars are packaged in an aluminium tin topped with a plantable wildflower seed label so you can reuse the tin and plant the label! This year we'll be introducing a refill version so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Why shampoo bars are better
Our shampoo bars are made using botanical ingredients to encourage the growth of strong, healthy hair. Here are just some of the benefits:
sulphate free shampoo bars
pH balanced shampoo bars
plastic free shampoo - with each bar saving 2 plastic bottles from landfill
formulated with botanical extracts including bamboo and chicory root - natural replacements for synthetic silicones that are usually found in liquid shampoo
Unscented version designed for sensitive scalps.
How long do shampoo bars last?
That all depends on the shampoo bar and how often you use it! Our SLS free shampoo bars will last between 2-4 months depending on how often you wash your hair, how long your hair is, and how you store your shampoo bar between uses (more on this below).
What's the difference between a soap bar and a shampoo bar?
If you're confused about which is the best shampoo bar to try, you're not alone.
Soap typically has a pH of 8-10 and is made with skin nourishing oils and butters that gently cleanse and moisturise the skin. Now, we're huge fans of using natural soap bars to cleanse our skin, but not our hair! The pH of the scalp is 5.5 so when choosing a shampoo bar it's always wise to choose one that's in the range of 4.5-6. Too high a pH will result in higher friction between the hair fibres (think frizzy hair), which could lead to damage and breakage of the hair.
How do you tell the difference between a soap-based shampoo bar and a pH balanced shampoo bar?
Look at the ingredients. The label of a soap-based shampoo bar will look something like this:
Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Olivate, Sodium Shea Butterate, Sodium Ricebranate, Glycerin, Sodium Sweet Almondate, Aqua, Sodium Castorate
The word sodium before the oil type means that it's a soap-based shampoo bar, made in exactly the same way as a regular soap bar designed for the skin.
In contrast, the ingredients on the label of a pH balanced shampoo bar will look something like this:
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Coco-Glucoside, Cetyl Alcohol, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Salvia Sclarea Flower/Leaf/Stem Water, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Cucurbita Pepo Seed Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil, Xanthan Gum
pH balanced shampoo bars are made with gentle surfactants (look out for shampoo bars like these which are made with sulphate free surfactants), conditioning agents, oils and botanicals that the hair loves.
How long does it take for hair to adjust to shampoo bars?
Contrary to popular belief, there's no transition period when using a pH balanced shampoo bar. As we said at the beginning of this blog, pH balanced shampoo bars are made in the same way as regular liquid shampoo. So if you're tempted to buy a shampoo bar that speaks about a transition period or using a vinegar rinse after use, this is not a pH balanced shampoo bar - it's a soap-based shampoo bar! Confusing, right?
How to use shampoo bars
Wet your hair
Skim the hair shampoo bar across your scalp and hair 3-4 times, and put the shampoo bar aside
Use your fingers to gently massage the shampoo into your scalp to create the cleansing foam
Massage your scalp for a couple of minutes, working the foam down to the ends of your hair
Rinse your hair with clean water
Repeat to remove build up of styling products if you use them. Otherwise you should not need to repeat wash
Follow up with your regular conditioner if you normally use one.
Do you need conditioner after shampoo bars?
If you normally use a conditioner after shampooing your hair, you should also use a conditioner after using a shampoo bar - a shampoo bar works in exactly the same way as liquid bottled shampoo, it cleans the hair.
Our shampoo bars are formulated with specific conditioning agents and botanical extracts to add a touch of light conditioning, and so you may find that you don't need to use a conditioner after using them. In fact, since formulating these shampoo bars over 6 months ago, we haven't used a conditioner since.