Everything You Want To Know About Natural Shampoo Bars!
What Are Natural Shampoo Bars?
Shampoo bars, one of my favorite discoveries, are natural conditioning shampoos in a solid bar form. Although they may seem new to many, solid soap shampoos were commonly used before liquid detergent shampoos became popular in the 1940s.
In the book Hints on Health, published in 1852, William Edward Coale writes, "To cleanse the hair, there is nothing better than soap and water . . . the soap, of course, should be mild, and well and plentifully rubbed in, and afterward thoroughly removed with an abundance of water.”
The picture on right, taken from Duke University Libraries Digital Collection, is a 1920 advertisement for "shampoo" soap.
If you are not used to solid shampoo bars the concept may sound a bit strange, but they are WONDERFUL! Super rich with loads of fluffy lather, our natural shampoo bars are made in small batches using recipes meticulously developed to naturally clean and condition your scalp and leave hair soft, shiny, clean, and most of all healthy.
Why I Began Making Shampoo Bars?
For Me and You!
Read the ingredients in a bottle of liquid shampoo—there is the answer. They are a "chemical soup" made with synthetic ingredients --preservatives, detergents, foam boosters, fragrance oils, and synthetic colors -- none of which I wanted on my hair! These ingredients strip moisture from the hair and scalp, cause dryness, brittleness, and scalp irritation.
Many of these ingredients are also linked to allergic reactions and more. Even in 1852, William Coale knew that “the habitual treatment of hair with cosmetics” was not good for hair. ("Hints On Health" pg 109)
For The Environment
Shampoo bars help decrease our environmental impact by getting rid of plastic bottles. According to an article written by Trevor Nace, a Ph.D. geologist, humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute and 91% of all plastic is not recycled.
Eliminating products made from synthetic ingredients also helps to decrease groundwater contamination. Everything we send down the drain can end up in local waterways.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found chemicals from personal care products in nearly every water supply they have tested. For more information read, "Why Use A Natural Shampoo Bars?”
What's The Difference Between Soap Bars And Shampoo Bars?
While the process for making a shampoo bar is the same as making soap and the ingredients seem similar, a well-formulated shampoo bar is not your typical soap bar.
Shampoo bars contains carefully selected ingredients that promote a moisturized scalp and well-conditioned, shiny hair.
Shampoo bar "recipes" are tweaked to use different proportions of oils and butters and to include botanicals, like nettles right, herb infused oils, and essential oils that are known to help nourish the hair and scalp.
Each of our shampoo bar selections contains a different blend of natural plant oils, essential oils, and herb-infused oils. Each shampoo bar recipe is different and unique.
Great Things About Shampoo Bars
Most people find benefits in switching to a shampoo bar such as increased volume, faster-growing hair, reduced dandruff, shinier hair, and less frizz. If you have curly hair, most people say that they have more defined curls with better control. Shampoo bars are good for all hair types and hair lengths.
Really Truly Natural: Our shampoo bars are made with natural and organic ingredients
- They contain no artificial fragrance, color, preservatives, detergents, foam boosters, alcohol, urea, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulfate SLS, DEA, propylene glycol - or any of the other synthetic hair care additives that can cause dry, itchy, and irritated scalp and contribute to hair loss, especially if you shampoo every day!
- Our scented shampoo bars are made with natural botanical essential oils. The essential oil blends we use are formulated for their therapeutic value as well as for their lovely fragrance.
Gentle: Our gentle shampoo bars do not strip hair of natural oils allowing hair to retain moisture while balancing hair oil production. Your hair and scalp will get a break from harmful synthetic ingredients that rob the scalp of natural moisture.
Environmentally Friendly: Biodegradable. No plastic bottles. No toxic chemicals.
Cost-Effective: Natural shampoo bars last a long time and for many, there is no need to buy a separate conditioner.
Convenient: They are great to keep in your gym locker and for camping.
Traveling: They won't leak and can be packed in carry-on luggage while complying with TSA regulations.
Customer Feedback: After switching to a natural shampoo bar, customers reported . . .
- more shine
- increased volume
- less frizz
- less shedding
- more defined curls
- increased manageability
- retained color longer
- a decrease in dandruff and scalp irritation
How Do I Use a Shampoo Bar?
There are many ways to use a shampoo bar and what works for one person, may not work for another. You may want to try several methods to see which one works best for you.
Technique #1: Use The Bar Directly On Your Hair
- Begin with thoroughly wet hair.
- Gently rub wet the shampoo bar directly onto your hair from scalp to ends in a combing motion.
- Cover each section of your hair. Gently massage scalp and hair, adding more water as needed, until good lather forms.
- To prevent tangles, be sure to always work from the top down, don't pile your hair on your head, and use your fingers like a comb, not a mixer.
- With this method, it is very important that you really build up a good lather on your head so there are no patches of soap left on your hair.
- Rinse, rinse, rinse!
- Repeat if desired
Technique #2: Create The Lather in Your Hands
- Begin with thoroughly wet hair.
- Rub the wet shampoo bar between your wet hands to create a nice lather.
- Using your fingers like a comb, smooth the lather along the length of your hair.
- Gently massage it into the scalp and hair, as you would with a bottled shampoo.
- Work up a good lather
- Rinse, rinse, rinse!
- Repeat if desired.
How Well Do They Lather?
Super rich with loads of fluffy lather, our natural shampoo bars are made in small batches using recipes meticulously developed to naturally clean and condition your scalp and leave hair soft, shiny, clean, and most of all healthy.
Although foamy lather is not necessary for cleaning, most people agree that a shampoo MUST have lots of lather.
Made with lathering oils like coconut, babassu, and castor bean, our solid shampoo bars have an absolutely fabulous, fluffy lather.
Which Shampoo Bar Is Best For My Hair?
How Long Will A Shampoo Bar Last?
With the water removed, this concentrated shampoo bar can do the job of 4 to 5 bottles of commercial liquid shampoo and there is no plastic bottle to throw away afterward. How long a bar will last depends on how many people are using it and how often you wash your hair. Here are some tips:
- Don't let your shampoo bar sit in a puddle of water
- Store soap on a well-drained soap dish
- Allow soap plenty of fresh air to dry between uses
- If your bar ever gets waterlogged and becomes gooey, simply set it on a draining soap dish for a few days and let it dry out thoroughly
Also, since many don't need to use conditioner, that’s another plastic bottle saved and more money in your pocket!
Do I Still Need To Use Conditioner With A Shampoo Bar?
Some folks do, and some don't!
For Body & Luster
If you are using a conditioner because your hair is dull, lacks luster, and is dry--you may need a conditioner--that's another plastic bottle saved! Since commercial shampoos contain petroleum products that are actually drying to your hair and scalp, conditioners are usually needed.
Our natural shampoo bars will not strip the natural oils from your hair, so you will not need the typical moisturizing conditioners that people use to replace the natural oils stripped by detergent shampoos.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinses are an excellent addition to any natural hair care routine and can help bring back body and shine to dull, lackluster hair.
For Tangly Hair
Hair tangles result when individual hairs go in different directions and intertwine.
The outer layer of the hair, the cuticle, is made of overlapping layers of long scales that lie along the surface of the hair like shingles on a roof.
The condition of the cuticle scales in part determines whether you are going to have tangly hair. When you shampoo or even wet your hair, the cuticle opens making it prone to tangling.
The way you shampoo and your hair type can affect hair tangles. I have long fine, thin hair that is very prone to tangling. Just imagine all of those little strands of hair as very thin strings—now put little burrs on the strings (the open cuticle) and you can see my problem.
I wish I could use an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse every day. Besides creating tangle-free locks, I also love the way it makes my hair look and feel. As I have gotten older my hair has become drier and I can only use an ACV rinse 2 or 3 times per week.
I have perfected a washing technique that helps with my tangles, sometimes I need a tiny bit of conditioner on the ends or I use our Organic Herbal Hair Rinse Detangler blend.
I have also found that if I use a large-toothed comb to comb through the length of my hair while it is still lathered up and continue to comb as I rinse the tangles comb out easily.
We have been making shampoo bars for over 10 years and have received so many questions. Below are links to pages that may help answer your adjustment questions.
Can I Use A Shampoo Bar With Color-Treated Hair?
Most people find that shampoo bars are easier on color-treated hair than commercial shampoos.
We have many customers who color their hair and use our gentle shampoo bars. One customer who "darkens" her hair wrote to tell us that she is now able to go one month longer before recoloring her hair.
Another customer who "lightens" her hair, wrote that the color stays "nicer" longer and she does not get that "brassy" blonde color anymore.
But since everyone's hair and coloring products are different, please do a strand test to judge for yourself. To do a strand test, shampoo a strand of hair in a non-conspicuous area and rinse. Notice if there are any changes.
Please remember that since there are no silicones or synthetic coatings in our shampoo bars, a damaged hair shaft will not be covered with the chemical coatings you will get from a silicone shampoo or conditioner. If your hair is damaged from chemical color or other harsh treatments, your naked hair may be exposed.
If your hair is damaged try one of our hair oils or conditioners to help replenish the oils in damaged and colored hair.
The good thing about the shampoo bars is that they actually prolong color - before I started using them, I'd have to dye my hair every 3 weeks, now it's every 5-6 weeks. Venessa, Indiana
Can I Use A Shampoo Bar With Permed Hair?
We have many customers who perm their hair and use our shampoo bars. Because they are simply soap, shampoo bars will not strip natural protective oils from your hair. One customer told us that her perms stay "fresher" longer since she started using shampoo bars. But since everyone's hair and perming products are different, please do a strand test to judge for yourself.
Again if your hair is damaged due to over-processing try one of our hair oils or conditioners to help replenish the oils in damaged hair.
Is There An Adjustment Period?
Natural and organic personal care products, including shampoo bars, offer a personal experience that is quite unique. While they may work wonders for one person, for others they may offer some challenges. That is perfectly fine.
We use only natural ingredients in our shampoo bars and the chemicals in commercial shampoos make for quite a different shampoo experience. It is all about paying attention to and listening to your own body chemistry as you make the “transition” for the first time!
While many folks have little problem with their hair adjusting to a new routine, some do.
The transition period can range from a few days to a few weeks or even a month. Hair length, hair damage, genetics, and the amount of residue or build-up from hair products can all impact the actual length of time.
When you first begin, your hair or scalp may become oily or dry or even switch between the two extremes. You may have increased tangles or frizz and the hair shafts may feel weird or waxy.
This is your hair, which has been addicted to chemical-laden shampoo, literally freaking out, going through withdrawal, and learning to live a chemical-free life. It's not easy!
It will go away! It may take some patience, but if you can persevere, your reward will be healthy, soft and silky hair.
There isn't one common thread among people who have adjustment issues, but there are some common reasons your hair may feel different as you bring your hair back to its natural, healthy state and your hair literally has to learn how to live without the chemicals. Read "Tips Adjusting to Natural Shampoo Bars"
Technological advances have led to many wonderful discoveries. Unfortunately, in the personal care industry, this usually means the creation of another new synthetic ingredient.
For example, when consumers asked companies to stop using harsh sulfates in shampoo, the companies simply substitute one synthetic ingredient for another. In some cases, the new ingredient was found to be just as harmful as the original.
Not all shampoo bars are free from synthetic surfactants or detergents. These "Syndet" (synthetic detergent) bars are made with ingredients similar to those in liquid shampoos.
Companies who sell these bars state that the detergent surfactants they use are safer and milder than traditional surfactants like SLS. We don't know what research will tell us down the road about these surfactants and am not here to argue that point. The transition may be less with syndets than with natural shampoo bars, but these bars are not natural.
For skin and hair care I believe that back-to-basics is better.
Our natural ingredients harness the power and simplicity of nature to cleanse, soothe and protect your skin & hair while maintaining a respect for our planet.