Tips to Help the Transition from Detergent Shampoos to Natural SHAMPOO BARS
Are you ready to make the switch to a natural shampoo bar?
The most common email we receive from new natural shampoo bar users goes like this . . . "I just love the idea of using an all-natural shampoo, but my hair feels funny!"
Part of the magic (and frustration) of switching to a natural shampoo bar is that they provide a unique experience for each person.
A natural shampoo may work wonders for one individual, while for another person it may not be a great match. Buy that is totally ok!
Think about it -- how many times have you tried a new product based on a recommendation from a friend only to discover it was not for you?
You are unique and your shampoo bar experience is all about tuning in to your own personal body chemistry.
Although many customers have no problems transitioning from detergent shampoo to a natural shampoo bar, it is not uncommon for some to experience the "my hair feels funny" syndrome.
The transition period can range from a few days to a few weeks. It really depends on:
- how damaged your hair is
- how much residue and build-up is present
- your genetics
- your water
- the technique that you use to shampoo your hair.
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 as your scalp works to re-balance its oil production.
Our bodies are quite resistant to change. Our bodies enjoy the status quo. They see change as a disruption and often resist change even if it is a positive one. When we change anything, especially something we have been doing for a long time whether it be diet, exercise, or shampoo, our body simply needs time to adjust and accept the change.
For some people their hair literally has to learn how to live without synthetic chemicals.
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.
Why Is Your Shampoo Technique Important?
Your shampoo technique may be the most critical part to ensure success with a natural shampoo bar.
The "weird hair" feeling happens most often when the soap residue does not completely rinse out of the length of your hair.
Our natural shampoo bars are a lot more concentrated than liquid shampoos. They are superfatted and thus contain extra oils and butters to nourish your hair. If you do not build a nice lather and rinse really well you will have areas that remain coated with the soap oils, which can make it look or feel “gummy.”
Change Your Shampoo Technique: There are some small tweaks that could make a big difference. The purpose of shampooing your hair is to remove dirt and excess oils from the roots. You do NOT need to apply shampoo from roots to tips. Focus only on your scalp.
***Notice in the techniques below that we do NOT recommend rubbing the bar or lathering up the length of your hair with a natural shampoo bar. These bars are rich in nourishing oils and butters which can be difficult to rinse out of most hair types.
As you use your fingers to rinse the lather through the strands, there is enough shampoo to clean the length. These techniques help prevent coating your hair strands with shampoo residue.
That being said, if you have short hair or hair that is fine with direct application, do what works best for you!
Natural Shampoo Technique
This is the best technique if you are new to natural shampoo bars, have adjustment issues, or have long or thick hair.
Wet Hair: One of the most important steps is to begin with thoroughly wet hair--I mean a lot of water. Be sure that the water saturates your hair all the way down to the roots.
Create the Lather: There are two possible ways both of which help prevent pockets of soap residue left in your hair that can make hair feel tacky.
- Create a nice foamy lather by rubbing the wet bar between your hands, a soap pouch, or a natural sponge, and use only the lather to wash your scalp.
- Create a nice foamy lather by rubbing the shampoo bar on the TOP of your head only. Rub in only one direction to prevent tangling.
Massage the Lather into your Scalp only at the roots of the hair until you work up a really good lather
- It is very important to work the shampoo into your scalp with water and really build up a good lather so there are no patches of soap left on your hair.
- Lathering up also allows the dirt and extra oils to be washed away.
- If the lather is not foamy enough, add more water.
Gently massage into scalp and allow the lather to cascade down to the tips of your hair,
Using your Fingers like a Comb: use your fingers to smooth the lather as it cascades down to the tips of your hair while you rinse with water. To prevent tangles, be sure to always work from the top down, use your fingers like a comb, not a mixer, and don't pile your hair on your head,
Rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse and rinse again. I cannot stress how important this step is to shampoo bar success. In order to remove the excess shampoo, which can leave a filmy feeling and weigh hair down, do NOT rush this step! The rinsing should take longer than washing and lathering time.
- If your hair is long or thick, lift up sections of your hair to ensure that all of the shampoo is rinsed clean. Don’t neglect parts of your head that are more difficult to reach, such as the nape of your neck or the back of your head.
- Repeat if desired but I found that as my hair adjusted I only needed one round of shampoo.
Relax, you can wash your hair with natural shampoo every day if you desire! It cleans thoroughly without drying or coating your hair or scalp. Dry and style your hair as normal.
If you have very long hair, check out my (Ida's) shampoo technique. I use it every day! Read "How To Use A Natural Shampoo Bar."
Do Not Use Too Much Shampoo: We know people love loads of lather but a large volume of lather is not necessary to clean the hair.
Perhaps after your last shampoo, your hair felt waxy. So now it is tempting to use even more shampoo with a single wash. More is NOT better! Remember you are really just trying to wash your scalp and you do not need a lot of product to accomplish that. Too much shampoo makes rinsing more difficult.
Shampoo Twice: If you are used to commercial shampoo and shampoo twice, you will have already noticed that the second wash produces a lot more lather. The first wash is mixing with the dirt and excess oil in your hair so the second wash is working on cleaner hair. The same is true for our shampoo bars.
So, instead of using more shampoo with one washing, I like to rinse and repeat, again cleansing only the scalp! I find that the second wash creates a better, more intense lather that rinses cleaner and leaves my hair feeling softer and shinier.
Rinse! Rinse! Rinse!: I know I am repeating myself, but I cannot stress this enough! Unlike liquid or syndet bar detergent sulfate shampoos, the lather from a natural shampoo bar may not rinse out as quickly, especially in hard water. Make sure to rinse thoroughly. This is especially true if you have long hair.
Our natural shampoo bars do NOT contain synthetic surfactants or detergent foam boosters.
The products you have used or continue to use and the condition of your hair will definitely affect the way in which a shampoo bar will work with your hair.
Other Things to Consider When Switching to a Natural Shampoo Bar
Adding a New Hair Care Product
Like your gut and your skin, your scalp has a microbiome that has developed over the years. While it may not be the best microbiome for healthy hair, it is the only one your scalp knows.
As you transition to a completely new product, your microbiome will change.
Commercial shampoos contain detergent surfactants that can strip the natural protective oils from your hair and often replace them with a smooth coating of silicone or another chemical.
Now although your hair feels nice and soft, your scalp is actually dry and will produce excess sebum (natural oil) to compensate. Your scalp then becomes conditioned to this vicious cycle of excess oil production.
As you transition to a gentle natural shampoo bar, your scalp needs time to rebalance scalp oil production. During this transition period, which varies by person and hair type, hair may feel extra greasy or heavy.
We use only natural and organic ingredients in our shampoo bars.
The synthetic detergents in liquid shampoos and even some shampoo bars make for quite a different shampoo experience. You may notice your hair feels different immediately after washing because your hair is accustomed to the smooth, squeaky-clean feel of detergent-based shampoo.
As you switch from your synthetic detergent shampoo to a natural shampoo bar--your hair may have increased tangles, more frizz, and may even feel waxy.
Your hair literally has to learn how to live without the chemicals.
Using The Wrong Shampoo Bar
Another common problem for those new to shampoo bars is that they aren't using the right bar for their unique hair type.
Just like conventional shampoos, our natural shampoo bars also offer different formulas for different hair types.
Part of the magic (and sometimes frustration) of the switch to a natural shampoo bar is that they provide a uniquely personal experience.
When changing any routine to which your body has become accustomed the experience is all about learning to listen to your body and to pay attention to your own personal body chemistry.
Give it some time. But if one bar really is not working for you, try another one before you give up. It's important to remember everyone’s hair type is unique. Each of our shampoo bar recipes is unique--try different samples.
A great thing about shampoo bars is that you can use them as ordinary soap bars as well. So if it is not the right bar for your hair, you can use it as a body or hand soap--no waste!
Not sure where to start-- click here and we can help you choose a natural shampoo bar. We have found that Coconut Milk Shampoo is a good place to start!
Hard Water Affects Your Hair
If your hair does not seem to be adjusting to the shampoo bars, it may be due to your water. The characteristics of your water can determine how well (or poorly) your shampoo and conditioning routine works.
Hard water can make it more difficult to create a good lather and to rinse all of the natural shampoo lather from your hair. It is a fact that synthetic detergents rinse more easily in hard water than soap, which is why detergents became the laundry detergent of choice by most people.
Developing a proper shampoo technique can help prevent pockets of shampoo residue that can make hair feel a gummy, especially if your hair is long.
A few tips if you have hard water:
- Try using distilled water to rinse your hair
- Buy an inexpensive shower filter head.
- Another little trick is to add a pinch of baking soda to a quart of warm water. Use this solution to wet hair before shampooing. It can help the shampoo bar lather better and thus rinse out more thoroughly.
- Read more about Baking Soda for build-up
Do You Have Product Build Up on Your Hair
Our natural shampoo bars do not strip hair in the same way as detergent-based shampoos. Our gentle shampoo bars may have a difficult time removing the build-up of chemicals that have been deposited in your hair over the years.
The products you have used or continue to use and the condition of your hair will definitely affect the way in which a natural shampoo bar will work with your hair.
To remove residue try a baking soda clarifying rinse.
Learn More Blog: "Hair and Scalp Build-Up? What Can Help?"
Quick Tips To Transition To Natural Shampoo Bars!
Keep Hair as Natural As Possible: We all want beautiful hair, but too often we depend on "miracle products" to fix our hair troubles. This means years and years of using synthetic styling products and conditioners that promise volume, body, fullness, and shine. It may also mean over-processing with coloring agents and excessive heat. All of these things can prevent hair from being its natural “self.”
Use Your Natural Scalp Oil--The Secret to Healthy Hair: The sebum naturally produced by your scalp may actually hold the key to beautiful hair. Depending on your hair type proper hair brushing, sometimes called "dry brushing" can help condition your hair. Using full strokes, brush the hair from the scalp to the tips helps to distribute the natural hair oils produced by your scalp. Be gentle, and do not brush hair when wet or tangled to prevent breakage.
For those with curly or kinky hair use your hands as a brush to distribute the natural scalp oil from your roots to the ends of your hair.
Do NOT Lather the Length of Your Hair: The purpose of shampooing your hair is to remove dirt and excess oils from your scalp and hair roots. You do NOT need to apply shampoo from roots to tips. Focus only on your scalp. This technique helps prevent coating your hair strands with shampoo that can leave a residue.
Rinse! Rinse! Rinse!: Again, make sure to rinse thoroughly. This is especially true if you have long hair.
To Help Rinse Clean: Use an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse.
An apple cider vinegar-based rinse, which can help restore life to your hair and scalp, is a great addition to any hair care regimen, no matter what type of shampoo products you use.
Give your hair time to settle into using natural shampoo bars and you should feel the benefits of a healthier scalp.
After a bit of experimenting, we believe you can find a truly natural shampoo bar that lathers well, rinses out completely, and leaves your hair feeling clean, soft, silky, and radiantly healthy.
I love your shampoo bars Ida and co. I live in London UK and have really hard water. I lather and wash my hair twice with a bar, then rinse with plain water. I then rinse with citric acid crystals dissolved in water as my hair hates vinegar. I don't even have to use conditioner anymore. Hair shedding is massively reduced as is breakage. Shine is fabulous! And I love that the ingredients are natural. I do a baking soda wash once a month in case of build-up. My favorites are Coconut Milk, Cafe Moreno, and Mud & Clay. -- Juliette, United Kingdom