Everything You Need to Know About Shampoo Bars
What are Shampoo Bars?
Are Shampoo Bars Just Soap?
Much like liquid shampoos, solid shampoo bars are hair products that contain different formulations and no two ones are exactly the same! Some shampoo bars can be used as an all-around cleanser for your hair and body. Usually, though, shampoo bars have to clean up a lot more grease deposits in our scalp which may make them stronger in formulation than a regular bar soap. They usually also contain more natural oils that help condition your hair.
Do Shampoo Bars Really Work for Your Hair?
There are shampoo bars for different types of hair, so the trick here is finding the one that works best for your hair care needs! My hair is on the oilier side, so I’m careful to find a product that is more clarifying. It’s a trial and error process, really. Making the switch from a liquid shampoo to a shampoo bar requires a little experimentation. But don’t worry. Since there are a wide range of shampoo bar products available, you’ll be bound to find one that suits you best.
Here are a few broad types of solid shampoo bars:
Cold-pressed shampoo bars
These are all-natural shampoo bars, and ones that you can count on to be free of that icky sodium lauryl sulfate. Typically handcrafted or sold by organic/natural product companies, the cold-pressed shampoo bar will have more natural oils than others to help condition your hair. Sadly, the waxy nature of these oils when mixed with water tends to cause build-up in your scalp. But if you’re worried about removing build-up, you won’t have to worry because an apple cider vinegar rinse usually does the trick.
Glycerin-based shampoo bars
These shampoo bars are the more gentle kind. Those with porous or curly hair might want to opt for this to avoid that waxy feeling from other natural shampoo bars. However, while they are more pH balanced, they don’t lather the same way liquid and bar shampoos do.
Solid surfactant shampoo bars
Solid shampoo bars are the kind usually found online or sold by brands such as Lush, and among the other kinds, they’re the ones who have a high lather level. They’re formulated so as to coat your hair in just three or more strokes and can last even longer than one bottle of liquid shampoo.
Why Use a Shampoo Bar?
Shampoo bars have been popular since their conception, and now that companies have made different formulations for all hair types, you’ll find one that suits your hair type. If you think about it, the benefits of shampoo bars are more than enough to outweigh their cons. Let’s take a look at some of these benefits:
Shampoo Bars are waste-free
You might wonder, why do I have to switch to a solid shampoo bar when natural liquid shampoos exist? Well, a shampoo bar is not only more clarifying and less stripping when compared to commercial shampoos, but when put side by side with natural liquid shampoos, you can see it requires little to no packaging. Much like bar soaps, they don’t need a container to last long. So while natural liquid shampoos can contain the same benefits of solid shampoo bars, their plastic containers still contribute to overall waste.
Now, with the proliferation of sachets, plastic containers, and sando bags, it is hard to imagine a waste-free world. But it actually used to be very accessible! My Lola would always tell me stories about going to the market with her container for vinegar and a woven basket to buy fruits. Back then, plastic containers weren’t the norm.
While larger companies have made it harder to go back to that lifestyle, there’s always something we could do to lessen our own waste. We might think that buying a shampoo bottle doesn’t make a dent, but think about how much we buy in a month. Now, multiply that number by how many people in the world buy/throw away these bottles. We may not have the exact number, but we know it’s a lot!
The good news is, making the switch to a waste-free solid shampoo bar is going to make a world of difference, especially if we all do it. It’s not an instant solution, but it’s a jumping-off point to a more sustainable lifestyle. Not only will your hair and scalp thank you, the planet will, too. That’s a win-win in my book.
Shampoo bars come in different shapes and sizes, and most of them are compact enough to fit in a travel-sized bag. If you travel a lot and find it hard to pack toiletries, this is a great option.
They contain fewer chemicals
Liquid shampoo will typically cover your hair with more unnecessary chemicals than it should, resulting in dryness, frizziness, or just more long-term hair damage. Typically, shampoo bars do not contain these harsh ingredients, making them a safer option. They are also a great option for bleached hair or hair with dyed colors, because they do not strip away that beautiful color. If you want to find out more, everything you need to know about caring for your bleached hair can be found here.
For some reason, organic and natural products tend to be associated with a high price tag. But that’s not the case! Shampoo bars, especially those from ethical small enterprises, are available in smaller sizes to accommodate what we know as tingi culture. This is when consumers favor buying smaller portions of food, spices, fruits, etc. because they’re more affordable in the short run. Plenty of people simply cannot afford buying large quantities of goods at once, even though it actually saves more in the long run. Organic shampoo bars are more accessible while being reasonably priced.
While it’s not at all difficult to use, the switch to a shampoo bar may be a learning curve. After all, they’re formulated differently, so it’s only natural they feel different than a normal liquid shampoo would.
For a beginner, try to use a shampoo bar on your hair the way you normally would use a soap on your body. Take the shampoo bar and rub it directly onto your hair until you feel the lather building up. How long it takes to lather and cover the hair and scalp will depend on each product. After then, you can massage your scalp as if you were using a liquid shampoo.
If the above method doesn’t work for you (plenty say it tangles the hair and makes it hard to rinse) you can try lathering the shampoo bar in your hands with running water then massaging your scalp.
How long does it take to adjust to shampoo bars?
As we mentioned, switching to shampoo bars is a process of trial and error. If you want to experiment first to see if shampoo bars are the right fit for you, you can buy in small packs. Some shampoo bars are sold in smaller sample sizes for this purpose.
Where to Buy Shampoo Bars
Now that you know everything you need to know about shampoo bars, the only thing left to do is to make the switch! There are plenty of options available online, and here are a few of our favorites:
Shampoo bars are an eco-friendly solution to common hair problems. They’re affordable, travel-friendly, and contain less chemicals compared to normal liquid shampoos. Now, you can make the switch to a plastic-free and all-natural regimen and see the benefits for yourself!
Joey is an AB Psychology graduate of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod. Her life’s passions include writing, film, and spending hours on end binge-watching fashion vloggers on Youtube.