If you are trying to reduce your use of plastic, then you will more than likely have considered using a shampoo bar. With plastic free living firmly on the agenda using bars rather than liquid shampoo in plastic bottles is a great way to reduce the plastic waste in your life.
So, what are shampoo bars and how do they compare to bottle shampoo? Shampoo bars are exactly what they say they are. Shampoo in a bar or solid format. Apparently, a shampoo bar can replace 2 to 3 bottles of shampoo. I haven’t put this to the test yet but if I do I will post my findings!
What are the Benefits of Shampoo Bars?
The first and most obvious benefit of using shampoo bars is the packaging or rather the lack of packaging. We can all make a difference if we change our habits gradually. Not only does reducing your plastic waste benefit the environment it also reduces the bulk when you are travelling. One or two less bottles in your wash bag will make all the difference to your luggage.
The second benefit is that many shampoo bars do not include harsh ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which is a powerful detergent, so they won’t strip your hair and scalp of natural moisture. Read more about SLS in my previous blog here.
Finally, you may not even need a separate conditioner if you switch to shampoo bars. Your hair will feel different to begin with as shampoo bars will clear any residue left from using traditional bottle shampoos. The hair and scalp will adjust to your new routine after a week or so of washing with a bar so you will need to be patient and give them time to adjust.
Are There any Drawbacks of Shampoo Bars?
This is not a drawback as such but an extra step may be required in your routine. Many shampoo bar users use a final hair rinse of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and this depends on the type of water. If your water is hard then you will most likely need a rinse but if not, you can probably get away with no rinse. The science behind this is that shampoo bars can react with the ions in the water (ions are the cause of water hardness) and this can make your hair dry and dull. To counteract this an acidic rinse will be required. You can use ACV or fresh lemon juice (1 tablespoon of either) diluted in one litre of water. There are numerous benefits of using an ACV hair rinse which you can read about in my previous blog here.
Are all Shampoo Bars the Same?
Not all shampoo bars are out of the same mould. For a truly natural shampoo bar you will want to look out for a cold process bar. The clue here will be in the list of ingredients as it will be full of beneficial oils such as castor oil, coconut oil etc.
Watch out for synthetic detergent shampoo bars as their main ingredient is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which is a known skin irritant that won’t do your hair or scalp any favours.
If you want to learn to make your own shampoo bars check out my soap making course page here.