I've been using shampoo bars for 8 years but I can still remember how hesitant I was to make the switch. As a former hair product junkie, with curly/frizzy hair and an itchy scalp I had a lot of hair identity issues that went back years.
At the time my knowledge of plastic pollution was non existent. Especially with my flaky scalp I was always trying hair products. My daughter got me interested. We were living a rugged life on a remote Maine island. While I had yet to learn about the Zero Waste movement, trash was an issue as well as water. Solar showers were how we got clean. It seemed like a good time to make the switch to shampoo bars and give up the bottle for a simple, long lasting bar.
It's important to spend some time researching the wide variety of shampoo bars available. Everyone's hair is unique and different blends of oils work for different hair types. Be a bit like Goldilocks, there is a perfect bar for your hair and once you find it you'll be happy for years and years.
It's also important to be aware of your water. In general, hard water makes shampoo bars a challenge. Hard water tends to be water that has a high mineral content. Shampoo bars are trickier with hard water because they can react with the minerals to form soap scum. With conventional shampoos this problem is eliminated by using petrochemicals. Made in factories using synthetic ingredients they lather and rinse easily in all types of water but.....
Shampoo bars work differently than conventional shampoos and conditioners. Be aware that it might take a week or two for your hair to adjust. At first, your hair might be oilier, drier or prone to frizz. Your hair is going thru a detox period and needs to get rid of all the chemicals that are in many hair products.
Start by making a lather in the palms of your hand- and add the suds to your hair. Shampoo as usual but spend more time rinsing. Unlike liquid shampoos the suds may not rinse out as quickly. You might also find you don't need to shampoo as often. Conventional products are designed to be used up so you'll purchase more. They tend to strip hair of natural oils while adding an artificial gloss due to ingredients like silicones, dimethicones, and polymers- all forms of plastic.
An apple cider vinegar hair rinse is a good way to help the transition. ACV helps balance the ph of your hair, detangles and softens. When I first started with shampoo bars I used a vinegar rinse with each shampoo. Now that my hair has adjusted and happy I use vinegar only occasionally to "clarify" or remove product build up- which is normal and similar to exfoliating. Be sure to dilute your vinegar. In general, oily hair likes vinegar and a half and half mixture works great. Drier hair prefers less vinegar and 1/4 ACV to water is a good blend. Be sure to rinse well. Hair vinegar is easy to DIY and our ACV blog has more info.
There are lots of options on the market for shampoo bars. It's a real opportunity to #votewithyourmoney. One of the reasons many of us choose to make the switch is we care about the environment. If the price of the shampoo bar seems too good to be true, chances are the environment is ultimately paying the price. At Dulse & Rugosa our shampoo bars are palm oil free and rich in nourishing Maine seaweed.
We'd love to hear about your shampoo bar experience.