Top Tips for Switching to a Shampoo Bar
I get asked a lot about my transition into using natural and plastic free shampoo bars vs liquid shampoos in bottles. I have been using a shampoo bar for about 2 years and have tried a number of different vegan and natural shampoo bars during this time. I bought my first one just before I went to Portugal on holiday in 2019 - I wanted to pack light and as I was travelling around Portugal so it felt like a perfect time to try one. I hadn’t heard about a transition period when switching to natural shampoo bars and I hadn’t really thought about how to get the most out of my bar either. Since launching The Plastic Free Life it is something I have thought about often and spoken about with friends and family, so I have pulled together some hints and tips for you are ready to ditch the plastic bottles and switch to a natural shampoo bar.
Why Make the Switch?
One of the main reasons people make the switch is simply because a bar is plastic free. The UK alone will throw away around 520 million plastic shampoo bottles a year and with around 80% of people being unsure of what can actually be recycled a lot of these bottles can end up going to landfill rather than being recycled. I often get asked what I recommend from people who are looking for a plastic free alternative to shampoo and conditioner.
All our shampoo bars are also vegan, cruelty free and natural which means they are free from any SLS, Sulphates, detergents and Parabens - chemicals which are often found in shampoos which can have adverse effects on your body and health. You can check out my blog on the most common toxic chemicals found in cosmetics here.
One of the main reasons I made the switch was because I wanted something smaller when travelling. I had heard that shampoo bars were great for travellers because you could include them in your carry on but also never ran the risk of them leaking.
My Top Tips for Switching to a Shampoo Bar
1. Keep it dry in between use
This is a useful tip for any soap bars, ensuring they are kept dry in between used will prolong their life. Investing in a soap dish which is deep enough will help you keep your bar dry and lasting much longer. My Zero Waste path Shampoo Bar has lasted me 5 months which I was really impressed with when you consider the size and I keep it in my soap dish and ensure it doesn't sit in any left over water.
2. There may be an adjustment period
I went through this with my first shampoo bar, I nearly stopped using it because it felt like I hadn’t washed it out properly. I did a bit of research and found that this is actually quite common when you are switching from using a chemical based product to something natural. When using shampoos which are conditioning, they will coat your hair in chemicals, it can take a few attempts to wash this out of your hair. A great way to avoid ‘commercial products’ build up is by giving your hair a rinse with baking soda. This will help remove excess oil and products from your hair. You can make this rinse by mixing baking soda (1 tbl spoon) with 250ml water and massage into your hair. This could help reduce the adjustment period on your hair or you can just be persistent and you will see the difference after about 4 washes.
3. Rinse well
I see a big difference in my hair when I don’t rinse it properly. You get a waxy feeling or your hair feels a bit greasy, especially in hard water areas like mine. This is because there is more minerals in the water which can coat your hair. If you feel the hard water in your area is causing your hair to become more tangled or greasy then you could always use pre-boiled water from your kettle. I personally don’t bother as I don’t see a massive difference in my hair, I just take more time ensuring the shampoo is completely rinsed from my hair.
4. Lather in your hands first
When I tried my first shampoo bar from Eco Warrior I was told to lather it in my hands first and I wasn’t 100% sure why but now I understand there is a difference between the two. You want to only rub the lather into your hair not the bar itself as you can over use the product when rubbing it directly into your hair. You also don’t need a huge amount of lather for it to wash your hair properly.
5. A little goes a long way
My current shampoo & conditioner bar has lasted me 5 months and I have about 2 months left on it. One thing I have definitely noticed from switching to a plastic free shampoo bar is that I use less. It was so easy to go overboard when using liquid and I always felt I needed a lot to feel like my hair was clean and conditioned. Now I use a much smaller amount as the bar lathers really well and leaves my hair feeling really clean.
6. Check if your bar recommends an Vinegar Rinse
Many natural shampoo bars recommend a vinegar rinse. This is to remove any soap that may be left on your hair. A vinegar rinse is a great natural way to keep your hair shiny and feeling super soft. It is easy to make your own rinse using apple cider vinegar & water. Just mix together 4 parts vinegar to 1 part water and use after washing your hair with a shampoo bar. You can spray this onto your hair for ease, massage in and wash out after 30 seconds.
7. Get a Shampoo bar that works with your hair type.
Our Zero Waste Path shampoo bar and 2 in 1 bars are created for certain hair types. It's based on the ingredients within the bar that will help tackle certain hair issues. Understanding what your hair type is will help you get the best bar for your hair and the most out of your bar. Whether its Itchy or sensitive, Dry & Curly, Oily & Fine you can find a bar which suits you best. We also do normal bars if you feel your hair doesn't fall into a particular category.
Switching to a shampoo bar can seem daunting to begin with if you are used to using liquid shampoo. For me it was all about trying something new and sticking with it, I had used liquid shampoo my whole life and didn’t expect a bar to lather as well as they do. You can check out our product pages for some great customer reviews on these bars. I am so happy I made the switch.