For years, bar shampoo has been popular among backpackers, campers, and frequent travelers due to their light weight, ease of use, and TSA compliance. More recently, however, more and more people have begun to wash their hair with bar shampoo on a daily basis.
Making the switch from liquid shampoo and conditioner to a shampoo bar for daily use has numerous benefits. If you are considering switching, but are still on the fence, keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of shampoo bars to see whether they’re right for you.
What is Bar Shampoo?
Simply put, shampoo bars are all natural shampoo in a bar form. Shampoo bars are made using a similar process as bar soap, but contain slightly different ingredients that vary depending on what type of hair they were formulated for (normal, thin, thick, straight, curly, dry, damaged, oily, etc.)
Shampoo bars are not a new idea and were actually common place before liquid detergent based shampoos and conditioners became popular in the 1940’s. Today, in part because consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable products made with natural ingredients, and worried about the growing environmental destruction caused by single-use plastic bottles, shampoo bars are making a comeback.
Just like liquid shampoo, shampoo bars are designed primarily to help eliminate dirt and build-up and leave you with soft, shiny, clean, manageable hair. However, unlike most liquid shampoo, shampoo bars don’t contain artificial colors or fragrances, preservatives, chemical detergents, alcohol, urea, formaldehyde, SLS, DEA, propylene glycol, or other synthetic ingredients. Instead, most are specially formulated with natural plant oils, butters, botanicals, clays, and essential oils that nourish your hair and scalp, and work just as effectively as liquid shampoos and conditioners.
Shampoo bars are gentle and do not strip your hair of natural oils, allowing it to retain moisture while balancing sebum production. Your hair and scalp will get a break from harmful synthetic ingredients that rob them of moisture. It is normal for your hair and scalp to have a brief “adjustment” period when you first make the change from liquid shampoos.
Shampoo Bar Benefits
One of the main benefits of shampoo bars is that they are more cost effective and last longer then bottled shampoo. With the water removed, shampoo bars are highly concentrated and can last as long as several bottles of liquid shampoo. As they contain high quality, all natural ingredients, and no synthetic detergents or harmful chemicals, most people who switch to shampoo bars can skip conditioner and save additional money.
Another benefit of shampoo bars is how convenient they are to use. With a shampoo bar you can just grab the bar and lather up. There’s no more leaking, slippery, and difficult to open shampoo bottles. Shampoo bars can be stored in a soap dish or small tin and don’t take up as much space as liquid shampoo bottles. That’s particularly useful if you live in a small apartment or RV and don’t have much room in your tub or shower.
Shampoo bars are great when it comes to traveling. They don’t have to go in a liquids bag since they’re TSA approved as solids. They’re also much smaller than bottled shampoo and will easily fit in your suitcase or backpack. The best part about traveling with shampoo bars is that they won’t leak in your luggage.
Finally, shampoo bars have become more popular in recent years as demand for environmentally-friendly products has increased. Many people are looking to cut down on the plastic in their lives whether it’s getting rid of plastic bags, straws, or plastic bottles.
Replacing your bottled shampoo with a shampoo bar is a great way to transition your health and beauty routine to one that is more eco-friendly. Shampoo bars are biodegradable and don’t come in plastic packaging. They’re also free of toxic chemicals that can find their way into waterways and animals.
Shampoo Bar Drawbacks
One of the main drawbacks of regularly using shampoo bars is that they tend to be waxier than their bottled alternatives. They contain higher amounts of saponified oils that react with water and create a waxy consistency. This layer of wax can stay on hair strands, weighing them down over time. To avoid this drawback, many people rinse their hair once or twice a week using an apple cider vinegar rinse. The acidic nature of the vinegar helps balance your hairs PH, remove the waxy coating, and allows your scalp to breathe.
Another drawback of using shampoo bars can occur if you have very curly or long hair. In this case, shampoo bars might not be your best option, as the process of rubbing the bar directly on hair can cause longer hair to become frizzy or tangle individual strands of curly hair, making them difficult to comb. Luckily, this can be avoided by rubbing the shampoo bar between your hands first to create a soapy lather, and then applying the lather to hair using your palms just like you would a normal shampoo.
Picking the Right Shampoo Bar
If neither of the drawbacks above is a major concern for you, then you are probably ready to start using shampoo bars on a regular basis. The next step is to pick one that is right for you. Thankfully, the market for shampoo bars is growing every day, as new products come out that provide options for different hair types and needs.
Still, finding the right bar might take a little time. We suggest checking out a few different bars to find the one that work best for you. Wild Raven Soap currently offers four different types of shampoo bars, as well as a conditioning balm and oil for a variety of hair types, and we’re happy to provide samples to anyone who is ready to make the switch. Feel free to browse our selection and let us know if you have questions.