shampoo bar

Switching to Shampoo Bars

So, you’ve decided to start your Zero Waste journey and one of the first things you decide you are going to swap is your shampoo. Easy you think, I can stop buying plastic bottles full of shampoo and switch to a lovely shampoo bar for my Zero Waste Haircare routine.

But, so many people make this switch and after only one or two washes they decide shampoo bars aren’t for them. When you first start using a shampoo bar your hair may feel oily, waxy or even sticky. And, that’s not something you want.

But don’t despair this is just usually a short transition period whilst your hair is getting used to the new shampoo bar and the build-up of residue from your old shampoo products is being washed away.

Shampoo Bar Transition Period

So, what is the transition period and how long will it last?

If you’ve been using commercial bottled shampoos for a long time they’ve probably stripped your hair of their natural oils and created a build-up of wax and synthetic silicones. Switching to a milder shampoo bar will allow your hair to restore its natural oils but this may take a little bit of time.

This will be different for everyone and will depend on your hair type, what type of products you’ve used previously and the length of your hair.

Some people won’t even notice a transition period and for some it may take over 10 washes for hair to adjust. But, on average it’s usually around 5 washes.

How to Use A Solid Shampoo Bar

Firstly, make sure you choose the right shampoo bar for your hair type. And, you may need to try out a couple of different ones before you find the perfect one for your hair.

I love the shampoo bars from Primal Suds and Wild and Sage which are available in my new TMG Zero Waste Shop.

When you first start using a shampoo bar you may want to lather the soap up in your hands first and then add foam to your hair. Once you’ve done this wash as normal.
If you live in a hard water area you may need to rinse or spray hair with a vinegar rinse of 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (ACV) per cup of warm water and rinse out.

Hints + Tips

To help with the transition period you can help remove the build up from your old shampoo and hair care products by rinsing your hair with 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda dissolved in a cup of warm water.

Another trick if you live in a hard water area is to add a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to a pint of warm water. Use this solution to wet hair before shampooing. It can help the shampoo bar lather better and rinse out more thoroughly.

And, rinse, rinse, rinse – always make sure you have rinsed your hair thoroughly after shampooing.

Caring for your shampoo bar

Since handmade shampoo bars and soaps have no chemical preservatives, they deserve a little bit of attention to keep them happy and prolong their life.

When you are not using your shampoo bar it’s best to keep it out of water on a well-drained surface so that it completely dries between uses. Use a soap dish (wooden dishes with open slats are perfect) or you could even use a few pebbles in a dish, you just need something to allow it to drain.

This will help make your shampoo bar last, so you can get the most from it and keep it feeling naturally fresh and fragrant for as long as possible!

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19 thoughts on “Zero Waste Haircare – All you need to know about using a Shampoo Bar”

  1. I’ve been using a shampoo bar from Lush for a few months now and I love it. I’m restricted in what shampoos I can use due to allergies, so shampoo bars tend to be great for me, as they don’t usually include my allergy trigger. My hair adjusted without me even noticing a difference, but then I do have to use quite mild shampoos due to the allergies, so that might be a factor. I love that they last for so long too – I’ve still not finished my first bar!

    1. I don’t know if you knew but the lush bars often still have the normal chemicals in them that standard shampoos have. So it is reduced in waste but could probably still contain SLS in it which is the foaming agent and can be harmful.

      1. Thanks, I don’t personally buy anything from Lush as I find the smell in the shop overpowering. The shampoo Bars I recommend are handmade in the UK and don’t contain SLS

    1. Shampoo bars are definitely worth trying and most of the handmade ones are totally plastic free so are a great way to cut down on plastic. I love the Zero Waste ethos and every little we can do to help cut down waste can only be a good thing.

    1. Shampoo bars are definitely worth trying and most of the handmade ones are totally plastic free. I love the Zero Waste ethos and every little we can do to help cut down waste can only be a good thing.

  2. I need to go back to using shampoo bars, I used to love them but haven’t use one in ages now. I’ve just gone back to soap instead of shower gel so really need to make this change too.

    1. There are so many lovely shampoo bars to choose from now and it’s great that most of them come without any plastic so it’s a really good way to reduce plastic.

    1. You can also buy conditioner bars or Wild and sage have just brought out a new conditioner in a glass bottle. Although quite a few people find they don’t need a conditioner after they switch to shampoo bars as the natural oils in their hair are restored.

  3. Hard water is a factor most adherants of shampoo bars or no-poo/low-poo never bring up and it’s important – a deal breaker. The other important thing is what’s in your natural hair wash of choice. About 95% of all bars of soap, regardless of intended use, are made with industrial chemicals. Most hand made shampoo bars are true soap, which, if you have hard water, is chemically unsuitable for use with hard water. It’s a pH issue, among other things. Since I live in a place with very hard water I’ve not been able to find a suitable shampoo bar. Ditto most “natural” liquid shampoos. A vinegar rinse is no help, neither is the Dr. Bronners rinse. I’ve tried multiple options and once went as long as 42 days with rather unpleasant results. If we had soft water, who knows. The most natural, SLS free, option I’ve found is a soap nuts based shampoo, Naturoli. It works for me and I rarely bother with a vinegar rinse, just the shampoo. It comes in a plastic bottle, but that’s my trade-off for putting fewer chemicals on myself.

    1. Yes, hard water is a huge factor in how well your hair will take to solid shampoo bars. And, unfortunately we have very hard water in our area. We all have to make choices for what’s best for us and unfortunately that often means a trade off, but we can only do our best 🙂

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