When we found out our oldest daughter had asthma, allergies, and excema as a toddler, we made changes in our home almost overnight. When a child is sick, you do everything you can just to make sure they are healthy and comfortable. Over the past 18 years, we have replaced almost 100% of the products in our home, with eco-friendly, natural, skin safe, scent free options. This is what lead us to switching to all natural Shampoo Bars, and creating most of our bath products, cleaning supplies, soap, lotions, lip balms, candles, even bug repellant. I started looking into shampoo bars, and realized there is an entire movement of people refusing the traditional silicone, detergent, SLS, chemical ridden shampoo. They use a rotation of water, honey, apple cider vinegar, and other natural products to keep their hair clean. I am definitely not prepared for that journey, however there was some neat stories others had shared on their discovery of the No-Poo method.
I was nervous about not using my regular shampoo, but as I watched others using literally nothing but water and claiming their hair was clean and healthy, I knew I had nothing to lose with trying a different method. I started researching different recipes and the chemistry behind what would be required in a great shampoo bar, that was great for the scalp, hair and different skin types. I looked into a few options:
Dry shampoos - Usually a leave in product or aerosol spray. Cons - ah aerosol!
Syndet bars (synthetic detergent)
- Pros - Made without lye, so can be balanced closer to the hairs naturally acidic pH. Zero Waste. Because it acts like a detergent has a great lather.
- Cons - Contains a few chemicals that are fairly new to the market and are not 100% natural. In most cases to form the bars you need a press to mold them together. These bars are more costly, require special equipment, and have a shelf life, so chemical additives are usually required.
Shampoo Soap Bars Cold Process
- Pros - I was familiar with this method, and the ingredients required. Can make swirls and bars look smoother and more uniform. Longer lasting than normal shampoo. No silicone, no extra chemicals or preservatives. Zero Waste!
- Cons - Because this is made with lye to become soap, the pH sits closer to 8 which is thought to be damaging to your hair. Not as much foam and lather as SYNDET or traditional shampoo
Shampoo Soap Bars Hot Process
- Pros - Can add natural additives after trace to help lower pH, bars also are known to cure quicker. Zero waste
- Cons - More labour intensive, takes longer. Cannot make fancy swirls, and makes a more rustic looking batch of soap.
Our first batch took me forever to come up with. I've spent a lot of time trying not to damage my hair, I wasn't about to create any old shampoo bar recipe. I decided on cold process method with ACV, and contained 11 different nourishing and luxurious butters and oils. I knew that if it failed as a shampoo bar, it would still be an amazing body bar. We made sure to research every oil in different combinations to make sure we made something that wouldn't weigh hair down. We made 3 small batches, with each one having slightly different properties. I have long, fine, limp hair. My husband has thick, coarse, short hair. The essentials oils chosen were added strictly as a benefit to hair.
Keep in mind that these are our results only, according to our hair types - there are all sorts of horror stories on the web for transition periods of switching from traditional shampoo bottles to shampoo soap. Also not all shampoo bars are created equal, you should look into what ingredients you are using every day, and ask questions to the companies/businesses making them. A soap bar that's good enough for your body, doesn't mean it will benefit your hair and scalp.
Scents: Lovely and light for a light spa/zen like experience. The rosemary mint bar gave my scalp a nice refreshing tingle when using. The scent did not linger much after rinsing. Although I could smell it mildly in my husbands hair after he used it.
Lather: For a soap bar they had a lot of lather, but compared to traditional shampoo, this will not even come close. Remember the reason for the switch though is to avoid detergents in shampoos, whose purpose is to add lather.
Usage: I washed my hair with solely the shampoo bars, every other day. The first 4 weeks I used a diluted Apple Cider Rinse spray in place of conditioner. My hair was clean, but went from static to waxy over the course of 2 weeks. I have since learned that I should be using a proper brush (still haven't purchased yet). I was also going to massage and Chiro 2-3 times a week, and getting massage oil residue in my hair most days. I made the choice to do a typical shampoo (Monat) at about the 3 wk mark to ensure the oils were getting washed away. When I started up again, I stopped using the ACV rinse and found my hair to not be waxy at all. It's been another 2 weeks and my hair seems soft and strong - I can actually say I love it!
Surprise - With the amount of oils leftover (purposely) after saponification, no conditioner is required. I did not expect this, and thought with my long tangly hair I would still have to use conditioner. I was also quite surprised that the bar lasts so long - and its a good thing, because it is chocked full of 11 different luxury oils: Shea butter, Cocoa Butter, Hemp Seed Oil, Neem Oil, & Avocado Oil. We did not skimp out on the best ingredients.
(full ingredients are listed under the shop shampoo bars page)
Another surprise is that my husband loves it! He uses the Grapefruit Cedarwood, and will never go back to Head & Shoulders (nasty stuff - I don't know why he ever started using it). His hair is soft and nice, and we do not know why but his hair is MUCH less gray (not making claims - perhaps the previous shampoo was stripping the colour out. Although our kids are out of the house, so that could be the reason for less gray hairs haha).
So that is how and why I now use shampoo bars, I'm not saying I will never use a traditional shampoo bottle again, and some day I may even try making SYNDET bars. But for now I really like my NO detergent, colour, perfume, nor preservative bars! I really hope you try them, and leave a review for how well they perform for you :)