Natural shampoo bars - how to cope with the transition
So, you've decided the next item to chuck in your journey to zero-waste is that plastic bottle of shampoo? Swap all those chemicals and plastic for a shampoo bar made from natural ingredients and wrapped in minimal packaging instead. What's not to love? But some people find this change one of the most difficult zero waste swaps to make - there are so many horror stories of 'the purge'!
In reality, most people don't have any issue with the transition, although it might take a few washes of their hair before it reaches that luscious, soft stage. It is worth persevering! Here's our helpful guide to explain how you can make the transition as easy as possible.
When you first use a natural shampoo bar, your hair can feel waxy or greasy, or it might feel dry or frizzy. That's normal. It's just your scalp's way of rebalancing its natural oil production, which was stripped away by the use of shampoo in plastic bottles. Once your scalp and hair has adjusted, it produces its own natural oil again and will feel softer and more manageable.
First off, how should you use the bar? You can't just put a dollop of liquid on your head and lather up - shampoo bars usually don't contain SLS so they won't lather as well as shampoo in plastic bottles. Instead, run the shampoo bar over your hair, from roots to tips. Don't be afraid to put a decent amount on there, then massage into your scalp. Rinse thoroughly and repeat if you wish (often the second shampoo lathers a bit more than the first).
Apply an apple cider vinegar rinse after shampooing instead of conditioner - this aids transition by helping to balance the PH level of your scalp. Prepare the rinse by combining one part apple cider vinegar (use one that has 'mother of vinegar' - it will look a bit cloudy) with 4 parts water. You can add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance, or try leaving some lemon peel in the vinegar for a few days before preparing it. Once your hair has transitioned, you can use an apple cider vinegar rinse every few washes to keep your hair in tip top condition.
Brush your hair regularly, at least couple of times a day, from roots to tips to spread the natural oils.
Try leaving it a bit longer between washes. Indeed, many people find they don't need to wash their hair as often with a shampoo bar.
If you are in a hard water area, or have lots of chemical build up in your hair, try a baking soda clarifying rinse prior to shampooing. Combine one tablespoon baking soda with 1-2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle or cup then apply to wet hair. Work it through your hair, then rinse thoroughly before shampooing.
Don't be disheartened! Most people will make the transition to a natural shampoo bar successfully, and these tips should help this happen. Occasionally it just doesn't work, even if you've given it a few weeks to transition. This may happen if you live in a hard water area, for example, or if you have dyed or treated hair. If all else fails, you can still find some eco-friendly alternatives to shampoo bars, such as our Funky Soap liquid shampoo in a recyclable glass bottle.
Check out our full range of eco-friendly shampoos here. Happy hairwashing! Let us know how you get on and share any of your own tips.