What is a shampoo bar?
A shampoo bar is a solid bar used for washing hair instead of liquid shampoo. There are different types of shampoo bars: hair soap and solid shampoo.
A hair soap is made like a body soap bar by combining different oils and other ingredients which are turned into a soap.
A solid shampoo is not a soap. It’s made like a liquid shampoo with a detergent but does not contain water.
Why should I use a shampoo bar?
Plastic-bottles are produced in enormous amounts every year. A part of them are recycled after use. But plastic can only be recycled a couple of times because the quality of the material downgrades. So in reality it’s not recycling, it’s down-cycling. Shampoo bars are usually either just wrapped in paper or come in a card board box. No plastic needed. So using shampoo bars and conditioner bars instead of their liquid counterparts, reduces the amount of plastic bottles needed. Hopefully more people make the switch to bars.
Low carbon footprint
Shampoo bars and conditioner bars are much smaller than the liquid products, so they require much less space during transportation meaning less fuel is required in total.
Shampoo bars are very handy
They also take up less space in your luggage or on your next camping trip.
Is hair soap or solid shampoo better?
There are many variables to consider.
If a hair soap or a solid shampoo is better for you, depends on your hair, your skin, your values, even the water hardness.
For one person a certain hair soap is the best, for another person a solid shampoo is the best solution.
If you haven’t found the best shampoo bar for your needs, read below about ‘How to find the right shampoo bar?”
Can I use my shampoo bar on my body as well?
In general you can use all shampoo bars also for your body. That is very handy especially when you’re travelling and want to save space in your luggage. For regular use it would be best to use the shampoo bar for hair only because it’s made especially for certain hair types and skin has different requirements long term.
There are some hair soaps that are especially made to be used on hair and body:
Rhassoul & Salt Hair & Body Soap Bar (for sensitive skin and scalp)
3-in-1 Travel soap (great for hair, skin, hands, face and has a deodorising effect)
How to use a shampoo bar?
With both hair soap and solid shampoo it’s important to make your hair really entirely wet. Make the shampoo bar wet as well. Hold it only for a short moment under water. Then you have two options:
- Foam up between your hands: Just as you do with a soap bar when you start washing your hands. Put the bar aside and distribute foam over your hair.
- Rub the bar over your head 2-3 times: Use the bar right on your head and rub it in large circular motion. Gently, ok? Then put it aside.
Now foam up by kneading with your fingers. First make foam on your head directly, then distribute it to the length.
If you feel like it doesn’t foam enough, rinse and repeat the whole process. Second time it might foam more. Solid shampoo foams usually more than hair soaps.
It’s important to use only a little bit. The result will not be good if too much of the shampoo bar is used.
Rinse very well.
How to transition from liquid shampoo to shampoo bar?
If your hair and scalp is used to daily washes with a liquid shampoo, switching to a shampoo bar can have a transition phase. It might even happen that you’re not initially happy with the result. Here are some tips on how to make the transition easier.
Coming from a ‘regular’ shampoo which might contain SLS, your scalp is used to producing a lot of oils. Because the shampoo is so cleansing that it takes away many of the oils that are made by the scalp in order to protect the hair. That’s why many people have to wash their hair daily. The scalp tries to keep up but the shampoo takes away too much. Shampoo bars can also contain SLS (some from lush do) but all shampoo bars that you can find at oodles and pinches are free of SLS.
To slowly transition into a shampoo bar hair care routine, it would be best to start with a solid shampoo. Those also contain surfactants like liquid shampoos but those are gentler than SLS.
It’s important to use solid shampoo sparingly (read how to use shampoo bars?).
You may find over time that you don’t need to wash your hair daily anymore. You can try to space out the times between washes slowly.
After a couple of weeks of less washing using a solid shampoo, you can see if you want to move on to a hair soap. They take away even less of the oils while still cleansing your hair.
Make sure to read about vinegar rinse as well. This can greatly influence your result with hair soaps.
How to store a shampoo bar? Where to place the shampoo bar?
The right shampoo bar storage is very important to make the bar last longer. Hair soap, solid shampoo and conditioner bars need to dry entirely between uses. So don’t make a soap box your permanent storage solution because it keeps humidity inside. The bar might get very soft, even slimy and next time the bar is used, too much of the products gets into your hair and washed away.
Place your shampoo bar and conditioner bar on a soap dish. The best soap dish provides a lot of air from all sides. A solid soap dish without a whole or even one with one whole is not the best option. The bar needs more air space even on the bottom. Those two options are really good:
Make sure to put the soap dish or loofah disque at a well ventilated space where it’s not sprinkled with water from the shower.
Rectangular hair soaps can easily stand on their short site. That way the larger surfaces can dry quicker.
How to find the right shampoo bar?
Now the question is… which shampoo bar is best for me? How to find the right shampoo bar?
Is your hair used to liquid shampoo (with SLS)? Then I recommend you start with a solid shampoo. You can also get started with a hair soap but just know that there may be a transition phase. A hair rinse will make the hair smoother when using a hair soap.
Are you already using hair soaps? Then hop right into all the hair soap types!
All shampoo bars that you can find here are cruelty-free, meaning they were never tested on animals (only on humans… 🙂 ). Most shampoo bars here are vegan. The only non-vegan ingredient that is allowed in our products is honey and bee’s wax. You will not find any other animal ingredients in any of our shampoo bars.
All shampoo bars here are free of sodium laureth sulfate and free of sodium lauryl sulfate. All hair soaps are sulfate free. The solid shampoos from Rosenrot contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetat (Lathanol®, non-sulfate). Nelumbo Kosmetik and SeifenDealer use Sodium Coco Sulfate. Find all sulfate-free shampoo bars here.
Shampoo Bar Overview
In the shampoo bar overview you can find on the right site of the page a couple of filter options: brand, sustainability value, scent, hair type … Those filter combine with each other. That means you can pick for example vegan, for dry hair and unscented.
Hair type and hair color
Many shampoo bars work for a couple of hair types and hair colors. But there are also some that are only meant for a certain type or color. So the green tea bar for example is not meant for blond hair but you can find it for red and dark hair. The hair colors are in the same filter as the hair types. You can pick multiple hair types / colors in that one filter.
The hardness of the water unfortunately influences the result of your hair wash. Hard water may make your hair stiffer. In combination with hair soap it even might result in hair that feels sticky or dusty. You can help your hair here with a hair rinse to get softer. In some cases hair soap is not recommended when the water is really hard. If you can’t get the hair soap to work for you, switch to solid shampoo.
Shampoo bar troubleshooting
Shampoo bar leaves residue
With most shampoo bars you need a lot less product than what you were used to with liquid shampoo. If you have white residue in your hair or your hair brush, try to use less of the shampoo bar: Make your hair entirely wet, rub the shampoo bar over your head 3-4 times and then put the bar away. With your hands knead the shampoo into your scalp and hair. Rinse out well.
Alternatively you can foam up the bar between your hands instead of on your head. Then distribute the foam over your entire hair.
You don’t need a huge cloud of foam to clean your hair!
Extra tip: If you’re used to blow drying your hair, try to give your hair more time after washing before you start blow drying. Use only low or medium air but not hot air.
Hair feels waxy or sticky
Your hair may feel waxy or sticky when there is a build-up of residue that you can’t see yet. To avoid building up more, you can do a baking soda wash and for future washes with the shampoo bar use less product (see point ‘Shampoo bar leaves residue’).
A apple cider vinegar rinse also helps to get the sticky / waxy feeling out of the hair. If you’re using a hair soap and it keeps feeling sticky no matter how much you try to make it better, consider switching to a solid shampoo for a while.
Shampoo bar is drying out hair
When you just started using a shampoo bar for the first time there may be a transition phase. Your hair needs to get right of the stuff the liquid shampoo has layered around the hair. In the beginning of that process your hair might turn into a greasy mess or start feeling dryer than ever. The transition phase can be short or long and that’s also very different for everyone.
You may try to wash less often, space out the timing in between washes. Maybe add a vinegar rinse. Or use a conditioner. You can also try to go with a shampoo bar for dry hair for a while instead.
Another idea is to use a little bit of oil after washing in your towel dry hair. I don’t mean to say rub your hair dry with a towel. Gently squeeze the water out with a towel to avoid entanglement. Then rub a couple of oil drops between your hands and then distribute it equally in your hair, mostly the length.
Shampoo bar is used up super quickly
With most shampoo bars you only need a little bit. Make your hair entirely wet, rub the shampoo bar over your head 3-4 times and then put the bar away. With your hands knead the shampoo into your scalp and hair. Rinse out well.
It’s important to store the shampoo bar somewhere where not water droplets can reach it. The bar needs to be able to dry entirely from all sides. Otherwise it gets soft and washes away too quickly. Use a soap dish that provides a lot of space for run-off water and airflow from beneath. A loofah disque is also a great and inexpensive option.
Don’t store your shampoo bar in a soap box! Those are for traveling only and the bar needs to be entirely dry before you put it in.
As an example: I have long hair (half way down my back). When I use Rosenrot ShampooBit for every wash, it lasts me around 35 to 40 washes.