The why’s and how’s of switching to a shampoo bar plus our fav recipe
Finding ways to reduce single use plastic is on many people’s minds these days. Replacing bottled shampoo (that is often packed with ingredients that are NOT so good for your hair or the environment) is one simple way to do that. But that’s not the only reason to switch to a shampoo bar.
Our top reasons for switching to a shampoo bar:
- Reducing plastic waste
- More natural, sustainable ingredients
- No harsh ingredients that are bad for your hair and the environment
- Money savings. One bar lasts a long time meaning you’ll spend a fraction of what you’re currently spending.
- Healthier hair and scalp
Most shampoo bar users agree that it’s worth the transition or “breaking in” period. Wait. What. breaking in period??? Yes, there likely will be that. And yes, you will survive. For some, the first weeks of shampoo bar life result in hair that feels waxy, greasy, gross, or just meh. I’ll share a few tricks that help many people get through the transition.
Not everyone goes through the transition, but be prepared if your hair is damaged, has a lot of residue from product, or maybe just used to shampoo with not great ingredients. Think of it like a hair rehab program. Once you get rid of all the crud, your hair will be silky soft and healthy that actually will go longer without washing and still look completely fab.
Why is there a transition anyway?
Your hair and scalp may need to rebalance sebum production. Commercial hair products that are detergent based can strip sebum from hair. Consequently your scalp learned to overproduce sebum to compensate. Since you’re now not stripping sebum away, you can temporarily end up with too much until your body balances out production. This could leave your hair feeling waxy or greasy. Fun times, right?!?
Instead of feeling like a grease ball, you may have a little extra frizz or even tangles. But hang in there. It’s worth it. Some people’s transition takes a day or two, some a week or two (or three) and some have no transition at all (lucky ducks). Regardless, you’ll be glad you powered through. Maybe just don’t start it right before picture day.
Can you speed up the transition?
You can speed up the transition (as well as help get better results if you have hard water. Shampoo bars don’t like hard water) by using one of our household staples: baking soda! It’s amazing as a clarifier, lifting grease, grime, and other residue from your hair. Simply add about a tablespoon to a cup or two of warm water. Wet your hair with the mixture prior to shampooing. Rinse, and grab that shampoo bar.
Shampooing with a shampoo bar is a bit different then using liquid shampoo. Lather up your hands, massage into scalp and work your way down your hair. Use less shampoo than you think you need. Then rinse like a crazy person. Rinse like you’re used to, rinse again, and then just for the heck of it, rinse one more time.
After shampooing, rinsing with an acidic rinse like apple cider vinegar (or any kind of vinegar) can help balance out the scalp’s PH. Using a couple tablespoons per cup of water should be sufficient. I keep a repurposed plastic squeeze bottle in the shower with acv, water, and a few drops of rosemary essential oil.
If I’m on top of things, I keep our rosemary hair rinse prepped and ready. Squeeze enough on to get a light rinse. You can rinse again with water or leave the vinegar rinse on. If you rinse it off, just make sure to leave it on for a few minutes to give it time to remove soap deposits, prevent tangling and to balance PH.
If you have dry hair, you may want to try using a conditioner bar on the ends of your hair. Put a very small amount in your hands and light massage into the ends of your hair. Rinse with cool water.
With shampoo bars, most users find that they need to wash their hair less often. Without the build up of crud, your hair will stay clean, shiny, and healthy looking much longer. Reducing waste, saving money, and having healthier hair sounds like a winning combo to me.
One helpful tip to help your shampoo bar last longer (this applies to any bar soap): allow to dry between uses. Use a soap dish or store the bar away from the shower.
For those of you that are soap makers, check out our recipe that works for most hair types. It makes twelve shampoo bars, so you’ll be set for a while AND you’ll have some to share as well. There are loads of different recipes out there for different types of hair. Do a bit of research and you’ll be able to figure out what will work for you. This post from Simple Life Mom was really helpful as I put my recipe together.
Check our shop as we will periodically offer shampoo bars for sale. If you’d like advance notice of when the soap shop is open, be sure to join our email list by filling in this quick form (and watch for bonus coupons too!!):
Cypress-Cinnamon Shampoo Bars
- 10 ounces coconut oil
- 10 ounces Calendula infused olive oil
- 5 ounces cacao butter
- 5 ounces castor oil
- 3 ounces jojoba oil
- 2 ounces beeswax
- 13 ounces distilled water
- 4.5 ounces lye
- .5 ounce cypress essential oil
- .5 ounce cinnamon essential oil
- Start by putting on the safety goggles and rubber gloves. Working with lye is not difficult but it’s a caustic and dangerous chemical that can cause serious burns. So be smart. Seriously.
- Carefully weigh out the water and lye. In a well ventilated area, slowly add the lye to the water (NEVER) the other way around. Stir gently to dissolve. The mixture will get HOT. Once the lye is fully incorporated into the water, add your thermometer. Make sure the lye water is in safe place away from little people, furbabies, and generally klutzy people.
- Weigh out the oils and beeswax, place in soap pot and melt on the stove over medium low heat. Turn off the heat when the temp gets around 110F. Stir well.
- Prep your essential oils. Once the lye water and melted oils are 100 F or lower, it’s time to get blending. Place stick blender in the soap pot and pulse a few times to completely blend the oils and beeswax. Slowly add the lye-water to the oils. Pulse the blender for 3-5 seconds and then stir. Repeat this process until the oils and lye water are completely mixed, or almost at trace. Add the essential oils and blend for a few seconds.
- Pour soap into mold. Gently tap on counter to dislodge air bubbles that may be trapped in the soapy loveliness. Cover with wax or parchment paper and insulate with small towel. After 1-2 days, you can remove the soap from the mold and slice. Allow bars to cure about 4 weeks before use. Yields approx 12 4 ounce bars