What is a shampoo bar?
As the name suggests, a shampoo bar is a solid form of the traditional hair cleanser. The main difference is that shampoo bars often don’t contain the same detergents found in many liquid shampoos, which can sometimes strip hair of its natural oils. Instead, these are made of oils, butters, conditioners, and gentle cleansers that are solidified and packed into a bar form. Many shampoo bars still offer the same rich lather that you’d get from a liquid shampoo, without the need for harsh chemicals and other ingredients that can lead to dry hair and breakage over time.
What are the benefits of shampoo bars?
If you’re used to pouring a liquid hair cleanser into your hands, shampoo bars can take some getting used to. So are shampoo bars better for your hair? As with any product, you’ll need to find the right formula for your curl type to get the best results. That said, there are plenty of shampoo bar benefits and lots of good reasons why you should consider switching to these eco-friendly alternatives.
1. They save water. Even though you’ll still need a decent amount of water to soap up, scrub, and then rinse the shampoo out of your hair, the bar itself isn’t formulated with the same amount of water that gives its liquid counterpart its consistency. From the creation stage, shampoo bars are instantly better for the planet.
2. Less water = more potent ingredients. Being formulated with less water means that there’s a higher concentration of other ingredients in the bar. The cleansers and conditioners can work in their most potent form without being diluted. In the long run, this means that your hair is getting a powerful dose of the important stuff.
3. You’ll cut down on plastic usage. Without the liquid, there’s no need for plastic bottles that you may forget to put in recycling.
4. Stretch the life of your products. Much like liquid shampoos, the number of uses that you can get from a shampoo bar will depend greatly on how often you wash your hair, how much you’re slathering on with each wash, and how you store your bar in between uses. Pro tip: Don’t leave it in a place that can potentially collect water (i.e., a soap dish). Instead, allow it to drain and dry before your next use.
5. Save shower space. You may already have a plethora of natural hair care products lining your shower and cabinets. A shampoo bar means there is one less bottle you’ll need to worry about.
6. They’re travel-friendly. Even though packing for a trip may not be top of mind these days, it’s helpful to know that shampoo bars won’t set off any red-flags with TSA. You also won’t have to worry about it potentially leaking into your luggage. While jet-setting is on pause, you can conveniently pack a shampoo bar in your gym bag for a non-messy post-workout hair cleanse.
Do I need conditioner with a shampoo bar?
If you have curly hair, the answer is always yes. Regular use of a moisturizing conditioner like the Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Conditioner is vital for keeping natural hair hydrated, frizz-free, and helping to keep damage and breakage at bay. Conditioner also helps to seal in the nourishing ingredients from the shampoo bar and helps make detangling a lot easier. Shampoo bars and conditioner go hand-in-hand. Some formulas even combine shampoo and conditioner in one bar.
Do shampoo bars make your hair greasy? This a valid question, particularly if you have finer curls or if you’ve experienced this with traditional two-in-one shampoo and conditioner formulas. The bar format itself won’t make hair greasy but the ingredients in the bar can. If you’re worried about a shampoo bar weighing down your strands, look for one formulated with lightweight ingredients like argan and grapeseed oils.
How To Use A Shampoo Bar
Once you’ve found the right shampoo bar for your curl type and texture, you can easily incorporate one into your wash day routine. If you’ve ever used a bar soap on your body, then you know the drill. Here’s how to do it.
Soak hair with water. Water will help to create some much-needed lather. So, get your curls fully immersed in water as if you’re already at the rinse step.
Wet the bar. There’s no need to douse the bar in water, a light pass under the shower will do.
Lather up. You can either create some suds by rubbing the bar together in the palm of your hands or rub it directly onto your hair. If you choose the latter, it may be helpful to suds in sections. This way, the cleanser thoroughly coats your hair from root to tip and front to back.
Work it in. In the same way that you’d give your hair a proper shampoo with a liquid variety, you’ll do that same with a bar. Massage the shampoo into your scalp to remove any product build-up at the roots and then work it into the strands by sandwiching sections of hair between your palms and rubbing together from top to bottom.
Rinse thoroughly. Even though the format is different, you want to be sure you get all of the cleansers out of your curls. You'll want to give your hair a good rinse under the water to clear it for the conditioner to follow.
Condition and detangle. Follow the shampoo bar with a conditioner that’s right for your curls, we love Wash Day Delight Jelly-to-Cream Conditioner. Use a detangling brush or comb to clear any knots, and then rinse thoroughly once more.
Once you’ve picked out your perfect shampoo bar, read up on How to Wash Curly Hair (and How Often to Do It).