Why A Shampoo Bar Is The Ultimate Bathroom Swap!Wiebke Venter
Shampoo Bars and Hair Soaps
Here at the Re-Store we are doing our best to fight against plastic pollution and to create more awareness about how to live with less waste – in the shop and privately. So today, I want to talk about solid hair shampoo and hair soaps. Because besides the menstrual cup, the toothpaste bits and the safety razor, which have become an absolute game changer in my bathroom routines, my favourite hygiene products are soap and shampoo bars.
Nowadays, you will be confronted with many different products when it comes to soaps and shampoo bars. That is generally good news. Nevertheless, with that comes a few terms to be clarified and things to be considered when deciding the most suitable bar for you. We are answering the most common questions for you to get some direction in the soap bar jungle.
What is the difference between a Hair Soap and a Shampoo Bar?
Hair soaps like our Nourish “Shampoo Bars” are – surprise – soaps that cleanse the hair. That means that they are manufactured by saponifying oils and fats with lye. But don´t worry, the lye loses its dangerous characteristics and gets “neutralized” in the process. Soaps can be made of 100% natural oils like coconut oil.
Hair soaps have an alkaline pH value. That is why you should follow up with a so-called acidic rinse after shampooing. You can make your own water-vinegar or water-lemon juice solution to rinse the hair simply by diluting one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in one litre of water. An acidic rinse has several benefits like sealing the hair follicle, preventing limescale build-up and encouraging shine.
Shampoo bars or Solid shampoos on the other hand are the eco-friendly version of conventional liquid shampoos. Their composition is similar, but the water component has been removed. These shampoos can consist of various surfactants, oils, perfumes and colourants that work well to form a lather similar to that of liquid shampoos. The pH value of solid shampoos is generally equal to that of the skin, so no rinse needed.
What is SLS/SLES and why do we prefer a SLS/SLES-free shampoo bar?
It is important to pay attention to what exactly is in a shampoo bar. As mentioned above, there can be ANYTHING in a shampoo bar that is also added to conventional shampoo. However, it can also contain better and more eco-friendly ingredients than liquid shampoo.
Conventional shampoo always contains surfactants. These chemicals provide a foamy lather and are there to remove oils. They bind to the oils but also to water so they can be rinsed off. The more surfactants the more oil will be removed from your hair. The issue with that is that your scalp naturally produces oils as a protective layer. This thin coating of oils also makes your hair shiny and smooth. If these oils are removed, your skin will produce even more oil to compensate. Shampoo that has a lower percentage of surfactants, allows it to be rinsed out of your hair easily and it means that less oils are being pulled out of hair, which is important, as you learned above.
The surfactants usually used in shampoos contain sulfate: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). Sulfates have the deepest cleansing effects compared to other cleansing ingredients in shampoo and form a foamy lather. However, the use of sulfates in shampoo has been controversial in the past years. SLS- and SLES-containing shampoo can be damaging to certain types of hair, and it may even cause skin irritation in some people with sensitive skin or allergies.
Sulfates are also not very great for the environment. Once they wash down the drain, they flow through our sewage systems and eventually empty into the ocean or local rivers. This can be deadly to the ecosystems. Additionally, many shampoo producers derive sulfates from palm oil. To harvest palm oil, forests that are often home to endangered species are cut down.
SLS-free products use milder cleansing agents that will help keep your hair and scalp moist. Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) that you can find in our be.bare life shampoo bars, is known to be a non-toxic, non-allergic and non-irritating ingredient to be used on your skin. It is a surfactant too. However, it is more gentle and made from coconut oil.
Why using a shampoo bar?
Shampoo Bars and Hair Soaps have several advantages. First of all, they save water. Even though you’ll still need water to soap up and rinse, shampoo bars themselves are formulated with a lot less water. That also means that they contain a higher concentration of their potent ingredients.
Secondly, you’ll cut down on plastic usage – yay. Bars are usually packaged in carton boxes and/or wrapped in paper.
Additionally, they last a lot longer. The number of uses that you can get from a shampoo bar depends on how often and for how long you wash your hair, and how you store your bar in between uses. However, I used my 100g shampoo bar for almost 6 months washing my hair every day!!! The secret to a long lasting bar is letting it drain and dry before your next use.
Besides saving so much plastic packaging (and being gentle to my hair) my most important reason to use a shampoo bar is that it´s so travel friendly. You don´t have to worry about any leakage in your luggage and you can even pop it in your hand luggage. Because it lasts so long it´s also great for longer backpacking trips.
How to use a shampoo bar?
Using a shampoo bar or hair soap is incredibly easy: Simply wet your hair & the bar and apply the bar directly to your hair by rubbing it in gentle circular motions on your head, preferably under gently running water to start (for the first few seconds). Put the bar down and massage head as normal to create a foamy lather. Then rinse thoroughly – done! You may also follow with a conditioner bar for best results.