Should you swap your shampoo bottle for the shampoo bar?
Should YOU Use Shampoo Bars?
You are starting to see these, what looks like
a cute bar of soap, all over the place. But they are not for your hands, they
are for your hair! Why are companies making these soap bars? First things
first, let’s find out what they are and the different kinds. There are soap
bars and shampoo bars. Some shampoo bars are soap-based while others are
soap-free. Let’s tackle the bars that are
soap-based bars first.
Our hair has a PH level between 4-5.5 and it’s the healthiest when it’s at this level. Some soaps are too alkaline with a PH between 8-9 due to the sodium hydroxide mixed with animal fats, veggie fats, or oil (the process of being saponified), and can leave your hair dry, brittle, and fragile, according to Tony Maleedy, cosmetic scientist. Yes, soap cleanses but what you use to scrub the dirt off pots and pans or even your skin should not be used on your hair.
Another name for sodium hydroxide is lye. Now, many beauty products contain sodium hydroxide as it is a PH balancer. But the concentration levels are low or should be low so as to be safe. If the levels are too high then you could experience the above results being dry, brittle hair.
“That’s because of the high concentration of
cleansers in shampoo bars. They tend to have a more waxy concentration, which
will lead to build-up on your hair. Think
shower doors again but on your hair.
To combat the build-up, the shampoo bar
experts will tell you to just do an apple cider vinegar rinse. First of all,
who has time to do another step in the shower? Secondly, vinegar has an acidity
of 2-3 which is more acidic than our skin (around 4-5) if you don’t use soap
which remember is an alkaline (around 8-9) then you don’t need to “balance”
your ph levels. Side note: Too many apple
cider vinegar rinses can cause brassiness and damage.
Onto the soap-free
or surfactant-based bars. Why are
stylists hesitant to use these as well? Your hairstylist wants your hair to be
the healthiest it can be and look great. We recommend products to give you this
result. With shampoo bars you still
have to be aware of a few things:
Some of the “natural” bars still
use sodium lauryl sulfate which can be extremely irritating to the skin, fade
color-treated hair and cause allergic reactions. (And if derived from petrol be bad for the environment)
These bars are super concentrated.
Even when we tell clients to use liquid-based shampoos less because they are
concentrated, they tend to use too much. So, with these bars, many are putting
too much on their scalp and hair. Which will also lead to product buildup.
Many use the bars in a
back-and-forth motion on the hair. This causes major tangling, especially with
curly hair. And your roughing up the cuticle of your hair strands which can
lead to damage.
And remember you are not supposed to leave
your shampoo bars in the shower. Otherwise, they will dissolve too quickly. The
high-end bar places will direct you to take them out and preferably pat them
dry with a paper towel. I don’t know who has the time for all this caregiving
to a bar of soap but it makes me think they have too much time on their hands.
Finally, the major push for these shampoo bars
is to be better for the planet. I am all for creating less of a footprint but
there are other ways to do that and still be able to use shampoo in liquid
form. One way is to buy bigger bottles. Usually, in the bigger bottles you are
replacing 4 of the smaller retail size.
Another way to limit your footprint is to make
sure you rinse out your bottles before putting them in the recycle bin. Most
recycled plastics don’t get recycled because they are deemed unfit. It takes
time to clean the plastic, especially food-containing bottles, and then they
need to be heated to be melted down to make something else.
Did you know that there are certain levels of
plastic? From easiest to recycle to hardest (which means they usually get
deemed unfit). The number inside the recyclable triangle will tell you if it
will be recycled or most likely not. Starting with #1 being the easiest type of
plastic recycled, all the way to #7 which has a 98% chance of not getting
recycled and instead will end up in our landfill.
The biggest culprits of not being a good
candidate for recycling are:
clear plastic cutlery,
food takeout boxes (especially the styrofoam
So, those are really the ones we need to find alternatives
for. The hair industry actually uses either #1 or #2 in a lot of cases. They
are the easiest and the most recycled!
Don’t get fooled by the newest fad or the
latest way marketing magicians are making products seem the only way to keep
our planet going. Do your research. Keeping our planet clean is extremely
important and using fewer chemicals is definitely a must. But be reasonable and
knowledgeable before taking the leap is all we ask.