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.

 But another thing you have to think about with soap is what we all see sometimes in our showers, Soap Scum. Jon David, a Chicago-based Master Stylist commented,

“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:


      to-go coffee



      clear plastic cutlery,

      baby bottles,

      food takeout boxes (especially the styrofoam ones).                                    


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.

Learn More

Sulfate Free Shampoo recommendations


Popular Posts