Updated: Apr 25
The shampoo bar market is huge and getting bigger every day. With every brand promising to give you luscious locks, it can be very overwhelming for someone looking to make the change to know which one will actually work for them. It's also very easy to try one, find it doesn't work for your hair type and then rule out shampoo bars altogether because they 'don't work'.
Below is a guide on what shampoo bars you should choose depending on a number of factors:
The Transition Phase - What Is It And How Can I Avoid It?
Most people tend to have a build up of residues from using bottled shampoo. The transition phase is the period of adjustment where your hair essentially 'detoxes' from the synthetic chemicals used. It can last anything up to around three weeks but please note, not everyone will experience a transition phase and not all shampoo bars will cause one.
To avoid it, there are a number of shampoo bars that are designed to not have a transition phase. Examples include Soul and Soap and Shower Blocks. These can be found on the Hair Care page. The reason they don't have a transition phase is because they are PH balanced. If you want to avoid the transition phase, it is better to choose a shampoo bar that is PH balanced and is not a saponified shampoo bar produced using the traditional cold process method. These tend to have a more alkaline PH so you will usually have to use a vinegar rinse with these.
A vinegar rinse is to be done after every wash and helps to decrease any build up and balance the pH on your scalp. You can buy pre-made vinegar rinses online or there are recipes available to make your own.
If you live in a hard water area, you may find that natural soap-like shampoos do not work for you. The reason for this is due to the minerals in the water causing a chemical reaction with the shampoo. This reaction can leave a residue on your hair that is very hard to get out and can leave your hair feeling waxy.
If you live in a hard water area, there are a number of shampoo bars on the market that are suitable for and work well in hard water. A few examples of brands on Eco-Sal are listed below:
Soul & Soap
If you are using a shampoo bar that leaves this waxy residue on your hair, it is advised to use a vinegar rinse after every wash to help to soften the water chemically. The Friendly shampoo bars are one of the brands that don't work so well in hard water so if you live in a hard water area, it is best to opt for one of the other brands.
If you are looking for a one-size-fits-all shampoo bar, then my recommendation would be the Soul & Soap range which are suitable for all hair types. You can use this brand for all of the hair types mentioned below but if you would prefer something that is tailored specifically to your hair type, check out this list:
Blonde Hair - For blonde hair, it's now very common to use a 'silver' or 'purple' shampoo to combat brassy tones and give the silvery-blonde look. To make the swap to a plastic free purple shampoo, I would recommend the Oh So Silver Purple Shampoo Bar by Soul and Soap. This bar is designed to be an alternative to bottled purple shampoo.
Oily Hair - For this hair type, I would advise staying clear of any saponified shampoo bars like the Friendly ones. These have a more alkaline pH and you are therefore more likely to require a vinegar rinse afterwards to balance the pH of your scalp. I would recommend a bar that is designed specifically for oily hair and one that has no transition phase, like the Shower Blocks 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner Bar for Fine/Oily Hair. The ingredients used in these bars are designed specifically to help oily hair.
Itchy Scalp - This is a common condition that has a wide range of causes such as dandruff and psoriasis. There are a few natural remedies for itchy scalp, some of which can be found in shampoo bars.
1. Use a vinegar rinse - Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties which can help to alleviate dandruff and an itchy scalp.
2. Peppermint & Tea Tree Essential Oils - Both of these oils are effective at reducing dandruff and soothing the scalp. Although not advertised as a shampoo bar for itchy scalp, I find the Soul and Soap Peppermint & Tea Tree Shampoo Bar helps me if I am suffering with a bit of itchy scalp.
Shower Blocks also have designed a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner bar for itchy scalp.
Curly Hair - This is an area of personal experience for me as I have very thick curly hair. My two personal favourites are:
1. Any of the Soul and Soap range - I have used a number of different fragrances of this brand and they all work just as well as they are suitable for all hair types. It is really just down to personal preference on fragrance. This brand tends to add volume to your hair so if you want big curly hair, then these are a good option to choose. You can browse the full range here.
2. Shower Blocks 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner Bar for Dry and Frizzy Hair. - These bars help to add definition so I use these when I want nice tamed curls.