Shampoo Bars, How do they work?

When I tell people I’ve switched to Shampoo Bars the response is typically “WHAT?” followed by a very confused look.  To be honest, that’s exactly what I was thinking when I first read about them.  How do they work?  Do they lather up nicely like most shampoo?  And don’t get me started on the “transition”, there are enough stories out there to scare you out of trying no-poo methods!

I read a lot of different blogs and peoples stories before I braved switching to the Shampoo Bar.  What I wish I had done was look into how to know you’ve fully rinsed the shampoo out and how to deal with Hard Water.  I’ve gone over many times how I want to write this post, and I think a basic FAQ style is what would fit this best.  I’ve started with the basics; I may add more in a second post later.

How do you use a Shampoo Bar?

Using the shampoo bar is pretty easy.  Looking online people use them two different ways.  You can rub the bar of soap in your hands and then rub your hair with the lather you create, or you can just rub the shampoo bar on your directly on your hair.  I typically rub the shampoo bar directly on my hair, I find I get a better lather that way.  I also make sure I have enough water on my hair, sometimes I will spray or splash some extra water on my hair if it gets too dry.

If you rub the shampoo bar directly on your hair make sure to rub with the hair.  If you don’t it could cause tangles.

I typically massage my scalp before I rinse it out.  This feels good, and if I use my nails it helps clean up any buildup that may be leftover.

When you rinse your hair be careful, as you wash out all the bubbles your hair may start to feel waxy.  I find I loose more hair if I try to use my fingers to get all the soap out.  Instead I use my hand and just squeeze my hair to help get the bubbles out and minimize breakage.

If you have soft water and your hair does not feel waxy after rinsing, awesome!  If not, you may use some form of conditioner or skip ahead to the hard water question.

How often do you wash your hair with the Shampoo Bar?

This depends on your hair type.  Some people wash their hair once a week, a few times a month, or more frequently.  I find that washing my hair every two to three days works best.  I have gone four days, but by then my roots are greasy and I’m more likely to shed a LOT more hair at the next wash.

How do you know you’ve rinsed out all the Shampoo?

If your hair is waxy you haven’t washed it all out.  Some blogs have stated if your hair is waxy it needs to be cleansed or your transitioning.  I even tried baking soda and apple cider vinegar and it didn’t help at all!  If it’s waxy you may be dealing with hard water.

How do you deal with Hard Water?

This was the biggest pain for me!  Once I figured it out I tried different methods of applying apple cider vinegar and different mixing ratios.  I think it depends on how hard your water is and how your hair takes to it.  It also depends on what you have available to you.  Some people will use water from their rain barrel, some use water filter shower heads, others use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice water mixture.


Apple Cider Vinegar is the most common, this is what you read about most frequently.  Lemon Juice also works, this is where you need to know your hair and try different things.  I use about 5 caps full of apple cider vinegar and a quirt of lemon juice mixed in a large blue bowl (from the dollar store) filling the rest with water from the shower.  This ends up being more diluted than most of what you read online. If I use a spray bottle, I mix about ¼ of the water along with the same measurements.

When using the bowl of water, I typically do this after I shower.  Once I’m done showering I will mix up the stuff in the shower and fill the bowl.  Then I turn off the water, dry off except for my hair, and kneel down on the floor to soak my hair in the bowl.  For some reason this is the one way that will actually remove the soap buildup.

I use a smaller 2 cup container to poor water on the part of my head that doesn’t fit into the bowl.  I soak my hair and run my fingers through my hair until my hair feels silky.  This post has more detailed information about using Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon Juice.

What other types of products can you use with the Shampoo Bars?

If you want to use conditioner stick with silicone free and sulfate free conditioners.  You can also use other natural products.  Some people will also use other daily hair styling products.  I personally prefer to use some oil, but nothing else.

How do I find the right shampoo bar for my hair?

There are two main brands that people use, J.R. Liggett and Beauty and the Bees.  Both have sample size bars you can purchase, Beauty and the Bees even has a 6 sample size product to try.  I’d suggest looking at the websites and reading about the different shampoo bars.  I’ve found the J.R. Liggett bars I’ve tried are all great quality.  Beauty and the Bees have some really unique ones, I would defiantly suggest getting samples first.

How do I store the Shampoo Bar between uses?

I would suggest getting some sort of shampoo bar holder.  J.R. Liggett has a wooden one that gets great reviews.  I’ve decided to purchase a somewhat flexible plastic one at the Dollar Tree, so far it works great!  I like the plastic one better because I feel the wood one would eventually start to rot and be more difficult to clean.



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