how to use shampoo bars

shampoo bars

How to Use Shampoo Bars

We’ve had shampoo bars in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop for a good long while now. They’re a great zero waste alternative to shampoo in plastic bottles. There are four really great bars to choose from in the shop that are all organic, vegan, palm oil and SLS free, and come wrapped in flower seed paper that you can plant to grow wild flowers! Basically, the zero waste shampoo dream come true!! I feel like this is an essential zero waste blog post, and I apologize for the delay in writing it. If you’ve used a shampoo bar, I’m sure you’ve realized it can take some getting used to. I’m excited to share with you my own tips and tricks for making the transition to natural shampoo bars.

How to Use Shampoo Bars

How to Use Shampoo Bars

Steps for Using a Shampoo Bar

  • First step, soak your hair thoroughly. You will want your hair to be pretty drenched, because shampoo bars don’t lather like normal liquid, bottled shampoo.
  • Make a lather in your hands using your shampoo bar. Again, you’ll notice the lather from a shampoo bar isn’t as strong as that from conventional soap. That’s because most liquid soaps are full of chemicals, especially SLS – a foaming agent, that make a really rich lather. A lot of foam is absolutely not necessary for clean hair, so don’t worry. *Note: if you have really short hair, feel free to rub the bar directly on your head. I don’t recommend this method for longer hair though because it’s harder to rinse it out.
  • Scrub the soap into your roots and scrub well. Conventional shampoos contain chemicals that strip the oils from your hair but shampoo bars do not. In this way, it’s important that you scrub and massage your scalp really well to break up the oils and then rinse it out really well.
  • That’s it, you’re done! It’s that simple. Be sure to put your shampoo bar somewhere where it can dry between uses. This will help your bar to last longer. I have a hanging wire rack in my shower where I keep my bar soaps so they can drain and dry thoroughly.

How to Use Shampoo Bars

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How to Use Shampoo Bars

Transition Period

I’d say the number one issue that arises when starting to use a shampoo bar is the transition period. Not everyone goes through it, but many people often do. Your hair is used to the chemicals you’ve been using from conventional shampoos which are intended to strip the natural oils from your hair. When you first make the switch, your hair might continue to produce those natural oils at the same rate as it was with your previous shampoo but now you aren’t stripping the oils from your hair… which can cause your hair to look greasy. Your hair will need to get used to your new method and accommodate to the new, more gentle cleansing routine you are using.

To counteract the greasy hair look you might have in the first few weeks or months, you can use an apple cider vinegar rinse to help balance the pH of your hair. Dilute about 2 tablespoons of ACV in a cup of water and use this to rinse your hair after using your shampoo bar. Do this ACV rinse about once per week.

Still Not Working

So you’ve been using your shampoo bar a few weeks now and your hair STILL looks oily. There’s a possibility your hair hasn’t gotten used to the new routine yet or it could be your water. Shampoo bars don’t work so great with hard water. The soap reacts with the high volume of minerals in your water and sometimes that creates build up on your scalp. You can counteract this again with an ACV rinse or you could also purchase a shower head filter to help soften your water.

Words of Wisdom

My personal advice is to just experiment around with different shampoo bars until you find what works best for you. Everyone’s hair reacts differently to shampoo bars and sometimes it requires a little trial and error to find a bar that you really love. We have some great ones to choose from in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop, but also check your local farmer’s market for soap suppliers.

My friend Amber over on the Zero Wasted blog and shop said, “my advice would be for people to give the switch to a shampoo bar time. Give your hair a few washes and see how it goes. Also, look for an unpackaged shampoo bar or one in paper.”

Also, check out my friend Kathi’s blog post on How to Use a Shampoo Bar if you’re looking for more tips!

Please feel free to share any advice or questions of your own about shampoo bars in the comments. Would love to hear more about your own experiences! 

You might also enjoy these blog posts from Tiny Yellow Bungalow!

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5 thoughts on “how to use shampoo bars

  1. Thank you Jessie for explaining how shampoo bars work – and the tip to be patient and be mindful around the “transition time” – that is a real factor! At the risk of a couple of bad hair days, shampoo bars are a really powerful way to reduce lifelong single plastic use.
    Thank you

  2. Just started using a shampoo bar but I went from Plaine products to a shampoo bar, so I have already done the transition away from plastic bottles of chemicals. Actually fairly impressed with the results, my hair is easy to wash and rinsed pretty easily, and it’s silky soft and smooth. I have longer hair half way down my back, with a curl so I gets real big in humidity. I was expecting frizzy and dry. I was looking for something a little more affordable shampoo wise and easier to travel with, 1 less item I need in my quart sized see through bag with liquids under 3.4 Oz now.

    Thanks for the encouragement to take the plunge. That’s one more step away from plastic and reducing my waste.

    1. Oh that’s wonderful to hear! It seems like everyone’s hair reacts differently to bars but I’m glad yours was happy with the switch 🙂 And yes, when traveling, it’s nice because you can use one bar for body and hair. Super convenient for light packing.

  3. I have found my hair to be greasy near the head but the hair itself (I have long hair) is SO dry and frizzy!! I am concerned ….my hair looks very unhealthy after a month.

    1. Oh no! Have you tried using an ACV rinse?

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