Shampoo Bars for Natural Hair
Did you know that liquid soap and shampoo bars for natural hair are actually very recent inventions? The earliest patented version of liquid soap appeared in 1865, and most of this early cleanser was used for industrial purposes—certainly not for the hair. It wasn’t until 1980 that liquid soap began to become a staple in domestic households. Shampoo wasn’t invented until the 1930, using synthetic surfactants instead of soap.
Shampoo bars have gained some attention lately, as we seek more natural personal hygiene and beauty products, but they’re still only a very small segment of the hair care market. That’s a shame, since there are so many benefits to switching from liquid shampoo to a shampoo bar. Here are 5 reasons shampoo bars are underrated—and why you should consider shampoo bars for natural hair care.
1. They Usually Contain Natural Ingredients
Unlike liquid soaps, which often contain synthetic detergents to create impressive lathering and foaming, shampoo bars are more likely to be made with natural ingredients. This is due to the traditional soapmaking process, which use vegetable fat and lye, resulting in glycerine-rich soap that contains moisturising plant oils, essential oils, and biodegradable ingredients. Many soapmakers create their shampoo bars by hand, and small soap companies often empower their local community by using locally-sourced ingredients and minimizing overall carbon footprint.
Some of the most common (and powerful) ingredients found in natural soap bars include coconut oil and natural essential oils like camellia oil and rosemary oil. These oils enrich the hair and clean the scalp gently, without causing irritation.
It’s important to note that although many shampoo bars are cruelty-free and made from natural, locally-sourced ingredients, reading the label and doing your research are still a must. Some bar shampoos contain detergents and chemicals, so it’s important to know what to look for when choosing shampoo bars for natural hair cleansing.
2. They Rely on Minimal Packaging
Liquid shampoo relies on plastic packaging—which puts a huge strain on the environment. Plastic bottles are used for every package of liquid shampoo sold, creating an enormous carbon footprint. Not only does it take massive amounts of energy and resources to produce plastic packaging, but most bottles are discarded instead of being recycled.
Shampoo bars, on the other hand, need only minimal packaging—or no packaging at all! Cardboard and paper liners are renewable and take less energy to produce than plastic while still keeping the soap bar safe from dirt and debris. Some bar shampoos are sold without any packaging at all, making them extremely eco-friendly.
3. They Don’t Strip Hair
Synthetic surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate are very common in liquid shampoos, since these detergents produce the foaming action most people associate with cleanliness (in reality, the number of bubbles don’t indicate effective cleaning). Along with other chemicals that are harmful to your body, SLS and other detergents strip the hair of its natural oil, which can cause several problems. The scalp can become irritated, and the loss of natural oils can actually prompt the scalp to overproduce oil in response, causing greasiness. Stripping the hair of its oils can also make the strands parched, brittle, and dry.
Shampoo bars are usually based on natural oils like virgin coconut oil. While coconut oil produces rich bubbles, it does not strip the hair of natural oils—it gently cleanses, moisturises, and strengthens the hair. Instead of focusing on the number of bubbles, shampoo bar manufacturers prioritize hair health and quality ingredients.
4. They Are Cost Effective
Have you ever thought about how much liquid shampoo you use every time you shower? Probably not, until it’s time to head to the store or order more of your preferred formula. It’s ridiculously easy to overuse liquid shampoo and soap because all you have to do is pump out a handful or tip the bottle onto your washcloth or loofah. Most people use way more shampoo than they need to, because they think it takes gobs to get the hair clean. This simply isn’t true, and a lot of money is wasted each year due to shampoo overuse.
While it’s of course possible to waste bar shampoo, it’s a lot more difficult to do so. The lather of bar shampoo is more subdued than that of liquid, so it takes more effort to work up the right amount of product—and the bar will only dissolve a little at a time, instead of in gobs. Because of this, most people tend to get more uses out of a high-quality shampoo bar than a high-quality liquid shampoo. It’s a win-win!
5. They’re Easy to Travel With
Now that most countries do not permit passengers to carry large bottles of liquids onto an aircraft, flying with beauty products can get tricky. Switching to bar shampoo makes traveling with carry-on bags a breeze. There are no limitations on bar soaps and shampoos, so you can be sure you’ll have enough shampoo to last the entire trip.
Making the Change? Give it Time
Though shampoo bars are a great choice for gentle hair cleansing, it can take your hair and scalp a little while to get used to the change. When you switch to a shampoo bar, make sure to give your body time to adjust. Use the bar for several weeks to see how your hair reacts. You may see negative changes while your hair adjusts, but giving it time will allow you to see the true results before you make a decision about sticking with shampoo bars.
Choosing a Shampoo Bar
When choosing from shampoo bars for natural hair care, it’s important to first take a look at the ingredients. Remember, some companies use the scientific names of ingredients, so look up any ingredients you don’t recognize.
If you’re suffering from hair loss or damaged hair, Biconi’s shampoo bars are a great option—they’re made from virgin coconut oil and the Biconi Noni Enzyme for shiny, lustrous hair that’s Mother Nature Approved!