Natural shampoo bars function better when used with soft water. If you have hard water, it's the minerals that cause the scales on the hair to stand up. The soap molecules will "grab" the minerals in the hard water and leave those deposits in your hair. This will give you a "waxy" feeling, and your hair will look like straw when it's dry. Not pleasant. Soft water and acid rinses close down those scales so the minerals and soap can be washed out. Here's more information on why rinses are important.
So how do you know if you have hard water or soft water (aside from trying a shampoo bar to find out)? If you live in a city that gets its water supply from a river, then you will likely have soft water. If you live in a city (or rural area) that gets its water from wells, then you will likely have hard water. Many people who live in an area where the supply of water comes from wells own a water softener to soften their water. Some well water is more mineral-rich—and some less so.
According to Homewater101.com "Only 15% of the United States has naturally occurring soft water. The remaining 85% of us get to fight the daily battles of hard water with spotty dishes, limescale buildup and appliance inefficiency." They go on to say that "People who live in the Pacific Northwest, parts of the Southeast, the Gulf States and New England can count themselves part of the lucky 15% living in soft water zones. They tend to see less than three grains per gallon of hardness minerals in their water, making it some of the softest water in the country"
For further information, here's a map highlighting the hardness of water across the USA. If you find yourself with hard water, there are possible solutions.
Also, if you've not had good luck with shampoo bars, it is very likely that you are dealing with mineral-heavy water issues. For a customer review on a shower head filter that can remove most of the minerals in hard water, and other possible solutions see our page HERE.
Our family has been using shampoo bars since 2012 with happy results—and zero waxies. But our water is soft. The good news is—if you have hard water, you can still use our shampoo/body bars on your body!
For more information on how to use a shampoo bar, see our article HERE.