Transitioning to Shampoo Bars

I've been using shampoo bars since 2012, and my hair has never been healthier, softer, and more manageable. But I STILL have to go through a "transition" phase every time I...

  • go to the salon to get my hair done.
  • go to the cabin where I am forced to use hard well water.
  • find that our water softener is out of salt—making our water hard again (shampoo bars don't like hard water).

I remember the first time I went to the salon after having used the shampoo bars for several weeks. The next morning when I went to wash my hair, it was super sticky while wet—and when I got out of the shower and tried brushing through it—it was a horrible, sticky mess. I tried blow drying it and ended up with STRAW for hair. What happened to my soft, shiny locks? I was freaked out.

I hopped back in the shower and did an apple cider vinegar rinse (more on that in a minute) and washed again with the shampoo bar. Now it felt a little better—but not totally. So I did another ACV rinse, washed again with the shampoo bar, and finally it felt normal again. Now I just know that this has to be my protocol whenever my hair is treated to traditional shampoos or hard water.

Hard water is full of minerals, specifically it has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium ions. In soft water, there are concentrations of sodium and potassium ions. The reaction between the hard water minerals and the shampoo bar (which is a pure soap—unlike the "soaps" or liquid shampoos you buy in the stores) causes the minerals to adhere to the soap molecules. This ends up "sticking" in your hair, and the only way to get it out is to wash with soft water and a gentle, natural, acid rinse—apple cider vinegar (cheap, has an odor when your hair is wet, but works great) or try our herbal infused rinse or lemon juice. Alternatively, try our Citric Acid Rinses scented with therapeutic grade essential oils. For more in depth information on our rinses read more HERE.

You can also use a clarifying shampoo, but I think the vinegar rinses or citric acid rinses work a lot better. We do not recommend the use of our shampoo bars for your hair if you have hard water. However, you can still use them for your body. (For more information about a shower head filter that can remove most of the minerals in your water, see our article HERE.) Even if you have soft water, you may need to help restore the pH of your scalp periodically as many of our natural soap errs on the alkaline side. An Herbal Vinegar rinse does the trick and also serves to gently rinse out any build up on the hair shaft caused by the shampoo bars or hair styling products.

To do a natural rinse after shampooing, you can spray on a Citric Acid Hair Rinse (my favorite is Bay Lime), or the Herbal Vinegar Hair rinse and rinse it out with water. Or use the diluted version using our Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse Concentrate in one of our Applicator bottles. Some people find that they may need a little conditioner in my hair to help with detangling, I have long hair and don't need to use conditioner. How often is using a rinse necessary? It depends on YOU. I feel it's best for my hair type and my hair styling habits to use the diluted Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse after each shampoo. But when using it full strength or using one of the Citric Acid Hair Rinses, some people only use it once or twice a week. 

Are you new to natural shampoo bars?

You might find that your hair feels different at first. Almost like there is a residue still left over in your hair. if you can rule out hard water as the culprit, then it could be the shampoo bar reacting with the residue build up from all of your other hair products. Most people find that if they persist in using our natural shampoo bars—anywhere from a few days to a month for your hair to transition, that feeling goes away, and they find their hair to be cleaner, brighter, softer, and more manageable. Why? Because our shampoo bars actually CLEAN and CONDITION your hair and scalp without stripping it of its natural sebum.

Since shampoo bars have become such a huge hit in the last few years, I've seen ads from other "shampoo bar" companies warning against using "soap" in your hair, saying soap will strip hair. Yes, you don't want to use soap in your hair if it is not specifically formulated as a natural shampoo bar, not because it may strip your hair, but because if it's not formulated for hair, it may not have the lather and conditioning your hair needs. But our natural shampoo bars are specifically formulated to be gentle, nourishing and conditioning for hair as well as for the face, hands and body. In the past (prior to the big 'shampoo bar' craze) I told customers that is wasn't something to worry about, that soap which has been around and used all over the home and body for 1,000's of years, and when formulated correctly, it is gentle and effective at cleansing hair and body. But as the "shampoo bar" craze grew and I saw the ads I started doubting myself and my research. But I needn't have. After researching it again I found the same results. As long as the shampoo bars are formulated to be mild soaps (pH 8-10) which ours are, then the skin (hair & scalp) naturally and easily return to it's natural pH within 30-90 minutes. No matter what is used to cleanse the skin, scalp or hair, even if it's just water, the acidic mantle will be disrupted. But thankfully, because our soaps are full of rejuvenating & moisturizing ingredients, these ingredients work together to not only protect, but to also nourish & bring health back to skin, hair & scalp. Many people have reported that their scalp issues clear up when they start using our bars. Not only because of the protective nature of our natural soaps, but also because their bodies are no longer reacting to harsh chemicals.

As mentioned earlier, when you follow the washing of your hair with an acidic rinse, one of the benefits is that this will help return the natural pH balance to hair, skin & scalp more quickly. For further benefits of using an acidic rinse, check out this article. God designed our bodies to heal themselves, but we need to take care of them and protect them from chemicals that do damage and prohibit our cells from functioning normally. Many people will find that shampoo bars are the solution to a lifetime of bad hair days!

One bar. All you need. Love your soap. (And love your hair!)