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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Shampoo Bar

A complete guide to switching to an eco-friendly shampoo, which is better for you and for the planet

We absolutely love shampoo bars, as it was one of the first swaps that we made. But it was also one of the hardest.

The idea of having a completely plastic-free shower was one that sounded great. Making the swap to a soap bar was easy enough, so was a shaving soap bar and a safety razor. We both completely underestimated starting to use a shampoo bar. There's a lot more to it other than which scent is your favourite, or what ingredients do you like the sounds of. 

We've put together a comprehensive guide to how to find the right shampoo bar for you. And not to give up! If you've ended up with really dry or greasy hair from using a shampoo bar, then it wasn't the right one for you. 

Life Before Plastik - Shampoo Bar

 Positives of using a shampoo bar

  • A shampoo bar is a lot cheaper than buying bottled shampoo
  • One shampoo bar can last up to 6 months
  • All shampoo bars come wrapped in paper or card being they are zero waste, meaning no plastic bottles. Nothing goes to landfill!
  • They don't contain any nasty chemicals. Everything that goes down the drain is natural and won't cause any harm to the water system
  • You can pop them straight into your hand luggage when travelling. They aren't a liquid so you won't have any problem getting them through security
  • They are made from natural ingredients, so no SLS or parabens 
  • If you're travelling light, you can also use a shampoo bar to wash your body. So essentially it's an all in one bar
  • They have a low carbon footprint as it's so easy to find a shampoo bar that was manufactured in the UK or maybe even in your local town

Negatives of using a shampoo bar

  • It takes time for your hair to transition to a shampoo bar, meaning you may go through a greasy phase
  • They don't work that well in hard water areas
  • It's important to ensure that you are actually buying a shampoo bar from a company that know what they're doing. Sometimes you can actually be buying a soap bar and that won't do anything for your hair

What is the transition period when switching to a shampoo bar? 

If you've been using bottled shampoo for years, then you'll most likely have a build up of residue that those commercial shampoos have left behind. 

The natural oils on your hair and your scalp need time to adjust, which can make your hair dry or greasy. This time is referred to as the transition period and usually takes around 3 weeks until you feel the benefit. 

Every person is different and for some people there is no transition period at all. There are also now lots of shampoo bars on the market that don't have any transition period at all. 

These include 2in1 shampoo & conditioner bars by Zero Waste Path and Beauty Kubes by Eve of St Agnes. 

Another method is to use a vinegar rinse after you wash your hair. This helps to balance the pH on your scalp and decrease any build up. 

Life Before Plastik - Shampoo Bar

How to use a shampoo bar

Using a shampoo bar couldn't be easier. You lather the bar between your hands and then rub them into your hair and wash as normal. 

We don't recommend rubbing the bar directly onto your scalp as that could leave a residue in your hair. If you have long hair, rubbing onto your ends and then massaging upwards is also a great technique. 

Like commercial shampoo, it's always best to also use a conditioner afterwards or vinegar rinse to detangle your hair and bring a shine.

Choosing the right shampoo bar for you

At Life Before Plastik, we've organised our range of shampoo bars according to hair type. If you have dry hair, an itchy scalp, fine and oily hair or any other hair type, we have a great shampoo bar for you. 

Each shampoo bar that we stock has been specifically designed for a certain hair type. Specific ingredients help to balance your hair to leave you with shiny and healthy hair. When buying, make sure you read the product description to ensure you have picked the right shampoo bar for you. 

Life Before Plastik - Shampoo Bar

Shampoo bar FAQs 

How long will a shampoo bar last?

This depends on how many people use the shampoo bar in your household, how long your hair is, how big the shampoo bar is and how long your hair is. It can last up to 6 months, we usually say a 100g bar can last up to 80 washes on average. But everyone is different, so it's a tough one to answer accurately. 

How do I store my shampoo bar?

You need to make sure you keep your shampoo bar dry between uses. This will ensure it lasts longer. The best method is to use a soap dish and keep it in the shower or our favourite is the coconut soap rest which is not only a top seller, but also affordable, washable and durable. 

Can I use a shampoo bar if I live in a hard water area?

The short answer is yes you can. You might need more of a shampoo bar when washing your hair which means it won't last as long. You may also find that using a vinegar rinse really helps to detangle your hair and add a healthy shine.

How long does the transition period last for?

A transition period lasts around 3 weeks on average. You may however find that you don't get a transition period at all. If you do, please stick with it - we promise you'll come out the other side! 

How do I know which shampoo bar to buy?

The best shampoo bar to buy is one that is designed specifically to your hair type. If you click through to our range of shampoo bars here then you can easily shop according to your hair type. 

Do I need to use conditioner?

Using a shampoo bar is just like using commercial shampoo in the sense that you still need to condition your hair afterwards. We have a range of plastic-free conditioner to pick from. 

We also stock the 2in1 shampoo and conditioner from Zero Waste Path which doesn't require an additional conditioner.

What is a vinegar rinse for?

Vinegar rinse helps to reduce any residue when making the switch from a commercial shampoo, it also helps to detangle your hair and give it a lovely shine.

You can check out our range for plastic-free shampoo bars here.

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