Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Questions and Answers on Shampoo Bars


1. How do you use a shampoo bar?

To be fair, I rarely get this question from a guy. He often will use his bath bar to wash his body and hair and not think twice about it. But, for the ladies, I often answer this way:
First, I like to wash my hair with my head flipped down and most of the time in the kitchen sink. I wet my hair thoroughly to the point of sopping, then taking the bar and rub it a few times in my length and then over the scalp a few times. I set the bar down and work up a lather with the length and the scalp hair altogether. Some are afraid of hair breakage, but I work my lather as I would if using a bottled shampoo - no different. When cured, my shampoo bars lather as well if not better than bottled shampoo, so working up a lather is not a problem. The lather tends to stay in place and not run down the head into the eyes! When I've massaged my scalp a bit with my fingers, I rinse it out. My shampoo bars rinse cleanly out very quickly.

2. What is the deal with an acidic rinse? Is this to rinse the shampoo completely out?

There is a lot of controversy over this issue. I will tell you what I know:

Before I began making shampoo bars, I read in one of my herb books that our grandmothers often told us to use an apple cider vinegar dilution as the final rinse to our hair. The reason? the hardness of the water. Many would steep lovely hair herbs in this vinegar over a period of time, strain it and use it for their hair, using 1-2 teaspoons of herbal vinegar to rain water or other water. What our grandmothers knew was that vinegar softens hard water.

The 'cones found in commercial shampoos and conditioners mask the minerals in hard water. But, shampoo bars do not. They will clean your hair, but when rinsing out the shampoo, you may find your hair feels waxy or rough. This indicates you are using hard water. To restore the water to a neutral pH, add a bit of vinegar. The acid neutralizes the alkaline water and softens it, which in turn softens your hair upon using it. I use a cup of this dilution as my FINAL rinse.
If you are using soft water, there is no need to use this dilution. ACV (apple cider vinegar) dilutions just put us all on equal footing for softer hair with shampoo bars.

3. What are the advantages of shampoo bars over commercial shampoos?
The most obvious is eliminating a bottle for paper packaging. One sheet of paper wraps 5 regular bars of shampoo or 8 sample bars. And, recycled paper is widely available.
Another obvious reason is for travel. It is wonderful. No bottles, just a bar that travels well.

But, these are the social reasons. There are personal reasons, too. Synthetic detergents, chemicals we do not know, and a ton of other ingredients are eliminated from our head. We are now using only pure whole ingredients we do know, such as coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba, etc. made into shampoo soap by way of a solution of sodium hydroxide in pure distilled or rain water. Real soap versus detergents.
This is what it has done for me...hitting menopause, my hair was coming out in clumps. Now, it does not and even feels thicker than ever before. My hair is soft all the time and requires a washing twice a week versus every day or every other day, becoming oily rather quickly. My hair is easier to hold a do, too. :)

I'm using shampoo bars in my sixth year. I haven't regressed. I've not used a bottled shampoo in over 6 years, not once. And, I don't miss it. I've come to enjoy the shampoo bar experience every time. I make 19 varieties of shampoo bars, so variety isn't a problem, either. Because shampoo bars leave nothing in your scalp and hair, there is no need to change out shampoo bars, either. You may use the same one for years and find it works the last time you use it as well as the first time.

In this article, I give you my reasons. But, in the next article (part 2), I will give you comments from my customers. There are hundreds of them. Shampoo bars are my best sellers online and have been for more than 2 years. And, next time, I will share their experiences with you.

Thank you! ~kathleen


  1. Excellent post! I had no idea there were so many reasons to switch to shampoo bars. I really like the portability of a bar shampoo when I'm on the road.

  2. And, the bars last longer than a bottled product, too. Thanks for your comment, Cindy. :)

  3. Hardness of water refers to the mineral content of water, not the acidity. And the reason that shampoo bars used with hard water can lead to a way feeling is that the minerals in the water react with the soap to form soap scum - which the acid rinse can then wash away.

  4. I read that article and notice that acidity was mentioned in brief and glossed over with little understanding - but check the pH of hard water.
    Soap scum - then you know you are using real soap by this: soap molecules have a head and tail. The tail is attracted to dirt molecules while the head is attracted to molecules of water. Acid rinse, in any water, is not necessary to rinse out shampoo soap in hair. The minerals in hard water is what makes the hair feel rough after rinsing. A weak acidic solution offers the minerals a bonding that makes those minerals water soluble.