Are you hesitating about switching to a package-free shampoo bar and don't know where to start? There’s a lot of confusion about the difference between hair soap and shampoo bars, and frustration about how they work. That’s a real shame because once you’ve found one that suits you, you will notice how wonderful and nourishing natural shampoo bars are. High time for some explanation!
Why switch to shampoo bars?
Shampoo bars are not packed in a plastic bottle like liquid shampoo, which saves a lot of plastic waste per person each year. The advantage of shampoo bars is that they are often packed in a paper wrapper, cardboard box or reusable travel tin.
Additionally, shampoo bars are usually made from mild and nurturing ingredients and are free from harmful substances found in 'regular' shampoos. These include SLS/SLES, sulphates, parabens, phthalates, silicones, mineral oils, polyethylene glycol (PEG), phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, synthetic perfume and alcohol. All the wrong ingredients that you would rather not have in your shampoo.
Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate (SLS/SLES)
SLS/SLES is an inexpensive ingredient that creates a lot of foam and cleans thoroughly. It may sound nice, but this ingredient is also used in household cleaning products. Effective, but not exactly nourishing for your hair and scalp.
Another ingredient commonly found in conventional shampoos is parabens, which is often added as a preservative. Some parabens are suspected of being endocrine disruptors (EDCs) and can cause skin irritation. However, little research has been done into the long-term use of parabens, so it’s unclear whether parabens are harmful.
Silicone adds shine and artificial smoothness to your hair, but it’s not a natural ingredient and is harmful to the environment. Using shampoo bars without silicone can make your hair just as clean, soft and shiny!
Not to mention the use of palm oil, a cheap and effective ingredient that gives texture to many products. Unfortunately, the production of palm oil involves large-scale clearing of tropical forests for plantations, which is disastrous for the people and endangered species living there. Deforestation also contributes to climate change.
Animal based ingredients
Last but not least, many shampoos contain animal ingredients. Most shampoo bars, on the other hand, are vegan and not tested on animals.
Now, let's talk a little more about the production of the bars. Most natural shampoo bars are produced locally; the shampoo bars in our range come from the Netherlands or the United Kingdom. These shampoo bars travel a shorter distance than liquid shampoos that are often shipped from the other side of the world. Additionally, shampoo bars are lighter because there is no unnecessary water transported, which reduces emissions.
And even though a shampoo bar is smaller, it lasts longer. It’s difficult to estimate the exact number of washes because it depends on how long and thick your hair is and the amount of shampoo you use. Make sure the bar dries thoroughly between washes so it lasts longer. This can be done by placing the wet bar on a soap holder with holes at the bottom, allowing the water to drain away.
Lastly, you no longer have to deal with large, heavy plastic bottles when you go on holiday. Plenty of advantages right? So let’s make the switch! Now, the big question is, which one suits you best.
The difference between hair soap and shampoo bars
The terms hair soap and shampoo bar are often used interchangeably, which makes it a lot more complicated to understand the difference between the two. We will do our best to explain it as clearly as possible!
The biggest difference between hair soap and shampoo bars is the pH value. To put it simply, hair soap is literally a bar of soap to wash your hair with. Soap is at the upper end of the pH scale (around 9-10 pH). Our skin, on the other hand, is slightly acidic (4.75-5.5 pH). This can cause your skin/hair to feel stiff and tangled after washing it with hair soap. Rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar can help rebalance the pH of your scalp and works well as a natural conditioner.
When using hair soap, there is often a transition period of several weeks before your hair gets used to it. It takes a while for your scalp to produce less sebum, which can make your hair feel greasy in the beginning. Hair soap can also remove essential natural oils from your hair, making it feel duller. The advantage of hair soap, especially for people with thin hair, is that if you’ve been washing with it for a while, you’ll notice that your hair gets more volume.
Many natural shampoo bars are actually soap bars; this is not always shown on the packaging. But if yours contains any of the following ingredients, you know you are dealing with hair soap: sodium cocoate, sodium olivate, sodium castorate and sodium hydroxide.
Soap-free shampoo bars have a pH value that is ideal for hydrated and healthy hair. This ensures that there’s no transition phase when you make the switch to shampoo bars. Soap-free shampoo bars are therefore better for your hair and more accessible, but do pay close attention to the ingredients, because not all shampoo bars are free of palm oil and sulphates.
How do I find a shampoo bar that suits me?
Do you have sensitive skin? Or are you prone to a dry, flaky and itchy scalp? Soap is likely to aggravate these problems, while the gentle, cleansing ingredients in shampoo bars actually soothe these symptoms. Preferences and experiences are very personal, but for these reasons we prefer shampoo bars to hair soap. All shampoo bars on our website are soap-free and do not contain any of the harmful ingredients discussed above.
We recommend everyone to try out different shampoo bars until you find one that suits you. If you don't like them, you can just use them on your body. It took us a while to find the perfect shampoo bar, but now we can't live without it.
We hope that we’ve been able to shed some light on how hair soap and shampoo bars work and that you will find a delicious bar that suits you!