Cleansing is a regular part of caring for natural hair. Healthy hair requires it to be cleaned regularly but outside of that your choice on how to do so is up to you. Many simply use shampoo, a co wash, clays and even some use only water but for many naturals they are happy using a shampoo bar. As newbies, this may be a new item to you but trust me when I say, this is a good product. Let’s delve into the world of shampoo bars and why your natural hair may be ready for this beauty bar!
What is a shampoo bar?
In a nutshell it is shampoo in the form of a bar, like a bar of soap. To get technical, here’s what they are made of:
- Soap: soaps are the salts of fatty acids from the soap-making oils.
- Glycerin: a humectant designed to bring moisture in and retain it. It can be natural or synthetic and if natural it will usually be mentioned on product labels coming from vegetable oils or animal fat. It is water-soluble and can easily be added to water or hair care products to add moisture in your strands.
- Conditioning oils: you add oils than will react with the lye, and that leaves a very small amount of free oil in the finished shampoo bar.
- Essential oils: These plant-based aroma compounds provide a natural scent to your bar.
What about the lye?
I know some of you are pretty up on what’s good for your natural hair and may have already tried a shampoo bar for the many benefits. One of hte biggest turn offs for some is that fact that soap is made with lye and yes, shampoo bars are made with them as well. Well guess what? The lye is completely consumed in the chemical reaction to create the shampoo bar so the final product doesn’t burn or irritate skin or even damage your natural hair.
Most have much better ingredients than regular shampoos
We all try and find the best ingredients from our faves, but all to often, many regular shampoos are using complex ingredients that we aren’t even sure of what they are. Shampoo bars are much less complicated and tend to have better ingredient lists. Now, there are tons of brands on the market that have excellent ingredient lists, but shampoo bars tend to have simpler and less ingredients and they tend to get your hair back to its original, shiny, voluminous state by ridding the residue left from the chemicals found in traditional hair shampoos. If you find that regular shampoos tend to strip your natural hair of those necessary oils, a shampoo bar may be a better alternative as they do not treat hair the same.The days of every single shampoo bar being the same are over as they have expanded to accommodate every hair type or issue one may have. From bars for swimmers to bars for scalp ailments, you can find one just for what you need.
No Synthetic Fragrances or Colors
A great way to rid your hair and body of those synthetic fragrances and colors is by using a shampoo bar. I hate those ingredients and avoid them like the plague but most brands are using some form of them in their ingredient lists to make them appealing to the consumer. When it comes to naturals, less is more and many of you have told me that those fake fragrances and odd colors are unappealing to you.
Shampoo bars last much longer than regular shampoos
Granted, we use much less shampoo than conditioner as naturals, but if you are about saving money and getting the most out of your products, than a shampoo bar may be a winner for you. Shampoos are easier to overuse as they pour so easily into your hands. We often use too much shampoo but when it comes to a shampoo bar, these low-lathering cleansers will only dissolve a little at a time, instead of in gobs so you get more uses out of a high-quality shampoo bar than a high-quality liquid shampoo.
Shampoo bars travel well
We all have to worry about over packing and when you factor in our much-needed hair products, you can often go into panic mode. One of the great perks with a shampoo bar is, it travels well. Compact, light and non-bulky, it barely takes up any space so you have room for other hair products and necessities. Another great perk is shampoo bars have evolved and not all are the same. Many have specific needs that come in handy if swimming like the SWIM REPAIR SHAMPOO BAR by Basin. As more black women travel, we are always on the hunt for making our travels easier and less cumbersome with what we need.
How to use a shampoo bar?
This is not a silly question but a valid one. Some brands recommend simply rubbing the bar between your hands and use your fingertips to gently scrub your scalp and apply to your strands. Other brands advise applying it directly to the scalp instead. They lather pretty well but require thorough washing and rinsing to aid in rinsing but simply rinsing with ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) will help eliminate any leftover residue. Here are both techniques explained in full:
Technique #1: Use The Bar Directly On Your Hair.
Begin with thoroughly wet hair.
Gently rub wet the shampoo bar directly onto your hair from scalp to ends in a combing motion.
Cover each section of your hair. Gently massage scalp and hair, adding more water as needed, until a good lather forms.
To prevent tangles, be sure to always work from the top down, don’t pile your hair on your head and use your fingers like a comb, not a mixer.
If you rub the shampoo bar directly on your hair, remember you are washing your hair with superfatted soap.
The most common trouble spot, especially for people with long hair, is at the nape of the neck.
It is very important to work the shampoo into your hair with water and really build up a good lather on your head so there are no patches of soap left on your hair.
Lathering up also allows the dirt and extra oils to be washed away.
Rinse, rinse, rinse!
Repeat if desired
Technique #2: Create The Lather in Your Hands
Some find it helpful, especially in the beginning, not to rub the bar directly on their hair. They use their hands, a puff or a sponge to create foamy lather, and only use the lather to wash. It can be very helpful in making the hair less tacky until the adjustment takes place.
Begin with thoroughly wet hair.
Rub the wet shampoo bar between your wet hands to create a nice lather.
Using your fingers like a comb, smooth the lather along your hair.
Gently massage it into the scalp and hair, as you would with a bottled shampoo.
Work up a good lather
Rinse, rinse, rinse!
Repeat if desired.
Any cons to using a shampoo bar?
Well, just like anything else. There are some cons or downsides to using shampoo bars. The most annoying is getting used to using them. They are not like regular shampoos and can be very messy and hard to manipulate in your hands and hair. Many women have complained of a film left on the hair because they have a waxy consistency, which can build up in your hair. The easiest way to remove that is to follow up with a rinse of Apple Cider vinegar to remove that buildup and to add shine to your hair.
Another problem is tangling. Many women with curly or textured hair must be careful when rubbing the hair to keep from creating tangles. Opt for technique 2 above where you use your fingers like a comb in your strands after you have created the lather in your hands. Don’t expect to master this after one try and also make sure to work in sections of hair to lower the chances of tangles.
Who is ready to give a shampoo bar a try? Share if you’ve tried one or ready to try one below!