Shampoo bars are great alternatives to conventional shampoos that probably use synthetic sulphates and silicones to give you that extra sheen, but in the long term, they do more damage than good. Shampoo bars on the other hand are easy to use and great for travel plus it avoids all the unnecessary plastic bottles and packaging that end up in landfills and waterways leaking toxins for hundreds of years. Plus there are many other benefits too. (we have talked about it in detail here). But with so many options available out there one is bound to get confused. Don’t worry, here is our practical guide to buying your first shampoo bar:
pH value of shampoo bars
There are majorly 2 types of shampoo bars available in the market today. Soap based shampoo bars and syndet shampoo bars. While both are good in their own ways, what you need to look for is their pH value. Since our scalp and hair are slightly acidic, a pH value ranging between 5 and 6.5 is good. A pH value of more than 7 may increase the negative electrical charge of the hair fibre surface and, therefore, increase friction between the fibres. This may lead to cuticle damage and fibre breakage. Despite being made from natural oils, soap-based shampoo bars are alkaline with a pH of around 9.
Because soap-based shampoo bars are high in their pH value, it may take some time for your scalp and hair to adjust. For most people, the transition period can range from just one week to several weeks or even months. You will probably need to rinse your scalp and hair with something acidic like Apple Cider Vinegar post shampoo to bring them to their default acidic state. If you want to avoid this dreadful transition period, choose a syndet shampoo bar.
hard water vs. soft water
Soap based shampoo bars won’t work in hard water. In all likelihood, it will leave something called Soap scum on your scalp that may lead to clogging of pores. This could increase scalp irritation that could lead to an itchy, flaky scalp while also increasing hair fall in some cases. If you live in an area that has hard water, go for syndet shampoo bars as they use surfactants to create lather that works in all water conditions.
natural vs. toxin-free
If it’s a soap, it can’t be natural. Period. Soap, by definition, is fat or oil mixed with an alkali. Soaps have to go through the process of saponification that uses a chemical called Lye to become soaps. In bar soap making, the lye is sodium hydroxide. Liquid soap requires potassium hydroxide. Thankfully, when done properly, saponification turns lye into soap. No lye is left in the final product. Our suggestion, don’t just go by the word ‘natural’, instead, make sure no known toxins like sulphates, parabens, phthalates etc. are present in the formulation.
And finally the ingredients
For shampoo bars to be most effective against the concerns you may have, choose the one that suits your scalp and hair type. A hemp shampoo bar may sound exciting but it may not suit an oily scalp. A charcoal shampoo bar may all you ever wanted to try but it may not suit your dry scalp. For the same reason, we have created our entire range of shampoo bars by carefully selecting plant-based ingredients to suit different scalp and hair types. You can check them all out here.
Like most things, it may still need some trials before you find ‘the one’ for you. If you need help selecting, don’t hesitate to reach out to our hair experts on WhatsApp or Insta DM.