Everything about Shampoo bars – What, Why and How

Everything about shampoo bars is right here in this blog to help you make an informed decision when switching to shampoo bars.
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Knowledge is key in making the right changes to our daily rituals. We want to make informed decisions. In this blog article, we hope to tell you everything that you need to know about shampoo bars. After all, when we hear about something that will help save the environment, we want to make sure that we can really trust it!

So, what are Shampoo bars?

Shampoo bars look exactly what they sound like – a hair cleanser in a solid form. It’s what they’re made of that reveals all its secrets. Most shampoos have detergents and harsh chemicals in them, which strip the hair of its natural oils and leave it feeling dry and fragile. Shampoo bars have gentle cleansers instead and are jam-packed with ingredients like oils and butters, making the hair feel super soft and nourished.

Are they different from soap bars?

Yes! Absolutely! In fact, between the two of us, there are soap based hair cleansers that pretend to be shampoo bars. How do you tell the difference? Your scalp is acidic in nature (around 5.5) whereas soap bars are alkaline (above 7). Using a soap bar on your head is a recipe for disaster because it completely disrupts your scalp’s natural chemistry. Shampoo bars, on the other hand, don’t have any of the harsh chemicals that make soaps alkaline. Their pH is nestled between 5 and 7 just perfect for your scalp.

Did you know that soaps cannot lather or clean in hard water? If you live in a city where you get hard water (which is almost every city in India FYI) in the shower, say bye-bye to cleaning your hair if you use anything alkaline! But shampoo bars have got your back and can lather up without a problem, hard water or soft.

Why are shampoo bars better for the environment?

First of all, we’re so glad that you’d like to learn about this. There are so many benefits that this little switch brings with it:

Shampoo bars are better for our planet

Plastic plastic everywhere

According to the  Central Pollution Control Board report (2018-19) India’s annual plastic waste generation is 3.3 million metric tonnes per year. That’s the weight of 8.25 lakhs male Asian elephants combined so we definitely don’t need to add to it!         

Liquid shampoos are packaged in plastic containers. Shampoo bars can be packaged in biodegradable packaging and will last you a long time.

Microplastics, macro-problems

Plastic doesn’t stop at the packaging. Many liquid shampoos have microplastics in them! Microplastics are plastics that are smaller than 0.5mm in size. Don’t see microplastic in the ingredients list? Try looking for resins, waxes or silicones instead. Ingredients like dimethicone and polyethylene help your hair look shiny but they are, in fact, microplastics. When you wash your hair, these microplastics go back into our water bodies. 

It gets scarier – a research study has shown that these microplastics make the perfect habitat for the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And if 2020 has taught us anything, we reallllly don’t want any of those!

Not a drop to drink

Liquid shampoos require quite a lot of water to make. Did you know that shampoo bars do not require water to be made?

It’s not just water in the shampoo that needs to be looked at, there’s water behind the shampoo ingredients too. They typically use a lot of freshwater to either grow or to chemically process.

Here at The Switch Fix, we make sure to use ingredients that require less freshwater.

CO2, we see you

Did you think that CO2 could escape a conversation about the environment?

An ingredient called siloxane used to make liquid shampoo feel silky, has been shown to release CO2 in the presence of sunlight. This means that if you wash your hair with a shampoo containing siloxane, then step out into the sun, your hair will literally emit CO2. You’d be a walking environmental hazard!

Plus, when the size and efficiency of shampoo bars are compared to liquid shampoos, it’s clear that you can transport more haircare in a truck as shampoo bars rather than as liquid shampoos. More bars per transport vehicle equals fewer transport vehicles. And fewer transport vehicles equals less CO2 emission!

Why are shampoo bars better for you?

Alright alright, shampoo bars are better for the environment. But at the end of the day, they need to be good for you too, right? We’ve got you covered:

Shampoo bars are better for us

We’ve got chemistry 

It’s important for us to make a distinction between syndet-based shampoo bars and our shampoo bars. Many syndet-based shampoo bars are synthetic and made with harsh surfactants. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is the most common one and it has been linked to cancer. Look out for the words “sulfate” and “paraben” in ingredients lists.

There are, however, syndet-based shampoos naturally made with mild surfactants! Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate is a coconut-derived mild surfactant!

Remember we had talked about pH? Surfactants need to be mixed with other surfactants to get the right pH. Otherwise, the shampoo will be too acidic or too basic for our scalps to handle! 

pH balanced shampoo bars like ours save you the headache of having to go through ingredient lists with a magnifying glass. 

Au Naturale is queen

If it’s not clear already, our shampoo bars are sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free and free of any petroleum-derived ingredients. It’s all plant based, baby!

The added benefit of not having any detergents or harsh chemicals is that your hair doesn’t get stripped of its natural oils. Shampoo bars help restore your hair to its former glory by teaching it how to nourish itself! Your hair begins to remake its natural oils leaving it healthier from the inside.

So there you have it! A complete guide to how shampoo bars can help you and the environment at the same time. Help your hair and scalp reach ultimate health goals without trading in the planet’s health to do so. 

Ready to find the shampoo bar best suited for you? We’ll help you make that switch!

Tidbit box:

If you take a look at any liquid shampoo, you’ll notice that water is one of the ingredients. It takes more than a few pumps to work a lather. And has a dime sized amount ever really sufficed? 

Shampoo bars prove that good things come in small packages. Since they’re positively bursting with good ingredients, they’re concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Added to the fact that you use it directly on your head, it takes a few seconds to lather up your hair (and much less water). In fact, shampoo bars can last as long as 3 shampoo bottles! 

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