We hear so many horror stories from people who have tried shampoo bars and yet find their hair in a terrible state ‘a bundle of hay’, ‘nasty waxy coating’, ‘like it has been dipped in the fryer’. The source of these problems is often the type of bar they have chosen. Many bars on the market are made in the same way as a traditional soap bar, the way you can tell is by looking at the ingredients, sodium cocoate (saponifed coconut oil), sodium olivate (saponified olive oil), to name just two of the most common. When you make soap you take oils and mix them with lye – caustic soda, which on its own is very nasty stuff but when combined with oils it chemically changes the oils into soap and leaves none of the caustic soda behind, which is why you don’t get greasy bars of soap.
So what is the issue with soap bars and hair?
Firstly the PH level, most soap bars have an alkaline PH and hair needs to be neutral to slightly acidic. Often you hear people using an apple cider vinegar rinse to try to combat this, there are a couple of issues with doing this; firstly you don’t know how much acid you need to use to get the PH just right and you could easily end up putting on too much and causing your hair damage; another issue is getting it on your hair whilst avoiding your eyes – if it gets in it will sting like crazy. Plus it is an extra faff added to your day that we could all do without. Another issue with soap bars in hair is it won’t close the cuticle, if you think of your hair like a tiled roof with all the tiles lying flat, that is what your hair should be like, how ever soap bars lift the cuticle which can lead to damage and once your hair is damaged there is little you can do to repair it as it is not alive like skin. The type of water in your area can also cause issues, if you live in a hard water area you will have more issues than someone in a soft water area.
So what can you do to make a smooth switch to a shampoo bar?
Well firstly look at the ingredients and avoid ones made like soap bars. Instead look for surfactants that are made for hair care such as SLSA (Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate) and SCS (Sodium Coco-Sulfate) both are EcoCert/COSMOS approved. Try to avoid the ingredient SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) is can be found in many brands and products, it is a cheap surfactant that is renowned for causing skin irritation – in fact it is used to irritate skin when testing products that heal the skin!
Strawberry Moon Skincare make shampoo and conditioner bars that will just work at cleaning and conditioning your hair without any fuss and bother. They are made with four surfactants that are all EcoCert/COSMOS approved - Sodium Coco-Sulfate (SCS), Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB) and Decyl Glucoside. We also use three conditioning ingredients to help look after your hair - Cetyl Alcohol, Cocoa Butter and another EcoCert/COSMOS ingredient with a very long name - Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol. You will find these work like a professional shampoo and conditioner product just without the water added and without the plastic bottle, they are simply condensed high quality hair care ingredients.
You won’t be disappointed when you try them, in fact we think they are one of the best shampoo and conditioner bars around. Each bar will last around 2-3 months depending on how often you wash your hair and if you can allow it to dry out between washes then this will all extend the life of the bar too. They are brilliant for people travelling as take up hardly any space and you won’t need to worry about running out on your holiday. They are also suitable for hand luggage as they do not contain liquids.
When your bar gets near the end of its life, I recommend you pop it in the foot of an old pair of tights or in a mini cotton bag. This helps the bar to foam up and prevents it slipping down the drain before it has been used up on your hair.