The sad truth: Most of our skin care routines aren’t as eco-friendly as we’d like. Due to the excessive plastic packaging, chemicals, and many other factors, there is a huge amount of waste in the products that go unused.
If you are looking for ways to clean up your skin care regime, shampoo might be your first step. You might have seen solid shampoos—or shampoo bars—trending lately. But are they actually good for the environment and your hair? And could they really replace bottled shampoo?
Why shampoo bars became popular
For a of couple years now, specifically in the pandemic, the love for a traditional bar of soap has resurfaced. Scholars believe this has to do with the general urge to reduce plastic usage as people became more and more aware of the environmental crisis happening globally during the pandemic.
In the beginning stages of the pandemic, a lot of people were furloughed, or completely laid off from jobs, and disposable income became a thing of the past. People started conserving and rethinking what items they really need and wear in times when outdoor experiences were nonexistent. This regard for shopping more sustainably completely influenced the idea of cleaning up grooming regimens.
Do they work?
So yes, shampoo bars use less plastic, and overall create less waste, but do they actually clean your hair? Short answer: Yes. They are well-formulated and made with surfactants that combine with oil and grime on the scalp, and wash away when the shampoo is rinsed off.
However, we should warn you that some shampoo bars are too alkaline (pH between 8 and 9 because of the sodium hydroxide), and can leave your strands dry, fragile, and damaged. The traditional pH level of shampoo is between 5 and 6, the exact same acidity of the skin, and easily cleanses your scalp and hair. So if the pH is higher than a 5 or 6, you get into hair damaging territory. The good news? You should be able to see the pH formula on the labeling to make your informed decision.
There are many TikTok and Reddit users claiming to swear by shampoo bars and just as many saying it doesn’t give the same squeaky-clean feeling as regular shampoos. But we are here to say that there is a transitional period.
Similar to moving from aluminum to natural deodorant, your hair will take a second to get used to the shampoo bar. Your hair texture can feel a bit sticky or wavy the first couple of times you try it. The icky residue can occur specifically when hard water isn’t able to rinse the shampoo out properly, so just be aware.
Need more information on shampoos? Read up about 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners.