Sunday, March 23, 2014

Shampoo Bars: Are They a Better Alternative For Your Hair

Shampoo bars have been a hot topic on my blog since I posted my review of JR Liggett's Shampoo Bar a year ago. Since then, you guys have challenged me and pushed me with your emails, questions and comments (I LOVE IT!). I've learned a lot and I think it's time to revisit the subject!

Are Shampoo Bars Really 
the Best Shampoo for your Hair?
Many people have expressed to me that they are scared of switching to a shampoo bar and have a fear that it will mess up their hair. I don't blame them for their concern because switching your beauty routine is frightening! It took me months to build up the courage! If you're on the fence or just want to know a little more about how they work-- then let me explain!
Shampoo Bars: Are They a Better Alternative? #Beauty #Hair
Beauty and the Bees Shampoo Bars: Beer (light colored and cut into slivers) and Moroccan Mud (med brown)
What Are Shampoo Bars, Anyways?
Glad you asked. Shampoo bars are actually solid bars of soap that are made specifically for hair. In fact, they were commonly used before our traditional shampoo and conditions were invented (around the time of WWII).

Most people find benefits to switching to a shampoo bar such as increased volume, faster growing hair, reduced dandruff, shinier hair and less frizz.  If you have curly hair, most people say they that they have more defined curls with better control. Shampoo bars are good for all hair types and hair lengths. There are brands which are formulated for color treated hair.

Bad Hair DayThe majority of shampoo bars are all natural and DO NOT contain SLS/SLES (sodium laurel sulfate / sodium laureth sulfate) or other harmful chemicals, but always check the label to make sure! SLS/SLES can cause dry, itchy and irritated scalp. It can also dry out your hair, and contribute to hair loss, especially if you shampoo every day!

So what is SLS/SLES? It cleans the oils from your hair and it allows you to get that really great lather with traditional shampoos. Unfortunately most shampoo bars do not lather very well, but they also do not strip your hair of your natural oils like SLS does.

Because it's gentler, using a shampoo bar allows your hair to retain color and moisture while reducing the instances of dry scalp and especially oily scalp. Removing SLS/SLES from your hair care routine really allows your hair to rebalance and produce adequate amounts of oils.

They are FABULOUS if you travel, but not so great for company (eck!). They are also very cost effective because they last for months and only cost a fraction of what you'd spend in shampoo during that time!

So Are There Any Side Effects or Problems?
Hard Water: One of the biggest issues I have heard from readers is that shampoo bars may not perform as well in hard water. It has mostly to do with a lack of lather. I have medium hard water and I don't have any complaints, so it really is going to depend on your personal situation and what you're looking for in a shampoo bar.

Expiration Date: Also, remember these are natural products so they won't last forever. Most expire within 6 months of purchase, unless otherwise indicated on the product. You don't need a lot of product, so most shampoo bars will last several months depending on how frequently you use them.

Dryness: Some people say that they feel that their hair gets dry especially at the tips with long hair when using shampoo bars. I think that this has to do with a need for more light brushing to distribute the oils from the scalp to the bottom of the hair, but that's just my theory!

People have told me that they felt that their dry hair had more moisture and many people who suffer from oily hair or scalp said their hair had changed to what they believed "normal" would be like. It's important to remember that we all have different hair which may respond slightly differently to the same product.

Transition: What most people are scared of is what I call THE PURGE {ominous music begins to play in the background}.

"The Transitional Purge"
There is a transition when you switch from the chemicals in traditional shampoos to a natural shampoo bar annnnd (I won't lie) sometimes it isn't pretty. When you first begin, your hair or scalp may become oily or dry or even switch between the two extremes. You may have increased tangles, or frizz and the hair shafts may feel waxy. This is your hair freaking out because it forgot how to do it's job. Own it. Like a boss. It will go away!

Shampoo Bar and ACV Rinse for #hair
My hair AFTER the purge
using JR Liggett's Shampoo Bar
 (natural hair color)
This transitional period can last for just a week and up to six weeks. It really depends on how damaged your hair is, how frequently you used products with SLS/SLES and some has to do with your genetics. Using a Vinegar Rinse will help to speed up the process, balance scalp pH and remove build up.

During this transitional time or even a few months afterwards, your hair may begin to aggressively grow and you may have an exodus of old built up chemicals that has collects over the years from using traditional shampoos. It's slightly creamy, similar to dandruff, but more localized. It does not itch, burn or feel strange, but it freaks a lot of people out. DON'T WORRY! But if you freak out, shoot me an email and we can chit chat.

My Transition Story
For me, the transition lasted a couple of weeks. During that time my hair developed bipolar disorder as it would switch back and forth from oily to dry sporadically. I know that it was my hair's way of trying to figure out how to rebalance itself, but I admit-- it was a little frustrating. But once it found it's "sweet spot" I was hooked and since then I've not had any more dandruff!

Now I wash my hair every three days and I don't even need a conditioner. In the beginning I used ACV every wash to balance my scalp, but now I use an ACV rinse about once a week. I haven't used my blow dryer in months, I rarely use my straightener and I don't really use any styling products besides a few sprays of rose water for added moisture or a couple of drops of argan oil to smooth flyways. It really has been life changing for me.

There are lots of brands to chose from so knock yourself out. I simply suggest that you pick a company that uses quality ingredients and will stand behind their product. You can use the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database to look at ingredients and the safety of popular products.

I've tried two brands: JR Liggett's and Beauty and the Bees. My original review to learn about JR Liggett's is available (by clicking the link) so I thought I'd post a little something below about Beauty and the Bees to give some perspective.

If you've tried a shampoo bar and liked it, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me about it in the comments!! I'm so curious! 

Beauty and the Bees: 
Shampoo Bar for Different Hair Type
Beauty and the Bees has many shampoo bars to choose from. I admit that I was a bit overwhelmed when I was researching all their bars. I contacted a rep for Beauty and the Bees to find out which ones are the best for different hair types and let me tell you what I learned!
OverthrowMartha after Beaty and the Bees shampoo bar #beauty #hair
Hair air dried after using Beauty and the Bees Beer Shampoo Bar
(Blonde color= dye)
If you want to try Beauty and the Bees and you're still not sure which is right for you, then you can purchase their sample pack and try six samples of their most popular bars: Beauty and the Beeas Shampoo Sample Box

They use ingredients such as mountain spring water, coconut oil, olive oil, soy wax Leatherwood Beeswax and honey, castor oil, seaweed extract. The different shampoos are custom made for different hair types depending on the mix of  various plant oils, herb infusions, herbs, essential oils, beer, etc.

Sooo… How Does It Work?
I tried the Moroccan Mud and the Beer shampoo bars. Annndd, I may or may not have coerced my dear sweet mom to try the Honey, Lemon and Chamomile Shampoo bar. I love that lady! She's been rocking the gray lately and I've had a lot of request to know about the effects on shampoo bars for gray hair, so she selflessly volunteered!

My mom was really happy with the Honey, Lemon and Chamomile Shampoo bar for her gray hair! She said that her hair behaved a lot better when she switched to shampoo bars from traditional hair care. However, when she tried the Honey, Lemon and Chamomile bar she was more than happy with how soft and moisturized it left her hair! She'd definitely use it again.

With the Beauty and the Bees shampoo bars, they provided more moisture and lather compared to the JR Liggett's shampoo bar. I also noticed that the Moroccan Mud bar seemed to keep my hair straighter while the Beer shampoo bar made my hair more wavy. The picture above is me after using the Beer Shampoo after letting it air dry with zero product-- see the wave! For me, I like them both, but Beauty and the Bees is more moisturizing for my dry hair.

Tips
  • Use a vinegar rinse to help restore a healthy pH to the scalp and to remove old chemicals. Here is my recipe for a lavender ACV hair rinse.
  • Brush your hair often to redistribute oils throughout the hair shaft. A brush with soft bristles is great for this! 
  • If you have hard water, buy a new shower head that will help purify the water or soften it. I use Aquasana Deluxe Shower Water Filter System with Adjustable Showerhead, but there are many others to pick from! 
  • For tangles during the transition person, you can use argan oil, extra ACV rinse (not extra ACV, simply more of the rinse) or a natural hair creme to help the reduce tangles.
  • If you're worried about the bar getting wet and dissolving, you can cut it into slivers and only take a small section into the shower instead of the whole bar. 
  • DO NOT WASH YOUR HAIR EVERYDAY! Don't do it. You need to let it transition so give it a few days in between washings.
Want More Shampoo Options?
I have heard through your comments and e-mails that you all want MORE OPTIONS! I have tested several methods and these are the others which I've liked or my friends have had success with. However, I have to say I'm really like DIY Herbal Hair Shampoo.  

Have you thought about...
I can't wait to hear what ya'll have to say about your hair adventures! Have you used a shampoo bar before? Do you have any tips? Are you still using the shampoo bar? I'd love to hear your story!

Questions? Join my natural living group!

Disclaimer: I have not been paid for this review, but I did received the Beer Bar and the Honey, Lemon and Chamomile bar to test from Beauty and the Bees. This is my unbiased review of the products because you know I won't lie to you. I love you guys! {hugs}

64 comments:

  1. Following your advice I switched to JR Liggett and loved it for awhile. I've since branched off to Chagrin Valley. They are out of Ohio and I love lots of their products for myself and my kids :) Check them out, I hope you like them!

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    1. Chagrin Valley seems to be a popular choice! You were the first to recommend it to me, but the review right after yours said the same thing! I was browsing their website for an hour last night!! I LOVE THEM! I will definitely try them out! Thanks for the suggestion!

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    2. I live in Ohio and just got done reading a lot from Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve company as well as numerous reviews. First of all the product reviews range from "Love it!" to "Hate it!". But as with all products of this nature you have to do a LOT of sampling and it seems that some people are unaware of the dreaded transition phase! The one problem I repeatedly see with CVSS is customer service. If you don't like a product, you cannot return it, no refunds are given, no apology if you actually had an adverse reaction to an ingredient or offer to replace the product and ALL negative comments are removed from their Facebook page. And although there seem to be a lot of local Ohio customers, Ida prefers to selectively only post glowing reviews of customers from out of state.

      On the plus side, CVSS offers decent sized samples ($2.50 at this time) that last a while. You can try quite a few types and if you get something that doesn't work you're not out a small fortune.

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  2. Sherri ~ have you ever tried the shampoo bars from Chagin Valley? They have SO many varieties, and you can buy samples of everything they sell. (BTW, the sample sizes are very generous.) My favorite shampoo bar is the Coconut Milk, but I've also had good results with the Chamomile & Citrus. I have so many of their gorgeous soaps I've even used the ones that aren't 'officially' shampoo bars to cleanse my hair. You should check out their site if you haven't already done so. (I am in no way affiliated with the company ~ just a very satisfied, and frequent, customer!) :) For reference, my hair is long, naturally curly and not color-treated. I live in an area with moderate-to-hard water, and I'll do an ACV rinse after about every 4th shampoo to keep the 'waxy' feel away.
    Cheers!
    ~Rosie

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    1. Rosie, you're the second person that mentioned Chagin Valley. I was seriously on their website for an hour last night looking at all their choices! They look awesome! Thank you so much for the suggestion! I will definitely try them out when this shampoo bar runs low! I'm excited! Thanks!!

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  3. I have been using the lavender bar form of Dr. Bronner's All in One Magic Soap for several months now on my straight, coarse, OILY hair (sometimes I'll use the unscented mild liquid variety instead). I follow with an ACV rinse. This soap has been amazing for my hair and I only need to shampoo every 2-3 days now. With commercial shampoos, I had to wash my hair every day to keep the oil and stink at bay. My boys also use the Dr. Bronner's for shampoo and body wash - the older one uses the tea tree liquid for his dandruff (it is remarkably effective at dandruff control) and the little one uses the unscented mild liquid. It is super convenient to only need one bar or bottle per person in the shower!

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    1. I love Dr. Bronner's soap (peppermint is my favorite but my sister likes the almond and my mom likes the unscented one), but from what I understand, it's supposed to be too harsh for prolonged use on hair? I noticed it really dries my husband's scalp out when he washes his buzz-cut hair with it.

      Have you found this to be a problem?

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  4. I have been using JR Ligget (after I first saw it on your blog) for almost five months now. I really like the idea of shampoo bars, and I think it's been very good for my hair overall.

    The problem I've encountered is dandruff. I thought it might just be my scalp purging itself, but I'm pretty sure it's dandruff now. Part of the cause might be our super hard water (and I haven't bought a filter yet). It's been a little frustrating because I've never had dandruff my whole life, and when I switch to something good for my hair and body, I get it! But I have not been deterred.

    I use an ACV rinse, but even that wasn't enough to keep these itsy bitsy little white dots from my hair. However, adding tea tree oil to my ACV rinse has proved the solution. I actually did this for the first time today after shampooing and wahlah! No flakes! I also added some tea tree oil to a coconut oil hair mask this weekend, so I think that helped as well.

    I'm excited to try the Beauty and the Bees or Chagrin Valley (or both!) soon. I'm using the Ligget bar that is supposed to be ultra-moisturizing, but I think I may need something that gives me even more moisture since my wavy/curly hair looks a little dry. The shampoo bars last forever though (which is a good thing), so I'll wait for my current one to run out.

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  5. After reading your review on the shampoo bars, I ordered one from J.R. Liggett. It came in the mail today and of course I had to try it out right away. My hair is naturally curly and on the short side. It lost a lot of its thickness because of the medications I'm on. When I first rinsed my hair, it felt kind of waxy (which thanks to your review, I expected) I was really worried I wouldn't be able to get my comb through it but the comb went right through and my hair feels cleaner now than it did with shampoo and conditioner. It also didn't take nearly as long to dry and it's not as dry feeling. If it works this good after only one use, I can't wait to see what it's going to look like with some long term use.

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    1. Jen, I am so jealous! It sounds like your transitions will be easy-peasy! The results are pretty amazing-- my hair dresser couldn't believe that a shampoo bar changed my hair like it did. I hear that curly hair is the absolute best for shampoo bars and it keeps them really manageable which is awesome. I'm so glad that you are liking shampoo bars! Thank you so much for sharing your story!!

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  6. First, I would like to say that I am a recent follower of your blog and really enjoy it. I started going "all natural" in past 4 months. A friend gave me homemade hand lotion in December and I was hooked. I stumbled onto your blog while looking for recipes. I made your rose water spray, aloe moisturizer, but my absolute favorite recipe is for deodorant. I merged a couple of different recipes and just love the outcome. My 13 yr old daughter is no longer stinky...and that is saying a lot!
    So I decided to try natural shampoo. I already had unscented Dr Brommer's so I started with that. The first time was a disaster. I must have used too much because my hair was super greasy. I had to rewash with regular shampoo because I was going out with friends and probably would have embarrassed them. Next day, I used less Dr Brommer's and massaged it into my scalp and rinsed with ACV. It looked great. The following day it was greasy again. Next day, I added a rinse after the ACV of baking soda with distilled water. My hair looked much better, not greasy and it actually had body. I have really hard water so I knew this was going to be challenging. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but it makes for fun conversation at work. I believe my coworkers think I am a bit off. Tee Hee
    Thanks for the inspiration and for passing on your wisdom!

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    1. Thanks Melissa!! I am so happy that you like the blog and that I can help you with your awesome transition to more natural beauty! And it does mean a lot when your 13 year old is no longer stinky! Haha! :)

      A lot of people use Dr. Bonners Castile soap as a shampoo bar and really like it. I'm glad that you're giving it a try and I love that your sharing your experience for others to learn, too. From what I have heard from other readers, it is a bit on the drying side, which is fine if you have naturally oily hair, but if you notice that you're getting too dry-- you may want to switch brands.

      The baking soda will definitely help remove grease! Good thinking on that :) {claps} I think you'll be amazed at how different your hair is in a couple of weeks! You're already starting to see some results which is great! It sounds like your transition won't be too long (lucky). And wait until your co-workers see your shiny, bouncy hair in a couple of weeks! You'll have them all converting!!

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    2. Sherri, thanks for the tips. I think I got through the transition...woo hoo! What do you do on the days that you don't shampoo? Do you just wet your hair? I think I may have converted a coworker. She perked up when I told her my hair seemed thicker.

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    3. YAY!! {happy dance} That's awesome Melissa! Doesn't it feel good to be over with that!? Your hair will still change a bit over the next few weeks/months as it strengthens and grows! It only gets better from here on out.

      What do I do on days I don't shampoo? Well, nothing. I shower, but I pull my hair up and if I get my hair a little wet that's fine, but I don't actively wet it or do anything, really. It's weird to do nothing, right? I was so used to shampooing everyday that I was felt like I was doing something wrong, but my hair is definitely happier this way. I usually do use a rose water/vegetable glycerin spray just for a little extra moisture and to make my hair smell awesome (like roses).

      That's fantastic that you are converting your co-worker! I love it! It's nice to have somebody who's been through it so you can help her along the way. You'll be a big help to her, I'm sure. I'm happy to hear you're spreading the word!! :)

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  7. Excitement I just had to share with anyone thinking about shampoo bars: I washed my hair on Wednesday after I worked out with my shampoo bar and a nice ACV rinse with tea tree and rosemary EO in it. It is now Monday morning and my hair has not only been not-greasy since Wednesday, it has looked shiny and clean! I am going to wash it this morning, but that's four days without shampooing! I wasn't going for a personal record, but it's pretty exciting.

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    1. I didn't get to try it the other day because I had a little bit of rinse left. I added it to my new batch of rinse for tomorrow.

      I'm all for prolonging my hair-washing, but after a while I'm definitely feeling dirty even if I don't look it.

      Alternate use for shampoo bars: shaving bar!

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    2. You are so resourceful! I love it! Haha! :)

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  8. I received my Beauty and the Bees sample pack about two weeks ago. I've now washed my hair three times with the Real Beer Shampoo bar. It smells spicy! I really like how my hair looks: a little frizz from the rainy weather but much curlier than it's been! I took pictures but I'll have to just post them on FB. My only problem is that my hair has an almost waxy texture to it even when I use my vinegar rinse. I'm starting to think that the hard water is leaving a mix of soap and hard water grossness residue on my hair even with the vinegar rinse.

    When I used my boar bristle brush in the evening after washing my hair in the morning, it gets so much stuff off my hair. It's crazy. I think it's time for a water filter in the shower.

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    1. Yay! I love your story!!! I love the Beer Shampoo, too! It's my favorite :) You have rose water don't you? If you put it in a spritzer bottle and spray your hair, that may help with the frizz.

      The waxy texture is normal during the transition. From what I understand, it's part of the healing of the hair shaft. It should mostly go away, but some if it might be the hard water-- I'd love to hear if it clears up when you get a new shower head!

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    2. I actually don't have rose water! I didn't get it in my ridiculous Amazon order a few weeks ago :( I did get the Vege Glycerin though. I was wondering if I could just mix that with something and maybe lavender EO for a counterfeit anti-frizz. I also don't have argan oil (here I go just changing your whole recipe!), but I have jojoba..

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    3. Ohhhh!! I LOVE changing things around! Veg glycerin is great, but it's heavy so it does need to be mixed with something (even water). I think that could definitely work… how about veg glycerin, distilled or boiled water, lavender EO (that would smell heavenly too) and then what I've done before is just put a drop of jojoba in my palms, rub them together and scrunch the ends of my hair. You know you're kind of brilliant :)

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    4. I'm just working off of your already awesome ideas and what I have at my disposal!

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  9. Hi. I came across your site while researching shampoo bars. Your explanation was the best out of the many articles that I came across. The Beauty and the Bees line, and your blog has really intrigued me to give this whole shampoo bar thing a whirl. I've been researching everything about it for about two weeks now. I still have a couple of questions that I haven't really found the answers to yet, so I'm hoping that you help me out.
    About my hair, I have long, fine, naturally wavy, color treated hair. I'm able to go about 3 days between shampoos ( I sometimes push it to 4 days when I know I'm not leaving the house). The perks of being a stay at home mom. My last color session at the salon did a number on my scalp. We did something different, a demi-permanent color. Not long after, I noticed flakes and serious itchiness. I noticed that B and B 's beer shampoo should take care of the dry scalp problems. My husband is even on board to try this out as he has had dandruff problems for quite some time now. I live in Texas, and right now, it's ponytail season for me, so I figured now would be a great time to try this out. I pull my hair up daily during the summer.
    So my questions would be, one, have you ever tried the B and B's conditioner bar? If so, how did you like it? Would it be beneficial to use right off the bat, or should I use the ACV rinse until my scalp starts to get back to normal?
    Two, once my hair is passed the transition phase, can I start to blow dry my hair again? I rarely let my hair air dry. I use a round brush to blow dry, so I do get a little bit of nice, subtle curl to it. I haven't used my straighter in months. So the only heat my hair would see is the dryer.
    I'm a bit nervous to try a new thing with my hair. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. I would love to see some comments from your readers as well and what their experiences have been. I'm holding off buying a filter for our hard water for now until I'm 100% sure that I want to do this. Thank you for your time!
    Signed,
    Itchy
    (but you can call me Shelby) :)

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    1. Shelby (aka Itchy), hi! :) Natural shampoo may be tricky for you because you color treat your hair regularly. Dying causes chemical damage to the hair and the more damaged your hair is the harder and longer your transition usually will be. By no means, am I telling you not to do it! But you may want to re-think how you dye your hair. Have you looked into Henna dye? I have several friends who do it and it's kind of amazing.

      Everyone who uses regular shampoo has damaged hair, but everyone who colors their hair has more damage so what you can expect is waxy feeling to your hair until the hair repairs. It may also look a little stringy. There is a risk that once you transition and then you chemically dye your hair again that you will have another mini-transition until the hair repairs itself.

      Shampoo bars are pretty heavy duty. I like them for my hair, but you may like to start the process with a more gentle shampoo first and then move towards shampoo bars after using the more natural shampoo for a while. From what I've been told, the transition is much more gentle using a product like this: Miessence

      I have used this particular product once just to see how gentle it is. It has some slight stripping of oils, but it's not as significant as a regular shampoo. I personally do not use this product currently unless I want to do an oil treatment and I need help getting the oil out of my hair because shampoo bars will not remove any oils. But I think it could be great as a lighter transition. I think you may be very unhappy with the shampoo bar with very long, color treated hair. It takes a looonnnggg time for the oils in your scalp to naturally move to the end of the hair shaft.

      I've never tried a natural conditioner. I only use the ACV rinse. I personally don't think they are needed with the shampoo bar. The Miessence shampoo that I tried was fine without the conditioner as well, but I did use the ACV rinse. IF you are going to do the shampoo bar-- do the AVC rinse. Even B&B recommends using it during the transitional phase. It really helps speed up the process and helps keep the scalp balanced during times of adjustment.

      It's funny because almost everyone emails me about their comments for the shampoo bars and everyone has the same experiences. I think people get embarrassed because it's hard and not very pretty. Hair is the hardest transition to go naturally and there will be rough patches.

      You should be able to blow dry your hair without an issue. Personally, the biggest plus to the whole natural thing is that I now have an automatic beach wave so…. no need to style anymore! YAY! I have used a hair dryer and straightener on my hair before without any issues at all.

      For your dandruff, you should try either aloe juice/gel and some high quality tea tree oil. Works like a charm!

      Please let me know if you have any other questions!

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    2. Thank you, Sherri! I will look into Henna and the natural shampoo. I will post my progress once I decide to go through with it.
      I'm sure I'll have some questions for you as well!

      Shelby

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  10. I also had a trouble adjusting to shampoo bars. Diluted vinegar rinse did nothing for me. I got so desperate, that i did a few straight vinegar rinses ( i used raw undiluted ACV) and voila - shampoo bar does not leave any residue anymore! I use Chargin Valley soapnuts bar and i believe it is also the addition of soapnuts that makes it rinse cleaner! My hair is color treated and i do condition afterwards with homemade whey - it gives hair incredible shine, smoothness and strength.

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    1. Soapnuts!! That's brilliant actually. Thanks for sharing :)

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  11. I'm glad to hear these work for you! I used to use shampoo bars a few years ago but stopped because I couldn't figure out an efficient way to use the vinegar rinse. I picked up using bars again (JR Liggett's) and I love them! I bring a plastic pitcher into the shower with me and use that for the rinses. I wash once a week and use a boar bristle brush every night in between washes; it makes my hair shiny and way less oily. The BBB makes a huge difference! I don't think I'll ever go back to regular shampoo.

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  12. So I started using B&B's beer shampoo bar (along with my husband) on 7/5. So far my transition is not too bad. I thought it was going to be way worse. My husband is sailing through it with hardly any issues. Jerk! :)
    I am keeping a log of my hair journey, and once I'm finished with the transition phase, I will post a comment about what my hair did during the process.
    What I would like to know is, how do you know when the transition is over? Is is like an overnight thing, or is it gradual? I keep reading about how beautiful one's hair gets. It's soft, it's manageable, easy to brush, etc. I'm only a week into this, so I know I have a little ways to go. So, how will I really know that my hair has stopped freaking out? It's hard to imagine when you have a constant high ponytail/bun made of wax on your head! Lol!
    This process has been a bit frustrating, but knowing what I was getting into and how to take care of it from the beginning makes it a lot more tolerable. Thank you for this post! I'm not sure if I would have ever tried it without reading about your experience with these bars!

    Thanks,

    Shelby

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    1. Hahaha! I KNOW!! Men sail through this stuff so much easier! Clint has been the same way. NO FAIR!

      The transition, in my experience, was 75% over within one month including the waxy feeling, but the last 25% took a little bit longer. I had the white dandruff like substance on my scalp (old shampoo residue and clogged pore goo) which was the hardest to get rid of. Frequent brushing, scalp massages and hair masks can help with that. The ACV rinse also helps to open up the pores to get the gunk out.

      It is frustrating, but I really believe it is well worth it! I have better hair now, less hair fall, it's more manageable, and I save a lot of money-- all of those things make me happy :) I am sure you will start to see big improvements soon and I'm happy that you haven't had any bad experiences with your transition (I'm jealous!!) I can't wait to hear how you do in a couple of weeks :)

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  13. I am in about week 2 of the transition period and was just about ready to stop using the shampoo bar b/c I thought that my hair just did not like the it. I did not research this before starting and so I was very surprised about all the oiliness and flakes I've been having. I was wondering how often you used the bar during transition? Every day? Every other? My hair has been so greasy that I feel like I need to do something to it! Did you use the ACV rinse by itself sometimes? I have regularly colored my hair and used a blow dryer on it. Getting away from that now, but it has been really hard not to run back to commercial shampoos and conditioners since my hair looks so bad. Thanks for any help/advice you can give me!

    Nesa

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    1. I don't recommend washing every day! If you need to you can use hair powder to absorb some of the oiliness, but your scalp has to learn how to regulate itself. Part of the problem is probably due to the hair dye-- everyone who has talked to me who has dyed their hair has more issues due to the chemicals damaging the hair, but don't worry! They end up transitioning just fine-- it usually just a more severe transition :)

      You an use the ACV by itself, but I wouldn't use it every day either. IT has the ability to change the pH of the scalp which is great if you use it once or twice a week, but everyday can make the scalp not so happy.

      Unfortunately, bad hair is the transition. A lot of people stop because they can't stand it, but the people who stick through it tend to see better hair with a lot more body and less frizz.

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  14. Hi. I’ve been using shampoo bar for 3 weeks (I wash my hair 2-3 per week and also use homemade dry shampoo). Before that I tried baking soda, but it didn’t work, so I’ve been using SLS free shampoo for almost 3 years. Now I bought natural (lemon) shampoo bar and I rinse with lemon juice. My hair is a bit waxy and second day after washing it gets greasy anyway. I still don’t see any progress. Am I still in transitional period or my hair will never get less greasy? Or should I try other shampoo bar, maybe the one for dry hair?
    Thanks, Vic.

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    1. The waxy feeling is 100% normal and your hair can feel greasy or dry during the transition or even bounce back and forth. Everyone is different with the transition-- some are a few days and others are 6 weeks or more. I'm not sure which brand you're using, but lemon can be drying to the hair and you're using both lemon in your shampoo bar and lemon for your rinse, so you may want to try a different brand, too. I like that you're using an acid base after the shampoo though-- that's better for your scalp! You may want to try an ACV rinse instead of the lemon juice to see if you seen in improvements before switching bars.

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    2. I switched shampoo bar and I still don’t see any improvements. My hair gets oily the second day and it’s still waxy. After 8 weeks I’m slowly loosing hope. Am I still in a transition period or are shampoo bars just not for my hair? I’m also tired of having dirty hair all the time.

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    3. It's hard to say what is causing your hair to still look waxy and oily. I have heard of several people saying their transitions lasting over 2 months, but they are few and fair between. One of them was using other forms of commerical products which we discovered was causing her scalp not to detox and another two ladies really damaged hair which we concluded that it just took longer to transition hair that had been chemically treated and damaged.

      You should try a different form of natural shampoo as an experiment to see if it's better. I have made a herbal shampoo which I recommend to people who do not want to try the shampoo bar. I also have heard great things about Homemade Mommy's Rosemary Shampoo. There are links to both at the end of this post if you wanted to check them out.

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    4. I'll try it. Thanks for your advices :)

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  15. Hey Sherri,

    I was researching on henna shampoo bars as an alternative to bleaching/dying, since my mumsie is uber-paranoid that my soft and shiny hair'll be ruined by the chemical process. She's right, although I've been annoyed for a couple years since I haven't found an alternative until now. I've read up a bit on the henna dye and henna shampoo bars, since a friend recommended them to me, and it doesn't seem half-bad. Doesn't sound like it'll ruin my hair, and henna apparently conditions it, too. I stumbled upon your article here in the midst of Googling.

    I'm planning on cosplaying this girl called Tauriel, sometime in December, but since my hair is nearly black and she's sort of a redhead, I was hoping that a henna dye/shampoo bar could help make my hair look reddish, even slightly. I know that without bleaching my hair a lighter shade, the effect's gonna be subtle since my hair's so dark, but that's all I can hope for. I've no plans of getting a wig because the good ones are quite expensive, so my hair's what I gotta deal with.

    So: Do you have any experience with henna dye/shampoo whatsoever? Anything that can help me pitch the henna idea to my mum as nicely and attractively as possible, because I haven't talked to her about this yet. I'm a bit iffy about my hair color, if you haven't noticed, but I'll deal if I can't do anything about it. :)

    Many thanks,
    Mara

    P.S. Do you have any tips for making hair grow faster? My hair's about a couple inches below waist, but Tauriel's hair is knee-length, supposedly. Sorry for this wall of text, and for all the questions!

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  16. I have never used henna, but I have heard it works well from a friend who tried it. However, you have to be careful because some will leave a bluish or reddish tint to your hair... so if you want red make sure you stay away from the blue one ;)

    The only thing I know that can help hair to grow faster is high quality lavender or rosemary essential oil.

    I hope that helps! :)

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  17. I just want to say thank you for this information. When I first tried bar shampoo I was ready to throw it out & never use it again because of the waxy film. After scanning numerous sites with not much luck, I found this site. This was the exact information I needed to help me hang in there. It really is true! After the detox period it only gets better. Thank you so much. ☺

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    Replies
    1. I hope you'll see improvements soon! :)

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    2. For a much shorter transition time, check out the rosemary mint shampoo bar at GoatMilkStuff. It took about 3 days for my fine, dry, curly hair to adjust, but it has never looked this good: well-formed curls that stay in shape all day every day; lots of body, and SHINE, omg, for the first time ever!
      http://www.goatmilkstuff.com/Goat-Milk-Soap-Shampoo-Rosemary-Mint.html

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  18. I use Kirkland Signature Moisture Shampoo... nothing glamorous, granted, but the price is right and it keeps my head clean and my hair undamaged. I can't however, speak to its volumizing properties, as my hair is quite short.

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  19. Soo I think my computer ate my first comment, if it didn't feel free to delete this one so there's not a duplicate.

    Long story short, I received a natural/organic shampoo bar (Urban Oreganics's Head-to-Toe Himalayan Citrus) as a gift and since I am in the process of removing chemicals from my house it seemed like fate. I want to like it BUT my hair is super waxy after a week and I am at my breaking point (Can you say buzz cut?). I can't comb it, I can't brush it. It is dull and feels like straw. Prior to this my hair was amazing! It's SUPER fine but SUPER thick with a lot of natural wave. It was so soft and sigh. I know the softness was probably from the shampoo/conditioner but sigh. A hair dresser friend of mine said to mix in baking soda into the lather to help cut the wax. Good idea? Bad idea? Please save my hair!

    BTW: I am a brunette, I don't color/perm, and I rarely (maybe twice a month) use heat.

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    1. Are you using an apple cider vinegar rinse? In my opinion, this is a must! The transition can be brutal-- this is a demonstration of how damaged regular shampoo can damage our hair. Once the hair transitions and repairs itself, it is better than ever!

      Baking soda makes my hair crunchy, but it works for other people for cleaning. In my experience, it's not so much extra wax as it is the healing process. ;)

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    2. I am using an ACV rinse. It doesn't seem to be doing much. The baking soda is only slightly taking the edge off.

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  20. Hi Sherri, I really liked your post. I switched to shampoo and conditioner bars 4+ months ago and I will never go back to my chemical-filled products! After chemically straightening my hair for 10+ years, my hair was so damaged and dry, I knew that I needed to start naturally treating my hair. My mom found a local Naples Soap Company store (www.naplessoap.com) here in Florida and we love it! I'm in love with their shampoo and conditioner bars. I buy the Moroccan Oil scent. I highly recommend it! My once damaged, coarse hair is now incredibly soft and manageable. I never thought that my hair would be completely restored to health. I'm glad you're spreading the word about natural hair products! They truly work!

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    1. Yay! That's such wonderful news! :) I LOVE your story! Thank you so much for sharing and I'm going to look up that company! Thank you!

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  21. Your explanation really is getting me through the waxy feeling. Many thanks!

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  22. Hi Sherri, I have been following your blog for about 4 months now. I have tried many of your beauty recipes! I have made the transition to shampoo bars about 4 months ago and I think I am through the transition phase. I am using the beer shampoo bar and wash my hair about every 3rd day. I use the vinegar rinse each time too. I am still having issues with buildup. Because I have wavy hair I wait to brush my hair till about day 2. This is when I notice all the white build up on my brush. To the point I need to clean my brush each time I use it. I think I may have hard water (live in San Diego). My next step is to try a new shower filter. Any other suggestions you think I should try?

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    Replies
    1. Hard water can definitely be a factor, but hair transitions are just HARD. Have you tried scalp massages to break up the building up? I did it before I shower and at night before bed. That build up can last for about a year after the switch so brushing and scalp massaged really helped me and also hair masks with cleaning essential oils like tea tree, rosemary or melrose helped too. I hope these tricks work!

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    2. Can you please give us a recipe for hair masks?

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    3. I will work on some blog posts about that :)

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  23. I love this blog! Its the best site i've seen to learn about using soap bars to wash your hair. Ive been using castile soap to wash my hair for about a week, after i decided to figure out why i was losing so much hair every time i shampooed. I have a lot of hair and its longer now so i figured it was all part of normal shedding. I also noticed that shampooing made my henna dye come out. Well, soap doesnt do that. I lose less hair and the water rinses clean, keeping the henna dye in my hair. As for my hair texture, i have thick wavy hair and battled frizz my whole life (using lots of hair products)--my hair became softer, shinier and smoother after i began to dye my hair with henna a couple of years ago. I havent seen any additional benefits from the soap other than just cleaning my hair but that may come with time. I think my hair is still under transition, but i find that my hair is less waxy after the third wash today. I rinse each time with ACV/water which helps. I am still experimenting with soaps and rinses. I used an olive oil soap during the first two washes and today i added a glycerin based solution to the soap (admittedly, i decided to use up a natural eye makeup remover I had laying around which was mostly glycerin, witch hazel and natural ingredients, similar to some natural shampoo recipes ive seen). After reading all the posts, it seems like my hair will get even better, so I am very excited! Last year, I eliminated face washes by switching to using olive oil to wash my acne prone / combination skin--my skin has cleared, balanced out and feels great! No need for makeup remover, moisturizer or toner! So in all, i am happy to learn that i dont need to buy all those skin/hair products i was using and can just simplify my routine! THANKS!!

    --kp

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your sweet message! I love it :) You have a ton of great information packed in there! And I love what you said about learning that we don't NEED those skin/hair products that cost us a bizzilion dollars! It's liberating isn't it? :)

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  24. What brush do you recommend to help distribute the oils?

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    1. Lisa, most people really like the boar bristle brushes, but for my own reasons I went with a bamboo bristle brush and that worked out really well for me.

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  25. Hi! I just got a shampoo bar and I haven't tried it out yet, but I've been using sulfate free shampoo and conditioner for the past 6+ months. Do you think that that will help make my transition easier? Thanks :)

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    1. I would hope so, but you can never really tell. The transition is normally about how damaged your hair is currently and how much it needs to heal before it can function properly.

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  26. I have used shampoo bars from Lush, but I only when I traveled. Today, I bought my first Beauty and the Bees bar soap. I had never heard of the brand before but the reviews on Amazon.com where good. I am low on traditional bottle shampoo and wanted something natural. I am glad I found this site because now I have a more realistic expectation of what to expect, especially during the transition period. Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences.

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  27. try the Shielo Volume Shampoo - it alot of the oil out, but still leave moisture in your hair + it has biotin...

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