Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Buying Handmade FAQ: Shampoo Bars

Shampoo in a bar?

Many people haven't heard of bar soaps that can also be used as shampoo. Before I started making soap I hadn't either. Now bar shampoo is all I use. With handmade shampoo bars you can have a totally natural product that's great for your hair. It's a good option to keep in mind when shopping for shampoo. We're not stuck with always using liquid!

Why buy handmade?
Many commercial shampoos have levels of toxicity and/or contain certain chemicals that can be harmful over time. Go to Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database to check the safety of the products you use. While not all handmade shampoo bars are completely natural (some have chemical fragrances or color), in my opinion they are safer options than many commercial products.

How do you use it?
To use a shampoo bar make sure your hair and the bar are wet and then rub the bar onto your head until you build up a good lather. Then spread around the lather and work it into your hair and scalp. Then rinse. Trust me, this works even with long hair. Some people (like myself) use conditioner after shampooing. Some also find it helpful to use a special rinse a couple times a week to get rid of any build up. You can buy special hair rinses or make them yourself. If you buy them, I would recommend Tamara's Herbes. I don't find any build-up with my shampoo bars, but this is something that occurs with some handmade shampoo products.

What's the difference between a bar of soap and a shampoo bar?
Any handmade soap can be used as a shampoo bar. But the type of soap will make your results differ greatly. Also, I wouldn't go with a handmade bar that has extra additives meant for exfoliation. I wouldn't want bits of oatmeal or cinnamon in my hair! A good shampoo bar will have ample lather, and will contain oils and other ingredients that are known for being especially good for hair. There are several of these ingredients. The ones I currently use are castor oil, olive oil, and hemp oil. But these are just a few of the ones out there. Do your research! If there's a bar you're considering buying, check out the ingredients to find out their properties.

What about handmade liquid shampoo? What's the difference?
Handmade liquid shampoo is also a good natural shampoo option. Liquid and bar shampoos perform differently though, and in the end it comes down to personal preference. Handmade liquid shampoo will have natural hair-healthy oils and additives. But it generally doesn't lather very well, and has a tendency to leave more residue than bar shampoo. The reason the storebought liquid shampoo lathers so well is because it's not actually "soap". It's a detergent and while not necessarily harmful, many people prefer handmade because it's more natural. There are liquid shampoo bases available that some crafters will use as a base and add extra scents and additives. These liquid shampoos will have more lather and leave less residue but will have extra chemicals.

Any other Questions?
Just leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer them!


Lenox Knits said...

Great post! I didn't know the difference between liquid and bar. That shop looks great too. I'm going to have to try the leave in conditioner.

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NICO Designs said...

This is a great post. I suffer from chemical sensitivity and allergies so I am forever trying to find soap and shampoo that will not hurt. I had never heard of bar shampoo...

Avlor said...

I love this! I adore handmade soap, a shampoo bar is such a cool idea.