Top Tips for Switching to Natural Shampoo Bars

Jan 30, 2024

Are you struggling to choose a shampoo bar? Or have you made the switch to natural shampoo bars and found yourself with sticky, frizzy locks that don't feel clean? I've been there and I can help! Natural shampoo bars are kind to hair and the planet but there are so many to choose from and they don't all work!

Here's everything you need to know about switching to natural shampoo bars and some top tips for an easy transition.


shower blocks 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner bar for all hair types


What to expect when you switch to natural shampoo bars. 

When I started using a natural shampoo bar my hair changed texture almost immediately. I usually have fine, soft hair that doesn't have much volume. After a couple of washes with the shampoo bar it wasn’t silky soft anymore and felt coarser. This wasn’t such a  bad thing as I had a bit more volume so at first it didn’t bother me. I knew there would be a transition phase, which I'd heard people call ‘The Purge’, so I didn’t mind too much. After a few washes though,  my hair felt waxy as if the shampoo wasn’t fully rinsing out and it was at this point I started losing faith in the shampoo bar.

I took to the internet to find out if I was doing something wrong and discovered that an ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinse is often recommended with natural shampoos and this revelation was a game changer! Suddenly there was light at the end of the tunnel and I decided to stick with the shampoo bar.

The ACV rinse did deal with the build up of shampoo in my hair and from that point I felt that my hair was improving each time I washed it. It took about a month for my hair to fully adjust but this might have been quicker if I’d discovered the ACV rinse sooner. But what I didn't know at the time was that I shouldn't really need the rinse. 


image of a woman washing hair with a shampoo bar. The text reads ' don't put up with shampoo build up'


Why do some natural shampoo bars cause build up?

When I started using shampoo bars I didn't know that some bars contain soap which has a higher pH than our hair and scalp. Not all hair gets along with this type of shampoo and it can cause build up in the hair. It makes sense as I wouldn't regularly wash my hair with a soap bar and expect it to feel clean! Once I realised this I started looking into soap free shampoo bars and made the switch. With a soap free bar I no longer need an ACV rinse but sometimes I do one for the added shine boost. The soap free bars are so good we're moving towards stocking only soap free bars in 2023. 


Top tips for an easy transition to natural shampoo bars. 

  • Rinse your hair thoroughly at each wash to make sure you’re getting rid of every trace of shampoo.
  • Do allow a little time for your hair to adjust to natural shampoo but this shouldn't take weeks. If your hair feels sticky or rough then build up is probably the issue. Try an ACV rinse to help cleanse product from your hair and scalp. It will also restore your scalp’s pH balance and give hair a lovely shine too. Don't worry your hair won't smell of vinegar afterwards!
  • If you've found that natural shampoo tends to build up in your hair then try a soap free shampoo bar. If you're worried about this it's best to go for a soap free bar from the off.  Ingredients that indicate a soap based bar are -  Sodium Palmate, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Olivate, Sodium Castorate, Sodium Hydroxide.
  • If you've landed here because you've already bought a shampoo bar and your hair doesn't love it don't panic! Try the ACV rinse while you use up the bar or use it as hand and body soap and pick a soap free bar instead. 
  • If your hair is feeling oily in between washes rub a bit of cornflour or dry shampoo into your scalp and brush it through to the ends of your hair.
  •  Brush your hair gently morning and evening from the scalp to ends so to help redistribute your hair’s natural oils.


Two DIY hair rinses to rescue you from product build up


method for making an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse for hair
bicarb rinse recipe for removing build up in hair


Your Natural Shampoo Bar FAQ's 

Are there different types of shampoo bars for different hair types?

Yes! Some brands such as Natural Spa suit all hair types where as others like Shower Blocks  are tailored to the needs of different hair types - dry, oily or sensitive scalp. There is a bar out there for every hair type! I recommend Shower Blocks, Natural Spa and Eco Living shampoo bars because they're completely soap free.  


Does ACV make hair smell of vinegar?

No, fortunately it doesn't. After putting the ACV rinse on you'll be rinsing with lots of water. Even if vinegar is left in the hair the smell dissipates very quickly.


Will I need to try lots of brands to find one that works for my hair?

Hopefully not. Choosing a shampoo bar is personal preference just like 'traditional' shampoo brands. It's a good idea to give it a couple of weeks to let your hair adjust. After a that if you feel it really isn't working for you then check if your shampoo bar is soap free. If not this is likely to be the issue. Follow my tips for removing build up and choose a soap free bar next time. 

Most people find that that hair settles down but if you have a bar that you've decided is not for you then you can use as hand and body soap or pass it on to a friend to try just as you would any other product that isn't quite right. 


Do natural shampoo bars work in hard water areas?

Yes, but not all are suitable for hard water. Friendly Soap advise that their shampoo bars are better for soft/medium water areas while soap free bars like Natural Spa and Eco Living are fine for all water types. 


Can I get solid conditioner bars too?

Yes! They come in solid bars and can either be lathered up and run through hair or the bar can be rubbed on the ends directly. If you prefer a liquid conditioner then try Friendly Conditioner bars which can be melted in warm water to create liquid conditioner. 


Shop our range of natural shampoo and conditioner bars here.


I hope that helps to demystify natural shampoo bars?! If you have any questions just drop me a message.


Natalie 💛



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