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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shampoo bars

I'm reading a book on soapmaking and E and I are planning to make our first small batch soon with encouragement from Barbara (thank you again!). Right now I'm in the marketing part of the book and it reminded me of one of my biggest marketing gripes about shampoo bars. Lack of any sort of instruction past "Run bar across scalp and lather".
I'm mostly "no-poo" which means I don't generally use shampoo. I usually wash my hair with a paste of baking soda, rinse that out, then rinse my hair with diluted vinegar. The exception is shampoo bars.
I *love* shampoo bars. They are convenient. I use them at the gym as an all-over wash, I use them in my shower when I'm feeling like I want lather and scent.I usually get the Essential Shampoo Bar from Gladheart Acres.It smells lovely and works very well for me and I've recommended it to lots of friends who want to transition off of detergent commercial shampoos.
Unfortunately, a lot of people give up on shampoo bars. One of the most common problems is that they feel they leave a residue. Especially if they try first with something like Burt's Bees shampoo bar which is great for dreadlocks, less good for the rest of us, so it does feel less than clean.
Another problem is that while you use commercial shampoos which are pretty harsh, your scalp produces a lot of oil to counteract that harshness, so you shampoo to keep your hair from looking oily and it's a cycle. When you make the switch off shampoo to no-poo methods or to a good shampoo bar there is an adjustment time and your hair will seem oilier than normal because you aren't stripping it anymore and it's still producing the same amount of oil from when you were stripping. But honestly, if oily hair has always been a problem for you, getting off the shampoo may just cure it. It did for me, I wash my waist length hair twice a week and I don't have "bad hair" days. So pick a week for the adjustment period and pin it up or wear headbands.
During the summer, the glycerin in shampoo bars can attract too much water for me which makes my hair look dirty, so during the summer, I use a vinegar rinse after shampoo to get the last bits of the shampoo out of my hair. During the winter that's a non-issue, so I just rinse out well and do a vinegar rinse about every 4 shampoos to remove any buildup. Commercial shampoos can cause build up too, which is why people should change them out regularly and clarify with vinegar or use clarifying shampoos every so often.
Well, that's a lot to try and put on a label. But maybe
Wet hair well and run bar across scalp. Work in more water to build up a rich lather, rinse out well.
Shampoo bars need at least 4 shampoos to help restore your hair to it's natural condition.
If build up is a problem, use a vinegar rinse for extra shine and to clarify. Mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 3/4 cups of water and pour it over your hair. Rinse out with cool water for maximum shine.

You could even make infused vinegars which are really nice to use. During the summer, I infuse my vinegar with lavender which does wonder for keeping oil under control. I usually put in a bit of lavender e.o. and a handful of dried lavender buds. It smells nice even with the sharp vinegar smell.

On another note, when I was a kid and doing vinegar rinses, my mom always said I was pickling myself. But she's the one who started me doing it because I have very straight hair, and after a vinegar rinse, my hair just shines and it's a lot better than using a silicone shine spray!
After we do a couple batches of soap, E wants to work on a good bar that will control her dandruff.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Shala - I forgot to tell you the formula I gave you for soap makes an excellent shampoo bar. I've used it for 3 years and my hair dresser raves about my hair (and I color my hair!)

    Barbara G


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