- Look for pH-balanced bars
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a shampoo bar is the pH level. Your scalp has a natural pH level of around 5.5, which is slightly acidic. Shampoo bars that are too alkaline can disrupt the natural pH balance of your scalp and cause dryness, irritation, and even hair loss.
To avoid this, look for shampoo bars that are pH-balanced and specifically formulated for hair. pH-balanced shampoo bars will help to maintain the natural pH level of your scalp and keep your hair healthy and moisturized.
- Avoid soap-based alkaline bars
Soap-based alkaline bars, such as traditional bar soaps, are not suitable for use on hair. They are often too harsh and can strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Instead, look for shampoo bars that are specifically designed for hair and formulated with gentle, natural ingredients. Don't buy anything with Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) in it as it means it's a soap based bar.
- Consider your hair type
Just like with traditional liquid shampoos, different shampoo bars are designed for different hair types. Consider your hair type and needs when choosing a shampoo bar. If you have dry or damaged hair, look for bars that are moisturising and contain nourishing ingredients like coconut oil, murumuru butter or shea butter. If you have oily hair, look for bars that are designed to detoxify and remove excess oil.
- Read the ingredients list
It's important to read the ingredients list when choosing a shampoo bar. Avoid bars that contain harsh chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, which can strip the hair of its natural oils and cause dryness and damage.
Instead, look for bars that contain natural, nourishing ingredients like plant-based oils, herbal extracts, clays and essential oils. Some popular ingredients to look for in shampoo bars include:
- Coconut oil: a natural moisturiser that can help to prevent breakage and split ends
- Shea butter: a natural conditioner that can help to soften and smooth the hair
- Aloe vera: a soothing ingredient that can help to reduce scalp irritation and inflammation
- Rosemary: a stimulating ingredient that can help to promote hair growth and improve circulation
- Cedarwood oil: helps to cleanse, rebalance the natural oils in your hair, and combat fungal or bacterial infections.
- Plant based keratin: increases hair strength, enhances elasticity, helps protect hair from harsh salon processes, makes hair look more healthy and shiny, and improves the comb-ability of hair.
- Don't fall for greenwashing
Unfortunately, the term "natural" is not regulated, which means that many mass-market shampoo bars that claim to be natural may still contain harmful chemicals. Don't be swayed by labels that use buzzwords like "eco-friendly" or "organic" without checking the ingredients list.
Instead, do your research and choose shampoo bars from reputable, transparent brands that use high-quality, natural ingredients.
- Finish with a conditioner bar
While shampoo bars are great for cleaning the hair, they may not provide enough moisture on their own. It's important to finish off your hair care routine with a conditioner bar to help seal the hair cuticle and lock in moisture.
Look for conditioner bars that are specifically formulated to work with shampoo bars and contain nourishing ingredients like plant-based oils, shea butter, or cocoa butter.
- Avoid using apple cider vinegar
While using apple cider vinegar on your hair may have been popular in the past, it's not recommended by hair care experts today. Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic and can damage the hair strands.
This is because apple cider vinegar is highly acidic, with a pH level of around 3. This acidity can disrupt the natural pH balance of the hair, causing it to become dry, brittle, and more prone to breakage.