Shampoo Bar Myths & Musings

A few weeks ago, my lovely neighbor tagged my business in a post on Facebook in which a woman was considering trying out shampoo bars, but wanted feedback from her circle about them, their favorite ones, etc.

Naturally, since I was tagged, I threw my business in the hat, and off I went, cruising the comment section to see what I might see! I figured that many of the questions or concerns these ladies had were undoubtedly valid for many others, so I'll address/answer them here. I always want y'all to KNOW about the products that you're shopping for and buying, whether from me or another (hopefully small, independent) brand.

MYTH: shampoo bars don't lather well.

I know it's frustrating to drop your hard-earned dollars on a shampoo bar just for you to give yourself a noogie trying to lather that thing up, only to STILL not get enough bubbles to wash your hair.

It's like a game of Russian Roulette out here in the beauty industry because really, at the end of the day, you're more likely to buy from the brand that has the money to put themselves in front of you, the money to pay the influencers to tell you 'you've got to have this product', the money to buy all those hundreds of five star reviews on their website. Those are often not the best ones out there, though, truly. How are we supposed to know, though? Quite a conundrum, indeed.

At the end of the day, if it doesn't make bubbles, it's not a good shampoo bar. Point blank. The bubbles are half of the experience! Now, I can't tell you how to find the other good ones, but I'll unabashedly tell you right now that Fern Soapery shampoo bars make the big, foamy bubbles you're looking for, and they leave your hair clean, soft, and manageable.

"Of course you would say that", right? But seriously. (I mean yes I would)

Good shampoo bars do lather.

MYTH: shampoo bars leave residue on your hair

There are a few ways that you could end up with a "leftover" feeling after washing your hair.

1: your hair didn't quite get clean. This can happen by using a mild shampoo meant for fine or short hair (like our 2N1 shampoo & conditioner bar) when you've got thick, oilier hair or tend to use a lot of styling products with oils or silicones in them.

2: the shampoo (or conditioner) bar had too many fatty, waxy, things in it that were left behind and didn't rinse out. It happens!

3: you used lye soap on your hair and it over-cleansed your hair, leaving your hair feeling squeaky when she most definitely should not be feeling squeaky.

MYTH: you have to follow a shampoo bar wash with ACV rinse

Apple Cider Vinegar rinses are recommended by some to follow up washing your hair with bar soap (sodium hydroxide lye soap like my hand & body bars) as a way to restore the necessary acidic pH balance of your hair and encourage the cuticle of the hair strand to lie back down.

I'm not here to tell you how to live your life. I'm sure that there are lots of people out here living that No-Poo life or happily washing their hair with bar soap and rinsing with ACV, and they'd throw rocks at me for suggesting (nay, begging) for you to not use natural bar soap on your hair. This leads me to my next point.

FACT: Shampoo bars are not and should not be lye soap

Modern shampoo bars are what we in the industry call a syndet bar. They are bars, that cleanse, but they are not soap. See this blog post for more info on the differences between syndet bars and lye soaps. I love natural lye soaps (clearly), but I would never use them on my hair, nor would I suggest anyone else do so, and here's why:

1: lye soap can easily over-cleanse your scalp and can cause sebum (oil) production to go into overdrive. This excessive oil production will have you thinking you must be the walking personification of Mamaw's grease bucket, but no, it's just a symptom of over-cleansing.

2 : your hair is dead (not alive and under constant reconstruction like your skin) and quite acidic (pH 4.5-5.0); its pH balance needs meticulous maintenance in order to stay healthy. Natural lye soaps are slightly alkaline. When that pH balance is disrupted on the hair strand, the cuticle lifts up along the outside (picture a rudimentary drawing of a Christmas tree). This lift causes excessive and relentless tangling and makes the hair harder to style. Tangling and snagging causes breakage and split ends, gives the hair a dull appearance instead of shine, and really just overall inhibits your lustrous hair goals. Not the vibe!

3: Even IF you're able to offset that alkaline damage with a vinegar rinse, you're still trying to remedy damage that could've easily been avoided in the first place. Once our hair is damaged to a certain extent, there's no going back. The damage can only be cut out.

I understand wanting to avoid "chemicals" in your personal care routine, trust me. I really do, but please, just once more for emphasis, no lye soap on your hair. If you really don't want to use shampoo (bars or liquid), the No-Poo method is better than lye soap, and that's coming from me, a woman who definitely wants you to buy lye soap!

Oftentimes, a little research will give you a lot of power as a shopper, and essentially free you from your fear of chemical ingredients. Knowing what you should avoid is step one. In shampoos, avoid SLS, SLeS, silicones (dimethicone usually), and anything with "PEG", along with parabens and phenoxyethanol, and undisclosed fragrance (fragrance/parfum). 

Do you have other shampoo bar or conditioner bar questions? Feel free to comment, and I'll answer to the best of my capability. I'm only one woman, but I'm here to help! You may also chat via the little box to your right!

Talk soon,
Courtney B.


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