solid shampoo bars in pink and brown on a light blue surface

Hi! We’re excited you’ve decided to take part in the Ailuna shampoo bar action. Goodbye plastic, hello clean, fresh hair!


Reasons to love shampoo bars

There are many reasons your new shampoo bar habit is going to be a great one:

  • They are planet friendly – by being plastic free you could reduce your plastic bottle usage by 10 bottles a year! 
  • They are usually cruelty-free and have natural ingredients so are much better for your hair and scalp. This also reduces the volume of harmful chemicals being washed down the drain. Imagine saving the planet AND having amazing hair! 
  • They’re travel friendly because they are lightweight, compact, and easy to store. You won’t have them confiscated at airport security, and there’s no risk of them leaking all over your suitcase en route. 
  • Our psychologist Emmie said one of her favourite things about using bars is the feel of the bar itself. She said, “I loved the old-school feeling of turning it over in my hands”. Emmie found it calming – don’t we all need a little more calm in our lives?!

They might take a little adjustment, but long term, your shampoo bar is a smart choice for healthy hair.

Selecting a suitable shampoo bar

Everyone’s hair is different, which is why it’s important to find a bar that works with your hair’s texture, type and styling preferences. Once you find a match, it’ll work with your hair to balance and bring out its natural vitality.

For oily hair

If your hair is very oily, it may be that your usual, bottled shampoo isn’t helping – it may be too harsh, and strip your hair of its natural oils.

As is the case with skincare, it’s actually best to fight oil with oil. It’s important to look for the right kind of oils, though, to avoid your hair being weighed down. A great option is to look for a shampoo bar that contains citrus-based essential oils. These are fresh, cleansing and help balance out oil production. Charcoal-based bars are reportedly great on oily hair too.

For dry or damaged hair

You need a shampoo bar that can replenish the moisture it needs to make it soft and shiny again.

Look for bars that contain coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter for a moisture boost. Lavender is also moisturising, and almond is nourishing and soothing.

For fine hair

Some leading brands use magnesium sulphate as a volume booster for fine hair. Other bars formulated for fine hair contain sea salt for a volume boost.

For coloured hair

You may want to try something from the damaged hair list above, as shampoo bars for dry and coloured hair share a lot of ingredients.

It’s also useful to find a bar that contains a natural conditioning agent as well as being described as gentle in the product description. The more gentle the bar, the more vibrant your colour will stay.

For dry, itchy scalp or dandruff

Tea tree oil will be your new best friend! It has soothing, antibacterial properties and can help reduce uncomfortable itching.

For afro hair

There are a couple of bars which may suit your hair nicely, including the Lush, Avocado co-wash bar and the Afro Hair and Skin Company’s Nurture bar.

Check the pH level

Another consideration is the pH level. A high pH can cause hair to become dry, flakey, frizzy or brittle, it can also cause colour to fade quicker. The ideal pH level should be between 4.5-5.5.

Not all bars include the pH level but if it does it’s one to watch for. 

None of these describe you?

If none of the above accurately describes your hair, have a chat with your hairdresser or pop into a LUSH store to discuss a suitable bar type. 

It may take trial and error to find the bar that works best for you, but stick with it! Don’t get on with a bar? Why not donate it to a friend or family member and challenge them to do this action, too?

What to expect - the adjustment period

It can take a little time for you and your hair to get used to the switch from liquid to solid shampoo, although not everyone experiences this time of adjustment.

During the first week or so of using a solid bar, you might find that your hair has a waxy feel after you’ve washed it. This is usually just your scalp balancing its oil production. 

Soft or hard water?

If you live in a soft water area, chances are you’ll find it a lot easier to transition to any kind of solid shampoo. The lack of minerals (usually calcium and magnesium), means that you’re less likely to get a waxy buildup in your hair and so the difference between liquid and solid shampoo won’t feel so bad.

However, in hard water areas, where magnesium and calcium levels are higher, it can be a different story. The same minerals that cause limescale buildup in your kettle can wreak havoc with your hair care, too. You’ll probably find that liquid shampoo lathers less easily in hard water, and this can be made worse by the fact that solid shampoos don’t lather as readily as liquids in the first place.

In hard water areas, the soap in your shampoo bar can cling to the minerals in the water, then leave a waxy residue on your hair. But don’t worry, there are ways to combat this…

Apple cider vinegar rinse

Simply put, this is a combination of apple cider vinegar and water, which you rinse through your hair after using your shampoo bar. This helps rebalance the pH level of your scalp and should make your hair softer and more manageable.

However, it’s advised that you shouldn’t use an ACV rinse more than once every two weeks.

Surfactant-based shampoo bars

Another option is to select a bar that includes a detergent or surfactant. By choosing a shampoo bar with a surfactant, you’ll get a good lather, similar to liquid shampoo. This has the effect of lifting away any oil, dirt, and residue and leaving you with a “squeaky clean” feeling!

If you find that using a detergent-based shampoo leaves your hair a little tangled, try using a conditioner bar that also includes a surfactant. The hydrophilic (water-loving) surfactant is used in conditioners and helps leave your hair softer and smoother by leaving a small coating behind. But not the waxy kind.

Getting into the habit

If you need some help remembering to use your shampoo bar, you might find our blog post on making habits stick useful. It’s filled with scientifically-proven methods to adopt a new habit and keep it long-term.

Also, it’s important to make sure your bar is accessible, visible, and the only option! So, be brave and remove your liquid shampoo (and conditioner!) from the bathroom so you’re not tempted to reach for it mid-shower.

Caring for your bar

When they’re cared for properly, shampoo bars can last three times as long as a bottle of shampoo. Follow these simple tips to keep your bar healthy and long-lasting:

  • Between uses, air dry it on a windowsill or shelf, or use a well-draining soap dish. A jam jar lid with a few elastic bands stretched across it for the bar to rest on is a perfect no-spend solution.
  • Store your bar in a tin or sealed container to keep any moisture away when you’re not using it. 
  • Alternatively, invest in a net bag, so you can store your bar and hang it to dry at the same time.

What next?

Enjoy experimenting with shampoo bars and washing techniques. Share the highs, and lows with the Ailuna Community – we look forward to seeing you in the app!