Hi! We’re so excited you’ve decided to take part in the Ailuna shampoo bar dare. Goodbye plastic, hello clean, fresh hair!
This page will provide you more information on how to kick-start your new solid shampoo habit. We’ve included information on how to choose a bar that suits your hair, how to care for your bar and what to expect when you start using shampoo bars for the first time.
Why are shampoo bars better for the environment?
Shampoo bars are better for the environment in two key ways:
- They are usually totally plastic-free. This means there’s no risk of bottles finding their way into landfill or the oceans.
- The majority of shampoo bars are cruelty-free and have natural ingredients. This reduces the volume of potentially harmful chemicals being washed down the drain and entering waterways or harming marine life.
Reasons to love shampoo bars
Apart from the environmental benefits, there are many reasons your new shampoo bar habit is going to be a great one:
- Because they’re usually more natural than mass-produced liquid shampoo, shampoo bars are so much better for your hair and scalp. Imagine saving the planet AND having amazing hair! They might take a little adjustment (see below), but long-term, your shampoo bar is a smart choice for healthy hair.
- They’re great for travel. Shampoo bars 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 was one of the first to take on the shampoo bar dare, back when the Ailuna app was in its testing phase. One of her favourite things about using bars instead of bottles was 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 – and don’t we all need a little more calm in our lives?!
Selecting a suitable shampoo bar
Everyone’s hair is slightly different, which is why it’s important to find a shampoo bar that works with your hair’s texture, type and your styling preferences. Once you find your match, it works with your hair to balance and bring out its natural vitality.
It may take a little trial and error to find the bar that works best for you, but stick with it! If you do find that you try one that isn’t quite right for your hair, why not donate it to a friend or family member and challenge them to the dare, too?
For oily hair
If your hair is very oily, it may be that your usual, bottled shampoo isn’t helping. Some people feel that commercially-available shampoos are 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 hair
If your hair is very dry or damaged, you need to look for 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
If your hair is coloured, 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
If you suffer from an itchy scalp or dandruff, tea tree is your friend! It has soothing, antibacterial properties and can help reduce uncomfortable itching.
None of these you?
We know that everyone has different hair. If none of the above accurately describes your hair, please get in touch with us via our chat function. We will do our best to give you some personalised advice to help you choose your bar.
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. Unless, of course, you live in a hard water area! See below for more details on that and how to get around the issues you may encounter when switching to shampoo bars in hard water areas.
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 and on your shower head 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 some ways to combat this!
Apple cider vinegar rinse
Some people have reported overcoming the waxy transition period that comes with switching to a shampoo bar by using an 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, many hairdressers advise against this approach because using acid on your hair to balance out the alkaline nature of most soap-based shampoo bars can do more harm than good in the long run. It’s advised that you shouldn’t use an ACV rinse more than once every two weeks.
Surfactant-based shampoo bars
If ACV rinses aren’t working for you or you want another option, what can you do? The best 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!
But there is more! 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. There are different types of surfactant – some that love water and some that hate it. The hydrophilic (water-loving) version 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:
- Keep the water away. Between uses, don’t let your bar sit in a puddle of water on the side of your bath or shower. This will make it go soft and not last as long. Instead, air dry it on a windowsill or shelf between uses, or use a well-draining soap dish. You don’t even have to buy a proper 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.
Where you head next depends on where you’ve come from. Pick the option below that applies to you to get started with making this new habit stick.
Already accepted the dare?
If you’ve read this page to help you prepare for the Swap to a Shampoo Bar dare, now’s the time to head back to the Ailuna app and get started with the dare.
If you hit any hurdles, there’s always the Ailuna Community in the app or our Facebook group.
Have the app? Take the dare
If you already have the Ailuna app and this page has convinced you to try to change your hair-washing habits, why not take on the Swap to a Shampoo Bar dare now?
It’s easy to get started, just head to the app, find the dare and click the “accept the dare” button. It looks like this: