The shampoo bar experience is truly an expression of self-love. And like all love affairs, it flourishes when given time and mindful attention. Part of the magic of The Super Bar Method is that it allows you to rediscover, nourish, and support the natural radiance your hair already holds - even if you don’t believe it’s there. We promise you, it is.
Are you curious about getting in tune with the natural cycles of your hair health and revealing its natural beauty by making the switch to an organic shampoo bar? Perhaps interested in trying... but not sure what to expect? Then you're in the right place!
Our intention with this article is to intimately address any and all questions you may have - and guide you through the details that will help you enjoy a successful transition to an organic haircare routine.
Without further ado, here are detailed answers to all our most frequently asked questions about The Super Bar and shampoo bars in general.
Do shampoo bars work as well as liquid shampoo?
Yes. Even better if you take a look at some of our reviews! Truly natural shampoo bars cleanse the hair using only natural ingredients - gently removing dirt and impurities without stripping the hair of its natural oils.
Do all shampoo bars work the same?
No, absolutely not. There are plenty of non-organic shampoo bars on the market posing as good for you that are chock full of SLS and other harmful detergents and synthetic chemicals. Buyer beware - and be sure to read the labels! Not sure where to begin? Check out our video tutorial on De-Mystifying Green Beauty Buzzwords.
Is there a special method I should follow when using Shampoo Bars?
For best results with shampoo bars, we recommend following The Super Bar Method. The Super Bar Method is a holistic shampoo bar regimen focused on supporting natural hair health by tuning into the body's innate rhythms and nourishing strands with exclusively plant powered products. For detailed information on this tried and true method, click here.
Will I experience a “purge” or “transition” period?
Only a percentage of shampoo bar users experience a true “transition" or "purge period”. The honest truth is, you won’t know until you try. From my experience, the least likely folks to experience a purge are individuals who can check 1 or more of these boxes:
LEAST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE A "TRANSITION PERIOD":
- Have short hair
- Already exclusively use 100% natural and organic hair care
- Don’t use chemical “product” in their hair (like synthetic pomades, serums, mousses, and chemical oils with silicones posing as good for you.)
Meanwhile, people MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE A "TRANSITION PERIOD":
- Have long and/or thick hair
- Currently do NOT use 100% natural shampoo (buyer beware of Greenwashing here - your “natural” shampoo may NOT actually be natural. You must be able to read and decipher labels to really know. For tips on how to tell the good stuff from the bad stuff, check out our video on “De-mystifying Green Beauty Buzzwords”)
- Currently use chemical products that contain silicone, dimethicone or similar “fake shine” synthetics. Click here for why popular silicone-based oils like "Morrocan Oil" are damaging for your hair).
- Use excessive heat daily to style and manipulate hair.
If you find yourself in the “most likely” category - fear not! I was in that category myself when I first made the switch. I not only survived the Purge, I got the BEST HAIR OF MY LIFE out of it! So… read on my friends. :-)
Wait a minute, what is a “Purge Period”?
The “Purge" or "Transition Period” is the time it takes for your hair & scalp to detox from chemicals and begin to self-regulate on a natural cycle. Typical symptoms of purging include a waxy texture and/or a greasy/heavy feel to the hair. Never fear - this is only TEMPORARY and it’s a great sign that your hair is on its way to a healthier, more balanced state!
What's happening to my hair during the "Purge Period"?
During the purge period, your hair and scalp are beginning to recover from the un-natural and unbalanced cleansing of traditional detergent based shampoos. Traditional "mainstream" shampoos contain surfactants in the form of detergent based cleansers that severely strip the hair and scalp of its natural sebum. Sure, they clean away dirt and bad oil, but they wash away all the GOOD oil too! That's why most people feel they can't live without conditioner - because the shampoo they are using has stripped the hair of all it's natural, nourishing oils. Shampoo bars, on the other hand, are made using a traditional natural soapmaking method - which results in gentle cleansing properties (free of detergent surfactants) that wash away dirt and impurities without stripping the hair of its natural oils.
The good news is, many people do not experience a purge period at all (see above), but if you do find yourself experiencing one, it should pass within a few weeks to a month. Tips on shortening the purge period can be found below.
Still want a second opinion? Check out this article from Heather at EcoDiva.com detailing why sticking out the purge period is worth it.
Is it possible to shorten the purge period?
Yes! Just call on “mama”. That’s what we like to call a good ol’ fashioned Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse - because each batch of the good stuff has a little bit of the “mother culture” that has made ACV a staple in the world of natural beauty for centuries. This ancient beauty ritual will aid greatly in removing residue and impurities from any silicone or chemical laden products you may have been using. An easy DIY ACV Rinse recipe is detailed below.
Aside from shortening the purge period, ACV or our much better smelling (and more travel-friendly) Matcha Green Tea Clarifying Rinse can and often should be used at least every few weeks as a clarifying rinse to keep your roots free of residue and imbue your locks with a healthy dose of natural shine.
And finally - don’t forget to get your mixed bristle brush on! This is a VITAL step in helping your hair and scalp to self-regulate the nourishing oils your hair truly craves. Tips on how to dry brush and other natural hair care rituals are shared in detail below.
Do shampoo bars dry out your hair?
No. Shampoo bars do not dry out your hair any more than a liquid shampoo might if it isn’t a correct match for your hair type. The ingredients in our Wildland Super Bar, for example, were designed to be exceptionally conditioning without weighing hair down - making it a popular bar for all hair types. That being said, individuals with dry hair tend to need a second or third dose of hydration via our Ritual Oil as a styling aid or deep treatment. The beauty of shampoo bar life is that you can truly cater it to your own needs - especially as they change throughout the seasons of the year and the seasons of your life!
Why are silicones bad for my hair?
Silicones coat the hair with "fake shine" - offering a quick fix and instant gratification, at the price of long term damage. When silicones coat your hair, they prevent REAL moisture and nourishment from penetrating the hair cuticle and cortex. This leaves your hair severely dry under all that "fake shine". Which is exactly why if you currently use silicone products, you may notice if you shampoo your hair and don't use conditioner, your hair ends up a nasty frizzy mess. This is because once the shampoo washes away the "fake shine" coat from your hair, it reveals hair that is even drier than it was before. And if you use a product with silicones to correct the problem, then the vicious cycle repeats itself - leaving your hair parched, damaged, and addicted to silicone. The only real solution is to not use any silicone products, and instead, nourish your hair with real moisture and nourishing shine from natural oils.
How can I know if my current hair products have hair-damaging silicones?
An easy way to spot damaging silicones posing as “fake shine” in your hair products is to look for anything that ends in “cone”: Dimethicone, Methicone, Amodimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol… etc.
How often should I wash my hair when using shampoo bars?
This answer is unique to the individual - but generally, we would recommend washing 1-3 times per week. Our bodies have miraculous abilities for self-care - and when allowed to self-regulate, the oil production of the human scalp is incredibly nourishing. Mainstream products would like you to believe you NEED them to look your best. We believe you hold the key to magnetic beauty inside you - and our products have been created to support you as you discover the infinite power and wisdom within yourself.
But what if I have an oily scalp or sweat a lot at the gym?
No worries! Here are two methods you can try.
- For oily/greasy day 2 or 3 hair: Use a dry shampoo to soak up excess oils, revive volume, and leave your hair smelling fresh!
- For sweaty gym hair: A “water only” wash will get you through - prepare to be amazed! After your workout, simply rinse your hair with cool (not hot) water. The water itself will rinse away the smelly sweat along with a bit of the excess oil. For dry or color-treated hair, try a DIY pH Stabilizing Leave-In Spray - this will help to balance out the alkalinity of the water, seal your hair cuticle for added shine, and it will also help with tangles! If you’re still feeling a bit greasy at the roots once your hair dries, dust in some of our organic dry shampoo for a naturally fragrant, refreshing lift! If you are currently in the midst of the “purge period” - push through - this method will work wonders and help free you from chemical hair addiction soon enough!
My hair was feeling and looking great the first few weeks, but now it's feeling heavy and waxy, even after the clarifying rinses. What is happening, and what else can I do?
The culprit is most likely hard water. Did you know nearly 85% of the U.S. has HARD WATER? This leads to mineral build-up in the hair, which can feel gunky and cause hair to look waxy and dull. Installing a water softening system or a much more budget-friendly showerhead filter is a great solution. An added bonus is that it also helps to clear up skin! Another solution you can try is to do monthly "chelating" washes. Chelating shampoos are more aggressive cleansers, meant to be used once in a while to wash away heavy mineral and product deposits on the hair. We recommend trying Hairprint's Chelating Shampoo. If you already have the build-up, you'll most likely need to chelate before you'll begin to feel the benefits of a new soft-water showerhead. Please note: Chelating shampoos are meant to be used sparingly - overuse can cause stripping and damage, so be mindful with how you use it.
Can I use shampoo bars if I have color-treated hair?
Our shampoo bars are free of sulfates and detergents, so that's a great benefit for color-treated hair. The pH of our bar is around 8.5, which is a bit alkaline - however it can be balanced after each wash by using our Matcha Green Tea Clarifying Rinse or a DIY Apple Cider Vinegar rinse as a pH stabilzer after each wash. Washing only once or twice a week will definitely help your hair retain color (regardless of what shampoo you are using), as well as refraining from heat tool exposure and UV rays as much as possible. That being said, at the heart of things - The Super Bar Method is a NATURAL hair care regime. The heart and soul of what The Super Bar stands for is supporting your journey to discovering the best and most natural YOU. For that reason, clientele with heavily color-treated hair tend not to be ideal candidates for The Super Bar Method. On the other hand, clientele with light highlights and other subtle treatments tend to have amazing results with The Super Bar Method.
What are "the waxies" and how can I prevent them?
"The Waxies" is a term that describes mineral build-up on the hair that results in a waxy look and feel to the hair strands. This happens as a result of showering with hard water, rather than soft water. The problem with using hard water and organic shampoo bars is that the organic surfactant molecules essentially "grab" the minerals in the hard water and leave those deposits in your hair - which results in that yucky waxy feeling. The good news is, it is completely preventable! Simply install a showerhead filter, and you're good to go! If you find you have already fallen victim to "the waxies", you can clarify your hair with a natural "chelating shampoo" like this one from Hairprint - which is specifically formulated to wash away all those gunky mineral deposits and leave your hair feeling fresh and light again! Please note: "chelating shampoos" are NOT to be used regularly - instead, they are to be used only about once a month at most to help manage product and mineral buildup. Using a chelating shampoo any more than recommended can cause damage to your hair.
Can I change up my color and/or go from straight to curly using heat tools as often as I want?
Changing hair color often - while also a beautiful form of self-expression - is really hard on your hair, and as you probably already know - causes a lot of damage. Many people who over-process their hair rely on synthetic shine products to give the illusion of healthy hair - while underneath, the hair is crying for moisture and nourishment. The same is true for over-manipulation of the hair with heat tools - those fried ends and roughed up cuticles cannot begin to heal if they keep getting fried over and over again. For best results with shampoo bars, we recommend mindful color processing with eco-friendly "clean" dyes, and as little heat manipulation as possible. That doesn't mean you can't occasionally pump up your curls with an iron, or whip out the straightener for a sleek look on a special occasion - but the intention of the shampoo bar experience is to tune into and support your hair's natural radiance. If you give it a chance to heal and shine, you might be surprised how much you love what nature gave you! Plus - imagine all the hours and years of your life you'll get back that you no longer have to spend blow drying and heat styling - it's a win, win!
I have curly hair, and have been using The Super Bar for months. I love the way my hair looks and feels curly, but when I tried to blow-dry it straight to change up my look for a night out, it felt waxy and heavy. What's going on? Why does it look great curly, but not straight?
Not to worry! There's an easy explanation and a quick fix. As mentioned before, The Super Bar Method is designed to support your hair's natural radiance. This is why you are loving the look and feel of your natural curls! What is happening is that your scalp has self-regulated the sebum required to keep your hair nourished, and your dry-brushing has carried that sebum down the hair shaft to naturally coat and hydrate your strands - leaving your curls looking healthy and radiant. The thing is - this amount of sebum is what your CURLS need to look good. Curly hair needs a very different level of sebum than straight hair. So when you try to blow-dry it straight, this new level of natural sebum that is great for your curls is now too heavy for a straight style. However - there is a quick and easy fix. If you really want to change your hair from curly to straight for a special (temporary) occasion, you can just clarify the hair using a natural chelating shampoo like this one from Hairprint. If you're still feeling a bit heavy - one quick wash with a detergent-based mainstream shampoo will get you where you need to be for the straight style - but it will come at a cost. You will once again be stripping your hair of all it's beautiful, natural oils that it worked so lovingly to create for you. The best way to recover from this choice (think about it like a juice cleanse after a wild weekend in Vegas) is to nourish and oil your hair in the days that follow. Try to go at least 3-5 days before your next wash, mindfully dry-brushing the natural oils that your scalp creates every day from roots to tips. You may also want to perform a deep conditioning mask before your next shampoo, to give those curls some extra love.
What should I do to have the best shampoo bar experience?
I would highly recommend following The Super Bar Method, and incorporating these blissful rituals into your routine to truly make the most of your shampoo bar experience - and enjoy the BEST hair of your life!
- Use ONLY Soft Water! Did you know nearly 85% of the U.S. has HARD WATER? This leads to mineral build-up in the hair, which can feel gunky and cause hair to look lifeless and dull. Bottom line: shampoo bars + hard water can lead to a bad case of "the waxies" - where your hair feels waxy or straw-like, and no one wants that! You can easily prevent "the waxies" by installing a water softening system or a much more budget-friendly showerhead filter (bonus, it also helps to clear up skin!) Another alternative is to do monthly or bi-monthly "chelating" washes. We recommend Hairprint's Chelating Shampoo.
- Ditch The Heat: One of the fabulous benefits of shampoo bars is that they result in the most magically perfect air-dry! You will get to enjoy that enviable "effortless" look with silky locks, body and it will require absolutely NO effort. We highly recommend you let your natural hair texture shine by using heat tools as little as possible. The less you use them, the faster your hair will heal, and the less you will find you need them.
- Dry Brushing: Take advantage of the best conditioner in the WORLD - your own natural sebum! Dry Brushing (aka "Scritch and Preen") helps to re-distribute the oils your scalp is producing down to the tips of your hair that need it the most. Please note the “dry” part - do not ever brush your hair when wet, as this leads to breakage. Also, be sure to use a high quality, mixed bristle boar brush like this one - our personal fave created by hair goddess Roxy Jane Hunt.
- Clarifying Rinse Maintenance: Our Matcha Green Tea Clarifying Rinse will help to reduce residue and eradicate build-up during the purge period and beyond - leaving hair shiny and more manageable.
- ACV Rinse: The acid in the vinegar removes build-up and residue on the scalp and hair shaft, as well as seals the hair cuticle resulting in brilliant shine. Vinegar also restores the natural pH balance of your scalp, preventing it from becoming dried out and itchy. To use, mix 1 to 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with 8-12 ounces of water in a plastic squeeze bottle or large cup. The appropriate ACV to water ratio depends on your hair type and length - dry hair prefers less ACV, oily hair enjoys more, long hair tends to need a bit more ACV to get the job done, while short hair tends to need less. Please remember these are just guidelines, and we encourage you to tune into your own individual needs to find a recipe that works best for you. Click on the following link for a detailed video on how to prepare an ACV rinse at home.
- Monthly Deep Treatments: These should be introduced once the purge period has ended as a means to keep your hair and scalp in ultra-nourished condition. We recommend using our Meditation Tea Treatment for a holistic approach to mind, body and hair health. We also recommend using our Ritual Oil for a deep scalp treatment, or try a DIY hair mask like this one from Sedona Christina.
- Organic Oils for Styling: Using styling aids that contain truly pure ingredients as you move through the purge and beyond is key - as you don’t want to sabotage all your shampoo detoxing efforts by piling on more toxins (especially silicones!) via your styling products. Once you are successfully through the purge, you will see how your own self-regulating sebum (via Dry Brushing) along with nourishing organic oils like our Ritual Oil will be all you need to maintain naturally radiant hair.
And that’s it folks! Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about shampoo bars. As we mentioned before, one of the greatest benefits of shampoo bars is how they support you in getting in tune with the natural cycles of your personal hair health.
As many of my wise native ancestors have said - your hair is like an antenna for your entire being. Like whiskers on a cat, your hair strands are far more alive than you might realize, and an integral part of who you are. Hair is far more than just a style - hair is culture, hair is expression, and if you want it to be - it can be an extension of your soul. Because of this, we believe hair deserves some pretty special treatment, and a true chance to reveal it's natural radiance.
We wish you many blessings as you embark on your organic hair care journey and encourage you to enjoy not only the beauty benefits of natural hair radiance, but to also tune into the immense spiritual benefits inherent in these mindful hair care rituals.
Love and Light,
Marisa & Daane