Poppy Soap Co. Natural Soaps as Shampoo Bars (Plus A Few Reasons Why You Should Ditch Your Liquid Shampoo)

July 24, 2013

Poppy Soaps as Shampoo Bars

Have you heard the news? My customers have been sending in all kinds of wonderful feedback about my soap line and guess what? They are thinking outside of the box and turning my face and body soaps into shampoo bars!

While I knew that this was possible, my intention was not to specifically market my soap line as something that doubled as a shampoo bar line. At least not right now. As I work carefully to grow my company, I felt that I needed to focus on the face and body benefits of my product line just to keep things simple.

But apparently the cat is out of the bag and people are asking which bars you can use as shampoo bars and if they are “safe” for all hair types.

Before we get into all of that, let’s chat a moment about shampoo. Just to make sure you totally absorb what I am about to discuss next, be sure you are familiar with my post in which I discuss the differences between natural soap and skin detergents.

Now that you are caught up with all that seriousness, it should come as no surprise that a natural shampoo bar is soap-based. Liquid shampoos are usually detergent-based. Soap is clearly better for your hair and skin. Detergent is good for stripping oils away and very harsh on hair.

Nearly all commercial shampoos contain sodium laurel sulfate / sodium laureth sulfate also known as SLS/SLES. These are hard-core industrial degreasers which are also used in diluted form by the commercial shampoo industry for detergent and lather-making purposes. SLS/SLES can over-dry and irritate the scalp, dry out your hair by stripping all of the natural oils from the root to the tip, and contribute to hair loss, particularly if you tend to shampoo daily.

Most natural shampoo bars will be SLS/SLES free. (My soap line is completely SLS/SLES free by the way.) Because of this, you won’t get that sudsy lather you are used to with a liquid shampoo. And although it takes a little getting used to, not having that lather is a good thing!

Do you consider your hair to be problematic? Fussy? Is your scalp a hot mess? You can thank those pesky SLS/SLES add-ins for that. Is your hair super oily? That would be the scalp’s natural reaction to constantly being stripped of the oil it is producing to protect itself.

For those of you who like to mix it up a bit and change your hair color, you will find that by using a shampoo bar (ahem, my soaps), you will not need to color your hair as frequently. Since your hair is not being stripped by harsh chemicals, the color lasts longer! My friend has been using my soaps as shampoo bars since before I officially became Poppy Soap Co. and she literally went from coloring her hair every 8 weeks to only coloring it 2-3 times per year. Seriously.

The cool thing about using my soaps as shampoo is that you may also find your need for daily hair conditioner to be reduced or eliminated. It takes your hair a few weeks to adjust, but once it does, it truly will be very soft and manageable. Why? Because it isn’t in a vicious cycle of damage, overcompensation, and recovery.

A word of warning. Be cautious about commercial products billed as “natural” or “organic” or the like. Such labels do not necessarily mean “SLS/SLES-free,” and strong surfactants such as sodium cocoyl isethionate can also be “naturally-derived.”

Also worth noting – sodium coco-sulfate, which can be naturally derived, is the same chemical as SLS with a different name. Some manufacturers who claim to be “SLS-free” are not, in fact, SLS-free as they use sodium coco-sulfate. The difference between the two chemicals lies only in the source of derivation. How about that?

So now that you are convinced you should dump your toxic bottle of shampoo in the trash, let’s look at the benefits of using my soaps as shampoo bars.

  • One soap/shampoo bar is equivalent to as many as three bottles of liquid shampoo.
  • Soap/shampoo bars are spill-proof and easy to travel with. You can even take them in your carry-on bags when flying!
  • There are no preservatives in my soaps/shampoo bars which means fewer chemicals on you and fewer chemicals washed down the drain and into our water supply.
  • My soaps/shampoo bars are made with natural vegetable oils and butters that leave your hair soft and shiny without drying.
  • My soaps/shampoo bars are all completely safe for all hair types. You can literally use any one of them on your hair! Their main skin benefits translate to benefits for your hair! My peppermint pine soap is great for confused hair or dry hair. My oatmeal calendula bar is excellent to use on babies and children and makes a great shampoo bar for those who suffer from super itchy scalp or overly dry scalp. My lavender lemongrass soap is excellent for any hair type and especially nourishing for color treated hair! Even my anise bamboo charcoal soap makes a great shampoo. Not only does it leave behind a very pleasant fragrance but it also protects and moisturizes severely damaged hair.

So how exactly do you convert your favorite Poppy Soap bar into a shampoo bar? Easy!

Wet your hair as you normally would then rub the bar through your hair a few times. Massage your hair at the roots for 2-3 minutes. Gently work your way down to the ends of your hair in a gliding motion. You do not need to “rub” the shampoo into your hair. I promise. Rinse your hair thoroughly.

A word of warning: lather in your eyes will sting at least as much (and possibly more) than commercial products, depending on exact formulation. In the event of a problem, flush your eyes with clean water.

In order to make your soap/shampoo last longer, be sure to rinse it before getting out of the shower then put it into a type of soap dish which will allow excess water to drain. Allowing the bar to air dry fully between uses is also helpful.

Let’s get back to that dreaded adjustment period!

Most people find their hair going through a period of adjustment when first switching to my soap bars as shampoo bars. During this time, which may last a couple of weeks or longer, the hair may feel dry, crunchy, brittle, or just not at its best. It may feel as if there is a coating or buildup on your hair. Those who use heavy styling products and/or have long hair may notice this effect more than those who use minimal styling products or who have short hair. This effect is caused by styling product build up and by the fact that my bars do not contain SLS/SLES to remove the build up. My soaps also do not contain silicone-based chemicals that smooth the hair. I assure you, once your hair gets back to its natural state, it will look and feel incredible!

I also suggest that you follow your washings with one of my hair rinse recipes. This will help reduce frizz, provide a bit more manageability, and increase shine! It is also a good idea to rub a pea sized amount of coconut oil onto your palms and apply it to the ends of your hair while wet. This gives your hair an even bigger boost of nourishment and natural protectant!

Soooooo – what do you think? Are you ready to try my soaps as a shampoo replacement? Please share your results here. I may even be creating a very special shampoo bar in the near future that I will stock in my shop. Stay tuned…

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chrissy August 10, 2015 at 2:07 am

Hello, I’m really interested in your shampoo bars! I’m always looking for ways in which I can use less chemicals in my life!! Which do you recommend? Also can I use them on my 8 month old baby? If so which would you recommend? Look forward to hearing from you.
Many thanks Chrissy


Poppy Soap Co. September 15, 2015 at 11:36 am

Hi Chrissy! I would recommend our Oatmeal Calendula bar for baby hair and body. Hope that helps xo


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