Shampoo bars have been creating a buzz lately. Unlike other recent trends, though, this one’s not a fad.
Shampoo bars offer a real, practical alternative to shampoo bottled in plastic. This “naked” approach to packaging is a commitment to reducing the amount of plastic in landfills. As much as we talk about recycling and more responsible lifestyle choices, as a country America is recycling significantly less plastic than we were four years ago. Shampoo bars make it simple. If the shampoo doesn’t come in a plastic bottle, the bottle can’t be thrown away.
Once you make the choice of bar over bottle, you still need to choose the shampoo bar that’s best for you. Most commercial shampoo bars have the same problem commercial soap bars do. The base is a detergent and the scent and color are synthetic. Despite the many ingredients added to minimize the damage detergents inflict on skin, you can never compensate enough for a bad foundation.
Better Shampoo Bars
Better shampoo bars start with the base, just as better soap bars do. In fact, many consumers who avoid bottled shampoo use bar soap for their body and their hair. Others have chosen one of the growing number of high-quality shampoo bars available online or in natural food stores and boutiques.
The Shampoo Bar Difference
The most common ingredient added to shampoo bars, distinguishing them from body bars, is castor oil, which contributes to creamy, consistent lather and enhances the quality of lather produced by the other oils in the recipe.
Next to castor oil, jojoba oil is the ingredient most commonly added to shampoo bars. In addition to adding moisturizing characteristics that help condition hair, the chemical composition of jojoba oil – as much a wax as it is an oil – is reported to help prevent and eliminate the build-up of naturally produced scalp sebum that can clog hair follicles.
Babassu oil is another popular ingredient for shampoo bars, aiding in the production of clean, gentle lather. Essential oils and butters can be added to recipes to address specific hair and scalp conditions, to add luster and shine to hair, and to enhance the scent experience.
The range of ingredients and possible recipes is wide, and it can be overwhelming. Remembering that all good shampoo bars begin with a high-quality, skin-compatible base will help set you on the right path. From there, knowing the personal connections we make with hair products, finding that perfect shampoo bar for you can be a process of discovery, rather than an ordeal.