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Transitioning to Shampoo Bars and Conditioner Bars: A Step-by-Step Guide

a woman with long natural hair with flowers in

Did you know that 7.7 billion plastic bottles are used in the UK each year, with the average person now using more than 3 a week? Yet only 9% of plastic is recycled, meaning that billions of pieces end up in our streets, countryside and waterways, or in landfill. Plastic waste in oceans and waterways can entangle and suffocate marine creatures, disrupt ecosystems and cause immeasurable harm. And that's not the end of it - waste plastic will break down into smaller microplastics, infiltrating the food chain and eventually making their way into our diets, while leaching harmful chemicals into the soil and water.

Swapping to solid hair care bars is just one way that you can help reduce this trend. One concentrated shampoo bar or conditioner bar can last two or three times as long as their bottled counterparts, and they usually come wrapped simply in paper or a cardboard box. Sound good? Read on for our step-by-step guide to transitioning to shampoo bars and conditioner bars!

natural shampoo bars in travel tins


While many people choose to switch to natural shampoo bars to help cut down on plastic, they often want to reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals that they are using on their skin and hair too. Natural shampoo bars are typically made with nourishing plant-based oils and butters, in addition to essential oils for their beneficial qualities and natural fragrance.

While many people switch to natural shampoo bars without any issues, some will experience an ‘adjustment period’ lasting a few days or weeks, so don't be alarmed if - during this time - your hair feels a little ‘gummy’ or coated, or alternatively a bit dry. Many synthetic shampoos contain powerful detergents that effectively remove grease, but they can also strip hair of its natural protective oils. Therefore, some people find that their scalp produces more oil to compensate, as the natural production of oils is disrupted. So, if you're new to natural shampoo bars, be sure to...

LATHER UP! Firstly, thoroughly wet your hair. Next, rub your shampoo bar between wet hands or on to a shower puff to create lots of bubbles and apply to your hair. Alternatively, you can rub the bar against the lengths of your hair to create a lather. Experiment with what works best for you, but just make sure to get those bubbles going, and add a little more water if needed. Natural shampoo bars are packed with nourishing oils and butters, but without lathering up, these oils can stay on your hair and make it feel gummy when it dries. If needed, go in with a second wash - only a little product will be needed this time to lather up well. Focus on the scalp as you wash - for some fantastic hair washing technique tips check out this video.

RINSE WELL! Once you've worked in a good lather all over your head, it's time to get rinsing! As you go, run your fingers through each section of your hair and pay attention to the back of your head, to make sure the product is well rinsed out. If you live in a hard water area, you may also want to use an apple cider vinegar rinse.

If needed, add this final step by mixing 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a pint of warm water. Pour over your hair before rinsing once more with fresh water. This rinse works well if you live in a hard water area as hard water can sometimes react with natural bars to leave a residue. You may find that you don't need a conditioner after using this rinse.

apple cider vinegar rinse

Don't have any apple cider vinegar? Instead you can dissolve a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda into a large mug of warm water - pour over your hair and then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Do not use this rinse more than once a month - it helps to clarify your hair, but can make it dry if you over use it. Both rinses can help with the adjustment period.


Just like the liquid version, conditioner bars are designed to leave your hair soft, shiny and manageable, but without the plastic bottle. These concentrated pucks of nourishing plant-based ingredients aren't bulked out with water, making them compact and perfect for travel.

four conditioner bars suitable for vegans in eco friendly packaging

After shampooing your hair, apply your conditioner bar in one of two ways, to thoroughly wet hair. Lightly wet the conditioner bar with warm water, and rub it between your hands (and apply by running your fingers through your hair) or run the bar directly down the lengths your hair to activate the product. Focus on the mid-lengths to ends only, as these areas usually require the most conditioning. Allow the conditioner to sit for a minute or two to let the ingredients work their magic. You might want to comb through your hair with a wide-toothed comb to ensure even distribution. Next, use warm water to rinse the product out. Make sure to continue massaging your hair and run your fingers through the lengths as you rinse to aid the removal of any residue. A bit goes a long way, and with a little trial and error, you'll find the right amount of product to apply for you!

💡Top tip! Help your solid bars to last longer by keeping them dry when not in use in a storage tin, or on a soap dish or pad.

Browse our range of vegan-friendly solid hair care here - including shampoo bars, conditioner bars and hair care gift sets.


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