April 13, 2011

The Fourteen Day Shampoo Bar Challenge

So, I have been doing some shampoo bar research. Researching formulations etc. It seems, from what I have read most any handmade soap formulation can be labeled a "shampoo bar" as well. With that in mind, I decided to give it a whirl to see how my hair would perform after the switch to "shampoo bar" from a popular name brand (begins with P) shampoo and conditioner for hair that tends towards being a little dry. Over the next 14 days I will report my experience with making the switch.

Shampoo Ingredients: water, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, cocamdopropyl betaine, sodium chloride, glycol distearate,dimethicone, stearic acid, cocomide mea, sodium citrate, fragrance, sodium xylenesulfonate, sodium benzoate, tetrasodium edta, polyquaternnum-6, panthenol, panthenyl,  ethyl ether,methylchloriosothiazoline,methylisothiazolinone

Conditioner Ingredients: water, stearyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate,cetyl alcohol, bis-amnopropyl dimethicone, fragrance, benzyl alcohol, dicetyldimonium chloride, isopropyl alcohol,disodium edta, panthenol, panthenyl ethyl ether, methychloriosothiazoline, methylisothiazolinone.

Whew! That was an ordeal and that is what you put in your hair folks.Ugh! Pretty eye opening.

According to "Soap Naturally" by Patrizia Garzena and Marina Tadiello; "After many years of commercial shampoos, scalp and hair might require a few weeks before "adjusting" to the natural formulation of handmade shampoo bars. For instance is is normal that the hair might appear "greasier" and feel heavier after the first few uses: this is an indication that the shampoo bar is slowly dissolving the buildup left by commercial products and will gradually disappear."

"Soap Naturally" also suggests "Adding a small amount (one to two tablespoons) of apple cider vinegar to the last rinse is of great benefit in all cases. Vinegar is slightly acidic and will quickly restore the ideal pH of your scalp; it also has tonic; restorative and detangling qualities, which will quickly contribute to shinier, stronger and healthier hair."

Day One

Hair type-Very thick,heavy hair (needs to be thinned quite regularly) with many cow licks (not curls but uncooperative waves) I have to tame each day.I'm in my mid 40's sooo of course there is some ahem- wild gray"highlights" as well. My hair is not colored nor treated in any way. Chin length - tending to need a little moisture due to daily washing, blow drying and styling with a flat iron-I'm sure. 

Styling Method - I wash, blow dry and straighten daily. I use a commercial product that contains silk to help with the heat and tame fly aways -  for the duration of this experiment I will be foregoing this product as well.

The wash - I used a wonky cut bar of "Fresh Lemon" that I had on my shelf earmarked for personal use. The formulation consists of a common "trinity of oils" (the olive was infused with calendula) castor, tussah silk, a lemony eo blend. I noticed immediately that my hair did not have that slick "healthy" feel that we associate with commercial shampoos and conditioners. (The reality of this is that these commercial products are coating our hair to cause this feel.) My hair felt a bit sticky after the rinse - less slick. I worried right off about getting a vent brush through after my shower. Surprisingly, I was able to gently brush through.

The blow dry - I did notice my hair felt a bit dense and maybe a bit "tacky" for lack of a better term;not as smooth and light. I was able to brush through with just a bit more difficulty than usual.

Flat Iron and Style - Oh my! The fly aways are highly annoying. I did notice my hair being heavy,limp and difficult to style(it doesn't look that great today - imo) but I am going to try to hold out for the 14 days to see what the progression is.

I did not use the vinegar rinse, but will be adding it as part of the experiment tomorrow(after I pick some apple cider vinegar up at the store today.)

Have you tried shampoo bars? What was your experience like?


Jennifer Young said...

Hi! I have been using my Shampoo Bars for over a year now, exclusively. At first it was ROUGH going. My first attempt got my hair so greasy, I had to switch back. Then I tried another bar and it worked better. I think the superfat needs to be quite low. My current beer, honey shampoo bar has a superfat of 4%. I tried vinegar rinse and hated the smell. People says it doesn't smell? It does. So I simply wash with my shampoo bar. Then, instead of conditioner, when I get out of the shower, I put a drop of hair oils on my hands and rub lightly onto my hair. I mean 1 drop. NOT TOO MUCH. Hair oils? Currently I am using a concoction of Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, a touch of vegetable glycerine and some Essential oils. Love the feel of my hair. Also, I can wash it as much as I like as it is not damaging. In the summer, here I like to wash it every day. So good luck. Hope my experiences help! Look foward to hearing about your results. If it doesn't work with this bar, you may need to formalate one especially. Don't give up!! xo Jen

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

Hi Jen, yea I may have to adjust oils and take sf down to 5%.We'll see. Glad to hear that your hair adjusted out. I also wash my hair a couple of times a day on occasion - in the summer after working outside etc.It would be nice to do it in good conscience. I have read that it is quite common to have a little jojoba in the shampoo bar formulation - at first I thought that was sort of weird since it is really a wax, but maybe it helps with condition and fly aways etc.

Rose Marie Lewis said...

Hi! I found your blog through a post on Anne Marie's (Brambleberry) blog. I've just started using a shampoo bar that, in agreement with Jennifer, I formulated with a very low superfat - 4%. Sadly, my hair is thin, but wavy, and I exercise, so I have to wash it every day. It's been four days, but so far, so good. If there's any build up, I think it's helping! My hair seems fuller than usual. Maybe that could be a selling point - it's volumizing! :)

I am still using a commercial conditioner, as well as a silicone smoothing gel, but I may give Jennifer's hair oil suggestion a try.

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

Hi Rose Marie, so glad you stopped by. Thank you so much for your input. It seems like I might need to try a lower sf percentage.I think I will continue with the soap I am using just to see if it may get better after the build up is dissolved.I'm just that curious. Thanks again for popping by! :D

Amanda said...

I've been using the Shampoo Bars from Chagrin Valley for over three years now. I know a big factor for me is having soft water. I haven't had to use vinegar rinses and the bars lather so well with the softened water. I've heard that the filters that can be attached to the shower head can greatly help when using shampoo bars also.

Don't give up though. It does take a little while to wean your hair off the regular shampoo. I have really thick wavy hair, and I have to say that my hair has never been softer even considering I no longer use conditioner. I will never go back to regular shampoo again.

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

Oh!I am not going to give up. If anything I may tweak my formula to a lesser sf a bit. We have hard water and that does inhibit lather - but I am still getting plenty! My hair is transitioning, but I think that is just it a transition. I don't intend to go back to commercial liquid shampoo - after one good look at the ingredients ugh!
I wonder if people realize that a shampoo bar is far better in terms of ingredients for your hair and the savings is substantial. I would think a shampoo bar would be fantastic for travel as well. There are just several advantages that I can see right off.