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Shampoo Bar 101 Revisited

Beer soap shampoo bar

Shampoo bars have become more popular recently. They are convenient for traveling. Unlike liquid shampoo, you don’t have to worry about travel limits and leaking bottles with a shampoo bar. Because they don’t require plastic bottles, shampoo bars are a great option for people trying to reduce waste.

Not all hair types are alike, so it takes some trial and error to find the right one. With the recent interest in shampoo bars, I thought now would be a great time to reshare my Shampoo Bar 101 post.

Beer soap shampoo bar
Shiner Bock Beer Soap: My top choice for washing my hair.

I began using bar soaps as shampoo about four years ago. Whenever I tell people this, they always look at me kind of strange or have tons of questions about how it works, so I thought I’d share it all here. Please keep in mind, this is all based on my personal experience and research.

What type of soap to use?

While there are some bars that are specially formulated to be shampoo bars, I’ve found that just about any good quality natural soap will work. You definitely want to avoid most of the bar soaps you’d find at your supermarket, because they don’t have the same properties as natural soaps and can dry your hair.

Among natural soaps, I’ve found that bars with little or no waxes work the best. My hair tends to be oily, so I also avoid soaps with a high percentage of butters (shea, cocoa, etc.) as they seem to add too much oil to my hair.

Some of the oils that work well in a shampoo bar are coconut, castor, olive, jojoba, and avocado. Most of the bars I’ve used contain at least the first three. I wouldn’t count out a bar that didn’t have them, though, until I’d tried it a few times.

What are the some of the benefits of using a bar soap?

  • Natural bars don’t strip your hair like shampoo.
  • Hair feels thicker
  • Has eliminated my need for a seperate conditioner
  • No more scalp and hairline irritation like I had with many shampoos
  • Convenient for travel-no worries about leaky bottles or (as far as I know) airline carry-on limits
  • Same bar can be used all over-no need for a seperate body wash or soap cluttering your shower

Tips for using a bar soap as shampoo:

  • Expect an adjustment period of 2-4 weeks. Your scalp is used to producing more oil to make up for the natural oils that are stripped by the detergents in shampoos.
  • You may want to use a simple clarifying shampoo or even a baby shampoo prior to the first wash with a bar. I’ve found that this helps speed up the adjustment period by removing buildup from shampoos, conditioners and styling products, giving the bar a clean slate to work with.
  • Periodically doing an apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) rinse can help improve shine and seems to help if I feel like my hair isn’t rinsing out as well as it should. I use about 1/2 Tablespoon of ACV to about 3 cups of water and pour over my just washed hair, then rinse. I used to do this about every other wash, but now I do it about once every week or two.
  • Many styling products seem to need the detergents in shampoo to be fully removed. I try to avoid products with dimethecone and other -cone ingredients as these seem to be the hardest to wash out with a bar soap. Hairspray doesn’t seem to be a problem. You can also use pure aloe gel as a hair gel that’s also great for your hair.

I’m sure there are many things I’ve left out. Feel free to ask any questions or add to what I have here.

Oh, and before I forget, here are my favorites from my shop to use as a shampoo:

Beer Soap

Tea Tree Oil Soap (especially great if I’m experiencing any dandruff)

Shampoo bar 101
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Frankincense and Myrrh Soap is Back!

Frankincense and myrrh was one of my first customer requests years ago when I began soap making. Over time, there’s been a few variations in the recipe.

For the first time ever, this year’s Frankincense and Myrrh soap is 100% synthetic fragrance free. Instead, I used pure frankincense and myrrh essential oils. Then, I added a touch of orange Valencia essential oil to sweeten it. The end result is a warm, piney scent. It is a bit more subtle than what you get with synthetic fragrance oils, so the scent isn’t overwhelming. Plus, you get the benefits of true essential oils.

I also formulated this batch to lather up like my other shampoo bars. For travelling, shampoo bars are the way to go. With a bar, there’s no worries about leaking in your luggage or TSA liquid restrictions. No plastic bottles also means no BPA concerns and less environmental impact.

Everyone needs soap. Frankincense and Myrrh handmade soap makes a great stocking stuffer or small gift for teachers or coworkers. Right now, use coupon code “ShopSmall18” for 30% off your entire order at the SubEarthan Cottage shop

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Just a few notes today:

1. I’m working on my website, You can find my about page, blog and shop all in one place. Currently the shop is still through Etsy, so you need an Etsy account to shop there. If you have problems or concerns with that, please contact me so I can help you out.

2. Please, subscribe to my newsletter. I hate clogged inboxes as much as everyone else, so I send emails very sparingly. When I do, there’s usually a sale or coupon for my shop involved. Sign ups are to the right on Blogger and bottom on my website.

3. Usually when people talk about no-poo, they’re referring to the baking soda and acv variety. I finally found someone who goes the natural bar soap route like I do. Here’s her method: She has more awesome information for frugal, healthy living, so I encourage you to browse around.

4. In case you haven’t seen my take on soap as shampoo, here it is: I totally forgot about taking a break from it after B was born. Apparently that’s normal for me, because I’ve done it again since Thadd was born and now I’m paying the price. At least I know the transition period doesn’t last forever and I’ll be able to ditch the pony tail soon. Not that I’m going to want to. Summers are HOT!

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Jasmine Incense Handmade Soap

I love using handmade soap as shampoo. If you’ve never tried or even considered it, you might be interested in reading my Shampoo Bar 101. I’m running low on my preferred Shiner Bock Beer soap, so I decided to try my new Jasmine Incense soap instead. It left my hair just as soft and fluffy as the beer soap. I did use some conditioner on the ends because my hair is about to the middle of my back and I’m hoping to let it grow even longer.

For more information on my Jasmine Incense soap, visit

Jasmine Incense Soap


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Beautiful Bath & Body Treasury by whimsicalpoppysmic on Etsy

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Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

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What do you want to know?: Seriously? What? and various other ramblings

What do you want to know?

Sorry guys, I’m totally drawing a blank for today’s “What do you want to know?” topic. So, ask me anything you want today. I would also love it if you would help me brainstorm for future topics for the What do you want to know? Wednesdays.

Aloe Revisited

After Thursday’s aloe blog, I decided to try a few of the uses that I hadn’t tried yet to see how well it did.

First, I’ve used it a few times as a regular wash-out conditioner. Normally I don’t use conditioner because it makes my hair get oily much faster and my hair usually feels healthy enough with just my Beer Soap and an occasional ACV rinse. I’m spending much more time out in the sun lately, though, so I figured my hair could use a treat.

The results are amazing! My hair is incredibly soft without being too slippery. It looks very shiny, and it doesn’t look oily by the end of the day. In fact, it seems to help extend the time between shampoos. Usually I shampoo every other day. Occasionally I can wait until the third day. With the aloe, my hair still looks good on day 3.

I’ve also dried using it as a makeup remover. It did do a decent job of getting my eye makeup off, but overall, I don’t know if it did much better than soap and water. I do like the way it makes my face feel when I put a little on after washing. It’s like a moisturizer and toner in one step.

I did see an ad for a 100% aloe gel produced by Vaseline in a magazine. I haven’t had a chance to look for it in stores yet, but that might be another easy to find option for anyone wanting to try it out. If you do find it and try it, let me know what you think. I’d especially like to hear from people who have used the Fruit of the Earth aloe to see how the Vaseline aloe compares.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!