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Shampoo Bars are Better for the Environment but Bad for Hair?

Orange Honey Shampoo Bar Better for EnvironmentNo doubt about it, shampoo bars are better for the environment. They have less packaging, require a lower carbon footprint to ship and are biodegradable (although they need time to break down to be safe for small life forms.) Plus, old-fashioned shampoo bars are very economical. They tend to be less expensive AND they last longer because we use less of it. Using less is also good for the environment.
A recent study on the environmental impacts of soaps and their associated packaging found that bar soaps have a lower environmental impact than liquid soaps in many important categories including carbon footprint, ecotoxicity, ozone depletion potential, and eutrophication potential. (1) This is due largely to the higher energy requirements of producing the raw materials and packaging for liquid soaps. From cradle to gate, liquid soaps require five times more energy for raw material production and nearly 20 times more energy for packaging production than bar soaps do. What’s more, the authors note, on a per-wash basis consumers use more than six times the amount of liquid soap (by weight) than bar soap. University of Washington’s Conservation Magazine.
Old-fashioned shampoo bars are better for the environment than any others. They are made by saponifying oils using lye. At the end of the process, no lye remains. Plus they make a great lather and are really great for people with short hair. It will leave it feeling thicker and give it more body.  I make four different kinds of old-fashioned shampoo bars, an orange honey shampoo bar, a strawberry shampoo bar, a rosemary shampoo bar and a Pine Tar Shampoo Bar for people with dandruff. All of them are very popular.

But is an Old-fashioned Shampoo Bar good for YOUR hair?

It’s true that not all old-fashioned shampoo bars are perfect for everyone or, for that matter, good for your hair. Depending on your hair, a shampoo bar made with old-fashioned techniques can be perfect or not so good.  They can leave longer hair feeling dry even when made with awesome ingredients like Shea Butter and Argan Oil. Saponified shampoo bars are a soap and can leave a waxy build-up or mineral deposits in your hair especially when you have hard water.

Overcoming issues with an old-fashioned shampoo bar.

Hard water has a lot of minerals in it and old-fashioned shampoo isn’t as good at washing them away.  However the mineral build up can be overcome by rinsing with rain water and a little Apple Cider Vinegar. What I do – since rain water isn’t always available – is purchase a gallon of distilled water and put about 3/4 of a cup of ACV in it. I use about a cup of this to rinse my hair after shampooing. The Apple Cider Vinegar rinsing technique also solves the other issue with old-fashioned shampoo bars by re-balancing your hairs Ph. This is important because the other issue with old-fashioned shampoo bars  is that they are naturally highly alkaline. This can damage hair. If you have natural, unprocessed hair that is not delicate, this isn’t a problem and, in fact, might be a benefit by adding body and thickness. Old fashioned soap-based shampoos can not be adjusted for alkalinity – if you try to Ph balance it too much you turn nice soap into goopy, oily mush with no suds or cleaning power. so, it’s best to rebalance your hair after you use the old-fashioned shampoo with a gentle ACV rinse,

Every Head of Hair is Different and Every Shampoo Bar is Different.

There is an alternative for those of us who want a shampoo bar that is good for the environment and good for our hair. There are shampoo bars that offer most and even equal environmental safety and are good for hair that are great in hard water and are naturally Ph balanced. So, if you love the low-to-no-packaging of shampoo bars but don’t like the drawbacks, consider this one that I make: yucca shampoo bar. It is made using synthetic detergents but nowadays, this might be worth a consideration for even the most eco-conscious person. Companies who make synthetic detergents are more aware of us wanting to protect the environment and are funding studies to help this effort in order to make synthetic detergents that are more biodegradable.

Which Shampoo Bars are better for the Environment?

Avoid any company’s shampoo that doesn’t list the ingredients up-front. Also, avoid companies that use the tricky marketing ploy of advertising “Key Ingredients” as if it was a legal list of ingredients. It isn’t and it is a way of fooling customers from seeing the real ingredients they think they need to hide. Avoid sulfates including sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium coco sulfate (SCS), and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). They are harsh. However, Behentrimonium methosulfate is actually good and not harsh. For more about sulfates read: “The Truth About Sulfates, According to Science” on ‘s website Avoid a short list of ingredients. Companies know that people think that simple is better when it comes to beauty products.  When it comes to shampoos, this is very bad advice. In fact, synthetic detergents work synergistically and together, they make a milder shampoo then if you used them individually.
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