Using a shampoo soap bar

by Liz Beavis

Lately I have been working on a shampoo soap bar and now I'm ready to share it with you too!

I have been through some transitions in my life, and hair care is no exception!  I remember at high school I had a huge collection of hair "products" and I liked to regularly dye my hair strange colours.  Fast forward to my mid-twenties and I started to use only organic products, no dye, minimal products.  I gradually reduced the amount that I washed my hair, to the point that it was only once a week and the giant bottles of organic shampoo and conditioner would last an entire year!


In 2011 I got the idea to trial not washing my hair at all, I just rinsed it with water occasionally.  It was kind of an interesting experiment that I continued for several years. 

Then I gave the "no-poo"  baking soda and vinegar method a try after reading Lucy AitkenRead's book Happy Hair - The definitive guide to giving up shampoo: Save money, ditch the toxins and release your hair's natural beauty with No Poo when the media picked up on it in 2015.  I wrote about my take on "no-poo" back here.

Are you keeping up?  Most recently I've been using a shampoo soap bar (what a surprise!  You might have noticed that I love soap!).  I have been using soap to wash my hair for over a year now, as I've been working on a recipe to add to my range of handmade natural soap.  I've found a recipe that I'm happy with, and I'm ready to share it with you!

Do I need a special shampoo soap bar?

Essentially you can use any soap to wash your hair, but a shampoo soap bar has been designed especially for hair.  Ideally it will contain ingredients that are good for your hair (nice oils, butters, botanicals, milks etc) and nothing that will damage or get stuck in, damage or coat your hair (FYI don't use a beeswax soap in your hair, woops!). 

So you can use any simple soap in your hair, but if you really want to switch to soap longterm, I recommend getting a shampoo soap bar that has been designed for hair.  Shampoo soap bars will generally have a lower superfat - that just means that they don't leave as much excess oil in your hair as a body or hand soap.

My shampoo bar contains tallow (like all my soaps), to make a hard long-lasting bar.  It also contains coconut oil for lather, avocado and castor oil for shiny hair, goat's milk and honey for nourishment.  And lavender and rosemary essential oils for healthy hair.


Why use a shampoo soap bar?

  • Reduce plastic  - no shampoo and conditioner bottle waste
  • If you get a real soap bar - no SLS, palm oil, petrochemicals, or synthetic ingredients (make sure you read the ingredients, some solid shampoo bars are not soap, and will contain detergents)
  • Cruelty free - no need to test if you don't use the chemicals
  • Long lasting - just make sure you let the bar dry out between uses (you can also cut the bar and only use a small piece at a time so that the rest stays dry)
  • Great to travel with - no risk of spillage and easy to take a small amount on a short trip (as above, just cut the bar into smaller pieces!)
  • Very economical - because it lasts a long time and you're not paying for packaging, shampoo soap bars work out way cheaper
  • (obviously they also clean your hair! And most people find that their hair is healthier without all the extra chemicals and silicons found in shampoos and conditioners

 Check out this video on shampoo bars to find out more.


How do I use a shampoo soap bar?

You use a shampoo soap bar just like shampoo, either lather it up in your hands or directly in your hair, work the soap suds through your hair and then rinse.  Repeat if necessary.  You can then rinse with apple cider vinegar in water (particularly useful if you have hard water) and you might put some argan or jojoba oil through your hair if it needs some conditioning.

I recommend that you give the shampoo soap bar a chance and use it for a few weeks before deciding whether it is working for you. It takes time for your scalp and hair to adjust.  Try a different shampoo soap bar until you find one that you like (any that don't work out as shampoo can still be used for hand or body soap).

Shampoo soap bars will be most effective if you also stop using other hair products and dyes (actually I don't know how they work with those products as I don't use them).  

Have you tried a shampoo soap bar in your hair?  Do you use shampoo, no-poo or nothing at all?


Other posts about soap:

How to avoid soaping mistakes
How to rebatch soap in a slow cooker
How to use water discount in soapmaking
Natural handmade soap with tallow
Natural handmade tallow soap recipe: big beer 
Natural handmade tallow soap recipe: black magic
Natural handmade tallow soap recipe: coffee grounds
Natural handmade tallow soap recipe: goat's milk and honey
Natural handmade tallow soap recipe: neem oil soap and salve
Natural handmade tallow soap recipe: pure tallow
Natural handmade tallow soap recipe: salt spa
Natural handmade tallow soap recipe: shaving bar
Natural handmade tallow soap recipes: bath soap and cleaning soap
Natural handmade tallow soap recipes: pink clay and greeen herb
Rendering beef tallow in a slow cooker
Soapmaking resources and books
Why use natural soaps and salves



  • Liz (Eight Acres)

    Thanks for your lovely comments. Wow! The shampoo bars sold out in two days so I apologise to those who missed out, there will be more soon, I had no idea that they would be so popular!

  • Meg

    I am experimenting with a shampoo bar at the moment. I got mine from Lush which makes all kinds of soaps and bath bombs etc. I have tried others before too. A friend has also just given me a sample of a conditioner soap she is making, currently I used apple cider vinegar and water for that. I will keep an eye out for your shampoo bars, Liz, as I’d love to give one a try when you update your stock. Meg:)

  • Amanda Stewart

    Its a shame I get a email about a product that is out of stock!

  • Tamsin Adams

    Hi Liz, I really want to try making my own as well. I have done plenty of reading on comments, and have thought it sounds too hard to make. I have just embarked on poo bars and bought a bar from a tassie maker in Hobart, one beer based and the other a bamboo charcoal. I would love to try yours too. If you could let me know when you have some back in stock, I would love to trial some from you, especially your tallow recipe. :)
    Two days in we are and our hair is feeling lovely, light and fluffy, hopefully not too fluffy… ;) and hopefully continues the less greasiness lifelessness we all had. Cheers Tam

  • Chel

    Liz, I did make a shampoo soap a while back. It was based on one of Jan Berry’s and was really good.

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