Is Bar Shampoo Better Than Liquid Shampoo, and other common bar questions

Is Bar Shampoo Better Than Liquid Shampoo, and other common bar questions

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Listen, we totally get it. When you grow up using liquid shampoo and conditioner, you can’t help but think that these little blocks won’t work or do much for your hair. 

There’s nothing that we love more than turning skeptics into fans so let’s get into it and answer the top 5 common misconceptions about shampoo and conditioner bars!

Solid bars are too hard to use 

There certainly are perks to going solid. Gone are the days of fumbling with slippery bottles and messy spillages - both in the shower and in your travel bag. But what is it actually like to use solid shampoo and conditioner bars? It may seem daunting, but we promise it's not difficult. 

We always recommend swiping your shampoo and conditioner bars directly onto your hair instead of rubbing them onto your hands first, so you’re applying the product to your hair and not your hands. 

Start with wet hair as you normally would before shampooing or conditioning. There's no water in our bars, so the water from your shower or bath is especially essential here. 

  1. Slide your Shampoo Bar along your head between 4 and 5 times - they're super concentrated so just a few swipes should do it.
  2. Put the Shampoo Bar down and begin building up a lather with your fingers. As tempting as it is to, there's no need to keep swiping the bar to hair until a lather begins to build (and if you have oily hair, we recommend washing twice - the second time, you should get a deeper cleanse and more lather with only a tiny amount of product).
  3. Only a few swipes of our Conditioner Bars are needed (4-5). Your hair won't feel slippery on application the way it will with liquid conditioners - the silky magic happens when the conditioner is rinsed out.
  4. Put both of the bars down and lather up (shampoo) or comb the product through (conditioner) your hair with your fingers. You could also use a scalp brush or wide-toothed comb if you're feeling fancy 🙂
  5. Simply rinse, dry, and feel the magic. Easy peasy!

You can also watch our video tutorials that show the process in action. 

Like everything else, getting used to something is the hardest part of any change. As a solid haircare user for years (I ~might~ be a bit biased), I’ve almost forgotten how to use a liquid shampoo! 

Shampoo bars have little or low lather 

Not at all! But to be clear, more lather is not indicative of a deeper clean, neither does no lather mean that your hair is not being cleaned at all 

Ethique shampoo bars use gentle surfactants to effectively cleanse hair, without stripping it of moisture. There are bars of all hair types from fine to coarse, oily to dry, and even offer options for curly hair and brightening blonde and grey thanks to a purple toning range. Amongst these, there are options for sulfate-free bars and bars which contain sodium coco sulfate. 

Both these surfactants lather up plenty – but there are differences in the type of bubbles they produce. Our shampoo bars with sodium coco sulfate produce plenty of large bubbles and a long-lasting, fluffy lather. The sulfate-free bars produce smaller bubbles and a creamier, richer lather. 

Shampoo bars will dry my hair out 

A shampoo bar that is soap-free and pH-balanced won’t dry your hair out any more than a liquid shampoo with the same active ingredients would. 

Shampoo bars can be formulated with the same conditioning and nourishing ingredients that can be found in liquid shampoos – such a behentrimonium methosulfate (BTMS – the main ingredients in conditioners), cocoa butter, and coconut oil. 

If we did a like-to-like comparison of a shampoo bar and a liquid shampoo with the same surfactants (whether it’s sodium coco sulfate, or other sulfate-free surfactants) the results would be similar. 

Possibly the biggest factor (and misconception) when it comes to what makes a shampoo bar different to a soap bar is the pH of the product. A lot of solid hair care bars out there are really soap bars, rather than shampoo. Soap has a high (alkaline) pH of over 8, which is incompatible with the natural pH of human hair: 4-5. Because of the incompatibility of the soap bar's pH with that of hair, damage can be caused to the cuticle that leaves hair feeling dry and damaged. A waxy soap residue can also form on strands. 

Ethique's shampoo bars are truly shampoo, just without the 60-80% water that makes up most liquid shampoos. They are soap-free, pH balanced at a level of between 4-5, and chock full of nourishing, conditioning ingredients to leave hair looking and feeling its best.

Using solid bars is unhygienic 

It is true that microbes are present on the surface of your bars – but this is because they are present on every surface on Earth.  

The thing about microbes is that, like all living things, the vast majority of them require water to grow and multiply. And water is something our bars barely contain. What this means is that our bars are an inhospitable environment for microbes such as mould and bacteria to proliferate. We understand, of course, that the bars are exposed to water in the shower or bath – which is another big reason why we cannot stress the importance of proper storage to keep your bars dry.  

Because of this inevitable exposure to moisture, our bars have other features that safeguard them from pathogens. This includes their pH level, as well as the ingredients present in them. Our hair care bars have a pH of between 4-5 to be compatible with the natural pH of human skin and hair, making them slightly acidic which alone makes them unsuitable for many types of microbes to grow. Foaming bars such as shampoos also contain surfactants and will often destroy the cell membrane, effectively killing many microbes on contact. 

We are also not against the use of certain preservatives. We use a safe combination of benzyl alcohol and dehydroacetic acid to preserve some of our bars that are at higher risk of microbial contamination (such as our non-foaming conditioners) to give them an extra defense mechanism. 

Whilst microbes are present on bars, they don’t transfer to the next user and depending on the microbe, often the product will destroy the cell membrane and rupture the cell, effectively killing it.

The bars will make my shower messy 

Quite the opposite, many of our customers comment on how much tidier their showers look without bottles taking up room on the floor and shelves.  

In need of some inspiration? Check out our customers’ storage setups with the #EthiqueShelfie tag on Instagram!

And there you have it! The answers to the top 5 common misconceptions we hear about our shampoo and conditioner bars. Keen to give our range a whirl? Check out our range of minis or Discovery Packs which are the perfect way to trial the range before committing to anything full size. 

Have any questions? We’re here to help - get in touch with our team of Miracle Workers via 😊