Today, I want to share with you my plastic-free, zero waste haircare routine and how I use solid shampoo and conditioner bars to achieve amazing results.
Soap bars vs shampoo bars
Let's start off by understanding why all shampoo bars are not created equal and why some of them work and why some do not.
Soap bars have a naturally high pH, whilst our hair naturally has a naturally low pH and so prefers more acidic hair care products. This is why soap bars are not suitable for haircare.
Instead, shampoo bars should be formulated using mild, naturally derived detergents. We call these "surfactants".
Find the right shampoo bar for you
Okay, back to my haircare routine. I have a lot of wavy, medium thick hair which tends to be quite manageable. No matter how I style it, my hair will often stay put.
My main issue is that there is a lot of it. Sometimes it can be hard to manage without looking like a lion! Plus, I also tend to have a dry, flaky scalp.
After many, many months of formulating, I have come up with the most amazing array of shampoo bars. I finally settled for a shampoo bar I make with a mix of hemp seed oil, nettle leaf, rosemary and tea tree. All these ingredients are perfect for soothing itchy, flaky scalps that are prone to dandruff.
Learn to Formulate Your Own Shampoo Bar!
My Zero Waste Haircare Routine
Whenever I feel the need to, probably once every 2-3 weeks, I like to give myself a scalp massage using oil. I do this when I feel my scalp is quite dry and itchy, which for me, seems to occur randomly.
It could be the water temperature or sometimes I am just having a stressful week! I guess my scalp just gets upset easily.
I love using hemp seed oil. It is a very dry oil so it does not clog your pores. Thanks to its amazing fatty acids, it is often used to treat issues like dermatitis and eczema.
You have to try it for yourself, but for me it works really well! I like to alternate it with black cumin oil, also a great anti-inflammatory oil, and jojoba oil which regulates the scalps oil production.
Next, if the ends of my hair feel quite dry, I like to apply a little bit of tomato seed oil. Tomato seed oil is a by-product of the food industry which otherwise would go to waste.
It is rich in antioxidants, which are important for shiny, healthy hair. It has a strong smell but is very light in colour. Although, it is not quite as dry as hemp seed oil, it does not make your hair too greasy. I love it so much that I add it to all of my solid conditioner bars!
I then brush my hair to distribute the oils, tie my hair in a braid and let the oil soak in for a few hours. Sometimes, I let it soak overnight if I am planning to have a shower in the morning.
How to Use a Shampoo bar
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how to use a shampoo and a conditioner bar. So lets walk you through my process.
Step 1: Activate the lather
First, hold the shampoo bar under the water and use your hands to rub it. Just like a normal soap bar, this will activate the lather.
Step 2: Massage your head in circular movements using the shampoo bar
Next, gently rub the shampoo bar on your head using circular movements, as if you are giving your head a massage. Start from the crown and then move to the sides.
The lather will naturally roll down the hair ends and clean them without any extra lather. Tuck your chin closer to your chest, apply the shampoo on the back of the head and in harder to reach areas.
Wet the shampoo bar again if you need more lather.
Step 3: Rinse well
Simply rinse your hair as normal. Also rinse your shampoo bar and place it in a dry place like on a soap dish or metal rack.
Before hopping out of the shower I also normally use a solid conditioner. I use my solid conditioner that's made for dry hair. I absolutely love this bar because it contains Moringa, Lavender and Sweet Orange.
To apply it, gently rub the conditioner on to the ends of your hair. This will release the conditioner, turning it into a soft cream. As with any conditioner, it won't create a lather, but instead the cream will coat and hydrate your ends.
As you only need to use a little at a time, one block of conditioner will last for a super long time. A 50g bar can easily last me up a couple of months!
When I apply the conditioner, I normally leave it on whilst I clean the rest of my body with a bar of soap that I made. This allows the conditioner to soak into the hair. Once I am done with the body wash, I rinse as normal.
How I Dry My Hair
The last part of my haircare routine is the hair drying part. I have thick wavy hair, which tends to absorb lots of water. Therefore, I tuck it into a towel which will absorb that excess water.
I then release my hair from the towel and simply blow dry. I like to use a ceramic activated hair dryer, making sure I don't keep it too close to the hair.
I dry until my hair feels humid. Sometimes I also apply a little extra of my beloved tomato seed oil. I love it so much because you only need to use a tiny amount, just a couple of drops really, and it doesn't make your hair oily at all.
As my hair tends to be a little frizzy, and because the water in London is terribly hard, I do have to style my hair. I love using my rolling hair brush as it gently styles my hair. It is so much better than using a hair straightener, which literally burns your hair.
Now it's time to enjoy the results - bouncy and shiny hair. I used to wash my hair every day but with this routine, I wash it every three days, which is great!