I was recently asked to make shampoo bars. They are increasing in popularity these days with the realization that handmade soap is gentler on our bodies than many big brand soaps. When I told my friend that they were the same as the regular soap bars, she was quite surprised. So why do we differentiate?
A few years back I learned an important lesson from my mother’s pottery business. People often need to be told what to do with products. I’m not going to delve into what causes this phenomenon. For the moment, I’m simply going to accept its truth. My mother learned that if she didn’t use some sort of a label, as seemingly unnecessary as it seemed, she would have a lot of conversations like this:
Customer: “This is beautiful. What can I use it for?”
Mom: “It’s a bowl. You can serve food in it or use it as a centerpiece.”
I wondered about this for quite some time. She primarily makes functional pieces whose uses should be obvious to the customer, like bowls, plates, mugs, etc… But without fail, if it isn’t labeled, someone will ask. She is very gracious and answers the questions, but more often than not, she labels her products. It’s just easier.
Onto the subject at hand – soap bars. The reasons we label them for hair or body is either a misguided belief that there is a difference, or because so many people have been conditioned by the bath product industry to want more than one product. So it’s just easier to sell specifically labelled soaps. Since I started making my own soap, I have used the same formula to wash from head to toe, as have my husband and son. Whichever soap bar I have in the shower is what I use. Truly, there is no practical difference. Not too long ago, I explained my love of Castile soap. But whatever you choose, it will work for your hair and your body, no matter its label.
But what about conditioner? You’ll find that just as natural soaps don’t strip your skin of nutrients, they’ll leave your hair healthier than many shampoos as well. When my hair was long, I needed a detangler, so I keep a spray bottle filled with apple cider vinegar in the shower to spray after washing. I still do this as I like to add a little mint and lavender essential oils to make it smell nice. I just spray it on, massage it into my scalp, then rinse. Any remaining vinegar odor goes away as my hair dries. I’m told that if you have heavy product build up from commercial hair products, it can take a week of using natural soap to get rid of it and there may be a few days of less than stellar hair. The process is worth the effort.
Do you have colored hair? You may find that natural soaps help the color stay true much longer than commercial shampoos. Again, your hair won’t be treated as harshly as you’re accustomed to.
So, you will probably be seeing “shampoo bars” in my line of soaps in the near future to help customers know they can use it on their hair. But now you know, there is no difference. Choose the scent that you like and wash away the grime!