How To Use a Shampoo Bar: The Ultimate Guide


In a world that’s increasingly aware of clean beauty products and sustainability, more and more people are making the switch to solid shampoo. Of course, this begs the question of how to use a shampoo bar correctly! 

If you are looking to make the switch yourself, you’ve come to the right place. Today I will be discussing what shampoo bars are, how to choose the right shampoo bar for your hair, and how to use a shampoo bar properly once you’ve made the purchase. 

What is a shampoo bar?

Shampoo bars are the ultimate hair products. The majority of them are free from harsh chemicals regularly found in liquid shampoos, and they are easier on your wallet, since one shampoo bar usually lasts just as long as two regular-sized bottles of shampoo. 

What are shampoo bars made of? Usually, they are formulated with essential oils, plant butters, and other nourishing natural ingredients. These concentrated ingredients are pressed together into a solid bar, so no plastic bottle is needed to contain them.

This makes shampoo bars (and other beauty bars) a great way to learn how to reduce plastic use

Of course, just like liquid shampoos, shampoo bars come in many varieties. So the first step in learning how to use a shampoo bar is often learning how to choose the correct one! 

How to choose the right shampoo bar for your hair

Group of people holding Shampoo Bars

Whether you have oily hair, dry curly hair, or hair damaged from chemical treatments, there is a perfect shampoo bar out there for you – it’s just a matter of finding it! 

First things first, you want to make sure your shampoo bar is actually shampoo. Check the ingredient label to make sure the product doesn’t contain lye (also known as sodium hydroxide), or else you are actually purchasing soap! 

Soap (like many chemicals) is too harsh for the majority of hair types. One of the best things about shampoo bars is that most of them contain natural ingredients that are gentle and nourishing. Stay away from any products that will cause more harm than help.

Once you have found a line of reputable natural shampoo bars, you want to pay attention to the formulas. Most shampoo bars will tell you which hair type they are geared for – and it’s important to listen! 

Shampoo bars for curly hair will be far more moisturizing than those for fine and oily hair. Whereas a purifying shampoo could be too drying for hair that is naturally dry or damaged. 

And, if you would normally use a clarifying shampoo (even if only from time to time) I recommend trying a solid hair detox shampoo instead. This will help to reset your hair and scalp health without upsetting your natural balance or stripping away too many oils. 

Once you’re pretty confident in your choice of product, it’s then time to learn how to use a shampoo bar. Are you ready? Let’s discuss how to use a shampoo bar – no matter your hair type or hair length. 

How to use a shampoo bar: 5 simple steps

Learning how to use shampoo bars is easier than you might think, and once you make the switch, you’ll never want to look back! 

Of course, part of the learning journey is truly diving into the question: “How often should you shampoo your hair?”  

The answer will really depend on your hair type. Some people with curly hair may only need to shampoo twice a month, while people with really oily hair may shampoo every day! On average, it's recommended to shampoo your hair every 2 to 4 days, or whenever it feels extra greasy and limp. 

After you’re all set with your hair routine, here are some easy tips for learning how to use a shampoo bar:

1. Fully soak your hair

The first step in how to use a shampoo bar is to create the proper canvas for your product. And that means fully wetting your hair. Make sure no sections of hair are dry before picking up your shampoo bar to ensure you’ll be able to spread the product evenly through your strands. 

2. Lather your shampoo bar in your hands

Girl holding a Shampoo Bar in her shower

Now let’s get to how to use a shampoo bar! First things first, wet your shampoo bar and rub the bar between your hands in circular motions. This will help to create a velvety lather and will leave you with ample product on your hands. 

3. Apply the product to your hair

Girl in the shower applying Shampoo Bar

If you are just learning how to use a shampoo bar, I recommend putting your shampoo bar down at this point and applying the product directly with your hands. This gives you slightly more control over the distribution of the product. 

Massage the product into your hair and scalp until it is evenly distributed – and don’t forget behind your ears and the nape of your neck! 

Why do I recommend using your hands? Well, a shampoo bar is a lot more concentrated than a liquid shampoo, and you may end up coating your hair with more product than you need. This will 1: be wasteful, and 2: be much more difficult to rinse out. 

If you feel comfortable with it, another option is to rub the shampoo bar directly on your hair in slow round motions until the lather is formed – and then you can put your shampoo bar down. 

4. Rinse with warm (not hot) water

Once you’ve massaged the product through your hair, it’s time for a rinse. Make sure to thoroughly rinse your hair to remove any excess shampoo – because leftover product can weigh down your hair once it dries. 

Take your time and ensure that all the product has been removed from your hair. 

5. Use your favorite conditioner bar

Girl applying Conditioner Bar on her hair

And that’s really all there is to learning how to use shampoo bars. But no shower routine is complete without conditioner – so next you should learn how to use a conditioner bar (which I have a whole separate blog post on). 

Using a solid conditioner after your shampoo will help you achieve the best results for your hair. 

Making the most of your solid shampoo

Learning how to use shampoo bars is only half the battle - you also need to know how to store them correctly! After all, this plastic-free shampoo isn’t stored in a bottle! 

After you finish using your shampoo bar, it’s important to store it in a dry location with good airflow. This way, your shampoo bar can fully dry out between washes, and you won’t lose extra product on the sides of tins (or the rim of your bathtub). 

Beauty Bars at a bathtub

When in the shower or bath, I recommend using a bar soap holder to keep your shampoo bar dry. 

And, if you’re going to go to the gym or on holiday, I recommend a travel soap case to keep your shampoo safe on the go. You can even get different colors to keep track of your solid shampoo, conditioner, hair mask bars, face wash, and more!  

At Bars Over Bottles, I have more than just plastic-free shampoo bars. You can transform your entire hair and skin routine into a plastic-free one, so you can improve your health and appearance while doing your bit to protect the environment. 

my beauty bars