A Simple Guide to Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

Natural shampoo and conditioner bars are more in demand than ever, so we asked, one of our favourite ethical bar brands, Friendly Soap, for the lowdown.

Here are the ins and outs of an essential everyday product that’s often misunderstood and, we think, deserves to be even more popular.



For years now, growing numbers of consumers have been making the switch to using greener and gentler care products for their daily routines. It’s little wonder that their hair and scalps are now also reaping the rewards of kinder products, in the same way that their faces and bodies have been for years.

Today, there are lots of natural and environmentally friendly shampoo and conditioner bars available to choose from, which is obviously a good thing. These products are much kinder to the planet because they use only natural ingredients, not nasty chemicals like parabens.

They also reduce the use of plastic because they generally come in more planet friendly packaging like tins or recycled and recyclable card like the range from Friendly Soap. They’re often more effective than conventional bottled products too, and they’re certainly less damaging to users’ hair and scalps, thanks to their natural compositions and health-promoting essential oils. The very best bars are as ethical as it gets, with all the same natural, green and vegan credentials we’ve come to expect from other great product ranges.


Shampoo and conditioner bars are actually really easy to use, much in the same way you would a soap bar, with warm water and a rubbing action to produce a lather or paste. Better still, responsible manufacturers know that people making the switch to bars might need a bit of handholding, so they’ll often include really useful information, tips and guidance on their websites (the bars’ boxes tend to be too small for this information, but it’s always worth checking there too). For users who love the idea of using a natural, healthy and ethical bar but prefer a liquid conditioner, Friendly Soap conditioner bars can also be really easily dissolved in hot water – problem solved!


The great thing about natural bars is that they’re packed with goodness, instead of chemicals that tend to dry out and damage our hair or cause dandruff. Natural oils produce beautifully smooth and silky hair that’s full of lustre, easy to manage and doesn’t knot so easily. Meanwhile, added essential oils bring their own distinct benefits to hair and scalps. For example, lavender and tea tree promote hair growth and have anti-bacterial properties, or mint can relieve itching and provide anti-fungal protection.


Despite all of these great benefits, while many green consumers have already taken the plunge – ditching their bottled hair products in favour of friendlier bars – some would-be users are still slightly hesitant. The reason for this is usually quite simple: hair is a big deal and a very personal issue for lots of people, and with so many different hair types and styles, a bit of nervousness is understandable.

For some users, the switch to bars can take a little getting used to. Usually this is because new users expect their hair to be ‘squeaky clean’ after washing, because it always was with bottled products. What they often don’t realise is that this tell-tale squeak meant that precious natural oils had been aggressively stripped from their hair by chemicals! Natural bars are made using ingredients like caster oil, argan oil and cocoa butter, and they do the opposite of bottled chemical-based products, actually replenishing the hair’s vital oils.

In some cases, bars might not work well initially, or will need some simple extra measures for users to really enjoy all the benefits. For example, in regions with hard water it can take longer for the so-called ‘purging’ process to happen, where hair adapts to the transition to natural shampoo. The Friendly Soap website has lots of guidance about this, with advice about what to expect and even how to use apple cider vinegar or baking soda to help and the team at Greener Beauty are also always on hand to offer advice and tips! It’s also true that dyed or treated hair can sometimes affect the performance of natural soaps bars, occasionally causing dye colours to fade.



We believe that you really shouldn’t be put off from trying shampoo and conditioner bars from one use, If you’re unlucky, a new user might need to persevere for a couple of weeks or use the internet to find tips and advice that suits their particular hair or water type. If they’re really unlucky, perhaps bars just won’t work for them, or they’ll decide that the benefits aren’t worth complicating their routine for. At Friendly Soap, we actually recommend people try different bars from different manufacturers, then continue with the bar that works best for them (Greener Beauty stock a range of different ones here). They could also experiment with different routines and techniques if they don’t get the results they want immediately.

Ultimately though, in our experience the majority of those who bin their bottled hair products never look back. They love what bars do for their hair, and they really value the added feelgood factor of knowing they’ve made an ethically responsible consumer choice. Better hair, safer planet: it’s very much a win-win situation!


To see our full range of Friendly Soap products click here




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