The Great Shampoo Bar Exchange

I am participating in a shampoo bar exchange with three other soapmakers:
Michele of Tierre Verde Soaps in Texas
Becky of Heirloom Soapworks in Illinois, and
Jennifer of Naturalmente Mediterraneo in Spain

Jennifer instigated this exchange at the beginning of the summer when several of us were trying out shampoo bars for the first time. The goal is to compare recipes and experiences and come up with the best possible shampoo bar. I was the first one to send out my package, so my shampoo bar is the first one to be reviewed. I sent the Original Opus recipe, plus one more “modified” Opus bar which I hadn’t tried myself when I sent it (now that I’ve tried it, I don’t like it as well as the original, so the original is the one that has been reviewed).

The other soapmakers have all shared their insights with me, both the good and the bad. Becky & I both have soft water and similar hair types, but Michele and Jennifer have both had issues with this soap. The shampoo bars they have formulated for themselves seem to work well for their hair, so now the task is to figure out if there is a way to make “one shampoo bar fits all”, or accept the fact that there are too many competing factors.

We are putting our heads together on this, but welcome your input as well if you have any!

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  1. So happy all you wonderful pro soapers are doing the shampoo bar evals ! Just made my first one last week. Can’t wait to try it. In the meantime…I’ll just make more. Thanks for all the info you share

  2. Hi Amy.

    It is very interesting to hear what others’ opinions.
    I love to use shampoo bars. But I have to use Burt’s Bees hair conditioner(98.2% natural) afterwards. Citric Acid Water and Vinegar don’t work for my hair. My hair turns out greasy. But somehow Burt’s Bees hair conditioner softens and fluffs my hair.

    It may be a bit of challenging to make “one shampoo bar fits all”. Everybody’s hair, preference, location,
    and so on are different.

    Your shampoo bars look beautiful =)

  3. I love shampoo bars especially the last one I have been using! I do not want to mention it on your site as it might be rude. Contact me if you want to know the name of the company. I am willing to try new ones and have been looking around as I am almost out, but they are hard to find. The one I use is great for my hair type. Normal, not oily or dry. Our water would probably be considered fairly soft. I also never need to use a conditioner, and receive many compliments on my hair. This bar is the second company I have tried and I love it! I have been using this brand for a couple years.

  4. @Donna – Oh, I hope your shampoo bars turn out fabulous! You will be hooked for sure!

    @AYU – Yea! Another shampoo bar user! I don’t know if it’s possible either, but I’m going to do my best to try.

    @Diana – Email sent privately. Thank you for sharing your experience with me!

  5. I have been following your blogs on the shampoo bars and am really interested in them. One question that I came across elsewhere is whether shampoo bars have a suitable ph for use on hair. Do you know if anyone checks out the ph of their bars?
    Thanks and all the best to you,

  6. @Clare – Great question! The ph on these bars is just as alkaline as any other handmade soap. My hairdresser can’t get over it, because it goes against everything she was ever taught. She can’t believe how healthy my hair is after using the shampoo bars! However, that’s also one of the reasons for using a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse – to bring the ph level down.

  7. It would be great if there can be a one shampoo bars fits all but with so many hair types, water issues it will be a challenge. I’ve used a shampoo bar once and while it didn’t do anything on my processed hair (no lather) it was great on my 2 year old daughters hair. There was so much lather and her hair was so soft afterwards I couldn’t believe it. I realized then it wasn’t the shampoo bar but my hair. I’m not going to give up yet. I know there’s a shampoo bar out there for my processed hair well hopefully 🙂 Hope all three of you can come up with something wonderful.

  8. While thinking about trying to use shampoo bars I happened to see an ad that reminded me that as a teenager, long long ago, I used Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap as a shampoo bar for my then oily dandruffy hair and it worked great. Now I need to find the right one for my long dryer hair subjected to AZ hard water. Will be ordering some soon!
    Thanks so much for your posts and emails Amy!

  9. @Clare – Ooo, pine tar soap! I’ve heard good things about it! Now, if I can formulate a shampoo bar that works in hard water, I will be all set!

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