Should We All Be Using Shampoo Bars?

They're small, they're natural, they're good for the environment.... but do they work on your hair? Aurora Hutchinson gives shampoo bars a test drive.

So apparently we should be pouring away our conventional shampoos …

This is according to Bumble and Bumble founder, Michael Gordon, who claims natural shampoo can be so effective that you don’t even need to use conditioner. (He’s marketing one of course, called New Wash).

When I read about New Wash I realised that while I pore over the ingredients in my children’s biscuits and body creams, I pay no attention to the products I’m putting on my body.

When it comes to shampoo I usually just go for what smells nicest but last week in the name of research, I decided to try out a natural shampoo in the form of an Amphora Aromatics shampoo bar.

It’s a new product that looks like a round bar of soap but is in fact shampoo made of natural ingredients and 100 per cent essential oils. No nasties, no colourings, so no harm done to the ecosystem and no big deal if you children want to use it too (or eat it, although it prob won’t taste v nice).

I’ve never seen such a short list of ingredients on any shampoo bottle.

Amphora Aromatics has a whole range of shampoo bars (don’t refer to them as “soaps” if you’re talking to PR) to suit any hair/scalp type. I went for the Botanical Boost Bar for all hair types which is made with frankincense, rose and argan oil – YUM!

After the first wash, I genuinely don’t think my hair has ever been as clean – it squeaked! My hair squeaked and screamed so much that it was actually a bit off-putting.

Although unquestionably clean my hair didn’t have quite the same smoothness I get from conventional shampoos.

I definitely needed to use a conditioner afterwards. Even then I’m not entirely sure the result was the same.

But, BUT, when you consider what it’s made from I think I could probably get used to it.

There’s a small range of conditioners available on their website including one where you can buy the base conditioner and then add your choice of essential oil or combination of oils, which sounds very appealing – I’m going to try this.

One thing that struck me was that most shampoos don’t really have a natural smell. They tend to be a heady mixture of synthetic floral, or “clean”, smells.

My shampoo bar smelt natural, which isn’t really surprising but I did genuinely feel that I was washing my hair with a frankincense, rose and argan oil mix, nothing more. Sadly the gorgeous smell didn’t last long after washing, – another trade-off for using natural ingredients.

The bar itself is very small, so really great for travelling and people on the go.

It was, however, a bit odd using a bar of soap to wash my hair.

It’s very easy to over lather it, so I’m not entirely sure yet whether a 50g bar will give me twice as many washes as a 250ml bottle of liquid shampoo, as Amphora Aromatics claim.

At double the price (£5.94 per bar) of most shampoos it may not make a difference economically, but it will make a difference environmentally and that is worth a lot.

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