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Shampoo Bars - The Dreaded Transition Phase

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Switching From Bottle to Bar

Changing to a shampoo bar from a traditional liquid shampoo can take some adjustment. Most commercial liquid shampoos contain SLS (sodium laurel sulfate) to remove product build up and synthetic silicones to smooth the hair. These chemicals can themselves build up in the hair which is why many people find they need to change their shampoo after a few weeks. They can also strip the hair of its natural protective oils and in fact cause an over production of oil by the scalp as it tries to compensate.

Gentle Cleansing

Surya Luna Naturals Shampoo Bars are a more natural, gentler alternative that do not contain any harsh chemicals and have been formulated from hair and scalp loving oils, botanicals, natural mineral clays and essential oils. They are also very economical to use and if kept dry between washes can last over eight weeks.

The Transition Phase

We spoke on the blog last week about there being two main kinds of shampoo bars on the market – soap style bars and syndet bars. With soap style shampoo bars there can be a period of adjustment as your hair and scalp get used to your new shampoo bar. This can take days, weeks or sometimes months – everyone’s hair is different. During this time you may feel that your hair feels heavy or waxy. This is normal and should pass, but it can take perseverance and patience until your hair adjusts.

To begin with you may just want to lather up the bar between your hands and rub the bubbles through your hair. Later, you may find that your hair will be happy with you using the bar directly on your head. Whichever method you use, make sure that you rinse thoroughly!


You can follow your new cleansing routine with one of our conditioner bars to add softness and moisture to your hair.

These bars are extremely economical and can last much, much longer than traditional liquid conditioners as you will find that less is definitely more, and you only need a tiny amount to condition your hair.

After shampooing, gently rub the bar between wet hands and then VERY lightly glide the bar over your hair. If you have especially oily hair you may wish to avoid the scalp area. If you have very dry hair you may wish to pay extra attention to the lower sections. Massage the oils gently into your hair and then rinse thoroughly. You might need to experiment to find just the right amount of application for your hair.


Our grandparents knew all about the benefits of using a vinegar rinse after washing to clarify the hair and impart a beautiful healthy shine. The acid in the vinegar helps to restore the hair’s natural pH balance as well as smoothing the cuticles on the hair strands. Using a clarifying rinse as part of your new hair washing regime can help with the waxy feeling that some people experience in the transition phase.

As a final step you can create your own vinegar rinse using one part apple cider vinegar and four parts water. You can use lemon or lime juice if you prefer instead of a vinegar. You can also add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. I like to keep this mixture in a small spray bottle and spritz my hair before giving it one final rinse. Don’t worry – the vinegar smell fades very quickly. You can use this rinse as often as needed and may people say that once or twice a week is enough for them.

Soap Style Shampoo Bars and Hard Water

Hard water has a high mineral content, often magnesium and calcium, and these minerals can react with soap style shampoos, resulting in a reduced lather, affecting how effectively they are able to cleanse and often leaving a grey-white residue on the hair.

An apple cider vinegar rinse can go some way to removing this residue, and an alternative or additional step is to use a solution of sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. Try mixing a teaspoon or two of baking soda with a litre of warm water and soaking your hair with it before you wash it. Leave the mixture in your hair while you shampoo and rinse both out at the same time.

However, unless you are using a different water source to make up either of these solutions you are still using hard water to rinse your hair with and re-applying the minerals.

How Do I Know If I Have Hard Or Soft Water?

The majority of Scotland, the west of England, Wales, Cornwall and Devon have soft water. However, if you live in a rural location in these area and get your water through a well or private supply you may find that you have hard water.

What Is The Alternative?

It can take a few tries to find a soap style shampoo bar that suits your hair. Just as there are many different liquid shampoos on the market and not all will work for your hair, the same is true of solid shampoo. If you really don't like the first one your try, it might be worth using one with a different recipe to see if that makes a difference. At Surya Luna we now offer sample size bars for a selection of our soap style shampoos so that you can try a few before committing to a full size bar. The great thing about soap style shampoo bars is that if you find they don't work for your hair, you can still use them up as a body soap bar.

If a potential lengthy transition phase is not for you, you don't want the extra steps involved with a clarifying rinse, you just can't find a bar that suits your hair or you live in a hard water area and soap style shampoo bars are just not working for you, we also offer our syndet style Conditioning Shampoo Bars. These bars do not require a transition phase and are more effective in hard water areas.

We hope you love our shampoo and conditioner bars as much as we do and that your hair looks and feels healthy, shiny and full of life.

In the comments section below we would also love to hear about your experiences of switching from bottle to bar, what you did to cope with the transition phase and if you have any top tips or tricks or if you have any questions you would like to ask us.

Next week on the blog - Getting the most out of your Surya Luna Dry Shampoo.

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