In a recent move away from potentially-toxic conventional products, I started using a shampoo bar and citric acid rinse. Originally, I wanted to try the no-poo method, but didn’t want to endure the transition—nothing like having sticky hair at work for a month, eh? After a little research to find a daily-use alternative, I discovered the wonderful world of shampoo bars and I’m seriously digging them!
First of all, I love that they can last for a long time if they’re kept dry. The inexpensive unscented bar that I love (bonus: it has minimal packaging) lasts for about a month.
Between struggling with health-related hair loss and weighty conventional shampoos and conditioners, my hair felt heavy and stringy. Switching to a natural soap bar and acidic rinse made my hair lighter and fuller. Natural shampoo bars are gentle and don’t strip away the natural oils, leaving hair naturally nourished, shiny, and strong.
Natural oils don’t typically play well with hard water minerals and can leave hair feeling a little greasy. Using an acidic rinse in areas with hard water typically does the trick. We have extremely hard water in Minneapolis, so I increased the level of acidity in my rinse to make my hair soft. If a shampoo bar is leaving your hair on the sticky-side, a stronger acidic rinse might help.
I make my acidic rinse with 2-3 teaspoons of powdered citric acid, which can be purchased from the bulk aisle of some health food stores and smells lightly of lemons, and about 8oz. of water. I mix it up in a glass spray bottle and use a couple sprays after rinsing the lather out.
A good indicator that I’ve used enough rinse is when my hair becomes less tangly and a little slippery (but not slimy like conventional conditioners), and as soon as my hair dries it’s soft and bouncy.
Traveling is super easy and light with shampoo bars. I just toss the leftover shampoo bar bits and a little container of citric acid into a reused Altoids tin and they’re ready to go. Once I arrive, I mix up the citric acid in a cup of water. It’s a great way to use up remaining shampoo bar pieces.
I really enjoy the open visual space in my shower since the little bar replaced big bottles of shampoo and conditioner and the citric acid rinse looks so pretty in its spray bottle. And, since I’m no longer concerned about shine or volume, I ditched some of my styling products which freed up storage space under my sink.
For me, this was an all-around win—zero-waste, low-tox, beautiful, and minimal! Would love to know if you’ve tried this method and what your experience was with it!