Top Tips for Making the Switch to Shampoo Bars

Our very own Shelley has written a blog about her own transition to our shampoo bar and you read it here.

Making the switch from plastic bottled, detergent based shampoo to our Solid Shampoo Bars can feel like a big leap. To help with the transition, this week we have spent some time writing out a few of our thoughts, hints and tips about how to get the most from your new, natural, detergent-free shampoo bars. Read on for information to help you to make the switch from liquid shampoo and to ditch the plastic and the products containing SLS, SLES and other detergents.

Solid Shampoo Instructions

1. You only need a Small Amount

We've found that most of us tend initially to use too much product when we make the switch from liquid shampoo to solid shampoo bars. We're used to large taking a handful of liquid shampoo (which is mostly water) which produces a very large volume of lather (which is the detergents found in most commercially produced shampoos). Now, in our solid shampoo bars, we don't use either of these ingredients (water or detergent) so we need a different approach using the solid shampoo. The secret is to only use only a very small volume of the very concentrated Cosy Cottage solid, detergent free shampoo. That's all that is needed to to clean the hair and scalp. That also means that your bars will last you well. 

2. Gentle Lather

We recommend, at least when you start off, building a gentle lather on your hands and then massaging into the hair and scalp rather than rubbing the bars onto the hair. Don't expect as large a volume of lather as you would get from the detergent (such as SLS or sometimes SLES) in most shampoos; a high volume of lather is not essential to clean the hair. Our shampoo bars, like all of our products, do not contain any detergent nor any other non-naturally derived ingredients. As we've said, detergents will wash oils and fats out of hair, skin and anywhere else; a bit like washing a greasy dinner plate in Fairy Liquid! Detergent does also dry out the skin and the hair and there have been some studies linking the use of SLS to various health and skin conditions too. We have previously written about the potential issues with using SLS in our blog post 'Dry, irritated skin? Is your soap to blame?'. Liquid shampoos and some shampoo bars which contain SLS, will  lather very freely, as you would expect from a detergent (think Fairy Liquid). Our shampoo bars are different and lather much more gently.

3. Rinse Away (special note re hard water areas)

Detergents will generally rinse away pretty easily, taking residues and also grease, fats and oils (including your hair's natural oils) with them. This can be drying for the skin and the hair. With a non-detergent based hair product, such as Cosy Cottage Shampoo Bars, you will find that you need to rinse very thoroughly. Usually this presents no problems but in hard water areas, a slight residue can form, which may take more time to rinse out than you are used to. A slightly acid final rinse is helpful for the final rinse, if you are struggling to rinse out all of the product, especially if you live in a hard water area. We would recommend up to 10% cider vinegar or a little lemon juice or a few citric acid crystals in water for the final rinse. Not only will these remove any residue from hard water, but cider vinegar is an old fashioned remedy for 'shiny hair'. 

4. Adjustment Period

We have found too that perseverance pays! Some of us have a coating of products on our hair before we start and as this washes away, this can feel like an unpleasant residue in the hair for a short time. The most common issues are with silicones which are present in many conditioning products and which coat the hair to create an illusion of  'shininess'. Most people report positive results after 1 or 2 washes but more may be needed to fully remove the build-up from commercial shampoos, during which your hair may look and feel different. Allow enough time for this detox and adjustment period.

Also, there's a period of adjustment, for some of us, which our hair goes through, as it becomes used to no longer having to 'fight' with SLS and similar harsh chemicals. Instead, our hair learns to be strong and shine all by itself. SLS strips away your hair's natural coating which can cause your scalp and hair to become dry. Your scalp may try to compensate for this by producing more natural oil (sebum) which, in turn, can lead to an even harsher shampoo being used to combat the greasy hair. When we stop using harsh shampoos, our hair and scalp are no longer being stripped of their natural oils. Our hair may now take some time to re-balance its oil production. This can take place from a few days to a few weeks.

It pays to be patient and you will be rewarded with healthy hair and scalp.    

All of us here at The Cosy Cottage Soap Company HQ have been using the shampoo bars now for many weeks (many of us for several years). Some of us have been through a learning curve as we've made the switch away from liquid shampoo and SLS containing products. One thing is for certain though, we're all complete converts now, and our hair ranges from very short (gentlemen's) hair, through curly and straight to long and thick.   

Don't hesitate to comment below with any queries you have about the products.

We hope that sharing our own experience helps you as you make the switch away from plastic and SLS to our beautiful, natural, vegan, additive free shampoo bars. 


  • Denise Garrett

    I had real trouble with the shampoo bars initially; hair was so dry and unmanageable. Tried the conditioner bar and that didn’t help I just ended up with greasy hair. HOWEVER, I persevered after finding the tip on using cider vinegar in the final rinse and can honestly say my hair now is great!! Needs less washing, layers are more distinctive and I’m helping the environment. I would never go back to liquid shampoo now. Not sure if I’ll try the scented ones as perfectly happy with the unscented, but each to their own!!

  • Julie Perkins

    I think I have finally cracked it!! I live in the south east and we have very hard water. When I first used the shampoo bar it felt like I was rinsing off in chip fat, my hair felt greasy and horrible. I tried for 2-3 weeks before giving up. Then I finally read the comments and reviews about it on fb and the suggestion of rinsing with vinegar or lemon juice. Well it works, however if you don’t want to smell like a chip shop or buy loads of lemons, try buying citric acid. I got some food grade citric acid online and although I am still experimenting with the amount I need, it really does work and my hair feels clean, less frizzy and the curles are coming back!! I used to have quite greasy hair but the time between washes is increasing as my hair is readjusting to its natural state.

  • Sarah wood


    I’ve been suffering with a dry and itchy scalp for a very long time and I have just switched to the shampoo and the conditioner bars. I have only used them twice but I’m already loving the feeling of a scalp that does not itch (it was unbearable at time even with a medicated shampoo). However I am finding that my hair looks and feels very greasy after using them. I feel like I am rinsing very thoroughly. Should I be using the vinegar rinse after the conditioner?
    Thank you!

  • Cosy Cottage Soap

    Hi Ursula, great to hear you are getting on with the Shampoo Bar well. We find the principles of using the Conditioner much the same but we do urge customers to use a very small amount on the ends of hair only. We will shortly be writing a similar blog to this one specifically for the Conditioner so do keep an eye out for that too. Thanks and best wishes

  • Ursula Nias

    I’m fine with the shampoo bar, it’s brilliant but I can’t get the conditioner bar right. My hair seems to be very greasy after I’ve used it.

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