How To Use A Shampoo Bar | Everything You Need To Know

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There’s a current craze for planet-friendly, penny-saving, hair cleansers on the scene. But how do you use a shampoo bar? And are they really better for your hair?

It’s common to feel confused about shampoo bars. After all, they’re a completely different way of cleaning your hair than what you’ve probably been using for years.

But did you know they can actually outlive your favorite shampoos by three bottles!

It can be hard to know how much or how little product to use when switching over, which can lead to some initial frustration and confusion.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to use a shampoo bar – it’s easy!

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how to use a shampoo bar infographic with step-by-step instructions and images.

What is a shampoo bar?

These are nifty little blocks of wonder that look just like soap but are in fact solid shampoos.

They’re not soap because they contain loads of lush making ingredients for you hair and are not drying like soap bars for your skin can be.

Most of them boast all-natural ingredients with no chemicals or nasties like sulfates or silicones that strip your color and damage your locks.

Their sophisticated ingredients are high on quality and luxury and produce wonderful, natural perfumes that smell amazing too.

You can even make natural shampoo bars yourself if you want to!

shampoo bar soap hair image

How to use a shampoo bar.

So now we’ll get down with how to use these beauties on your colour treated hair for the best results. It’s easy! Just follow our step-by-step guide.

STEP ONE: Wet your hair.

Shampooing your hair starts with getting your hair wet! Step in the shower and soak your locks.

You’ll want to wet your hair with warm water in order to activate the natural oils in your scalp and get your hair ready to receive the nourishing benefits of the shampoo bar. Take your time here and really massage the warm water into your roots for optimal results.

STEP TWO: Massage through.

It’s time to lather up. Grab your soap and start to rub it through your hair to foam it up. Glide the shampoo bar over your scalp several times until you feel like you’ve evenly distributed it throughout your strands.

Once you have a decent amount of suds, massage it through your hair to get every strand clean. For best results, use circular motions that will help stimulate circulation and increase blood flow in your scalp area.

You don’t need to use too much pressure here; just enough so that it feels like a gentle massage.

STEP THREE: Rinse and repeat!

Once you’re done lathering up, go ahead and rinse out all the excess shampoo from your hair. If needed, repeat steps one and two for extra cleansing power or for long hair types that need additional hydration or volume boosting power.

The next wash should lather up even more. Then rinse until the water runs clean.

STEP FOUR: Condition and nourish your hair.

After you’ve used it, your hair will still need a great conditioner to keep it moisturised and help keep the tangles away and the colour locked in.

Many brands offer conditioner bars as well for added hydration and nourishment for dry or damaged locks. Pro Tip? Try adding some essential oils into your routine for even more shine and softness!

Watch and learn: How to use a shampoo bar.

Here’s a great film that shows you how to use a shampoo bar and gives you all the reasons why you should!

Getting used to the texture.

The first thing you’ll notice when you make the switch to shampoo bars is that they are solid when compared with liquid shampoo.

This means that it takes a bit of getting used to when lathering up your locks – however once you get the hang of it, it’s easy!

You just need to rub the bar between your hands until it creates a lather, then apply it directly onto your scalp and massage it in gently before rinsing out.

Using conditioner.

If your hair is particularly dry or brittle then using an accompanying conditioner is essential for keeping it looking healthy and nourished.

Most shampoo bar brands also offer conditioning bars which are designed specifically for use after washing with a shampoo bar.

All you have to do is follow the same lathering process as before but this time apply the bar directly onto lengths and ends of your hair instead of your scalp – leave on for 1-2 minutes before rinsing off completely.

We’d also recommend using a hair mask or deep conditioner once a week to keep your strands supple and moisturized.

Caring for your bar.

If you’re going to be using solid shampoo bars as part of your regular haircare routine, then you’ll want to make sure that you take good care of them too!

To ensure that they last longer, store them in a dry place away from direct sunlight so they don’t melt or become discolored.

Additionally, if you have multiple bars at home (because who doesn’t love options!), store each one in its own container so that their scents don’t mix together.

Why should I use a shampoo bar?

There are lots of benefits for using shampoo bars in place of your normal colour shampoo – at home or while travelling.

Are shampoo bars good for dry hair?

The answer is a resounding yes! Shampoo bars are great for dry hair as they don’t strip away your natural oils like bottle shampoos do.

In fact, many shampoo bar formulas contain moisturizing agents like argan or coconut oil that may help prevent dry or brittle strands.

All you need to do is find one that genuinely works for you, because a great shampoo bar can actually leave even the driest of hair feeling soft and hydrated.

Are shampoo bars safe for color-treated hair?

Absolutely! In fact, they’re safer for colored hair than most ordinary commercial shampoos.

They’re bursting with natural oils, which help condition your hair, and are typically free of sulphates and parabens which are the paint strippers for your color. 

Shampoo bars are super kind to your color while cleansing your hair and that’s why we adore them.

Which is the best shampoo bar?

There are a range of different shampoo bars made for different hair types. So you’ll need to find the one that’s best for your locks.

We are totally in love with the wholesome J.R. Liggett range of products that are also great for colored hair. You can find out more about it and our other top recommended buys in Best shampoos bars for coloured hair.


J.R. Liggett Bar Shampoo, Virgin Coconut Argan Oil

J·R·LIGGETT'S All-Natural Shampoo Bar, Virgin Coconut and Argan Oil - Support Strong and Healthy Hair - Nourish Follicles with Antioxidants and Vitamins-Detergent and Sulfate-Free, One 3.5 Ounce

Best for: Much-needed moisture

J.R Liggetts offering is a charmingly old fashioned looking bar that resembles a pack of butter! It smells good enough to eat too!

We found this one hard to get the quantity right so as not to leave a residue, but if you nail it, the results are fab. This bar is infused with argan oil which our stressed coloured tresses loved and left them feeling superbly soft and moisturised. There’s also a handy mini version for travelling too.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store shampoo bars in the shower?

Without a bottle to protect it and keep it fresh, your bar will need some protective packaging to stop it drying out.

These eco-friendly containers are perfect for that and come in a range of great colours that will look fabulous in your bathroom Ethique Eco-Friendly in-Shower Storage Container.

How often should you wash your hair with a shampoo bar?

Well, the answer isn’t prepared-in-stone, but on average, we recommend lathering up every 3-4 days.

This can increase depending on how oily or dirty your hair feels too.

Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule – such as people with very dry scalps or fine flyaway hair, who may benefit from spacing out their washes even more.

And at the end of the day, each person’s head of hair is different so experiment and find out what works best for you!

Why does my hair feel greasy after using a shampoo bar?

It’s quite common for people with oily roots and dry ends (which is a lot of us) to experience this type of problem after switching out their regular liquid shampoo for a bar.

First things first: don’t panic! It’s all part of the transition period. It’s not because there’s something wrong with your hair; rather, it has more to do with the pH balance of our scalps than anything else.

The problem with commercial shampoo is they strip the natural oils and sebum from our scalp leaving us with an overproduction of oil in order to compensate.

So what happens when you start using a bar is that the excess oil isn’t stripped and are left to help nourish and condition your hair. Which can leave your hair feeling greasy!

But it doesn’t take long for your hair to get used to it and calm down with the oil production. You just have to stick with it until then!

how to use a shampoo bar for coloured hair funny tweet

Why do shampoo bars leave residue?

Your hair might also feel greasy or waxy because there is residue left on your hair.

You might notice this if you live in an area with hard water. You apply what seems like half of the shampoo bar onto your wet hair and scalp, which doesn’t lather up as much as your usual sulfate-filled bottle of shampoo does.

Then you wash it off and notice little white flakes left behind…not so pleasant looking or feeling!

What you need to know about hair products is that there are two types of ingredients: surfactants and conditioners.

Surfactants work by lathering up on your head in order to reduce oily hair, greasy hair and scalp dryness while conditioning agents add shine and tame frizzy hair. The problem with shampoo bars is that they’re often high in surfactants but low in conditioning agents.

Which means the oils in their ingredients leave behind a residue that can make your hair feel waxy.

Rinsing your hair thoroughly and use a good, colour-safe conditioner can usually take care of the problem.

Can shampoo bars help dandruff?

If you’re on the quest to cure your dandruff woes once and for all, a shampoo bar may be just what you need.

For starters, they contain fewer sulfates which are known to strip away natural oils and further irritate already itchy scalps.

Natural products and ingredients like coconut oil or shea butter are also helpful in moisturizing the scalp while healing existing flakes.

And because it’s solid and long-lasting, one shampoo bar can take the place of two regular sized bottles!

It may not solve every dandruff issue out there but based on personal experience and customer reviews, we can confirm that these bars make an excellent addition to any battle plan against scalp dryness.

How long does it take for hair to adjust to shampoo bar?

It usually takes about three weeks (minimum) before one starts seeing the positive benefits we’re telling you will happen!

You might have heard horror stories of people who tried switching from regular shampoos and conditioners, only to find out that their hair is a frizzy mess.

Well, this doesn’t necessarily apply to all of us!

Different types of hair can take different lengths of time before they become fully adjusted with the changes in products we use on them. It also makes a difference whether you have hard or soft water in your home.

Some may experience better results than others because there are factors like thickness and texture that come into play when it comes down to finding the best match for you and your locks!

Stick with it – it’s worth it!


These clever little bars are very versatile. If you want a deep cleanse, use more of the shampoo bar and really work it through. If you want a milder wash, just use less!

Rinse it well so you’re not left with any residue on your hair.

If you don’t fancy rubbing it straight onto your hair, you can soap it up in your hands first and then apply it to your hair with your hands.

Don’t expect it to lather up as much as your regular shampoo, that doesn’t mean that the natural ingredients aren’t getting to work.

It’s a completely new formula for your hair that’s used to harsh chemicals, so it’ll take a while to get used to and for the benefits to really show. Stick with it and be patient! You’ll never look back.

Parting words

Shampoo bars are quickly becoming one of the most popular trends in haircare due their convenience and eco-friendly nature compared to traditional liquid shampoos.

As long as you follow these easy steps when using a shampoo bar—prepping your hair, wetting it down with warm water, rubbing in the lather, rinsing out all suds, then condition & style as desired—you should be able to get perfectly clean and beautiful locks every time!

So give them a try today and see why they are so beloved by people everywhere!

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!