I Started Using A Shampoo Bar And May Never Look Back

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I am deeply, deeply millennial. After all, I blog for a living. I am a woman-in-her-twenties who enjoys highlighter and avocado toast as if the very fate of humanity depends upon it. I have lived through Juicy suits being in style. Twice. As such, I have gone through almost every hair-destroying ritual known to millennial women. I have used Sun-In. I have box-dyed. I have had platinum blonde hair that, because it wasn’t already damaging enough, I chose to straighten everyday until I could smell see steam coming off my hair. I paired said hair with Ugg boots and destroyed Abercrombie jeans for the entirety of 2008. It was a lewk. And so, over years and years of terrible hair choices, I have slowly destroyed my hair one highlight at a time. It’s a miracle that I’m not bald at this point.

I like to consume my media on the internet. As somebody who is in the “health world” (if anybody else can figure out what that means, please let me know, I’m still trying to figure it out over here) I like to think that I’m pretty on top of my shit. I compost! I practice minimalism! I practice yoga! I get vitamin shots! Oh god, I’m actually so obnoxious. I am one cold pressed juice away from turning into Goop-y Paltrow. Send help, my meditation app has taken over my soul.

ANYWAY, I saw a video on Facebook over the summer that gave me pause. In case you are too lazy to click on the link and sacrifice 90 precious seconds of your life, the video essentially talked about how shampoo bottles are slowly destroying the world one wash-rinse-and-repeat at a time. What had I done?! Despite all of my best efforts to be mindful AF, I appeared to have lost myself along the way. How had I not realized that shampoo bottles were killing turtles? Burning down rainforests? Destroying the world? All jokes aside, I really hadn’t thought about how wasteful bottles from my hair products were and felt like a complete asshole when I watched the video.

This is the bar  that I’ve been using.

This is the bar that I’ve been using.

The video suggested that the solution to this global issue was to switch from bottled shampoo to bar shampoo. Was this a clever marketing ploy tp get us to buy shampoo bars? TBH, probably. Was I offended that this marketing trickery was working on me? Not in the least. I was fully fucking aware that I had been tricked into making a purchase thanks to an internet video, but I was genuinely curious to see if these bars worked. Can’t a girl live?

After some research (read: five minutes of half-assed internet browsing) it appeared that, not only were they less wasteful, shampoo bars were also a LOT less expensive than bottled shampoo. The msyterious and opinionated humans of Amazon told me that this bar was a safe bet to start with. Less than $7 and I’m saving the world? Guess what everybody is getting for Christmas this year! My shampoo bar arrived and I excitedly unwrapped it!!!!

Then I let it sit in my office for four months.

Hear me out here. I realize that my wardrobe usually consists of beanies, beanies, and maybe, hey!, a beanie. That being said, I was still nervous to try something new on my hair. I let the crippling anxiety of what-if completely scare me away. I realize that this is completely irrational (because: DUH I could just wash it out), but my shampoo bar stared at me wistfully from the corner of my desk for months while I debated the future state of my hair. What if it made my hair oily? Never mind the fact that I regularly go out into public for extended periods of time after doing like 3 hot yoga classes and smelling like hot garbage. What if it completely dried out my hair? Because for some reason that’s more mortifying than going out in public with a patch of dry shampoo right on my scalp all day. I wanted to try out the bar and write about it, but I was also terrified to change up my routine. I was being, you could say, and absolute little bitch about the whole thing.

Finally, something incredible happened. That thing was… I ran out of shampoo! Too lazy to go to the store, I summoned my shampoo bar from my office. It was our moment! We were going to do the damn thing! I had pretty minimal social commitments for the day and figured that I could wear a hood/beanie (for those of you wondering yes, I am an early 2000’s MC) to hide my hair should things go… awry. I took a deep breath. I prepared to shampoo bar my hair for the first time.

Honestly the only thing that’s different about the whole thing was that I was rubbing a bar to my head instead of a sudsy lather which, if you have found yourself both lazy and shampoo-less at the same time before like me, you have probably done before with a regular old shampoo bar at least once in your life. College, am I right? I found that the bar lathered a lot better than the reviews led me to believe that it would, and my hair felt genuinely clean after. I gave my hair a half-assed styling and realized that, to my delight, it didn’t look any different. One part under my left ear was pretty oily, but that was because I forgot to fucking wash it.

That afternoon, one of the girls that I coached offhandedly mentioned that my hair looked good that day. Omg, I thought to myself, could she tell that something was different? Did she know? Was my plan working? Did I now have the hair of a literal mermaid? I did what I always do and immediately started telling everybody that I know about my new discovery. This is, after all, why I am a blogger. My enthusiasm for new things cannot be contained. I have some sort of sick compulsion to get these things out into the world, damnit! It had only been one day but I was convinced: the shampoo bar life chose me.

One of the things that appealed to me about shampoo bars, other than saving the planet or whatever, was claims that a clean from a shampoo bar would be much healthier for me hair. It was my hope that this would also make my hair look better. Forget saving the world, I want some shampoo commercial level shine! I want luscious locks, even if I am working from home and wearing sweatpants! Even if it is just going to be covered with a beanie! Ugh!

Though past the initial excitement of my first wash, my enthusiasm for shampoo bars has not waned. My only complaint is that, at least in the first week, my hair appears to get oily a little quicker than normal. This is nothing that cannot be solved without dry shampoo (which is honestly my security blanket), but still… curious. Through some reading (more than five minutes this time, promise) I discovered that this was just my hair adjusting to its new regimen. Apparently the shampoo bar that I have been using doesn’t strip oils from hair like a lot of shampoos do, so my hair is adjusting to having those oils around regularly. It’s as if my hair, after many years of tumultuous relationships, has finally found the one. It’s still a little freaked out about the possibility of ghosting (who isn’t?) but is settling in nicely. The internet tells me it will take my hair about two weeks to stop feeling this way, and then it will chill out.

Yesterday I washed my hair with regular old bottle shampoo (TRAITOR!) and it just…wasn’t the same. Something is oddly satisfying about putting a bar to my scalp to massage out all of the sweat, dry shampoo, and beanie fuzz of the day. Aside from the experience being decidedly less-than, my hair felt way too brittle afterwards. As I combed my hair, I realized that since using bar shampoo my usual morning battle with the brush has all but disappeared. I’ve always had painfully tangly hair, but somehow it just… isn’t anymore? It’s probably some sort of Halloween witchcraft.

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Lizzie BraicksComment