Why Do Shampoo Bars Leave Residue?

“Why does my hair feel weird after using a shampoo bar?” “Do shampoo bars make hair waxy?” “Why does residue stick to my hair?”

These are just a few of the many questions that people ask after using shampoo bars. This is because the unique qualities of shampoo bars can result in them leaving residues in your hair, which can irritate some people.

However, before you turn your back to shampoo bars, read through this article, then decide later.

What Are Shampoo Bars?

Simply put, shampoo bars are an alternative to traditional bottled shampoos. Although shampoo bars have been in the market for quite a while, it was only recently that consumers began to notice them.

As the name suggests, shampoo bars are shampoos in a more concentrated solid bar than liquid shampoos. So, why is it compact and potent?

This is due to the water in the liquid ingredient being removed. As a result, it leaves just the base ingredient in its purest form. Moreover, most shampoo bars are made from natural ingredients such as juju, rosemary extract, aloe vera, shea butter, charcoal, and many more.

Furthermore, like the traditional shampoos, bars also come in different kinds. Some of these kinds are:

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  • Cold-processed: Commonly homemade and contains natural oils, and has high pH.
  • Solid-surfactant: A surfactant is a chemical that produces a lot of lather; it also helps balance pH.
  • pH-balanced or glycerin-based bars: It is a shampoo bar that is mild and gentle. Just put glycerin-based soap in a fast-draining dish; otherwise, the next time you take a bath, you won’t find it anymore. Also, it is easier to melt than other bars.
  • Others

What Will Happen to My Hair When I Use a Shampoo Bar Instead of Traditional Shampoo?

For first-time users of shampoo bars, they can expect that their hair will adjust to the change. For example, some users experience dryness and brittleness. Meanwhile, others feel that there is a coating or wax buildup. However, this is a natural reaction of your body to the sudden change.

Furthermore, the shampoo bar is stripping your hair of the residues that your old shampoo has left in your hair. As a result, the adjustment period ranges from a few days to a few weeks, depending on your hair’s condition.

Moreover, suppose your hair has more chemical buildup due to hairstyling chemicals and harsh shampoos. In that case, the adjustment period may take longer.

Why Do Shampoo Bars Leave a Residue?

Most first-time users of shampoo bars complain about their hair feeling weird, waxy, or dry. This is because the shampoo bar strips their hair of the residue buildup gained from their previous shampoos.

Also, these residues are the by-product of saponified oils, which are present in solid shampoos. In addition, since your hair is in the transitional phase, removing buildup in the scalp can take some time, especially as it tries to balance its oil production.

How To Reduce The Residue Buildup?

If the residues are bothering you, there are a few ways you can reduce them. With that said, here are some tips to get rid of these chemical residue buildups, especially while adjusting to your new shampoo.

Make a good lather with your shampoo bar

One of the quickest ways to get rid of the residues left in your hair is to ensure you make a good lather with your shampoo bar. This will ensure that it’s distributed evenly along your strands, eliminating any deposits of chemical residues still left in your hair.

However, make sure to build it in your hands before massaging it into your hair and scalp to avoid depositing the rich ingredients in your shampoo bar. Moreover, it’s best to remember that organic shampoo bars don’t typically create the same bubbly and thick lather that commercial shampoos do.

So, don’t worry if it doesn’t, and avoid using too much of the product because this can make it more difficult to rinse out later on.

Consider rinsing your hair out with apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can be an excellent addition to your hair care regimen, especially if you’re still adjusting to using shampoo bars.

This is because ACV is known to have balancing properties that can help even out the oil production in your scalp and balance its pH level while it’s adjusting to the absence of chemical residues from commercial shampoos.

Aside from this, its uniquely acidic nature makes it excellent for clarifying purposes. ACV can reduce the greasiness and oiliness of your hair without stripping it of its natural oils, unlike commercial shampoos.

Use a boar bristle brush to remove excess oil from your hair and scalp

Dry brushing is another way you can remove the chemical residues from your hair and scalp. Doing so helps distribute the oils more evenly along your strands.

In fact, a boar bristle brush is an excellent brush to use for this task because it absorbs the excess oils that aren’t distributed to your hair.

However, always make sure to keep it clean to avoid spreading old oil into your locks again. Dry brushing your hair won’t just remove the excess oils but also keep your hair in excellent shape.

Prep your hair with a baking soda solution before washing

Another excellent way to remove these residues is by preparing your hair with a baking soda solution before washing. Baking soda helps remove the excess oils, residues, and other chemicals in your hair by absorbing them.

Then, once you rinse it out, the residues and other buildups are washed off as well but without drying out your hair or scalp. Moreover, baking soda can exfoliate your scalp, thereby removing the dead skin cells that contribute to the scalp’s overproduction of oil.

Consider using aloe vera

Aloe vera is indeed a versatile substance because not only can it moisturize and soothe the skin, but it can also deep clean your hair and scalp. In fact, aloe vera is known to effectively remove excess oil and residues from the scalp without harming it.

As a result, it’s a gentle way to clear your strands of the left-over chemical buildup and can even strengthen and repair your hair.


What Is the Difference Between Traditional Shampoo and Shampoo Bars?

Aside from the apparent difference, the two classifications of shampoos have a lot of differences.

  • The traditional liquid shampoo contains a harsh chemical called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). In contrast, shampoo bars are usually made from sodium coco sulfate, a coconut derivative responsible for lather.
  • Shampoo bars last three times longer than bottled shampoo, so you will save a dollar or two for your shampoo purchase when you use a bar.
  • According to different hair types, there are unlimited varieties of liquid shampoos. In contrast, shampoo bars come in a limited variety and do not address a wide range of hair concerns. However, more companies are now experimenting with other ingredients.
  • Liquid shampoos strip your scalp of natural oils because of their harsh chemicals. In contrast, shampoo bars are mostly made from natural ingredients. Therefore, they are mild and gentle to your hair.
  • What is distinctly better about shampoo bars against liquid shampoo is that it is perfect for frequent travelers. You can just conveniently pack it inside your traveling bag without worries of spillage.

Why Do I Need to Switch to Shampoo Bars?

While it’s entirely up to you whether to switch to shampoo bars or not, opting for shampoo bars over traditional shampoos will undoubtedly be beneficial for you. Some of the common reasons people switch to shampoo bars are:

  • First, traditional bottled shampoos are already causing damage to the environment. The use of plastic bottles adds up to millions of tons of unrecycled plastic dumped into landfills. Help save mother earth by ditching bottled shampoos.
  • Second, aside from saving mother earth, you will also protect your scalp and hair from further damage due to the harmful chemicals of liquid shampoos.
  • Shampoo bars are more cost-effective than liquid shampoos.
  • Well-formulated shampoo bars will give your hair the benefit that liquid shampoo provides without the harsh chemicals.

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair With A Shampoo Bar?

In general, people are advised against washing their hair every day since this can strip the hair and scalp of their natural oils. However, shampoo bars are gentle enough that you can use them every day without doing damage to your hair.

Nevertheless, ideally, it’s still recommended to wash your hair with shampoo bars only up to three to four times each week. This ensures that your scalp produces only the necessary amount of oil to keep your locks healthy, a process that is significantly impacted when you wash your hair too often.

Do You Need Conditioner After Shampoo Bar?

The good news is that you might not need to use a conditioner after a shampoo bar anymore. This is because shampoo bars are gentler and more natural than commercial shampoos, which means they don’t strip your hair of its natural oils, which can leave it dull and dry.

In fact, commercial shampoos often contain petroleum which actually dries your hair and scalp, which is why you often need a conditioner after using one.

However, if you feel like your hair is still too dry or lackluster after using shampoo bars, consider rinsing your hair and scalp with apple cider vinegar. ACV can help keep your hair shiny and smooth without leaving chemical residues in your strands.

Are Solid Shampoos and Hair Soaps the Same?

No, solid shampoos and hair soaps are different. Solid shampoo is the concrete counterpart of liquid shampoo.

However, like liquid shampoos, solid shampoos are also made up of surfactants, oils, and perfumes. Similarly, hair soaps are composed of saponifying oils and fats and have an alkaline pH value.


Change, most often than not, faces resistance to some extent. Of course, a change in the shampoo you use is no exception. However, if this change can lead to better and more beneficial results, it is worth trying.

For example, you can think about the environmental benefits of mother nature by switching to the all-natural, no plastic shampoo. Moreover, you can also consider the numerous health benefits it can provide to your hair in the long run.

Edna Feber

I’m Edna. I'm here to guide you about hair products and maintenance tips. You'll fine here product reviews regarding hair tools, hair color, hair care and more along with tips to keep your hair healthy!

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