We've gone over the basic method of using the solid shampoos and conditioners, but there are some tips and tricks to consider to make sure you get the most out of your concentrated pucks of hair awesomeness. We'll address some of the common questions that come up after you've taken the dive and switched over to the bar.
Don't use too much
I find that it is easy way over-use the shampoos and conditioners when using them for the first time. Remember, these are concentrated products that blend with the water in your hair. Think of it this way, when a person makes a lotion or some kind of food emulsion they must use some kind of agitation to get the oily parts to blend with the watery parts. You apply the concentrated product, then use your fingers or a brush to blend the product with the water to get the emulsion, ie. the shampoo or conditioner. When starting out, use a few swipes, work it in and see how it feels. If you are having trouble feeling the bubbles or the cream, add more water, then add more product. Once you figure out how much you need, it'll go a lot faster :)
Be gentle with your bars
We've talked about how the shampoo bars are completely different in nature than regular bars of soap. The handling of these bars is also much different than bar soap; bar soap can be used vigorously, while the shampoo bars like to be handled a little more delicately. They don't need much pressure in order to produce lather because of their concentrated nature. Refer back to the how to use page, and try swiping in one direction without applyig too much pressure. You will find they wear down more symetrically, and will stay together until you have just a small nub.
Store bars where they can dry in between uses.
Remember, water activates these concentrated bars. The more water they are exposed to, the faster they will be used up. Make sure they have an opportuinty to dry out between uses. Use a soap tray or dish that allows water to drain out, rather than a bowl where water can collect. Wire racks under the shower faucet can work, but only if your faucet is not leaky. If your shower stays humid, try to take the bars out of the shower in between uses if you can't find a nice dry spot for them. Travelling with these bars is super convenient, but there is a trick to their storage container. Some soap travel containers do have drainage holes, which can totally work, but avoid enclosed containers like tins or jars unless you have time to let the bars dry completely before putting them in. Another option is cotton muslin bags. These allow the bars to breathe and dry, but keep them from getting all over everything.
What about the little itty bits at the end of the bar?
Some people are super graceful and use the bar in precisely the way it wants to be used with the exact amount of force it can handle as it gets smaller and smaller. These people end up with one tiny sliver. I am not always one of those people, and you might not be either. That's ok. At some point you may end up with smaller pieces that don't work the same way as the large bar. You have a few options
- Use little bits in smaller sections. When the bars are big, a few swipes along the scalp or a few sections for the conditioner may work. When they are smaller, just section hair into smaller bits to match the size of the little pieces. Eventually you will get to a little piece that will magically disappear into your hair and when you start working it in, will turn into your last drop of shampoo/conditioner. For the lighter conditioners (the Apple and Angel) you will find the little itty bits may require a little more pressure than when the bar was bigger.
- With a new bar, wet both the small piece/pieces and the larger bar. Work up a lather (shampoo) or the cream (conditioner) on both the large bar and the pieces. Gently press in the small pieces to the larger bar and let sit to dry. Using lots of water, gently swipe the side with the small pieces into your hair to reinforce the bond. The shampoo usually can be used right away and accepts this method pretty readily, while the conditioner works best if you let it dry before using again. I have a step by step video here.
The solid conditioners can work as a leave-in and a curl refresher!
When I'm feeling like rocking naked curls (meaning I don't use any stylers like mousse or gel) I will wash like normal, rinse out shampoo and conditioner, then glide a conditioner bar over my strands. I'll then scrunch it in and go.
Usually I do use a styler, like the Aqua Aura Curl Cream and/or a lightweight gel. For day 2 and 3 curls, I will "refresh" by wetting a conditioner bar and "lathering" (it doesn't lather but creates a cream) and applying watered down conditioner to my hair in a praying hands method.
I hope these little tips and tricks help you on your journey into using solid hair care! If you have a different method you found to be successful, I would love to hear about it! Leave a comment or shoot me an email- firstname.lastname@example.org
Alchemist and Owner