How to Successfully Use Shampoo Bars in Hard Water? 


Shampoo bars are not only more practical and environmentally friendly, they are also healthy for your hair. This is because they are usually made of organic materials. Most liquid shampoos contain about 80% water, so shampoo bars last about twice as long.

However, shampoo bars do not function as effectively as soft water in hard water. If you live in an area where water is hard water, you may experience sagging or oily hair after switching to a shampoo bar. That greasy feeling can make you go back to your old plastic bottle of shampoo or cling to your headgear.

So, why is it impossible to use shampoo bars in hard water? High pH levels create mineral residue on the hair, making it difficult to wash off the shampoo and leaving behind a straw-like thread.

Why is the type of water important?


The type of water is important when choosing a shampoo bar. If you have a number of years, you can use any bar you like and it almost always works. But hard water isn’t like that.

The addition of minerals, mainly magnesium and calcium, distinguishes hard water from soft water. You can tell if it is hard water or soft water by observing it. The simplest signs of hard water are lime deposits on faucets and appliances such as kettles and water heaters.

You can also observe the rate of scale build-up to determine if the water you are using is slightly hard or hard water.

To be absolutely sure, you can use a test kit to check the mineral level of your water.

In addition to this, the conversion to a solid shampoo can be difficult due to the mineral content of hard water. This is because the minerals present in the hard water react with the formula in the bar, reducing foam and making it more difficult to completely cover your hair.

So no matter how many times you wash and rinse, the soap combined with hard water leaves a residue and a film on your hair.

Hard water also makes the hair rougher and causes tangles, making it difficult to rinse the shampoo out of the hair.

Despite your water type, the most important thing to remember is that not all shampoo bars are the same.

Steps to Use Shampoo Bars in Hard Water

Fortunately, you can still use shampoo bars in hard water. Here are a few steps to follow to help your shampoo bar function in hard water.

Step 1: Buy the right shampoo bar

First you need to buy a shampoo bar, not a soap. It is technically impossible to manufacture non-alkaline soap-based bars. Here are some of the most commonly used and important ingredients in soap-based shampoo bars.

  • olive oil
  • coconut oil
  • sunflower oil
  • shea butter
  • castor oil
  • water and preservatives
  • glycerin

Assume your shampoo bar contains the above ingredients. In such cases, PH balancing care such as rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar is highly recommended.

Surfactant-based rods can manage pH levels, but not all are created equal. So you should choose a reputable brand or contact us if in doubt. Also, if you have dyed or bleached your hair, it is recommended to avoid using alkaline shampoo as it may cause the color to deteriorate.

Step 2: Grooming your hair

Start shampooing while your hair is still damp. Soak your hair in water and wet your hair from root to tip.

Step 3: Massage the Shampoo Bar

Then use a wet shampoo bar to lather your hands and massage while rotating from the scalp to the ends of the hair. Massage the foam into the scalp and work all the way down to the ends of the hair.

Add more water to your hair to create a nice lather. It is not recommended to use shampoo bars directly on the hair as it leaves too much residue and can make the hair greasy.

Step 4: Comb your hair with your fingers

Stacking your hair over your head and massaging your hands inward is prone to tangling. Use your fingers like a comb to untangle hair and create a smooth texture.

Step 5: Rinse

Rinse your hair as much as possible to remove any shampoo residue. This step takes a little longer than soaping and washing. This is especially important if you have long hair, as it can be divided into several parts.

Rinse your hair using the same washing technique to prevent product build-up. Particular attention should be paid to the bottom of the crown.

Step 6: Apply Apple Cider Vinegar

For best results, mix 2 to 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 250 ml of water and apply to wet hair. Then style your hair as you like.

shampoo bar

Why does my hair get waxed after using a shampoo bar?

Because certain bars are actually soap bars, your hair may feel like wax. They are made from saponified oil, which is the scientific term for making soap by combining an oil (such as coconut or olive oil) with an alkali. Obviously, it’s much more complicated than that.

When you wash your hair with hard water, the soap molecules combine with the minerals to create a waxy residue. As a result, your hair will look greasy and straw-like even after washing your hair several times.

If you have soft water, mineral build-up should not be an issue. If you are having problems, it is because of your hair type and the pH of the soap.

Here are some suggestions for preventing waxy hair appearance by shampoo bars.

  • Use a pH-balanced shampoo bar

pH Balanced Shampoo Bars function in hard water and are gentler on hair than regular solid shampoos. These bars are silicone, sulfate and paraben free, and soap free.

Soap has a higher pH than hair and skin (9–10 pH vs. 4.75–5.5 pH), and mixing with high pH hard water results in coarse hair that sticks to the residue.

On the other hand, the PH Balanced Shampoo Bar removes soap and uses only mild detergents and oils to solve the problem of tangled hair, providing luxurious hair.

  • Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar

This extra step in the hair washing process can help prevent the unpleasant waxy build-up if you use a soap-based shampoo instead of a pH-balanced shampoo bar. Besides, apple cider vinegar can help turn your hair into the desired shampoo bar.

Washing your hair with apple cider vinegar will restore acidity. It also softens the hair cuticles, preventing the shampoo from sticking to the hair. Just mix 1:1 vinegar and 3:1 water in your hair conditioner and you’re ready to go!

The only downside is that it can dry out your hair. Therefore, it is recommended to use it once a week.

In addition to ACV, you can use citric acid from the natural juices of lemon and lime to address the effects of hard water on your hair. To do this, you can dilute the juice in three parts of water and use the mixture to rinse your hair after shampooing.

However, for maximum effect, you should leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse again and use your preferred conditioner.

You can use purified water for the last hair rinse to avoid hard water damage to your hair. This way, no minerals are left on your hair after showering.

Let’s say your budget isn’t tight. In this case, you might consider investing in a shower water filter to solve the hard water problem. Interestingly, the shower head filter works like a tap water filter. Thus, it can help remove contaminants and hard water elements from your water supply.

So you will be using soft water that lathers much more easily and keeps your skin healthy. This makes for a worthwhile investment in the long run!


If you are having trouble using shampoo bars in hard water, we hope the above step-by-step guide has been useful to you. Do not procrastinate on difficulties. Shampoo bars can help make your hair look great while protecting the environment.


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