CO or Shampoo Bars?

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Hello, ladies! :3

I've been CO washing for a while now, but I'm curious about shampoo bars. Are they only low-poo, or are they similar to CO? Tell me what you think about them and which method you think you like better!

Here's a link to the bars I'm curious about.

If it helps I have waist length 2a-2c hair, high density, low-med porosity, thick strands, and quite frizzy.

I feel that soap/shampoo bars are a little more then CO washing. I use a lot of really rich products and feel that the bars remove the residual ingredients. My hair hated the CV bar I tried because of the castor oil. I used one once and got rid of the rest.

In summer of 2008, soap/shampoo bars were the rage. I've been using them since that time with good results--tighter curl and more volume. Rarely use lowpoo or other cleansers.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic (now Hello Curly Curl Stimulater); Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams
I've heard other people say that their curls are more defined with shampoo bars, too.

I'm trying to figure out if bars can be as moisturizing as CO, because I've been CO washing for 7 months now and my hair is still as dry and frizzy as it was with sulfates.
I've heard other people say that their curls are more defined with shampoo bars, too.

I'm trying to figure out if bars can be as moisturizing as CO, because I've been CO washing for 7 months now and my hair is still as dry and frizzy as it was with sulfates.
Originally Posted by TartNTangy
I think it depends on what you want from them. I cowashed for six months and my hair was fine. I started using natural soap bars to cleanse and my hair was incredible, as a result. It's important to use a rinse out.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic (now Hello Curly Curl Stimulater); Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams
I've heard other people say that their curls are more defined with shampoo bars, too.

I'm trying to figure out if bars can be as moisturizing as CO, because I've been CO washing for 7 months now and my hair is still as dry and frizzy as it was with sulfates.
Originally Posted by TartNTangy
I posted this in the thread about spirals, but it's actually more appropriate here. And yes, my curls definitely pop more with the bars v. low-poo.

Originally Posted by christina.gr
I'm really intrigued by these shampoo bars everybody is talking about...sooo can I find any good ones at larger retailers (target, walgreens etc), do the bars have chelating (think that's how its spelled) properties?
What should I look for or avoid in shampoo bars?
I'm not aware of any available "on the ground". Walgreens has one on their website, but it's not sold in their stores. This is the link for the unscented version (they also have citrus thyme scent): (seed)**grape seed enriched conditioning hair shampoo bar | Walgreens

[ETA: Correction - according to the manufacturer's website, it's also available at Whole Foods.]

The poo bars I have used (Bobeam and Chagrin Valley) do not contain any chelating agents. You'd probably have to use a liquid shampoo specifically designed for that purpose, such as Pureology Purify. Bobeam does sell clarifying bars, however, if that would suffice. I have the Rootz and the Honey Hemp & Green Tea formulas in my rotation, and I'm quite happy with the results.

The CV bars lather quite well, and leave my 2c/3a hair feeling clean but not stripped. I alternate with low-poos, and have not experienced any problems with buildup after 6 months of use.

Many of the bars contain shea butter and/or castor oil, so if your hair doesn't respond well to either of those, you'll want to exercise particular caution. As with any product, it's a good idea to read the ingredients.

If you have hard water, as I do here in FL, you'll want to do an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse to restore your hair's pH, since the bars are alkaline. There's several articles and threads on ACV, including these:

http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlta...gar-rinse.html

Do a Hair Rinse With Apple Cider & Vinegar

TartNTangy, co-washing was an epic fail for me. I tried all the recommended conditioners, to no avail. It took some experimentation to find the right bars, but once I did, they were MUCH more effective for me.

The particular bar you've chosen gets very good reviews. Be aware that it tends to leave a dark brown tint on hair, in case that's something you're looking to avoid. (I've got the auburn and chestnut henna bars sitting in my cart for 3 weeks, waiting for me to work up the courage to take the leap!)

CV has sample sizes of all their varieties, so you can figure out which ones suit you best without breaking the bank
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. - Jimi
2c/3a, BSL, medium, low porosity
Low-poo: Bobeam and CV poo bars; Acure Argan Oil & Stem Cell
Conditioner: Acure Argan Oil & Stem Cell; Desert Essence Shea
Stylers: Sweet Curls Elixir Curl Cream; SM CES
PT: BASK Whiskey Soak
Kathymack, from your sig I can see you've been using them a while! Have you seen more or less frizz with them (and a rinse out)? And do you use "chelating" or moisturizing ones?

Yossarian, I'm going to look for this thread.
It sounds like shampoo bars aren't as moisturizing even without the chelating ingredients? Regardless, I think I might try some samples, because that coffee one sounds DELICIOUS. (I have dark brown hair, so I'm not worried about tinting) Thank you for the information; very useful!
Kathymack, from your sig I can see you've been using them a while! Have you seen more or less frizz with them (and a rinse out)? And do you use "chelating" or moisturizing ones?
Originally Posted by TartNTangy
I've been using them since summer '08 with no adverse effects. I use plain, ordinary, natural soap bars--saponified oils with fragrance.

I've never seen soap bars with chelating agents, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. If you're interested in a product that contains EDTA, but is gentle, you may want to try CJ Daily Fix. If you want something stronger, Nexus Aloe Rid.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic (now Hello Curly Curl Stimulater); Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams
Yossarian, I'm going to look for this thread.
Originally Posted by TartNTangy
No need to search - just click on the title in my post! Anything in pink is a direct link to the webpage.

It sounds like shampoo bars aren't as moisturizing even without the chelating ingredients? Regardless, I think I might try some samples, because that coffee one sounds DELICIOUS. (I have dark brown hair, so I'm not worried about tinting) Thank you for the information; very useful!
That really depends on the bar. I almost always use a conditioner afterward, but the CV bars are so loaded with rich ingredients that I can get away with skipping it once in a while.

Let us know how you like the Cafe Moreno!
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. - Jimi
2c/3a, BSL, medium, low porosity
Low-poo: Bobeam and CV poo bars; Acure Argan Oil & Stem Cell
Conditioner: Acure Argan Oil & Stem Cell; Desert Essence Shea
Stylers: Sweet Curls Elixir Curl Cream; SM CES
PT: BASK Whiskey Soak
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 939
Soaps are harsher on my hair than sulfates, so for me it's nowhere near close.
Okay, thank you, guys! I'm going to try some of the richer ones as I don't want to strip my hair. Yay! On a quest to find a conditioning soap bar!

Jessiebanana, what shampoo bars did you use?
I used an ACV rinse after CO washing today just to see how an ACV rinse alone affects my hair. (I didn't want to try shampoo bars and ACV rinse at the same time for fear of not being able to distinguish which method had what effects.)

Before I begin using shampoo bars I want to ask, how often do I have to use an ACV rinse? It'd be more convenient if I didn't have to do it after every wash. I also don't want it to end up drying my hair over time.
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 939
I can't remember, but it seemed to have a lot of moisturizing ingredients. For me, the problem with soaps have more to do with pH. The pH levels just aren't okay with my hair and they take away too many of my natural oils.

Last edited by Jessiebanana; 02-05-2013 at 08:07 PM.
I can't remember, but it seemed to have a lot of moisturizing ingredients. For me soaps have more to with pH. The pH levels just aren't okay with my hair and they take away to many of my natural oils.
Originally Posted by Jessiebanana
Hm. This might mean I'll have to follow up with an ACV rinse every time. Thank you for your input, Jessiebanana! :3
-2b waist-length hair (ringlets in the front and canopy, straighter under-layer)
-Dense head of med-coarse strands
-Low porosity

I use bars about once a week and I just use a avc rinse to balance the ph.
Type- 2a
Texture- Fine
Porosity- Normal
Elastisity- Normal
Density- Medium


CO- Vo5 kiwi lime squeeze, various sauve conditioners, loreal evercurl cleansing co.
Style- beautiful curls wave enhancing leave-in, pure and clean gel, Shea moisture smoothie
Techniques- plopping
CG since- Jan. 15th 2013
Oh and if your looking for moisturizing bars that won't strip hair bobeam bars on etsy are wonderful!!
Type- 2a
Texture- Fine
Porosity- Normal
Elastisity- Normal
Density- Medium


CO- Vo5 kiwi lime squeeze, various sauve conditioners, loreal evercurl cleansing co.
Style- beautiful curls wave enhancing leave-in, pure and clean gel, Shea moisture smoothie
Techniques- plopping
CG since- Jan. 15th 2013
Thanks, Wavy_Girl! The Bobeam bars look nice, especially the shealoe. She does recommend following with a conditioner, though.

I thought the ACV rinse was to remove mineral build up. If its used to balance the ph, would I be able to use a ph-balanced shampoo bar without following with an acid rinse?
-2b waist-length hair (ringlets in the front and canopy, straighter under-layer)
-Dense head of med-coarse strands
-Low porosity

Thanks, Wavy_Girl! The Bobeam bars look nice, especially the shealoe. She does recommend following with a conditioner, though.

I thought the ACV rinse was to remove mineral build up. If its used to balance the ph, would I be able to use a ph-balanced shampoo bar without following with an acid rinse?
Originally Posted by TartNTangy
Because of how they are made, natural soap bars are alkaline. Hair is acid, so you need the acid rinse to restore the pH of your hair. A pH balanced bar wouldn't be acidic, either. pH might be lower, but not the same as hair.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic (now Hello Curly Curl Stimulater); Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams
Thanks, Wavy_Girl! The Bobeam bars look nice, especially the shealoe. She does recommend following with a conditioner, though.

I thought the ACV rinse was to remove mineral build up. If its used to balance the ph, would I be able to use a ph-balanced shampoo bar without following with an acid rinse?
Originally Posted by TartNTangy
Yes, the ACV does remove minerals from the scalp. It also closes the cuticle for better moisture retention, and restores the pH which is important because the bars are alkaline but hair is slightly acidic.Many curlies who do not use poo bars still rinse regularly with ACV because of its other benefits.

As this article notes, it is impossible to make a pH balanced shampoo bar.

The Efficacy of Shampoo Bars | Curly Nikki | Natural Hair Styles and Natural Hair Care

If you do not have hard water (i.e., high mineral calcium content), you may be able to skip the rinse.

I use the bars 3-4 times/week, and ACV once a week. My biggest concern with the vinegar was the odor, so I made an infusion with herbal teas from CV - smelled awesome and left my hair super shiny. Others have recommended lemon and/or orange rinds and hibiscus leaves (h/t Keihs), I haven't tried those yet but they'll be in my next ACV.
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. - Jimi
2c/3a, BSL, medium, low porosity
Low-poo: Bobeam and CV poo bars; Acure Argan Oil & Stem Cell
Conditioner: Acure Argan Oil & Stem Cell; Desert Essence Shea
Stylers: Sweet Curls Elixir Curl Cream; SM CES
PT: BASK Whiskey Soak
Thanks, Wavy_Girl! The Bobeam bars look nice, especially the shealoe. She does recommend following with a conditioner, though.

I thought the ACV rinse was to remove mineral build up. If its used to balance the ph, would I be able to use a ph-balanced shampoo bar without following with an acid rinse?
Originally Posted by TartNTangy
Also there are bars with AVC as one of the ingredients, so maybe you could skip the rinse if you got one of those. Kathleen from Sweetcreekherbs on etsy makes a AVC bar that gets great reviews. Oh yeah, and bobeam has a AVC bentonite clay bar that you might want to check out!
Type- 2a
Texture- Fine
Porosity- Normal
Elastisity- Normal
Density- Medium


CO- Vo5 kiwi lime squeeze, various sauve conditioners, loreal evercurl cleansing co.
Style- beautiful curls wave enhancing leave-in, pure and clean gel, Shea moisture smoothie
Techniques- plopping
CG since- Jan. 15th 2013

Last edited by Wavy_Girl1116; 02-04-2013 at 08:59 PM. Reason: Forgot to something
Kathymack- Ah, that makes sense. I guess it wasn't that much more effort to prepare and use the rinse. Definitely easier than applying conditioner. Thank you for your input!

Yossarian- Thank you for all your recommendations! I've got lots of experimenting to do for now, but maybe in the future I'll add in other herbs to my ACV rinses. How do you like your henna bar?

Wavy_Girl- Interesting! I very hard water, though, so I don't know if it would help as much as a rinse. If I have success with the bars, I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks for the info!
-2b waist-length hair (ringlets in the front and canopy, straighter under-layer)
-Dense head of med-coarse strands
-Low porosity

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