Natural Shampoo Guide

Using Natural Shampoos

Read on to find out why your hair and scalp may go through a "transition phase" and what you can do to speed this up!

We've been testing out shampoo bars for a few years now - and have only (fairly) recently discovered ones that we're happy to use ourselves, and have gained amazing feedback from our panel of product testers (and customers).


Just because a shampoo is in a solid bar, doesn't necessarily mean the ingredients are any good for your hair and scalp. Some bars contain SLS, SLES, Cocamide DEA and other nasty synthetics that can leave hair stripped of natural oils and irritate scalps.

On the other hand, completely natural bars can take some getting used to. A Baking Soda and/or Vinegar Rinse may seem like a weird concept - but read on, as they can really help your hair and scalp adjust.


This guide should hopefully help speed up the transition process when using completely natural shampoo bars.

Using Natural Shampoo Bars and the Transition Phase


Using Natural Shampoo Bars and the Transition Phase

Try a shampoo bar with a very mild surfactant (foaming agent) like Sodium Coco-Sulphate, which only scores a 1/10 on EWG's Skin Deep database.

Our AA Skincare Shampoo Bars are a great example of a mild shampoo bar.

No product

No product

No product

Liquid shampoo vs. natural shampoo bars

What's the difference?

Completely natural shampoo bars don’t contain the silicone or synthetic foaming agents like traditional liquid shampoos.

Silicone is used to make your hair feel smooth and silky, by coating the hair - but it quickly builds up, leaving hair feeling greasy and dull. To remove this build-up, liquid shampoos contain a surfactant (usually SLS). Surfactants (also known as foaming or cleansing agents) make shampoos lather, and leave a “squeaky clean” feeling. Using harsh synthetic ingredients can strip hair of natural sebum (oil), dry scalps out, as well as cause irritation. Your scalp's natural reaction to the surfactants is to create more oil.


It's a vicious cycle of cleaning with surfactants, then coating hair with silicones.

When you stop using these ingredients, your hair may go through a bit of a “transition phase” as your scalp adjusts its natural sebum levels.


This adjustment can take a few weeks, up to a couple of months, depending on hair length (and previous haircare routine).

During this period your hair may feel oily and/or waxy, and you may need to take extra care while brushing to avoid snagging.

A few things you can do to speed up the Transition Phase...

1.  Stop using conditioners containing silicone. 

For at least a few weeks before starting to use your natural shampoo bar, use a silicone free conditioner.

2. Start using a shampoo with a very mild surfactant.

Without the silicone build up, you don't need strong surfactants in your shampoos. Choosing a mild surfactant (like Sodium Coco-Sulphate), will help your scalp on its way to reducing the amount of sebum produced, and therefore reduce the waxy residue feeling in the transition phase. Our AA Skincare shampoo bars are perfect for this "half step" towards going natural.

3. Stop washing your hair so often.

This may feel unnatural, but try to only wash your hair a couple of times a week - use water only in between washes. To give that "just washed" fresh scent, make a hair spritz by adding a few drops of your favourite essential oils to water.

4. Use a Baking Soda Rinse before your first use.

If you've spent a few weeks going through the steps above, you're probably ready to start using a totally natural shampoo bar.


A Baking Soda Rinse before you start will help prepare your hair for the milder ingredients in  your natural shampoo bar.

If you live in a hard water area, you may also benefit from doing this every so often (or if you have particularly oily or greasy hair).


1 tbsp of Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
1 litre of warm water

Dissolve the baking soda into the litre of warm water in a large jar or bottle. Pour the solution on your wet hair, massage and rinse well. Use your shampoo bar straight after.



Shampoo bars are much more concentrated than liquid shampoo, therefore, rubbing the bar directly on your hair may result in using too much product, leaving a residue.

  • Lather the bar in your wet hands and apply the foam obtained to your hair, massage the hair as you would do with a liquid shampoo. Make sure your hair is soaking wet to help distribute the suds.

  • Roughly section your hair into four (front, back, sides) and apply to the sections separately. This will ensure an even application.

  • You won’t need any conditioner after using - natural shampoo bars are high in moisturising ingredients.


Build up the amount of shampoo you use over several weeks to allow your hair to adjust to the ingredients. Start by only using a small amount of the "foam" - try target your roots and just quickly rinse the suds over your ends.​


If you find your hair feels “heavy” or there’s a residue after shampooing. Try using an Acid Rinse to balance the pH and remove any excess oil (great for during the transition phase!).

If you find your hair feels “heavy” or there’s a residue after shampooing. Try using an Acid Rinse to balance the pH and remove any excess oil (great for during the transition phase!).


20ml Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic if possible)
250ml of water

Add the vinegar and water to a spray bottle. After washing your hair, spray the solution on the roots and lengths.

Let it rest on your hair for 1-2 minutes and then rinse well.

Keep the bottle in your shower for the next washes and, don’t worry, the smell of vinegar will fade once your hair dries.

Experiment with the concentration of vinegar to water to see what works best for your hair type.

You could also try spraying neat ACV onto  your hair before, and/or after washing.

White Wine Vinegar also works if you don't have any Apple Cider Vinegar to hand.