One of the products that I recommend to take solo travelling with you is a shampoo bar. Mainly because they are a great eco product. But I have been asked what about curly hair? I've covered all in this article. 

For those blessed with curly hair, finding the right shampoo and conditioner can be a struggle. Curls require special care to maintain their beauty, and introducing any new product to the curly hair care routine can change everything. That’s why people with curly hair usually avoid doing it. But there’s a better way to maintain curls and their shine without harsh chemicals.

When they hear about a new hair care trend, like Ethique shampoo bars, they naturally wonder if it will work for curly hair. However, the truth is that curly hair can benefit from shampoo bars as long as you are choosing the right one. I'll discuss what makes curly hair different, some shampoo ingredients that are not good for curls, and the key ingredients to look for in a curly-hair-friendly shampoo bar. Let’s look at these in detail.

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Why Curly Hair is Different

The structure of curly hair is what makes it different from straight hair. It's more prone to dryness and frizz. The natural curl pattern breaks the hair’s cuticle and makes it harder for sebum to coat the hair strands. Due to this lack of sebum distribution, curly hair can quickly become dry and frizzy.

Some of the features of curly hair:

  • Strand Shape: Curly hair has a non-circular strand shape that can range from wavy to tightly coiled. This is what prevents sebum distribution.
  • Cuticle: It’s the outermost layer of the hair stand. The cuticle is naturally uneven in curly hair, causing frizziness and dryness.
  • Porosity: It means how easily hair absorbs and releases moisture. Curly hair can be high, low, or medium porosity. High porosity hair absorbs moisture quickly but loses it too fast, causing frizziness. Low porosity has a tight cuticle that seals moisture, which can cause dryness.

Because of these unique features, curly hair needs a gentle cleansing that won’t reduce the natural oils. Curly hair also benefits from ingredients that add moisture and define curls.

Shampoo Ingredients That Are Not Good for Curly Hair

Many regular bottled shampoos contain ingredients that can be harsh on curly hair. Always read the ingredients label when buying a product and avoid some of these ingredients:

  • Sulfates – although they remove dirt and oil, they can be too stripping for curly hair.
  • Silicones – They can coat the hair with plastic, weigh down curls, and make it difficult for moisture to penetrate the hair strand.
  • Mineral oils and waxes – Like silicones, mineral oils and waxes can also weigh down your curls.
  • Drying alcohols – They can strip away natural oils due to their dry effect and leave hair feeling rough and frizzy.

Why Shampoo Bars Might Be Perfect for Your Curls

Regular liquid shampoos are often formulated with harsh sulfates and other such ingredients that can dehydrate your curly hair and make it look dull and frizzy. But shampoo bars are gentler and free of any harsh chemicals. They are made with natural ingredients that nourish and condition your curls.

Some of the benefits of shampoo bars are:

  1. Sulfate-free Cleansing

Even though sulfates are cleansing agents, they can be too harsh for curly hair. They can reduce the natural oils and cause breakage and split ends. Shampoo bars use gentler cleansing agents derived from coconut or other plant sources. That’s why they give your hair a clean feel without the stripping effect.

  1. Moisture-rich Ingredients

Many shampoo bars have natural butter and oils like shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil. These ingredients deeply nourish your curls by adding moisture and definition. They also help smooth the cuticle and reduce frizz.

  1. Conditioning Properties

Regular shampoos usually require a separate conditioner, whereas many shampoo bars are formulated to cleanse and condition your hair simultaneously. This can save time for busy mornings and give your curls the moisture they need. However, conditioner bars are also available that can be used as leave-in, and surprisingly, they don’t add weight.

  1. Eco-friendly

Shampoo bars typically come packaged in minimal or recycled packaging, so it reduces plastic waste compared to regular shampoo bottles. For the eco-conscious people, this is a major advantage.

Ingredients to Look for in a Curly-Hair-Friendly Shampoo Bar

The right shampoo bar for curly hair depends mainly on its ingredients. So, whenever you go shopping for shampoo bars, look for these ingredients on the label:

  • Natural Oils – Coconut oils, olive oils, and shea butter add moisture and definition to curls.
  • Humectants – These ingredients attract and retain moisture in the hair. Some popular humectants are glycerin, honey, and aloe vera.
  • Emollients – They help reduce frizz and make curls more manageable by softening the hair shaft. Some of these ingredients are shea butter, cocoa butter, and avocado oil.
  • Conditioning Agents – These agents help detangle the curls and make them look defined and manageable. Some conditioning agents are shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and other natural ingredients.
  • Hydrolyzed Protein – These are proteins broken down into smaller molecules. They penetrate the hair strands and provide strength and elasticity to your hair. Some of these proteins are wheat protein and soy protein.

Making a Conscious Choice for Your Curly Hair

When you switch to shampoo bars, your curls can take some time to adjust to the new cleansing routine. Also, there are many brands on the market, so it may take some trial and error to find the right one for you. So, give it the time it deserves and make sure the shampoo bar doesn’t contain any of the ingredients we mentioned to avoid. You will be able to see the difference within a few uses and will love how your hair looks and feels.