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These shampoo bars rival the professional products your hairdresser uses

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Published 03.08.22

You’ve probably heard of shampoo and conditioner bars by now. Maybe you’ve even tried one for yourself. But we bet you haven’t experienced one that rivals salon products yet.

After years of development, antipodean self-care brand Sphaera has created a collection of solid shampoo and conditioner bars with the kind of quality you’d expect to find in a hairdresser. Each bar is free from soap, palm oil, sulphates, silicones, phthalates, parabens and artificial colours and fragrances, and it will hopefully convince you to kick the plastic bottles out of your shower for good. 

We sat down with the founder of Sphaera, Ali Johnson, to find out why these shampoo and conditioner bars are worth the hype.

The bars are salon quality with better ingredients

Sphaera’s shampoo and conditioner bars are formulated with the same quality of professional haircare products, but in a concentrated form. “What we wanted to achieve had never been done in a solid bar before and so it took several years of R&D to develop our custom sulphate-free surfactant blend,” Ali says.

Each bar is made in a small batch in Sphaera’s Poneke-based studio using plant-based ingredients and custom essential oil blends, many of which are sourced locally. Natural plant actives include hibiscus flower, quinoa protein and green tea extract, each providing their own unique benefits to hair and scalp health.

The bars use less water than traditional haircare products

On average, a bottle of shampoo contains up to 80 per cent water, with bottled conditioner containing nearly 95 per cent. Ironically, when washing our hair, extra water isn’t exactly what we need. Sphaera’s concentrated bars eliminate water wastage and save you from paying for what you already have.

Just as easy to use

The thought of washing your hair with a soap-like bar can be a bit confronting, but these products are actually very easy to use (and, as it happens, are pH balanced and do not contain any soap at all).

Sphaera Shampoo bars are extremely concentrated, so you only need to apply a small amount near the hairline and then use more water and your fingertips to build the lather. Sphaera recommends giving your scalp a gentle massage as you do this as it’s a great way to ease tension in the scalp and ensure healthy blood flow to the hair follicles for strong future growth.

Conditioner works by sealing the cuticles of the hair strands to lock in moisture while detangling and giving it shine. To get the most out of Sphaera’s conditioner bars, Ali recommends using the “squish to condish” method. “You apply the bar directly to your hair and work the conditioner through with your fingers like a comb, gently squeezing as you go with a bit of extra water,” Ali says. It helps to coat and seal the cuticles of the hair strands so your hair is left detangled, silky and soft.

Using a conditioner bar feels a bit different than a liquid conditioner and at first it can feel like there is not enough product on your hair. “The unfortunate truth about liquid conditioners is that a huge amount of what you put on your hair is actually just washed down the drain. Conditioner works by coating the individual hair strands; once this has happened any extra is washed away and wasted,” she says. So, once your hair feels slippery, smooth and completely detangled, it’s ready to rinse.

After you’ve washed your hair, make sure you store your bar correctly to get the most out of it. “We often suggest using a dish that you love and cutting a piece of a coconut fibre scrub pad to fit inside for extra drainage and air flow. For travelling, a nice soap container or tin or even beeswax wraps can make very effective storage,” Ali says.

Zero plastic packaging

In the United States alone, 550 million empty shampoo bottles are thrown away every year. But with just one Sphaera haircare bar, you’re able to eliminate around three bottles of liquid shampoo or up to five bottles of liquid conditioner. In fact, liquid shampoos require five times more energy for raw material production, and almost twenty times for packaging production. So, you can rest assured you are reducing your environmental impact just by upgrading to a Sphaera bar.

Suitable for most hair types

Sphaera’s solid-state haircare is suitable for most hair types. So, what should you consider when choosing the right bar for you? “We encourage people to combine the bars in a way that truly suits their individual hair needs, as shampoo and conditioner are quite different products and the needs of your scalp differ from your hair lengths,” Ali says.

For example, Sphaera suggests that for someone with long wavy hair who gets an oily scalp and needs to wash every second day, a good choice would be the balance and volume shampoo bar to balance sebum production on the scalp. Followed by the nourish and restore conditioner bar to nourish and protect the longer length of the hair strands.

The shampoo and conditioner bars are also suitable for the Curly Girl Method – a technique for people with a natural wave, curl, or coil to get healthier, fuller and more defined hair


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