Beauty brains/the man­ual

Sham­poo bars and men’s fra­grances

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents -

The other day a reader emailed to ask whether this col­umn would tackle soap sham­poos.

How hard could it be? They look adorable in their blame­less brown-pa­per, biodegrad­able pack­ages, with their twine rib­bons and their botan­i­cal il­lus­tra­tions. The smells were promis­ing. The tex­tures cov­ered every base, from nub­bly and gritty to smooth and silky. The re­search was go­ing well.

Then I at­tempted to wash my hair. The thing about soap sham­poos is that many don’t con­tain sur­fac­tants, which make prod­ucts foam, lather and emul­sify. I re­minded my­self that bub­bles aren’t es­sen­tial, but you need some kind of trac­tion when you’re hair wash­ing. With­out lather I found it dif­fi­cult to judge whether I’d ap­plied enough. I kept over­do­ing it, which made wash­ing all the residue out im­pos­si­ble, es­pe­cially in hard wa­ter.

I stuck this rig­ma­role out for sev­eral months and found two that worked for me: Christophe Robin’s Hydrating Sham­poo Bar with Aloe Vera, which pro­duced enough sud­dettes to pro­vide a guide to cov­er­age; and Ethique’s Min­tasy, which lath­ers, has a lovely smell and does ev­ery­thing you can ask of a sham­poo. (See be­low for rec­om­men­da­tions from the rest of the fash­ion and beauty team.)

I love the idea of a min­i­mally pack­aged prod­uct, but be­cause I’ve stopped us­ing con­di­tioner, the soaps left my hair a tan­gled thicket. The con­sen­sus among soap sham­poo fans is that your hair needs to adapt. I’m afraid I’m back with Virtue’s liq­uid sham­poo un­til it launches a soap ver­sion.

Hydrating Sham­poo Bar with Aloe Vera, £16, Christophe Robin (

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