Raising the Bar with Natural Honey Haircare

Hello lovelies and welcome to our latest blog instalment – this month we are exploring the vast world of shampoo and conditioners, looking at how we can best care for our hair and why solid natural bars are gaining more and more popularity.

There’s such a wealth of information to get through, so come along with us as we dive straight into the history of haircare, consider what shampoo ingredients and brands we might wish to avoid, what makes natural haircare so gentle and nourishing and why we should consider making the swap to natural, zero waste bars for our shampooing and conditioning needs.

Oh, and as a special treat we are revealing the secrets behind the ingredients that make our bars best-sellers and helping you consider the switch to natural haircare by opening up the floor and answering your most frequently asked questions.

Haircare tips from our ancestors – Lizards and more bacon anyone?!

Let’s take a haircare trip way back in time where the use of a ‘shampoo’ can be traced back to India whereby a natural mixture of fruit, herbs and flowers were commonly used and washing your hair with vinegar, mint, thyme and rosemary and nettle infused water was totally en vogue - doesn’t sound particularly different from many natural shampoos today does it? In fact some of our very own HBB shampoo bars contain natural vinegars, mint and rosemary! 


The ancient Egyptians clearly shared our desire for great hair, with hair care instruments being so important to them that they insisted on taking them along to the afterlife: mummies believed to be from 300BC were found buried with their curling tongs! (HAIR CARE THROUGHOUT HISTORY – ViTA World).


Promising haircare advances were made by the ancient Greeks when they started using olive oil to condition their hair, resourcefully applied beeswax to make their hair brighter and the more wealthy secretly coveted recipes of honey mixed with oil to render their locks shiny. Sounding promising so far isn’t it?  Well, things took a formulation turn for the worst from herein when during the Renaissance era lizard fat was blended with swallow droppings to create a hair serum. Ladies liked to condition their hair by boiling dead lizards in olive oil, whereas others turned to pigs for help once again, slathering their tresses in used bacon fat for a smooth sheen! (What Did People Use Before Shampoo? (historythings.com)

It wasn’t until 1903 that it was no longer necessary to make one’s own ‘shampoo’ concoctions as ‘Schaupon’, a violet-scented powder created by Berlin chemist Hans Schwarzkopf, became available in German drugstores. Since then our shelves have continued to explode with more and more shampoo and conditioning options for our hair.

The Shocking Six: What ‘nasties’ might be lurking in our shampoo and conditioner bottles in today’s world?

Not only are the numerous shampoos and conditioner bottles lining our shop shelves encased in harmful, single use plastics, damaging to the environment and leaking toxins into our waterways and wildlife communities, but they are also full of chemicals and potential ‘toxins’ that may be impacting negatively on our scalp and hair.

So, what are you likely to find hiding in traditional shampoo and conditioner bottles that you may like to avoid?

1. Palm oil

First up we have palm oil - not so much of a ‘nastie’ for us but tell that to the many species of animals teetering on the brink of extinction thanks to its production methods.  You may find it labelled on the bottles of hair products in various forms such as ‘palm kernel’, ‘palm fruit oil’, ‘palmate’ or ‘palmitate’, to name but a few.

Palm oil is often used in shampoos to create foam and in conditioners as a neutral smelling moisturising agent; it works effectively and is cheap to source – these two aspects make it the profit conscious formulator’s dream!

So, what’s the issue with it? As a low cost and high demand oil, conventional production has a ‘disastrous effect on our rainforests, threatening wildlife and ripping away land owned by indigenous people’ (Say No To Palm Oil In Beauty Products | This Green).

In fact, did you know that the farming of palm oil has been responsible for at least 8% of global deforestation, and that in the last 18 years over 100,000 orangutans have been killed, along with elephants, rhinos and tigers due to their habitats being decimated? (Ingredients Used in Natural Haircare - Peace With The Wild Blog) Definitely not a trade-off we are willing to accept for slightly more moisturised locks.


2. Plastic not fantastic

A few shocking facts to digest: did you know that according to a 2021 report, 520 million empty shampoo bottles are thrown out every year in the UK? (10 Reasons To Swap To A Shampoo Bar | pebble magazine), and that bathroom waste accounts for 30-40% of all total landfill refuse ( Raising The Bar With Natural Shampoo - Peace With The Wild Blog) with one single plastic bottle taking 450 years to decompose, but not before its microplastic particles infiltrate our waterways.


BUT, this isn’t where the plastic stops; plastic ‘microbeads’ find their way from our trusty shampoos  - appearing in ingredients lists as ‘polyethylene’, polypropylene’ or ‘polymethyl’ – and then in turn make it onto our scalps, coating our hair shaft and subsequently the bellies of sea mammals.

Research has actually shown that certain shampoos are made of more than 90% plastic polymers (What’s in your bathroom? The hidden plastics in your beauty products (unep.org)), and although their health impact on the  human body is not fully known, there is research to suggest that these ‘microbeads’ ‘accumulate toxic chemicals which are associated with increased cancer risk, skin problems and serious health issues (Ditch The Toxins - ). Probably not something you want on your scalp and hair or making their way into the digestive systems of fish, dolphins and sea birds once washed away down your shower drain.

3. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS or SLES)

Known as ‘surfactants’, these are very widely used by most hair care brands as foaming agents.  SLS is in fact a harsh, irritating detergent (used in household cleaning products!), but a popular choice for businesses as it is produced synthetically, making it a cheap effective cleaning agent, creating lots of lather when mixed with water.

However this efficacy of SLS is down to its harsh, powerful properties which whilst providing lots of satisfying foaming action, tend to strip the hair and scalp of all its natural, beneficial oils which help to keep our hair healthy and protected. Removing theses oils knocks the scalp out of balance, often causing it to overcompensate and produce more oil in an attempt to rebalance itself -this over zealous oil production makes our hair then look greasy and we find it needs washing more frequently.

As for those of us with sensitive skin this frothy detergent will leave our scalp barrier compromised, itchy, sore and irritated. Probably not worth it for some impressive bubbles. In fact the American Academy of Dermatology states that you should absolutely avoid using SLS if you have eczema, contact dermatitis or sensitive skin and also if you have dry or fine hair as these hair types are more fragile, ‘and the sudsy effects of these sulphate shampoos can strip out too much of the natural oils needed to keep your strands strong and healthy’ (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Uses, Products, Possible Dangers & More (healthline.com)). So, it seems there are no hair types that do actually benefit form using SLS. Oh, and it is often a product of palm oil.

More concerning perhaps is that there are reports to suggest  that SLS and SLES are often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a by product of the manufacturing process that’s is, ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans and may also cause negative effects in the kidneys, liver and central nervous system' according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Dangers of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate | livestrong). When there are natural alternatives (read on for these!) why risk your hair health and potentially your overall health?

4. Artificial fragrance

Browse the ingredients label of regular shampoos and you’ll probably find ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ listed which refers to artificial fragrances that are created using a blend of chemicals in a lab, often petroleum based. Your favourite shampoo may smell of a fresh zany orange burst but actually not have any trace of orange in the formula, rather thousands of chemical ingredients poured in to create the desired citrus smell.

What chemicals actually go into these combinations we’ll never actually know as they are hidden under the ‘fragrance’, ‘perfume’ or ‘parfum’ umbrella terms. These artificial fragrances, ‘not only have a negative impact on your health, drying your skin and hair, but also have an environmental impact due to their manufacture and the fact they end up in rivers and oceans when we wash them off’ (Ingredients Used in Natural Haircare - Peace With The Wild Blog).  And, I don't know about you but they always give me a headache!

5. Sodium Chloride

Yes – this is salt! Probably not what you were expecting to encounter whilst washing your hair. It is used to maintain thicker consistency in shampoos and conditioners and, ‘can make an already sensitive scalp dry and itchy, which can eventually be a cause of hair loss’ (15 Most Common Harmful Ingredients in Your Shampoo | Vanilla Luxury).

6. Retinyl Palmitate


Converting to retinol when it comes into contact with the skin, retinyl palmitate is used in shampoos as it is thought to help strengthen the scalp by improving cell turnover. However recent research for a 2022 article spoke to health, beauty and haircare experts who all provided reasons to avoid this ‘toxic ingredient’ by ‘agreeing that long-term use of hair products containing retinyl palmitate may lead to scaling, irritation, peeling, that may make you scratch the skin of your scalp aggressively and repeatedly, damaging your skin and hair follicles’ (Women’s Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle – SHEfinds). There are also warnings about possible side effects from retinyl palmitate including cancer, reproductive problems and organ toxicity (15 Most Common Harmful Ingredients in Your Shampoo | Vanilla Luxury).

So, what are some common examples of commercial shampoos and conditioners brands to consider saying ‘no’ to?

Underneath all the puffery, it seems many commercial shampoos are simply bottles of highly coloured, highly perfumed detergents. According to 10 Bad Shampoo Brands You Should Avoid If You Love Your Hair - Worst Brands their top pick of commercial shampoos that could be doing more harm than good are:

1. Pantene

Why? We are all familiar with the adverts bursting with images of luscious locks and promises of soft, silky, nourished hair but the main problem is the way it makes the hair soft and shiny, and that is down to the huge amount of sulphates and silicones contained in the Pantene range which instead of actually moisturising the hair strands, coats them in wax and plastic to make them appear smooth and shiny.

2. Head and Shoulders

 Why? Being high in the sulphate SLS, ‘using it daily will wear out all the oil from the scalp, making the hair dry and rough’ (Can head and shoulders cause hair loss (lakeannehairdesign.com)). Anti -flaking agents such as coal tar, zinc pyrithione are often used in anti-dandruff shampoos (this was present in head and shoulders and has now been banned in EU cosmetics for 2022 – for detailed info See HERE.)

Salicylic acid and selenium sulphide are added to traditional anti dandruff shampoos but have side effects such as irritation to scalp and eyes, amounting to what naturalists describe as 'a kind of chemical warfare on your scalp' – seems counterproductive for a product that is meant to soothe and banish irritated flaky dandruff prone scalps doesn’t it?

3. Tresemme

Why? The potentially dangerous effects of formaldehyde- releasing preservatives used by this brand went viral in 2020 - by the way this controversial ingredient is also found in Dove’s soothing moisture anti dandruff shampoo-  when a woman attributed her hair loss to the use of Tresemme’s Keratin smooth shampoo and a class action against Unilever was launched for intentionally selling products with a potentially harmful ingredient which causes severe skin, eye and lung irritations as well as cancer.

And, that’s not the only ‘nasties’ found in their shampoos – they are also brimming with harsh sulphates and artificial fragrances. Tresemme did announce a reformulation of their products last year to exclude the harmful preservative but they chose not to recall the millions of previous batches containing this ‘toxic’ ingredient – I don’t know about you but I find it hard to trust a brand that is quite happy to run the risk of consumers being exposed to a known potentially harmful chemical. All information provided by 10 Bad Shampoo Brands You Should Avoid If You Love Your Hair - Worst Brands and Is Tresemme Good Or Bad For Your Hair? (greenbeautytalk.com).

4. Aussie Shampoos and Conditioners

Why? Your hair may feel lovely and smooth and soft after using, but again that softness is not real because it is down to silicones used in huge quantity to coat the hair. This coating and the artificial fragrance builds up so much on your hair that, like many other commercial shampoos, you’ll find you are able to smell it lingering on your hair days after you have washed it which just can’t be natural – sound familiar? (10 Bad Shampoo Brands You Should Avoid If You Love Your Hair - Worst Brands) 

5. Dove 

A controversial one maybe as this is one of the most famous shampoo brands out there that claims to provide nourishment for your locks yet does contain harsh sulphates, preservatives and artificial fragrances which may be harmful to your hair. The brand is currently under investigation for a possible hair loss lawsuit but no concrete scientific evidence has yet been found to suggest Dove shampoos do cause hair to fall out. Interestingly though you only have to peruse their shampoo reviews online to read many complaints from customers experiencing hair loss and itchy or irritated scalps- not exactly encouraging is it? There is lots of information our there for us to consider and help us make up our own minds as to what is best for us.  Information cited here provided by Is Dove Shampoo Good Or Bad For Your Hair? Can It Cause Hair Loss? (greenbeautytalk.com).

6. Herbal Essences

Why? Often considered, thanks to some may say clever yet dishonest marketing, ‘natural’ but in reality many feel this is far from the truth.  Containing strong sulphates, synthetic fragrances and colour along with neurotoxins as preservatives, it is sure to cause irritation to many scalps. Shockingly the red hue of their ‘Rose hips’ shampoo is not down to natural rosehips as you may be led to believe but actually from the synthetic Red 33 colourant! In fact Herbal Essences has, ‘faced lawsuits around its claims of using real botanicals, its payments and “endorsement” by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as well as its wild naturals' product line.' For further revelations on herbal essences and other misleading hair care brands click HERE.

Quick- Fire Signs that your hair is hacked off with your current Haircare

  • Scalp feels itchy and flaky
  • Appearance of a red sore rash at back of neck
  • Filmy residue
  • Exacerbation of issues already present such as dandruff, oily scalp, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, dry/greasy strands, hair loss
  • Needing to wash your hair frequently
  • Strong ‘fragranced’ smelling hair
  • Weakened, split ends
  • Limp ‘flat’ hair
  • Frizzy/unmanageable/coarse/dry hair
  • Eye/skin irritation when/after shampooing or conditioning
These are all symptoms that your shampoo has stripped your scalp of its protective oils and is irritating your skin; if you are using a regular commercial shampoo you may want to consider swapping to a chemical free, gentler, natural one and if you are already using a ‘natural’ one, it may be worth double checking the ingredients to see if there are any of our flagged up ‘nasties’ or maybe trying a different brand altogether.

13 reasons to make the swap to Natural Haircare

Ditch chemical laden traditional shampoos and conditioners along with dry, irritated scalps and hacked off hair, for a gentle, soothing wash with an all natural shampoo and conditioning bar for soft, nourished hair. Read on for more reasons to bin the bottle and raise the bar!


 1. Natural Ingredients

Natural shampoo bars call on nature’s bounty for cleaning, conditioning and moisturising our hair, rather than relying on harsh chemicals, silicones, and preservatives. Just as with skincare, the more natural the ingredients in your hair products, the healthier your scalp will be. The healthier the scalp, the healthier your hair will be; growing noticeably longer and stronger.

Using products formulated with nutrient-dense, plant-based ingredients provides so much more nourishment to your scalp than is the norm with regular haircare. Courtesy of Formula Botanica’s vast school of knowledge (How to make natural haircare products: a step-by-step guide - Formula Botanica), here are some visible results you can expect when swapping to a natural hair product:
  • Scalp revitalised and its healthy microbiome respected and protected
  • Less greasy or dry hair
  • Your hair should have less frizz, fewer split ends as your hair will be better nourished
  • Itchiness and sensitivities soothed

Did you know all our bars are harsh surfactant, paraben and preservative free? Have a look at our options for all hair types HERE.

2. Kinder on the Environment

Be kinder to our planet as well as your hair: solid shampoo bars do away with the need for any sort of plastic container as opposed to the plastic bottles needed to contain regular shampoos and conditioners that are damaging to the environment during the manufacturing process, then when discarded create plastic pollution in waterways and landfill. Your carbon footprint will also be lowered due to the fact that water free solid bars require less space during transportation to reach you – not to mention they will take up less space in your bathroom; no more bottles overcrowding your serene bathing space!
You will not find a sniff of plastic in our shampoo or conditioner bars – on the inside or out. Wrapped in fully recyclable and decomposable paper, check out our eco friendly zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars HERE – completely free from plastic encasing and hidden plastic ‘microbeads.’   

3. Swerve SLS and SLES

Natural shampoo bars do not contain the harsh detergents SLS or SLES, instead using gentle, non-irritating naturally derived, cleansing agents such as coconut oil to dissolve dirt or sodium coco isethionate powder to cleanse and provide lather. These natural cleansers are far gentler than traditionally used sulphates. 

All of our shampoo and conditioner bars are free from SLS and SLES – for cleansing and conditioning we use only natural oils and butters in our natural shampoo - soap style bar range, check it out  HERE. For natural shampoo bars using scalp soothing SCI to give a good lather, have a look at our range of this style bar HERE. For our natural sulphate free conditioner bar range have a peak HERE.

4. Natural Fragrance

Say no to overpowering, synthetic, chemical derived fragrance blends in favour of natural shampoos and conditioner bars that profit from plant derived natural essential oils for their scent. Check out the ingredients list and you will find vague, red flag terms such as ‘perfume’ and ‘fragrance’ replaced with the botanical name of the plant’s essential oil which gives your bar its natural, chemical free aroma, making for a much more gentle, pleasant experience on your hair, scalp, health and nose!

5. More Manageable Haircare


By using a natural shampoo you are likely to find you will not need to wash your hair as frequently as your scalp will be gently soothed into optimal functioning as it finds its natural oil regulation. Music to the ears for those of us who simply struggle to fit in the daily hair washing saga!

Looking to save more time when washing? Have you had a look at our Gentle Bee shampoo and conditioner bar in one?

6. Reduction in Hair Fall

Opposed to the shampoos mentioned earlier that strip your scalp with harsh chemical ingredients, dry out your hair and have been linked to hair loss disputes, by using natural shampoo and conditioner bars you are likely to see a reduction in breakage and subsequent hair fall as each strand is fully moisturised and nourished by chemical free, gentle formulations.

For dry hair check our our best-selling Queen Bee shampoo bar and follow up with our Queen Bee conditioner bar.

7. PH Balanced

Have you experienced dry frizzy hair, an itchy, sensitive scalp or scalp acne? These symptoms could be from using harsh alkaline hair care that has disturbed the scalp’s natural pH balanced defence layer - the acid mantle - a thin sticky fluid that creates a hostile environment for alkaline bacteria, helping to keep the hair and scalp healthy (Are you using pH-balanced shampoo and skin care? | Green People UK).

Making the switch to a pH balanced shampoo and conditioner will help maintain a strong scalp barrier, support the health of your hair as it grows,  protect from microbial attack and halt the rise of scalp conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis.

If you would like to browse our very own range of PH friendly shampoo bars click HERE.

8.Simple Ingredients

Sometimes it works to keep it simple. Have a look at the back of any regular shampoo/conditioner bottle and you will be met with a long list of complicated ingredients whose origin cannot be traced, with the majority of the best-selling shampoos on the market containing silicones, plastics and synthetic chemicals, all of which present the illusion of sleek, shiny hair. Making the change to a natural shampoo/conditioner with a condensed list of simple, chemical free ingredients will, ‘encourage your hair to rejuvenate and revert back to its natural state’ (Natural Shampoo - Peace With The Wild Blog).
Keen to put as few ingredients onto your hair and scalp as possible? Have a look at our Sensitive Bee shampoo bar and our Sensitive Bee conditioner which are both completely free of any added essential oils and fragrance.

9. Heroic Haircare Herbs

The switch to a natural shampoo/conditioner will give you the opportunity to nourish your hair with ACTUAL natural plant extracts rather than those that have been synthetically formulated in a lab. Not only will these lend a delicate scent to your bar, but these herbs will bring plant-powdered properties to your haircare.
Let’s have a look at some well-known examples:

Rosemary has long been used in folk medicine to stimulate hair growth, prevent hair loss by stimulating blood circulation, and protect against various scalp and hair disorders. Discover its natural power in our Shiny Bee hair oil and read how to use it HERE. For a treble dose of rosemary have a look at our Glossy Bee shampoo bar which is formulated with rosemary vinegar, rosemary leaf powder and rosemary essential oil.

Peppermint works as a great skin conditioning agent and, ‘shows potential for hair growth effects, potentially leading to an increase in dermal thickness, follicle number and follicle depth (10 of the Best Haircare Herbs for Organic Cosmetic Formulations (formulabotanica.com)).


Find peppermint  in our Glossy Bee shampoo and Glossy Bee conditioner – we have also popped tea tree essential oil into both these formulations which acts as nature’s anti dandruff haircare herb!  A better choice than the controversially disputed anti dandruff agents in traditional hair products we think.

10. Anti-ageing

Natural shampoos are packed with rich butters and oils to naturally support and hydrate ageing hair. Commercial shampoos relying on SLS and plastics are likely to serve to exaggerate dry, mature hair  in the long term and not provide the gentle, moisturising care it needs

 11. Support for Hormonal Haircare

The fluctuation of hormones experienced during menopause (and pregnancy) can really spell a change in your hair.  You may notice hair loss, sensitised scalp and, whereas your hair may have been on the oiler side before, it may now be demonstrating as drier or vice versa. 

In fact according to menopause doctor Louise Newson , roughly 40% of women experience some kind of hair problem around this time with a big issue being overall thinning of the hair.  Swapping to a natural bar can really help support your hair, offering a gentler cleanse and thirst quenching nutrients to combat weakened follicles.  For further information on menopause and hair loss prevention have a look at this article: Hair Loss and Menopause: How to Prevent It (healthline.com)

12. Ditch the Dreaded Build -Up

As a result of synthetics, artificial fragrance, parabens and SLS contained in traditional shampoos, not only is our hair stripped of its healthily balance and natural oils, but these shampoos then start to leave their very own synthetic coating of chemicals and residue on your hair , giving a false sense of shiny smooth healthy hair – gross, right? This build up will eventually prevent moisture from penetrating into your hair leading to dry, damaged tresses in the long term. Swapping to a natural shampoo and conditioner routine will stop this vicious cycle of continual chemical build up and will get rid of this unnatural residue once your scalp has regained its natural balance.

13. Cruelty free

Go cruelty free by championing the natural shampoo and conditioner bar. Did you know that ‘many standard shampoos contain over 20 potential animal-derived chemicals because they are cheap. One example being keratin which comes from the hair and horns of animals’ (10 Reasons To Swap To A Shampoo Bar | pebble magazine).
Our shampoo bars are completely cruelty free with all our raw Welsh honey used in the formulations being ethically soured as well as our natural oils, butters and plant extracts being reputably sourced from Welsh business Naissance. Check out their amazing eco friendly and fair trade credentials HERE

 The Silky Seven Key Ingredients in Natural Haircare that Actually Work

1. Shea Butter

Shea butter is a very welcome addition to any natural haircare formula as it is widely believed to stimulate hair growth and moisturise dry, flaky scalps. Furthermore, ‘in natural shampoo and natural conditioners it also helps repair damaged hair and is great for those with curls as it keeps them soft, moisturised, and ever so lustrous. If you use a natural shampoo bar containing shea butter, be prepared for gorgeous, shiny, thick locks’ (Ingredients Used in Natural Haircare - Peace With The Wild Blog).
How do our HBB bars fare?
Find a generous helping of shea butter in our Queen Bee shampoo bar for normal and dry hair.

2. Coconut Oil


For optimal care pop coconut on hair! Is there anything that coconut oil isn’t good for? In fact one of the best reasons to use coconut oil is scientifically documented in the Journal of Cosmetic Science as helping protect the hair’s protein content and prevent combing damage: ‘coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair”(Virgin Coconut Oil: An All Around Winner — LisaLise Pure Natural Skincare).

 How do our HBB bars fare?
We use coconut oil in all our shampoo bars and conditioner bars for this reason. Big apologies to those who are allergic to coconut oil :/ – we just haven’t found an ingredient that works so well in our formulations YET but we will be continually keeping a look out.

3. Argan Oil

This oils smells divine and is great for conditioning hair, reducing frizz and bringing unruly tresses under control. It is natural, chemical free, packed full of vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids which help to increase the elasticity of hair and restore its shine. Its vitamin E content strengthens follicles and aids in preventing split ends and breakage (Ingredients Used in Natural Haircare - Peace With The Wild Blog).

How do our HBB bars fare?
Inject the vitality and shine of argan oil with our natural Sensitive Bee shampoo bar for those with more reactive scalps.

4. Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is such a lovely, versatile moisturising ingredient, giving an intensive hydration for your hair, ‘ known for its healing and softening properties, that can even help hair grow quicker’ (6 Super-Moisturising Ingredients For Hair - Peace With The Wild Blog).
How do our HBB bars fare?
Work wonders on dry, stressed hair by trying our cocoa butter rich conditioner bars to leave your locks, smooth, nourished and in tip-top condition. Check out our full conditioner range HERE.

5. Mango Butter

Gorgeously silky, mango butter helps seal in moisture, reduce breakage and encourages healthy hair growth whilst eliminating dirt and impurities from the hair and scalp.
How do our HBB bars fare?
For a luxurious mango butter cleanse, have a look at our Gentle Bee shampoo and conditioner bar HERE.

6. Cetearyl Alcohol

Being very different from harsh ‘regular’ alcohols, like ethanol it is a gentle emollient ‘considered a non-toxic, non-drying , non-irritating effective ingredient for soothing and healing’ (www.healthline.com).  It provides ‘slip’ to help us better detangle our hair. 
How do our HBB bars fare?
Detangle and smooth your hair with ease using our conditioner bars which all contain this ingredient.  Also find it to soften dry hair in our Queen Bee shampoo bar.

7. Guar Gum

Guar Gum is a natural extract derived from the Guar Plant or the Indian ‘Cyamopsis tetragonolobus' botanical if you like a fun looking name. It is used in natural haircare to provide a smooth texture and to help soften and detangle hair. When used in shampoos it often reduces the need to use a conditioner.

How do our HBB bars fare?

Find Guar Gum in our 2-in-1 natural Gentle Bee shampoo and conditioning bar for a moisturising wash and condition.

What other Ingredients do we use to set our bars apart the rest?

Our customers who have struggled with using natural shampoo and conditioner bars in the past are often kind enough to share with us that they have found ours easy to use and efficient in comparison. One of our ladies, the lovely Sarah, even said that she had given up on using conditioners that made her hair feel awful and was considering having it all cut off until she discovered our bars - we are so glad to have helped Sarah :). 

So, the secret’s out:  what 11 unique ingredient combinations go into our haircare formulations?

1. SCS and SCI - not to be confused with SLS or SLES!

We formulate our pH friendly shampoo bars using a combination of SCS and SCI powders for a satisfyingly sudsy hair wash which is effective at cleansing whilst being extra gentle compared to SLS and SLES.  SCS is an EcoCert approved ingredient made from the fatty acids of coconut oil and is a good palm free alternative to SLS. It is much milder, creating a rich cleansing foam and leaving the hair with a sleek shine. We carefully balance our SCS with SCI powder which is even gentler yet again and well tolerated by even sensitive scalps – it too cleanses and gives a creamy lather.

2. Varisoft EQ65

This ingredient is a green, EcoCert approved, readily biodegradable softening agent which acts as a high performing conditioner, aiding in smoothing down the hair cuticle and preventing hair damage.

3. BTMS 50

Here at HBB, we call this the ‘magic B’ and it is carefully added to all our conditioner bar formulas. It is a vegetable based ingredient, derived from rapeseed oil, and acts as an intense but lightweight conditioner – leaving the hair silky, detangled, easy to comb through and moisturised with noticeable body and spring. It is extremely mild and suitable for those with sensitive scalps.


4. Natural Vinegars tailored to your hair type

We use natural vinegars in our shampoo bars to naturally provide the acidity needed to balance the scalp acid mantle we talked about earlier. 

Coconut vinegar is made from the sap of the coconut palm; it nourishes hair whilst removing excess sebum and build-up on the hair shaft and is also known to strengthen your hair. Find it in our Queen Bee shampoo for balanced to dry hair and in our Gentle Bee shampoo for balanced hair/scalps.
Rosemary vinegar is white wine vinegar infused with natural rosemary plant – it is naturally anti-inflammatory, soothes itchy scalp and reduces excess oiliness. Find it in our Glossy Bee shampoo designed for oily/dandruff prone hair and scalps.

5. Our own Essential Oil Blends

Not only do we carefully choose essential oils that smell great together but we also make sure they will work together to support different hair types.
Our Queen Bee shampoo and conditioner combines rose geranium, sweet orange and patchouli pure natural essential oils to hydrate the hair, add a splash of citrus vitamin C essential for growth, and fight off dry damaged hair.
Our Glossy Bee shampoo and conditioner draws on the fresh and breezy combinations of rosemary, peppermint, tea tree and lavender essential oils to stimulate hair growth, balance sebum production, and cleanse with antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Our Gentle Bee shampoo and conditioner bar is formulated with a blend of lavender and chamomile essential oils, coming together to speed up hair growth and gently soothe the scalp.

6. D- Panthenol

It has been said that this organically occurring ingredient has become ‘the wallflower of Hair Care’ (Panthenol has Become the Wallflower of Skin and Hair Care — LisaLise Pure Natural Skincare) and it shouldn’t have! We couldn’t agree more – we love using it as an instrumental part of our conditioner bars!

Why? Well when applied to the hair panthenol functions as a humectant, emollient, and moisturiser. It can help protect your hair from styling stressors and environmental damage as, ‘it happily binds to the hair shaft, coating the hair and sealing the surface in a protective layer that both adds shine and lubricates the shaft’ (Panthenol has Become the Wallflower of Skin and Hair Care — LisaLise Pure Natural Skincare).

What’s more it is well tolerated, with intensive research showing no negative side effects or reactions to this ingredient  regardless of short or long term use (Panthenol has Become the Wallflower of Skin and Hair Care — LisaLise Pure Natural Skincare).

7. Shikakai Powder

A natural fruit powder, with shikakai actually meaning ‘fruit for hair’, is derived from the Acacia plant - it is rich in natural saponins - ideal for gentle cleansing. It provides shine to the hair, helps detangle and it is even claimed to boost hair growth. Find it in our Gentle Bee shampoo and conditioning bar HERE.

8. Beetroot Powder

This delightful natural powder is what gives our best selling Queen Bee shampoo its fabulous pink hue! We use it, not only because we have a penchant for pink here at HBB, but also as it is full of carotenoids which are extremely effective in promoting great hair by nourishing the hair follicles from within.

9. Vitamin E

We pop vitamin E in our all our conditioner bars as it helps reduce oxidative stress on the scalp and hair, preserving it’s protective lipid layer - basically it will help your hair to remain strong, can help with thinning hair, and stops it appearing ‘lacklustre.’

10. Beeswax

Ah yes – we think it’s about time we talked about our amazing bees! We use beeswax in our Sensitive Bee shampoo bars to gently provide sensitive scalps with natural hydration and protection.



11. Honey


Last but definitely not least, we have our raw Welsh honey – thank you bees.  We love it so much and are so thankful for its amazing properties that work so well for the hair and scalp as well as our skin, that we include it in ALL our shampoo and conditioner bars.  Our heroic honey works as a hydrator, strengthener , antifungal and antibacterial agent for the scalp AND it is suitable for all types of hair and scalp.

Dry, coarse or curly hair? Honey will help tame and boost moisture.  Inflamed scalp or dandruff? Honey will provide anti inflammatory, soothing power. Weak hair? Hair breakage or loss? Honey naturally contains protein which, ‘can prevent damage, hair shedding and loss, reduce breakage of hair strands which will help hair grow longer’ (Honey for Hair: Benefits and How to Use It (byrdie.com)). Are you a fellow interested honey lover?  For more info see 10 Science-Backed Ways Honey Is Good for Your Hair (healthline.com).

Revealed: our top customer FAQS about our natural haircare range

Are you are thinking of making the swap to natural haircare but find yourself still a little hesitant? We thought it may be useful to pen down the responses to the questions we are most asked by our ‘bee-utiful’ ladies and gents.

Q: With costs rising I’m worried a natural shampoo and conditioner bar is too expensive for me?

Ok, it is true that natural shampoo and conditioner bars may initially seem pricier than their commercial bottles counterparts but they are formulated with more concentrated, pure ingredients, meaning a little goes a long way.

Mainstream shampoos often feature water at the top of their lengthy ingredients list, as well as additional ‘filler’ ingredients such as preservatives and silicones which provide little nourishment but rather simply ‘bulk’ out the product to make it seem like there is more of it.  In fact did you know the average bottled shampoo lasts about 25-30 washes and 80% of the product is water! (10 Reasons To Swap To A Shampoo Bar | pebble magazine). You can expect our bars to last many, many washes and they contain trace amounts of water.
Also, when squeezing a regular liquid shampoo/conditioner into your hand it is easy to waste or use more than is needed as it squirts out, seeps through your fingers, or washes away on the way to your head! With a solid shampoo bar it is difficult to use too much as you apply it directly to your head. It is also worth bearing in mind that once your scalp rebalances, you are less likely to need to wash your hair as often, again using less of your bar and making it go further for the price.

Furthermore, when you scalp regains its natural balance, you are likely to find your hair doesn't need washing as frequently.

Q: My skin and scalp are very sensitive – do you have anything suitable for me?

If you would prefer your shampoo bar to be gently scented and easy to lather then we would recommend for you our Gentle Bee shampoo and conditioning bar. Comprising of gentle chamomile essential oil, our ladies have told us it is extremely gentle on their sensitive scalps, causing no irritation. To read their reviews and to check if the ingredients list is suitable for you CLICK HERE.

Q: I cannot tolerate any essential oils on my scalp or skin at all – do you offer an alternative shampoo bar?

Yes we do. Have a look at our Sensitive Bee shampoo bar which is completely free of essential oils and fragrance. Our ‘bee-utiful’ customer Jacquie would definitely recommend this bar to those with reactive, sensitive scalps and skin.

Q: Do I need to use a conditioner with my natural shampoo bar?

This really depends on your individual hair type. Many people find they no longer need to follow their shampooing with a conditioner as their hair feels nourished, soft and sleek enough due to the naturally higher oil content of the ingredients in our natural shampoo bars.  Here at HBB, Cath has lots of thick hair which can become dry and coarse so for her it works best to follow up with the conditioner bar. Bec on the other hand has very fine hair which becomes lank and greasy easily, so finds that just using our natural shampoo bar works best for her.  The majority of our customers though do like to use a conditioner too – they asked and that’s why we formulated our very own!  Furthermore, using a solid conditioner bar makes it super easy to just apply the conditioner to where you need it – then it will last even longer too!


Q: Can I use my regular bottled conditioner after using my natural shampoo bar?
Green company ‘Peace with the Wild’ (The Ultimate Guide To Natural Shampoo - Peace With The Wild Blog) tell us, ‘please, please, please don’t use a traditional conditioner with a natural shampoo bar’ and we couldn’t put it better ourselves. We really would please recommend against this as not only will plumping for a bottle conditioner be less friendly to our environment, but it will also be less friendly on your hair. Put simply, you would undo all the positive aspects your natural shampoo has imparted onto your hair and scalp by coating them back in chemicals and silicones when using your traditional conditioner.
Q: I want to use a conditioner but find they leave my fine hair greasy and heavy. Help!
If you have been using a traditional conditioner then this is not surprising as the silicones will often weigh down the hair with chemicals which can upset the balance of the scalp causing it to over produce oil and voilà – greasy hair. Feedback from our customers has told us that they find our conditioner bars leave their hair feeling very light and not heavy or greasy at all – have a look here for their reviews. We would recommend in particular trying our Glossy Bee conditioner bar which contains haircare oils specifically tailored for fine, oilier hair.

Q: I have a really hectic life and need something easy and quick to use.

We are totally with you here! For ease of use, a good lather and suitable for hard and soft water areas we would recommend choosing from our award winning Queen Bee, Glossy Bee or Gentle Bee shampoo depending on your hair type. They are straight forward to use and require no extra rinses or faff.  To save time you could opt for our Gentle Bee Bar which is a shampoo and conditioner in one.

However, our separate conditioner bars have proven quick and easy to use, with one of our ladies saying: 'I have never had much patience with products where you have to faff about and I was not sure I would enjoy using the conditioner bar. However, after trying I found it very straightforward to use and I've been pleased with the result."

Q: I have found natural shampoo bars have left my hair with residue and it does not feel ‘clean’, where am I going wrong? Please help!

Ok so often when you start using natural shampoos you may be using a 'soap' style shampoo like our Flowery or Shiny Bee ones and you may notice your hair becomes more greasy with an oily residue, or perhaps waxy and sticky. This is likely a combination of two things, firstly, the technique required to use these natural shampoos, particularly for longer hair, mean that if not properly lathered and rinsed there may be residue left on the hair surface.  Secondly, it may take a while to remove the build up of silicones on the hair and scalp surface from previously used chemical and silicone laden hair products. 

For some, as you go through the transition, your scalp may overproduce natural oils to compensate those that have been stripped by synthetic shampoos and may make your hair and scalp a little more oily at first.

Furthermore, natural shampoos are far more gentle so won’t be able to strip this residue off immediately so it may take a little time for your hair to get through what is often referred to as ‘the transition period’.

However, we have found that these issues are far less likely with our new pH friendly shampoo bars and that most of our customers have experienced great results pretty much immediately with our best selling Queen Bee shampoo, Glossy bee shampoo and Gentle bee shampoo bars. 


Q: I see you have two different styles of shampoo bar . Would you recommend using your soap style square shampoo bars or your round style shampoo bars?

This is really down to your personal preference. Our 'soap' style shampoo bars (Flowery, Shiny and Sensitive Bee) were our first formulations of a natural shampoo bar.  As they are 'soap' style formulations, they do have a slightly different pH to your hair which means that on use, they can open the hair cuticle, which can feel like your hair is dry on rinsing.  The cuticles reclose on drying leaving hair soft and shiny, however, we do prefer our newer second generation pH friendly QueenGlossy and Gentle Bee bars which create good lather regardless of water softness and are super easy to rinse out leaving no residue.


This being said, you only need to glance at our reviews of the soap style bars to see that they are firm favourites for many customers – especially the Sensitive Bee one as it is free of fragrance and essential oils for those with intolerances.

Q: I’m struggling to know how to use a natural shampoo/conditioner bar, can you help?

Yes of course – we have included full written directions for use on each shampoo/conditioner product page and we have popped videos of our shampoo and conditioner bars in action to help. Click below to view. 


Q: I suffer from psoriasis, a dry, itchy scalp – will a natural shampoo and conditioner help?

Yes it should by nourishing and rebalancing your scalp’s pH and soothing flaky skin. We recommend trying our Gentle Bee shampoo and conditioner bar for this.

Q: I live in a hard water area - will your shampoo bars still work here?

Yes lovely - choose from our Queen Bee, Glossy Bee or Gentle Bee shampoo bar - all will work well with your water type.  Otherwise, soft water works better than hard for other types.

Q: I’m hesitant about making the leap of faith to invest in a natural shampoo/conditioner bar.

We completely understand and are here to help. Please feel free to contact us for some personally tailored advice and do have a look at all our testimonials which are openly available to view on each product page to help support you in your decision making. We also provide ‘travel’ sizes of all our shampoo and conditioner bars so that you can try them out before you commit to buying the full size. Did you know we also provide a full money back guarantee if you find you can’t get on with your new natural haircare?  See HERE for full details.

Q: Are they suitable for my children to use?

Although our haircare has not been tested specifically for under 3’s, we do know that our customers enjoy using them for the whole family, and find them to be gentle and efficient enough for their other halves and children alike! In fact our customer Hannah has found our Gentle Bee bar very handy for her young children to use independently without the fear of them emptying a whole bottle of shampoo into the bath! We know our men here are always stealing ours too!

Q: Can I use your natural bars if I have coloured treated hair?

Yes – all of our shampoo bars and conditioners can be used on coloured hair. Many of our customers use them with great success on their coloured hair and here at HBB we both regularly dye our hair and very happily use our bars without any issues.

Q: Do you have different shampoos and conditioners for different hair types?

Yep, for normal/dry hair have a look at our Queen Bee shampoo and conditioner bar.

For oily or dandruff prone hair check out our Glossy bee shampoo and conditioner....

For more sensitive scalps have a look at our Gentle bee bar and Sensitive Bee conditioner.


Q: How do I stop my shampoo bar getting wet and soggy and disintegrating?

Our shampoo bars are firmly hand pressed, designed to stay together for many washes. However you can prolong their lives by storing them correctly.

It is important to allow them to dry off between washes by storing in open air on a slatted rack or dish, on a piece of coconut coir like in the pic above or in a vented natural soap bag.

Happy Hair, Happy You

Using the right  haircare products can have such an immediate effect on our self esteem. There is nothing quite like clean, lush, healthy, manageable hair to help us feel confident, ready to face the world with a spring in our step is there. We hope we have helped you to answer any questions you may have about natural shampoo and conditioner bars, how they differ from their traditional counterparts and how they can help you with your hair. 

Fun fact: this month we had a little bit of a shock ourselves - for the first time EVER your firm favourite, our most popular, award wining Bumble Bee Face Cream was overtaken in sales by our Queen Bee Shampoo Bar! :)
Please, if you have any questions about our range of haircare, are unsure which bar to choose, or would like some individually tailored advice, simply hit reply to this email and we will be more than happy to help. We would also love to know if you have any hints and tips when it comes to using your natural bar we can share with our HBB family or how you like to store yours for longevity in between washes.  
Here’s to happy hair days!
Cath, Bec and the bees x
Say No To Palm Oil In Beauty Products | This Green
Ingredients Used in Natural Haircare - Peace With The Wild Blog
10 Reasons To Swap To A Shampoo Bar | pebble magazine
What’s in your bathroom? The hidden plastics in your beauty products (unep.org)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Uses, Products, Possible Dangers & More (healthline.com)
Dangers of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate | livestrong
15 Most Common Harmful Ingredients in Your Shampoo | Vanilla Luxury
Women’s Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle – SHEfinds
10 Bad Shampoo Brands You Should Avoid If You Love Your Hair - Worst Brands
Can head and shoulders cause hair loss (lakeannehairdesign.com)
Is Tresemme Good Or Bad For Your Hair? (greenbeautytalk.com)
Is Dove Shampoo Good Or Bad For Your Hair? Can It Cause Hair Loss? (greenbeautytalk.com)
What Did People Use Before Shampoo? (historythings.com)
Learn about harsh chemicals & bad ingredients in seemingly safe brands - Misleading Brands
Are you using pH-balanced shampoo and skin care? | Green People UK
Virgin Coconut Oil: An All Around Winner — LisaLise Pure Natural Skincare
Panthenol has Become the Wallflower of Skin and Hair Care — LisaLise Pure Natural Skincare
Honey for Hair: Benefits and How to Use It (byrdie.com)

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