Totally Balmy Shampoo Bar was the Day 23 gift in the Beautiful Surprises 2019 Advent Calendar, along with a soap saver bag (handy for storing and using up any leftover bits of shampoo bar or soap).
I’m not sure which scent I got, as the label on the shampoo bar just said “Shampoo Bar. Totally Balmy – handmade natural skincare” and had no mention of which scent it was. The square 60g bar is a turquoise colour.
According to Totally Balmy’s website, their shampoo bars are completely natural and contain no detergent, sodium laurel sufate (SLS), or any other nasty chemicals.
The first day that I used this, I was really impressed. I have very oily hair, and this shampoo bar lathers up really well and is easy to use. The bar is nice and hard, so it holds its shape and it easy to work with, and I kept it in a soap dish on the bathroom windowsill so that it could dry out between uses. We have a Shower Dome over our shower, so shampoo bars tend to go soggy if they’re left inside the shower, and they don’t last very long. Letting this bar dry out on the windowsill between uses meant that it lasted 2.5 months, with me washing my hair 2-3 times per week.
After using this bar for one week, I began to develop small pimples on my scalp. I’ve never had this issue with shampoo bars before. I stopped using store bought shampoo in bottles almost three years ago, and I’ve only used solid shampoo bars since then, so it wasn’t a case of my scalp or hair needing to “getting used to” the solid bar. I continued using the shampoo, thinking that maybe it was just due to different ingredients in this shampoo bar, compared to my last one (Ethique’s St Clements), but there was no improvement.
If you haven’t used a shampoo bar before, there is an adjustment period (which I went through three years ago). Again, on Totally Balmy’s website is says “… it may take a while to adjust. It takes between one and six weeks for your hair to stop ‘freaking out’ so to speak. Stick with it! It will adjust.”
It did not adjust, it got worse! After two weeks of using this shampoo bar, I began to develop an itchy scalp and dandruff. I haven’t suffered from dandruff in years! The odd breakout of pimples on my scalp every week, combined with an increase in dandruff while using this shampoo bar has lead me to the conclusion that this shampoo bar is not suited to my oily hair. Although it cleaned my hair well, the constant itching and appearance of dandruff had me very happy to see the end of this shampoo bar when I finally finished it. I stuck it out and used the entire bar, and there was no improvement at all. The dandruff and itchiness hung around for the full two and a half months.
Sadly, I won’t be purchasing another shampoo bar from Totally Balmy, and can’t really recommend this shampoo bar based on my not-so-great experience with whichever variant of shampoo bar this was. But, if you do want to try Totally Balmy’s Shampoo Bars for yourself, they’re available from their online store.
I’ve since bought a different brand of shampoo bar, one that I haven’t tried before, from another local NZ brand, called Mia Belle. It’s an oil balancing bar (specifically for oily hair) and I’ve been using it for a few weeks now. Needless to say, the pimples on my scalp are gone, my head is no longer itchy, and the dandruff that I got while using Totally Balmy’s shampoo bar is a thing of the past!