review: Ballyhoo Bath hair stuff

ballyhooballyhoo bath solid unscented shampoo and conditioner bars


  • fine
  • thick/dense, many individual strands
  • wavy
  • with some curly bits, prone to heading off in random directions and to being frizzy
  • untreated (not coloured, straightened/curled, retextured, heat-dried, etc.)
  • dryish
  • but can be weighed down with heavier conditioners
  • happy with many silicones
  • scalp, neck, and other areas of skin attached/near to hair: like skin on face: fine, irritable, reactive, dryish; scalp and neck prone to eczema; preference for no fragrance or SLS in shampoo, as with other products on skin


  • Alba Botanica Coconut conditioner (scented)
  • Avalon Organics olive & grapeseed shampoo & conditioner (unscented)
  • Beauty Without Cruelty moisturizing shampoo & conditioner (scented)
  • Curelle HYDRA shampoo & RICHE conditioner (unscented)
  • Desert Essence Coconut shampoo &, sometimes, conditioner (scented)
  • Earth Science fragrance-free shampoo & conditioner (unscented)
  • Free & Clear shampoo & conditioner (unscented)
  • Get Lathered solid shampoo & conditioner bars (unscented)
  • John Masters Organics Bare shampoo & conditioner (unscented)
  • John Masters Organics, various other shampoos & conditioners, the ones aimed at drier hair (scented)

That is, over the lifetime of this here blog. Approximately. Also tried out assorted others, that didn’t even make a preliminary cut. Using cruelty-free stuff, and ideally ticking assorted other ethical boxes. As you’ve seen, I’ve used some scented stuff from time to time. Some scents are OK in terms of how they smell; most hair-product ones aren’t, and at best just make me sneeze and/or nauseous. Many, including many essential oils, are not OK on my skin. So I tend to go for unscented hair stuff. There’s more of that in these old posts, and some reviews on individual products:


I like the idea of solid shampoo and conditioner: if it’s well-made, it’s basically a concentrated version of what you get in a bottle, minus water. Saves resources: water, packaging. Takes up less space. Easier to travel with: can go in your carry-on, unlike larger (>100 ml) bottles. Is often economical, working out cheaper than liquid products.

I know that LUSH make solid hair stuff, and applaud their environmental and other ethics. Their products are, however, no good on my skin. Main reason: the scents. This is a shame; it would be great if they were to start making some sensitive-friendly stuff, you know, to start caring about human beings and their skins (and eyes, and respiratory systems) as much as they do about the rest of creation.

I also know that lots of indies make solid shampoos: most of these are, again scented; and many-to-most aren’t true detergent-concentrate shampoos, they’re traditional-method cold-process soaps. High (alkaline) pH. Work fine on some hair types, and short hair: come The Zombie Apocalypse, I’ll be cutting all my hair off anyway and any soap will be a luxury. In the meantime, I’m actually better off washing my hair with water alone (or conditioner): otherwise the result is dry tangled straw with bits coming out, and an itchy scalp. Worst cases it’s been an inflamed itchy scalp.

Summer is definitely the best time to mess around with hair stuff—and the risk of scalp horrors—as I wear hats every day, apart from when I take my hat off indoors at work, when I’ll have my hair up in a chignon/bun thing. When it’s longer, it just goes into a plait/braid. (Winter: I try to grow hair out a bit longer, so I can use it, loose, wrapped around neck as an inner scarf.)

Anyway: on me, this new stuff I’ve been using for the last month: it works. The shampoo cleans my hair, without stripping it. No scalp issues. The conditioner conditions and moistens hair. Hair afterwards is smooth, less curly, less frizz-prone, lighter-weight (not puffing out into a voluminous puffball at the ends), shiny. A lot of that can be blamed on the beauty that is dimethicone, plus the jojoba oil in both the shampoo and conditioner (my skin and hair do well with it; just as an ingredient though, rather than used alone), and the conditioner’s other standard coconut-derived Good Stuff. Here’s its full ingredient list: Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearalkonium Chloride, Cocoa Butter, Dimethicone, Capylic/Capric Triglyeride, Jojoba Oil, Jojoba Protein.

Like the jazz appreciators say: *nice*

I use the shampoo at around 1.5 x the rate of the conditioner; a bar of shampoo will last 10-12 weeks, and conditioner 15-18, used every two days.


ballyhoo solid shampoo

US$10.00 for a 4 oz (113 g) bar

INGREDIENTS: Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Propanediol, Capylic/Capric Triglyeride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hydrolized Jojoba Protein, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Stearalkonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate

A tip: I find this easiest to use when applied to an upside-down head, rather than the right way up. Apply to damp hair; one can do any combination of applying it directly to hair and scalp (with the flat side, holding the bar by its curvy hemisphere), and rubbing it between hands, lathering, and applying to hair via hands.

Another tip: I keep these—as I did with my Get Lathered shampoo and conditioner bars—in smallish round plastic ziploc tupperware containers with holes cut in the bottom. I can keep the solid bars in the shower this way, in a caddy, on a shelf that’s not directly hit by the shower’s water-jet. Here’s an old photo (currently: same containers, different contents, and the labels have come off):

get lathered solid shampoo and conditioner in ziploc containers

I cut holes (just cut using a standard sharp knife) into the underside, for draining off water: otherwise the bars will dissolve, and will also be clammy and crumbly. Both ways, substance is lost, wasted. Storing the bars in the shower with the hole-side downwards means any water/moisture left on the bar and in the container drips down and out. View of underside, with container tipped upside down:

get lathered solid conditioner bar in ziploc container, view of underside


ballyhoo solid conditioner

US$10.00 for a 4 oz (113 g) bar

INGREDIENTS: Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearalkonium Chloride, Cocoa Butter, Dimethicone, Capylic/Capric Triglyeride, Jojoba Oil, Jojoba Protein

Application: I usually apply this after rinsing out the shampoo, head upside down. More on the ends and underside, but as my hair’s dry, I do use this all over including *shock horror* above the ears. Using hands (rather than a wide-toothed comb) to distribute the conditioner evenly. I leave it on for a few minutes while I wash the rest of myself; if I can run my hands (gently!) through my hair, it’s ready to rinse. If I encounter resistance, I remove hands and wait another minute or so. Again, using hands here rather than a comb.

Same tip as above: stored in a plastic ziploc container.

I don’t get the shampoo and conditioner mixed up: the bars are different shapes, different textures (the conditioner is more sleek and smooth on the surface), and the shampoo is a whiter shade of pale. This is a potential issue, as I’m very short-sighted and am functionally close to blind in the shower. Yes, seriously: when at a new place, ex. visiting, I have to place objects in the shower in chronological order of use and do a (literally) dry-run test, before having a shower, to know where everything is inc. the shower-head, controls, curtain/doors, all edges, etc. This disability and habit does mean I’ve developed fair (for a sighted person) spatial and haptic memory. Swings and roundabouts… all with swingy swishy hair…

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