SOAP BASED SHAMPOOS: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
In the search for what’s almost perfect (“almost” because we’ve never had a “perfect” choice. There’s always a con to the pros) for our hair, we’ve surfed websites, checked out malls and talked to strangers with good-looking hair just get to a referral. Looking at all the efforts we’ve put into getting the right hair formula, we expect our hair to at least, respect our hard work and get into shape but it appears that efforts don’t mean so much to these follicles.
Talking about formulas, there is every possibility that we’ve been looking at the things that only make little difference. What if the “formula” we need is not in the oils and assorted hair products but in simple things like…shampoos?
It is no longer news that shampoos now come in bars, not just liquid. The reason for this switch wasn’t based on the need for something new but rather, a healthier alternative to hair washing. That said, let’s look at the qualities that a regular shampoo possesses.
Shampoos are made from a wide variety of ingredients and these ingredients also vary depending on the brand responsible for production. However, there are certain qualities that every bottle of shampoo possesses regardless of the hands behind the wheel.
Every organic substance has chemical qualities that affect its pH and the number of hydrogen ions in the substance is what determines if the pH is acidic or basic. The pH scale reads from 0 to 14. Any value from 0 to 6.9 is acidic; 0 being the most acidic and 6.9 being least. Values that go from 7.1 to 14 are basic; 7.1 being the least basic and 14 the highest. 7, which is the midpoint, is neutral and that is the pH of water.
Liquid shampoos fall somewhere between 5 and 7 which is not so harmful to the hair. This is as a result of the curriculum acid content in most shampoos we find on the block. However, soap-based shampoos have been argued to be better than these regular shampoos because of how most shampoos dry up the moisture content in the scalp.
To get a justified view of the soap-based shampoos, let us consider their qualities as well.
Soap based shampoos are not shampoos that have been made into a solid form. They are made from entirely different ingredients and are also grouped into two different types depending on their manufacturing process and content.
On a regular note, the pH of soap lies on the higher side, 7 to 9, which indicates that it is basic/alkaline. Interestingly, our hair also possesses its own pH strength which has been put at a range of 4.5 to 5.5. Putting the components together, we can see that the pH value of soap is slightly unhealthy for a normal hair texture because the level of acidity in the hair is necessary for protecting the scalp from infections.
Now, this is not a problem as one thing is constant after washing: rinsing with water. As explained earlier, water has a neutral pH that is capable of lowering the pH of any basic substance and since water would be used for rinsing, the pH of the soap used is automatically lowered. However, some people see the need to properly balance this equation and that explains the need for other organic products being used immediately after washing.
Before we list out the products we recommend for use alongside soap-based shampoos, here’s a breakdown of the type of soap-based shampoos and what they consist of.
As the name suggests, this process of shampoo bar making has little to nothing to do with heat. The soap may be made from a host of ingredients including coconut and olive oil but in the end, it is allowed to solidify under cool temperature conditions. This makes the curing process of the soap longer and more time-consuming than if heat were applied.
Hair experts say that the cold-process soap is better suited to the hair because it is wholly made from natural ingredients. From start to finish, no synthetic material is added and after saponification, the bar appears to have a very smooth texture.
Besides being gentle to the hair, cold-process soaps effectively get rid of dandruff in the hair. This stems from the absence of chemicals that sap the moisture out of your hair, leaving it dry and prone to dandruff.
Sydnet is short for “synthetic detergent”. Unlike the cold-process soaps, sydnets are not entirely made from natural sources. They are more similar to the regular shampoos as they are made from chemicals called surfactants.
These surfactants are responsible for breaking the surface tension of water. In other words, they penetrate through water molecules, breaking the bonds they possess thereby making the water “softer”. This is why they lather so well when used on the hair.
Most importantly, surfactants allow water and grease–which are supposed to be immiscible–mix. When this happens on your hair, the result is a dry scalp which is definitely not what you hoped for. This is in addition to all of the toxic effects that surfactants have been proven to deposit on our ecosystem.
It is ideal for people who choose the sydnet to accompany the product with good hair conditioners to step down the pH content and add some moisture back to the hair follicles.
Without further comparison, it is evident that the cold-process soap bars are the “almost perfect” choice for our hair as the only con that they possess can be solved by rinsing the hair properly with water and using organic products such as:
Apple cider vinegar hair rinse.
Lemon juice hair rinse.
Baking soda hair rinse.
Aloe Vera hair rinse and;
Black tea hair rinse.
Thankfully, all of the products mentioned above can be made in the comfort of your home. The most used, however, is the apple cider vinegar rinse as vinegar is known to have a pH value as low as 2 to 4. This balances out the alkalinity deposited in the hair as a result of washing with a cold-process soap.
So, before making any drastic hair move, weigh out your options on a scale. Switching to a shampoo bar doesn’t mean your hair would automatically feel better than ever before. The change may “shock” the hair initially but after five to six applications, it would begin to settle in.
I have long hair and it’s very important to me. So I needed to get this right. I wash my scalp with the soap and those first few inches of hair. That’s where the oils build up. The rest of your hair doesn’t need soap on it. since it doesn’t get the natural moisturizing oils your scalp gives off. Hence the reason we use conditioner. So I rinse out the shampoo and then I pour a little bit of apple cider vinegar into a cup and fill it up with water. You only need about a tea spoon per cup of water. You can eyeball it, no need to overthink it. Then I pour that rinse all over my hair. Now I apply conditioner to the rest of my hair. If your hair is longer than six inches, you should condition the hair past that point. If it isn’t that long then you don’t need conditioner. Then I continue washing the rest of my body and rinse the vinegar and conditioner out. Voila – soft and shiny hair!
Thank you for reading! Really hope you found this article useful. Be sure to check out our other resources we have available for you. Want to make your own shampoo, but don’t know which oils to choose? We have you covered! Check out our article on How to Choose Oils for DIY Shampoo. You might find this introduction to acids and bases helpful as well. If you need to familiarize yourself more with soap making you can check out this article on The Cold Process Method. Be sure to grab some mimosa hostilis root bark powder to add to your soaps and shampoos. If you haven’t heard about the Benefits of MHRB then follow that link. Here’s an easy MHRB soap recipe for you as well.