I’d like to hear from people who wash their hair with soap and by soap I mean Saponified SOAP (not syndet bars, shampoo bars or melt and pour bars)
I really don’t like it when I go up to a market stall to look at their beautiful soap and they say any of these things:
- Our soap doesn’t contain any of the nasty chemicals you find in commercial products.
- Our soap can be used on people with eczema
- Our soap can even be used to wash your hair.
The first one grates on me because I am a chemist and while I don’t love ALL chemicals I love chemistry and find the phrase ‘nasty chemicals’ mildly offensive. Well, I don’t really but it does make me roll my eyes and make a mental note that this person probably doesn’t really understand what goes into ‘commercial’ soap many of which contain the same ingredients as his or hers I’m sure.
The second comment brings back memories of childhood that I should probably seek therapy for (another joke). I used to have skin that was red raw and weeping from eczema and soap was not my friend. It might have been the perfume or the commercial ‘nasties’ but having used soap since (and all kinds including the nice hand-made stuff) I am still not a fan for my eczema prone places as it just dries me out too much. This is personal though, maybe if the soap people said ‘we have had some eczema sufferers say that they prefer this soap over shop bought soap because it is super fatted and has a much lower pH than your average soap bar’ I absolutely would buy some as that sounds more than reasonable to me even though I still wouldn’t be convinced without trying that it would help my hands, knees and elbow creases.
But it is the third one that really makes me wonder what planet people are on and I feel bad about that. I hate being so judgemental and yes, I know that hate is a strong word but I truly do feel so bad when the first thought that comes into my mind when someone spouts something I feel is rubbish is ‘oh my God, I feel like such a bitch’. I want to fix this situation because a) don’t want to feel like such a bitch (selfish motive first) and b) I feel that there is always more to learn and maybe, just maybe I haven’t given it enough of a go.
My dad (bless him) used to wash his hair with soap. Imperial Leather, still reminds me of my dad. He had short, wiry hair and still does. I never saw him use conditioner (it’s not for men) and never really saw or heard him complain about having a bad hair day or whatever even though I clearly remember his hair being anything but soft.
I have longer hair, my hair is also fine and prone to breakage (I get it caught in stuff – laboratory mixers, handbag straps, my mouth while I’m eating dinner….) and on the odd occasion when I have washed my hair with soap it has been terrible.
Scientifically a bar of saponified soap will not be the best thing for the hair.
Saponification raises the pH of the oils and turns them into soap with pH varying from around 8.5-12 depending on how much Lye is left.
The hair is best kept acidic as it is made up of Keratin and keratin is an AMINO ACID. Acids tend to break down when they go into alkali situations and, well, you can see where this is heading.
Saponified soap is also an issue in hard water and forms scum which is a big issue where I live as we bathe in mineral water up here in the beautiful Blue Mountains. I am aware that not everywhere has this issue so maybe again I have problems that others wont.
So, what to do?
Well I would like to hear from people who do wash their hair with saponified soap and like or LOVE it.
I would like to know what your water is like?
What your hair is like
What soap you use
Whether you use conditioner afterwards or not.
and of course, where you got the soap from.
Then I will set up an experiment (with controlled water) to test them myself. My testing is not to counter this soapy love, it is to satisfy my own curiosity and (hopefully) to have my prejudice put to rest.
So what do you think? Will you help out?
Comment on the blog and we can go from there. It would be great to see the soapy hair washing in action via a video but as that is probably a bit tricky for some people an email or comment is also enough.
Let’s see what soap can do!