For some, using bar soap on their hair is a no-brainer. It can help to minimize the amount of clutter in your bathroom and is perfect for those who may have forgotten to pack shampoo while travelling. Plus, it's not a big deal if you use it every once in a while. However, for those with thick, coarse, or curly hair, bar soap can be a nightmare. It can strip away natural oils, leaving hair dry and brittle.
What is the difference between soap bars, shampoo bars and homemade soap bars?
Soap bars, shampoo bars and homemade soap bars all serve different purposes. Soap bars are designed to cleanse the body, while shampoo bars are designed to cleanse the hair. Homemade soap bars can be used for either purpose, but they are not as effective as purchased soap bars or shampoo bars. This is because homemade soap bars may not contain all the same ingredients as purchased soap bars or shampoo bars, which is why they may not work as well.
Why is there such a difference between soap and shampoo?
Shampoo bars are made with similar ingredients, but they also contain cleansing agents that remove dandruff and build-up from the hair.
When it comes to getting rid of oil and dirt, soap and shampoo are not created equal. Soap is made with ingredients that lather well and remove dirt and oil from the skin. The main ingredient are fats or oils that are combined with an alkali, to create a cleansing agent. Shampoo is made with similar ingredients, but they also contain cleansing agents that remove dandruff and build-up from the hair. They contain detergents that are designed to break up oil and dirt so it can be rinsed away.
Is using regular bar soap bad for your hair?
We’re often asked, can you use bar soap as shampoo? Soap can be harsh on the hair and scalp, stripping away natural oils that protect the hair shaft and leaving the hair feeling dry and brittle. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if it’s a last resort, but the answer depends on a variety of factors.
Frequency of use
It's unlikely to damage your hair if you only use bar soap once or twice a week to wash it. However, if you are using it every day, it could start to strip away the natural oils in your hair, leading to dryness and breakage.
Bar soap may not be the best choice if your scalp is dry or sensitive. The ingredients in some soaps can aggravate existing conditions like dandruff or eczema.
If you have short hair, you’re less likely to experience damage from using regular bar soap. This is because shorter strands are more resilient and can bounce back quickly from any potential drying effects. However, if you have long or damaged hair, regular bar soap may not be the best option. This is because the soap can strip away natural oils, leaving your strands feeling dry and brittle.
For those with hard water, which contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, it can actually be good to use a bar soap. That’s because the soap can help remove those minerals from your hair. On the other hand, if you have soft water, which contains few minerals, using regular bar soap can leave your hair feeling dry and straw-like. So, if you have soft water, it’s best to use a shampoo that’s specifically designed for soft water.
Regular bar soap is not ideal for all hair types. This is because the ingredients in bar soap can strip away natural oils from the scalp and strands, which can lead to dehydration and an imbalance in the scalp’s pH levels. This can then cause problems like dandruff, an itchy scalp, and even hair loss.
How bar soap affects your hair and scalp
Soap is one of the most commonly used cleansing agents. It is known for its ability to remove dirt and oil from the skin. However, what many people do not realize is that soap can also have a negative effect on the hair and scalp. Here are some ways in which bar soap can affect your hair and scalp:
- It can cause tangles: When soap gets into the hair, it can cause the strands to tangle together. This can make combing and brushing difficult and can lead to breakage.
- It aggravates the skin: Soap can strip away the natural oils that protect the skin, causing it to become dry, irritated, and even inflamed.
- It strips the scalp: Just as soap can strip away the natural oils from the skin, it can also strip away essential oils from the scalp.
pH and your hair
When it comes to your hair, the pH balance is important. Your hair is naturally acidic, with a pH level of around 4.5. This acidity helps to keep your hair healthy and free from bacteria.
Most bar soaps are alkaline and can disrupt the pH of your hair and scalp, causing fizziness. When the pH of your hair is disrupted, it can cause your hair to become more susceptible to damage and breakage. This limits your hair's ability to fight off bacteria and can lead to scalp problems.
To maintain healthy hair, choose shampoos with a pH level that matches your hair's natural acidity. Additionally, avoiding products that contain harsh chemicals can also help to keep your hair healthy and free from frizz.
Can you use a shampoo bar for the body?
If you want to simplify your bath routine and limit your products, using a shampoo bar for the body might be a better route to go. You might even find yourself more moisturised after, too.
Shampoo bars are made with natural oils and butters that can help to nourish and moisturise the skin. They also tend to be more pH balanced than traditional soaps, which can help to prevent dryness and irritation. Plus, they're super concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
If you're looking to try out a shampoo bar, our Travel Soap Bar is a great option as it's two in one. Plus, it's perfect for taking on holiday with you as it doesn't need any packaging.