Thanks to D.V. in Illinois for their fabulous question, chosen for another installment of “Get the Dirt!” D.V. also gets to choose a free bar of Sarva Soap!
“The ingredients in your soaps seem to be great to use as a shampoo bar. Are your soaps indeed hair friendly?”
Sarva Soap Co. offers soaps that are formulated as “hair and body” soaps, specifically designed to perform excellently on both. A good shampoo soap produces rich lather without being stripping or, conversely, leaving an unpleasant coating on the hair. Check out our hair and body soaps here.
Everyone’s hair is different. It’s best to know your own hair type and personality. Rather than making any specific cosmetic claims (“moisturizing,” “clarifying,”) for Sarva soap, it’s more accurate to say that most people find a soap formulation that “fits” their skin, or, in this case, “fits” their hair.
Why use bar soap instead of shampoo?
People who use bar soap to cleanse their hair do so for the same reasons they choose handcrafted soaps over commercial bars: Handcrafted bar soaps are gentler and contain natural glycerin, a humectant that is often not present in commercial products. Environmentally conscious shoppers feel good about not adding more plastic bottles to landfills; what’s more, soap is biodegradable while detergent is not. Shampoo bar aficionados say that their hair has more bounce and feels healthier. Detergents can be drying. But when shampooing with a well formulated shampoo soap, many people notice less breakage and find their hair is less dry, so they no longer require a conditioner because there’s no more dryness to compensate for.
How to wash your hair with soap
Wet your hair, gently rub the bar of soap over your scalp, massage, rinse, repeat if desired. Afterward, you can rinse with a very small bit of vinegar (ideally a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water) after using a shampoo bar; this can help balance the scalp’s pH level and provide a clean rinse. This is what I do, and I keep a spray bottle in my shower. Condition if desired, depending on your hair type.
The hair and scalp will need a brief adjustment period if you’re switching to bar soap. Some people notice a bit of a heavy feeling to the hair for a couple days; this is something that goes away. My customers and I find that the notion of “soap scum” remaining in your hair is a myth; after all, I certainly don’t feel like there’s soap scum on my skin after using soap. In fact, your hair and skin may feel more balanced and less stripped if you’re not using detergents.
What kind of soap to use
The best shampoo bars typically contain castor oil, cocoa butter, or shea butter. Sarva takes it a step further and includes jojoba and hempseed oil for even more luxury. However, even Sarva soaps that are not labeled “hair and body” contain a balanced amount of many of these ingredients, so you are welcome to try these on your hair as well, but please know they were not designed specifically for this purpose; check out Sarva’s hair and body soaps for comparison.
What not to use
In general, avoid soaps containing salt, clay (especially naturally pigmented clays), or a very high concentration of coconut oil; these can be drying. Clay-containing commercial shampoos are marketed to people with oily and fine hair with the claim of lending extra body and absorbing excess oil. Some people prefer not to use castile soaps (very high olive oil content). People with special needs might do well to choose a specially formulated traditional shampoo or consult a hair care professional.
As always, your own experience is your best guide, and my product suggestions do not constitute professional advice; please consult your favorite hair care professionals for the best information.
But is it really soap?
Some “shampoo bars” are actually synthetic detergents in bar form – when you buy these, you’re not getting real bar soap or all of the benefits I described above, so read labels carefully. Sarva’s hair and body bars are indeed true soap as defined by the FDA, expertly crafted to perform on hair and skin, and kind to the environment.
Got a soap-related question of your own? Submit it in the comments below or contact me directly!
Note: Information given by Sarva Soap Co. is not intended as medical, diagnostic, or curative treatment, and your results may vary. Know your own skin, and if you’re working with a medical professional, follow their advice first.