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Can you wash your hair with soap?

Announcement 16/03/2017
Following years of development, and with the kind help of testers, we’re beyond excited to announce the launch of TWO totally natural shampoos, well suited to even hard water conditions.

soap 4 (47)This is a question I’ve been asked every week this year so far, so I thought I’d share a recent email I wrote to a customer on the subject.

Have you ever tried/thought about washing your hair with soap?

We’d love to hear your experiences or reservations! You can leave your comments at the end of this post, or get in touch with us here.


Can you wash your hair with your soap?

Although not specifically formulated for use as such, many of our customers are pleased with the results they achieve when using some of our soap bars as shampoos.

The most popular in general are the Gentle Goat’s Milk and Ylang Ylang Flower. For those with dry/sensitive skin and scalps though, the Castile soaps generally win out.

The thing about washing the hair with bar soap is that its effectiveness/whether people like it is down to a whole host of factors:

  • hair length
  • scalp type/sensitivity
  • water quality & measures taken to mitigate against hard water
  • technique
  • what the hair has previously been washed with

Washing hair with soap_ALL NATURAL SOAP CoThe most unintuitive part of washing your hair with soap (as opposed to the body) is that it won’t necessarily entirely wash off the hair, as it does with the body, in hard water areas.

The minerals in the hard water react with the soap, deposit on the hair and can leave it feeling ‘unclean’ or ‘waxy’. This is easily resolved by using a simple acidic rinse after washing the hair with soap. (Instructions below).

In soft water this is generally not a problem though, and you should be able to wash your hair with soap and have it rinse away. Whether you like how your hair feels though, will be related to whether you’re using an appropriate bar, and the factors mentioned above.

In general, people with short hair and non hyper sensitive scalps, should do well with the Goat’s Milk and Ylang Ylang bars. The Castile soaps tend to work well with those with very dry, curly hair and they are simply loved by our customers with dreads.

Depending on what you’ve been washing your hair with before, you may need to go through an adjustment period. Shampoos/conditioners with silicones and other plastics in them leave a coating on the hair that will need to be removed before natural shampoo (bar soap) will work. The rinse described below is a good start, but in general this will just take time – on average, anywhere from 1 wash to 1 month of washes. During this adjustment period, the hair can feel excessively dry or oily but this should normalise in time.

Technique is also important – particularly with the less foamy Castile soaps. You can either ‘hand lather’ and apply the foam to the scalp, or rub the bar directly into the scalp, making sure to cover the entire scalp. It is not necessary to ‘wash’ the ends of longer hair, as these will be cleaned when you rinse out the shampoo. Excessive scrubbing of the bars on the lengths of the hair can lead to knotting.

Acidic Hair Rinse

This is really easy – simply add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a 1ltr jug and take into the shower with you. When you’ve finished cleaning your hair with the soap bar, fill your jug up with water from the shower and pour over the head.

If your hair is long, you can make the rinse last twice as long (and therefore increase the detangling benefits) by only using half a jug-full, then re-filling the (half-full) jug again and rinsing.

Detangling long hair with your fingers while rinsing is also a good idea.

The amount of vinegar is a guide and you may need to adjust the proportions to suit. In general, more vinegar = more conditioning/detangling effects, but only up to a point. You don’t want to be using neat vinegar on the hair, as this may actually cause an opposite drying effect.

Whether you rinse the hair with water after the vinegar rinse is a matter of personal taste. The faint vinegar smell does go away once the hair is dry, but some people like to doubly make sure and rinse again with water. This will however, cause the hair cuticles not to lie as flat, and therefore not look as shiny and be more prone to tangling. If the final (post vinegar) rinse is of very cold water though, this can help increase shine.

Which vinegar to use?

The most popular hair-rinse-vinegar right now seems to be raw Apple Cider vinegar. Personally, I find this too drying though and love cheap and simple White Wine Vinegar.

If your scalp is particularly itchy/hair is very dry/frizzy, you can add a teaspoon of honey to the vinegar (making sure it is smooth, not crystalline and well dispersed in the vinegar-water). This also can help with the vinegar smell.

Note: in Sri Lanka, limes are rubbed on the hair to increase shine. I haven’t tried this myself, but could be an interesting and fragrant option!

Also, one of our customers with hyper sensitive skin (and very hard water) has decided to buy in distilled water to wash her hair with (as opposed to using the vinegar rinse).

Note: If your skin is VERY sensitive, then the vinegar rinse is best done over the bath (so you only get it on your hair, not skin).



I hope washing your hair with bar soaps works for you but do bear in mind that for a few people sadly it simply doesn’t work. The convenience and lack of plastic that one bar soap/shampoo affords though, is for me at least, a good reason to give it a fair trial.

If you have any questions about washing your hair with our soap bars, then please get in touch, or leave us a comment below.

We’d also love to hear from you if you fancy sharing your experiences of washing your hair with soap bars.

Ooh and for those of you that have read this far, we can confirm that the rumours are true – we are indeed developing some ALL NATURAL SOAP Co shampoo bars! Like all our products, these will only be released when we’ve got them just right, but if you fancy becoming a future tester then please get in touch.

11 thoughts on “Can you wash your hair with soap?

  1. what’s a natural way to get hair to grow and to also get rid of grey hair.

    1. Hi Theresa,

      A traditional method for darkening gray hairs is to use a sage hair rinse – a handful of fresh sage leaves left to steep in 1 litre of boiling water until cool, strained and then poured over the head after shampooing. Stimulation of the scalp with brushing or massage is believed to encourage hair growth.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Hi, we have been using your Goat milk one for hair washing for the past 2 months. My husband has no problem but I keep having very itchy scalp. At the beginning I thought my body was adapting to the change but It’s been 2 months now… I wash my hair every 3 – 4 days and use apple cider vinegar to condition afterwards. Do you have any idea to get rid of the itchiness? Thanks!

    1. Hi Hota,

      Many thanks for the order and question.

      Sorry to hear you’ve been experiencing an itchy scalp. Hard to know exactly what’s causing the itchiness.

      A few suggestions

      – particularly if you’re in a hard water area, its a good idea (even with the vinegar rinse) to make sure you lather the soap really well. This will help to ensure the soap is rinsing away as cleanly as possible and not depositing on the hair and scalp. Our soap bars contain ‘free oils’ and this attention to lathering can really help ensure you don’t end up with too many on the hair/scalp.

      – if your scalp is also dry, you might like to try using a boar bristle brush in between washes to improve circulation and help spread the natural oils through your hair and scalp

      – the soap bar/rinse might not be appropriate for you hair and scalp combination. The Castile Olive Soap would be good one to try for comparison. You might also get on better with a lime juice or white white vinegar rinse. If you’re experiencing dryness, adding in a little honey to your rinse could also help.

      – you might like to try our new Shampoo Soap launching soon! This is formulated with ingredients specifically known to improve scalp health. If you sign up to our newsletter here or follow us on Facebook you’ll know as soon as this comes out.

      I hope that helps.

      Any more questions, feel free to email us at [email protected].

  3. Can vinegar be added to the soap?

    1. Great question! and apologies for the delay coming back to you – we’re just back from our winter break.

      Without getting too technical, adding vinegar into the formula would reduce the effectiveness of the alkali, therefore prevent the correct amount of oils from becoming soap and create a bit of a gooey mess. Not ideal 🙂

      However, we have managed to mimick this effect totally naturally in our new shampoo bar – launching very soon!

  4. we are keen to use a soap bar for hair washing – particularly as we travel to India. Would love to be guinea pigs if you need more but will try one or two of your recommendations in the mean time.

    1. Thanks for the comment Caroline – you’re in luck, we literally have one sample left and are popping it in with your order today.

  5. Thank you soooo much for the information !I use a natural olive oil soap bar instead of shampoo but my hair we’re very sticky afterwards.. I mean I couldn’t rinse it off well.I am so gonna try your way!

    1. No problem Fay! Hope it works well for you 🙂

  6. Our new formula Trad. Shaving Soap can also be used to wash the hair.

    Pretty similar to a traditional shampoo bar, this bar is suitable for all hair types, but will particularly benefit those with dry hair and an irritated scalp.

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