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Can I Use Soap as Shampoo? (With 5 Alternatives)

I have traveled quite a bit during my career. More than once, I stayed in a hotel that did not supply shampoo. Having forgotten mine a couple of times, I used a bar of soap to clean my hair instead. But should I be doing this, or is it doing damage?

Soap can be used as shampoo and is an effective method of washing hair if used occasionally. However, over the long term, it can actually damage hair and make it brittle and dull. Therefore, it is best to only use soap when you have no alternative available.

Now, let’s go into greater detail on the problem with using soap as shampoo and discuss a few alternatives.

Why Is Soap Not Ideal for Washing Hair?

Soap is acceptable to use as a hair cleanser on occasion. However, real soap is made with fat and could leave a residue in one’s hair that won’t dissolve properly in water, making hair feel waxy and dry instead of smooth and shiny.

Thankfully, there are other affordable and healthy alternatives to try.

What Can I Use to Wash My Hair Besides Shampoo?

If you’re looking for more natural solutions to traditional shampoo or merely unimpressed with the shampoo you’re currently using, there are some options available:

Apple Cider Vinegar

While it won’t actually clean your hair, apple cider vinegar can help ward off bacteria in your hair and remove product buildup. It can also restore your hair to its natural strength and shine.

You should be careful while using apple cider vinegar since it may irritate your scalp, and you should always dilute it since pure apple cider vinegar will slowly break down your hair. It’s probably best to steer clear of white vinegar entirely since it’s considered to be too acidic for hair.

How to Use: Apply your apple cider vinegar and water solution to your hair (try five parts water to one part vinegar) with a spray bottle, work it through your scalp, and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out.

Baking Soda

If you want to really clean your hair naturally, try using baking soda. Since it has a high pH balance (meaning it’s a base rather than an acid), it works effectively as a cleanser. However, it will most likely dry out your hair and set your pH off balance, so it’s best to use apple cider vinegar in tandem with baking soda to offset its effects.

How to Use: Mix together one part baking soda to three parts water to form a paste. Massage the paste into your scalp and through your hair strands. Let it sit for a minute or two and then rinse it out.

Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo has become quite popular in recent years. It can be a convenient way to rid your hair of excess oil, but it will not truly clean your hair, and it can also clog your hair follicles, which may lead to infection. Use dry shampoo in a pinch, but don’t consider it your go-to solution for washing your hair. Simply give your bottle of dry shampoo a shake and spray throughout your hair. Let the shampoo dry before styling your hair.

Oil-Based Cleansing

Not all oil-based shampoos are created equal, and some can be quite expensive. However, if you find the right oil-based shampoo, it can leave your hair looking and feeling clean and healthy.

Contrary to what oil-based shampoos may sound like, they can actually be handy in removing excess oil and debris without stripping your hair of its natural oils.

How to Use: For best results, start with dry hair then spray your scalp with the cleansing oil. Comb the oil through your hair with a comb or brush, massage your scalp, and then rinse after two to five minutes.

Shampoo Bars

Shampoo bars are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why. They’re made of natural ingredients that are better for your hair, they’re packaged in a more environmentally-conscious way than plastic bottles, and they may save you a lot of money.

If you switch to shampoo bars, you may even be able to skip conditioner, since the bars are typically made with more nourishing ingredients than typical shampoo. They’re also great for travel since they’re more compact than travel-sized bottles, and you don’t have to put them in a liquids bag.

Pro Tip: It is recommended that if you choose to go the route of the shampoo bar that you use an apple cider vinegar rinse once or twice a week to remove waxy buildup, since, just like in body soap, there are saponified oils in the bars. To use, simply rub the bar between your hands until you work up a lather, then run them through your hair and rinse.

Final Thoughts

Overall, while using soap every once in a while is adequate for cleaning hair, it should not be something you do every day. Either alternate in a substitute or just lower your standard on keeping your head clean for a few days.

I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for stoppin’ by!