From Shampoo to Soap – My story

Here’s the problem. All the bad guys I mentioned in my post about ingredients are in shampoo. Common among them are SLES and other –eth’s. (linked to the carcinogenic byproduct 1,4 Dioxane). There’s another realm of common shampoo ingredients called “quats” which stand for quaternium compounds. These little lovelies are linked to another carcinogenic byproduct – formaldehyde. However, this is our hair we’re talking about. How much variance from conventional products can it take? As moms we’ve often already accepted that parts of our bodies will never be what they once were. Do we really have to give up our hair, too, in order to be truly healthy?

When my brother first started talking about using the castile and Shikakai soaps for hair, I really thought he was taking things a little too far. I can hardly exaggerate my skepticism of this idea. Personally, I am a sucker for those shampoo commercials with the slow-motion shots of luxurious, strong, super-shiny hair. Despite what I know about what’s in conventional shampoos, I just couldn’t give it up in exchange for what I figured would be a head of dull and tangled frizz.

Once the Hair Rinse was fully produced and marketed, I finally bit the bullet and gave it a shot. At least I could pronounce all the ingredients and was familiar with them. At the time I was responding to customer service emails, and I needed to know first-hand what we were selling.

So, instant conversion? Nope. Here’s what happened. (This is based on my observations and deductions – not scientific research.) When I washed and conditioned my hair conventionally, my hair felt slippery even after it was rinsed. I thought this texture was good and meant my hair was strong and smooth. In retrospect, this slipperiness was a coating to conceal damage.

The first time I washed my hair with soap, that coating was quickly and completely stripped away, exposing my hair for the overworked, tired mess that it was. I applied the rinse, diluting it and doing the double dose that the instructions recommend. It helped detangle my hair, but my hair had no natural moisture and the strands were clearly damaged. By the end of the day, my hair was completely flat. It seemed full of static, and just didn’t feel clean. This just wasn’t going to work. I gave up.

It was several months later that I resolved to try again, this time giving the soap/rinse more of a chance. I washed my hair every two days, just as I always have. I rinsed with the Hair Rinse. I let the hair rinse sit on my hair for most of my shower, rinsing it off at the end. Once a week, I used a more conventional shampoo and conditioner, to help ease the transition. Over a period of two weeks, my hair got stronger and stronger. It became soft and silky – all on its own. I think my scalp realized it needed to wake up and do the job it was meant to do.

I also discovered that my hair is much wavier than I knew, now that it’s not weighed down by all the residue. That’s been kind of fun. My hair does better when I blow my hair dry, but that was true before I made the switch. Now that I’ve been using the soap for over a year, I only need one dose of the rinse. I no longer use any other products on my hair. It looks worse when I do.

I’m really pleased with my hair now. I got used to this different system. I keep a plastic cup in the shower for diluting the Hair Rinse (although I’ve poured a cupful straight on my hair when my cup has walked away – works OK). My hair does not feel slippery when I’m done, but it is tangle-free, and when it dries, it is smooth and soft. It is a big time and money saver to be able to wash myself from head to toe with one product. It’s a lot less complicated, too – a lot less to think about, especially in my pre-coffee morning fog.

Regarding the Style Crème, I had to do a little more trial and error with this. I found that for me it works best after my hair is dry. I use a pea sized amount to smooth any frizzies and keep things a little more in place.

Everyone’s hair has its own personality and there will need to be some trial and error in switching to Dr. Bronner’s soap and the Hair Rinse. Whether to use the pure castile soap or the Shikakai soap. (I prefer the castile because I like the almond, but texture-wise, they both work great.) How many rinses to do. How long to let the rinse sit on the hair. Whether to dry with a blow dryer or let it air dry. Whether to use the Style Crème on wet hair or dry hair. How many days you’ll need to wait for damaged hair to repair. You see what worked for me. That should get you started.

One disclaimer – don’t do this on colored hair. The alkalinity of the soap opens up the hair follicles, where the color resides. The color will drain out and fade quickly. Colored hair needs acidic products only. (Soap, by nature, cannot be acidic. Only detergents (shampoo) can be.)

490 thoughts on “From Shampoo to Soap – My story

  1. Sir i have very dry hairs and getting bald
    Doed washing hair with soap daily effect hairs?
    Plz tell some home remides

  2. Hi! Honestly I didn’t read through every comment, so hopefully this hasn’t already been answered! I just started using diluted Dr. Bronners today as shampoo. I didn’t make the decision to do so until I was in the shower, saw the soap, and thought “why not!” so I didn’t use an ACV rinse. My hair actually still feels really nice though! Is it absolutely necessary to use an acidic rinse, or can some people get away with just using the diluted castle soap? Just wonderin’!
    Thanks in advance for your reply! ☺

  3. So what do you recommend for colored hair? Will your company be making anything for that?

  4. Hi, I’ve just discovered the concept of using soap as shampoo after many years of struggling with organic shampoos that don’t clean my hair properly. I tried a bar soap designed as shampoo, and it had castor oil as one of the ingredients, which I thought was a fantastic idea (its other ingredients were sodium cocoate, sodium olivate, and essential oils). However, it only resulted in leaving my hair (which is very long and naturally very oily) feeling icky sticky and very fly away, and left a white powdery substance on my hairbrush, and left my hair unmanageable. I suspect the castor oil may have caused these things, but I’m not sure. I’d love to try Dr Bronners, but am apprehensive because of my experiment with this other soap bar. I do get a flaky scalp, so I’m concerned about whether Dr Bronners will strip my hair of all it’s natural oils, or on the other hand not clean it properly.
    I’m in a muddly state of confusion and need some guidance please!

  5. Ive been using the dr bronner organic pump soap and the citrus hair rinse and I find the my roots are left super greasy. I try to wash it out as best as I can but my roots are always always greasy. I don’t know if this is a result of not washing all the product out or if its just a naturally occuring thing as I’m transitioning to using more natural products. Do you have any tips as to applying the soap and hair rinse and washing it out? Or a reason for my roots being so greasy.

  6. Hello Lisa,

    I use castile baby soap for my baby and it suits him well. We are using it for almost a year. I am suffering from hair fall, i has lost 2/3 of my hair due to stress, so thought of using it for my hair. My hair is very dry but my scalp tends to be oily, weird right?? I do have lot of grey, so i started using color. However, I have stopped it due to massive hair fall, we do have hard water and was wondering if you can suggest me if i should use rinse and hair cream? Moreover, which castile liquid soap will be best for my hair and body (dry skin)? Thanks a lot

  7. Hi Lisa, thanks for this post. I just made the switch to using Dr. Bronner’s castile soap in lavender as shampoo, followed by an ACV rinse. I really want it to work, but after two times using this method, my hair immediately feels sort of waxy, as if I didn’t wash everything out. There’s no visible residue, though, and I know I washed out the castile soap very thoroughly. Do you have any tips? My hair is thick and on the oily side, if that matters.

  8. Hi,to day was my first day of using it as shampoo and after i used rinse and after towel dry hair used hear cream .
    After shampoo and rinse my hair was oily and after blow-dry my hair texture is diffrent (,hard to brushand )and after blow-dry ,heavy) ,would you tell me is it normal ?
    I am 58 years old with fine hair and my hair is colored and highlighted so is true I shouldn’t use this product because fade the color ? And I am USING REGAINE FOR WOMEN twice a day .
    I have dry hair.

  9. Hi Lisa,

    I have been using Dr. Bronner’s for 2 months now, and have experimented between the Citrus hair rinse and ACV 50% dilution rinse. I also have long highlighted hair. At the moment, I find ACV rinse works better for my hair.
    First question: when will it start feeling smooth? My hair feels dry & brittle when I touch it. I currently use the unscented castile soap and dilute 1 tablespoon with 1 cup water. I repeat wash if my hair still feels oily/ dirty. The effect is as you said – tangly and squeaky clean. The acid wash works but takes a while, like I have to be in the shower for an extra 10 minutes for my hair to start feeling smooth. Is this something I just have to accept as fact?
    Second question: will it be wise to dilute ACV rinse further? As I find the 50-50 dilution makes my hair smell like vinegar.
    Lastly, I experimented with the shikkai soap first, and find castile works better, as it’s lighter. But then gives me this dry/ brittle feeling. So, will shikkai soap be better in terms of making my hair feel smooth? Is it dilute-able as well?

  10. I was told that coconut milk is good for hair. Could I use coconut milk with the soap to wash my hair or maybe add an oil in the soap like almond or avocado? or do you suggest just using the soap with water? Thanks!

  11. Hi
    I have 1 year old dreadlocks and are forming very well. Unfortunately, I succumb with a dry scalp issues but since my Dread lock journey its been nothing but experiment after experiment for the best product out there. Its like mortgage payments for these items…lol. I been told to try the Dr Bonners brand but a little hesitant, can you please give me advise on what one to purchase. Btw I do the ACV method on regular basis with baking soda with a hint of peppermint. My dreads feel/look great but need to STOP my itch.
    Im of Asian decent so my hair is very thick and straight. Please help

  12. Hi there! I have a bit of the unscented soap left, but I just bought the almond one. Is it ok to combine the two? Or is that a bad idea? Just curious. Thanks!

  13. hi lisa!

    i recently came across Dr Bronner’s Castille Liquid Soap and i will be purchasing after i get my questions sort out.

    i intend to use it for:
    1. handwash
    2. body
    3. shampoo
    4. dishes
    5. laundry
    6. mopping
    7. toilet

    i have a few questions and kindly help me so that i can get starting!
    1. do i dilute accordingly and then store the soap into 7 separate bottles/dispenser for the above uses?
    2. do you have the dilution formula for handwash?
    3a. shampoo. i recently stopped using commercial shampoo and started using a Cold Process Soap without any chemicals. 1.5 months later, i started to develop flyaway hair. i never have this problem before. i also do not use any other hair products (no conditioner, spray etc) before and during this new bar shampoo. my hair was sticky and tangly during the wash.

    i read through the comments and im guessing bar soap has high pH, i gotta dilute with 50% ACV. but i cant find a scenario that relates to flyaway hair and plus, i am not using the castille soap yet.

    3b. my question: do you have any remedies during this period? i also wish to switch to your liquid castille soap but am afraid that it will further damage my flyaway hair.

    please help!

  14. Hi! Just wanted to leave comments about my personal experience here. I suffer from really bad eczema that inflames greatly during the dry winter months. It gets especially bad on my scalp, to the point where the itchiness was all I could think about. In an attempt to deal with this itchiness (and keep in congruence to my minimalist lifestyle) I switched to the unscented Castile bar soap for everything (body, face and hair) and have found a significant improvement almost instantly. Thank you so so much, highly recommend for anybody with sensitive skin to use the unscented kind – regardless of how mild the almond and lavender scents may be!

  15. Hi. I’ve just started using this for the first time and the top of my hair feels really clean. But everywhere else feels extremely greasy. Is this just the transition? Or should I dilute the soap differently. It says on the bottle to just dilute it in your hands but I’ve read a lot of people dilute it a lot more. I put a few drops into a cup of water. Is this too much water? I followed up with the rinse.

  16. Hi Lisa,

    Can you tell me what the difference is between using liquid and bar soap on hair? There are lots of comments on how to use the liquid soap, but I can’t seem to find any on how best to use the bar soap on hair. I would prefer to use the bar soap as it is easier and lighter to take when travelling.

    • Hi Jenny – Although I usually use the liquid, I have in a pinch used the bar. It takes a little more effort to get the lather, but after that, they work pretty identically. You’ll still need the acidic rinse.

  17. Hi,
    I just switched to dr.bronner’s soap but i find that my hair is overly shiny/greasy looking even after i use a rinse. Am i doing something wrong??

    • Hi Jess – It does take some adjustment to find exactly what works for your hair type. Some people do better with the Sugar Pump Soaps instead of the Castile. Be sure it is thoroughly out of your hair before you go on to the next step. Some people need to adjust their rinse concentration. If you’re using Apple Cider Vinegar, try a 50% dilution. Let it sit on your hair a bit before you rinse it out. Give your hair at least a two week transition period as well.

  18. Hi,
    It has been nearly two weeks since I started using the Baby Unscented soap bar on my hair, followed by an ACV rinse. My hair has been greasy feeling, so increased the amount of vinegar in the rinse to a 1:1 ratio. However, this left a noticeable vinegar smell to my scalp and hair, even a couple of days afterwards. I’ve then reduced the amount of ACV in the rinse, ranging from 2-4 tablespoons per 8oz of water. Still, there is a noticeable smell. I do have moderately hard water at home, so I’m guessing that’s exacerbating the “transition” phase and maybe the ACV smell as well. Any thoughts or recommendations on reducing or eliminating the vinegar smell while still conditioning my hair? I’ve read that adding essential oils can help mask the smell, but I’d prefer just to get rid of the vinegar smell altogether. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Lisa – Another couple thoughts to add to what I wrote below – let the ACV rinse sit on your hair for a few minutes before you rinse it all out. Use warm water – not too hot or cold. I’m really curious about your comparison between filtered and unfiltered ACV, so be sure to let me know if that affects the lingering smell.

  19. Time for true confessions, folks. It is February 9, 2017, and I have missed several months of comments for the simple reasons that things went a little crazy around here. I very much apologize. I am tackling them now for the sake of those faithful and new readers who might actually read them all. I am going to start with the most recent. Bear with me.

  20. Hello. First, I hope life settled for you some.

    We are just starting on this more natural journey. I see you snd several others talk sbout a rinse. When I click the link it takes me nowhere. What is this rinse?

    Also, I had previously used this on my hair some. I used to mix in some coconut milk. It made it suds, which I missed. Lol

  21. Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for your confession. 🙂 I hope all is good for you now…
    In regards to my comment a few days ago regarding the residual smell of ACV, it occurred to me that one possible reason is the type of ACV I’ve been using: unfiltered. Although most internet articles I’ve read advocated the unfiltered kind for hair, the rationale seems based on the acetic acid content and not so much “the mother” content. So I wonder what the unfiltered vinegar has over the filtered kind that is better for hair, specifically? Given that unfiltered ACV has more sediment/mircobes in it, is it possible that it could be a major factor in the greasy feel and prolonged smell? I have thick, coarse and shoulder-length hair – maybe “the mother” sticks to the hair more with when hard water is also used? Perhaps I can try using filtered ACV and see what happens….. Any thoughts about filtered vs unfiltered ACV for hair, specifically? Thanks!

    • Hi Lisa – This is not something that’s occurred to me and you have me curious. I’ve only used filtered. Now that I think about it, the benefit to unfiltered in general is the microbial content. This is wherein lies the potential health benefits of ACV, and these provide an active “starter” if you’re using the ACV to jump start making your own vinegar. However, I don’t see that these microbes would benefit our hair. Give a 50% filtered ACV solution a try and see what happens.

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