Washing your hair with soap is popular, inexpensive and natural.

You save the stupid plastic packaging with hair soap and it is also super practical when traveling, as you can take it with you in your hand luggage and it is also very economical.

For precisely these reasons, I used to wash my curls regularly with hair soap. I was thrilled and a big fan. Finally a sensible alternative to the shampoos full of harmful ingredients.

·        But What Is Soap Anyway?

Soap has been around for more than 4500 years. Both in ancient Egypt and in the Roman Empire, people have washed their hair and body with soap. Soap consists of oils or fats (e.g. coconut oil). The fats and / or oils are boiled with a lye (e.g. baking soda) and this creates soap. This chemical process is called soap boiling or saponification.

However, when Hans Schwarzkopf invented the shampoo in 1903, the soap was displaced from personal hygiene (moreover, precisely for the reasons that I explain to you below).

The soap has been back on the field for a few years now. Because the trend is towards zero waste, natural ingredients and more conscious shopping.

·        What is the difference between hair soap and normal soap?

You can use any soap for your body or hair. For hair soap, however, oils are primarily used that are considered to be particularly nourishing, such as almond or avocado oil.

Another difference is the over-greasing, i.e. the percentage of fats and oils, which was not converted to soap in the manufacturing process, but is available for the care of skin and hair. The overfat is higher than with soaps for the body. Over-greasing with hair soap of 5-9% is typical.


·        But why should hair soap be harmful now?

I used hair soap regularly 5 years ago and as a result, I damaged my curls more than I used them. I got strange streaky hair. It was bad on a trip to Asia, where the shower water was very salty. But even at home, I always had a strange feeling in my hair. Incidentally, I have relatively calcareous water at home. After a while I knew that after washing my hair I had to make a vinegar grin (1 tablespoon vinegar +1 liter water) with soap. But that made my hair mega dry.

With my problems, I did not think it was the soap itself, I just thought I hadn’t found the right soap yet. After all, hair soap is so natural and can never be worse than shampoo.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Soap is not the panacea for washing hair. Unfortunately. It has some disadvantages and, as in my case, it can even damage the hair. It’s like everything in life. Every medal always has two sides.

And today I’m going to show you 3 reasons why soap can harm your hair more than it does.

Hair Soap Dries Out

Soap is a detergent surfactant. Comparable to the tensides in the shampoo. The surfactant, which is created by the saponification, is anionic and very strong cleaning. Sulfates are also anionic surfactants that dry out our hair. If you follow the Curly Girl method and avoid sulfates in your curly care, you should also avoid soap.

An attempt is made to alleviate the drying effect of soaps by over-greasing. This makes the soap milder, but the high oil content can also lead to faster build-up (= product build-up on the hair). Incidentally, that would be the same if you simply increased the oil content in a shampoo that contains sulfates. The shampoo becomes milder overall but the risk of the oil attaching is higher.

With mild surfactants in shampoos, the risk of your curls drying out is much lower and there is also no build-up risk.

Hair Soap Promotes Broken Hair

Hair soap has a basic pH of 9-10, which causes the hair to swell. As a result, the cuticle layer opens and your curls feel strawy and rough. You may even appreciate this feature because it gives your hair more grip and volume. But this open cuticle layer leads to highly porous and broken hair in the long run.

To prevent this damage, the hair must swell again after use with soap. You can do this with acidic rinses or with a vinegar grin (1 tablespoon of vinegar + 1 liter of water).

Unfortunately, not everything is good. The acidic pH of 2-3 can also damage your hair. This also dries out some hair. But this strong swelling and swelling of the hair can also lead to problems and hair damage, especially with fine and / or porous hair.

The pH value of shampoos is usually 6. This does not cause your hair to swell, if only slightly. Especially compared to hair soap. Therefore, no vinegar grin is necessary after a shampoo.

Hair Soap Leads To Build-Up

Not only the oils in the case of over-greasing can lead to build-up.

Even if you have hard water at home, there may be build-up of lime, the so-called lime smear. The minerals in the hard water combine with the soap and cover your hair like a gray veil.

If you have to deal with limescale deposits in the kettle or bathroom fittings at home, then you know what the lime smear can look like in your hair. Not so cool or? Vinegar and lemon juice not only removes limescale from your tap, but also from your hair.

To remove this lime smear, you can make a vinegar grin again after washing with soap. With the known disadvantages.


Hair soap is cheap, environmentally friendly, natural and practical. Unfortunately, it is also very cleansing, it dries out or leads to build-up and can make your curls porous. The disadvantages outweigh me clearly and therefore I cannot recommend hair soap for us curly heads.

But every hair is individual. If you get on well with hair soap or still want to try it, then do it. It is only important to me that you know all the information so that you can make a conscious decision.

As a packaging-free alternative, I can recommend solid shampoos or shampoo bars, which are made from mild surfactants. These have no basic pH value, so they don’t make your hair swell and you don’t need a vinegar grin afterwards. They also come without plastic packaging and are just as practical. However, whether they are environmentally friendly and natural depends on the ingredients in the shampoo bars.


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