Soap and shampoo are two different products, but still, they do the same job. Both of them act as a cleanser.
One for the body. Another for hair and scalp. But some people use soap as an alternative to shampoo in certain circumstances.
Some people agree with the idea, while some don’t.
So, the question is can you use soap as an alternative to shampoo?
The answer is YES, you can. But you will not feel the same. Now let’s see why you will see different results using soap instead of shampoo in your hair.
What is Soap, and what is its Purpose?
Soap was first invented in 2800 BC in the Babylonian culture. Chemically soap is a salt of fatty acid, which is made by mixing fats and oils with an alkaline substance.
Soap is generally used for cleaning and bathing. The cleaning mechanism is the dust particles get solubilized in soap and get carried away from the body.
It is also alkaline, so when it comes into contact with oils in the skin, it breaks them down, called emulsification.
That is how it carries all the oils and dirt from the body or object. There are different types of soap.
The differences come from the metals they have in their chemical formula. If Sodium or Potassium is present, it is called toilet soap, which is used for handwashing.
If Lithium is present, then it is called lithium soap which is used to remove very powerful grease. As soap is more alkaline in nature, it is used in bathing and cleaning.
It removes all the dirt and debris, including oil. The pH of soap is 9-10. It has a high anti-moisturizing effect.
What is Shampoo, and what is it for?
The shampoo is a cleaning product for hair that is primarily a viscous liquid. It is generally made by mixing surfactants with co-surfactant.
The surfactants are mostly sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, while the co-surfactant is Cocamidopropyl betaine.
It is believed that in the Indian subcontinent, shampoo was first invented by using Sapindas and Amla. The pulp of the Sapindus fruit acts as a surfactant.
Nowadays, the most commonly used ingredient for shampoo, according to Wikipedia, are –
“Ammonium chloride, Ammonium lauryl sulfate, Glycol, Sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium Laureth sulfate, Citric acid, Polysorbate 20 & 80 and Sodium lauroamphoacetate.”Wikipedia
The good shampoo has qualities like low toxicity, minor irritation on the eye, pleasing fragrance, etc. It is acidic. The pH of shampoo is 6-7.
That is why it is less harsh than soap. It also acts as a moisturizer. It doesn’t take away all the moisture as soap does.
There are different types of shampoo, such as shampoo for dandruff, colored hair for babies, and non-sulfate shampoo.
What Happens When You Use Soap Instead of Shampoo in Your Hair?
Soap is specialized for the skin as it is less acidic than the scalp. When soap is used in the skin, its acidic mantle returns to its acidic form when washed away.
On the other hand, the scalp and hair have a pH of 4-4.5. The alkaline soap destroys the scalp’s acidic environment, giving you a dry and harsh feeling.
You may find the following things if you wash your hair with soap.
-You may Find Soap Scum
As we know, soap is soluble in soft water. So, if you are using hard water, the soap will not get washed away, leaving behind insoluble particles on your hair and scalp.
-You may Get an Inflammatory Skin Disease
You might get affected by an inflammatory skin disease called Seborrheic dermatitis. Hard water and soap debris can cause this disease. Also, if you have eczema, avoid using soap on your hair.
-Dry and Weak Hair
Soap is not made for hair. On the other hand, shampoo is made for hair to give a gentle wash. It removes all the natural oils from leaving your hair dry and weak.
How can You Use Soap to Wash your Hair without Side Effects?
If you want to use soap instead of shampoo to wash your hair, you might consider these options to reduce the side effects due to the harshness of soap:
-Use a Conditioner after Your Wash
As stated earlier, soap has a drying effect on your hair as it takes away all the moisture and natural oil from your hair. So, using a conditioner can solve that problem. Conditioners are packed with moisture and natural oils, which are essential for your hair.
-Don’t Scrub Your Hair too Hard
While using soap to wash your hair, stop scrubbing it too hard. It is not as dense and gentle as shampoo. So, scrubbing will cause your hair to break down.
-Give Your Head an Acidic Wash
As stated earlier, soap is alkaline, and shampoo is acidic to suit the acidity of the scalp. It takes away the acidic environment, which can cause bacteria and fungi to grow on your hair.
Mix one tablespoon of white cider vinegar with one liter of water and wash your hair after using soap. It will restore the acidic environment of the head.
From the above discussions, now that you are clear about soap and shampoo, it is wise not to use soap to wash your hair.
It is not made for hair and scalp, and as stated in this article, soap takes away the moisture and natural oil from the scalp. It also leaves wax on your hair if you are using hard water.
Otherwise, use shampoo to wash your hair. It will keep your hair and scalp moisturized and will keep the acidic environment for tackling any infection.