Switching to Natural Soap for Hair

Switching to natural soap from commercial shampoo/conditioner is a fantastic choice for you and the health of your hair. Just be prepared for the transition period!

The first time I used natural soap in my hair I didn’t work the soap in well enough, leaving half of it washed and the other half still greasy. I washed it again the next day, making sure to get lots of lather scrubbed through my hair and into my scalp. It’s always good to take a moment to give yourself a bit of a scalp massage anyway – it helps improve circulation while both stimulating & relaxing you, and it helps improve hair growth.

I had to wash my hair again two days later – which for me was quite soon. Commercial shampoo strips your hair of all the good, natural oils completely – leaving your hair overly dry and lifeless. Often you have to use conditioner after in order to add some moisture back, but that often leaves it flat and lacklustre. Natural soap washes out excess oil and cleans your hair, while gently moisturizing it at the same time. Often you can find a soap that is balanced for your type of hair that leaves you not needing any kind of conditioner.

*It is a good idea to do a moisturizing hair-mask (which can be as simple as plain coconut oil) every once in a while before washing it as normal as needed.

Essentially, you will need to clean your hair more often at first while your hair and scalp get used to not being completely and utterly stripped anymore. Stick with it, and within a few weeks your hair will be transformed.

I have never been able to manage long hair; it’s always misbehaved, lying flat, curving strangely, looking terrible with the slightest amount of wind. I can’t be bothered to style my hair – I wash it, brush it, and let it dry naturally, and I used to always have to put it up or even keep it cut short for the least bother. Hair should not have to be styled for hours with a multitude of products to look nice – and now, with natural soap, mine is there. It has bounce, life, and shine!

I have never been so excited about my hair – how lovely it looks, so easily. For about twenty years of my life I thought that long hair just wasn’t for me. Discovering how natural soap massively improved the health of my hair has been amazing. Not to mention how soft my skin has become – even on my shins throughout the dry winter months when they used to become dry and flaky.

Soap, whether for your body, your face, or your hair, should nourish and improve – and it does so the best with nothing but natural ingredients.

-Image featured is Herbal Coconut Shampoo Bar, with jojoba oil and organic coconut milk.

Why Choose Essential Oils over Synthetic Fragrances

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When it comes to scents, you should look for essential oils – they are rather pricey, which is why, I’m sure, that companies focused on their profits do not like to use them as much, but the benefits are great:

http://www.57aromas.com/kb/display/222

While scientists can duplicate the fragrance of essential oils, they have so far been unable to duplicate the benefits. Using Lavender as an example, there are many Lavender fragrance oils on the market. They all smell like lavender, consistently smell the same and are long lasting. They are great for fragrancing soaps, perfumes, cosmetics and candles but they have no other benefit.

Lavender essential oil, on the other hand, offers the fresh aroma of Lavender plus a great deal of healing properties that may help with symptoms such as coughs, insomnia, hyperactivity, arthritis, muscle aches, rheumatism, acne, sunburn, wounds, insect bites, burns and irritability.

Synthetic fragrances do not add anything beneficial at all to the product, and are not derived naturally. Essential oils, however, smell amazing and add great skin health-boosting benefits, while coming from great natural sources.

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Honey

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Honey is great for your skin. When added to soaps, it’s not noticeable when you are using it in the shower or washing your hands in the sink – it’s not sticky at all and leaves no discernible trace. Honey is packed with antioxidants, which are known to help fight signs of ageing, pollution, and unhealthy lifestyle habits from showing on your skin. It helps skin glow through its excellent moisturizing properties. Honey is also great for those with problem skin – it’s antibacterial which helps with acne prevention and treatment, and it helps open up the pores in order to clean and unclog.

More Info: Honey

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Avocado Oil

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Avocado oil is an amazing skincare ingredient, not well-enough known for its benefits. It contains high levels of proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, lecithin, and potassium which are all excellent for the skin. Sterolin has shown to help keep fight and prevent age spots as well as softening the skin, and it is full of antioxidants like vitamins A, D, and E, which helps heal and combat ageing.

Avocado oil is deeply moisturizing, treats skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis; helps to heal wounds, burns, and diaper rash; and increases production of collagen, which decreases the signs of ageing as well as making skin suppler and more plump.

It is a good idea to eat avocado frequently for your health, and the benefits for application to the skin are just as incredible. A lot of goodness is packed into this ingredient, which is why I like to add it to many of my soaps.

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What Does “Saponified” Mean?

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Saponification is the chemical reaction that happens to oils and fats when combined with lye (a strong alkali) to create soap. Water is used in this process, but only as a carrier for the lye, which is a powder.

Basically, you add lye to oils, which turns the oil into soap. At the end of the process the lye is all gone, and you are left with just soap (and a little bit of oil for moisturizing purposes – see superfatting below).

Lye

Lye

 

This is a great article with further information about saponification and soap-making:

Real Handmade Soap – What is saponification?

They also make this great point about why you should consider handmade soap as a much better alternative to commercial:

“A curious fact about modern soap is that most common soap found in the grocery store made in mass-produced factories does have a small amount of excess alkali in it. Also, it has had all of its naturally-occurring glycerin removed so it can be sold as a separate commodity. Why? Greater profit.”

Excess alkali (lye) is irritating to the skin. There should be enough oils to alkali ratio for all of the alkali to be changed into soap, leaving nothing irritating for your skin.

Glycerin is left in all of my handmade soaps, keeping it naturally moisturizing. Also, there are more oils/fats in my soaps than lye/alkali, which is called, “superfatting.” By adding more oils/fats to my soap recipes than needed to exactly change all of the lye into soap, you make a soap that is more moisturizing and gentler on the skin.

Here’s more information on superfatting.

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No “Filler” Oils

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I use very good oils – all of my recipes contain organic unrefined shea butter and organic castor oil, and many contain avocado oil – and I do not use palm oil. Rapeseed oil and even canola oil are generally used as “filler” oils – cheap and easy, but do not add much nutrient value to the product.

On top of using great nutritional oils, I also often infuse them with extra – dandelion, chamomile, calendula, organic hibiscus, carrots – and I add super-skin-benefiting ingredients like aloe, honey, ale, handmade almond milk, handmade organic hemp milk, etc etc.

Pictured above are my main oils (top left to right): Olive Oil (this one is infusing with Dandelion leaves), Coconut Oil, Virgin Avocado Oil, Organic Unrefined Cocoa Butter, Organic Castor Oil, Organic Unrefined Shea Butter. (And a spoon I carved myself from a piece of tree!)

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