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Is it okay to use soap on hair?

Bunny Lake asks…Chagrin Valley Shampoo Bars are really popular with a lot of the people on the Long Hair Community, and I’ve been trying some sample bars out myself. I love some, but others give me that waxy feeling. I have soft water where I live, also. Is Chagrin Valley Soap the kind of “soap” that is actually NOT good for your hair and skin? A lot of their complexion and body bars contain coconut oil which I have heard is good for hair but highly comedogenic (pore clogging). Thanks for any information you can give me!

The Beauty Brains replysoap-bubble-439103_640

It sounds like you’re already savvy to the main problem with washing your hair with bar soap: build up from hard water.

Is soap safe for hair?

This is what happens when the fatty acid salt that makes up soap reacts with the counter ions in hard water (like magnesium and calcium) to form an insoluble residue. This residue used to be known as “bathtub ring” because of the film left in the tub after bathing. Modern surfactants have eliminated this problem because they don’t react with hard water ions. Similarly, using softened water (as you are) also reduces the problem. Therefore, there’s no technical reason for not using Chagrin Valley Shampoo bars on your hair.

Does coconut oil clog pores?

Should you worry about coconut oil soap clogging your pores and giving you blackheads? It’s true that coconut oil is highly comedogenic. It’s usually rated a four or five on a five-point scale. This means it’s likely to contribute to pore clogging and acne. However in this case the risk is much lower. That’s because most of the oil in the soap has been reacted. Any residual oil will for the most part be rinsed out of your hair. If you were applying pure coconut oil to your skin there would be more chance of pore clogging than if you’re just using coconut oil soap. Still, there is some risk and you won’t know for sure until you try it.

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{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Alice November 26, 2015, 12:08 am

    I’ve been looking into using natural products for haircare and have found that a lot of times it says that oils are not just great for moisturising your scalp and hair, but also to accelerate hair growth. Is this true or just part of a hype?

    • Randy Schueller November 26, 2015, 11:05 am

      I’m not aware of any studies showing that natural oils help hair growth.

  • Marina October 15, 2016, 3:14 pm

    Hi, guys! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and I always find many helpful information. I live in Brazil and I’m trying to use more natural cosmetics. I’ve found a person who manufacters soap bars and shampoo bars, but I have sensitive skin and dry curly hair and got scared that the soap could harm my skin or hair, it’s made in a cold process with natural oils of olive, coconut, Palm and some essencial oils like lavender, Orange. I also have breakout-prone skin and I was scared that the coconut Oil that I use in my hair could worsen my acne, but that didn’t happen. My skin looks smoother and clearer after using the coconut Oil on it (I started using at my face once a week). I’ve fone some Research and it seems like the coconut Oil is rich in lauric acid and that would be why it can make skin clearer. Is it true? And that about the soap? Thank’s a lot.

    • Randy Schueller October 16, 2016, 9:48 am

      I’m not aware of any researching showing that lauric acid can make your skin clearer but if you’ve found a routine that works for you – stick with it!

      • Marina October 19, 2016, 7:50 am

        Thank you. And that about the soap? Is it true that it really harms the skin?

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