Do you wash your hair with soap?
Have you settled for soap in the end of a long journey to find a safe, effective, and eco-friendly shampoo? The no-poo method is just too tough, so you use plain old soap?
Shampoos made with synthetic chemical foaming ingredients are known to be harmful to my body as well as to the environment. This made me reluctant to use shampoo, so I tried the no-poo method. But that didn’t maintain my hair condition well and bothered me. In the end I decided to just use soap to wash my hair only when it felt absolutely necessary, but that eventually made my hair even worse than before…!
In the wake of the Oxy crisis (Reckitt Benckiser Korea), an increasing number of customers are looking for safe and eco-friendly cleansers. The no-poo method is too tiring and sometimes feels icky, while shampoo is too worrisome. Some people have switched to using only soap from head to toe.
But no – don’t get us wrong! The Brown Bottle makes shampoos, but we absolutely love natural soaps too!
Difference between the soap and synthetic detergent
The difference between the soap and synthetic detergent is essentially the difference between the type of surfactant, a foaming ingredient used to remove unwanted materials – dirt, funk, ooze, the cleaning agent itself. Soap uses fatty acid among its surfactants, and meaning that animal fats or vegetable oils are used as some of its raw ingredients. Synthetic detergents, meanwhile, rely on petroleum minerals or chemically synthesised surfactants from plants.
What concerns are there in using soap for washing one’s hair?
Hair is really just a structure of protein built from amino acids. This protein can be disassembled by the alkaline solution of soap, and this is, for example, how depilatory products remove hairs; they have a strong alkaline pH that basically melt the hair. When soap is dissolved in water, alkaline weakens. It is not as strong, but constant exposure can damage your hair. The outer surface of hair is encased in a layer called the cuticle, and alkali breaks down this layer, causing split ends and frizzy hair. This is particularly common when you use alkaline soap to wash hair that has been damaged by frequent dyeing or perming. The damage simply accelerates, placing your hair in a vicious cycle.
Is there any synthetic detergent safe?
Synthetic detergent is more difficult to break down than soap, and its foaming bubbles hinder the natural restoration of water as well as the wastewater disposal process. Also, it tends to entail harmful pollutants and accelerates pollution. Phosphates added to synthetic detergent to strengthen its washing capacity pollute water by causing eutrophication and has been shown to cause dermatological disorders and developmental disturbances.
But just as not all the soap is the same, not all synthetic detergent is harmful to our bodies and the environment. Normally, those labeled as ‘good’ surfactants are derived from renewable plants. They are harmless to the body and can be decomposed by microorganisms, putting no burden on the environment.
And unlike soap, synthetic detergent made with such surfactants can easily control its acidity because it does not go through a solidifying process involving strongly alkaline caustic soda. In this way it has the advantage of adjusting its acidity to match that of human skin. And with hair products that we use on a daily basis, acidity matters a lot, as mentioned above, so shampoo products made with surfactants like these may be better than soap.
Always check the pH value!
There are some synthetic detergent products on the market that are sold without any reduction of alkaline for powerful detergency and heavy foaming. If you check whether the product has weak acidity (a pH of 5-6) before you purchase the product, you can pick a milder, safer one. And when you wash your hair with soap, rinse it with water mixed with a few drops of vinegar, as this helps you to avoid static buildup and keep your hair smooth!
It is important to check if there are any harmful ingredients, but don’t forget to also check the pH balance on the label!
Check our shampoos!