Can Homemade Soap Be Used As Shampoo?

If you are switching from regular shampoo to homemade soap to wash your hair, you might want to know a few things before making the switch. Is soap bad for your hair? What kind of soap can be used? Can all hair types be washed with homemade soap?

Can homemade soap be used as shampoo? Homemade cold process soap can be used as a shampoo but it requires the ingredients to be formulated differently in terms of oils. Your hair will need time to adjust but eventually will get used to it. For people with dryer hair, you would need to use vinegar or citric acid to rinse it after.

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This topic is something that my wife could talk about for eternity; to me, it’s a different story as my hair is not of this world anymore!

Soap does the same thing as shampoo; it removed oils from your hair, which essentially is what we want.

However, soap with hard water (which contains a lot of minerals such as alkaline) can be rough on your hair. It makes your hair scales stand up, which eventually will lead to rougher and weaker hair. But, up to 20th-century people used soap to wash their hair because back then, hard water was not a thing.

With time, the more areas became civilized, the more hard water became the standard. So, to counter that, the shampoo was introduced. It could do the same as a soap, but without any damage to your hair, even with hard water.

What is the difference between homemade soap and shampoo?

If you have read my other article in regards to ‘does homemade soap clog your drains‘, you probably know what happens when soap and hard water are mixed. Well, if you were to wash your hair with soap and hard water, something similar happens here, a sort of “film” forms on your hair leaving it dirty and weighing it down, this might happen especially with a shampoo made with castile soap.

This is not the case if you were to use shampoo (synthetic detergents) as it does not react the same way and doesn’t form that “film” on your hair. However, it does strip natural oils from your hair.

So, clearly, the main difference between them is, of course, the components they are made with. Regular soaps (as in commercial soaps) are mostly made of chemicals and, in most cases, are not skin-friendly and when it comes to hair, even less.

Homemade soaps are a little different; it would still not be the best choice, but much better than the commercial ones since natural products are used, thus the damage will also be much less. Then you have shampoo, specially made to remove dirt, debris, and odors, such as smoke or sweat effectively, and, of course, can remove oils.

With shampoo, you probably will need a hair conditioner so it will not dry up or get rough even with hard water. But this might not be the best choice in the long run.

But let’s focus on how you can wash your hair with homemade soap, shall we? So, to be able to that on a regular basis, you will need to make some adjustments so it can work as a shampoo. There are many recipes online, here is one that is super easy to make and it is for all types of hair.

Which is better for hair shampoo or soap?

One would say that shampoo will always be better as it’s specially made to wash your hair with hard water or soft water. But if you are to switch to handmade shampoo (soap) bars, you might be surprised in the long run.

Your hair does need time to adjust to it because up to now they were used to be washed with regular shampoo, so in the beginning, it might need some rinsing with vinegar. But eventually, your hair will adjust, and the good news?

What the shampoo did which is stripping you from the natural oils that come out of your scalp, the shampoo will not. Finally, this will lead to less needing to shampoo your hair, which is a good thing! Just an FYI, some people (especially dryer hair) might need to follow with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to rinse your hair.

There other benefits of using a handmade shampoo bar, such as the fact that it’s basically a soap bar and can also be used for the whole body. Which makes it the perfect item to travel with, bring the bar with a small bottle of rinse, and of you go!

You are probably better of with Shampoo Bars.

As previously mentioned in the long run homemade soap bars are probably a better option. You know what you are putting in your hair and you are not stripping them from their natural oils. You do not need to counter dry or hair split with conditioner anymore. You could use the soap also for your body as it would have the oils your skin needs. So it’s kind of a win-win situation.

You can travel with just one soap bar (and maybe to rinse another bottle), while if you were to use the regular way, you would need to bring your shampoo, hair conditioner, and soap altogether. So it’s arguably the best item to travel with. Also, don’t forget that you can pass TSA very easily with your bar cut into small pieces.


You can wash your hair with soap; just make sure to use the right formula when making the shampoo (soap) bars. If, in case needed, rinse your hair with lemon juice or vinegar. Don’t forget that it might take time for your hair to get used to it, so patience is the key!

Also, there is a possibility that it simply does not work for you. Your type of hair might not be suitable to wash with a handmade shampoo (soap) bar, so try out for a while and if you see no improvements you can use vinegar to rinse in case needed or just go back to regular shampoo.

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