Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shampoo and Conditioner

I've been asked several times if I make shampoo.

The short answer is "no". However, that is not the full answer. Please read on!

Shampoo isn't soap. Shampoo is a whole bunch of chemicals around a base of detergent.

The reason for this is our water. Soap leaves a "scum" around the bath, taps, on the shower curtain, right? That is the reaction of the minerals in the hard water from our pipes combined with soap and dirt. The softer your water, the less soap scum you get. It's not the fault of the soap, it's the fault of the water.

However, you CAN use soap on your hair. It's better for your hair because it doesn't strip all the oils out of your hair like detergent (shampoo) does.

(Zoe Farris) (Eliza Leahy)

Zoe's hair Eliza's hair

Let me digress for a minute.

Conditioner. Yes, you need conditioner - but only if you use shampoo! Shampoo removes all the oils from your hair and makes the hair shaft rough. You then pour conditioner over your hair, it covers the damage and you think "boy this shampoo and conditioner are good!"

No, they aren't. They are just 1. causing damage then 2. covering it up again.

Back to soap. Washing your hair with soap leaves a unpleasant cover on your hair, we have already established that. And it's the hard water, not the soap, that's to blame.

So what can we do about it?

The answer is so easy it's astonishing. Add an acid. Remember your grandmother telling you to add some lemon to the rincing water? That was because when SHE was little they used soap on their hair. The result was beautiful glossy hair that could be grown to great lengths because it wasn't being damaged by the chemicals in shampoo.

I personally use vinigar because it's much cheaper then lemons (I prefer to eat the lemons!). After I wash my hair I put one inch of apple cider vinigar into a cup, fill it with water, and slowly pour it over my head, making sure it covers every hair. Caution though - don't get it in your eyes! It stings!

It might take a couple of washes for you to get rid of any damage done by the shampoos over your long use of them, and to get use to using the soap and vinigar rinse, but keep at it, it's worth it!

Don't just use any soap though. If you can get a handmade soap made for the purpose you will be using something with good quality ingredients. As per my previous post, most commercial soaps have mineral oils or animal fats in them, and do you really want to be rubbing animal fat into your hair?


  1. Brilliant thanks Eliza for the great tip.Which of your soaps would you recommend as the best for using on your hair? Does it depend on the type of hair or just that ever "flavour" one prefers? Looking forward to re-stocking on the 29th at the Twilight Markets

  2. I find that the liquid soap is handy because it's liquid already. It also goes a long way because I water it down in the cup (the same one I use for the vinegar) before I use it. You only have to wash your scalp too, don't scrub at the length of your hair. The length will be washed as the soap rinses down it and out.

    Maybe I'll write a post about long hair and how to look after it.

    I'll have liquid soap for sale at the market, as well as shower gel (you can use that too) and of course my regular soap. I'll also have lip balm and body lotion, a moisturizer specifically for your face and the "Ultimate" soap, which has 21 ingredients and is a cleanser and moisturizer all in one.