3. Natural Soaps: Shampoo Bars/Castile Soap
With more people looking for naturally derived ingredients, vegetable fat based soaps are making a huge comeback.
Effect on Skin: The reason shampoos were developed was because soap can be hugely irritating to skin. This is in part controllable as during the soap making process, some vegetable fat can be retained to make the soap more moisturising. The pH of shampoo bars and dissolved castile soap is around 10 but this does not tend to greatly affect skin (i.e skin pH changes by around 0.1- 0.2 for about an hour as a result).
Effect on Hair: Soap can be very effective for cleansing hair especially in soft water. Hard water poses a problem for all shampoos but soaps are probably the most difficult to use in hard water. A hair conditioner post wash is also recommended .
Advances: Soaps do vary according to the maker and therefore, some will perform better than others.
When to use: Generally a good option for all uses except clarifying as soaps can contain additives or oils .
Side note: Mud Wash
A new trend for people seeking cleansing with natural materials is the use of mud to wash hair. The mud used is usually rhassoul clay or bentonite clay. Bentonite clay has been used in the wine industry to help purify the wine as impurities stick to it.
There is no research at the moment to indicate how the clay actually cleanses hair. However, there are many reviews currently in forums, blogs and youtube where naturals showcase clean hair and curl definition after using the clay and without using hair conditioner.