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Here's how to use this as a shampoo, among other uses.
on July 17, 2011
I didn't see many reviews talking at length about using this as a shampoo, so I thought I would add one. Expect my personal experiences and opinion, identified as such, mixed in.
I use this soap for shampoo, body wash, face wash, I put it in my bath, I've used it to clean my counters, I've used it to clean dishes. The peppermint is my favorite, especially for soaking in the bath because it tingles and it's the best scented in my opinion, also for shampoo, again because it tingles.
To clean, I put a little on a damp terry cleaning cloth or kitchen towel and just wipe. I use it on kitchen and bathroom counters, and I dissolve it in water to mop with. I prefer to use the tea tree for cleaning.
As a shampoo, I am puzzled by all the claims I had heard online about castile soap/saponified oil being drying to the hair, and I suspect that many of the people making those claims either haven't tried it and are just perpetuating the general misconception, or maybe they are using it wrong (I'll explain why I think that). This is an extremely gentle product. I have CURLY hair, and it is dyed(with one of those clairol nice n easy super harsh store bought dyes)(#124 natural blue black, if you want to know). Curly hair is generally more dry, and harder to keep conditioned, than straight hair, and mine is no exception. My hair is super fine and super dry, and prone to breakage. I find using this soap as shampoo is actually much LESS drying to my hair than other types of shampoo.
If you are going to use this as a shampoo, you have to keep a couple of things in mind;
-1. Use less than you think you need. Less than what you would use if you were using a normal shampoo. You are not going to get as rich of a lather with this soap. That doesn't mean it doesn't clean as well, and it doesn't mean you didn't use enough soap. A little known fact is that the ingredients that clean your hair in normal shampoos don't lather either. Shampoo manufacturers ADD lathering agents purely for consumer impression. You get the impression as you are washing your hair that you are getting your hair really super clean because you are getting a nice thick rich lather, but in reality, the lather is not what is doing the cleaning, and to a small degree, lathering agents actually prevent detergent agents from working as well as they otherwise would. That's why, in industrial cleaning supplies(not the ones you can find in walmart) they typically don't add lathering agents. Normal shampoos have harsher detergent agents than this soap because of that effect, and because of the types of ingredients in normal conditioners(read on).
-2. Lather, rinse, THEN REPEAT. Shampoo twice, even if you are unaccustomed to doing that with normal shampoos.
-3. RINSE REALLY REALLY WELL. After you have rinsed your hair and the soap is all out of it; rinse it all over again.
-4. Don't use a 'normal' conditioner, pick one without any heavy 'cones' in it. Most conditioners have ingredients whose last four letters end in c-o-n-e (like silicone, amodimethicone, cyclomethicone, etc.). Not all, but many, of these ingredients coat your hair and supposedly make it seem incredibly silky and shiny and beautiful and glorious and on and on (and cone leave-ins really give you this effect), but what they also do is keep the natural oils, from your scalp, and any other moisturizing products you may use, from actually getting into your hair, so you get on this cycle of stripping your hair with a normal shampoo, then coating your hair with a normal conditioner, then stripping then coating then stripping, etc., and your hair is getting drier and drier. Not all cones do this. There are lighter ones and ones that are water soluble that are not doing anything bad, and it's up to you to use cones or not, but...IF YOU ARE USING THIS SOAP FOR SHAMPOO...then I would recommend staying away from it altogether. The harsh detergents in normal shampoos can handle stripping the normal conditioners from your hair with one washing, but this shampoo is much gentler and probably won't. This is what I think people are doing wrong when they think this hair is drying their hair out. I don't know, maybe they are worried it might, so they get what they think is going to be a really good conditioner, but it's a 'normal' conditioner, and as a result they aren't giving this soap an honest chance. They think it's this shampoo, but it's really their conditioner, that is causing their hair to be dry. There are a ton of really good conditioners that don't have cones in them. Dr. Bronner's makes a conditioner, but it's pricey. The thing that makes this soap a great product is partly that it is almost immortal. (My last 16 ounce bottle of the peppermint lasted me 8 years. Admittedly, that was before I tried it as a shampoo, but that would've maybe shaved a couple years, at most, off of the 8.) The Dr. Bronner's conditioner will not last as long, and there are better ones that are cheaper. If you google 'Paula's Choice', you can find a website of the same name that has an outstanding ingredient list, so you can see what the good ingredients are, and there are tons of websites listing cone free conditioners. (Personally, I don't use a conditioner, I wash my hair and then when I am out of the shower I massage a nickel sized amount of light or extra virgin olive oil into my hair. Yes, I actually do that. It doesn't make my hair oily, it just soaks right in. I've been doing that for a very long time, even when I was still using normal shampoo, and It has never made my hair feel oily. On days when I don't shampoo which is about 6 days out of 7, I just rinse my hair in the shower and if my hair seems dry when I get out, I will add a tiny amount more. This doesn't weigh my hair down either, like I said, my hair is curly and it still pops up in spontaneous ringlets) (I get my olive oil in a gigantic bottle from walmart that costs me all of around $1.62.)
-5. You don't need to wash your hair every day. That's not really about this particular shampoo, just in general. If you don't believe me, ask your stylist. Just, when you take a shower, rinse it and condition it, if you choose to use a conditioner. As I stated above, I really only wash mine once a week. Trust me; nobody will be able to tell.
A little note about the different scents I've tried; Peppermint smells heavenly but has a noticeable tingle, that's good if you like and want it, bad if you don't. Lavender is my second favorite, it's a strong lavender scent. I mean it, this is not lavender for the weak of heart, this is not 'glade plug ins lavender fairy-farts', this is not a freaking fabric softener with a baby teddy bear on the label, this is hardcore hippie tree hugger lavender (love for the hippie tree huggers). If you've never smelled lavender the actual herb, and you've only ever smelled lavender scented products (even the organic ones, because, of the ones I've tried, the organic products that are lavender scented are still not as strong as this one), then you might possibly want to buy the 4 ounce size first to try. I like the little 4 ounce bottle anyway because I can refill it from the big bottles and use it on trips, so then you'll have the bottle. Tea Tree is strong too, if you like tea tree (I do, I liked this one) you'll really love it, if you don't like tea tree you'll REALLY hate it it, if you aren't sure if you like it, then you should definitely buy the tiny bottle first and try it, you don't want to be stuck with a product that lasts as long as this one does if you don't like it. Tea Tree also seems to me to have a very light tingle to it. Lastly, Rose. ROSE. UGH. I read online and thought people who didn't like this scent didn't know what they were talking about about this scent being so bad, and I bought it anyway because I trust this company and I was a moron to do it. Really, honestly, trust me, it smells nothing like a rose, or even remotely floral, it smells like what I imagine rancid gummy bears might smell like if it were possible for gummy bears to rot, and it is so sickeningly strong and so sweet smelling that when you smell it it makes your teeth hurt. I use mine to clean my bathroom and pray longingly for the day when I'll run out of it.
***EDITED TO ADD***
Since posting this review, I wanted to add a couple more bits of info.
Firstly, this monster has taken on a life of it's own, and people are adding, in the comments, all sorts of fantastic tips of their own about hair care, so make sure you check them out. It's some great stuff.
Second, Olive Oil. Quite a while ago, I added a comment to this review including, among other things, clarifying some thing you need to know when considering using olive oil on your hair, and I wanted to paste that here. Uh...so...here it is. encased in the ;
[There are different types of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the opposite of extra light olive oil. Evoo is mucch heavier and thicker. I think its fattier. You can tell how heavy an olive oil is by its color, EVOO is green and extra light olive oil is clear. The 'spectrum', getting lighter in thickness/weight and lighter in color from green to clear is; EVOO, virgin olive oil, pure olive oil, light olive oil, extra light olive oil. If you want to try olive oil, maybe start at pure olive oil and move up or down, depending on how dry/oily or thick/fine your hair is. What you dont use, you can always cook with!]
Lastly, I was in the process of using up a bottle of bronner's when I initially wrote this review. Since then, I used that bottle up, and went to the store intending to buy a replacement bottle of lavender. Well, they were out. They did have peppermint, which I bought a bottle of, and they also had the lavender in bar form. I got experimental one day in the bath, and used the bar form to wash my hair. FANTASTIC. Lathers great, cleans great, smells great. The one aspect of using the bar to wash your hair that I liked the most was this; when you use the liquid, it's difficult to control how much goes into your hand. If you are using too much of the liquid, then it becomes hard to 'control' in your hand. What I am saying is, you pour the correct amount into your hand, and then you rub your hands together rapidly to emulsify it, and then you apply it to your hair and wash away. If you've put too much into your hand, then you lose some of it when you're rubbing your hands together. PHEW! My gosh that was hard to explain. My POINT...finally...is that the bar eliminates this problem completely, so if you're a fan of the liquid, give the bar a try too, I like them both equally.
***EDITED TO ADD***
Yes, I'm still around, I still have hair, and this monster review is still making the rounds. Just wanted to add an update. My hair is still corkscrew curly, that's its natural state, if anything it is more curly. It is no longer dyed black, that's because I've started to go pretty grey up there, and it looks cool that way so I leave it, i don't dye it anymore. What HAS changed is that I no longer use olive oil on my hair, I now use coconut oil, and I only use it every other day. I do this because for one I like the scent a little better, but also because coconut oil is solid at room temperature, which means that instead of pouring liquid olive oil into your hand and juggling with that, you just take like a butter knife and get some solid olive oil out of a jar. What I do is put like a nickel sized lump of coconut oil in my palm and then rub my hands together briskly to liquefy it, it just melts, and rub it through my hair.
Keep posting your tips! I know people are loving to read them and try them out for themselves.