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Mar 13, 2021
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Moved to The Oort Cloud...
Some people have oily hair because their shampoo removes too much natural oil from their scalp, triggering the scalp to produce more oil to replace it. It becomes a vicious cycle of stripping the oil out and the skin overcompensating by producing a lot of oil, which is then stripped again by harsh shampoo.

Has your scalp always been oily? Have you tried using a more gentle shampoo for a few months to let your scalp adjust to not having to produce as much oil?
I have always had oily hair. It's a genetic thing. Less problems using liquid soaps, back in my 20's I used Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap exclusively for my entire body & hair cleansing. Got away from it because my former wife bought the cheap detergent stuff at Wally World.
My dandruff has lessened considerably too.
Sep 19, 2011
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Southern California
Quanta is very correct with her information. It does not matter if using cold water or vinegar to close the raised cuticle of the hair shaft. Every time the cuticle is raised due to the high ph of soap damage is happening. Zany you are fortunate and I am guessing your hair is trimmed regularly as most men's hair is, so soap does not do as much damage, but take long past the shoulder hair and see what can happen. When hair is short and trimmed on a regular basis the damage is trimmed off. The other type of damage is split ends which continue up the hair shaft once the split starts, it cannot be fixed only band-aided with conditioners. As I have mentioned many times here in the forum hair is dead and dead cannot be fixed or resurrected. Back in my day, this was basically Cosmetology 101 or Freshman room Cosmetology.


Well-Known Member
May 12, 2020
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First of all, Zany, I want to say that it is not my intention to pick a fight with you. I'm sorry that you seem to have taken my post as an attack. I have always found interaction with other people to be frustratingly difficult (online or not). No matter what I say or how I say it, people get offended and I lack the social skills to know how to approach things with more tact (and believe me, I have tried). I also never seem to "get" when a topic is emotional for other people, and thus I don't act/speak in an appropriately sensitive manner. To me, there are only facts and I am relaying those facts; emotions and feelings just don't come into it. I guess I am a Vulcan or something. Please try to understand how difficult this is for me.

I guess I should have opened with an explanation that I do not mean to offend, only enlighten. For all the good that would have done. *sigh*
I am only trying to clear up some misinformation, mainly the idea that soap-as-shampoo will work for anyone. It has been demonstrated that due to the differences in various hair types, this is just not the case. There are those few that it does work for, but those few like to extrapolate their own experience onto other hair types and that is just not how it works. Forgive me for trying to make things clear for the newbies.

If my terminology is incorrect, I stand corrected. 🙂 It has been a long time since I first saw a graphic of how the cold rinse closes the hair shaft and the vinegar rinse restores the acid balance (pH) of the scalp. And I do agree... from what I've learned over the years is that the scalp has the ability to return to normal pH within 20 minutes of shampooing, if I recall correctly.
Do you then recognize that it is the pH of the wash/rinse, and not so much the temperature, that is raising and lowering the cuticle? It is better to use products that are acidic to wash and rinse/condition hair because it doesn't raise the cuticle in the first place. Soap can never be acidic, and I know you know that. That fact alone makes it unsuitable for most hair types.
If water gets under the cuticle, it causes the cortex to swell which raises the cuticle further. A cuticle in good shape with its protective coating intact should do its job and keep water out. Using soap (with or without an acid rinse) tends to remove the protective coating and damage the cuticle, allowing more water to penetrate deeper into the hair strand. The cuticle should be kept closed at all times if at all possible. This means using an acidic hair washing product to keep the cuticle down during washing, which necessarily means syndets since the pH can be adjusted down to suitable levels.

In a way, you are "preaching to the choir". You will be happy to know the majority of members on SMF agree with you. Syndet (synthetic/detergent) Shampoo vs. lye-based Shampoo Bars has been discussed many times. Since I'm allergic to commercial products, I'm happy to share my experience with lye-based shampoo with others who find themselves in the same boat... when I'm allowed to do so. :rolleyes:
I'm sorry if I made you feel like I wasn't allowing you to say that soap works for you. I do recognize that there are people for whom it works, but for most it does not. You came across as saying that it will work for anyone. I apologize if I misunderstood you. And I already know that most here share my opinions on shampoo; I was addressing you directly.

FWIW, I made my first soap in 2003 at age 60. I have used every bar since then to wash my hair & body with no negative results. But it did require a "period of adjustment" at first. During that time, I was on a few top-notch groups and forums where Shampoo Bars were often discussed -- without rancor, I might add. SMF is the first forum where members (albeit unintentionally) strike fear into the hearts of newbies who ask for help. It's a shame, to my mind at least, when they choose syndets when a better alternative is readily available.
I am trying to discuss this without rancor. Again, I'm sorry you're reading me that way.
To be clear, soap as an alternative to syndets is only better in cases where an allergy or a sensitivity to syndets precludes their use. Chemically speaking, acidic syndets will always be much gentler on hair than alkaline soap. This is established, demonstrable, scientific fact. There is also the side issue of the myth that "natural=better than synthetic", and the related myth that soap is somehow more natural than synthetic detergents (despite both being manufactured by artificial chemical processes using plant derivatives as raw materials), but I will not derail further. I will only say that once that myth is dispelled for newbies, most see the sense in using syndets and they stop fearing them.

When I first joined in 2017 it was a banned topic and members were extremely abusive when I brought the subject up -- VERY emotional, and still are to some extent. I'm happy to say they have mellowed out and now keep a civil tone while those of us in the other camp help each other out. But the horror stories continue to sway people away from lye-based shampoo.
I did not know it was a banned topic at one point. That was before I joined.
I do recognize that there are legitimate cases where someone is, due to circumstances outside of their control, forced to use soap to wash their hair because it's either that or nothing. Those people deserve the guidance they need to formulate (and mitigate, i.e. use with acid rinse) a soap suitable for their needs. There are also people who, like I said before, have remarkably tough hair that can withstand soap. You yourself seem to be in both of those categories. I am not denigrating you for that. However, when a newbie stumbles into a discussion like that, it should be made clear that using soap on their own hair will (most likely) cause irreparable damage. There have been cases where people have had to shave their hair off, it was so bad. The horror stories aren't just made up to scare people (why would anyone do that without legitimate reason?), they are told because they really happened and we want the newbies to have enough information to make an informed decision.

However, because of the ban, other members were reluctant to share their experience in fear of creating a brouhaha. I kept my mouth shut for a whole year until bit-by-bit I could make my case without stirring up a hornet's nest. As a result, I realized I'm not the only one here to make and use lye-based shampoo as one and then another member felt comfortable enough to speak up to share their experience.

It's been quite a ride. :nodding:
I'm glad the emotional response is not what it used to be. Things like this should never (in my view) be emotional issues. It is a matter of chemical reactions as they relate to unadjustable characteristics of the structure of human hair and that is that.

Zany, can we agree on the following things?
1. pH, more than temperature, affects how open or closed the cuticle is
2. Not everyone can or should use soap on their hair, because leaving the cuticle down at all times is ideal
3. Synthetic surfactants are milder than soap (on hair) in cases that allow their use without sensitivity or allergy
4. Soap, properly made, is really nice on the rest of the body

Again, let's not fight over what is probably mostly misunderstanding each other. Agreed?