True Story: I Used a Bar of Soap to Wash My Hair

Nope, not a shampoo bar, actual soap. Don’t look so horrified. I used a glycerin-based soap bar. What’s the difference? Well, let me tell you…

Let me preface this anecdote by stating that I had zero funds to allocate toward my normal products. I am running extremely low on baking soda, CSB Co-Wash, I’m completely out of Suave conditioner, I haven’t had a chance to restock my clay powders, and my CoN deep conditioner is just about used up as well. Once more, I was forced to get creative until I could get to the store later in the week. I knew what little Co-Wash I have left wasn’t going to cover my entire head and I didn’t want to cut corners to stretch it, because that would defeat the purpose, but my hair was dry and in need of a good wash and condition. Immediately, my eyes shot toward the bar of soap in the shower rack. Now, were it any other regular old bar of soap, I would have ceased to entertain the thought, but this bar, this bar is different.

The bar of soap in question is Dial glycerin-based soap. We love it because it’s moisturizing, it’s great for sensitive skin like my daughter’s (eczema), it contains glycerin and vitamin B (double humectants), a little goes a long way since it creates such a rich, creamy lather, and it smells great, to boot! The word “glycerin” emphasized itself to me and reverberated in my mind. I thought, “Well… if it’s glycerin-based, then it must not have all those super harsh detergents like regular soap, right?” I was desperate so I whipped out my pocket encyclopedia (my phone) and did a quick search for whether glycerin-based soaps can be and have been used in place of shampoo. Lo and behold, it’s an actual thing. Apparently, artisan soap-makers who use glycerin as a base encourage their customers to utilize their wares for their hair as well. That was enough validation for me! I decided to give it a shot. At worst, it would be like using a regular shampoo and it would strip all oils from my hair; at best, it would clarify my scalp and I would have a new and unexpected alternative for wash day. I put on a documentary (I like to play a documentary or music on my phone or tablet while I wash), took a deep breath, and began the experiment. I found myself pleasantly surprised.

I separated my hair into smaller sections this time around to make detangling a little easier on myself, but there was no need. I passed the soap over my roots once and it would work into this super rich and creamy lather that only got foamier as I raked it through. It should be noted that my hair was kept in a flat twist-out ponytail with marley hair attached so it was fairly stretched with minimal tangling, but normally my hair is still a bit difficult to rake my fingers through when washing. My fingers glided through as if my hair were saturated with a mousse-like conditioner. Shed hair just slid right out. I was shocked. I was expecting that rough, stripped, squeaky clean straw feeling of sulfates, but no. Like a hot knife through butter, those tangles melted away effortlessly. My curls often separate and lose form when washing and detangling, but the soap made them clump as if I were co-washing. My hair was loving it. When I rinsed, however, there was a slight roughness, which I attributed to raised cuticles since my hair didn’t feel stripped of oils at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. My hair felt on the cusp of gummy as if it were on the verge of being over-conditioned. The true test of a good cleanser is whether it actually cleanses the scalp and hair of dirt and other contaminates. My scalp was squeaky clean, no product residue left behind as with most cleansers I’ve tried (save my staples). I found the actual wash and detangle process was expedited by the amazing slip the soap provided. I felt like I was done with the actual washing and detangling step in no time flat.

When it came time to DC my hair seemed to be more receptive to the deep conditioner. I didn’t need to detangle, but I did rake the product through to be certain. No tangles. It was magical. Once my hair was saturated with the DC, I covered with a plastic bag and sat under a dryer for about 20 minutes (still daylight out! Whaaat?), got distracted by Netflix and social media as usual, and eventually rinsed it out with cold water (my least favorite part of the wash day process). My hair was super soft and clumping perfectly without product. It was amazing. I did my usual steps of spritzing (just water and oils), applying Eco Styler (argan oil) and creamy shea butter mix, then braided. Usually, my hair loses some definition and tangles a little while applying product and the product makes it somewhat difficult to comb out. It’s also next to impossible to get my curls to clump right again; I always end up with some frizz. This time, my hair remained thoroughly detangled, I was still able to rake my fingers through with ease, and the curls held together. I took a look in the mirror once I was done and not a hair was out of place. I normally experience some frizzing within the braid or twist, but my hair was sleek perfection.

I left my hair to set for a full day since I had nowhere special to be. I was skeptical of the results since there is almost always some frizzing at my ends after separating that ruins the set, but…


Not bad, right? NO frizz! Only shiny, perfectly defined curls. My hair is silky soft and smooth to the touch. It was hard to keep my hands out of it even after I put my marley hair back in. I wish I could take a picture and that you could be able to reach out and touch the picture to feel how soft my hair is. The cherry on top is the fact that because I raked product into my hair throughout the process and it remained detangled, when I unraveled the braids (I had eight in all) my curls essentially separated themselves perfectly. I was tempted to leave my hair down, but I made the commitment to protective style with marley hair for a full year so reluctantly bunned loosely and attached the faux hair in a bun as well.

I was shocked by the results of this experiment and am happy to have found a new favorite thrifty product alternative! It’s only about $3 in places like Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid, Target, etc for a pack of three bars. You can’t beat that! Glycerin soap now has my attention as more than just a moisturizing body cleanser. How great is it to have an all-in-one product? I suggest you try it out for yourselves and let me know how it worked for you. Will you be making the switch? Peace & Love

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