It depends on what you would like your hair to look like afterwards. It depends on if you have short or long hair. Read below for an in-depth analysis on washing your hair with soap or a shampoo bar.

1. Can I wash my hair with soap?

2. Why should I use a shampoo bar instead of a soap?

3. How do I use a shampoo bar?

4. Is there a transition period for my hair when I start using a shampoo bar?

5. What is the difference between a shampoo bar and a conditioner bar?

6. Are detergents bad for my skin?

7. How can I tell if a shampoo bar is soap free?

Use our 20% off coupon code for our shampoo bars20%shampoo   It will only work when the shampoo and conditioner bars are not on sale. Insert code during checkout.

Can I wash my hair with soap?

Yes, you can wash your hair with soap.

Image from

Soap is a simple product consisting of combining fat or oils with a strong alkali (sodium or potassium hydroxide). Soap has a pH range between 9-10 which means it is an alkaline product.

Skin has a thin protective acid film called the acid mantle.  Your skin’s acid mantle does not kill bacteria and fungi; the acid mantle helps prevent bugs from setting up colonies on your body. Soap sends out a search and destroy notice to bacteria, fungi and viruses to keep your skin clean and healthy. Soap is great to clean your living skin. Your skin’s acid mantle can easily return to it’s normal acid level once it has been cleaned with soap and the soap has been rinsed off.

Soap is great for washing your body. And because soap is a simple product, it has a small environmental foot print.

Head hair and the oil on your scalp has a lower pH of around 4.5 – 5.5. This acidity helps prevent bacteria and fungi from flourishing on your head. Hair is ‘dead’ like your nails, once it is grown out, it is no longer alive. If it becomes damaged, then it stays damaged.

If you wash your ‘dead’ hair with an alkaline soap, the alkalinity deteriorates the keratin layers of your hair which become weakened, dry and brittle. Rinsing with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice can help your living skin scalp, but once your dead hair is damaged, then you can only make it look better by coating it with conditioners, or cutting it off.

Many people describe washing their hair with soap makes hair “squeaky clean”.  Squeaky clean hair is not actually desirable. If your hair is clean enough to squeak, it has been stripped of its natural protective oils.

Many people with short hair can use superfatted soap as a shampoo because they keep their hair short; they are cutting off the damaged hair when they get a haircut. We used to sell our Rasta Bar Hemp soap as a shampoo bar and many people really liked it. We still sell the same bar and many people still clean their hair with it, but we don’t call it a shampoo bar since we have created pH balanced shampoo bars.

Why should I use a shampoo bar instead of a soap?

Mountain Sky’s new soap-free shampoo bars have a pH of around 6 which is closer to your hair and scalp’s natural pH, hence our solid shampoo bars create a much gentler hair cleanse than soap.

We also add some conditioners, oils, and proteins to each shampoo bar to soften and protect your hair and scalp. To further coat, detangle, and defrizz your hair, use our new hair conditioner bars.

Mountain Sky’s solid shampoo bars and conditioner bars have been created because many people want a solid plastic free option that is as good as bottled shampoo.

Soap is perfect for cleaning your body; shampoo is best for cleaning your hair.

How do I use a shampoo and conditioner bar?

Going plastic-free is fabulous for the environment! However, using these solid concentrated shampoo and conditioner bars are more work. It will take time to get used to a new routine.

You are preventing considerable environmental damage by using more of your human energy with your new solid bar routine… use of more human energy = less waste. Congratulate yourself… the sea animals and the forest animals appreciate your diligence.

Thanks for buying plastic free products!

Mountain Sky has created these solid shampoo bars and conditioners with some of the same ingredients in bottled products except we don’t add the 70% water and thickeners. Hence, our shampoo bars and conditioners are very concentrated. A little goes a long way.

Depending on the length of your hair, you can rub the bar in your hand and use the lather to rub into your hair. Or you can rub the shampoo and conditioner bars directly into your hair and rinse.

Focus the shampoo bars mostly on your scalp and hair near your scalp. Rinsing with water will clean the rest of your hair. Unless you have fine or very oily hair, you don’t need to shampoo everyday. Over washing hair can cause your scalp to produce more oil.

Use the conditioner bars if you need to detangle, defrizz and strengthen your hair. Target conditioners towards the middle and ends of your hair. Sometimes too much conditioner products on your scalp will clog the scalp pores.

The next hurdle is storage of your solid bars. These bars are very concentrated and cannot sit in water. Once you use them, store them on a soap dish that holds the bars above water.

Hey, these solid bars are also very convenient when traveling. You don’t have to worry about airline security rules. Just remember to find a convenient carry on container that keeps the bars above water. There are many travel soap dishes that will fit the bill.

It will take time for you to figure out the perfect process to clean and condition your hair. The bars are not as convenient as shampoo and conditioners in bottles. You are making this effort for our furry, feathered, and finned friends.

Is there a transition period for my hair when I start using a shampoo bar?

We often see many companies state that there is a transition period for their product.

For instance, some companies sell baking soda based deodorants that can cause underarm rashes. These companies tell their customers that the rash is some sort of detox cleansing of previous toxic deodorant ingredients. Skin is a barrier organ for your body, it doesn’t clear out toxins. Your lungs, liver and kidneys detoxifies and metabolizes chemicals and food.

The underarm rash is caused by the alkalinity of the baking soda which is being applied and staying fixed to your underarm. The rash is a result of disrupting your skin’s acid mantle which can cause severe dermatitis. Baking soda deodorant stays on your skin, while soap is washed away. Your skin will never transition or re-balance to using baking soda deodorant if you have had a deodorant ‘detox’ rash.

Similarly, many companies claim that users of their soap based shampoo bar will experience a detoxing transitional period. This idea of detoxing one’s hair and skin is a myth which is perpetuated by people selling products.

Sometimes you have to get rid of conditioner build-up in your hair by using a shampoo that doesn’t contain conditioners, but that is not detoxing your hair! It is called washing your hair.

Our Citrus Dazzle Shampoo Bar is a clarifying shampoo which is meant to clean conditioner build-up. Canadian Citrus Shampoo Bar

As previously mentioned, hair is dead, once it is damaged, it will stay damaged. Skin is alive, it reacts to different ingredients and you can develop contact skin dermatitis when you expose an irritant to your skin.

Mountain Sky solid shampoo and conditioner bars are made with the same ingredients as the bottled products. It will take time to get used to applying the bars and storing the bars. You will either like the way your hair feels or you won’t, there is no detoxing, re-balancing or transitional period. You will know right away if you like the product.

What is the difference between a shampoo bar and a conditioner bar?

The main ingredients of our shampoo bars are mild detergents found in many bottled shampoos: sodium cocoyl isethionate, cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium lauryl sulfoacetate. We picked these three main ingredients for their pH values, mildness, foaming and cleansing abilities. The main purpose of shampoo is to wash off built up sebum (oil from your scalp) and dirt.

We also add some proteins, oils, detanglers and conditioners in various concentrations depending upon the hair type.  The Citrus Dazzle shampoo bar contains the least amount of conditioning ingredients as it is meant to be used as a clarifying shampoo or for oily hair.

Use the shampoo bars to clean your head hair or beard, some people find that the shampoo bars work well as a body wash also. If you want a light shampoo, just use the lather of the bar, if you need deep cleaning, rub the bar over your hair focusing in on the scalp. Remember, the shampoo bars are very concentrated.

The conditioner bars are meant to strengthen, defrizz and detangle your hair. If you have very dry hair, damaged hair, or need detangling, you will find that the conditioners are very helpful. Target your hair with the conditioners, generally you don’t need to condition the scalp.  The conditioner bars are very concentrated, a little goes a long way.

Are detergents bad for my skin?

Detergents and soap are both classified as surfactants; they both have been created to lift grease and dirt into water so that stuff is washed away. Soap is a very simple product and has been around for thousands of years while detergents are a recent product.

Detergents were created after WW1  because there was a shortage of soap, so scientists worked on synthesizing cleaning products from petroleum. Early detergents were harsh and generally caused a lot of problems for waterways due to high phosphate concentrations.

Detergents have come a long way in terms of environmental impact and sustainability since the early detergent products from WW1.  All of the detergents that we use in our shampoo and conditioner bars are derived from vegetable or nut oils and they are biodegradable.

Some detergents can be harsh on your skin. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a detergent which can be harsh on the skin, but it depends on the concentration as it can be found in toothpaste and in engine degreasers.

We don’t use sodium lauryl sulfate in our shampoo bars, we use sodium lauryl sulfoacetate because it is a gentle detergent at any concentration.

Detergents can range from a lower (acid) pH to a higher (alkaline) pH. We use only lower pH ingredients in our solid bars so we don’t have to add more ingredients to bring the pH down.

Synthetic detergents are everywhere in our modern world, they are highly processed products, just like natural and artificial flavorings. Whether a flavor is considered natural or artificial, they are both highly processed. When ingredients are processed, the bigger the environmental impact, because processing requires more chemicals, more energy and more waste.

Soap has a very low environmental foot print due to its simple processing.

We want our hair to look a certain way, and we want our modern washing machines to properly clean our synthetic clothes. We want detergents for the way we live in  modern times.

Detergents, as a class of ingredients, are not necessarily bad for your skin. Everybody’s skin is different, some people can tolerate some ingredients while others find them irritating. Natural baking soda left on your skin can cause rashes, it doesn’t mean that baking soda is bad for you.

Life is about balance.

Use Mountain Sky’s plastic-free products to reduce your plastic waste.

Soap is great for cleaning your body and has a very low environmental impact. For your hair, use our solid shampoo and conditioner bars, you are using less plastic and there is less of a carbon foot print when we don’t ship water in plastic bottles.

How can I tell if a shampoo bar is soap free?

Many companies sell soaps as shampoo bars. You have to read the ingredients to know if the product is soap based or detergent based.

Soap is made by mixing oils/fats with a strong alkali. The processing is called saponification.

Common ingredient listings for soaps: sodium palmate, sodium cocoate, sodium canolate, sodium olivate. The sodium in solid soap is from sodium hydroxide. You might also see a listing of oils that say they are saponified with sodium hydroxide.

Shampoo bars that are detergent based may contain: sodium cocoyl isethionate, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, decyl glucoside or coco sulphate. There are a lot of different detergents, so the list of possible ingredients can be quite long.

As stated earlier, you hair will be better off with a good quality detergent based shampoo.

Congratulations for reading this long analysis of soaps vs shampoos… just to say thanks, here is a 20% off coupon code for our shampoo bars. 20%shampoo  It will only work for when the shampoo and conditioner bars are not on sale. Insert code during checkout.

Apple Cider Shampoo Bar

Please visit our Mountain Sky FAQ to learn more about our products.


Mountain Sky Shampoo and Conditioner Bars