Me, in the shower, with the soap (shampoo variety and effectiveness)

So… mostly, I use Irish Spring. (Manly!) And also reasonably priced, in giant shrink-wrapped blocks, from our local warehouse club.

And after I lather up and rinse my manly body, I run the bar over my hair a few times, and froth up lather there, and then rinse. My hair is, by all accounts, clean after this, and I keep it pretty short and it’s never given me a problem or frightened small children.

Occasionally I’ll steal some of my wife’s shampoo, which is an adventure because she has 74 different kinds of bottles in the shower: different shampoos, conditioners, and washes.

I know we’ve talked about this before, but am I doing something terrible to my hair by using bar soap on it? Will the lack of “hydrolyzed animal protein” and “keratin amino acids” reduce my ability to run across a flowered field in slow motion with swishing hair someday?

I had to use soap on my hair one time and it was a disaster. My hair looked stringy and greasy.

I’ve used soap on my hair for decades and still have a full head of it. Now, I almost always have a buzz cut so there’s not much chance that damaged hair will be on my head for long. I am willing to claim it doesn’t damage my scalp. My wife shakes her head.

Sometimes I look at my wife’s shampoo but can’t make up my mind if I need an amino acid rinse today, fruit esters or maybe some botanical extracts. Should I go with a blonde highlight or stick with brown? I give up and reach for the Ivory soap. At one time I had long hair and came to understand the need for conditioner but the various shampoos are still a mystery.

A hairdresser once told my oldest son that his hair would fall out if he didn’t use quality salon shampoo, and sure enough his hair fell out.

Weird. When I use Irish Spring on my hair, I find it dries my hair out rather than leaving it greasy.

It really doesn’t matter if you have really short hair. True, soap tends to be damaging, and not do such a terribly good job at cleaning hair, but you probably get it cut every 6 weeks so who can tell? You’re constantly cleaning up the damage.

If you grew your hair out to shoulder length and kept doing the same thing, and went to a long-hair cutting schedule of a 3-4 times a year, it would look horrible, because then the damage would be very visible and you would have visibly frizzy, split-endy, dry or greasy hair. But as long as you keep it very short, you’re fine if it makes you happy.

Just watch for the label that says, “Caution: May contain anti-swishing agents.”

I cut my hair short in the summer and just use plain Ivory soap. During the winter when I let it hang to my collar I use Ivory to wash and do a second wash with shampoo.

As I understand it the Ivory really strips the hair, and leaves a film behind that makes long hair “sticky” .

I also use shampoo on my beard when it is longer than an inch or so, makes it much less painful to comb/brush.

Bricker, My condolences, I just threw away around 20 bottles of shampoo, mostly unused last Christmas. The shelf is almost full already.

The soap thing wouldn’t work for me. Why, you ask?

(music starts)

(Oak sings)

Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair!
Shoulder length, longer (hair!)
Here baby, there mama, Everywhere daddy daddy

Yup, I’m a long haired dude. Gots to use conditioner, or attempting to comb my locks becomes an exercise in masochism.

Me, in the shower, with the soap.

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra?

(I’m sorry. I tried to resist posting this drive-by. I failed. Shaka, when the walls fell!)

Everyone’s hair and scalp are different. If Irish Spring works for you, use it. But in spite of keeping my hair buzzed, if I didn’t scrub my scalp (and goatee) every day with “intensive” dandruff shampoo, I’d get a severe case of sebhorria.

I have fairly long scalp hair, and for that, I use a dandruff shampoo and Mane’N’Tail conditioner. This is what works best for me. However, I scrub the short hairs on my body with an antibacterial soap, and those hairs seem to be in fine condition. Of course, I don’t have much body hair.

My husband uses a product which claims to be a shampoo and body wash and conditioner, all in one. However, his scalp hair is getting sparser and sparser, and he keeps it fairly closely cut. It’s not quite a buzz cut.

I say you should go with whatever gives you good results, and I also say that running through flowered fields in slow motion is vastly overrated. And short hair isn’t gonna swish, no matter what you use on it.

The problem with soap depends on where, geographically, you use it. In areas with hard water, it leaves soap scum (mostly calcium stearate and other calcium fatty acid salts). This stuff doesn’t rinse off, and it’s pretty disgusting. On very short hair, it may or may not have noticeable effects. In areas with soft water, it rinses out just fine, and goes beyond cleaning, stripping the hair of all natural oils and “ruffling” the surface of the hair shafts, which normally lies smoothly like scales. This dry, rough surface feels like “clean” to people who are used to soap or harsh detergents, and can be ameliorated by using conditioner.

Shampoo and skin cleansers with synthetic detergents were created in response to the first problem; even in hard water, they don’t “salt out,” so most people get better cleaning with them. The first detergents were harsh and irritating, but over the years, better ingredients and better formulas were developed, and a good shampoo will leave hair free of dirt and excess oil, but with an intact surface and a healthy coat of natural oil or conditioning ingredients (or a separate conditioner can be used).

I have moderately short hair; I tend to get it cut a little long on top, and let it go for two months or so, so there’s ample opportunity for damage to show. On the other hand, it’s very fine and tends to get oily if I skip more than a day. I use Clairol Herbal Essence Volumizing Formula, a relatively simple shampoo with a short list of mostly mild ingredients. It cleans well in hard water, and it doesn’t appear to be doing any damage. I only use conditioner when I find myself washing my hair more than once in a day.

ETA: Lynn, body hair is constantly falling out, and seldom has a chance to show any damage.

Yeah, if it works for you, then no reason to change.

I’ve finally weaned myself from the female habit of keeping dozens of varieties of shampoos and conditioners around. I’ve actually switched to using a baking soda/sea salt rinse to cleanse and then I use the conditioner that comes with my box 'o haircolor - the smallest dab just to detangle - that lasts until I color my hair again in 6 weeks. Wow do I spend so much less on hair stuff, and it looks great! (shoulder-blade length)

Women really don’t need all that crap. It’s just hundreds of dollars a year down the drain.

Aha! That explains the dry vs. greasy thing, thanks. (I’ve never lived anywhere with hard water.)

I’m the opposite; I buy big bottles of the cheapest shampoo I can find and use it on my hair and body. It seems to get me reasonably clean and my face doesn’t get all dry.

Head hair is constantly falling out, too. I think that the issue is that body hair will grow to a short length, and stop, whereas some people can grow scalp hair to astonishing lengths, which gives it more chance to show damage. A head of hair that’s been allowed to get split ends can be a very scary sight. Body hair almost never grows long enough to get split ends. I mean, hair that’s less than half a foot long will rarely show split ends, and it doesn’t matter whether the hair is on the scalp or on the body.

Scalp hair will almost always grow to a certain length, and then stop, but the certain length will vary from one person to the next, and even on the same person, it will vary from one portion of the scalp to the next.