Can You Wash Your Hair With Dish Soap?

by Courtney Mina

When it comes to greasy hair, a nice lather, rinse, repeat with your everyday shampoo usually does the trick of restoring them to squeaky-cleanliness. But for those rare times when your hair remains greasy (even after you've washed it), can you use dish soap to get rid of the stubborn slickness?

It all started after I took a weekend vacation. When I arrived at the little boutique hotel I was staying at, I was shocked to discover that it didn't supply me with any shampoo or conditioner. Seriously, what hotel doesn't give you even a little sample-sized bottle of shampoo these days? And let me state that this wasn't a cheap hotel, either (chintzy bastards). I didn't think much of it at the time, as I had washed my hair that morning. If I was lucky, I could rock dirty hair for another two days before heading home. That meant curling my hair the second day and wearing it up in a bun on the third. No problem, I could do this.

Green Works Natural Dishwashing Liquid, $9, Amazon

Except that by the time the weekend was over, my hair was crying out for a wash. Normally, going two days without would be fine, but this particular weekend was filled with walking in humidity, soaking for hours in a hot tub, and sweating, sweating, sweating. I didn't realize that with all the product and sweat building up in my hair, it was becoming a hot greasy mess.

When I arrived home, I couldn't get into the shower fast enough to get rid of the greasy-ass catastrophe that was taking over my head. I sighed with relief as I lathered my locks with my usual shampoo, thinking that that was the end of it. But when I finally got out of the shower and dried my hair, it was still extremely greasy around the crown of my head.

I have to admit that this has never happened to me before. My hair is always clean after I shampoo it. To my profound annoyance, I figured I didn't rinse out the shampoo well enough, and decided to wash my hair a second time. I was extremely thorough, mind you. But to my absolute horror, after I finished drying my hair, the excess oil just wasn't budging.

Completely confused (not to mention frustrated as hell), I wondered if maybe it was my shampoo that was suddenly the problem. I decided to head over to the store, pick up a different shampoo, and try the whole lather, rinse, repeat thing all over again. And what do you know, the greasiness remained.

It was at this moment that I decided to turn to the Internet for help. Surely, someone else had also angered the hair gods and had a solution to break this dreaded curse? As it turns out, I was right. The Internet was full of other women whose hair remained greasy even after shampooing. And the best method of action seemed to be to wash one's hair with dish soap.

Considering that dish soap is used to get rid of "tough grease," this seemed a rather simple solution. But would it really work? I decided at this point that I had nothing to lose. I chose a green-friendly dish soap (the less chemicals the better, as far as I'm concerned), brought it into the shower, and went to town. Because dish soap is a lot harsher than shampoo when it comes to "stripping" your hair, I made sure to concentrate it on my scalp and avoid washing my drier / more sensitive ends.

After I finished shampooing, I could already feel the difference in my hair — it was extremely squeaky when wet, and felt a lot "lighter" on my scalp. I finished off by putting an intense conditioner on the ends (to save them from the super-strength of the dish soap), then gently towel-dried my hair before blow-drying it.

It was the moment of truth. Once I finished drying my hair, I ran my hand over my scalp and through the roots. Pre-dish-soap, my hand would catch in my hair, and my fingers would be sightly covered with an oily substance. But this time, to my absolute delight and relief, my hair felt light, soft, and, most importantly, clean. The dish soap method worked.

Although washing my hair with dish soap made it gorgeously clean, it isn't something I would recommend you do often. It can be rather harsh on your hair, and you want to make sure you keep a proper balance when it comes to your head's natural oils (something the dish soap removes completely).

However, if you ever happen to develop greasy hair that just won't wash out with your regular shampoo, like I did, I would highly recommend you go the dish soap route. It's a brilliant little hair hack, and one I will immediately resort to again in the future, should the grease demon rear its ugly head once again. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some fabulous hair flipping to do.

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Images: Courtney Mina