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Handmade Soaps for Natural Hair and Water Hardness of Manhattan

posted Dec 1, 2016, 2:26 PM by Rahni Jere Sumler   [ updated Dec 27, 2016, 2:37 PM ]

First let me say that all natural hair tips should be taken with a grain of salt.


Everyone's hair is unique but companies in particular capitalize on marketing detergents that require additional products to get the intended result. Shampoos deliver harsh detergents usually on par with what you place in the washer [sulfates]. Conditioners restore the hair with softeners to make it more manageable. Handmade soaps and shampoos without sulfates are a better bet, however, all hair reacts differently to different products.

scentless tranquility shampoo soapRahni Sumler featuring her glorious natural hair

Tranquility Soaps

Zipcode: 10037

Review by Rahni S.
Twitter: rahnijs
LinkedIn: /ln/rahnisumler

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Regarding my hair, my routine usually includes twisting with oil into a protective style, treating my scalp with a Roots Only [] application bottle that delivers oil straight to the scalp. Following a few minutes of scalp massage, I'll place this under a cap for a couple hours then I wash it out with it still in twists to preserve my hair.  Eventually I will retwist with shea butter, starting at the scald and working to the ends. The shea butter is good protection against the elements and prevents shrinkage.

All that being said, I require a cleanser without detergents that is strong enough to cleanse through twists, control the oil levels, and wash away the shea butter. 

 I found an excellent soap that happen to do all these things, but it had some very interesting results.

Coming from my church, a local soap maker had set up her booth outside. Abyssinian Baptist Church  permits small businesses to sell their products outside their door after services by request.

 Toya, owner of Tranquility Soaps, she and I spoke about her craft: delicious looking natural soaps. I gave her shampoo soap a try. I got very good results while in Queens, but then I moved to Manhattan. The results changed! This inspired an experiment.

My question: what was different from washing my hair in Elmhurst, Queens from washing my hair in East Harlem? My hypothesis was the hardness of the  water.

I observed that not only was the soap unable to cleanse the oil treatments and shea butter in Harlem as it did wonderfully in Elmhurst, my clothes also were not getting as clean with my regular detergent.

I have observed the hardness of Manhattan water before and I feel like this experience confirms it.


I will couple my methods with Dr. Bronners soap, available at Watkins Store in Harlem, as I  have done in the past. In the meantime, I highly suggest giving Tranquility Soaps a try [].

 It was a high quality soap that suds well without the need for industrial detergents. It really brought out my curl pattern with optimum water. As someone with a sensitive nose and skin, I really appreciated the scentless version.