Soaps, 'Gentle Cleansers' and the Claim that 'Natural is Always Better'

I have been busy procrastinating on writing a 12-page paper on the most boring subject ever invented - software testing.  I know.  I know.  I will bore you no further.  I have decided (because I am dedicated to educating you guys as I learn myself) to take very important time out of my procrastinating to share some new insights with addition to other ramblings of course, I mean God forbid this should be a short post. I can't have that.  :)  But, seriously, I will try to keep it short this time -  besides I have to return to gazing at the blank Microsoft Word page on the computer screen in the hopes that the words to fill 12-pages will magically appear before me).

Question: Is natural always better?

This is by the way a rhetorical question because the point of my post is that I've found out the answer already but please share your thoughts as well.
When I first started this journey of growing out my natural hair.....or I should back up even further because my proclivity for all things naturally-derived and organic goes back as far as junior year of college when I began pursuing a Pre-Med degree by way of a Nutrition and Health Science major.

Alot of my classes were - obviously about nutrition, the makeup of food, the makeup of us as biological beings and the effect of foods on our bodies. I became more conscious about what I was putting in my body in terms of meat for example when I took a class where we learned the USDA grading system for meat, what it means and the type of worm that lives in pork and the degree of heat needed to ensure it is killed during cooking.
Also, I have always suffered from acne-prone skin and had begun to look for new, more natural ways to improve it as the harsh medications were taking a toll on my already highly sensitive skin.
I collected and used all-natural skin treatment recipes (it did not occur to me then this should extend to my hair) I grew to appreciate the goodness of extra virgin olive oil it became my staple pre-shampoo hair treatment.
I also knew (and still know very well) what foods will improve certain aspects of the body based on their chemical makeup. I can tell you for example that if you have high cholesterol, you need lots of unsaturated (preferably monounsaturated) fats to replace all other fats in your diet and that this will help your cholesterol levels over time (I am not a doctor....I chose another route) but the knowledge stayed with me as I incorporated it in my own life.
Anyway, despite all this knowledge about food and how it affects the body, I was tempted to believe natural is better when it came to my natural hair. Blame it on an igonorance about the make-up of hair and how hair responds to products applied to it externally.
My biggest wonder was about shampoos.
I read that traditional shampoos were very harsh on curly hair and that because curly hair needs to be moist at all times, gentler alternatives were needed. What gentler alternatives? My initial scouring of youtube for example, found new and veteran Naturals raving about the wonders of Dr. Bronner's Castille soap for cleansing hair and also about African Black soap.
Typical me, I went into research mode to find out, what is Black Soap and why is it better than other soaps for hair? It's not! It is gentler than detergents like all soaps are but the claim about the benefits of saponified oils versus gentler cleansers like those found in shampoos like Organix and DevaCurl No Poo and Low Poo are questionable at best, if not completely unfounded.
The tricky thing is it sounds so great. I mean I only want the best for my hair and  yesterday I was this close *thumb and index finger almost touching* to buying the Dr. Bronner's Castille soap that some naturals have been swearing by for their hair. I mean it said beautiful things on the first line of the ingredients list: 'Saponified coconut oil' - Whaaaat?! My hair loves it some coconut oil - but wait, does the fact that it's 'saponified' change the awesomeness of the coconut oil in it? Answer: Hell yes!
Saponification is the process of applying a highly basic substance usually sodium hydroxide (think lye) or potassium hydroxide to the oil.

-I know you are thinking of relaxers but don't be confused, the sodium hydroxide performs its reaction on the oils to produce soap, no further reaction is performed on your hair like relaxers-

 Anyway, the result of this reaction (saponification process) is a molecular structure that has a hydrophillic (water-attracting) end, binding to water and a fatty end, bindable to oils. This is what makes soap. Now the only virtue of Dr. Bronner's soap over another soap (and I am not including detergents which are harsher over all than soaps and other cleansers) may be the type of fat or oil used in this saponification process and since different oils and fats have different molecular structures, mainly length and type of bonds of the fatty acid tails, it very well may be that some soaps are better than others.
What does this mean for our hair?
Soaps in general have a higher pH than the pH of our hair. And great differences in pH contribute to the breakdown of the hair's own molecular structure to varying degrees. On the other hand, gentler cleansers specifically formulated for curly hair and free of harsh chemicals like SLS and ALS are likely to have a pH closer to the hair's own (I encourage you to investigate the pH for yourself), meaning less harmful to the structure of the hair. If you don't know much about the structure of hair, look it up. Trust me its worth reading and you may see why I came to the conclusion that natural is not always the best for all that beautiful curly, kinky, prone to dryness and delicate mass on top of our heads.
Keep loving your hair and I'll keep using my Organix Coconut Milk shampoo until I can get my hands on that Deva Curl No or Low Poo cleanser to give it a try. Of course a review of it will follow so look out for that.