Monday, May 18, 2009

Road trip essentials: Solid shampoo bar

I do love the shampoo bar for my very long, very tangly hair. I'm not sure exactly what it is that appeals to me so much, but I really love the idea of not messing with bottles and caps in the shower when I'm travelling.

So what exactly is a shampoo bar? It's a bar in which we put all the things we would normally put into a shampoo - surfactants, oils, silicones, panthenol, proteins - but we leave out the water. (You may have seen these at Lush. This is different in that we actually melt down the SCI or noodle-y part of the surfactants, whereas they seem to press theirs together!)

This is your general break down....
50 to 65% powdered surfactants
10 to 26% liquid surfactants
2 to 7% bar hardener like stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, or sodium lactate (liquid)
1 to 3% emulsifiers (usually e-wax, but BTMS would double duty here)
2 to 7% conditioning agent like Incroquat CR or BTMS
2 to 3% butters - shea, mango, cocoa
1 to 2% hydrolyzed proteins
1 to 4% silicones -- dimethicone at 1 to 2%, cyclomethicone at 1 to 2%
.5 to 2% panthenol
1 to 2% fragrance or essential oils

For this project you'll need
  • double boiler
  • 1 pyrex container
  • a mould - a soap mould works nicely, but you can use a muffin tin or a silicone mould of some sort. (Don't worry about the design on the mould, you aren't really going to see it in the finished bar!)
  • scale
  • spoons
  • freezer or fridge
So here's what I like in my shampoo bar. (Click here for more information on surfactants!)

30% SCI noodles or flakes - I love SCI! It offers a really nice foamy lather that feels great afterwards, and it melts really nicely with the cocobetaine or 30% SCS noodles or flakes. (I have tried using 30% Amphosol AS-90 beads, but it is just too soft! But it offers a lovely lather. It's the prill form of AS-40 with great cleansing, good foam, but it really won't hold up!)
30% SLSa - this cleans really nicely, isn't expensive, and adds lots of bubbles and foam.
15% LSB - for me, this is a nice mild surfactant that works for all hair types. You can choose any anionic surfactant you like for this portion. (Check out the shampoo post for ideas on other surfactant blends!)
10% coco betaine - this amphoteric surfactant adds mildness to your surfactants, and it works to melt the SCI noodles better
3% cetyl alcohol - this will work to add "oil free" moisturizing, will work in tandem with your conditioning agent, and makes the bar harder
3% polawax or Incroquat BTMS - this will help emulsify the oils you are adding into your hair
2% orange butter - because I have really oily hair, I like to add the orange butter, which will help me fight off some oils but adds some moisturizing. You could use 2% coconut oil here. Remember, if you increase the oils, you are going to reduce the lather. You can use something like a water soluble oil, which won't reduce the lather much, if you want to add more than 3%. (Better to save your oils for the conditioner!)
2% conditioning agent - Incroquat CR or BTMS - if you are using BTMS as your emulsifier, then you don't need to add anything here. If you like, add some incroquat CR to the mix so you can get some detangling and softening action!
1% hydrolyzed protein - I like oat protein, but you can add any other protein you like!
1% panthenol - it's always a good thing to add vitamins to your hair care products
1% dimethicone - again, adding a little conditioning to your hair products is a good idea
2% essential oil blend for oily hair - equal parts rosemary, sage, lemon, and cedarwood

1. Weigh your SCI and liquid surfactants into a heatproof container and add to a double boiler. Let melt, stirring regularly to ensure even heating.

2. When melted, weigh out and add everything but the protein, panthenol, dimethicone, and essential oil blend into the container and continue to melt. Your mixture will be thick and gooey!

3. When melted, remove from the double boiler and add the rest of the ingredients.

4. Get some kind of mould - I find something that will give you 100 grams or so is a good amount - and spoon the mixture into it. Freezing it for 30 minutes is the best way to harden these.

5. After a minimum of 30 minutes, turn over your mould and let the bars sit for a while before packaging. I like to wait about 24 hours to let all the water evaporate (you have some humectants in here, so you'll have some moisture drawn to the bars!)

Use and rejoice! Join me on Friday for scrub bars!


jolambert said...

hi i've never heard of orange butter is this something you created or purchased? thanks jolambert

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I bought my orange butter from Soapcraft because it was good for oily hair and skin, and I've got a lot of that! I find it very good for using in my hair care stuff for just that reason. And it smells really lovely!

Evelyn said...

HI, I think your site is awesome. I am slowly working my way up to your level in expertise. I made these and they stayed soft. I re-checked the amounts and found, for one, I used the SCS instead of the SLSa and at 50-50 with the SCI. oops. I used Sal butter in this one. Won't use it again as the dog ate the remainder of the pound when I turned my back. Seriously. Bad Dog! I re-did another small batch and they are still a bit soft even though I corrected the percentages with the scs and sci and used shea butter.This is after almost 24 hours. hmmm I went back over today and the percentages didn't add up to 100 so I adjusted and used 5% for the emulsifyer/hardener and I'll let you know how this goes! Fascinating recipe. I appreciate you putting it out for us newbies!

Evelyn said...

Hi Susan! So excited about the second batch. Still a bit softer than I would like but grabbed it anyways and it works beautifully. Going over my numbers again as math is not my strong point. So glad somebody suggested doing SMALL test batches! Thanks again!

Evelyn said...

Can carrot powder or carrot extract be used in these bars??

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Evelyn! I'm enjoying your updates about your shampoo bars - keep them coming!

You can include a variety of extracts in your shampoo bars - I've used rosemary, white willow bark, green tea, and other powdered extracts - but I've never used carrot. What's the appeal of carrot for you? (Just curious!)

Karla said...

Hi Susan how are you, I have some questions regarding solid shampoos and conditioners.
I see this solid shampoo has some conditioning agents as well some silicones and proteins, if we are using a solid conditioner with more conditioner agents as well as more silicones and proteins, Do they will build up over time? Should we make a clarifying version of this shampoo bar just in case we get build up over time or it would not be necessary.
Also how can we add EDTA to this solid shampoo or the solid conditioner in case we have hard water issues

Thank you

Karla said...

I found the post about making this a clarifying solid shampoo :D, my only question is about the EDTA can we add that to a solid shampoo?

Ana Paula said...

Dear Susan,

Your site is amazing, thank you for being so generous and share all this useful information with us. I've been reading every day, it is very detailed. You are the best!

Unfortunately here at Brazil the only powdered surfactant available for the "commons" are SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate). I've been researching from which ingredients can I adapt and I would like to know if I can use SLS entirely to replace all the solid surfactants.
There is no SLSa, SCI, DLS, LSB or SLES here. :(((( Here it is what I could find:
- Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (liquid)
- Sodium Laureth Sulphate (liquid & solid)
- Sodium Laureth-2 Sulfate (liquid)
The other replacements are easier.

Thank you again!


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Ana. Sure, give it a try. Unfortunately, I don't know how your product will turn out, so keep records about everything you do so you can make it again or modify it if you don't like it.

Victoria said...

Made it. LOVE it!
Will report back if it helps my hair, which is currently thinning and falling out at nano speed :( I've made my bar similar to the the LUSH NEW! shampoo bar, and will make your intense conditioner similar to Roots Hair Treatment by LUSH in attempt to get my hair growing and thickening up.
Heres my recipe:
30% SCI Powder - eco certified in NZ for products
30% SLSa Powder - eco certified in NZ for products
15% Lauryl Glucoside - eco certified in NZ for products
10% Cocamidopropyl Betain - cant find if this is EcoCert?
3% Cetearyl Alcohol - to boost foam and add viscosity and harden bar
3% Ewax - MEDUMULS
2% Stearic Acid - Hardener
2% Organic Cocoa Butter - Harden and add moisture
2% B5 Panthenol
2% Essential Oils, 10drops each of rosemary, peppermint, basil, cinnimon

Bar hardened and dried to the touch overnight, have cut into two 45g bars and will measure how many uses I get as well as if my hairdressor sees any improvement in hair health.
WIsh me Luck!

1% Collodial Oatmeal - its all I had for protein of any sort

Victoria said...

oh also!
PH tested identical to the store brought stuff in my shower by REDKEN
5-6 on the PH strips. Woo!! Hubby said they made shampoo in high school and some peoples hair fell out... so he said he'd only use mine if it's at the right PH.
Thankyou Susan! for this tutorial

Victoria said...

oh and pricing! that's important right?
I priced them up if anyone is wondering and my ingredient cost of the bars for 55g of it came out at $4.50 three to four times cheaper than they sell at LUSH. I brought most of my ingredients from a wholesale supplier in NZ in 500g-1kg quantities... and did my darndest to get eco certified options where possible.

For around three to five seconds I entertained this fact:
In comparison a 900ml bottle of our store brought shampoo that I always have to wash my hair twice with (only needed once with this bar) and lasts who knows how long... months... is only $10 when brought on sale... arrrr thats SO cheap!! compared to these bars... but it's not helping my hair. Sigh.

Ok... well hopefully my comments dont get spammed LOL
Off to make the Conditioner...

Alana said...

Could you add hydrosols in place of the liquid surfactants? Are the liquid surfactants necessary? Also, why so high surfactants? Could you use less?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Victoria! How did it go??? I'm dying to know!

Hi Alana! No, you can't use hydrosols because they are liquid and will make the bar too soft. Yes, they are necessary for a number of reasons, including increasing mildness and increasing the cleansing power. Take a look at the surfactants section of the blog to learn more about those topics. The surfactants are high because it's a concentrated bar, and it needs the ingredients it has to stay solid. I'm not sure what you could put in place of the surfactants that would make the bar solid. You could try some fatty acids, like stearic, but you would end up with a severe reduction in cleansing power, bubbles, and lather, plus it wouldn't work well for greasy hair types.

Kim said...

May I request a post for this? I would like to make a lotion bar that contains water ie. hydrosols that turns into a lotion after showering. I would basically like to make a water based lotion in bar form?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kim. You can't make a water containing lotion bar as it won't be stiff enough to stay together. You can, however, make a lotion bar that turns into a lotion by including all the ingredients except the liquid ones. I've done that many times with my solid scrub bar and my emulsified scrubs. Do a search for either on the blog to learn more!

Nina said...

I am new to DIY
could you please guide me by giving an exact recpie for a shampoo bar with a step by step guide
I love your blog and amazed at the knowledge you share

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Nina. I have already done this. If you look for "shampoo bar" in the search bar, you'll find a visual tutorial for it. There are also many variations on this recipe. Again, if you look for shampoo bar, you'll find many recipes on the blog! These are one of my favourite products to make and use!

Danuta Kilar said...

I am making syndet shampoo bar for a few years, thanks to you Susan, I wonder how can you make it smoother? Is there a way to make the appearance smooth? I love my shampoo, love it so much :) I know it is old thread but maybe you will see it :) thanks

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Danuta! I love shampoo bars so much! I have found the only way to get the bar smoother is to use the prilled SCI or the one that looks like very tiny balls, rather than flakes, noodles, or larger balls. You could also take a wet cloth to a bar when it's done and try to "wash" it until it's smooth. I make mine with prills, and I make sure I melt them very very well before adding the other ingredients, which I think help as well!

I see all the threads, regardless of age! They're all important to me!

Danuta Kilar said...

Thanks Susan, will try with wet clothes :) I can not live without my shampoo bars, and my friend with similar hair to yours, she loves it so much too;) thank you

Bella West said...

Hello, I hope you could answer. Is it ok to make a syndet shampoo bar without cocamidopropyl betaine? Everyone makes it seem like an impossibility, but there is a company that makes them and they are sellilng very well and I don't see that ingredient in their product. The company is Ethique, here is the ingredients: Sodium cocoyl isethionate, sodium coco-sulfate, decyl glucoside, stearic acid, Cocos nucifera (coconut) butter, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) butter, vegetable glycerine, coco caprylate, cetearyl alcohol, coconut milk powder, Mentha piperita (peppermint oil), copper chlorophyll, lactic acid.
I read that cocamidopropyl betaine some people are very sensitive to, so I was hoping to do without it. It is also really hard to find in small amounts to buy. Is using decyl glucoside enough to make the bar less irritating?

Danuta Kilar said...

I think it is the other way around, Decyl glucoside will higher ph, so can be irritating, Coco betaine is the coolest thing on this planet ;)

Julie Adair said...

Hi Susan! It's been years since I've been on your blog or left a comment, and man did I miss you! So glad to see you're still at it, I don't know what we would do without you. You are greatly appreciated for all you do!
I think this product is highly underrated, I LOVE solid shampoo! I've been making it a few years now and found the perfect recipe after a lot of trial and error. I originally tried to make them without melting the SCI (like Lush bars) because I like the look of the noodles in the bars, but they always fell apart after a few uses. Now I melt it with the other surfactants in the heated phase, but I don't add the SLSa until I remove it from the stove and put the mix into a large bowl and add my cool down phase. I add the SLSa and use my hands (gloved of course) to knead it into a workable dough. I'm then able to shape my bars with my hands into whatever shape I want! They harden very quickly too. My favorite bar is a Milk & Bananas shampoo with Banana Powdered Extract & Lactose Powder with BTMS 50 for the emulsifier, it is absolutely Heavenly!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Bella! Sorry for taking so long to answer your comment. You'll see it as a post on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 The short answer is that you can make it without cocamidopropyl betaine - I have many examples on the blog of this. Danuta is right - decyl glucoside isn't that mild if the pH isn't just right.

Hi Julie! Welcome back! Thank you for your wonderful comments. It's always nice when someone shares what they've done to make a formula their own. I do love this product so much!