Friday, October 9, 2009

Shampoo bar - a visual tutorial

I do love shampoo bars, so I thought I'd make up a visual tutorial to share the love. If you want to follow along, you can use this recipe.

This is the recipe I'm using for this batch...

30% SCI flakes
30% SLSa
15% DLS mild
10% Bioterge 804
3% cetyl alcohol
3% Incroquat BTMS
2% orange butter
2% Incroquat CR

COOL DOWN INGREDIENTS1% hydrolyzed oat protein
1% panthenol
1% dimethicone
2% oily hair blend - equal parts rosemary, sage, cedarwood, and key lime

I start by weighing the SCI noodles or flakes (in this case, I'm using flakes from the Herbarie) and the liquid surfactants into a Pyrex jug, which I then put into my double boiler.

As a note, it can take some time for the SCI to melt. Using coco betaine with the SCI helps it melt faster, but it still takes some time.

This is what it looks like when it has melted properly. I find the SCI flakes are very very fluffy when melted - Jordapron prilled and the noodles aren't as fluffy.

Stir it well to make sure you don't see any unmelted flakes. Yes, I know we're going to heat it further, but I find it if the flakes are unmelted at this point, they aren't going to melt in the next phase very well.

Now add the SLSa and other melty ingredients. You can see the orange butter on the top of the container. Don't leave it like this! Mix it all very well, then return to the double boiler.

Again, ensure everything is melted well as you go along, stirring it to make sure the various ingredients are incorporating into the mix.

At this point, I like to weigh out the various cool down ingredients in a small, non-plastic container (I do this so I can clear off my workspace because by now it's covered in bottles and bags of surfactants!)

You'll know it's ready for the cool down ingredients when it is well melted (and yes, I realize this example has a giant hunk of orange butter in it, but I did melt it further!) and all the ingredients are incorporated.

I know CathyMB described the texture as being like biscuit dough. I've never seen biscuit dough - I'm on the west coast of Canada and the only time I've seen biscuits is when I've been road tripping in the States or at Tim Horton's when I buy those breakfast sandwiches and I don't think those are real biscuits - so I'm going to describe it as very light cookie dough. It doesn't really matter. When the ingredients are well incorporated, you're ready for the cool down ingredients.

For some reason I didn't take a picture of my container of cool down ingredients or of me incorporating them, but you can see it's a bit of a different colour now, more of a yellowy shade than the pure white above. That's because of the essential oils and hydrolyzed protein I've used.

Mix it all in very well and you're ready to get it into molds.

I like to use a small spoon for this process. I spoon some into the mold, then bang it on a hard surface - like making chocolates! - to ensure it won't have little holes in the surface.

You can use any size or shape mold you wish. I prefer this dome mold that is about 90 grams, which is a good size for the shower.

I suggest putting them in the freezer for at least 1 hour and leave them to cure at least 24 hours. It seems like not using them right away makes them harder, and you'll get more uses out of your bar!

Have fun!


Julie van Oosten said...

Hi Susan, I tried your recipe for shampoo bars. They were easy to make and turned out fantastic. I noticed you made yours for oily hair and I did change the recipe to suit my dry hair. I will probably not go back to regular shampoo after trying this recipe. The conditioner is also amazing and I find I don't need a leave in conditioner after using it. I have also noticed that the shampoo bar has removed the build up of product from my hair and now it feels cleaner and smoother, thanks so much for posting the recipe, Julie

Helen said...

Hi Susan
Thank you so much for these wonderful tutorials!
Could you suggest a colourant that would work well in the shampoo and the conditoner bars? Would micas work? ultramarines? Oxides? labcolours?

Thanks for any help you can give!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Julie! I'm glad you like the shampoo bars!

Hi Helen! You can use labcolour type colourants or micas (although the sparkle can stay in your hair if you use too much). My preference is the labcolour or liquid colourants - you can disperses them in the liquid surfactant if you want, or mix it in before molding, although this is a little harder to get a uniform colour!

I wouldn't use ultramarines or iron oxides as they can smell a little over time!

Dianna said...

Hello - how can I change this recipe for normal or dry hair?

Also, where can I find these ingredients?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Dianna. Here's the post on how to modify this recipe for your hair type.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Dianna: Check the list of links I have in the side bar for suppliers. You can also try the Herbarie for great surfactants!

Apryl said...

I think I understand the differences in the way surfactants clean vs. the way soap cleans, but are there distinct benefits to using a shampoo bar made with surfactants vs. a cp soap shampoo bar? Like you've said before, it doesn't need to condition, assuming the user is going to apply a conditioner after. Would a surfactant based shampoo bar be more suited to oily hair? Would there be less build up?

Thanks so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge! I'm quickly becoming addicted to the blog. . .

Apryl said...

So, I just read the note you wrote regarding Ph and shampoo. You stated that cp soap does not work as a shampoo bar for most people because it is too alkaline. Hair is about 3.5 and cp soap is about 8, correct? Don't know if you can answer this or not, but is there a way to lower the Ph of cp soap? Based on your knowledge of the chemistry of CP soap, would you think that reducing the lye (making a more moisturing, "superfatted" soap) would lower the Ph?
Thanks agagin!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Apryl. A shampoo tends to have a pH of 6.0 or so (baby shampoos and speciality shampoos can be higher or lower). CP soap is alkaline (above pH 8), so it's not the best choice for hair.

Apparently superfatting CP soap can bring down the pH, but I can't make any suggestions because I simply don't know enough! I know Voyageur has a CP conditioning shampoo bar recipe in this package - scroll almost to the end. This might be a good place to start if you are interested in making CP shampoo bars.

When we use something that isn't balanced properly for hair, the cuticle won't fly flat again, and our hair feels tangly and coarse. The hairs rub against each other, which causes mechanical damage. If you are using something alkaline on your hair - even if you are putting something very acidic on it, like vinegar as a rinse - you run the risk of a non-flat cuticle and constant abrasion between the hairs.

As for build-up - the main goal of a shampoo is to clean. If you are getting build up, you aren't rinsing your hair properly or you're using too many silicones or conditioning polymers. (Click here for a post on clarifying shampoos.)

Surfactants and CP soap clean in the same way - they remove oils and dirt from your body and suspend them in an emulsion so they can be rinsed away before they re-deposit on your skin, hair, clothing, etc. As you'll see in my posts on surfactants, the differences are far greater. Most surfactants are created - for the most part - to be pH balanced, so they are easier to incorporate into a shampoo without messing around with the pH level.

Don't get me wrong - I love CP soap and spend a fortune on it from local craftswomen, but it isn't the ideal product for your hair.

I'll be doing posts on hair care in May where I'll go into this in more detail.

Nelly said...

I am having a hard time trying to find the Bioterge 804, any suggestions?


Happy Crafter said...

Can one use this recipe bare bones and make a shampoo bar without the sci, and use the slsa powder,btms,city and coca butter?.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Happy Crafter. I don't think it would work well as you need the SCI to solidify the bar, and I've found that although SLSa works as a bar solidifier, nothing works as well as the SCI. Why not use SCI? It's a wonderfully mild cleanser that leaves a silky after feel and huge bubbles!

Happy Crafter said...

Hi Susan,
Can I just use SCI as the only surfactant?
Distilled water as the liquid?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Happy Crafter! These bars shouldn't contain water because then you'll have a liquid shampoo instead of a bar. You need the other surfactants in any shampoo product to bring specific things to the party - more lather, more bubbles, better tolerance to sebum, better tolerance in hard water, and so on. Although you could get away with an SCI only shampoo in liquid form, it would be missing some great things in it that would take that product from good to great!

If you want to make a shampoo with SCI and water, then check out the recipes in the hair care section of the blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan.

I am about to place my order at the Herbarie for these required ingredients. I hope I get the right products as they have new ones and the names of the some ingredients in your list vs. what they have on their site, varies. ie. Incroquat BTMS is on their site as BTMS-50 (I think they are the same but let me know if I am wrong. Anyway, other questions:

1. Do I need to add a preservative since these will be in contact with water? If so, which one and how much?
2. I can't find Bioterge 804 at the Herbarie. Is it under a different name or is there a SUB? I would hate to go elsewhere for just one item.
3. What is the difference between Incroquat and Honeyquat?

Thanks for all your help!

Melanie Klar said...

Can I substitute some other surfactant for the SLS? I'm allergic to sulfa. I can't seem to find another solid surfactant to go with the SCI.

By the way-sorry for all the posts today! I really do have a life-I'm just a bit obsessed with cosmetic chemistry right now!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Melanie. It's not SLS, it's SLSa. It's not the same thing.

Melanie Klar said...

But isn't it still sulfa? I'm afraid "sufoacetate" sounds like I would be allergic to it with my sulfa allery.

Melanie Klar said...

Can you use detailed soap molds for these like the silicone ones? or are they too chunky?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Melanie. You can use whatever molds you wish, but they might be hard to get out of some of the more elaborate molds!

Michelle Squyars said...

So HOW do you use the shampoo bars? Do you rub it on your hair? Or do you gather a lather in your hands and then work it into your hair.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Michelle! I wet my hair and wet the bar. I swipe the bar across my hair and lather it up as normal!

Rebecca said...

Hi just wondering, when you make these, do you find them quite sticky (before you use them). Is there a way that I can make them so that they aren't so sticky prior to using them?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rebecca. No, these shouldn't be sticky. I'm not sure what to suggest as I don't know your recipe.

Lorraine said...

Good evening Susan,

Absolutely LOVE your basic recipes, explanation of ingredients, and tutorial. Thank you SOOO much. You are a treasure! I do request some advice. I am using SCI (30%) and stearic acid (5%) in my shampoo bar and even after four days they are still soft like Play Dough. I am also using SLSa, SMC Taurate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, e-wax, incroquat CR, cocoa and mango butters, sea salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, dimethicone, panthenol, and vitamin E. So very similar to your own recipes. Now, I put all the heated phase ingredients together and let them melt and then stirred. Then I added all the cool down phase ingredients and stirred. Could that be the problem? I know one cannot make madeleines by simply throwing all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing!

Thank you!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lorraine. How did you cool them down? I find that if I follow my usual recipe, I pop them into the freezer and they are solid within an hour or so. Can you you explain your process? That might help!

Tulsi said...

Hello Susan.
Thank you very much for all the informations you share with us.
I would like to make a solid shampoo almost according to your recipe.
Will that work if I switch from 15% DLS mild and 10% Bioterge 804 to
15% Sodium Cocoabutteramphoacetate and 10% Cocamidopropyl Betaine? I hope it will.
How come that they use so much water in this recipe and it is still solid?

Thank you.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tulsi. I have no idea why that recipe has so much water. You'll note, though, it talks about having to cure for up to 2 weeks, which I think gives the water time to evaporate.

If you click on the recipe link in the first paragraph, you'll see my basic recipe and you can substitute your ingredients from there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan! I think you forgot to list a preservative in your formula. Just wanted to bring it to your attention.


Anonymous said...

Did you use SCI with Stearic Acid or without it? I can only find SCI without it. So if this formula used the version with stearic, what substitutions should I make?

I made the formula above, except with coco betaine instead of Bioterge, shea butter instead of orange butter, and Germall Plus as the preservative. By the time it had cooled off enough to add the Germall Plus(122 deg. F/50 deg. C according to Lotioncrafter), the consistency was kind of like silly putty, but sticky. Needless to say, it was extremely difficult to get into the mold. Do you have any advice or suggestions for me?


Victoria Fitton said...

I was following this recipe and you had mentioned further down from the ingredients coco betaine but I do not see it in the recipe ingredients. Was the substitution Bioterge.
Thanks for all your information. The products are suburb and I will be taking your course in October at Voyageur.

Vic Toria said...

Dear Susan,

I need to creat a syndet bathing bar. I dont know how to go about it. This recipe has different surfactants because it needs to be so sudsy like a shampoo which is what it is. But how do I tweek the recipe to make just a syndet bathing bar.

Thank you.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Vic Toria. I've written quite a lot about different surfactants in the surfactants section of the blog, so my first suggestion is to visit there and learn about the different ones available to you, which ones are good for what skin type, and what might work in a bar. The second suggestion is for you to try making one of these bars and see what it's like. If you like it for the body, then use it that way. If not, then check out the section I mentioned above to see how to modify this bar for the shower. (I have recipes on the blog where I've made products for the body, so my suggestion is to do a quick search and see if you can find them!)

David James said...

Can I substitute SLSA for just SLS as my supplier doesn't stock SLSA

Johanne said...

Dear Susan,

When I am making shampoo bars with BTMS 50 i have prpblem in melting it. Can I first incorporate oils, butters and btms 50 and later put in SCI powder? Many thanks, Jahanne