Tuesday, May 31, 2016

One ingredient, five products: Stearic acid - shampoo bar

I love shampoo bars. I think they may be my favourite product I make. Don't get me wrong! I love my lotions and potions and body washes and everything else, but the thing that changed the way I see my hair and making things was this shampoo bar. I didn't create this bar from scratch. CathyMB on the Dish forum created it long before I joined in 2006, but I have tweaked it enough and added and removed so many ingredients for it, that I feel comfortable saying this is my version of a shampoo bar. 

Let's take a look at making a lovely shampoo bar for normal to dry hair with stearic acid as both the hardener and the emollient. (I'm basing it on this recipe, but it's not the same!) If you'd like to follow along with a visual tutorial, please click here

How will a shampoo bar for dry hair differ from one for oily hair? We can't reduce the surfactants as we normally would for dry hair, but we can change the types of surfactants we're using and increase the oils and butters.

Dry hair likes gentle cleansing, so we want to use really gentle cleansers in this recipe. We can use a baby blend type surfactant, decyl glucoside, or SMC or SMO taurate as our liquid surfactants. We can also use more cocamidopropyl betaine to increase mildness. We'll use 15% baby blend, decyl glucoside, or SMC or SMO taurate and 10% cocamidopropyl betaine. 

Why are we using liquid surfactants in a solid shampoo bar? Because the powdered surfactants need something to help stick them together! 

We want to increase the moisturizing, so let's include more oils and/or butters - you can try something like sal, cocoa, or another hard butter. We know coconut oil is great for hair, but it will soften the bar, so start at 5% and work your way up to 10% coconut oil in this recipe. (I'm suggesting 5% hard butter, 5% coconut oil to start off. If you don't mind it being a bit softer, then 10% coconut oil might work for you.)

We're also increasing the moisturizing by using SCI with stearic acid, which will also serve to make the bar harder. So we're decreasing the SLSa because we'll already have a harder bar and because some dry hair types aren't fans of SLSa. (Consider using another powdered surfactant here - although, to be honest, it doesn't look like any of them will play really well with dry hair!)

If you don't have SCI with extra stearic acid - you can tell because it'll be a prill or little round thing versus a noodle - then you can add more stearic acid to the mix. I'm choosing to use 3% stearic acid with this SCI noodle, but you could use more if you want it even stiffer. There's no value to having the stiffest bar ever as it can break. We want it to have a bit of plasticity to it. 

Related posts: 

A quick note on SCS: You can get sodium coco-sulfate as a pellet that might work here. This is sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS. Nothing wrong with it in my opinion, but it isn't a gentle surfactant like the ones I suggest in this post. 

One of the things we generally like for dry hair are humectants, but adding humectants to this will draw water out of the atmosphere to the bar, making for a really wet bar. This is why we need to use a lovely conditioner filled with humectants after using a shampoo bar. Think of the shampoo bar for dry hair as a great way to wash and moisturize our hair with a little conditioning, but the conditioner bar as being the main moisturizer and conditioner!

CONDITIONING SHAMPOO BAR SUITABLE FOR DRY HAIR
HEATED PHASE
35% SCI (with stearic acid)
22% SLSa or other powdered surfactant
10% SMC or SMO taurate or other gentle surfactant
15% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% stearic acid
3% Incroquat BTMS-50, Incroquat BTMS-25 or Rita 225 or Incroquat CR
5% hard butter of choice
2% hydrolyzed protein

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
1% dimethicone
2% essential oil blend
0.5% to 1% preservative


To make this a clarifying shampoo bar, remove the 3% Incroquat BTMS-50 and 1% dimethicone and replace those with 4% emulsifying wax of some kind. Yes, I know I'd normally suggest against including non-ionic emulsifiers in a hair care product in favour of BTMS, but we need something to emulsify the oils so they'll stay on your hair.

Related links: 

Other posts in this series:
Join me tomorrow to wrap up what we've learned about stearic acid! 

10 comments:

Ginrei said...

Would it be possible to make this with all SCI for the dry surfactant? Or at least up to its max usage rate, which I think is... like 49%? or something? Can't remember off the top of my head. I think that might end up a bit draggy, but... maybe possible?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Sure, why not. Give it a try and let us know how it turns out!

Jini Lopez said...

Hello! Iam loving your blogg! Iam from Puerto Rico and everytime a search someting relating hair products diy's or information on ingredients or emulsifiers your page always pops on! Iam currently having some big essues on figuring out how the heck to calculate percentage. A now its probably a very stupid question but everytime I see an ingredient on lets say some cite like makingcosmetics and its says usage rate 5% I dont know how much to add to my mixes and its driving me seriously crazy lol!

I see you use percentage a lot in your diys 70% water 1% fragrance 5% oils etc... And i would really like to know what this all means, like how much should I add if Iam making an 8oz bottle lf conditioner or something, how much is 5% in ml or in oz? Would you pretty pleaseee help me with this?

Thank hou so much for your awsome blog!!

Sinceraly: Jini!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Jini! I encourage you to check out the newbie section or the frequently asked questions section of the blog to learn how to read recipes, make products, and more.

Check out this post on how to convert recipes from percentages to weight!

Jini Lopez said...

Thank you so much!!

rina N said...

Hi Susan, there is something wrong with SCI noodles kin EU and UK- meaning there isn't , or at least i cannot find it. There is loads of SCI without stearic .
Could you be so kind to make a shampoo-bar with SCI without stearic and show it to us, please?
I have been trying and trying, and cannot make my bars hard...
Thank you very much beforehand, Irina.

rina N said...

Hi Susan, there is something wrong with SCI noodles kin EU and UK- meaning there isn't , or at least i cannot find it. There is loads of SCI without stearic .
Could you be so kind to make a shampoo-bar with SCI without stearic and show it to us, please?
I have been trying and trying, and cannot make my bars hard...
Thank you very much beforehand, Irina.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rina! As I mention in the post...

If you don't have SCI with extra stearic acid - you can tell because it'll be a prill or little round thing versus a noodle - then you can add more stearic acid to the mix. I'm choosing to use 3% stearic acid with this SCI noodle, but you could use more if you want it even stiffer. There's no value to having the stiffest bar ever as it can break. We want it to have a bit of plasticity to it.

Then there's a link. I encourage you to follow that link and see what you learn there!

firegirl said...

Hi there,

I am on the lookout for a powdered surfactant other than SCI in the UK. Maybe there is someone out there with tips or even websites?

Thanks
Anne

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anne! I'm wondering if you might get more success posting this in the suppliers' list for the UK in the FAQ section? There are all kinds of recommendations there.

Unforunately, if you are looking for something to replace the SCI, there really isn't an answer. You might try powdered DLS, but there's no guarantee it'll work. I spent about two years trying all kinds of options as I couldn't get SCI in Canada, and in the end, I found the only thing that works well is SCI. If you have dry hair, you could add some butter - say 5% - and some stearic acid - maybe 5% - to hold it all together.