I have formulated this shampoo bar recipe to be suitable for beginners. All the ingredients should be available to purchase fairly easily. Most of them are also available plastic free- If they are not, I recommend buying them in larger quantities!
The recipe is divided into 3 main categories of ingredients: cleaning, detoxifying and moisturising making this a shampoo bar suitable for most hair types.
If you are interested to learn how to create your own bespoke shampoo & conditioner bars recipes, join the waitlist for my Shampoo & Conditioner Bars Online Course, which will be launched soon.
Watch the recipe tutorial below:
32.50 grams / 65% of sodium cocoyl isethionate - SCI (powder form)
0.25 grams / 0.5% eco preservative (Dehydroacetic acid & Benzyl alcohol)
Download my exclusive guide to online worldwide cosmetic suppliers you can get the ingredients from.
I don't recommend swapping the SCI powder or the CABP with anything else, as otherwise the recipe would have to be completely reformulated.
You can swap the cocoa butter with stearic acid to obtain a less greasy feeling and still get similar hardening qualities
You can swap jojoba with any other oil, although I recommend a hair loving oil such as coconut, hemp seed or broccoli seed oil. If you are adding an oil with a short shelf life, you should be also including Vitamin E at 0.5% of your formulation.
You can swap the soap nut powder or shikakai powder with a mild clay such as kaolin clay or rhassoul clay or omit it altogether and add more SCI powder. Bear in mind that the shampoo will be more cleansing this way.
You can use any essential oil you want which are suitable or known to use for haircare
Please do not omit the eco-preservative. Vitamin E is not a good a preservative but an antioxidant and not a suitable alternative.
For our cleaning part, we will use 2 naturally derived eco friendly surfactants: sodium cocoyl isethionate, also called "SCI" is our main detergent, and cocamidropoyl betaine also called "CAPB", is our liquid detergent. Because these 2 ingredients have a different nature, they balance each other out, contributing to a milder product.
Next, we will add a mildly cleaning natural powder. For this recipe, you have the option to use either soap nuts powder or shikakai powder.
These powder contain natural saponins so they will contribute to add lather and cleaning action to the shampoo while adding shine, protection and thickening our shampoo bar.
If you want you could also do a mix of the two. If you don't have the powdered version of soap nuts you could use the nuts and ground them very finely in a food processor.
Our detoxifying part is composed by bentonite clay, which has got amazing purifying and scalp soothing properties. The clay will also help thicken and harden our shampoo bar. If you don't have bentonite you can swap it with any other clay you have (check out in the substitutions at the beginning of this blog post!)
We will also include essential oils which not only will give a wonderful scent to your shampoo but will also add beneficial properties for your hair. I chose a blend of eucalyptus and tea tree essential oil for their antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
The last section of ingredients will be made up by cocoa butter and a nourishing oil of your choice, I chose jojoba. Cocoa butter is super moisturising and softening and will make our shampoo bar hard. Jojoba is actually not an oil but a liquid wax, which is very similar to our scalp's sebum so it's very hydrating and doesn't cause our pores to clog.
Last but not least, we will add an eco preservative. Even if your shampoo bar does not contain water, it will constantly get in contact with water and we want to avoid any fungi and bacteria from forming.
We will not need many tools for this recipe but just a heat resistant pyrex glass container, 1 tablespoon, a scale, and a flexible silicone mould.
When handling SCI I really recommend wearing a mask or covering your mouth with something or at least hold your breath. The SCI powder is super fine and it could get dispersed in the air super easily, kind of like dust, and it's quite irritating if breathed in. You don't necessarily need gloves but I find them handy especially towards the end when we are pouring the shampoo in the mould.
Step 1: Weighting the powders
As a first step we will begin by weighting our Sci powder. Here, just be careful not to make the powder fly around by placing it slowly to the bottom of your beaker with a spoon. Next, we will add the Cocamidropopyl betaine and mix together, once the 2 are mixed together, you will have no powders flying around anymore.
Next, we will add also our oil our soap nut powder and and our bentonite clay, and again mix everything well with a tablespoon. I recommend using a wooden spoon for the bentonite clay, which I am not doing here but I've learn that due to the clay's charge it's best not to use stainless steel.
Step 2: Melting down the butter
At this stage we will put beaker on a water bath and add the cocoa butter which is what will add those extra nourishing and hardening properties to our shampoo bar.
Let it melt for a few minutes at very low heat (video "melting"), mixing every now and then.
Step 3: Final Ingredients & Pouring
Once the cocoa butter has fully melted, we will take the beaker off the heat and mix everything together really well. At this stage, after the shampoo bar has cooled down a little and is not as hot, we will add our essential oils followed by our preservative.
The last step is to add the shampoo bar mixture into our mould. Make sure the mould is clean and sanitized, add a pair of gloves if you wish and start adding the mix into the mould by pressing with your spoon so to create a base for your shampoo and avoid air bubbles as much as possible.
The last thing to do is to let the shampoo bar dry out and harden. I like to pop in in the frizzer for about 1 hour or leave it to harden over night. A good hardening timeframe to make the shampoo last for longer is normally 1 week, although I can never wait for that long!
The lather test gave me fluffy, large bubbles which are not at all drying thanks to the skin loving jojoba and cocoa butter.