We’ve made several homemade shampoo recipes over the years, but if you have never tried making a DIY shampoo bar with surfactants before, then this is a great place to start. It’s a super easy shampoo bar that smells of chocolate orange and will last for around 8 washes.
If I’m honest, I was a little skeptical about creating a shampoo bar recipe without lye. Lye is so important for the production of a good quality diy soap. But now, I think I actually prefer it! It foams up better than an oil and lye-based soap bar and is much easier to wash out.
I’ve made shampoo bars with lye many times in the past. But with this recipe, you don’t need to leave it to cure for four weeks. It just needs a few days to harden then it’s ready to use. I’ve also noticed that it holds its shape better so it lasts much longer than my cold process bars.
Watch How To Make A Shampoo Bar?
What’s In My Shampoo Bar Recipe?
Surfactants are going to be the main ingredients in this homemade shampoo bar, so we want them to be mild and natural, yet productive enough to do the job. I’ve done this balancing act for you, so stick to my ratios as you shouldn’t have a problem.
So let’s take a look at these surfactants, as well as some of the other ingredients we’ll need for this.
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) comes in powder or noddle form. In this shampoo bar recipe, I’m using the powdered form so that I don’t need to worry about melting it. SCI is a natural, gentle surfactant with a mild PH of around 5 to 6. This makes it very skin-friendly. It’s best used with other co-surfactants, so I’m combining it with Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate and Cocamidopropyl betaine.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA) is another gentle powdered surfactant that has fantastic foaming abilities. SLSA is derived from coconut and palm oils and is sulfate-free. SLSA shouldn’t be mistaken for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) which is much harsher and can irritate the skin.
Cocamidopropyl betaine is so gentle that it is often found in baby products. It has wonderful cleansing and foaming abilities and works as an antistatic and conditioner when used in hair products. Cocamidopropyl betaine is a thin, watery liquid that will help bind our powders together.
Other Functional Ingredients
Cocoa butter will add beautiful moisturizing benefit to our shampoo bar. I think almost all shampoo bars can benefit from a little cosmetic butter. But it also has some functional use in this recipe. Along with giving the bar a mild chocolate fragrance, it will help to harden the bar up. This also has the intended benefit of allowing the bar to last a little longer.
BTMS 25 is a conditioning cationic emulsifying wax. It gives our shampoo bar a creamy, luxurious feel. Adding a little BTMS 25 will bring some lovely detangling and softening values.
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein adds volume and locks in moisture. It can soften and repair damaged hair, leaving it feeling smooth and conditioned.
Why Use A DIY Shampoo Bar?
There are lots of other advantages to using a homemade shampoo bar rather than a liquid. The most important being how much cheaper they are to make, as well as how much more environmentally friendly they are.
Shampoo bars are pretty much condensed liquid soap, so basically liquid soap without the water, resulting in less plastic packaging and waste!
It’s also more convenient to take a shampoo bar when traveling, especially when flying as it can be difficult to limit yourself to the small liquid quantity allowance.
Plus, there’s no chance of it spilling en-route. I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to open your case and see your clean clothes covered in liquid soap!
How To Make A Shampoo Bar (Lye Free)
- Put on your face mask, making sure it's nice and tight. Weigh the dry powdered surfactants into a separate heatproof bowl.
- Weigh the BTMS 25 and the cocoa butter into a heatproof container, then melt the butter and BTMS wax in the microwave until completely melted.
- Whilst the butter is melting, mix the wheat protein, essential oil, and the preservative into the Cocamidopropyl betaine.
- Stir the Cocamidopropyl betaine (along with the mixed in protein, essential oil and preservative) into the powdered surfactants until well blended.
- Add the melted wax and butter to the rest of the ingredients and mix until you have a good smooth paste and you are satisfied that all the ingredients are fully combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the mold pressing it down firmly so that you get it into all the corners of the mold and no air pockets are left. For a nice smooth surface, place a piece of baking parchment/waxed paper on top, and firmly press and stroke across the top of it. Then, pop the mold into the freezer for around 30 minutes until it's hardened enough to remove it from the mold.
- The DIY shampoo bar will need a few days, to harden. You can use it straight away, however, I prefer to leave mine for a week. This makes the soap nice and hard so it lasts longer and is less messy when you are using it.
How To Use A Shampoo Bar
Wet the soap and work it up into a lather, then rub the lather into the hair. If you have long hair you may find it easier to rub the lathed bar straight into the hair, however, by doing this you will almost certainly end up with the bar covered in a few strands of loose stray hair.
You Should Know
As this bar contains only mild surfactants, it’s suitable to use on your body as well as your hair.
I just love how these turned out. Not only do they work wonders on my hair, but they look fantastic as well. If you get yourself a beautiful mold, you’d be surprised how sophisticated and luxurious these little bars can look!
But of course, I encourage you to experiment with this recipe. While I wouldn’t play around with the surfactants, I would totally switch out the butter and try something else. Do keep in mind that if you choose a very soft butter, you may see a change in the hardness of your bars.
I hope this has inspired you to try your hand at your own super easy, lye free shampoo bars. While I’ve always sung the praises of a good quality shampoo bar, this recipe makes it so simple that there’s really no reason not to try it!