DIY Shampoo Bar Recipe Without Using Lye

If you have never tried making a 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.

homemade shampoo bar

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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. 

DIY shampoo bar

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. 

how to make a shampoo bar

Surfactants

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. 

combining dry shampoo surfactants in a bowl

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. 

Step 2: In a heatproof beaker, combine your wax and butter then melt in the microwave using 30 second bursts

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!   

homemade shampoo bar

DIY Shampoo Bar Recipe Without Lye

A gorgeous DIY shampoo bar recipe, packed with hair and skin-loving ingredients. The absence of lye in this recipe makes it incredibly easy and quick to make!
5 from 9 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy
Yield: 2 Shampoo Bars
Author: Angela
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Instructions

  • Put on your face mask, making sure it's nice and tight. Weigh the dry powdered surfactants into a separate heatproof bowl.
    step 1: combine your dry surfactants in a 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.
    Step 2: In a heatproof beaker, combine your wax and butter then melt in the microwave using 30 second bursts
  • Whilst the butter is melting, mix the wheat protein, essential oil, and the preservative into the Cocamidopropyl betaine.
    Step 3: In another beaker, combine your liquid surfactant with your essential oil and preservative, stir well
  • Stir the Cocamidopropyl betaine (along with the mixed in protein, essential oil and preservative) into the powdered surfactants until well blended.
    Step 4: Combine your liquid surfactant, essential oil and preservative mixture with your dry surfactants
  • 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.
    Step 5: Add your melted wax and butter, stir well
  • 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.
    Step 6: Using a spatula, press the mixture into your molds
  • 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.
    Step 7: Leave for 30 minutes, then remove from your mold and leave for a further 24 hours to harden
Category: DIY Bath & Body
Cuisine: N/A
Difficulty: Easy

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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. 

Final Thoughts

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!

Step 4: Combine your liquid surfactant, essential oil and preservative mixture with your dry surfactants

8 Homemade Shampoo Recipes For Gorgeous Looking Hair

Here’s how to make homemade shampoo from scratch in four different ways.

It’s a great way to start experimenting with using essential oils and the healing properties of natural organic ingredients. Learn how to make these shampoo recipes here…

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Hi I'm Angela

I make most of the homemade things here. I'm an experienced soap maker, skincare formulator, author, busy Mom of 3, and recently a Grandma! Welcome to SavvyHomemade, it's my true passion.

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Discussion (13 Comments)

  1. Hello, this was a very informative recipe. I was wondering if I would be able to use sodium coco sulfate, cocoamidopropyl betaine, a liquid oil , and aloe. I am attempting to recreate my favorite discontinued shampoo. I would appreciate any tips you have.5 stars

    Reply
    • Hi there,

      I don’t have any experience using sodium coco sulfate, but as you can get it in solid form I don’t really see why it would be a problem. Would be lovely in a hair product for sure.

      I’d say, experiment with substituting the powdered surfactants with your sodium coco sulfate, and see how you like the consistency. With the added aloe, it could be a little looser and less dense. Start with a small batch and see how it goes, then tweak from there.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  2. Going to try your recipe. I have allergies to most butters and was wondering if I could substitute homemade tallow in its place? Do they interchange of equal amounts? I will also leave out essential oils as I have MCS.

    Reply
    • Hi Tina,

      Absolutely you can use tallow! You can also use regular old lard. However, I would run any substitutions you’re planning to make through a SAP/Soap calculator. Otherwise it might not come out as soap, as all oils/fats/lipids will SAP at a different rate and cannot be substituted like for like.

      Reply
  3. I cannot wait to try out your lovely recipe – and the cost of ingredients is not prohibitive. Can I used benzoin tincture as an Ecocert preservative? If not, is there a natural preservative that you can recommend.
    Thank you,
    Lesley

    Reply
  4. Hi Angela, I am new to making my own products and I’m looking forward to it! I have a silly question… under ingredients, when you say 1g of Preservatives… what are the ‘Preservatives’ you are referring to? I can seem to find where to purchase “Perservatives”. Please advise 🙂 thank you!

    Reply
  5. I have a question: for those with gluten sensitivities, is there something else I can use in place of the hydrolyzed wheat protein?

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Beth,

      You could try substituting it for Hydrolyzed Silk Peptide or liquid D Panthanol. The other option is to leave the Wheat Protein out of the recipe altogether and it should still work ok.

      Reply
  6. I just started using the Shampoo Bar and I love it! The amount of hair it used to fall before every time was exaggerated, It’s been a week and I haven’t lost even half of the hair that used to fall before!! Love it!5 stars

    Reply
  7. very good recipe thank you
    the only thing i personally recommend after I tried it is to reduce significantly the Cocamidopropyl Betaine
    I used the amount in the recipe and got a very soft Bar that didn’t harden for days
    but after correction to 1/4 of the amount it came out beautify5 stars

    Reply

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