My DIY Shampoo Bar That’s Made Without Using Lye

If you’ve not tried making shampoo with surfactants before, this super easy DIY shampoo bar recipe is a great place to start. It smells great & lasts 8 washes.

homemade shampoo bar

We’ve made several homemade shampoo recipes over the years, but if you’ve not tried making shampoo with surfactants before, this super easy DIY shampoo bar recipe is a great place to start.

It’s a lovely 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 DIY 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


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 Homemade 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!
Rate This Project
5 from 15 votes
Print Comment Pin Share
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy
Yield: 2 Shampoo Bars
Author: Angela Wills
DISCLOSURE: is reader-supported. Some of the links below are affiliate links, If you buy via the links we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Affiliate disclosure.
Watch Video


  • Put on your face mask, making sure it's nice and tight. Weigh the dry powdered surfactants into a separate heatproof bowl.
    43 g Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, 19 g Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
    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.
    4 g BTMS-25, 5 g Cocoa Butter
    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.
    4 g Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, 1 g Orange Essential Oil, 1 g Preservative, 23 g 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

Tried This ProjectMention @savvyhomemade or Tag me! #savvyhomemade

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!

Photo of author

Angela Wills

Hi, I'm Angela, and I make most of the homemade things here at Savvy Homemade. I’m fearlessly dedicated to creating tried, tested recipes & products that will work for everyone. 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.

Radiance is my FREE DIY Skincare Course

With recipes to help you create a wonderful home facial routine for glowing skin.

Discussion (23 Comments)

  1. I made these Monday. Used smaller molds and had a bit left over and used it this morning! It was awesome! The only thing I did different was I used Rosemary essential oil. Now will try my hand at the conditioner once I get a few more supplies!5 stars

  2. Could I use SCI noodles in place of the powder. I would melt it down and add it to the powdered SLSa when adding the other liquids. I’m looking for these to be as cost effective as possible.

    • I haven’t tried this, but you could give it a go! As you said, make sure to melt those noodles down first otherwise you might not get an even distribution. Let me know how it goes. 😀


Join the conversation

Rate Project