First SCS Shampoo Bar Recipe

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KobokuSoaps

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Hello!

This is my first post, and here's my tale:
My wife wants to constantly buy these particular soaps, she loves them:
Sunshine Shampoo Bar - Zero Waste Shampoo Bar - 75+ Washes, All Hair Types, 3.0oz, Vegan, SLS Free, #1 Best Seller

At $13.99 a pop, I can do without them. She has to have them (I like to use them too). I do some research, ingredients to make similar shampoo aren't that expensive. Maybe $5 per bar on the high end. THIS is more doable, plus we can control the fragrance at that point.

So I've done a little research on surfactants, and ph, and shampoo bars, and other recipes, etc.. I've been watching a lot of youtube videos on soapmaking, and SCS bars, etc. I bought some ingredients and supplies from wholesalesuppliesplus.com, and now I'm waiting for the supplies to come in.

Here is my recipe list:
IngredientAmount (oz)
Sodium Coco Sulfate Noodles18
Sodium Coco Sulfate Noodles (Liquify)8
Lemon Juice2.3
Hemp Oil1
Jojoba Oil0.4
Abssynian Oil0.3
Total:30oz

This recipe is to make (6) ~5oz bars of shampoo.

My proposed bar making method:
Mix the lemon juice and oils together and start to heat them up, set aside 8oz of SCS noodles, and add them to the hot liquid mixture to melt down. Once everything is melted down, remove from heat and mix in 18oz of SCS noodles until clumpy. From here, form into bars and cool. Let the bars dry out as long as possible. Bars should be usable after 24 to 48 hours.

After this waiting period, test a bar of soap with a ph test strip, and hope to get around 6-7. If the ph is too high, I was thinking of adding some apple cider vinegar to it to bring it down a bit more. My wife also loves apple cider vinegar rinses.

- I'm not using a preservative cause there's very little water involved (just the lemon juice), and because I literally have no clue what I'm doing.
- I'm trying to keep my recipe list as close to the shampoo bar we like. They have some other ingredients in there, but I'm thinking they should be in such small amounts that they might not do much and might be fillers.
- If I were to add any fragrance, I would probably just keep the same recipe, and just add a few drops of essential oils (orange, mint, various woods (for a more manly scent for me) etc.) to add just a little bit of fragrance to the shampoo.

So if anybody can lead me in the right direction on how to formulate a better recipe than this, or has some helpful input that would help me out, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
 
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Ok. Sorry. Please don't.. there's a few issues here.


This formula is not very good..

Measurements even for the North Americans should always be in grams or percentages. Your scale should change between ounces and grams.

SCS needs to be complemented with a mild surfactant.
On it's own the pH of SCS is 10.5 like soap it's very high.

6-7 pH for hair shampoo is extremely high. Our hair is 3.7 pH (Virgin hair) and scalp is 5.5 even the scalp ones on the market tend to go no more than 6pH

Please don't use pH strips if you aren't going to use a real pH meter -the drops are better (still not really great but better than strips).

Ok, so this is a dupe of the lush one I'm assuming. But a scary one. It's being sold without s preservative and that's dangerous and a big "no no" in cosmetic formulations.



Apple cider vinegar is not a good idea in shampoo bars and not something formulators use as a pH regulator. They are using lemon juice to bring pH down...

Citric Acid can help though.

You ABSOLUTELY need a preservative it's essential. It's getting wet.. You can't see the nasties.

In fact, it would be more dangerous to use without a preservative than any issue you have with preservatives.

You will need a broad spectrum preservative.

I'm going to tell you to go buy Susan Barclay Nichols ebook (clickable link). It will be the best 20 bucks you've spent. Susan is the queen of home Formulation.

Also try these resources:

Questions & answers about shampoo bars! Updated July 3rd, 2020

Humbleebee and Me

Please know, I'm not attacking you, but the shampoo bar you have linked to seems like it must be incredibly high in pH. Which isn't s good thing for hair. ❤ I know some people use lye based shampoo bars and if that works for you, that's great. But anyone who has studied hair, hair chemistry, or cosmetic formulation and chemistry would be screaming right Joe. 🤣😂🤣

Is this an American seller? I thought you guys have rules about selling without preservatives?? Unless the pH is over 10 in which case it might be self preserving.
 
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If you’d like to buy a recipe from someone who used to be a professional formulator :

I highly recommend her recipes because she spends month, even years creating them. She’s meticulous. She’s even pulled one from her site to reformulate because some of her customers had poor outcomes due to differences in ingredients from one supplier to another.

Her directions are easy to follow and she answers email questions if you have trouble.

I bought 100 Senses detergent bar for 20 bucks a pop and LOVE it! I immediately threw out my shampoo and conditioners. But I’ll be making my own from now on.
 

earlene

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This link actually lists the ingredients: Sunshine Shampoo Bar

Quote from site: Ingredients: sodium coco sulfate, lemon juice, powdered lemon peel, coconut oil, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, hemp seed oil, essential oil blend, rapeseed oil, abyssinian oil, natural coloring

Is this an American seller? I thought you guys have rules about selling without preservatives?? Unless the pH is over 10 in which case it might be self preserving.

Yes, it is an American seller as you can see from the above link. No, there is no requirement to include a preservative in Bar Soap, nor in Syndet Bars.

Shampoo & shampoo bars are regulated cosmetics in the US, but as far as preservatives regulation in cosmetics in the US, this it the current stance:
"FDA doesn’t have special rules that apply only to preservatives in cosmetics. The law treats preservatives in cosmetics the same as other cosmetic ingredients.
Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market.
However, it is against the law to market a cosmetic in interstate commerce if it is adulterated or misbranded. This means, for example, that cosmetics must be safe for consumers when used according to directions on the label or in the customary way, and they must be properly labeled."
(link)

@KobokuSoaps, nice name and welcome to SMF.
As for getting the pH you are after, I have no input other than to say that unless you have tested the bar you are wanting to reproduce and that's the pH you got from testing it, I would not bother, but I should point out that pH strips are notoriously unreliable for testing soap.

Also this isn't really true soap; it is a Syndet bar (Synthetic + Detergent = Syndet).

I am not saying Synthetic Detergent bars are a bad thing, just clarifying that by definition, what this bar really is. A true soap, as defined by the FDA in the US is "the bulk of the nonvolatile matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the product's detergent properties are due to the alkali-fatty acid compounds, and is labeled and sold solely as soap" (not as a cosmetic or as a drug). There is further explanation on what can make soap a cosmetic and/or a drug. Shampoo is regulated in the US as a cosmetic, so even though this is not a true soap it is a shampoo and therefore must meet regulatory standards of a cosmetic.

Aside from that, I have no experience creating Syndet bars, but there are several SMF soapers who do. Doing a search of SMF can turn up several threads about making shampoo bars, syndet shampoo bars and liquis shampoos, so it can get overwhelming to wade through and find what you are looking for. But here are some links to get you started on finding the SMF members who have syndet shampoo bar experience:




 

ResolvableOwl

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Sunshine Shampoo Bar - Zero Waste Shampoo Bar - 75+ Washes, All Hair Types, 3.0oz, Vegan, SLS Free, #1 Best Seller
What a scam. SLS is a major constituent of SCS. Just as coconut oil is 48% lauric acid, SCS is greenwashing tactics to “hide” SLS for label appeal (think of “yeast extract” that contains a ton of glutamate).
I'm not saying it's a bad product, but marketing SCS-containing products as “SLS free” is outright deceptive, and those sensitive to SLS should avoid it at any cost.

Maybe that helps to add a bit perspective to your wife's enthusiasm.
 

earlene

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Um, this caught my eye on the way past. Does that mean you can sell adulterated misbranded goods if you only sell within the same state? 🤔
That does seem to be oddly worded, doesn't it. Remember this was directly quoted from an FDA FAQ's page, and not the actual federal regulation in the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations), but the reference comes directly from the CFR.

More on the Legal concepts of Interstate Commerce as it applies here:

Incidentally, I doubt very much it is legal to sell adulterated or misbranded products in any state regardless of where it is manufactured. It looks like I am correct in that doubt, as I also found this, which states that the FDA (US) does have jurisdiction for intrastate commerce for the same products as well: https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/R43609.pdf (search the word 'intrastate' within the document).
 
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This link actually lists the ingredients: Sunshine Shampoo Bar

Quote from site: Ingredients: sodium coco sulfate, lemon juice, powdered lemon peel, coconut oil, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, hemp seed oil, essential oil blend, rapeseed oil, abyssinian oil, natural coloring



Yes, it is an American seller as you can see from the above link. No, there is no requirement to include a preservative in Bar Soap, nor in Syndet Bars.

Shampoo & shampoo bars are regulated cosmetics in the US, but as far as preservatives regulation in cosmetics in the US, this it the current stance:
"FDA doesn’t have special rules that apply only to preservatives in cosmetics. The law treats preservatives in cosmetics the same as other cosmetic ingredients.
Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market.
However, it is against the law to market a cosmetic in interstate commerce if it is adulterated or misbranded. This means, for example, that cosmetics must be safe for consumers when used according to directions on the label or in the customary way, and they must be properly labeled."
(link)

@KobokuSoaps, nice name and welcome to SMF.
As for getting the pH you are after, I have no input other than to say that unless you have tested the bar you are wanting to reproduce and that's the pH you got from testing it, I would not bother, but I should point out that pH strips are notoriously unreliable for testing soap.

Also this isn't really true soap; it is a Syndet bar (Synthetic + Detergent = Syndet).

I am not saying Synthetic Detergent bars are a bad thing, just clarifying that by definition, what this bar really is. A true soap, as defined by the FDA in the US is "the bulk of the nonvolatile matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the product's detergent properties are due to the alkali-fatty acid compounds, and is labeled and sold solely as soap" (not as a cosmetic or as a drug). There is further explanation on what can make soap a cosmetic and/or a drug. Shampoo is regulated in the US as a cosmetic, so even though this is not a true soap it is a shampoo and therefore must meet regulatory standards of a cosmetic.

Aside from that, I have no experience creating Syndet bars, but there are several SMF soapers who do. Doing a search of SMF can turn up several threads about making shampoo bars, syndet shampoo bars and liquis shampoos, so it can get overwhelming to wade through and find what you are looking for. But here are some links to get you started on finding the SMF members who have syndet shampoo bar experience:




Not sure if this is because I came off as snarky (not intentional) but I'm studying this at the moment. I did go to the site to look at the ingredients which is how I ascertained that they are using lemon juice to bring down pH. With regards to regulations, I'm in Australia but even the ingredients aren't listed correctly.

However, these shampoo bars only have one surfactant. There's nothing to reduce the harshness of SCS - it's ASM (active surface matter) is 95%. it's a very harsh anionic surfactant and usually when used in PC formulation it's only used in very small amounts or is left to the cleaning products.

It's made from coconut and is very cleansing and drying.

It strips hair of natural oils. I could lecture about this for hours as I've just completed my hair module. Any one interested in hair chemistry should read Chemical and Physical Behaviour of Human Hair.

I'm all for DIYing hair products but you actually have to do a lot of research. Especially as there are lots of types of hair and issues.

I recommended Susan Barclay Nichols's ebook because she like Marie Rayma, are well respected within the industry.
 
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What a scam. SLS is a major constituent of SCS. Just as coconut oil is 48% lauric acid, SCS is greenwashing tactics to “hide” SLS for label appeal (think of “yeast extract” that contains a ton of glutamate).
I'm not saying it's a bad product, but marketing SCS-containing products as “SLS free” is outright deceptive, and those sensitive to SLS should avoid it at any cost.

Maybe that helps to add a bit perspective to your wife's enthusiasm.
Just to clarify this statement abbiy because it's not exactly true. It's kinda true though, but....
In general, alcohol ether sulfates (AES) are considered the most efficient in terms of
detergency, good tolerance to hard water and mildness; however, they are very unstable at
high temperatures [46]. This group includes Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Coco Sul-
fate (SCS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) [47,48]. All three are obtained from coconut
oil, but there are differences between them. To obtain SCS, pure coconut oil (with all its fatty acids) is sulfated by reaction with sulfur trioxide, followed by neutralisation (usually with NaOH). This results in a detergent that does not produce much foam, although this may vary depending on the quality of the coconut crop in question [47].
SLS is a purified version of the SCS. In this case, most of the non-carbon 12 fatty acids in coconut oil are removed. The starting material is then 80% carbon 12 fatty acids (mainly lauric acid) subjected to the same sulfation process as in the previous case.
Both products, SCS and SLS, are mainly sodium lauryl sulfate (because in both cases lauric alcohol predominates), with SLS being more efficient, and SCS a highly diluted, and
therefore milder form [47]
from attached PDF: Synthetic and Bio-Derived Surfactants Versus Microbial Biosurfactants in the Cosmetic Industry: An Overview....

Just to clarify 😊
The language is confusing and doesn't explain the process but it doesn't contain SLS, it basically is SLS because of the lauric alcohol. It is milder than SLS and it's actually a bit more sustainable if you consider coconut plantations sustainable (they really are just the same as palm - islands being taken over by coconut crops) but I agree with you. It's a whole lot of greenwashing. I know you most likely aren't as obsessive and as interested as me about surfactant chemistry but inckudined references just in case. ❤💔


[47]
Bujak, T.; Nizioł-Łukaszewska, Z.; Wasilewsk, T. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate vs. Sodium Coco Sulfate. Study of the Safety of Use Anionic Surfactants with Respect to Their Interaction with the Skin. Tenside Surfactants Deterg. 2019, 56, 126–133.

this is interesting. I can't share my log in details - sorry - but ... You might find this really interesting. This study was interesting.
The results of the determination of the skin irritation potential (zein value) indicate that the analyzed parameter is approximately 15 % lower in SCS than in SLS. SCS has a stronger ability to interact with epidermal lipids and cause their elution from the skin, which in turn may damage the protective epidermal barrier. The results obtained during the evaluation of the effect produced by the analyzed substances on the metabolism of human keratinocytes (HaCaT) show that after 4 h of incubation with the studied groups of compounds there was a significant decrease in cell proliferation. The highest decrease in cell metabolism was demonstrated for SLS.
 

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ResolvableOwl

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Good time to found the discussion on some quantitative/scientific evidence. :thumbs:
approximately 15 % lower in SCS than in SLS
I don't think that this is what those suffering from SLS allergy/contact dermatitis are fond to read to assure them with the “greater mildness” of SCS. :(
 

earlene

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Not sure if this is because I came off as snarky (not intentional) but I'm studying this at the moment. I did go to the site to look at the ingredients which is how I ascertained that they are using lemon juice to bring down pH. With regards to regulations, I'm in Australia but even the ingredients aren't listed correctly.
No, just answering your 2 questions, and info as related to US regulations.

The rest was for the OP, whom I mentioned specifically.
 
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No, just answering your 2 questions, and info as related to US regulations.

The rest was for the OP, whom I mentioned specifically.
Forgive me then lovely. I've had a day and thought I was getting in trouble as I know I can come across as quite um snarky or rude according to my friends. I'm trying to use emojis more. ;)
 

KobokuSoaps

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Woooo!

Thank you all for your input. First I've done some more reading and learning, and yes, my whole idea was just kinda thrown together as best I've could.

So first things first. I've learned a few things from reading all this. First, like this example, this company making soaps is not using a preservative or is not listing a preservative, either way, this is very bad since the Ph should be low enough where it feels fine in the hair. These bars do feel fine in the hair (I've used regular lye soap to wash my hair a few times, was pretty harsh, so I know the feel). If they do use a preservative, then it's not listed... not listing ingredients is a major no-no.

Having a preservative is essential to keep bacteria from growing on wet bars. I just had surgery, and knowing that this shampoo bar had no listed preservative made me not use it. I don't want to get infections in those surgical sites.

(On a side note, I've had this hand soap bar from Trader Joe's, it's pink and smelled really good, I think it's some kind of Castille soap perhaps, or French soap, not sure since we got it as a gift. Anyways, it smelled amazing at first (like sandalwood?), but then after about 3 months, it's starting to smell like feet really bad. I think it's starting to grow bacteria, or maybe something else... does lye smell like feet? What would make this soap change its smell after using about 50% of it?)

So buying soap/syndet bars from smaller companies, random people online, you don't really know for sure what you're getting, and can't verify that each batch is in line with what they claim.

Yes, I've read about the uselessness of Ph strips now haha, to get good results, you need a meter and the proper way to prepare a sample.

I think I used oz to do my measurements in my recipe cause I wanted to make a batch to fill up a 30oz bar mold. I Will use grams in the future, thank you!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

So now!... Here's my grand plan. Check it out.

I'm going to figure out a method, to mix at the time of use, a self-preserving liquid shampoo, along with a liquid Ph balancer. This is the only method in my mind to have a fully safe and preservative-free shampoo. I'm thinking it will function something like those epoxy syringes with 2 tubes together, where you give it a push, and a little bit of resin and hardener come out and you just mix it up... or just have it in 2 bottles, 1 pump from each bottle, and mix it up.

What you all think about this idea? Has it been done before?

----------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm also learning that when you sell anything, your marketing is worth more than the product a lot of the time. Even if your product isn't the greatest, great marketing and presentation can still sell it.
 

KobokuSoaps

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So I've actually made my syndet shampoo bar with my incredibly naive recipe in my first message above, and it turned out somewhat ok. It's a little strong, and the shape of the mold I chose (a puck with sharp edges basically) is making the SCS noodles fall off easier, but besides that, it works.

So far I've used it twice, once just on my head, and another time all over my body to see if I got any reactions to it, and so far so good, no reactions.

The only reason why I think it's a bit strong is that my skin seemed slightly drier than when not using my abomination of a shampoo bar. But it has been really dry in my area where I am, every day I've had dry skin. So I'm actually not too sure now if my shampoo is hurting me any. Would be cool to send this to someone to get it tested out.

Things I've learned:
  • Melting SCS noodles takes a long time.
  • It might help to make everything stick together better if I had more melted SCS noodles goop than in my original recipe.
  • My recipe didn't fill up the 6x 5oz puck molds that I had imagined, melting down SCS noodles I think condensed everything... they are pretty dense. I need to weigh the bars that I got.
  • Wear a good respirator when working with SCS noodles. The SCS dust is pretty strong, after catching a small whiff of that, I took everything outside.
  • I really liked the size of my 3" diameter mold, really makes a hefty bar, which is what I was going for.
Things I want to change about the recipe:
  • Use less oils, it feels alittle slippery to the touch right now.
  • Throw in some vitamin C or citric acid solution, or more lemon juice to adjust the ph down more.
  • Use a preservative.
  • Throw in some natural coloring to make it look nicer. The hemp oil gave it a yellow/green color which was kinda nice.
  • Use a solid mold if molding by hand, I might just make a custom mold out of wood and clamps. A real mold press would be cool... I'm gonna see if there's any soapers or someone near me that can press out my stuff or have a workshop/making day.
 

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