Is shampoo just soap?

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M.Leffew

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So, I've read that shampoo is just soap woth an adjusted PH. I'm wanting to make my own shampoo, soap, and conditioner... I prefer liquid and do not have a slow cooker to make shampoo in. My question is, if I find a shampoo recipe that requires a slow cooker, can u do it on the stove top to hot process it into gel and then soften into liquid? My other issue is that I've now attempted to make soap paste twice and had to pitch the first batch. The 2nd batch is just not dissolving, I get getting more gel! Did I over cook it?
 
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I can't answer all your questions because it's been a long time since I made any kind of liquid soap; I'm sure others will chime in on that.

As for shampoo being just soap with an adjusted pH, that's not the case. If you were to adjust soap's pH to the point where it's the correct pH for hair, it would no longer be soap. There are plenty of threads about soap-based shampoo vs syndet (synthetic detergent) based shampoo; a bit of research here on SMF will be informative. There are some strong advocates for using soap-based shampoo and others who will tell you just as strongly that soap is NOT meant for hair; it is simply the wrong pH. Without getting into the whole issue again, I will say that I fall on the syndet side as it is the correct pH for my hair (see my avatar).

I have made liquid soap in the past and have three slow cookers. One I purchased brand new (for actual cooking); the other two were purchased at a local thrift store. I remember the liquid soap making being pretty easy in the slow cooker, where the heat is more even and controllable (imho) than on the stove. As I said, though, it's been a few years since I've made any and I can't remember the entire process well enough to offer advice.
 

Zany_in_CO

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There are some strong advocates for using soap-based shampoo and others who will tell you just as strongly that soap is NOT meant for hair; it is simply the wrong pH.
Actually, there is just one advocate for lye-based shampoo... me!
Wave.gif


If you are serious about wanting to make lye-based liquid shampoo, there is a learning curve. Read more in this post:

CP Soap as Shampoo

If you've never made Liquid Soap before, you can follow this tutorial on Alaiyna B's Blogspot to make shampoo. You don't need a crock pot or even to HP the batch on the stove top. You just simply CP it by bringing it to hard trace, cover it and let it sit for 2 weeks to finish saponifcation.
 
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I am a retired Cosmetologist and I am on the Soap is Not Shampoo side. Look what happened to Wen or Chaz Dean when he was sued. The original product line which he was sued over was Soap based. He managed to make enough money that the lawsuit has been smoothed, actually, he settled and the lawsuit has faded away, but I read the ingredients on the original shampoo products and it was Soap. At the time his original products were going well I told my husband there were going to be problems and shame on Chaz he certainly should know better. If I remember his natural sulfate-free shampoo was based on Almond Oil.
 

Zany_in_CO

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If I remember his natural sulfate-free shampoo was based on Almond Oil.
That's interesting! I actually made 100% Almond Oil shampoo by request from a customer. I was skeptical, but it lathered and cleansed the hair very well leaving it soft and manageable after rinsing with cool water to close the hair shaft and an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse to restore the acid balance of the scalp.

As I said, lye-based shampoos take a little getting used to (See this link). Some people can use it right away with no problem. For others, like my self when I first made it, it took a while... almost a year before my hair and scalp adjusted.

That's probably because of years of coloring and perming.

I'm at the point now where I can't use over-the-counter shampoo or homemade syndets (synthetic/detergent) due to chemicals that irritate my scalp and make my virgin hair dry and it falls out. Weird, I know. :(
 
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You don't even have to hot-process your soap paste if you don't want to use a slow cooker or the stove. Simply blend to a hard trace, cover, and let it sit for 24-48 hours. Like CP bar soap, CP liquid soap will saponify on its own, as well.

For more specific advice that is more likely to solve your problem with your current batch, please share your entire recipe and process. Without that, we are making blind guesses. From the problems you are describing with the dilution process, I'd guess that maybe you are trying to do it with small amounts of cold water. Heating both the paste and the dilution water will speed the process along. I use a large canning jar in a pot of hot water on the stove, as described in @IrishLass's liquid soap tutorial here in the LS forum.
 

Kiti Williams

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Actually, there is just one advocate for lye-based shampoo... me! View attachment 66944

If you are serious about wanting to make lye-based liquid shampoo, there is a learning curve. Read more in this post:

CP Soap as Shampoo

If you've never made Liquid Soap before, you can follow this tutorial on Alaiyna B's Blogspot to make shampoo. You don't need a crock pot or even to HP the batch on the stove top. You just simply CP it by bringing it to hard trace, cover it and let it sit for 2 weeks to finish saponifcation.
Hey, what am I? Chopped liver! I am an advocate for soap as shampoo as well!
 
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The only reason I no longer use soap for shampoo is that I have to make syndet shampoo for my daughter (her cochlear implant will not tolerate regular soap usage).

Zany, were you the one that suggested it was due to a reason...and for the life of me I can't remember what it was called...but required a test of floating your hair???? I took the test and passed...so guess it is okay for me to be an advocate of soap shampoo, too. LOL
 
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Zany, were you the one that suggested it was due to a reason...and for the life of me I can't remember what it was called...but required a test of floating your hair???? I took the test and passed...so guess it is okay for me to be an advocate of soap shampoo, too. LOL
That was my suggestion, based on a theory of mine that people with high-porosity hair (hair that sinks) are more likely to suffer significant damage from using soap to wash their hair. And the converse - that people with low-porosity hair (hair that floats) are more likely to tolerate soap as shampoo with little to no damage.

I personally have low-porosity hair and did just fine with soap as shampoo for many years. However, I’ve switched to syndet bars because my hair is definitely softer and less frizzy after using them. Having such very thick, dry, curly hair, anything that makes it more manageable is a plus for me!
 

M.Leffew

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You don't even have to hot-process your soap paste if you don't want to use a slow cooker or the stove. Simply blend to a hard trace, cover, and let it sit for 24-48 hours. Like CP bar soap, CP liquid soap will saponify on its own, as well.

For more specific advice that is more likely to solve your problem with your current batch, please share your entire recipe and process. Without that, we are making blind guesses. From the problems you are describing with the dilution process, I'd guess that maybe you are trying to do it with small amounts of cold water. Heating both the paste and the dilution water will speed the process along. I use a large canning jar in a pot of hot water on the stove, as described in @IrishLass's liquid soap tutorial here in the LS forum.
150g coconut oil
25g caster oil
100g mango butter (not worried about soap clarity)
225g olive oil
190g distilled water
110g (90%) KOH
I heated the oils on the stove top to melt together while I whipped up my lye/water solution. Got both to same temp and combined. I then imprison blended to trace before switching to a spatula to keep mixing as it was getting too thick for blender. I got it to a Vaseline type consistency, maybe a little thicker (not on purpose) before quickly moving it into a new glass container. I let it cool and then started with a 50/50 water/paste dilution. I added between 2&3% of the paste weight in essential oil blend and have been using boiling distilled water to soften the paste in a mason jar. So far I've used 6oz paste and am at 10oz water as of this morning (5/26/2022)
 

DeeAnna

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@M.Leffew -- "...I added between 2&3% of the paste weight in essential oil blend..."

It's been my experience that some fragrances, whether essential oils or fragrance oils, aren't well suited for use in liquid soap even if they work fine in bar soap. I never assume a fragrance will play nice with liquid soap.

A big issue is EOs and FOs often cause physical changes in the soap -- they can thicken or thin the soap, cause the soap to become oddly clumpy, or have no effect at all. For this reason, I'd consider scenting the paste before dilution only if I know for sure how the fragrance behaves. When using untested fragrances, IMO it's best to wait on scenting the soap until it's diluted and then test the fragrance in a sample of the diluted soap to see how the fragrance affects the texture and viscosity.

Also it's wise to do a test to figure out how much fragrance smells right in the finished soap. Some fragrances that smell great in bar soap are offensively strong or oddly sour in liquid soap at the same dosage rate. I normally test a sample and almost always scent diluted soap at a much lower % than I scent bar soap.
 

M.Leffew

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I am a retired Cosmetologist and I am on the Soap is Not Shampoo side. Look what happened to Wen or Chaz Dean when he was sued. The original product line which he was sued over was Soap based. He managed to make enough money that the lawsuit has been smoothed, actually, he settled and the lawsuit has faded away, but I read the ingredients on the original shampoo products and it was Soap. At the time his original products were going well I told my husband there were going to be problems and shame on Chaz he certainly should know better. If I remember his natural sulfate-free shampoo was based on Almond Oil.
You wouldn't happen to have a food shampoo and conditioner recipe??? I'd even happily try solid shampoo!
 

M.Leffew

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@M.Leffew -- "...I added between 2&3% of the paste weight in essential oil blend..."

It's been my experience that some fragrances, whether essential oils or fragrance oils, aren't well suited for use in liquid soap even if they work fine in bar soap. I never assume a fragrance will play nice with liquid soap.

A big issue is EOs and FOs often cause physical changes in the soap -- they can thicken or thin the soap, cause the soap to become oddly clumpy, or have no effect at all. For this reason, I'd consider scenting the paste before dilution only if I know for sure how the fragrance behaves. When using untested fragrances, IMO it's best to wait on scenting the soap until it's diluted and then test the fragrance in a sample of the diluted soap to see how the fragrance affects the texture and viscosity.

Also it's wise to do a test to figure out how much fragrance smells right in the finished soap. Some fragrances that smell great in bar soap are offensively strong or oddly sour in liquid soap at the same dosage rate. I normally test a sample and almost always scent diluted soap at a much lower % than I scent bar soap.
Could you offer a list of EO that work well in LS?
 

DeeAnna

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Could you offer a list of EO that work well in LS?
I regret to say I don't have a list. I tested a few EOs in liquid soap a few years back to see how they behaved in a short-term experiment, but I didn't do a long-term test to see how those EOs would have behaved over time -- over weeks and months, do they alter the soap viscosity, does their scent fade, do they stay nice smelling?

I also know the chemical composition of a specific type of EO (example: lavender) can vary a fair bit depending on plant varieties used to make a specific batch of EO. So even if I found MY particular lavender EO worked fine in liquid soap, YOUR lavender EO might not. It's always best to test using the EOs you have.
 

M.Leffew

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I regret to say I don't have a list. I tested a few EOs in liquid soap a few years back to see how they behaved in a short-term experiment, but I didn't do a long-term test to see how those EOs would have behaved over time -- over weeks and months, do they alter the soap viscosity, does their scent fade, do they stay nice smelling?

I also know the chemical composition of a specific type of EO (example: lavender) can vary a fair bit depending on plant varieties used to make a specific batch of EO. So even if I found MY particular lavender EO worked fine in liquid soap, YOUR lavender EO might not. It's always best to test using the EOs you have.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your advice! I've had one of my blends sitting for about a week now in LS and it seems to be leveling out. I'm probably going to have to scrap my other blend that's heavy on orange EO.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I'm probably going to have to scrap my other blend that's heavy on orange EO.
I'm currently using WSP's Orange Clove EO & FO blend in LS and a foamer at my kitchen sink. It's quite pleasant. Not too strong. I haven't tried many of these blends but I think I get the best of both worlds -- adding an FO to an EO seems to help stick the fragrance and make it longer lasting.
 
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