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Soapmaker333

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Hello all!

I am wondering if anyone has any experience in making liquid shampoo? I am looking for a recipe and method with minimal chemicals. Of course, lye is necessary in soap making, so I am not referring to that. I have heard that liquid shampoo uses potassium hydroxide but there is very little information on the process and recipes, so I am looking for some directions and recipes if anyone can point me in the right direction. It would be much appreciated!
 

lsg

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I use eco friendly surfactants in my shampoo. The Herbarie and Makingcosmetic.com have some good shampoo recipes. You can also find info at Blog – Point of Interest, but you will need to become a supporter of her blog.
 

Soapmaker333

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I use eco friendly surfactants in my shampoo. The Herbarie and Makingcosmetic.com have some good shampoo recipes. You can also find info at Blog – Point of Interest, but you will need to become a supporter of her blog.
Thank you for the reply and the info! Technically speaking, is there any way to not use surfactants in liquid shampoo? After all, soap naturally lifts dirt.
 

DeeAnna

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...Technically speaking, is there any way to not use surfactants in liquid shampoo? After all, soap naturally lifts dirt.

Any material that creates a chemical bond between water and fat (or other polar and non-polar chemicals) is a surfactant, aka a SURFace ACTive AgeNT. Soap functions as a cleanser specifically due to this ability to make these types of chemical bonds.

Not every surfactant is a good cleaning agent, however. Surfactants that are particularly useful for cleaning are also called detergents. All detergents are surfactants, but not all surfactants are detergents.

This means, technically speaking, that the soap we make is a detergent, since it's a good cleanser, as well as a surfactant in a more general sense.
 

Soapmaker333

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Any material that creates a chemical bond between water and fat (or other polar and non-polar chemicals) is a surfactant, aka a SURFace ACTive AgeNT. Soap functions as a cleanser specifically due to this ability to make these types of chemical bonds.

Not every surfactant is a good cleaning agent, however. Surfactants that are particularly useful for cleaning are also called detergents. All detergents are surfactants, but not all surfactants are detergents.

This means, technically speaking, that the soap we make is a detergent, since it's a good cleanser, as well as a surfactant in a more general sense.
Thank you for your response DeeAnna. So it sounds like an unnatural surfactant is not needed since soap naturally is a surfactant. I'm wondering how to make a good shampoo without multiple added surfactants. Most recipes I see use 2 or 3 surfactants with glycerin. Do you know any good recipes you would share?
Thank you
 
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Thank you for your response DeeAnna. So it sounds like an unnatural surfactant is not needed since soap naturally is a surfactant. I'm wondering how to make a good shampoo without multiple added surfactants. Most recipes I see use 2 or 3 surfactants with glycerin. Do you know any good recipes you would share?
Thank you
Most recipes use multiple surfactants because they work together in a positive way to create more foam, stabilize foam, and make the formula more mild. These surfactants also work on different types of soils (oily and particulate). You are really holding yourself back by choosing to make a soap-based shampoo (Although you will find people here that support the use of soap as shampoo and many that don't).
 

DeeAnna

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The reason why multiple detergents/surfactants are used in cleansers is that a blend of 2 or more surfactants is milder to the skin and hair than just one. That's true even for soap. "Combars" (combination bars) are blend of soap plus one or more non-soap detergents (aka synthetic detergents or syndets).

I have made and used soap to wash my hair some years ago and found out the hard way that soap does not work well on my family's hair. So I don't use soap for cleaning hair anymore. I don't make a liquid syndet shampoo either. Instead, I make solid syndet shampoo bars and like them a lot. There are a couple of long threads here where we've discussed the pros and cons of various syndet shampoo bars.

A liquid syndet shampoo can be the same as a solid syndet shampoo with enough water added to dilute the active ingredients (the syndets) to 10% to 20% AI by weight and make a flowable product.

I don't see many syndet shampoos have added glycerin but I suppose there's no reason why you shouldn't use it in a syndet shampoo. Maybe you're talking about the use of glycerin in KOH soap instead?

I don't have a formulation for liquid syndet shampoo, but there are a few here: Find formulations for Lotions, Creams, Scrubs, Shampoos & Soaps I think Wholesale Supplies Plus has a formulary - might check their website. Other SMF members may have liquid syndet shampoo formulations they will share.
 
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Soapmaker333

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The reason why multiple detergents/surfactants are used in cleansers is that a blend of 2 or more surfactants is milder to the skin and hair than just one. That's true even for soap. "Combars" (combination bars) are blend of soap plus one or more non-soap detergents (aka synthetic detergents or syndets).

I have made and used soap to wash my hair some years ago and found out the hard way that soap does not work well on my family's hair. So I don't use soap for cleaning hair anymore. I don't make a liquid syndet shampoo either. Instead, I make solid syndet shampoo bars and like them a lot. There are a couple of long threads here where we've discussed the pros and cons of various syndet shampoo bars.

A liquid syndet shampoo can be the same as a solid syndet shampoo with enough water added to dilute the active ingredients (the syndets) to 10% to 20% AI by weight and make a flowable product.

I don't see many syndet shampoos have added glycerin but I suppose there's no reason why you shouldn't use it in a syndet shampoo. Maybe you're talking about the use of glycerin in KOH soap instead?

I don't have a formulation for liquid syndet shampoo, but there are a few here: Find formulations for Lotions, Creams, Scrubs, Shampoos & Soaps I think Wholesale Supplies Plus has a formulary - might check their website. Other SMF members may have liquid syndet shampoo formulations they will share.
Hi DeeAnna,

That is exactly what I am talking about. Glycerin in KOH soap. This process I just don't understand. Thank you for sending me that source.
 

DeeAnna

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You don't have to use glycerin in KOH soap. It has become popular to use glycerin as an accelerant to make saponification easier. But it's definitely not mandatory. I've made KOH soap with anywhere from zero to 50% glycerin in the soap batter and I've also used glycerin to dilute the soap paste after saponification, just to see what it does.

Any more I make KOH soap with just water and bring the soap batter to a very warm initial temp -- 170 to 180 F. Once the soap batter comes to trace, I let it finish saponifying on its own -- I don't cook the batter.

It's been my experience that glycerin has very little if any effect on the thickness of the diluted soap, despite hearing it supposedly thickens the soap. If it does add thickness, it's not enough to for me to justify using glycerin just for that benefit. I have observed KOH soap with glycerin has slightly less lather than water-only KOH soap. Not a lot, but some.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I am wondering if anyone has any experience in making liquid shampoo?
Me, me, me! I have been making lye-based liquid shampoo for over 10 years!
I have heard that liquid shampoo uses potassium hydroxide but there is very little information on the process and recipes,
That is correct. Instead of NaOH lye for hard bars, we use KOH for liquid shampoo.
I'm wondering how to make a good shampoo without multiple added surfactants.
Easy-peasy. However, lye-based shampoo is not for everyone. Some members like myself can and do use it. For others, it damaged their hair. That's why you have been cautioned against it. The best way to prevent that doesn't happen to you, it would be wise to learn about using shampoo bars that also applies to liquid shampoo.

Everything you need to know about using lye based shampoo

Do you know any good recipes you would share?
Catherine Failor wrote the book on Making Natural Liquid Soaps. Your library may carry it or you can buy it online. Published in 2000, a lot has changed since then. There are about as many different ways to make LS as there are LS-ers! 😂 Although Failor's technique is passé and her recipes are huge, the basic information is solid and helpful for troubleshooting problems. The book has a lot of recipes that you can resize before making.

All hair is not the same so there is no "one-size fits all" recipe. For example, my 50-50 PKO & Lard "Hogwash Hair & Body Shampoo" is a friends and family favorite and sells well. I have no problem sharing my recipes, but first it would be a good idea to try a few small batches of liquid soap before formulating a shampoo for your hair type. Although written in 2011, this site has many tutorials, even one for shampoo, to get you off on the right foot:

Alaiyna B Bath & Body: Basic Beginner Liquid Soap

Here's another bit of info that may be helpful when you are ready to design a recipe that works for your hair:

What to Expect from Various Oils in LS

And this one:

CP Soap as Shampoo
Okaybye and HAPPY LS-ING! :shower:
 

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