My First SCS Shampoo Bar

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:


Sep 10, 2021
Reaction score

This is my first post, and here's my tale:
My wife wants to constantly buy these particular soaps, she loves them:


Now... $13.99 a pop, I can do without them, but she really liked them (I like to use them too). So I do some research, and 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, 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

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!


Active Member
Jul 15, 2021
Reaction score
Hi! Welcome from another forum newbie!

I see your only surfactant is scs. I quite like it as an ingredient, but I've found best results using more than 2 or 3 surfactants in a bar. If I absolutely had to choose only one, scs would be my choice though.

The recipe I'm happiest with and am riffing on right now is from The things we'll make.
It's very gentle and effective for a variety of hair types in my home. Having done a few bars without solid oils or butters that flopped, I'd also recommend including something like a coco butter or coconut oil.

Again, newbie alert! I'd be very happy to follow your work and hear how things work out for you.


Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2013
Reaction score
"...test a bar of soap with a ph test strip, and hope to get around 6-7 ..."

Problem with SCS is that it has a high pH. Not quite as alkaline as lye-based soap, but definitely alkaline and that's not recommended for hair. In addition to that, it's fairly strong cleanser that can be harsh to skin. So it isn't an ideal choice for a shampoo bar, especially as the sole detergent.

I'd say most of the small-scale makers who know their stuff don't use it or they combine it with a milder lower-pH detergent. Many larger manufacturers use SCS as the only detergent in their shampoos, however, because it's cheaper than other detergents.

Here's an example of a shampoo bar that's a mixture of Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) -- Argan Rose Pressed Shampoo Bars - Humblebee & Me The author Marie (Humblebee and Me) has done the necessary homework and has included 0.25% citric acid as the pH adjuster.

A couple of other comments --

You cannot accurately test pH the way you mention. You will typically get a pH reading that is often quite a bit lower than the pH truly is. The pH should be tested in a room-temperature mixture of 1% of your detergent blend dissolved in water.

For adjusting the final pH of a product, you also need to be using a decent pH meter or high quality pH test strips that can measure to 0.1 pH unit. Many hobbyists get the 0-14 strips that read to whole pH units -- that's much too broad if you're trying to do a pH adjustment. Even the strips that read to 0.5 pH units are not all that useful for this purpose.

When talking with a more technically inclined group like this forum, it's a good idea to not describe non-soap detergents as "soap" because you're going to confuse the rest of us. SCS and SCI can be called "cleansers" or "detergents" but they're not true lye-based "soap." I know regular consumers use "soap" to mean any cleanser, but that doesn't work so well when the discussion gets more technical and specific.