Shampoo bars - what are people's recommendations regarding oils to include?

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Savage Daughter

Formerly known as Quasi Quadrant
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I have decided to make only shampoo bars for the ones which will be carried in my local stores, rather than having several different soap base recipes, adding natural colorants & herbal infusions to them all, as well as essential oils. I love shampoo bars on the skin as well. I am not even a little bit interested in making the syndet type.....just absolutely NO 😂

I wanted to ask those with more experience with cold-process shampoo bars what their favourite base oils are in their shampoo bars. I love avocado, castor, cocoa butter, jojoba & wheatgerm in shampoo bars - which I have made in the past - but am still wondering if there are better alternatives.

I noticed a shampoo bar recipe in one of my books as well, which I have yet to try. I believe it was in The Soapmakers Companion (?) I'm too comfortable to check right now 😂 I notice it lists all of the oils which I want to use in my own shampoo bars, but have never tested it out, oddly.....has anyone tried this recipe? What was their experience with it? How was lather? (I really love a thick, creamy lather in all my soaps) How did your hair feel afterwards? I intend on making a test batch using this recipe next week, but was hoping to get people's feedback before I do.

To kick things off in my foray back into soaping, I made a test batch of shampoo bars last night using a long-forgotten kit I had purchased a few years back. Both molds will be coming out of the oven in a couple of hours. I noticed on their label no use of wheatgerm, but they did use all of the other oils I wish to use, so thought it would be a good experiment. Lord am I rusty LOL but am so happy I knocked down my temperatures. Way back when, it was very common for most people to be using higher temperatures, which I got used to at that time, but decided to go much lower than I have in the past. Went a little bit too far in what I observed was a light trace, which funked things up a little bit, but overall the entire process went very well. I got this :)

Thanks very much to the more experienced shampoo bar makers & anyone else who has got helpful responses :)
 
I am not even a little bit interested in making the syndet type.....just absolutely NO 😂
Me too!!! :nodding:
I wanted to ask those with more experience with cold-process shampoo bars what their favourite base oils are in their shampoo bars.
Hubby loved Zany's Palm Olive Bar that he used all over in the shower. It made his silver hair shiny with no trace of yellow (UGH). A bit of Argan oil between the palms and smoothed over the hair conditions and helps to control fly-aways.

I prefer a liquid shampoo. My favorite is Zany's Flaxseed & Rosin Shampoo.

I love avocado, castor, cocoa butter, jojoba & wheatgerm in shampoo bars -
:thumbs:To that I would
- add 10% Coconut oil, for dense creamy lather
- use 5% - 10% castor for champagne bubbles and healthy hair.
- use shea butter rather than cocoa butter. My 67% shea butter bar is awesome on the skin. You could certainly add less.
- add flaxseed oil & almond oil, to the avocado (moisturizing) and wheatgerm (healthy hair vitamins) for their beneficial qualities.
- sub olive oil for the jojoba. Both have long shelf lives -- to offset the short shelf life of flaxseed.
- jojoba oil is expensive as well as nutritious but better used in a leave-on product, like a hair conditioning oil or serum or similar.

I intend on making a test batch using this recipe next week,
Esther's Esters Shampoo Bar - The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch.

I have not made that recipe. What I can tell you about that book is that it is full of practical information about formulating recipes, soap making and selling. Although it was published in 1997, the basic info is sound advice. I have it on my reference shelf for that reason.

That being said, a lot has changed since that book was published. For example, she uses 10%-11% SF (superfat) which leaves a lot of the oils unsaponified, resulting in a longer cure rate. Also, she uses grapefruit seed extract as a preservative. Studies since then have shown "GSE" to be ineffective in providing that benefit, as well as expensive and difficult to find.

As a substitute for GSE, I use antioxidants ROE (Rosemary Oleoresin Extract) and Vitamin E in every batch I make, to prevent rancidity. The Vitamin E (1,000 IU) PPO has qualities beneficial to skin & hair.

See PDFs attached.

HTH :computerbath:
 

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  • ROE SwiftCrafty.pdf
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  • ROE & DOS.pdf
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Esther's Esters Shampoo Bar - The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch.

I have not made that recipe. What I can tell you about that book is that it is full of practical information about formulating recipes, soap making and selling. Although it was published in 1997, the basic info is sound advice. I have it on my reference shelf for that reason.

That being said, a lot has changed since that book was published. For example, she uses 10%-11% SF (superfat) which leaves a lot of the oils unsaponified, resulting in a longer cure rate. Also, she uses grapefruit seed extract as a preservative. Studies since then have shown "GSE" to be ineffective in providing that benefit, as well as expensive and difficult to find.

As a substitute for GSE, I use antioxidants ROE (Rosemary Oleoresin Extract) and Vitamin E in every batch I make, to prevent rancidity. The Vitamin E (1,000 IU) PPO has qualities beneficial to skin & hair.

See PDFs attached.

HTH :computerbath:

Regarding rosemary extract, grapefruit seed extract & vitamin e, I don't bother adding any of them to soap. Never have. It just never presented itself as necessary, and I'd rather spend my cash on high quality colorants & essential oils, not to mention nice packaging & labeling. To skin care & hair care products, I sometimes will add some of those 3, depending on the size of the product I'm selling (a 30ml / 1oz bottle of facial oil vs a 60ml or 2oz bottle sitting on a shelf), also dependent on which base oils I use in a topical product & whether or not they're prone to rancidity within a year or so.

I have whacked out several 1kg batches of soap so far, one pretty much every other day, just to test my beautiful natural colorants - wow, did I get a wicked result from my Himalayan rhubarb root & indigo! Glad I bought the indigo from a natural fabric dye supply place near me which does amazing work. I think they will be my go-to supplier from now on as they have such a wide variety of high quality natural plant dyes. The indigo I purchased from a soap making website is terrible in comparison, as is their purple Brazilian clay which looks more like kaolin! I got a sludgy grey color from their indigo using exactly the same amount. Sad, sad quality....but the stuff I got from the natural fabric dye supply place is a deep, deep indigo...very beautiful! We shall see how it behaves as it cures as I know this is one natural colorant which is very much prone to fading & discolouring. Another batch gave me a beautiful baby blue, swirled in combination with the purple clay. Friends are going to be receiving a lot of samples. Tussah silk & sugar are also a part of my recipe, along with sodium lactate as I'm using a fair amount of olive oil at the moment.

Anyways....yeah....point is, I have cranked out several batches of soap now with no issues - it's like riding a bike LOL except for the fact that no matter how low my temperatures are (like room temperature), I seem to be tracing far more quickly than I would like - so am going to give the shampoo bar recipe in the Soapmaker's Companion a shot this weekend with another batch of colorants. I have all the ingredients anyways. Then I can tweak things from there with the help of soap calc.

Thanks very much :)

Me too!!! :nodding:

Hubby loved Zany's Palm Olive Bar that he used all over in the shower. It made his silver hair shiny with no trace of yellow (UGH). A bit of Argan oil between the palms and smoothed over the hair conditions and helps to control fly-aways.

I prefer a liquid shampoo. My favorite is Zany's Flaxseed & Rosin Shampoo.


:thumbs:To that I would
- add 10% Coconut oil, for dense creamy lather
- use 5% - 10% castor for champagne bubbles and healthy hair.
- use shea butter rather than cocoa butter. My 67% shea butter bar is awesome on the skin. You could certainly add less.
- add flaxseed oil & almond oil, to the avocado (moisturizing) and wheatgerm (healthy hair vitamins) for their beneficial qualities.
- sub olive oil for the jojoba. Both have long shelf lives -- to offset the short shelf life of flaxseed.
- jojoba oil is expensive as well as nutritious but better used in a leave-on product, like a hair conditioning oil or serum or similar.

Your recipe just got added to my list to try this weekend. Have already downloaded the PDF, tnak you :) No reason I can't make several batches in one day....unless my kayak or wood chopping axe is calling me 😂 I have settled on making one palm & one no-palm recipe, the no palm with no silk either. Coconut milk is getting higher & higher on my list as well, so gotta crank out a batch of that too. I have some time before I start supplying my local stores, so it's play time right now, getting down to the exact ingredients I wish to use.

FYI on another subject, coconut milk straight out of the can / jar / whatever is the most beautiful, silky, skin softening hair serum & moisturizer I have ever tried, right next to raw flax gel! Incredible stuff! So different from coconut oil, which dries the crap out of my hair. I will one day figure out how to use it in a saleable product, or 3 or 4 haha :) and have it on store shelves in the skin & haircare aisle, without adding a whole host of toxic preservatives :)
 
I will one day figure out how to use it in a saleable product, or 3 or 4 haha :) and have it on store shelves in the skin & haircare aisle, without adding a whole host of toxic preservatives :)
Good luck with that! :thumbs:

Although I have to say, from my experience with lotions & creams, the "toxic preservatives" are necessary to prevent "toxic" reactions when the product degrades over time. Every so-called "natural" preservative I tried went off at 6 months; and after 2 weeks with no preservative at all. So I use the preservative with the highest efficacy at the lowest use rate: Liquid Germall Plus - Use rate: between 0.1% – 0.5%

ETA: On second thought, an anhydrous "Hair Mask" might do. Just a thought. I like the idea. I'll be picking up some coconut milk on my next trip to the store. 😁

@Kcryss may have a better idea. This is more in her baliwick!

Regarding rosemary extract, grapefruit seed extract & vitamin e, I don't bother adding any of them to soap. Never have. It just never presented itself as necessary,
Not a problem, although I will say, in my 20-years of making soap, I've never experienced DOS or soda ash that is fairly common to so many SMF members.

I'd rather spend my cash on high quality colorants & essential oils, not to mention nice packaging & labeling.
Good thinking! Although, to increase my profit margin, I make Plain Jane soaps, sometimes colored with herbs, matcha tea or clay and, after about 4 years in, I switched from EOs to FOs due to the tendency of essential oils to dissipate after about 6 months.

wow, did I get a wicked result from my Himalayan rhubarb root & indigo!
How about a pic.gif
SOAP SHOWCASE & PHOTO GALLERY

I bought the indigo from a natural fabric dye supply place near me which does amazing work. I think they will be my go-to supplier from now on as they have such a wide variety of high quality natural plant dyes.
If it isn't too much trouble, would you kindly share the link?

so am going to give the shampoo bar recipe in the Soapmaker's Companion a shot this weekend with another batch of colorants.
I hope you will share your experiments like this one in a separate thread. Crossing fingers.

Cross Fingers.jpg


Your recipe just got added to my list to try this weekend. Have already downloaded the PDF, tnak you :)
You're welcome. :) I hope you like it and post results in the Photo Gallery linked above.

I have settled on making one palm & one no-palm recipe, the no palm with no silk either.
FYI: An easy way to add color to the Palm Olive recipe is to use Red Palm Oil. You can find it online but I buy it locally at an African Market in Denver. It is a liquid oil used in cooking. Due to the type of processing, you may find black ash sediment at the bottom of the container.

For the non-palm, non-silk version, I would sub Coconut Oil 76° for the PKO and lard or shea butter for the palm. :thumbs:
 
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Good luck with that! :thumbs:

Although I have to say, from my experience with lotions & creams, the "toxic preservatives" are necessary to prevent "toxic" reactions when the product degrades over time. Every so-called "natural" preservative I tried went off at 6 months; and after 2 weeks with no preservative at all. So I use the preservative with the highest efficacy at the lowest use rate: Liquid Germall Plus - Use rate: between 0.1% – 0.5%

ETA: On second thought, an anhydrous "Hair Mask" might do. Just a thought. I like the idea. I'll be picking up some coconut milk on my next trip to the store. 😁

@Kcryss may have a better idea. This is more in her baliwick!

Marketing is part of my job in IT, so I will figure out a way to make it saleable, believe me LOL Any so-called 'disadvantage' can be turned into an advantage, given the right marketing :)

You're welcome. :) I hope you like it and post results in the Photo Gallery linked above.


FYI: An easy way to add color to the Palm Olive recipe is to use Red Palm Oil. You can find it online but I buy it locally at an African Market in Denver. It is a liquid oil used in cooking. Due to the type of processing, you may find black ash sediment at the bottom of the container.

For the non-palm, non-silk version, I would sub Coconut Oil 76° for the PKO and lard or shea butter for the palm. :thumbs:

I've already got the base recipe (thank you Ellen Ruth for sharing your base recipe on YouTube, you ROCK!), although I still do want to make this my own by playing with it....adding the coconut milk and / or coconut cream to it is something I'm really excited about. I will be making more batches this weekend & tweaking this to make my this recipe what I envision. I am in LOVE with the moisturizing, smoothing properties of coconut milk!

Not a problem, although I will say, in my 20-years of making soap, I've never experienced DOS or soda ash that is fairly common to so many SMF members.
Yep, likewise. Maybe because all of the recipes I have ever used have castor oil in them....or because I completely cover the tops when they're insulated & going through gel phase....or who knows? It's difficult to tell, really. First time I saw mention of orange spots, I was confused, because I have never dealt with this issue at any time. If soda ash happens, there's always steam, but I also spritz the tops of my soaps with alcohol before covering & insulating, which seems to do the trick.


Good thinking! Although, to increase my profit margin, I make Plain Jane soaps, sometimes colored with herbs, matcha tea or clay and, after about 4 years in, I switched from EOs to FOs due to the tendency of essential oils to dissipate after about 6 months.
Yes, they can, but I've found some essential oils can help 'fix' others. Clays & orris root also helps in my experience.


As soon as I get some photos taken & am able to upload them (no cell service in my area can make this a challenge until I get into the city about once a month, as well as the fact that I refuse to have WiFi in my house), I definitely will :) I love living in the bush, so I'm happy to deal with the minor inconveniences with some of the technological issues we have out here.

If it isn't too much trouble, would you kindly share the link?
I bought the indigo, and several other plant & wood based colorants from Maiwa. Find them here: Maiwa Online Store I highly recommend this company after my recent experiences with their products!

I hope you will share your experiments like this one in a separate thread. Crossing fingers.

View attachment 71276

Which ones? I definitely will once I am able to upload some photos. I am an experimenter-aholic, seriously haha 😂 I love filling my non-working hours & days with this kind of stuff, making notes, tweaking proportions....that's why I recently signed up for Formula Botanica's organic skincare formulation course. This is all the most fun I can possibly have during my off-hours. My bottom line is: 'How do I feel when I do something?', not 'How much money am I making every second of every day?'. If I lose a few bucks on one product just because I love making it & I know it's great & wish to share it with others, but make the majority of my money on other products, I'm a-ok with that. Work to live, not live to work :)

Todays's experiment: mixing vetiver root, ho wood & ylang ylang 3 essential oils into my hair oil....good lord almighty, it literally made me swoon 😂 And I created a new solid perfume in the process....which I now have to formulate! 😁
 
Avocado oil is great for textured or curly hair. Mango butter gives less of an oily feel or you can try Kokum butter. Shea butter can be heavy AF on the hair and leave residue. I use herbs that have mild cleansing abilities instead of additives that are chemically produced. Indian herbal products have tons of blends specially for the hair that also create suds and cleansing, you can add them into your soap. Think about adding a slip agent to prevent hair tuggging, and then a rinsing aid that will help wash off the soap and prevent residue. Add citric acid before sopanifaction happens or add Sodium Citrate at the end of sopanification (sopanified citric acid is called sodium citrate), stick to oils that are going to mostly sopanify bc you can pick less heavy oils to superfat with after the soap has started to trace. Soap has a high ph and water does too. The water we use combined with soap is what hurts our hair when using bar soap to wash, its not actually the soap. Ive conditioned my own bath water with citric acid and sodium citrate and it made a HUGE difference how my hair accepted shampoo bars. Hope this helps! im a big fan of sorbital over glycerin and castor oils its just a nice glide vs sticky hot mess. lol
 
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Me too!!! :nodding:

Hubby loved Zany's Palm Olive Bar that he used all over in the shower. It made his silver hair shiny with no trace of yellow (UGH). A bit of Argan oil between the palms and smoothed over the hair conditions and helps to control fly-aways.

I prefer a liquid shampoo. My favorite is Zany's Flaxseed & Rosin Shampoo.


:thumbs:To that I would
- add 10% Coconut oil, for dense creamy lather
- use 5% - 10% castor for champagne bubbles and healthy hair.
- use shea butter rather than cocoa butter. My 67% shea butter bar is awesome on the skin. You could certainly add less.
- add flaxseed oil & almond oil, to the avocado (moisturizing) and wheatgerm (healthy hair vitamins) for their beneficial qualities.
- sub olive oil for the jojoba. Both have long shelf lives -- to offset the short shelf life of flaxseed.
- jojoba oil is expensive as well as nutritious but better used in a leave-on product, like a hair conditioning oil or serum or similar.


Esther's Esters Shampoo Bar - The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch.

I have not made that recipe. What I can tell you about that book is that it is full of practical information about formulating recipes, soap making and selling. Although it was published in 1997, the basic info is sound advice. I have it on my reference shelf for that reason.

That being said, a lot has changed since that book was published. For example, she uses 10%-11% SF (superfat) which leaves a lot of the oils unsaponified, resulting in a longer cure rate. Also, she uses grapefruit seed extract as a preservative. Studies since then have shown "GSE" to be ineffective in providing that benefit, as well as expensive and difficult to find.

As a substitute for GSE, I use antioxidants ROE (Rosemary Oleoresin Extract) and Vitamin E in every batch I make, to prevent rancidity. The Vitamin E (1,000 IU) PPO has qualities beneficial to skin & hair.

See PDFs attached.

HTH :computerbath:
I have a question for you, @Zany_in_CO …I tried several lye based shampoo bar recipes all of which left my hair dry and dull and finally switched to syndet. Could the problem be the pH of soap? I rinsed with ACV, and applied a jojoba serum, but the damage was done. I have fairly long curly hair. I’m not yet ready to launch into liquid soaps, but your flax shampoo will be high on my list when I do.
 
Avocado oil is great for textured or curly hair. Mango butter gives less of an oily feel or you can try Kokum butter. Shea butter can be heavy AF on the hair and leave residue. I use herbs that have mild cleansing abilities instead of additives that are chemically produced. Indian herbal products have tons of blends specially for the hair that also create suds and cleansing, you can add them into your soap. Think about adding a slip agent to prevent hair tuggging, and then a rinsing aid that will help wash off the soap and prevent residue. Add citric acid before sopanifaction happens or add Sodium Citrate at the end of sopanification (sopanified citric acid is called sodium citrate), stick to oils that are going to mostly sopanify bc you can pick less heavy oils to superfat with after the soap has started to trace. Soap has a high ph and water does too. The water we use combined with soap is what hurts our hair when using bar soap to wash, its not actually the soap. Ive conditioned my own bath water with citric acid and sodium citrate and it made a HUGE difference how my hair accepted shampoo bars. Hope this helps! im a big fan of sorbital over glycerin and castor oils its just a nice glide vs sticky hot mess. lol

Thanks so much for your input, this helps immensely. I am still in the process of formulating a shampoo bar as I decided that if I had stuck to that in the moment, I would have slowed my process up a great deal.

So, for the time being, I am making soaps with silk, coconut milk, goats milk coming as soon as one of my local goat-keepers has some extra milk. With so many newborn babies, the milk supply is going directly to them at the moment :) My soap can wait until they're healthy & strong.

Thank you again :) I am very much looking forward to custom-formulating my own shampoo bar which works for more people than not. It's doable. It just takes a different way of looking at it. The plus with shampoo bars is that they make beautiful body bars as well, so it's a 2 in 1 bar, which is why I wish to be making these exclusively.
 
Me too!!! :nodding:

Hubby loved Zany's Palm Olive Bar that he used all over in the shower. It made his silver hair shiny with no trace of yellow (UGH). A bit of Argan oil between the palms and smoothed over the hair conditions and helps to control fly-aways.

I prefer a liquid shampoo. My favorite is Zany's Flaxseed & Rosin Shampoo.


:thumbs:To that I would
- add 10% Coconut oil, for dense creamy lather
- use 5% - 10% castor for champagne bubbles and healthy hair.
- use shea butter rather than cocoa butter. My 67% shea butter bar is awesome on the skin. You could certainly add less.
- add flaxseed oil & almond oil, to the avocado (moisturizing) and wheatgerm (healthy hair vitamins) for their beneficial qualities.
- sub olive oil for the jojoba. Both have long shelf lives -- to offset the short shelf life of flaxseed.
- jojoba oil is expensive as well as nutritious but better used in a leave-on product, like a hair conditioning oil or serum or similar.


Esther's Esters Shampoo Bar - The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch.

I have not made that recipe. What I can tell you about that book is that it is full of practical information about formulating recipes, soap making and selling. Although it was published in 1997, the basic info is sound advice. I have it on my reference shelf for that reason.

That being said, a lot has changed since that book was published. For example, she uses 10%-11% SF (superfat) which leaves a lot of the oils unsaponified, resulting in a longer cure rate. Also, she uses grapefruit seed extract as a preservative. Studies since then have shown "GSE" to be ineffective in providing that benefit, as well as expensive and difficult to find.

As a substitute for GSE, I use antioxidants ROE (Rosemary Oleoresin Extract) and Vitamin E in every batch I make, to prevent rancidity. The Vitamin E (1,000 IU) PPO has qualities beneficial to skin & hair.

See PDFs attached.

HTH :computerbath:
Thanks for the advice on The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch. I recently bought it and even though it's old, I found a lot of inspiring things there. And I'm also going to create one recipe with hemp oil and comfrey. I have my own comfrey in my garden. So is it better to use 6% superfat instead of 10% as she writes? I bought hemp oil, which should have a significant amount of vitamin E. Can this oil be more durable thanks to vitamin È. I read everywhere that hemp oil has a shelf life problem. Information from the seller: "100 ml of the product contains: hemp seed 100% oil 99.5 ml (α-linolenic acid content 15 g/100 g), alpha-tocopherol 500 mg (vitamin E).

A dose of 10 ml of oil contains 50 mg of vitamin E, i.e. 417% of the reference intake value.

"
Sorry for the non-shampoo post, but I'm reacting to that book…
I was also intrigued by the shampoo bar recipe in the book. And could hemp oil be good for hair too?
 
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