Soap based shampoo - mixing & thickening

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davidthulin

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Hi!

I am making a lye-soap based shampoo specifically for Afro hair. I have found that soap with 45% olive, 25% castor, 20% murumuru & 10% jojoba is perfect! I am now mixing the soap with distilled water, oil & stuff to make shampoo. (Not certain yet but it seems like 150ml soap, 50ml water, 30ml jojoba & 15ml glycerin is good.)

Anyway - I have run into two challenges. Firstly mixing. As you can see to the left if the image there is lots of foam in my testing bottles. Because I poured everything into the bottle and shook the crap out of it. The foam stays for over 12 hours. And there seems to be some oil/water separation. Help! Should I be mixing over heat? Or slowly? Or do I need an additive? Secondly thickening. I see so many different thickeners, but which one might work? If I want to stay somewhat natural?

Thanks!
David

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Just to clarify, are you grating up bar soap? If so, that isn't likely to be a good solution long term. The bar soap will not dilute fully. Over time, it will always congeal, turning back into blobs or "snotty" strings. Also, I truly can't recommend using lye-based soap on hair, since it is extremely drying due to the high pH. Many people suffer extreme hair damage from this.

However, there are others here on SMF who do like using lye-based soap on their hair; they will probably be along soon to share how to make a true liquid soap using KOH instead of NaOH, and then diluting it and super-fatting it for use on hair. You can also search the forum for instructions on making liquid soap. I highly recommend this thread.
 

davidthulin

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Just to clarify, are you grating up bar soap? If so, that isn't likely to be a good solution long term. The bar soap will not dilute fully. Over time, it will always congeal, turning back into blobs or "snotty" strings. Also, I truly can't recommend using lye-based soap on hair, since it is extremely drying due to the high pH. Many people suffer extreme hair damage from this.

However, there are others here on SMF who do like using lye-based soap on their hair; they will probably be along soon to share how to make a true liquid soap using KOH instead of NaOH, and then diluting it and super-fatting it for use on hair. You can also search the forum for instructions on making liquid soap. I highly recommend this thread.
Sorry - I was unclear. The soap is liquid using KOH.

Edit: what is a good pH-level for hair?
 
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Sorry - I was unclear. The soap is liquid using KOH.

Edit: what is a good pH-level for hair?
Gotcha, that is good. 😅 When you talked about shaking it to dilute it, I assumed you must be starting with grated bar soap. The best way to dilute LS paste is to either warm it on the stove with your dilution water, or pour boiling hot water over the paste, cover it, and let the heat do the work. For now, you can try spraying the bubbles with 71% rubbing alcohol, but don't go overboard or you won't like what it does to your soap.

An oil slick floating on the top probably means that you have too much superfat. LS can usually handle only a very small superfat of 1-2% without seeing that oil separation - unless you use a solubilizer like PS80, or an emulsifier like stearic acid. Check out the recipe I linked above, where she explains how she uses both PS80 and stearic acid to create a thick, creamy LS that has a nice SF to be less drying.

The recommended pH for hair products is 5-7. Unfortunately, you cannot reduce the pH of lye-based soap below 9, or it separates into an oily mess. That's why commercial shampoos are made with synthetic detergents (syndets) instead of true soap - to create a lower pH product that is less drying to the hair. EDIT: pH strips are notoriously inaccurate and will give you a falsely-low reading. If you want to test pH, use a pH meter as described here.

Putting the pH issue aside for now, you can certainly experiment to see if you can create a LS with enough superfat (using PS90, stearic acid, etc.) to be less drying. Let us know how it goes!
 
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davidthulin

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Thanks so much! This is so much fun!

I must admit that the pH-thing has scared me a bit, but I will focus on adding superfat and create an awesome conditioner. Btw - would you add the superfat to the shampoo or the soap?

Anyway, thanks for the help! I will probably need more later… I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

Have a good weekend!
D
 
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