Tweaking my shampoo soap- looking for additives of value

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Oct 9, 2009
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A while back I made three different recipes and have been using them for about two weeks. I made the original Genny formula, variation with 2% CO, and a version with 5% co. Sf at 5

I used sugar in all but the original, but that was completely by accident!

I have found that they are all very soft bars.

I have found that the two with coconut have much more bubbles, expected that. But I found no difference in my hair for the most part. I don't think my hair is very sensitive.

I used a ACV rinse for a week and then one week without, I found no difference in my hair.

My hair in general is very frizzy, sometimes it likes to be curly, sometimes likes to be straight. It is a very fine texture of hair but I have a lot of it.

I am planning on making another batch and thinking of increasing the super fat to see if it would leave a nice extra layer of heaviness on my hair. I currently use oil afterwards on my hair to help to Control frizz and weigh it down , but it's really difficult for me to get it even and end up with a greasy spots.

Do you think increasing the super fat would do this? I know most people don't want to weight down their hair down and most people are interested in increasing volume. I have no interest in thosethings! ;)

I was planning on adding silk this round and wasn't sure if I should use aloe, coconut milk, or beer as my base liquid.

I have the aloe to use but haven't had a chance to use it in the soap yet so I don't know what qualities brings to the table.

Could I use a 1 or 2 percent of steric acid to harden the bar? What other properties would it bring? Anything negative? I have plans for the shave soap so I have plenty of it.

I was thinking of looking at sweet almond oil, as I have some now.

Are there any items you have used that have seen an added value for hair??
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I won't get to started on the reasons bar soap is not great for hair, will try to behave. A nice gentle surfactant based shampoo is much less damaging to hair than bar soap. No matter what you do to bar soap the ph is to high for hair, especially fine hair. Using a vinegar rinse does help but after time the high ph will lift and damage the cuticle, then will start damaging the cortex. If you want a nice mild shampoo bar make a gentle syndet bar in which you can add in panthenol, vitamins etc, without lye destroying the properties.
There are also some very nice anti-frizz products on the markets and in Beauty Supplies stores, which are designed to wash off clean and will not clog pores like using oil. I remember when using mayo and /or olive oil was all rage and I would have to try to wash it out of customers hair. If they had used a lot I would have to use a very harsh shampoo, green soap based, to get it out.
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My very first batch of CP soap was a shampoo bar made with O'Doul's non-alcoholic beer, and that was my focus when I first got into making soap. I've made a lot of various shampoo bars over the years. Recently, I've been leaning away from shampoo bars for the reasons Carolyn (cmzaha) has given. I think they are very harsh on your hair due to the high pH. Keep in mind that hair removal products, like Nair, work because of their very high pH. I do still make them on occasion, however, because I like the texture and fullness shampoo bars give my hair (probably a result of the mild damage they are causing to the cuticle). Also, I think shampoo bars work better for short hair.

An interesting thing that my hair stylist and I have noticed is that shampoo bars (at least my shampoo bars) work very well at helping to prevent my hair color from fading. (Yes, I dye my hair.) My shampoo bars seem to work slightly better than their color-protecting salon shampoos, and I wash my hair daily. I still can't figure this out.

As far as Apple Cider Vinegar rinses -- I would avoid ACV like the plague if you have color-treated hair. ACV rinses cause my color to fade fast.

If you are interested in making shampoo bars, here are my thoughts:

1. In general, shampoo bars, like regular soap bars, do not stay on your hair/skin long enough to take advantage of added nutrients and other additives, so adding them is a waste of money - in my humble opinion. For this reason, I would make them as simple and gentle as possible. I used to add hydrolyzed wheat protein and dl-panthenol, but I don't anymore.

2. This sort of contradicts my Point #1, but I do add Tea Tree EO, Rosemary EO, and Menthol for healing and tingling properties.

3. Shampoo bars usually have more Castor Oil than regular bars. I usually use 20%-25% of oils in mine. Castor Oil helps create stable lather, moisturizing, and conditioning.

4. I do like to add Jojoba Oil. Hair loves conditioning Jojoba, and I usually add this at 8%-10% of my oils.

5. My hair tends to be dry, so I superfat my shampoo bars at around 12%.

Just my humble opinion.

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If you want more information on SynDet shampoo bars like Carolyn mentioned, I HIGHLY recommend you check out Susan Barclay-Nichols' website, My next shampoo bar will likely be a SynDet bar. Here is the link:

I have learned more from Susan's site over the years than from any other source. She has a degree in chemistry, and always gives specific scientific reasoning on why certain things work, or don't work. I know Susan does not like real soap shampoo bars, and would never use them. I have used her recipe for Conditioner Bars, and LOVE them.
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I started soaping just to make Genny's shampoo bars and I've been using them exclusively on my hair for about 5 months now. I've noticed a difference in the amount of hair I would lose in the shower and how much gets left in the comb. I have thin oily hair and I use my version everyday with a 1tsp to 8oz ACV rinse.

I started out only using 3% SF because I have oily hair but it did make my hair a bit frizzy. I upped the SF on my new batches and it helped a lot. I make mine with goat milk and herb infused olive oil with an EO blend. I know they say since it's a wash off product the chances of it really helping is low but I also like to leave my shampoo on for a bit and I tell myself that every little bit counts. This may or may not be bad given the fact that I just learned all that awesome info from Carolyn about shampoo bars. I didn't think of the PH being too high for hair but I haven't really had any issues with mine. BF has been using them too and he hasn't had any complaints.
I tend to use a shampoo bar on my hair only when I've been out in the garden. Such as today, I had dirt, bits of plants, and I think there was a small beetle hanging out in there.

I do find that I like a high SF in my shampoo bar, it seems to decrease the amount of frizz I get. But I also do a second wash with a syndet bar (that I made) that has a much lower pH.

My hair's completely unprocessed, but very short, so damage really doesn't have much time to express itself before the stylist cuts it off.
Jiroband, Your shampoo bar probably has milder surfactants than the salons shampoo. PH and sufactant usually determine how fast hair color fades. Some shops use colored shampoos to help preserve color. Bar soap is vicious on hair coloring. BTW a lot of men color their hair especially today. I have noticed with the new formulations of hair colors they tend to hold much better than when I was working with hair. Off to color my mom's hair at 89 yrs and mine in naturally gray. Go figure. But then I have allergies to hair color... (just a tad off topic) :D
I used shampoo bars for well over a year before they started damaging my hair. I have some what curly, fine frizzy hair and only use 3% SF, anymore and it makes my hair limp and dull. I do have moderately hard water though and I think that really makes a difference with shampoo bars.
My scalp loved shampoo bars and I though my hair did too for a long time them boom, it got crispy and started to break. I had to cut all my hair off, right back to a pixie and switch to sulfate free shampoo. I still use my shampoo bar on occasion because I like what it does to my curls but I'll never go back to daily use again.

If your hair is excessively frizzy, its because its damaged and dry. You might try a marshmallow root detangler/smoothing cream. If you are interested in a forum on hair care, check out the long hair forum. They are dedicated to extreme hair care so they can grow really long hair. Its a great place for care info, regardless of your length. They can help you tackle your frizzy issues.
A lot of frizzy hair is due to damage, but some hair is just to tight and curly, causing it to frizz. Extremely wiry hair tend to friz also. Soap is Not shampoo. Shampoo is surfactant based. ;) except Wen products and he is getting sued for damages
Wen isn't even shampoo, its just overpriced conditioner. You can clean your hair the same way with .99 VO5 naturals conditioner. I tried conditioner washing, not a good choice for fine hair:(
I'm really interested in a syndet bar but I'm not sure if you can make them sulfate free.
I tried various formulations of lye soap as my shampoo for well over a year. As time went on, my shoulder length hair gradually got drier and duller, especially on the ends, despite using citric acid as a rinse. Conditioner didn't help fix or prevent this damage. My hubby also used soap on his short hair and I noticed even his hair was getting less lustrous and rougher looking despite getting regular trims. We went back to syndet shampoo -- it really does work better for both of us. I look for mild syndet combination without silicones. One of these days I'm going to get the ingredients to formulate my own, but I want to get a better sense of what works in the commercial stuff.
cmzaha;538645. A nice gentle surfactant based shampoo is much less damaging to hair than bar soap.---- If you want a nice mild shampoo bar make a gentle syndet bar in which you can add in panthenol said:
Do you make your own?

I was thinking this would be an option to have nice hair and not have the sulfates and I could understand and control my ingredients.

I will check out that forum you mentioned. I have past shoulder length and have noticed that the ends have felt crispy like and was searching for a fix.

Is it cheaper to make your own good stuff in the long run after you are done tweaking, (I know--grain of salt b/c it becomes a hobby and you keep looking for new better stuff.... Like here...and all the stuff I have gotten since starting to make soap...:oops:)
I make a very simple surfactant bar which although it isn't sulphate free, seems to be pretty kind to my sensitive scalp. I melt sodium coco sulphate powder in a little coconut oil and add some silk or rice protein - that's it. It makes a hard, long lasting bar which gives great lather.

I have also made a liquid shampoo without sulphates, I think the ingredients were a bit more expensive and you need to use a preservative but it is equally as effective as the bars. I used a blend of coco glucoside, lauryl glucoside, cocomidopropyl betaine and SCI, diluted in water again with some proteins added.

I save all other additives for my conditioner, panthenol, ceramides etc but I think some people do use them in shampoos.

Someone else mentioned swiftcrafttmonkey - I completely agree that there is a huge amount of information there and encourage you to check it out!

Hope this is some help, good luck :)
No I do not make shampoo bars. I still buy my shampoo from a beauty supply in concentrate form. Old habits are hard to break and I cannot make a shampoo for less than I purchase a gallon of concentrate by the time I order all the ingredients. Actually Wen did have a soap based hair cleanser for awhile, sorry I cannot give him the benefit of calling his product shampoo. He jumped on the natural band wagon like everyone else, and believe he really does not care about anyone's hair, only money. I remember it was coconut oil, pko, palm and do not remember the rest of the ingredients. Could be off the market now. Yes his product for hair cleansing now is a goopy conditioner, yuck. I do not even use conditioner on my gray hair and it is in perfect condition
I love the swift crafty monkey site. I really like that she is so, so generous about sharing her knowledge, and also so practical about what works. I admit that I do not understand much of the chemistry stuff, but am happy to just follow the instructions to a T, they are very good :)

The WEN hair products do not impress me. My sister and I are very desultorily working toward retailing an ayurvedic hair care product, and an early collaborater knows Chaz Dean and was really excited about the WEN stuff and maybe working with him, but his products - while they do smell nice! - do not seem to be that singular or good. Ours is way better, it does not smell as nice though, that is a problem.
Is there a good place to buy syndet bars besides lush? I prefer a recommended product over random etsy purchase.

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