I started using shampoo bars over a year ago when I found out about all the chemicals in my "regular" shampoo. Between that and all the plastic packaging (which could only be downcycled at best), I decided to give up the liquid shampoo and move onto something that had no packaging and no synthetic chemicals.
Unfortunately, finding shampoo bars is a little difficult. They differ from regular soap in that they contain oils that are more gentle on your hair and help condition it. Oils like castor and jojoba. Since I had made my own cold-processed soap in the past, I decided to try to make my own shampoo bars.
However, trying to come up with a decent shampoo bar recipe was almost as difficult as finding the shampoo bars themselves. There were a couple recipes that I found online, but they just didn't contain the ingredients I wanted to put in my homemade bars. After extensive research and going through my soap making stock, I settled on my own recipe. Below is the basic recipe, I'll tell you how to customize it for your hair color at the end.
One more thing - this is a cold process soap. Please follow all the basics for making this type of soap. In other words, be careful with the lye - if you are not experienced in making your own soap, please do some research. If you don't have the right fats, feel free to switch them out (use an online lye calculator to adjust the lye!), just make sure to leave in the castor and jojoba oils. They are what makes this a shampoo bar and not a body soap.
Basic Shampoo Bar Recipe
4 ounces castor oil
2 ounces jojoba oil
4 ounces sunflower oil
3 ounces palm oil
1 ounce cocoa butter
8 ounces coconut oil
8 ounces distilled water
3 ounces lye
1/2 to 1 ounce essential oils at trace
Cut into bars when solid. This recipe takes about 4 days to reach a solid state, but check frequently. Once cut, let the bars cure, covered by a towel, for 4 weeks.
Lemon Chamomile Shampoo Bar (for blonde hair)
I like to call this one, California Sunshine Shampoo Bar. Follow the above recipe except, instead of the distilled water, steep a half cup or so of chamomile tea herbs in 12 ounces of boiling distilled water and strain well. Measure out 8 ounces and use this for your water.
At trace, add in 1 ounce of lemon essential oil or use a mix of citrus essential oils. I used a combination of lemon, orange, lemongrass and bergamot.
Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar (for dark hair)
Follow the above recipe except, instead of the distilled water, steep a half cup or so of chopped rosemary in 12 ounces of boiling distilled water and strain well. Measure out 8 ounces and use this for your water.
At trace, add in rosemary and mint essential oils.
Photo courtesy of Malene.
For a 100% natural hair conditioner, you can read more in this post, Going Nuts for Coconut Oil.