Solid Shampoo Bar Recipe With SCI

Maybe you like DIY. Maybe you’re just tired of your shampoo. Or worse, you’re tired of changing shampoo with the same results over and over. This solid shampoo bar recipe with SCI contains more cosmetic processed ingredients than any other I’ve presented. But results in a wonderfully mild shampoo that cares for your hair!

If you’re daring and have a thing for DIY, you have to try to make this shampoo at home. See for yourself that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have the best shampoo for your hair.

Table of Contents

Just Another Syndet Shampoo?

I’ve decided to try for this syndet shampoo bar in my quest for a natural homemade shampoo that would control my oily roots and dry ends. I’ve studied many recipes, ingredients and portions. Maybe I was lucky, but at first attempt, this shampoo does allow me to space hair washes for two whole days (sometimes even three) without feeling greasy.

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I’ve been using this shampoo bar for almost 4 months. This allowed me to stop using any haircare store-bought product, including shampoo, since then. Am I going to stop here? No, I’ll try to use less ingredients, because it’s more economical, less prone to mistakes, and I do like simple things. But at least I have a winner recipe 🙂 And I am going to share it with you.

Is It Made With All Natural Ingredients?


The base of this shampoo bar and many others in this blog are two surfactants, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (best known as SCI) and Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

An ingredient like “Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate” SOUND scary – but it is really just a coconut oil based cleaner or surfactant. These two surfactants are synthetic, but they are vegetable derived from coconut, being vegan ingredients.

These surfactants are both very often used in baby shampoos, being the base ingredients for “tears-free” shampoos. They allow your hygiene products to have a mild pH for your hair and scalp, and cleanse them from dirt and oils without being too agressive. They both have a pH of 5.5 and you shouldn’t need to adjust the recipe pH at the end.

One Or Two Surfactants: SCI and Cocamidopropyl Betaine

I have used SCI as the only surfactant at the beggining, and I advise you do start as such. Recipes like Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe For Dry Hair – No Lye or Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe for Oily Hair are simple ones and you should start with those. There are nothing as discouraging for DIY as a huge list of ingredients you don’t have at home…

However, further research made me realize that a mix of surfactants will make a more complete shampoo, just like a mix of oils make a more complete soap. I’ve looked for the other most common surfactant with a pH for 5.5 – I really don’t want to adjust the recipe pH – and came up with cocamidopropyl betaine.

It is actually a great complement to SCI. Not so much for the shampoo itself, but more to make the recipe. Using SCI in your shampoo/syndet bars can be a challenge. It is dificult to melt and incorporate on your final bar. Cocamidopropyl betaine helps with SCI solubility and your formula is more homogeneous, less “granular” with SCI granules showing.

Check out How Do You Make a Syndet Bar to know more about shampoo bars, both soap and syndet.

emulsifier wax1

Processed Ingredients

I also use silk protein and pro-vitamin B5, or d-panthenol, BTMS mostly as an emmolient, and cetyl alcohol to sooth and soften your hair and skin. These ingredients are all a processed form of natural ingredients of vegetable origin, excepting for the silk.

I always prefer whole ingredients coming from nature, that’s a given. But fact is science has evolved and provide us with safer ingredients once they suffer a sort of industrial processing. This processing usually means to remove toxic contaminants, or turn the ingredient into a purer form.

I also defend the usage of preservatives, always, even if they are processed and have some synthetic ingredients. Science has greatly helped us to protect against many disease mediums (pasteurized milk is just one example) and I am totally in favor of that versus a natural product contaminated with germes, microbes, fungus, etc.

What I am against is the overuse of synthetic ingredients and over processing of the same ones, just for economical reasons. Using unrefined vegetable oils as moisturizers is much better than synthetic ingredients with the same function. Using a shampoo bar with 40% of water and natural ingredients, or a lotion with 25% of natural oils is much better than the drying products we purchase in stores, with 15-20 ingredients we can only find in chemical labs.

Natural Ingredients

But I divert. This recipe uses plain natural ingredients, such as argan oil, essential oils and red clay. Argan oil is a lightweight oil that doesn’t “grease” your hair. But is a powerful moisturizer, with essential fatty acids and vitamins to properly condition your hair and scalp. 

Essential oils are used for scent and medicinal properties: rosemary is great to help with hair growth, tea tree desinfects your scalp, and peppermint is refreshing and stimulant. All of them contain a degree of anti-inflammatory, anti-fungus and anti-microbial properties to help keep your hair healthy.

Red clay is actually an illite clay based in iron oxide, that helps with the extraction of oil excess and skin toxins. It also helps soothe skin inflammations.  

red clay

The only thing that I don’t like in this recipe is the amount of different ingredients. It’s a list of 12 ingredients…  But you can’t have it all 🙂 

A Shampoo Bar Without Lye

Because it uses synthetic surfactants, this recipe doesn’t use lye. So, if you are not daring to try to make soap bars at home because of lye, you can try this recipe – no lye is garanteed. You will have to be careful with SCI, as it releases a very irritant dust when still dry – wear a mask at least until all SCI is mixed with the liquids. But apart from that it’s a quite safe recipe.

Besides not having to deal with lye, you will also avoid to use a product with high pH – which will happen if you use handmade soap to wash your hair. I do love handmade soap do not be mistaken. But not to wash my hair. High pH may cause chemical cuts in your hair with extended usage, making it fragile and brittle, as well as itching and irritation.

How Do You Make a Syndet bar

If you use soap you do have to use also an acidic rinse after soap to balance pH. But to be honest, I really don’t like the idea of putting an alkali in my hair and then an acidic product. Check out What Is A Syndet Bar to know more about syndet bars, and how they may help you washing your hair.

I don’t defend soap over syndet bars or the other way around. I defend the most appropriate product for each need and each person, which is the one that works with you. At the end, I just provide a lot of alternatives, give some basic knowledge and let you know how it worked (or not) with me. Then it’s all up to you.

Recipe Variations

Speaking about alternatives, there’s no way to tell that this shampoo bar will work with you to the T. Each one of us is unique and have its own personal needs. Maybe you need more conditioning and hydration because your hair is drier than mine. Maybe you have an itchy scalp and wish for some extra help with that. So, you may try some small variations with some of the ingredients

I am planning to use aloe vera extract (I have an aloe vera plant to use the juices and gel directly from the plant) to replace with cetyl alcohol. Instead of argan oil, you may use coconut oil or even shea butter if your skin or hair are too dry. If the shampoo bar leaves your hair greasy with any of these oils, just mix a small quantity with argan oil, not surpassing the total amount of oil.

aloe vera gel

Along with the essential oils choice and an additional clay quantity, this shampoo bar might actually help controlling mild cases of dandruff and itchy scalp. See the post How To Remove Dandruff Naturally to learn about natural products you can use to treat dandruff or itchy scalp.

Silk Protein

I was a bit surprised to know that you may get a brittle, dull and fragile hair if you apply excess of protein. So you may want as well to reduce or even skip the usage of hydrolized silk protein – it depends a lot on what other products are you using and how does your hair feel like. I’d say that if this is the only one with silk protein, there should be no harm.

Still, it may be a very good idea to make some bars with and others without the silk protein and alternate its usage. If you want a purely vegan shampoo bar, there’s an alternative: a vegetable protein, such as wheat protein, oat protein, hemp protein, soy protein…


Solid Shampoo Bar Recipe With SCI

You might need to go to a cosmetic supplies store to purchase most of these ingredients (you may use the links for most ingredients down in the recipe, to purchase them online). But if you care for your hair and are looking for more natural, milder products, try to make this syndet shampoo bar at home. If it doesn’t work first time, you can slightly change the ingredients to adjust to your hair needs.

Enjoy making your shampoo bars at home!!

Find Where to Buy Natural Shampoo Bars

Willing to try or use regularly natural shampoo, but you’re not really into DIY? Want to go zero-waste crazy with shampoo bars? Find where to buy natural haircare shampoo bars, listed by main ingredients and hair type:

If you love shampoo bars and have no issues in using them, find some at the following links:

Here’s a choice of natural liquid shampoos if you prefer the liquid stuff:

How Do You Use a Solid Shampoo Bar

Wash your hands and wet your hair in the shower or bath. Make a lather first with the shampoo bar, water and your own hands, then spread the lather in your hair.

Once the shampoo bar is making a lot of foam, you can also apply the bar directly on your hair. Make sure you follow the direction of your strands to avoid knotting or tangling your hair. Apply mostly in your scalp, avoid the ends. Massage your scalp with your fingertips for a few minutes. Avoid using your nails at all costs. Rinse and repeat until you feel your hair and scalp well washed.

The shampoo bar might not create a lot of lather the first time it’s used – I have no idea why, but it’s something I have observed. Be patient and create a lather with your hands for a little longer. The shampoo bar should create as much foam as a liquid shampoo. If not, probably your scalp just needs another wash.

A neat trick is to use your shampoo bar in the shower inside a saver bag. It helps create more lather.

Watch This Video Tutorial Before Starting Your Recipe

Botanical Skin Care Course Leaderboard1
shampoo bars with rosemary flower on top

Solid Shampoo Bar Recipe With SCI

Make a homemade mild shampoo, where you know about all the ingredients, made with a mild surfactant and a pH of 5.5, the right one for your hair. Customize it for your hair type and with your favorite scent.
Dificulty: Easy
Weight: 200g
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Method: Syndet Bar
Cosmetic: Syndet Bar
Servings: 1 shampoo bar (100g)
Cost: $4,3 / 4€


Solid Ingredients

Liquid Ingredients

Cooling Phase Ingredients


Preparations and Good Practices

  • Learn how to make a syndet bar in How Do You Make a Syndet Bar? or watch the video above. They don't have a recipe but explain in general the steps and ingredients to produce a syndet bar.
    How Do You Make a Syndet bar
  • Disinfect all your equipment before starting. You can boil some of your equipment (like the double boiler, glass cups, spoons), and use a solution of 1 liter of water with 1/2 cup of bleach, for items that are not heat-resistant (like the milk frother, plastic cups or the lotion containers)
  • Measure all ingredients and prepare your workstation. Wear a mask as the SCI releases an irritant dust cloud

Liquid Phase

  • Put a pan with water into the stove (any water as this is for bagne-marie)
  • Add the liquid ingredients (betaine, argan oil, and BTMS) into the double boiler or a metal jug. Let it heat in low heat , until the BTMS is completely melted.
    heating liquid ingredients

Solid Phase

  • Cetyl alcohol helps smooth and soften hair and the skin of your scalp. However, it's an addictive in this formula and you can skip it entirely.
  • Mix all solid ingredients: SCI (wear a mask), cetyl alcohol, the red clay. The hydrolised silk protein I am using is liquid, but If you're using in powder form, add now to the solid ingredients.
  • Without removing the double boiler from heat, add the solid ingredients, roughly 1/3 at a time. You can eye ball it, as this is only to ease mixing and melting the solid ingredients. Mix well with a spoon or whisker each time you add a portion of solid ingredients, until you have an homogeneous paste.
  • Mix and heat the mixture in low heat until it has the consistency of homogeneous mush or porridge. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of distilled water if the mixture is too thick. You will have to be patient as this step takes time.
  • Remove the double boiler or jug from heat. Mix a bit to cool down the mixture.

Make Your Bars

  • At around 40ºC-50ºC (104ºF-122ºF), add the cooling phase ingredients: essential oils, preservative, hydrolized silk and d-panthenol. You may dissolve the d-panthenol in the hydrolized silk first. Mix well.
  • Take a small spoon of the mixture (1/8 tsp) and rub some water in it. Use a pH strap to measure pH. Should be 5-6.
  • If pH is too high add a teaspoon of lemon juice or citric acid dissolved in water. If pH is too low, add one teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in water. Mix very well and measure the pH again.
  • When pH is corrected (should be 5.5, or at least between 5 and 6), pour the mixture into soap molds. After unmolding let them dry for 2 or 3 days.
  • This wonderful shampoo bar is ready to use!


Tried this recipe?Send a pic to @herbalcochete!

4 thoughts on “Solid Shampoo Bar Recipe With SCI”

  1. Thanks for sharing. Looks really good!

    Does the clay enhance lather?

    Can this hair shampoo function well on the skin? (ie without stripping the skin as in many cases of regular store-bought hair shampoos)

    • Hello Az, thanks for your interesting questions.

      Clay adds moisturizing and cleansing properties, but not foam or lather. It as a very similar effect as in the masks, cleaning your skin by absorbing the oils in it, and letting the other ingredients in the mask to penetrate your skin. In this case, I’ve added it for color 🙂 of course, the scalp benefits from it, as much as skin does.

      As for using it on skin, I don’t use it, apart from the scalp – I love natural handmade soap and that’s the products I wash myself with. But I can tell you that my scalp is not flaking and feels naturally hydrated, and I’ve been using this formula exclusively since May 2021. If I was to make a “soap” for skin with SCI, I’d use more natural vegetable oils and water, and would spare on expensive ingredients like d-panthenol or hydrolized silk.

      To answer directly to your question, I haven«t really tested, but I don’t think so 🙂 I think I know where you are getting at: a sigle bar to wash body and hair. I will think about it 🙂


  2. Hey great article!

    You totally right about the shampoos giving same results. I have used many shampoos at different price ranges too and all of them give similar results, results that I’m not really satisfied with!

    I like how this bar contains mild ingredients, plus I haven’t used a bar shampoo before so something to look forward too!

    Thanks for the post!

    • Hello Sariyah and thanks for your comment.

      It’s probably time to try and make your shampoo bar at home 🙂 besides this recipe I have other 2:

      Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe for Oily Hair

      Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe For Dry Hair – No Lye

      I have tried the oily one and the one from this post, and I must tell you that it took some months to actually see good results. But now my hair takes longer to get really oily.

      A shampoo bar takes some time to get used to. You do need to lather your hair for a while, and if you wish to have more foam, you need to add a bit more water. It’s different from liquid shampoo. But you should have the same effect at the end: clean hair.

      I am planning to try some natural hair rinses and hair masks and will publish them in my blog with the results, as shampoo is not everything to keep your hair healthy and pretty.



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