Try making this syndet shampoo bar at home, with rosemary, nourishing oils for hair and scalp, and a mild surfactant, SCI. Yes, you can make shampoo at home, easily!! This post focus on good ingredients for dry hair, and how to use them in a shampoo bar.
My Experience with Homemade Shampoos
I’ve tried using soap for some weeks, and my hair felt heavy, a bit sticky and my scalp was slightly itchy. So I gave up. I didn’t like to use the vinegar rinse as well. I’ve also experimented this more natural liquid shampoo made with a blend of surfactants. Maybe because it’s a clarifying shampoo and not something you use every day, I didn’t like it either, again, my hair felt heavy and sticky and a bit greasy. It’s great as a complement to a daily shampoo, though.
I was actually a bit sad that I had to stick with supermarket shampoos, as they were better than the natural alternatives I’ve experimented with.
Until I’ve come up with this recipe from Silvana Liviero, a brasilian cosmetologist, in her facebook group Saboaria Artesanal para Iniciantes of a shampoo bar with two versions, one for oily hair and one for dry hair. I’ve tried the dry hair version with some changes of my own.
Great success!! My hair feels normal, clean, loose, even after weeks of usage. It turns dry in the ends if I don’t use a conditioner for several days, but apart from that, it’s a great, more natural alternative, without the high pH and its inconveniences. And I control the ingredients!
Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe For Dry Hair
The base ingredient is only one surfactant, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI), a surfactant ingredient used in mild synthetic cleansing bars. It is synthetically made using coconut oil as a base (the strongest oil regarding cleansing).
Sodium referrs to its salt structure, Cocoyl makes reference to its base of coconut oil, and Isethionate is the acid required in combination with the other two components to produce a mild lather. Without more addictives, it works well in hard water, something I can confirm – I have hard water at home and this bar lathers very well.
The rest are hair-loving ingredients, such as rosemary-infused water, coconut oil, jojoba oil or shea butter.
Hair Loving Rosemary
Rosemary is great for hair treatment, especially rosemary essential oil. Rosemary has been used by many to promote hair growth successfully. Using rosemary essential oil could very well do the same for you.
Science and personal experience together both strongly suggest the essential oil does protect against hair loss, particularly that related to male or female pattern baldness. It may even be effective for alopecia.
Rosemary essential oil is a simple remedy that you can use at home, and it may even be competitive with commercial products. What’s more, it’s quite safe when used correctly and yields very few side effects.
In this recipe, we use a rosemary water infusion and rosemary essential oil. You may also infuse the argan or jojoba oil with rosemary for more rosemary extract for your hair.
Natural Ingredients for Dry Hair
This formula, not surprisingly, integrates a couple of oils to moisturize your scalp and hair:
– Coconut oil: among other benefits, including antisseptic and calming properties that may help fight dandruff, coconut oil “special power” is its ability to penetrate very well into the hair shaft combined with being a natural saturated fat. It helps seal in hair moisture, and may help reduce protein loss in hair. This prevents dry, brittle, breaking hair and split ends. Because of this, it might also give a sense of longer hair, which may be why some believe to promote hair growth (not proven scientifically).
– Shea butter or cocoa butter: basically, these ingredients are very conditioning and moisturizing. They are also packed with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, therefore being very nourishing. Even if shampoos are not leave-on products, your need of a conditioner might reduce with this shampoo and this is the reason why.
– Argan oil: is a very conditioning oil with a fat profile very similar to human sebum, making it an almost-perfect moisturizer for skin and hair scalp. As your scalp already has a tendency to over-produce sebum, this oil will help it to reach a good balance, with minimum sebum production. Not to count with a rich content in vitamins, especially vitamin E (an antioxidant), and several minerals that will nourish your scalp and hair. Jojoba oil is a great replacement for argan oil, if you already have it.
– Rosemary essential oil, as stated before, helps with hair growth. It’s also a good hair conditioner, and helps reducing acne, inhibiting acne bacteria. It helps with oily hair in the sense that will keep your scalp clear of bacteria and your hair hydrated, reducing the need to produce sebum.
– Peppermint essential oil is best known for the menthol content, and its unique mint scent. It has antibacterial properties, and is also very refreshing, due to menthol content. This will help keep your scalp calm and clear of bacteria. It is also known to stimulate hair growth, but it’s not scientifically proven.
Making natural cosmetics has the advantage of creating tailored-made products to your unique needs. You are in full control of the ingredients and you know yourself better than anyone. You just need to use both to your advantage.
To adjust a recipe to be perfect may take time and patience, but in the end you will have a high-end product relatively cheap. As this is NOT a lye recipe, by keeping the oil weight relatively the same, you can change the oils and see what works best for you – check Natural Oils For Skin to know in detail the great cosmetic properties of the 12 most common oils.
You can also change the essential oils. I’ve used rosemary and peppermint as both are very good for hair treatment, but mostly because I love this blend. But you can use others, like lavender, rose geranium, or even a “citrusy” essential oil, like lemongrass.
I hope you enjoyed this article and the recipe! If you want to read more posts like this one, sign up to HerbAlcochete mailing list.
Find Where To Buy Natural Shampoos
Willing to try or use regularly natural shampoos and other natural haircare products, but you’re not really into DIY? Find where to buy natural haircare shampoos and other products for dry hair:
- Dry Hair Shampoo (Just Nutritive)
- Extreme Dry Hair Shampoo (Just Nutritive)
- Dry Hair Kit (Just Nutritive)
- Organic Shampoo for Dry Hair (John Masters)
If you love shampoo bars and have no issues in using them, find some at the following links:
Syndet Shampoo Bar for Dry Hair
Preparations and Good Practices
- 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)
- Check out the post What Is a Syndet Bar or the tutorial videos above. They don't have a recipe but explain in general the steps and ingredients to produce a syndet bar.
- Measure all ingredients and prepare your workstation. Wear a mask as the SCI releases an irritant dust cloud
- Put a pan with water into the stove (any water as this is for bagne-marie)
- Add the oils and water into the double boiler or a metal jug. Let it heat in low heat, up to 50ºC or until a little bit before the solid oils melt completely
- Add the solid phase ingredients and mix well with a spoon. I prefer to use a fork as it works as half spoon, half whisker. Preferably, add the solid ingredients 1/3 at a time, and mix gently but thoroughly before pouring more solid ingredients. Let them incorporate well in the mixture.
- Mix and heat the mixture in low heat until it has the consistency of homogeneous mush or porridge.
- Remove the double boiler or jug from heat. Mix a bit to cool down the mixture.
Make Your Bars
- At around 50ºC or lower, add the cooling phase ingredients: essential oils and the preservative. Mix well.
- Take 1/4 tsp of the mixture and dilute it in 1 tsp of warm water. Dissolve it well and use a pH strap to measure pH. Should be 5-6.
- If pH is too high add a bit of lemon juice or citric acid, or baking soda if it's too low. Mix very well and measure the pH again.
- Pour the mixture into a soap mold. After unmolding let it dry for 2 or 3 days.
- Your shampoo bar is ready to use!