Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe For Dry Hair: No Lye

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. Learn all about this syndet shampoo bar recipe for dry hair – no lye!

Table of Contents

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. I now know what was wrong with it: high pH. Decyl glucoside and coco glucoside both have a high pH (around 10). Fact is, I didn’t like it either, again, my hair felt heavy and sticky and a bit greasy. I’ll end up with a liquid formula one day.

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. 

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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 to apply more rosemary extract for your hair. Learn how to in How To Make Infused Oil.

coconut fruit, coconut oil and another liquid yellow oil

Natural Ingredients for Dry Hair

This formula, not surprisingly, integrates a couple of oils to moisturize your scalp and hair:

Coconut Oil

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). It has other benefits, including antisseptic and calming properties that may help fight dandruff.

Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter

Basically, shea butter or cocoa butter 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 oil2

Argan Oil

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.

Essential Oils for Dry Hair

Rosemary essential oil, as stated before, helps with hair growth. It’s also a good hair conditioner, what you really need for dry/brittle hair.

Peppermint essential oil is best known for the menthol content, and its unique minty scent. It has antibacterial properties, it’s very refreshing, due to menthol content. This will help keep your scalp calm, clear of bacteria. It is also known to stimulate hair growth, but it’s not scientifically proven.

Read more in Essential Oils For Haircare Recipes.

Recipe Variants

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. 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. You can use others, like ylang-ylang, lavender, or even a “citrusy” essential oil, like lemongrass. Check out the best for you in Essential Oils For Haircare Recipes.

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.

homemade syndet shampoo bar decorated and scented with rosemary

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:

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

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

Syndet Shampoo Bar for Dry Hair

Try making this solid shampoo bar at home. A natural and mild shampoo, where you know all the ingredients it has, made with a mild surfactant and a pH of 5.5, the right one for your hair. Tailored for dry hair type and with your favorite scent.
Dificulty: Easy
Weight: 100g
Author: Silvana Liviero
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Method: Syndet Bar
Cosmetic: Syndet Bar
Servings: 1 shampoo bar (100g)
Cost: $2,15 / 2€


Liquid Phase

Cooling Phase


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 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

Solid Phase

  • 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.
    mixing sci and liquids
  • Remove the double boiler or jug from heat. Mix a bit to cool down the mixture.
    cooling 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!


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6 thoughts on “Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe For Dry Hair: No Lye”

  1. This is a great recipe! I love using natural alternatives when it comes to anything really. Often I research and study herbalism as I prefer this way compared to chemically based medicine. I also use natural body wash and soap and have made a few DIY ones. This shampoo is something I have never done before and love that I now have a really good recipe to try. Thank you!

    • Hello Alyssa, thanks for your comment and interest in this post 🙂

      I have been using a similar recipe that I plan to post soon, for my oily hair and I can tell you that, after 3 days, my hair looks just a bit oily on the roots. Unlike before, I couldn’t stand 2 days without washing my hair, as it looked like I was licked by a cow…. 

      It’s not something that happen overnight, I have been using these syndet shampoo bars for months now. And SCI is a bit expensive 🙂 but it’s very worth it, especially compared with $20 pharmacy shampoos, as this is actually effective long term. 

      The wonderful thing about making your own shampoo bar is that you can costumize it: 

      – you can use herbs you grow at home and infuse the other ingredients (water, oils) for enhanced properties, 

      – you can use your favorite essential oil whether is tea tree, peppermint, rosemary or even lavender, 

      – you can use some aloe vera gel if you also have a dandruff issue or itchy scalp,

      –  you are only using one detergent and a very mild one for your shampoo (SCI, coco betaine, or coco glucoside are the kind of detergents you find in baby shampoos), not three or four of the harsher ones like many over-the-counter shampoos. 

      – you are not using soap, and this way you are avoiding hair chemical cut due to high pH (natural soap is also a great product to wash your hair, and people that uses short hair or has a strong shaft will probably have no issues with it. But it’s not advised long term due to pH of 7-9 which damages the hair shaft over time) 

      Am I against over-the-counter shampoos? Not really. Probably some people will feel good and clean only with shampoos with a strong clansing action. But in general they are too agressive to your hair and scalp. I am starting to believe that many people have oily hair/roots because the shampoo is too drying and your scalp overproduces sebum. It’s a vicious cycle you can break with this mild shampoo bar recipe 🙂

      Give it a try or check out the Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe for Oily Hair, to find out the best solution for your hair.



  2. I always liked naturopathic and alternative medicines compared to the danger stricken Big Pharma products. Seeing that you can create a natural shampoo and soap for your body will do more than give you better hair and skin; it will probably save yo life! There are thangs in these products that are creating problems long term in people. thanks for the informative post; you definitely got a productive site going on here! 

    • Hello Nicholas, thanks for your comment.

      I wouldn’t go as far as “saving your lfe”, but I do believe that the cosmetics industry is going a bit too far using artificial chemicals. Why not investigate better/cheaper ways to use more natural ingredients?  

      Still, I have nothing against them, they have to follow regulations, which are actually strick in Europe, and they do need to prove that their products are safe – natural products can be dangerous as well, if you don’t follow proper procedures!

      Having said that, I do love DIY natural beauty products, where I can fully control all ingredients. I like to know that the lotion or shampoo with jojoba oil actually HAS a good percentage of jojoba oil, something I don’t trust with over-the-counter products. Ok, they do have jojoba oil if it’s advertized, as they are forced to make true claims – the problem is the quantity, no one says that the amount in it is effective.

      I don’t want to extend further myself, I would just like to say that I am not against commercial products. I simply like to know and let everyone know that there are alternatives: it’s like food, you can buy microwave food, you can go to a restaurant and you can make your own food with fresh, natural ingredients. With my website, you also have the option to do your own beauty and hygiene products at home 🙂



    • Hello Bonnie,

      I have to be honest, I didn’t try it and I have no idea if it works. But in theory it should be no problem. Goat’s milk is good for hair providing hydration and proteins.
      It won’t be the same as cold process with goat’s milk because the milk will chemically change in cold process, while in this syndet bar there’s no true chemical reaction.

      If you feel like trying, make only one bar with goat’s milk and see how it goes. And let me know 🙂

      Best Regards,

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