Try making this syndet shampoo bar at home, with rosemary, nourishing oils for hair and scalp, good ingredients for oily hair, and a mild surfactant, SCI. Yes, you can make shampoo at home, easily!! This post also explains about shampoo bars, what are they, differences from soap bars, and what should you use in your hair, afterall.
What Is a Shampoo Bar
Not surprisingly, a shampoo bar is simply the solid version of liquid shampoo, which are syndets. Instead of squeezing shampoo into the palm of your hand, you simply wet the bar and make some lather in your hands, then massage it into damp hair, making sure it goes all the way up to your scalp.
A shampoo bar is basically a syndet bar, and has literally the same ingredients as a bottle of shampoo, without the water and the plastic bottle. It contains some good ingredients, some benign things, and some things that are more eyebrow raising if you are committed to a lifestyle of “all natural”.
An ingredient like “Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate” (SCI) SOUND scary – but it is really just a coconut oil based cleaner or surfactant. Check out What Is a Syndet Bar to know more about shampoo bars, both soap and syndet.
Why Not Use Soap As Shampoo?
Besides its basic ingredients, the key difference between a syndet shampoo bar and a shampoo soap bar is its pH: the surfactants used in shampoo bars have a pH of 5.5 while soap pH is 7-9. While your skin doesn’t suffer any damages with this high pH, the same cannot be said about your hair strands.
High pH damages your hair cuticle and causes fibres to break, by greatly increasing friction between strands, making your hair with a tendency to tangle, feel slightly sticky or stuck together. Our scalp has a pH of around 5.5. A dry, itchy, flaky scalp, with fungi or bacteria, is a symptom of an alkali scalp, or with high pH, where the natural sebum is unable to keep it acidic and fight bacteria.
I don’t mean to say that you can’t use soap at all, especially if made with oils that bring benefits to your scalp and hair. Many people love to use soap in their hair, and it should be ok, especially if you have short oily hair. Check out this Homemade Rosemary Soap you can use to wash your body and hair, for example, when traveling.
But be warned that long-term usage might cause hair thinning, due to pH weakening the hair shaft. It is true that our grandparents washed their hair with soap, and that soap is great for your skin. But it’s also true that science progressed and discovered alternatives to soap…. And most people didn’t wash hair and body every day in the past.
A Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe for Oily Hair
The base ingredient for this recipe 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, argan oil, french green clay, and essential oils that are appropriate for oil control and hair growth.
Rosemary for Hair Treatment
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. Bear in mind that to witness hair growth, it might take up to six months to see results (see this scientific article).
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.
Ingredients for Oily Hair
– 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.
– 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.
– Tea tree essential oil is great to cleanse and desinfect, as it has antiseptic properties. It is also scientifically proven to fight acne and dandruff. It keeps your scalp clean and pure, reducing the need to produce sebum. In fact, tea tree oil is suitable for all hair types.
– 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.
– French green clay: is naturally rich in minerals and trace elements. It is absorbent, regenerating, soothing and purifying. This universal clay is used in inflammations and for oily and combination skin, which might greatly help with your oily scalp, keeping it clean and sebum controlled.
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 can actually have a high-end product relatively cheap.
As this is NOT a lye recipe, and by keeping the oil weight relatively the same, you can change the oils and see what works best for you – check Natural Oils For Your 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, tea tree and peppermint blend as they seem to be very good for oily scalp control and hair growth, but mostly because I like the fresh minty and canphorous scent.
You can use others, however, like lavender, rose geranium, or even a “citrusy” essential oil, like lemongrass. I don’t advise citrus essential oils like lemon or sweet orange, as they make your skin photosensitive.
You can use a different clay, depending mostly on your skin sensitiveness and oil content. For example, red and green clays are more effective at cleaning oil and dirt, while white kaolin is milder, more appropriate for sensitive skin.
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 oily hair:
- Oily Hair Shampoo (Just Nutritive)
- Oily Hair Treatment Kit (Just Nutritive)
- Organic Hair Shampoo with Spearmint & Meadowsweet (John Masters)
If you love shampoo bars and have no issues in using them, find some at the following links:
- More about vegetable oils: Natural Oils For Your Skin
- More about essential oils: Essential Oils for Skin Care Products
- More shampoo recipes: Haircare Recipes
Syndet Shampoo Bar for Oily 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
- Mix the green clay with the SCI.
- 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!