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Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe for Oily Hair

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.

Handmade natural soap bars

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.

white bowl with fresh roseamry over dark blue background

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.

glass flask of yellow oil

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.

essential oil bottles, tea tree oil bottle and the center

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.

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 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:

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

Related Posts


Syndet Shampoo Bar for Oily 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 oily hair type and with your favorite scent.
Dificulty: Easy
Weight: 100g
Author: Silvana Liviero
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
MethodEmulsion
ProductSyndet Bar
Servings1 shampoo bar (100g)
Cost$2,15 / 2€

Ingredients
 

Solid Phase

Liquid Phase

Cooling Phase

Instructions

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

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

  • 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!

Video

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8 thoughts on “Syndet Shampoo Bar Recipe for Oily Hair”

  1. 4 stars
    I made this shampoobar but slightly different. I used bentonite clay and kaolin clay (2,5 gram each) instead and also used coconut oil and walnutoil (10gr and 5 gr) with arganoil 5gr. I also put some dried grinded and sifted calendula, nettle and lavender. The bar is so nice but maybe I will use next time 5 gr less oil and add more water. I think it will work better for me because it feels a little little little bit greasy ( not much) when drying my hair. For the rest I love this recipe. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Hello Inne,

      I am so happy you loved this recipe!! And thanks for sharing your own version of this shampoo bar!! I agree with you, I have been thinking of reviewing the oil content in this recipe as the bars also give my hair that feeling. I haven’t done it yet because I am actually testing another syndet shampoo bar that I plan to post very soon. I am truly happy with it, my hair can withstand 3 days easily without looking oily 🙂

      Anyway, you did great, and that’s the thing about DIY: you can costumize the recipe to your own needs and preferences!! Bentonite and kaolin clay are also great choices, very mild clays, as well as using dried herbs. Think about infusing your herbs in the oils or make a water infusion with them 🙂 The oil choices are very good as well. I would cut a little bit on the walnut oil if your bar still leaves your hair a bit greasy after reducing oil content.

      Don’t give up, with some adjustments you will have a 5-star shampoo bar, and you’ll see the improvements in your hair 🙂

      Cheers!!
      Sofia

      Reply
      • Thank you for your reply! I am gonna skip the walnut and I think I will use less oil. I think 10gr in total. I will let you know how it worked out soon. Which other syndet shampoobar are you trying? Can I find the recipe somewhere?? Thank you again!

        Reply
        • Hello again Inne,

          Yes, I’ve posted the recipe last week 🙂 https://herbalcochete.com/solid-shampoo-bar-recipe-with-sci/
          Still working on the video, but you can check out the recipe already. It has a lot of ingredients, but it’s the best shampoo I’ve made and really liked so far. Again, what works for me might be different of what works for you, you never know. I’ve also done the shampoo bar you are making with less oil as well: 15g of avocado oil. I’ll try it next. 🙂

          Cheers,
          Sofia

  2. Hello there! This is really cool. I never thought of soap is a solid version of shampoo! Making my own shampoo bar sounds fun, it reminds me a lot of high school when I made my own soap from peanut butter. I definitely did not use it afterwards. Your recipe sounds like one I would use. Definitely a little challenging to get all these ingredients especially for someone who has none of it to begin but definitely doable (especially with the internet). Thanks for creating this post!

    Reply
    • Hello Mike and thanks for your comment.

      Well, thanks to Etsy, Amazon and Ebay, you can find more “weird” ingredients easily 🙂 my recipe has links to shop each ingredient so you won’t be wondering where on earth you’re going to find out this or that ingredient 🙂

      Feel free to give it a try and see how it performs compared with your current shampoo.

      Cheers,

      Sofia

      Reply
  3. As I make my own natural homemade soaps, I was intrigued by your article on shampoo bars.  Reading through the recipe, I noticed you have included SCI, is it possible to make the shampoo bar without this component, or is there another substitute component one could use in it’s place?

    Reply
    • Hello and thanks for your comment.

      I am glad to have the opportunity to discuss this subject with another soap maker 😀

      If you make your own natural soaps, you’re probably just like me, looking at all those nice soap bars and wondering if and how you can wash your hair with them…

      For me this is still an on-going learning experience, and I’d be more than happy to know other’s experiences. As I said in the post, I have tried soap bars, and I have tried a formulation with more surfactants. I didn’t like the experience with any of them.

      Going straight to your question: yes it’s possible, you just use another surfactant or a mix of surfactants such as decyl glucoside, coco glucoside, coco betaine… You can check out this recipe and try it, for example. If your question is to make shampoo without any surfactant…. well there are a lot of alternatives on the net, from baking soda to soap itself. 

      This shampoo bar is a formula from a professional cosmetologist and so far, it was the best DIY shampoo I have tried. SCI is a mild surfactant and is the only synthetic ingredient in there. My hair is feeling good and I am using much less synthetic chemicals on it compared with a store-bought shampoo. I’m not really defending it against other formulas, or even the usage of soap, just saying it worked best for me so far.

      Cheers,

      Sofia

      Reply

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