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Basic Shampoo Bar Formula

Courtesy of Susan Barclay-Nichols, aka Swift Crafty Monkey

Here is a great, basic solid shampoo formula.  There are many ways to change this up, depending on your hair type.  We highly recommend subscribing to Susan's blog Swift Crafty Monkey for more information on shampoo bars as well as other awesome personal care products.  Or, you can purchase her E-book for more fabulous shampoo bar formulas.


30% Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) noodles
25% liquid surfactant of choice (Amphosol CG, BSB or Bio-Terge)

35% SLSa
3% conditioning emulsifier, like BTMS-50 or BTMS-25
3% Sodium Lactate (liquid)
1.5% protein of choice (Hydrolyzed Baobab, Quinoa, Oat or Rice Protein or Silk Amino Acids)

1% fragrance or essential oil
1% DL-Panthenol (liquid or powder)
0.5% Liquid Germall Plus

Optional: Water soluble dye or micas for colour

If you want a smooth shampoo bar, you will need to melt the SCI Noodles:

1. Weigh the SCI and liquid surfactant into a heat proof container, like a Pyrex jug.
2. Make up a double boiler – I use a fondue pot, but you can use a pot on the stove – and get the water boiling. Use as much water as you can without having it spill over the sides when you add the SCI container. Reduce the heat so it’s not splashing into the container, add your SCI and other surfactant ONLY in a glass container, and heat until melted. If you’re using prills, it should only take 5 to 10 minutes at the most. If you’re using noodles, it might take longer. Mix it to get the bits in the middle to touch the outside where it’s warm to melt faster.
3. In the meantime, melt the conditioning emulsifier in a double boiler. When melted, add it to the the other stuff phase and SCI phase and mix well. Add the cool down phase, mix well.
4. Glop into molds with a spoon, then bang those on the table to get out all the air
bubbles. Press the mixture tightly into the molds.
5. Put in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. Press out of molds, then leave overnight on a counter to harden a bit.  There is no need to cure these bars. They’re ready to use after they sit for about 24 hours.

If you prefer a shampoo bar similar to Lush:

1.  Melt the conditioning emulsifier in a double boiler. You can also use a microwave in short bursts.  When melted, add it to the the other stuff phase and SCI phase and mix well. The SCI noodles will not melt and give you a bar that looks like the pressed shampoo bars from Lush.  Add the cool down phase, mix well.
2.  Glop into molds, pressing firmly.  
3.  Put in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours.  Press out of molds and leave them to dry for about 24 hours.  

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