I begin my journey into soap making almost 2 years ago. It all started when I read this post and began to understand how easy and cost-effective making my own really is!
I am by no means a soap making expert. I usually stick to pretty basic recipes and I haven’t experimented much with scents or creative designs.
Hot processed soap is the way to go for me. Cold processed takes a long time to cure and I’m just to impatient for that! (Okay…don’t freak out if you have no idea what I just said! Stay with me on this!)
Determine Your Method
There are so many recipes and soap-making methods out there. If you are new to soap making I strongly suggest you read through these super informative posts and find what will work for you. Here are just a few:
I would also recommend borrowing a few of these books from the library if you really find yourself wanting to know more:
- Handcrafted Soap by Dolores Boone
- The Soapmaker’s Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch
- The Natural Soap Book by Susan Miller Cavitch
Why shampoo bar soap and not just baking soda?
What a great question! I’m so happy you asked (smile). I have found that baking soda has more of a clarifying effect on my hair. Even after a vinegar rinse, my hair is still very dry and it doesn’t feel conditioned.
I have long hair and I was so frustrated. I could hardly even brush through it. This even after a month of allowing my hair the transition away from commercially-prepared product.
I really didn’t want to be dependent on store-bought shampoo! I know about all of the nasty, toxic chemicals in it and they kind of freak my out. With more people bringing awareness to the problem, I knew it was time to commit to a change.
So I set out to create a solution!
Gather The Supplies
Alright! Here we go. It’s time to gather all of the supplies and ingredients. If you are new to soap making there is going to be an initial start up cost. But, I’m going to recommend to you the suppliers that I have found to have the cheapest prices. And the savings in the long run are huge!
You will need to run your recipe through a lye calculator to be sure that you are using the proper amount of lye and liquid (i.e. water, coconut milk, goat’s milk, etc.). I use the recommended amount of lye for a 5% superfat soap. (Trust me, this will make more sense when you start working with the lye calculator.)
Read more :: Do you really want to learn a sustainable practice? Check out this information on making homemade lye from wood ashes!
Note: Be careful when working with lye and follow all of the recommended precautions. What I’m trying to say is, I can not be held responsible for any craziness, mishaps, explosions, etc. that may happen when working with this recipe.
You can design the properties of your soap based on the oils you use. For example, use:
- Lard or tallow for a hard, long-lasting soap
- Coconut or castor oil for lathering
- Olive or canola oil for moisturizing and conditioning properties
- Cocoa butter, shea butter, and jojoba oil for a luxurious, extra moisturizing effect
Have fun and experiment!
Most of the equipment you will need can be found in your kitchen. I do not have appointed tools for soap making simply because I use glass and stainless steel bowls and utensils. However, it would be necessary to have tools specifically for this task if you were to use wood or plastic.
See this exhaustive list of recommended equipment, tools, and molds.
Note: I do have a dedicated crock pot for soap making. It is an older model that I purchased from the thrift store for $4. The older models don’t seem to get as hot and that is a good thing.
Now on to the recipe!
Luxurious Shampoo Bar Soap Recipe
*Please note, all amounts are per weight. You will need to use a kitchen scale for these measurements.
-4 ounces water
-6 ounces coconut milk*
-4 ounces lye
*You could use only water, an herbal infusion, or any other type of milk.
Optional Essential Oils
-Rosemary and peppermint for dark hair
-Lavender and lemon for blonde hair
-Lime and coconut for all types
*Use approximately 0.5-1 ounce of essential oils for this recipe. Yes they are a fun addition, but not necessary.
1. Place the water and coconut milk into a large glass measuring cup.
2. Measure out the lye by weight into a 1 cup measuring glass.
3. Carefully add the lye into the liquid and stir to combine. (Adding the liquid to the lye could cause and eruption.) Be careful, the liquid is caustic and not to be touched in anyway. The outside of the bowl will be extremely hot as well. Note: Take the necessary lye precautions with this step.
4. Allow the lye mixture to stay under a vent and cool down while you prepare the oils.
5. Measure all oils, by using a kitchen scale, and pour into a pot.
6. Warm oils and beeswax on low heat until all are melted.
7. Pour melted oils into a crock pot. Be sure the crock pot is on the lowest setting. Note: Do not allow the oils to get to hot.
8. Add the lye/liquid mixture to the oils in the crock pot and stir. Note: Any equipment the lye touches needs to be neutralized in a mixture of vinegar, soap, and water. Vinegar will neutralize the lye.
9. After a brief stir, grab your stick blender and get to work! Blend the oils, lye, and liquid in the crock pot for at least 3-5 minutes. We are working toward “trace.”
10. Blend until the mixture becomes a thick, pudding like consistency.
11. Once the mixture is pudding-like, cover the crock pot and “cook” the soap for approximately 1 hour.
12. By the end, the mixture should have folded in on itself and it should be completely transparent. Turn off the crock pot.
13. Now it’s time to prepare the molds. I just use a standard glass loaf pan greased with coconut oil and it’s always worked perfectly. Post Update: I have switched to using these silicon loaf pans and LOVE them!
14. Now is the time to add the essential oils (if using).
15. Spoon soap mixture into molds.
16. Allow soap to cool and harden for 24 hours.
17. Remove from mold on to cutting board and cut into 1 inch thick bars.
18. Place bars on a tray with good airflow so that they can harden further. But go ahead and use your first bar!!!
-I’m telling you, this is the most amazing natural hair product I have used! My hair is so shiny, soft, and manageable. And the real test…my husband even uses this shampoo bar soap and LOVES it!
-When showering, be sure to complete the use of this shampoo bar soap with a 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 part water conditioning hair rinse. I like to put this in a spray bottle and spray my hair with it just prior to leaving the shower. I do not rinse it out (more conditioning that way). The smell of vinegar will dissipate once the hair dries.