If my first post wasn’t a clue, you will soon learn:
I’m a D-I-Y greener.
I will provide recipes on bath, beauty, and beyond—with, of course, food here and there. I will always provide the names of stores or websites that provide suitable alternatives to the homemade kind, because not everybody has time, and that’s okay.
Today’s post is dedicated to everyone’s mane event. I figured since I spotlighted solid shampoo in yesterday’s post, I should teach you how to make it. But first, let’s cover why choosing a green shampoo is so important and why the one sitting in your shower probably isn’t.
Most people associate washing their hair with luxurious bubbles and intoxicating smells. All around, it’s expected to be a very sensual experience. The problem is: that foam of bubbles is created by sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). These ingredients can be absorbed through the skin and can cause ocular degeneration (blindness)—that’s why they tell you to avoid contact with eyes. If that’s not enough to scare you, consider this: they damage the hair follicle by stripping your hair and scalp of natural oils that your body produces to repair your hair! And the strip away the colour of your hair, leaving it limp, lifeless, and dull! But never fear, the same companies that provide you with these shampoos are ready and standing by with volumizing formulas and shine serums.
Sounds suspicious to me.
They also contain silicone. (This will appear on your bottle as anything that ends in –icone.) Silicone does provide and instant shine, but it coats the hair and weighs it down—resulting in the need for even more of their volumizing formulas.
That can lead to quite the build up!
So, what can you do?
This links back to yesterday’s post about becoming an informed consumer, and doing your homework. You can endlessly read bottles, or you can make your own…
Solid Shampoo Bars
• 16 oz Coconut 76 Oil
• 16 oz Olive Oil
• 4 oz Wheat Germ Oil
• 4 oz Castor Oil
• 5.9 oz Caustic Soda *
• 15 oz Distilled Water
• 2 oz Any Fragrance or Essential Oil **
* Caustic Soda may be sold under the name ‘lye’, although this term is only true when the soda has been dissolved in water.
** We’ll touch on appropriate additions based on hair colour and needs near the end.
Equipment you’ll need
• Two plastic pitchers, 2-3 qt. size
• Scale that weighs in pounds and ounces
• Large one-gal. stainless steel or enamel pot
• Safety goggles
• Two kitchen thermometers
• Hand stick blender (optional but recommended)
• Freezer paper or plastic garbage bags
• Rubber gloves *
• One large plastic or wooden soap mold with lid or smaller soap molds with cardboard for a covering
• Two wooden or plastic spoons (one for the lye and one for the oils. Use these spoons only for shampoo making)
* Lye is caustic! It will burn.
Find a clean and clutter free working space to make your solid shampoo bars. A kitchen counter near the sink is your best bet, but a kitchen table will also do. Cover your work space with a plastic garbage bag and a few layers of newspaper to protect the surface from spills.
Step 1 Next gather all your ingredients together, double checking that your have everything that you will need ready and at hand.
Step 2 Put on your safety gear, including long sleeves and long pants, shoes, eye protection and gloves.
Step 3 Now weigh out your caustic soda using your scale and place the lye into a plastic container.
Step 4 Weigh your water and place that into another plastic container.
Step 5 Now very slowly and carefully pour the caustic soda into the water (never the water into the soda!) and mix thoroughly until the soda is completely dissolved. It has now become lye.
Try to avoid splashes as the lye is caustic and will burn anything it comes into contact with. If your skin comes into contact with the lye mixture, immediately rinse with cool water. Surface spills should be wiped up immediately.
Step 6 Now place the lye and water mixture aside. It will have become very warm and will need to cool to between 90 and 100 degrees before using. Place one of the thermometers in the mixture to monitor the temperature.
Step 7 You will now be melting and mixing your oils. Weigh out your coconut, olive, caster and wheat germ oils (not the essential oils) and place them into your large pot which is placed on the stove. Heat until the coconut oil is just melted. You will want your oil mixture and your lye mixture to be the same temperature (between 90 and 100 degrees) before blending. Place the other thermometer into the oil mixture to monitor temperature. If need be you can adjust one or the other's temperature by placing them in a sink filled with cool water until the desired temperature is met.
Step 8 While you are waiting for the two mixtures' temperatures to regulate, you can ready your essential or fragrance oils and soap molds. Weigh out your essential or fragrance oil and have it ready to go. If you are using one large wooden soap mold for your solid shampoo bars, line the mold with wax paper for easier shampoo bar removal later on. If you are using individual molds for your solid shampoo, double check that they are clean and free of any debris.
Step 9 Once the lye mixture and oil mixture have reached the desired temperatures, slowly and very carefully pour the lye mixture into the oils, stirring continuously. Continue stirring using a wooden spoon or stick blender until the mixture has thickened (a stick blender will speed up the process) and you see "tracks" where you have just stirred. This is called reaching "trace" and you must achieve this stage before continuing with your solid shampoo bars.
Step 10 Now that you are at the "trace" stage you can add your essential or fragrance oils and colorant. Pour in your fragrance and colorant and continue to stir thoroughly.2
Step 11 Your solid shampoo bar mixture is now ready for the mold. Carefully pour the mixture into your mold(s) and cover either with the mold's lid or wax paper and a piece of heavy cardboard.
Step 12 Wrap your molded shampoo bars in a thick blanket and store, undisturbed, for 18 hours.
Step 13 After the 18 hour time period is up remove the blanket and lid and allow the solid shampoo bars to sit for another 12 hours.
Step 14 Your shampoo bars are now ready to be removed from the mold(s) and cut (if necessary). Put on rubber gloves (the soap is still somewhat caustic) and place an old towel onto your kitchen counter and carefully place the mold(s) face down on the towel. Tap gently a few times to remove the shampoo bars. If they don't come out easily, place the mold(s) in the freezer for about an hour and try again.
Step 15 Once you have your soaps removed from the mold they are ready to be cut (if the shampoo bar is one big block). Use a sharp knife to carefully cut small, hand sized bars of the solid shampoo.
Step 16 Your solid shampoo bars now need to cure for a minimum of two weeks before using. Place the shampoo bars on a drying rack or in a large box, making sure the soaps do not touch one another.
After two weeks your solid shampoo bars are ready to be used, but leaving them longer will make them milder and harder (which means they will last longer) If you can, aim for a month. Store your solid shampoo bars in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
Always remember to spot test your essential oils for skin irritation. Place a single drop on the inside of your arm and leave it for 24 hours. It no irritation arises, feel free to use them.
Dandruff Sandalwood, lavender, bergamot, and tea tree oil
Dark Hair Rosemary
Light Hair Chamomile
Dull Hair Kelp and beech tree extract, jojoba and carrot oil
If you shower in the morning, experiment will invigorating scents like peppermint, if at night, try something calming like lavender.
And if you simply don’t have time, or would like to try out solid shampoos before investing is their creation, see the beautiful people at Lush Cosmetics or Susan Soaps.