DIY Shampoo Bars

Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page

DIY Shampoo Bars @learningandyearning.comI’m sure you’ve heard of the no-poo method of shampooing – wash with baking soda and water, rinse with apple cider vinegar. I’ve heard that for some people it takes an adjustment period where their hair is greasy, but I tried it for a month and it worked perfectly, right from the start. But, oh, I admit it. I really missed suds.

I make my own soap, so I checked to see if Handmade Soap: Recipes for Crafting Soap at Home had any shampoo recipes and sure enough, they had a few for shampoo bars.

I made a few adjustments because of sensitivities and made a nice, lathery, sudsy shampoo bar. It contains rosemary oil which is purported to have a number of benefits and smells so fantastic:

  • stimulates circulation to the scalp
  • is anti-bacterial
  • makes hair shiny
  • helps to stop hair loss
  • stimulates hair growth
  • treats dandruff
  • soothes itchy scalp
  • darkens hair
  • and is good for all hair types

Here are my ingredients for the shampoo bar:

  • 15 ounces distilled water
  • 5.6 ounces lye (why lye is safe)
  • 12 ounces coconut oil
  • 6 ounces palm oil
  • 10 ounces castor oil
  • 8 ounces olive oil
  • 4 ounces jojoba oil (improves hair’s texture and appearance)
  • 0.5 ounces rosemary oil (do not add until the soap traces and is ready to be poured into your mold)

For specifics on how to make soap, see my post Basic Soap Making. The shampoo bar is made using the exact same method. Two added benefits of this soap – I find that I do not need conditioner when I use this shampoo bar because of the jojoba oil, and it makes a great body bar as well. So, I hop in the shower and use the same bar to shampoo, condition, and wash.

This post contains affiliate links.

Do you want to learn more about DIY Natural Skin Care Products? I recommend the following eBook:

DIY Organic Beauty Recipes:
by Heather Dessinger, of Mommypotamus

Did you know you can whiten your teeth with activated charcoal? Did you know that talcum powder can cause cancer? Let Mommypotamus teach you her tricks for awesome homemade skincare products that are safe enough to eat. Click here to purchase her eBook DIY Organic Beauty Recipes.

Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page
PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.


  1. says

    Yay! Thank you for sharing this recipe! I asked my soap-making friend to make me a shampoo bar and now can give her your recipe but without the rosemary. Don’t want darker hair. Would like to add peppermint :)

    • Susan says

      Leaving out the lye will just leave you will oils which will not clean your hair. It’s the chemical reaction between the oils and the lye that create soap. After the chemical reaction occurs, no more lye is left. A different type of lye is used for liquid soaps.

  2. says

    I just starting using shampoo bars instead of no-poo! the baking soda was just too harsh for me. After about 5 months, my scalp felt raw. I love with shampoo bars that I can often just water-wash every other time. They last forever!!

  3. says

    I love shampoo bars, and that’s awesome that your recipe can serve double duty as a body bar too! That’s really convenient, especially for traveling. It’s a lot easier bring a bar of soap in your suitcase than it is to try to bring a no-poo baking soda and vinegar concoction!

    Thanks for sharing with Old-Fashioned Friday! :)

  4. says

    I concur on the properties of rosemary you listed. I had some sort of itchy scalp issue a few years ago that was making my hair fall out (over 100 strands every shampoo- yes I actually counted them). I began using a rosemary shampoo bar and it reduced my hair loss significantly, even the first time I used it. It also soothed the itchiness. The only thing I didn’t like was that it darkened my hair…I considered my self blonde, but not so much anymore.

    I’ll try making soap someday and I’m really glad you posted your recipe. It’s on my to-do list!

  5. says

    My wife does the baking soda and vinegar method. I on the other hand use goat’s milk soap for my hair. It is hard for me to find soap that doesn’t bother my eczema but, goat’s milk soap seems to do pretty well.

  6. PAT says

    I’ve been looking at apple cider vinegar shampoo bars. Do you have any info on how to add ACV to a shampoo bar?


    • SarahTH says

      I believe the ACV will cancel out the lye and oil soaping process and make a big useless glob. The lye/oil is alkaline and the ACV is acidic, they will cancel each other out. Just like you cant’ add citric acid to bar soap. You can add citric acid to liquid soap but only after the saponification process is done because it would cancel out the soap creating process if you added it ahead of time.

    • Susan says

      Bramble Berry, my source for palm oil says “In keeping with our social and ethical responsibility goals, our Palm oil supplier is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization that supports sustainable palm oil production. ” I sure do appreciate your concern; thanks for stopping by.

      • SarahTH says

        I just read today that in order to get Emu oil you have to kill the Emu? It’s not something I will ever purchase.

    • Susan says

      You would have to substitute with another appropriate oil, Paula, to correctly balance the lye. You cannot just leave them out.

  7. Heather says

    Is Palm oil a liquid? Where can I find it and what will it look like? I have never used it before. Also, do have a link for where you buy lye? Thank yo so much. I am looking forward to trying this.

  8. Siloé says

    Firstly, thank you for sharing your experience and recipe.
    I want to give this recipe a try. When running this recipe in the soaping calculator, it´s giving me a 2% superfat; is this correct? At a low 2%, it might work for a shampoo but not sure if it´s too drying for the scalp. BTW, do you use the vinegar rinse afterwards?

    • Susan says

      Hi Siloe! Thank you for visiting. I find the recipe very emollient and not at all drying; I don’t rinse w/vinegar, nor do I need conditioner w/this shampoo. Let me know if you try it and what you think.

  9. Kim says

    I am confused on what kind of Lye do you buy? Where do you buy yours and what is the brand? I read somewhere you can buy Lye at Lowes, but not sure if that is correct or not. I was looking on Amazon and there are so many choices. I wasn’t sure which brand or kind is the best. Thanks for your input! I am really looking forward to trying to make these.

  10. Alicia says

    Hi there, unfortunately, truly sustainable palm oil is not available to me here in Australia (sure it’s organic, and they pay the farmers well, but the deforestation/habitat issue still stands). I was reading that I could use tallow as a replacement? They said to run the recipe through a lye calculator…which I tried, but ended up getting terribly confused (I’m new to all this soap making awesomeness!). Would the lye amount be effected? Would it be a 1:1 swap? Is rendered pig lard a substitute?

    • Susan says

      Hi Alicia, Yes, you may use tallow as a substitute. This will make a slightly harder soap, but that’s ok. Use the same amount of tallow (or lard) as palm oil, but change the amount of lye to 5.4 ounces.

  11. Nina says

    Hi there,
    Id love to try this recipe, also with a lot of people I try my best not to use palm oil. Do you think it would be good to substitute the palm oil with adding more coconut oil instead? Or would that be too hard / dry? Thanks!

    • Susan says

      Hi Nina, are you willing to use palm oil if the source is sustainable? Here’s where I get mine: Tallow would be the best substitute for palm oil. If you do make substitutions, whether coconut oil, or tallow, use a lye calculator to be sure you are using the proper amount. Changing oils can change the amount of lye.

  12. Mary says

    I love your recipe. Do you think I can do a distill water infusion with half and half of rosemary and sage? Also should I use extra virgin Olive Oil, or just virgin or regular OO?
    This would be the first time I make soap, so I’m pretty ignorant but I am learning from reading different sites. I would appreciate your comment.
    I tried using the calculator but I was not sure we’re the rosemary oil went and it told me it was not safe.
    So would this be ok:

    15 oz infused distilled water
    5.4 oz Lye
    12 oz Coconut Oil
    6 oz Lard
    10 oz Castor Oil
    8 oz virgin Olive Oil ( or just Olive Oil?)
    4 oz Jojoba oil
    0.5 oz Rosemary essential oil

    Please let me know what you think. Can wait to do this. I have all the ingredients.
    Thank you

    • Susan says

      Hi Mary, here’s what I came up with using those oils:

      Castor Oil 10.00oz
      Coconut Oil (Virgin) 12.00oz
      Jojoba Oil 4.00oz
      Lard 6.00oz
      Olive Oil 8.00oz
      4% Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) Amount 5.436oz
      Ounces of liquid recommended 13.20oz
      Yields 58.64oz

      Yes, it’s fine if the water is infused with the herbs. The rosemary oil is added at trace, so it’s not calculated in with the other oils.

      Have fun!

  13. Mary says

    I’ll let you know how it turns out in a few weeks. I can’t wait, I do appreciate your help and I love your site.
    Thank you

  14. Kayla says

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for posting this, I am trying to move to be more organic and live sustainably :). What essential oil could we use instead of rosemary? I do not wish my hair to darken, but I do not know what a good replacement would be that wouldn’t dry my hair or discolor or make it fall out?
    Thanks for your help!

        • Susan says

          Well, I’ve never weighed the shampoo bars after making them. I usually get about 15 – 20 bars, depending on how I cut them. Make sure that you don’t leave the bars sitting in water after using them. They’ll just melt away, and who can afford that?!

  15. Catena says

    Was wondering if you have to allow this to cure and for how long?
    I was going to make these for Christmas presents, but I’ve only got 5 days! (My middle name is procrastinate)

    • Susan says

      Unfortunately, yes, these need to cure for several weeks. Perhaps you could include a note explaining to the recipient that they shouldn’t be used right away. Oh, and we have the same middle name!

  16. Marisa says

    Thanks for this post! I adore JR Liggett’s shampoo bars, and I would LOVE to make my own. I have all the ingredients for this recipe except for the palm oil. Do you think I could leave that out and do 18 oz. of coconut oil instead? Thanks for the advice! :)

    • Susan says

      Hi Marisa, if you use 18 oz of coconut oil and no palm oil, change the distilled water to 13.2 oz and the lye to 6.874oz.

    • Susan Vinskofski says

      Hi Izzy, I’m afraid that I have no experience with the hot process method, so I wouldn’t be able to advise you.

  17. Shawn says

    Hi, I’m eager to try this but I’m totally new to soap making.
    As I’m living in Malaysia which is hot & humid all year round, so the oils is always in liquid state. Do I use the same amount liquid oils as in per your recipe? Can I divide the recipe in half? I wanna try if it’s suitable for me before making a big batch.
    Thanks :)

    • Susan Vinskofski says

      Hi Shawn, just be sure to weigh each oil on a scale – it doesn’t matter if they are liquid or solid. I’ve never divided the recipe in half, but I don’t see that causing a problem. Enjoy!

  18. Jackie says

    Hello, I resized your recipe above to fit my tiny mold for a test batch (13oz of oils) at 3% superfat and gave it a shot. After 24 hours in the mold, the shampoo bars were really oily, and when I um-molded them they slipped right out of the mold due to the excess oil! I’ve been letting them cure for 3 weeks now they’ve firmed up and seem to have absorbed the excess oil. I gave one a try washing my hands this week and they are suspiciously moisturizing. 😉 I plan to let them sit out and cure for another 3 weeks, but are your shampoo bars this “moisturizing” as well? I’ve never made a bar with such a high amount of castor oil, so I’m not sure if this is normal for this type of soap or if I botched my recipe somewhere! I’m afraid to test washing my hair with my bars, and winding up with an oily mess.. Here’s the recipe I did:

    3.9 oz coconut oil
    2.0 oz palm oil
    3.3 oz castor oil
    2.6 oz olive oil
    1.2 oz jojoba oil
    1.8 oz lye
    4.3 oz water

    Any ideas? Thanks!

    • Susan Vinskofski says

      Hi Jackie! I’ve used this recipe many, many times and I’ve never had the problem that you’ve experienced. Proportionally, my recipe has just a slightly more coconut oil and lye than yours, but it seems so small that I don’t know that it would cause the problem. I certainly hope that after more curing you end up with a wonderful shampoo bar.

  19. Jessica says

    Hi Susan. It’s Jess from Grash Fred. I really want to try this shampoo bar and was wondering if you have an extra one that I could trade you something for (Whey::)). Want to try it out before I commit to all the ingredients and process.

    • Susan Vinskofski says

      Hi Jessica! Yes, sort of. :) The bar I have on hand is just slightly different. It contains some tallow and some tea tree. Will that work? I’m due to make soap soon, so if you prefer this exact recipe I can make that if you don’t mind waiting a little.

  20. christan says

    Have 2questions. .. can I sub the water for goats milk? And what can I use in pmace of jojoba oil , only because I want to make it today and I am out of it. Thanks for sharing…

    • Susan Vinskofski says

      Hi Christian, yes, goat’s milk may be used instead of water, but that may change the amount of lye needed. I would probably substitute more coconut oil for the jojoba. Again, the lye amount would need to be adjusted. Put all your ingredients into a lye calculator to find how much lye you will need.

  21. [email protected] says

    I was wondering how many bars of soap you get out of this recipe? About how big are your bars in oz.? Thanks

    • Susan Vinskofski says

      I’ve never actually weighed the bars, but based on the ingredients, I would estimate that I get twelve 5 ounce bars. Hope that helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *