These pretty, citrussy Coconut Aloe Shampoo Bars are utterly lovely—between the fresh, summery colours and the bright, citrussy scent I’m quite smitten. It occurred to me a few weeks ago that it’d been ages since I’d made a straight-up shampoo bar. I tend to use my assorted all-in-one soap bars for everything (so… basically all my soap recipes…), and it seems I forgot about shampoo bars for a while. They’re not that different from soap bars, except they’ve got more castor oil than usual for loads of super-creamy lather. Anyhow, forgotten no longer, these bars are delightful (and also make great soap—no need to save them for your head!).
I love the way these bars smell; they’re wonderfully citrussy, but not a super juicy citrus scent as I’ve used lemongrass and litsea cubeba instead of a proper citrus essential oil. I find both of these faux-citrus essential oils stick around much longer than actual citrus essential oils, and the lemongrass was much better suited to pair with coconut milk at any rate (like a Thai curry for your scalp!).
To get that lovely turquoise colour I’ve used a new-to-the-blog ingredient; hydrated chromium green chromium oxide. If you’ve used chromium green chromium oxide before you’ll be familiar with it’s very straight-up green colour—the hydrated version is much more turquoisey, and I love it. Both TKB Trading (USA) and Saffire Blue (Canada) sell it. If you don’t have it, you could try blending a bit of chromium green chromium oxide with some blue ultramarine to strike a turquoise-y note, or try a mica that’s a similar shade (though you’ll need more as micas aren’t as potent as oxides).
If you are using this as a shampoo bar, don’t forget about your acidic rinse and conditioner! I’ve written an FAQ on how they’re different and why you definitely need the acidic rinse when you switch to natural shampoo bars 🙂
Well, that’s that. I definitely think you should give these beauties a go—they’re lovely!
Coconut Aloe Shampoo Bars
Per 500g (1.1lbs) oils:
- 2 tbsp white white kaolin clay
- 7g | 0.25oz litsea cubeba essential oil
- 24g | 0.85oz lemongrass essential oil
- 4 teaspoons dried coconut milk powder
- 1/4 teaspoon 200x concentrated aloe vera powder
- Hydrated chromium green oxide, as needed
Calculate to 5% superfat
Kick things off by calculating out your recipe (unsure about how to use SoapCalc? I made a video to walk you through it!) for the amount of soap you’re making to get the finite amounts of the fats, lye, and water. Ensure you’re familiar with standard soap making procedure before diving in.
I love room temperature soaping, and while it’s not necessary for this recipe since the colouring bits aren’t too fussy, it sure does make for a much more relaxed soaping session as things move much slower. For this batch I tried something new; I gently melted the beef tallow and shea butter in my soaping pot over low heat on the stove top (since those two fats have the highest melting points), and once they were just melted I removed them from the heat and stirred in the olive oil (pomace), castor oil, and coconut oil. The residual heat from melting the beef tallow and shea melted the coconut oil, and the added room temperature oils helped bring down the temperature of the melted oils. I used a potato masher to break up the coconut oil to help it melt faster; if you’ve only just barely melted the beef tallow and shea butter, the coconut oil will need some encouragement. When you’re done you should have a pot of liquid oils that feel only just a wee bit warm/room temperature to the touch.
From there, mix up your lye water (taking care not to inhale any of the fumes) and add that to your melted oils. Break out your immersion blender (I’ve got one from Braun that’s still going strong after 5+ years) to bring the mixture to trace. You’ll want a trace that’s somewhere around kid’s pudding cup levels so you can create layers without the batter mixing itself together with its own weight.
Once you’ve achieved trace, blend in the clay, essential oils, dried coconut milk powder, and aloe concentrate, ensuring there are no lumps. Divide the batter into two, and blend some hydrated chromium green chromium oxide into one half with your immersion blender (the blender is necessary to ensure you don’t have any clumps of pigment) until you achieve a colour you like. Don’t go overboard; too much oxide will bleed out of the finished bar. Aim for a shade close to what you see in my finished bars 🙂
Now it’s time to pour! To get the pointy bits going in and out of the green core you’ll need a bent-up hanger to do a hanger swirl. It should basically be like a squared-off “U”, with the flat bottom bit being the same length as your mould, and then the sides going straight up to give you a handle. It won’t really look like a “U” because, well, it’ll still have a hanger attached to it, but I hope you get the general idea. Anywho, the straight across wire bottom bit is the part you’ll be dragging through the soap to make some pretty designs!
Start off by spreading half the beigey-yellow bit of the soap (so, one quarter of the entire batch) across the bottom of your mould. Top off with all the green, and then finish the lot off with the rest of the beigey-yellow batter. Firmly rap the mould on your counter to knock out any air bubbles.
Now, take your hanger and plunge it down through the soap in three “u” shapes, like this:
You could do more “u”‘s if you wanted to for more obvious swirls; these ones were definitely more subtle than I’d imagined.
After that, all that’s left is to use a spoon to press into the top of the soap batter on an angle to get a lovely sort of fluffy look on top. Cover it and leave it to saponify for 24 hours before slicing, and leave it to age for at least four weeks before using. Enjoy!