I’m so excited to share this with you; it’s something I’ve been working on for almost a year! This particular recipe has been in testing and tweaking since July. I’ve had a lot of requests for a surfactant-powered shampoo bar (as opposed to a soap based one), and I wanted to make sure what I came up with worked, was thoroughly tested, and was mine, and finally—here we are! This lovely Snowflake Shampoo Bar has lovely lather, lasts for absolutely ages in the shower, and is pretty darn simple to make (it’s mostly waiting and mashing).
I started my surfactant shampoo bar research about a year ago with articles and recipes from It’s All In My Hands, Chemists Corner, and SoapLab Malaysia. I made a few bars from other people’s recipes (well, mostly… I’ve never been very good at leaving well enough alone) and tested them for about eight months, developing and fleshing out my basic understanding of what makes a shampoo bar. I was also making notes about how different surfactant blends came together and worked, what ingredients I liked in a shampoo, and which ones seemed like a waste in a wash-off product.
The general gist of a shampoo bar is this: it’s a high concentration of surfactants; mostly solid/powdered ones, and mostly anionic, with complementary cationic and amphoteric surfactants to round out the blend. The resulting surfactant paste is further hardened with a small amount of things like hard butters and fatty acids, with the option to add in good-for-hair and fun things like hydrolyzed proteins, essential oils, detangling ingredients, and pigments. You can make a shampoo bar using just one surfactant (this is what LUSH typically does; their bars are almost entirely Sodium Lauryl Sulfate held together with a small amount of glycerin or some sort of watery infusion), but blending surfactants with varying charges makes for a gentler blend.
The starting point for this bar was a bag of Sodium Coco Sulfate and some photos of LUSH shampoo bars; you can really see that they’re basically a brick of SLS sticks, held together with a handful of other ingredients. Well… that seemed simple enough! I started with a blend of mostly SCS with a touch of Cocamidopropyl Betaine to make the blend a bit milder and give me some liquid to start working with. I rounded it out with a bit of kokum butter, BTMS, and cetyl alcohol. I liked that bar—it cleaned really well, and came together really easily, but I did find it was a bit soft, and perhaps a bit strong.
For version two I incorporated some Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate to further temper the enthusiasm of the Sodium Coco Sulfate, and increased the hardening ingredients by adding some stearic acid. I really liked this version, but found it to be a touch strong, so for the next version I further adjusted the surfactant blend a bit more in favour of the SCI and Cocamidopropyl Betaine, and that’s the version I’m sharing with you today!
Now, if you have made hot process soap you will likely be familiar with the sort of consistency we are working with when we go to mash this shampoo bar into its mould. It is sticky and clumpy, and doesn’t have all that much interest in sticking to itself (it will happily run off with your spatula as you try to press it down). This uncooperative consistency also makes doing pretty things with a shampoo bar feel like a bit of an exercise in futility, but I tried anyways 😂 I blended about half of the shampoo mash with some blue mica before popping it and the remaining white portion in the mould in an attempt to create a snowflakey blue-white layer sort of thing, and it was… well, there is some blue in there. And some white. The photos speak for themselves, haha. At least I know once it gets used the lumpy edges will smooth out nicely!
The resulting shampoo bar might not be the prettiest thing in the world, but it has the loveliest lather and leaves my hair feeling wonderfully clean and soft. It also lasts forever; a bar this size will typically last at least two to three months for me as long as it dries out relatively well between uses (bars I’ve travelled with that live in baggies tend to get soft, and then squashed, and die faster). In keeping with the snowflake theme it’s unscented, but can can definitely add a scent of some variety if you like. The pH of this bar naturally falls somewhere between 5.5–6, which is right where we want it to be, too. Score! Due to the inclusion of the sulfate I wouldn’t recommend this for colour treated hair, but I’m sure I’ll have a sulfate-free shampoo recipe for you sometime soonish—in the meantime, check the links in the second paragraph for recipes from other makers 😊
Snowflake Shampoo Bar
25g | 0.88oz Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) (USA / Canada)
30g | 1.06oz Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) (USA / Canada)
20g | 0.71oz Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)
10g | 0.35oz tucuma butter
8g | 0.28oz BTMS-50
2g | 0.071oz stearic acid
3.5g | 0.12oz cetyl alcohol
0.5g | 0.017oz Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada) (or other broad spectrum preservative of choice at recommended usage rate [why?])
1/32 tsp blue mica, dispersed in a couple drops of liquid oil (optional)
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a small saucepan.
Weigh the SCI and Cocamidopropyl Betaine into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place that measuring cup in your water bath to melt through; this typically takes up to an hour for me. It’s done when you have a uniform white paste. If you have a pre-prepared 3:2 SCI:Cocamidopropyl Betaine paste, you can skip this step and use 50g of that paste instead.
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
Add the SCS to the SCI/Cocamidopropyl Betaine mixture. Weigh the tucuma butter, BTMS-50, stearic acid, and cetyl alcohol into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place both measuring cups in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
While everything is melting through, mix the blue mica and a couple drops of liquid oil in a small (~100mL) bowl. This is also a good time to select your mould and set it out; I used a 100mL round silicone soap mould.
Once the tucuma butter mixture is completely transparent and liquid, and the surfactant paste is very soft, pour the tucuma butter mixture into the surfactant baste and briskly stir to thoroughly combine. Keep stirring the mixture as it cools—this bit is a titch tricky. We need the mixture to be cool enough to add the preservative (we need 50°C and below for liquid germall plus), but we also need it to be soft enough to incorporate a liquid surfactant. When the outside of your measuring cup feels about hot-tub-hot (hot tubs are typically ~40°C), mash in the preservative.
Now you’re ready to do the colour part if you’re so inclined; scoop roughly half the shampoo paste into the bowl with the mica and quickly mash it all together. Scrape/squish that into your mould, and then top it off with the remaining white paste. This stage is not pretty; that is ok.
Pop your mould in the freezer for about ten minutes. After ten minutes have passed, pull it out, and lay a sheet of cling film over the shampoo. It will now be chilled (and not sticky) enough that you can use the bottom of a glass to press the bar down and get a more uniform surface.
At this point the bar should be hard enough to remove from the mould, but if it’s not, freeze it until it is. Remove it, and wait a day or two before using (if you live somewhere humid, err on the side of longer). Et voila! You just made shampoo.
- You can use a different brittle butter (like cocoa) instead of tucuma. I don’t recommend using anything softer, like shea or mango.
- You can use BTMS-25 instead of BTMS-50
- If you want to mess with the surfactant blend I’d recommend reading this and this to learn more about how to do that effectively
- If you’d like to add some essential oils or fragrance I’d recommend about 1g; add this with the preservative. I’d recommend choosing something clear so it does not impact the lovely white-ness of the bar. Also keep in mind that this will alter the pH of the bar.
Thank you for this shampoo option! When using this kind of surfactant based shampoo do you have to follow up with an acidic rinse?
No! That’s one of my favourite parts haha—one less bottle in the shower, and it’s much more convenient when travelling 🙂
they’re ingredient list because there’s no way you can make a shampoo bar out of just SLS powder when I looked up a recipe for SLS shampoo bar all it said was Coco Sulfate (SCS) (USA / Canada) which are noodles of some sort of cleanser that says you should not use for natural products and they claim it’s a natural product but it’s very harmful sulphate too harmful for the body harmful for the hair they also use other harmful chemicals to and claim that they’re being good to animals but these harmful chemicals and their products.
Is this shampoo bar O.K. for color treated hair?
Due to the inclusion of the sulfate I wouldn’t recommend this for colour treated hair, but I’m sure I’ll have a sulfate-free shampoo recipe for you sometime soonish—in the meantime, check the links in the second paragraph for recipes from other makers
Hey Marie, I was wondering if you ever use plant dyes.. like for instance I recently infused blue butterfly pea flowers in vegetable glycerin and got a magnificent blue-violet dye. Would something like that work well in these soap & shampoo bars? And would you ever do something like that?
I’m afraid it really isn’t something I’ve experimented with so I can’t comment. Typically I’d recommend including an infused glycerin in something that would already include un-infused glycerin, which wouldn’t be this bar, but if you didn’t have to use much you could likely get away with it. It does interest me, but so many things do that it’s hard to find time for it all!
Oh I hope that you are planning to make a sulfate free shampoo bar soon. I have tried shampoo bars and love them but I soon found out that was what was stripping out my hair color treatments. I love all of your recipes and I hAVE made a lot of them.
It’s on the list 🙂 Thanks for reading!
Hi, Marie. Your bar looks interesting but I have a question. When you say not good for color treated hair, does that include highlights? I don’t have any color I want to preserve in/on my hair but I do have some stripped bits where they removed some of the color to lighten it. Will the sulfate affect that? Green highlights are definitely not my thing! Thanks.
I’m afraid I don’t know—I’d ask your hairdresser 🙂
I love shampoo bars. I haven’t made one for many months but in my opinion regular soap bars don’t even compare to the syndet ones. I use SLSA and SCI in mine. I gleaned my formula from Point of Interest but yours sounds terrific Marie. This certainly is on my to do list. Conditioning bars are wonderful as well.
I’m sure loving them, too! They also multi-task quite nicely as body wash haha 😛 I haven’t noticed a huge difference in my hair, but apparently my YouTube viewers have, which I find rather amusing!
Home > Products > Sodium Coco Sulphate – SCS
Sodium Coco Sulphate – SCS
Sodium Coco Sulphate – SCS
Sodium Coco Sulfate is a sodium salt of the sulfate ester of coconut alcohol. It’s a surfactant with high lather and foaming, and it’s the perfect powdered surfactant for making Jelly Soap. We’ve chosen to bring in the “needle” version of SCS as it also works wonderfully in pressed shampoo and syndet bars.
Thanks Marie I make syndet bars for years but did not try yet with SCS, It is fantastic in jelly soap, I will try to make syndet with it, 🙂
I’m loving syndet bars made with SCS—so bubbly, and the needles look super cool 😀
Hi Marie,’Thank you very much for this tutorial.
Will you be doing a video on making these? I am more of a visual leaner when it comes to making something I have never done before.
Thanks for everything
I’ll probably do one for a shampoo bar eventually, but it won’t be this one ’cause I’ve already published it and would rather make a new one 🙂
I’ve been waiting expectantly for your take on synthetic detergent shampoo bars! Unfortunately soap-based shampoos damage my hair. I’m allergic to sulfates and will have to substitute one of the other surfactant I have on hand for the SCS. Or maybe your sulfate-free version will come out before I give this a try. LOL
ps Purchased your book about 11 months ago. Have made several recipes and love them all. I’m looking forward to not buying makeup from the store again.
Thanks! I’m currently testing two different sulfate-free shampoo bars so hopefully I’ll have something to share soon 🙂 I’m also testing some new making methods that are proving really awesome so far 🙂
Thank you so much for buying my book, too! I’m so thrilled you’re enjoying the things you’re making from it 🙂
Fantastic, thanks Marie! I will be following the links for colour treated hair, and eagerly watching and waiting!
Thanks, Sarah! 😀
I have seen online recipes with powdered herbs such as shikikai, yucca, nettle etc.
We can add herbs to the shampoo, it will affect the preservation
I loved the recipe.
You should be able to safely add 1–3% powdered herbs without too many difficulties 🙂
If you want to make more of the paste, do you just double, triple the amounts. Also how long will the shelf life be for the betaine paste. Thank you.
Yup! Keep the betaine paste well sealed in the freezer and it should last well upwards of six months 🙂
Thank you for replying. Will the paste be easy to scoop out if frozen, or will it have to be defrosted. If it needs to be defrosted can it be frozen again, or have to be used. Thank you.
I typically leave it until it’s just soft enough to scoop/dig out and then re-freeze. You can also try freezing it in an ice cube tray for smaller bits. I’ve also been experimenting with leaving it in the fridge instead of the freezer and that also seems to be working well for smaller batches that I work through quickly 🙂
This sounds like something that would go down well with my family, but I can’t source SCS here in the UK.
Any suggestions re substitutes please?
I’m working on some bars that don’t use it; I am hesitant to recommend anything without trying it first as I don’t want you to create something far too hard/far too soft/ineffective off the back of my untested recommendation 🙂
Thank you for replying
I’m sure there will be some for future shampoo bar recipes but I doubt I’ll go back and make one for this one 🙂
Would an all sci mix for the powder work?
Try it and find out 🙂
I just made this recipe and love how my hair feels. I live in Alberta with a dry climate and this has helped with static in my hair. My hair feels amazing, even though it is a bit damaged by colour. One thing I noticed is that it is not hardening up, so thought I might experiment with a bit more stearic acid. I put rosemary and mint essential oils in the recipe, so perhaps that’s why it is a softer bar. I also am looking forward to a bar for colour treated hair.
Thanks for all your hard work in providing us with amazing recipes.
Yay! I’m so glad. I’m in Alberta as well, so you’re definitely getting the bar in its natural environment 🙂 How odd that it’s not hardening up, though—it shouldn’t be rock hard, but when dry it should hold its own quite well (adding EOs should not impact that). I’m currently working on a conditioning shampoo that is sulfate free and I’m LOVING it so far—stay tuned!
Hi Marie! So, how close are we to a sulfate-free formulation? 😀
I’ve got two bars in testing right now 🙂
Cannot wait!! Checking daily for “new” notifications
I have made several, lots really of your recipes and love every one of them!! AWESOME work you do!
I figured I’d give you guys an update! I’ve just made another version of a bar I really like, I just think it’s too soft. So this version is (should!) be harder—it’s just drying on the shelf. I should be able to try it for the first time pretty quickly!
Hi Marie. Is Sodium Coco Sulfate same as CFAS (Coco Fatty Alcohol Sulfate)? I’m so excited to try this recipe if only I could find the raw materials in my country. Thanks 🙂
It sounds like it, but I would recommend double-checking with your supplier to be sure 🙂
Which type of shampoo bar do you prefer: surfactant based or soap based?
From everything I’ve learned about hair & pH over the last year, I’d say I prefer a mildly acidic surfactant based shampoo bar. I also really like dropping the additional step of the acidic hair rinse!
Thank you for the recipe! Question: both cetyl alcohol and stearic acid are palm-derived, what do you recommend as a substitute?
Marie, can you help me. I have scalp issues, vs. hair quality issues. Even high end health food store shampoos make my scalp really itchy. So I end up flipping my head upside down in the shower and trying to just wash the strands without it ever touching my scalp. Awkward and kind of dangerous, but mildly effective. But I’d love to make some sort of shampoo that might get the job done, but be super gentle. Almost Baby shampoo gentle. Can you tell me which ingredients to steer clear of, and which ones might be gentle enough for me?
Hi Julie! I’d really recommend referring to this fantastic blog that’s all about hair. The author is incredibly knowledgable about hair and can likely give far better advice than I can 🙂 Best of luck!
Bonne journée, Marie
Hi! I see that one of the ingredients is BTMS-50. Does that means that this is a “cowashing” shampoo bar? Or should I follow with a separate conditioner?
The small amount of BTMS-50 in here mostly makes the surfactant blend milder; it’s pretty heavily overpowered by the other surfactants 🙂 You’d want a conditioner to follow this one up with! I just shared a recipe for a cowashing “cleansing conditioner” and if you check it out you’ll see it’s about 98% conditioner, and 2% shampoo 🙂
Thanks so much!! Also, I noticed that this recipe says that I need to melt the SCS. I watched another famous blogger also from Canada who used it straight up without melting in her shampoo bars. This left me very confused. Can I use it straight up? In my case I would like to preserve their noodle shape since the SCI I have is in powder form. I like the look of the noodles … If I don’t melt it do I need to add some lactic acid to balance out the ph level? Sorry for the additional question but I’m new and learning so much thanks to your fabulous blog. ❤️
Hey! You definitely can use it straight up without melting—I definitely have in the past, though that recipe isn’t up on the blog 🙂 You will still need to adjust the pH, though—SCS is still quite basic, so regardless of the format you’ll need to adjust the pH to be more hair friendly!
Do you have a blog post on how to lower the ph of a shampoo bar? I have been looking everywhere on the web maybe I’m looking in the wrong places because I can’t find it! ☹️ How to lower the ph by using citric acid for instance and how much to add?
I don’t have anything specific to shampoo bars, but I do cover the general idea in a few posts. I think this post is better, though 🙂
I did read sometime after your question about leaving the SCS unmelted that doing that will result in a differing pH, which makes sense. SCS has a much higher pH than the rest of the surfactants in this bar. By melting everything together we force them to average out, giving a good final pH. If you don’t melt everything together you end up with tiny high-pH hot spots. How well your hair does with this is obviously going to be a rather individual thing, but if you’re finding you are getting more tangles than usual, that’s what I’d look at changing first 🙂
Hi marie, i really want to make a few of your shampoo bar recipes. but can’t seem to find.(SCS) OR (SCI) @ windy.any suggestions where to find?thx for ur help 🙂
I just asked Michele at Windy Point and she says they’ll have SCI next week and SCS in early August 🙂
Thank you for looking into that for me, 🙂
Hi Marie, we’re all looking forward to watching a video of your shampoo bar making. Too bad it’s not going to be about this bar because it’s lovely. I haven’t made it yet, but I’m really eager to try it. Can I add some panthenol and some plant extract, like shikakai powder? When should I add these items? At the end, when the paste is done, right? Would I have to adjust the quantity of the other ingredients? and how much of panthenol and shikakai would be a good amount to add? Last one: how do you measure the PH? Is it right to put 1g of the shampoo bar in 100 ml water to measure it? Thanx in advance, you’re amazing 🙂
You can include other actives/extracts; check to see if they need to be heated or put in the cool down phase. Your supplier should be providing you with this information, along with recommended usage rate ranges. You will need to adjust the recipe to keep everything totally 100%; I’d probably remove percentages from the surfactants as that’s what we have the most of. I would not exceed 3–5%. I typically don’t bother adding too many actives to shampoo as it all gets washed down the drain so quickly—I save those things for conditioner!
To measure pH you’ll want to make a 10% solution (by weight) and check that—you can learn more here 🙂
Thank you very much for sharing this awesome recipe!
I tried making it at home, substituting the SCI for SCS because SCI is quite impossible to find in my country (while SLS is everywhere). The resulting bars are a bit too drying for me – any chance I could make it milder by increasing the amount of solid conditioners e.g. Behentrimocium Chloride? I’ve tried adding more oils and butters but the resulting bars are too wet/greasy..
Also, do you have any tips to make these little guys dry faster? I live in a humid country and it takes 3 whole days for them to dry.. I contemplated putting them in the oven but decided I should consult you first (risky move)!
Anyways, I truly appreciate what you shared here, I learned a lot from reading your content – it is really amazing work you’ve done here. Thank you again!
Hmmm. Well, you basically did what I described in the preamble—how I started with all SCS (which is less harsh than SLS) and found that to be too drying, so I adjusted the recipe to use gentler surfactants. I stepped it down from 65% SCS to 25% SCS, which is a pretty massive change. You can’t step back the SLS to the point of a 40% reduction by tweaking other ingredients. A shampoo bar needs to be at least 60–80% surfactants
You might try looking for a different, gentler, solid anionic surfactant (like SLSa) to dilute things. You can try including more solid conditioners, but too much will result in something that doesn’t lather—I’ve tried it.
It’s also worth noting that SLS is very basic, so your bar is going to have a pH that is much higher than it should be for hair.
Sorry to be a buzzkill :/
I’d try a fan for faster drying times!
I make a shampoo bar using SLSa (I love the gentle clean and foaminess) but I’m looking for a surfactant that creates larger bubbles and less foam — but they need to be derived from anything BUT coconut or shea (I and a few friends have coconut and shea sensitivities). Have you tried any surfactants like that which you could describe or recommend?
(Also being sulfate-free is a huge plus)
I’ve afraid all of the solid surfactants I’ve found for purchase for home crafters are (or could have been) derived from coconut at some point :/
How can I make a bar that is far more cleansing? After removing all oil/butter and btms 50, but keeping everything else in proportion, it didn’t even get my hair cleanish. The lush one works great for me but I hate the price and prefer the coconut based surfactants to the palm based ones from an environmental viewpoint
I’m genuinely astonished that this “didn’t even get [your] hair cleanish”. There’s a lot of surfactants in here! You could try shifting the blend towards more SCS, but SCS is pretty darn harsh, which is why I did the opposite of that when I was developing the recipe. If you’re used to the LUSH bar it may just be that your hair needs some time to adjust—the LUSH bars are basically bricks of barely tempered Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is one of the harshest surfactants out there. This bar uses a blend of surfactants, all of which are gentler than SLS, though SCS does contain some SLS. If you are used to the sort of clean that straight SLS gives, not much else is going to compare.
For some reason, I just got the email alerting to this response so I apologize for the delay in my response.
By “not even cleanish” I mean that when my hair dried it was still greasy and stringy. I have incredibly greasy hair. My scalp breaks out horribly if I don’t get it clean daily. I never used to have problems, but with the new trend in gentler shampoos and fear of sulfates, I’ve really had trouble finding anything that works in the US.
I don’t use the LUSH bars on a daily basis, I only use those when traveling, which is what I want this for.
I’m currently using a shampoo at home that I purchased in Asia where, it seems that people have oily hair like mine.
Thanks for clarifying! You could certainly try using all SCS in this bar instead of the blend with SCI, but then you’d need to do some pH adjusting and I would be concerned about the potential firmness of the bar—it’s worth a try, though. Sulfates are definitely very strong and excellent cleansers/degreasers, so if those work for you, increasing the amount of SCS is probably the way to go.
I made this last night and while I think it was successful, it was very sticky and messy and hard to push into the mold. I can’t wait to wash my hair with it it. I have a question for Marie. Have you tried doing this without melting the surfactants? I found a few youtube videos of people making these and they don’t use heat at all. They just mix the surfactants in a stand mixer and add the melted ingredients and mix and press into molds. I didn’t look sticky at all. I’m thinking of trying this next.
I have tried earlier versions without melting, but the reason I’ve melted everything here is to make everything homogenous. One of the benefits of this is reducing high pH hotspots from the use of SCS—melting it together with the two other low-pH surfactants gives us a more reliable final pH 🙂
If you do your best to get the bar in the mold and then put it in the freezer for a few minutes you can often smooth it out much better! You can also use optiphen plus instead of liquid germall plus—it is much more heat tolerant, so you don’t have to let the bar cool (and thicken) as much before adding the preservative and squishing the paste into the mold.
Please help. The recipe doesn’t specify powdered or noodle form for the surfactants and when I click on the supply links for where to find the SCI, it goes to a page on Amazon where the product is not available anymore or a website that says “page not found”. Since I didn’t know what to buy, I bought both SCS and SCI in noodle form. The bars I made are currently 2 days old and still soft and squishy. I hope they harden up a bit more. I was going to put them in a closed container with some of those silica gel packets I’ve saved up from other products to see if that helps.
I used powdered SCI and tiny-stick for SCS, but then of course melted everything together so the beginning shape of the surfactant isn’t integral to the appearance of the bars. Do you have the active percentage of the versions you used? My SCI is 84% active, while my SCS is 95% active.
I have been searching for this answer and just can’t work it out so wanted to hear your thoughts. As you have mentioned above LUSH shampoo bars I was wanting to know why you use preservatives and they don’t. At least not as far as I can see in their ingredients list. I understand the product comes in contact with water but does the drying process eliminate this risk comparatively to say a tub of sugar scrub. Thanks in advance.
Hey! I suspect it is due to pH; LUSH shampoo bars are mostly SLS, which has a pH ~10. That’s high enough to be self preserving, just like soap (and so high that most preservatives aren’t effective in any event).
Would this be a vegan shampoo alternative?
Yes, but… almost all shampoos are vegan? There are almost never animal products in shampoos. The only ones I can think of that you might find would be hydrolyzed silk or potentially carmine.
Thank you for sharing your recipe. I’m new to all this but excited to make our own shampoo bars at home.
I live in a tropical country where thr humidity is very high, do you suggest any recipe adjustments so that my bar will not melt just from the normal environmental conditions?
I’m actually working on a harder variation on this bar right now! The general gist would be more solid things—one of the easier swaps would be less tucuma butter and more stearic acid/cetyl alcohol, as those things are even harder than tucuma butter 🙂 Happy making!
Hello – I am trying to find SCS here but so far no luck; I’ve found SLS though. Is it ok to substitute that? Thank you!
SLS will make for a harsher end product, but given the low usage rate and the fact that it is countered/blended with gentler surfactants, I suspect it will be fine. Just be sure to check the pH and adjust if necessary as the pH of SLS can be higher than the pH of SCS. And, as always, observe how your hair does. Some people use shampoos powered by primarily SLS for their entire lives and that works brilliantly for them, some people can’t use it, and everything in between 🙂 Happy making!
Hi, thank you. I would like to try out this recipe. But I am also looking for a shampoo bar with less or without sulfates. You mentioned that soon a sulfate free recipe would appear. Did you post it? I can’t find it. Thank you!
I’m hoping to share it next year 🙂
Hi! I can’t find SCS where I live. Is it okay to use additional SCI for the SCS? That would be 55g of SCI. Or is that too much? I read somewhere that max usage rate should be at 50%..
SLSa would also be a good alternative to try for the SCS. The CIR has determined SCI to be safe at 50% in rinse-off products; they also haven’t tested it beyond 49.87%, so I’m not sure how “firm” that 50% off number is—it’s not like they tested 51% and it was problematic. You could also try using 50g SCI and replacing that extra 5% with something else (perhaps some clay?) to keep to that recommended maximum 🙂 Happy making!
I made this 2 days ago as I had everything on hand. I usually make a face wash with the same ingredients only adding a lighter oil, emulsifiers and water. This was amazing! I am currently using it as shampoo and face wash.
Woo! I am so glad you are enjoying it 🙂 Thanks for DIYing with me!
I would like to try making a shampoo bar very similar to your recipe here. I have a couple questions:
1) I have colour treated hair and so wanted to avoid a sulfate. In its place I was thinking of using Bioterge AS90 from Voyageur Soap and Candle as it is the solid surfactant I can easily get a hold of. However I’ve seen conflicting information about how environmentally friendly it is. What are your thoughts about this? If it isn’t “green”, could I increase the other two surfactants to get the same total ASM?
2)I was hoping to include some polyquat-7 at a very small percentage for a bit of conditioning, but wasn’t sure how even a small amount of liquid might affect the final product. Ideas?
I say go for it on both fronts! Probably 1–2% for the polyqyat-7, and then let the bar age a bit longer after making if it seems too soft. I know the Bioterge AS90 is biodegradable according to the manufacturer, but there are a lot of facets to “green-ness”, so it really depends on what precisely matters to you. I am happy to use it 🙂
Can I add course sea salt to this? I love how salt makes my hair feel in whipped salt shampoo but I wonder if course salt would be okay in it? Do you think it would dissolve or cause issues with the other ingredients and go bad or rancid?
You could try it—I’m currently testing a shampoo bar with 3% salt. I found it had to dry for a really long time, though—about a month. Now that it’s in use it’s doing well, though!
Could you add some sort of EDTA ingredient to help with hard water? If so how much? Also, would that take care of the preservative as well? Thanks!
I have very hard water and this bar performs just fine without 🙂
Hi Marie, thanks for the recipe, I made mine with only two surfactants, SCI and Cocamidapropyl Betaine and turned out amazing. I used more SCI instead of SCS. I used cocoa butter instead of Tacuma butter. Works beautifully for my very long, fine hair. Super impressed. The lather is rich and very creamy. I Love it! Making more today for family.
Thanks again for posting all your wonderful recipes, you are very generous. I make stuff every day 🙂 Fully stocked with every ingredient you could possible imagine lol!
Woohoo! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it, and thanks for letting me know how that swap went 🙂
FYI, the CIR has concluded SCI is safe in rinse-off uses up to 50%, and if you’ve used in place of the SCS you’re using it at 55%. These things are, of course, a continuum—there’s no hard safe/unsafe line—but it is a thing to be aware of 🙂
this sounds great ! its exactly what I want to do
Hi Marie, any idea when you will be ready to share your sulphate free recipe please? I can’t wait, I’m very eager to try it 🙂 Thanks for all your hard work.
Sorry to ask this, but I didn’t see it addressed (maybe I missed it?). I don’t have tucuma butter. I really hate to purchase another ingredient since I have sooooo many already. Is there a reasonable substitute? Sorry – I’m sure you must get really tired of people asking about substitutions all time.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE your “Make it up”!
Check the first point of the substitutions list in the post 😉
Thanks for reading and for buying my book!
Hi there, thanks so much for the recipe! Would it be possible to substitute kokum butter for the tucuma butter, and SLSA for SCS and cocamidopropyl betaine? I read the posts about formulating detergents and understand the end result may be harsher with fewer surfactants, but my hair tends to be fine textured (individual hairs) but also dense and oily, so I think I’d be fine.
Maybe I’m oversimplifying the recipe, but I’m trying to spend as little as possible getting started since I’m just dipping a toe into making syndet bars (I’ve only done hot process tallow soap before).
Thanks so much again!
You can certainly try it, though I think you will be well outside the realm of substituting and into your own recipe development at that point in time. Take a look at some of the ingredient list for Lush shampoo bars and you’ll see they are mostly surfactant bricks with some butters. I’ve made such bars before and they’ve been pretty good, just a bit harsh for me 🙂 Let me know how it goes!
Hello Marie. On a whim I made and tried the snowflake shampoo bar this week and found I really liked it. I’m planning to make more shampoo and conditioner formulas this summer but don’t have AS-90 so can’t make the mango mango bar yet. Is the mango mango bar much different than this one?
Will you be formulating more shampoos/conditioners this year? (Although I have a very good supply inventory on hand, I ask in case I’m able to advance order other items I might need along with the AS-90 I’ll be ordering this week, lol.) As always, my appreciation for your hard and very good work for us.
I find the mango mango bar to be pretty similar to this one, though with perhaps slightly lower lather. I am already working on more shampoos and conditioners—check out the video I shared on Patreon recently teasing some of the things I’m working on 😉
Thanks for the tutorial. I have a question. Can I use these preservatives together to achieve a broad spectrum preserving?
Sodium benzoate: 2%
Potassium sorbate: 0.5%
Salicylic acid: 0.5%
Sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are for fungus and molds, and salicylic acid is for bacteria.
I can’t find Liquid Germall Plus in my country.
I’m afraid I can’t say; in theory, it seems to cover the required bases but to hypothesize about the efficacy of a DIY preservative blend is well beyond me! Best of luck and happy making!
Hi Marie, I love your website! Just a quick question, if you were to factor in a ratio of clay to this recipe, what would that percentage be and what would you bring down to include it? Would it greatly affect lather? Thank you 😉
I’d probably just make the shampoo bar I shared that already uses clay 🙂 I know that works! I didn’t notice a reduction in later 🙂
Hi Marie, thanks for sharing this recipe. I’ll be delving into DIY shampoo bars for the first time. Question about the form of solid surfactants in general. Does it really matter that much if it’s in noodle form or powder form or is it dependent on how it’s made. In this case everything is melted together but in the chocolate rhassoul shampoo bar recipe everything is pressed together.
If you’re melting everything down the format will mostly influence the melting time—larger chunks = longer melting time. If you’re not melting it the different format can make for more or less surface area, which could theoretically change how the end consistency comes out and might be problematic. I haven’t tried a ton of isolated experiments around the non-melted, but I did recently share one on my Instagram!
Thank you so much!
Thanks for the recipe. I have only SCI and not SCS. So can I go ahead all SCI and make this shampoo bar? Also can i Use Shea butter instead of Tucuma butter? I tried your other SCI only shampoo bar, it came out well and I like it very much. I would like to try a shampoo bar with a preservative so that i can have it for long.
Hey Subha! I don’t have any Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) only shampoo bars, and they all have preservatives, so I’m not sure what formulation you are referring to 🙂 Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) has a maximum usage rate of 50%, which is why I don’t have any bars using just Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI). I don’t recommend using softer shea instead of hard tucuma. Happy making!
Hi Marie! I recently discovered your blog and channel and there’s so much I need to learn! You do a great job here 🙂 Thanks! I have a question regarding ingredients of the shampoo bar – Is it ok to substitute SCS with more SCI (noodle form) and CBetaine? I do not have SCS.
Ok I’ve done my homework and read some comments above and I think I might increase SCI rate up to 50% and add some clay 🙂 I’m curious how it will turn out 🙂
Have fun and happy making!
Thanks Marie. Will start following you on IG.
Quick question, my bars turns out pretty solid as I have been playing with the ratio of the liquid versus solid surfactants (plus a little sodium lactate). My question is, always the outcome of each bar is slightly slimy to the touch. Unlike cold-press soaps, my shampoo never truly dries. Is this normal or missing a step somewhere?
I have cured each once for a week or 2, but doesn’t seem to make a difference. The bar is solid tho, and makes a knocking sound when hit against a hard surface.
I’m betting it’s the addition of the sodium lactate; my experience with adding humectants & electrolytes to shampoo bars has been a long-lasting “wet” feeling to them. Where I live that does eventually go away (4–6 weeks), but it’s pretty dang dry here 🙂
I really like this shampoo bar since it’s so easy to make and the ingredient list is short. But I did feel that it leaves my hair kind of dry. I was wondering would that be the Sodium Coco Sulfate? What about the PH of this bar? Do you know it? I have noticed you added a little bit of citric acid to the recent shampoo bars you made… would it be a good idea for this one?
What if I only want to use SCI and amphosol and leave the SCS out? Is it posible? what would be the amounts of SCI and amphosol then?
Or maybe substitute the SCS with SLSa? Is it posible? I don’t know if it would mess with the PH and I have no idea how to adjust the PH in a shampoo bar 🙁
I guess it would be great to see this Snowflake Shampoo Bar in a Bee Better Project, this way we would also see it on video and maybe you could leave the SCS out or teach us how to adjust the PH in shampoo bars, what you think? Please consider it.
Thank you very much!
Please answer, Marie! 🙂
This was my first ever diy attempt at shampoo bar, and it worked out great. I’ve been using it for almost a month now. It lathers and cleans wonderfully. Thanks for the recipe and the detailed instructions!
I’m thrilled to hear it! I highly recommend checking out some of my newer shampoo bar formulations as well—they are better + easier to make 🙂 Happy making!
hi, i love this recipe, however, i would like to make this shampoo bar but id like to remove the SCS, is this something that can be done? Would adding a silk protein ruin the formula?
Hi Kelly! Why not try one of my newer + better sulphate-free shampoo bar formulations instead? This one is pretty old and definitely not the best formulation I have available now. I’d start with this and swap 1% of the starch for silk 🙂 Happy making!
Your recipes are amazing. Could you give me a recipe for a shampoo bar for hair that is colored. I do color my hair but want a healthy shampoo bar that won’t harm my hair. I am 71 yrs old and my hair has been falling out.. thank you
Hi, I didn’t have all the ingredients so changed it like this:
Excluded Stearic Acid
Used Cetearyl Alcohol instead
Used BTMS 25 instead of 50
Havent tried using this formulation yet but do you think this was not a good move (changing those 3 ingredients)
I’d think that should work 🙂