This beautiful cream-coloured White Chocolate Peppermint Shampoo Bar delivers oodles of bubbles and a wonderful minty-chocolate scent in one elegant package (so to speak—shampoo bars are packaging-free!). I’ve called it a shampoo bar, but it also makes a beautiful body wash bar, helping reduce the number of products (and plastic bottles) in your shower. This is easily the simplest shampoo bar formulation I’ve shared so far, too!
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So, how simple is this formulation? So simple that you don’t need a press or even a mould! There’s no stirring and smashing a stiff mixture into compliance, and the ingredients used are pretty simple. When made as-written the pH lands right around 5, so you don’t have to worry about adjusting the pH, either. This shampoo bar is hand-smooshed and hand-moulded, so all you’ll really need are a pair of disposable nitrile or latex gloves and you’re off to the races!
The bulk of this White Chocolate Peppermint Shampoo Bar is a blend of two different gentle solid anionic surfactants—Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa). That powdery mixture is then moistened with some amphoteric Cocamidopropyl Betaine and hydrolyzed quinoa protein, plus a touch of fresh peppermint essential oil and some Optiphen Plus to preserve the whole lot. We’ll mash all that together with gloved hands to create a moldable dough.
Up next, we’ll squish in a healthy dose of chocolatey cocoa butter to make the bars more gentle, firm them up, and bring that delicious cocoa-y scent to the table. Once the melted cocoa butter is thoroughly incorporated we’ll have a workable dough that can be smooshed into whatever shape you like; I went for a stubby log shape, using a sheet of parchment paper to roll it up a bit (watch the video to see what I mean!). Freeze, and then age. I checked the weights of my experiments over the course of 2.5 weeks; they lost about 0.5% in 1 day, 1% in 3 days, 1.8% in 11 days, and 2.3% in 19 days. Generally speaking the longer you leave them to dry, the better, but I’d say 3 days is the sweet spot for the amount of water lost vs. the time it takes to evaporate off.
The finished, aged bar is very firm and lathers up like a dream in the hair or a loofah. The chocolatey minty scent is wonderful first thing in the morning to get you pepped up to face these dark, winter days (it may also inspire minty hot cocoa cravings!). I hope you enjoy making and using this shampoo as much as I have!
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White Chocolate Peppermint Shampoo Bars
7.5g | 15% cocoa butter (USA / Canada)
24.5g | 49% powdered Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) (USA / Canada)
12.5g | 25% Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa) (USA / Canada)
2.25g | 4.5% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)
2.25g | 4.5% hydrolyzed quinoa protein
0.5g | 1% peppermint essential oil (USA / Canada)
0.5g | 1% Optiphen™ Plus (USA / Canada)
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 cocoa butter into a small heat-resistant measuring cup or beaker and place it in the prepared water bath to melt through.
Put on your dust mask. Weigh the remaining ingredients into a bowl. Put on a pair of nitrile or latex gloves and mash the mixture until it is uniform.
When the cocoa butter has melted, add that to the mashed surfactant mixture and blend with your hands until uniform. Once you have a smooth, workable dough, shape it into a rough puck/log shape and freeze for 20 minutes before leaving to age for at least 72 hours before using.
To use, work into a rich lather in wet hair or on a wet loofah. Use as you would any sort of bar soap or shampoo.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this shampo bar will regularly come into contact with water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project may eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 50g, which is enough for one good-sized bar.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- Please don’t substitute the cocoa butter or peppermint essential oil; they’re integral to the theme of the bar.
- If you don’t care about the theme you could try tucuma butter instead of cocoa butter.
- If you’d like to learn more about the surfactants used and compare them to ones you might already have so you can make substitutions, check out this page. Remember that you may need to test and adjust the pH of the bars if you use different surfactants.
- You could use a different liquid hydrolyzed protein.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this page. Liquid Germall Plus would also work.
The hydrolyzed quinoa protein was gifted by Essential Wholesale.
Why did you choose cocoa butter when it isn’t known to penetrate the hair follicle?
Because it is a straight shampoo not a conditioner or hair treatment?
I’ve read over the subs for the surfactants. I have everything but the SLSA. My question is it ok to change out powder for liquid as I do have foaming oat silk? Or trade powder for powder and test PH after.
I recommend giving this FAQ a read 🙂
Why not heat the cocoa butter in the microwave instead of the water bath?
Because I don’t have a microwave 🙂 You could use one if you had one!
Penetration of the hair follicle isn’t always the goal of a hair product; in this project, I wanted a fat that would smell like chocolate, help moisten & dilute the surfactants, and would help solidify the bars. Cocoa butter does all that beautifully! If you haven’t read this post yet I’d highly recommend it 🙂 Happy making!
I am having trouble opening the linked post. It doesn’t seem to be “clickable”
Whoops! That’s what happens when you forget a letter in the HREF, ha. Fixed 🙂
I am confused about one thing… did u mix the SCI with the water and the coco butter or just the coco butter.. do I need to melt.down my powder form of SCI
Please watch the video, that should clear things up 🙂
Hi Marie! Thanks for this recipe! I have 2 bars that are drying out (2nd day), and they feel a little oily/greasy to touch. Is that normal? Or will they get better over time?
A bit of oiliness is normal up-front, but they should lose that fairly quickly (I would think it would be gone by now, ~day 4 for you?). Is it really hot where you are?
Loved this! I had to use silk instead of quinoa (mine was powder), but my little pattie still had great integrity, and I LOVE the lather. This is my new go-to shampoo.
hi, would this be suitable for frizz hair??,
I can’t think why not; if you find it doesn’t work for your hair, though, it makes great body wash 🙂 Happy making!
Yay, for once I have all the ingredients! I love how simple this recipe is.
Woohoo, I’m so thrilled! I hope you love it 🙂
What a fantastic, easy recipe. Thanks for sharing!!
Just wondering, with these bars having a low ph level, would it be suitable (minus the essential oil) to use on my dogs?
I’d think so, yes 🙂 happy making!
Hi Marie watching ur videos from long time planed to start a small business in my city and I’m from India can you please suggest me some common ingredients from which I can do more products.
Check the FAQ, I’ve got a whole post on that 🙂
Very interesting :). I’ll definitely try this. I’m just curious about how you decide what percentage of surfactant to use in your formulas.
It’s a combination of a couple of things—maximum/recommended usage rates + desired end consistency are two of the biggest factors 🙂 Happy making!
How long does this bar last with typical daily use?
That’ll depend massively on how much hair you have, and how well the bar dries between uses. I’d estimate 2–3 weeks for the amount of hair I have if used daily.
Marie is it okay if I substitute the liquid protein with liquid panthenol? I have all the ingredients except the protein
That should work, but they are definitely different things 🙂 Happy making!
Hehehe I know they’re different but didn’t want to buy another ingredient, I have glycerin, sodium lactate, liquid panthenol and a few liquid extracts, should I use sodium lactate instead?
I’d probably stick with the panthenol; my experiences incorporating glycerin/lots of electrolytes have resulted in bars that need a loooooooong aging time before they can be used—we’re talking upwards of 6–8 weeks 🙂 Happy making!
I would like to put these into a pretty mold. Would this recipe still work?
Oops never mind, just watched the video and it said that you can put into molds as well. 🙂
I like the playdough idea
Thank you so much! I love the workable consistency, too—so fun to play with and easy to work with!
I made this recipe, and I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now. It’s really lovely! I even traveled with it for a long weekend and had to use it as my face wash because I forgot to pack my usual facial cleanser. This shampoo bar was so mild my face didn’t even get that tight dried out feeling I normally get when I have to resort to soap or body wash for my face. Yet my hair is squeaky clean after using. Your formulas are magical.
PS Thank you for stressing the importance of a face mask. I got a whiff of the surfactant even with my mask on and I was really glad I took your advice.
I cannot source Optiphen Plus … will Optiphen work just as well?
For this formulation, it should be fine 🙂 Happy making!
What is the ph once they are ready to be used? I would like to make a shampoo bar but I understand many end up with a ph of around 10 and I think 5-6 is a better ph for hair.
The pH of the bars is discussed in the post 🙂
the usage rate of SCS is mentioned is upto 15%. But in ur recipe its more than 20%. can you pls explain. Also, what should be the total ASM in a shampoo Bar recipe?.
How are you choosing the percentages of SCI,SLSa or Betaine ans other ingredients in a recipe. when i compare all the recipes of yours, each recipe is different and it doesn’t have a standard formula. Can you pls help?.
Please give this FAQ a read 🙂
Oh wanted to read this but doesn’t work
I have made these bars now 4 times….and preparing for my fifth batch! I’ve gifted them to family and coworkers, and they have been unanimously loved . My dad is 75, legally blind (along with a host of other health conditions), with just a fringe of hair, and he says it’s the first time he has had something so easy to use AND his scalp is no longer itchy. Thank you! Mom loves them too. My folks have asked me to make several as they are scared they will run out and I may be too busy to make more. Thank you for sharing this!
Oh my goodness, I am so thrilled to hear that you and so many of your loved ones are enjoying these shampoo bars! Thank you so much for sharing <3 Thanks for DIYing with me, and happy making 🙂
Hi Marie! I love this recipe and have made it plenty of times! This time around, I made a huge batch but I forgot the cocamidopropyl betaine because I was distracted :(. I did find the consistency was different but didn’t think much of it… I made my shampoo bars yesterday and they look good (haven’t tried them yet). I also omitted the freezing (forgot!!).
I’m aware that you add the cocamidopropyl betaine to make the blend of surfactants milder. Is it worth me melting the bars and adding the cocamidopropyl betaine or should I just use them as is? Do I need to adjust the pH?
Argh, quite upset to have forgotten this key ingredient for such a big batch but such is life!
Thanks for your help!
Ah, whoops! I would bet it’ll be fine, though—I’ve been experimenting with some Cocamidopropyl Betaine free shampoo bars and I haven’t noticed a difference in mildness 🙂
Thank you for yet another wonderful formula. I’ve made this soap and love how quickly and easily it comes together. It has a lovely foam and feels great on both the hair and the body that even my husband likes — he is not typically a fan of all my “potions” – LOL! But this time, he used up his bar even before me and has asked when I’ll be making another batch. 🙂
I do have a couple questions before making another batch:
1. Do you have any suggestions on how to make the bar less brittle once it shrinks in size? I let the bar cure for about a week so I wonder if I need to let it sit longer or if there’s something I can tweak in the formula?
2. If I wanted to add a smidgen of conditioning (to help with de-tangling), would you suggest I up the cocoa butter, or add another ingredient, maybe cetrimonium chloride?
Thanks again for the formula/inspiration! ~ Krista
Is it foamy? As far as i know butters and oils in shampoos are known to supress foamnes of surfactants.
Yes, it definitely is—read the comment directly above yours 😉
I’m not able to find Cocamidopropyl Betaine in 100% concentration here in Europe but only 30% water solution. Is it okay to leave it out and add that 4.5 % to SLSA?
Also, have you ever used coco caprylate? Nothing found about this ingredient in your encyclopedia 🙂
Mine is also a 30% concentration; you can learn more about the ASM of the surfactants I use by looking them up in the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia (https://www.humblebeeandme.com/diy-encyclopedia/)!
I’ve never used coco caprylate, but I’d like to!
Would it be okay if I use Euxyl 9010 as preservative for this recipe?
You will have to try it yourself and see 🙂
Wow! This formula looks so wonderful with this percentage of cocoa!
And also your website is very nice. I have been looking at Encyclopedia and the FAQ, so I just would like to confirm:
I can try a to substitute SCS (finely powdered anionic surfactant) in place of Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa) since I adjust the pH, right?
Or are there any other things to check?
That’s more or less it 🙂
Ow, yes, and one more thing: If the protein is not necessary, could I change it for decilpolyglucoside (Plantaren 2000)? What do you think about it/any ideas? (I have searched here and haven’t found shampoo bars with it)
That should work, though the usage rates for those ingredients are so drastically different that I’m not sure you’ll notice much of anything—it’s a bit like using broth instead of hot sauce 🙂 Happy making!
Hi! I’ve been experimenting with poobah formulas and distributed them to a small test group. This one is the clear fave. People are impressed with the lather and how clean their hair feels and stays. One person even said her hair felt younger. So my question is, is there such a thing as too clean? And, should I anticipate any type of stripping? Or is this just the perfect bar for my test group? 🙂
Hooray! I’m so thrilled to hear it 🙂 There is such a thing as too clean, but in my experience, you notice that straight away because your hair feels gross right after washing. Blech 😛
Yep, they are loving it! As I try other formulas I see emulsifiers included. Is that because there are melted surfactants plus conditioners?
It’s hard to say without seeing the entire formulation; the high surfactant concentration in a shampoo bar should mean added emulsifiers aren’t required, but some emulsifiers do other jobs as well (like BTMS-50), so it might be more about the other jobs than the emulsifying 🙂
Just made this with SCS repl SLSA and orange eo. I also used betaine, panthenol and inulin instead of quinoa protein as they’re beneficial for our’s both hair. I forgot to powder my SCS spheres (whoops!) but the bar seems quite solid. Deluxe! xx
This works fantastic. SCS pellets (tiny ones) work great here and endresult is solid bar with gentle foam. Part of my SCI was spheres/ pellets too and part fine powder – pellets are so easy to handle and bar easy to form with hands. I used citric acid too. I know made lot of changes. I felt they’re essential for Adam’s hair type based on my 3 rose argan shampoo bar versions + clay shampoo bar version. After this bar his hair actually de-tangles enough so that he can apply conditioner. Sulfate free surfactant and press (in rhassoul shampoo bar, it was fabulous but soft and crumbly so I finished it in 2 weeks) propably solve many of these issues but I used what I had easy access to. This was so far the easiest one to make. We both are loveing your hair formulas, all conditioners and esspecially this shampoo bar. You were absolutely right: your all shampoo experiments have been usefull to me. Apparently I have crafty side in me too (I had no idea about it). Few months ago I thought that there’s no way I’m diy’ing haircare, haha. You have opened whole new world for me. xx
PS. My self-formulated bar is way too soft (sob) so I’m useing ayurvedic shampoo and this and wait few weeks for it to solidify. Next time I’ll add 5 % stearic acid. See? I’ve actually learnt troublesoothing something by myself. 😛
Thank you, Marie! I just made this swapping only protein part (betaine), preservative (geogard cosgard 221) and fragance (coffee and whisky fragance oil propably and bergamot eo). It’s amazing: lather, texture, warm rooibos tea and booze like scent and gentle but clean after feel. It came together super easily. My ealier version was great but too complicated – I haven’t noticed any difference. Great gift potential! I was too excited again to wait until xmas so I already gifted this to Adam, ha. 😛
Hooray! I’d love to hear your thoughts comparing this one to the more recent Ice Palace one, too ❤️ Lucky Adam!
I subbed out the liquid hydrolyzed protein for the same amount of silk peptides as you said to try in response to my comment on the youtube post, but upon beginning to mix I realized that meant that I needed more liquid, especially because I have very fine powders of both SCI and SLSA. So I added another 2.5ish grams of cocamidopropyl betaine to make up for it.
Its out of the mold and drying now, but how do you think this will affect the cure time and performance? Should I have added another 2.5g of cocoa butter instead of more cocamidopropyl betaine instead?
Hi Sreya! It might need another day or two to dry, but that’s about it. Happy making!
I live in Australia, and really want to make a shampoo bar, but lots of ingredients on your recipe couldn’t find here! I look at New direction Australia website, https://www.newdirections.com.au/epages/newdirections.sf/secf03f904d11/?ObjectPath=/Shops/newdirections/Products/RMAS100DISOLAURSULF
Wondering is that the same as Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate? And if I only use what I can fine here, can I still make a shampoo bar? Thanks so much.
Can you substitute quinoa extract for the quinoa protein?
It’s worth a try 🙂