Thursday, February 8, 2018

Shampoo Bar

I have a mini pet peeve.  It isn't huge and I don't think about it constantly, but it does annoy me whenever I clean the shower/tub.  It is the shampoo bottles sitting in the shower or on the edge of the tub.  Unless you are obsessive about it and dry the bottles after every shower, the bottles leave crud and soap scum marks under the bottle.  In the shower we have a ledge that does the same.  I bought a rack with suction cups for the corners of the shower.  These work unless you get too much weight on them and suddenly without warning, you hear a crash in the shower.  The rack and everything on it has fallen to bottom of the shower.

I was given some homemade soap last summer.  I put it in a mesh bag and love using it.  I have also made knitted and crocheted bags for putting soap slivers in as well as bars of soap.  The bag can serve as a washcloth, and they dry quickly when hung up.

One day it dawned on me that a shampoo bar would be just the ticket.  It would eliminate plastic bottles, and I could control the ingredients.  Most shampoos are full of things we wouldn't want being absorbed into our bodies.  I have the Think Dirty app which I use.  I am so surprised when even the "Natural" well known products come up with a very high score.  A higher score indicates the product contains ingredients that are not good for you.

I researched and found that you can buy shampoo bars but again I didn't know what was in them.  I decided to make my own bar shampoo.  I found a great recipe online.  The exact recipe is in the link below.

I had everything I needed to make them except a mold to form them in.  My daughter had a silicone muffin pan which she used to freeze her homemade baby food when my grandson was a baby.  That was almost eight years ago, and she said I could have it.  The only concern in using this recipe is the lye.  I was very careful and used gloves, a face mask and goggles.  Lye is very caustic and gets really hot when mixed with water.  Other than that the process is easy as long as you follow the instructions.  The shampoo recipe used lye mixed into different oils.  I used olive oil, coconut oil and almond oil.  I set newspaper out on the counter and put on my safety gear.  I am slightly afraid of lye.  My mom's aunt burned holes in her skin from lye being splashed on her legs and arms.  I put on the goggles, gloves and a mask.  Then I added the lye to cool distilled water.  I stirred it carefully with a metal spoon until the lye was dissolved and the fumes went away.  The water gets pretty hot.  I used a thermometer to track the temperature.  At this point all you do is mix the slightly cooled lye water with the warmed oil and stir.  After 5 minutes of hand stirring I switched to the immersion blender to mix the solution until it looked like vanilla pudding.  That finished product is called "trace".  Then I put in some essential oils and castor oil.  Castor oil is supposed to be good for the hair.  For some reason I thought it was only a laxative, but I guess it has many wonderful uses.  For example, we had it on hand because it was supposed to repel moles in our yard.  We haven't tried that yet, but we will in the spring.  Then I poured the trace solution into the muffin pan and covered it with plastic wrap for 24 hours to make sure it hardened. This batch made six bars of shampoo about an inch thick.  After 24 hours, I popped them out of the muffin cups onto a metal rack.  They came out easily.  Now I have to wait about a month for them to totally cure.

I hope this works.  They smell wonderful and seem like a perfect solution to my aversion to plastic shampoo bottles plus they would be great for traveling.  There would be no liquid to spill out.   I will do an update later to report on how they cured, and if they are a good shampoo and conditioner.

*Update:  The shampoo bars have cured, and are now ready to use.  I really like them.  They suds up so nice, and my hair feels really clean.  I made little bags for them so the bars aren't so slippery and they can be hung up to dry.  I will definitely make them again.