Lately I’ve been washing my hair with either a peppermint tingle shampoo bar or a bit of babassu liquid shampoo/soap. I took a long break from using the shampoo bars because we had several sets of commercial shampoo and conditioner laying around and I decided to use up the ends of those bottles but now, because I’m trying to reduce breakage and get healthier hair overall, I’m back to shampoo bars and homemade liquid shampoo because it’s more gentle.
Homemade shampoo bars and liquid shampoo, like handmade soap, still contains glycerin which is great for your hair and skin. It also is free of harsh detergents and all synthetic ingredients like parabens and phthalates. I recently formulated and made a new batch of shampoo bars especially for my hair type with cinnamon and patchouli essential oils, and they are curing right now. Meanwhile, here is the breakdown for the liquid soap I’m using:
Babassu Oil liquid soap
# √ Oil/Fat % Pounds Ounces Grams
1 Babassu Oil 30 0.750 12.00 340.19
2 Canola Oil 15 0.375 6.00 170.10
3 Castor Oil 15 0.375 6.00 170.10
4 Olive Oil pomace 25 0.625 10.00 283.50
5 Shea Butter 15 0.375 6.00 170.10
Totals. 100 2.500 40.00 1,133.98
Once it’s made and turned into soap paste, I like to take about 100 g of it, and 50g of very hot water, 25g aloe vera liquid, and mash it together with a fork in a Glad ware container and let it sit overnight. It will soften into liquid soap.
1 tsp silk peptides, silk powder, or silk amino acids. Silk proteins are the same size proteins as our skin and hair and easily absorbed as a useful humectant.
1 tsp wheat gluten-found in the baking aisle. You can also get fancy and use hydrolyzed oat, wheat, rice or quinoa protein in liquid form.
1 tsp phytokeratin, or liquid hydrolyzed keratin. Keratin is what makes up our hair and nails, and adding a bit of it back into products to help repair damage is always helpful. Phytokeratin is plant based, hydrolyzed keratin is not.
1 tbsp broccoli seed oil, castor oil, or jojoba oil (I use 2 tbsp castor oil and skip the coconut oil as castor oil is good for oily hair). Adding a little oil is like adding a “moisturizer”in a commercial shampoo only without chemistry wizardry. I could use cetyl alcohol, which would be a pretty good chemical moisturizer, but there are great oils out there so I’m doing that.
1 tbsp melted coconut oil- coconut oil is terrific if you have any hair problems like thinning hair or dandruff. It actually penetrates the cuticle of the hair follicle
2 Tbsp vegetable glycerin-manages moisture without weighing hair down
1/2 tsp d-panthenol liquid (B5 vitamin)-strengthens hair shaft, promotes hair growth
30 drops essential oils of your choice. (I’m using “Green Smoothie” oil by Brambleberry a lot lately because it smells like fresh cut grass and because they gave me two free samples that aren’t good for soap and aren’t true essential oils so I can only pretty much use them on myself. But it’s still good stuff, Brambleberry is a great company.)
I also add:
1 tsp powdered horsetail (also known as shavegrass)-natural source of silicone
1 tsp powdered chamomile-shiny
1 tsp powdered calendula-vitamins and healing
1 tsp powdered bamboo (I use bamboo tea bags because it’s most cost effective)-full of natural silicones
If you don’t have these things in powder form, turn to a handy dandy coffee bean/spice grinder, preferably one you use for food and not for DIY cosmetics (I have the need for one of each). Grind your herbs by pulsing them until they reach desired consistency. Get them as fine as possible since you’ll want to be able to rinse them out easily. .
Mix all the dry ingredients with the essential oils and a small amount of the soap in a small dish. Mix until you get all the lumps out, adding a tsp or two of aloe if needed to thin it. Put the remainder of the soap in a 8 oz container-I use a repurposed bug juice bottle because it has a pop top. Using a small spatula and a small funnel if necessary, add the herbal mixture to the bottle, then cap and shake gently to mix. Just use like any liquid shampoo! I suggest leaving it in for a few minutes to let all those extra ingredients penetrate the hair shaft and do some good before you rinse it all out.
This works for regular liquid soap paste I described in a previous blog post, not just the babassu based one. You can also leave all the extras out or just use some of them. I would suggest at least using a little oil of some kind and hair happy essential oils like lavender, tea tree, and rosemary.
It’s shampoo. It’s a complex shampoo because of all the ingredients, but you can double the recipe and make it in a pop top water bottle and then not have to make shampoo for ages and ages because it lasts forever. A little goes a long way. This shampoo lathers gorgeously and you’ll have suds for days all in your hair. Keep it out of your eyes, it’s real soap and real soap is not gentle on the eyes or “no more tears”. It burns. Eyes shut tight.
I know I harp on preservatives, especially where I use a lot of botanicals like this. Ideally, the high pH of the soap and the fact that it’s in a sealed container should keep it safe, but… I have concerns, so I will use a preservative, but there’s only a few that can handle the pH of hot process soap (mine is testing around 8.5), which is why it has a preservative in it. Bacteria are active up to pH of 9, and mold and fungi to 10. It’s the last thing I want to worry about, so I prefer a tiny amount of preservative over a risk of infection. It’s the only time I use preservative in soap. Bar soaps’ pH is higher, so it doesn’t need preservative. Also, we don’t add this much botanical stuff to bar soap after the saponification process.
Be sure to follow with an acidic rinse, either 25% Apple cider vinegar, 50% lemon juice, or 5% citric acid (about 1 tsp in 8 ounces water). Apply the rinse, wait 2-3 minutes, then rinse again with cool water. Follow up with a conditioner if necessary. You can use a little grapeseed oil as a conditioner, or make a great conditioner yourself. There are DIY conditioners online. Swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com has GREAT conditioner tutorials. I have discussed making conditioner before, and I’m tweaking my conditioner recipe. I’ll review conditioner science and ingredients soon and give out the recipe I use.
My favorite conditioner, to be examined again at another date. Obviously I love it, it’s mostly gone! It’s full of good stuff, much like this shampoo, but it stays in your hair leaving it soft and shiny!