In an earlier post I wrote about the simple recipe I had found for a solid moisturiser stick that was perfect for travel. After the success of that, I had to try making solid shampoo and conditioner bars for travelling too. They will be great for cutting down volume and weight, and they’re not liquids or gels so you can take them on the plane with you as well if you want.
The recipes are from Go Native (I have their permission to reproduce them on my blog) and you can buy all the ingredients from them.
Buying all the ingredients initially will seem expensive but for most of them you will have plenty left over for the next times. The recipes make a good quantity and the bars last a long time. I’m testing them out at the moment to see what size bar I would need to take on a trip and after more than a dozen washes the bars have barely changed size.
Again, I was a bit skeptical about how well these would work but I am very impressed. For the shampoo, you simply rub the bar against your wet hand and it produces a light foam – not super foamy but I didn’t need very much to get a nice lather when I rubbed it into my hair. You can do the same with the conditioner but all you really need to do is swipe the bar gently over your wet hair and you can feel it coating the strands. I read that if you are changing shampoos it can take up to a week to remove any residues remaining from previous product so you should give it that long before you make any decision about whether you like it or not. I really liked the result straight away – it left my hair feeling very soft and silky.
Despite some of the rather chemically-sounding names of the ingredients, these are actually all natural plant-based products – see table at bottom of post.
Solid shampoo bars
In a double boiler, heat the following: I weigh my ingredients into the top part of the boiler
240g SCI surfactant
60g decyl glucoside
40g cocamidopropyl betaine
20g conditioner pellets
12g cetearyl alcohol
8g mango butter (any oil or butter will be fine)
When the above pellets are melted (it looks slushy, not liquid):
4g hydrolysed wheat protein
4g litsea cubeba essential oil * this gives quite a strong lemon scent that I adore but you can leave it out or substitute another essential oil
Mix it all up using a spatula and press into moulds. I was concerned that I hadn’t mixed the ingredients enough as it seemed as though it was setting fast so I transferred it quickly to the moulds but it hasn’t made any difference when I use the shampoo.
Unmould when it’s cold and hard, in about 24 hours. I was too impatient and removed mine a bit soon but it was okay.
To use: rub in hands to create a light foam then use to lather up hair. Rinse. Repeat if desired.
Solid conditioner bars
(makes 2x 100g bars)
170g conditioner pellets
30g cetearyl alcohol
30g cocoa butter
Melt the above (these ingredients melted very quickly to become liquid) and add:
6g hydrolysed wheat protein
5g litsea cubeba essential oil * this gives quite a strong lemon scent that I adore but you can leave it out or substitute another essential oil
2g Geogard 221
When you add the second set of ingredients, it starts to set again quite quickly so stir it as you go and work quickly. Pour into moulds and leave to set.
To use: Swipe through wet hair, massage scalp, rinse off.
I used the rectangular moulds that were recommended but I find them a bit large to handle easily. You can just cut them in half. I also experimented with the oval mould and it is an absolutely perfect size and shape to fit in the palm of my hand and with a flat side to rub against your hand or hair.
Here’s my solid moisturiser stick, solid shampoo bar and solid conditioner bar all ready to go on my next trip.
|Sodium cocoyl isethionate
|coconut oil-based surfactant
|very mild on skin, hair and eyes and has a silky skin feel.
SCI makes a great lather and is good for making liquid shampoos and shampoo bars.
|Ecocert approved surfactant made from a reaction between the fatty alcohols from coconut oil and a natural sugar from corn starch
|First-rate environmental and skin compatibility profile and fits in well with consumer demands for wellness, ‘green solutions’, mildness to human skin, and safety for human health.
|a mild natural surfactant derived from coconut oil
|usually used as a co-surfactant to boost and stabilise foam and improve viscosity in formulations
Behentrimonium methosulfate & cetearyl alcohol
|derived from rapeseed oil
|these pellets make a luxurious hair conditioner and hair detangler for leave-on and rinse-off products. Very mild.
Can also be used as an emulsifier in creams
|a cosmetic wax
|used as a thickener in conditioners and some creams
|a naturally occurring butter and is the soft fat extracted from the fruit seed
|has a luxurious emollient feel and is an ideal ingredient to use in skin care and suntan preparation and as a superfatting agent in soap. Mango butter also has a wound healing quality so is used for ulcerations, fissures of the lips, hands and chapped skin, and on inflamed wounds and sores.
|also known as Provitamin B5
|attracts moisture from the air and binds to hair follicles. When used as a moisturising agent in shampoos and conditioners, the hair feels lubricated, but not greasy. It may also make hair appear shiny.
|naturally derived from coconut oil
|a skin-conditioning agent used to provide high hydration, superb spreadability and slip
Benzyl alcohol & dehydroacetic acid
|permitted by Ecocert as a synthetic preservative in ecological and organic certified cosmetics.
|Has global approval for virtually every personal care and cosmetic
|Hydrolysed wheat protein
|Used in shampoo and conditioner recipes to strengthen your hair.