Email me when new posts are made to this blog

How to make solid shampoo and conditioner bars

Written by Chelsea on July 19th, 2018.      14 comments

how the make solid shampoo kits
Above: Inside your solid shampoo kit box you will find: instructions, a guest square mould (with six cavities) and all of the ingredients divided into three easy steps.

We're always trying to find new ways we can eliminate waste so we've been particularly inspired by this year's #PlasticFreeJuly. Solid shampoo and conditioner bars are such an excellent way to lose plastic bottles from your shower and life. They're super handy take to the gym or chuck in your suitcase to avoid the worry of it bursting open and ruining everything! I went on holiday recently and made these to take with me. One bar of each not only lasted the whole 10-day trip but they're still going strong nearly a month later. They've left my hair silky and manageable and I'm not planning on swapping back to the plastic bottle kind... probably ever again! (Also, Japan was lovely, thanks for asking!)

Solid shampoo bars

Makes 6 bars, each 70g, 5.5cm x 2.5cm.

(Buy the pre-measured kit with instructions and mould here!)

Step 1:
Step 2:
Step 3:
See "about the ingredients" at the bottom of the page for a breakdown of what all the individual ingredients are and what they do.

What you'll need from your own kitchen is a spatula, a knife, a stick blender and a face mask.

solid shampoo step 1
In the above photos we've used a double boiler but have since found that the resulting bars can be too soft with this method and recommend doing it in directly in a pot. See below for tips on how to do this safely.

In a pot melt Step 1 and Step 2 together. Wear a face mask for this, keep any windows you can open and put on an extractor fan if you have one and don't have children around, the fumes from the SCI can be a bit harsh. The SCI can take a while to melt but don't leave it as you run the risk of it burning. Towards the end blending it with the stick blender can help speed up the process. Stir until the mixture comes together to form a paste-like consistency. 

Once you're satisfied that it's all mixed together, take the jug off the heat. (Be careful to put it down on a chopping board or something so as to not damage your nice bench!)
solid shampoo step 2
Pour in all of Step 3 into the mixture and stir until combined.

With your spatula and knife press the mixture into the cavities of the mould. It's not the easiest consistency to work with so if it's getting a bit messy you're not doing a bad job! Take care to press it into the corners of the mould and pack it tight, then scape over the top, taking off the excess and creating a clean finish. Repeat until you've used all the mixture. 

It sets quickly so you can always pop it back on the heat to re-melt in between filling cavities. 

Place in the fridge to harden, or the freezer if you want a quicker result, just don't forget about it or you'll have little shampoo ice cubes that need thawing!

solid shampoo bars geranium

Now you have your plastic-free shampoo bars!

To use, wet your hair and stroke the shampoo bar along the strands to lather. Alternatively, rub the bar between your hands to create a lather. Massage it into your hair and scalp as you would with a liquid shampoo. Rinse out and then follow with your usual conditioner. Leave the bar out to air dry, ready for its next use.


Solid conditioner bars

solid conditioner bars 1Above: Solid conditioner bar kit; Step 1 into the double boiler; my silly little face watching it melt!

Inside your solid conditioner kit box you will find instructions, a guest square mould (with six cavities) and all your ingredients divided into two easy steps!

Solid conditioner bar ingredients:
(Buy the kit with everything you need here!)

Makes 6 bars, each 70g, 5.5cm x 2.5cm.

Step 1:
Step 2:
Once again you'll need your trusty double boiler. Step 1 goes in and all melts together. This can take a little while so just be patient.
solid conditioner bars v2
Above: Patience is a virtue while the conditioner pellets and cocoa butter melt; step 2 into the mix; pour into your mould!

Once the mixture is completely melted, simply pour into the moulds and carefully carry to the refrigerator to set. Again, you can speed this process up by placing the mould in the freezer, but just make sure you remember to take them out before they freeze. 

To use, simply smooth along wet hair after shampooing and then rinse out. Leave to air dry before the next use. 

solid conditioner bars v3
And that's it! Once you discover how easy it is to make these portable, practical and prettily-scented beauties, you'll never look back.

Now available in a solid shampoo and conditioner bars combo kit.

solid shampoo & conditioner bars combo kit

About the ingredients

We know some of these ingredients are unfamiliar and unprounceable so here's a quick summary of what they are and what they do.

SCI (sodium cocoyl isethionate) - a coconut oil-based surfactant. It is 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 solid shampoo bars.

Conditioner pellets (aka BTMS-25) - Derived from rapeseed oil and palm oil (RSPO mass balance certified), these pellets make a luxurious hair conditioner (the best we've ever come across) and hair detangler for leave-on and rinse-off products.

Decyl glucoside – one of the first of the alkyl polyglucoside (APG) surfactants. APG surfactants are obtained from renewable, plant-derived raw materials, such as vegetable oils and starch. They have first-rate environmental and skin compatibility profiles and fit in well with consumer demands for wellness, 'green solutions', mildness to human skin, and safety for human health.

Lactic acid - Our lactic acid is produced from fermented corn. It is used to make a harder and longer-lasting bar and has excellent exfoliant, moisturing and deep cleansing properties.

Hydrolysed wheat protein – derived from wheat germ it is used to increase hydration and elasticity, protect cuticles and strenghten hair. Because of its low molecular weight, it easily penetrates the hair shaft and absorbs into the inner fibers of the hair.

Cococaprylate – a skin-conditioning agent naturally derived from coconut oil to provide hydration, spreadability and slip.

Geogard 221 - Ecocert approved preservative.

Links to buy:
- Go Native solid shampoo bar kit
- Go Native solid conditioner bar kit
- Go Native solid shampoo and conditioner bars kit

Tag us in your creations on Instagram, @go_native_nz.


B says ...
What a shame you couldn't have done a natural product. This is the same rubbish that you get in supermarkets minus the water.
A shampoo soap bar would have been the way to go!
Just saying :(
Jackie says ...
In response to the first comment can you please explain further what you mean by it not being a natural product as I am interested in trying this. Also I couldn't see on the list what was unnatural
Jane says ...
You don't want a soap shampoo bar. Its ph is way too high for hair, once your hair is damaged you cant fix it. Not even with 'Apple cider vinigar' this is a good if not very basic recipe and because it's SCI will most likely be ph balanced. Meaning, good for your hair.
If you think it's the same as supermarket shampoos that is your opinion, but these are much different, scientific studies backs the use of these bars over soap.
K says ...
Indeed - in response to 1st comment, what part is unnatural? The preservative is needed to remain a safe product and that's the most unnatural ingredient on there? The ingredients list is a lot nicer than a retail product. Nice work!
Nelly Hymen says ...
Hi Jane,
I agree with you. These bars made with SCI are more ph suited for hair. I still sell my own normal shampoo bar along with syndet bars. The recipe I have for my normal bars works well and a cheaper option for customers moving into bar shampoos. Conditioner Bars are amazing and value for them.
Congratulations getting your Certified Organic Repacker standing. :)
Paula says ...
Perfect ! Thank you so much for sharing. :)
Sharon says ...
Perhaps Go Native customers fall into two camps. If you are interested in crafting a product & adding some essential oil this recipe will appeal. Shampoo soap-bars are what everyone used before the wars to wash their hair! And soap is low-processed compared to the ingredients offered here.

The pH debate is long standing, but I would prefer to use soap over baking soda. Natural options for conditioners involve using a pre-poo hot oil treatment, or after shampooing, using hair oil, shea, cocoa or kokum butter on dry ends only
Lyn says ...
My husband and I have been using our homemade olive oil soap for years to cleanse both body and hair, with a wonderful result. We live in Greece, and prior to the appearance of "shampoo" in a bottle, everyone used the pure olive oil soap which is made from olive oil sediment. This soap is used for cleaning almost anything - clothes, dishes, bodies, babies etc etc. My hair tends to be dry, and I find the olive oil soap does a great job, especially in Greece's dusty climate.
Lyn says ...
Relevant to the above comment, should anybody be interested in buying any of this Greek made olive oil soap, it is available at TasteGreece Trading Co., Wilk Lane, Browns Bay.
maria smart says ...
I would love to try that olive oil soap is, as you say, it is good for the hair as well. Does it give the same effect as a conditioner would?
RT says ...
Dear B,

Opinions differ. I dislike soap based shampoo bars and am perfectly happy with these *chemical* bars. If soap bars work for you, kudos to you.
All of the products used here are mild and work well on the hair, since changing to homemade shampoos and conditioners my hair has been much happier - all the fillers and harsher versions of these product types that go into commercial brands are missing from this recipe - and mine.

Live and let live.
Anna says ...
Do these bars work with hard water? The reason I'm asking is that I've heard that shampoo soap bars cause hair to become waxy when used with hard water.
Denise says ...
I am loving these bars! My hair feels great. I've been searching for ages for shampoo and conditioner that makes my hair feel good. Thanks for your work.
Jack says ...
I've read that the recommended use levels of BTMS-25 are 1% - 10% ( but it looks like you are using over 50%, please could you explain how you are able to use such a high percentage? Many thanks