Homemade Solid Shampoo Bar Recipe

Solid Shampoo Bar Recipe

Note from Katie: I’m excited to welcome my friend Elizabeth (also a mom of five) to share her recipe for solid shampoo (shampoo bar soap). If my homemade natural shampoo didn’t work for your hair type, this may be the answer. I know you’ll love it as much as I do! Enter Elizabeth…

When I began my journey to give my family a chemical-free lifestyle I adapted pretty easily to natural cleaners like homemade laundry soap and natural all-purpose cleaners. I drew the line, however, with my own personal hygiene routine.

I have always had oily hair and skin and I was not willing to give up my store-purchased shampoos and face-washes for fear that natural cleaners would not be able to keep my oily hair in check. But as I began to see more information on the chemicals in conventional shampoos, I decided it was time to make the switch.

I also learned that when chemical shampoos strip the natural oils from your hair (which is what I thought I needed) they cause your scalp to overproduce in an attempt to compensate being stripped in the first place. This shocked me. By stripping the oil out of my hair I was actually making it worse!

I first experimented with the no-poo method, but I had disastrous results! I was jealous of people who had success with this method, but I was certainly not one of them. So I went back to my “regular” shampoo and went on the hunt for another option. That is when I stumbled upon solid shampoo. I would have never thought I could use a bar of soap on my hair, but I was excited about the possibility of actually using a soap with a lather to clean my hair.

Benefits of Solid Shampoo

I was pleasantly surprised with how well it worked. It took a while for my hair to fully adjust, but I never felt like I was walking around with unclean hair the way I did when I was trying “no-poo.” And because I was no longer stripping my hair of all it’s natural oils I was able to shampoo less, which was great news for me since I previously would not leave home without washing my hair.

Another perk I experienced was quicker showers. As a mother of 5, this was very important to me. Actually shampooing my hair took the same amount of time, but because I was using an apple cider vinegar rinse as my “conditioner,” it eliminated the lengthy process of letting the conditioner set and then the time it took to rinse it out.

Finally, because the shampoo bar is basically a bar of soap, it can be used on the whole body. This also makes it easy to travel with because all you need is your bar of soap and a small bottle of rinse and you are good to go!

How to Make Solid Shampoo

Soap is made by combining a lye (sodium hydroxide) and water mixture with various oils. A chemical reaction occurs and the oils are saponified giving you soap (no lye remains.) Each oil used in soap making has a different saponification value which means that each oil requires a different ratio of lye to water depending on the amount and type of each oil used.

A soap calculator can help you to figure this out by allowing you to enter the amounts and types of oils you will be using and telling you how much water and lye to use.

Different oils also have different benefits when making soap. For example, coconut oil makes a hard bar that has good cleaning properties while olive oil makes a soft bar with moisturizing benefits. The trick to soap making is to find the right combination of oils to give you a perfect balance for your needs. For our shampoo bar we are going to use:

Coconut oil-makes a nice hard bar that cleans and lathers well, but it can be drying so it is recommended to use no more than 30%.

Olive oil-makes a softer bar that has wonderful moisturizing properties, but does not give much of a lather. Up to 50% is recommended.

Castor oil-helps stabilize the lather created by the other oils. While it is recommended to use no more than 10% because too much castor oil can make your bar feel sticky, we are going to use slightly more in this recipe because the lathering properties really help when working the soap through your hair. I have never had a problem with my shampoo bar felling sticky.

Tallow-makes a hard bar with great cleansing properties. Use up to 50%. (I rendered the beef fat from a cow we had butchered to make tallow. You can substitute palm oil in this recipe which has the same benefits as beef tallow. Just be sure to recalculate your ingredients to be sure your lye/water ratio is accurate.)

Essential oils also make a wonderful addition to shampoo bars, but are not necessary. I have used a combination of tea tree, rosemary, and peppermint and also peppermint and orange. Both were lovely.

Shampoo Bar Supplies

I have bowls/spoons designated only for soap making because we are working with lye and I don‘t feeling comfortable using these bowls for food.

  • Glass or high quality plastic mixing bowl for mixing lye and water (I use a qt. mason jar)
  • Non-reactive pot or crockpot for warming oils
  • Candy thermometer (I have two, one for the lye mixture and one for the oils)
  • A soap mold (I use a silicone bread mold)
  • Digital scale for precise measuring
  • Stick blender
  • Wooden spoon
  • Gloves and protective eyewear
  • White Vinegar (good to have on hand to neutralize lye in case of spills)


  • 10 oz coconut oil
  • 10 oz tallow (or palm oil)
  • 10 oz olive oil
  • 6 oz castor oil
  • 5 oz lye
  • 12 oz distilled water
  • 1.5 oz essential oils added at trace (I use .5 oz each of tea tree, rosemary and peppermint)

How to Make Shampoo Bars

  1. Wearing your protective gear, pour water into your glass bowl/jar for mixing. In a well-ventilated area, slowly add lye to the water. (They must be mixed in this order. DO NOT add water to the lye.) This causes the mixture to become very hot so keep that in mind for protecting the surface of your work area. Stir and let sit to give time for the reaction to take place and for it to cool back down. I use the candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature.
  2. Measure all oils (except essential oils) using your digital scale and combine in a non-reactive pot or crockpot and begin to slowly warm the oils. You ideally want your oils and your water/lye mixture to be about the same temperature when you mix them (between 100 and 120 degrees.)
  3. When the temperatures are close, slowly add water/lye mixture to your oils. Use a stick blender to begin mixing until trace is achieved. You can tell when you have reached trace when your mixture is still fluid, but a drop or drizzle of the soap mixture stays on the surface for a few seconds before falling back in. [Just pull your immersion blender (in the off position) up and let some soap drizzle off.]
  4. Add essential oils if you are using them.
  5. Pour the mixture into your soap mold. *Remember, saponification is not complete yet at this point so you still want to be wearing your gloves/eyewear.
  6. Cover your soap mold with an upside down cardboard box and cover with a towel to keep it warm while it continues to saponify and leave for 24 hours. If your home is particularly warm you may not need the towel. If it gets too warm it could crack which I don’t think would cause a problem but your soap won’t be as pretty.
  7. While still wearing your gloves, wash all utensils in hot, soapy water. You can add some vinegar to your hot, soapy water to help neutralize the lye.
  8. After 24 hours, remove your soap from the mold and slice it. I cut mine about 1 inch thick as this is a nice size. You should get about 12 bars. Stand your bars up and let them cure in a well-ventilated area for about 4-6 weeks and then enjoy!

How to Use Solid Shampoo

Solid shampoo is used much like any bar of soap. Get your hair wet and begin to rub the bar over your hair until you have a nice lather. Now you can massage and lather your hair as if you were using “real” shampoo. Rinse with water.

Most people need to follow with an acidic rinse such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water. People with drier hair may try up to a 50/50 mix.

Because I have oily hair I use less ACV. I mix about 1/3 cup ACV in a 20 oz spray bottle and fill the rest of the way with water. It is roughly a 1/5 ratio. You can also add essential oils to make it smell wonderful. I use 10 drops each of rosemary and peppermint.

After you are done shampooing, just spray this all over your hair and leave it in. The vinegar smell dissipates as it dries and you are left with the lovely smell of essential oils.

Ever tried natural shampoo? What worked for you?

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Reader Comments

  1. Hi Katie,

    Is the shampoo and apple cider rinse ok for colored hair?

    • Hey wellness mama, I’ve recently stumbled upon your blog and immediately fell in love with it! This might be a silly question, but I see that a lot of your post have distilled water, I searched for the meaning of it and I’m still confused, may you further explain please? also how can I make distilled water or where to buy it? .. Thank you again for the amazing posts and tutorials!

      • I usually purchase distilled water at the supermarket.

        • The water from your dehumidifier is distilled water. You don’t want to drink it, but it’s good for filling steam irons, car batteries, spray bottles, etc.

        • I grew up with homemade soap. Mom would collect soft water or rain water or distilled water from outside But it worked beautifully. She even collected rain water for laundry in an old ringer washer. She said it made the clothing softer. Haha, maybe that dates me. I’m just over 40 lol but we grew up poor but rich in experiences! Happy soaping 🙂
          great recipe

      • Not sure where you are from but in my area ( Indiana) and most all of the US, you can find it in the groceries and places like Wal-Mart..

      • Distilled means boiled

        • Distilled means boiled – and the steam collected until it condenses back to water again. The resulting water is a very pure form, with none of the harmful chemicals.

    • @ Katie – apple cider vinegar rinse will strip the color from colored hair, so no, it’s not a good idea to use it if you do have colored hair; this usually doesn’t happen after just one rinse, but after two or three rinses you will notice the change in the color. I suppose it ‘cleanses’ anything unnatural?

      For any hair besides colored it is brilliant though, as long as you don’t use it more then once a week or so. Speaking for myself, in summer I will usually use it on every second wash (every 4 or 5 days), whereas in winter when I only wash my hair about once every 7 or 8 days, I use it for every wash.

      Rambling on a bit now, but figured it couldn’t hurt to share! This hair-washing schedule came after I used to wash my long, thick — and rather temperamental — hair every single day, and HATED to do it because it took an age and wasted so much water in the process (and usually ended up oily by the next day), but then after making up my mind to wean myself off that bad habit and let my scalps PH level and oils regulate themselves, my hair has become neater and more manageable then it’s ever been (and thankfully only gets oily at the scalp on the last day, when I use dry shampoo to get me through the hours of the day til I wash it). <3

      • Do you have a suggestion for a different type of rinse that would be ok for colored hair?

  2. Would this type of shampoo help restore my natural hair color? I’m naturally bright blonde but after living overseas on an island with very hard (and dirty) water my hair looks constantly dark. As soon as I go back to the states my hair goes back to being blonde. Thank you for your help/tips!

    • @ Sarah. I suspect that it would help your hair to return to its natural color over time if you made sure to always make the apple cider rinse with distilled water, and then try to wash it out with clean, clear water (rain water if at all possible) rather then the water from your shower.

      I know exactly what you’re going through as growing up I lived on a rural property that had hard water with lots of iron in it, and when you have hair that is naturally quite porous (some hair is more porous then others and will retain colors — both good and bad — for much longer. That’s my hair.) the minerals in the water get absorbed into the shafts of hair, and it’s really hard to get it out again.

      I’ve noticed that since using apple cider vinegar rinse several years ago, the reddish iron stains in my hair have disappeared, so I have no doubt that with a bit of persistence and forgoing the use of the hard water to wash your hair, you will get that natural hair color back too. 🙂

      Good luck!

  3. Sorry if this is a silly question, are you at all worried about the oil building up and clogging the drain pipes?

    • Once you add the lye during the soap making process, it is no longer oils at all but soap. Just like a regular bar of soap, it won’t clog drains 🙂

      • I worked as a receptionist for Roto Rooter. One of my Favorite Plumbers told me to poor 2 cups boiling water weekly down every drain. It cleans grease build up, soap goop, dust and light dust bunnies. NOT ANY HAIR EVER! ACID will not dissolve hair! use a baby bottle brush or crochet hooks.
        the acid can turn the clog into a volcano backing out the pipe at you causing painful burn to standers by. BE SAFE

  4. Great idea. I make soap all the time so I’ll try this too. With ACV though although the vinegar smell goes away when it dries, I find it tends to come back when I sweat at the gym or in the summer making me smell like a salad. Any ideas?

    • Hoping you get a reply because I have the same issue. It’s ok now I’m winter but as soon as I step in my warm, slightly steamed bathroom to shower the whole place instantly reeks of vinegar. I can’t imagine trying this in the summer if you live in a humid climate! Wondering if you can apply the vinegar and then rinse it out? I’d be willing to wait & let it sit a min or 2 before rinsing if it means not smelling of vinegar.

      • I would think it would be okay. I always rinse the vinegar out of my hair and it never smells like vinegar later. And I don’t spray it on, I pour it all over my hair. Hope this helps.

        • Most posts I have seen recommends that you rinse the vinegar out anyway because it can become drying to your hair… I have always rinsed mine out and I have never smelled of vinegar..

      • I always tense acv out with good results. I have pretty oily hair to start with.

  5. Hi. Thanks for the information and recipe for the shampoo bar. I recently tried an organic shampoo bar that I purchased online that was made with coconut oil . I was hoping to love it. It lathered nicely, and smelled wonderful. After shampooing, I used my normal conditioner, as I had no ACV at the time. I towel dried my hair as usual, but when I went to comb it out, what a mess! My hair felt gummy, and was an absolute tangled mess! It took me the longest time to get it combed out. I allowed it to air dry, but once dry, it was dull and lifeless looking, and actually still felt gummy and just nasty. It was very hard to brush even when dry.

    I really want to get away from commercial shampoos and conditioners, and I would love to try your shampoo bar recipe, but I cannot have my hair like that. Any ideas would be really appreciated.

    Thank you in advance!

    • It sounds like the issue may be your normal conditioner. Maybe try again, but with the ACV rinse afterwards?

      • Thank you Katie. I will try that!

        • Hi Rhonda, I’ve been no poo for a year and it’s really process to find what works for you, but if you’re like me at all I’ll save you some time and some sketchy hair. Shampoo bars (I made them similar to this recipe) work great for my husband with short hair, but what I experienced was soap scum like on your shower door in my long hair because I don’t have soft water I think. So, I finally found that if you boil 2 cups of water, add 2 Tbs baking soda, let it cool and put it in an old shampoo bottle, wash (not sudsy but your hair will be clean), and then rinse with a Tbs white vinegar in warm water in the shower (rinse it out) it works great. I only do this twice a week, and in between I’ll use the shampoo bar on the hair around my face, maybe on a ponytail or dry shampoo day. Hard to comb at first but once all the chemical gunk is gone it’ll be soft and tangle free I swear. It took months to arrive at this, I hope it helps 🙂

          • My hair is always really frizzy, do you think the baking soda would help with that or just dry my scalp out even more? Also, do you just use the vinegar as the conditioner? (Btw I also have hard water.)

          • OMG thank you so much for this I have made some coconut oil shampoo bars and its been almost a month… my hair has been gross to say the least with soap scum and that was with the ACV. My conclusion is that it was my hard water because I went on vacation and washed my hair with the bar then and it was amazing. 🙁 I had almost given up hope, so I am so glad I saw this. Thanks for sharing!

          • Chloe, sorry it’s now June 🙂 my daughter has curly frizzy hair and she’s going with co-wash, it’s like washing with conditioner and Amazon has one from As I Am, coconut co-wash, it smells like heaven.

    • Your hair may also be going through detox. You can Google it but it can take several shampoos to completely get all the gunk from commercial products out of your hair. Took my hair about a week and a half to get past the yuckyness.
      Good luck! It is worth it in the end, my hair is much softer now 🙂

      • Thank you. I appreciate the input! Do you use ACV as a rinse? What dilution of ACV to water do you use? Do you rinse it out?

        • If you’re like me at all acv will add to the waxy feeling, I use white vinegar diluted with warm water and rinse it. Also any soap can leave soap scum in your hair if you don’t have soft water, so I use baking soda dissolved in boiling water, rinse with diluted white vinegar twice a week, and then use the shampoo bar on the hair around my face between washings. It took me months to figure this out. Also, give it a few weeks and it will be soft and tangle free, you do need to get rid of the chemicals for it yo work well so stick with it.

        • Rhonda, if it’s any help, I use 1/3 cup ACV to 1 cup water. I usually rinse it out.

    • I make my own soap and a tea tree oil shampoo bar. After the first use of the shampoo, my hair ended up just as you describe, it was disgusting! I realized it was cleaning all the built up product out of my hair! I kept using it for each shampoo, and after about the third was, my hair was squeaky clean! Now I don’t need any conditioner or ACV and my hair glistens and is baby soft. The best part is that instead of washing it every day, I only need to wash it twice a week! Homemade shampoo bars are the best thing ever!

      • Thanks for the info. Heidi. I appreciate it. I will stick with it and endure the “funk” stage. I would like to ask if you are willing to share your shampoo bar recipe made with tea tree oil? Thank you in advance!

        • It also could be that your hair is different-all hair is different. It may never get better. I cannot use soap for shampoo because it is too alkaline and my bleached hair can’t handle any more damage. Soap makes it so brittle it breaks off! I don’t understand why people think soap is natural. Lye is a caustic chemical. Soap is way too high ph for hair but if someone’s hair is really healthy it probably makes the cuticles stand out and gives it some needed “damage” making it fluffier. That is what bleach does for my hair. I don’t think that soap is natural. I think shampoo made from a derivative of coconut oil is more natural than that and the right pH for hair.

          • Firstly everything is made up of chemicals even your fancy pH balancing soaps (that have no effect BTW because the skin very quickly returns to is natural pH after using any type of cleanser, just Google it.)

            Secondly Lee is considered ‘natural’ because it’s is naturally derived, they used lye (pot ash) in Egypt when the first soaps were being made. Soap made correctly will have NO lye left over in the end product … You don’t even need to list it in the ingredients list when selling.

            I don’t really understand how you can start out saying everyone’s hair is different but then go on to say soap is bad for ALL hair … ???

            Please educate yourself before preaching.

          • A basic understanding of shampoo– it is comprised of a liquefied SOAP… and commercial shampoo has all kinds of fuglies that you cannot possibly pronounce added to it which will also dry out your hair and cause it to become brittle and break off. You should see the difference in both breakage and fallout of my hair since I made the switch!!
            As an FYI- Lye soap isn’t the type of “soap” you are familiar with. The commercially produced soaps have been stripped of any glycerin, are drying and just fugly to use. They dry out your skin, and would of course dry out your hair.
            Homemade lye soaps are the opposite. They can be customized to your own needs. Using a soap calculator, and varying the oil mixture- you can be in control of the conditioning levels. Your shampoo can be more moisturizing, cleansing, bubbly: choose an attribute… I just made some scrumptious shampoo bars that went in overload mode for restructuring (hemp oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, shae butter, coconut oil and a touch of olive oil) for my ultra dry, flyaway and hard to manage gray hair. Once lye has been through the saponification process (fancy term for the chemical process that binds molecules and turns oil into a cleanser), then the lye no longer exists- nor do the oils- you now have the glycerine rich, true soap that our ancestors used. Mahvelous!
            Perhaps you should give a shampoo bar a good 3 week trial before knocking it.

    • That “gummy” problem you’re experiencing is likely the “funky” period many people go through as the old shampoo build-up is worked out of your hair when switching to the solid shampoo. This “funky” period can last one wash, or up to a week. If you can, stick with it for a week or so before you make up your mind that it’s not for you. The vinegar rinse may help. If you continue to have a problem, then it is likely other hair products reacting.

      I switch back and forth between salon products and solid shampoo, depending on when I can buy the solid shampoo. I remember one time switching back and I had so much build-up on my hair from old products, it was almost like I had gum stuck in my hair! That’s a good thing to get out, even if the process is messy at first!

      I look forward to making my own bars with this recipe so I don’t have to depend on availability in my local shops!

      • Places like Etsy sell bulk shampoo bars for pretty good prices if making your own isn’t up your alley. Most sellers will even make you custom orders if you ask nicely. They have a great selection and have vegan, all natural, handmade, and with any kind of scent you can imagine. Shipping can be a bit pricey, but if you buy in bulk it usually balances out and you save anyway since the bars last way longer than a bottle of shampoo plus you don’t need conditioner!

    • Soaps made with all or mostly coconut oil are extremely cleansing but can be harsh. You need to balance the soap with some other, more moisturising oils like olive oil, and castor oil gives superior lather etc. so perhaps this shampoo bar recipe will work better for you as it has other oils as well, not just coconut. I also add neem oil in my shampoo bars. It’s excellent against dandruff, psoriasis, eczema and even headice! It doesn’t smell great but I try and override the natural neem smell with tea tree and Rosemary essential oil in the bars. But as far as a natural shampoo bar it works great.

      • Soap made with a high percentage of coconut oil should also have a high superfat. I have a 100% coconut oil shampoo bar that I also use for a body bar and have never experienced a problem with dryness. Because it has a high superfat 🙂

    • That gummy feeling may have been it cleansing the buildup residue. I started using homemade soap with a little higher than average super fat- due to general dry skin- and once I had used it a few times, the gummy feeling went away. I don’t condition anymore. I do keep my hair pretty short, but I am growing it out, and it seems like it detangles easily now that I have stopped using commercial products. Except gel and hair spray. I haven’t found a good sub yet for my short hair, but hopefully once it gets a little longer…..

    • Hi all. I wanted to share my experience with “funky” hair. I always had greasy nasty hair that was dry from the ‘oily hair’ shampoo stripping it, but then I switched to the ‘normal hair’ shampoos & conditioners and that vicious cycle went away. Then I started using Kirk’s Castile Coconut soap a few years back as a whole body bar. I plan on making a 100% coconut oil soap soon as the prices & availability of Kirk’s are becoming ridiculous. Anyhow, the first time I did this was during an Epsom salt bath soak and I left it in my hair for a while—not quite until it had dried completely, but real close as it was hard and crusty. When I rinsed my hair of the soap I thought “OMG what did I just do to my hair?! I’m gonna have to bic my head!!” Then as I always do, I put my conditioner in and let it sit for a while before I started to use a pick to get through the snarls. When I rinsed out the conditioner my hair felt spectacular!! I didn’t seem to have the problem switching from regular shampoo to the Kirk’s bar that I see so many complain about and I think it is because the first several times I used it on my hair I let it sit for a long time to really get that drawing action working. I use ACV rinse, 3-6 oz in 6-9 oz water in a 12 oz plastic spray bottle and for I can’t remember since when, my hair is shiny and flowing with few snarls. I have fine hair so this gives it nice volume.

      Same on my face—as a mask on my face where you take bar just barely wet on a wet face and rub the bar everywhere, let it dry—it gets tight and turns your face white. For open zits or chapped lips it is gonna sting, almost burns, so I don’t leave it on chapped lips for long. With the zits, the stinging and tingling is just drawing out the toxins so I deal with it. The more often you do it, the less it stings because it is doing its job &and there are less toxins there. Coconut oil is a very powerful drawing agent and the soap is too. Is it drying? Yes, but that is what you want for acne anyhow, so just follow with witch hazel and aspirin (4-5 uncoated aspirin in a bottle of witch hazel supplies the salicylic acid) applied with a cotton ball and a good lotion or whipped coconut oil when your face is damp…you’ll be right as rain. By the way, this routine of Kirk’s as a mask with the aspirin witch hazel as a toner can bust up a hormonal break out around the start of your period in just one or two uses. I know many people complain of the Kirk’s stinging the nether regions and I don’t know why it does that—it is not a lye heavy soap—I use it to brush my teeth with no issues at all.

      Using Kirk’s like this, well I don’t remember feeling this clean since I was a kid. The soaps of today just are different then 30-40 years ago. We have hard water here in the Rockies of Colorado and it lathers very luxuriously and does so even in salt water of the ocean. Kirk’s has gotten rid of DH’s dandruff and backne, the kiddos severe puberty acne and brought waves to my bone straight, post-menopausal hair. I only pray that a homemade 100% coconut soap will have the same benefits for my family!!

      Thanks for letting me ramble, hope this helps others get through the funky stage.

  6. Great recipe! I’ve been thinking about trying a shampoo bar ever since I started CP soap… I’m going to try this out!!

  7. Just last week I made this exact soap (a few differences in percentage of each – not much though)!!!! Didn’t have a recipe, just read about each oil and the tallow and gave it a shot. I am eagerly waiting for the curing to finish so we can try it 🙂 Was hoping it would work well as a shampoo bar, as my husband is very sensitive to regular shampoo and had asked me to try making a shampoo bar. I used the room temp method and it worked great! First time making soap on my own. Thank you for an inspiring post! Always love to learn how to make-my-own when it comes to body care(and everything else 🙂

  8. If I ever work with lye, I will make this soap! A note about the ACV: when I rinse with ACV, I wash it out afterwards, and my hair STILL has the vinegar smell (yet very faint.) Isn’t it bad to leave it in your hair?

  9. Oh my gosh, I must be such a wuss. But I thought I was gonna pass out when I read the part about the cow butchered. (My husband eats meat. You should have seen me prepping a chicken soup for him one day with a whole chicken. OMG, I almost hit the floor just washing it. I was practically jumping around at the sink. And then when the giblets fell out – which I had no idea about what they were til then – well I couldn’t stand. I had to lay down. Suffice to say my family and friends were hysterical laughing. I laugh about it now, but my hubby’s in charge of taking care of any meat now, LOL. Yeah, I am too wussy.)

    Anyway, besides beef tallow and palm oil, could you recommend any other alternatives for that part?

    Dawn Marie

    • Ahahaha!! Sorry to laugh but I loved your post. Esp the giblets omg lol! I am a light meat eater and have cooked for years but when I make bone broth and you rub the bones with oil before roasting – there were streaks dark blood on my hands and I thought I’d cut myself, then realized it was from the bones ???? My tummy definitely did the flipflop. And I also did a full body cringe when I read that line about butchering. So you are not alone! But I am not a wuss – I am a strong, resilient woman who has certain sensitivities! ????

      • Oops, I’d put emojis in my post and they came out as multiple question marks! Ignore those!

        • Elysia, OMGosh, I was thinking about doing the bone broth for my hubby. I’m glad you mentioned about the blood. I could just see me hitting the floor then, LOL. I pass out every time the doctors do my bloodwork. I guess the hubby’s going to have to do the bone broth too.

          Oh, I don’t mind the laughing. I’m so used to it. Makes for great conversation, LOL. Yeah, those giblets really freaked me out, LOL. Maybe it’s because I’m a city girl. My hubby was raised near farmland.

  10. Is there a hot process way to make this soap? We usually go through soap quickly, so waiting a month and a half would mean I would constantly have to have a couple of batches curing. I just don’t have room for that. I make coconut oil soap from mommypotamus.com that takes about an hour start to finish. It’s hot process though, so we can use it that night. Other than this soap, I have no experience. I don’t know how to make this the quick way. Thanks in advance for your reply.:-)

    • So glad you have joined the sisterhood of soap crafters! As you have experience with the Hot Process [HP] technique from “mommypotamus.com” you have the skills to work your magic with this recipe too. The same safety precautions apply so be certain you have vinegar, chemical resistant gloves and goggles. Evict any items made of aluminum (kitchenware etc); plus kids, pets, spouses, etc. out of your soaping zone. In 9 years, every ( Cold Process, Goat Milk Base, Beer Base, Pure Castile, Pine Tar, etc ) soap recipe I have found or developed has worked as a HP recipe. Please let me share a bit of experience: 1. Check the maximum temperature that each oil, and ingredient can tolerate. Temperature in HP is especially critical for Essential Oils and Fragrances and may be listed as “Flashpoint”. I try to stir in any chosen scent as late as possible…just before the “mashed potatoes” turn to concrete phase lol! 2. Some ingredients and oils can cause a recipe to reach trace in a matter of seconds (seriously !) while others can cause a soap to “seize”. ALWAYS check the properties of a new oil, ingredient, fragrance, or essential oil. A few moments of research can save you many hours of salvage & rescue work. 3. “Seized” soap can be shredded in small batches with a food processor and set aside in a covered container to finished curing for 2-3 weeks. 3. If you need to thin a HP batch that has cooked a bit too long,add a tablespoon of milk. Resist the urge to add more milk. Use a potato masher if you have one, it will make this job so much easier. If not; stir hard. Only add the very least amount of milk that you need to get the soap out of the crock pot. Any excess milk will not be readily absorbed. I hope these tips are useful to you, and I have no doubt that your skills and knowledge will continue to grow as a soap artisan !

    • mine, after being wrapped up,gelled SO HOT , it hp on its own 🙂 I tested it after cutting the next day, it was good to go 🙂 squishy and soft but good to go

  11. Is acv OK for colored hair ?

    • I would be careful, as it could strip the color.

      • Is there an alternative natural conditioner for colored hair?

  12. I don’t have much hair left but wouldn’t it be easier to use branch basic cleaner as a shampoo rather than messing with lye , and what is the no-poo method?

    • Hi Steve! I am a soap maker as well, and honestly, using lye is no more dangerous than driving a car. Respect it, be safe (like not pouring water INTO the lye, which can indeed be dangerous) and mixing it in a well ventilated room or outdoors.

      No Poo is really a short way of saying No Shampoo. 🙂 Usually referring to commercially mass produced shampoo products you get at the store.

      I know it’s been a while since you asked, but I just stumbled onto this while looking for a shampoo bar recipe to make today, and being that I have recreated many other recipes from wellnessmama with success, I am definitely going to give this one a shot.

  13. What’s the superfat of this recipe?

    • 5%

  14. Can you use lemon juice instead of ACV? The article mentions lemon juice.

  15. We did it! Great directions. Now to the six weeks of curing…thank you so much.

  16. Have you ever heard of Kirk’s castile soap and if so what do you think? My husband washes with it and also uses it as a shampoo.

    • Castile soap can be very drying because it’s so concentrated. I’m not familiar with Kirk’s but I know some people use Dr. Bronners Castile for shampooing. I tried it and it left an awful residue on my hair – likely due to my hard water – see Dana’s comments above. Maybe following her advice about baking soda and white vinegar would solve that?

  17. I use baking soda to wash my hair and white vinegar to rinse. I’ve been doing this for 1.5 years and my hair has never felt cleaner. I will try making this as a body soap though.

  18. Can you use any natural made soap for a shampoo bar soap? We have some made locally in our town and I’ve loved it for the rest of my body but haven’t tried it in my hair yet.

  19. I just recently tried J.r.liggett’s Old Fashioned Bar Shampoo, which seems to have similar, if not the same, ingredients as this. It left my hair super greasy, even after three weeks of patiently waiting for my hair to detox. I looked it up, and apparently, if you have hard water, these bar shampoos leave build up in your hair. I tried the recommended ACV rinse with distilled water, but still had a greasy scalp. I’ve been using the bar for body soap, but I’m really disappointed it won’t work in my hair. Any suggestions/experience with using it with hard water?

    • Hard water is a beast ! I live near the center of a former lime quarry…no kidding. As you deal with the hard water issue, you may find that Vinegar and Baking Soda can solve many problems. ^I checked the ingredients of the J.R.Liggett’s Shampoo Bar. As a soap maker and instructor, I can tell you that this bar is formulated more for conditioning instead of cleansing. It is still a very excellent shampoo bar and you should n-o-t need to use a conditioner after shampooing. I truly believe treating your hair BEFORE you shampoo will help immensely. I know it did for me (and still does) ! I found this recommendation at the J.R.Liggett’s web site… “Try mixing a small amount of baking soda (about a half tablespoon) with a cup or so of warm water, and apply it to your dry hair in the shower. Then, before using any hard water on your hair, lather up with the J.R.Liggett’s.” This “Hard Water” link was at the very bottom of their web site page in tiny letters. I wish you the very best !

      • Thanks for those tips! I have hard water too. I go to Maine in the summer where the water is really soft (well water) and my hair and skin looks amazing! Soft, shiny hair and glowing soft skin! Not so here at home lol

  20. I don’t want to use lye. I have some goats milk/glycerine soap base & a double butter/glycerine soap base to use in the Charcoal & Clay casual soap which you mentioned can be used in place of the lye for that. Will this work as well? Other no poo methods have been unsuccessful for me.

      • Sorry I should have said I don’t want to work with it and would rather cheat with a melt and pour base.
        Is lye too harsh or bad for sensitive, dry, eczema prone skin? I’m still learning about it & trying different soaps to see what works best. Castile soap is my fave but can be harsh especially in winter. I use your coconut milk & castile soap as a body wash but would love to have soap bars as well so I got the soap bases to melt & mix with added oils & oats & castile to remold into my own soaps. Short of washing my children with coconut oil & nothing else I’m hopeful these soap bases will be a solution to our skin issues.
        Any insight is appreciated!

        • All soap is made with lye, so if you use soap at all (not that you have to) you must use a product that used to contain lye. It is used up during the process to make soap, but it’s necessary. I am sure there are some soaps that you can use safely.

      • Here is a list of goats milk soaps (I found it because the hubs and I want to get goats and I was curious as to what else you could do with the milk other than drinking, cheese and the usual dairy. Apparently a lot!)


  21. I really want to try this recipe out! I am always fighting a battle with greasy hair too, and when I recently found out what my old shampoo was doing to my hair I tried using baking soda and vinegar.

  22. Hi there! Do you happen to know what the PH Balance is for this recipe? Thanks! 🙂

    • Probably something between 9 and 10. Soap is by definition basic ( alkali). Commercial products (shampoo, shower gel, etc) advertised as ph neutral are not soap, but detergents.

  23. I have some lard that I never got around to using (had visions of a great pie crust and then I got lazy). Would that work as well as the tallow? Thanks!

    • I use lard a lot. It’s cheap and easier to come by than tallow where I live.

  24. I used shampoo bars (real soap, made with lye, ph of 8-8.5 etc.) for nearly three years because I thought it was a better and healthier way to wash. I washed my hair every 4 days and always rinsed with ACV in filtered water. Now I have a line around my head of broken hairs marking when I stopped about a year and a half ago.

    The problem is the alkalinity. Hair has a natural protective coating of oil, salt, and water, the pH of which is 4.5-5.5, acidic. When hair is washed in something so alkaline like shampoo bars (8-9pH) or baking soda (9.5) (and diluting with water doesn’t help change the pH much), it not only strips this coating away, it also BREAKS DOWN the disulfide bonds between keratin molecules in the hair! Keratin is the essential component of hair, essential because it holds the whole thing together. That softness you feel is a result of weakened internal hair structure.

    Many people use an ACV rinse to bring the pH back down, so that their hair won’t feel dry and brittle or be easily tangled. However, that doesn’t erase the damage done and changing the pH so quickly makes hair more vulnerable.

    Kanelstrand has an interesting article, “Baking Soda Destroyed my Hair”, about this topic in her blog.

    Additionally, rubbing the bar directly onto hair is the worst possible way a person could apply it. It pulls at the hairs and rubbing hair with anything, especially when wet (why you shouldn’t brush, comb, wring, or rub wet hair) because hair is weaker when wet. The least damaging way to apply it is to work up a lather in your hands and apply that as you would commercial shampoo.

    Also, you only need about 2 tablespoons AVC in a glass of water. As with the shampoo bars, diluting it with water doesn’t change the pH that much. What makes it more or less conditioning depends on how long you leave it in your hair. About one minute for oily hair to three minutes for dry hair.

  25. I made soap for the first time 6 months ago and now my family all use it (not as shampoo). I made an organic olive and coconut oil soap with the hot method. First batch was a flop because I could not judge when the soap was ready but the second batch was a resounding success. I felt so confident that I made another batch the next night! (I waited for the family to be in bed – less people in the kitchen) This time I tried the room temperature method: coconut and castor oil with oatmeal and honey. The only problem was that I did not have a mold and used some small plastic containers. It stuck and I could not get the soap out. I googled it and found the solution. Just put it in the freezer for and hour or so and it popped out. It is now time to make the shampoo bar.. …..

  26. Have made lots of soap- always cold press – and have just made this shampoo bar. It seemed forever to get to trace. I finally gave up as it was sooo close and my hand was hurting just from holding the blender. Anyone else have a remedy for when trace seems just out of reach?

  27. This would be my first soap making adventure. Why does it take so long for the soap to cure?

    • The process of saponification finishes happening during curing so the extra time makes sure that there is no remaining lye.

  28. This sounds like a great alternative to some chemical shampoos. The only thing that concerns me is your recommendation to use palm oil instead of tallow for a vegetarian soap. Palm oil is currently the leading cause of deforestation in the Indonesian and Sumatran rain forests forcing many species to the brink of extinction. Most people are not aware of the ubiquitousness of this oil in products from cosmetics to snack food. http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/agriculture/palm_oil/.

  29. We are always encouraging people to use homemade cleansing solutions. However, for a shampoo bar, this is one recipe I am gonna share with our patients in office no matter the smell. Thanks and keep up the good work Katie.

  30. So what if I want to leave it as a loaf? Do I just not cut it and let it sit for the 4-6 weeks?

    • Also, what if I don’t have a hand blender? Is there another method?

  31. Hi all, I am wanting to make this shampoo bar and was wondering if the quantities stated in the ingredients list are in fluid ounces or ounces in weight. Many thanks.

  32. My husband and I are trying to switch to more homemade less chemical products. I think my hair is going through the “funk” of removing all the chemicals since I started using my shampoo bar. It has been less than a week and I am continuing to get a scummy feel to my hair along with a ratted clump in the underneath by the end of the day. I DO NOT want to give up on a more natural and healthy habit. I have long wavy hair and need a little help. The vinegar rinse did not work either (plus I color my hair, not ready to give that up yet). I am using a small amount of hair gel and a mist of hairspray to tame my curls as normal.

    Oh and I have tried your chap stick and deodorant recipes…love them!! As of Friday I started the oil cleanse for my face and so far so good. Thank you so much for your time and energy into this site!!

  33. Can I use almond or avocado oil in the place of palm oil?
    Was is the castor oil used for?
    Thank you

  34. The first time I made this recipie I accidentally got Palm oil that came out of a tiny container and was solid and I had to melt it down like coconut oil and it took so much time that I was worried my temps wouldn’t match and i didn’t put it I slowly it reached trace instantly and the bars came out awesome. The second time I pre melted the Palm oil and was able to eveb things out more and one of my thermometers broke so I had to use it for both this time they reached heat and inhad to wait a while for them to get to the same temp the lye wasn’t reaching as hot as my croc pot soni had to wait for the croc to cook when I finally mixed it it was barely getting trace at all and when I left it iver night it had hardened on the top centimetre but under was still liquid. I let it sit for a couple weeks and checked in it still liquid under the top layer I finally got to the point of taking the solid part out to continue setting out and dumped the liquid down the drain. Is my soap still safe to use or did the lye never spontify? Also where did i go wrong the second time?

  35. I have finally given the bars a couple weeks try on my hair and though i do like the lather and not having to make shampoo every time i shower, it did not get me as many oil free days as my baking soda shampoo. I only put a little baking soda on the bottom add a little arrow root and cocoa powder and peppermint, rosemary and sometimes thieves and i get 8 plus days of oil free hair. With this I have noticed my scalp isn’t as comfortable and I did not particualry enjoy cooking with lye in my opinion it is stressful. But I will definitely use these bars for travel as they are easier for that. Thanks for the new method to try.

  36. I would LOVE to make this bar. We are selling our home and moving in with the in-laws until our home is built and I need to build my supply up.

    Could I use Palm Shortening from Tropical Traditions as the Palm Oil???

  37. 🙁 I have followed the instructions on how to make soldid shampoo bars and it is like runny cream 🙁 HELP
    This is after 24 hours period.

  38. Did you bring it to trace? Took me a long time with this one but it finally got there. This is the only shampoo I ever use now – it’s wonderfully creamy and easy on the hair. Should start to solidify almost immediately, btw.

  39. Tallow-makes a hard bar with great cleansing properties. Use up to 50%. (I rendered the beef fat from a cow we had butchered to make tallow. You can substitute palm oil in this recipe which has the same benefits as beef tallow. Just be sure to recalculate your ingredients to be sure your lye/water ratio is accurate.)
    Above, you say to be sure to “recalculate your ingredients to be sure your lye/water ratio is accurate.”

    In your recipe/instructions, you have the palm oil in parentheses beside tallow, no change in quantity. Why would the lye/water ratio be any different if you’re using the same quantity of palm oil as tallow?

    I have naturally curly, quite dry, colored hair which is cut in layers and is longish. I am choosing to move away from the standard shampoos and conditions to a more natural, less damaging formulation and am interested in making this shampoo soap bar. Will this recipe work for my type of hair? Also, I’m reluctant to use any vinegar as a conditioner/rinse if it wouldn’t be so great for my hair type. What else could I use that won’t strip the color or dry it out any more than it already is?

    Thanks so much. I was quite excited to find your site and will check it out for more cool stuff!

  40. How would you compare this to your home-made Shampoo with Coconut Milk? Does anyone feel it works better? (or worse)

  41. Is it possible to have a liquid version of this recipe? I prefer pouring things into bottles vs bars.

  42. Is it fluid oz, weight or a combination of? It seemed like the oils were to be measured by weight & the water, lye by fluid oz? Sorry, I’ve never made soap before lol.

    • All the measurements are by weight including the water. Welcome to the soap-making world.

  43. I have a really really dumb question! I bought a bottle of Red Palm Oil for cooking and I can’t stand the way it tastes!!! I use strictly Coconut and Olive Oils now. Could I use that for this recipe? I hate to waste this oil since it was a bit pricey.

    • I have the same problem with the red palm oil that I have, just do not like the taste at all. So I’m going to use it in my soap making, it’s properties for soap are very similar to tallow and should result in a very similar bar.

      • Thanks Janelle!!!!

  44. I switched to shampoo bars a month a go I can actually go one or two days without washing my hair. Before it had to be everyday. I really haven’t had an adjustment period either. I don’t think I’ll go back to commercial shampoo. My hair is softer and thicker than ever. I haven’t had the nerve to diy my bars. I have been buying them from etsy. I love them. Most of minehave jojoba oil in them. Have you used jojoba oil?

    • Mallory, what etsy seller are you getting your shampoo bars from? My boyfriend has the oilest, finest, super-curly hair and we’re struggling to find a shampoo that will not damage or break his already thinning and fine hair but will allow him to go more than one day before needing to shampoo again (he has a very public customer service job and he can’t stand looking oily for it). The jojoba oil would be perfect for him! Please let me know where you found yours!

      • Try soap nuts. My sis and her kiddos have super sensitive skin and fine curly hair, and she loves them. Got them on Amazon. She is also using them in the laundry.

  45. Hi,

    Do you need to use all of the oils listed for the shampoo bar to be functional?

    Thank you,


    • No… these oils make a bar that is a good combo of nice and solid, but still moisturizing, but you can make your own blend if you want. It is very important, however, that if you deviate from these ingredients that you recalculate the amount of lye you need. Do no assume it will be the same. This could be dangerous if you use too much lye, so always always always calculate the amount precisely!

      • Awesome, thank you.
        I just wanted to avoid using tallow/palm oil.
        I just made a batch after calculating everything out.

        Is there a way to test the pH after the 4 to 6 weeks?

  46. Has anyone checked the ph of this bar? Just curious as I’m researching shampoo alternatives and getting chemistry lesson. 🙂

  47. Is this bar safe touse during pregnancy? Also is this consider d low poo or no poo?

    • Technically because soap is a detergent, it would be considered a regular ‘poo. However, if you are using those terms to indicate that you don’t use sulfates, then you are home-free… This recipes does not contain any. With regards the safety during pregnancy, just watch your essential oils. Some of the ones mentioned are not considered safe during pregnancy. You can read more here: https://wellnessmama.com/26519/risks-essential-oils/

  48. can you make liquid shampoo for dry hair with lye??
    and all over the market there r these hair removal soaps
    what r they n how they work?
    nd i searched alot but there is no diy natural hair removal soap technique

    plz help

  49. Is there a way to make these shampoo bars without the use of tallow or palm oil? I don’t want to use an animal by product and palm oil has a bad impact on the environment and wildlife that I don’t want to support.

    Thanks! 🙂

  50. Hi, i’m an spanish speaker and i know very little english, i was wondering if lye is the same as bleach? i searched in google but idk what it is exactly T_T thank you.

  51. I decided to start using this bar this week because I’m on vacation and if I needed time to adjust I would have it so I used this bar on Saturday for the first time and loved it. My hair didn’t seem to have an adjustment period, probably because I don’t use much in my hair other than shampoo/conditioner? But then I showered in a hotel room on vacation the next 4 days and my hair was a greasy disaster (I’m assuming maybe it was hard water?)!! Then, today I washed again back at home, it was less greasy but still not as good as day 1 and I’m quite frustrated. Should I wash with shampoo again just to start it over? I don’t want to give up but I can’t let it stay this greasy when I go back to work. Thanks! By the way, I’ve used your homemade soap bars and other recipes and love them so I’m hoping someone has a suggestion that will help me!

  52. I was so super excited to try this recipe. I am brand new to making my own soap and I used your recipe for my very first batch. The bars came out perfectly but the very first time I used it it left my hair in an awful mess. My hair was greasy, tangled badly, impossible to get a comb through, and just in horrible condition. Is this normal for the first time you use lye soap in your hair? Will it get better over time or did i do something wrong? Please help!

    • There can definitely be an adjustment period. Were you able to get a lather with this soap?

      • I did have a wonderful rich lather. It just seems like the soap didn’t rinse out. I have very fine, long hair, so maybe I used too much? Idk!

        • Did you use the apple cider vinegar rinse? If I don’t use the rinse my hair does get tangle. Once I spray the rinse in I can comb through my hair with my fingers and feel a difference immediately.

  53. Can I add honey to the water in this recipe? I love honey soap, was wondering if I can make this honey shampoo 🙂

  54. First, love your site.

    Second, I just so wish that the recipes, such as this one, did not promote the use of palm oil.

    So many people do not know that palm oil extraction is highly invasive to the areas in which it is extracted, resulting in the destruction of necessary landscapes and the killing of animals, so much so that 1/3 of mammals in countries in which palm oil is harvested, like Indonesia, are considered endangered as a direct result of the unsustainable development of the palm oil industry.

    Besides the climate, ecology of the area, and animals…palm oil is promoted as a boost to local economies, but it is not. Usually these plantations are sold to corporations that do not employ the local peoples of the country.

    Please find a substitute for palm oil in your home.

  55. does anyone find that acv changed their hair color? i only use it once a week dilluted heavily and people always think my hair color has changed lighter redder etc

  56. Hello! I have a question, how many pounds does this recipe make? Thank you!

    • Add up the ounces of ingredients in the recipe then divide by 16. 16oz = 1 pound.

      • Great! Thank you! 🙂

  57. Im also interested in an alternative to palm oil. I know this has been asked several times previously but I dont think anyone has answered. It would be great to have a shampoo bar which didnt destroy the planet.

  58. Hi , i am excited about these bars 🙂 wondering if bison tallow would be the same as cow ? I found a local source of bison tallow and would like to support them:)

  59. So I’m very late to the conversation, but being a guy would this soap shampoo work on a man’s hair? I have oily skin along with oily hair. I normally wash my hair at least daily to keep the oils from running down my face to the point I can leave a clear image of my face on a glass window ^_^

    • I’m trying to find a similar answer for my boyfriend’s hair. One lady, Mallory, mentioned having to wash her hair daily also. She was buying shampoo bars off of etsy and they had been working well for her. I’ve asked her what seller she uses and hope to get a reply and get some from her seller.

    • It would. Get on soapcalc.net and play around with different oils, too. I made one at the holidays that smelled like cinnamon and vanilla, and the guys liked it. Recently, I made soap with whole milk, peppermint, and rosemary. Super fatted it to 8%, put a little honey and bentonite clay in it, and it came out a fantastic little head to toe bar that makes you smell fresh and clean, and it’s good for shaving.

  60. Love the question and the mental image that goes with it! Yes it works really well on men’s hair. My husband takes it while travelling when he only has carry-on….no problem taking it on a plane as its not a liquid.

  61. Hi Friend!

    So heres my hope. I would like to make a face/body/hair combo bar. I was set on making an exception got hair but have read before about hair bars and rediscovered that idea here. My question is, after comparing the ingredients of your charcoal bared soap and this shampoo bar I’m wondering if you’d have and suggestions about adjusting ratios and or insight on how charcoal and bentonite clay would do in the hair and likewise, palm oil on the body.

    • Go check out my reply to a couple comments back. It takes a little trial and error with small batches, but I mix several oils and add honey, bentonite, and occasioanally bits of things, and I have found with my dry skin and oily scalp, I can use a bar head to toe, as long as I use a very nourishing oil on my face to moisturizer. Avocado, lard, coconut, Shea, and sunflower are in nearly all my soap recipes. My last one was with whole milk instead of water. It looks and smells weird, but that is normal. I used Rosemary, peppermint, and lavender essential oils, and I stirred in some honey and bentonite. I really like it. My husband and 13 yo son use it, too. Play around with some soap calculators online and see if you can come up with a recipe that works for you. I think my next batch will have thieves oil in it to help the guys with their stinky!

  62. I’ve been using this recipe for a few months now. It works great for me (except when I was in a hotel with hard water). Problem is – it’s not taking care of my husband’s dandruff! He usually uses head and shoulders for a dry scalp but iI finally talked him into trying my bar and he liked it until the dandruff came back. Anybody added any essential oils or anything to their bars for dandruff? I’d hate for him to have to go back to the chemicals in traditional shampoo.

    • Hi Rachel, I make this Neem oil CP soap shampoo bar and I love it. Neem is know to aid flaky itchy scalp conditions and eczema etc. make this one and see if your hubby likes it.
      Good luck!

      • Hi Suzy
        Do you have a recipe please for your neem oil shampoo bar?
        My scalp is awful, which is why I took to making my own soap in the first place!

    • Can you increase the essential oils in the hair rinse and maybe add some tea tree? My husband has dandruff as well and it tends to be worse when he skips the ACV rinse.

      • Hmm, that might work. He doesn’t use the rinse at all, so I might have him try that. I only have lavender in mine though… Would tea tree be better?

  63. Please don’t promote Palm Oil in any form, because of the burning of the forests and the habitat destruction of the animals in the forests.

  64. I have been using my homemade shampoo bars for about 2 months with an apple cider vinegar/ water rinse. I must say that the first week was a total disaster. My hair was oily, heavy and a big old hot mess. By the 5th washing it started to get light (weight not color) and shiny. I would not switch back now. My hair is long and naturally wavy and thick. I used to use a ton of conditioner just to get the brush through it. With this new regime, the brush just glides through my hair with no snarls or knots. My hair is feather-light and shiny. I tried a standard shampoo bar first, then added aloe and beer and most recently silk and egg to the recipes. All have been wonderful but the egg and silk shampoo bar have made my hair so soft and silky (imagine…it has silk dissolved in the lye) smooth.

    • Sounds wonderful but where would you get the silk from to put in the bar.?

      • You can use any type of 100 per cent silk. Tussah silk fibers and liquid can be bought at Brambleberry and other websites. I’ve even used silk cocoons. There are plenty of recipes online for you to follow (a tsp or two is enough), just add the silk to your lye/liquid mix when it’s still hot and stir until it’s dissolved. I like it in soap but wasn’t blown away by it so I don’t put it in any more. To make sure you don’t add any undissolved bits to your oils, you can sieve your lye/silk mixture before mixing with the oils.

    • Exactly what I thought! Sounds fabulous though!
      Would you please share your extra ingredients and amounts?

  65. Hi,

    Do I need to use conditioner after using this shampoo bar recipe? Also, what is the role of the ACV spray after the shampoo?

    • I don’t use a conditioner after this shampoo bar, but everyone’s hair is different, so you may decide after trying it that you do. ACV helps to seal up the hair shaft, since the shampoo bar will open it a bit.

  66. Definitely use the ACV rinse after washing with the shampoo soap bar. I have very thick wavy hair and it softens in beautifully

  67. Hey guys,
    this may be a silly question, but when she says “palm oil”, is this different than red palm oil? same thing? if not, do you know of any place that sells it?

  68. Hi
    Yes it is red palm oil.
    Don’t know which country you are in but I found mine in an Asian shop.
    Hope that helps 🙂

  69. Does anyone sell this soap already made? Would love to buy some.

  70. If using the sampoo bar as shampoo, do I have to use a conditioner/rinse afterwards? Or is just shampooing fine? I want to make sure because some websites don’t mention the conditioner, but isn’t the conditioner/rinse to keep the pH levels? Or does it all depend on hair type and water type?And if I have to use a conditioner/rinse, can I use either a bar or liquid form?

    It’s going to be my first time and I want to make sure so that I don’t have to switch back. And I donxt know what other questions I might have.

    • It depends on your hair type and length. Some people just rinse with diluted ACV for conditioner and others use a homemade or store bought liquid conditioner. Either way, you may have a slight adjustment period while your hair acclimates to a new product…

  71. HI Katie
    Would love to try out this recipe while keeping it vegan and palmoilfree, could you recommend a substitute for the palmoil ?
    Thank you

  72. Since I dont have tallow or palm oil, can the distribute the 10 oz evenly between the coconut oil and the olive oil. So instean of using 10 each I would used 15?

    • If you decide to use other forms of oil you need to recalculate the lye needed for the recipe. Different oils require different amounts of lye. Also, different oils create bars of soap that have different levels of hardness or softness. If you are going to remove the tallow then you need to research what texture the resulting bar may be or you could end up with a bar that never hardens. Btw, you can get giant tubs of tallow (Lard) from Walmart for pretty cheap.

  73. I have been making (and using) shampoo bars for several years and I have never needed to apply a rinse. Before making my own shampoo, I could never get a comb through my hair without adding a conditioner. The bars I make have Shea butter, Coconut oil, Palm oil, Mango butter, Olive oil, Castor oil and Avacado oil in them. They are unscented and have a rich lather. I even take a bar with me to the salon when I get a haircut. I am 67 years old and people always comment on how shiny my hair is.

  74. Would I be able to use vitamin e in this soap?

  75. Hallo Wellness Mama!
    Thank you for this! Just a quick question please: what percentage did you use for superfat? 5%?
    Thank you!

  76. I want to make these shampoo bars, but I’m afraid of the lye – my sister once made soap and didn’t have the right measurements and it didn’t get neutralized. Could I make this with a melt and pour soap base? There are many options to buy natural soap bases online I’ve seen.

    • Use a soap calculator and measure carefully by weight, and you will be fine, I promise! Just remember to wear gloves and tight fitting goggles, and keep some vinegar nearby to neutralize spills. You can do it. Katie has a good recipe for first time soapers.

      My first time, I only made an 8 ounce batch. I wish I had made more, it was so easy, and the end result was nice. The only oils I had to go buy were castor, which is in the pharmacy section with stool softeners, and my essential oils. I had lavender, but the rest I had to get. I did have a hard time finding lye, and eventually ordered 3 jars online for $35, shipping included. If you can find it locally, it is cheaper, but none of the stores around here had it. I only use food grade ingredients. I am still using that lye, and I have made several batches of soap. It’s so fun to play around with fragrance and add-ins. My favorite soap until this milk soap I have been messing with was Thin Mint. I actually used peppermint oil and cocoa, and it smelled just like the cookies.

      Best practice is to have dedicated equipment. I use cheap plastic ware from Walmart to measure, an old pickle jar for my lye and water, an inexpensive immersion blender (so worth the $18), and a cheap crock pot with a keep warm setting that I got on clearance for $12. I don’t use them for anything else. For molds, I line different containers with parchment paper. I have used old broth containers, bread pans, and even 3 inch PVC pipe. I did figure out that it is important to have a ziplock and rubber band on one end with that one! I have made hot and cold process, and I like them both. Both are pretty easy, but hot process is useable right away, while cold is not. They do look different. Hot process is chunkier and more rustic looking.

      It is important to measure by weight and use the soap calculator exactly, or it won’t work. That may be where your sister got off track. Soapcalc.net I think is the one I use. It shows how creamy, sudsy, moisturizing, and cleansing your end result will be, which is handy when trying new oil combos. There are others out there. Play around with different oils and add ins. You will have a good time and have something to show at the end!

    • Don’t be scared! Wear goggles, gloves, and measure everything carefully by weight. I look like a mad scientist when I make soap! As long as you are careful and use a trusted recipe or a soap calculator, soap making can be a really fun and creative outlet.

  77. Just made these shampoo bars. Can’t wait to try them. Made a perfect trace. Poured well. Thanks so much for the recipe!!!

  78. I just use my home made soap head to toe. Oil on my face, though. In my soap, I use a lot of different oils, castor, Shea butter, sunflower, coconut, and avocado, and I use lard, which is questionable but cheap and widely available, instead of tallow. I super fat about 7-8%. I have also been using whole non-homogenized milk in place of the water with good results. I have used herbal tea, too, in the past. The milk mix looks and smells weird when you are making it, but I love the end result on my skin, and it’s a good way to use up milk getting to the end of its shelf life but not yet spoiled. Peppermint Rosemary now, but lavender vanilla is my fave. I have fine hair, and it has been very soft and healthy since I started doing this. If you use product, you may have to wash twice, as it can feel tacky from removing the buildup from your hair. I don’t use the acv, though I have in the past. I felt like it was a little drying if I did it more than twice a week, and it does strip color. I would like a liquid shampoo recipe, though, so I may play with yours. I’m thinking about dissolving some soap shavings in water or something to keep at the tub. For some reason, my hubs and kiddo are weird about using the bars in their hair. Has anyone done something like that and how did it work out?

  79. Wellness Mama,

    Is it possible to use this recipe with Aloe Vera in place of the water? And i accidentally got lard instead of tallow so we will be trying that this weekend.

    Let me know,

    • Yes, but run it through a soap calculator to make sure ratios are correct.

  80. Hi, what percentage of super fat does this recipe have? I wanted to add something to the recipe and have to run it through the lye calculator but need to know the supernatural percentage…

    • katie mentioned upthread that it is 5% superfatted.

  81. Do you have any shampoo recipes using apple cider vinegar? Thanks.

  82. ok, I made a triple batch of this shampoo bar, it gelled so well for 8 full hours that it fully cured by the next day so I was able to cut. Tested fully cured (what a plus!) it was still quite soft as any soap made w olive oil would be so I cheated and put a few on the dehydrator to firm them up. being way too excited to wait, I took one to the shower. Now let me back up and explain, Ive been doing co-wash for 5 years as shampoor had been thinning my hair, badly for years. I do colour my hair bi weekly so this was a problem. Since I had gone cowash, my hairs been back to its thick shiny, black glory BUT for the past year, as soon as I finished washing my hair, my scalp would itch. like a stingy itch like when you get mosquito bites. not good as it would wake me (and hubby got it too) in the middle of the night scratching. we had to find a solution, hence my being here) so I decided to go for it, I parted my wet hair in the shower, would rub the bar on to my scalp and move on to another section until my had was fully soaped. then I scrubbed my scalp w just fingertips, it worked like shampoo but still felt a bit , snaggy? is that a word? but I kept the faith and rinsed. whoa, my hair felt like it had been stripped of everything like it had been plastered to my head with an odd feeling, think ivory soap… but I got out, toweled my hair, and did a spritz of 1-4 acv and let it dry naturally. Actually I went right to bed and let it do its thang…so to speak. the next morning, I got up, looked in the mirror and wanted to do that slow motion hair wave…my hair was full, thick, shiny, soft and looked truly clean. my scalp was shiny, not dry, didn’t itch even in the slightest and I realized I had the BEST nights rest in a VERY VERY LONG TIME. Hubby woke up right after me, ran in and looked at his hair (he has waist long, golden blonde hair) and he looked like thor! his hair was shining, with brilliant diamond like flecks, it was soft, wavy and smelled so good. (we used earl grey fragrance in ours) now he is prone to HUGE dandruff flakes w an oil slick of a scalp. not a flake not a bit of oil but what should minimally be there. we didn’t wash for two days, hair was great, but we live in Texas and needed to wash simply because its like 100000 degrees here. washed again, same result.. wow. this is it, this is THE only thing I’m washing my hair with , forever.
    thank you for the recipe, I’ve scaled it to a 5x batch with no issues. so basically, I’m making a ton. Ive shared it w a gal pal who’s hair is her life, she LOVES it, my sister, and my brother who both have VERY tight curly hair and scalp issues. curls are soft and scalps are great! my hair has more body than its had in, well, I dunno how long.
    thank you 🙂 I’m loving it!
    I’ve been using only own homemade soap for body and laundry and cleaning (different formulas) and I am thrilled I finally have a natural, homemade product for my hair and my family’s hair.
    Bravo and thank you! and thank that gal for sharing her recipe. I’m going home to another batch in the mould waiting for me to cut and air..

  83. Wellness Momma, I so enjoy your site, Thank you !!!

    Ah Suzie, I think you have hit the nail on the head. Agreed Suzie, oils are cleansing, other more moisturizing. As a beginner soaper my kitchen has seen 35 + different CP soap recipes in the past 2 years. Many my own recipes.
    My internet searches to find which shampoo bars are for specific hair types left me doing my own experimenting with my soap recipe oil amounts. There are loads of soapers offering shampoo bars and recipes for them, however, it is difficult to find out what type of hair they should be used on. Most leave that out of the equasion. That is very important to me. As a result I was left to examine my own soaps that worked as shampoo for me.
    I’ve washed my hair everyday of my life for 55+ years, loath conditioner, always lightly use Final Net hairspray. My hair has always been “normal” hair, not greasy, not dry.
    Each of my soaps I tried as shampoo. Some left my hair feeling perfectly lovely, others with heavy sticky grease. I did not find a build up from any of them. It was instant clean or instant greasy. This lead me to believe a good shampoo bar is about oil amount balance. The soaps that gave me greasy hair had more olive oil.
    Equal amounts of each oil in my shampoo bars works for me, within a couple of ounces of each other, and of course using Castor oil at 7-8% and EOs/FOs.
    I do hope sharing my DIY shampoo bar experiences are helpful to you.
    Have a wonderful day everyone.