Shampoo syndet bars from scratch

May 22, 2020 1 Comment

Shampoo syndet bars from scratch - Soap Making Supplies, Essential Oils, Fragrance Oils at Calgary, Alberta Soap and More the Learning Centre Inc in Canada

Gentle Solid Shampoo Bars: Yields 2 x 80g bars

There has been some talk about solid shampoo bars having high PH which is not particularly good for hair.  A nice, PH balanced shampoo will keep your hair and scalp in good condition.  It is all about the chosen surfactants.

We will keep updating and adding great information for changing up the formula for an enhanced finished product.

Benefits of our Solid Shampoo (Syndet)

  • Ease of travel
  • Gentle and silky
  • Easy to make
  • Low PH

The word “syndet” is derived from “synthetic” combined with “detergent”. Technically it refers to the binding that occurs between different detergents, also called surfactants. These detergents, which have an affinity for oils and repel water, surround dirt with small structures that are then removed by water.

Gentle Solid Shampoo Bar Recipe Yield approx 300 grams 

1st Heated phase

In a double boiler add 1 1/2 tsp 1.7% Cocamidopropyl betaine (heat separately and add the panthenol powder if using it) Surfactant.   Can be substituted with Foaming Apple for a more mild ingredient
5.5 TB SCI 37.7% Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate gentle surfactant (crush up in a baggie if not using a powdered form.  Melting is preferred to pressing your surfactant. 
When melting SCI powder use a double boiler at a roaring boil with water as high as it can go without bubbling into the container. 
2nd Heated Phase
1 3/4 tsp 3.4% Kokum butter. (if using volume and not % melt to measure)  Moisturizer & conditioner
1 3/4 tsp 3.4% BTMS 25 Conditioning emulsifier 
1  tsp 1.9% Cetyl Alcohol emollient, emulsifier.

3/4 tsp 1.5% protein of choice (Hydrolyzed Silk or Baobab Protein)  improves elasticity, resiliency, and restore the moisture balance for smoother and softer hair.

1/4 cup plus 2 tsp 33.28% Lathanol SLSA, Sodium lauryl Sulfocete. Surfactant powder for foam. 
Try to keep your liquids to 25% or less.

Cool-down phase 

2 TB 13.7% alpha-olefin sulfonate or Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside due to the low ph in these mild surfactants  


1/2 tsp 1.14% Panthenol powder  Humectant that helps give body & shine and detangling properties to hair. It can cause curly hair to frizz, however.  If you omit this, add this % to the SCI or SLSA (add to 1 heated phase.  Be careful to not let it burn)

1/2 tsp .57% scent  (more can be added depending on your choice of scent)

Optional: Water-soluble dye or micas for colour. Manganese Violet is known to brighten grey hair and reduce the brassiness in blonde.


If you want to hold off on formulating the final bars, mix up the shampoo powder without heating it up.  When you need shampoo bars, scoop out the powder, warm it up, colour it and fragrance/essential oil, and mold it. You can keep the mixture in a 20 litre airtight pail.

Melt your 1st heated phase over the stove in a double boiler at medium high heat. Make sure the water bath is large enough to accommodate the inserted vessel.  Do not allow the water to spit into the inserted vessel.   At the same time in a separate vessel heat, your 2nd heated phase by totally melting the kokum butter then add the remainder of the 2nd heated phase and continue to heat until melted.

We recommend melting the entire formula to achieve nice hard bars that do not fall apart halfway during use.  Combine both heated phases mix well and remove from the heat.  If you find the 1st heated phase needs more moisture, multiply the Cocamidopropyl betaine by up to 3 times.  It may take your final bar longer to harden.

Mix in your cool down phase.  If adding colour, this is the time.  

Allow to cool to 80 Degrees Celsius or less and mix in the Optiphen Plus, and scent, colour (judge this and use sparingly) if using and combine.

Press tightly into your mold and allow to firm up. Tap the mould on the counter to remove any air bubbles and level the back (Not a smooth batter so beware)

Place in the freezer for a couple of hours. This makes a more solid, pliable bars. Pop them out of the mold and let them sit for 24 to 48 hours to dry out further.  No need to cure or cover.  Can be used after 48 hours.  Lather the bar in your hands at first, add to your wet hair and then use the bar directly on your hair for more lather.

Water friendly ingredients such as clays, plant extracts and starches can make the bars too crumbly, keep their usage low.

Essential Oil Ideas

Bergamot can be of great benefit to thin, dry hair that breaks.  It increases shine & can help make a protective barrier if you style your hair with heat.  If you have curly or frizzy hair try this Citrusy essential oil.  
Rosemary is great for thickening hair. It can help prevent baldness, slow the graying process and treating dandruff and dry scalp.
Chamomile essential oil is a great essential oil for hair because it adds shine and softness to your hair while soothing your scalp.  It can be used to lighten your hair naturally. 
Cedarwood essential oil can also help to reduce skin irritations and repel bugs, which can be beneficial on summer nights when you’re spending time outdoors
Lemongrass essential oil has healing properties, and it works as an effective cleanser and deodorizer. It can strengthen your hair follicles and soothe an itchy and irritated scalp. 
Peppermint essential oil helps to stimulate the scalp, and it can treat dandruff and even lice due to its powerful antiseptic properties.  It also stimulates hair growth.  Caution:  Don’t overdo it, as it is a very strong essential oil

1 Response

Dawn Arnold
Dawn Arnold

April 02, 2021

This is the first time i’ve tried making a solid shampoo & conditioner bar, and having used some store bought ones before, i had very low expectations. I cannot believe how awesome this turned out. the recipe was easy enough, and makes my hair feel soft manageable, with no residue, or coating, nothing weighing it down. Love it! :) Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

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