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Why Shampoo Bars?

The quest for shampoo bar recipes.

I started looking into making shampoo bars last year - back when i thought that soap and shampoo were the same thing.  But they're not, as I found out.

We really shouldn't use soap on our hair - mainly because the pH is too high.  A standard soap bar has a pH of around 9 and this is too high for your hair which is usually around 3.5.  Your skin has a pH of around 4.7 - 5.75 and has a higher tolerance for more alkaline cleansers.  But your hair has less tolerance for it, and using soap on your hair long term has been known to cause breakage or other damage to your hair.  Some people can (and do!) use soap on their hair - but it is not recommended for everyone, especially for those with longer hair.  Short hair grows and gets cut more frequently so if damage is caused, it can be quickly restored to its former glory.

In my pursuit of more information about shampoo bars I was seeking out how best to make them without chemical surfactants, and the short answer is - you can't.  So I had to forgo my quest of making a 'natural' shampoo bar and instead look for surfactants that were gentle and less likely to cause irritation or allergies.

So why can't I just make soap with a lower pH?  It's because soap, by its very nature, simply must have a higher pH to be soap.  If I use ingredients to lower the pH of my soap (for example citric acid), it will no longer be a solid soap bar and wouldn't hold together in bar form.  So then I realised that I might as well just use my usual bottled shampoo.  And I hate plastic bottles, don't you?

So off I went to search out ingredients to make a solid shampoo bar...

I've done a lot of testing and have now come up with a recipe that works well.  It has no sulphates, no parabens, no phthalates, or any of those other 'nasties' we hear so much about.  It does contain lots of good things though - silk protein, foaming apple, vegetable 'lanolin' and provitamin B5. And the pH of the finished product is between 4.7 and 5.5. Perfect!

Watch this space for my shampoo bars - soon to be listed on the the Artsy Moose!


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