Experimental: Herbal Silk Shampoo Bar

Experimental: Herbal Silk Shampoo Bar

My favorite shampoo bar in the world is this one by Elegant Rose Boutique. I tried half a dozen of her sample shampoos before I landed on it, and I haven’t found one to beat it yet, and that’s including my own bars! It rinses clean, and lets my hair be what I think of as its “normal” self — soft, thick, voluminous, a little fluffy, a little shiny. Better still, with this soap my hair stays that way for 3-4 days before I have to wash it again, depending on the products I use. Other hair soaps leave my hair limp, dull, or chalky, or I barely get 24 hours out of a wash before I start getting greasy.

I feel like I should be able to at least get *close* with a recipe of my own, and this was my first attempt. Once it cures I’ll update this post with the results.

To start, I filled the crock pot half full of water and set it to High. Then I went to the tea cupboard and picked up the dregs of an ancient bulk purchase of chamomile tea, and some of last year’s mint. I was hoping to find a forgotten box of nettle tea, but alas. Regardless, I put the dried herbs in a large jar, then went to the garden and added sage, a few heads of elder flower, and some violet leaves. Back inside, I filled the jar to cover with pomace olive oil and plunked it down in the crock pot to steep while I weighed out the rest of the batch.

For a shampoo bar, I increased my normal 5% superfat to 10%, and created a recipe with 40% olive oil, which is high but not quite bastille-high. This will make for a gentler soap, with a higher portion of unsaponified oils on the one hand (the higher superfat) and the overall gentleness of oleic acid from the olive oil on the other. [more recipe notes here]

As far as mixins go, I’ve really been loving the feel of colloidal oatmeal in a shower bar, and clay has been a standard too (though now that I think of it, the elegant rose bar has no clay. Hmm). Some silk peptides went in, but no marshmallow root (it’s on backorder, sadface).

I designed a floral-fresh fragrance from essential oils, based on lavender 40/42 with peppermint, lemon, and ylang-ylang.

For the visual design I decided on a two-tone to play up the lavender & herbs. The purple half included rose clay and ultramarine; the green half was lightly tinted with seaweed powder (which provides bonus minerals too).  I split the batch after emulsification, colored and poured the purple layer, colored the green half and poured it gently over a spatula to keep the border as clean and level as possible. At the last minute I decided to try a hanger swirl, which was a rush job but turned out fine, if a little spindly. Next time I’ll use a properly bent wire for better control…

Because of the high olive oil content, this batch took forever to set up, and I finally gave up and cut it after 4 days even though it was still softer than I like. This batch will cure for at least 8 weeks before use.