Syndet Shampoo Bar Testing

I have been lurking on shampoo bar making websites for about a year and I have finally gotten the stuff to give it a shot.

This is a trial and error exploration. My first attempt was using someone else’s recipe and slightly modifying for what I had on hand, it was too soft. This is what I learned from that recipe, my own modifications and what direction to go from there. This is a beginners formulation made by me from trial and error.  I did not use dimethicone, if you add it I would say at 1% would be a good place to start.

The things I learned about making shampoo bars from my initial failures:

1. You can follow a recipe precisely and still get a different result depending on what company your product is from or form it comes in.

2. Ensuring you get a hard bar is key, mine and many first attempts fail due to softness. Your surfacant is going to wash away the oils you add so think of them in terms of hardness instead of what the oil can do for your hair. Use kokum butter, cocoa butter or up the stearic acid to ensure you get a solid bar. On my first attempt I made the mistake of using jojoba oil and coconut oil and I ended up with something that was like Play-doh.

3. Make 2-4 oz test batches and document eveything until you get it right.

4. If its too soft you can remelt and add ingredients but you would need to add your preservative again as well.

5. You should pH test to see if it needs adjustment.

If this recipe doesn’t work out for you I recommend writing down the usage rates of all the ingredients you are using and then reading about their function in the product, then adjust for what you need more of within the limit of the usage rates. Start by adjusting 2% – 5% on the ingredients you need more or less of until it works for your hair.

Syndet Shampoo Bar – Beginners Formulation #2


Heat Phase:

32% SCI

22% SLSa

15% CAPB

10% BTMS-50

5% Stearic Acid

5% Cetyl Alcohol

5% Cocoa Butter

Cooling Phase:(add when under 120 degrees)

2% Honeyquat

2% Panthenol

1% Oat Extract

1% Tea Tree Oil

Hydrated Green Chrome Oxide mica (to desired color)

Weigh your batch then calculate 1% of the total recipe for the preservative, I do this by weighing the bowl and spatula before I start then discounting that from the total weight.

.5% Liquid Germal Plus


Use a safety mask for this so you do not breathe surfacant fumes while heating. Make sure you are working in a well ventilated area.

In a double boiler melt the Heat Phase ingredients, mixing every few minutes until combined well, blend smooth and set aside to cool.

While your hot phase is cooling, mix the panthenol, oat extract, honeyquat and tea tree together until well combined. Once cooled to the desired temperature add cooling phase ingredients and mix well. Weigh and add preservative, mix until well combined then press into mold. Place the mold in the freezer until solid.

5 thoughts on “Syndet Shampoo Bar Testing”

  1. Using 1% Liquid Germall Plus is double the maximum suggested amount. One is supposed to use it between 0.1 and 0.5%. Homecrafters should aim for the 0.5% as we don’t have perfect lab conditions in our homes. Otherwise this recipe looks great. I’ll have to see how it compares with my own as I am still having trouble getting mine to dry out completely.

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