Easy DIY shampoo bars for sensitive, dry skin.
Necessity is the mother of invention. We’ve all heard that. I’m not much of an inventor… I’m more of a “follow the recipe-er”. But as we’re heading into the colder months I knew needed to find something that actually worked for my dry and irritated scalp. Conventional bottles of shampoo weren’t cutting it. I have tried dozens of brands, and they all left me with corn broom hair. You know what a corn broom is,right? Moving on. I thought, why can’t I make my favorite goat’s milk bar soap into a shampoo bar??
I’ve been making bar soap for the past two years, but I had never tried shampoo bars! I also haven’t seen any shampoo bars using goat’s milk. I knew I wanted something that wasn’t too drying, too harsh, or too scented. So I got right to work on these using milk from my Nigerian Dwarf goats and tea tree oil.
I used a combination of oils I already had on hand- coconut oil, castor oil and shortening. Coconut oil is an excellent cleanser. The castor oil is moisturizing and provides a creamy lather. The shortening or tallow helps create a harder bar. Instead of water I decided to use some of my goat’s milk that I’d frozen this summer. The milk makes a nice creamy bar.
I had bought some tea tree oil this year for my diy disinfectant cleaner. Tea tree oil has anti inflammatory and anti bacterial qualities. It’s used to treat acne, dandruff, psoriasis and eczema. I had never used it for my skin, only in my cleaning products. But, I personally deal with eczema that flares up in the fall/winter. So I decided to give it a try in my bars!
This was my first experience making shampoo bars and I’ve got to say I’m so happy with the way they came out! It was also my first time using shampoo bars. When I first started washing my hair I had a little freak out moment, as my hair felt “squeaky clean” and not soft and smooth. I went with it anyway and used my apple cider vinegar rinse to condition. Adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil ( I love eucalyptus oil!) cuts the smell of vinegar as you’re rinsing. When your hair dries, there is no vinegar smell.
Now I normally wrap my long hair in a towel to dry and pray for the best when it comes to brushing. Surprisingly my hair was smooth and brushed through very easily! It felt a little dry on the ends the first wash. After time (and more showers) it’s definitely feeling healthy and smooth. Probably the biggest surprise was that it was so gentle on my scalp. My head is noticeably less dry and itchy and a major bonus- these bars work great as a body bar as well, helping to clear up my skin.
Overall I’m so happy I gave these a try! It’s one little step forward in being “waste free” in my home.
Making soap at home is easy and fun, but there are safety precautions to take when working with caustic materials like lye. It’s important to have a good understanding of the way that lye reacts and how to properly work with it. A good video for beginners to use is:
Before you adjust any quantities or oils in any recipe make sure to run it through a lye calculator first. Here’s the one I use:
The night before I plan to make soap using goat milk I freeze it in ice cube trays. Milk heats quickly, and when lye is added it can scald and burn. That creates a horrible smell and won’t make for a very pleasant soaping experience. Freezing the milk before hand prevents that from happening.
First gather up your soaping supplies. Avoid using aluminum or weak plastic. The lye will eat right through. Heavy duty plastic (marked #5) and stainless steel are what I use for making soap. Wear eye protection, a face mask, and long rubber gloves to protect your hands. Work in a well ventilated area.
- 12oz coconut oil
- 10oz shortening or tallow
- 8oz castor oil
- 11.4 oz frozen goats milk
- 4.41 oz lye
- 1 oz tea tree oil
- Using a digital scale, measure out your milk cubes in a plastic or stainless steel container. Set aside. In a separate container ( I use a small mason jar) carefully measure your lye.
- In a well ventilated area add your lye slowly to the frozen milk, stirring gently until dissolved.
- Using a small pan on the stove or a plastic bowl in the microwave, warm up your shortening and coconut oil in 20 second intervals. Once they’re in liquid form add your castor oil and stir together.
- Slowly add lye and milk mixture to the oils and fold in with a rubber spatula.
- Use a stick blender to combine the lye and oils until a light trace ( drizzle some batter off your spoon and look for it to make a light trail across the top of the surface)
- Add in the tea tree oil and give the stick blender a quick pulse to incorporate.
- Pour your batter slowly into a lined wood mold or silicone mold. I actually save my cream cartons to use as molds! Just make sure they are clean and dry before using.
- Wrap mold in bath towel and set somewhere it won’t be disturbed for 24hrs. After 24hrs cut into bars and put somewhere cool to dry. I use drying racks in my upstairs bedroom.
- Let cure at least 3 weeks for a hard bar and enjoy!