There are basically two types of homemade shampoo.
1. Liquid Shampoo
A liquid shampoo is a homemade shampoo made with potassium hydroxide (KOH). A single bottle purchase of KOH is a bit expensive but is worth it. A bottle can lead to gallons of liquid shampoo!
In shampoo making, using glycerin takes the place of superfatting to provide moisturization. Superfatting, sometimes also referred to as lye discount, which means either adding an extra amount of oil into your recipe but keeping the lye amount the same or using the same amount of oil but with lesser lye. Basically, superfatting is an act of balancing your lye to oil ratios in your mixture. The extra oil adds more moisturizing qualities to your product.
There are different ways and products to use when making liquid shampoo. The most common ones are castile soap and soap nuts.
Castile soap is a gentle, natural cleanser for skin and hair. It’s an all-natural, chemical soap product available in solid and liquid forms. They’re originally made with olive oil from Castile, Spain. Nowadays, most castile soaps use coconut oil instead of olive oil but remains to be 100% organic.
Liquid castile soap is a popular liquid shampoo ingredient for its gentle cleansing and light lather. Soap made with liquid castile soaps can be used for sensitive skins – even babies!
Soap nuts or reetha are a berry that grows on the soap berry tree (sapindus mukorossi) in the Himalayas. Soap nut shells naturally contain saponins which are natural surfactants.
Soap nuts are known for their strong cleaning capabilities but remaining gentle to your skin. They clean and moisturize scalp naturally, treat itchy scalp and nourishes your hair from root to tip.
2. Shampoo Bars
Simply, shampoo bars are shampoo in bar form. It is made of base oils chosen specifically for their hair and scalp properties.
Shampoo bars have 3 main ingredient categories:
- Oils and Fats – the kind of oil you use determines the properties your soap will have
Hard, stable, long lasting – palm, lard, tallow
Lathering – coconut, castor, palm kernel
Moisturizing/Conditioning – canola, olive oil, soybean, sunflower
Luxury/extra moisturizing – shea butter, almond, cocoa butter, hemp, jojoba
- Lye and water base solution – When lye is used in soap making, it acts as a reagent or it is used in a chemical reaction to create other substances.
In soap making, water/ Lye mixtures need to be carefully measured. The process of blending lye/water mixtures with natural oils is called saponification. Lye is simply an agent used to create soap from oils and water.
Essential Oils and other ingredients – these are ingredients added last minute to customize the shampoo’s color, smell or texture.
Essential oils are primarily used for scent.
Dried herbs and other plants are added to change color or texture.
Freshly ground coffee, salts and other grains can be used to add texture.
There are 2 known processes in shampoo bar making:
As the name suggests, the difference between the two processes is whether heat is used or not. Common to both methods, a water/lye mixture and oils are used. The two are mixed together in the process of saponification.
The difference comes after saponification.
With cold processing, the water/lye mixture is combined with the oil mixture resulting to a mixture poured into insulated molds. Finish products require 6 – 8 weeks to cure before use.
Hot processing adds an extra step of slow-cooking the mixture which speeds up the saponification process. Your shampoo bars are ready to use in days instead of weeks.
Both methods work, it depends on how patient you are in the process.
Dry “No Poo” Shampoo
The “No Poo” theory is that by washing hair with alternatives to shampoo, such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar, you’ll achieve clean hair without the same damage brought out by constant shampooing.
Dry shampooing is one the “no poo” alternatives practiced today.
What is it exactly?
Dry shampoo is just that – a dry substance that cleans hair without the use of water. It works by absorbing oil from your hair and scalp and makes it look and feel freshly washed again. Dry shampoos were not designed to be taken regularly but rather as a buffer in between with-water washes and to use when in a hurry.