Shampoo specially designed with your hair in mind? Yes, Please!

Shampoo specially designed with your hair in mind? Yes, Please!

Early in my soaping adventures, I got excited about all of the different kinds of soap I could make. I started seeing people talking about soap for hair. Then, I remembered my chemistry and that the pH of hair and the pH of soap were nowhere near each other. So I started some cosmetic research and rediscovered the world of synthetic detergents or syndets.

Because of my natural curls, I had experimented with the curly girl method for years. This meant I was fully experienced at carefully choosing products without sulfates and silicones. So I knew I wanted to avoid those ingredients in my formulations. I also color my hair (lots of fun colors, not just brown) so I knew I wanted to keep my shampoos good for colored hair. I also knew that one size does not fit all when it comes to shampoo. (And not just because my spouse and I have never agreed on shampoo). Since different hair has different needs, I knew I needed a few different types. Plus, I was finding all kinds of amazing ingredients that I wanted to try. So there are differences between my formulations that go beyond just color and fragrance.

All of my formulations are based around two syndets, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa). If you haven’t used very many solid shampoos, SCI is an ingredients you might not have seen before since it doesn’t stay in solution in liquid products. But that means it is a good choice for shampoo bars because that reduced solubility makes it last longer. (Our bars can last up to 3+ months!) SLSa sounds similar to SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) which is considered THE sulfate to avoid but it has a different structure - that whole acetate thing - which makes it too big to penetrate the skin. One of the negatives of SLS is that it can penetrate skin and be irritating (it is even used clinically as a skin irritant to test products). So SLSa gives us the good things (lather) with less of the bad things (irritation) from sulfate ingredients.

There is also a third syndet in each formulation that brings a little something different to the party. Cocamidopropyl betaine (CABP) found in Only My Hair is Normal and My Hair is a Little Extra is a moisturizing detergent with some anti-static properties (because who wants staticky hair?). Pump up the Volume is made with decyl glucoside which aids in conditioning without using anything heavy making it perfect for fine hair. Extra oil and sebum in greasy hair is taken care of by the Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (DLS) in Get Out of My Hair but it doesn’t strip everything out of your hair which means your hair doesn’t end up brittle.

All of my formulations have DL-Panthenol, also known as Provitamin B5. I whole traditional haircare line is named after this ingredient (I’ll give you a hint it has the phrase Pro-V in its marketing). It is an overall great ingredient for all hair types because it leaves hair shiny and feeling stronger. It is also great for scalp health which is where the living parts are so in turn it can positively impact hair growth.

Now for the differences, each formulation has a different collection of humectants (for hydration - sodium lactate, glycerin, propylene glycol) and emollients (moisturizers, conditioners, and proteins). (As well as a different colors and fragrances - which helps differentiate between naked bars.)  

Emollients - Only My Hair is Normal: Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Quinoa Protein; Pump Up the Volume: Polyquaternium-7, Isopropyl Myristate, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein; My hair is a Little Extra: Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Stearic Acid, Coconut Oil, Camellia Oil, Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, VegeKeratin; Get Out of My Hair: Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Quinoa Protein, Hydrolyzed Ride Protein 


To highlight a few ingredients:

Behentrimonium Methosulfate is a great conditioner. It is great for detangling and reducing static. That’s why it is so good for many hair types.

Cetyl Alcohol and Stearyl Alcohol are both long chain fatty alcohols, which, unlike drying alcohols (ethanol, propanol, etc), are great moisturizers that help seal the hair cuticle making it shinier, reducing frizz and easier to detangle.

Polyquaternium-7 is a light conditioner that increases volume, reduces static and enhances shine, making it great for fine hair.

Oils and Butters are amazing emollients and help nourish the scalp as well as smoothing and softening the hair. 

Hydrolyzed Rice Protein has cationic (positively charged) amino acids that bind to the hair shaft and anionic (negatively charged) amino acids that repel the hairs making your hair appear fuller.

Hydrolyzed Quinoa and Camellia Oil can penetrate the hair shaft and nourish dyed hair.

VegeKeratin is a vegan source of a combination of amino acids that are similar to those that make up keratin (the main protein that makes up hair). These amino acids help increase the strength and elasticity of hair and are especially good for curly hair.


Once I had my formulations together, I had a problem. I only have my hair which only one formulation was made specifically for it. So I went to social media and asked for volunteers to try my shampoo bars. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people wanted to try them (and how many different hair types they could provide). I had a few snafus with shipping out samples (apparently my shipping program didn’t get the postage right for some of them). And it was summer and shampoo bars are sensitive to high temperatures. But enough bars got delivered to enough people who gave them a try that I got feedback that helped me improve things like the texture and longevity of the bars. 

I really loved every part of the development process. And I’m really proud of the bars that I’ve made. If you haven’t tried one of these shampoo bars yet we have trial sizes that aren’t as much of a monetary commitment to let you give it a go. You get a 25% discount if you buy all four together so you can try all of the shampoos. 

Try All the Shampoo! meme
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