Sunday, April 26, 2015

Homemade Cream Conditioner and Liquid, Hot Process Shampoo

The Shampoo:

Although I love my henna shampoo bar, I was curious about making more liquid shampoo- not from an already-made soap like Dr Bronners, but from scratch.  I have made liquid soap before (click here for the post), but I wanted to use oils that could be used for moisturizing shampoo and infuse it with essential oils that would promote healthy hair.  Since my hair is thin, I chose a juniper berry/spearmint scent for the shampoo.  Juniper berry essential oil is one of the essential oils that actually promotes new hair growth :)  I just like the smell of spearmint!  I also didn't want to make the recipe too complex or I would only make it once... so, I chose oils that would be easy to find and kept the list at a minimum.

Here's my recipe for hot process shampoo (which could also be used as body wash!):

17.5 oz castor oil
17.5 oz coconut oil
22.5 oz sunflower oil

24 fl oz distilled water
12.8 oz KOH (potassium hydroxide)

1 gallon distilled water for dilution (yes, this make a LOT of shampoo)

1-2 oz essential oils (optional)- I used a 60/40 mixture of spearmint/juniper berry

I followed the instructions (with pictures) found on these Instructables directions :)  This is the best tutorial I have found regarding liquid soap.  Very easy and concise!   Although my cook time differed from the Instructables author, the process is the same.

A few notes:

  • Do not worry if you don't see every stage of liquid soap!  My soap passed by the "mashed potato" stage so quickly I didn't even see it...
  • I ended up cooking my soap for 7 hours before I felt it was clear enough.  
  • I did NOT add borax at the end because I was at a 3% superfat in my recipe- no excess lye needed to be neutralized in the finished product!

The Cream Conditioner:

I used to use a vinegar rinse as a conditioner, but I was never very fond of the smell or the difficulty with getting it through all of my hair.  It was also very cold when applying in the winter months- yikes!

I wanted to continue with the healthy/new hair growth theme of my shampoo, so I concocted a mixture of essential oils for that purpose.  Some essential oils you may want to try include:  ylang ylang, clary sage, lemon, rosemary, basil, cedarwood, cypress, peppermint, or a mixture.  Mine had a little bit of everything in it, and it turned out very sweet and herbal!

Here is the recipe that I found on

374 g distilled water
2 g liquid silk
22 g glycerin
27 g emulsifier
13 g jojoba oil
4 g sweet almond oil
4 g essential oils
( I did NOT add the preservative)

Heat all the ingredients (except essential oils) until solids have dissolved.
Hold that temp for 10 minutes.
Cool to 140 degrees before adding essential oils.

A couple notes:

  • I had to use my stick blender to get the fixed oils to incorporate completely.  Just be careful while the mixture is hot!
  • pour into a pump bottle immediately after adding the essential oils, as this will be hard to do once the conditioner is completely cooled.

The results:

I am very pleased with this shampoo/conditioner combo!!  Even my husband (who doesn't always like my concoctions) praised these products!!  Andy has hair past his shoulders and always has a hard time brushing his hair through when it's wet- with this combo, his hair is knot-free and shiny :)  I've recently had a major hair cut, and although I do not need detangling, my hair is soft and full of body.

Although the process of making this shampoo is a bit more time-consuming than the henna shampoo bar, it is well worth the effort!  And, since this recipe makes so much, you only have to make it every few months!  As far as the conditioner goes, I cannot think of an easier way to make anyone's hair soft and shiny- and no vinegar-y smell in your shower!  Enjoy!!