today I'd like to share with you my own experience with another "controversial" topic on soapmaking: CP shampoo bars.
Now, I've read a lot on the internet before deciding to make a shampoo bar. Some people say they can't use CP soap as shampoo, others swear they've been using it for a while and they love it, and some other want you to believe that even thinking about CP shampoo is crazy.
I have also read a lot of different opinions on how to properly make it, what lye discount to use and what oils are best for the hair. One common opinion seems to be that olive oil is the best for it's gentle conditioning qualities, and that some coconut and castor oils are a must since a shampoo is expected to make a lot of creamy and frothy bubbles. I suppose there are so many different opinions because, with hair even more so than with skin, the final effect depends not only on the soap itself, but on the type of hair, of weather and of final result we have and want. So I am here to add a bit more to this debate by bringing my own personal experience.
I have always been intrigued by the possibility of making my own shampoo and stop putting all those awful chemicals on my poor, thin, dry hair. So as soon as I came across a shampoo recipe that seemed feasible and logical (I found it on this book, which I strongly recommend to anyone making CP soap because it contains so much useful information!), and didn't even include coconut oil, so I tried it!
The book suggests to use beer for thin and dry hair, because it naturally strengthen the hair and makes it nice and shiny, so here's the beer shampoo recipe I tried (as usual, slightly changed from the one on the book):
55% olive oil
15% rice bran oil
10% sweetcorn oil (to add at trace)
10% castor oil
5% linseed oil
lye (7% discount, but this depends on your hair type)
2/3 distilled or rain water and 1/3 "condensed" beer
at trace I added: the sweetcorn oil, rosemary and eucalyptus e.o. and a teaspoon of henna powder (which I've read is another natural conditioner).
As regards the "condensed" beer, that's how I did it: I took about double the amount of beer I needed, put it in a small pot and let it sit for a while to get rid of all the gas it contains. Then I added 1/2 teaspoon of table salt and put it at a low heat for about 10 minutes, or anyway until I could feel it had halved the volume (and it starts getting a little thick). Then I let it cool down and added it to the soap right after the lye and water mixture - or you could add it at trace if you wish.
The result is a pretty soft soap that takes a while to become un-mouldable, and about 6-8 weeks to cure. I used it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and have been washing my hair with it ever since. I have to say that the feeling with chemical shampoos is very different, and that - as I've read in many different places - since the CP soap pH value is pretty high, it is best to use an acid rinse after the CP soap on hair. So I prepared a bottle with one cup of vinegar and about 3-4 cups of water, plus 3-4 drops of rosemary e.o. that I shake and use to rinse my hair every time I wash them with my beer shampoo.
The result so far is stunning. I have to say my hair get greasy quite easily now compared to normal (as when I use a lot of conditioner or when I have my hair washed by the hairdresser!), so I have to wash them every 2 days or so, but that's probably because I need a lower lye discount (I'll try with 5% on the next batch), but other that that they feel SO AMAZING!!! They are so shiny and strong, I never had such beautiful hair with any chemical shampoo, ever. My partner even noticed it, and some of my friends too, asked me what I'm doing to my hair that they look so nice and different.
After this first experiment, I think I'll stick to CP shampoo bars, and will try experimenting a bit more with them. I've read of someone who doesn't discount lye at all, and then adds 3% jojoba oil at trace, so that the only "free" oil in the final soap is jojoba, which is really similar to the skin natural oil. I'll try that too, I think.
Other great ingredients for you shampoos could be egg yolks (I've read they are a miracle for thin and weak hair, so I'm gonna try that one too), chamomile (for fair or blonde hair), rosemary (for dark hair), stingy nettle for the scalp and tea tree e.o. for an antiseptic and cleansing shampoo or for dandruff.
I can't wait to try all of these things, and I think I'll get some of my friends to try it too, even though I fear they are too used to chemical shampoos to appreciate the initially weird feel of natural hair. We'll see.