How to - Conditioning Shampoo Bars

From looking at that picture I'd be tempted to think we were making cookies today, but we're not. These little cuties are solid shampoo bars.

With summer and vacation time quickly approaching, you might want to consider popping one of these travel-friendly shampoo bars into your bag.

And guess what, they're super simple to make.

The dry surfactants in these are coconut-based, and there are a couple of hair conditioning goodies added so you won't need any additional products to cleanse and condition your hair while traveling.

OK I have a confession to make.

You don't need to have a vacation planned to make and use these bars - they're great to use at home as well.

Are you ready to get busy making shampoo bars?

LisaLise's Conditioning Shampoo Bars

This amount will make 4 guest sized soap bars - just enough for you and a friend.

Phase A Ingredients
  • Mango butter: 9 gr / 0.32 oz
Phase B Ingredients
  • Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI): 33.5 gr / 1.18 oz
  • Sodium Coco Sulfate: 30 gr / 1.06 oz
  • Demineralised Water: 19.5 gr / 0.69 oz
Phase C Ingredients
  • Panthenol: 2 gr / 0.07 oz
  • Guar gum: 4 gr / 0.14 oz
  • Shikake Powder: 2 gr / 0.07 oz


1. Melt butter slowly over low heat
2. Remove from heat
3. Add Phase B ingredients and mix well

4. Add Phase C ingredients and mix well. The mixture will become a dough-like mass that is easy to handle.

5. Press into molds and chill for approximately half an hour 
6. Unmold and let dry at room temperature until hardened. Depending on the climate you are in, this can take from 2 to 7 days.

That's it!

See how easy that was?

How To Use a Shampoo Bar

Using a shampoo bar is just like using a bar of soap: wet and rub the bar between hands to work up a lather. Apply the lather to hair. Rinse. Rejoice!

More Shampoo Bar Fun

I was inspired to make these after trying (and loving) the Rosemary Shampoo Block from this tutorial by Botanical Formulations. Click the link for even more shampoo bar fun!

Do Tell

Have you ever made a shampoo bar? Please share your favorite shampoo bar ingredients in a comment.


I make shampoo bars many years now, I love how easy they are to use. You can add many lovely powders directly, conditioning factors, they are so fun to make
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Olympia! Absolutely agree! Shampoo bars are fun and so easy to customize!
Ilhem said…
Hi Lisa! I tried shampoo bars when I started DIY my cosmetics a few years ago but they made my hair heavy and I gave up. I'll try your formula! Is shikake the same as shikakai?
Nic said…
This is really exciting! I've been wanting to try a shampoo bar for a while but have been put off by overly complicated recipes and undesirable ingredients. Yours looks great :) Couple of questions- I've seen other recipes using preservatives, are they not necessary or is it because these are small 'one-use' type bars? I don't have shikake powder, would clay work as a substitute or will it be problematic to preserve? Thank you for such a brilliant blog, it's always my go to website for any new project!
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Ilhem — yes it is : acacia concinna is the INCI
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Nic — Thanks for your kind words! You can leave out the shikake if you want - just use more guar. There is no preservative because the water evaporates as the bar hardens and - much like a bar of soap - no preservative is necessary. Have fun!
Aromahair Etc. said…
Do you know the final PH of these shampoo bars?
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Aromahair - yes. The pH is 6.5 😁
Tachan said…
Is there a butter I can sub for mango? I'm would like to streamline all my ingredients that I use to make soap and lotion bars with already. Mainly cocoa and Shea. Thank you for sharing.
Aish said…
Hi Lise,

What could be used in place of panthenol? and can xanthan gum be used in place of guar? Thank you.
Lise M Andersen said…
HI Tachan - You should be able to substitute the mango butter with a 50/50 mix of cocoa and shea - give it a go and see what you think!
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Aish - You could try and up the guar amount to replace panthenol - or maybe add some silk protein. I wouldn't replace the guar with xanthan as the guar is part of what's giving you the conditioning action.
Unknown said…
Great recipe! I’ve been dying to try shampoo bars for awhile now, could I sub the SCS for Coco b? Since that’s what I have on hand with the SCI...I am assuming I would have to up the amount of SCI to compensate for the extra liquid…love your blog!!
Lise M Andersen said…
Hey there unknown - Thanks for your kind words! If you are replacing a dry surfactant with a liquid one, you're going to have to do a bit of experimenting, but I imagine this could work. Now of course I want to hear about it! I hope you will come back and let me know :)
presh said…
hi lise, fab article as usual. can i ask where you sourced the scs from and also how possible it is to create a shampoo bar without sulfates? thank you.
Anonymous said…
Hello! Can't wait to try and make these. I am wondering how you know what level of heat to melt over? And the best tools needed to melt (do I need to buy a hot plate? Should it only reach a certain temperature when melting?
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Anon - Always melt butters slowly over very low heat and babysit them until melted. Then remove from heat immediately. Some people prefer using a water-bath (bain marie) as this gives good control. Have fun!
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Presh - Thanks for your comment. SCS is available from most cosmetics ingredients suppliers. You didn't mention which part of the world you are in so my best recommendation is to check with your local supplier of ingredients or order from a company that ships worldwide. As for sulphate free bars, you are talking about a cold-processed soap-type of shampoo bar for this kind of solution.
Sophie said…
Hi Lise, thanks for this. Is it possible to use jojoba or argan oil instead of the mango butter? Thanks
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Sophie - I think you might get a somewhat longer drying time and may even risk the bar not hardening up completely. Try a small batch at see if it works.. and expect a longer drying time. I'd love to hear how it turns out for you.