How to Rework a Shampoo Bar
This is all because of Nika's inspiring question. What you're looking at up there is shampoo bar 'first edition' and shampoo bar 'second edition'.
On the left: the original shampoo bar with chamomile and calendula. On the right, the reworked shampoo bar with added herbs.
Why would we want to rework a shampoo bar? Let's start with Nika's question.
“I made a couple of shampoo bars following your awesome recipe, and would like to customize (add a few other botanicals). Is there a way to melt the bars or do I have to start all over. I know it's best to start over, but just didn't want to waste. Thank you!”
“As for adding your own botanicals -- this is absolutely do-able but you may need to plan on doing a bit of experimenting. I have never tried to remelt or refashion shampoo bars and to be honest have never heard of anyone else doing this either. This doesn't necessarily mean it can't be done though. If I were going to give this a try, I would probably crush the bar as finely as possible without adding any liquids, then work from there”
(visit this post and scroll down for the unedited version of these comments - complete with my typos)
So That's What She DidNika not only tried it, but got back to me with her feedback. She also kindly agreed to let me share her tips with you:
If the bar is not dry enough, crushing won't work very well. Mine was quite dry, I started off with a mortar and pestle and continued with my hands to crumble as finely as was humanly possible.
I then mixed in the herbs and added water little by little, intuitively feeling when the texture was perfect. I imagine the required amount of water will be different, depending on the degree of dryness of the bar before crushing, so it really should be felt.
I then cured it for two days (close to a dehumidifier and that's it. It lives in the shower, holds its shape perfectly and does the 5 star job.
So I Did it TooI wanted to try this too, so here are pics are of my process following Nika's description.
Step 1Crush the bar using a mortar and pestle. I imagine you could also place it in a bag and 'gently' whack with a rolling pin or similar heavy-ish object with the same results.
Step 2Add the extra botanical. I chose handcrafted horsetail powder for this bar.
Step 3Add liquid bit by bit and work through mixture until the mass can be formed. I used a handcrafted 'herbal medley' vinegar tincture.
Step 4Shape, mould, chill for a few minutes, unmould, and then let dry for a few days.
Thank you Nika for sharing! This process turned out to be easy and fun and has me eyeing my stock cupboard for more bars I can crush and rework.
Want to make your own naturally balanced shampoo bars? This book might be just what you're looking for!
@Signe — hello and so good to hear from you! The difference between these and a soap-based shampoo bar is in both the ingredients and process. These are ‘syndet’ bars and use synthetic detergents - they are cold-mixed. They are also pH balanced to be as hair and scalp friendly as possible. A cold processed soap has a naturally higher pH and uses a different process. 😊
Actually I have never understood the fuss about pH balance - I have very dry atopic skin and itchy dry scalp, and they have never been better than after I changed all my shampoos and shower gels to home made soap.