Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Shampoo, Shampoo, Shampoo!

Let me bring you up-to-date with my shampoo making efforts - oh boy have I been having some fun! Ok so I did expect that I was going to make the perfect shampoo first time round, so the first disaster was a bit of an...errr surprise. LOL But I've really started enjoy the journey. :)

Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a commercial bottle of shampoo? Oh my! There's a list as long as your arm of weird and undesirable sounding chemicals. I'm not a chemist, so I won't go there, but the one that most people have heard of is sodium laureth sulfate which is used to create the lather (and is also used to clean commercial garage floors! Yuk!). So I thought it would most likely be healthier, much more liberating, and a great deal of fun to see if I could make our own shampoo. :)

Recipe No.1

After hunting around on the internet for a while, I found the following recipe which sounded quite appealing:

http://www.happynews.com/living/haircare/make-shampoo.htm

And here's the recipe:

A simple castile shampoo is made with 4 ounces castile soap flakes and one quart water. Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and pour water over the soap flakes. Stir until the soap flakes dissolve. Once the mixture has cooled, store it in a plastic bottle.

You may vary this recipe by adding essential oils to the shampoo. Lavender is very calming and makes a good addition to the shampoo. Peppermint and citrus are invigorating. Experiment with different oils to find the ones you like best. If you wish to add essential oils to your shampoo, mix 4 to 8 drops of the oil in a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol. Stir it into the soap mixture just after all the soap has dissolved.

This sounds simple, I think to myself, and immediately go hunting to find a suitable supplier, which turns out to be The Soap Kitchen. So I make the recipe and it looks to me like it's quite thin, so I pour it into some lovely blue glass bottles I've found on eBay and leave it to cool. Uh oh... it didn't stay thin for long. I turn the bottles upside down and have a bit of a Heinz ketchup moment. LOL! But to no avail. My friend Onnik helpfully suggests microwaving the bottles, which we do and manage to extract the shampoo, after a few volcanoes which cover the microwave in the lovely rose shampoo I'm feeling so proud of. I now unceremoniously dump the stuff into little pots to give to my friends to try out. Anyway, to cut a story that is becoming long a bit shorter, it's terrible. It doesn't really clean the hair, and it doesn't lather. After cooling off from my disappointment, I leave it in a bowl by the sink to use as hand soap. Eventually it gets sacked even from this humble role. Oh well, it was fun and I have at least learnt something - about what not to do! :)

Recipe No.2.

So I look around for another recipe and find a lovely book that comes with great recommendations on Amazon: Natural Beauty at Home by Janice Cox (you'll find other recipes from her book scattered about my blog). So I try her herbal shampoo recipe. This is a mixture of the basic shampoo recipe, plus your herbs of choice (funnily enough):

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup liquid soap
1/2 teaspoon light vegetable oil

Mix together all the ingredients above. Then take 2 tablespoons of dried herbs (I tried lavender and chamomile as two separate shampoos) and steep them in 1/2 cup of water for at least 20 minutes. Then add this to the shampoo mix along with 2 tablespoons of glycerine.

It smells gorgeous and looks good, but again it doesn't lather or really clean the hair properly. So I come to the conclusion that I need to find a recipe that doesn't use soap, as this just isn't suitable for cleaning hair, and (dare I say it) is a bit more complex or sophisticated.

Recipe No.3

Ok, so I hunt around again and find a recipe online that uses a combination of different oils and one chemical, lye, to create a gentle shampoo. I haven't tried it yet, but I will in the next couple of days, and report back. I have a good feeling about this one...

Update 19/07/07

My puppy-like excitement about finding a lovely, natural homemade shampoo is history! LOL I'm going through a chemical revolution (see my latest post about Sodium Laureth Sulfate). But the shampoo quest continues in full force!

The last recipe I found was, in fact, in an eBook from www.whatsinyourshampoo.com costing $24.00. I know, it's a lot of money for a recipe. I can honestly say that by the time I produce a shampoo that I'm satisfied with, it will be the most expensive bottle on the shelf. LOL

This recipe was fairly complex to make, and was based on heating and combining different oils (safflower, soy, coconut and peanut), along with a little bit of help from Potassium Hydroxide and Borax. It turned out to be really thick, so I had to re-heat it and add more water before we could use it. It was very effective at cleaning the hair, and lathered up a treat. But when we came to rinsing it off it felt a bit like petrol. :( I tried adding honey to improve this and it did help, but not enough. When you dry your hair, it felt OK, if a little thick. My other complaint was the smell of this shampoo. Despite the addition of essential oils, it retained a pretty undesirable smell. Very "natural" one might say, but not actually all that pleasing on the nose buds.

So by this time I was coming to the conclusion that all this natural stuff was fun, but it just wasn't enough. I then came across a very interesting web site call Aromantic which sells both recipes and ingredients for cosmetic products. They use certain chemicals, which I need to find out more about, and some more natural products. I'm just about to make my first batch...
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