Friday, October 31, 2008

Howdy Folks:

The big thing in skin care today seems to be shampoo bars. Well, since I make some of these babies, I thought I might take this opportunity and speak about them, too.

I began making shampoo bars 4 years ago. I did the research, because I am into making my own recipes. I had already learned different oils do different things in the process of becoming soap.

I have read many shampoo bars are not very lathering. This does not have to be. There are quite a few good oils out there that create the lather we enjoy so very much.

There are three good oils for that big bubbly lather that does not last long. It is called unstable lather. Coconut, Babassu, and Palm Kernel are the oils. If someone is allergic to nuts, Babassu oil can take the place of coconut. Babassu is a higher end oil in the price bracket, though, than Palm Kernel, but they are both from a palm tree.

If the shampoo bar has none of these, then that big, bubbly lather will not happen. And, all three oils will harden the bar, make the unstable lather, and help the bar become soap more quickly. They do nothing for the hair, however, and so they should not be the only oils used in making the shampoo bar. I lean toward Dr. Bob McDaniel’s’ line of thought from his book, Essentially Soap, and that is to use this oil at about 30-40% for its properties. Too much of these oils can dry out the skin and hair.

Then, I think, castor oil becomes another major contributor in shampoo bars. First, there is not an oil like it for its rich and humectant properties; it contains 95% ricinoleic acid. It is the only oil to carry that acid that is so rich and conditioning to our skin and hair. And, I think castor oil creates an abundance of glycerin that so conditions our hair.

There are other nice oils. But, the key here is to make sure that most of the oil’s molecules will turn to soap. There are many skin rich oils available that have too many molecules that resist becoming soap which makes the oil not soapworthy.

Castor oil has some molecules that will not turn to soap, but most will. In fact, it can be used alone to make soap! People don’t do it, because they say it will make a very soft bar of soap.

Castor oil gives an abundance of creamy, stable lather that complements the big, bubbly, unstable lather. Between the two, you have a very lathering bar of soap.

The rest of the oils are soap maker dependent (as really all the oils are!). I like extra virgin olive oil for the properties it lends skin and hair. I use jojoba, too. And both these oils help create that stable lather and conditioning for the hair, along with the castor oil.

So, I think there really is no reason why we cannot have shampoo bars that lather very well. I think also this is one of the perks of shampooing…the lather! We have always had fun playing with it! We should not have to give that up if we don’t have to…and, we don’t have to!
Thanks for listening to me. Have fun today!

Essentially Soap, Dr. Robert S. McDaniel
And this is the site that tells us what we don’t want in our shampoos!

Some of my soaps and shampoo bars :)

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