Make your own shampoo. Yes, it truly is worth the time and effort to make shampoo for the health benefits as well as the savings in cost. Here's why.
Although you might not be aware of it, many commercially prepared shampoos and conditioners contain toxic ingredients that could potentially harm your health. Remember that your skin is an organ, and your scalp eats whatever you put on it. So what are some of the harmful ingredients found in many shampoos?
So how can you be sure your shampoo doesn't have these scary ingredients?
Learn to make your own shampoo to ensure that only safe and natural ingredients go on your scalp. I found this vegetable shampoo bar recipe in The Natural Soap Book: Making Herbal and Vegetable-Based Soaps by Susan Miller Cavitch, and while it's definitely not a recipe for beginners, it's also not nearly as difficult to make as it may sound.
These are the ingredients you will need:
• 3 pounds cold, distilled water
• 510 grams sodium hydroxide
• 3 pounds, 1 ounce olive oil
• 2 pounds, 4 ounces castor oil
• 8 ounces jojoba oil
• 2 pounds, 4 ounces coconut oil
First you need to prepare a mold. Line a heavy cardboard box with heavy-duty, waxed freezer paper. Then you'll need to weigh out your sodium hydroxide. Be sure to wear goggles and gloves while measuring and mixing your lye.
Add the distilled water to a 2-quart glass container and then carefully add the sodium hydroxide while stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. This will cause fumes. Hold your breath while stirring and then leave the room for fresh air. After a couple of minutes, come back to finish stirring your lye solution.
The lye solution will quickly heat up to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the container aside to allow it to cool down to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place your oils in a 3-quart saucepan and slowly head them over low heat until the coconut oil is melted. The trick to successfully making soap is to make sure the temperature of both the lye solution and the oils are both at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If your lye solution is too cool, set your glass container is a sink full of hot water. If your oils are too cool, place the saucepan on the stove over low heat, and remove your pan when the temperature reaches 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once they are both at the right temperature (80 degrees Fahrenheit), slowly drizzle the lye into the oils (be sure to wear your goggles when you do this). Stir briskly as you pour in the lye. When you stir, you want to circle the pan and then cut through the middle. You want to stir briskly, but don't beat or whip the mixture. Also don't scrape any residue off the sides of the pan.
After anywhere from ten to forty minutes, your soap mixture should start to "trace". What that means is, when you drizzle a small amount on the surface of the mixture, it leaves a trace of a pattern before sinking into the mixture. Immediately drizzle in any essential oils you wish to add and stir well. Then pour the mixture into your molds. If you see any watery or oily puddles, it means the mixture hasn't been mixed enough. Stop pouring and stir some more.
Pour your mixture into the mold and cover it with a piece of heavy cardboard and then cover that with a wool blanket. Allow it to set for 24 hours. After this time, the soap should be hard. Cut it into bars, and then peel off the paper bottom from the bars and also slice off any soda ash on top of the bars.
Store your bars in a brown paper bag (avoid bags with ink), and allow your bars to cure for six weeks. Half way through the curing process, turn over your bars to expose the other side.