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Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar Recipe {Video Tutorial}

Affiliate Disclosure | in DIY Beauty | by | with 163 Comments

shampoo bar recipe

Lotions. Potions. Elixirs. Oh my!

Do you love the idea of homemade beauty products but think they are “too much trouble” to make? Or maybe it worries you that the exact form of sodium laurel sulphate in your bottle of suds is used to degrease car engines. (Don’t see it listed? It has about 150 aliases and is often used in “natural” and “herbal” shampoos!) Well then, I have just the thing for you!

This video/photo tutorial – adapted from and inspired by Andrea at Frugally Sustainable – is your guide to hassle-free soapmaking. Chocked full of natural humectants and softening butters, this recipe takes just 30 minutes of active time.* Oh yes! Half an hour and you’ll have  a revitalizing, moisturizing rosemary mint bar – or eight – curing on your countertop. I am by no means an expert at soapmaking (this was my first time!), but this was really simple and fun to do. I am LOVING the results and want to share it with you!

Update: After relocating to an area with hard water my hair starting feeling gunky with this bar. I’m now using this sweet orange and honey shampoo from my new ebook, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes. I do still LOVE this bar as a face & body soap, though.

sweet orange and honey shampoo recipe

Okay, back to the tutorial!

New To Shampoo Bars? Here’s What You Need To Know

Before you get started it’s important to “detox” your hair. For a great explanation of why and how to do it check out this article.

The easiest way to use your shampoo bar is to lather in your hands and then work from root to tip. Like any shampoo it will leave a residue if you use too much, so go easy. :) For a conditioning rinse spritz with a solution of 1/2 apple cider vinegar and 1/2 water in a spray bottle. Leave it on or rinse – either way the vinegary smell will fade away as your hair dries. Here are some more tips for making the transition from Dress Green.

  • “There is a big difference between natural and commercial shampoos: natural bars don’t contain the preservatives, or the sulfates that cleanse by stripping everything – not just the daily dirt buildup but also the good natural oils on your hair. This means that natural shampoos leave hair generally more moisturized and with much more texture (as opposed to the sleek and squeaky feel).
  • You may also find that your hair will need to adapt to the shampoo bars over time (don’t give up if after 2 or 3 days your hair is acting ‘differently’!). Many people’s hair tends to take a while to get accustomed to a natural shampoo when switching away from commercial shampoos – it is part of a ‘detoxifying’ process as the synthetics that have built up on your hair are slowly removed. To help your hair through this detox process, you may find that doing a daily or every-other-day vinegar rinse will help to remove excess buildup (or as I mentioned earlier you can use the instructions in this article).
  • Once your hair has adjusted to your new shampoo bar, you may want to continue with weekly vinegar rinses to keep your hair’s pH balanced, help prevent tangles, and remove soap and product buildup.
  • Shampoo bars can be a little challenging if you live in an area that has hard water. Hard water means that you will need to use more soap to get a good lather, and that soap is more difficult to rinse away. The minerals in hard water can react with soap, causing excess residue and tangling of the hair. If you have hard water, you may want to try using a vinegar rinse more frequently or using a water softener in your home.”

Giveaway TODAY!

Aside from sharing this tutorial, I am also giving away a couple bars from the batch I just whipped up. If you’d like to be entered to win one just share this post on FB or Twitter and leave a comment below letting me know! Contest ends tonight (1/25/12) at midnight. Winners will be selected via and prizes will be mailed tomorrow!

And the winners are . . . Amber Stetler & Jenni Schuessler!Please email me your mailing address and get these shampoo bars in the mail!

*Note: The process takes about 1 1/2 hours total (including non-active time), but you’ll need to wait 24 hours before using!

Video Tutorial

Disclaimer: I am not an expert soapmaker. Please consult a soapmaking guide before making soap.


All amounts are per weight. You will need to use a scale for these measurements.

  • 4 ounces water
  • 6 ounces coconut milk
  •  4 ounces lye (Usually available at your local hardware store. Make sure to get 100% lye!)

- OR-

  • 1 ounce essential oil of your choice


  • crock pot
  • stick blender
  • digital scale
  • glass measuring cups
  • small glass bowls
  • plastic spoon with long handle
  • rubber spatula
  • sink or bowl filled with vinegar and soap mixture (for cleaning anything that comes in contact with lye)
  • protective equipment: long-sleeved shirt, plastic/rubber gloves, safety glasses or protective eye gear
  • soap mold – I used a cardboard box lined with parchment paper. A lined bread pan is the perfect size for this batch, though. I’ll be using that next time!

Photo Tutorial:

Step 1: Place solid oils (coconut, shea butter, cocoa butter) and Beeswax in a saucepan and gently warm over low heat

Step 1: Place solid oils (coconut, shea butter, cocoa butter) and Beeswax in a saucepan and gently warm over low heat

Step 2: Place melted oils and liquid oils (olive, castor, jojoba) in a crockpot and set to low

Step 2: Place melted oils and liquid oils (olive, castor, jojoba) in a crockpot and set to low

Step 3: In a well-ventilated area and while wearing protective gear slowly add lye to water/coconut milk and stir. Take care not to breathe the vapors and do not touch the bowl – it will be hot! Let lye cool for 5-10 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Step 3: In a well-ventilated area and while wearing protective gear slowly add lye to water/coconut milk and stir.

Step 4: Add lye to crockpot (being careful not to splash) and stir a few times.

Step 4: Add lye to crockpot (being careful not to splash) and stir a few times.

Step 5: Using the stick blender begin mixing toward “trace.” You’ll know trace is achieved when the mixture has the texture and thickness of pudding. Mine took about 3 minutes.

Step 5: Using the stick blender begin mixing toward "trace."

Step 6: Cover and let cook on low for 1 hour. During this process the oils should rise up the sides like a wave and then fold back into the mixture.

Step 6: Cover and let cook on low for 1 hour.

Step 7: At the end of one hour the mixture should look a little like semi-translucent vaseline. According to this post, “once the whole mix has this look, you can test it to see if it is done. Take a small sample of the soap and rub it between your fingers. It should have a waxy feel. Test the soap by touching it to your tongue. Keep cooking….if it ‘zaps’ like a nine volt battery, it’s not done.”

Step 7: At the end of one hour the mixture should look a little like semi-translucent vaseline.

Step 8: Once the mixture is ready, add the essential oils and stir.

Step 8: Once the mixture is ready, add the essential oils and stir.

Step 9: Then spoon it into your mold and let firm up for 24 hours.

Step 9: Then spoon it into your mold and let firm up for 24 hours.

Step 10: Once the soap has had 24 hours to harden, remove from the mold and cut into bars.

Step 10: Once the soap has had 24 hours to harden, remove from the mold and cut into bars.

Step 11: In an area with good air flow, place bars on a rack/tray to dry out and harden for another week or so. But by all means, go ahead and enjoy your first bar now!!!

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163 Responses to Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar Recipe {Video Tutorial}

  1. Tania says:

    I’ve always wanted to make a shampoo bar–where do you get your ingredients? (I didn’t watch the video yet, so you may mention it there.)
    (shared on fb)

    • Heather says:

      Some things – like the coconut and olive oils – I had on hand. The rest of the oils were purchased at the local health food store and I found the lye at a hardware store.

      • Sarah says:

        Can we not use the lye? I have lupus and horrible allergies and want nothing affecting it. My skin is super sensitive and really would not want to take a chance on the lye.

        • Heather says:

          Unfortunately, oil will not convert into soap without the saponification process. All soap requires lye for saponification.

          • Terri says:

            Why do so many natural soaps have no lye in them? I have skin issues as well and if you have to wear gloves to make the soap, how safe is it to put on your body?

          • Heather says:

            Hi Terri, all soaps are made by reacting fats with lye through a process called saponification. Lye is found in nature and can be made with hardwood ashes, however for the sake of convenience it is most often bought at hardware stores. Once saponification is complete no lye remains.

          • Kat says:

            You are the picture of patience! Soap without lye, suuuuuurre…… Just like making your TV work without electricity, make a fire with no spark, or bread with no leavening. Not gonna happen, and anyone who tells you otherwise is terribly misinformed. Some people call Melt and Pour soap “Lye-free” soap, but that’s like calling a cake mix “leavening-free” because you didn’t see the leavening being added.

  2. Beth says:

    Oh, this looks awesome!! Just shared on FB. I already make my facial cleanser, liquid body soap, detergent and household cleaners… adding this one to the list to do as well!!!

  3. Bailey Keenan via FB says:

    Thank you for this! I have been making my own soap for awhile now, but haven’t found a shampoo bar that I like. I can’t wait to try this one!

  4. Julie Jones via FB says:

    Can this be used on kids too?

  5. It’s very gentle, but keep in mind that it is not a “tear free” formula. I use it with Katie because she’s old enough to know how to lean her head back, but for Micah I use Chae Baby foaming wash :)

  6. Kirsten says:

    I shared it on fb! Rosemary and mint seem like it would smell SO good! I guess I need to go get a scale so I can try this out. :)

  7. Julie Jones via FB says:

    Evan shockingly cooperates and leans his head back! I can’t believe he does, but he really does! lol:) I think Evan may be allergic to shea butter though b/c every single time he has had anything on him with it he gets a rash. Can it be left out or something else used instead?

  8. Yes, it can be left out but you’ll need to recalculate the amount of lye to use. Instructions for doing that can be found on Andrea’s post that I linked to.

  9. Alison Westermann via FB says:

    What’s the difference between regular soap bar and a shampoo bar? Could I use this as a body soap too?

  10. carolynb says:

    Just shared on twitter…and I love this! I have been wanting to make soap for a long time…you make it look so easy!

  11. Chelsea W says:

    I shared on facebook! Sounds like fun making this…i am definitely going to be trying it out.

  12. Alison Westermann – Shampoo bar formulas contain more moisture enhancing oils like jojoba, but you could definitely use it as a soap, too. I do!

  13. Alison Westermann via FB says:

    awesome, i’m going to have to try this, you make it look so easy!

  14. Susan B says:

    Thanks so much for his and all the great info and recipes you share on your site. sharing on FB

  15. Carole says:

    I’ve been wanting to try a shampoo bar. How many bars does this recipes yield? (It looks like a LOT so I’d have many to share, too?) Will share on FB as well.

  16. Tiffany says:

    Shared on facebook. This looks great! We are moving soon so I don’t want to buy all the ingredients right now, but after we are settled I can’t wait to try this. About how long do the bars last?

    • Heather says:

      Yay for starting fresh in a new place! Hope the transition goes smoothly. Regarding your question, I don’t know from experience since I just made them but they are supposed to be pretty long-lasting.

  17. Anyone make their own lye? For some reason that seems less scary to me than buying it. I’m wondering how I could adjust this recipe for use with lye water.

  18. Jenna Johnson Quimby – I’m thinking about doing that with the ashes from our fireplace next year! If you do decide to try it just run my recipe through this lye calculator and select the ash-derived form of lye ( Once you double check the formula everything else should be the same!

  19. Alison Westermann – It was!

  20. amber says:

    I’m sharing this on both pinterest and facebook!

  21. Looks awesome! This has been on my to-do list but I’ve waiting to see how yours turned out and how you like it. How long have you been using it? We use an all natural shampoo so I don’t imagine that we’d take too long to adjust. We love our homemade soap and I’d love to use this as a shampoo and be totally free of store bought bathroom stuff. I’ll share your recipe in hopes of getting to guinea pig on of yours ;)

  22. Kristine Winniford via FB says:

    It would be awesome if you tried to make your own lye! I’d love to get in on that tutorial.

  23. Kristine Winniford via FB says:

    It would be awesome if you tried to make your own lye! I’d love to get in on that tutorial.

  24. Genny says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’d love to try this.

  25. Genny says:

    Oh! I shared it on fb :)

  26. Jenni Schuessler says:

    So an immersion blender is on wish list..but I would love to try the fruit of your labor in the meantime. Shared on Facebook.

  27. Shared on FB. So I am assuming that you can’t use the crockpot or stick blender for any food making afterwards right? Or can you? These look great. We have tried and liked the ones from Lush, but I would much prefer to make them! Thanks for sharing.

    • Heather says:

      I scrubbed mine VERY THOROUGHLY with soapy vinegar water and will be using them to cook with.

      • Erin says:

        I read on another website that you have to neutralize the pot with vinegar (maybe overnight?) after you use lye in it. I would look it up to be safe.

        • Jenn says:

          As long as you WAIT until your mixture has cured (give it 24 hours) then all you’re doing is washing soap/shampoo out of the pot. The lye dissapears in the saponification reaction.

  28. Erica says:

    We can’t use cacao butter, castor oil, or beeswax but I want to try this. Do you think illipe or kokum would work in place of the cacao butter? Maybe camelina or hemp in place of the castor? Also do you think carnuba wax would work in place of the beeswax?

    No worries if you don’t know, I just thought I’d ask here first before scouring the internet for substitutions.

  29. Ambere says:

    I would love to try this! Thank you for posting where you got your ingredients! I’m sharing on Facebook!

  30. Maia says:

    My sister and I have been dying to make some soap, but shampoo would be even better!!! Just shared on Facebook and I’m going to email it to her! :D

  31. Tanya Smith says:

    This looks so great-I posted it in my natural mom’s group and am going to make some this week to try! I LOVE bath products that smell like rosemary!

  32. Rachael says:

    Yay…I can’t WAIT to try this. Getting my hair clean has been an impossible battle since Korvin was born.

  33. jen says:

    I am SUPER excited about this soap making – I have been wanting to make soap for a super long time! This is just the impetus I need to actually do it. Question: how long do u have to be out in well-ventilated area? What did u do with your kids while making? I REALLY want to do this, but end of january does not allow for well-ventilated except outside in freezing cold here in Ohio. Would the cold temp hurt anything? I need to get a scale, but I have a birthday coming up, any advice on a good one? I’m definitely sharing this on fb & .

    • Sarah says:

      I leave mine on a shelf in the garage. It’s pretty cold in winter, but I haven’t had any problems with the temperature. I bought my scale at Wal Mart. It was cheap, and it works well. Grocery stores often carry them, also, in the kitchen gadget section. Just make sure you can measure to the gram, and you should be good!

  34. jen says:

    So were the kids around when u did this? And did you REALLY test this soap for doneness with your TONGUE?

  35. Leslie says:

    Just shared on FB. Looks like alot of fun, brings back fond memories of my chemistry class. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Could it be made in liquid form?

  37. I love this idea. I have alwayse wanted to make soap. I will be shairing on FB

  38. I know olive oil can be made into liquid castille soap, but I don’t know enough about soapmaking to go into specifics. Sorry!

  39. No worries! I just like my soap in liquid form better. This soap looks increadible! I’ll have to play around with it to see if I can make a liquid version

    • Carla says:

      Make the soap as directed and let set and cure. After 2-3 weeks, shave it into very small pieces and put in a container (gallon jug) and add enough distilled water to fill 1\2 full. Let sit in warm spot and gentley shake to assist in dissolving the soap. Once its dissolved, add water to your liking on suds and such and pour into your containers. You have liquid soap from homemade soaps. Hope that helped.

  40. Natalie says:

    Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! I have wanted to try shampoo bars for a while. Just started a new job and have been ever so busy and haven’t gotten around to cool stuff like these beautiful bars :)

  41. Kendra says:

    Hahaha… I pinned this on pinterest last night, and opened my e-mail to find a bazillion repins! Just had to share :)

  42. Desiree says:

    I was wondering if this could be made with vegetable glycerine instead of Lye? What do you think?

  43. Zusa says:

    Sounds like a great recipe! I’m anxious to try it.

    I didn’t read all the comments so maybe this has already been said….

    Lye is very toxic and can cause blindness. You never want kids or pets anywhere around when working with lye as an accident could be serious. I even include one of those little white face masks (from hardware store) so I don’t inhale the fumes when dissolving the lye.

    Also, there is a safer way to test to see if the product is cured, rather than putting the lye on your tongue. It’s called phenolphthalein and can be purchased at a home brew supply store for just a couple dollars. It’s toxic too, so should also be stored safely along with the lye. But just one drop on your test sample will tell you whether or not the soap is neutral. If it stays clear, the soap is cured. If there is any color, even light pink, the soap is not ready.

    You can get food-grade lye from

  44. Chelsea Rogers via FB says:

    I wanna try this! I have moved to real food now I’m slowly going to try natural things for my body. I never took into consideration that our skin is our biggest organ and it absorbs everything we put on it

  45. Marie says:

    Would it be possible to use something else to mix the ingredients since I do not have an immersion blender?

  46. WAHOO! So excited about what I won! Thanks Heather! Made my night!

  47. […] Shampoo Bar – I use this Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar recipe. It smells […]

  48. Alicia says:

    So I am curious if you still like this?? And do you have long hair?? I made the shampoo recipe from passionate homemaking and my husband loves it but I can’t use it. I stuck it out for about 4 days but I couldnt brush it and it felt really gross!

  49. Krista says:

    Curious how you like this after using it for a while?

  50. jen says:

    i just made this this morning & it WAS super easy! :) thanks Heather! :) the only thing was that I used a bread loaf pan and forgot to line it with parchment paper or wax paper….. but i did grease it with coconut oil. not sure if i’m going to be able to get this huge brick out of my bread loaf pan??? i’m a little worried. don’t quite know how i forgot that step along the way.

  51. jen says:

    okay, just wanted to update… i DID get the soap out of the bread loaf pan. i didn’t wait 24 hours (as you can probably tell), I popped the whole brick out after just a couple of hours (when I thought it was probably set enough & it worked out just fine. I went ahead & cut it right then & there because it was ready already too. LOVE LOVE LOVE this soap! it’s VERY moisturizing! yay!! I used it as shampoo too & am very happy because my scalp is sensitive & most shampoos cause me to want to scratch my scalp OFF just a couple hours after shampooing. I did a cost analysis (with amazon) and figured out that this soap costs me about $2 per bar of soap if I end up with 8 bars total. I think that’s pretty good, just wondered if anyone else had considered the $$ end of it. It is not too much trouble to make them yourself & you end up with your own personal homemade soaps… just wondering what Heather & everyone else thought about cost analysis on it… :) thanks :)

    • Heather says:

      Woohoo! I’m glad you thought the process was easy, Jen! I didn’t do a cost analysis the first time around because I bought all the ingredients locally. Now that I know it’s something we’ll be using long-term I plan to shop around for the best bulk prices. $2 a bar for handmade soap with pure ingredients is AMAZING!

      Oh, one quick mention: You might find it helpful to “detox” your hair before switching over to shampoo bars. Here’s a great explanation of why and how to do it.

  52. Jen says:

    Heather, thanks for the “hair detox” tip, I never heard of such a thing, but will do it. How many times did u need to do this? Also, I would LOVE it if u could update us with any new reformulations u come up with? Oh, & for the cost analysis I did, I left out the cost of essential oils since they are optional &for can be very pricey… any good affordable sources on that &for does it really matter the brand on those?

    • Heather says:

      I did one bath hair swish and one with the shampoo paste. If I hadn’t run out of baking soda I would have liked to do one more paste detox but it worked out anyway. On the essential oils: wouldn’t really worry about the brand in a recipe like this since we’re not using the essential oils therapeutically.

  53. Jen says:

    For the paste detox method did u use regular shampoo or your bar? Thanks :)

  54. martine says:

    I have really dry hairs

    Isn’t coconut oil meke the hairs more dry?

    If nt can I just use coconut and olive oil (no jojoba and cator oil)


    • Heather says:

      Coconut oil does make the hair more dry, but if you change the oils you’ll need to check the formula with a lye calculator to determine how much lye you’ll need. Andreas recipe is more moisturizing – maybe that one would be better for you (the link is in the post :))

  55. Post a picture of you hair! I would love to see a photo comparison of hair on commercial shampoo, and hair after 1 use of homemade shampoo, and then after a month or so. :)

    • Heather says:

      Argh, that would have been a great idea! Unfortunately I’ve already been using it for about a month. And even if there was a before pic the after pic would look bad just because my hairdresser just had a baby and I’m waaaaay overdue for a trim!

  56. Jen says:

    Heather, thank you! I did the paste detox tonight following with a n extra wash with the shampoo bar (to be sure I got the baking soda out ) & rinsed with acv & h2o. I have long hair & it brushed right out and felt so soft!!! I am loving this! Oh! I forgot to tell you, I saved in thebelden the soap pieces that I had left & boiled some water and poured it in the Crockpot I used to make the soap and got liquid soap, (shsmpoo)then I mixed that with the baking soda tonight for the paste! :)

  57. Mirian says:

    I’ve made soap once a couple of years ago. I’ve started using and find that it lasts a long time. I believe the longer you cure it, the longer it lasts.

  58. Diane says:

    I’m finally making this — right now! Only a half hour or so to go in the crockpot. I have a question, though: Did your water + coconut milk + lye set up? It looks liquid to me in the pic you posted above. Mine turned really thick and I had to glop it out with the side of the blender. Other than that, it’s all looking good.

  59. Diane says:

    My crockpot is a jerk. It got way too hot, I think, even on low. It ended up kind of burning on the sides where it’s supposed to roll over on itself and then did no further turning. The inside remained ungelled, though. I had to leave not long after the hour was up so I stir the bejeebers out of it, added EOs, and smooshed it into a loaf pan. Since it’s now a hot-cold-lukwarm-Global-Warming-Ice-Age process soap, I’ll let that sucker cure for a few weeks. I think it’ll end up being okay. *crossing fingers*

  60. Erica says:

    I made the soap! I had a similar issue to Diane (HILARIOUS description by the way). My crock pot was too hot, but it didn’t burn. It never turned into the vaseline semi-translucent substance, so I just stirred it, added the organic EO and put it in my “mould.” We shall see. I just cut it into bars and I’ll let those cure for a few weeks.

    Thanks again for the great tutorial!

  61. […] Mommypotamus posted an AWESOME recipe for a shampoo bar.  It took a while to gather all of the necessary ingredients and substitutions, but I was finally able to try the recipe a few weeks ago.  I am very pleased with the results and I can’t wait to make more.  I’ve already been thinking up wonderful recipes.  The soap bars last longer and creates  a better lather the more time they are allowed to cure and dry. […]

  62. Nicole says:

    It is lye so don’t you want to let it stand and harden for about 4-6 weeks cause it’s caustic?

  63. Sara says:

    For the past 4 months I’ve suffered from stinky scalp. I normally use natural shea butter shampoos and never had a problem, but one day my head just started smelling really bad. Now, after just a couple hours of washing my hair, my scalp starts to smell. The only thing that controls the smell is using head and shoulders shampoo, which has a ton of chemicals that I hate putting on my body.
    Do you have any recommendations for this? I would really like to go back to natural shampoos!

  64. Jolene says:

    I just made a batch of these! They smell so good and I used some ‘scraps’ to wash my hands– LOVE the lather and the feel! Thank you for sharing!

  65. Leanna says:

    I started making my soap this morning and I carefully weighed and calculated the ingredients before doing everything. The oils were fine then when I was mixing the distilled water, coconut milk, and lye it was making the milk an off while color and thickening it. When I checked it-it cooked the milk making a solid mass in the center with liquid around it. I started mixing it together which looked nothing like yours it was very thick. I slowly added the mix into the oils and blended it for about five minutes. I waited an hour and it didn’t do the wave and it zapped my tongue, I waited another hour and once again the same thing. It keeps going a little bit more liquid every time and is still zapping my tongue. I really do not want to throw it out I already spent alot on the ingredients. Is there anything I can do to it? I don’t know where I went wrong with the recipe.

  66. Carleen says:

    Can you make this without the lye? What does the lye do?

  67. Hayley says:

    This seems like a great recipe that I will definitely try! Can you use this for regular body soap too?

    • Heather says:

      Yes, you can Hayley! I will say this, though. I recently moved and now can’t use this shampoo bar because the water here is different and causes it to leave a film on may hair. So for some people it will work great and some it will not. I have actually developed 2 much easier shampoo recipes that will work better in all types of water since I posted this recipe – they’ll be published soon in my new book on DIY Beauty recipes!

  68. LINA says:

    HI.can i use the crock pot for coking after making soap or it is toxic ?

  69. A says:

    Hi everyone, I was recommended to visit this site by a friend. I have never made my own bath products, and quite frankly am worried about screwing it up :), but would like to try. I am currently having a hard time finding an inexpensive body care products that do not agitate my skin and has as little or no synthetic and toxic ingredients. Is there a good place to start? Right now the worst is itchy and irritated scalp. I have gotten rid of the products that I had recently switched to and I’m using a tea tree calming shampoo and conditioner, which even after only two uses has shown some improvement, but even the cheap products are expensive. If you are willing to share some beginning advice and resources I would be very appreciative.

  70. Jenni says:

    I don’t wanna sound too silly to ask this but I really wanna know what is the purpose of the lye. I’m just quite afraid of using it so Im wondering how would this work without it or if there’s a more friendly substitute? I would do some research but i’m sooooo busy checking all the recipes in your book :) loving it!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Jenni! The lye is used to convert fats to soap (saponification). Without it, you’re just rubbing fats on your skin! Lye has been around for a long time (it used to be made from the ashes of hardwoods) and should become completely inert through the saponification process if the fat/water/lye ratios are correct. You need 100% lye. It is very caustic and should always be kept out of children’s reach.

  71. Hi Heather,
    I just have a quick question regarding this. Is it necessary to ‘cook’ it in the crockpot or could you just pour the soap into a mold after it reaches ‘trace’? I’ve made soap in the past and usually the soap is ready to pour into the mold after ‘trace’. The soap just has to age for a week or two before use. What is your experience with this?
    Thank you!

    • Heather says:

      Yes, cook it. I think the process you’re describing is usually called “cold process.” This is hot process and can be used then next day!

      • Can I do cold process and just let it age?

        • Austin says:

          Yes. I prefer cold process because the finished bars of soap are very smooth, with little to no bubbles. I’ve made hot process a few times, and the long wait time of cold process is definitely worth the end product. But, if you make cold process soap, there can be soda ash on the surface of the soap sometimes from sodium hydroxide (lye) reacting with carbon dioxide in the air & forming sodium carbonate, also known as washing soda. It’s completely harmless, but a bit unsightly. You can just scrape it off the soap, or prevent it by making sure your soap mold is covered with as little air as possible touching the soap. That way, there isn’t much carbon dioxide to react with the sodium hydroxide.

  72. Angel says:

    Hi there! Stumbled onto your site and am excited to begin learning about creating my own soap, shampoo and lotions:) I clicked on the link about detoxing hair, but my question is this (and forgive me if it seems like a dumb question:/): it says “3 way to detox”…does this mean, do all three steps? Or do either/or one only?? Wanted to know your thoughts. Sorry for the trouble, but thank you for your info:)

  73. Tawni says:

    I made this cold process and substituted water with beer. I cannot wait to use it! Thanks!

  74. […] This image is meant to be a source of inspiration.No copyright infringement intended.I do not own images posted on this page. For more details please visit this […]

  75. […] This blog helps you learn how to make homemade soap so now you have no excuses not to make some. […]

  76. Maggie ♥ says:

    hi, ive been really looking forward to doing this but all the oils and the cocoa and shea butters cost SOOO much!!!! its not even worth it when u calculate the cost! im so sad!!!! where did you get you things? i live closest to a “whole foods” (health food store) but they didnt have most of the stuff… :(

  77. Anna says:

    Thank you for posting this great recipe for shampoo and other very interesting DIY products. I love doing my own cosmetic products and have found your recipes very inspiring. Thank you for sharing them!

  78. Mohit says:

    I wanted to try out a simple recipe by using just coconut and almond oil. Please suggest me the appropriate quantities required to make 1-2 bars of shampoo.

  79. […] bars can easily be stored in your first aid kit or non-perishable emergency bag. Check out this rosemary mint shampoo bar from […]

  80. Emilu says:

    Can I substitute 3oz Castile oil for the jojoba, and 2 oz cocoa butter for the Shea butter?

    • Heather says:

      Because every oil/butter has it’s own saponification value they cannot be substituting without recalculating the amount of lye needed. If you’d like to do that I recommend using a lye calculator.

  81. Emilu says:

    If I lather in my hands, can I avoid using the vinegar rinse? And , furthermore , will I need to use my standard coconut oil conditioning routine afterward?

    • Heather says:

      I would still recommend the vinegar rinse. Soap has a very alkaline pH, which opens the hair cuticle. Vinegar is needed to restore pH and close the hair shaft.

  82. Andrea says:

    I’d really like to try this out, but only have the crockpot we use to cook in. A lot of DIY recipes state you should only use “craft” pots, bowls, etc… instead of the same ones you use in your kitchen. What do you think? Any issues here since you’re cooking lye?

  83. Mary says:

    Stupid question: how small of a crockpot could you get away with for this? I really don’t want to use my nice one, so I’d like to know what size to keep an eye out for!


  84. Kate says:

    Looking forward to making this when I get all the ingredients. I’ve been wanting to try soap making for a long time!

  85. Rachel says:


    I am unsure if there is a difference between a slow cooker and a crockpot – can I use a slow cooker (the plug in kind)

    Thank you

    Excited to get started


  86. Rachel says:

    The crock pot I am looking at buying saying High and auto on it there is no high,low,medium settings. Also it is round not oval. I just want to get the right one

    Thanks in advance for your advice I love this page :D

    • Austin says:

      It doesn’t really matter what shape the crock pot is. I think you would need a “low” setting on your crock pot to make hot process soap. You could try making it in a stock pot on the stove, instead. If you’re really patient, you could always just mix the oils & lye together like it says in the recipe, and after it gets to trace (the thin pudding stage), pour it into a mold lined with parchment paper and let it sit overnight, or for 2 days (I like to use a bread pan as a mold, just cut the soap like a loaf of bread when it’s ready). After that time has passed, you can remove it from the mold & let it harden for about 4 more weeks. It’s safe to use the soap after 48 hours, but the soap will be very soft because the water hasn’t evaporated completely.

  87. Lauren says:

    is there any substitute for lye? Will Castile soap be a good substitute? I don’t feel comfortable using lye since you have to be so careful with it. Please respond, I would really like to try this.

    • Heather says:

      Hi Lauren, lye is a product that is found in nature. I buy mine for convenience but it can be made from hardwood ashes, and it’s needed to convert fats into soap through a process called saponification. It’s how people have been making soap from the start :)

  88. […] Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar Recipe – Mommypotamus […]

  89. […] Lip Balm for Just $0.24 DIY Rosemary Lavender Salt Scrub Homemade Rosemary Peppermint Shampoo Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar DIY Honey Shampoo The Ultimate Guide to Natural Hair […]

  90. Shana says:

    I haven’t made soap because I don’t want to buy separate utensils/ crock pot for this purpose. Do you use this equipment for cooking as well or are all these items set aside for use with lye? Thanks

  91. Nurul says:

    Hi heather,

    Thanks for the recipe. Havent try it but looking forward to try it. My concern is, how long this soap will last after we start using it? We know that coconut milk will be easily spoilt after few days. And what if i want tomskip beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter? am i need to replace with another butter?Hoping for your respond soon. Thanks again!

  92. Elliot says:

    Lye soap will never go bad because it has a pH high enough to prevent bacteria from thriving. It might go rancid, but that takes a loooong time, especially with a recipe like this one that doesnt have fats with a short shelf life like grapeseed, hempseed, etc. You can replace the butters with another butter and leave out the beeswax, but youll need to run it through a lye calculator like soapcalc to know exactly how much lye you need. If you simply remove the butters or replace them with a fat like coconut oil or olive oil, your recipe will be entirely different from the one here.

  93. Brittany says:

    Hi Heather, love your site! Just curious, is all the coconut oil safe for drains? I imagine build up might occur, but what is your experience? Thanks!

    • Hi Brittany, I’m not sure if you mean coconut oil that has been saponified (made into soap) or just plain coconut oil. I’ve used both the saponified form (soap) and the unsaponified form (oil) at three different houses with no problems.

  94. Nina says:

    Hi Heather love your site. Can i do this recipe has a cold process method !
    I really like this recipe ;) Thank you

  95. Susan says:

    Oh boy. I am going to watch your video for the millionth time and then I’m going to try this. Fingers crossed! :)

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