Fabulous Shampoo Bar Recipe

If you are a soapmaker looking for a fabulous shampoo bar recipe with lots of lather that will make your hair softer than it’s ever been before, then this recipe is for you! It comes from Lisa G. of Opus Soaps in Petersburg, Texas.

When I first set out to make a great shampoo bar, I did a bit of research on the best ingredients to use and took a shot at it. It worked fine for my first try, and my hair did a slow transition away from the commercial shampoo I’ve been using all my life. It had decent lather, and made my hair feel softer and cleaner than it ever had before. In fact, here’s a photo of it:

My first attempt at a shampoo bar

Then Lisa sent me her recipe, and I whipped up a quick hot-processed batch. Oh my. My first soap never saw this much lather! And my hair! After the first time using it, my hair was noticeably softer and easier to comb through!

Opus Shampoo Bar, hot processed

Oh, but then Lisa sent me an actual bar that she had made using the cold process method, and it was EVEN BETTER. When I first picked it up, I noticed how silky smooth the surface of the soap felt. Then with a bit of water added, the lather began to grow into an lots of large frothy bubbles. After rubbing it around my hair, I noticed that the lather got super dense and creamy. Heavenly! See for yourself:

Opus Shampoo Bar, cold processed

Are you ready to make your own batch now? Here is what you’ll need:

Opus Shampoo Bar – 3 lb. batch, superfatted at 5%

Water – 517 g (Lisa uses half beer, half aloe juice)
Lye – 192 g
Coconut Oil – 382 g
Olive Oil Pomace – 408 g
Castor Oil – 63 g
Lard – 340 g
Shea Butter – 42 g
Cocoa Butter – 25 g
Rice Bran Oil – 123 g

I’ve been using this recipe on my hair for several days and it’s amazing! I’m still using a bit of conditioner on the ends followed by a vinegar rinse (about 1 part apple cider vinegar, 3 parts water) on my scalp, which works down through the hair and makes it easier to de-tangle. After getting my hair shampooed at the salon yesterday, I did have to shampoo my hair twice with the bar soap to get the same lather, and my hair isn’t feeling quite as soft today. I suppose it will have to re-adjust again.

Anyway, give it a shot and let me know how it works for you! And huge thanks to Lisa for sharing her recipe!!

If you haven’t made soap with beer before, you might want to consult this post.

Page with Comments

  1. As I dont use animal products do you think there might be a good alternative to using lard? I am so keen to make a shampoo bar, and have been following your trials with real interest, thanks so much for doing this for all us soapers!! XX

  2. Thanks for the kudos, Amy…I’m thrilled that it works so well for you. Maybe the reason why my hair has never felt gunky with it is because it is pretty short. Enjoy, ladies! 🙂

  3. Ishbel, palm oil will work just fine; I switched to lard just because it was more readily available and cheaper….and it really makes good soap!

  4. I don’t normally use lard either, but I’m willing to make an exception in this case! In researching ingredients for shampoo bars, I read not to use palm because it can leave a residue. Have you made the bar with palm and had good results, Lisa?

  5. Ah….no I haven’t, Amy; that might be a problem if palm leaves residue. Remember, for me this is an all purpose soap recipe….the shampooing results are just a big bonus LOL. Once I switched the recipe and found how well everything worked together I’ve not done any experimentation.

  6. This looks like a wonderful recipe – will try it out here in NZ too! Thanks so much for sharing it.

  7. Thanks so much Amy and Lisa, do you know, I recon the soap world is the only place where we share so much without reservation!! I love it. The only thing is, I dont use palm either!!!! ha, ha. I will try the added coconut, shea and cocoa butter instead, what about castor oil?

  8. Ohhh thanks for this! I’ve never used lard either and have a ready supply of palm so I’ll swap it out. The only thing is, would that not decrease the hardness a bit? Cannot wait to make this, we really need some poo bars at home now. Thank you and Lisa SO much!!!

  9. Ishbel, I don’t know…please remember that tinkering with the recipe is going to make a bar with different properties than the recipe I submitted. I’m afraid to tell you to use x amount of this or that because it’s going to affect the moisturization and lathering. Celine, I always add a pinch of salt to help with the hardness…and I do mean a PINCH LOL. Any more than that and again, it’ll affect the lather. I’m glad y’all are enjoying this…thanks again, Amy for having such a great blog!

  10. Hi Ladies, what do you suppose I could sub for the Rice Bran Oil? I don’t have any of that on hand, just standard oils like lard, coconut, oilve, corn, sunflower, shea and cocoa butter. OH and I do have a little bit of Babassu oil.

    That is the nicest, creamy lather! I can’t wait to try the recipe. Thank you Amy and Lisa for sharing!!!

  11. Hi Amy,

    What an enthusiastic recommendation for Lisa’s hampoo bar recipe that produces so much lather. Have you had any guys try this and, if so, what have been their responses? I’m game.

    This information would be perfect to include in the Joyful Soaps Blog Questions I forwarded to you earlier this week.

    The photos of the shampoo bars powerfully convey the sudsy, and rich, creamy lather. Great job!

  12. @Crystal – I’m going to see what Lisa has to say…seems like people were subbing their olive oil for rice bran several years back when olive was high, but there’s already olive in the recipe, so….

    @Michael – Well, if you can’t get Leslie to whip up a batch, let me know and I’ll send you one of mine! Lisa may have had some guys try it, but I haven’t! My hubby doesn’t have much to work with! LOL!

  13. Hi Michael, I have a bunch of guys that buy the beer soap from me for shaving…as far as shampooing, not sure but I think guys would love this for their hair as much as ladies do.

    Crystal, I don’t know what to tell you as far as subbing out the rice bran oil…as I pointed out earlier, when you sub out ingredients you then have a different recipe which is going to give you a different result. Soaper’s Choice (Columbus Foods in Chicago) carries the rice bran oil in a 7 pound container for a reasonable price.

    Amy, you can edit this if you don’t like the following idea: For all of you that want to sub ingredients here is a suggestion. I have a loaf of beer soap that has been curing for about three weeks…if you want to experiment with the recipe, I highly suggest you have a bar of the original recipe to see if you have improved or degraded the results. Anyone who wants a bar for comparison purposes can contact me privately and I’ll sell you a bar of it. I’m not doing this to garner customers, I just think that you won’t know what you are missing or gaining if you don’t have the original recipe bar going in. Anyway, email me at: sneaky.boots@yahoo.com and put soap in the subject line. I sell retail for $4 a bar.

    (I think this is a fabulous idea and I definitely approve this message! -Amy)

  14. I’ve always wanted to try making my own soap but never knew how to even go about making it. Thanks for posting such a nice and informative recipe! I’m going to try this out as soon as I get my hands on the ingredients! This is a big money saver compared to buying commercial shampoo. Very nice work!

  15. Linda, there are a plethora of blogs and forums that will give you instructions on how to make soap; of course, I know that Amy here is a super resource all on her own….and you have a bunch of soapers right here willing to help you on your journey into soapmaking!

  16. @Linda – If you’ve never made soap before, you will need to check out some basic soapmaking instructions. I can recommend the book “The Soapmaker’s Companion” by Susan Miller Cavitch.

  17. Yay! Thanks for the recipe. I need to order Rice Bran oil and since I’m running low on some other oils the timing is excellent. I can’t wait to give the shampoo bar a try again. Aloe juice heh? I’ve never tried that in soap, very interesting. Trader Joe’s sells huge bottles of it for pretty cheap too. Thanks again Amy and Lisa!

  18. Very interesting recipe. I have to admit I vinced a bit when reading about the lard part, but as was pointed out in the comments it can be replaced. However, I would imagine that might also require a recalculation of the lye/fat ratio?

  19. Hi,

    This recipe sounds great except I don’t have any lard. I have only made 4 batches of CP soap but LOVE it. I have read that lard can vary in fattiness creating issues with soap. What would you recommend?

    Christina M

  20. @Christina – I’ve never heard of having issues with lard. Manteca is the brand you’ll find in most grocery stores or Walmart. It’s what I use for my Old Fashioned Lye soaps and this recipe. I say go for it!

  21. For those opposed to animal based products, have you tried shortening? Crisco was actually developed for soapers at the turn of 20th century to free women from the task of making tallow/lard ready for soap. I hear it makes a really nice soap. And it’s more eco-friendly than using palm oil, or so I hear.

  22. I would like to try this is there any way that you can tell me a few things? Like is there NO water in this recipe, just beer and aloe juice? Also when measuring out do you just use a measuring cup set to grams?


  23. When using beer in this shampoo bar does it need to be flat first, or can you work with it right after you pop the top? I’ve made beer soap in the past and i remember having to let the beer sit on the counter for days until it was flat. Or maybe mixing the aloe juice with the beer
    helps with the carbonation? Thanks!

  24. @Sep – Oh yes, you will definitely want the beer flat! In fact, I cook it on the stove for just a few minutes to release the carbonation and cook out the alcohol. Quicker than just letting it sit.

  25. Amy, I googled shampoo bar and found your post. I guess I really need to take a couple of days and go through your blog. I will probably find everything I am looking for… lol
    I know this post is a year old but is this recipe still a good recipe to use? Have you made any tweeks to it that you are willing to share? I was going to contact Lisa to get a bar of her shampoo but I will buy it from you if you are using this same recipe. I can get a shampoo bar and that lovely raspberry vanilla you are saving for me. Is it ready yet? Thanks 🙂

  26. this does look like a good recipie . has anyone tried mango butter and avacodo oil in their shampoo bars ? i make a great shampoo bar and have had a complete turn around on commercial versus homemade , i honestly believe my product is better and leaves hair in much better condition . i have made the decision the market the soap ive created and i love to see others posting and doing the same , its a fantastic creative avenue !!!

  27. In place of lard, I would add apricot or castor oil. The apricot being my favorite, because it’s a lighter oil.

  28. @Kymberleigh – The only problem with that is it will completely change the properties of the recipe. Lard makes up a very large percentage of this soap, and subbing a liquid oil will most certainly make it too soft.

  29. I just found your recipe. It looks wonderful!!! 🙂 I was wondering if anyone has used this for oily hair/scalp?

  30. I’m not sure, Jerri. I’ve heard rhassoul clay is an excellent additive for oily hair though. You might try adding some to the recipe and see what you think!

  31. Is there a reason no one’s made a shampoo bar with [a lot of] apple cider vinegar? I always leave it in my hair before I shower, it makes my hair sooo soft. I would LOVE to have it in bar form…

  32. @Mar – Because vinegar is an acid, it would off-set the lye used to make the soap and it wouldn’t become soap! 🙂 I use an apple cider vinegar rinse AFTER I wash my hair with my shampoo bar to reduce the ph of my hair and scalp.

  33. Hey fellow soapers, loved this blog! I am an amature soaper as I’ve only made a few batches of soap all cp and one hot so I’m still very new and learning. I was searching for a shampoo soap recipe when I found this blog and I can’t wait to try it. I had one question though, I’ve been checking out the recipes using beer and wine and being a b/w consumer I found these recipes quite unique. So my question is does anyone here have a preference and is one better for the hair than the other? I’d love everyone’s input and I’m really excited about trying it!
    Thanks all.

  34. @Traci…I’ve used both, and in my opinion the beer recipe is so much better there isn’t really a comparison. Enjoy!

  35. I made this shampoo bar recipe about 5 weeks ago and used it for the first time this weekend. I LOVE IT! I did not use beer, but now I’m curious to try that next time. I used all water. I was almost hesitant to use the shampoo bar after going to a soap making class at my local university last week. . I asked the instructor (who has been making soaps and shampoo bars for approximately 15 years) about shampoo bars and she said any bar of soap you make will make an awesome shampoo bar as long as it does not contain any BUTTER. I was instantly disappointed, because I knew this recipe contained butter and I hadn’t even used it yet. Well, I tried it on my hair anyway and I LOVE IT! I used a vinegar rinse after wards and my hair has never felt softer or cleaner. Sometimes you just don’t know what or who to believe. If you have any hesitations, don’t. I will definitely be making this recipe again and again! Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’m hooked and this was my first batch of soap ever!

  36. @Teresa K – That’s wonderful news!! If you love it without beer, then you will absolutely ADORE it with the beer!! Definitely try it next time!

  37. hi everyone…cant wait to try this recipe. One of the reasons is because it does NOT have palm oil in it. I am a zoologist who has dedicated my career to chimpanzees and orangutans. Indonesia is the worlds largest supplier of palm oil, and it has DEVASTATED the rainforest the orangutans live in. i know you’ve all heard the ol’ depleting the rainforest song a million times…but trust me. The rainforest is cut and sold for timber (often illegally), then burnt (starting fires all over the island) and palm plantations put in its place.
    The single reason i got into making soaps was to educate the public and make “orangutan free” soaps available. unfortunately its in our candy, cosmetics and most asian foods….so always read your labels. if you simply MUST use palm oil…at least try to find a supplier from a south american source. south america has a much better track record of sustainability and catering to eco-tourism.
    thanx for considering…

  38. OMG the pictures for this formula look amazing. I’ve never used lard before but it sure gets rave reviews from longtime soapers. This will be a chance to use lard!

  39. Thank you for sharing this recipe. A friend of mine has psoriasis and this shampoo helps him a lot.
    Anita (Netherlands)

  40. I use lard often in my soap making and it’s a wonderful ingredient and makes great soap and I tend to use less palm oil because it is so drying. I’ve never made this recipe however since palm oil is so drying I would shy away from using it for a hair shampoo.

  41. This is a correction, I did make this recipe (I forgot) however going through my notes I remembered making it and it was a wonderful and very soft soap! It did require a little more time for curing almost a extra month because it was so soft but it was well worth the wait! I’m excited about making it again. Last time I used wine, this time I will try it with beer instead but I remember my first batch was very popular with my family and friends too.

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