They sure ain't pretty, but they work for me and my husband. The brown ones usually work the best ;).
I've been formulating shampoo bars (the soap kind) for over 2.5 years. It's been a long road. I've given up a lot, moved onto other things, but then come back to them whenever I start reading about shampoo bars. I also make the syndet shampoo bars (synthetic detergents), but I'll just talk about my soap ones.
I've made some good shampoo bars and I've made some bad ones. The bad ones make my hair look greasy and the good ones make me want to make more shampoo bars.
I have longish hair and sometimes it can be a pain to take care of it. It's going through this phase where it doesn't know if it wants to be straight or wavy. So it's decided to be wavy underneath and straight on the top layers. I find that very annoying. I'll blame it on hormones.
I've read a few rules to making shampoo bars and I think some of them are true, but I think some of them I can work around. Some people don't use palm oil, but I do. Some people don't use a butter, but I use mango butter. It works for me. My scalp is very sensitive to cleansers so my goal has always been to clean without stripping my hair and scalp of its natural oils. I find that it's not only in the formulation of the bars, but also how they are used. I won't go into formulation details, but I will share how I use shampoo bars.
The first thing I do in the shower is get my hair wet and lather up with my shampoo bar. Rinse and repeat. Since I have long hair I think it's important to wash my hair twice to make sure I get everything out. The first wash starts the cleansing process, the second wash finishes the cleansing part and gives full lather (sometimes the first one does too) telling me my hair is clean. Then I give it a good rinse. Next I follow up with my apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse. I don't always do this, but when I do I use about 1 Tbsp per cup of water. I bring a 2 quart pitcher in the shower with 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and then I'll fill it up to the top with water. I lean my head back and pour it over my head (avoiding my eyes and face) making sure I completely rinse my hair. Then I rinse that out. Next I condition my hair from root to ends with a cheap kids strawberry conditioner. I've found that sometimes the cheap stuff works the best for me. I've grown my hair out too long not to condition it. I've noticed as I'm getting older that my hair is changing towards the dry end of the spectrum so I need to make sure I condition it and to also deep condition it once a week. I think using the ACV rinse helps to remove soap residue as well as get my hair down to a pH level meant for hair. Our hair tends to be around a pH of 4.5 to 5.5 (the acidic side of neutral). Soap is alkaline and vinegar is acidic. The ACV rinse and conditioner (also acidic) help to smooth the hair shaft, make it easier to comb, and make hair shiny. I don't always do the ACV rinse because I think it can be a bit drying to the ends of my hair, which is why I try to use conditioner instead. If I feel like I'm starting to get any build up then I will use the ACV rinse on the next wash. That's it! LOL!
Kind of sounds like a lot of work doesn't it? It's a ritual for me so I don't mind. Now hubby on the other hand...he's a wash and go kind of guy. No muss, no fuss!
Happy hair washing!