I Love My New Shampoo!

Copyright © Rebecca Midkiff.  Please do not copy or reproduce without permission of the Author.

Just recently I semi-retired and one of the first things I wanted to do was to get back into making my own cosmetics. I decided to start with shampoo. I still had a few things around the house and then bought everything else I needed from Formulator Sample Shop. They just added a new mild surfactant that I was looking forward to trying. I really like it more than any I have tried in the past. It has a lower pH that keeps your hair soft, does not need a lot of thickening, and is extremely mild.

For over 40 years I have been interested in herbs. Growing them, using them in various ways, and making tinctures. One thing I know is that they really DO work!  Changes may, at times, be subtle.  But they generally don’t cause any irritation or side effects. They add a nice natural color to a product and they smell great. The first thing I do when I make my shampoo is to heat my water to boiling or just under and add a bag or two of my dried herbs. I then let them infuse into the water for at least 15 minutes.

Botanical Infusions

You can purchase the loose herbs and tea bags from San Fransisco Herb Company .

Fair Hair: A blend of Chamomile, Mullein and Red Hibiscus flowers blended together to help restore shine and highlights. Best for Strawberry Blondes and Blondes.

Dull Hair: Burdock Root, Nettle, Horsetail and White Willow Bark.  Good for all hair types.

Dark Hair: Nettle, Rosemary, Thyme, Walnut Husks,  and Sage. Best for Black and Brunette Hair.

Strength and Shine: Horsetail, Lavender Buds, Nettle, Chamomile. Good for all hair types.

About the Ingredients

Water should always be purified before using it for any cosmetic application. I always use distilled for my own products. Spring Water you buy from the store is not purified.

Sclerotium Gum: Non-sulphated and amide free surfactants in general make runny products and are difficult to thicken. Sclerotium Gum  acts as an effective and stable thickener for most all surfactant systems. If you have other gel bases such as xanthan gum it may be substituted but is not as stable.

Honey:  Not only does it help moisturize dry hair but it has other helpful active benefits depending on where it is gathered and what plants the bees have contact with.

Potassium Sorbate: A safe food grade preservative that is water soluble and active against mold and fungus. Additionally it has some weak anti-bacterial properties. It must be converted to Sorbic Acid to be effective. To convert it I add an acid to get the pH to below 6. Supplied by Lotioncrafter.

Citric Acid: Helps convert Potassium Sorbate to Sorbic acid by adjusting the pH level in addition to moisturizing and helping with cell turnover of the scalp. It may be purchase at the grocery store in the canning section.

Surfactant Blend: Suga®Det Mild is a mild, naturally-derived concentrated blend of sulfate-free surfactants for use as a base for personal care cleans­ing products. This blend is free of ethoxyl­ates (1,4-dioxane), alcohols, diethanolamides, lauryl sulfates, laureth sulfates, parabens, and formaldehyde. Suga®Det Mild features natural APG-based surfactant that offers high foam and unparalled mildness. The remaining sur­factant ingredients in the blend are also de­rived from natural, renewable resources.

MY RECIPE (makes 500 grams/1 quart)

Phase A
Water (Purified) 11 ounces 288  Dilutes rest of ingredients
Botanical Infusion Shine and Strength 1 small bag 0 Add shine and strengthens
Botanical Infusion for Fair Hair 1 small bag 0 Adds Highlights
Potassium Sorbate 1 teaspoon 5 Anti-Fungal
Citric Acid 1 teaspoon 2.5 pH adjuster
Sclerotium Gum (or other thickener) 1T 5 Thickener
FSS Lemon Shine 1t 5 Smooths and Conditions
Honey 1T 15 Moisturises
Phase B
Surfactant Blend FSS SUGA DET MILD 5.5 oz 152.5 Foams and Cleanses
Jojoba Oil 1 T 15 Combats Dryness
Rosemary Essential Oil 1t 5 Active/Fragrance
Peppermint Essential Oil 1t 5 Active/Fragrance
Total Grams 500


Measure out your water heat to boil and add you teabags. Let them infuse into the hot water for at least 15 minutes. The longer the better. Remove the teabags. Squeeze out any excess fluid from the bags.

boil-water-and-add-tea-bags  assemble-ingredients


Note the color of the infusion in the picture above on the right. Not only was it a pretty Red from the Cherry Bark but the Lavender and Chamomile gave it a lovely natural scent.

Next add your potassium sorbate. Mix until it’s dissolved . When it’s dissolved then you can add your lemon shine and citric acid and honey. While the water is still warm sprinkle your sclerotium gum or xanthan gum over the top of your water phase. Let it sit until it’s dissolved. When it dissolved use a high speed hand mixer or stick blender and blend until the water has thickened.

Pour the Suga®Det Mild into a separate container.  Add your Jojoba Oil and Essential oils to your surfactant base. I usually and between 1-3% essential oil, rarely more than that. Surfactants easily incorporate small amounts of oil without separating. You could also add a bit of Vitamin E to protect your hair from sun damage.

Surfactant plus oils  it-will-look-creamy-after-you-add-oils

You are finished now. Decant your shampoo into an appropriate bottle. I usually spray the inside of my cap with alcohol to assure mold does not grow in it from any possible condensation. Condensation on  your cap will promote fungal growth so make sure your shampoo is also completely cooled before you cap it.


2 thoughts on “I Love My New Shampoo!

    1. They do say it can be used as a substitute for crabber because it can incorporate oil but it’s structure is really very different. It’s so hard to get here in the US now. Alban Muller’s distributer will only supply labs.

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