Happy Scalp Shampoo Bar

If you live in the U.S., chances are you’ve been stuck inside your house for the past three months. Social distancing has been tough for me: it’s hard not to see my clients and know that many of them are in jail or out of work, I hate not seeing my friends and family, and my emotions have been all out of whack. But isolation has also been a quietly joyful time where lots of people have rediscovered the power of domestic pursuits. Seeing everyone trying out sourdough and home haircuts gives me hope that work that has traditionally been relegated to women, especially Black women, will experience a renaissance, complete with the appreciation it truly deserves.

For those of you stretching your DIY muscles for the first time in a while, welcome! I’m here to tell you that making soap and shampoo is not as scary or as complex as it might initially seem.

Today’s recipe is a shampoo bar – perfect for those of you who want to cut back on plastic, wish you didn’t have to pack tiny bottles when you (eventually are able to) travel, or want to avoid using sodium laurel/laureth sulfates on your tresses.

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Snowbound Soap

Welcome to the end of first snow day of the year! I’ve been snuggled up inside all day hanging out with my plants and baking cookies (with a quick jaunt into the cold to play capoeira to shake off my cabin fever).

Snowbound Soap - MamootDIY.com

I’ve been waiting this whole unseasonably-warm season for an excuse to post about my favorite new  creation: snowbound soap.

Snowbound Soap - MamootDIY.com

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Lavender and Honey Soap

My newest tea purchase was pretty much the opposite of what the box promised.

boring, unfortunately


Not only did this stuff taste more like plain old boring hot water than honey lavender calmness, I managed to lose my fancy thermos on the day I took this to school. Losing a thermos and being sent to 4 different offices before you find the lost and found, only to find that they haven’t found your lost thing ≠ stress relief.

Still, honey lavender sounds like a pretty delicious combination. Not wanting my box of boring tea to go to waste, I used a a little to make some soap.


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Carrot and Calendula Soap

So the thing is: I saw this baby food jar and it was really cute.

baby food jar


I wanted to buy it because it was so jar-ish and round and I wanted it for my jar collection. The problem? I have no baby to feed it to (and let’s be real, I’ll probably just make baby food when I have a baby because so far I haven’t met a DIY I haven’t liked. Except knitting. And making pickles. I digress.)

As it turns out, baby food is something you can add to soap. Sound gross? It’s not; the only ingredients in this stuff are pureed fruits and vegetables and water.

Using a an adapted recipe from the Nerdy Farm Wife, I made 12 pretty little bars of carrot calendula soap. The carrot gives it a great color but doesn’t do much for the scent since it all gets saponified, so you’ll need to add something extra if you want your soap to actually smell like carrots.

Also, I’d heard that using salt water will help your bars come out harder but had never tried it before this batch. Holy smokes, does it make a difference!


Now that I’ve got the whole function thing down, I took a stab at improving the form of my soap and took four extra steps that made for a really pretty bar. First, I added dried calendula flowers to the batter. I’ve got gobs of them lying around because I have eczema that attacks every winter with the might of a thousand jellyfish and calendula’s good for weird skin stuff. Second, I used my new soap stamp to put a little mammoth tusk in each bar after I sliced them up. Third, after the bars had hardened for a few weeks, I used a vegetable peeler to bevel the sides. See how the corners are square in the naked picture and kind of smooth in the wrapped one? That’s beveling. Finally, I designed wrappers for my soap so that anyone I give a bar to knows exactly what they’re getting.


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Oatmeal and Lavender Soap

5.5 oz coconut oil Coconut oil gives your soap moisture, big bubbles and a harder bar. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s or Costco, but it’s pretty trendy right now so you can find it just about anywhere.
8 oz olive oil Olive oil gives a dense creamy lather and a soft bar.
4 oz water Water is used to dissolve the lye. It will evaporate as the bar sets.
1.97 oz lye You already know what lye does, but you might not know where to buy it. Check the drain-unclogging chemicals sold at at Lowe’s or Home Depot. As long as it’s 100% sodium hydroxide, you’re good to go.
1/4 t honey Honey is a natural humectant and will keep your skin soft. It won’t dissolve into your soap, so don’t add too much or you’ll end up with honey bubbles and oozy soap.
5 drops lavender essential oil Lavender oil is calming and helps keep itching from dry skin at a minimum.
1 t shea butter Shea butter is incredibly moisturizing. If you don’t want to buy any, you can add a teaspoon of any oil or butter.
1 T oats Oatmeal soothes dry skin and scrubs off dead skin. Grind it up fine (I used my magic bullet because I’m fancy) so that it doesn’t clog your drain.