I have been neck deep in shampoo bar formulation for the better part of a year and I have grown to know (and love) these ingredients. But I am sure you would like to know more about them and they were chosen so I created a compendium of my shampoo bar ingredients.

The Bubble Makers

The fancy word for this is surfactant. These guys are the ones that responsible for the lovely lather that you create when scrubbing away at your scalp.

First up is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI). This guy is derived from the fatty acids of coconut oil and mixed with isoethionic acid, heated and then distilled to remove excess fatty acids. What I like about SCI over other surfactants is that it has a creates lovely big bubbles while still being gentle on your hair and maintaining a hair-loving pH.

Next up is Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa). Not to be confused with SLS (which has gotten a bit of a bad rap recently), SLSa is derived from Coconut or Palm oils and is a lot gentler and less irritating on the skin.

Last, but certainly not least, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, offers the smaller bubbles that add to the rich foaminess of the bar. It is a mixture of organic compounds derived mainly from coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA to his friends). The manufacturer of DMAPA claims it’s derivatives don’t sting the eyes but personally I wouldn’t advise testing this theory.

The Hair Lovers

I’ve chosen two hair loving additions to my shampoo bar ingredients here. Behentrimonium Methosulfate, affectionately known as BTMS is a lovely compound derived from Rapeseed oil. This is the guy that helps reduce static and helps improve the feel of your hair. You will Cetyl Alcohol and Butylene Glycol on my ingredients list. These guys form part of my manufacturer’s proprietary formula and act to add moisture and condition to the hair. Then, my favourite ingredient, Panthenol. This guy adds shine to your hair because it’s a humectant, i.e. attracts moisture to your hair. Fun fact: did you know that panthenol is a key ingredient in ointments used to treat sunburn, mild skin conditiond and protect new tattoos?


Now, this can be a bit of a hot topic but I’ll tell you what I know and why I made the decision to add a preservative to these shampoo bars. Due to the high surfactant content of shampoo bars, theoretically I didn’t need to add a preservative. But, unlike my soap bars, which have a high pH the shampoo ingredients have a much lower pH, I decided to add a gentle preservative as a bit of an insurance policy I suppose (in case you didn’t know I’m a bit risk-adverse). Enter Dehydroacetic acid and Benzyl alcohol to do this job. They both have great anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activities. Did you know you can find Benzyl alcohol is commonly found in fruits and teas.

The Fun Stuff

Now, as you know Hairmony Savage doesn’t contain any added colours or fragrances for those of you who don’t want it. For the rest of the bars, I’ve chosen to colour them with mica.

I love working with mica, it adds some beautiful colours to my products and comes in so many shades. Mica is a naturally occurring silicate which is mined from countries liked India and Malaysia. Mica mining is plagued with reports of child labour and horrifying working conditions. As a small business, I simply do not have the buying power to ensure natural mica is sourced ethically so I have made the decision to use synthetic mica. With a base of Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, the colours are brighter and that means I don’t need to use a lot to get a lovely colour. This is where you will see the various CI numbers in the ingredients list. CI stands for colour index and is not to be confused with colours used in food colouring (which have a colour followed by a number e.g. Yellow 5) which are definitely not allowed in cosmetics.

Lastly, you will see Parfum in the ingredients list. This is a catch-all term for fragrance oils. I could have used essential oils but I have chosen fragrance oils because they are more stable at higher temperatures than essential oils. I wouldn’t want to add a fragrance if it was going to burn off before you could enjoy it.

If you’ve read this far, well done! Now you know what I’ve used these shampoo bar ingredients and why. If you have any questions, feel free to drop mi a line on keepitclean@pretty-savage.co.uk