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How to make Calendula & Activated Charcoal Shampoo Bar

Updated: May 12, 2023

A cleansing and moisturising Shampoo Bar, beautifully cooked in my kitchen. 100% vegan

Calendula & Activated Charcoal Shampoo Bar
Calendula & Activated Charcoal Shampoo Bar

The story of this recipe starts on Sunday evening.

We were at a friend's house, we had just finished dinner and we went back to the kitchen to prepare a detox infusion. It was one of that perfect after meal cocooning with close ones.

While I was searching for the tea bags in her storage, I saw a muffin mould and, suddenly, I started daydreaming about a Deep Cleansing Infused Soap.

I ended up saying: "Can i borrow this mould for one week?"

Discover what I made next in this recipe !


Ingredients for about 5 Shampoo Bars of 80gr: Oils & Butters: 50% Organic Coconut Oil (directly from my kitchen) - 150gr 25% RSPO Sustainably Sourced Palm Oil by The Soapmaker Store - 75gr 15% Cocoa Butter (the same you could use for patisserie) - 45gr 10% Olive Oil - 30gr Lye Solution Lye - 46gr Distilled Water - 110gr Additives 2 Teaspoons of Activated Charcoal 2 Teaspoons of Calendula's leaves


This homemade Solid Shampoo bar is a low-poo, co-wash companion for your hair cleansing routine. Did you know that the more you strip away sebum from your scalp the more your scalp will produce it?

This is one of the causes of oily hair. A Natural shampoo bar can bring your hair back to its original, shiny, voluminous state. It cleans without unnecessarily stripping off the natural moisture of the hair and scalp and it can take away residue left from the chemicals found in traditional hair cleansers.

How does a natural solid shampoo bar differ from normal Liquid shampoo?

Natural Shampoo Bars are free from harsh chemicals, they don’t contain icky additives that you can find in commercial shampoos such as sodium laurel sulfate and ammonium laurel sulfate (but don't trust claims, turn the packaging and read the label!).

Sulfates are usually substituted with natural gentle leathering ingredients depending on the manufacturing technique. For shampoo bars using surfactants you generally use Sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI, a solid surfactant that makes foam and cleans) but for my 1st ever formula I applied the Cold process method (thus I used the same process of soap making).

Shifting to low-lather bar cleansers is a process along which you get your scalp used again to its natural balance. Plus, it is by design a zero-waste solution since it can be stored in biodegradable packaging thus helping reduce single use plastic.

So it is good to your hair and scalp while also being good to the planet. No more reason to stay on a bottled shampoo, right? Does it really clean? Yes ! But your hair might feel different.

You hair, soon after the shower might feel “coated”. “This happens because the soap—which is saponified oils and an alkali—reacts with water when you use it, and this forms soap scum,” says Kirsten Connor, formulator and creator at Flourish Body Care. To avoid this, many bar shampoo users rinse with apple cider vinegar to remove the coating and shine their hair. I personally didn’t use a vinegar wash afterwards and my hair did not feel weighed down. My hair is curly and thick. If your hair is thin you might need this.

For my 1st ever DIY Shampoo bar recipe i have selected a cleansing and yet gentle blend of Coconut Oil and RSPO Sustainably sourced Palm butter enhanced by the conditioning characteristics of Cocoa butter and olive oil.

This Shampoo Bar is powered by two natural additives : Activated charcoal: made by burning natural, carbon-rich materials (bamboo, wood, coconut shells, olive pits or coal) in low-oxygen concentrations, it is amazing for drawing out toxins and removing skin impurities. A good ally to remove the sebum and deep clean the pores to let your hair breathe.

Calendula Officinalis: high in flavonoids, its oil can be used to hydrate dry scalps and remove dandruff. Infused, this plant is a good remedy to relieve stomach upset, and that is the reason I have some dry leaves of calendula in my kitchen.


Check out here below the "How to.." step by step guide to make this Solid Shampoo Bar

Cold process Soap making requires important safety procedures along the different steps. Please check them out before trying. Always use gloves and eye protectors along the process, be safe <3 Step 0 (one night before): warm up your distilled water and leave the calendula leaves infused for one night while it cools down. Step 1: Prepare your Lye solution with the infused water (always sprinkle lye over water and never the contrary since it might splash out of your container) and leave it aside to cool down until it reaches a temperature of about 30 °C. You can decide to filter out the dried calendula's leaves before doing so. Step 2: While your lye solution is cooling down, measure out the oils and melt them in a bain marie pot. Let them cool down at approximately the same temperature of your lye solution. Use a laser or kitchen thermometer to check this. Step 3: pour the lye solution inside the oils and mix it with a plastic tool (never use aluminium or steel since this might react with the free lye). You can use stainless steel though. Step 4: use a blender to mix the ingredients until your solution becomes cloudy (always be careful with the blender, immerge it well to avoid splashing). Blend for at least 60 seconds with circular, never vertical, movements to avoid air to be captured by the solution (air tends to create not aesthetic bubbles in your final soap) . Step 5: add the charcoal powder and blend gently with a plastic spoon. Step 6: pour your soap into a mould. If your mould is rigid, like the muffin one i used, layer the mould with baking paper to easily un mould your soap once solid. If you use a silicon mould you don't need to use any layering.

Step 7: create your ropes (about 5 cm) and insert them gently with a stick inside the soap (i used a toothpick and placed it in horizontal afterwards to keep the rope stable)

Step 8: let your shampoo bar cure for at least 48h. This is the time your lye solution needs to disappear completely into the reaction with oils. After 48h you can unmould your Shampoo Bars and leave them curing in a dry place far from light and heat. I normally leave them curing for at least 4 weeks to allow the leathering power to increase and the bars to become more firm and durable. This is how my shampoo bar looked at its first usage. Just naturally perfect with creamy cleansing bubbles. My hair felt so soft !

Claudia The beautiful spoon "On a mission to steal cook’s ingredients & turn them into homemade beauty."

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