Shampoo Bar Recipe without Lye

homemade shampoo bars and other sustainably beauty products

Why should you use a shampoo bar recipe without lye? You might know the wellness and environmental benefits of shampoo bars, but maybe you’re still on the fence about lye. Many people have reported that lye can be irritating to sensitive skin. It can also be a difficult and potentially dangerous ingredient to handle in DIY recipes. Pure lye can be extremely harmful if inhaled or ingested by children or pets, making it an undesirable ingredient to keep on hand. 

So, here’s a simple recipe for DIY shampoo bars without lye*! This recipe is also vegan! 

Shampoo Bar Recipe without Lye*



  • 1 lb. castile soap melt and pour base 
  • 2 tsp. Castor oil or jojoba oil 
  • 1 tsp. Shea butter or cocoa butter 
  • 25 drops of essential oils (see below for tips on which essential oils to use) 


  • Soap molds or silicone ice cube tray (you can use the silicone ice cube trays designed to make large specialty ice cubes for cocktails) 
  • Double boiler 
  • Silicone mixing spoon or spatula (we don’t recommend using a wooden utensil for this as it will be hard to clean afterward!) 


  1. Melt the soap base in a double boiler on low heat. If your soap base comes in a solid block, it’s helpful to cut the soap base into little cubes so that it will melt faster. 
  2. When the soap base is melted, remove from heat and add the castor/jojoba oil and shea/cocoa butter, plus the essential oils. Stir well. 
  3. Pour the mixture into your mold. 
  4. Let cool for several hours. 
  5. Remove from the mold. Your shampoo bars are ready to use! Remember to store your shampoo bars in a dry place when not in use to increase their lifespan! A soap dish with good drainage works great! 

Best Essential Oils for Your Hair

Which essential oils to include in your DIY shampoo bars is up to you! You can choose a mixture based on your fragrance preferences and hair care needs. Here are some suggestions: 

*note: While lye is required to make most melt and pour soap bases, the lye is removed in the process of manufacturing the melt and pour soap base product. As a result, when you purchase a melt and pour soap base, you aren’t dealing with the potentially harmful effects of lye or having to handle lye. 

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