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Solid Shampoo Bars

What’s the deal?

I have tried so many solid shampoo bars because I was determined to ditch the unnecessary plastic bottle and eventually went about making my own Kelpie Shampoo Bars that I now make for my customers. Solid shampoo bars are more convenient, great for traveling, and plastic packaging is not required. 

These are some of the questions people ask me about solid shampoo and why shampoo bars are better than liquid. I hope this will help you make informed decisions about how you care for your hair.

How do I use a solid shampoo bar?

Rub the bar directly on your hair or you can lather it in your hands and use the lather to wash your hair. Try washing your roots first, rinse, then do another wash all over to thoroughly wash your hair. To keep the bar nice and firm make sure you leave it somewhere it can dry out. 

How long does a solid shampoo bar last?

It depends on many things but as a simple reference guide, a 50g bar as shown in the image below will last as long as two standard size (300ml) bottles of shampoo. It depends on how much hair you have and how often you wash your hair. If you make sure you dry the bar between uses it will not get so gooey. When the bar gets gooey it is very easy to use too much product for each wash.

I used a solid shampoo before but it left a build-up. Why?

This build-up is caused by using a solid shampoo that has a high pH (more information on pH coming soon). This pH level disrupts the natural state of your hair and scalp and can cause your hair to feel limp, heavy, flyaway, tangled, and even fragile. 

The guidance for people trying these bars is to just keep using them until your hair gets used to it (transition phase – coming soon) or rinse the hair with an acidic solution after washing. This acidic solution (apple cider vinegar, for example) has a low pH and balances out the high pH of the product. High pH shampoos are made by mixing natural oils with lye called a cold process method.

Another problem many people have with Solid Shampoo bars is the high content of sulfate. Why is sulfate bad for my hair? What is the transition phase? What is pH? How do I know what is in my shampoo bar? Answers all coming in the next blog post.

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Who, how and why

Diving for ingredients to make natural soap

Who I am

I LOVE sea swimming with friends and spearfishing with my fiancé. This summer we were at sea with our boy’s lots and started foraging seaweed. I have been using this in my cooking and skincare formulations. I am also interested in fitness and coaching. My other passion is to help motivate people and give them the confidence to enjoy fitness.

Hi. I’m Sophia. I am a mother, maker, fitness coach and chemist. I am creative and find a lot of enjoyment in learning new skills to create functional, beautiful and environmentally friendly items. From knitted jumpers and sourdough to natural soap. I studied chemistry and was awarded my PhD in 2008. I decided academia was not for me and went to work in a laboratory. This was also not for me. I learnt early on that I am a much happier person when I play at work (rather than work at play) and from then on my goal has always been to make money doing the things I enjoy.

I am local to Exeter in Devon. I grew up in the region and dragged my French fiancée to live here. I have travelled a lot but always knew that Devon is home. The sea and moors nearby influence me the most because of the beautiful colours, calmness and wildness. I love the variety! 

Me diving in the sea to look for ingredients for my natural soap

How I make soap

Soap making is something I have been thinking of doing for years but have never managed to find the time to do it. Enter 2020 lockdowns and voila, let’s do this! I now have a range of Salty Soaps inspired by the sea and a range of nourishing shea butter soaps too.

I make my natural soap in St Thomas, Exeter. I have a small separate area next to my kitchen and safe storage for my ingredients. My soaps are made using cold or hot process methods. This is the traditional way of mixing Lye (aka caustic soda or sodium hydroxide) with oils. When these ingredients react it is called saponification! The mixture emulsifies and reaches trace (thick enough to draw a line in) and then you pour it into a mould to set. Once the loaf is set I de-mould it and slice it into bars. These bars are not quite ready to use yet. Depending on the recipe they take 2 to 6 weeks to fully cure and be ready to use. Lye needs to be handled with a lot of care, I recommend going on a course if you’d like to try this out. Did you know that soap making has been around for ages? Babylonians were making soap from fats boiled with ashes (essentially lye) 2800 B.C!

Some hand made natural soap containing carbon

I am a member of The Guild of Craft Soap and Toiletry Makers. This means that you can be assured that my soaps are compliant with all the standards that are required. I pH test my soaps before releasing them and have friends test them out and provide feedback.

Why I started Tappermade

My natural soap business is completely independent, 100% mine and therefore like me, totally unique. Tappermade is authentic and represents my chemistry studies and being an environmentally conscious maker. The products I produce evoke the calmness I find while being at sea. I’m excited to be working on some new products and will be broadening my range soon.