Eucalyptus Mint Tree Invigorating Shampoo Bars with Silk, DL-Panthenol, Aloe, & Kaolin Clay

I’m still trying for a simple approach to shampoo bars, with less colors:


Eucalyptus Mint Tea Tree shampoo bars


Description an Properties of Scents (BB – Bramble Berry, BA – Bulk Apothecary brands):

  • BA Eucalyptus Essential Oil: A very strong essential oil with a camphorous, woody-scent. In soaps, lotions and perfumes, it gives a fresh clean scent. No A, D, or R.
  • BB Moroccan Mint FO: A scrumptious blend of Spearmint, Peppermint and Corn Mint, with just a touch of black tea sprinkled in to provide a stable, full bottom note. Smooth & complex; calming and at the same time reviving – cool, crisp, & refreshing. No A, D, or R.
  • BB Tea Tree EO: (Also known as Melaleuca.) A lighter, less camphorous scent than other Tea Tree essential oils. In shampoo, it has been know to treat scalp conditions of dandruff & head lice, and stimulates new hair growth. The minty, earthy smell can be energizing and revitalizing. No A, D, or R.


The Plan:

Pour off 20 oz for scent testing. Use the remaining 52 oz in a 9-bar mold with a new positive impression mat from a 6-pack from Amazon:

Shampoo Master batch Oils #1: (Makes 72 oz/ 4.5 lbs shampoo soap)
(August 1, 2016 Blog recipe)
Oils: 50 oz/ 1417 grams
NaOH/Lye: 6% SF: 6.93 oz/ 196 grams
1:1 Distilled Water & Aloe: 16 oz/ 454 grams
Tussah Silk Fibers: about 1 teaspoon (sample)
Kaolin Clay: 1 oz /28 grams (into lye water)
Sodium Lactate: 14 grams (into Lye water at 130 degrees/less)
DL-Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin b-5): 1.5 oz/ 42 grams (add to water)

FO/EO’s: 2.4 oz total (.8 oz of each):
Eucalyptus EO, Moroccan Mint FO, & Tea Tree EO

Tussah Silk Fibers: First time using, but here’s what I have read: This gives soap a shine, provides more lather, and a nice silky feel. Tussah silk is valued for its rich texture (the amino acids that the silk gives to the soap that makes it feel incredible) Usage: enough fibers to loosely fill 1 teaspoon or no more than 1/2 tsp/lb. Cut into small pieces with scissors and add to lye water right away.

Batter/Colors: 52 oz for 9-bar mold:
26 oz BB Ultramarine Blue & 1982 Blue leftovers
26 oz TD White

I added my NaOH into a 1:1 ratio of Aloe & water. It reached the usual 210 degrees (F) and I immediately added a sample of Silk Fibers – about 1 teaspoon full, which I had cut up into very small pieces. (This was the first time I’ve ever used this.) I had read that the hotter the lye, the easier it would dissolve, and I found this to be the case, as it dispersed in just a few minutes.

I added the Kaolin Clay – mixed until dissolved, and then added the DL- Panthenol. (I used to use Kaolin Clay a lot, but haven’t in over a year). At 130 degrees, I added the Sodium Lactate as usual.

When my Lye mixture was below 110 degrees, I combined it with my 104 degree oils. I usually soap shampoo bars at higher temperatures and have learned to only hand stir, as it takes about 30 seconds to thicken to medium trace (this is due to the 20% Castor Oil – a high percentage for the extra lather it creates.)

As soon as it was emulsified, I poured off 20 ounces for my test scents and divided the batter in half, mixing in my colors and fragrances. Surprisingly, it wasn’t getting thicker & thicker like it usually does. I poured some white batter onto the impression mat and scrapped off the excess and it was still very thin.

I quickly ran to my computer and checked all my calculations, ran the recipe through the lye calculator again, double checking my amounts, which were all correct. I even looked at the jug of Master Batch Oils I had used, thinking I might have grabbed the soaping oils instead of the Shampoo oils, and it was the right jug. (While doing this, I was constantly running back to my batter and checking on it, expecting a huge acceleration at any moment.)

So I went to work on my test soaps, expecting thick trace at any minute, but it never happened. It took  quite a while (20-30 minutes?) for my main batters to thicken enough to pour a layer of blue over the white without (hopefully) any break through.

I had plenty of time to alternately pour white & blue in the mold, then I took a big spatula handle and spoon swirled it all, then did a little swirl on top:


Soap Batter in 9-bar mold (this was going to be the bottom)

I added the dividers, wrapped in towels and turned on a little heater to gel:


Soap with dividers in


More Contemplations:
I am stumped as to why my batter was so fluid for so long – this has never happened. I did have a lot of extra additives: Kaolin Clay and Silk, along with the usual DL Panthenol and Sodium Lactate. I also superfatted at 6% instead of the usual 4-5%, as my last shampoo bars felt a bit drying at 3%.

Half of my liquid was Aloe juice, instead of all distilled water, which I do all the time in my salt bars without any effect to the trace. I did soap at 20-25 degree lower temperature than I usually do, which may have made the difference.

I always soaped at 130 degrees in the past, as it was recommended on the original recipe I used years ago and the soaper said the higher the temp, the better with such a high content of Castor oil. (I think I have been using too high of a temperature all these years).

I thought about my Lye: 142 grams were from one container that was open (and worked fine 3 weeks before). The other 54 grams were from a new batch of lye that looked good (no lumps, same brand). The lye had heated up to 210 degrees, and the first time I had a bad batch of lye, it only heated up to 156 degrees.

22 hours later I spritzed some distilled water onto a guest bar – it had a tiny bit of standing oil on top – fragrance oil? I ran a pH strip across it – it came out at 14 – extremely lye heavy. I tried the unscented bar with the same results. I then tried an old bar of soap, as I wondered if the pH stripes go bad, as one in the batch was discolored – it came out at a pH of 8.

I remember reading 196 on my scale (when weighing the NaOH)…so I tried every combo I could come up with to check if I might have had it on ounces instead, but could not come up with an answer.

I spent all day rechecking and pondering what the answer could be….and it turned out to be….Time.

I waited until the next morning and retested my soap…the pH came out to 10…still high, but moving in the right direction. 24 hours after that, another test, with the results at 9. Another 24 hours and the pH test was 8. I also finally un-molded, but it was still so soft, that the impression mat design on the bottom did not come out – I’m so glad I did a nice swirl on the top!

I still don’t know exactly what went wrong, but I’m glad it turned out right….it was just a very soft soap.


The Un-molding:
The impression mat was too fine and most of the soap stuck to the mat, so I ended up shaving off the rough spots and using that side as the bottom, with the swirl as the top:






The next batch of soap I made, I did a pH test in 20-22 hours and came up with 12…so these shampoo bars were not that far off.

The conclusion I reached is that I may have put in too many additives…Maybe, you can add too much stuff – too much of a good thing is not so good?

Two weeks later the bars are still a bit softer than usual. I tested one of the guest size bars and have been using it ever since – it lathers just fine. I do see a slight positive difference with all the additives.

People swear by the silk, but I’m not sure – it feels good and my hair feels better, so maybe that’s it. I would like to get more and try it out again.


An Aside:
I had some leftovers and made one oval bar plus two unscented bars with the batter poured off.


Two unscented bars


Testing some new fragrances:
I wanted to try some different scents for shampoo bars – and in small quantities, as when I tried a new scent in my previous bars (Sweet Meyer Lemon Apple Sage) I didn’t test that first and it’s an okay scent, but not very popular.

I went with guest sized for test scents, so that I could use them myself at a quicker pace than a full bar:

  • BB Pink Grapefruit FO – 5 ml; Electric Bubblegum colorant
  • BB Lime FO – 5 ml; Green Chrome Oxide & Hydrated Chrome (Teal) colorants
  • BB Key Lime Tart FO – 5 ml
  • BB Lavender – 5 ml; Zippy Blue colorant


I really wanted to adore the Key Lime Tart (oob it is wonderful), as it’s a new scent from Bramble Berry. I love Key Lime pie. But this scent just doesn’t do it for me – it feels like it has a sickening after-scent that is cloying. And it discolored to an ugly shade of green-brown.

The Pink Grapefruit is nice (and in lotion it is wonderful), but by itself, it is a bit 1 note – same with the Lime. I think a stronger amount in both would help. It makes me appreciate all the different notes in FO’s….I can’t pull each one out most of the time, but the combos make a more complex scent.

2 comments on “Eucalyptus Mint Tree Invigorating Shampoo Bars with Silk, DL-Panthenol, Aloe, & Kaolin Clay

  1. Jennifer Nicholson says:

    I’m new to your blog and also soaping. I really appreciate how you lay out what you did!


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