If you're a long time reader of this blog you'll know that we make Tidy men's solid shampoo bars individually. Setting each bar in it's own mould rather than making a block of shampoo that's then cut into smaller bars.
(If you're not a long time reader see our blog post How to make your own Tidy solid shampoo for men for more details.)
Making solid shampoo bars individually in their own moulds is harder than making them as one big block of shampoo.
It takes more time to pour the shampoo. It requires more moulds to make a batch of shampoo. It takes more space to cure the bars.
But there are three very good reasons why we take the time and effort to make our shampoo bars this way:
- Firstly it reduces waste in the process
- Secondly it means our shampoo can be more gentle on your hair
- Finally as a bonus; it allows our bars to be puck shaped making them easier to use in the shower.
Reducing waste in the process of making Tidy men's solid shampoo
We're obsessed with reducing waste and making our shampoo as efficiently as we can.
When you make solid shampoo as a block, to be sliced into individual bars, there are ends of the blocks that don't quite make up a full bar, or need to be trimmed to make a bar's edges even and neat.
By pouring our shampoo as individual bars we don't need to cut our bars from a larger block of shampoo, which means that there's no off cut waste from each batch of our shampoo.
Some other solid shampoo makers sell, or give away the off cuts, so they don't go to waste completely - which we applaud! 👏 - but we prefer to not generate them in the first place.
All of the mix we make for each of our batches ends up in our bars. There's zero waste.
Individually cured solid shampoo bars can be more gentle on your hair
As well as reducing waste, by curing our solid shampoo individually we're able to use a higher than average super fat formula for our Tidy bars. This means they are able to mildly condition your hair as well as wash it (do more, use less 😃).
We can use a formula with a higher super fat percentage because when bars are cured individually rather than as one big block, they are less likely to over heat during the saponification reaction (individual bars cool faster than one big block would). Over heating can cause something called "gelling".
For shampoos with lower level of super fats gelling can be a desirable step in the shampoo making process, speeding up the curing phase. But for shampoos like ours with a higher super fat content gelling can lead to separation of the solids and oils in our shampoo, resulting in unusable bars.
Making our bars individually also means if one bar doesn't cure correctly for some reason (which can happen, but is thankfully rare) that rest of our batch should still be useable.
Puck shaped solid shampoo is easier to use than rectangular bars
Most solid shampoo bars are either rectangle shaped or square.
Ours are kind of puck shaped, but slightly wider at the top than the bottom.
Rectangular and square bars tend to be cut from larger block shampoos. They are easier to package and transport than other shapes.
When designing our Tidy shampoo bars we tried and tested many, many different sized and shaped shampoos.
And we found a consistent problem with rectangular or square bars; they didn't fit our hands or heads very well.
Heads are curved. When you rub your bar over your hair and scalp, it starts to wear into the shape of your head.
We found rectangular bars in particular would start to wear out more in the middle of the bar than at the edges and would eventually break in half. This made them harder - not impossible but harder - to use than bars that wore out more evenly.
Square bars faired better on the wearing out test, but the hard edges and corners were not overly comfortable in our hands when rubbing them over our heads.
A puck shaped bar didn't suffer from either problem. Their rounded shape made them comfortable to hold in hand, and they wore out evenly over time. Win win.
Thankfully, by making our bars in individual moulds we had the freedom to choose what shape our bars are as we could pick from a variety of silicon moulds available on the market (the moulds we use are actually designed for making muffins 😁).
Made the hard way, to make them better
So there you have it. It's harder for us to make Tidy the way we do, but it results in a less wasteful, better shampoo that's easier to use.
We think that makes it worth the extra effort.