To make solid shampoo, or soap, you need to combine fats (oils), water and an alkali in a process called saponification.
In a previous blog post we introduced our alkali of choice Sodium Hydroxide.
This week, we're introducing one of the most important of the oils that we use: Olive oil. Extra virgin, organic olive oil to be precise.
Extra virgin, organic Olive oil
The olive oil we use to make our men's solid shampoo is certified as EU Organic meaning that the olives used to produce the oil are grown with zero or minimal chemical pesticides or fertilisers, supporting animal welfare and non-genetically modified standards.
It is a cold pressed, single variety oil produced on a single family estate in southern Cyprus.
The family who grow the olives handpick and press them on the same day, resulting in a lower level of acidity.
Do we need to use organic, extra virgin, single variety olive oil in our shampoo? No. But by working exclusively with certified organic ingredients we ensure that our solid shampoo bars have as little negative environmental impact as possible from cradle to grave.
And by choosing to use extra virgin, single variety olive oil we can be confident that every bar we make will turn out the same time and time again as our chosen olive oil has a consistent acidity, colour and viscosity.
Coloured by nature
The Kornoneiki olives used to produce the oil we use give it a distinctive green colour, which when mixed with our other oils, fats and alkali to produce our shampoo bars results in them having a yellow / green hue.
We could add colouring to our shampoo to make them more green - several people have said they expect a "mint" shampoo to be green - but we choose not to as every extra ingredient adds to the overall carbon footprint of our bars.
Following in the footsteps of our ancestors
Olive oil has been used to produce soaps and shampoos for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and for good reason...
If used as the sole oil in a solid shampoo recipe, the resulting bars would not lather up very well. But when combined with other oils that do produce a bar with a good lather, the olive oil in those bars enhances the lather, making it extra thick and easier to rinse off your hair.
It also helps condition your hair and scalp, stopping our bars from drying your hair out (as long as you don't use too much!).
And if that wasn't enough, as well as helping to make an excellent solid shampoo, the olive oil we use makes a superb dipping oil for bread and a great dressing for salads and vegetables! Not that we have any to spare for dipping or dressing as it all goes into making our Tidy shampoo 😄.