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This Is Why I Never Pack Shampoo When I Travel

shampoo bar

When I occasionally have to travel for work, I vastly prefer to pack my carry-on bag rather than check a bag. It saves me time, money, and makes it less likely that I’ll overpack (which, unfortunately, has been known to happen!)

The only real drawback to relying on my carry-on bag is complying with the 3-1-1 rule for liquids. (If you’re unfamiliar, this TSA regulation requires that all liquids or gels in your carry-on bag must be limited to 3.4 ounces or less, and that all of those liquid items must fit into one quart-sized bag.)

It’s a tall order, so I always have my eyes peeled for ways to reduce the number of liquids I need to fit into that bag. And I recently discovered a clever way to cross one more item off that list!

Related: This Is The Ultimate Oil For Your Skin And Hair (And More!)

shampoo bar

Shampoo Bars: The Perfect Travel Companion

Instead of packing a travel-size bottle of shampoo, I now pack a homemade shampoo bar instead! Shampoo bars are quick and easy to make, and traveling with one means one less bottle to worry about exploding all over your luggage.

I typically use about half of one bar to properly wash my hair since it’s so long, but two washes is plenty for my short work trips. Those with shorter hair can expect to get a few more uses out of each bar!

shampoo bar

What’s In Them?

Here’s a quick look at the ingredients that go into these homemade shampoo bars:

Now that you know what goes into them, I’ll show you how to make your own travel-friendly shampoo bars! :-)

How To Make Your Own DIY Shampoo Bar

shampoo bar

Ingredients:

1 lb melt & pour soap base
2 tsp fractionated coconut oil
1 tsp shea butter
10 drops geranium essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil

shampoo bar

Equipment:

  • Soap mold
  • Double boiler
  • Wooden skewer or spoon

shampoo bar

Directions:

Break or cut your soap base into chunks, then place them in the top section of a double boiler. (No double boiler? A metal or glass bowl placed over a pot of simmering water works just as well!)

shampoo bar

Allow the soap base to melt completely, adding more water to the pot as needed so it doesn’t dry out. Once melted, remove the soap base from heat and add the shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils.

shampoo bar

Use a wooden skewer or spoon to stir until everything is well incorporated. Next, pour the finished soap mixture into the cavities of your soap mold, then let it sit for several hours to solidify.

shampoo bar

Once the bars have solidified completely, gently remove them from the mold.

shampoo bar

How To Use It

Lather the shampoo bar in your hands, then use the lather to shampoo your hair as usual. Rinse clean, and follow up with conditioner.

shampoo bar

What’s your best travel tip?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • I actually did get brave and tested out the shampoo bar before I went on our big family reunion trip last year. The only problem is I have a reputation for packing a big bottle . So family members who would think just ask Christy were in for a big surprise when I showed them the shampoo bar. It was kind of funny.

  • Hi Jillee, Thanks for the recipe for shampoo bars. I prefer to buy mine which I use all the time. No more bottled plastic shampoo for me, not even Aveda (my colorist uses it). My hair prefers the bars. LOL. I also started to use up my variety of red lipsticks as blush and found that not only do I prefer the color, it moisturizes, and best of all is perfect for traveling. I found blue lipstick to be the perfect eyeliner (compliments galore). When travelling I use mascara for both my eyelashes and eye brows. Thanks again, Susan

  • Thank you Jillee, I love this idea for camping. I don’t see why it couldn’t be used to wash hands as well. I do have one question for any soap makers: Can you use the regular coconut oil that is used for cooking rather than fractionated? I’m trying to cut down on any extra things to buy these days.

  • Oh, Jillee, that is way too much work to make a “shampoo bar.”
    I occasionally travel and when I do I put my 3 ounce shampoo, mousse, and hair spray bottles in a quart-size plastic bag and I have never had a problem with them exploding. The hotel where I stay, also, has shampoo and conditioner, along with soap available in the bathroom. So, it is not an issue.
    Fortunately, my hair is short, and those small containers work well for me. I can see that you are young enough to wear your lovely blonde hair long, but I am in my 80s, my hair is still its original color but being short it needs a daily shampoo, conditioner, mousse, curling iron, and hair spray.
    I use many of your ideas and recipes. Adding the heavy cream to Mac and Cheese is a winner. I sometimes add some hamburger, but I am getting lazy in my old age, and use a box of G.F. mac and cheese, that is available at Aldi’s. My husband became G.F. ten years ago at age 72. The villi in his small intestine failed him, but today there are many G. F. alternatives in the markets and in many restaurants.
    Some of your recipes are more work than I feel like doing, so I improvise. I love Bob Evans mashed potatoes, frozen veggies, with the exception of broccoli, which we like crisp, but that is nearly always available in the supermarket.
    I enjoy your ideas, use some, do not use others, but I love to read them.

  • I have searched long and hard to find a shampoo that works for my hair. So I would not make a bar, unless I could use my own favorite brand. But I do not shampoo everyday – every other day works for me. My hair is sort, and I only use a dot of conditioner now and then.

    I rarely fly, but whenever i do travel, I try to pack only one bag, I pack shampoo, deodorant and my perfume inside a sock, stuffed into the toe of a show, It’s cushioned and doesn’t move around . I also do that with any jewelry i might bring – I wear my favorite pieces and only pack bare minimum – of everything.

    • Good for you, you sound like my daughter, who, when she flies, takes one carry-on bag and a large purse, into which she puts needed items. When she comes here, she is free to use my washer and dryer, so she can really pack light, but even when staying in a motel or hotel, she packs light and does fine. I am slowly learning to do the same.

    • I also have soft/fine hair, so finding a shampoo that cleaned my hair without drying it out or weighing it down (as it’s also wavy/curly) was always a challenge for me as well. I came across the idea of rye flour a couple of years ago and since trying it I haven’t used anything else (and I only need to wash my hair every 3 days.) I’ve added gelatin to the regimen as a kind of conditioner, and occasionally ACV. As both the rye flour and gelatin are powders the only potential “issues” they create with travel is the presence of a bag of (ahem) “powder” in my luggage – and as it did get opened once on a flight out I put the rye flour in my carry-on for the trip home.

  • I have never had shampoo explode in the luggage even when traveling to Europe. I like to take and ask others to bring back the little shampoo bottles from the hotels they visit as we pack them to give to homeless veterans.
    This subject is off-subject but I tried making the laundry softener with conditioner, water and vinegar and it took forever to stir the clumps of conditioner out of it. Now that it is in a large bottle, it separates and I must shake it up before using. My laundry softener in the bottle does not look like your laundry softener in the mason jars!

  • Great idea for the home made shampoo bar! Also, what I love to do and pack, for liquids, is to saturate cotton balls with whatever liquid you want to bring – toner, baby oil, etc., and pack them individually in baggies (I double them so they don’t get on anything and put them in a separate compartment.).

  • Senior citizens love to travel but many of us don’t have the space for “make it yourself” projects. It would be great if you sold items like your shampoo bars on your website.

  • I am a long time soap maker. Soap gets used up quickly when it is too soft. If you are in a dry climate and let the soap sit for a long time, it will dry out more and harden up a bit more. Then it should last a little longer. I have a lot a humidity and am impatient, so I use a dehydrator.

    • Hi Christy,
      Type SLS free melt and pour soap base into Amazon or other supplier and their listing should highlight any that are Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS) free, some health food shops will stock them also depending on where you live/shop. When I worked in Manchester UK, there was a shop on Oxford Road called The 8th Day, they sold it so just check around. Always read the label though to be sure; if online, the ingredients will be listed on the website.
      I use SLS free too sensitive skin, excema, psoriorsis…
      Hope you find one, might not be goat’s milk though.

  • If you’re traveling domestically, why even bother. There are dollar stores all over the place. I buy them when I get to my destination. The only item I carry with me is deodorant because I can’t put my hands on the brand I use at the dollar store.

    • Join the discussion…such a waste of plastic and money. If your destination doesn’t provide shampoo then travel with a shampoo bar. They can be found online, Target, Walmart..

  • How many uses can you get from the shampoo bar. We usually don’t fly when traveling and are usually gone a week. I like this idea. I’m one of those that everyone tends to borrow my stuff like shampoo when we travel . I tend to be such a mom when we travel. I do like the shampoo bar idea.

      • I use Dove the unscented kind. I’ve been reading a book by a Dermatologist. It’s called Beyond Soap. It names potential allergens. It’s also one she recommended. There is a soap category called Syndet- has very little detergents in them that won’t irritate sensitive skin. I have tried the glycerin before.

      • Actually syndet bars are exactly what the name implies:synthetic detergent. Syndet bars are not soap at all, but a blend of synthetic foaming agents, surfactants, & chelating agents. Most commercial cleansing bars today, including body wash, are not soap at all but syndet bars or liquids. Dove is the most gentle of all your big name brand bars on the market. Most people that think they have sensitive skin only have experience using store bought cleansers. A good handmade soap will generally be just as effective or more so at alleviating skin problems than Dove will. I am a soap maker. I have tailored my recipe (not melt & pour soap base) to work best for my skin type with my water type. I am 56 years old and since I started using my own soap I rarely need to use body moisturizers any more. Handmade soap can be made in a million different ways with a million different ingredients and your skin will react differently to each one. I strongly encourage anyone with sensitive or dry skin issues to try handmade soap. If one soap maker’s soap isn’t to your liking, try a different one. Like I said, they’re all made differently.

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