Silk and Sorrel shampoo bar

Another weakness is glass. I found this carafe dirty
and full of spiders.  The candlesticks were favorites,
but I wasn't careful with the candle and one of them
broke when the candle burned down. I should throw
out, I know, but I can't bear to just yet.
Finally I made a shampoo bar with silk.  I've wanted to do one ever since Strenua Inertia gave me a tip to add silk to the lye.  That soap turned out really nice.  I liked it so much that I used it on my hair with very good results.  So I had to do a shampoo bar with it.  And since I really like Njóli oil, I decided to use the infused oil of it's close cousin Rumex acetosa (Sorrel) or as we here call it, Hundasúra.  I have had this one root infusing in oil since last fall when I pulled it from the garden where it had enjoyed a lovely summer.  The root of it just looked so jummy that I cleaned it and cut it up into oil.  The colour of the oil is a nice yellow with a slight orange tinge.  It's not quite the same colour as my previous Rumex oil (which is from the species longifolius) so I have been very curious to try it in soap and see what colour it gives.

So I did and obtained a beautiful, but rather strange colour.  At first it turned a pretty pink, but when I added the EO's they imparted a very yellow colour that changed the soap to a lovely peachy orange.  Now that I've cut it, I think it is perhaps a bit like is in vogue right now - those pale fleshy beige tones.  I'm used to Rumex oil changing overnight from beige to dusky pink.  But this one didn't.  It started out a fairly warm pink and turned into a salmon colour.  That may be because of the EO's that I used.  For scent I used a combination of Lavender, Sweet Orange and Vetiver.  It smells green and fresh.  It is the start of my blending experiments.

Olive oil 40% 240g / 8.5oz (out of this 15g was sorrel root infused)
Coconut oil 25% 150g / 5.3oz
Soybean oil 20% 120g / 4.2oz
Cocoa butter 10% 60g / 2.1oz
Castor oil 5% 30g / 1 oz

Water 30% 210g / 7.4 oz
Lye 99g / 3.5 oz

I used both sugar and silk in the lye water hoping to make the soap that lathers nicely and leaves my hair very silky.  Even if it hasn't cured long enough I did try it out and I think I achieved that.  It lathered exceptionally well and my hair felt very, very silky.


  1. sounds lovely! I have always found shampoo bars so drying. Perhaps I should try your recipe.

    :) x

  2. Hi Ambra, I just love reading about your creations and the time, care, knowledge and PATIENCE you put into them -I admire that so! You're the real deal, sister! :)

  3. I tried using the tussah silk fibers, and they made the lye very fumey-stinky, so I quit. I didn't notice much difference in the soap either, so I'm curious about what type of silk you used.

  4. Another beautiful shade of pink, Ambra. My yellow dock soap is more a dusty rose madder, maybe because of the olive oil I used. I love shampoo soap, all I use on my hair. I have made some w/ Tussah silk in the past but that seemed to up the greasies for my hair, so I leave that out.

  5. Joanna, it took a while to get used to shampoo bars. At first I had a hard time with not using conditioner, but now I love the way my hair feels clean and very soft.
    Becky, you are too sweet :)
    Amy, I actually used fibers from the silk that we sewed my daughters wedding dress from!
    Cocobong, the dusty pink sounds like what I usually get from my other oil. I look forward to seing you results with it.

  6. Ambra, this topic is fascinating to me.. Fibers from the silk for sewing? My limited imagination is having a hard time picturing it dissolved in lye water. Fascinating!

  7. Maggie, I know! I couldn't believe it when Helen/Strenua Inertia suggested it, BUT it turns out that to hydrolyze silk protein you either use a strong acid or a strong alkaline. Duuuhh! So I tried it and the NaOH does dissolve the silk. I unravel the fabric and cut the strands in pieces and scatter them into the lye solution and let them sit for a while. It means that the temperature is quite low, but it always turns into soap (so far anyway :)

  8. I love, love, love all of your soap colouring experiments - they have been an absolute inspiration!
    I live in Ireland, and find it impossible to source local, natural soap colourants, so am also looking to my back garden and the local health food shop, for anything I can use.
    I have dock root marinading in a jar (inspired by one of your posts) and will be digging up some sorrel root this evening too. I've also read that dandelion and dock leaves (and dock seeds) can be used in soap.


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