Sea Buckthorn and Illipe Solid Conditioner

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Today I thought I would share a formula for an effective solid conditioner. We have had quite a few requests for these in the facebook group; people wanted an alternative to liquid conditioners, a zero waste solution and something to complement their solid shampoo bars. So, this is it! Again, it is a fairly simple formulation with only the necessary ingredients needed. I find that you don’t need to pile in the ingredients and my personal view is it is more effective to add less ingredients at optimum levels, it also makes manufacturing a lot easier.

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To give lots of conditioning there are high levels of BTMS 50 as well as polyquaternium-10. I added shea butter, illipe butter and broccoli seed oil to harden the bar and provide moisturising oils for the hair. It is scented with grapefruit peel essential oil and the sea buckthorn Co2 extract gives the bar a bright orange colour.

You will note that I added a preservative - Spectrastat E - to make it a little more dish stable however there are plenty of examples on the market that do not use a preservative. These bars are meant to be solid and dry between use, and they also contain high levels of BTMS 50 which gives some antimicrobial protection, so in this case the preservative is optional.

There is a small amount of water in the bar, this helps keep the bar smooth and improves processing. Because of the small amount of water, it is a good idea to leave the bar for a week or two to dry and harden fully. That said, after two weeks, if you find that the bar is still too soft for you (it should be hard but feel slightly bouncy if pressed very hard) , you can always reduce some of the liquid oils and increase the hard butters and fatty alcohol. That said, the shea butter I used was particularly soft and if you used standard harder shea butter it will create slightly harder bar than I have produced.

I find, living in London, where the water is hard, this bar is perfect for me, but if you have soft water you may want to adjust it.

You will see that I used lactic acid to reduce the pH. Without which it would be around pH 7. Using this amount of acid meant I could get the pH to around 4.5-5, which is optimum for hair care products.

The formula makes a 50g batch and given in percentages as follows:


ABTMS 50Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetyl Alcohol (and)
Butylene Glycol
ALanette OCetearyl Alcohol12.006.00
AXyliance Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol3.001.50
AShea ButterButyrospermum parkii (Shea) Butter
ACoconut OilCocos nucifera (Coconut) Oil0.500.25
AIllipe ButterShorea stenoptera (illipe) Butter8.004.00
ABroccoli Seed OilBrassica oleraceae var.Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil1.000.50
ASea Buckthorn Co2 ExtractHippophae rhamnoides fruit extract, Helianthus annus seed oil,
Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract
BDeionised WaterAqua11.005.50
CGrapefruit EOCitrus Paradisi Peel Oil1.000.50
CSpectrastat ECaprylhydroxamic Acid (and) Ethylhexylglycerin (and) Methylpropanediol0.200.10
C Lactic Acid (80%)Lactic acid1.500.75


  1. Heat waxes and emulsifiers to 75c and then add the remaining phase A ingredients

  2. Combine phase B and heat to 75c

  3. Combine phases A and B while stirring

  4. Add phase C ingredients to A/B while still hot and stir well

  5. Pour into moulds and pop in the fridge for 10-20 minutes or until solid

  6. Take out of fridge and unmould. Leave for one to two weeks or until fully dry.

You have now successfully made a solid conditioner bar that is perfect for most hair types. I have used this as a leave in conditioner too and have found it has stopped my hair from being a frizzy mess :-)

How to Use a Solid Conditioner

To use, rub the bar between your hands under warm running water. When you have enough product on your hands smooth over your hair, paying particular attention to the ends.

Rebecca Wright