Soap Nuts Shampoo

Soap Nuts Shampoo Recipe easy and natural

I’ve written before about how I use soap nuts for laundry, and I’ve gotten several questions since that post about how I also use them for shampoo.

Finding a natural shampoo that works for your hair type can be difficult. Coconut milk based shampoo works great for some people, and some people do great with the no-poo method (not me!). If neither of those has worked for you, this is another that you can try.

According to Mountain Rose Herbs:

Soap nuts are found in both the eastern and western hemispheres, but are native to India and Nepal. They have recently become a popular environmentally friendly alternative to chemical detergent, and are a gentle option for those with allergies to chemicals in regular detergents. They have traditionally been used as an expectorant, and in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for eczema and psoriasis. Soap nuts contain saponin, a natural detergent. The soap nut shell absorbs water and releases the saponins which circulate as a natural surfactant in the wash water, freeing dirt, grime, and oils from clothing.

Soap nuts can be used to make a really easy natural shampoo or body wash that is soothing to eczema or psoriasis. Soap nuts shampoo is also incredibly inexpensive to make and completely natural. Tip: If you make a full batch, store in ice cube trays and freeze for individual use sizes or store in a peri bottle in the fridge and just take out when you shower.

If you aren’t up for making it and want a more involved (but still natural) solution, you can buy pre-made Soap Nuts Shampoo.

Ingredients:

What to Do:

  • If you have one, place soap nuts in a small muslin bag.
  • Place in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of the water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of water and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cook.
  • Squeeze out the bag until it suds. Rinse with cool water and squeeze in to the pan again.
  • Store in a glass jar in the fridge until use.
  • To use: Massage a small amount in to hair and let sit for 5 minutes. Rinse well. Can also be used as a soothing wash for skin, especially in those with eczema and psoriasis.

Have you ever used soap nuts? How did you use them? Tell me below!

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Reader Comments

  1. I’m sorry to be obtuse, but do you use the water only, and discard the nuts? I’ve never worked with them (a lot of the concepts you bring up are new to me, but I enjoy reading them because I have a crazy amount of allergies). I often feel like I need instructions meant for a toddler!

    Thanks!

      • Hi wellness mama… Thank you so much for this recipe… Can we use ACV did water as a conditioner cos mine is a thin fine hair…thanks in advance

      • I have just followed you shampoo recipe. I brought it to a boil and turned it down to simmer. I was unable to keep the cover on due to it wanting to flood. This was true even when I had it very low. I left the top ajar and cooked it for the length of time you state, adding the water after 20 minutes. After the 10 minutes for the 2nd simmering I found close to no liquid left. I had to add more liquid and bring it back to a boil or nothing would be there for me to use. What am I doing wrong? Please let me know how to correct it in the future.
        Also is there a way to thicken it to make it more user friendly in the shower?
        How often do you shampoo your hair with it?
        Thanks for your input.

        • In my experience you don’t need to cook soapnuts, just put a few in an old shampoo bottle, add hot/warm water to the half way mark and leave to soak for a day or a few days. When you want to wash your hair, top up with warm water so it is comfortable to use. Squirt the whole contents of the bottle over your hair, tipping your head back. Leave it on for a few minutes; you can massage your scalp with fingertips and use flat hands to work it in with a bit more warm water, but don’t muss your hair up too much or you will get tangles. YOUR HAIR AT THIS STAGE WILL FEEL LIKE CRUNCHY STRAW: BUT DON’T GIVE UP – IT WILL FEEL WONDERFUL WHEN YOU HAVE FINISHED. Repeat with more shampoo if this is the first time you have used soap nut shampoo because there will be residues of old shampoo/conditioner to remove. Rinse off, then use an apple cider vinegar rinse (a bit of apple cider vinegar in another old shampoo bottle, topped up with water and squirt through your hair). Comb with a wide tooth comb, then rinse again with clear water. You can use the soap nuts again for your next shampoo, or add more when needed. I have found that thickening soap nut shampoo just means there is thickener to be washed out of your hair. Good luck. When you get used to the routine it is easy.

    • hi for your washing you can get a sock and tie a knot in the top with 5-6 nuts in the sock and wash your clothes and use the sock up to 3-5 time with the same nuts :)

    • Just shake a few broken up soap nuts in an old shampoo bottle with warm water and leave to soak. You can use it the next day refll with warm water/ more soap nut shells as required. All this cooking and big quantities and adding other stuff is unnecessary.

      • Agreed, I add warm water to the nuts and give it a shake to ensure there is still saponin in the nuts (you’ll get a little foam if they’re still good). Used this since Christmas, brush every night with a bristle brush (loose my curls though) and now use a wooden comb, just about there, shiny hair, healthy scalp – hard work but worth it.

          • Down to washing with soapnuts every nine days, hoping to increase that time by a day a month. My hair is so healthy with a shine I can’t remember before. I have some curl back too :-)

  2. Be still my heart! I have some of these from MRH and while I haven’t been brave enough yet to completely replace my homemade laundry soap, I am thrilled to find another use for them. Thank you!!!

  3. I’ve tried soap nuts as a washing up liquid (not the best idea) and body wash, but never thought of using them as shampoo. I’ll be giving this a go :)

  4. Could this be made into a solid shampoo bar? Would this be good for oily hair? Or would you have some other ideas for oily hair?

  5. I also have a basic question. I bought soap nuts but all I received were shells. Is that correct? All the soap qualities are in the shells, not in the nuts themselves?

    • yes, its the shells :) I use 15-20 in 6 cups of water and leave it on low/medium heat and get a dark colour and then store in big bottles, I use a cup in my laundry with some baking powder and essential oils and it smells great and everything is clean, I love it on my hair, so many options for scents!

  6. I love soap nuts! I have recently started using them to wash dishes (a few nuts in a sock with the end tied up and to do my laundry, they do a great job. I tried using them as a shampoo too, with a few drops of tea tree oil, and liked the results. After washing my hair I used the remaining liquid to clean the shower, worked well!

  7. How about using this soap nut base as a replacement for the liquid castille soap in your coconut milk based shampoo?

    • wellness mama, would like to know the answer for this. Can we replace castille soap with soap nuts from the earlier coconut milk shampoo recipe? This is because the coconut milk recipe did not work and i do not want to waste the coconut milk. Pls reply, thanks in advance!

  8. Finally a natural shampoo that does not make my hair completely unmanageable, greasy-looking and clumpy-feeling! I have tried various no-poo recipes and although lots of baking soda initially worked well for my hair, after my apartment complex got a new water heater, the no-poo just left my hair looking greasy and tangly (It also didn’t work at my mother’s house or at a hotel, so water really matters!). I also tried your coconut milk-castile soap recipe for about two weeks and the results were rather unpleasant (in a totally weird way. I don’t even know how to describe it).
    But this really worked wonderfully. I am super happy.

    • I’ve been trying some different natural shampoo methods and have had bad results as well. About to try soap nuts but I was curious if you use anything to condition at all?

      • I’ve gone back to using bar soap and vinegar rinse. The soap gets out the oils and the vinegar gets out the mineral deposits leaving hair soft and shiny. My hair is no long dry looking like straw. It looks and feels healthier.

      • I have thick hair down to my bottom and all I use is soap nuts and an ionic brush. Soap nuts are naturally conditioning. My hair is always soft and manageable with nothing more than the soap nuts and my brush. I also use soap nuts to clean my laundry and I do not need to use any fabric softeners. I also use soap nuts liquid in a spray bottle for general household cleaning and I am very happy with it. I will never buy cleaners or soaps from the grocery store again.

        • Hi, i was wondering since yiu gave done it for a while and it works..How do you use it in you hair? Do you use the same recipe as this or another way?

      • We have always used soap nuts to wash our hair growing up in India. We used to soak soap nuts in warm water and my mom used to crush fresh hibiscus leaves in the soap nut water. Hbiscus leaves act as a natural conditioner.

          • You can just use a couple of hibiscus leaves cos i normally make this liquid fresh for everytime I use .. It hardly takes ten minutes for the prep..

      • Used soap nuts since Christmas, occasionally using bi-carb (never again) and do not use anything else now. I have long wavy hair, best thing has been a natural boar bristle brush every night to move the wax (sebum) down the hair shaft, now have shiny low tangle low hair loss hair :-)

    • I have also tried castille soap for shampoo and had some undesirable results. It made my hair feel very filmy and kind of clump together. I immediately washed my hair with conventional shampoo to strip the film off of it. I’ve also tried the no-poo method and had about the same results. But I’m determined to keep trying! I’m about to try this recipe for the first time and have high hopes. Wish me luck!

      • Update: I’ve detoxed my hair a few times now with bentonite clay and followed up with coconut milk castille shampoo and had awesome results! It did take a while to detox, but I’m so glad I did! I was determined to be done with conventional shampoos & I have really noticed a difference. I have used Nexxus products for years thinking they were the best thing out there. Little did I know that they were actually making my hair fall out! Since switching to homemade shampoos my hair loss has actually decreased by about 80%. Thank you so much for your awesome recipes!

    • The coconut/Castile H M shampoo formula needs some “tweaking”…. Is a great kick off place. A lot of guinea pigs and bad hair days later……I’ve added 2 very light wt oils,(Apricot Kernal, Jojoba ) raw honey, rosemary/soap nut infused water (basically cutting the Coconut milk in half 50/50 ratio, and a few other goodies… my hair loves it…I’m selling Sweet Dew~ Shampoo under my 7 Springs Farm company. sevenspringsfarm.biz

      Kudos and blessings to Wellness Mama, I love to see people/WOMEN breaking the molds, doing what is healthy and best for themselves and their family!! Marching to a different beat.

  9. Hi Katie. First I want to say how much I love your blog and DIY personal care recipes. I also wanted to pass on this information – Indian stores carry soap nuts in a powder form – it’s called “Aritha Powder” and comes in a small box. I’m Indian by birth and visit Indian stores often for my cooking supplies so I’ve come across Aritha Powder but didn’t ever buy any. I’m going to give your recipe a try! Thanks for the inspiration :)

      • Aritha Powder, also known as Soapnut Powder, comes from the fruit of the Soapnut tree. The pulp of the fruit contains a high level of saponins that act as natural foaming agents. This powder can be used to wash delicate fabrics as well as to wash sensitive skin and hair. Add the powder to a facial mix of milk powder and clay to provide delicate cleansing of the skin. Add Aritha Powder to salt scrubs to add cleansing action. Please note that natural soapnuts (Aritha Powder) have a mild odor. This odor does not transfer to your skin, hair or clothing.

        As a hair and body wash, Aritha Powder is best used in a tea. Add 1 tablespoon of Aritha Powder to a cup of boiling water. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Cool and strain the tea for use as a hair wash or mild cleanser. Aritha Powder can also be combined with amla, neem and shikakai powders for a more nutritive hair wash. Steep all of the herbs in water, and strain the tea. The tea should be kept refrigerated and used within 4 days or preserved with an anti-bacterial preservative.

        • thank you Misty! i wan to try the powder rather the nuts and was searching basic simple receipt for shampoo. im also thinking to add essential oils to give it more properties. i was wondering if you know if it is good enough to wash off oily hair mask (e.g. castor and almond oils), maybe 2tb of power for one cup of water

  10. does it smell very strongly of the nuts? I use them for laundry already and find that the nuts smell horrible. Really wouldn’t want that on my head 24/7

  11. how long would this keep in the fridge? can this be make with whole soapnuts or does it need to be just the shells?

  12. I really want to make this for my mum for christmas, but I’d like for it to be a bit thicker than what I suppose your shampoo with this recipe will be.
    Do you think I can use Arrowroot or a similar thickener to get it to be more gel-like? Would it be a good idea to use aloe vera gel in it?

    I’m thinking I’d love to try to make it with aloe gel and arrowroot as additions to this recipe to get it more gel-like, and because I’ve read that aloe vera gel is fantastic for hair. Do you think that’ll be a success?

  13. I make a liquid out of soap nuts and keep some in the fridge (for cloth diapers) to use within a few days and then freeze the rest in ice cube trays. The liquid will become rancid in the fridge after a week or so.

  14. Hi Katie and all, Think I can help with a few of the comments & questions here. The shells (the dried skin & pulp) are what contain saponin. The saponin is the active ingredient in the soap nuts (soap berries). Mountain Rose sell them with their seeds/pits. Think of them like bing cherries. The seeds/pits have no usefulness, and are half their weight. Keep that in mind when shopping. De-seeded are worth much more. Aritha powder has been used for ages in hair care, & offers many benefits. Many won’t enjoy the experience though of either the liquid or powder when used as a shampoo. (I didn’t at all, except I’ll add some powder to the “pre-made” when I want to exfoliate my scalp. It feels really good! Rinse well.) I usually only recommend them as an occasional treatment for hair & scalp. Just doesn’t cut it as a good shampoo where lather is nice. The “pre-made” NaturOli shampoos are a different ballgame. They are all-in-one shampoos & conditioners. Letting the ingredients tell the tale: “100% Complete and Full Ingredient List: Sapindus Mukorossi Aqueous Extract, Aloe barbadensis Gel, Vegetable Glycerin, Lauryl Glucoside, Saponified Olea europaea Oil (Olive Oil Soap), Panax Ginseng Extract, Japanese Green Tea, Olea europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Nasturtium officinale (Water Cress) Extract, Hibiscus Leaf Extract, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Olea europaea (Olive) Oil, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum, dl-Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Citric acid.” You can see there’s much more to it than just soap nut liquid or powder. Frankly, the formulas are so good, some may need a few washes to “detox” their hair of old residues. If so, either Argan oil, or NaturOli’s serum are helpful as the hair acclimates to “all natural” hair care. There’s tons of reviews on them that folks can read. They truly do restore a beautiful, natural balance to the hair, and leaves the scalp much healthier, too. – HOPE THIS HELPS A FEW OF YOU!!! Happy upcoming holidays! Chris (Author/SoapNuts.Pro, Founder/NaturOli)

    • UPDATE: the MRH soap nuts are now deseeded! I have used both forms & the deseeded seem to be “soapier”. I have washed my dog and horse laudry w/ homemade soap nut detergent and amazed at how clean & fresh it comes out. I am eager to try the shampoo. I am a swimmer so I hope it works. Re: the smell, it is vinegary, but does not leave a vinegar smell after washing.

  15. Hi there! I tried the no poo method (I agree I need the poo!) and the coconut milk shampoo (left my hair snarly and greasy). Would you recommend I try the soap nuts shampoo? I have very fine, thin hair.

    • I would definitely say give it a go as iv tried no poo and coconut etc and many more but the soapnuts recipe is by far the best. I added xanthan gum to thicken it so its spreads easier. I love it!

  16. Random yet related question- Is it safe to also put a little baking soda in with these guys when using it for laundry? Just to be extra certain that smells come out? After reading a ton of reviews, I found that to be the most common complaint; smells remaining.

    • I use vinegar for smells (we have 6 kids 7 and under and usually use cloth diapers, so we are hard on the laundry). I just got my soap nuts to try (out of options due to crazy allergies) but vinegar and borax or washing soda seem to take care of most smells for us. I put 1/4 cup vinegar in a downy ball and will add that much or up to a 1/2 cup for REALLY stinky stuff. Takes care of diaper smells and most others, including the musty-I-forgot-the-laundry-smell. :)

    • Absolutely, we have hard water so I use baking soda in the wash every time. I use about 4-5 soap nuts with about a half cup of baking soda and I fill the fabric softener cup full with vinegar. My laundry smells fine(and my husband calls me the super sniffer as I can smell everything!). You can also use wool dryer balls with essential oils on them, but make sure you rub the dryer balls together where you put the oils on or else they leave oil stains on your clothes. (Just meaning, rub the oils into the balls so they don’t have the wet spots right as you put them in the dryer.)

  17. I’ve been using soap nuts to wash my LOs cloth diapers and absolutely love them! You posted above that you can use the solution as a body wash to soothe eczema. This winter has been brutal on my 4 mos old skin. Do you think it’s gentle enough to use on baby? We have been using water only but since I’ve been applying breast milk to her back and legs, I feel like she needs a little more than water to get her clean. I call her my little buttermilk baby lol! Thank you in advance :)

  18. I have tried every homemade shampoo recipe going, but for some reason have not come accross using soapnuts! Ive used them cleaning laundry for a few years on and off so I had bag already in my cupboard.

    I used this recipe but added xanthan gum to thicken it up… and I have to say my hair feels amazing!!! Ive washed it a few times now and its considerably less frizzy, softer, shinier and feels so clean. Ive been sk disappointed with previous recipes ive tried but I love this one and so does my family.

    I know I cant use this on my 18 month olds hair as it could get in her eyes… any suggestions of shampoo I could make that is tear free??

    • How much xanthan gum did you use? I’ve been using baking soda and apple cider vinegar for the past couple of years, and every couple of months I scour the internet for simple shampoo recipes that are thicker and actually have more of a shampoo consistency. This looks like it could work how I want it to. So excited to try it!

  19. I have a few questions:
    Can you reuse the same nuts more than once? I know that wen you use them to wash clothes you can and i was wondering if it was possible/necesary with this shampoo as well.
    I noticed that a lot of foam remained in the muslin bag even after sqeezing it a few times. Do i need to try harder and get everything out and into my bottle or is the shampoo strong enough even without it?
    For how long can i keep it in the fridge? Can i also store it outside(in the bathroom)? How can i tell it’s gone bad?

  20. I really like soap nuts! Thanks for the introduction to them for laundry and hair. Somehow I missed the part about putting it in the fridge. The first time I made a single batch. The second time I doubled it and added Apple cider vinegar to clean and condition all at once. I never noticed a rancid smell even though it wasn’t’ t refrigerated. I have short, thin hair with no natural body. My hair has been soft, shiny and very manageable with the soap nut/Apple cider mix. It was very thin so I just used a peri-bottle from a past birth and squeezed it right onto my scalp let it sit while I did other stuff and then rinsed. My older kids have been using it, but it is a bit strong in smell and it does sting a bit too so I don’t use it on my little ones. My husband doesn’t really like it though. No one that uses it has any lasting smell once their hair dries. It is working too for my son who has coarse, curly hair, most shampoo makes his hair either dry and frizzy or greasy. I just love soap nuts and reusable wool dryer balls! Have been telling all my friends. We have nine kids so we do quite a large amount of laundry. Everything comes out with little work-we only change nuts every 5-6 loads. Beets left on a baby bib and white onesie overnight came completely out! Yeah for soap nuts! Thanks again.

  21. I think soap nuts liquid for the hair is great. The one difficulty I find with it, though, is that it has the consistency of water. I have been considering adding Xanthum gum as a thickener. Also, citric acid is the best preservative to keep it from spoiling.

  22. Has anyone ever got some in your eye, I did and it stings pretty good, is it harmful in anyway, probably a silly question but just checking

    Thanks

    • Yes…this is what we used in our childhood as shampoo.. The best natural way to clean ur hair wid no harmful chemicals… It does sting badly once it goes in ur eye…just clean ur eyes wid water… It is not harmful but makes ur eye red as we tend to rub our eyes badly.

  23. I started using the soap nut shampoo a couple weeks ago and although the first week was great and I loved how soft my hair felt, after the first week my hair started to still look and feel greasy after washing. I used to have problems with dandruff, and that is completely gone and hasn’t come back with the use of this shampoo, but I was wondering if my hair is going through an adjustment phase or if it is normal to have the hair suddenly start being greasy feeling after working great for a week? I need to make a new batch as mine ran out, so maybe it was just that the other stuff was getting old and not working as well? I really hope it starts working again as I really loved the way it make my hair feel when it worked! I am also in love with using them for our laundry! Our clothes are so soft now! Can’t wait to try soap nuts for more things!

    • Hi. I’m not an expert nor have I tried this yet. Just was waiting eagerly on my non toxic pots to cook it in. Well until I heard you can soak it in glass bowl which I did but I used water from my bath tap boiled in metal kettle which probably defeats the purpose of no chemical ridden cleaning method. But for now it was for a desperate cause. My shampoo running out and my reluctance and cashless need to replace it.
      But if this is your first try with the soap nuts and it’s greasy at first. My first bet would be on that your hair is at a detox stage. The chemicals or oil stripping is imbalanced your hair. And with this cleaning method perhaps your head is readjusting or detoxing even. I’m not sure if this cleaning method is just as harsh on oil balance from the head or not. But I sure do know how picky heads can be with needing changes of chemical products every once in a while.
      But I say stick with it and see if it improves.
      I have recently tried dry shampoo. Which is solely arrowroot powder dab in (in my case I lathered it all on all over my hair lol last time I couldn’t get it into my thick hair prorperly) and then I go about preening and glamour in myself and getting ready to go out before brushing it out. So far so good with that. Though my hair was a little frizzy and dull but it was most certainly thick volume and clean and soft. So perhaps in between washes you can try arrowroot powder during adjustments with soap nuts ; )
      Hope it’s somewhat helpful

  24. I know this is an older post, but hoping I can still get my questions answered. I don’t think I’ll use this much in just a week. I’ve read other places saying you can add tea tree oil for a preservative. Does anyone know if this would work and how much to use/how long I can keep it out for? Also, could I just make a big batch and freeze it, and just take out the amount I need for the week? Or is it possible to make a “half batch”? I tried the coconut milk shampoo last night and I think I used too much, or it didn’t get all the way out of my hair because the back of my head is pretty filmy/oily. I’m hoping this will be better for my fine, long hair!

    • Hi Amy. I’m not an expert by any means but if it helps I’ll share my experience.
      I just started detoxing my hair from commercial products about a month ago. I think that if I would have used this one first that I would have just given up. Not that this is not a great recipe, but my hair needed more detoxifying before trying something as ‘gentle’ as this. Our hair is so used to having all of the natural oils stripped out of it that it overcompensates with sebum production when we take away the product we’ve been using to ‘strip’ it with. I found that at this point that my hair needs the detoxifying mud about once of twice a week. I think as time goes on it needs it less and less. Katie – Wellness Mama- has the recipes for it here on her site if you haven’t tried it yet. I highly recommend it as often as you need it while your hair is going through it’s adjustment phase. And it will pass. You just have to be patient!
      As far as the length of time the soap nuts shampoo will last before spoilage– I’ve kept mine in the bathroom for about 2 weeks without issue. I think it probably also depends on where you live. I’m in Colorado so things tend to last a little longer here due to the lack of humidity and the altitude. Good luck!

  25. I made the shampoo from soap nuts powder. First of all, it didn’t lather at all, so I just massaged it into my hair and left it on for a few minutes. The first time I got it in my eye and it was very irritating – like I had dirt in it. OUCH! Anyway, it made my hair feel way fuller and much more manageable with lots of body, but a little . . . I don’t know . . . greasy or something. Is that the way it’s supposed to feel? I’ve always used a daily clarifying shampoo and my hair never felt the way it does with the soap nuts. Did I do something wrong?

    • it won’t lather. regular shampoos do that because of the chemicals added to them(which are only added because of “consumer demand”. we are under the impression that if a shampoo produces enough foam to drown in it will clean better-which might not be the case).
      your hair is greasy because it’s not used to this kind of treatment. it was used to having its oils stripped off daily so it produced more than necessary in an attempt to compensate. it should get back to being ok in a while.

  26. Why two cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes, then add one cup and cook 10 more? Wouldn’t 3 cups of water for 30 minutes work the same? Or did I miss /misread something?
    Thanks, if anyone has a response to this…

  27. Is it safe to use a regular cooking pot to boil the soap nuts, or should it be done in a non-food pot?
    Thanks!

  28. Sorry if I missed it in the comments…but where can I buy the soap nuts? My daughter just turned 1 and I am on the hunt for something natural to use on her extremely sensitive skin. She has eczema and it’s on her little cheeks (face) and Im trying to get rid of it before she starts scratching and makes is worse.

  29. So I have not applied it yet but I have used 18 nuts in four cups of water for it to be more concentrated would that make any difference or is it too concentrated. Do we have to follow recipe word by word?

    • I can’t think it would be harmful, but I’m not sure why you would want it more concentrated. Do you plan to dilute it? If used at that strength it might be a bit drying to your hair.

  30. Today, i made nut-shampoo with glycerine. Just thicken the water from the nuts, and mix it with glycerine. Soooo soft for skin and hair. Shake well before use.

  31. Hi
    I have been using this recipe for 3 weeks now (approx 1-2 times weekly) and I am still experiencing strange waxy hair that clumps together and looks stringy. I have tried multiple washings in one go, and ensuring I have rinsed thoroughly as well. I have tried ACV rinse a few times and that made it worse! I am hoping to start applying for jobs soon post baby, and I CAN’T go meet prospective employers with my hair like this!!! The dry shampoo is ok for home or the local shops but that is all. I use a boar bristle brush that I wash out with hot water daily to clean it. I have no idea what else to try. I have ordered some shikakai powder to use with the shampoo to see if that helps, or try it on its own.

    Can anyone please offer any suggestions why I am getting the same results after 3+ weeks???

    Thanks
    Jodi

    • I forgot to add that the greasy stringy waxiness is down the length of my hair after washing, not just at the roots, so it is like it is not being removed at all in the first place. Even when I tried multiple washings it was still like the waxiness coated my hair like glue. When I brush with the BBB it is covered in fluff and grease after just a few strokes.

      • Your hair may simply not like this shampoo. Hair reacts in very strange ways to things that don’t work with it. You could be experiencing an excess of protein, or a detox react, or a reaction with another product you are also using (although you didn’t mention any others). You might try a different shampoo for a few days to see if that helps.

        • Thanks Wellness Mama – after a few other attempts I did a bentonite clay detox and that did wonders. Very happy to be rid of that horrible waxiness off my hair! I really appreciate the detox suggestion. Now it will be interesting to see how my hair proceeds from here, and whether soapnuts will be a viable option or not.

          Cheers
          Jodi

          • Hi Jodi,

            I’m curious as to whether you were able to continue using the soap nuts shampoo on your hair or not? I’ve been experiencing the same issue that you had: my hair is greasy, waxy and stringy and then has been really dandruffy as well even though I stopped using store bought shampoos more than 4 months ago. I know I should be doing weekly clay detoxes, but just wondering if once I’m doing that continually I can get natural shampoo method to work? Please let me know what you use now to shampoo and condition. Thanks!

  32. Hello to all of you having used some sort of gum to thicken the soapnut liquid.
    How much did you use please?

    Wellnessmama, could we maybe use gelatin as a thickening agent – you have stated it’s benefits for hair in other articles – do you think?

    How about adding the soapnut liquid to clay to make a thicker shampoo – how long do you think this would keep for in the fridge? Maybe by adding citric acid we could lengthen it’s life?

    Thanks all! Love your blog Katie,
    XXX Tiffany, ze fan from Paris

  33. how long will it last in fridge or freezer? will we be able to smell if it has gone bad over our essential oils weve added?? and is it harmful to use once its gone bad? a friend mad a batch for me and i didnt know it had to be in the fridge and ive had the liquid sitting out for a few weeks and have been using it!!! it doesnt smell bad so i didnt know it could be bad

  34. Am wondering how much to apply? My hair is just past shoulder length, and I’ve been using a small shot glass full daily for past 4 days. Hair feels a bit waxy though. Am I maybe using too much?

  35. I have got so many receipies off your website, you have no idea how helpful you have been. I just wanted to share my shampoo experience with you, I tried soap nuts and was very impressed with them but I didnt like the fact it was like water cause it gets in your eyes and in your mouth and burns like hell and tastes awful so I stuck some oats and soap nuts in a coffee grinder and boiled the powder up with some water and its like a conditioner kind of consistency and SO much easier to use it cleans my hair beautifully and I think it may have even improved my hair condition.

  36. I’ve been using soap nuts to wash my hair for about two months now (I use Wellness Mama’s recipe above, but I’m considering adding more nuts). They work better for me than any other method I’ve tried so far (egg wash, CO, bar shampoo). For people who are finding that their hair is still greasy after a wash, this is how I wash with soap nuts. It’s a bit complicated, but pretty reliable.

    I use two empty dish soap bottles. In the first, I put just straight soap nuts liquid with a few drops of tea tree oil. I put the same in the second bottle, but add a teaspoon of xanthan gum (I use an electric frothing device to blend it before I pour it in). I keep both bottles in the fridge and take them with me when I go to shower. I rinse off my body, then put the plug in the bathtub so it fills up with shower water. After wetting my hair in the shower, I pour the liquid/xanthan gum mixture all over my scalp and then squeeze a bit of the pure liquid to give it a little extra cleaning boost. I massage this in for a minute, then get down on my knees and rinse my hair in the tub water. I repeat the process, this time letting it sit on my head for a few minutes. After the second rinse, I usually have that “squeaky” clean feel to my hair; if not, I go for one more wash/rinse. I also rinse with running water from the shower at the end to make sure it’s completely out. I finish with conditioner and ACV rinse, but I’ve skipped it and it’s still fine, just a little drier.

    For me, I find rinsing by dunking my head in the pooled water is the only way that all my hair gets reliably clean and I don’t end up with a greasy patch somewhere. To save water, I sometimes wash my hair in the sink rather than the shower, or sometimes I turn off the shower early and just sit in the tub water.

    One other note: While I find this gets my hair clean if I have conventional products in it, it doesn’t always work 100% if I use oil or flax seed gel in my hair.

  37. Im new to all this and so far I’ve done one no poo which my hair didnt like to much but maybe Its because Im going through a bit of a detox. Anyways with some of tbe research Ive done so far Ive learned that herbs are the only way to go for some people. Soap berrys are a saponine cleansing herb as well as yucca root and soapwort which apparently is a little more sudsy.. there are herbs you can mix in depending on if your hair is oily or dry. This website answered a lot of questions I had and still have.. its like the holy grail..lol http://www.minimalistbeauty.com/no-more-chemical-hair-products-part-2-herbal-hair-cleansers/ Also this website http://www.frontiercoop.com/learn/herbalhairrinses.php
    gives a bit of a more specific herb you can use for different hair. A cpl good persavitives is vit E oil and vegetable Glycerin.. also rosemary eo.
    The best way to prepare soap “nuts” TIP! Use the same recipe you would use to make your cleaner: Put 12 Soap Nuts in the supplied washer bag and tie it closed. Then put the bag containing the Soap Nuts into medium sauce pan with about 8 cups of water. Bring the water to a brisk boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for around 30 minutes until it makes a semi-thick, cloudy yellowish-brown liquid. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for several hours.
    When the mixture is cool, remove the bag containing the Soap Nuts and hang the bag up to dry for future use (you can reuse the same bag of Soap Nuts several times to make more shampoo and body washes with)… Hoping this helps;)

  38. If your hair is dry after using, make your next batch with shikakai as well as soap nuts. This is the traditional way Indian women would shampoo. It helps soften, protect and hydrate hair. I use a small handful with about 6 nuts 3-4 cups water, simmer for about ten min and strain.

  39. I tried shampooing using kefir whey and soapnut,, first massaged my hair with whey n washed with soapnut,, I just dont like the smell of my hair when its finished,, after wet drying, I applied some drops of my eo perfume on it,, love the result!! Soft, clean n smell good!! Next ill add lemon for shiny effect,, :)

  40. For best use of soapnuts, soak them a night before you want to take shower (8 hours) and next day you can put them in your smoothie maker ( or food processor) and you can seive the bubbly shampoo out of it and you want conditioner you can add some fenugreek powder. The fenugreek powder needs to be soaked for atleast half hour. Best results

  41. After I use the soap nuts in the wash, do I hang them to dry or do I need to store them in the fridge because they have been used? How long does the shampoo last in the fridge?
    Thank you,
    Diyanne

  42. I find the easiest way to use soapnuts for hair washing is to put a few crushed shells in an empty shampoo bottle, half fill with warm to hot water, put the lid back on and leave it to cool. SIMPLE!

    To use, add warm to hot water to make it a comfortable temperature, replace the lid, then flip up the top and apply it to dry hair. Don’t do a shampoo action on your scalp or hair gets tangled – just smooth it from roots to hair tips. Leave it on a for few minutes then rinse well. It can feel strange (crunchy) while hair is still wet but do resist reaching for the conditioner. Once dry, hair is beautifully clean and soft.

    You can top the soap nut shampoo mixture up with warm to hot water to reuse and add more shells as required, and keep it on the bathroom shelf for a few days. When it gets too old, just tip out the used up shells and start again.

  43. I need some help in the soap nut shampoo department. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but I’ve had horrible results every time I have tried this. I made the shampoo exactly like the recipe above, once with the lavender and once without. The first few times I tried I used soap nuts from Mountain Rose Herbs. They had a really weird smell, like sweat and beef jerky. It was almost unbearable to use but I used it several times anyway and every time my hair was waxy and greasy and in terrible terrible condition. I thought maybe it was the soap nuts so I tried again with soap nuts from Naturoli. Same thing. Horribly waxy and greasy hair. I’ve been no pooing with bs/acv for 2 months now and even on my worst hair day during the transition period, my hair never looked as bad as with the soap nuts. Every time I’ve tried the soap nut shampoo I’ve had to wash with bs/acv just to get the gross feeling to go away. It was literally unmanageable, I couldn’t even get a brush through my hair. I really want this to work. What am I doing wrong?

  44. Is it normal?
    Having never utilized Soap Nuts, in any capacity before… I didn’t have a base-line for what is normal, and what to expect. I wanted to make a basic Soap Nut solution. I put approximately thirty nut shells in six cups of tap water, into a large enamel pot. I brought it to a boil, then simmered it all for ten minutes. I turned off the heat, and let the liquid cool completely. Then I strained the shells from the liquid.
    After this, I added coconut oil, and essential oil to bottle, and finish a hand washing liquid (for my crazy eczema). Frankly, the liquid during the cooking and cooling process smelled like musty wet dog.
    Watery consistency; no sudsing present. I stored what I didn’t use in the fridge, but whether bottled or refrigerated… The liquid went from wet dog to smelling boozy, like sickeningly sweet hard cider. Is this normal, and if not… What did I do wrong!?! LoL Please, all comments are welcome!

  45. How long does this shampoo last until it goes bad? I’ve read other recipes online stating that you can keep it in the fridge for up to three days, but that’s too short of an amount of time in my opinion. I would like to work with something that can last a bit longer.

    Thanks : )

  46. Just shake some crushed soap nuts in a bottle with warm/hot water, and leave to soak until the next time you wash your hair. Use all the liquid to wash your hair, and then top up again for the next time, reusing the soap nuts or adding more crushed soap nuts when needed. I keep mine on a bathroom shelf because the fridge would make it rather cold to use. If you wash your hair at least once a week there is no problem (unless perhaps you live in a hot country – I am in the UK). If it is cold from the fridge you can always warm in up briefly in the microwave. I see no need for complicated recipes.

  47. If you’re worried about it going bad, just open a Vitamin E capsule and mix that in – it will preserve it and will be good for your hair too.
    I added some aloe vera gel, some jojoba oil, and some slippery elm bark powder for conditioning.
    Keep in mind that it may take a month or even two for your hair to detox. I made a leave-in conditioner from the Minimalist Beauty website. I had to try something because my scalp is so itchy and it’s actually forming scabs from seborrheic dermatitis.

  48. I’m new to soap nuts… Been wanting to try them for a long time and finally just ordered some. I’m curious if you could add a little vitamin E to this as a preservative so you didn’t have to store it in the fridge?

  49. Natural vitamin E such as wheatgerm oil is greasy. If you are using soap nuts as a natural product then it is best to avoid any chemical preservatives which can be damaging. There is no need for long term storage because it is quick and easy to prepare. Just shake a few slightly crushed soap nuts (to get them into the bottle) in a shampoo bottle with warm water, leave to soak until the next time you wash your hair, then shake and use all the liquid, so no need for long term storage. You can re-use the soap nuts by topping up with warm water again and add more crushed soap nut as and when required. Use a shampoo bottle with a flip top and small hole so you can squirt the soap nut shampoo all over your hair. For ACV rinse to follow: use a similar bottle – put a bit of apple cider vinegar into a separate shampoo or conditioner bottle, top up with water and suirt all over hair, again from the small hole in a flip-top lid to distribute it all through hair. Good luck.

  50. Dear Wellnessmama,

    First of all, many thanks to you for posting wonderful recipes online. I have a question here. Will soap nuts make hairs go grey soon? We are from India and plenty of soapnuts are available here. But a myth exists about greying of hair with using soapnuts as shampoo. I could not find any supportive conversations or links from the web here.

    Please advise. We indians have black hairs..

      • I myself wanted to test this. I made a concentrate soap nuts shampoo.. ( I made a 250 ml shampoo with 20 soap nuts ). I wanted my shampoo to be a little more special..

        Hence I added few drops of rosemary and tea tree oil to it. The smell was lingering on my hair for quite sometime and I loved the aroma too. I am continuously using this sudsy shampoo for the past week and I could see my hair is squeaky clean without dandruff.. ( I used to have before ) and its worth the experiment..

  51. tI tried what needs person said about putting the nuts in a bottle and shaking it and this worked OK too

    I like to do this recipe though and make it concentrate d. The only thing I would like to add is putting it in the fridge is too cold to poor on my head and body. I get some from the fridge and pour some in the blenderand blend until it is super thick and foamy. It is not as cold this way..lol.

    My kids think it is fun blending their shampoo every morning too! Gets them involved.

  52. I have tried the soap nut shampoo over three weeks even used peppermint catnip and lavender tea as my hot water . My hair is naturally very oily and over the last 10 years I average washing my hair 1-2 twice a week and that was even before starting no poo. Using soap nuts makes my hair look super oily/ greesy- especially at the scalp. I thought it would really work since I haven’t had problems with the baking soda and the shampoo bar. But I didn’t :(

  53. Well if you really can’t get on with soap nuts, and a stronger solution doesn’t work, then you could try something like chick pea flour instead – just mix chick pea flour with some water, work it into hair, leave for five minutes and then rinse off – this should be a definite grease buster – you might need to experiment with rinses to avoid tangles. Personally though, I have found that soap nut liquid, used twice, works for oily hair. Good luck.

    • The soap nuts are not the problem, OR the castile soap as one person suggested. (J&J Shampoo has carcinogens in it, so that not a great alternative.) I manufacture and retail a shampoo that has soap nuts, organic Coconut milk, castile soap…. etc. Because I’m a bit of a made scientist, for 6 months I tried to find something that work for EVERYONE. Can’t be done. BUT there are basic components PLUS different oils, botanical s,and NATURAL additives that you can tweak to tailor the shampoo. These can help you create the perfect shampoo FOR YOU, ALL NATURAL 90% organic if you like. Organic Apricot Kernal , Avocado oil, Fractionated Coconut oil, DL Panthenol , organic raw honey, infused rosemary water, soap nuts, (which by the way made L-O-V-E the results!!!!) making a small batch, 1 can organic coconut milk , 1 & 1/3 cup distilled water 2 oz rosemary water, 4-6 oz soap nuts tea, 1 &1/2 to 2 cups of castile , D L Panthenol scant teaspoon,( http://www.lotioncrafter.com/) 3-4 tbls raw honey. Then play with the oils. 5-10 drops at time. This is the formula I worked of for months , tweaking, tweaking and tweaking some more. My customers need help with extremely dry hair, psoriasis, fall out, oily hair…etc I love tweaking to help some one get a healthy head of hair. A lot of customers want customized forumlas, so ALL that tweaking was worth it! Here’s one response: “I received my peppermint shampoo and used it for the first time today! Having psoriasis for years now, this is absolutely the most relief that I have received in years! This is an amazing product and I just wanted to say thank you!” ONE OF THE KEY INGREDIENTS WAS ESSENTIAL OIL OF PEPPERMINT!! I usually wash my hair 2xs a week, not because it looks dirty, it hardly ever LOOKS dirty, but it is summer time and even in New Hampshire we sweat. My MIL says it makes her hair more manageable. Who doesn’t want to make points with their MIL eh?

      • DL-Panthenol ?????????????? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought this thread was about natural products, not products with highly processed chemicals (which have been classified as “safe” by industry). “Safe” means that an acceptably low number (acceptable to the industry, not to many customers) have suffered reactions to an ingredient. There are always concerns with these chemicals that they are never tested over a long period so nobody knows what the long term effects are.
        Best wishes,
        Stephanie

        • D,L-Panthenol, aka Pro-Vitamin B5, is a stable mixture of D-Panthenol and L-Panthenol. The human body readily absorbs DL-Panthenol through the skin and it rapidly converts D-Panthenol to Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), a natural constituent of healthy hair and a substance present in all living cells.

          • Panthenol is a so called pro-vitamin (which means that it may be converted into a vitamin by the body, just as beta-carotene may get converted into vitamin A, or cholesterol into vitamin D)
            Panthenol may get converted into pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)

  54. It is a highly processed chemical, and none of these things is tested over a long term. All these things in the environment are causing a worrying build up of chemicals in olur bodies and in the environment. Apart from being converted into a vitamin, what else does it do? – no-one knows.

    • I shared what I did in this thread to possibly help those who are trying to formulate their own shampoo. It was very time consuming to bring my shampoo to a point of satisfaction. I wanted to” help the cause”.
      I think you drew the conversation in another direction.
      Soap nuts has been a revolutionary ingredient my shampoo, that what drew me in to the thread, and caused me to watch it as the feed continues. The benefits are very far reaching. But soap nuts alone , I have found, does not a good shampoo make. I think Stephanie you maybe mis understand the use of DL Panthenol. It is very similar to a pre-biotic. It’s benefits range from reducing inflammation, to wound healing, to moisturizing hair and scalp.
      The word”Chemical” freaks people out. ” If you analyze a banana, you find 39 chemicals, including 2-heptyl acetate, isoamyl acetate. 2-methylbutyl acetate and 2-heptyl acetate. Try putting this list of ingredients on a package label and see how much you sell.” (brainblogger.com)
      Pax

  55. After reading ingredient labels on several hundred shampoos for years trying to find one that is all natural and actually works (or not outrageously expensive), if this recipe works, I’m willing to try it. One “semi-natural” ingredient doesn’t bother me. Most shampoos have at least 5-10 questionable ingredients. If anyone has ever found a decently priced shampoo that is truly all natural please let me know!

  56. What most people call a chemical, I describe as “highly processed”. There is a world of difference between a highly processed, so called “nature identical” ingredient and the actual natural product. The very strong highly processed “copies” of nature’s products are a cause of concern. I would have thought that a page called “Wellness Mana – simple answer for healthier families” should not have people trying to confuse the general public by pretending that highly processed, synthesised, nature-idential incredients are the same as the natural item. IT IS THE VERY COMPLEXITY OF NATURAL INGREDIENTS THAT MAKES THEM SAFE. scientists are absolutely unable to coply the complexity of a banana or lavender essential oil, or anything else. Isolating one part which is considered beneficial, and making a very strong concentration of that one part, is dagerous, is not natural, and has no place in any cosmetic product which the manufacturer clains is natural. If you do dnot understand this this I suggest you do some research, the website of Environmental Working Group (EWG) is very isstructive. They campaigned for years and have finally been successful, in getting Johnson’s to remove some of the poisonious “nasties” from their Baby Soap. Best wishes, from Stephanie.

    • I see I have made some typing mistakes above. I did the reply in hurry – people who use highly synthesised ingredients and claim their products are natural make me very angry.

    • I’ve been researching the ingredients for my products since 1999. I continue to explore , question all ingredients that I use. I am very purposeful in my formulations. D L Panthenol is not highly processed. It is synthesized, ( combine a number of things into a coherent whole ) Since Panthenol is a direct derivative of vitamin B5 is it great as an active ingredient in skin and hair care. It can nourish skin cells and increase cell rejuvenation. Consumers , I find are savvy enough to make informed decisions, I respect that. I count on that. We’ll agree to disagree and call it good. Pax friend.

      • Stephanie I appreciate your passion for things as nature intended. I share that passion. Ever since I had my first health crisis as a mother in the 1980’s, (whopping cough with 4 children in tow) and was introduced to tinctures. Saved my bacon. I HAD to learn everything about herbs, tincturing, essential oils, making salves, …etc. Well one thing I DID learn is that I’ll never know everything….. try as I might, AND others will know more than me. But the journey has been delightful, inspiring and satisfying. If you know of some proven reason not to use D L Panthenol, am open.
        J F Y I : Companies have been using panthenol in the provitamin form of either D-Panthenol or DL-Panthenol to formulate high performing beauty products since the late 1940’s . It has a history!! I would call that a solid “testing cycle” or “study period”.
        Pantothenic acid is a critical part of an important enzyme called co-enzyme A, and is NATURALLY found all over your body.
        D-Panthenol can be readily metabolized and it BIO-converts into pantothenic acid when applied topically. That’s why it’s called a pro·vi·ta·min ,a substance that is converted into a vitamin within an organism. Pax

  57. There are countless highly processed ingredients in preparations and in the environment. There is acknowledged concern that all these things are causing health problems, birth defects etc. No-one knows exactly which things are causing which problems because none of these highly synthesised “nature identical” things are tested in the long term. Nothing is proved against them because they are only tested for a short term. You simply cannot really copy a natural product in the laboratory. Just taking what you think is the best part, without all the thousands of other components in nature’s own recipe which balance and make the real product, is naive and potentially dangerous. Hair and skin cleansing and care has been going on for thousands of years without the use of detergents and science laboratory ingredients, and the old methods and recipes are safe. I have nothing further to say on this subject – there is plenty of information on the internet for anyone who wishes to investigate and learn from experts such as the Environmental Working Group.

    • DL Panthenol? 70 yrs of study is long enough for me. Yes my dear Stephanie, I believe we are quite done beating this poor long dead horse. :) Pax friend

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