How to Make Natural Homemade Shampoo

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » How to Make Natural Homemade Shampoo

I’ve made natural alternatives for body wash, dry shampoo, and other hair care products, but homemade shampoo was by far the toughest. After lots of (failed) experiments, I finally came up with a recipe for DIY moisturizing homemade shampoo. It uses natural ingredients and leaves my hair feeling soft and silky!

DIY Shampoo

I wanted to get away from store-bought shampoos that were full of unhealthy preservatives, synthetic chemicals, and artificial fragrances. Many commercial shampoos just aren’t that great for your hair and scalp.

I tried the “no-poo” method, which has great results for some, but did not work on me at all (and I have some terrible Christmas pictures to prove it!). If you have coarse hair that’s normal to dry, this method may be great for you! I have baby-fine more oily hair and it didn’t work for me.

If you’re not familiar with no-poo, it usually involves rubbing baking soda water onto the scalp as a shampoo alternative. Many people follow it up with an acv rinse (apple cider vinegar rinse) and maybe some coconut oil on hair ends as a conditioner. Some people find it works great, while others report an itchy scalp, hair loss, and gunky build-up in the hair follicles. Over time it can also strip the natural oils from hair.

Don’t Want to Make It?

When I’m traveling or don’t have time to make my own, I’ve used a few organic shampoos that worked really well. My faves are:

  • Wellnesse Shampoo – I co-founded this company and helped formulate the recipes. It uses ingredients that are not only non-toxic but have proven health benefits. There’s even an option for curly hair!
  • Morrocco Method Raw and Natural Organic Shampoo – this doesn’t lather like normal shampoo but it’s been amazing on my hair and has helped strengthen it over time.

A Different Homemade Shampoo

I missed the foaming aspect of shampoo (I know… the “foam” in regular shampoo is made from synthetic chemicals and detergents…).

natural homemade healthy coconut shampoo kid approved

My first time making homemade shampoo I tried plain liquid castile soap, which left me with frizzy hair and a mess of tangles. Then I tried a bunch of homemade recipes that didn’t work well at all. Finally, with the inspiration of a natural coconut milk (scented) shampoo that I love, I finally found a recipe I’m happy with and that doesn’t leave my hair tangled, oily, or both.

It works on kid’s hair too. That’s a picture of my daughter’s newly washed hair (though it isn’t tear-free, so watch the eyes!). It suds somewhat like conventional shampoo and you can customize it to your needs.

It’s such an easy natural shampoo recipe that I can’t believe it took me this long to think of it…

The secret ingredient: Coconut Milk!

What You’ll Need for Homemade Shampoo

  • Coconut milk – The coconut milk helps soften and adds natural oils. (UPDATE: a couple of readers mentioned that the canned stuff did not work well for them, but homemade coconut milk worked great… Depending on your hair type, homemade may be better for you).
  • Liquid castile Soap (like Dr. Bronners)
  • Essential Oils of choice (I’ve used peppermint, lavender, rosemary, and orange or combinations of those). Or you can skip them for an unscented version.
  • Carrier oil – If your hair is more dry you can add a hair nourishing oil. I usually use olive oil, but castor oil, avocado oil, or jojoba oil also work well. Castor oil also helps with hair growth.

Other homemade shampoos call for ingredients like raw honey, vitamin E, aloe vera gel, or glycerin. Feel free to experiment until you find what works for your hair! Another wonderful and cost-effective option is to make shampoo bars (like bar soap for your hair).

Essential Oils for Hair

Adding a few drops of essential oils adds more than just a nice scent. They can also improve scalp and hair health to help thicken hair, prevent breakage, and combat dandruff. Here are a few different options and what they do. I’ve written more extensively on essential oils for hair here.

  • Tea tree oil – Useful for dandruff and itchy scalp. Also treats head lice!
  • Rosemary – Reduces scalp itchiness and flakes, restores hair’s natural oil balance, and can help prevent split ends.
  • Lavender – Studies show it increases the number of hair follicles for better hair growth.
  • Peppermint – Increases hair growth, thickness, and length and deepens hair follicles for stronger hair.
homemade shampoo
4.13 from 32 votes

Natural Homemade Shampoo

This homemade natural shampoo smells great, works well, and lathers!
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Yield: 4 ounces
Author: Katie Wells




  • Combine all the ingredients in a bottle or jar. Pump soap dispensers and even foaming dispensers work well for this. If you use a foaming dispenser you may need to add ¼ cup of distilled water.
  • Shake well to mix.
  • Shake before each use and massage through the scalp.
  • Store your shampoo in the fridge after each use.


  • If you use a foaming dispenser, it also makes a great shaving cream.
  • The shelf life of this shampoo is about one week when stored in the fridge.

Troubleshooting Tips

How well this shampoo works depends on your hair type and also your water. Some people with really hard water find it doesn’t combat the extra minerals in their water very well.

Which coconut milk you use can make a difference too. Some have noted that canned coconut milk did not work for them, but homemade did. Keep in mind that homemade coconut milk has a shorter shelf life than canned though.

If you find your hair is really greasy and unmanageable after using this, try doubling the castile soap so it’s 2 parts soap to 1 part coconut milk.

Natural Hair Conditioner

Now that you have a natural shampoo, what about conditioner? Since the coconut oil (and optional carrier oil) are already moisturizing you may not need to use any conditioner. Here are a few different options if you want to try them though!

  • A chamomile tea rinse at the end of each shower (leave in hair!) will produce smooth, silky hair and naturally lighter hair over time.
  • Some people find a 50:50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water used as a rinse helps get hair cleaner and increases shine. You could also put it in a spray bottle for easier application.
  • This homemade conditioner recipe features hair-nourishing oils, glycerin, and essential oils.

But… Don’t Wash Your Hair Every Day!

I can’t leave out one of my biggest healthy hair discoveries. Hair is happiest when you don’t wash it every day! Read this post to find out why the experts say how you wash your hair matters just as much as what you wash it with!

Ever made your own shampoo? Gone “no-poo?” How’d it go? Share below!

This homemade shampoo is all natural and has four ingredients (or less depending on hair type) that cleans hair naturally without stripping natural oils.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


1,180 responses to “How to Make Natural Homemade Shampoo”

  1. Steph Degaetano Avatar
    Steph Degaetano

    I having been going no-poo for just over a month now, and love it!  I am actually making this shampoo recipe for a bodywash as a friend of mine uses it for that and as her husband shaving cream and loves it!  Can’t wait!

  2. Sara Avatar

    I’ve been doing the no-poo thing for over a year now and all of a sudden it has stopped working.  I have terrible build-up of oils and my scalp is itchy.  Anyway, it sounds like I might have the same type of hair as you.  Fine and oily.  So I’m really thinking of trying this!!!  I’ve never bought or used coconut milk so how long does it last once opened?

  3. SallyAnn Avatar

    I love this recipe. I have been having a hard time finding a good shampoo for my thick, gray, long hair so I am excited to try this.  Thanks for posting it.

    I just linked to this post on my blog  Hodge Podge Lodge                                                                   

  4. Amber Avatar

    I am FINALLY
    getting out of my “phase” of change. It’s been 3-4 weeks and I am seeing my
    hair “normal” again! I started out w/ the baking soda wash/acv rinse.
    Then I tried this recipe. I have had all sorts of greasy hair, dry hair, out of
    control hair…..but I’m happy to say that I am now only using this shampoo
    (wellness mama’s recipe) and LOVING it! I’ve had “good/normal” hair
    for 3 washings now and it’s great to be back! I even feel that my hair feels
    “thicker” just because I’m feeling my hair clean and product fee NOT hair that has been
    coated w/ products! I do use a bit of coconut oil, or sunflower oil, or grape seed
    oil (what ever I’m using that day on my face or body) to put very
    LIGHTLY/LITTLE on my hair for some conditioning.  I’m enjoying my
    normal/good hair that has been washed w/ chemical free ingredients AND it is

    Love your site
    Wellness Mama! Thank you for your posts! I can’t wait to get through the entire
    site and try new things. My next project will be the lotion bars! I’ve been making
    my own creamy lotion for a few months now (goal is to have all beauty and cleaning
    items homemade) and I’m excited to see if the “bar” type will work
    out better for our house!

  5. Jackie Avatar

    I just tried this the first time today although I’ve been “coming off” shampoo the last couple washes before this already, using only saponified coconut oil soap. I used homemade coconut milk for this but didn’t add the essential oils as I did not have any on hand right now.  I also tried spraying some diluted avc on after washing. So far, I can’t figure out if my hair needs more oils or less?! It feels kind of like straw and yet it’s almost sticky like an oily residue is left on it. It’s so tangled and straw like I rip out a lot of hair trying to comb it through. Not smooth at all! I have pretty fine hair and quite a bit of it. I’ve also tried a very small amount of coconut oil as leave in conditioner…didn’t seem to make a difference. What would you suggest? Do I need more oil or less or just give it time?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Probably more time, but you could also try a apple cider vinegar rinse. Some people with fine hair see a lot of benefit from this. Just dilute some vinegar in water and rinse your hair with it at the end of the shower. I’ve also found that my beach waves spray helped the adjustment period…

  6. Jenn Trumbo Avatar
    Jenn Trumbo

    I just made this with rose castille soap and lavender essential oil. I didn’t have any Vitamin E on hand so I substituted with jojoba oil. It smells heavenly and really does give a good lather. My hair doesn’t feel as ‘silky’ after rinsing it out, but after letting my hair naturally dry I’m noticing it has a lot of shine. Used this on my baby too and for the first time he didn’t have tangles when leaving the bath. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. jaca Avatar

      I just made and tried my first batch today and I also didn’t have the silky feeling, but I think it’s b/c I have hard water.  When I got out of the shower, I ran my comb through my hair snag free and less tangles.

  7. Kayla Moon Avatar
    Kayla Moon

    I tried no-poo and it was no good! My hair looked terrible I will try this!

  8. Mada Avatar

    I can’t wait to try this. I have fine, long, curly hair. Their are so many homemade recipes out there that I have tried and all have made my hair dry, brittle and break off. I love coconut oil! I use it in my hair mixed with water for a conditioner and detangler, it’s amazing for my hair. I’m super excited to try this.

  9. Stacyelle Avatar

    I’m a no-poo girl myself.  I think it has been over six months and I LOVE IT.  I do not have oily hair and it is a bit on the thicker side–I also use a diliuted apple cider vin as a rinse.  LOVE IT too.  My favorite part besided the money that is saved.  My hair has grown sooooooo super fast.

  10. bek Avatar

    What about using coconut milk that comes in a “milk” carton? That is what I stock but I know it is very different from canned or homemade coconut milk. Do you think that would work as well? If so, I will be making this today!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I haven’t tried it, but I would think it would work…

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Every other day if I can, and sometimes less than that since I”m swimming each day. It really depends on individual hair texture…

  11. Amelia Bonilla Avatar
    Amelia Bonilla

    after two or three washes this still left my hair a tangled mess! What am i doing wrong?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      What kind of coconut milk are you using? It can take a few days for your scalp to adjust, but I’ve found that certain types of coconut milk just don’t work with certain hair types. I have to use homemade or I get tangles too…

  12. Margie Payne Avatar
    Margie Payne

    I made this shampoo, and while we love it, our hair, ESPECIALLY mine is so so oily!  Any suggestions?

  13. Nlmacomber Avatar

    THANK YOU! Tried and true. I modified it with the tips in the comments. My hair was oily at first, but it has adjusted in a couple weeks and now I am loving it! Thank you for all of you wonderful recipes. I also love your baby wipes/scouring powder/ and am going to be trying some of your make-up/lotion bars/ and whitening ideas 🙂 Thanks again! 

  14. Lili Avatar

    what if you are highly allergic to coconut milk what else could you use? 

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Good question… You could probably sub almond or hemp milk but I haven’t tried it…

  15. Katherine Avatar

    I made this shampoo and put rosemary essential oil in it and everyone in my family loves it. I no longer need to use conditioner, although I have made up one that I love, and I can comb my hair right out of the shower which is something that I have NEVER done in my entire life. I have naturally curly hair, and it is VERY CURLY… Also, my step son says that this shampoo has helped with the psoriasis on his head. I suspect that the rosemary oil has something to do with that. Thanks for this recipe… My hair has never looked, or felt, so good. 🙂

  16. Amy Stadler Avatar
    Amy Stadler

    I straighten my hair a LOT and was wondering if the coconut oil provides any heat protection? or maybe you know some things that do offer heat protection?  if i don’t straighten my hair it’s a giant frizz ball from all the heat torture  I’ve been putting it through for the past 6-7 years.  I tried all the different “repairing” treatments with no luck.  I’m planning on trying out this shampoo recipe because I tried the no-poo method and it wasn’t bad for the first few hours (my hair was soft and felt great) but after that my hair was so greasy I had to rewash with my regular shampoo.  

  17. Jessica Wormley Avatar
    Jessica Wormley

    Thank you for sharing this recipe – I have fine hair like you and had the same problem with just plain Castile soap – my hair got mega tangled! I haven’t tried your recipe yet, but I’ll give it a go.

  18. Ashley Scurto Avatar
    Ashley Scurto

    I recently went no ‘poo! I rinse every 3-4 days with water, or wash with 1 tbsp of baking soda to 1 cup of water, and do a conditioning rinse of 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water–a recipe I got from Crunchy Betty. At first my hair was slightly dry and frizzy, but my hair is already healthy (hasn’t been dyed or processed) but it’s starting to adjust after a couple weeks. I love the softness and strength. My hair falls/gets pulled out less easily, I think because the oils aren’t as stripped. I’m prone to dry ends, I when I notice flyaway dry ends, I put a tiny bit of coconut oil on my ends to tame them. I also plan to do coconut oil treatments–just putting coconut oil on the ends for about an hour or 30 min to moisturize–that’s all my hair needs because it’s so fine. I love this way and I’m sticking with it! 

  19. Lily Avatar

    This shampoo has worked great for my 20 month old daughter.  Her hair gets clean and feels great.  Mine, however, isn’t so good.  I have used this for 4 days now and my hair feels really waxy.  The first time I used it my hair felt great and it had some really awesome volume too.  I showered at night and my hair still felt clean the next morning.  My hair is very oily and normally feels greasy the morning after I wash it.  So I was very excited about the shampoo.  Then I washed my hair again the next day and let my hair air dry.  It felt slightly greasy, but I thought that was just because of the air drying.  So I tried it again yesterday and used the blow dryer again.  It felt like I had dipped my head in a bucket of wax.  The same thing happened today.  Any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong?  Could I be using too much of the product on my hair or maybe not enough?  Help.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      What kind of coconut milk are you using? My hair is naturally fine and oily too, so I have to use homemade, strained, coconut milk.

      1. Lily Avatar

        I used canned organic coconut milk.  I am going to try to mix some extra castille soap in to see if that helps.  I don’t exactly have access to any real coconuts in NW IN.

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar
          Wellness Mama

          If you can even get dried unsweetened coconut at the store without any additives, you can make your own coconut milk…

          1. Lily Avatar

            I will try that.  It’s been 4 days now and my hair is a little waxy, but seems to be getting better.  Only the topmost part of my hair is feeling that way.  The underside is starting to feel clean and has a lot of volume, too.

      2. Lily Avatar

        I may try to add some baking soda and/or some water too.  I have read in other recipes from other blogs that this can help remove some of the waxy feel and help it rinse out more thoroughly too.

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