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
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4.08 from 28 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

Equipment

Materials

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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. WellnessMama.com 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.

Comments

1,176 responses to “How to Make Natural Homemade Shampoo”

  1. mary Avatar

    Hello,
    In regards to using coconut milk, is there any reason to worry about preserving this or a concern for mold or the like?

  2. Bonnie Avatar

    Just tried this this morning with peppermint Castile soap and lavender and cedar wood EO. I used the apple cider vinegar rinse too. So far I’m in love!

  3. Isabel Avatar

    Thank you u r site n educating people hopefully younger women will learn more natural better for u wen they get older like myself I still have all my beautiful thick hair becuz I did want my grandmother taught me about homemade beauty thank you

  4. Diane Avatar

    I found the issue with the dr bronners is that it is made with multiple oils now it left my hair dry and tangled horrible, For me, I think itis the coconut oil, it is just not compatible with my hair or skin also makes most people break out and is in just everything. so I tried the shampoo bars terrible too, the same issue though in retrospect they are a mix of the same oils just in a bar form, Now though I found if I use bar soap that is pure olive oil with nothing else added, perfection clean, moist not drying at all and zero tangles.

  5. Shari Avatar

    I’m sorry, but everyone that makes their own shampoo has hair that loo looks greasy and flat. Why is this so?

  6. Maria Avatar

    I’ve tried a lot of different natural shampoo recipes in the 3 years I’ve been trying to go as natural as we can. I have fine oily hair. The coconut milk shampoo didn’t work for me. But I guess that goes to show you what works for someone else with the same hair type as you won’t necessarily work for you. But I wanted to share what has worked for me. That is the olive oil shampoo bars from Ancestreal French Soaps. She makes all her products with olive oil. She even has castile soap made from 100% olive oil. Coconut was actually making my head break out after using it for a little over a year. The lemon olive oil shampoo bar cleared that up. I also used a diy lemon juice hair rinse once a month. I’ve been using her products for the last year now and I couldn’t be happier! If you have fine oily hair consider giving her shampoo bar a try! Katie thanks so much for all the great recipes you put out! Looking to trying the cumin facial scrub next!

  7. Kerri Holferty Avatar
    Kerri Holferty

    HI Katie – I’ve tried Dr Bronners but it dries my hair so much…probably washing with it daily doesnt help! I have fine, stick straight, silver/gray hair but get’s oily between washes. What do you recommend? Thank you!

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      I’m actually working on a shampoo that will work for that kind of hair type and actually be available online and in stores. I’ll keep you posted!

  8. Mark Avatar

    I made this using citrus essential oil and basil olive oil. It smells very fresh and not fruity. It lathers very well and rinses out easily. I don’t have any miracle stories to tell but it feels very good to use the natural ingredients listed and not a bunch of chemicals. I have not needed to use conditioner either. My hair is fine and this leaves it very soft. It’s easy to make too. I did have to use a hand blender to mix up the coconut milk and there were still some very tiny lumps but I think they did blend in because I can’t feel them in the shampoo.

  9. Terry E Avatar

    I find Shampoo’s that lather are to harsh for most peoples hair. I went no poo years ago, and while it takes a month for you hair to normalize, it works well. I just started doing the, “Curly Girl” method.

    Its easier if you just buy your hair products in the Ethnic section of the store, you will see products that say. No Silicone, Sulfates. parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or petroleum. They smell amazing, and are so much more kinder to your hair. Good luck

  10. Veena Avatar

    Does Castile soap contain chemicals like paraben, sulfates? Coconut milk is highly perishable, how do you store this shampoo at room temperature for a month? Won’t it go rancid? Please clarify I am looking to make a complete chemical free shampoo at home for my family.

  11. Danny Avatar

    Hi! Super interested in trying this but curious as to weather you can leave this in the shower considering the addition of coconut milk. Is there an issue with mold/ bacteria?

  12. Kirsten Avatar

    Has anyone heard of Uncle Harry’s shampoo? It has very minimal ingredients, including coconut oil castile soap, and apple cider vinegar. Just wondering what people think of this, because I usually see apple cider vinegar as a separate rinse, rather than mixed in with shampoo.

  13. Janie Avatar

    O

    M

    G

    I have a growing problem with seborrheic dermatitis over the last six months, as diagnosed by my dermatologist, BUT ONLY on my scalp, not on my face. YET. So we think it is either a VITAMIN B deficiency (I do take oral hormones and have forever so a deficiency is a possible cause)or an allergy to my hair products (including dye). I ceased coloring my hair over two months ago, the gray is WELL growing out but the irritation is still miserable. I found your recipe last night, and had Dr. Bonner’s Almond Castile soap and a can of organic coconut milk on hand.

    WOW.

    It lathers so beautifully….and doesn’t leave my hair sticky or tacky. No need for me to rinse with vinegar solution. My wet hair is soft and untangled. I pray this is a REAL fix for the sensitivity and irritation I think I have developed to my shampoos over the last year using only the same products I have used for more than a decade. People do sensitize to chemicals and I have auto-immune problems too, so this could be anything. But Ill start with the contact irritants most closely related to my scalp!

    PRAY FOR HEALING…but this feels right…no sulfates, no MI, no detergents, yet my hair and scalp feel CLEAN.

    THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS! The internet *can* be a positive place once and again!

    Fingers crossed!
    😉

  14. Valerie Avatar

    The vinager rinse has been around a long time at least 100 yrs prob. More. It makes your hair shiney and tangle free. The oder is what stops people from using it, but of course that rinses rt. Off

  15. Rachel Gay Avatar
    Rachel Gay

    Hi, i was wondering if anyone uses any type of conditioner after the shampoo and rinse? I have been using the Dr. Bronners citrus rinse after but am thinking about trying the apple cider vinegar rinse to see if maybe it’ll have different results. Thanks!

  16. Susan Avatar

    I love using Castile soap. I have been unable to find the unscented (baby) so I bought the almond scented and lavender scented. Ive used each when making shampoo like normal but all of a sudden I have residual soap buildup… looks like dandruff but it’s not. Have you had this happen before? I’m going to try your recipe with the coconut milk and see what happens.

  17. Kori Avatar

    Hi, I was wondering is this recipe made to be both a shampoo and conditioner? Or is this to be paired with a conditioner also. I am worried about pairing this recipe with an all natural conditioner and causing too much oil or build up in my hair.

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