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
4.16 from 33 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.


1,181 responses to “How to Make Natural Homemade Shampoo”

  1. Brittany Avatar

    Do you have a recipe to make conditioner to go with this shampoo? 🙂 I’d love to make some conditioner and some leave in conditioner 😀

  2. Cathy Avatar

    My sister lives in australia. She tried making your shampoo bar recipe. She used essential oils but she said the bars smell really strong like fish oil?

  3. Bethany Avatar

    For this recipe and other natural beauty products, do you find that you don’t need to add a preservative? Does it not grow mold?

  4. Marlys Avatar

    I’m wondering what keeps the coconut milk in the homemade shampoo from spoiling ?

    1. Nancy Avatar

      Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial. You can leave it out on the counter for months.

  5. Michelle Avatar

    Hi Katie! I am going to give this a try, do you think it would be ok to use both a little baking soda and an oil in the mix? I have an oily scalp, but dry frizzy hair. (Diagnosed with Hashimotos 2.5 years ago)

  6. Lindsay Avatar

    This was absolutely terrible. It took me 1 hour to brush my hair after and it feels like a grease ball. There’s also no way you could use only 1tsp of this and end up with clean hair.

  7. Maryam Avatar

    Hi! I loved how well this shampoo cleaned my hair, and it’s better than a 2-in-1 could ever be! The only problem is that mine turned out really watery, and my kids have trouble using it for that reason. Is this normal, or am I doing something wrong? How can I get a thicker consistency for this shampoo?

    1. Gina Avatar

      Old comment but she mentioned in another post that you could add gelatin to homemade shampoo.

  8. Anna Avatar

    I have a question about hair types. I have oily scalp and smooth hair. My daughter has dry scalp with really coarse hair. Does this shampoo work for both types? Have others with hair like my daughters tried this and do you have any suggestions for variations?

  9. Nancy Avatar

    I love this shampoo! I have thin, fine, wavy hair, and this makes my hair look thicker, healthier, and it glistens. Thank you! I started off with 365 Everyday organic coconut milk (While Foods brand), and it worked great. I switched the next month to Thai Kitchen and my hair felt weighed down and had to be washed more often. Back to 365 and great results again!

  10. Michaela Avatar

    I have canned cream of coconut that I’d rather use for something else than for consumption. It’s got some ingredients in it that I want to stay away from. Would that work instead of coconut milk? I like drinking my homemade coconut milk. I’ve been wanting to make my own shampoo I have Ology lavender Castile soap and now some coconut cream. I’ve got hair that can get greasy so I can’t use oils in my hair.

  11. Sheila Avatar

    Hi. 😉 I am so excited to try this! Been looking for diy shampoo but nothing worked for me so lets give it a try and yay coconut! 🙂 Hopefully this will be a better substitute to shampoo bars that I buy. Thank you for sharing this! ^_^

  12. Amber Avatar

    I will definitely try this! I too cannot do the whole no poo method because my hair gets super greasy but I’ve been making my own alternatives for a while now and recently tried almond milk mixed with a small amount of shampoo and baking soda and thatfoamed well and worked nicely but never thought of adding castile soap and I want to try the coconut milk too! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Joan Avatar

    Sadly, my experience with this shampoo was very unpleasant, even though I made your preferred homemade coconut milk. While washing it was like sticky oil coating my hair and wouldn’t rinse out thoroughly. My hair ended up oily, lifeless looking and unable to style. I had really hoped I could use it as even natural shampoos I have purchased cause scalp irritation. This did as well. Perhaps I did something wrong, but in reviewing the recipe it looks like I followed it. Any suggestions are welcome.

    1. Gina Avatar

      It could be the Castile soap reacting to hard minerals in the water, or perhaps it didn’t lather enough to disperse well

  14. Jessica Avatar

    For the shampoo how big was the bottle you used? I wanted to make sure I get the recipe right for my 32oz bottle. Thanks!

  15. Stephanie Avatar

    I was excited to find this recipe… then discovered that the Dr. Bronner soaps still contain palm oil (yeah, it’s organic, but it still cuts down tropical rainforests and increases climate change). Wish I could find a recipe without and palm oil in it. What did the poos all include before we had palm oil?

  16. Bee Avatar

    It didn’t work for me unfortunately. I have super long.untreated wavy hair. It left my hair beyond oily-it look wet for 2 days! We are using it as a bodywash and it leaves my skin soft and moisturized!

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