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. Brigitte Hickey Avatar
    Brigitte Hickey

    I am a two time cancer survivor. Using the same ACV as shampoo and baking soda as conditioner. Been doing it for 11 years and it works great for me. My hair is shiny and easy to manage.

  2. Kristine Avatar

    I find the comments surprising. Most think it’s not good for their hair. First of all it really depends on the hair type. I’ll explain my hair and then you can be the judge for yourself. My hair is very curly naturally and dry and thick.. My hair is very long so I have quite the regimen that I do. I DO A PRE-SHAMPOO TREATMENT WITH coconut oil, rosemary, and peppermint mixture. I let it sit for a little while then I make my shampoo concoction which I have used for quite a while and I use coconut milk out of the can. If I have any left over I freeze it in a bag then if I need more I just microwave it. I use Olive oil, argan oil, Castor oil, and only a few drops of Doctor B’s castile soap ( any will do). If you use too much the soap will dry out your hair. Play around with your ingredients and you will find what suits you. I live in Utah and the water where I live in the country is extremely hard. I do a vinegar rinse I don’t make it too strong. Then I put a cream mixture in my hair that I make with shea butter and mango butter , olive oil, jojoba oil, a little castor oil, vitamin e drops, rosemary and peppermint. Aloe vera gel is great too. Every 2 weeks I like to take an avocado mash it up with 2 eggs, a little bit of mayonnaise mix it up, put it in my hair put a plastic cap on it and let it sit for a hour while I watch TV. Now it sounds a lot what I do for my hair but my hair is very healthy and I get comments on my hair all the time. People love how long my hair is and healthy it is and I am 58 years old.

  3. Teresa Avatar

    I have been reading that rice water has some great benefits for the hair. I haven’t tried it yet, but maybe adding this instead of the coconut milk might be better.

  4. Brigitte Hickey Avatar
    Brigitte Hickey

    I use 1 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (with mother in it) with 1 up of filtered water for shampoo and I use 1 Tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of of filtered water for a rinse. Have been using it for 10 years. I works really good. I am a 10 year cancer survivor. My hair is shiny and easy to manage. I don’t use dye on my hair anymore.

    1. Cassandra G Avatar
      Cassandra G

      Brigitte, I am curious to know what you use for conditioner??

  5. Megan Avatar

    4 stars
    I just made this today and used it for the first time!
    First impressions:
    – it is very runny, so hard to apply/not waste
    – felt slightly greasy when in the shower
    – lathered nicely

    What I used: coconut milk from a can, Dr. B’s soap with tea tree oil, almond oil, additional tea tree, and lavender EOs. To “condition” I used a 1:1 ratio of ACV (with the mother) and water in a spray bottle and sprayed my whole head. I did rinse this out.

    So far, my hair does not smell like anything (husband says “it smells like water” lol). This was a bit surprising considering tea tree oil is so strong, but I will take this over the smell of vinegar! Also, my hair does not seem to be greasy now that it has mostly dried. I have dense wavy/curly hair (thin/thick strands idk) and this is my first time ever not using a drug store shampoo or conditioner. Very excited to see what happens next. Considering adding corn starch and/or aloe vera and/or whipping this shampoo in my blender to try and thicken it up a bit. Also curious about the shelf life of the shampoo, as I have read several comments saying it will last anywhere from 3 days to a month, so I will be checking on it frequently.

  6. Andrea Avatar

    1 star
    Just no. I tried with coconut milk (greasy, waxy) and then subbed water for coconut milk (greasy, waxy). Could hardly get a wide comb pick through my hair. Frizzy, heavy, waxy mess. I love soooo many of wellness mama recipes, but this was disastrous.

  7. Robin Avatar

    4 stars
    I kind of tried this recipe, but I used Dr. Bronners Peppermint Bar soap because it’s all I could afford.
    Also, I used filtered water steeped in chamomile tea, some avocado oil and some vegetable glycerin.
    I peeled the soap with a potato peeler into a crockpot and melted it combined with the water and other ingredients.

    Later on, when I could afford to buy it, I added some unsweetened canned coconut milk… which I think would benefit from being mixed in the crockpot too.

    I like how my hair and skin feel (I used it as a body wash too) … quit soft and my hair isn’t weighed down … however I don’t think it’s washing out all of the way, because after I added the coconut milk my scalp itches and has a bit of “gunk” under my finger nails. I used an apple cider vinegar rinse after ward, but it only helps a little. Maybe I’m not using enough apple cider vinegar? I use a table spoon diluted in a cup of water…

    Anyway, thank you for the recipe, it’s been very helpful. 😀

  8. Angela Avatar

    Hi I wonder if anyone has tried thickening this with guar gum, so it is thicker? And what were your results? Thank you xx

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      Guar gum works best in products that have a pH level between 5-8. Castile soap has a pH of over 9 so it might not work here. You could try a little bit in the recipe though and see what happens!

  9. September Avatar

    Hey, I am new to natural shampoos. I just came across an article that gave reasons for why a lot of natural shampoos don’t work. I am not sure if it is correct, but they listed your shampoo recipe as an example of one that is wrong. Please check it out and let me know if they are right or not. I want to use your recipe, but they give some pretty strong arguments. Thanks!

  10. Sue Yost Avatar
    Sue Yost

    I am intersted in making my own so that I can cut down on plastic by reusing the same container. Unfortunately the ingredients come in plastic containers! Bummer!

  11. Alexandria Avatar

    So I made this last night and woke up to my hair feeling and looking super greasy like there is residue all over my hair??? How can I fix this?

    1. Gina Avatar

      I’ve read that Castile soap used for shampoo can be a problem for people with hard water because it does something with the minerals in the water to cause build. Could that be it? I’ve also found it’s difficult for me to spread around Castile soap on my hair and I often have to use a lot or up my lather technique to disperse it well

  12. Claire Avatar

    Hi! Do you have to use a foaming nozzle for this or would it work in a regular bottle?

  13. Dorothy Jerome-Foster Avatar
    Dorothy Jerome-Foster

    I need help! I’ve been using yours and others. My hair, which is naturally a tad oily, and grey, will not let go of an oily feel. What am I doing wrong?????

  14. Jennifer Avatar

    5 stars
    I’ve just finished making a batch of this shampoo and am excited to try it tomorrow morning! Smells great too!

  15. Theresa Avatar

    Any idea where to find a shampoo recipe for gray hair? I am growing out my henna and going natural gray.
    Thank you,

      1. Annie Avatar

        How long can you store the shampoo made with homemade coconut milk?

  16. Whitney Avatar

    Everyone definitely has to find what works well for their hair. For some reason, just water and baking soda works great for me. I mix 1 cup of water with 1 Tbsp. of baking soda in a bottle. Then I pour it all over my head after wetting my hair in the shower. It doesn’t suds up, but it’s kind of slippery and I massage it into my scalp. I use conditioner for the ends of my hair, otherwise it’s too dry. I need to find a good conditioner. But I love the simplicity of this shampoo, and it cleans my scalp and hair very well, and I find I don’t need to wash my hair as often. Maybe it’ll help someone else here too. 🙂

    1. Sharon Avatar

      Could you use carton coconut milk, like you’d use as a lactose free alternative?

  17. Marilynn Avatar

    I have been using this shampoo recipe for about 2 months. After a couple of weeks of transition, I, and my husband, absolutely LOVE this shampoo!!
    I have lots of very fine long hair so shampoo and conditioner has been important for me. This recipe leaves my hair in excellent condition. Not greasy or waxy, nor striped.
    I did make a couple of modifications to the original recipe after trying it for a week:
    I put in 1/2 cup of Castille soap and 1/4 cup coconut milk. Oh, and I was using Dr. Bonner’s baby shampoo but switched to regular castille soap. The above alterations were done because the shampoo did not foam as much as I needed to clean all my long hair.
    Then to finish, I rinse with the ACV mixture. Then after showering I put in a bit (~10 drops) of argan oil on the ends and then through my damp hair.
    Excellent Recipe! Thank you for sharing.

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