Homemade Natural Shampoo: Simple Yet Effective

Homemade Natural Shampoo: Simple Yet Effective


How to make your own simple and natural shampoo

homemade shampooI so wanted to be on the wash-your-hair-with-baking-soda train. I really, really did.

I gave it my honest-to-god best effort. The results were wonderful at first but after a few weeks, my scalp was itchier than it had ever been, partnered with a light dusting of snow that sprinkled from my head whenever I scratched. ‘Twas not pleasant.

That being said, I was much too proud to turn around and go back to shampoo, so I set out to find a better solution. My goal was to find something that acted like real shampoo, with the benefits of baking soda scalp-scrubbing (minus the desert-do) but was also moisturizing and yummy-smelling… and natural. Also, as with anything else I make at home, I hate when recipes have all kinds of hard-to-find or expensive ingredients (and they get bonus points if I don’t even have to go buy anything). My research did not disappoint. Thanks, once again, to the always helpful Crunchy Betty and a few other recipes, I came up with something that I’m newly in love with.

This hair-wash suds like a shampoo, is free of toxins, smells delicious, moisturizes AND it brought my curls back to their old bouncy, shiny selves. Yeehaw!Single portion shampoo

The one problem with this recipe is that it is perishable. It lasts about a week at room temperature or longer in the fridge. But don’t fret! There are a couple solutions to this problem. The first is to make it “to serve” each time you wash your hair (which only needs to be about 1-3 times a week). The other, the method I chose, is to make a larger batch and freeze it in individual portions (think ice cube trays or mini muffin pans). You can take out one portion and let it thaw in the fridge overnight the day before you plan to wash your hair. It sounds annoying but it only takes a beensy bit of planning ahead to accomplish.

Why it works:

Castile soap has a PH level of about 8.9 (neutral is 7) but that’s OK.  It won’t harm your skin and it needs to be slightly more alkaline to have a cleansing effect. You can wash your hair with plain castile if you like but this can be a little drying,  I find,  and doesn’t give you many suds. Mixing the castile soap with coconut milk adds moisturizers  and helps create a lather (and therefore a better wash) because coconut contains a natural surfactant.  Surfactant molecules pull the oils off of a surface, suspend them within bubbles of water, and remove them with the water.  How neat is that?! Chemically derived surfactants in commercial cleansers strip your skin of natural oils and being exposed to them in cleaning products can cause eye and lung irritation, increase cell division rates, and they can accumulate in your liver and other organs. If that isn’t enough of a reason to make your own shampoo (and other cleaning products), I don’t know what is!

Alright. Chemistry lesson done.

Now because I don’t like recipes to be too complicated, I’ll give you the bones of this one and you can customize to your heart’s content. Are you ready to finally be let in on the magic that is chemical-free homemade shampoo? Fantastic! Here she be…

What You Need To Make Your Homemade Shampoo:

Homemade Shampoo

  • 3 TBSP Liquid Castile Soap (Dr. Bronner’s is a great brand)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk (Canned is fine but homemade would be amazing)
  • That’s it!

Optional ingredients (these are “and/or” options. You could add them all in but probably it would be better to pick and choose based on your particular hair type):

  • 10-15 drops Essential Oils (for extra scent)
  • 2 tsp melted Coconut Oil or Olive Oil (for extra shine)
  • 1 TBSP Aloe Gel (for a moisturizing boost)
  • 2 tsp Vegetable Glycerin (also good for moisturizing)
  • etc. etc. etc…

**For a single serving, just use 1 tsp castile with 1 TBSP Coconut Milk and whatever else you’d like to add for scents or moisturizers.

Method: Stir everything together gently (it will foam up if shaken) then pour into ice cube trays or mini muffin pans. Freeze until solid (a few hours) then transfer to a container or plastic bag and store in the freezer. Thaw a portion overnight in the fridge the day before needed. You’d probably be OK thawing at room temperature a few hours before your shower too. Lather into wet hair (concentrating on the roots) as you would with shampoo then rinse. No need to repeat.

Additionally, you can use a diluted Apple Cider Vinegar solution as a conditioner. (1 TBSP per 3 cups filtered water.) Rinse your hair with it (the ends being your focus this time) then rinse it out. I find this step necessary with my dry, frizzy curls but you don’t have to do it. Style as usual!homemade shampoo

I’m so excited to share this hair revolution with you. It has changed my life. I really won’t ever go back to washing my hair with regular shampoo. It’s totally unnecessary!

Note: There is a short transitional period with this kind of hair care. Your hair may be a bit greasy at first. I can’t tell you for how long as I had already gone “no ‘poo” when I started using this. I think it’s generally a couple weeks for most people. I promise you, it’s completely worth it.


Did this recipe change YOUR life? Are you loving washing your hair without the use of chemicals? Let us know how it worked for you or if you have your own natural method that you love to pieces!




  1. http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=25
  2. http://www.crunchybetty.com/time-to-play-whats-in-your-soap
  3. http://www.crunchybetty.com/not-ready-for-no-poo-try-sorta-poo-with-coconut-milk-and-castille
  4. http://wncgreenblogcollective.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/label-lessons-101-surfactants/

0 thoughts on “Homemade Natural Shampoo: Simple Yet Effective

  1. Tracy…thank you so much for this recipe! I have a few questions if you have a sec? First off, I made the shampoo to your exact directions but after freezing and then refrigerating, the shampoo was not solid. It was creamy? Did I do something wrong?
    Next, I washed today for the first time and YUP my hair is pretty greasy! How often should I wash with it in the next few weeks? Do you think it will stabalize? I so want this to work for my EXTREMELY DRY and FRIZZY hair. I am at a complete loss with store bought shampoo…everything dries my hair out.
    Thank you so much!!!!


    1. Thanks for reading, Erica!
      The frozen shampoo should be stored in the freezer and thawed in the fridge before you use it. Sorry for any confusion!
      As for the transitional greasy hair period, I would say a few washes a week is fine but if you feel you need to do more you’re probably ok to do so. If your hair is frizzy I definitely recommend the apple cider vinegar rinse. It helps smooth down the hair follicles.
      Does that help? Don’t give up!


      1. Thank you so much for the reply Tracy!! I guess I will next time remove them from the muffin tin before thawing them!! When yours thaw do they become creamy or are they still hard and hold that shape?
        I also think I am going to make another batch and this time not add in the coconut oil, aloe AND glycerin. I think that was too much. I am definitely going to give apple cider vinegar a try! I have read this so many time but the thought of putting something acidic on my frizzy hair just scares me to death! I am imagining straw hair when I’m done. But it is worth a try because so many people swear by it.
        I think my next batch will be the castile soap, coconut milk, aloe and glycerin (no oil added). I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again…I am pretty desperate to find something that works after spending probably $1000 on hair products in the past year!!!! πŸ™‚


      2. Hi Erica! You should remove them all from the tin once frozen and transfer to a bag or container then put back in the freezer. Only thaw one at a time as you need it. It will melt and become creamy like a shampoo. It will not stay solid.
        As for the additives, they’re all just suggestions for extras. You don’t need to add any of them. I would recommend using just the coconut milk and castile to start and see how it works for you then add one of the extras later if you think you need it. The glycerin may make your hair greasy too so hold off on that one for now.
        And don’t be scared of the vinegar. I have frizzy curly hair and it makes my hair softer. It works like a conditioner without weighing it down. Make sure you mix it with water in the proportions I mentioned in the article.
        Good luck! πŸ™‚


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