How to Make Your Own Natural Shampoo
Even in families, like mine, who mainly eat organic food, teenagers are wearing unnatural cosmetics because the labels are confusing or because there is no choice.
My daughter couldn't find any natural cosmetics for her age group, so we ended up making our own. It's taken us three years of research and testing to find natural recipes that she likes.
Although there are more organic products available now, I would recommend parents start talking to their children about healthy living at an early age. You can make it fun by creating something simple, such as, shampoo, while explaining about ingredients or the environment at a level they can understand.
Soapwort Shampoo Recipe
The best traditional recipe we found was in a book by Josephine Fairley, which we've adapted. As the name implies, soapwort is naturally soapy. (Only recommended for seriously back-to-nature families as the results are disappointing for anyone who wants normal shampoo.)
- 2 teaspoons fresh soapwort roots or 1 teaspoon of dried root, soaked overnight
- 2 teaspoons of rosemary
- 4 drops of rosemary essential oil
- ½ litre of water
Put the rosemary and soapwort in a stainless steel pan with the water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Cool and strain through a piece of muslin, or a paper towel in a sieve. Add the essential oil.
Use a cupful each time you wash your hair. Keep the rest in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer if you want it to last longer.
Magical Marigold Shampoo
The marigolds in this recipe are the Calendula variety, not Tagetes (Mexican marigold, African marigold or French marigold). If they are unavailable you could make a different shampoo using an equivalent amount of other herbs, such as rosemary or chamomile instead.
- 12 Marigold flowers
- 100ml Alpha Detergent
- 20ml Sugar Detergent
- 270ml Water
- 5ml Omega
- 2.5g Guar Gum
- 8ml Preservative K
- 4ml Lactic Acid (approx. depending on litmus test)
- 20 drops Essential Oil (approx.)
- Litmus Paper to test pH balance
Pick off the Marigold petals and boil in a pan with approx. 1/2 litre of water for 5 mins. Leave to infuse for 20 mins.
Strain the liquid into a stainless steel pan and compost the petals. Bring the marigold liquid to the boil.
Mix the Alpha Detergent and Sugar Detergent in a measuring jug. Pour 270ml of the marigold liquid into the Alpha/Sugar Detergent mixture and stir.
Mix the Omega and Guar Gum in a double boiler or egg poaching pan. Heat until melted together.
Gradually pour the melted Omega and Guar Gum into the Alpha/Sugar Detergent mixture whilst stirring.
Add the Preservative K. Dip a sheet of litmus paper into the mixture to test the pH balance. Add Lactic Acid until it reaches 5.5pH or slightly less.
Add the Essential Oils using a dropper. Take care not to get any on your skin or in your eyes as most essential oils can burn when they are undiluted. Lavender is generally considered to be the safest. If you are making shampoo with young children, reduce the concentration of the essential oils by mixing with 10 ml of jojoba or almond oil and pour into a small bottle in advance. Then the child can pour it all into the mixture and the jojoba or almond oil acts as a conditioner in the shampoo.
Pour into bottles. Makes approx. 400ml of shampoo.
Don't use lemon essential oil in shampoo because it can have a bleaching effect. Even if you want to bleach your hair, I wouldn't recommend it as the results can be unpredictable.
Poppy now has her own website which has more information about how to make natural cosmetics.