Make Your Own Shampoo
Homemade All-Natural Shampoo
Do you want to make your own shampoo? You can! It's not difficult, plus making shampoo yourself lets you customize the scent of your shampoo or avoid all scents and synthetic chemicals altogether, if that is what you want. You can make an all-natural product, plus get the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing it yourself. Are you ready? Let's get started.
photo: Old Shampoo circa 1909-1932 (Library of Congress)
Homemade Shampoo Overview
Modern commercial shampoos are detergents, but shampoo used to be liquid soap to which moisturizers were added so that the shampoo didn't strip natural oils from your hair and scalp. I've got a few different recipes for you in this lens. One starts from scratch, where you make your own soap and go from there. Personally, I don't like going back to basics quite that far, so I also get into how you can take a natural vegetable-based soap and use it to make a shampoo.
... if you're doing it from scratch
These are the ingredients for the start-from-scratch shampoo:
2 lb 10 oz olive oil
1 lb 7 oz of solid-type vegetable shortening
1 lb coconut oil
10-1/4 oz lye (sodium hydroxide)
2 pints water
1-1/2 oz glycerine (also known as glycerin or glycerol)
1/2 oz vodka
1-1/2 oz castor oil
essential oils (optional), such as peppermint, rosemary, lavender, etc.
Read the safety precautions on the lye and follow them! Choose a well-ventilated area to make your shampoo. While kids can help make shampoo if you start with soap, this particular recipe is adult-only. Keep the lye away from kids and pets.
Find Shampoo Ingredients Online
You may be able to find the ingredients to make your own shampoo at a health and beauty store or a craft store. If not, you can find them online. Feel free to add products to this list or to vote them up/down according to your preferences.
As organic as soap gets.
Renowned for their quality, versatility and eco-friendliness, Dr Bronner's Magic Soaps are truly in a class by themselves.
These extremely concentrated soaps contain no artificial dyes, preservatives or thickeners.
Multi-purpose: 18-in-1 uses this product works as a boat wash, hard surface cleaner, canvas cleaner, laundry soap, body wash and shampoo, toothpaste and more.
Completely biodegradable and vegetable based.
Made with 100% certified organic oils.
100% Vegan with no synthetic petrochemicals, detergents or surfactants.
Great for all skin types.
Super-concentrated for superior value.
Simple, ecological formulations.
Dr Bronner's is going Fair Trade for all major ingredients.
Unlike many cleaning products, Dr Bronner's discloses all ingredients on the label.
Botanical Name: Rosmarinus Officinalis
Plant Part: Leaf
Common Uses:Rosemary essential oil stimulates cell renewal. It improves dry or mature skin, eases lines and wrinkles, and heals burns and wounds. It can also clear acne, blemishes or dull dry skin by fighting bacteria and regulating oil secretions. It improves circulation and can reduce the appearance of broken capillaries and varicose veins. Rosemary essential oil helps to overcome mental fatigue and sluggishness by stimulating and strengthening the entire nervous system. It enhances mental clarity while aiding alertness and concentration. Rosemary oil can help you cope with stressful conditions and see things from a clearer perspective.
Mixes well with: Atlas cedarwood, basil, bergamot, cedarwood, cinnamon, citronella, clove, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, hyssop, juniper, lavender, lemon, lime, marjoram, myrrh, neroli, nutmeg, oregano, palmarosa, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, rosewood, sage, spearmint, tangerine, tea tree, and thyme.
Safety Information: Avoid during pregnancy. Do not use if diagnosed with epilepsy or high blood pressure. Do not rub or massage directly over or below varicose veins. Should not be used in conjunction with homeopathic remedies, as it will act as an antidote.
High grade sodium hydroxide / Lye. Used for biodiesel (or soap making) when the quality of the caustic is very critical. Also use if: you have been having problems with the consistency of batches, formulate with hard to saponify oil blends, or employ sensitive essential oils. This grade is also Food Codex, FCC, and Kosher certified, with a Certificate of Analysis included. Can be used for Pretzels, Olives, Lutefisk, Hominy or any other food use. All products are shipped in easy-to-store, easy-to-use resealable HPDE containers (Shipped 2 lbs of Lye per container).
THIS SHIPMENT IS CLASSIFIED AS ORM-D CONSUMER COMMODITY. OUR PACKAGING MEETS ALL APPLICABLE REQUIREMENTS OF THE US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. WE ARE A CERTIFIED SHIPPER AND SEND THIS PRODUCT IN SAFE AND LEGAL PACKAGING BY A LEGAL CARRIER.
Make Shampoo from Scratch
Mix together the olive oil, shortening, and coconut oil in a large glass or enameled pan.
Mix the lye and water in a glass or enameled pan. Heat will be produced by the reaction.
Warm the oils to 95Â°F-98Â°F and allow the lye solution to cool to the same temperature. One of the easiest ways to get the ingredients at the same temperature is to set the containers in a sink or tub full of water that is at the correct temperature.
When the mixtures are at the proper temperature, stir the lye solution into the oil mixture.
When the ingredients are integrated, the mixture should sort of resemble sour cream. Stir in the glycerine, alcohol, castor oil, and any fragrance oils or colorants that you want.
If you want solid shampoo, you can pour the shampoo into soap molds and allow it to harden. Use this shampoo by lathering it with your hands and working it into your hair or else you can shave flakes into hot water to prepare bottles of shampoo as you need it
If you want liquid shampoo, just add more water to the shampoo mixture, bottle the preparation, and use it the usual way.
Shampoo is meant to remove excess oil and help lift away any flakes or grime. If you can't get wet, this is your best bet:
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 tablespoon ground almonds
1-1/2 tablespoons orrisroot
Mix the ingredients together. To use this shampoo, massage a teaspoon of the mixture into your scalp and brush it through and out of your hair. Repeat the process if necessary.
About Dry Shampoo
Another dry shampoo option is to brush baking soda through your hair. I don't really recommend this, because the pH of baking soda is such that it can weaken hair's protein, keratin. It's a decent dry shampoo for dogs, though.
Video Showing How to Make Shampoo
Here's a video that discusses making your own shampoo.
Make Shampoo from Soap
This recipe makes a shampoo base that can be customized for different types of hair and different fragrances.
1/4 cup of grated vegetable-based soap (castile soap)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp olive oil
Dissolve the soap in hot water to dissolve it. Stir in the vegetable oil. Feel free to double, triple, etc. this recipe.
You can use the base shampoo by mixing it with glycerine and essential oils or other herbal ingredients.
1/2 cup base shampoo
2 tablespoons glycerine
~5 drops essential oil
Special Shampoo Recipes
Using the Base Shampoo Recipe
Herbal Shampoo for Oily Hair
2 tablespoon dry peppermint
2 tablespoon dry spearmint
1 tablespoon dry sage
1 cup water
1/2 cup shampoo base
Bring the herbs and water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow the mixture to steep for 20 minutes. Strain out the herbs. Mix the herbal water with the shampoo base.
Herbal Shampoo for Dry Hair
1 tablespoon dry comfrey root
1 tablespoon dry rosemary
1 tablespoon dry chamomile
1 cup water
1/2 cup shampoo base
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup milk
Bring the herbs and water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove the pan from heat and allow the mixture to steep for 20 minutes. Separate out the herbs with a strainer. Mix the herbal water with the shampoo base, egg, and milk. This shampoo is perishable so refrigerate any portion that isn't used right away.
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup water
1/2 cup shampoo base
essential oils (optional)
Mix the ingredients together. This shampoo helps give your hair body (egg is a natural conditioner) and shine (lemon juice makes the shampoo slightly acidic, helping to seal the hair shaft).
Books with Shampoo Recipes
Take the Shampoo Poll!
Why do you want to make your own shampoo?
Got questions or comments about making your own shampoo?