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Natural Homemade Shampoos

Updated on December 10, 2010

Food for Hair Growth

Any hair growth regime must be based on adequate nutrition.

The following recipe is not only tasty, it contains most of the nutrients required for healthy hair growth.


Wash and trim 250 grams of your favourite greens (mustard leaves, spinach, collards, kale etc). Chop them finely and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp of any cooking oil in a shallow skillet. When the oil starts to smoke, toss in spices (see spice list) and quickly put the lid on the skillet.Shake it about until the seeds start to splutter.Stir in the greens .Cook over high heat until greens wilt.

Spice List

use the seeds of any of the following according to taste:

Fenugreek, cumin, aniseed, black mustard,bishop's weed (ajwain), onion seed (kalonji)

Eat daily and within a few days, you will see and feel a positive improvement in your scalp and hair.

Basic Ayurvedic Shampoo

Most commercial shampoos contain SLS (sodium laurel sulfate) or ALS (ammonium laurel sulfate. Both of these chemical compounds have been liked to a number of health issues.

My experience with these products is that

  1. they irritate eyes and skin.
  2. they slow down hair growth over time.
  3. they dry out hair and cause split ends and dandruff.

A very effective home made shampoo is made from amla, reetha and shikakai.

Amla and reetha are dried seeds available in most Indian

stores and through Internet venders. Shikakai are seed pods always available next to amla and reetha. These three herbal products are the basis of a basic ayurvedic shampoo which has been used by millions of women for centuries.


Soak a handful each of amla, reetha, and shikakai in about twice as much water overnight.The next morning add another pint of water (or leftover tea). Boil the mixture until you have a pint of dark and soapy liquid--- this is the basic shampoo.

Let the decoction cool until it feels comfortable on the scalp. (In the meantime you can oil and massage the scalp and hair).

When ready, start pouring and massaging a little of the shampoo until the whole scalp is covered. Pour the remainder through the hair.

Very important point: do not wet the hair before starting the shampoo!

If possible, let the shampoo soak into the scalp and hair for a few minutes--- or even a couple of hours!

Rinse thoroughly. If desired repeat (with more dilute shampoo).

Dry and comb hair (see my hub: A holistic approach to hair care)


Lentil Shampoo

 An alternative to the amla/ shikakai/reetha mixture is lentil shampoo.


Boil two to three tablespoons of urad dhal in enough water to make a soft paste. Blend at high speed adding water as necessary to make a foamy liquid.

Cool until comfortable to the scalp. Apply and massage into oiled hair and scalp. Do not wet hair!

After hair and scalp are completely covered rinse thoroughly with warm water.

The dhal contains saponins (which thoroughly clean the hair) as well as vitamins and minerals which nourish it.

Shampoo with Yogurt

Yes! Yogurt and buttermilk are effective shampoos.

Just massage all over scalp and hair and then rinse with warm water. These work well on hair which is very dry, fragile, and brittle.

Henna Shampoo

Old fashioned Irani ladies wash their hair with a thin paste of henna. Over time, this tends to give auburn shades to dark hair. Unfortunately, white or grey hair tends to become orange... 

Herbal Shampoo Enhancers

If you prefer commercial shampoos (I advise using SLS free ones), you can enhance their effectiveness by diluting with an infusion made with any of the following herbs.

  • rosemary
  • lavender
  • sage
  • hibiscus flowers
  • camomile flowers
  • black or green tea
  • cinnamon
  • ginger

Some of the above (sage, rosemary and hibiscus) darken the hair over time. Camomile and ginger tend to give golden highlights.

They all leave the hair extra soft and healthy. they may even prevent hair loss and greying.

At the very least,they give hair a lovely scent!

In my experience, none of the above recipes do any damage to the hair and scalp.

It is worthwhile experimenting with any or all of them.


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      Lesley 3 years ago

      Thank you so much for this, i really need it. I have a question, those powders, if you want to make the shampoo yourself (smla and reetha) do you boil them with water or how do you make the shampoo buying the powders?

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      Ember 5 years ago

      Thank you for referring me here!

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      Sarah 6 years ago

      What kind of shampoo are we supposed to dilute for the second shampooing?