How To Make Your Own Shampoo

Clean up your bathing routine with these simple recipes.

September 20, 2016
woman washing her hair
Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock

Shampoo is one of those “necessary evils” in life. No one wants to go around with an oily mop, but the products designed to clean said mop are usually full of unhealthy ingredients that can pollute your scalp and your local ecosystem. The solution? Homemade shampoos made with natural ingredients. And before you write off the idea of homemade shampoo as the domain of hippies, rest assured that these DIY recipes really do get your hair clean and shiny, whether your hair is oily, dry, or somewhere in between!

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homemade shampoo

Basic Homemade Shampoo Recipe
½ cup water
½ cup castile (vegetable-based) liquid soap such as Dr. Bronner’s
1 teaspoon light vegetable oil or glycerine (omit if you have oily hair)
A few drops of your favorite essential oil (optional) 

Combine ingredients, mix well, and put in a recycled shampoo bottle. Use a palm-full of the shampoo or less to lather once, and then rinse with warm water. This homemade shampoo is thinner than commercial shampoo and it won’t suds much—but it will eliminate oil and grime just as well.

Related: 7 Organic Shampoos That Work Just As Well As The Stuff With Chemicals

Herbal Homemade Shampoo Recipe
For a naturally scented shampoo, substitute ½ cup strong herbal tea—chamomile, lavender, and rosemary are good choices—for water in the Basic Shampoo recipe.

baking soda and apple cider vinegar

Faux Homemade Shampoo Recipe
If you want to know the real secret to truly healthy hair, grab a box of baking soda and some apple cider vinegar. Online bloggers rave about how much better their hair looks after a few weeks of using them, but it can take a while for your hair to adjust (i.e. it might be very oily at first).

Put a few tablespoons of baking soda in the bottom of a repurposed squeeze bottle, top it off with hot water, and shake it well. (You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, too, for scent.) After it settles for a few minutes, apply ¼ cup to wet hair, work it through with fingers, and rinse it out. There are no suds, but this homemade mixture leaves hair clean and shiny. Follow that with this basic rinse recipe: Mix ½ cup of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice with two cups water. Pour it through your wet hair and rinse with cool water.

Related: 3 No-Fuss, Natural Hair-Care Recipes

Egg Conditioner
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon olive oil
¾ cup warm water

Right before you wash your hair with your homemade shampoo, beat the egg yolk until it’s frothy, add oil and beat again, then add water slowly while beating. Pour the mix through wet hair, working it in with your fingers. Allow it to set for a few minutes then rinse it out with warm water.

Deep Conditioner
For dry or damaged hair, a using a deep conditioner once a week can make a huge difference. You can use any of the following in combination or alone: olive oil, coconut oil, beaten egg, yogurt, mayonnaise, mashed banana, or mashed avocado. Massage any of these into wet hair, wrap it all up turban-style in an old towel for 20 minutes, and rinse well.

herbal shampoo
Anna Ewa Bieniek/Shutterstock

DIY Herbal Color-Modifying Rinses
While none of these will turn blond hair black or black hair strawberry blond, using them on a regular basis can add highlights and even tone down some graying strands. Strong chamomile tea, diluted lemon juice, or tea made with fresh rhubarb will lighten hair. For more pronounced results, allow rinse to dry in hair—outside in the sunshine if possible. Strong sage, lavender, or cinnamon tea will darken hair and mellow out graying strands over time. Hibiscus flower tea will add reddish highlights to light hair.

Easy Antistatic Treatment For Dry Hair
Put a small dab of natural hand lotion in one palm, rub hands together to coat both evenly, and run your fingers through your hair.

Homemade Natural Hair Gel Recipe 
½ to 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup hot water

Dissolve gelatin in water, store in refrigerator between uses. Work into hair with finger tips, and style as desired.

Homemade Natural Hair Spray Recipe 
½ orange
½ lemon
2 cups water

Chop fruit finely, simmer the pieces in water until they are soft and the liquid is half gone. Strain liquid into a small spray bottle and store in refrigerator between uses. Spray finished hair lightly; dilute with water if sprayed hair is stiffer than you desire.