Introduction: Homemade Shampoo

Your ultimate guide to homemade shampoo! Here are ten easy recipes you can use to find the perfect formula for your hair.

The benefits are that you can use all natural ingredients, avoid all of the fillers and irritants commercial makers use, scent it any way you want, and customize it to suit your hair's needs.
What more do I need to say?

I love my homemade shampoo. It smells great and leaves my hair feeling light and soft.

Step 1: BASIC

For normal hair, or as a base to add your own scents, use

Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Shake before use.
This mixture isn't as thick as commercial shampoos - you'll need to just tilt the bottle over your head.
I am really impressed with how much lather I get from it though!

Step 2: STIMULATE

To wake up your scalp and your senses, try tea tree and peppermint oil!
This one's my personal favorite, and the one I use daily. It's so refreshing!

Combine

Mix all ingredients, then store in a bottle. Use as you would any shampoo, rinse well.

Step 3: QUENCH

For dry hair, try this:

Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle and always shake well before using.

Apply to hair and allow to sit for a few minutes. Rinse well with cool water.

Step 4: SOOTHE

Chamomile makes this 'poo a calming treat. Chamomile also has natural lightening properties, so combine this with lemon juice if you want to lighten your hair!

Steep the teabags in 1 cup of boiled water for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags and discard. Add castille soap to the tea. Stir in glycerin until well blended. Keep in a dark, cool place in a sealed bottle.

Step 5: DE-FLAKE

Dandruff can affect many different people in every age group. Dandruff can manifest as either very dry and flaky scalp or very oily scalp with flakes. Contrary to popular belief, dandruff is not caused by a dry scalp or from improper hair care. It can be caused by increased oil production, hormonal fluctuations, stress, and illness.

To banish a flaky scalp, try this simple recipe:

In a small grinder or blender, mix all ingredients on low for 30 seconds.

Wet the hair with warm water and shampoo the mixture into the hair well. Rinse with warm water.

Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Discard after 3 days!

Step 6: SHINE

Fragrant and lively, try this recipe to add shine to your hair
.

Boil distilled water, add rosemary and steep until fragrant.
Strain leaves and let cool. Mix all ingredients and add to water and stir well.
Store in a bottle. Use as you would any shampoo, rinse well.

Step 7: REJUVENATE

This is a great shampoo for any hair type.

Boil distilled water, add rosemary and and lemongrass (in tea strainer if you have it) and steep until fragrant (about 20-30 minutes)..
Strain leaves and let cool. Mix all ingredients and add to water and stir well.

Mix the tea tree oil and vanilla into the water. Add soap.

Store in a bottle. Use as you would any shampoo, rinse well.

Let the shampoo cool, and then place the top on tightly.

Step 8: YUMMY

I can't resist the alluring smell of this luxurious shampoo.

Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Use as you would any shampoo, rinse well.
Dry not to drink this one. It smells tooooo good. . .

Step 9: DRY

This is a great in-between treatment for hair, if you're helping someone who can't wash their hair on their own, or for removing dirt and oil from the hair when fresh water in unavailable

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch or cocoa powder for dark hair
  • 1 tsp crushed lavender or other fragrant herb

Sprinkle enough of the mixture to cover all hair, and comb well through hair.

This could be made in bulk and stored in a cool, dry environment.

Step 10: NO 'POO

Though there are already plenty of instructables that cover this topic, I thought my list wouldn't be complete without including the simplest way to get clean, healthy hair.

Put 1 tsp baking soda in a cup or mug to take into the shower with you.
In another cup, pour about 1 oz (~1/8 cup) apple cider vinegar.

When you get into the shower, fill the baking soda cup with about 1/4 c water.
Apply this to your roots only; work it in and let it sit for a minute.

Then begin to gently scrub your scalp, stimulating blood flow and cleaning out your pores.
This will actually stimulate hair growth.

Lastly, scrub the back of your skull and your temples/sideburns. This will result in less grease and more growth.

Rinse!

Follow by adding about 1/4 c water to your vinegar cup.
Pour the apple cider vinegar over the ends of your hair, let it sit for a minute and then rinse it out.

No 'Poo Troubleshooting

There may be a transition period from two weeks to two months depending on the person. Here are a few tips:

" If your hair becomes frizzy, try using less baking soda or leaving it on for a shorter period of time. Adding honey may also help.
" If your hair becomes greasy, try using less apple cider vinegar, switching to lemon or lime juice, leaving out the honey, and/or using a comb instead of a brush. Also, make sure youre applying the apple cider vinegar just to the ends of your hair.
" If your scalp itches, try the following essential oils; tea tree, lavender, rosemary. If your hair becomes dry, try a tiny bit of oil (any oil, I use olive) smoothed on bottom of hair.

Have fun and enjoy!

From time to time, I'll provide Amazon affiliate links to help me continue to contribute awesome Instructables.

Comments

author
thekinkyrivet (author)2010-08-25

I do not know if someone else has made this comment but if you would like to thicken up the shampoo so it is not quite so runny you can add 1/4 tsp. of xanthum gum powder that you can get from a local health food store to every cup of the shampoo. It will thicken up quite nicely the direction on the package normally say 1/2 tsp per cup but that makes it really thick start out at 1/4 and go up from there if you feel the need. I've been using it for years to double bottles of commercial body soaps and it does not leave a film or residue. Hope it helps

author
PeterP4 (author)thekinkyrivet2014-08-22

I wonder if you can use baking soda to thicken it a bit?

author
melpymelperson (author)PeterP42014-09-08

Just don't add water to it. The castile soap is already liquid, so adding water to it really isn't necessary.

author
emelines (author)melpymelperson2016-10-15

Castile Soap (at least Dr. Bronner's) is concentrated. If you are using it on your skin or hair it is wise to dilute it up to 50% (half water, half soap). Otherwise it can be overly drying or too harsh on your skin and hair. The Dr. Bronner's website for dilutions also instructs this. I've use it both ways and I have very dry skin and eczema. Diluting the soap makes my skin and hair much happier

author

Wow I don't know why it doesn't leave residue on you. Maybe you have more acidic water than our well water has? It leaves horrible sticky residue on my skin. I tried it one time and threw it away!

author
ruoksgirl (author)melanie.klar2015-03-12

I had the same issue I used it for the first time last night and I felt like my hair was sticky as well as my hands and I had a horrible time trying to brush it out I used a wide tooth comb and that even felt sticky! I let my hair dry thinking maybe it was just while it was wet and I looked like I did when the stylist fried my hair it was nasty looking and felt awful!

author
espohranderson (author)2011-03-30

I've tried homemade shampoos before (worked alright but smelled awful --I am excited about these ones!) and what I found effective was to store it in a spray bottle rather than a jar. I would mist it over my head and then massage it into a lather. Pouring it on always ended up with using too much!

author

That is a brilliant suggestion!

author
rocketboyroger (author)2010-08-03

Firstly, thanks for this instructable scoochmaroo, it's been very eye-opening for me :) Secondly, I have a question about the water...do you know if it's OK to use deionised water instead of distilled? I bought a big container of deionised after a shop assistant assured me they were the same, only to get home and google it to find that actually, they are slightly different. Do you have any idea if it will do the job? Cheers R

author

De-ionized water is great. Go for it!

author

...also, do you think this is suitable for using as hand wash...after all, it's got the tea tree oil's antiseptic qualities :)

author

I use this as my everything wash. Tea tree oil is great for my acne-prone skin!

author

That's brilliant! I am planning to use it the same way (I've just refilled all my hand wash dispensers and shower gel bottle with a batch) It just smells so damn nice :D Thanks again

author

Excellent! Thanks for letting me know :D

author
FairishF (author)2017-02-16

hi..i am very interested with organic stuff lately. i have very thick hair so i have to use conditioner. If i use this do I still need a conditioner or it already good enough?

thank you

author
NymphadorableM (author)2016-07-31

I think what everyone forgets is that our hair is part of our body that we use chemicals on at least sometimes. Making a new shampoo might not be the best first step. Maybe making a good conditioner should be first, then a great conditioner. Then a shampoo you want to try on the tips of your hair. Or to test if your boyfriend really loves you. Then if it works maybe you try it. Like maybe after he proves he loves you like a week and swears by your shampoo. But start small. I mean if I told you I spent the last two years growing my hair out, but saw this post where this chick posted how she folded her scarf over her head and pulled a ponytail through it and just cut off the rest and it gave her the most awesome cut ever and I saw the after cut would you cut your hair off? Course not. Test in tiny batches first. Always!

author
melanie.klar (author)2014-11-20

Castille soap is not shampoo. It is soap. It is highly alkaline and only suitable for virgin, healthy hair. When I tried it my hair felt all gummy and then when dry it was like straw. Shampoo has surfactants and is pH balanced and mild. Soap is absolutely terrible for damaged or color treated hair! I'm glad at least the one person above is rinsing with apple cider vinegar-that will help bring the pH back, but high alkaline causes damage that can't be totally reversed.

author
DebbieL58 (author)melanie.klar2016-05-03

Castile soap is not highly alkaline. It ranks somewhere around 8.9 on the ph scale. The ph scale runs from 0 to 14. 0-6 are your acidic items, 7 is ph neutral, and 8-14 are your alkalines. The closer you are to 7 the milder the substance. Based on this, Castile soap is very low on th alkaline side of the ph scale. My hair is colored and was also damaged previously. I have little to no issue using recipes with Castile soap. The only adjustment I've needed is to cut back on the soap a bit to account for some greasy residue. Also, as others have said it takes some adjustment to get used to not putting detergents in your hair. there are also some recipes that pair it with coconut milk for added moisture. The apple cider vinegar rinse helps greatly both with tangles and with removing some of the waxy residue. Also if you can find a good natural conditioner to use and rinse out that doesn't have sulfates or harsh chemicals in it try using some and rinsing it out well.

author
melanie.klar (author)DebbieL582016-05-04

I am a licensed cosmetologist who has studied the chemistry of hair and skin extensively hair and skin is naturally acidic and should always be between 4.5 to 5.5 on the pH scale therefore 8.5 is way too alkaline if you look at a hair under the microscope that has been in a alkaline solution the scales that should lay down smoothly will stick out causing the hair to dry out split and break. Using a vinegar rinse will make it more acidic again which is why that helps but what I don't understand is why people think that because something has been used for many years that it's natural or good for you which is the case with Castile soap it's not natural and it's not good for your hair. it has just been around forever. and why is it that they prefer to use vinegar rather than a well- formulated, ph balanced conditioner? just because something is in your kitchen doesn't mean it's natural or good for your hair skin. There are too many blogs going on about people's opinion and not enough of it has any scientific basis to it. Basically it says that you know if something tastes good and you can put it in your food then it must be good for your hair and skin which is total baloney.

author
janfour (author)melanie.klar2016-07-18

I, too am a cosmetologist (retired) and I know the cancer causing chemicals that go into products. You ask why people prefer to use vinegar instead of a well-formulated ph balanced conditioner. Go to the EWG (environmental working group) website and they will explain why so many people are trying to rid their bodies of these toxic chemicals - especially their children's bodies. We are not over reacting - we are getting cancer - our children's endocrine systems are out of whack and only God knows what else these companies are doing to to us. Well, I for one am saying NO MORE. It is not "total baloney" and you don't need a chemist degree to figure out what to use to cleanse your and your children's body and hair. I hope I have planted a seed in your thought process and you will look into this.

author
RogerS66 (author)2016-03-28

xanthum gum is a GMO product .

author
saracosmet (author)2015-11-30

I really don't see how this is different than just buying a ready to use shampoo. If I want to make my own natural and healthy shampoo I am not going to use commercial castile shampoo but will make it myself. there are hundreds of great recipes on the internet on how to make shampoo bar that will be 100% natural. Also castile soap has poor cleansing and not so good conditioning.

author
tumblr_c00kie (author)2015-10-30

If I made this, could I add an essential oil blend for hair and then the other basic ingredients? I love this post by the way!

author
cheryl.valentine.5220 (author)2015-02-10

another question...if I use the "scented" liquid castile soap do I need the essential oils also?

author

Well you can add different scents that go with your castile soap or just leave it. I don't bother with other scents because i am happy with the smell of my castile soap :)

author
PamD2 (author)2015-07-07

author
varocketry (author)2015-07-04

@FaithRawks:

Hahahahaha .... Baking Soda followed by vinegar.

I bet you got your jollies thinking you'd mess with people with that one. Shame.

author
theroboticnerd (author)2015-06-02

author
kathleen.mavourneen.9 (author)2015-05-01

It takes a while to adjust to this kind of shampoo. Because it's so runny, you need to use enough, to really get a lather up. I had an extreme reaction to hair dye, about 6 years ago, which has left me unable to use, even the mildest of shampoos. I HAD to make this work, and I'm really happy with the results. I have waist-length hair, & I only need to wash it, once a week.

I found a recipe on eHow, that uses chamomille tea, instead of water. After a bit of tweaking, my recipe is: 1 cup of castile soap, 1 tsp of almond oil,1 cup of tea, made with 2 Tbsps (or 8 teabags) of chamomile flowers, & lately, I've added 1 Tbsp of bicarb to it, and that's sorted a lot of the bugs out.

author

Just wondering about the tea, so you add 1 cup of water to boil and add 8 teabags to it? Same with the flowers but 2 tbs? Thanks

author
jodajj.banks (author)2015-05-03

Can you use normal soap?

author
kathleen.mavourneen.9 (author)2015-05-01

It takes a while to adjust to this kind of shampoo. Because it's so runny, you need to use enough, to really get a lather up. I had an extreme reaction to hair dye, about 6 years ago, which has left me unable to use, even the mildest of shampoos. I HAD to make this work, and I'm really happy with the results. I have waist-length hair, & I only need to wash it, once a week.

I found a recipe on eHow, that uses chamomille tea, instead of water. After a bit of tweaking, my recipe is: 1 cup of castile soap, 1 tsp of almond oil,1 cup of tea, made with 2 Tbsps (or 8 teabags) of chamomile flowers, & lately, I've added 1 Tbsp of bicarb to it, and that's sorted a lot of the bugs out.

author
kathleen.mavourneen.9 (author)2015-05-01

It takes a while to adjust to this kind of shampoo. Because it's so runny, you need to use enough, to really get a lather up. I had an extreme reaction to hair dye, about 6 years ago, which has left me unable to use, even the mildest of shampoos. I HAD to make this work, and I'm really happy with the results. I have waist-length hair, & I only need to wash it, once a week.

I found a recipe on eHow, that uses chamomille tea, instead of water. After a bit of tweaking, my recipe is: 1 cup of castile soap, 1 tsp of almond oil,1 cup of tea, made with 2 Tbsps (or 8 teabags) of chamomile flowers, & lately, I've added 1 Tbsp of bicarb to it, and that's sorted a lot of the bugs out.

author
kathleen.mavourneen.9 (author)2015-05-01

author
trixie23 (author)2015-04-05

If vinegar corrects the pH, can I use vinegar instead of water when mixing for dry hair shampoo?

author
mamaclausen (author)trixie232015-04-09

I have read on the Dr. Bronner's website that vinegar and castile soap cancel each other out. Just like vinegar and baking soda cancel each other, too. That's why you see a foaming acting when you combine the 2. Once the foam is gone, it's useless.

author
susan.hartman.127 (author)2015-03-19

I have found that castille soap works great for me. I simply dilute it 3 1/2 - 4 parts water to 1 part soap. Takes around 2 oz to wash my hair (below the shoulder) and entire body. I condition my hair with vinegar water (about 1 vinegar to 1 water, adjust until your hair is soft and tangle free). When I first tried castille soap, my hair was awful. If it leaves a residue, you need to dilute it more. It took my hair a week or two to adjust to no chemicals, now it is soft and dandruff free!

author
cheryl.valentine.5220 (author)2015-02-10

Hello everyone! Can I use lavender oil in place of the peppermint or tea tree oil and will it make a difference? Thank-you!!!

author
michelle.kaye.161 (author)2014-08-13

i live in england and ive never heard of castile soap , so what can i use instead ? :)

author

amazon.com

about 20 a bottle (US dollars) but you dilute it to use for most purposes. Lasts a long time.

author
bdun (author)michelle.kaye.1612014-09-14

Castile soap is actual, TRUE soap, not detergent. Though real soap can also be made the same way castile is but with an animal fat like lard. Basically castile is the only real soap available to us that is not a chemical detergent (like what they use to degrease engines with). So when you hear of "soap making" or something along those lines you can be sure it's castile. I am allergic to detergents so I am now only using castile but since it's so expensive here in the US I have to be mindful not to overuse it, which is hard as I also have to use it to wash my clothes and bed sheets.

author

I recommend you either buy it from Dr. Bronners website, or find a local retailer: https://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/category/BABYMILD.h...

Castile (cas-teal) soap is the original basic soap made from 100% plant based oils (originally it was made only from olive oil, but coconut oil is very popular due to its thick creaminess lather) Dr Bronners site also has a list of about 18 different uses for the liquid castile soap, In short, there really is not substitute for it. :)

author
aohlmann (author)2014-07-11

Does anyone know if this can be used for body wash or hand soap?

author

works great as a body wash!! not as drying as regular soap!

author

I dilute it to 2-3 water to 1 castille soap. Lasts forever, does not take more than a couple tablespoons to get a loofah full of suds.

author

I use Dr Bronners for hand soap, in dispensers, diluted with water to prevent the dispenser from getting stopped up. I have also used it in the past for bathing, currently I am using something else though.

I am here cause my go-to shampoo has a new improved formula with lots of additives that will no doubt trigger allergies. Knew I needed a rinse to adjust the PH and needed info on a formula. I guess its 1/4 cup vinegar/ 8 oz water.

author
cnp0322 (author)2015-01-09

I cannot believe this. I tried the first shampoo mixture and it left my hair feeling the WORST it ever has in my life!!!! I am SO upset it looks and feels HORRIBLE, rough, i cant even get a comb through it and when it dried it looked totally waxy. I almost felt like crying!!! The castile soap was so DAMAGING i dont know what to do and am considering going back to shampoo for the horrible condition this mixture left my hair in. I'M SO UPSET DO NOT TRY THIS CASTILE SOAP MIXTURE!!!!!

author
roxann.arden (author)cnp03222015-01-26

Sadly, I did not read this comment before trying this ( not from this post, but the same formula from another) I am in this exact same situation right this minute. Googling anything I can to find a solution! I Believe it is because we have hard water... maybe? I trying rewashing with baking soda and doing and apple cider vinegar rinse but it only helped a bit.My hair looks and feels waxy.

author

At first the castille soap did the same for me. I simply diluted it more because it was too much oils for my hair. I use at least 3 water to 1 castille soap when I use it for shampoo and body wash. I bought the organic baby kind and added peppermint oil to it. It works well, but you must let your hair and scalp adjust over several weeks to the lack of chemicals and such. I follow up with a half and half apple cider vinegar and water rinse. My hair comes out soft and tangle free.

author
KristenB1 (author)2015-01-08

Do you also have a recipe for conditioner?

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