Picture of 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.
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Step 1: BASIC

Picture of 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!


Picture of 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!

Mix all ingredients, then add 1/4 cup distilled water
Store in a bottle. Use as you would any shampoo, rinse well.

Step 3: QUENCH

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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.
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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

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!

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!

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

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

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!
scoochmaroo (author)  espohranderson4 years ago
That is a brilliant suggestion!
Firstly, thanks for this instructable scoochmaroo, it's been very eye-opening for me :) Secondly, I have a question about the 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
scoochmaroo (author)  rocketboyroger4 years ago
De-ionized water is great. Go for it!
...also, do you think this is suitable for using as hand wash...after all, it's got the tea tree oil's antiseptic qualities :)
scoochmaroo (author)  rocketboyroger4 years ago
I use this as my everything wash. Tea tree oil is great for my acne-prone skin!
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
Excellent! Thanks for letting me know :D
trixie2319 days ago
If vinegar corrects the pH, can I use vinegar instead of water when mixing for dry hair shampoo?

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.

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!

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

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

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

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

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.

I recommend you either buy it from Dr. Bronners website, or find a local retailer:

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. :)

aohlmann9 months ago

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

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

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.

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.

cnp03223 months ago

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!!!!!

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.

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.

KristenB13 months ago

Do you also have a recipe for conditioner?

davidbarcomb4 months ago

Very nice alternative. Thanks

melanie.klar5 months ago

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.

mufary5 years ago
Dandruff is also often caused by a fungal infection of Malassezia furfur or the yeast Pityrosporum ovale. However, guess what's been shown to treat that fungus pretty well? Tea tree oil! A 5% solution of tea tree oil makes a great antifungal. Would your recipe tolerate tea tree oil at 5% -- would it still lather well? I'm going to try it!!

{source: and *blush* Wikipedia}
MadelineR1 mufary7 months ago

How did it work out for you? I'd like to try it.

scoochmaroo (author)  mufary5 years ago
Go for it. I use the tea tree/peppermint combination because I have scalp troubles too. It's been great! Tea tree oil is great for a variety of skin irritations/problems.
Just be careful, some people are quite sensitive to tea tree oil; there have been a number of reported cases of dermatitis related to tea tree oil. Your best bet for a liquid soap are those made from vegetable oils and potassium hydroxide using a superfatted recipe. This means either looking for the specific oils and potassium hydroxide, or looking for ingredients like potassium olivate and potassium cocoate. Sodium hydroxide creates a much harder soap that then has to be diluted with water. Dr. Bronner's soap doesn't state the caustic agent used, whether it is sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide (neither of these two ingredients can be certified organic as far as I know) or using organic potash water created from burning organically harvested palm leaves and soaking the ashes in soft rainwater until the potassium leaches from the ashes into the water. It is safe to assume that the chemicals were used unless otherwise promoted.
Dr. Bronner's is certified organic. I highly doubt he would have added chemicals if he could have used a natural alternative. If nothing else, mufary, you could use Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree Oil soap.
Being a soapmaker myself, I know that it's cheaper for me to get industrial grade sodium hydroxide than to grow and collect palm oil trees, harvest the leaves, burn them in a manner accepted by the local fire and environmental authorities, leach the potassium into collected and filtered rainwater, and test the pH level until it's caustic enough to make soap. I was unable to find "certified organic lye" anywhere. Dr. Bronner's soap is probably organic in the sense that any ingredient that can be certified organic is (like the vegetable oils and the essential scent oils).
This is very funny! I often have this attitude as well!

TY for posting
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