A Homemade Herbal Shampoo




About: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I enjoy working in the yard, sewing, cooking, quilting, gardening, and creating. I do this to keep my sanity.

I never had to worry about my hair until I moved to the Southwest. In the 70's I used to buy Yucca Dew shampoo which made my hair so manageable but it was discontinued and I could no longer find it. I started using other brands with great disappointment! I have used Tea Tree shampoo but was not fond of the fragrance. If I knew then what I know now, I would have made my own! The recipe has 2 ingredients and the method is quick and easy! 

The yucca shrub grows abundantly here in the Southwest. The American Indians used the perennial shrub containing saponins for soap, the leaves and trunk fibers for starting fires, and leaves were made into cordage for basket weaving. To read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca
Follow through and I will show you how to make a herbal shampoo using the root of the yucca plant.


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Step 1: Additional Information

I have been interested in natural products, herbs, and vitamins for many years. I am not an expert on the subject of soap making and this information is based solely on my personal experience, so please do the necessary research to discover what method will meet your needs. Everyone has different types of hair because of the food and water we eat and drink and where we live. It is important to do the research on this plant because it is toxic. Some people are allergic to yucca. I would not use this product on small children. Kids have such sensitive skin. Perhaps using baking soda would be a better option for parents with small children.

I tried to use the root of a larger yucca shrub and the root was very hard and the soap did not produce much liquid. So I assume  younger plants would yield more Sapiens.  This shampoo works for cleaning, washing clothes, bathing, and as a personal shampoo. Another beauty about this shampoo is you can make it in the wild by placing a yucca leaf over a flat rock and  pound the length of the leaf with another rock to release the suds. Then rinse the leaf in the river and roll the leaf between your fingers to form a cord, bending the cord in half a couple of times and use the cord for a wash cloth filled with suds! 

Switching from a commercial product to an herbal one will be a challenging experience. This shampoo does lather nicely when you are making the shampoo, however it did not lather as much when I washed my hair. It cleaned my hair without stripping the natural oils and left it shiny and manageable. This has a natural woodsy herbal kind of smell. Not overly strong. My husband noticed a difference in the texture of my hair. He said that my hair smelled clean and natural with no perfume odor. I liked the simplicity of this recipe. I experimented with this recipe and found a way to make the shampoo in a gel form and add some colors and still keep the recipe simple.

I made some  of the shampoo adding 1 package of Knox unflavored Gelatine and some fresh rose petals to the mixture and poured the mixture into an ice cube tray, and placed it in the refrigerator.  It helped reduce the amount of shampoo that I used.  The shampoo is very good but it did not have many suds.

When I was young I used to wash my hair everyday. Not anymore. I have learned that it damages the hair. Natural oils are removed when we wash our hair too often. The body has a natural acid mantle which is a protective layer that protects the skin and is removed when using strong soaps. If you are interested in more information here is a good link: http://www.examiner.com/article/skin-anatomy-the-role-of-the-acid-mantle 

Switching is going to be a challenge for many and should be done with patience. It takes about 2 to 4 weeks for some to begin to notice the benefits of using a natural product. One should . . .  ever so often . . .  use a different product for a week or so because the body will not react the same if used over a long period of time. In some cases doctors will change the patients prescriptions so the patient does not become immune to the medication. 

Beauticians will experience negative results with hair dies and perms if the customer has well water, eats a lot of eggs, consumes certain medications, or uses a vinegar hair rinse. 

Yucca root can be purchased through a health food store in a root powder if you do not have access to the yucca plant. Soap-wart or tea tree oil can be used for making shampoo. The soap-wart has an offensive odor but a person can add different ingredients to change the odor.  There are many recipes online for homemade shampoo. I wanted mine to be as natural as I could make it and limit the ingredients. I am happy with it so far. I may add jojoba oil to my recipe later on. I recommend applying the shampoo to the dry scalp working it into the hair then add water and massage the scalp. Rinse the scalp and finish off with 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar added to a 1 cup water solution.
Because this shampoo is not concentrated or does not contain additives it takes more shampoo than commercial brands. When I make this again I will reduce the amount of water I add to the blender and try to make a paste. I will also find something natural that I might add to produce a few more suds. 

Here is an awesome collection of homemade shampoos from the editor of the living Chanel:  https://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Shampoo/



Step 2: Ingredients and Utensils

4 cups tap water or distilled water ( 4 cups of water is what I listed because that is what I used, but I think if you reduced it to 2 cups it may be thicker and better.) I will try and make some more and update this instructable.
1/2 cup of yucca root or 2 medium size roots yields approximately 1 cup shampoo
Serrated knife and sharp knife
Glass Bottle (with lid or use a cork) or plastic bottle if you choose
Cutting board
Potato peeler optional
I stored my shampoo in the fridge and stored the extra root in a glass of water. I am treating the root like I would a potato. I stored a few roots in the freezer also. I will update this tutorial after I have used the shampoo for a month or so. I want to try to make it lather better and just play with it! I might add lavender oil because I love nice smelling shampoos. Please remember not to store in an aluminium container. 

Step 3: Gather and Wash

Wash hands thoroughly.
I apologize for not having a picture of us digging the root.
Basically you carefully dig a section of the yucca's root and remove only the top section of the root, being careful not to touch the open end of the root, leaving the bottom section to be replanted.  
You replant the yucca so it will continue to grow, this is good for the plant because it stimulates the roots.
Wash your hands before cutting the yucca,body oils will react with the root and it won't work as well.
Trim off the outside bark of the cut root, using a knife.


Step 4: Cut

Wash hands again.
Cut the roots into chunky pieces.

Step 5: Dice

Dice into small pieces. The pulp is quite stringy so small pieces work best in a blender.

Step 6: Blend

Add the water to the blender.
Add the yucca root.
Blend thoroughly to yield as much of the soap as possible.


Step 7: Strain

Strain to remove the liquid and separate the solids.
Reserve the pulp for the garden or make some paper!

Step 8: Bottle

Using a funnel pour the liquid soap into the bottle. 
 I always have to give my homemade stuff the Sunshiine flair! 
I made a cord from the yucca and tied it around the bottle and attached small tag.
If you want a gel formula add 1 packet Knox gelatin to a small amount of very hot water and stir until dissolved.
Add this mixture to the pure yucca liquid and mix thoroughly.
Lightly oil an ice cube tray. 
Pour the mixture into the molds.
Chill until set.
Remove the cubes and store in the refrigerator or freezer in a sealed container.

Step 9: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts

More and more people are concerned about the chemicals that are in commercial products. The solution is to make your own and grow your own!  I think the end results are more often beneficial than not! Care and research should be thorough because mixing products can be dangerous! Always test a small sample of shampoo on your skin to be sure you have no skin reactions. 

I am planning on making more tutorials using the yucca so please visit again soon!   

I wish to thank Instructables, our sponsors, and loyal readers for making this a great place to share!
Thank you for stopping by and may your soap making experience be perfect!

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    26 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hello honey! I'm from Brazil and my english is not very good, but I'm sure you will understand my words! (well, I hope so).

    I'd like to thank you for this tutorial. Really! It helps me a lot.

    I'm searching about homemade shampoos for a long time ago, and when I found this website and your recipe using yucca... well, it made me happy!

    But, just two questions (for now, and maybe you will think that those are fool questions but I'm just learning about natural shampoos): in the picture, the liquid is green. My liquid was white. =/ I didn't understand that. Do you use some leaf to make this color?

    the last one question is: I am vegetarian, so, I don't use gelatin. I tried Agar agar. Do you have another sugestion?

    Thank you! Waiting for your atualizations :D



    9 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hello AlecrinC, Thank you for your comment. I do not know why the color is green perhaps the plant might be a little different species. Not sure if species is the word to use here but a different kind of yucca. It was a very pale shade of green that my camera must have picked up. I did not add anything for color enhancing.

    You might try Cellulose gum, Xanthan gum, Locust bean gum, Pectin, or Guar gum. I am not sure how these will react when combined to the yucca, but I have seen some of these added to natural products. Please let me know if your shampoo works out for you. I would love to hear how other people are making natural products. I am considering making this from yucca powder.

    I hope your day shines!



    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Good afternoon! thank you for your answer =D

    Well, I use just the yucca roots and the color was white. Did you use only this part of the plant too? And how do you know you can stop blending? Because I'm always afraid that I'm blending not enough or too much time....

    You are right, I know there are many kinds of yucca... But I don`t know which kind is mine... =/ Here in Brazil, I found so many kinds of yucca! I made a research in google and I found that Y. filamentosa is one of those that can make soap. Eschdigera (something like that, I don't know how to write that) too...

    I did an experiment yesterday: I use a "shampoo" made with the yucca leaves (blending, too). It did not make soap in contact with water. But I think my hair seems a little more beautiful. Maybe it's some placebo effect :P

    I get the plant and I have it here in my house, I'm waiting the roots grow up and then I will try to make more shampoo again. Don't worry: it will be a pleasure to write for you when I have news about this issue :D

    If you like, write me too: alecrimcrimcrim@gmail.com

    I think we can make some kind of "naturalnet" to share our advances in self sufficiency (did I use this last word correctly?)

    About yucca powder: here in Brazil I don't think I can find this, but I can try. And in some website I found that the "yucca" powder selling in supermarkets is not the same yucca we are talking about. If you find something different, do you tell me? Sometimes google is a hard place to make this kind of research... :D

    nice you could understand my english, I hope you understand this time too! By the way, I could understand your answer with no problems! Thank you a lot :D

    Have a great day! Kisses :D


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hello again,

    No I did not use the leaves. I used the root only. Please keep in mind the lather is (low sudsing). Commercial shampoos contain extra ingredients that makes high volume suds. I will email you nos.



    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    By the way if you can't understand my English, please let me know and I might be able to translate this reply in your language with a little help from a member here. I understood all of your comment. I hope this helps!



    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Oh: if you let me... I'd like to make you a suggestion =D

    What do you think about making a video whit this tutorial? It would be so good to see how you make this shampoo! :D really! I think it can helps a lot :D

    And, in time: I think so nice the way you decorated your shampoo bottle. Congratulations for your criativity :D very cute :D


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for your comment. I just might do this. Thanks for the compliment and suggestion. I hope you have a great day.



    6 years ago

    Hi there! Great idea that I'd love to try! But I am a little confused on the process. If I obtained powdered yucca root, I would need to make a blend with water? Then something with gelatin and rose petals? Can you explain the construction process for me, I'm sorry.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I have not used the powdered yucca root yet, as I can't find it in my area. If I were to experiment with it, I would make a small amount say 2 tbsp of yucca powder to 12 oz. of distilled water to make a paste. It will be slightly foamy, then I would wash hair. This is not a sudsy shampoo at all. You could try just measuring out 2 tablespoons of the powder and put it in a small plastic cup and massage it through your hair and then wet your hair and try lathering it up. Rinse thoroughly and apply conditioner. If you like it then try to improve it by adding the essential oils and other ingredients to suit your needs, fragrance, shell life and so on. It will take some experimenting I am sure. I bought some fresh cassava yuca to try and make a dry powder but I am not sure when I will do this, hopefully in a week or two. I hope this answers your question. Thanks for asking and do have a splendorous day!


    6 years ago

    i know what u mean i have a huge interest in natural home made organic daily needs so thanx a banch for the share


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    cheap,2 ingredients, no chemicals, organic, natural, and fun to make!
    thanks for commenting and do have a splendorous day!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Wonderful to hear that you have access to it. Let us know of your experience. I might just drive to your neighborhood and buy me a year's supply!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    LOL, I love your humor! I am experimenting using different things because yucca is good, but it is a little more work. I will be adding to this page when I have more information. I want to check into Sapindus and see if I can find it here! I am also checking out other plant/tree alternatives. Thanks for commenting and have a beautiful day!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Here's another natural product I grew up with.....cannot quite find any locally other than in speciality stores for a pretty penny. Same concept as listed here...


    Apparently it is grown in Lousiana and Florida....but do not know anything more than what I have read on the net. Anyone seen this or know about it? With this one, all you have to do is soak to get the stuff to bleed into water and you use it. No grinding, digging, etc.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for sharing this information with my readers! I looked at the link and it grows in my area. I will try it if I can find it! Have a splendorous day!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! Very well documented.
    You got my votes.

    Makes me wish I had more hair ;-)