Homemade Shampoo with Essential Oils

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would one day whip up recipes for homemade shampoo, I would have laughed at you and said, “No way.” But a funny thing happens when you become interested in living more naturally.

Homemade shampoo with essential oils. Super easy, natural recipe that can be customized for different hair types/scalp problems.

First, you start reading … a lot. (After some time, your husband dreads what you’ll say after you start off a sentence with, “so I was reading …”)

Then you start implementing. Slowly at first, with simple things like all-purpose cleaner and making real food switches.

Next you start making your own laundry detergent.

And then you move into the world of natural bath and body products and herbal-infused everything. Oooooh, fun.

One thing leads to another and the next thing you know, you’re excitedly mixing up your own shampoo on the unfinished kitchen counters of the school bus you inhabit with your husband and four kids.

Because you’ve moved past washing your hair with baking soda and water and just plain water and now you’re convinced that you’re a mad scientist confident do-it-yourselfer who can make anything she wants. Which is probably true. (Though, you probably learn some lessons the hard way.)

And that’s how I came to this recipe.

This homemade shampoo is really a combination of two recipes:

First, I was reading about this delightful homemade body wash.

And then one of my awesome readers posted her shampoo recipe on my Facebook page (it’s in the fifth comment if you want to give it a try). Then I had the lightbulb moment – what if I took my favorite parts of each recipe (which happened to be what I had on hand) and mixed them together.

Turns out it was a good move, because I love the results.

First, it makes my normally dry hair super soft and I haven’t had any issues with flaky scalp since I started using it. I can also still go a few days between washings, which I really appreciate.

Second, it makes my husband’s normally oily hair super soft and non-greasy. Which is huge, as none of the recipes we’ve tried have been able to do that. Other people who have tested this recipe also loved how it made their hair feel. Hurray for successful recipes!

Homemade Shampoo with Essential Oils

Homemade shampoo with essential oils. Super easy, natural recipe that can be customized for different hair types/scalp problems.



Mix all of the ingredients in a container with a lid. Put on the lid and shake to combine. Shake before using and use as you would any commercial shampoo.

Be sure to check out this page before you buy essential oils to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Essential Oil Combinations

Now, to figure out which essential oils to use. You can use just one if you’d like, but I typically make a combination for specific properties (and delicious smells).

For yummy smell:

  • 20 drops lavender essential oil & 30 drops wild orange essential oil
  • 20 drops peppermint essential oil & 30 drops lavender essential oil (or wild orange if you don’t want to use lavender)
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil, 25 drops lemongrass essential oil & 10 drops lemon essential oil

For dandruff: 10 drops each lemon, lavender, melaleuca and rosemary essential oils

For fragile hair: 20 drops clary sage, 15 drops lavender & 15 drops wild orange essential oils

For hair loss: 10 drops each rosemary, peppermint, cedarwood and lavender essential oils

Make more simple remedies

Do you make your own shampoo? What do you use?


Want more DIY beauty recipes? Check out this great book from Mommypotamus.

Nina Nelson

Hi I'm Nina. Healer. Wellness advocate. Thriving in a bus with 4 kids. I love Jesus, simple natural living, coffee, and Shetland ponies.


  1. Charlotte says

    This stuff is amazing! Just whipped up a jar today and I can’t believe how well it works. What looks like some mud in a jar turns into the foamiest shampoo ever, and you don’t even need that much!
    Having searched around for liquid Castile soap (it seems it’s hard to come by in the UK) I finally found some unscented (alas, they sent the peppermint instead, but hey ho!) but now my sinuses are as clear as a bell too – bonus!

    Incidentally, if anyone knows what we call liquid Castile soap in the UK, I’d love to know :)

  2. Sara says

    Can this double as a body wash? I’ve been looking for a good homemade body wash that’s moisturizing. Also, would it work the same if I used the baby mild Castile soap?

  3. Lacee says

    I love this recipe and can’t wait to try it! Do you use a conditioner after using this shampoo? Is it needed or redundant? Thank you.

  4. says

    Hi Nina, :)

    Wildcrafting Wednesday is hosting a special Hygiene Edition this week (3/5/2014) for posts on personal care and cleaning recipes; ideas for eliminating disposable cleaning items; and tips for making cleaning easier, faster, and more efficient. We’d love for you to share this post with us!

    Thanks! :)

  5. says

    I have a bottle that’s about six weeks old and is still good. This is the longest I’ve had it last though, as we normally use it before then. :)

  6. Kristen says

    Thanks. :-) I was wanting to make some and give to friends/family and didn’t know how far in advance I could do it up.

  7. tprendergast says

    Which combination of essential oils did you use for oily hair? My daughter has tried EVERYTHING for her oily hair and nothing works. Want to try this.

  8. says

    Hi Nina, I would love to make this, but am allergic to honey – as in my throat starts to swell shut if I even smell honey, which is sad since honey has so many benefits. Is there something that I can use in place of honey that would have the same benefit?

  9. Krissi says

    Hi Nina,
    I love your blog! I just recently whipped up your recipe for home made shampoo. I have tried using just unscented baby castile soap in the past and found that it left my hair oily. I’m running into the same problem with this recipe. Any suggestions, as this is my first attempt at homemade hair care products? Thanks!

  10. Katie says

    Does this work with hard water? I have a high limescale content in my water & the no poo method turns out like cement on my head. Thanks!

  11. says

    Hi Katie,
    Unfortunately, I don’t know. We don’t have hard water and whenever we go to my in-law’s (who have hard water), I forget my shampoo. I’ll ask on the Facebook page.

  12. Cassie says

    I laughed so hard about what you said about your husband dreading you telling him things about what you are reading…I’m having the same issue! My husband told me today that “Even though you’re getting crazy (into healthy living) I’ll still love you!” Ha ha. Thanks for the idea for the homemade shampoo, I’m definitely going to have to try it!

  13. says

    So I made shampoo with Coconut Milk, canned, and it spoiled in just a couple weeks. Literally smelled like puke. And I noticed it after it was in my hair, and the smell lingered. Grossed me out and made me nervous to try again. Do you store it a special way to avoid that? Mine was not this recipe, so maybe something in here prevents the spoiling?

  14. says

    Oh man, that is not good! So far, mine has lasted 2 months with no spoilage or weird smells. I think the honey in the recipe helps acts as a preservative. Did your recipe have honey in it?

  15. says

    I wanted to mention, using the Melaleuca oil (Tea Tree) also keeps lice away. We had a recurring problem from my daughter’s daycare from October through January. Nothing was working. A friend told us about using the oil to deter them. Since adding Melaleuca to all of our shampoo, no one has had any lice!

  16. Sue says

    Excited to try. Didn’t see a reply to the question of whether you also use a conditioner, or just this shampoo alone? Sorry if you’ve already answered!

  17. kate says

    I was wondering if anything could be substituted for the fractioned coconut oil?

  18. Mcgeemumxthree says

    A comment and question about the shampoo smelling like puke. I have had this reaction happen with the use of Castile with hard water. We used it for everything. Then we moved to a place with hard water. Our clothes and towels has such a strong vomit smell that I seriously considered throwing away everything we owned and starting fresh. I only figured it out because my mop head, that only ever touches Castile and water, smelled so much like vomit that I vomited a bit after smelling it.

  19. Elsa says

    Can I use any other baby shampoo to replace the castile soap? because I don’t have it in Portugal…

  20. Wendy says

    In reply to Mcgeemumxthree’s and budgetingjoy’s issue with the mix of castile and water going bad, you need to realize that once you mix any homemade product with water, it will go bad within 3-4 days. Water, no matter if it’s distilled, boiled, etc., provides an environment for bacteria and microorganisms to thrive in. The only way to solve this issue is to either make small batches and use up the product within a couple days or add some form of preservative.

    Unfortunately, contrary to what most would believe, essential oils (tea tree, lavender, etc.), vitamin E, grape seed extract, and citric acid are NOT preservatives.

    It is not the castile soap that is making your shampoo/product go bad, but the water/milk/aloe/hydrosol/anything water based (yes, even honey) that is making it go bad. If you wish to make a larger batch of homemade whatever to keep for a long time, I would suggest you include into the mix a preservative. Preservatives aren’t necessarily bad for you (I used to think so, also), and there are preservatives out there that do not contain paraben (if you are against it for whatever reason–there actually are no strong evidence linking paraben to disease/cancer). I highly suggest doing more homework/research on your own.

    Here are two sites that might be of use to peruse:



    I hope this helps. :)

  21. Adina says

    I made the hair loss shampoo ingredients and used it for the first time today. A lot of my hair feel off, is this supposed to be normal?

  22. Adina says

    Oh… That is odd then. I guess my hair can’t take those ingredients. I’ll need to experiment with something else. Do you have any other suggestions?

  23. says

    You could try just honey and water – warm 1/4 cup each and then store in a glass jar (so you can experiment with it). Or you could try just water – scrub your scalp in the shower (that’s what I’ve switched to now).

  24. Adina says

    Thank you so much, Nina. I will try those out. I’ve tried water only before but it doesn’t make my hair look clean… My hair is oily.

  25. Y says

    Hi Nina, I love this shampoo i have been using it for about 4 months now, mine never gets spoiled, and i love the way my hair feels. The only problem is that it gives me dandruff. do you have any recommendation? I am so happy i found a recipe that makes my hair beautiful if it only didnt make my scalp flake, I followed the recipe just like yours, except for coconut oil i did almond oil, i even used baby mild castille soap. Please help!!!!!!

  26. says

    Can you find some coconut oil to try and maybe add some more tea tree essential oil? When I use it, I don’t have any problems with dandruff (and typically do), so I’m wondering if the coconut oil helps (my gut says yes). And so glad it’s making your hair lovely!

  27. Kristen says

    Hello! I was super excited to try this and I did for the first time last night. I was concerned that I would leave my hair oily because it didn’t seem to rinse clean. This morning when I woke up my hair was so oily that at first I thought it was wet. Any suggestions for this? I’d really hate for this not to work for me because I was really looking forward to DIY shampoo. Thanks!

  28. says

    Hi Kristen, I would try it again and if it doesn’t work, try tweaking the recipe. There’s a link in the post to another shampoo recipe that might work better.

  29. Adina says

    Hi Nina,

    It’s Adina again.
    I wanted to update you on my progress with your homemade shampoo recipe that I made and been using because I haven’t and didn’t give up on your natural shampoo. I’ve heard so many wonderful reviews that I couldn’t let myself give up.

    My hair had been falling off less and less and the pimples and dry spots on my scalp has been getting better and disappeared… I added one extra ingredient to your recipe that helps with the pimple/dry spots = 100% pure vegetable glycerin.

    In addition to the shampoo, I use a homemade/natural hair conditioner that I made with water, vinegar, vegetable glycerin, and essential oils. The conditioner helps my hair to not have a waxy feel.

    I found out the reason for my hair fall out… My head/scalp was trying to get use to using better/natural ingredients from years of using all of the harsh/store bought shampoos.

    As for the water washing… I’m not there yet… But will try in the later future. :-D


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