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.
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
- 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
- 1/4 cup canned coconut milk (tip: freeze the rest of the contents of the can in cubes using an ice cube tray so you can use it for future recipes.)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp fractionated coconut oil
- 1 tbsp Vitamin E oil
- 40 – 50 drops essential oils (I’ll talk specifics in a minute)
Mix all of the ingredients in a container with a lid (like this squeeze bottle). Put on the lid and shake to combine. Shake before using and use as you would any commercial shampoo.
It lasts for a while. Like, I just found several travel bottles full of this shampoo that I made up for kids to take to camp … a year ago. And it’s still good. So yeah.
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 flaky scalp: 10 drops each lemon, lavender, tea tree 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.
The best way to get essential oils
If you’re not an existing doTERRA wholesale member, get started now by getting a kit. Seriously. It’s a great way to save money on oils, there’s no pressure to buy or sell the oils, no monthly order minimums and you always get a 25% discount. And when you renew each year they send you a free 15 mL bottle of peppermint essential oil to say thank you (so basically you buy a bottle of peppermint a year to keep the account).
Check out the kits and get started here. And go with the bigger bottles if you can!
I love this recipe and can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.
Do you use any kind of conditioner?
I don’t. The shampoo itself makes my hair pretty soft.
How long does it keep? Do you need to refrigerate it?
The Vitamin E oil acts as a preservative so there’s no need to refrigerate. I’ve had it last a little over a month, but that’s because we used it all and not because it went bad.
How often do you wash your hair with this? I have been doing baking soda and acv for the last month and have been washing every 5 to 6 days.
Typically every 3 days.
This sounds fantastic for my hair type (long, fine, dry, curly) What is the what is the texture of the final product? Does the honey make it thick or sticky? Is it easy to rinse out? I need something that will rinse out easily. I think an addition of Argon oil would.be fantastic..
It’s pretty runny and rinses out easily. I’m going to try adding shea butter to my next batch because I’d tried commercial shampoos in the past with shea butter and liked how they made my hair feel (though the shampoo was way too expensive).
The vit. e really keeps the coconut milk from spoiling? What if we don’t use it all in a month?
I would keep using it and make note of if/when it goes bad. If you aren’t going to use much, you could always make 1/2 the recipe.
I love the ingredients in this shampoo. I have to make it this week. I know it will do wonders for my hair.
Definitely sharing this with friends. Love your content!
This sounds wonderful except I am vegan. Any ideas on a honey replacement for this?
I would try the shampoo recipe that I linked to in the post that one of my readers shared: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=525038367566001&set=pb.108113932591782.-2207520000.1381723520.&type=3&theater. It’s the 5th comment and doesn’t have honey.
Great blog! I have been looking for a shampoo recipe and can’t wait to try this one! Thank you!
I will have to try that one. Thank you. I love your blog. 🙂
I’m going to try that, thanks!
Hello, does it foam? I have a lot of hair and really like it when it foams, it feels clean as well and easy to manage it. I know natural shampoos do not foam much.
Castile soap is too alkaline for hair and scalp, so would this still work if I cut back on the castile? I’m assuming the honey helps balance the pH? Thanks for the recipe! Excited to try this
I made this shampoo the exact way described and it came out very bad. I just tried it for the first time and the texture of my hair was horrible. It was sticky, dry, and I couldn’t event comb it so I had to re wash my hair with regular shampoo. I did everything the same exact way, not sure how you can call it a great shampoo. Would never use it again.
Is this your first time using non-commercial shampoo? Sometimes it takes a while for your hair and scalp to get used to the change.
Yes it is but I have used natural shampoos in the past bought from the store though and it was not as foamy as I liked it to be so I stopped using it.
I actually remembered I had forgotten to use honey, when I tried it yesterday. I added some later and will try it again in a couple of days. However I still think the shampoo was to watery and not foaming much…anything I can add to get it foam more and to make it thicker?
I’ll ask on my Facebook page. Castile soap really doesn’t foam much and it’s pretty thin – something I’ve had to get used to since switching to more natural stuff minus foaming agents.
I believe that company’s add sodium laurel sulfate to make the shampoo foam more yet really has no other effect on cleaning your hair just gives you the impression cuz it foams it is cleaning your hair better
Where did you get the pump bottle in the picture? I’ve been looking for a reliable company to buy some bottles for all my cleaning and body products, and finding one that has pump bottles has been the most difficult! And great shampoo recipe, I’m definitely going to try this one.
I ordered a few through http://aromatools.com, Amanda. I get a lot of containers for my cleaning and body products through there.
Do you know if I could replace honey with agave? I’m vegan so I don’t have any honey on hand. Thanks!!
I have in the past, Paloma. Though, I can’t remember if you have to use a different ratio.
Wow, Nina. Sometimes when I read your blog, I feel like I’m reading my own (if I had one)! After about 6 months of BS/ACV, I decided to just start using my body wash as shampoo, then came up with a shampoo recipe of my own that was a combo of many recipes I had read about/tried/liked. My combo was exactly like this recipe, the only difference is the addition of avocado oil. Then I read that you have to refrigerate any shampoo with coconut milk in it, and was disappointed because that is way too much hassle- it’s hard enough to shower having 2 toddlers as it is! So I’m super excited to find out that I don’t have to do that & I cannot wait to try this!!
First time homemade shampoo-er! I’m making these in various forms for Xmas gifts. Thank you for all your help first off, but secondly, do you know any way to make the emulsification permanent? Also, I too would like the shampoo thickened simply so I can control the flow as I am used to.
I want to try this recipe next. The one I have now I’m not really that thrilled about. Mine is also very runny so what I did was put it in a foaming pump (reuse those B&B pumps somehow!) and it no longer runs all over that way.
I assume this is safe for color treated hair….also, would keeping this in the fridge make it a little thicker?
Something in our az water seems to react badly with castile soap, unless it’s just me. I’ve tired it for many things and it leaves a disgusting feel. Guess I might not be able to add shampoo to the things I make, I can’t find any recipes without it.
I tried this recipe but it leaves a film on my hair so that when my hair air dries, it still looks wet. I tried rinsing my hair 3 times but it still persists. Does anyone else have this issue? Any solutions?
Please keep in mind that Vitamin E is NOT a preservative. It is an anti-oxidant that can help retard rancidity, but it is not a preservative that will prevent microbial growth. You can use a combo of Leucidal (radish root extract) and aspen bark extract as a natural preservative.
Thanks for the correction and suggestions, Stephanie!
You bet – happy to help!
Are there any oils you specifically wouldn’t recommend to use in this recipe? Thank you.
How long does this take to spoil? And how do you know if it is bad? Also, do you use a conditioner or apple cider vin rinse?
I’ve really never had it last long enough to spoil, Nicole, so I’m not sure. If it starts to smell bad, I wouldn’t use it anymore. I don’t use any conditioner or vinegar rinse.
Hi if I don’t want to use castile soap, is there a substitution I can use? I was wondering if I could use aloe vera juice or gel instead. This recipe looks great.
Hi. I asked about any essential oils you would not recommend to use in shampoo, but I guess my question got lost somewhere. So, are there any essential oils you would not recommend to use in hair? Also, I made the recipe and it feels great when I apply the shampoo, but once i rinse it, it leaves my hair quite unmanageable. I can’t brush it and it’s as if I poured very thick oil over it. I will keep using it hoping my hair gets used to the change as it was mentioned above.
As far as oils that would be bad for the hair, I don’t know which ones might be. I tend to stick with citrus oils and certain floral ones. I also love rosemary and tea tree. You might not want to do a mint, because it will sting pretty badly if it gets in your eyes, but if you really wanted it, I’d just do a few drops.
As for the oily feeling, what kind of oil are you using and have you done non-commercial shampoo before? It might be that it needs time to adjust or it could need to be altered for your hair (like taking out the honey or cutting the oil in half or using a vinegar rinse afterward). Hope it works!
Thanks Ashley. I’ve not tried it with anything else, so I’m really not sure, sorry. I’d definitely experiment with the aloe vera gel, though.
I’m interested in trying this shampoo, but I have 1 problem. My husband is deathly allergic to coconut (his throat swells and he stops breathing). I don’t know if using coconut externally would give him a similar reaction to eating it, but I’m really not interested in running the risk. Would almond milk or some such item be an acceptable substitute?
I’m going to ask on the Facebook page, Helen.
Can I use argan oil in this? I love how it makes my hair feel.
If i wanted to add Shea butter to this how much would i? and what kind would you recommend?
I just did that, Angila. I did 2 tbsp. I’m waiting for my old batch to run out so I can use it. I get mine from http://organic-creations.com
try ritha poweder with water it acts as shampoo
Do you mean “soap nuts”, Mariam? They are AWESOME!
This recipe is useful for us. I have more recipes of homemade shampoo. I think this article will also useful for our readers.
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 🙂
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?
Yes, Sara. I’ve used it as body wash and I always use baby mild castile soap. 🙂
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.
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!
How long will this last?
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. 🙂
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.
If they know they won’t use it all up for a while, they can also keep half in the fridge or freezer to ensure it stays good.
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.
We like citrus oils for that. Wild orange and lime smell amazing.
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?
Hmmm. Not that I can think of (and I’m so sorry, by the way). 🙁 I would just make it sans honey and see how it works for you.
Thank you. I will try it.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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?
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?
It didn’t have honey in it. I am going to make your recipe now! Hopefully that is the secret. Thank you for the quick response! 🙂
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!
That’s a great tip! Thank you so much!
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!
I don’t think I did, Sue. Just the shampoo. 🙂
I was wondering if anything could be substituted for the fractioned coconut oil?
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.
Any idea what could be subbed for the Castile?
Can I use any other baby shampoo to replace the castile soap? because I don’t have it in Portugal…
Where do you find fractionated coconut oil? Thanks!
I get mine from doTERRA, Erin. You can also find it on Amazon.
You can find FCO much cheaper than that. Try NDA here: http://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/coconut-fractionated-carrier-oil-mediumchain-triglyceride-6040-p-451.html
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. 🙂
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?
Oh no! Not normal, Adina, at least not in my experience.
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?
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).
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.
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!!!!!!
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!
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!
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.
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. 😀
I’ve heard that castile soap strips your hair and isnt good for it.
I am A 64 year old ethnic woman who would like to make her own shampoos and conditioners as well as soaps, what do I need to do first? next I would like to make my own facial cleansers and moisturizers that will tighten my skin, where do I start?
Can I substitute organic virgin coconut oil
for the fractionated coconut oil?
You’ll want something that’s liquid at room temperature, Aimee. Maybe avocado oil or something similar.
do you have to store the shampoo and body wash made with essential oils in glass?
Would this work as a baby shampoo and soap? I really want something with some oils in it as it is for a biracial baby and I don’t want his hair to dry out, plus eczema runs strong in the family.
Since there are so little essential oils compared to the rest of the ingredients, no.
The castile soap used isn’t tear-free. But. When my youngest two were babies I used a baby shampoo with castile soap in it and was just careful not to get it in their eyes. So the short answer is yes, but you still have to be careful around the eyes.
This is a wonderful recipe! I gave up shampoo cold turkey three weeks ago and started using this with an ACV rinse after. My hair is softer, brighter, and shiny.
The only thing I’ve noticed, however, is that my hair has a stringy, oily feel. Could this be part of the ‘transition’ to chemical free shampoo, or could I have too much coconut oil in my batch? Thanks!
Do you know of a good substitute for coconut in this recipe? I’m interested in making my own shampoo, but I have a family member with a contact allergy to coconut. It is very, very hard to find coconut free (or coconut derivative free) shampoo.
You know, I think if I found this recipe and couldn’t use coconut, I’d make it without the coconut milk and use avocado oil or almond oil instead (and I’d use a wee bit less of that.
Awesome, I know I can find avocado oil locally. Thanks!
Im so excited to try this! What is the difference between fractionated coconut oil and virgin?
Fractionated coconut oil stays liquid at any temperature, whereas the other kind does not.
I went To made sampoo, so please give some tips ,
I went talk you..
I am in India
Hi Nina, I have also started making my own cosmetic products, the shampoo is next! You are mentioning that your husband uses this shampoo successfully on his oily hair, mine is really oily too. I have a short haircut simply because I have to wash it every day, that’s a lot of shampoo I use in a year. In the comments I read that citrus oils work great for oily hair. Can you please give me the details on what essential oils you used and in what amounts for your husband’s shampoo? Thank you!!
Hi Claudia. For my husband’s hair, I use 10 drops melaleuca, 20 drops wild orange and 5 drops cedarwood.
Can this shampoo be used as a 2 in 1 without following with conditioner?
Does this shampoo create a lather?
Not much of one, Donna.
Can you substitute the Vit E oil for Jojoba?
Hi Nina, Do you happen to have a rough estimate of what it costs to make a batch of this and approx how many ounces it makes? I’m weighing weather it’s worth buying a natural shampoo from a supplier ($25 for 8 oz) or making mine own. Thanks!
Hi Nina! I love this recipe! It’s my favorite DIY shampoo recipe yet! I especially liked the tip for saving all the extra coconut milk. I was wondering where you get the glass bottles that you have shown in your photos. All the glass bottles I have are too large and dangerous to have in the shower so I’m stuck using plastic bottles to store this shampoo in. Thanks again for this wonderful recipe!
Thanks, Alice! Those are just small amber glass bottles. So you could re-use a 15 mL essential oil bottle or check Mountain Rose Herbs. Their bottles with the droppers might work really well.
I made this shampoo and my hair is extremely oily and feels super dirty. I tried washing with it 3 times with same results. What could be causing it? I haven’t used store bought shampoo for about 3 month so I think my hair have detoxed already. Thank you.
How do you store the shampoo? The coconut milk would turn rancid if just left out. also how long have you used this and have you had any ill effects on the scalp? I have terrible dandruff and I am worried that it will make it worse due to the harshness of the castile soap.
I’ve kept it in the shower up to six weeks with no problems, Leeann. I had no ill effects on my scalp while I was using it.
Thank you so much for the reply! I am going to make a batch and see how it does. 🙂
I’m new to using coconut milk. Are you talking about the liquid or the thicker cream part that separates? Or do you mix the entire can together and use that? It was stated that this worked well for oily hair which my husband has. I however, have very dry hair. Would this still be a good option for me? Thanks.