Homemade Natural Shampoo: Simple Yet Effective

How to make your own simple and natural shampoo
April 20, 2014 Updated: April 20, 2014

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I so wanted to be on the wash-your-hair-with-baking-soda train. I really, really did.

I gave it my honest-to-goodness best effort. The results were wonderful at first but after a few weeks, my scalp was itchier than it had ever been, partnered with a light dusting of snow that sprinkled from my head whenever I scratched. ‘Twas not pleasant.

That being said, I was much too proud to turn around and go back to shampoo, so I set out to find a better solution. My goal was to find something that acted like real shampoo, with the benefits of baking soda scalp-scrubbing (minus the desert-do), but was also moisturizing and yummy-smelling… and natural. Also, as with anything else I make at home, I hate when recipes have all kinds of hard-to-find or expensive ingredients (and they get bonus points if I don’t even have to go buy anything). My research did not disappoint. Thanks, once again, to the always helpful Crunchy Betty and a few other recipes, I came up with something that I’m newly in love with.

This hair-wash suds like a shampoo, is free of toxins, smells delicious, moisturizes AND it brought my curls back to their old bouncy, shiny selves. Yeehaw!

The one problem with this recipe is that it is perishable. It lasts about a week at room temperature or longer in the fridge. But don’t fret! There are a couple solutions to this problem. The first is to make it “to serve” each time you wash your hair (which only needs to be about 1-3 times a week). The other, the method I chose, is to make a larger batch and freeze it in individual portions (think ice cube trays or mini muffin pans). You can take out one portion and let it thaw in the fridge overnight the day before you plan to wash your hair. It sounds annoying but it only takes a beensy bit of planning ahead to accomplish.

Why it works:

Castile soap has a PH level of about 8.9 (neutral is 7) but that’s OK.  It won’t harm your skin, and it needs to be slightly more alkaline to have a cleansing effect. You can wash your hair with plain castile if you like, but this can be a little drying  and doesn’t give you many suds. Mixing the castile soap with coconut milk adds moisturizers  and helps create a lather (and, therefore, a better wash) because coconut contains a natural surfactant.

Surfactant molecules pull the oils off a surface, suspend them within bubbles of water, and remove them with the water.  How neat is that?! Chemically derived surfactants in commercial cleansers strip your skin of natural oils, and being exposed to them in cleaning products can cause eye and lung irritation, as they are mildly toxic. They may have other health impacts. If that isn’t enough of a reason to make your own shampoo (and other cleaning products), I don’t know what is!

Alright. Chemistry lesson done.

Now because I don’t like recipes to be too complicated, I’ll give you the bones of this one and you can customize to your heart’s content. Are you ready to finally be let in on the magic that is chemical-free homemade shampoo? Fantastic! Here it is…

What You Need To Make Your Homemade Shampoo:

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3 TBSP Liquid Castile Soap (Dr. Bronner’s  Homemade Natural Shampoo: Simple Yet Effective is a great brand)

1/2 Cup Coconut Milk (Canned is fine but homemade would be amazing)

That’s it!

See the rest of Tracy’s directions on how to prepare your homemade shampoo at Little Boozy Homemakers

Tracy and Joc are sisters, wives, and mothers, and they love to make things with their own two hands. Read more of their great homemaking tips on their blog Little Boozy Homemakers


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