Natural shampoo never even crossed my mind for more than two decades. Over the past couple years, as my family has tried to cut back on toxic chemicals in our house, I have experimented with all sorts of organic and “all natural” shampoos. Sadly, all left me a little closer to broke and with greasy, waxy hair. Not good.
In an effort to seal my “crunchy” status, I even tried the whole ‘no poo thing hoping to rid myself completely of a need for any sort of “product.” After two months of trying, I learned that with my hard water it just wasn’t going to happen. (Sigh) I was beginning to think I was doomed to harsh chemicals and cleaners in order to feel like I could show my face (or head) in public again. Surely there was a natural shampoo that would work? Anyone? Anyone?
In one last attempt, I adapted a few recipes until I came up with this beautiful, homemade, DIY, all natural shampoo of GLORY! (Yes, I love it that much!)
Why get rid of your shampoo?
For starters, many shampoos have lots questionable ingredients (like carcinogens in baby shampoo). But if we move beyond the “toxic” discussion and just talk beauty, there is another reason to reconsider switching to a different approach.
Most commercial shampoos strip the scalp of its natural oils. The body, in its infinite wisdom, tries to balance itself back out by producing more oil. This of course translates into hair that gets really greasy really fast — a reason why most people feel like they need to wash their hair every day or two. Because they do. Because our shampoos are destroying our natural balance. The product we need to feel less greasy is making us… well, more greasy.
This natural shampoo recipe below is a great alternative. It’s easy, smells good, lathers good (yes!), and is much less harsh on your head. I find I only need to wash about twice a week now and my hair doesn’t get NEARLY as gross as it used to (even by day 4). Of course everyone’s hair is different, and the water in your shower can also make a huge difference. Be sure to give your scalp at least two weeks to adjust before giving up. You’ll probably feel a little more greasy for the first couple of days while your body’s natural oil production balances back to normal.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: I now use this pH balanced shampoo recipe which has been much kinder to my scalp than the natural shampoo recipe below.
All natural homemade shampoo recipe
½ cup distilled water
¼ cup liquid castile soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby mild… I can use it on my baby, too!*)
2 tsp avocado oil
1/8 tsp peppermint essential oil (Learn how to get my favorite essential oils at wholesale prices here.)
1/8 tsp tea tree essential oil
1 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional, gives the shampoo a little more “body”)
10 – 15 drops of essential oils* (optional, but makes it smell goooood!)
Put the above ingredients in a bottle (you could even reuse an old shampoo bottle). Shake well before each use. Pour a little over your head. Lather good. Gently massage in the scalp for a minute or two. Rinse completely.
You could easily double or triple this recipe. Just make sure you have a bottle large enough. You should be able to find all of these ingredients at your local health foods store or they are easily found online**.
You can do a quick ACV or lemon juice rinse to help balance the pH of your scalp. You may find that you want less or more ACV for your “perfect” hair conditioner. (ACV = Apple Cider Vinegar if you are new to the “crunchy” world of acronyms.)
The best part? This shampoo can also be used as a body wash!
A word about making the switch to natural shampoo:
You must be patient when it comes to switching your hair care from commercial to natural. There is often a “detox” period where you hair may feel stiff, sticky, oily, heavy, or dry. The myriad of synthetic products that are so often in our commercial shampoos and conditioners artificially coat the hair with plastic or protein polymers to make it look and feel undamaged. The more damaged the hair, the more porous it becomes; the more porous the hair, the more it absorbs these synthetic “protein” polymers (e.g. soy, wheat or oat proteins – that are NOT edible foods), plastic polymers such as PVP (petrochemical polyvinyl pyrrolidone) and gum coating agents.
Until the residues of protein and plastic polymers have been completely removed your hair will take some time to heal from all the chemicals… leaving it feeling a little less than “ideal.” But if you’re patient, the end result is worth the wait! As new hair grows in to replace old damaged hair, you’ll probably be amazed at the difference. Then again, for some folks with very chemically damaged hair, you may not like the way your hair feels after the detox, because this natural shampoo contains none of the vinyl or protein plastic polymers to coat their hair to make it feel or look undamaged. Just a heads up.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
Looking for more great all natural and toxic free recipes? Check out my book Toxic Free.
*If you are planning on using this recipe on young babies or toddlers you should skip the essential oils. Some essential oils are too strong for their sensitive bodies. (learn how to get my favorite essential oils at wholesale prices here.)