Natural shampoo never even crossed my mind for more than two decades. Over the past couple years, as my family has tried to eat healthier and 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?
So you’re not sure whether you actually want to give up your shampooing routine as is. That’s fine, it certainly is your choice at the end of the day. However, if you are interested in the reasons why many are ditching traditional shampoo, here are just a few of them:
For starters, many shampoos have lots questionable ingredients (like carcinogens in baby shampoo). Of course, if you are trying to live an all-natural lifestyle, these chemicals are no good. Be sure to carefully check shampoo ingredients if you are interested in finding a natural alternative.
Bad For Your Scalp
Even if we move beyond the “toxic” discussion and just talk beauty, there is another reason to reconsider switching to a different approach to your hair and beauty products.
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. Seems counterintuitive, but it’s very real, and a big reason that people are cutting back on shampoo. You can essentially “train” your body to not produce oils at such a fast rate, which may make you more comfortable with the way your hair looks.
What is an Alternative?
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.
P.S. Use the coupon code TYB15 at checkout and get 15% off your entire Morrocco Method purchase.
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 teaspoon avocado oil
1/8 tsp peppermint essential oil (Learn how I get my favorite essential oils at wholesale prices here.)
1/8 teaspoon tea tree essential oil
1 teaspoon 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 squeeze 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 hair 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!
So try adding this natural shampoo to your routine, I was very happy with the results. It is just a bonus that this is an all-natural solution with no hazardous chemicals. And while it might seem like a lot of work at first, you can save yourself a lot of hassle down the road by preparing a lot of shampoo at once.
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 pyrolidone), 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.
As with anything, these things often come down to personal taste. If you are fine with your current shampoo routine, that is totally fine, but if you want to give this a shot, then just be aware of this potential “detox” period. Many find a couple rough weeks is worth it in order to make the switch to an all-natural routine they can be proud of.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
So there you have it, an all-natural shampoo you can make yourself. As I’ve explained in this article, switching to an all-natural shampoo is not always so easy. You should be aware of a potential “detox” period in which your scalp adjusts to a new shampoo. But if you find that your hair just isn’t taking to all-natural or organic shampoo, then you can simply go back to your old routine.
I hope this article has helped you and I’m very interested to hear what you think! Finding a great hair care routine can be quite tough, so let me know if you’ve tried to make the switch to all-natural, or if you have any other routines you would recommend.
UPDATE: I now use this pH balanced shampoo recipe which has been much kinder to my scalp than the natural shampoo recipe below.
Here’s a quick outline of this pH balanced shampoo, but feel free to click the article for a more in-depth look.
Why pH Balanced Shampoo?
I actually learned from a reader that a pH balanced shampoo will will fix many of the problems associated with scalp and skin on the head. What I learned was that a high pH shampoo (such as the one above) can potentially strip away some natural acids on your scalp that can fight bacteria.
The natural shampoo recipe above uses castile soap, which is a type of soap that is high in pH.
On the contrary, a pH balanced shampoo has a lower level of pH more in line with your scalp’s natural levels. As a result, you might find that this shampoo does not dry out your hair or leave you with an itchy scalp.
If you still prefer the all-natural recipe above, then by all means! But know that a pH balanced shampoo is a great option as well, and just follow the link above to learn more.
KEEPIN’ IT REAL – MOST RECENT UPDATE 2019: These days I actually find that I enjoy using Morocco Method pH Balanced (all natural, hand-crafted, raw) products. Their apple cider shampoo helped my scalp even more than my own pH balanced recipe. AND Morrocco Method was the ONLY thing that got rid of my kid’s cradle cap issues.
I love, love, love their products and highly recommend you start with their healthy hair starter package if it’s your first time switching to chemical-free hair products. Even if you are a die-hard DIY-er, nothing quite compares with their incredible recipes. (And yes, they go beyond my super high natural standards).