Adventures in Homemade Shampoo

In the past three months, M has opened my side of the medicine cabinet and asked “who are you?” at least five times.

My side of the bathroom medicine cabinet is now filled with oils and jars of strange liquid (in addition to about 20 bottles of nail polish).

The grapeseed and caster oils replaced my face wash. The jar of apple cider vinegar and water has replaced my toner, the old chemical filled shampoo I had has been replaced by the Argan Oil Shampoo…and a giant jar of coconut oil has replaced my moisturizer.

I’m on a campaign to gradually switch my conventional body care products out for more natural ones. Getting away from the artificial chemicals in the usual body care suspects.

My face care transition started in January.   I just ran out of shampoo, so I figured that would be the next thing to change.

I wasn’t quite ready to go “no poo.” I have curly hair which I maintain with the help of hot rollers from and I only wash it with shampoo once a week (on Wednesdays, because Wednesday and Wash start with the same letter). I get a little scared that I’d be a totally greaseball 6 days a week instead of my usual 5 days if I went poo-free.

Luckily I came across a post on the Edible Perspective about homemade skin care products, that had a recipe for homemade shampoo using coconut milk and Castile soap. I love coconut. Some even say I’m turning into a coconut. So I decided to give it a try.

Lavender Coconut Shampoo


1/4 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup lavender Castile soap

Just mix the coconut milk and the soap in a jar. That’s the only step.

So easy. I wanted to eat it…

I really like this shampoo. I mean, I reeeally like it. Why? Well, I’ll tell you: call me a “gross kid” but I like my hair best a few days after I wash it– it’s got enough texture that I can pull it back into a pony tail without half of it sticking straight up in a curl halo around my face, but it’s also still got some curl.  My hair felt like this after one use of this shampoo–but not in a dirty way, in a moisturized and thick way.

I still used some of my Desert Essence  coconut conditioner along with the shampoo, but I liked this stuff so much that I don’t think I’ll ever go back to normal shampoo again!

Do you make any of your own skin or hair care products?

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22 Responses to Adventures in Homemade Shampoo

  1. Jenna | The Paleo Project April 4, 2012 at 10:36 AM #

    Hmm, I think because I have straight, lighter hair, I can’t STAND my hair after a few days without a wash. It gets too stringy. I wonder what would work for my type of hair.

    • Allison April 4, 2012 at 10:42 AM #

      That’s a good point– I know that Ashley from Edible Perspective (, from whom I got this recipe, also has straight hair. She mentioned that her hair felt thicker, but also a little bit heavy after using this. I personally like my hair to be a little bit heavy because it keeps my fro under control.

      I’m not sure, but I think that the coconut milk moisturizes enough that you could use this shampoo every day if you wanted. You might also be able to play with the ratios of soap to coconut milk– maybe more soap for lighter hair?

      Thanks for sharing!

    • andrea April 4, 2012 at 7:28 PM #

      My daughter (8) has thin straight hair and she uses this shampoo (and no conditioner) about every other day or so. Its wonderful and her hair looks great! I on the other hand have loose curls and wash about twice a week. I think this recipe will work for just about any hair type just adjust how often you wash with how your hair feels. I cant imagine it drying out anyones hair even if it was washed every day, but if it did add a little olive oil, vitamin E (cut open capsules and pour in, jojoba oil, or just follow up with a little bit of conditioner

      • Allison April 4, 2012 at 8:55 PM #

        Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this, Andrea! I love the idea of adding some jojoba oil.

        • andrea April 11, 2012 at 12:55 AM #

          no problem 🙂 I want to try the jojoba oil next time! the olive oil didn’t work so great, mostly i think because she would forget to shake the bottle before using it

  2. Sarah M April 5, 2012 at 2:59 PM #

    So I’m curious how you get away with only washing your hair a few times a week, even with working out. I look like a drenched rat when I’m done working out, which later leads to nicer curls, but if I went too long, it would be a greasy, smelly mess. That’s the ONLY thing that has kept me from making my own shampoo. How do you maintain in between?

    • Allison April 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM #

      Hmm…I wear a lot of pony tails and headbands? I think it might be my hairstyling (or lack there of) that lets me get away with only washing once or twice a week. I have about 40 billion headbands… I literally wear my hair down the day that I wash it, and then it gets pulled up until I wash it again…BUT I did talk to an actual curly hair specialist at my friends salon once, and she told me that the cuticle with curly hair is open as opposed to straight hair, which has a closed cuticle. This means that curly hair tends to dry out faster. She told me to wash my hair with shampoo once a week and condition the ends every time I shower.

  3. Tom holistic spirit May 26, 2012 at 9:06 AM #

    I think it also has alot to do with the general stress level in the whole body. Everything shows up in our skin and hair.

    I am a acupuncturist, and in that field we say that stress often goes into the hair skin and nails.

  4. Cheerfully Vegan June 26, 2012 at 6:13 PM #

    I would love to see pictures of people before and after who use this. I’ve been looking on the internet and finding a lot of “no-poo” hair…but I’ve not been impressed. It looks just a little too heavy and greasy to me, unless they have marvelously curly hair – then it looks amazing! I’m afraid of what mine would do. Your recipe, however, looks very do-able. I’m not so certain that it’s any cheaper, however, than what I buy at the health food store…the castile soap I got was $10 for a large bottle!

  5. Kristi December 22, 2012 at 5:21 PM #

    Could you use coconut oil instead of the coconut milk?

    • Allison December 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM #

      Hi Kristi. Coconut oil might work– expect it would turn solid at room temperature in the wintertime…you’d have to heat it up a little before using. I’ve never tried coconut oil mixed with castile soap– but I have used just plain coconut oil as a deep conditioner. I usually shower, then massage the coconut oil into my hair and leave it on for about 20 minutes (under a shower cap) and then rinse.

  6. Crystal December 30, 2012 at 10:55 PM #

    Do you have to refrigerate this and how long will it keep?

    • Marcia Sullivan February 13, 2013 at 7:38 AM #

      Another online site that posted this recipe says it will keep a month, no refrigeration necessary.

  7. Melissa July 14, 2013 at 4:27 PM #

    I tried this and … I love love love !! I have very dry damaged frizzy curly hair and after one use I saw and felt a great difference !! Thanks for sharing !

  8. Rachel January 14, 2014 at 10:16 AM #

    I found a similar recipe too. I just opened up a notch in the coconut milk though, so I’m wondering if a lot of the thickness did not make it out of the can because my shampoo is SO runny. I was trying to thicken it up this morning and did something extremely stupid. I read somewhere that someone used ground chia seeds as a thickener. I was out of chia, but I had flax meal. Well….I mixed that with the shampoo to let it thicken up. Um, BIG mistake! It took 3 additional washings to get all the flax meal out of my hair…it looked like I had little maggots everywhere. LOL

    Anyway….I didn’t’ need to share all of that, but I think I need to try again and make sure I open the coconut milk all the way and hope that it is thicker next time.

    • Allison January 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM #

      Ha! That’s great, Rachel– I wonder if you could use arrowroot powder to thicken it up– I’ve used arrowroot as a dry shampoo before: it absorbs the grease on your hair…BUT my coconut milk shampoo was also a tad runnier than conventional shampoo– it might also have to do with the brand of castille soap you use.

  9. Rachel January 14, 2014 at 11:06 AM #

    I used Dr. Bronners. The shampoo consistency isn’t much thicker than water. I considered using arrowroot as a thickener….I’ll try a small batch.

    Lots of great info on your blog by the way, I look forward to exploring more. 🙂

    • Allison January 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM #

      Thank you, Rachel!


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