Skip to main content

Spa-At-Home: Easy Home Recipes for Natural Shampoo


Avoid the harsh chemicals and unnecessary fillers that commercial shampoos so often contain. Mix your own effective hair care products at home, for better results at a lower price! Whatever your hair type-dry, damaged, oily, or dandruff-prone-find the recipe you need for salon-quality shampoo below. Plus: natural highlights with a special gentle lightening formula, below!

My recipes include vegetable oil for natural moisture that stimulates hair growth without clogging the skin, and liquid Castile soap for convenience. Where each recipe calls for a light vegetable oil, use your favorite: jojoba, sweet almond, avocado, apricot kernal, or coconut oil!

Basic Shampoo for Normal Hair


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap
  • 1/2 tsp light vegetable oil


Mix all ingredients until well combined. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Massage through wet hair and into scalp. Rinse well.

Scalp-Soothing Shampoo


  • 3 bags chamomile tea
  • 3 bags peppermint tea
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp liquid Castile soap
  • 1 tsp light vegetable oil


Bring water to a boil. Steep all six tea bags for 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Remove tea bags and add liquid soap and vegetable oil to brewed tea and stir until well blended. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Massage generously into hair and scalp. Rinse well.

Moisturizing Shampoo for Dry or Damaged Hair


  • 1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap
  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1 tsp glycerin
  • 1/4 tsp light vegetable oil


Mix all ingredients until well combined. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, and shake before every use. Apply liberally to wet hair and let sit a few minutes before rinsing well with cool water.

Lightening Shampoo for Natural Highlights (Blondes Only)


  • 1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon zest


Mix all ingredients in saucepan over medium heat 1-2 minutes until heated through but not boiling. Cool to room temperature and strain out lemon zest. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Shampoo hair as usual, rinse well.

Herbal Shampoo for Dandruff Relief


  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp of liquid Castile soap
  • 1 tsp light vegetable oil


Bring water to a boil. Steep herbs and coconut flakes in boiling water for 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and strain solids from water. Add other ingredients and mix until well combined. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Apply amply to wet hair and massage into scalp before rinsing well with cool water.


More At-Home Beauty Treatments

  • Hair Masque and Conditioner Recipes
    Hot oil treatment, deep conditioning masque, enriching conditioner, residue rinser, and oil-reducing hair tonic. Everything you need for luscious locks is right at your fingertips... or at most, down the hall in your kitchen...
  • Facial Mask Recipes
    Recipes for my favorite at-home face masks. Each provides unique benefits, but all are quick and easy to blend up at home, with ingredients you use every day.
  • Spa-At-Home: Facial Cleanser and Scrub Recipes
    Try some of these easy-to-follow recipes for homemade cleansers and scrubs that provide amazing benefits, for a fraction of the cost of those expensive brand-name formulas at the drug store.
  • Spa-At-Home: Recipes for Effective Acne Remedies
    Here are some basic, yet effective acne-fighting recipes. No outlandish ingredients, no chemicals, no infomercials needed! Incorporate these easy-to-make recipes into your regular facials, and see the results!
  • Spa-At-Home: Recipes for Puffy Eyes and Dark Circle Remedies
    Try these simple, at-home recipes for spa-quality eye treatments. You'll be amazed at, and rejuvanated by, the results.


mae-2012 on March 25, 2012:

Wow! I never thought vinegar can be used to relieve dandruff and itching. I’m nervous but I’d still like to give it a try in making homemade shampoo and moisturizers. Thank you also for the tips on where to buy the needed ingredients. :)

Myka Stalder on February 04, 2012:

Im having a spa night for prego friend on bed rest. she is going to feel like a million bucks! I got bottle of castile soap for xmas Dr. Bonners now I know what to use it for. Thanks for the one stop site.

Scroll to Continue

Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on January 18, 2012:

Hi Jen,

The dandruff shampoo should be fine to use on your dog. I might reduce the amount of rosemary slightly, as it can be an irritant. I'd recommend trying a patch test before lathering her all up, if you can.

Jen on January 14, 2012:

Hi, I have a border collie who suffers from dry skin - similar to bad dandruff. Do you think these shampoos or a moisturising hair mask would be okay to use on her?

natural momma on January 04, 2012:

just a suggestion to those of you who are in other countries, or simply cannot find some of these has a variety of reasonably priced castile soaps. they are VERY concentrated and must be dilluted, or will result in dryer hair. on another note, I am certain that if you simply google or search on you will find any and all of the items listed that you may need. to those who cannot afford these---I promise you that the amount of all these items COSTS LESS over time, as you are not using the entire package at once. you are mixing them with the other ingredients, and the rest will last you quite a while, depending on the frequency you wash your hair and the amounts you use. I love all of these recipes but here is something even more simple, Baking Soda + water. (about one tablespoon of BS to a cup or two or three of water (depending on the thickness of shampoo you desire). This can be drying as well, so to follow up you need to use a mix of Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water as a conditioning solution. This is all I use, and I swear it really really works. My hair is incredibly clean and soft--and BS sells for 50-60 cents a small box, and ACV is anywhere from 6-8 dollars depending on the brand. any brand will do. it is VERY cheap, lasts longer than a commercial bottle of shampoo and GETS THE JOB DONE WELL. to spice it up, I sometimes blend steel cut oats and mix that with my BS for extra moisturizing. you can also add essential oils--only a drop or two will do, to your ACV to cut the vinegar smell and leave your hair smelling great. I use tea tree oil, which is also great for so many reasons (it's an antiseptic which means it kills the germs, not to mention, it's a natural bug deterrer)---hate mosquitoes! good luck and stay natural!!

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on December 15, 2011:

I was so pleasantly surprised that when I typed in "homemade moisturizing shampoo" that a fellow hubber topped the results list. Thanks for so many recipes. I am going to Trader Joe's to get some Castile soap and try out some homemade shampoo tomorrow.

Caitlin on November 29, 2011:

Would these shampoo recipes be good for a spa party?

Sara Bear on November 05, 2011:

Hey Angela:

I have also been doing the baking soda method; however, i use regular conditioner. I have wavy hair and a very dry scalp so I feel like I need the extra conditioning. I'm switching over to the recipe listed on this page hoping my scalp flakes will disappear. What are your past hair issues?

Angela on November 01, 2011:

I've had bad luck with castille soap and Dr. Bronners for my hair for the reasons previously mentioned. I use baking soda disolved with water for a shampoo now, and condition rinse with a mix of a little vinegar and water. It works pretty good, but it's not very convenient as it isn't warm when premixed, so I'm open to something else. If the vinegar with the soap fixes the past issues I've had, then I'm all for it. . .but as the ingredients are mainly olive oil and water, I wonder why anyone would pay so much for it when they can make their own?

Natisha Knight on August 31, 2011:

I have been using 1/4 cup of baking soda mixed with 1/2 cup of water - mixed to a paste then applied to my hair - leave for 5 minutes and then rinse - it is fantastic :)

saba on August 08, 2011:

nice recipe .ca we make the common shampoo for complete family

Bobers klay nomba on January 14, 2011:

thanks we used this idea for science fair we got 3rd plase for orur skool age group

Kelsie on December 23, 2010:

Awesome recipes! But for the hair-lightening recipe, should blondes really be around a zester or grater? XD

mysty on November 17, 2010:

dose this stuff really work?i am going to try i hope it does

HABMATH on September 30, 2010:

I have made and used shampoos similar to yours. And they are really good!For alternatives you might check out my hubs: A Holistic Approach to hair care and Homemade Natural Shampoos

Morgan F from USA on September 18, 2010:

Great recipes, two questions though:

Are these recipes residue free?

How long do they keep for?

suzanne on August 05, 2010:

I've been searching endlessly for a homemade shampoo recipe. I had the exact same experience that Kellita above had. Should I have to add some vinegar??? But I'm also reading that you shouldn't use vinegar in your hair on a daily basis. Help!!!

kellita on July 23, 2010:

I had the misfortune of trying a shampoo recipe using castile soap. Never again! It lathered up really well, but it was like washing your hair with dish liquid (worse, actually) I ended up with a matted-up, snarled-up, dry at the ends, greasy at the roots mess! My chemistry teacher explained it's due to the high pH of castile soap, and that it will cause hair damage and breakage. I would advise to proceed with extreme caution. I threw my homemade brew down the drain. Wanted to go natural, but it's not worth it to me.

tina on July 10, 2010:

I made the mistake of buying DR.B soap and found it gross, then started making my own soaps,so much better.pure castile is olive oil soap,it is not green,has no other ingredients.and no scent,ingredients are olive oil,water and pure lye.For lather castor,coconut oils are often added as they are the fluffy lather..Dr. Bonner soaps are not pure the labels-

jess on July 06, 2010:

These all sound great I can wait to try them! So excited I want to buy the oils now and its 9 in the morning! Thank you so much! :)

Kevin on May 13, 2010:

I have the same question as Mila to whether there is any reason to specifically use an acid rinse after shampooing rather than adding in an acid to the castile soap to make it oh balanced for hair?

Also, has anyone used Dr Bronners Shikaki citrus rinse instead of a vinegar rinse?

ceholmes from Chicago on March 29, 2010:

I like your herbal shampoo recipe!

james on March 02, 2010:

I'm about to try a castile soap shampoo mix,i presume cider vinegar would be a beneficial ingredient,anyone with the perfect mix for a dry scalp please?

jade//for rita on December 16, 2009:


i just want to say i hate that feeling

and have you tried like a health store because

i used to use unoo like herbal essenses and other

ones and my skelp was really bad so i had to go to the doctor

and he gave me ones with lots of cemicals in it so my

point is that i got a natural one from a coles then health

store one and it is really good

Mila on December 16, 2009:

A question about the Castile soap and pH balance -- why is it that most of webpages recommend rinsing with vinegar & water rather than just adding the vinegar to the shampoo? Will the vinegar in the shampoo cause it to separate (like salad dressing?) or make it less effective? Why two steps if you can just put it all in one bottle and rinse?

The Brocks on December 07, 2009:

If these people have access to the internet, then why can't they find liquid castile soap?! Doesn't take a genius to figure it out, um, Google it! Then buy it! DUH!

Robin on November 11, 2009:

Kyle is correct: The unfortunate thing about Castille Soap (such as Dr. Bronner's, online) is that it is very alkaline (9.0-9.5 pH!). This high alkalinity will break the sulfur bonds of your hair shaft, damaging your hair. Also, skin requires "Acidic" soaps; people who use alkaline soaps on their armpits, for example, dissolve the natural "acid mantle" of the skin, ending up with problems controlling body odor - same with scalp on head, no odor, but the acid mantle destruction damages hair follicles all the same. Add a little vinegar to castille soaps to get shampoo in range of 5.0-7.0 acidity (ideal pH)...use pH strips to test if trying to arrive at preferred pH. Good luck.



kyle on June 05, 2009:

Castile soap has too high a pH for hair, the lemon juice or vinegar is meant to pH balance the soap, if I understand correctly.

I am about to give one of the recipes a try with a little vinegar. My hair is already kind of dry so I'm not sure if this is going to work out well (as I've heard true soaps tend to dry out hair). Hopefully the oil and balanced pH help.

cara on June 04, 2009:

Hi, is there a way to remove residue buildup without using lemon or vinegar? I have marble tiles, and acid is, well, bad for them. Are there any other tips that you guys have?


EC Mendoza from Philippines on March 24, 2009:

i love using shampoos and soaps that i made myself. however, since i still used some chemicals on my hair, i have acquired a weekly rinse habit. a mixture of 1/4 cup apple cider and 1 cup water could act as an effective build-up remover. since my hair tend to smell like pickles, i do the rinse routine every saturday night. this way, i could keep my hair wrapped overnight. thank you very much for the recipes. i love the clean smell and fresh feel of the tea shampoo. :)

Beth on March 15, 2009:

I tend to have oily hair and I've tried washing with baking soda, which sometimes works well, and after a few days of continued washing begins to look greasy. For the last couple of days I've tried washing solely with organic lemon juice slightly diluted with water and my hair feels good and looks it too. Does anyone know if it's damaging over the long haul? Any input would be great. Thanks!

Lynne on February 26, 2009:

Your recipes sound great. Can't wait to try them!!

angie on February 01, 2009:

where can i purchase glycerin?

Erica on January 11, 2009:

Where the recipes call for light vegetable oil, could olive oil be used? Thanks

kayla on January 11, 2009:

my name is kayla and im 11 and i want to start a beauty line as soon as possible and these recipes have got me on my way to stardome

AuNatural on January 03, 2009:

Has anyone tried using green tea in place of chamomile/peppermint tea, for the scalp soothing recipe? I was just wondering because I already have green tea (quite a bit of it actually) and wondered it it might help the condition of my hair as well. Thanks in advance for any tips.

Sara on December 11, 2008:

i dont have castile soap is there any way without it

sherlynavia from United States on October 14, 2008:

Great recipes! Thanks for such a great info.

ISIDORA on October 14, 2008:

VERY VERY VERY USEFUL RECIPES... I m very happy to read all these.

I have a question to make. I ve already made some olive oil soaps with the cold process, adding oat , honey, mastich from Chios, and essential oils, I ve waited for the curing time to pass and the soaps are just fantastic. Since here in Greece I haven't found anywhere selling castille soap, COULD I MELT SOME OF THE OLIVE OIL SOAP IN A MIXTURE OF HERB WATER INSTEAD OF USING CASTILLE SOAP?


Jennifer on October 12, 2008:

Pure castille soap by definition is soap made using only olive oil, not just any vegetable oil. So maybe you can find some olive oil soap. Or, if you have access to olive oil and sodium hydroxide (lye) you can make your own. The only other ingredient needed is water. But please research how to use lye safely before attempting to make soap. It's easy as long as you follow simple precautions.

che on September 22, 2008:

I have dreads, and need to use a residue free shampoo, because it gets stuck in my dreads... But I live in South Africa & here aren't many shop I can buy "fancy" shampoos from,, are these recipes residue free... And can I use something else than the castile soap, because I can't find it here... PLZ PLZ HELP...

Chanda on September 08, 2008:

Do you have a shampoo for greasy hair?

betherickson from Minnesota on August 13, 2008:

Wow! Very interesting. I want to try this. I'm telling a friend. Good thing vegetable oil is a good oil to our skin.

Eliana on July 18, 2008:

This is the easiest ingredient list I have found so far!

Is there any substitute for the castille soap? Would i be able to use other liquid soap that is easier to find?


littlevampire on July 10, 2008:

I'm trying the dandruff recipe now with the following changes: a few drops of peppermint oil to mask the smell of the thyme as well as to freshen the scalp, a few shavings (~1 tsp) of goatmilk-shea butter bar soap (from; ingredients: saponified oils of coconut & soybean, water, goat milk, shea butter) instead of liquid castile soap, omitted the vinagre because I have never been able to get the smell out of my hair, and the remaining teaspoon of weleda calendula baby oil I have on hand (ingredients: Sweet almond oil, marigold, chamomile flower extract, essential oil fragrance blend, limonene, linalool, geraniol) instead of the vegetable oil since I have long hair that has a tendency towards dryness.

joaojeronimo from Maputo, Mozambique on June 27, 2008:

Hi I loved this hub and I have a question... does the Scalp-Soothing Shampoo

smell like peppermint because of the 3 bags of peppermint tea ? I know a shampoo made by a spanish company that you can feel the mint in your hair... it's like your hair is on fire lol it's so relaxing...

Vero on May 26, 2008:

You have inspired me so much i created a business, made from my own recipes and some of yours. i'll update yous when i can.

quiet tracer from South-Asia on May 20, 2008:

Thanx For Nice Information

Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on May 05, 2008:


Mineral oils you should never use on your hair or skin, but vegetable oils without additives actually serve to balance out your body's natural oils. It may seem counterintuitive, but applying an oil treatment will moisturize your hair and reduce the amount of oil your body thinks it needs to produce, resulting in LESS oily hair in the long run.

Hope that helps.

kellieeeeee :]] on May 05, 2008:

omg.. these sound so gross! arent u supposed to keep oils OUT of your hair?? haelp me out and explain things about to miss kellie over here!! thxx!! xoxoxo

<3 dee dorko miss me !

seamus on April 11, 2008:

Whoa! I am bookmarking this. I did not know I could make shampoo from castile soap! I'm trying this out. I worry a lot about those scary chemicals in our soaps, shampoos, etc.

kudzie on April 04, 2008:


lilli on April 01, 2008:


AnnaEstelle from Boston on February 21, 2008:

Thanks for the hub, I'm going to make one today! I work at Trader Joe's so I already love our liquid Castile soap. The links are helpful too, I've used one of those hair masque recipes in the past and I'm a big fan. Very informative!

Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on January 30, 2008:


I apologize if it wasn't clear. I would never recommend a lightening shampoo to anyone but a blonde, so it never occurred to me that a brunette would put lemon juice on her hair! I'll revise to make this clearer.

Thanks for reading!


Vaniteux from Houston, Texas on January 30, 2008:

Please, please, please! remove the bit about the lemon juice! or at least add that it's great for natural blondes to gently lighten... You put lemon juice on a brunette, and you get orange!

Otherwise, your recipes look great, and I am all for natural hair products (that's why I use and roccomend Pureology, but it's spendy).

WriterGig on January 09, 2008:

Great recipes! I found liquid castille soap at Trader Joe's.

Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on January 08, 2008:


Castile soap is a general name for soap made with vegetable oils instead of animal fats. If you cannot find it at your local supermarket, try a health food store or buy online (click one of the ebay items shown above and do your own search for "liquid castile soap").

Good luck. Thanks for reading!

Belinda from Australia on January 08, 2008:

These recipes sound wonderful and I would love to try them. Could you please tell me what liquid Castile soap is? Is it just ordinary liquid soap that you buy at the supermarket or is it a special type of soap. Many thanks!

safia on November 11, 2007:

your recipes sound great and i am going to try it. could you please tell me which local stores will carry the liquid castile soap?


Related Articles