How can I Make Shampoo?

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Learning how to make shampoo can be a very rewarding experience. It can also save your hair and skin from coming into contact with questionable ingredients often found in commercial shampoos. For instance, a chemical commonly found in store bought shampoo is sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), which acts as a wetting agent to help the shampoo lather. Aside from being classified as a mutagen that can damage cellular DNA, SLS breaks down lipid fats, leaving the skin unable to retain moisture.


It isn't difficult to make shampoo at home. You can also save quite a bit of money when you make your own shampoo. Of course, you’ll want to use all-natural ingredients, such as distilled water, organic herbs, and Castile soap. Castile soap is made from plant-based sources, such as olive, coconut, hemp, soy, almond or jojoba. Most health food stores carry this type of liquid soap, as well as a supply of fresh and dried herbs.

Lavender works with all hair types.
Lavender works with all hair types.

You will also need a few additional supplies and equipment on hand to make shampoo, including the following:

Plants, such as hemp, are used in making Castile soap.
Plants, such as hemp, are used in making Castile soap.

  • 8-ounce (226.8 grams) container to dispense the shampoo from. This could be a previously used and rinsed shampoo bottle.
  • Medium saucepan or Dutch oven (not made from aluminum).
  • Tempered glass bowl
  • Mesh strainer
  • Funnel

Since herbs lend different properties, you can customize your own formula to make shampoo according to your hair type and color. Lavender and rosemary are suitable for all hair types. Oily hair responds well to peppermint and lemongrass and dry hair is nurtured by shampoo made with comfrey or elder flowers. Sage and nettle add gloss to dark hair, while chamomile is ideal for light hair. If dandruff is a concern, try using comfrey, white willow bark, or peppermint.

To make shampoo at home, first decide on two or three herbs to use according to your hair type and color. Then proceed as follows:

  • Bring 7 ounces (198.4 grams) distilled water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat.
  • Add about 6 tablespoons (88.7 milliliters) of herbs to the saucepan and cover. Allow the herb mixture to steep for 30-45 minutes.
  • Strain off the herbs, reserving the liquid in a glass bowl. Let the liquid cool completely.
  • Add 4 tablespoons (59.15 milliliters) of liquid Castile soap to a prepared shampoo bottle.
  • Funnel the strained herbal liquid into the shampoo bottle and cap. Shake gently before each use.

    Keep in mind that when you make shampoo at home, it may not lather up to the same degree that commercial shampoo does since yours is chemical-free. However, that doesn’t mean that your homemade shampoo is any less effective at cleansing and conditioning. In fact, you’ll likely find your hair in better condition after using your homemade shampoo than it was before.

Homemade shampoo may help consumers avoid the chemicals present in storebought products.
Homemade shampoo may help consumers avoid the chemicals present in storebought products.
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Contributing articles to wiseGEEK is just one of Karyn’s many professional endeavors. She is also a magazine writer and columnist, mainly for health-related publications, as well as the author of four books. Karyn lives in New York’s Catskill Mountain region and specializes in topics about green living and botanical medicine.

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Discussion Comments


Re "of course you'll want to use all-natural ingredients": Surely, it would be better to use ingredients synthesized in a lab that have been clinically proven to be good for your hair? Not to mention the benefits of having the insurance that the ingredient is pure.


Add 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil to make the castile shampoo have a rich moisturizing lather.


Tell me about adjusting ph in herbal shampoo.


Thanks for your easy to follow instructions. I am certainly going to try it. Does it matter if you fresh or dried herbs. Which one is better? Thanks. Carolyn


Do these instructions apply for making dog shampoo? I've been looking for a good article on how to make your own natural dog shampoo, but it seems that most of them aren't very helpful. Could I use shampoo from this recipe on a dog?



When you're choosing shampoo making supplies when you're making herbal organic shampoo, don't forget to look at the sources of your products.

It's easy to get caught up in the idea of being "natural", especially if you're making your own natural shampoo, but it's harder to be responsible and actually check on the background of your supplies.

Remember that it's important not only to pay attention to the end product, but also the sourcing of your herbs and soap. By choosing locally-sourced organic herbs and soap, you not only benefit the environment, but make sure that you get the best shampoo out of the deal as well!


What an interesting article. I've been wanting to learn how to make natural homemade shampoo, and this article really laid out the steps very clearly.

I also like how you gave some suggestions on good herbs to make sure that the shampoo makes your hair look good.

Thanks for doing so much research and laying out the directions so clearly -- I'm definitely going to print this out for my fridge!

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