What Is Lemon Shampoo?

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  • Originally Written By: J. Gonzalez
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2019
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Broadly speaking, a lemon shampoo is a hair cleansing product that smells like lemon, includes lemon fragrance, or actually is made from the fruit’s juice or essential oil. Depending on the manufacturer, the term can have wildly different interpretations. To purists, though, a truly lemon shampoo is made primarily if not exclusively from the fruit itself. This latter sort of preparation is often extremely clarifying, and its naturally high acid content makes it ideal for stripping dirt and impurities from the scalp and individual strands. It can be drying, though, and is usually only recommended for use about once a week or as needed to control build-up.

Scented Shampoos and Blends

The hair care market is robust in most parts of the world, and there are usually a lot of options for people looking for virtually any scent or combination of scents. While lemon is not perhaps the most common for shampoos, it is popular in many places. Many of the more basic shampoos simply feature the fruit as a smell — and in some cases it isn’t even naturally derived. A close look at product labeling will usually reveal is a product claiming to be “lemon” actually contains the fruit or its traces at all.


Blends containing lemon essence are also common; these contain natural oils or juices, but usually in very low concentrations. It’s also common to find lemon paired with one or more other scents. Most of these sorts of shampoos use the essences as a means of aromatherapy, often to encourage feelings of energy or wellbeing. The benefits here are mainly for the mental outlook of the person showering or washing their hair rather than for the hair strands themselves.

Products Actually Made from the Fruit

Truly lemon-derived shampoos usually have just a few ingredients: vegetable-based soaps, glycerin, or a neutral carrier usually comes first, followed by lemon juice, lemon oil, and filtered water. Some sort of additional sudsing agent may also be added, but not always. The main idea is to let allow the juices and essence of the fruit penetrate the hair and scalp, which is often thought to bring deep cleaning and healing to the skin and hair.

A number of specialty manufacturers make this sort of product, and it’s often sold in salons and hair care boutiques. It can also be made at home without much effort. Homemade clarifying shampoo usually includes a mild liquid soap, lemon juice and zest, and water. The ingredients must usually be heated, cooled, and strained before using to reduce the chance of spoilage. Though lemon is naturally very high in acid, homemade shampoo can go rancid if it isn’t pasteurized, and as such it’s usually recommended that people use it up within about a week of making it.

Role in Impurity Removal

True lemon shampoo is a clarifying product that typically works well for all hair types. Regular rinses don’t always rinse away completely and will often leave a light film on the hair. This, along with hair product residue and ordinary environmental pollution, can leave the hair looking dull and heavy, can cause it to break, and can make it frizzy and unmanageable. An all-natural lemon shampoo can thoroughly clean the hair and help remove all residue, helping to return shine and strength.

Use is typically safe and effective for all hair types, including hair that has been color treated and permed. Clarifying shampoo is used the same as regular shampoo; the only real difference is that lemon-based shampoo strips the hair of all impurities.

Recommended Use and Tips

Most hair care experts recommend using lemon juice or shampoos that contain it only a few times a week. Although it’s usually very good at removing dirt and grime, it can also sometimes remove moisture and oils that the hair needs to stay healthy. Too-frequent use can lead to hair that is rough and brittle to the touch. Deep conditioning treatments can usually reverse this, but alternating the use of lemon-containing products with regular shampoos can prevent it from ever happening. People with very fine or thin hair may also find that more diluted versions achieve the same results.


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Discuss this Article

Post 4

@fBoyle-- I second this. I have an oily scalp but my hair is dry (weird I know). Lemon shampoo cleans my scalp very well and keeps it dry and fresh but it ruins the rest of my hair which becomes extremely dry and brittle. Maybe a lemon shampoo with added conditioner would be better.

Post 3

@turquoise-- I agree with you, the scent of lemon is very calming. But I could never use a lemon shampoo daily, at least not the one I have.

Lemon shampoo is a great shampoo and it does remove all the dirt and build up, but it leaves my hair very dry. I have to follow up with a thick conditioner or I can't even brush through my hair.

I think that this is a good shampoo to use a few times a month to keep hair clean and light. But it's not a good idea to use it as a daily shampoo.

Post 2

I have hard water where I live so I need a shampoo that will remove all the mineral build up in my hair. But this is not the main reason why I use lemon shampoo. I mostly use it for the amazing scent. My shampoo smells like fresh cut lemons. It's very therapeutic and I feel happy and awake when I wash my hair in the morning.

I think I would use this shampoo just for the scent even if I didn't need a clarifying shampoo.

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