Homemade Shampoo Part Two

Since my homemade shampoo recipe is by far the most popular post on my blog, I decided it was time for a part two! I have had many questions on here, and facebook that I wanted to address and I also have some new ideas to share as well.

First of all, I know some of you may be hesitant to buy a whole bag of xanthan gum just to try my shampoo recipe and I don’t blame you one bit! The good news is they sell little tiny packets of it! I found these in the baking aisle for less than 50 cents each! One packet has enough to make a gallon of shampoo, perfect for making a test batch πŸ™‚ I have to tell you I was so excited when I saw these lol. Seriously who gets excited over xanthan gum? I don’t blame my husband for occasionally shaking his head at me haha.

Probably the most common question I get asked is if there is a way to make the shampoo thicker. I know it can be a little hard to adjust when you are used to the products in the store.Β I have been able to make it thicker but still not as thick as commercial shampoo.Β I will share the recipe to make it slightly thicker at the end of this post. I am sure you could get it even thicker if you wanted, but part of the reason I make this is to save money. If you are trying to make it thicker you will be using more ingredients, which means it will cost you more money. It will also take you more time to make it. I would love to experiment even more but I make no money from this blog and can not afford to waste supplies I need. Yes it is rather thin, but it still works great for us. Just put it in a squirt bottle and apply it directly to your head and you are good to go πŸ™‚

A couple of people have mentioned to me that their hair did not feel quite clean after using this. There are a few reasons why you might have this problem. This shampoo will not strip your hair like the harsh detergents in store-bought shampoo. You may need to massage this into your scalp a little more than you would with your old shampoo, it is meant to be more gentle on your hair and scalp.Β I have also read about your hair/scalp having an adjustment period when you stop using store-bought shampoo. You can add a little extra castile soap and slowly cut back on the amount you use while your hair gets used to the new shampoo.Β If it is used to being stripped of oils, it is used to making extra oil to compensate. You may need a few weeks to adjust to this, but please don’t let this discourage you. If your hair looks greasy on the second day, simply brush some cornstarch through it. This will help absorb the oil and you can even add a little essential oil to the cornstarch first for a nice scent πŸ™‚ I do not wash my hair every day, it is bad for your hair and frankly a pain. No matter what I use I still have the problem of my hair being a little greasy looking on the second day. Sadly some of us are just “blessed” that way. No store-bought product ever helped me with that issue either but my homemade shampoo does still get my oily hair clean.

Another fairly common question is “How long does it keep?” Β I don’t think there is any set answer to this question. HonestlyΒ I think this really depends on how you make it and store it. If you boil your water first, use an essential oil that is anti-microbial and then store your extra shampoo in a dark, cool place I am sure that will help it last longer. I have kept mine under my bathroom sink for 3 months before it went bad. If you are concerned about this I would make a half recipe at a time, and I would also suggest smelling it before refilling your shampoo bottle for the shower. You will definitely be able to tell if it has gone bad or not.

I wanted to add that it is NOT necessary to use tea. Β Since my original shampoo post I have made it with just plain water and prefer to make it that way now. It is easier, cheaper and works just as great. If you use water and unscented castile soap (like Dr. Bronners Baby Mild) it is better for children or individuals with sensitive skin πŸ™‚ I have also made homemade liquid castile soap since my original shampoo post that you can use if you don’t want to buy or can’t find Dr. Bronners.

I hope this information has helped clear up any questions you may have. If anyone has any other questions please feel free to post a comment and I will do my best to help you. I would also love to hear more reviews as well πŸ™‚ This is still the only shampoo that we use and I don’t foresee us switching back to store-bought anytime soon! We have been very happy with it and I hope you will give it a try if you haven’t already.

❀ Ashley

Homemade Shampoo – Thicker Formula

  • 13 cups water or tea
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup castile soap
  • 30 drops essential oils (optional)

Add 13 cups of water to a large pot. In a seperate bowl mix together the remaining cup of cold water and cornstarch, whisk until no lumps remain. Pour cornstarch mixture into large pot with the water. Bring to a boil and whisk constantly for several minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, whisk in baking soda, xanthan gum and castile soap. Let cool completely, mix in essential oil.


Edit added on 08/06/2012 ~ After using the thicker formula a few times I have noticed that it does not foam up as much as my original shampoo recipe. It still works to get your hair clean but I will be sticking with the original or skipping the cornstarch and just using less water πŸ™‚

58 thoughts on “Homemade Shampoo Part Two”

  1. Hello, I will definitely be trying this recipe soon! I think you and I have some strange connection, we have chosen the same background for our sites! And I really enjoy your blogs, especially the homemade toiletry and household product recipes. I love my deodorant, and I can’t remember but I think I found my homemade laundry detergent on here too.

  2. I just found your blog from Nancy Creative and am enjoying reading thru the archives. Your homemade shampoo sounds great–I tried the “no poo” method for a while but wasn’t completely thrilled with the results. I will be trying your “recipe”. I had a question about the conditioner at Wal-Mart–is it Simply U? I didn’t see it at our store so I browsed online and all I found was Simply U. Just wanted to use something that somebody else had recommended as I have wasted so much money trying different products and $5 sounds like a deal to me!

    1. Hi Barbara! I am so glad you are enjoying my blog πŸ™‚ Yes that is the conditioner I use, the kind for color treated hair. It smells wonderful and works great for us. I have noticed that it does take a little extra rinsing but I still love it. I hope you like the shampoo recipe!

      1. Whole foods has better prices and more natural, and organic ingredients. My favorite place to go as of yesterday. Even found bar vitamin everything, and vegetable glycerin for 1.99. No lie, being new to ALL of this “eye opening enlightenment”, Whole foods helped make my life easier on month 2. Sincerely. Even put in an application. How much I absolutely loved them. Really wonderful products and people. And great prices for great, wholesome, healthy, organic foods. I still do the farmer’s market, but as far as the “Whole Body”, and their overall product quality, it’s astounding. **Note: I’m a head Chef at my job, but I don’t get the wonderful at home feeling I get while being inside of this place, and around these people. Don’t know if it is just the location or not, but who cares. I’m from Texas, and it’s completely different on this side of the world. (Lol, I’m in Wa now. Huge difference. I really enjoy reading all of your post, blogs, and trying all of your new recipes. Thank you. 😊😊

  3. Does this recipe work for color treated hair? Would love to use a natural shampoo that works well with my highlights. Thanks.

  4. Hi Ashley!
    I stumbled upon your blog and am so glad I did! I love it! I am interested in making this shampoo and noticed on your note that you just used water (instead of tea). You said that you were going to use less water next time. Have you tried it yet? And how much water would you suggest? Also, if you are not using the tea, do you still boil the water? Sorry for so many questions, I just want to get it right. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi, Thanks I am glad you found me! Yes I used about 2 cups less water, it came out perfect for me. Of course everyone is different so you may have to experiment a little to come up with the ratio that works for you. If you just use water and you don’t want to boil it I would suggest using distilled water. It is still cheap that way, a gallon is less than a dollar. I don’t mind the questions at all, hope you like it! πŸ™‚

  5. Thanks so much Ashley! I am going all organic and your site is a huge help. I love it! Oh and btw I definately suggest using distilled instead of boiled! Boiled water kills bacteria but can actually concentrate some added chemicals, such as fluoride.

  6. Hi, and thanks for this shampoo recipe. I am looking forward to trying it! At which supermarket did you find the small packets of xanthan gum? I’ve looked at my local Safeway and didn’t find the large or small packets…

    Also, any suggestions for xanthan substitute — like cornstarch or guar gum or other thickeners that could be xanthan gum substitutes in baking? Thanks!

  7. Hi LB. I found the small packets at Walmart. You could always order the xanthan gum online if you can’t find it locally. I have to do that with some of my essential oils. I have not tried anything in place of the xanthan gum so I can’t say how well it would turn out but I imagine any of those would work. If you test it out please come back and let me know how it went πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  8. Hi, I was just wondering, if I make this using bar soap do I turn it into liquid soap then add 1/4 cup to the tea, or do I add 1/4 cup grated bar to the tea? Thanks, I tried making my own liquid soap from a bar. I don’t think I had enough water in it thou, cause when I washed my hair with it it felt like it was covered in soap scum. I couldn’t get it rinsed out enough, and had to wash it with regular shampoo. I must be doing something wrong. Thanks

  9. I have a homemade shampoo recipe, all natural, that my fiance and I love, based on Dr. Bronner’s fragrance-free castille, coconut milk, teaspoons of a few oils for their preservative and hair-benefiting properties, plus a smidgen of aloe vera gel and glycerine. Works great (as a body wash too!), keeps in the shower a while, but I’d like to emulsify and thicken it – naturally. Have tried cooking up some soy lecithin, which is supposed to be good for my hair also (I’m a curly girl), but it didn’t really thicken the mix and only slowed down the ingredient separation. Should I try xantham gum? Or just accept that my shampoo will always be runny? (Not the worst thing in the world, but always aspiring for improvement!)

      1. Hi Zazy! I posted a version of the recipe in a comment below in March of last year. To be honest, I’m always fiddling with the recipe, and I sometimes make 16 oz or double that at a time. You can consult the recipe in the comment below from last year, or go with this to make a batch that *should* fit in a 16 oz bottle: 3/4th cup Dr. Bronners, 3/4th cup coconut milk (I use Goya in a can because it’s actually pretty pure, but does have some preservative in it – which is a good thing), then single teaspoons of: aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerine, local honey, and about four different oils. Some candidates for those oils: jojoba oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, olive oil, vitamin e oil, coconut oil. All said to be good for hair and many have natural preservative properties, because if I have to keep it in the fridge, I’m doomed – I’ll forget every time. I’ve also melted cocoa butter and shea butter to include in those teaspoons. And sometimes I go overboard and put more than four oils/butters – trying so hard to create something good for my hair lol. I’ve also put a few drops of tea tree oil and rosemary essential oil in it, also said to be good for scalp and hair – but my guy, he was ok with the tea tree but didn’t like the rosemary (it is pretty strong-smelling). I tried putting xantham gum in it recently, but overdid it and it was a disaster. I read somewhere else that polysorbate … 80? … isn’t as much of a chemical as it sounds, and is the stuff that makes shampoos thick and emulsified while still being clear, more liquid-like. Mine will never be clear because of the coconut milk, but I think that’s what I’m trying to accomplish, so. And I have read that Dr. Bronner’s isn’t good for color-treated hair, but I haven’t had that experience. I color my curls with Morrocco Method henna, and it stays just fine. I’ve also read that all true soaps have a high pH, which is bad for hair. I really should get some testing strips, make a batch of my shampoo, shake it up real good, and test its pH. But one gets to the point where she figures, good enough just has to be good enough. πŸ™‚

  10. Hi Tammy. I think xanthan gum might work well in that but I can’t say for sure. I would get one of the little packets of xanthan gum to try it. That way you don’t waste money on an entire bag in case you don’t like it. I have never used soy lecithin so I am not really sure how it compares to xanthan gum. I hope that it works well for you, good luck πŸ™‚

  11. Ever tried this: just take a bar of your favorite soap (I like Dr. Bonners) and rub it over your wet hair a few times! Works great.

    1. Can’t say I have ever tried that, but if I am ever out of shampoo I will have to remember that lol. Thanks for the tip!! I don’t think my scalp could handle that regularly, it would probably make it even more oily.

  12. Hi, I just wanted to make a commen in the direction of thickness. To make the product thicker you can add glycerin (a natural and moisture rich ingredient) during the cooking process. This isn’t something ai discovered myself, but he issue was nothing that a little ‘googling’ couldn’t solve.

  13. Hi I was reading in Lisa Bronner’s blog that Dr.B ‘s Castile soap is not good for color treated hair. Do you have any other suggestions to replace Dr.B? Thanks

    1. My hair is color treated and I have not had a problem. I am not sure what else could replace the castile soap since I have not tried to, sorry.

  14. I know you have mentioned Kirk soap as a substitute for this. But is it good in all types of hair? Thank you

    1. I can’t really say for sure. Everyone is different. This shampoo seems to work great for some and not so great for others. I hope you like it! πŸ™‚

  15. I hope you are healing well from your eye surgery and that you are feeling okay. You probably won’t be up to answering this for a while, but I am wondering if you felt like the chamomile tea in the other shampoo did much for making your hair blonder?
    Get better!

    1. Hi Natalie, Thank you so much! πŸ™‚ I didn’t really notice a difference but I also did not use the chamomile tea one for a long time. I mostly make mine with plain water now.

  16. Susie –
    I too am a long-haired curly girl, and I agree with much of what you said – I wash twice a week too but condition every day, our dry hair always needs moisture, and I like a little suds when I do shampoo. My shampoo recipe isn’t perfect but my curls do like it, and my fiance loves it too – his hair is nothing like mine! To make it, combine 1/3 cup coconut milk with teaspoons of (real) honey, glycerine, aloe vera gel (as pure as you can find), and a few hair-friendly oils like sunflower and jojoba (great for hair). Shake this up to get it well-mixed, then add 1/2 cup Dr. Bronners castille soap. You will have to shake it up before using it, every time, because the ingredients will separate. And it’s not as thick as I want it to be, but it will suds up when you shake it so it’s less runny. I put some directly on top of my head, work that in, then if I need more I put some in my hands. I find that it does not spoil; the honey and the vitamin E in the oils may help with that.

    1. Great, thanks Tammy. I love coconut oil and milk. I already use a homemade coconut deodorant (homemade). I would love to make a conditioner and a stay-in-conditioner for my hair. Right now I use olive oil, tea tree oil, and citrus oil for added shine, tight curls, and softness as an after show application. But, a good conditioner & stay in cond would be great.

  17. Susie – Sorry if this reply is out of (chronological) order but “me too!” on wanting to figure out how to make a good daily conditioner and leave-in conditioner. The standard apple cider vinegar recipes do not work on my hair, and I’d love to discover a creamy daily conditioner recipe. I’ve been experimenting with the flax seed hair gel recipes. If I ever get it right, it could be the leave-in conditioner/hair gel that I’ve been looking for, because whatever it is that boils out of the flax seeds is great for my hair. But so far I’ve mostly discovered how NOT to make it LOL. You can put coconut oil in the shampoo recipe, although it will solidify if it gets cold – but I find that the recipe doesn’t spoil before it gets used up in the shower (with me and my fiance both using it, and me using it for body wash occasionally as well). If you are familiar with the flax seed hair gel recipe I’ve mentioned, I want to tell you that I followed recommendations to put coconut oil in the water that you boil the seeds in, and I only used half as much as the recipe mentioned, and I’m not happy with the results – my locks separate into thin oily-looking strings, bummer. I may go back to adding a little jojoba oil instead, and hope that I don’t overboil it – then, the gel will not strain off from the seeds and it’s useless. The gel has to be refrigerated though; it goes bad quickly and smells horrible. Good luck! Let me know if you find a conditioner recipe or develop one yourself!

  18. a suggestion I have, which will completely eliminate the need for Xanthum gum and the need to make the shampoo thicker is to make your shampoo w/o the xanthum gum and instead of using it in a regular container or old shampoo bottle, I put mine in a spray bottle (like one you would use for cleaning) and i just wet my hair then spray the shampoo on and it works wonderfully!!!!! It helps me use a lot less shampoo, and it suds so good and its easy to apply. I do the same with my homemade ACV conditioner rinse. hope this helps a lot of ppl b/c it certainly has saved my life!!!!!!

  19. Hello, I just happened upon your blog while searching homemade shampoo. I am excited to try. I already use Dr Bronners for so much. I am also curios is you have found a good conditioner recipe as I see this is an old post. If not, do you think it would work to just mix vinegar and some essential oil with xanthan gum to thicken it a little?

  20. Hi Jamie, I have not yet found a homemade conditioner that I like. I don’t use plain vinegar because my hair is colored and it needs more moisture, but if plain vinegar works for you I don’t see the harm in adding the other things. Good luck πŸ™‚

  21. The lack of a homemade conditioner recipe has been the bane of my existence for well over a year. I have found some on more scientific-y sites, but they require you to purchase some chemically, exotic-sounding ingredients – and the whole point for me was to make something chemical-free. With my moisture-craving curly hair, I’ve resorted to purchasing Shea Moisture products – pricey but the most natural I’ve found that actually works on my hair. It will be a bright shiny day when I figure out how to make a conditioner myself. As for leave-in conditioner/styling gel, homemade flax seed gel is the very best: 1/4 cup whole flax seeds boiled for 5 minutes in 1 cup of water, strained immediately (if you let it cool the seeds won’t come out, and you must stir constantly during the cooking), then I add a tsp of jojoba oil. Must be kept in the refrigerator or it will go bad very quickly, especially in the warmer months. Because of that, I often forget to pull it out until after my shower, and the jojoba oil will solidify (it’s really a wax) so give it a good shake before using. It has the consistency of egg whites. But it is amazing on my fragile curly hair – like I said, works as both a leave-in conditioner and styling gel.

  22. more xanthan and/or guar gum (still don’t need much) will thicken it up and make it more slippery.

  23. I really enjoy your blog. Just found it today. I’m always looking for recipes to make my own products. I already make my own laundry detergent. Keep up the great ideas.

  24. Thank you so much for the recipe. How long can this shampoo be kept on the shelf before it goes bad? How many bottles does this make (200ml bottles)

  25. I’ve been using your shampoo and love it. I use the 1st recipe I also have oily hair on the 2nd day. I also don’t wash my hair everyday. Been using the shampoo for a week going on my 2nd week. But I found out we can put cedarwood oil. I’m going to try it in mine when I get the cedarwood oil. Thanks for the recipe.

  26. Hi! There will be no greasiness if you use honey and oats regular oats, not instant, pulverized into a powder. I use the milling blade in my Nutribullet. The oatmeal is very moisturizing. I also have added a piece of my aloe Vera plant, ground up into gel.

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