I have tried so many recipes for homemade shampoo. I am going to share a little bit of my experiences with you, then let you in on my shampoo recipe. This is probably going to be a pretty long post, but please bear with me… you will learn a lot I promise 🙂 After reading about the chemicals in store-bought shampoo I was determined to find an alternative.
When I first started researching going “poo free” as they call it. I heard about using baking soda and vinegar. I wasn’t quite ready to make that dramatic of a switch, so I started off with Crunchy Betty’s “Sorta Poo” (I love her blog btw!) Now I absolutely LOVED how this stuff made my hair look and smell. It was heavenly! It is made with castile soap and coconut milk. There were 2 downsides though…. One my hair felt like it had a little bit of a residue but that could have been from the coconut milk I was using. Two you have to make a new batch each time you shower, or store it in the fridge. A few times I forgot to make it, or didn’t have time so I had to reach for the store-bought shampoo as back up. So I decided to make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge. A few times I jumped in the shower only to remember my shampoo was in the fridge, not fun. It also is REALLY cold when you do it that way, my 4-year-old was not a fan of really cold shampoo lol. So I decided that it just wasn’t working for me. But if you have castile soap you should really try this at least once, your hair will look amazing! If you do try it, I would not recommend using peppermint castile soap, unless you like a really strong tingly feeling.
So after sadly giving up my “sorta poo” I decided I was ready to try “no poo”. This is by far the best information I found on “no poo”. I loved how cheap and easy this was, and you don’t have to store it in the fridge. You wash your hair with baking soda, and use an apple cider vinegar afterwards to soften your hair. It was fantastic for my daughter’s hair, and for my roots. The problem with this for me was… my hair has been processed so many times. There is no pretty way to put it, its fried! lol. So unfortunately this just did not work for me either. My ends needed a little more lovin! I am in the process of growing my natural hair out now, so maybe I can go back to this one day 🙂 I have also seen people complain about their hair not smelling yummy like with regular shampoo and conditioner, which is true. But to fix that all you have to do is spray your favorite body spray on your brush when you brush your hair, problem solved!
So after experimenting a little bit I finally came up with my own homemade shampoo recipe. I am extremely excited to share it, because well it’s just awesome! lol. It leaves you hair clean, smelling good and really shiny. Best of all NO chemicals! 🙂 It also does lather a little bit unlike the “no poo” method. I read that chamomile tea was a natural way to gradually lighten your hair (if it is naturally fair to begin with) I am not sure if this is true but it got my mind going. So I thought… I will take the castile soap from the “sorta poo” and the baking soda from the “no poo”, use tea instead of water and add in some essential oils. But then it got even better! I had bought some xanthan gum for a conditioner recipe I tried out so I added that as well. I was amazed with the results and I am happy to share. So you will need:
- 1 gallon of brewed tea or water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup castile soap
- 3 tsp xanthan gum
- essential oils (about 30 drops-optional)
For the shampoo I made this time I used regular black tea, almond castile soap, and tea tree oil. If you have never heard of xanthan gum don’t worry, I found it at Wal-Mart in the baking aisle. If you can’t find it at any stores there is always Amazon! A little goes a long way, and you can use it for gluten-free baking too. You can buy castile soap at Target, Whole Foods, GNC. It is also a little pricey up front (This bottle was 4-5 dollars) but you can use it for SO many things. I use it in my all-purpose cleaner, you can use it to wash your dog, car, walls, etc. It really is amazing stuff. You can also make your own liquid castile soap from the bars which is cheaper. Find my recipe for that here 🙂
(Updated to add: You can find Dr. Bronners HERE. Essential oils HERE, and Xanthan Gum HERE)
So first, brew your tea. I put the tea bags right into the cold water, then heat the water just to where it’s steaming and you see little bubbles on the bottom. Then I take it off the heat and let the tea steep for about 5-10 mins.
Next, remove the tea bags and stir in your baking soda. It will fizz up for a minute like this:
At this point you can let it cool off some before adding in the rest of the ingredients if you would like. You will want to whisk in your xanthan gum next, a little at a time. Then stir in your castile soap and essential oil. I keep forgetting to add the xanthan gum before the castile soap, silly me. So I ended up with a foamy top on my mixture while stirring in the xanthan gum. Not a big deal except it causes little clumps and its hard to see when it’s all mixed in. It doesn’t affect the end result, its just a little bit of a pain. This is what happened to me, lol.
Here is what it will look like when its done. I had little clumps because of my oopsie, but they mostly dissolve anyways so its nothing to worry about.
After it cools completely stir in your essential oil then just pour some into an empty bottle for the shower and store the rest under the sink in an old milk or water jug. Use just like regular shampoo, and enjoy your clean, pretty smelling, shiny hair 🙂 There are so many variations you could do with this as well. The first batch I made was chamomile tea, with lavender castile soap and lavender essential oil. You could also do green tea, with citrus castile soap and lemon essential oil, or coffee with almond, etc.
I am still trying to find a conditioner recipe that I am happy with, so for now I am using a sulfate and paraben free kind called “Simply U Conditioner” (Color Shine formula) along with this shampoo.
Please please please try this and let me know what you think! I hope you will love it as much as we do.
(Please check out Homemade Shampoo Part Two for answers to some frequently asked questions and a recipe for a slightly thicker formula)