Commercial shampoos are often filled with additives and chemicals that can damage hair over time. Many of these harsh chemicals are added to create a rich lather, fragrance, or texture that doesn’t actually improve the look or feel of hair. Natural homemade shampoos are a great alternative to these chemical-laden shampoos and provide nourishing qualities that help to make your hair healthier. Here, we’ll show you some of the best ingredients to use in homemade shampoo and give you a DIY shampoo recipe so you can make your own natural hair care products.
The Best Ingredients For Homemade Shampoo
Liquid Castile Soap
Castile soap works as a cleanser to remove dirt, hard water, and product buildup from hair follicles and strands. This type of soap is made entirely of vegetable oils, making it an ideal natural product choice when making your own homemade shampoo. You can use plain, unscented Castile liquid soap or try one of the options from Dr. Bronner’s that include scents such as almond, peppermint, and citrus.
Essential oils add all-natural scent and herbal properties to homemade shampoo. Tea tree and peppermint essential oil are great choices if you want your own shampoo to have a tingling sensation while lavender and chamomile essential oils are great for imparting a slightly sweet and floral aroma. You can also choose citrus oils for an invigorating scent or more masculine options like sandalwood and white fir essential oil.
Many essential oils contain calming properties that can help to soothe an itchy scalp and reduce dryness. They also boast anti-inflammatory properties and work as a moisturizer to help reduce symptoms of dandruff and other hair problems. If you suffer from dandruff, add a few drops of essential oils like bergamot, garlic, tea tree, or thyme.
Lemon juice can be added to homemade shampoos to protect the color of lighter hair. This acidic fruit is a popular summertime ingredient for lightening hair the natural way. That’s because the citric acid in lemon juice has natural bleaching properties that gently lighten hair. The vitamin C in lemon juice also works to support hair strength, balances out an oily scalp, and minimizes dandruff.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV is a popular natural shampoo ingredient thanks to its cleansing properties. This acidic vinegar helps to remove dirt and grime buildup from hair. Excessive use can lead to dry hair as the vinegar begins to strip the hair of its natural oils, so it’s best to use this ingredient sparingly. This ingredient can also be used as a vinegar rinse for people who use the no-poo method — this means you don’t use any shampoo and simply rinse hair with warm water.
Coconut milk contains high concentrations of fatty acids along with proteins like vitamin E, vitamin B6, protein, and calcium that are beneficial for hair health. This ingredient adds a cooling sensation to shampoo and when combined with olive oil, it doubles as a natural conditioner.
Carrier oils are different from essential oils in that they are derived from fatty plant parts such as seeds or nuts. They can be applied directly to skin since they don’t cause irritation like essential oils do. Coconut oil, olive oil, or almond oil are great carrier oils for adding moisture and creating a silky smooth consistency to your DIY shampoos. Other options include avocado oil and jojoba oil, which naturally help to balance oil production in hair, making them ideal for all hair types from oily hair to fine hair.
Aloe vera gel is known for its soothing and cooling properties. This plant contains large amounts of vitamins, essential amino acids, and fatty acids that can help to ease hair disorders such as seborrheic dermatitis. The plant contains active ingredients that work to stimulate blood circulation, helping to feed hair follicles and promote healthy growth. The thick consistency of the gel also adds a rich, luxurious texture to natural hair shampoos.
Beeswax or a vegan alternative like candelilla wax or soy wax is a good choice for people who want to make a homemade shampoo bar rather than a liquid shampoo. These waxes are often used in skincare products to boost moisture. They also help to improve the consistency of the shampoo bar by holding all of the ingredients together in combination with a thickener.
Baking soda can help to absorb extra oil for people who have oily hair. The powder is extremely absorbent and can also be used as a dry shampoo in between shampooing cycles. People with fine hair, dry hair, or sensitive skin should avoid this ingredient as it may cause dry hair — particularly for people with long hair.
Homemade Shampoo Recipe
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
- 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
- 10-15 drops of essential oils of your choice
- Mix all the ingredients together in an old shampoo bottle.
- Shake well before each use. Apply a quarter-size amount to hair and lather before rinsing as normal.
Improve Hair With Natural Ingredients
With natural shampoo ingredients, your hair feels and looks better long-term than when you constantly apply harsh chemicals to delicate strands. You can also use this natural shampoo as a body wash thanks to its gentle, cleansing ingredients. To further improve the look of hair, limit shampooing to a couple of times per week and use a dry shampoo to touch up roots in between washings. You should also try to wash hair with warm water rather than hot water to avoid drying out your locks. Use distilled water to wash your hair if you live in an area that has hard water to prevent mineral buildup.
You can also further promote healthy hair by using natural ingredients in all of your hair products from hair spray to conditioner. Avoid products that contain harsh additives such as parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances. Whether it’s your first time making homemade shampoo or your hundredth, this handy guide can help you find new ingredients to experiment with when it comes to your hair care.