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How to Make Your Own Shampoo

On a trip last year, I realized I hadn’t packed my shampoo. No big deal … except it was a major holiday and all the stores were closed in that particular rural community. Rather than make an expensive drive to a bigger city, I thought I would just make do. The problem is, I didn’t know how.

That got me thinking. What if I woke up and my local drugstore was closed forever? If a worst-case scenario came true, and there wasn’t any more store-bought shampoo? Wallowing in my own filth isn’t really my style. Itchy scalp and greasy, smelly hair for eternity? No thank you!

It turns out that making your own shampoo is simple – and good for you. Most modern store-made shampoos are full of nasty chemicals and additives. You pay top dollar for them, too. By learning to make your own shampoo, you can save money and improve your health. History notes that before 1930, there was no such thing as commercial shampoo anyway, so if our ancestors could do it, so can we!

The Basic Principles of Homemade Shampoo

DIY shampoos do the same work as regular shampoo (clean hair), but they don’t necessarily act the same way. Natural, home-made shampoos don’t make suds like store soap – all that lather is necessary for companies to “show” you how clean your hair is getting, but natural soaps clean without being flashy.

Homemade shampoo can be more alkaline than store shampoo. You can offset this with a rinse to pH balance your scalp if you like. The need to tweak to what you like also makes small batches a feature of DIY shampoo, so be ready to say goodbye to jumbo bottles of store shampoo, too.

Last but not least, to switch to homemade shampoo, you need to commit to try it for a minimum of three weeks. The first week will be the hardest as your hair and scalp adjust to a shampoo that’s not a chemical soup and your natural oils find their balance. The next two weeks will let you settle into a routine and get used to how your hair feels using natural shampoo.

The Baking Soda Shampoo

When experimenting with homemade beauty products, experts say to start simple. It doesn’t get any simpler than this baking soda shampoo. There are only two ingredients!

To make this shampoo, put one tablespoon of baking soda into one cup of water. Put both of them into a small bottle or a jar with a lid and shake well. Don’t skimp on the shaking, and remember to shake your mix each time before using. This is approximately a week’s worth of shampoo, made for pennies!

In the shower or bathtub, get your hair wet and add about two tablespoons of the shampoo mix (a generous palm). With your fingertips, scrub the mixture into your hair and rub it around your scalp. There won’t be suds, but it is working. Rinse well using very warm water. Use every other or every third day for best results, rinsing your hair with only water on the other days.

Tips and Tricks of Baking Soda Shampoo:

  • Keep this out of your eyes – it can burn!
  • If you get dry ends with this shampoo or have naturally curly hair, rinse with apple cider vinegar to soften it up (one tablespoon to one to two cups of water)
  • Baking soda shampoo will take the color off dyed hair
  • Naturally shampooed hair looks better air-dried than blow-dried in most cases (convenient, since our ancestors didn’t have hairdryers, either)
  • If you have very hard water, try boiling the mix before bottling
  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to fight any remaining dandruff, itchiness, or scalp irritation after your trial period

Shampoo from Castile Soap

Another simple shampoo mixes water, castile soap, and natural oils. You blend ¼ cup water with ¼ cup liquid castile soap and add ½ teaspoon of oil (olive oil for the most basic version). Shake well and use promptly. It will suds up slightly.

Tips and Tricks of Castile Soap Shampoo:

  • Change up the olive oil for scented or essential oils to have scented shampoo
  • Dry hair, damaged hair, or brittle hair may like this better
  • Safe for dyed hair and highlights
  • Hard water homes may find this recipe leaves a film behind – you can cut back on the oil a bit or boil the mix with a dash of rock salt to soften it up

What do you think? I was surprised how easy it was to stop using shampoo after I got past the first week and my hair adjusted. My hair looks great now, and I no longer care about shampoo from the store. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

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