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Note: Complete with answers to frequently asked questions.


If you’ve been around DIY Natural long then you’re aware of our mission to help you make more of your own natural products. It’s often easy and beneficial on many levels, which is why we’re dedicated to doing it and to teaching others to do the same. Today we’ll learn how to make homemade natural shampoo that works, is inexpensive, and so easy you won’t believe it!

How To Make Shampoo

Why make shampoo?

Do shampoo manufacturers have your best interest at heart? Perhaps you believe they do, but since you’re here reading this article we’ll assume you’re at least becoming skeptical.

It’s simple. No one cares more about your pocket book or your hair than you. That’s why you’re here. That’s why you want to make your own shampoo. And that’s why you want to make more of your own products. So do we!

How to make it

How To Make Shampoo 2


To make this shampoo, commonly referred to as “no-poo,” you will only need 2 ingredients. Never mistake simplicity for ineffectiveness. I double dog dare you to make, use, and compare this shampoo. After you’re convinced I want you to share the information with every one you know. That is what diyNatural.com is all about!

  • 1 Tbsp baking soda – We buy baking soda in bulk because we use a ton and it saves even more money. (Baking soda is also referred to as sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate.)
  • 1 cup water – Like I said, one of the ingredients is free. Use whatever kind of water you wish – we use tap which is English for “out of the sink.”

We mix ours in double batches into a clean, repurposed shampoo bottle. Feel free to use whatever container you like, doubling up on ingredients until it’s full.

How to use

Simply shake the bottle before each use and squirt directly onto scalp and hair. Gently massage into the scalp hair for a minute or two and rinse well.

For best results, follow with homemade conditioning rinse. The homemade conditioning rinse is imperative for restoring the pH of your hair and smoothing the hair cuticle. It will also keep your hair from feeling greasy/sticky after using homemade shampoos.

Note: This homemade shampoo will give best results when used with soft water. 

How much does it cost?

I’m glad you asked… it’s one of my favorite parts.

  • Cost = approximately $0.06/ounce depending on how much you pay for your baking soda.

If an average bottle of shampoo is a 16 ounce bottle this shampoo will cost you less than a dollar. Not too shabby.

Safe for all hair types

This shampoo is completely safe for all hair types and will not strip your hair of its natural oils, unlike most commercial shampoo.

Be sure to question the safety of store-bought shampoos, along with any other products you buy – and always understand the ingredients of the products you use.

If you have questions read the comments below or ask anew… and share this recipe with everyone you know!

Tips for controlling static

Especially if you’re heat styling, you may notice some static when using this shampoo in the colder months. You can troubleshoot the static by trying some of the following tips:

  • Be sure you’re trimming your ends every 6-8 weeks, less split ends = less static.
  • Try shampooing less often (every other day or 3x/week).
  • Use less heating elements (blow dryers, flat/curling irons, etc.).
  • Try massaging in a Tbsp of olive oil once/week then rinsing.
  • Melt a small amount of coconut oil in your hands and rub through the ends of your hair, avoiding your scalp.
  • Another treatment to try is avocado w/lemon juice – mix, smash into hair, let sit 30 mins and rinse.

Tips for controlling oily hair

  • Do occasionally – mix 2 egg yolks with 2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar. Work it into hair and let set a few minutes while showering.  The egg binds with oils in the hair. Rinse with lukewarm water.
  • Add 6-8 drops of a citrus essential oil to your shampoo. Try lemon, lime, or sweet orange for controlling oil. (Find 100% pure essential oils here.)
  • Be sure to shake your homemade shampoo vigorously to ensure the baking soda is completely dissolved into the water.
  • Massage baking soda shampoo into your scalp for at least 2 minutes.
  • Give your hair a few weeks to adjust to the change (could take 2-3 weeks or more).

Tips for thickening shampoo

  • Blend up some whole oats in a good blender (like a Vitamix) then mix with baking soda and water. Different people prefer different consistencies so add oat flour slowly until desired thickness is reached.
  • Mix cornstarch or arrowroot powder with the baking soda and water (add enough for desired thickness).
  • Use both oats and cornstarch. Try this mixture: 1 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and equal parts cornstarch and oatmeal flour to thicken (approx. ¾ tablespoon of each).

*******


References and Resources

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Comments

  1. Kim says

    Thanks for the great post! I just stumbled upon this site but I have been washing my hair with baking soda and water for almost a year. I discovered a helpful tip that I thought I would pass on to other people with extremely oily scalps like I have. In order to avoid the greasy feel after your hair dries, rinse the baking soda mixture out with cold water. In the summer when the water coming out of the shower isn’t as cold, I actually add ice to a water bottle to squirt on my hair to rinse it out. I follow up the baking soda rinse with a mixture of 1 T apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water. My hair holds a style better than it ever did with shampoo and conditioner!

  2. Nikki says

    I did about a Tbsp or 1 1/2 Tbsp for the 12oz of water and the 1 1/2 Tbsp baking soda. I didn’t measure the honey but I am guessing it was around that… I added everything and shook it. I wonder if I had put it in the blender and blended it altogether if that would have helped the oatmeal-y pieces and/or if by tomorrow maybe they will have dissolved more in the mixture. I used it within 30 minutes of making it… I will report back next time to see if the oatmeal sitting and/or blending it better helps.

  3. Ghie says

    Sir matt,, can i get the complete date you wrote this article.. i just need it for in completing my bibliography,.,,, thanks a lot sir… God Bless. and more power

  4. Isabel says

    Hello Matt & Betsy! Thank you so much for your website. I tried using the baking soda shampoo and in the beginning it felt GREAT. I was thrilled with the results and was pleasantly surprised that there was no ‘transition period’ for me. Unfortunately I was too happy too soon…3 weeks in and my hair is greasy 12 hours after washing, lots of breakage, itchy scalp, and it really doesn’t feel very healthy. Any hopes of washing my hair less are continually being dashed. In fact it seems like I have to wash my hair more than ever before! I want to be optimistic but maybe this doesn’t work for everyone? I am thinking of adding aloe vera juice to the mix. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • Emily says

      Isabel,

      It sounds like the baking soda is making your hair dry… it happened to me too! I’ve been no-poo for about 10 months now, and it’s taken this entire time to perfect the proportions of what I use.

      I use a little less than one tablespoon of baking soda with 1.5 cups of water. Since it makes my ends feel dry, crispy and brittle, I usually try and keep all of it at my scalp to only absorb excess oil.

      Then, I use one tablespoon on apple cider vinegar and 1.5 cups of water as a conditioner and rinse with that.

      Apparently, the baking soda/apple cider vinegar mix balances the pH of your hair.

      I also use either pure argon oil or jojoba oil (both found at Whole Foods), and apply a few drops to my ends once or twice a week…. don’t apply too close to your scalp, or you’ll look REALLY greasy!

      Hope this helps!
      Emily

  5. Isabel says

    Update on previous comment: Aloe vera juice works wonders! I slathered it on my scalp, plain, without mixing it with the baking soda shampoo, and immediately felt relief from the itchy scalp which persisted even after washing it off. Hair loss was also SIGNIFICANTLY reduced. Phew! Greasiness is still an issue, but I’m hoping a few more aloe sessions will sort it out.

    Researching a little revealed that aloe has a low pH of about 4, while baking soda has a pretty high pH of about 8-9, some sources even say 12! On the other hand, the ideal pH of our skin and scalp is around 5.

    All this leads me to think that the high pH of baking soda may be the cause of all my woes – my originally oily scalp loved it initially, but then continual use made my scalp DRY, resulting in itchiness and causing it to overcompensate by producing excessive amounts of sebum. Eek. (But this is just an uneducated guess – I’m not an expert!) I did consistently use the vinegar rinse as advised, but it may have been the case of too little too late.

    All in all, I have to say I’m really for the philosophy behind simple living and eliminating chemical products from our household. However, all-natural is not necessarily the best! Maybe this is why we have experts who devote time and expertise in creating products that are safe to use. Sure, they may contain a ton of stuff that we don’t like or even know about. But I have to say, in all my years of shampoo-ing, I’ve never had an experience as terrible as this one.

    Not wanting to put too much of a damper on this method of washing hair – I just want to advise everyone out there interested in trying this out that everybody’s hair and scalp is different, and you have to be prepared to have some hiccups along the way before finding something that suits you. Bear in mind pH balance – might be useful to have some test strips at hand to test your mixture and make sure you have a good balance before applying it.

    Will I go back to commercial shampoo – probably. I will try and bring my scalp back to ‘normal’ before dousing it with the stuff though. Don’t want it to go nuts again! I think I’ve had enough of experimenting on myself. In any case, this was a little experiment that was very instructive in itself. I certainly have learned a lot in the process! Good luck to all!

  6. lisa says

    I have read all the comments and wondered if the aloe vera juice could be used in the original formula instead of water, or perhaps 1/2 cup water & 1/2 cup aloe juice… in order to balance the Ph of the baking soda. It would be a little more cost, but I’m looking for a healthy homemade alternative (so that is not such an issue.)
    Also, perhaps a little oil in the formula (olive or coconut oil) would also protect scalp from drying out…Just some ideas, think I may play around with the formulas and see what happens. …

  7. Isabel says

    Hi Lisa,

    I’ve been trying out stuff too (going back to commercial shampoo just wasn’t working either), and found that a mix of aloe, castile soap, castor oil and olive oil works pretty well.

    I thought of castor oil because people use it to cleanse the face in the Oil Cleansing Method. It apparently helps to dissolve sebum. If it works on the face, why not the scalp? Castor oil is also apparently really good for your hair, but it is a bit sticky and may leave a residue on your hair, leaving it heavy and sticky. Castile soap does the trick of washing it out. I was initially worried that the pH of castile soap is also too high, but so far so good – the itching hasn’t come back, and greasiness also seems to be under control. If used diluted, and with some aloe, I think it should be fine.

    Be careful with the oil – a little goes a long way. My first mix was 2 Tbsp castile soap, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup aloe gel, 1 tsp oil (1/4 castor, 3/4 olive), some drops of essential oil. There was quite alot of oily residue left on my hair and I had to rinse off with watered down castile soap. I will add more soap to the mix and hope it works better next time. I do have quite an oily scalp so it may be different for you. Some people actually just use aloe gel and some jojoba/olive oil as a shampoo, but that is never going to work for me.. at least not right now! Maybe when my scalp is more balanced I may be able to cut out the soap and castor oil.

    But for now, I think the mix of aloe and oils is very nourishing and is exactly what I need. My scalp actually feels healthy now, hair loss is drastically reduced, and the oils leave my hair quite silky and shiny. A stark difference from when I was using just baking soda! My opinion is to leave baking soda out of the equation totally. Use it for hard cleaning, but not on your hair!

    Good luck, and I hope you find something that suits you!

    • lisa says

      Thanks Isabel,
      I am just starting out in the “shampoo department” alternatives, so I appreciate your tips !
      Blessings, Lisa :D

  8. Madison says

    I’ve tried many of your homemade recipes and generally like them. The shampoo and hair conditioner, well, not so much. They made my hair feel like there was a residue left in, even after rinsing very well. I guess you can’t win ‘em all.

  9. says

    Great lesson on making homemade shampoo. Thank you for making a difference by sharing your knowledge with the world.

  10. Valerie Petschulat says

    I’ve been washing my hair with this baking soda/water blend for about 2 months and I love it. I originally found the idea in the book about caring for curly hair. My hair is soft and I have no feeling of residue after washing. I also make a lavender spray with distilled water and lavender oil (also from book on curly hair) and if my scalp feels itchy or hair gets flat, I massage this mixture onto my scalp between washings. It feels great, and I’m only washing my hair once every two weeks. I know, it sounds gross, but I promise, you’d never know by looking at my hair and my curls are so much nicer now! Plus no yucky chemicals going down the drain. I’m a believer.

  11. debbie says

    i am loving your website so much…getting addicted to it and is starting to go naturals all the way..i started with the conditioner =) i just so loooved the effect and keeps me amazed with the no-vinegar-smell.
    i thank God for Christians like you who happily shares their knowledge and skills…i would love to be an advocate…i will be! debbie (from the philippines)

  12. Jeanette says

    Has anyone else noticed that there hair is a bit.. umm weighed.. I have thick curly hair and although I was VERY surprised that when it dried it really did look fine.. it seems to “weigh” down during the day… as if you added to much conditioner when really I have washed my hair with water GRIN

    Thoughts… or should I wait more weeks

    • Loryn says

      I’ve been using baking soda and water for a few days now and I have noticed my hair feeling heavier since ditching commercial shampoos. I’m not sure if it just because the oil production in my scalp is still mellowing out and it’s something that’ll get better with time, or if this weighted feeling is what is normal for hair and I’ve just not experienced it since I’ve always used commercial shampoos. Either way, it’s not something that personally bothers me near enough to go back to using regular shampoo. I’d give it another week or two and see if the condition improves.

  13. Laura says

    I was wondering if anyone had any experience with using this with chemical free hair colors such as Manic Panic? I think that the baking soda would make the color come out faster but ive heard of vinegar rinses to help set the color. So Idk how they would work together. I do know I only wash my hair once or twice a week this way but with reg shampoo/conditioner my hair is so oily I need to wash it every other day.

    • Melissa says

      Hi Laura,

      I’m not too sure about the baking soda being and issue, but I do know that oil (like olive oil) can be used to help strip hair colour from hair. I know that is not your intention, but I more say this to advise avoiding any of the oil combinations.

      Cheers!

    • Sarah says

      Laura, I am a licensed cosmetologist (for 13 years). A common tick in my profession is to use baking soda to help lift color out. I definitely would not recommend using baking soda on colored hair, especially after using manic panic. That color is already a semi-permanent, no-developer product and adding baking soda will ensure you lose more color than you would during a normal shampoo. However, vinegar is great for color! It seals down your cuticle locking in moisture and shine; and it is great for preserving color! Perhaps there are other alternatives for people with colored hair. I haven’t found them yet, as I am new with the natural hair products. Good luck!

  14. Amber says

    I love this shampoo! About every other time I make it I add tea tree oil, I have dandruff issues (most likely brought on by commercial shampoos!) and have noticed a significant improvement in the condition of both my hair and scalp. I also keep a spray bottle with an apple cider vinegar and water mixture in my shower for use after I rinse the baking soda out, it leaves my hair softer than any conditioner I have ever used!

  15. threeicys says

    Just wanted to mention – this method of washing hair takes more time than a quick lathery shampoo. For me it is well worth it. I have been using this method for close to a year now.
    Tip: to balance out the PH I rinse with a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water.

    Awsome post Matt. Your recipes look great too!

  16. Laura says

    Just wanted to share that ive found that if I think of this as shampoo and conditioner and adjust the formula some the same as I would have with bought stuff I get better results. If my hairs oily I might have washed twice with shampoo before and now would make more baking soda and do two rinses. If my hair seems dry then maybe cut back on the baking soda but more vinegar. Just saying what works best for me is not thinking of this as a one size fits all formula, but tweaking it a bit based on my how my hair feels that day. Hope that makes sense, its kinda hard to explain :)

  17. Jessica says

    Can someone tell me are they using vinegar in this mix and how much of each. I am tempted to make this and try it, but I am a little scared. I have very long hair and 5 other people in my house, so I want to get it right before I try it on others in my household! Thank you!

  18. maria says

    I had to experiment with the amount of baking soda in the mix. Google “no-poo” and you’ll find a group that discusses different methods, blends and combinations. Everyone’s hair is different, so everyone’s results will be different. On that site people discuss what worked for them based on their hair type (thick/curly/fine/short/long, etc) and scalp type, and frequency of use. So find the discussion thread that most suits your hair and scalp type.
    Some people will have an adjustment period when weaning their hair off commercial products. Some will have a lot of extra oil produced for the first while, but don’t give up, it does make it worth it once you’ve figured out what works for you! :-)

  19. stuti says

    wht if like we put heena(mehendi,tea leaves,methi powder,aamla powder)on our hair on wednesday n after tht on sunday we wash our hair with home made shampoo.means will it work on the in which we hd put heena hai wed,actually my mom wants a mild shampoo so as i read reviews i liked this shampoo so i suggested her 4 this shampoo bt i jst have this confusion so pls ans. me tht will this shampoo will work on my mother’s hair???

  20. Vikki says

    I love the thought of this shampoo I tried it for 3 months but alas my hair is very dry and coarse to start with. I even did the vinegar rinse , nothing help relieve the dryness , even less baking soda. I will be experimenting to find something for very dry hair. When I come up with something I will let you know “)

  21. Mia says

    I did a mixture of 1 c. tea, 1 tbs baking soda, 1 tbs olive oil, and enough oat flour to thicken it. My problem is, try as I will, I cannot blend the oats enough to not leave chunks in my hair after the shower. They fall out once my hair is dry, but I’d like no chunks as I’m trying to sell and spread the word. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

  22. Tonia says

    I am now home schooling my daughter and have tried many of your recipes. Because of your expertise and simple basic instructions, my little girl has come to love science and saving $ :) Thx!

  23. Trudy says

    I’ve been washing my hair in this baking soda mix and rinsing with ACV water for at least 3 months now. I noticed it leaves a thick white layer all over my scalp causing it to be very itchy. Anything I can do to combat this? I really don’t want to go back to buying commercial shampoos.

  24. Kasy says

    Great deep conditioner if your hair feels a little dry after. Take avacado, aloe, egg white, dry milk, and alittle olive oil. I always eye ball it. Play with ingridiants and make it yours. I put it on on dry hair for couple of hours. Rinse well. It’s the best. I do it once a week.

  25. says

    Im a hairstylist carrying and using only natural and organic products! now im really enjoying using different cold pressed oils, raw ingredients, and essential oils to bring the hair to complete health! loving being a kitchen chemist!!! I would reccomend for those women who have dry hair to focus on cleansing the scalp only!! (using a bottle with a nozzle) And commiting to one night a week where you can make and apply an intensly deep conditioning treatment!, like avo, honey, and coldpressed oils. switch it up every week for variety! Good Luck and Thank you Matt

  26. says

    Hi, thank you for sharing with this great recipe for a natural shampoo. I am really happy with it, but I got lately little problem. After washing hairs with the shampoo I have some dundfruff. Maybe you have an idea why this is happening ?
    Greetings.

  27. Farzana says

    Hi,read all the reviews and I think I’m thankful and confused as well.My daughter is 10 and has hair issues.I’m mostly concerned of the Sodium laurate sulphate in commercial shampoos.She had a shine in her hair,which suddenly has disappeared.The ends of her hair is simply thin .I would really love to know of a Home made shampoo n conditioner that can really boost up the lost shine n energy in her hair.I do oil her hair once a week.Pls. Help ASAP.Would appreciate it.

  28. Jenna says

    Is there any other homemade shampoos recipes? This one just makes my hair feel gritty and impossible to manage.

  29. Paula says

    found this site from the awesome book I checked out at the library. I wanted to add to the possible problems/causes…traveling between Wyoming and Michigan regularly i noticed that the water used washing your hair in makes an EXTREME difference! it has taken some time but I know for me hard water, soft water, even harder water determines which method i can use when. It IS WORTH IT! considering the alternatives I will experiment every day if i needed to.

  30. rinee says

    That looks like a great simple recipe for shampoo. I was wondering if it’s possible to add essential oils/herbs to this formula? Rosemary for example?

    Many thanks
    Rinee

  31. AlexaRae says

    Hello. I just found your site and I am loving it :) I have a question about the shampoo…Is it ok for people with dandruff? (sorry if I spelled it wrong)
    Thank you for all the great information. Have a great day.

    • says

      Alexa
      Yes, it is perfectly fine for people with dandruff, it actually helps with dandruff. It soaks up all the extra oil in your roots and dries up the dandruff. But it just depends on the person.

      -bye

  32. ava says

    I have tried different measurments of the baking soda/water and vinegar rinse. no matter what I try, my scalp and any part of skin my hair touches (after using this mix) burns like hell. I usually end up jumping back in the shower and standing there letting the water fall over my hair for 30-45 minutes. and pray when I get out and dry my hair that the burning will not come back. I guess I have sensitive skin. :(

  33. Abby says

    I love diy natural and I love making everything naturally at home. Sadly I am allergic to baking soda, corn(cornstarch), coconut oil, to name a few. I would love to make homemade shampoo and conditioner, any ideas?

    • says

      Sorry to hear that Abby. At this time we do not have any shampoo recipes free of all the ingredients you listed, but let us know if you find anything! Blessings.

      • Erin says

        Here is a recipe I found. I haven’t tried it yet, but it might work for you!
        http://www.happynews.com/living/haircare/make-shampoo.htm
        I tried the baking soda and it dried my hair out to the point of not being able to get a brush through it. I have extremely dry hair and I think it was just too harsh on my hair, although it worked for my husband. I think this one might work for me with the added olive oil.

  34. Cara says

    Thank you so much! I just tried this and it actually worked! My hair is oil free and nice and bouncy without the harsh chemicals!!!

  35. says

    How do you work the baking soda/water mixture through your hair? I have short (chin length) hair and I squirt the mixture all over my scalp, but I can’t move it through or really do anything with it. Doesn’t feel like my hair is getting clean or even close.