Learn How To Make Homemade Natural Shampoo

Homemade Shampoo

Homemade shampoo can be made with just two natural ingredients, which you likely already have. It’s also cheaper than store-bought and works just as well.

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 a natural homemade shampoo that works, is inexpensive, and so easy you won’t believe it! (Don’t want to make your own? Check out a hair care line we trust here.)

Why Homemade 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 pocketbook 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!

Homemade Shampoo 2

Homemade Shampoo

Yield 1 cup

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 everyone you know.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp baking soda - We buy baking soda in bulk because we use a ton and it.
  • 1 cup water - As I said, one of the ingredients is free. Use whatever kind of water you wish; we use tap water.

Instructions

Mix ingredients together.

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 Your Homemade Shampoo

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 a 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.

Notes

This shampoo is not intended for daily use, as the baking soda can potentially be drying to hair and scalp. We recommend using it as a clarifying shampoo. It's perfect for those times when you got a little carried away with hair products and need to remove some buildup, or when you're first switching over to homemade shampoos and need to remove some of the buildup commercial shampoos can leave behind.

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

Homemade Shampoo Video

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 don’t want to make your own shampoo, here is a brand we absolutely love – made with VERY pure, natural ingredients.)

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 a 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).

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.

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References and Resources

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Comments

  1. Hiya,I’d like to know a natural shampoo and conditioner for my 9year old daughter.
    Thank you

    Regards,
    Farzana

  2. I find if I don’t neutralize the baking soda with some diluted vinegar, my hair has a really coarse texture afterward. So I rinse with vinegar as a “conditioner” to make my hair super smooth. Apple cider vinegar’s supposed to have nutrient benefits too! And it doesn’t smell once it’s dried, or at least I don’t think so.
    @Farzana, maybe if your daughter’s scared to get the solution in her eyes you could directly apply the dry baking soda to her scalp- that way it won’t get near her eyes until she’s ready to rinse. But apart from stinging your eyes a little, which regular shampoo does too, BS and ACV are harmless. Otherwise, I recommend the company Suki for safe advanced organic cosmetics, but they’re verry pricy.

  3. I have been using the BS and Oatmeal flour solution for about 8 weeks now and rinsing my hair with the Cider Vinegar solution for about 2 weeks. My husband and I both use it. We have not had the transition period that some ppl has talked about, thank goodness and we are very pleased. I find that if i rinse my hair really good after applying the CV (you only need just a little)and cant smell it in the shower anymore, that I have rinsed it out really well and it does leave your hair really smooth, the tangles are gone, nor does it smell after it dries. I have put family members to the smell test,(the ones that don’t live in the same household). I turned my nose up at this at first but really wanted to give it a shot. We will not go back to regular shampoo’s and conditioner’s. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us, we are still looking for other way’s to save money and this is a good start.

  4. me again! any thoughts on what to add to the shampoo/conditoner to make a thicker consistency? it just runs right thru my fingers as is, and i feel like if i were to squirt it all over my head i would be wasting so much. thanks!

  5. Just wondering if you can use this solution every day? Or can it dry my hair out? Because of working out I like to wash my hair everyday.

    • Hi Beth, it’s really no different than using any shampoo every day; you don’t need to but you can if you want. Try it out and see, and let us know.

  6. I actually like the rough texture the baking soda leaves my hair, it makes it more manipultable (not really a word,but I am sure you get the point!) I am actually a licensed Cosmetogist, currently retired to raise my children, but know a lot of products that are designed to give you that outcome! So, lots of savings there! However I always have a lingering funky scent… solved by a drop or so of tea tree oil (bought at trader Joe’s) and couldn’t be happier w/the outcome!!!

      • Hair has been color treated… the only thing is that if you have a heavy red tone in your hair it will fade, but if you do… you hae probably noticed this already with most shampoos! My recommendation (as a licensed Cosmetologist) is to give it a go, also remember if you’re not washing your hair everyday, your color will last longer! Your hair is going to be more likely to drying out so make sure you are using a good conditioning treatment.

      • I color my hair with a product from Whole Foods and use the baking soda wash followed with apple cider vinegar and have not experienced any adverse affexcts, no unusual fading etc.

          • This is normal…think about vinegar and tye-dying shirts. You use vinegar to set the color into the fabric. Makes sense why using the vinegar after the first wash would help keep the colors from fading. 🙂

  7. I was wondering if I could add more baking soda to thicken it, just like adding more sugar to tea to make it more sweet:)

  8. Just found this site today and needed to wash my hair and didn’t want to use what I used last time. I’ve been natural(african american hair) for a long time and have fought with trying to find natural ways to clean my hair, body etc.. It’s funny, not too long ago my scalp was itching like crazy(product build up or I’m allergic) and needed something fast. I didn’t want to go to the store any buy something that has been on the shelf for weeks or months and I did a google search and found that using BS on your scalp and then rinsing with distilled water worked.. and it did! Who knew now that I can just cleanse my hair with that same formula! Thank you! I’ve also tried to neutralize the BS with CV and it was still tangled and feels funny but I will deal with it. Practice makes perfect!

  9. I just found your blog & I love it! Just wondering….how much of this shampoo should I use?

  10. hi, i was wondering if xanthum gum powder would be a better thicken then the ones you mentioned in your article?

  11. Hi there, I was just wondering what the shelf life would be for making the above shampoo? I already use an apple cider vinergar (plus herbs) rinse as a conditioner and it works brilliantly but want to make a full switch over to natural shampoo. Many thanks, Daniel 🙂

  12. I’ve been using baking soda for shampoo for a few weeks now and I love it. I recently decided to use apple cider vinegar as a conditioner but that was a mess. I have very long curly hair and got more on the floor than in my hair. How can I thicken up the ACV so that it’s easier to apply? I thought about using honey but am trying to keep this as inexpensive as possible.

    • Ruthie-

      Just put the CV in a squirt bottle– I use an old hairspray container– so much less of the CV comes out at once. I also do this with the baking soda shampoo, actually, for the same reason.

  13. Has anyone tried substituting brewed green tea for the water? I might give that a shot…

    • I steep rosemary then strain it to use with the bs. so far I don’t need to use acv plus my hair is shiny and smells nice.

  14. Betsy added pieces of cinnamon stick to hers. You could also try adding your favorite essential oils (add enough until you like the results.)

  15. I mix 2 Tbs of BS with 2 Cups of water in a spray bottle bought from a dollar store. I shake it and spray it on. Let it sit for a minute or two and rinse. Then I repeat the process. It goes on easy and can penetrate to the scalp using a spray bottle. I, too, have the problem with the drying out of the hair and odd feeling texture but my daughter doesn’t. I’m going to try less BS for my bottle to see it that helps. You can use the ACV solution in a spray bottle also.

    • Hi Vivienne, do you find the spray bottle works well? I put the ACV solution in a spray bottle and did this for about a week but I was worried I wasn’t getting enough on as I have shoulder length hair. So I started putting it directly on, which uses a lot more and is difficult to get the coverage so I’m not fond of that way either. I might try thickening it as suggested above.

      • My daughter, who has waist length hair, bends over and applies the BS mixture, massages it into her scalp, rinses then applies the ACV rinse to her scalp and let’s it run down the length of her hair. The result is clean, soft, shiny hair. The added bonus is that she isn’t losing has much hair as she was with conventional shampoo and conditioner.

      • Something else you can try is putting some vinegar in a cup (maybe an inch from the bottom or so), then filling the rest of the cup with water. Tip your head back and pour it on at your hairline and it naturally flows down to the tips. I find that to be very easy and effective.

  16. I discovered this page a while ago but was waiting until my existing bottle of conditioner ran out to start it. I started it this past week and yesterday was my second time using the BS/water mix, followed by an ACV mix (which I have been using for about a month now). Well my hair felt so AWFUL yesterday after I got out of the shower – while it was wet and still felt awful when it dried (felt oily, coarse, tangly, etc.)! It basically felt like it would feel if I hadn’t washed it in a week. Is this the transition period that you mentioned and should I expect my hair to feel this awful for the next 2-3 weeks or will it get progressively better? I’m not sure if I can stick with it if it’s going to be this bad for 2-3 weeks…and I’d really like to stick with it. thanks!

      • Make sure you rinse well, if you aren’t it will feel like that. If you haven’t tried the acv, do… it makes a difference.

  17. Hi Matt,
    I have very dry hair and recently sculp, we are living in Las Vegas where water is very hard. I am using lot of conditioner and I was wondering if this shampoo and rinsing hair with vinegar will be good for my dry, blond hair?

  18. hi i’m an Indian can this recipie work in our humid climate… also will this work for my 3 yr old daughter. will this cause any harm like premature greying or hair fall???
    and can this be used for dandruf also???

    • Premature greying is loss of pigmentation of the hair, and that is all up to dna… or harsh chemicals, so as far as that goes, you are in the clear! And as far as dandruff, it depends on what is causing the flaking. A lot of time the flaking is actually caused by dry scalp, because we tend to wash ourselves way too much and are obsessive about cleanliness, when our bodies produce oils they are the most natural and best moisturizers for us! Sometimes dandruff is the cause of an allergic reaction to chemicals… and no it won’t make your hair fall out, unless you allow it to build up (not ever rinse it) and it sufficates the folicles, your skin and scalp needs air to breath otherwise hair loss does happen!
      Hope that was helpful!!!

    • Some dandruff can be caused by fungus or bacteria as well. Try adding a couple drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo. It is antifungal and atibacterial and also soothing. It usually works well to soothe dandruff and any other scalp irritations. You can also use Lavender oil with it for a better smell, which is also an antibacterial. However, you may want to research the use of essential oils on children before I would do so with your daughter.

  19. I have been using the BS and regular Vinegar for the past 2 weeks and love it. My hair is almost to my waist and has a tendenency to frizzle and the baking soad/water and vinegar does wonders. Soft, no tangles.I don’t have the oily hair after second day. No vinegar smell. My hubby did the sniff test. He is even going to start using it. Really saves money. I just love it.

  20. I use the BS mixed with rain water… its wonderful! Living in the northwest we have lots of it! 🙂 I also just spray regular rain water with a pinch of celtic salt in my curly hair each morning to just have the gentle beach wave look that is so popular right now… works great and its dirt cheap!

  21. I have very long hair that tangles very badly. I am going to try this tonight! I have always had an itchy scap too so I am going to add a little peppermint oil into the BS/Water mixture…

    • I have found that adding a few drops of tea tree oil has really helped with the eczema on my scalp. I just add it into my BS mix. I LOVE the clean smell too!

  22. I’ve been using homemade baking soda shampoo for years. Works great for dandruff too when you massage your scalp with it and leave it sit a bit before rinsing. I also use the ACV conditioner – but I have naturally curly, fly-away hair and need extra help with the frizzies. I use a homemade leave-in conditioner that is applied while my hair is still wet. I alternate between extra virgin olive oil – experiment with small amounts so that your hair isn’t oily when it dries … homemade handlotion mixed with a few drops of lavendar oil or tea tree oil that leaves your hair smelling wonderful – also experiment with small amounts to find how much works best for your hair type … and I also keep a bottle of pure aloe vera gel mixed with tea tree oil in the shower that I apply but don’t rinse … awesome for itchy, dry scalp. These “leave-in” conditioners are easy to keep in small travel-size bottles I can keep in my car and/or purse for when I need a touch-up during humid or windy days. Thanks for the fantastic recipes and tips!

  23. Any idea how long the shelf-life is? I would think that it would be decent if you were to shake or stir the mixture before you use it each time.

  24. I’ve been doing this for about 2 months now. I’ve had more compliments on my hair than ever before! I use the baking soda/water mixture to wash (every day, I have very oily hair…even at the age of 54) and then I rinse with apple cider vinegar. Lovely and compliment-worthy! In addition, once a month I apply coconut oil to my hair. Some folks use a shower cap, I just sit in the hot tub and read for an hour while the coconut oil does its thing. Last year I gave a jar of coconut oil to all of my family (those with hair) and they swear by it too! It’s a little difficult to get out…takes a couple of shampoos. What I tell folks is to deep condition the day BEFORE you wish to look extra stunning…the second day of shampooing gives the most amazing look ever!

  25. Also just to add…when I posted this page to Facebook, a friend who has long dread locks said this was all she ever used on her hair and it works wonderfully! Just FYI for anyone with dread locks.

  26. I just started using the baking soda and water for shampoo and ACV with water for conditioner about two weeks ago. I feel like my hair is kind of a weird texture and seems kind of dry. It also gets really tangled because I have relatively thin hair. Do you think adding the oat flower will help give it more moisture? Any tips for the tangles?

    • It’s probably getting back to its natural texture, which you may have never felt if you’ve used commercial products your whole life. Keep at it, and try adding the oat flour, it can’t hurt anything. Let us know how it goes.

  27. What about heating it with cornstarch to thicken it? Will the heat have a negative effect on the baking soda chemically? I tried it and it jells beautifully and the result never needs shaking.

    • Should have a similar effect w/o the heat… not sure if heat has a negative effect or not, although I don’t believe so.

  28. I found a BS shampoo recipe sent by a friend on Facebook, which came just in time since I was having trouble with allergies to traditional shampoos that left my scalp very itchy. I have been using this for about a month now. My daughter, who had very bad dandruff has been using it too. We also use the ACV rinse. We both love it, itchiness and dandruff are virtually gone. The only mistake we were making was using too much – didn’t realize until reading this article that it only takes a little bit – we were using 8 oz squirt bottles from Target for each solution and using all of it per application. We’ll try using less and see if we still get the good results – it sure will save a lot of time in the morning.

  29. I have been using BS/AC for 3 weeks now and love it. It is so easy to make and cheap to say the least. My problem is that it gets oily quickly is that normal due to the transition period? On some days I use a little cornstarch to rub at roots where its greasy and im good to go till next time I wash my hair. I have my husband trying out now.

  30. I am totally loving this, the conditioner, your book, your whole site @ that 🙂 thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. I have found that after using this about a month my hair is actually softer and shinier than with anyrhing I ever bought and the color is better somehow. Cant really explain, its brighter maybe?! I will say I only like to mix up what I’m going to use right then though cause no matter how much I love it, pouring cold anything over my head is just not pleasant 🙂 oh and I also use cheap condiment containers to get a little control pouring it over my hair. God bless you both 🙂

  31. I’ve been using this shampoo for several years on my daughter’s blond hair after swimming. The baking soda neutralizes the copper found in swimming pool algaecides and keeps her hair from turning green — even with daily swimming.

  32. I didn’t read all of the posts so I may have missed it. I am going to try the bs shampoo but I really need a conditioner. It brings tears to my eyes when combing otherwise. I see people are using acv mix. But what is the mix? Also can I use distilled white vinegar?

    Amy

  33. I have been using the BS & ACV for about 7 weeks now. I think I finally got it right! I found that my baby-fine oily blond hair does best when I add a little citrus Castile soap and a few drops of tea tree oil to the mix. I also have to make sure I thoroughly wash and rinse. I’m getting compliments on my hair from friends who know what I’ve been doing. They have seen a difference. I used to have to wash my hair almost every day. I can now go 2-3 days between washings.

    • Amy–

      I also have very fine but oily long hair and I’ve been struggling with getting my hair clean with this shampoo. It is often still greasy after I dry it, even though I feel like I am using plenty, rubbing it in and rinsing pretty well. Did you find that there was a transition period?

  34. Hi! I love this so much! You have no idea how much time I’ve put into finding all natural hair care products, this practically saved my life! All my other recipies have “gone bad” before I finished using them or included something sweet that would attract ants. I have one question though, about how much corn startch and/or oats would you recommend to have it be the same consistancey as comercial brand? That’s the thinkness I’m used to.
    Thank you! =)

  35. Hi all,

    I noticed in the description for this recipe that it tends to strip color from your hair. I don’t like chemical dyes at all, so I dye my hair with henna every few months. Does anyone know what the effects of Baking Soda shampoo are on henna-dyed hair? Thanks!

    Ryan

  36. This is Hannah again, it has has been 2 1/2 months now that i am using bs/acv and loving it. I put oatmeal in it this time to thicken it but its still very watery. On the cornstarch do you add a little hot water to make it into a thick cosistancy or you just add add the powder? My hubby is not convinced since it doesn’t lather like comerial shampoo.

  37. How does this work for really, really dirty hair? I bike, hike, horseback ride, and clean horse stalls (sometimes all in the same day).

  38. I tried this recipe and absolutely can say I will NEVER do it again, I have baby fine, oily hair. I just have ALOT of it and after using this *shampoo* I found myself with even a worse fly-away baby fine tangled up mess of hair that took DAYS to get back to normal. it left my hair feeling worse then before I washed it.

    • How often have you used it? I heard there is a transition period which takes some patience.

  39. Thank you for posting about how to thicken up the mixture I have been thinking about this for a long time. I even stopped making my shampoo because it frustrated me so. I will try this and see what happends. Come by and see me ont he blog.

  40. I had been dealing with an extremely itchy scalp for a while (no dandruff – just really itchy), so I decided try something other than the store-bought shampoos and conditioners. Sometimes I use a Castile soap based shampoo and other times I use the baking soda and water. I also use the ACV conditioner instead of store-bought. I’ve noticed a significant decrease in the itch. My skin has gotten very sensitive over the last few years, so I know there must be something I’m allergic to in the store-boughts. Now, I plan on trying the deodorant recipe on this site. Thanks!

    • Bekah, I haven’t tried it but my guess is no. Baking soda is an alkaline substance that, when used in baking, reacts with an acid to bubble up and rise your food. Baking powder contains both the alkaline and the acid together. It doesn’t react until it gets wet. If you tried it I doubt it would do any harm really, but you might get fizzy. Actually, the vinegar rinse is the acid that is neutralizing the alkaline baking soda after it gets to do its thing. You should go ahead and experiment in the kitchen! Fun stuff.

  41. I’ve been using BS and regular distiller white vinegar and my hair is soooo dry!! Is it because I’m not using ACV? My hair is normally really oily (with commerical shampoos) but now it’s not at all. I like to wash my hair every day since I style it and end up with hairspray in it. Any suggestions?? I read about the coconut oil, but does it have to be organic or can I use my coconut cooking oil??

    • A couple weeks after I started this, the top of my head was super oily the day after shampooing and the rest of my hair was very dry and brittle. It seems to have adjusted better now. Coconut oil is awesome as a deep conditioner. I only tried it once, but I love coconut oil for everything. I believe any coconut oil will work. I used unrefined because I love the smell. Put just a little bit throughout your hair, cover (shower cap, saran wrap, whatever), and let sit for a while (at least half an hour, but you can leave it overnight if you wish). It may take an extra shampooing to wash it out thoroughly, but should leave your hair softer and more moisturized. Good luck.

  42. Been using the BS shampoo for a week & was shocked at how well it’s worked…with regular shampoo/conditioner, I was washing my waist-length about once every 6-7 days (I’m 49 & it really doesn’t get that oily until the last day or two). With the BS, the wash is still lasting 3 or 4 days! When I first tried this, I was at my in-laws, who have a water-softening system…with that and diluted white vinegar, I had absolutely no tangles, which is nearly miraculous! Back at home with my hard well-water and ACV, I may have to experiement with diluting the ACV a little more, and perhaps adding some herbs to it (the smell is just awful!) but am still gettting that 3-4 days of clean hair! I may also try going back to the diluted white vinegar. The point is, no more commercial shampoo for me (and no more 30 minutes of ripping tangles out of my hair, either!!!)

  43. WOW! Very excited to try this. If I would like to add a scent, such as mint, would you suggest an extract, oil, fresh herbs? Thanks for any suggestions!

    • I use lemon juice more often than vinegar for rinsing because I can’t stand the vinegar smell. Even after it dries, I can still smell it. I love adding a few drops of pink grapefruit essential oil. It smells awesome, leaves my hair soft and detangled, and does not make my hair oily. If you prefer fresh herbs, you can steep them in the water and then strain them out and use that water for mixing. I would not suggest extracts.

  44. Will this control dandruff? I’m using T-gel right now, but would like to go homemade.

  45. Hi! I have been using this shampoo/conditioner combo for about a month now. I LOVE it! I have more curly and body and my hair has honestly never been so managable. I brush it the way I want it to look and it stays there! (And I smell like peppermint 🙂 )
    SO, I forgot to make a new batch before I got in the shower the other day and had to use the old shampoo. Oh my goodness was my hair a mess. All day it was flying away and it totally lost it’s curl. I’m making so much from scratch now thanks to your site, but this is by far my favorite DIY.
    Thanks so much!

  46. I just tried this again (tried it in the past but wanted to give it a go again after reading about ways to thicken it). Unfortunately, I don’t think my blender was strong/sharp/fast enough because I got teeny crumbs of oatmeal left in my hair LOL So, I may spring for oat flour from the store until I replace my blender because I loved how my hair felt afterwards (minus the oat crumbs). I also added cornstarch and some honey and loved it!

    • I had that same problem with the oatmeal. I also added cornstarch to mine but it didn’t thicken up like I expected to. I would think that honey would make the shampoo sticky. How much honey do you put in? I do a 1:1 ratio.