How to make your own shampoo

How to make your own shampoo

Although commercial shampoo is readily available in many different varieties, it can be fun and satisfying to make your own.

Photo Credit: Svetlana Larina
By Susan Pitman

Although commercial shampoo is readily available in many different varieties, it can be fun and satisfying to make your own. Perhaps you have hair that does not respond well to any of the shampoos you have found. Or perhaps you wish to make sure of the purity of the ingredients in your shampoo. Whatever your reason, here are some simple recipes for making your own shampoo.

Before you start, there are a few things to know about homemade shampoos. Since you will not be adding any sudsing agents, they will not lather up as much as a commercial shampoo. Commercial shampoos contain both sudsing agents and substances to break down the suds. Your homemade shampoo may not be as thick as a commercial shampoo. However, it will clean just as well and very likely be much less expensive.

A simple castile shampoo is made with 4 ounces castile soap flakes and one quart water. Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and pour water over the soap flakes. Stir until the soap flakes dissolve. Once the mixture has cooled, store it in a plastic bottle.

You may vary this recipe by adding essential oils to the shampoo. Lavender is very calming and makes a good addition to the shampoo. Peppermint and citrus are invigorating. Experiment with different oils to find the ones you like best. If you wish to add essential oils to your shampoo, mix 4 to 8 drops of the oil in a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol. Stir it into the soap mixture just after all the soap has dissolved.

You may also use this recipe to make an herbal shampoo. Instead of plain water, make an herbal infusion. Use one-half ounce of dried herbs for each quart of hot water. Let the herbs steep for at least 20 minutes. Reheat the infusion if necessary, pour the hot infusion over the soap flakes, and stir well. Rosemary is good for dark hair, while chamomile is a good herb to use for light hair. If you have hair that is too oily or too dry, make an infusion of burdock root, comfrey leaves, nettles, and rosemary leaves. This will help restore the natural balance of the hair.

A good shampoo to use for very dry hair is made of 1 cup of the basic shampoo recipe mixed with one-quarter cup olive, avocado, or almond oil. This helps eliminate the extra dryness caused by the chlorine from a pool or from exposing your hair to too much sun.

You can also make a dry shampoo. This is good to use when camping, when you are sick, or in the winter if you do not wish to get your hair wet. Mix 1 tablespoon cornmeal, 1 tablespoon powdered Orris root, and 1 tablespoon finely ground almonds. To use this shampoo, brush your hair very well, from the scalp down to the very tips of your hair. Rub the mixture into your scalp. Brush your hair very well again. Do not be concerned if some of the particles are left in your hair. They will easily wash out when you wash your hair with a regular shampoo. This shampoo is also very good for extremely oily hair.

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