1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Homemade Shampoo - Easy Recipe

By January 10, 2009

Follow me on:

If you are interested in making your own shampoo, but don't want the hassle of starting absolutely from scratch, there is an easy recipe that you can try. The difference is, you use soap as an ingredient rather than making your own. This is safer, quicker, and easier.

Easy Homemade Shampoo Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup grated soap (castile soap is a common choice)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons glycerine
  • ~5 drops essential oil (optional, for fragrance or therapeutic properties)
Let's Make Shampoo!
  1. Dissolve the soap in the hot water.

  2. Stir in the olive oil. You can substitute another vegetable oil if you like, but olive oil is generally accepted as healthy for skin and hair.

  3. Add the glycerine and any essential oils you might want. Typical essential oils would include lavender, peppermint, or citrus.
You can use this shampoo as-is or as a base for specialized recipes for oily hair, dry hair, dandruff, etc.


January 11, 2009 at 1:23 pm
(1) Ira says:

A low cost, green eco friendly, healthy natural way to deal with washing hair is to make a homemade liquid shampoo from soapberries which grow on the Chinaberry tree and have been used for thousands of years. They work very effectively.

March 30, 2009 at 10:05 am
(2) TIm (from homemade-shampoo.com) says:

Hi, I heard that you shouldn’t mix grated soap in an aluminum pan because the two can react.

September 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm
(3) Aleisa says:

How much shampoo are you supposed to use per wash, esp compared to shampoo you buy in the store?

November 12, 2009 at 2:52 pm
(4) imTori says:

What is the glycerin for? Can you do without it?

March 4, 2010 at 4:09 pm
(5) Neen says:

The glycerine is a natural lotion. In fact, you can actually use it as a natural sweetener. I was hesitant at first too, but seems to be just fine and since it’s natural, I feel pretty good about it too.

March 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm
(6) Michele says:

If the recipe calls for 1/4 cup grated soap and 1/4 cup of water, what would be the amount used if I only used liquid castile soap?

April 19, 2010 at 10:56 am
(7) Kate says:

In your “from scratch” recipe, did you realize you are telling people to put raw, caustic soap on their heads? You said nothing about letting it sit a few weeks, or cooking it to neutrality. You have a picture of a baby on this recipe’s page, can you imagine what would happen to an infant if mom or dad put lye on his sensitive scalp?!? He would have serious chemical burns…which I’m sure you must know since you’re a PhD. I’m sure it’s just an oversight, so PLEASE correct this quickly before anyone causes serious damage to themselves or their families.

May 17, 2010 at 7:08 pm
(8) Jive Dadson says:

How can you have a recipe for shampoo that calls for an unspecified “soap”? The pH of soaps varies all over the place. Even the lowest pH soap would probably be too basic to make a good shampoo. The skin of an adult human is around 5. You could add vinegar, but how much? And what’s the point? Shampoo that’s formulated by chemists and biologists who actually know what they are doing is very inexpensive.

May 17, 2010 at 7:12 pm
(9) Jive Dadson says:

One more thing. Good shampoo for an adult is not good shampoo for a baby, and vice versa. A baby’s skin has a pH around 7. Adults can be as low as 4.5.

June 5, 2010 at 10:40 pm
(10) quizzy lizzy says:

I don’t see lye in this receipe anywhere.

June 18, 2010 at 3:41 pm
(11) Anne says:

I have used this shampoo recipe for about two months. I found this to be great for my hair and low cost too. I use Dr. Bonners soap. I do not use any over the counter products now. Many of the chemicals included in them I have looked up. I rinse with a diluted apple cider vinegar. Lye is used in home made castile soap which I do not use. I use Dr. Bonner and vinegar for almost everything now. I love reading the labels! Some funny things on the wrapper.

July 8, 2010 at 6:12 am
(12) Phil says:

Kate should get her facts right before jumping to conclusions. The sodium hydroxide is not going to be put on any ones head just like that. There has to be a chemical reaction when the oils and diluted lye is mixed to form a soap. So, now there is no more corrosive lye in the product but is part of the soap which formed in the reaction.

October 19, 2010 at 4:54 am
(13) Yedda Santos says:

Is the solid castile soap in the ingredients good for your hair? Other comments i read said it made their hair dry and feel ‘stiff’. It’s for a project so i’m worried about my grade. how much of liquid castile soap, if i choose to, should i use???

October 19, 2010 at 5:08 am
(14) Yedda Santos says:

Is the solid castile soap really good for your hair?? Comments of castile soap on other sites say that it made their hair feel thick and stiff like ‘straw’. I’m using this recipe as a project so it’s my grade. if i use liquid castile soap, how much??
thanks soo much :)

October 19, 2010 at 5:11 am
(15) yedda says:

ohh,… correction
how much liquid castile soap should i use to replace the 1/4 cup of grated castile soap??
yah please please help!! i’m planning to make it on Saturday!!!

thank u !!! :)

January 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm
(16) Samantha says:

Glycerine is about $2.00 for a small bottle and is found at old timmey grocery stores. The Piggly Wiggly and old pharmacy type stores usually have it.

January 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm
(17) PEGGY says:


February 3, 2011 at 4:55 pm
(18) My Homemade Shampoo says:

THis looks like a great recipe – when test it out, I’ll link back to you in my review!

August 2, 2011 at 4:38 pm
(19) Mark says:

Glycerin can be bought at any pharmacy also. Another place you may be able to buy it is at a nearby Ethanol plant. it is a byproduct produced in large quantity during the manufacture of Ethanol.
Castile can make the hair dry. This is why glycerin is added- to make it softer.

October 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm
(20) bibiedel says:

merci beaucoup pour ce partage
bon week end

January 9, 2012 at 2:52 am
(21) Mumsy says:

Glycerine while great for your skin gives the hair a waxy texture. I would use glycerine for a body wash but skip it for a shampoo. I know, because I’ve tried the recipe! I wonder if the author has…..

May 3, 2012 at 10:58 am
(22) jen says:

Hi there!! Going to try to make myself, although I did not see anything callig for lye (which scares me w 3small kids) anyways, I saw a comment on using Dr bonners products, its very expensive in my oppinion which is y i make my own liquid form from grating a dr bonners bar soap. Way cheaper!!! hope this helps

November 1, 2012 at 4:20 am
(23) Dianne says:

There is a distinct difference between soap and shampoo (detergent).

If you choose to use soap (Castille or otherwise) you should be aware that it will have a very different effect on hair than the standard commercial shampoo you are used to.

Specifically, while soap is gentler on the hair, it also leaves a residue shampoos do not. It leaves your hair with a different feel to it and builds up over time. (An occasional apple vinegar rinse will take care of it.)

I’m all for using less harsh, more natural methods of body care, but you should make it clear to people that this is not simply a DIY shampoo, it is hair soap, which requires different techniques to use and produces different results than most people are used to.

June 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm
(24) Tyger says:

I’ve never used any Dr Bonner’s soap or castile soap. I use Dr. Sears all natural shampoo and body wash (for babies) for a base with all my shampoo and shower gel. No sulfates or harsh cleaners. Works great too!

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.