Homemade Coconut Milk and Coconut Milk SHAMPOO (Revised)

A little over two weeks ago I posted a “recipe” for Coconut Milk Shampoo that proved to be VERY popular! Apparently I wasn’t the only one looking for an alternative to store-bought shampoo.

While this was a much-viewed (and tried) idea…judging by the comments…it was met with mixed reviews. Even my own initial opinion of the mixture changed the more I used it. I found that I couldn’t use it every time I shampooed because it left my hair feeling too “coated”.

For the last several days I haven’t been able to get this out of my mind. While I don’t expect every single one of my posts to be a “homerun”…this one had enough people that weren’t satisfied with the results that I knew I had to do some more research. That’s how much I love you guys! ;-)

Saturday I spent HOURS searching for an answer. It wasn’t proving as easy as I thought it would be! My suspicion was that the castile soap might be the culprit in this recipe…but almost EVERY SINGLE homemade shampoo formulation I found had castile soap as the base.

Many, many recipes later…I have come up with the following semi-homemade version of Coconut Milk Shampoo that while not completely “natural” is still a vast improvement over typical grocery store brands.

Semi-Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo

1/4 cup coconut milk (you can either make your own [see below], or use store-bought)
1/3 cup organic baby shampoo/wash (the closest I could get to organic was Aveeno brand)
1 tsp vitamin E, olive or almond oil (I used olive oil because I was out of almond oil and didn’t have any Vit E oil)
10 to 20 drops of your choice of essential oils (I was going to use Lavender because I thought it would go best with the baby shampoo…but there were only a few drops in the bottle…so I used Lemon instead.)

Since I was anxious to try this new formulation and was out of canned coconut milk…I decided I might as well try my hand at making my own. After seeing how easy it was to make Almond Milk last week, I figured I could handle coconut. And I just happened to have a whole bag of shredded coconut that I recently purchased to use in my sister’s homemade granola recipe. So I was set. I turned to Crunchy Betty’s instructions and got started.

As I suspected….it was super easy!
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Into the blender (or food processor) with 1 cup HOT water.
PULSE approximately 20 times. (Don’t run continuously.)
Strain “milk” through a fine sieve or some sort of cloth.
Push down on the
coconut to make sure you get all the liquid out.
Put coconut back in the blender with another cup of HOT water
and repeat 3 more times.
You will end up with approximately 4 cups of lovely coconut milk!
.  .  .  .  .  .
NOW we are ready to make the SHAMPOO! :-)
Add 1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/3 cup baby shampoo to bottle of choice.
Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, vitamin E oil or almond oil.
Add 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil.
Shake bottle to combine ingredients.
Go jump in the shower and try it out!
Personally, I like this version a LOT better than the first. Unfortunately, the castile “soap” in the first recipe reacts with the minerals in the water we wash our hair with and can form a film or residue. That is why some of us experienced a “coated” feeling on our hair….and why most shampoo is made with “detergents”, because detergent reacts less to minerals in water and doesn’t leave this residue. Of course detergents contain OTHER ingredients that are less than desirable. But that’s another post for another time.
Hopefully this will be a better alternative for those who tried the first version and decided it was a no-go. I can’t wait to hear what you think!  Make sure and let us know. :-)

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  1. Anonymous says

    I totally agree. If you regularly use a shampoo with sodium lauryl sulfate or the like, your hair gets completely degreesed. In turn your body scrambles to coat the hair and over produces oil. It will take a while for your body to not produce so much oil. This might be some of the people's problems.

    Also with hair, you need o balance the ph level. Hair at 7 (neutral) will have a smooth shaft. Hair that is a higher ph ( 8+) will be course and easily tangled. Castile soap has a ph of say 10 i think. If you look at a soap's ingredients and see an acid included, the ph is probably more like 7. I wash with a Castile based shampoo bar and need to use a acidic rinse such as vinegar or citric acid. It totally makes a difference. I do live in places with hard water and it seems like I need to use more acidic product to get the same result as soft water area. Also filtering shower heads can be purchased easily enough.

    Good luck and I hope this helps some. :)

    • MommaK says

      Yay! Thank you for explaining that :) Recently switched my family over to using castile soap for body wash and shampoo. Works great for my husband and lil 4mo baby, but they have short hair! I have long, thick, curly hair and the castile soap just seemed to leave my hair with that coated feeling, although I love how it makes my scalp feel :) Gonna have to try the vinegar rinse. Does it help with de-tangling your hair? Or maybe I should try the citric acid..but where do you get that and is it safe?

      • Lisa P says

        I haven’t used citric acid in my hair so I can’t say if it de-tangles, but I can tell you that I get mine at my local health food store, and I think GNC has it (if you have GNC’s in your area). And I use it as a rinse aid in my dishwasher so I can also tell you that it’s safe enough to eat off of, I’d imagine it’s safe to use in your hair too.

      • JPT03 says

        The vinegar rinse does detangle really well… but I always feel like you can kind of smell the vinegar all day…not a lot…but enough that I don’t use it.. I switched to a lemon juice rinse…not as good on detangling, but cuts the residue. Today I also tried using a chamomile tea rinse after the lemon…and that smelled amazing (all i had was one with vanilla and honey…lol) With these and the original coconut shampoo I love how my hair came out, silky and soft!!! Very nice!

      • Joanne says

        The mistake a lot of ppl make with vinegar rinse, is using too much vinegar. U don’t need much to get a good result. I have long, thick, curly hair & I fill a 2 litre bottle with cool water & no more than 1/3 cup vinegar for my final rinse & I have no vinegar smell. I’m quite sensitive to smells too.

      • Angel says

        Citric Acid can be found at Walmart in the section where they have the canning jars and canning spices & pickling salts.

      • erica says

        citric acid is basically like orange juice! so you can try rinsing with tht as well.

      • Claudia says

        I have curly hair (long, thick and very coarse) but ever since I started doing the following my curls have never been better! I use a little bit of baking soda and add some water (enough to make a paste) and I wash my hair with it (this is to clarify so I use it once a week or less, it depends) and then I’ll use a conditioner (either make your own or use an organic/natural brand, I’m currently using the Shea moisture line Co wash conditioner) I put a good amount on my hair, put a cap on it and leave it on there, while I shave, wash my body etc then at the end I rinse my hair with warm/cool water (concentrating on the scalp mostly, its okay if you leave some conditioner in your ends) and in a cup I put some apple cider vinegar, add some water, soap my ends in the cup, then the leftover pour it all over my hair, do one more quick cool rinse (to get rid of the smell, my bf hates the smell ahah) and then thats it…I let it air dry and once it’s almost dry I either use some oil (like argan oil or Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse fromt he Shea Moisture line) and I’m good to go…fyi I only wash my hair once a week, twice maybe and my curls have never been better!

      • Michelle says

        I was just wondering if anyone knows how long the holding life of the homemade coconute milk is? as wall as the shampoo? Does it need to be kept in the fridge (shampoo) I am asuming the left over milk should be… any info on this would be appreciated.

      • Katelyn says

        Through a great deal of research and a small amount of trial and error, I have found that adding a little bit of vit E helps stabilize the coconut milk. Most of my coconut based homemade body care products last about a month like this.

      • DeAnna says

        I use an ACV rinse and it does de-tangle and condition quite well! I’ve only been doing the natural shampoo thing for around 6 weeks, and my hair is SLOWLY starting to adjust, but I think it will be worth it in the end.

    • says

      I have read several of the natural remadies you post for skin and hair but haven’t tried them yet. But this homemade coconut milk shampoo. Was at the Doc. yesterday and wanted to ask what to do for my hair. I have had some health issues and taking meds and iron pills. Nothing real serious but it has left me with dry damaged hair and even brittle and thinning. I wanted to ask about that product they sell for regrowing hair, didn’t get the chance I do not blow dry or use curling irons for about 15 year, now but did blow dry everyday till about the age of 38. I have thick natural curly hair. but I worry now that it has thinned. I was wondering if you have any ideas for me and would this homemade shampoo help with this or should I keep looking. I know this is a great sight and so are the ingred. you use and appreciate all you do and information you share with all of us is great. I would like so much to get your opinion. thank you

    • Leialoha says

      I use a vinegar and lavender rinse after my homemade coconut milk shampoo. I love the way the vinegar rinse works to condition and rinses away the “the build up,” some have spoken of here. I have long hair, down to my rear end and I don’t use any other conditioner. My hair is tangle free with this vinegar lavender rinse. And my hair shines like I put a polish on it of some sort! I also use a coconut milk leave in conditioner after my shower! Never been happier!

  2. Kristin says

    I tried the original shampoo but have yet to try the new version. I've been looking for natural shampoos as I've been worried about sulphates and parabins in shampoos. I've been doing a lot of research and I've found, natural shampoos will work a lot like no poo. It is my understanding, there will be an icky, greasy period for 2-6 weeks that you have to deal with while your scalp gets used to chemical free washing. I'm still trying the natural thing but it's hard. Not only is my very long hair greasy looking and feeling, it's become extra frizzy without any of my normal products. I'm not sure I can last the icky period.

    • Misha says

      I know it’s hard, I went through the same thing not too long ago when I decided to stop using commercial shampoos. At first I went completely “no poo” and tried the baking soda/apple cider vinegar combo. I hated it because the baking soda was too drying. I came across the original recipe of this shampoo and started using it, but Dr. Bronner’s leaves my hair feeling too waxy (I also have very hard water). I made a few modifications to this recipe and finally came to a very nice mixture. Taking the original recipe, I added 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup lemon juice to it. After shampooing I rinse with 1/4 cup ACV and 1 cup water. I have very long hair and it is slightly oily. When I went through “the phase” I could hardly stand it, so I would usually just braid my hair to hide the fact that it looked and felt horrible. I’m happy to say that I am coming out of the phase nicely after 5 weeks of no commercial products, and my hair looks and feels amazing. Stick with it Kristin, I know you can do it and it is SO worth it.

    • Jane says

      I have oily, long hair and I switched over about three years ago to sulphate and parabin free shampoos. My sister and I tried a lot of natural brands and I found that there are some I absolutely can not use on my hair and some that I can. It seemed to be the same for my sister but she could use some I couldn’t and vis-versa.
      I found that some shampoos or conditioners would leave my hair looking and feeling “oilier” than before I got into the shower. To make things worse I had just had a highlightening issue with my hair and it was dry and damaged from that process. So finding something natural that was moisturizing and didn’t leave my hair gross was frustrating. I did find that the “icky period” wasn’t so icky when I started trying different shampoos and conditioners and finding the ones that worked with body chemistry. I didn’t use any one brand conditioner with the matching shampoos. You have to keep looking and that period of time that your body adjusts to living chemical free will go faster. My mother’s cousin uses mayonaise as a conditioner once a week, and she rinsed with beer. She swears by it! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Tracy says

      Look for a shampoo called Earth Safe. It comes in fire, water, earth and air. I like air the best I think.. Best natural shampoo and conditioner I have ever found and it REALLY detangles!

    • Karen says

      Try using a tea rinse and a DIY hair gel. I have very curly, frizzy hair and use the coconut milk shampoo every time I wash. I have used it for almost a year now. I make a tea using green tea, chamomille, and cinnamon-hibiscus and rinse my hair with it. If you have oily hair, switch the chamomille with lemongrass tea. Just add 1 each of the tea bags to 2 cups water and boil for about 15 minutes, let cool, remove tea bags, and add 1 TBS of vinegar. After rinsing the shampoo, pour the tea over your hair, catch it in a bowl and pour it back into the jar and repeat several times.

      The gel is just boiled flax seed. Add 2-3 TBS of flax seed to 1 1/2-2 cups of water and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and let simmer 3-4 minutes or so, then pour it through a strainer. It will resemble snot in consistancy. Once it’s cool add essential oils or aloe vera gel or both. Whatever you want. It looks and feels gross, but it works wonderfully! There are several recipes for it on the internet if you do a little searching. It can make your hair feel cruncy as it dries. If this happens, just scrunch your hair a little and the crunchy goes away and is replaced with soft, beautiful hair. Well, at least mine is anyway, LOL!

      When my hair starts to get a build up, I just wash it with some baking soda. Hope this helps.

    • says

      Yeah, Dawn… because we want to support a company that does as much damage as Proctor & Gamble. Yikes! I think I’ll pass on that suggestion. We don’t purchase any P&G products in this house.

      • Mrs. C. says

        A reply without the sarcasm might actually be read and received.

        You could try explaining that you wouldn’t purchase products from P&G because… Rather than assuming everyone has the same information about it that you do and that they are seeking to intentionally wreck the environment. Your comment furthers the misconception that environmentalists are snarky jerks.

      • Honk Off says

        Mrs. C and Christie,

        Get off your high horse and say something nice for a change!

      • christie says

        If you are seeking to be nasty…then you have the right approach.
        If you are seeking to educate people that there is something wrong with P&G…then educate and provide some actual information.
        Otherwise your comment is just annoying sarcastic trash.

  3. Anonymous says

    The reason people rinsing with some sort of vinegar don't have a problem with a "coated" feeling in their hair does have to do with the way soap interacts with minerals in the water. If you have hard water, any soap will leave a residue of "salts" that are left in your hair (or around the sink, or bathtub, or whatever..). However, rinsing with vinegar, an acid, will get rid of the leftover salts, leaving everything squeaky clean. Hmmm, I think my chemistry professor would be proud. :P

    • Karen D. says

      So what you & Jillee are telling us is that we have soap scum in our hair after using a natural soap, correct? Hence, the reason the vinegar and/or lemon rinse makes the hair feel less waxy afterwards, because they both cut soap scum. It makes perfect sense to me!
      Thanks for a great blog, Jillee!!! I try to visit everyday =)

  4. Scooter says

    I'm on Day 16 (about) of using your old shampoo recipe. LOVE it. It definitely does take some getting used to, but as others have now posted, it really does take time for that "greasy" feeling to go away. I read somewhere that it's akin to an oily face. If you strip the oil, your skin makes more. Once you quit getting rid of the oil, your skin will slow down oil production. (Was explained to me that it works kind of like breast feeding!) This transitioning period is your scalp recovering and getting used to being naturally maintained. Mine was yucky for about a week and then I noticed it started feeling a lot nicer and now I LOVE it. Just have the occassional problem with static. Been adjusting the formula as I'm going; now I add a little glycerin as I've done some research on that too. :) Keep up the good, natural works!

  5. Anonymous says

    Will this strip color from hair color? I'm thinking the vinegar might but what about the shampoo?

  6. Jenn M. says

    I have used a natural shampoo bar for the last two years since I started getting psoriasis of the scalp. I had a lot of trouble with my hair feeling icky and coated. It really was my hard water was not allowing the soap to rinse. I use a small amount of vinegar and fill the rest of an empty bottle of shampoo with water and rinse with that. After a week, I have had no problem at all. This really is a trial and error process. All the chems in regular shampoos are in there to prevent these problems. But, I never want those chems touching my or my children’s scalps again.

    Also, I have not had my soap or vinegar rise affect my dyed hair.

  7. Carmen says

    I see you use doTERRA essential oils!! <3 They are absolutely amazing amazing, no?! I pinned your last shampoo recipe and had yet to make it so I will definitely try this one with doT oils! :)


  1. […] back in August, and it wasn’t a huge hit. :-/  So, I reworked the idea and posted about my REVISED Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo in March.  I like THIS version MUCH better and still use it today. But everytime I run across […]

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