The Best Homemade Shampoo Recipe


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again….the BEST ideas come from the readers of this blog!  Recently Heather emailed me with her “Homemade Shampoo” recipe. Now, I have probably read a million “shampoo” recipes that are similar to this before (OK…maybe 500,000), but none of them really “grabbed” me.

I have posted about a couple in the past.  Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo was the first one, way 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 every time I run across something similar to what Heather emailed me about….my interest has been piqued!

It’s one of those ideas that seems so crazy that it might actually work! Well, guess what? It does! And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised….because I am a HUGE fan of baking soda! I love that there are a bazillion different uses for it (OK…maybe HALF a bazillion) and honestly, I love the way it FEELS. I know that might sound kind of strange…but whether it’s on my hands when I’m using my Miracle Cleaner or in my “shampoo” on my hair…I just love the soft feel of it, and how easily it rinses out, leaving only clean behind.

To condition your hair…Heather has an equally “unorthodox” approach/solution….apple cider vinegar. Once again, I’ve heard of this from LOTS of readers of this blog and on many other websites before. But for reason I just had a BLOCK when it came to taking a bottle of what I consider a salad dressing ingredient into the shower with me and then pouring it on my head! lol.  Well, if you read her instructions below, it’s not QUITE like that…and once you get over the “strangeness” of it all…you might just be convinced….like I am!  I’m not one to use much conditioner on my hair in the first place…I usually only apply it to the ends of my hair and then very lightly throughout the rest as a detangler. So this approach suited me just fine.


Heather’s Homemade Shampoo & Conditioner

“In a ketchup squirt bottle (the cheap ones you can get at the dollar store), add 1 Tbsp baking soda, then 1 cup of hot water. Put the lid on, cover the tip with your finger, and shake it up well. (Should last a few days)

To shampoo hair: Wet hair in the shower. Start in sections, and squirt the “shampoo” onto hair, and massage into scalp and hair. Keep working in sections until hair is “shampoo-ed”. Rinse as normal.

To condition hair:  In the mustard squirt bottle (that came with the ketchup bottle!), mix 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) with 1 cup of hot water. After hair has been shampoo-ed and rinsed, condition ends of hair with the vinegar/water mixture, and massage into tips. Rinse as normal.

I have been using this about a month or 6 weeks now, and I love it! My hair has never looked or felt better, or held a better style. I hope you can give it a try and enjoy this!”

Well Heather, I DID and I DID.

Thank you for sharing it with me…and now everyone else. :-)

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  1. says

    Great ideas, I’ve used these before and the only “down” side is if you color your hair it seems to pull the color out quicker. If someone could find a cure for that I would be hooked, nature’s little grey highlights really are annoying me.

    • MaryJ. says

      I have read that rosemary and sage teas stimulate new growth AND darken greys. The article said that the applications were for those with dark hair (for obvious reasons).

      I bought a rosemary and sage plants to grow on my patio…they’re decent sized now-but I have not tried them as shampoo yet…and plan to try them this week.
      The same site also suggested acv/lavendar rinse (I also bought a lavendar plant). The lavendar is to be made into a tea as well.

    • cathy says

      Erin, try adding 1/4 salt to your vinegar before applying to your hair. Salt helps set the dyes in your hair. This should help keep the hair color from fading.

    • Erin says

      Don’t Use ACV With Colored, Or Light Hair. Over Time The Natural Tannins Can Deposit On Your Hair. Use White Vinegar, Instead. (Vinegar Is Basically The Same As A Malibu Treatment From A Salon) Also, The Baking Soda Is Mildly Abrasive, And Could Affect Your Color.

  2. Amanda Collins says

    Well.. ‘poo.. I bought a can of coconut milk.. O.o …now what? lol! I like this idea.. I’ve seen it around before and haven’t tried it yet, but thankfully my shampoo and conditioner are just about empty so this will give me a reason to try this! Also, what is the difference between ACV and Distilled White Vinegar?

    • Krista R. says

      Amanda, you can make whipped cream from the coconut milk. Put the can in the fridge over night. Open and take out the solid milk. Whip with a little sugar and vanilla. Voila, coconut whipped. Ream. It is good!

    • Kaylen says

      ACV smells nicer and is “supposed” to be better for your hair, but distilled vinegar smooths the cuticle and restores ph just the same.

  3. bonnie says

    Was using this method and loving it…til I got some highlights put in my hair for summer. My stylist said DONT DO IT because it would turn honey highlights to a nice orange color. Anyone tested this on colored hair? I’m too afraid to try it now :) might try your coconut recipe instead…thanks for all your hints.

    • Michelle says

      My natural hair color is highlighted blonde and it did fine as that and I just dyed my hair brown with red highlights and it is doing fine with that as well.

    • Laura Johnson says

      I have colored hair..My hair is naturally BLACK and I have been trying to go lighter little by little. Neither the b/c not the ACV have done anything to change my haircolor. My stylist said it was really good for your hair and that it wouldn’t hurt at all.

    • Crystal says

      I use it and I have highlights added to my hair…. ACV or rosemary tea should not change your hair color…. and even if it did, it would be only temporary, until you washed it out

      • Lisa says

        Peroxide is the only thing that would turn your highlights orange. I think your hairdresser might have been confused with baking soda.

  4. Helen says

    well, i don’t usually post OR subscribe but as i wander arount pinterest i keep coming back to you so now i’m doing both, thanks for all your neet ideas and links

  5. Beth says

    I just wanted to recommend/suggest if you wanted to add a scent, put a few drops of essential oil in there. AND….if you are needing a dandruff shampoo, add a few aspirins. I am not sure if I am re-adding information someone else has put in, but I just wanted to put my two cents in to save you all a few dollars. :)

    BTW.. I love your site Jillee. I have tried many of your entries. All have worked just as well as you said they would. Thank you for being my saving grace many times over. <3

    • wbankson says

      Be careful about using aspirin in your homemade shampoo if you have asthma or have ever had a reaction to aspirin.

    • Sasha says

      No way, it can absorb into your blood stream…even through your shampoo. This is a really bad idea! Rub garlic on the bottom of your feet and see how long it takes you to taste it. Thats the reason I want to quit using commercial products. Too many bad chemicals! And for everyone talking about buying essential oils in walmart…those are just fragrances. TRUE essential oils are harder to find but have so many therapeutic effects and healing qualities. Lavender, lemon and I think peppermint are all disinfectants too. You can clean with them. :)

    • Kaylen says

      But don’t aspirin to the baking soda, it reacts like vinegar and baking soda, since it’s an acid. It makes both of them weaker.

  6. Elizabeth says

    I’ve always had issue with the vinegar smell. I hate vinegar. So far the only thing I use it on (white vinegar) is shampooing my carpets. It takes a day or more for the smell to go out but it’s bearable. My husband, however, says he can smell it for a long time afterwards and he also doesn’t like the smell. So does adding an essential oil or the cinnamon or vanilla really, truly take away that vinegar smell? I couldn’t stand it if it were that close to my face all the time.

    • Michelle says

      I really dislike the smell of vinegar as well and thought I’d hate using it as a rinse, but the smell really goes away once my hair is dry (although it comes back if my hair gets wet from sweat or rain).

      • Elizabeth says

        Thanks for the boost of confidence! I got some today. I still may try adding essential oils to it, but I’m going to try it this week!

    • says

      I put 5 drops of good, organic lavender oil with a tablespoon of vinegar in a cup water. The lavender smell was really strong. So I put in two drops of lavender oil instead of five. It smelled wonderful. My daughter commented how good it smelled right afterward.

      You can also put a couple drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle with the vinegar. I use full strength vinegar but instructions to dilute the vinegar with water. I use this to wash windows, mirrors, counter tops… For extra sanitation, I spray hydrogen peroxide over the vinegar (or vice versa – don’t mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar in one bottle, for some reason it doesn’t work as well), and let it sit to give it a chance to really kill those germs. For a stuck on mess, I add baking soda and let it fizz.

      Don’t like the smell of lavender oil? Use Orange, Lemon… Peppermint oil is my favorite, but it doesn’t have the antiseptic qualities that lavender oil has. ( ) To kill mildew and mold: tea tree oil, vinegar, and grapefruit seed extract ( )

      Don’t get cheap. Use a good, organic essential oil or you may cause more harm than good. Usually, you get what you pay for…

      • Emma says

        Where can you find essential oils? Someone on a post said Wal-Mart but no one at Walmart knows what I’m talking about. Also, what section do you find them in? Thanks in advance for your help.

      • Cat says

        You can find them in the airfreshener/laundry stuff isle in Russ’s or any other grocery store probably. At Walmart, i think its in the incense isle

      • Emma says

        We don’t have a Russ’s in WV. Is it the same as the warming oils by the candles and difussers? Sorry to be such a pain, but my DH is complaining about the vinegar smell in the house and I’m not about to go back to scrubbing the crud off the showers lol. Thanks.

      • Ashley says

        You can get essential oils @ Micheals in the soap making section also. They have a great selection.

      • Amy says

        Whole Foods carries Aura Cacia essential oils. They aren’t therapeutic grade, but they will do for cleaning and hair care products. Oils that are just for scents, like the ones sold at Michael’s for scenting soap and candles, aren’t usually all natural. A 1/4 oz bottle of decent essential oil isn’t cheap, but it will last a long time. You really don’t need much; maybe 10 drops total in a 16 oz bottle of liquid. Health and natural food stores are your best bet for essential oils.

      • Crystal says has great organic products… SOME pharmacies have decent essential oils… but buyer beware, not all are pure essential oils. Look at your local health food stores.
        I have even seen chemically produced ‘essential oils’ at some farmers markets.

      • Crystal says

        There is no true or pure essential oils in Walmart…. Go to your local health food store or GNC.

      • says

        Hi. I had been looking for good high quality essential oils for awhile and last year I was introduced to doTerra. I use them for everything and because they are such high quality with no fillers and no chemicals I take them internally, use them aromatically, and topically. I use them to clean and to disinfect. I have children ranging from toddler to teenager and everyone in my family uses them. You can read up on doTerra online everywhere. The oils seem expensive at first but, after I signed up for a wholesale account they are priced right and the bottles last a long time. Good Luck….

      • Heather says

        I just wanted to add that if you are looking for essential oils, I am a supplyer of certified therapeutic grade doTerra essential oils. Just email me and I can order some for you! They are absolutely the best I have found!

      • Dana says is where i get my oils. They are therapeutic grade and high quality. Some organic/natural stores may carry young living essential oils, you can check there. Otherwise, you can order from their website.

      • April says

        Don’t be fooled by the term ‘therapeutic grade’ – it is only a marketing term. There is no standard ‘therapeutic grade’ in the aromatherapy industry. Get a good certified organic oil. I get mine from either Mountain Rose Herbs of J&M Botanicals (J&M actually has the oil component analysis on their website).

      • Libby says


        I don’t know if you have a Kroger in your area, but the only place I’ve been able to find Essential oils in my area is at Kroger in the ‘Organic/health food’ section. Here, they had Lavender, Tea Tree, and Eucalyptus… Still on a search for other fragrances!

        Hope this helps!


      • Heather E. says

        Henry’s market. It is also affiliated with Sprouts. They sell a lot of healthy things-supplements, beauty products, produce, and bulk goods.

      • Lori says

        I would only reccommend theraputic grade essential oils, like the ones from Young Living…safe enough to ingest!

      • says

        Here is a great section from Jen Rollins paper on “The Young Living / doTerra Decision ”

        Q: Aren’t YL and DT oils the same? (a rose by any other name…)

        A: Not really. If you have ever sat through a doTerra “class” or spoken with a rep, you have probably had the experience of having a bottle of doTerra Lavender or Peppermint essential oil given to you to smell while they point out how much stronger the aroma is than YL and make some comment about how smelling is believing or if they smell stronger they must be stronger. Sounds logical, right? Well, for those coffee drinkers out there, let me give you an example: blonde coffee beans are so lightly roasted they don’t even really smell like coffee but boy do they give you a jolt of caffeine! Dark roast beans have been roasted the longest and have a strong, smoky smell and taste, but they actually have the least amount of caffeine in them. Why? Because the longer and hotter they are cooked, the more caffeine is removed. So, just because something smells stronger doesn’t mean it is stronger.

        The reason some of doTerra’s oils have a stronger, sweeter smell than other brands of oils is because they are complete distillations. I had two separate customer service reps with doTerra confirm that Peppermint and Lavender are complete distillations. I have been told that other oils such as orange and lemon are as well. I have tried to confirm this with doTerra, and although I am still a current IPC in good standing with doTerra and have requested this information in writing three times they have not responded. I also called Young Living to find out if their oils were complete distillations and was informed that their individual oils are first distillations and 100% pure with no additives or dilutions.

        I personally did a side-by-side direct comparison of doTerra and Young Living essential oils and was very puzzled at my findings. I found four essential oils from doTerra that had a “sweeter”, stronger smell. I knew that the oils were essentially the same and should be the same strength since they are 100% pure with no additives or carrier oils and not diluted in any way or had anything added to them to make the smell stronger or more fragrant. The four oils were Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon and Wild Orange (lavender and peppermint smelled “candy-like” while lemon and orange smelled like fruit juice, not rind). All the other doTerra single oils, in my opinion, had an “off” smell that I didn’t notice as much until I compared them directly with Young Living’s oils. The YL oils I smelled had a more pure, clean and plant-like smell. The doTerra blends had a distinct pungent smell to them that I never noticed in any of the Young Living blends (and I compared about 30 of them). And these were my personal oils that were only two months old and had been kept in my home at a constant 72 degrees so I knew they were good oils. Also, my mother and grandmother are very sensitive to smells and were unable to use several of the doTerra oils because they were too strong-smelling. They have both used the Young Living oils and found them not only tolerable but pleasant and are very happy using them. I personally grew concerned when I started getting a headache from using the doTerra Lavender and have had no such reaction from the Young Living Lavender, so that was a huge selling point for me.

        It really puzzled me how those particular four oils were so different, especially when those four oils are ones heavily promoted at every doTerra class and presentation I have attended. It became clear that doTerra developed these oils somehow to naturally have a particularly stronger aroma than their Young Living counterparts and I wanted to know how they did it. I finally found information that discussed 1st, 2nd, 3rd and even 4th distillations of certain oils and the resulting change in aroma when those distillations were blended. In particular, peppermint develops a less plant-y smell and a more candy-like aroma when it is more distilled or when the multiple distillations are blended. Similarly, lavender develops a candy-like sweetness when distilled longer and blended. I was concerned as to how many of their oils doTerra was selling that were complete distillations. I know we live in a society that puts perfumes and smells in everything so doTerra may be trying to appeal to a market that craves strong smells, but at what price? Complete distillations are a blend of first, second, and sometimes third and fourth distillations, with each subsequent distillation requiring higher temperatures and pressure to extract the oils. This process can and often does damage the components of the oil. Again with a coffee analogy, the first distillation is like the first part of a brewing of coffee- strong and dark. However, as the grounds brew longer there is less coffee and more water that comes out, so the last part of the brew is quite weak. The final pot of coffee is a blend of the strong and the weak, which is inherently less potent than the first part of the brew.

        There is such a difference in the phases of distillation that the oil cost changes based on the distillation. For example, the ultra pure and 1st distillation of oils is the most expensive, the 2nd distillation costs less, and if a plant can still produce oils for a 3rd or 4th distillation the resulting oils are so inferior they are sold cheaply and often used as fragrances only due to their inferior quality. I experienced this difference when I tried YL Peppermint oil for the first time. doTerra’s Peppermint smells like an actual peppermint candy- very sweet and strong. The YL oil smells more like a peppermint plant in my opinion. I was used to putting a drop of Peppermint on my hand and licking it to ingest it and although it is strong it is not overbearing, so I opened up my new YL Peppermint and did the same with it. The YL oil was much, much stronger than the doTerra oil I had been using- so much so that it nearly took my breath away! I totally understood that although the oil may smell stronger it definitely doesn’t prove anything about the strength of the actual oil- the milder smelling YL oil was way more potent than the doTerra one!

        To read more about Jen’s decision google search “The Young Living / doTerra Decision Jen Rollins, Whole Living Co-op”

  7. heather says

    I have used this as well and added the cinnamon stick to the vinegar. Additionally, I added a bit of honey because my hair is pretty dry. I have short hair that I color and I have to say that while at first I loved this, after awhile, my hair became quite dull and unmanageable. I went back to commercial shampoo and immediately my hair was easy to style and felt great again. I was wondering if maybe a few weeks of “No Poo” and then return to commercial brands for a wash or two and then back again??

    • Cori Gwartney says

      I have this problem too!!! I tried to ‘no-poo’ faithfully for a month and at first it was great, then it was yucky but I pushed thru that and it was great again but then I colored my hair and my hair got so dry and greasy feeling that I had to shampoo my hair. My hair was nice and soft and now I just don’t know if I want to go thru the hassle of oily hair again. I have to color my hair about every 3 months and if this is what is going to happen, I just don’t think I want to do that.
      I was using the baking soda every 2-3 days and combing my hair with a fine tooth comb to work the oils down to the ends then using the ACV and again combing my hair, and like I said it worked great for a while and then it just didn’t.

      • Jennifer says

        I have pretty dry hair as well, I haven’t started useing bakeing soda for that reason but I just found a homemade deep conditioning treatment that works really well.

        1 tbls. honey and 1 tbls. olive oil (or coconut oil)*

        mix together and microwave until melted (this doesn’t take to long, no more than 20 seconds).

        completely coat your hair and wrap it up in a very warm towel for 30-45 minutes then rinse out.

        This works with wet and dry hair but I recommend doing it with wet hair, comb through your hair before applying in both cases.

        *use 2 tablespoons if you have a lot of hair.

      • Kaylen says

        Olive oil doesn’t usually come out well with baking soda. You need shampoo or some people have gotten it out by letting conditioner (-cone and paraben free) sit in their hair for a while (not sure how long).

      • Beki says

        I had the same problem. I tried it for months some times my hair looked and felt great but most of the time It felt “waxy” and heavy. I think it is because I have well water, that is spring fed and changes as the rains become heavier. I tried rain water which seemed to work but unfortunately washing my hair is not the only thing I do. Collecting rain water to wash and rinse my hair is sometimes the last thing on my mind.

    • Crystal says

      I have been off an on No-Pooing for overa year. My hair goes through funky periods so I understand. For me, I had to play with the ratio of baking soda/apple cidar vinegar to water. If it’s dry, reduce the BS or increase the water. If it’s oily or stiff, reduce ACV or increase the water. Everybody’s hair different. When I travel or the weather shifts drastically I return to conventional shampoo but still use the ACV and water instead of conditioner. I use a shampoo that is as “crap-free” as possible so it’s a compromise. You have to find what works for you.

      • Karen D. says

        Crystal I’m the same way, doing the no ‘poo off & on but trying to stick with it this time. Tonight I did the ‘sorta no-poo’ recipe with castile & coconut milk by Crunchy Betty & Jillee and all was well…UNTIL I put the stinky vinegar on my hair. It completely took a turn for the worst & became a waxy, oily yet dry, sticky MESS!!! (sad face) I had to rewash it using blue Dawn to cut through all the GREASE! I will try it again tomorrow w/o the vinegar & see how it pans out, hopefully better!

  8. Danielle says

    I have been poo free for a while now and I don’t think I will ever go back. I have actually stopped using the ACV and opted for a “leave in conditioner” of Avocado oil/water. I rinse my hair with baking soda every 2-3 days. Other days I just use plain old water. It takes some getting used to, but I recommend at least a two week commitmemt period. My hair is long and naturally wavy/loose curly. My hair is more pliable and looks as if I have spent a lot of time styling it. I get a lot of compliments and people can’t believe when I tell them my “secret” is doing nothing and not using shampoo.

    • Shari says

      When you began the process – were you doing the b/s acv solutions everyday? Did you gradually get to where you only do the rinse every 2-3 days? Or since going no ‘poo have you been doing it only every 2-3 days?

      • Shana-fru says

        @shari: It really depends on your hair and what you do during the day as to if you “wash” everyday. With long hair the ACV helps everyday. Can’t imagine you’d need it often if your hair is short, but it does dissolve the baking soda and restore the pH of your hair well. You DO have to stick out your chin and “just do it” everyday until your scalp gets the idea that you aren’t going to strip it of every ounce of oil and natural coating it is genetically designed to make. Your scalp’s confusion will calm down, but you have to listen to your scalp and adjust it for you and what your body likes. Baking soda= oil absorption and scalp cleanliness, ACV= dissolved baking soda and restored pH.

  9. says

    My sister an I have been going “No `poo” with baking soda and vinegar for a couple of weeks. We are both extremely happy about the reduction of plastic shampoo bottles in our homes. Less plastic waste is always great! As to our hair: my sister has short hair and likes the feel of her hair better, I have long hair and it`s still getting used to no poo, it`s a bit dry, but I´ve heard that will get better.
    Suggestion: add a piece of vanilla pod and / or cinnamon pod to the vinegar solution, it gives a nice smell.

    • Shana-fru says

      @landfrau74: I have very long hair too and I’ve been poo- free for almost a year. The time will be easier if you brush (sigh- yes, like Marcia Brady) the oil from the top of your hair to the bottom. It takes a week or two but just do it everyday. I have a jar of straight baking soda in the shower and scoop out some to rub in (only on the top of my head), and then after the rinse pour over some ACV all over. If the weather has been mean to my hair (usually about once every couple of months or if I swim) I rub on some yoghurt and honey and wrap it up in a towel for 30 minutes. After I rinse that out, the ends of my hair are soft again. Good luck!

      • Vaughan says

        Hi Shana,

        i tried putting on yogurt on my hair (and scalp) for 10 minutes and rinse it with water and green tea rinse. it smelled like vomit. it still smelled until now (i put it last night). is putting essential oil on the yogurt will only cover the smell temporary or it will eliminate the vomit smell at all? thanks!

      • says

        I use coconut oil when my hair gets dry. Just comb it in and go clean for a while or relax. I usually let it sit in my hair for about an hour. Then wash it out. Its not stinky and its super soft!

      • Mercedes says

        Thank you for your comforting words! I have long hair to an am new to the whole “no poo” thing and was getting a little discouraged by how dry my hair was feeling. The top feels great but the middle part to the ends feels a little bit deprived of its past luxurious life. Mind you I am willing to sacrifice it for being more friendly to the earth and avoiding nasty substances. It is good to know it gets better. And thanks for the tip about the hair mask. Sounds excellent.