DIY Hair Detox

sea salt shampoo I have been having a “hair crisis” of sorts lately.

As I get older my hair is getting thinner, and so to COMPENSATE I’ve been using more and more hairspray! Not only am I using MORE hairspray…but I’ve even starting buying the “industrial strength” hairspray!  Can you say “Helmet Hair”?? :-)

Anyway, my hair has been feeling weighed down lately, and looking tired. Regular shampooing hasn’t helped, so I started looking around for something to detoxify and revive my wilted hair. Little did I know how simple it was.

All you need is:

Course Sea Salt    &   Your Favorite Shampoo

Full of minerals, sea salt de-greases hair, removing dead skin cells and dirt, without stripping natural oils. It also removes PRODUCT BUILD-UP which gives hair a LIFT. Perfect for hair in need of a boost….like MINE!

big shampoo


Sea salt is also the main ingredient in the very popular shampoo BIG by Lush which is $26.95 for 11.4 ounces!!!!!  We can do better than that! :-)



To make your own Sea Salt Clarifying Shampoo for PENNIES….just mix 3 parts course sea salt with 2 parts of your favorite mild shampoo. (In hindsight I would probably try adding a little coconut oil next time for some added softness. Seems like EVERYTHING’S better with Coconut Oil!)

sea salt shampoo

sea salt shampoo


Wash hair with mixture and then thoroughly rinse with water. I like to finish with a COOL WATER rinse. As cool as I can stand without starting to shiver! ;-)

This is NOT a shampoo for daily use. I would recommend using once a month for a thorough cleaning. Using too often could be drying to your hair and scalp.

sea salt shampoo

I was really pleased with this shampoo. It felt GOOD to actually use something on my scalp that had a big of an exfoliant action to it. My scalp felt tingly and clean. I DEFINITELY noticed more volume and lift to my hair after using. All that hairspray was really doing a number on my limp locks.
I was also pleasantly surprised at how SHINY my hair was!  I guess all that caked-on hair product wasn’t allowing my flaxen strands to shine through. ;-)  Now you pretty much have to wear shades to even look at my hair! lol. Not really. But it’s definitely shinier and bouncier….which is EXACTLY what I was hoping for!

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      • Kelli says

        I went to beauty school some… “20 Years” ago….. I was told to put enough shampoo to fill the palm of you hand (literally and YES… this is a lot). Cover the entire amount of shampoo with baking soda( Generic is fine). I do this once a month. My hair is down to my waste and is very thick, so, you may only need half this amount…. I leave it on for about five (5) minutes. It “will” smell kinda like “BLEACH” and FOAM UP…. This “IS” the working process. Your hair will also feel like “straw”…. BUT…. no worries. When you apply you conditioner, it will absorb more readily. I am “48 Years old” and my hair is very healthy and LONG…. Enjoy!

        • says

          I’ve got butt-length hair that is curly/frizzy and annoying to wash more than once or twice a week, depending on summer/winter, so I like to use the baking soda about every other time. It really helps with dandruff too! You’re right about the smell, it warps the scent of any shampoo I use, pee-yew!

    • Karen says

      I use coconut oil in my hair all the time, it is no way drying. I use it lightly as a leave in on the dry fly away parts of my hair, it works great. Too much though and it is weighed down and greasy.

    • Chanda says

      I have found coconut oil to be the exact opposite, very moisturizing for both my hair and skin. It may seem drying on the skin because it absorbs so well an leaves no film. It doesn’t have the effect of lotion that leaves your skin feeling silky and creamy but its amazing for sunburns, chafing, gardening dry out…and I have replaced my conditioner w/ it and have never had such smooth shiney bouncy hair!

    • Tracy says

      Actually, it may be castor oil that you are thinking of. I have heard on some sites I visited years ago that washing your face with castor oil can dry the face. I do wash my makeup off with castor oil and don’t find it drying at all. I now rub coconut oil on it though for it’s healing and moisturizing properties.. mmmm, coconut oil.

  1. Diana says

    For those with blood pressure issues – do not do this. Salt soaks into your skin. Not with baking soda either. Since someone mentioned cider treatment – maybe this should be worked towatds.

  2. Deborah Jennings says

    Did you also know that to get rid of the chemicals (from taking medicines), you can use baking soda with your shampoo and it will strip your hair of the chemicals? This is what a beautician told us when she used it on my MIL’s hair right before she was to get a perm. Still cool to know. I do this about every two months or so. No perm for me, though. My hair is really short.

  3. Karrie says

    To explain how oil can dry: certain types of oil such as mineral oil deposit a layer on the hair and skin that actually pulls moisture from inside and brings it to the surface. As a former salon owner I frequently used this detox treatment: 1 tsp. baking soda plus a generous squirt of a mild shampoo worked throughout the hair strands and scalp, rinse 3 times longer than you spent shampooing, then a rinse with apple cider vinegar, then MORE rinsing with cool water. Shampoo is a surfactant that bonds to the dirt and residue and lifts it away. The baking soda (or salt for that matter) will not be harmful to anyone with high blood pressure or other health issues as it is topical – not internal. The apple cider vinegar not only will rinse away any residue from the baking soda or salt – but also chemically closes the hair cuticle making it smooth and shiny. And I can’t stress enough to rinse with water way longer than you think is necessary. As Jillee mentions only do this once a month on very heavy buildup. Do not do this to hair that has had any chemical process, ie. color, straightening, or perms.

  4. Abby says

    I gave up using store bought shampoo and conditioner over a year ago (holy savings batman!) for just baking soda and water, with apple cider vinegar and water conditioner. I love the fact that it’s not necessary to wash my hair EVERYDAY. There is no build up, about every 3rd day is good for another “shampoo.”

    • Mary Ann says

      Did you have oil hair? My hair is oily and I have to wash it daily or it looks horrible. I would like to try this baking soda and water wash on my hair but just wondering how it will work out for oily hair.

      • spitefulilsprite says

        I’ve been no ‘poo for months now and my hair was very oily before too. Like you I had to wash my hair every day, now I wash on the fourth day with no oil issues what so ever. It takes between 4-6 weeks for your hair to adjust to no ‘poo though, during that time I simply used the bs/acv every 1-2 days and wore my hair up. I also learned the hard way that you CAN’T let hard water touch your hair at all. Ever. The minerals in hard water negate the effects of the baking soda, my adjustment period was longer than most peoples bc I hadn’t been aware of that. Soon as I switched to distilled water my oil problems were over. Traditional shampoo is actually a big culprit of the grease-after-one-day phenomonon, so I highly reccomend ditching it for bs/acv (with soft or distilled water).

      • says

        Hello Mary Ann!! I have EXTREMELY oily EVERYTHING!! I have oily scalp, hair, and skin!! What do I do about it?? Wash it daily. Like you said, it’ll look like someone anointed me a couple hundred times if I don’t :) If you are worried about getting stripped of natural good oils, however, I know of an AWESOME brand that doesn’t strip…it’s call Umberto…to the pricey side, but DEFINENTLY worth it!! And, did you gals know, shampoo companies put an ingredient in their shampoos to MAKE you HAVE to buy their conditioner?! That’s why shampoo strips your natural oils!! This Umberto stuff doesn’t! You don’t even have to use conditioner!! No kidding!! I have Asian-Striaght, 2 1/4 inch-Italian-thick, Veggie-Oil-Oily (lol), upper-back-long, hair (whew!)…and I have ALWAYS had to GOB the conditioner!! But I’m tellin’ yall…Umberto does the trick!!

  5. susan says

    I have found it helpful to shampoo twice as silly as that sounds. I think the first gets rid of ick, then the second actually cleans. I use two conditioners together (ones really thick). Rinse in as cold a water as possible for shine and keep ph levels. I have been using coconut oil in my damp hair for about two months and will never go back to my $17 tube of redken. It does the same for so much less and its better for my hair. Fyi, my hair is thick curly and tends to frizz

    • Karen says

      Susan – my hair is like yours. I love coconut oil in my hair for a leave it in my wet hair. It works great. I have super thick, curly and tends to frizz, but the coconut oil it seems to frizz less even when I don’t use it.

    • Kendra says

      You are correct! Many people shampoo improperly as dumb add it sounds but it is true.
      Shampoo should be dispensed into the hands and rubbed between the palms and start to lather to activate the product. The first shampoo should be.concentrated on the scalp area only and should not suds up, this is only getting the dirt loose. Rinse, repeat and it should stuffs up great as this tine out is cleansing the hair..condition only from the ears down.

      Most people take shampoo, plop.a glob in their hand and splat it right on the top of their head trying to disperse it from there… won’t go well…

  6. says

    Jill I love your stuff! I write a frugal website and I do a feature called the Frugal Pin of the Day where I find awesome frugal projects/tips/recipes and tutorials from Pinterest and I share them with my readers. Today I featured this recipe as the Frugal Pin of the Day. I thought your site looked really familiar, and then I realized I had also featured your Gardener’s Hand Scrub a few months ago. You make some great stuff and I love how the recipes are simple, effective and best of all, made with things we already have at home.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe, and I look forward to seeing more great ones! :)
    If you’re interested in seeing the post where I featured your recipe, it can be found here
    Thanks again and keep up the great work and PS: Congratulations on your sobriety! I very much enjoy your site and I am so glad you are here and well to share with us!

  7. Judy says

    This is AWESOME!!! I put Coconut oil on my dry hair first, covered w/ a shower cap and a towel… left that on for probably an hour… then mixed this up w/ baking soda, FINE sea salt (bc that’s what I had) and my Tea Tree Oil Shampoo…. LOVE IT!!!

  8. Donna says

    Peoples, tell me more about coconut oil, please. Where do I buy it? What brands or kinds are there? How much can I expect to spend? Jill, you mentioned that there were a few uses for coconut oil. Could you maybe blog about the uses of coconut oil?

    Thanks for all of the great tips!

    • Wendy says

      I use unrefined coconut oil, sometimes it is referred to as virgin coconut oil. It is solid at temps below 76 degrees F and liquid above. I use Nutiva Brand and can locate it at my local health food store in the food oil area. I will tell you it is expensive but is really worth it. I would suggest doing some online research as unrefined coconut oil is really turning into the “hot” thing now because of all the internal and external health benefits of it. I use it on my skin as a moisturizer (it melts on contact with skin) and use it to wash my face (i’m 42 with fair skin). You will hear people say it clogs pores, again do your research as I feel these individuals are misinformed or may only be referring to a more refined coconut oil like fractionated coconut oil. I am not an expert, when I read comments, it is always a springboard to do my own research and gives me a starting point so I can use my own judgement for what is right for me. I hope this helps or gives you a little insight.

    • Wendy says

      Oops, one more thing I wanted to add, per my internet research, supposedly this is the only oil that can penetrate the hair shaft. Again, keep in mind this is via internet research and as we all know (with sarcasm), everything on the internet is true!

    • Robin says

      I buy coconut oil right in the cooking oil section of walmart. It’s available in any grocery store and you can go to the vitamin and suppliment section and for about $4 more you can get Extra virgin coconut oil. container is about 1/3 the size. I’ve used both, they both work equally good. I use the baking soda and coconut oil face scrub too and YOWZA does it exfoliate and moisturize beautifully!

    • says

      I’m 59 and my hair has been streaked with gray since I was in my 20′s. My hair is also fairly thick and curly. It’s also LONG – as in down to the middle of my thighs and was very oily. I’ve been using only baking soda and water for shampoo and ACV and water for rinsing/conditioning for about 3 years. In the last few months, I’ve been using just a little “dab” of coconut oil that I get from Wallyworld to help with a little bit of frizzing that started after I got put on thyroid meds. All I can say is, this regiment works WELL for me, is cheaper and makes my hair soft and takes the yellowish cast out of it. I now only need to shampoo about once a week. Everyone tells me I have “such beautiful hair”. And it’s easy to do. I don’t have to premix and find a place to store anything. I just have a small plastic tub of baking soda in the bathroom (I use it to scrub the tub with and clean my hair brush, too) and a small bottle of ACV, both stored on my over-the-toilet shelving (I refill from a 2lb bag of soda/1 gal bottle of vinegar that I use to make cleaning solutions to scrub the house.)

      For me, as I’ve gotten rid of all the “chemicals” I used in the house (shampoo, conditioner, ammonia, 409, toilet bowl cleaner, oven cleaner, commercial laundry detergent, fabric softeners, etc), I’ve found that my fibro doesn’t act up as often. Perhaps there’s a connection there for me. YMMV.

  9. Doria says

    Clairol has a shampoo and conditioner called Shimmer Lights. It’s great at keeping the yellow out of my gray hair. I have used it for years. Although I’ve never found it at common retailers, it is available at Sally’s Beauty Supply.
    On to coconut oil… here’s an interesting thing, goggle Alzheimer’s and coconut oil. Hmmm…

  10. Lou says

    Thanks for another great tip Jillee. I have tried this this morning and my hair feels great :)
    I do wonder about making this up in bulk though? I just made a “portion” (1 tsp salt, a bit less shampoo), because surely over time the salt will dissolve in the shampoo and next month you will just have salty shampoo, and no exfoliating benefits?
    I have had this kind of problem with oil/sugar scrubs – within a couple of weeks of making a batch, I just have sweet sticky oil to rub into my feet. If I make a small amount to use straight away it works wonders.

  11. Landon says

    Tried this yesterday & did not put any styling products in my hair so that I could camouflage my roots today. My hair seems to have taken the color more evenly for getting rid of the buildup first. :)

  12. Lauren says

    Thanks so much for posting this. It sound like it would feel amazing. I did want to share with you that using a clarifying shampoo once a week is very good for your hair, especially if you are using that much product.

  13. says

    I found an excellent hair conditioner recipe with chamomile tea and rosemary and coconut oil. Leave it on your hair once cooled to the touch. Wrap your hair for half an hour then wash out. It will make your hair as soft and shimmering as a baby’s. Rosemary helps improve hair growth too so there’s a plus.

  14. Chanda says

    Jillee… Again. You’ve created a detour in my evening and I am “doing this right now!”
    Last night it was the deodorizing disks. Hopefully this magical shampoo turns out faster than those disks! The wait is killing me!

  15. Brittany says

    In beauty college we tested the buildup of diff shampoo and conditioners on lithium strips and aussie was by far the worst in 24 hours the waxy buildup was ten times thicker than any other shampoo we used.. just sayin that aussie can and will weigh your hair down after just one use esp if you have fine hair

    • says

      Agreed! Never could stand Aussie. I really can’t stand to use much. No body washes for me or anything, I just scrub super well. All that SLS and SAS and ALS… no, thanks! Going to go “no ‘poo”. And coconut oil is the BEST! Shampoo sucks.

  16. Helena says

    So, dear, I would REALLY love trying this, but I’ve done a straightening treatment on the front part of my hair, can I isolate this part and shampoo it normally and use the salt mixture in the rest?
    I’d also love to know if you have any tip for a 13-year-old-girl acne. I have tried EVERYTHING, but nothing works… I am getting so disgusted of my face, it is gross, I have sooo many pimples and zits and blackeads, none of them get out!

    • Karen says

      Helena, go to and read up on the causes and remedies for acne. After getting most of my acne under control finally (I’m 35 now), I am a believer that it CAN be done with proper nutrition & avoiding my triggers.

    • says

      Eat properly – get rid of wheats, grains, processed foods (stuff that comes in a package like precooked foods), sugar, carbs, start eating lots of animal fats, stop using soaps, etc. Just scrub your face with a coarse washcloth and water as hot as you can stand it. I’m like you, tried everything for forever. FINALLY with proper diet and cleaning (no soap!!!!) I’m getting everything under control.

    • says

      Helena there are essential oils that can help with your acne. I have just started using Young Living essential oils (the purest available). They suggest many different oils combined with a good diet (lots of vegetables and water) among other things. Among the essential oils that help with acne are melaleuca (tea tree), German chamomile, juniper, lavender, rosewood, and more. Best wishes!

  17. Karen says

    Thanks Jillee, this worked really well on my hair! It’d been about 3 days since my last wash, so my hair was really oily. It is so SHINY now, it worked beautifully! Also, I didn’t have much sea salt on hand, so I replaced it with epsom salt as I remember seeing that trick in your ‘the wonders of ordinary epsom salt’.

  18. Erin says

    Helena, I just recently learned that bad breakouts are a sign of food allergies. I used to break out so badly when I was younger, I would stay home from school because I was so embarrassed of it. A few years ago, I coincidentally quit eating gluten because I was so sick from it, and I hardly ever break out anymore. You might want to do some trial and error and see if your daughter is allergic to any type of food like dairy or gluten or even just plain old sugar. You might be surprised. Good luck! I remember how horrible that felt.

  19. Holly Pierce says

    Getting older isn’t a recipe for thining hair. As I passed the half century mark (ack), I atributed my thining hair to age. I asked my hairdresser about products for thining hair…I think the one is Nixoril or some such thing. It isn’t cheap but…
    She said no, don’t try that FIRST try a sulfate free shampoo. She recomended one by Loreal available in any store. They have a million of them out there.
    One year later, my daughter and my mom are both using sulfate free shampoos…same brand, different formulas. LOOOOOVE it. My hair hasn’t looked this good in YEARS.

    Just a thought.

  20. Analisa Portell says

    Gray hair — one of the classic signs of aging that can lead to a midlife crisis — may some day be a thing of the past, much to the chagrin of hair-dye manufacturers and Corvette salesmen. A team of European researchers claims to have found not only the root cause of gray hair, but also a treatment for the condition. Additionally, their treatment may help people with vitiligo, a condition that causes the loss of pigment in patches of skin, they say.*”..`

    Remember to stop by our very own online site http://www.healthmedicinejournal.comep

  21. Karin says

    I have always done a vinegar treatment on my hair when I have build-up. If you have darker hair, use cider vinegar. It will strip all of the “junk” out of your hair.
    Salt damages your hair over time, as I found with a Bumble & Bumble product a few years ago.

  22. Rachel says

    It’s interesting how one woman said baking soda won’t strip color treated hair, but that’s exactly what I use to get my bright red hair dye out! It DOES strip the color. If you can make grout white again with the baking soda method, then it can strip the stain from your hair as well.


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