The Center for Environmental Health based in Oakland, California, performed a study on shampoos and soaps and found that at least 98 brands included a carcinogen known as cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA). These brands include Colgate Palmolive, Paul Mitchell, and Prell, as well as children’s shampoo/conditioner sold at big stores like KMart and Babies R Us.
Cocamide DEA is not the only harmful chemical found in commercial shampoos. There are many other toxic and questionable ingredients such as parabens, fragrances, dimethicone, and sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate.
Luckily a toxic-free shampoo is not that hard to make. In my search for a recipe for a natural shampoo that would moisturize and clean my hair, without leaving it feeling greasy or dried out, I found some key ingredients that are excellent for the health of the scalp and hair – coconut milk, raw honey, aloe vera, and specific essential oils. Together, these ingredients promote health growth, help fight dandruff and dry scalp, reduce frizz, and moisturizes.
After using this shampoo, I find myself not even needing conditioner! However, if you feel a conditioner is still necessary, see my recipe for a natural conditioner. And if you are looking for a shampoo that’s gentle enough for a baby, be sure to check out my baby shampoo recipe.
- 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
- 1/4 cup canned or homemade coconut milk – coconut milk is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. It also helps fight dandruff and dry scalp, and is used against hair loss and to promote faster hair growth.
- 1/2 tbsp raw honey – great for the scalp and helps treat dandruff and reduce frizz.
- 1/4 tbsp aloe vera gel – this treats dandruff and dry, itchy skin, Just like coconut milk, it is rich in vitamins and minerals, which are beneficial for hair and skin. It promotes moisture and shine in hair and is used in many conditioning products.
- 1/4 tsp carrier oil such as almond oil or olive oil (optional, for dry hair)
- 20 drops essential oils (my recommendations are peppermint, lavender, rosemary, lemon, orange, and tea tree, or a combination of these)
- Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a pump dispenser.
- Shake vigorously to mix the ingredients well.
- Shake well before each use, and use approximately a teaspoon each time, depending on the length of your hair. It won’t lather like store-bought shampoo, but it will clean your hair and leave it shiny.
- Store in the fridge and use it up within a month. If you use homemade coconut milk, make a smaller batch so that you can use it up sooner. To extend the life of your shampoo, you can also freeze it in ice cube trays and defrost a cube or two each week to use as needed. This is what I do to save time and it works really well.
NOTE: It might take a couple of weeks for your hair and scalp to get used to homemade shampoo, as it doesn’t strip your hair of oils like commercial shampoo. You can make the transition easier by slowly introducing the shampoo to your hair. For example, if you wash your hair three times a week, start off with using the store bought shampoo for two of those washes; then the next week, reduce it to one. After a week or two, start using this recipe only.