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Make Your Own Shampoo October 31, 2013

Blessed with great oil glands, I spent much of my adolescence fighting with hair that, even when washed, could sometimes leave me looking like a greasy punk.  It wasn’t until late in High School that my mother and I discovered that the trick to keeping my hair looking consistently clean was to change out which shampoo I used every few days.  With two bottles in hand, it was possible to look professional, rather than “geeky”.

Whether this would change when I began making my own shampoo, however, was a big question mark.  Knowing that experimentation would be necessary, I ensured that plenty of store-bought “poo” was still left in the bottle and waited for the weekend.

My first formula was by-the-book:  ¼ cup of unscented liquid castile soap, ¼ cup of water, ¼ tsp. of grapeseed oil, and five drops of essential oil for aroma.  That this was too much oil, even when “diluted” was immediately evident.  I woke up two days later looking too much like Severus Snape for my own comfort.  Quickly washing my hair with the store-bought stuff, I decided to wait for the following weekend to continue experiment.

In my second attempt, I decided to see what would happen if I used the same formula, but eliminated the grapeseed oil.  This worked marginally better and with courage, I entered the new workweek.  About midway through, however, the same greasy look began to reappear and I knew it was back to the drawing board.

In its third incarnation, I had the wacky idea to replace the ¼ tsp. of grapeseed oil with ¼ tsp. of baking soda.  (I’m not entirely certain why I decided to attempt this, other than that my mouth felt better after I used it in my toothpaste… so it must be good for hair.  Right?)  Much to my delight, this did work (though I’m not certain of the scientific “why”) and, for the next few weeks, I happily washed away with the new formula.

Then, one morning, I woke up to discover that it had happened again.  With frustration, I examined my little bottle of essential oil and wondered – what if I used a more acidic variety.  A few hours later, I returned with a tiny bottle of lemon essential oil.  Remixing the shampoo, I added ten drops.  It was double what I normally added, but it was a risk I was willing to take.  And it worked.  Months later, I’m using the same formula and am delighted to report that the heavy oil is gone and my hair has attained that “fluffy” quality that I was seeking.

I’ve included my “greasy-hair” shampoo formula below.  Try it, improve it, and share your results in the comment box.  And if you don’t have oily hair, but still make your own shampoo, feel free to share your formulas as well.  I look forward to hearing your story!


Shampoo Formula for Oily Hair

¼ cup water

¼ cup liquid castile soap

¼ tsp. baking soda

10 drops acidic essential oil (lemon)


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