Make Your Own Shampoo With Essential Oils

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"Naturally Healthy Hair," from author Mary Beth Jansenn, offers readers recipes to make their own natural shampoo.
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Essential oils lend refreshing fragrance to this pure shampoo recipe.

Acclaimed hair designer and educator Mary Beth Janssen aims to help readers achieve harmony in both mind and body with Naturally Healthy Hair (Storey Publishing, 1999). Jansenn has long been a voice for the integration of health and beauty, and many of her recipes call for the uses of organic ingredients and forgotten knowledge. This Pure Shampoo Recipe With Essential Oils, excerpted from Chapter 6, is a great way to make your own natural shampoo.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Naturally Healthy Hair.

Pure Shampoo Recipe With Essential Oils

The ingredients for this recipe are chosen for their desirable aromatic as well as therapeutic values. Some of my favorite formulations for specific conditions are outlined below. While you make your own natural shampoo, I encourage you to experiment with the herbs, essential oils, and other ingredients I’ve discussed so far, though, because the possible variations are tremendous.

Makes 8-10 ounces (235-295 ml)


1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) dried herbs of your choice
8 ounces (235 ml) purified water
2 ounces (60 ml) liquid castile or glycerin soap
1 teaspoon (5 ml) base oil of your choice (eliminate or reduce for oily conditions; increase for dry)
15–60  drops essential oils of your choice, as conditions require


1. Create a decoction or infusion of your desired herb or combinations of herbs. Remember that a decoction is used for roots, stems, and seeds, or more fibrous, tough plants, while infusions are used for more delicate plant parts, including leaves and flowers. If you are combining herbs that need different treatments, decoct and infuse them separately, then mix the herbalized liquids.

For a decoction, place the herbs in water in a stainless-steel or glass pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer on low for up to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, let the mixture cool, strain off the liquid, and discard the spent herbs.

For an infusion, bring the water to a boil. Place the herbs in a stainless-steel or glass pan and pour the boiling water over them. Let steep for at least 20 minutes, then let the mixture cool (if it isn’t cool already), strain off the liquid, and discard the spent herbs.

Tip: To increase the potency of the formula, let the herbs steep in the cooled liquid in an airtight container for a couple of days before straining and using.

2. Mix the herbal infusion or decoction with the soap, base oil, and desired essential oils. Shake well. Refrigerate the shampoo between uses, for up to a week, then discard.

Adding 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vodka to this mixture will add 2 to 3 weeks to its shelf life, as will adding 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of either vitamin E or wheat germ oil.

To Use:

Shake well before each use.

Additives: You can also add ingredients with properties suitable for your particular hair condition, such as apple juice, honey, egg, aloe vera, gelatin, glycerin, or lecithin. Use 1 tablespoon (15 ml) per shampoo formula.

More tips on how to make your own natural shampoo from Naturally Healthy Hair

• Make Your Own Natural Shampoo With Soapwort
• Make Natural Shampoos That Are Chemical Free
• Healthy Ingredients for Natural Shampoo

Reprinted with permission from Naturally Healthy Hair: Herbal Treatments and Daily Care for Fabulous Hair by Mary Beth Jansenn and published by Storey Publishing, 1999. Buy this book from our store: Naturally Healthy Hair.