Easy Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner with Soapnut Powder, Marshmallow Root, and More. Organic, Natural, Plastic-Free Haircare.
I put together an easy homemade shampoo that works for my hair made from soapnut powder (also known as soapberries and reetha/ritha) and a marshmallow root conditioner. I just mix them up before my shower. Hair and scalp types vary widely, so you will probably have to experiment with this to get it correct for your type. (Additionally, I use a shampoo bar occasionally when I’m in a hurry. A shampoo bar is also handy for travel.) If you have been using store bought shampoo there will most likely be an adjustment period for your scalp and hair. In addition, I have never colored my hair, so I don’t know if this works for color treated hair. I’m just sharing a recipe that works for me; try it at your own risk!
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Also, when mixing the dry powders, before adding water, be careful as they can be airy. Shikakai makes me sneeze if the powder floats up to my nose. And, like any shampoo or soap, shikakai and soapnut will irritate your eyes, so keep away from your eyes.
—I have updated my routine to simply mixing all the powders together and adding water to make a paste, so that is an option if you want to try that as well. Instructions are below to make the paste and after that are my original instructions.
All the products I mention and link here are mostly plastic-free or totally plastic-free (at the time of this writing). Also, most of them are organic and from small businesses.
I have linked all the ingredients below (you can just click on each ingredient) in a kind of shopping list format if you don’t want to read all the way through with the details.
Ingredients Shopping List
Some additional products that are helpful:
TIP: I do not comb or brush my hair when it’s wet. I wait until it’s dry to comb/brush it. I’ve found this to help reduce breakage, which is what helps hair grow longer. This is the comb and brush I use. I use the Neem comb after combing and brushing with the other two.
Below are my original instructions--
Shampoo/Hair Wash Mix
Here are the ingredients to make the hair wash, “shampoo” mix:
The above three ingredients are also available as a set of three in a smaller quantity:
These are the glass jars with bamboo lids I store the powders in:
Add the soapnut, shikakai, and amla powders one scoop at a time. Depending on your hair length and thickness, you will have to experiment with the amount. I use 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons soapnut, 1/2 teaspoon shikakai, and 1/2 teaspoon amla.
I also add two drops of tea tree oil, but you can put other essential oils in.
You can add other powders too such as fenugreek powder. I tried that as well, but it wasn’t for my hair.
This is a liquid shampoo. I squirt it directly on my scalp with one hand and massage it around my scalp at the same time with my other hand. I also use this scalp massager to help work it around my scalp. (I like that one because it’s solid silicone in one piece, so it’s easy to keep clean: no spaces for water or mold to get in.) Since this type of shampoo barely makes suds, the key is working it into your scalp. It does clean the scalp and hair; you just have to get used to not having a sudsy shampoo.
Organic Marshmallow Root Powder
from: Starwest Botanicals Inc.
There are many types of oils to choose from. Below are some of my favorites.
Again, there are different hair types, so you will have to experiment with what works for you. These are just the products I personally use and have found the companies to be quality and reputable. The babassu oil is like a light coconut oil. I switched to using it instead of coconut oil, because it is lighter but similar in quality. Coconut oil would make my skin break out when the oil got on my skin from my hair. Babassu oil even looks like coconut oil when it’s cold. At warmer room temperatures (upper 70s) it is totally liquid.
The argan oil is a heavier oil than babassu in my opinion, so I use a smaller amount of it. The marula oil is very nourishing and my favorite one to put on the lower portion of my hair, braid it and then it gives me smooth braid waves. The moringa oil I mentioned at the beginning in the shampoo mix is one I also use for getting great braid waves. I rotate all four of these oils on my hair. They last a long time, so it’s economical using them.
These are the combs I use for my hair. They are made of sandalwood.
I hope this helps you have healthy hair as well. I’ve also found it saves money making my own shampoo. I don’t have to use other products on my hair besides the above mentioned oils. It cuts down on plastic bottles too! In addition, the ingredients are so basic, whereas store bought shampoos have so many ingredients that aren’t actually healthy. Regular shampoo tends to strip your hair and is usually the wrong pH for scalp and hair. Soapnuts and shikakai have a pH of between 4 and 6, which is ideal for hair and scalp. I’ve found my hair keeps improving the longer I use them. Again, there is an adjustment period while adapting and also while you find the correct ratios and customization for yourself.
Here are my YouTube videos on this topic; I’ve included my original one and subsequent ones.
And, here is another video I made about using a sandalwood comb and boar hair brush. Also, here is the link to the boar hair brush I bought. I like it. The bristles are 100% boar hair and the handle is bamboo. There is a rubber base where the bristles attach that smells like rubber, but I washed it and let it air out for a few days until the smell went away.
I have also started using this other boar hair brush, which has no rubber: it is just boar hair and bamboo, and has metal screws. No plastic at all. It is the Bass brand one shown below.
I also wrote a blog post about my minimalist skincare routine and natural makeup. Here is the link if you’d like to read it: www.starlightsarah.com/blog/minimalist-skincare-routine-2-step-routine-and-simple-makeup-organic-basic-and-inexpensive-skincare
Here is another blog post from a hair care professional who has some excellent natural remedies for hair health, in addition to a wealth of hair knowledge and tips:
The banner below links to an herbal supply company where I get my marshmallow root powder. They have lots of other great items as well!