Homemade Coconut Shampoo

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I have been on a mission for years to toss out as many chemicals as I can from the house for more than one reason. Early in 2015, we realized that part of the chronic pain that I had suffered from for years was a result of a home filled with chemicals that I am overly sensitive to. That led us to stop buying over 30 different products and to start making them ourselves. It has been several years since we started removing the chemicals from our home and at this point, I am almost 100% pain free. One of the products that we’ve made the change to is that we are now making our own homemade shampoo. Yes. You heard me correctly. This Homemade Coconut Shampoo is natural which means you know exactly what is in it, tweak the ingredients to create the perfect scent for you and your family or the perfect healing shampoo for your hair type.

Chemical free, budget friendly and perfect for ANY family, this Homemade Coconut Shampoo is just what you've been looking for! Budget friendly, All natural and very easy to customize for hair type (or issues) too! It makes an awesome gift too!

Now before you go and make your own jar of this stuff, keep in mind that it won’t suds  like you’re used to. Sulfates are what causes commercial shampoos to do that and since this is sulfate-free, it won’t. That’s okay because the sulfates aren’t what gets your hair clean. In fact, they really serve no purpose. What this homemade shampoo will do though is clean your hair, leave it smelling fresh and leave it conditioned just the way you want it to be. This diy shampoo is just one of the items that we make homemade these days. It gets included in with our homemade shave creamhomemade bubble bath, homemade liquid hand soap, and the homemade healing lotion I make to help moisturize my (very) dry skin. It helps that a lot of them all use the same ingredients so I’m able to whip them all up very quickly each week.

Homemade Coconut Shampoo

When you make your homemade coconut shampoo, you’ll use essential oils. It doesn’t matter which brand of essential oils you use as long as they are pure essential oils. Despite common beliefs, there is no such thing as a therapeutic grade oil and there is no federal grading system to back that (very common) claim which means you can buy a more affordable brand and get the same thing as long as it is pure oil and not cut with anything. I personally prefer to buy Plant Therapy essential oils. They are incredibly affordable and are just as good as the more expensive brands.

If you have a specific hair issue like dry hair or split ends, keep reading. At the end of the post I will give you combinations to use when you make your own shampoo to help you treat those specific problems. I often change the oil combinations that I use when I make it as I make up each batch based on what my hair currently is doing. I’ve had some people ask whether there is an adjustment period for your hair when you start to use this homemade version and the best thing that I can tell you is this: I did not have any issues switching, however everyone has different hair. I have naturally curly and very dry and frizzy hair normally. What I would suggest is if you’re concerned about an adjustment period to use it the first time over the weekend. That will give your hair a bit of time to calm down if needed.


You will Need:



In a quart sized mason jar, combine all of the ingredients except your essential oils and stir gently to combine. If you have an empty shampoo bottle or two, you can mix it up in them instead. Doing it that way can make it easier to use in the shower. I often use empty shampoo bottles that I’ve saved since they are one of my favorite things to reuse to save money



Add 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil – or use one of the combinations below – and stir gently again to mix the oils well into the mixture.  Seal with a lid and ring and use the next time you shampoo your hair! If you’re giving this as a gift, add a piece of jute twine and gift tag and you’re done!



If after making your homemade coconut shampoo, you find that it is too thin, you can thicken it by making a salt water solution. Add .5 oz regular table salt to 1.5 oz warm distilled water and stir until it is dissolved. Then, in very small amounts (1 ml or less), add to your soap and stir. Continue adding the salt water solution to your soap until you’ve got the consistency that you want.

To use, apply a generous amount to your hair beginning at the ends and work your way up to the roots. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes then rinse away completely. For an added shine and extra conditioning boost, rinse with apple cider vinegar after shampooing. There are quite a few different ways to use apple cider vinegar and conditioning and adding shine to hair is one of them.

Have a specific hair issue you need to solve? Use these essential oil combos in your shampoo when you mix it up: As always, be careful with essential oils if you’re pregnant. Some are not safe for use by pregnant women. To mix these up, you’ll take the 15-20 drops mentioned above and split them between each oil. I’ve listed the counts below but you can always mix it up if you would like.

Dry Hair:

Oily Hair:

Dry Scalp:

To Add Shine: (or make our homemade shine boosting shampoo recipe)


Originally published in 2015/Updated June 2018.

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Stacy Ott

Stacy Ott is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family as well as The Genealogy Queen and a few others.By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence, and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

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  1. Leah @ The Frugal South says:

    I am going to try to make some of this shampoo with rosemary and mint essential oils. If it turns out good, everyone is getting some for Christmas! Thanks 🙂

  2. So I am super interested in this recipe, primarily for the frugality. The current natural shampoo I use is $12 for maybe 16oz. I can get Castile soap and coconut milk in my area for a good price, but not oils or vegetable glycerin. I currently have avocado and sweet almond oils at home. Do you think those could be used in place for jojoba oil? Do you know of any substitution for vegetable glycerin? Thank you for this awesome post!

    • Etta, the oil can be left out if you need, but Jojoba oil helps to soften your hair and feed it the nutrients it needs. I don’t know of any substitute for vegetable glycerin, but if you check out the one that I linked to in the post it shouldn’t be too expensive. Pretty sure I paid less than $10.00 for my bottle and it lasts through quite a few batches.

    • I get glycerin at Walmart / Target. It’s behind the counter sometimes at the pharmacy. Something like 4 oz. for $3.00. Try somewhere like that-

  3. I’m very interested in trying this. Can I just leave this in the shower, or does it need to be stored in the refrigerator? I have seen other DIY shampoo and body wash posts that advise you to keep these products in the fridge because of the coconut milk.

  4. Do you know what the shelf life is for this shampoo?

  5. Have you ever tried using the regular castle soap? I like the smell and dont want to buy more of what i already have.

    • Castille soap is fine for your hair and can work as a great alternative. I prefer this shampoo though since it moisturizes and can be customized to whatever hair issue I happen to be having 🙂

  6. Sounds good, can you use goat milk instead of coconut milk? How about coconut oil?

    • Kathy, I’ve never tried but I can’t see how it would hurt! Let me know if you try it please. 🙂 I’m curious now!

  7. I like your recipe, however I discovered (unfortunately) that castille soap will strip your color so if you have color treated hair you will want to formulate the recipe differently – less lather but safer for colored hair. I confirmed with Dr. Bronner’s website that they suggest not using on color treated hair.

  8. How long will a jar of this stuff be good for? With fresh ingredients, most recipes I find say to keep only for 1 week. thank you!

  9. Leyna Clarke says:

    I freeze mine in an ice cube tray and just remove one or two cubes just prior to use

  10. Hi!! I really want to try this one for a Valentin’s day… How many drops should I use from each essential oil of the oily hair combo?!

    • Hi Rebecca, as stated in the ingredients, you would use 15-20 drops total for all of the oils you’re using. If you’re making the oily combo, you could do 5 of each drop from Rosemary, Peppermint, Cypress and Basil oils.

  11. Hi, I was wondering if there was a transition period for this type of shampoo. I’ve heard that switching to a a more natural shampoo will have a transition period. Did you have this?

    • Nicole, I did not, but everyone’s hair is different. Maybe try using it on a weekend to allow time for it to settle if it does react? I have naturally curly and very frizzy hair and mine was just fine. 🙂

  12. Just wondering what kind of coconut milk this needs? Out of a can? Full fat? Soooo excited to try this!

  13. I just made this and used it! My hair feels soft, but it also feels like there’s still product in it… Is this normal or did I not rinse it long enough?

  14. Lorna Shirley says:

    I am a retired hairdresser and when I first started in 1967 the shop I worked in always used Castile shampoo on non coloured hair and it was great , do glad to know we can still get it.. Can you tell me if this will work on fine thinning hair or is there a different mixture?I am Canadian that is why I spelt colour with the u lol thanks

    • LOL! Thanks for clarifying that you’re from Canada 😉 It’s good to see that others beside the US can enjoy my posts. As far as thinning hair, my hubby uses it just fine and his is thinning on top (shhhh! LOL). If you’re looking for something to help with regrowth, you could try adding some evening primrose oil to it (replace one of the EO’s that you use) since that is reported to help with hair regrowth. I should probably do a batch of that for him but keep forgetting.

  15. I really like this and want to try it, but wonder if I’m the only one who doesn’t relish the idea of putting refrigerator cold shampoo on my head, especially in the winter.

    • Lila, I let it sit out for a few minutes to come to room temperature before I put it on my head. Just shake it up before you use in case it settles as it gets warmer.

  16. Hi! Thanks for the recipe. I tried once to change to a homemade shampoo made out of baking soda and essential oil (rose oil). It didn’t work for me. I had to rinse the hair with vinegar to get it conditioned… My husband said I smelt like salad. But I will try this recipe, maybe the oils will help to condition the hair without using the vinegar. Now I am using Argan oil because my hair is dry and I think is helping. Have you tried?

    Regards from Venezuela!

    • What kind of vinegar rinse did you do? I do a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup of water, and add 10 drops of rosemary and tea tree essential oils. My hair never smells like vinegar afterwards. It doesn’t smell like rosemary or tea tree oil, either, haha! Could you have been using too much?

  17. I tried using an all-natural shampoo and my hair felt great. But then I went to get a (needed) body perm…and it did not take – at all. And my hair wouldn’t hold curl when I used my curling iron. The hairdresser said it was probably because of the glycerin product in the shampoo, which coats your hair. I stopped using it and let it grow out before I attempted another perm, which thankfully took this time. Might be okay for some hairstyles but sure didn’t work with my fine, limp hair! Since then, I’ve read things about over-use of glycerin on hair causing other problems… Too bad, because I’m all for using less chemicals.

  18. I use Henna to color my hair and EO’s strip the Henna out immediately. Any suggestions?

    • Kelly, I’m not really familiar with henna as a hair coloring so I’m afraid I’m not much help. I suppose you could make the shampoo w/out the EO’s. They wouldn’t have the benefits but the shampoo would still clean your hair. Jojoba oil and the other ingredients all do have their separate benefits for hair so it wouldn’t be a complete loss of nutrients. Worth a shot?

  19. This made my hair impossibly greasy and heavy…any suggestions for alterations that might fix that problem? I don’t want to waste it! 🙁

    • Rachel, that seems to be an issue with some people’s hair. I’ve never had it happen before, but a quick rinse in white vinegar will not only help the buildup but also help your hair shine 🙂

  20. Stephanie says:

    This shampoo sounds great!! I have gotten rid of many of my chemicals too and switched to natural options.
    My question for you is actually about your chronic pain. What type of chronic pain did you have (i.e. Chronic back pain, migraines, fibermyalgia)? I have had Chronic back pain for 10 years and it is severe enough I can’t work. I’ve never heard of a relationship between chemicals and chronic pain before. But if it helped you I’m for sure going to try removing the remainder of my chemicals!!! So glad I checked out your shampoo recipe which I’m also going to make! Very cool how you have different essential oils depending on your hair issue. Thanks:)

  21. Bunnie says:

    I used the scented Dr. Bronner’s and save $$$ from not having to purchase essential oil.

  22. This seems like a great recipe, but I don’t want to use milk in shampoo. Do you need the milk, or can you leave it out? Or use water instead?

  23. I am excited to make this and try. My question is I have long hair so I always use conditioner after I shampoo. Do I still need to use conditioner or will this be enough? If I do need conditioner, do you have a recipe for that as I would like both to be natural!!

  24. Do I have to add the jojoba oil and the essential oil?

    • You could leave out the EO if you wanted, but the jojoba oil is part of what gives your hair the nutrients that it needs to be healthy.

  25. Hi. I am eager to try this out. Can I leave out the vegetable glycerin ? Does it need to be in the shampoo ? I have everything else so looking to avoid buying anything additional.

  26. Thank u for sharing this recipe, I’m definitely going to make some. I would also like to know what do you think of replacing the vegetables glycerin with coconut glycerin?

  27. i just made mine with coconut cream because it is cheaper than coconut milk. I am trying it first thing tomorrow morning. Hopefully my scalp won’t be itchy or flakes. (i switched to head and shoulder for a bit because of the flakes but no my scalp gets so itchy after I blow dry my hair. hopefully this doesn’t happen with the home made shampoo)

  28. Melinda says:

    I was wondering if your homemade shampoo would be safe to use on dog’s. I have a dog grooming business & I would really like to find some shampoo recipes I can make to bath my dog’s in. Like for sensitive skin, itchy
    Skin, shampoo with conditioner. I enjoy reading your hints & tips. Thank you,Melinda

    • Stacy Barr says:

      The shampoo itself yes, however, be very careful using essential oils on dogs. Some can be fatal. Honestly, you could use pure Castile soap and it would likely work just fine and be safer.

  29. Am going to try this one! I already make a few homemade products … toothpastes, mag cream, etc. Am thinking if coconut oil or coconut ‘milk’ (made from coconut shreds & water blended as opposed to the canned) is used, it *should* be ok to leave it out of the fridge. Guess the best way to find out is to TRY IT! 😀

  30. I just found your blog and love it , thank you for posting this shampoo recipe I’ve been looking for a easy good recipe , I’ve recently started using all natural products in my home due to being diagnosed with COPD, I’ve had to throw all my cleaning products away as I can’t handle the smell of them anymore, so I started making everything from my cleaning products to my beauty products and I feel so much better now, I wished I would have done all this year’s ago. Lol many Blessings to you !

  31. If the Castile soap isn’t good for colored hair, are there any good substitutes?

    • Stacy Ott says:

      Aimee, you could try using just baking soda and vinegar (white) to wash your hair with. There will be a short adjustment period as your hair gets used to no chemicals, but once your hair adjusts, it will look even better than with an expensive shampoo.

  32. Thank you for the recipe I made this shampoo did not dilute the Castile soap I was wondering if you deluded before using it thank you

    • Stacy Ott says:

      If you’re using pure Castile, there’s no reason to dilute it. It is pure soap and gentle enough to use on an infant.

  33. So I made the liquid Castile soap. Then made the shampoo. It’s pretty much the consistency of water. It also has sedement in the bottom of the bottle after an hour. I tried the salt water solution. Didn’t thicken at all. Here are my thoughts/questions:
    I used 4 cups water per bar of Castile soap. Should I have thickened that first, before attempting the shampoo?
    I didn’t have distilled water for the saltwater solution but I did it anyways. What is the reason for it needing to be distilled water?
    I also didn’t catch the part about keeping it in the fridge. It’s been in my shower for 24 hours. How fast will it go bad? I suppose it would smell bad?

    Any other tips for thickening it?
    Or did I do something wrong in the recipe?

    • Candice, I would suggest thickening homemade Castile first if you’re going to use it. Also, you may need to cut back on the water. It depends on how long you melt it, etc. Start with 3 1/2 cups next time and see how that does for you. You could also try increasing the amount of shaved soap you’re using if you wanted to. I’ve never had much of an issue, but I’ve been making it long enough to just eyeball it at this point.

      Distilled water is recommended for purity. There’s not really any other reason than that.

      Your shampoo should be fine at 24 hours, but I would get it in the fridge asap if you haven’t already.

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