DIY Shampoo, Version 2 (and a hair update)

I have been further experimenting with my haircare routine over the past two weeks, and wanted to share a few things.

First, if you have already experimented with washing your hair every other day, for a long period of time, as I have, then it is quite easy to extend that one more day without the hair becoming too scary! I am now successfully washing every third day, and it feels great. I probably will go back to every other day in the summer, but in the winter, it’s not usually necessary. (If you feel a little too oily, try the dry shampoo.)

Second, I have experimented with the DIY shampoo recipe. When you mix vinegar and castile soap, the results can be a bit sticky or tacky, depending on the user. I noticed a very slight tackiness to my hair when I first started using this recipe, but it never bothered me, so I didn’t think much about it. Several readers who have tried this recipe recently, however, have told me that they definitely don’t like that aspect of the shampoo. So I omitted the vinegar and reduced the castile soap considerably.

Five Seed’s Favorite Shampoo
aka: DIY Shampoo, Version 2

2 cups filtered water
1/2 cup liquid castile soap
10 drops lavender essential oil

So far, I have found this shampoo to be even better than the previous recipe and can’t believe I didn’t try it before. There is no tacky/gummy residue, and it washes cleanly. Here is my hair the day I first used this recipe.

I have not yet tried a vinegar rinse after using this, but will do so in the coming weeks. Give this one a try – I like it even better than the previous recipe!!

UPDATE: August 11, 2011

I am currently using a 1:1 ratio of castile soap to water. I often change this this, however, just to see how my hair responds. It seems to thrive when I change the routine every few months. I would recommend never using more castile soap than water, however, as it tends to weigh the hair down.

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11 thoughts on “DIY Shampoo, Version 2 (and a hair update)

  1. Yay, thanks for the updated recipe! I’ll have to try this one next, maybe this weekend. Could I substitute the lavender for tea tree oil? I don’t like the smell of tea tree oil, but I have some at home. I don’t have lavender. I’ll let you know how I make out!!

    You’ll have to share your secret of what you use for bodywash/soap next!

    • Yeah, I am still really happy with this one, though I want to try it with a vinegar rinse and haven’t gotten around to it. You can use any essential oil that you like. I tend to use lavender for nearly everything, but tea tree should work fine, as well as chamomile, rosemary, or basil.

      Let me know how it works. And I’ll definitely get to the soap stuff and other showering things.

  2. I tried this recipe out today, but it still didn’t work out for me. :( It made my hair sticky, like can’t put your fingers through your hair sticky, so I had to use regular shampoo afterwards. I tried it as a body wash as well and it left my skin feeling kind’ve sticky too, so I washed with Jason body wash afterwards. Do you think I could use it to clean my Diva Cup? I might try that. Do you use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap?

    I did a half batch:
    1/4 cup unscented Dr. Bronner’s castile soap
    1 cup distilled water
    5 drops tea tree oil

    • T, I’m totally bummed this didn’t work! :( I think everyone just has different chemistry and reacts differently to things. I have used this shampoo four times now, and have had no gumminess. I can’t figure out what might be causing it for you. I thought for sure it was the vinegar combo. Darnit!

      Anyway, as for the Diva Cup, their official website says you should not use castile soap on it. I don’t know why – they don’t explain that. However, being as that’s the only soap I have in this house, that’s what I use. I’m not sure if there will be an issue with the essential oils and silicone, though. But I basically use the same shampoo recipe I posted for hand soap in this house (lavender oil and all), and I haven’t had a problem with silicone degradation. It’s probably safer NOT to use that, but it just happens to be convenient for me, and since I haven’t had a problem, I just keep doing it!

      So yeah, feel free to pour that mixture into your soap dispensers! That’s what I use and it’s great.

      Please keep me updated on your hair situation. I would love to hear if you find a good product/recipe, commercial brand or not. I don’t use eco-friendly commercial brands, so I can’t really offer recommendations, but if you find one that works for you, I’d love to hear!

    • I just washed my hair and had a bit of a revelation! Is this your first time trying non-commercial shampoos? If not, skip this response, but if so…

      I realized that if you are a first-timer with natural shampoos, then that sticky feeling you’re having is probably just the fact that you are used to feeling hair that’s been stripped and coated with chemicals. Natural shampoos make the hair feel SO much different – when wet, for instance, unless you use a vinegar rinse, your hair can feel sticky/greasy/thick/tacky. The catch is: it’s not actually greasy. It just feels so different than what we’re accustomed to.

      As Lindsay Edmunds (Passionate Homemaking) says about castile soap-based shampoos: “Your hair will feel slightly more greasy than normal, but that is actually more natural anyway. Most modern shampoos actually dry out your hair, removing the natural oils.”

      Think about all the oils that get stripped from regular shampoos, and then the chemicals that are designed to bind to the hair shaft in conditioners, to keep the hair detangled, smooth, etc. It’s really like stripping out something natural and then covering it with chemicals to make it seem better. Adjusting to what the hair feels like without all these chemicals can be an uncomfortable transition. It was for me – I had forgotten all about it until today, when I was thinking of your predicament.

      Anyway, if this isn’t your first time using natural shampoo then you already know this. But just in case, I wanted to relay this information.

  3. Yeah, I am a newbie to DYI shampoos. I think the stickiness must be from hard water. At first my hair is fine when I applied the shampoo, but after I rinse it, it starts to gum up really bad. I probably applied too much. (5 or more squirts from a spray bottle. How much do you use?) I don’t think Dr. Bronner’s is what I can handle on my hair, but I will definitely keep looking for alternatives. I’m hoping to find a solution where my hair is as good or better than it was before I washed it, kind’ve like regular shampoo does for me. I’m hoping to get Earthly Bodies & Heavenly Hair for my b-day on Tuesday. Maybe my secret formula is in there?! I’ll keep you updated though if I find an alternative that is friendly to the earth and doesn’t leave my hair in a tangled web!

    • Hard water is definitely another contributing factor to icky hair.

      But in any case, everyone has such a unique reaction. So yes, definitely keep me posted on any recipes or products you find! Thanks!

      (Oh, and I don’t think you were overusing it. I really spray it on – probably 10-20 squirts. So I doubt that was a problem.)

  4. I have been having the same problem, I think its due to hard water. If anyone has a recipe that was able to overcome this problem, please post.

    • Kat, have you tried using a filter on your shower head? I’ve found that this helps a LOT. Vinegar rinses after shampooing have also been hugely helpful.

  5. I’ve tried a number of these DIY shampoo concoctions with castile soap, and I’ve gotten the gummy, sticky, frizzy, feels-like-straw hair. I searched and searched for a “fix” to this issue, and the common theme is an apple cider vinegar rinse. It seems that in order to maintain PH balance on your hair after stripping away the cover-up chemicals, we need to use an acid rinse. I’m going to try that now, and hope that my hair feels more soft and healthy. Lisa Bronner, Dr. Bronner’s granddaughter, has a blog that addresses questions about using castile soap mixtures for shampoo. I have VERY hard water, but I don’t think that’s the issue, because I had the same issue at a friend’s cabin, where they have a water softener. Everything I’ve read said the vinegar rinse will fix the problem.

    • @Brenda: Yes, that vinegar rinse is essential to keep the hair from getting frizzy or heavy. I don’t use it every day – I don’t mind the texture of my hair without it because I usually wear it up. But I find the vinegar rinse is a miracle! Makes my hair so soft and shiny!

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