How to Make Safe and Inexpensive Homemade Hair Shampoo

Every year, people around the world spend approximately $40 billion on shampoo. Of that, over $10 billion is spent by Americans on shampoo. This isn’t hard to believe when the cheapest knock-off bottles of shampoo are often around $1.50 and it isn’t unusual for some brands to go for over $10.00 a bottle. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could save a substantial amount of money on your shampoo? There is!

The Dark Side of Commercial Shampoos

People might wonder if there is a good reason for making their own shampoo other than the tremendous savings in money. There is. Commercial shampoos have a very dark side that most people aren’t aware of.

Virtually all shampoos contain a strong detergent for removing the oils from hair. The detergent is very harsh and is harmful to the scalp and the hair if it is used more than about once a week. Many people shampoo their hair with this stuff daily!

Even worse, they use the harsh chemicals to remove the oils in the hair, as well as the dirt, then compound the error by using conditioners that are designed to put oil back into the hair. That makes no sense at all, does it?


The most common chemical detergents used are ammonium lauryl sulfate or ammonium laureth sulfate. (You can check the ingredient label of your shampoo to see if it contains one of these.) This man-made chemical binds with the oils in the hair, so the oils are removed when the shampoo is rinsed out.

Shampoo usually also contains ingredients to add shine, to make the shampoo thick, to make it scented, to make the hair shine, to make the shampoo lather up, to make it feel ‘silky’, and to give it color. Not one of these things does anything to clean hair and most of them damage hair and scalp. Some of them are also toxic and/or known carcinogens. Expensive brands are as guilty of this as cheap ones.

Thick and silky

For instance, to make the shampoo feel thick and silky, ammonium xylene sulfonate, glycol distearate (a substance similar to car anti-freeze), cetyl alcohol, or salt are often added. None of these clean hair.


One or more acids are usually added to leave hair looking shiny. The way that this works is that hair has cuticles. These can be seen in the microscopic view above as lines on the hair in the picture.

When the cuticles stand up and away from the shaft of the hair, the hair looks dull. When it lays flat against the hair shaft, hair looks shiny. Acid weakens the structure and causes the cuticle to lay flat, making the hair shine. Of course, this doesn’t do much good to the hair.

Again, this has nothing to do with cleaning the hair. You could do the same thing by putting dilute lemon juice in your hair if the shine was that important to you. It can still damage hair, but it isn’t as bad as what is put in commercial shampoos. The better ones actually use citric acid, which is what you’d get from dilute lemon juice.


Foaming agents, which do nothing at all for cleaning your hair, can actually be toxic. Chemicals like cocamide MEA are bad news. They are allowed because they are used externally, but this isn’t stuff you want to mess with. You certainly don’t need suds to clean your hair and the suds end up causing environmental problems when they eventually get into the water supply.

Other unneeded substances

Some manufacturers add vitamins to their shampoo in an attempt to make you think it is healthier for you, to entice you to buy it. This is worthless except as an advertising ploy. Hair is dead, so adding vitamins isn’t going to help in the slightest degree. Vitamins and minerals do help hair as it is being produced by hair follicles, but at that point, the vitamins and minerals need to be inside of you, not on you.

Still, the hope of the manufacturer is that you will be willing to pay for the vitamins in the shampoo and buy it, even though the vitamins do nothing at all.

Recipe for Homemade Shampoo

Now you know why you shouldn’t be using any shampoo that you can buy at the store. Are you ready for the recipe for making your own? You’re going to love how simple it is. You might not even believe that it can be this easy or that it will work until you actually try it.

The recipe is this: Dissolve 2 tablespoons of baking soda in 2 cups of water. Add 5 drops of lavender or rose essential oil, or an essential oil of your preference. Pour this into an empty shampoo bottle or similar. There is your safe and cheap shampoo.

What! It’s that easy? Yes, indeed it is. If you want it to be colored, add a few drops of food coloring. If you want it to be thicker, stir in some ground oats, adding as much as you want to get the consistency that you desire.

This homemade shampoo doesn’t foam up, but again, suds don’t help clean your hair but does cause environmental problems.

This shampoo cleans your hair without harsh chemicals and at a fraction of the cost of a bottle of shampoo. In fact, the cost is less than a penny per ounce.


What do you think?

Written by Rex Trulove


  1. I buy the cheapest shampoo there is on the shelf & I don’t buy just 1 R 2 I buy
    like 4-6 bottles & that last me for like 2 yrs cause I don’t need a whole lot of it
    I keep my hair like MAYBE A inch short or a 1/2 inch short so a little dab does it.

    • It sometimes amazes me how much money many people spend on shampoo. Then they shampoo frequently with the high-cost stuff and wonder why their hair dries out and ends up so brittle. The baking soda shampoo is much less expensive, it doesn’t damage hair, and it contains no harsh industrial chemicals.

      • that’s cause people have $ to waste on such stuff where they THINK they
        HAVE to use the expensive things in life it’s so stupid in my book, I had a
        neighbor that just HAD to buy the “CERTAIN” type things instead of getting
        by with the cheaper brand, like for say mayo or butter or dish soap & so on
        ME I rather get by on the cheapest I can & save my $ for other things. :>}

        • I agree. There are only a few things that I’ll buy on the strength of a brand name. Most often, I’ll make it if I can because experience has taught me that the result is not only usually much less expensive, it also works far better. Mayo is actually a great example. It costs me much less than a dollar to make a quart of mayo. It is healthier and tastes better.

          • that’s what I need to do is make our own mayo & relish for potato salad
            cause my husband can eat that like all week & never get tired of it :>{
            & we got through mayo & relish when making it too can’t keep enough.

          • The mayo is something I make as needed. The sweet relish is something I make each year when our zucchinis start coming on. Last year, I only canned 11 pints…that was only three large zucchinis. The reason I didn’t can more is because I still have zucchini relish from 2015 and 2016. I’ll admit that I went overboard in 2015. I canned 32 pints, 4 quarts, and 6 half-pints of zucchini sweet relish. lol