DIY no-‘poo alternative shampoos & conditioners

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

as we know, no-‘poo can be pretty difficult to master. i did “no-‘poo week” in hopes i’d help a lot of people. but there’s still one huge thing i wanted to address & publish…

diy natural shampoos and conditioners

for some people, baking soda/acv isn’t the route to go. neither is castile soap. but what do you do when those no-‘poo methods don’t work for your hair, but you don’t wanna go low-‘poo?

try these homemade alternatives i’ve gathered up! these do require more time, but you should be washing your hair much less, so no big deal, right? 🙂

as with any no-‘poo/low-‘poo method, there is a transition period when you first switch from regular shampoo/conditioner. and with these following recipes, using hair products is not advised since there’s nothing in these mixes that will clean the products back out of your hair.

also, these methods won’t lather (unless you add soapwort). that doesn’t mean it’s not getting your hair clean!
also also, these mixes are okay for both hard and soft water.

lastly, these ingredients can be found at your local organic store and local health food store. call & check! if not, there’s always online!


lemon shampoo

  • mix 1/3 cup lemon juice with 2/3 cup water for oily hair OR 1/4 cup lemon juice with 1 cup water for normal hair
  • *you can add 1 tbsp acv for those with dry hair
  • put into container and use as shampoo
  • this might lighten hair over time if you’re in the sun a lot

hibiscus shampoo Dried hibiscus flower

  • place either 2 fresh or 2 dried hibiscus flower petals and leaves into small blender
  • add 1/2 cup water
  • blend into paste
  • use as regular shampoo
    *you can also use powdered hibiscus for homemade blush/eyeshadow!

powdered shikakai shampoo (for sensitive scalps, hair growth, and hair root strengthening) Shikakai-powder_250x250

  • in a sauce pan, mix 1 tbsp shikakai powder, 1 tbsp amla powder and 1 tbsp reetha powder into 1 1/2 cups water
  • heat till almost boiling, and turn the heat to low
  • let simmer for 10-15 minutes
  • strain and use the liquid as shampoo

soapwort shampoo

  • chop 1 1/2 tbsp dried soapwort
  • bring 2 cups water to a boil
  • add soapwort to boiling water, and stir a couple minutes
  • cover and let simmer for a 1/2 hour
  • strain, put in container, and use as regular shampoo
    *this WILL be sudsy! (for those that miss bubbles!) fullers earth

fuller’s earth shampoo

  • mix enough fuller’s earth with water to make a watery paste
  • apply mix to hair and rub on scalp as you would regular shampoo
  • rinse very, very well

castile shampoo mixes- a gentler castile method (use distilled water)

  • mix 1 part liquid castile soap to 8-10 parts distilled water (or even diluted further if you can)
  • mix with: aloe vera; raw honey; argan oil; jojoba oil; avocado oil; coconut milk; vitamin e oil; a few drops of various essential oils; etc.
  • keep in container and use as regular shampoo

*tea shampoo (for added color & gray coverage)

  • for added color and gray coverage benefits, use tea instead of water in ANY of the shampoo mixes that have waterred-rooibos
  • black teawill help darken hair over time (3-5 bags steeped for 1 hour)
  • chamomile tea will help lighten hair over time (3-5 bags steeped for 1 hour)
  • red or rooibus tea will help add red to hair (3-5 bags steeped for 1 hour)
  • add 1 tbsp sage (or equal parts if you’re goin hardcore coverage) to help cover grays
  • …remember to strain before you add to your mixes 😉

shikakai & soapnut shampoo

  • here’s a great tutorial on it. & she claims it takes out oil treatments from your hair too. that’d be great! … if anyone wants to test that claim and get back to us here at AE, more power to ya!

you can add steeped mint leaves and/or various essential oils to ANY of these mixes

**if you want a sudsy lather, steep soapwort and add it to any shampoo mix (soapwort instructions above)


these conditioners are geared towards no-‘poo-ers. these will rinse out with your regular no-‘poo routine 🙂

coconut oil (dry, damaged hair… but it’s golden for everyone)

  • mix 1/3 cup warm water with 1/2 teaspoon melted organic unrefined coconut oil
  • you can add a few drops of any essential oil- lavender, orange, rose, etc. mmm!
  • keep in container and use as regular conditioner (shake each time)20130616_134007

raw honey

  • mix 1 teaspoon raw, organic honey into 2 cups very warm water (not hot) until honey is thoroughly dissolved
  • put into container and use as you would a regular conditioner

avocado oil (frizzy hair)

  • mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/2 teaspoon avocado oil
  • put into container and use as regular conditioner (shake each time)

vitamin e oil

  • mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/2 teaspoon vitamin e oil  
  • put into container and use as regular conditioner (shake each time)

sweet almond oil

  • mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/2 teaspoon sweet almond oil
  • put into container and use as regular conditioner (shake each time)

coconut milk

  • apply as much coconut milk as needed to cover the length of your hair (if you choose to use canned, make sure there are no added sugars or preservatives. you don’t want a sticky mess in your hair)
  • use as regular conditioner
  • the best coconut milk is homemade. no sugar, no preservatives, etc.  and the best part? you can drink it! so delicious & healthy! yay!
    – i’m not sure what i did wrong with this one, but it left my hair dull and limp. i know it’s supposed to be amazing! i’ll try it again someday

other deep conditioners

*obviously water and oil don’t mix. shake mix vigorously before applying. the water is there to help to keep the oil from “sticking” in no-‘poo hair, but will still give hair moisture.


only 1 mix needed for these bad boys!


  • whip up a couple egg YOLKS
  • use as shampoo, let sit 10-15 minutes, and rinse well!
  • *there is a such thing as too much protein in your hair! please don’t use this more than once a week. and even that is still too much for some people’s hair. you’ll know you have too much protein in your hair when it starts to break/snap easily. sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true! that being said, eggs are GREAT for hair. don’t let the protein thing scare ya off


  • use as much pure, organic aloe vera juice or gel as you need to cover all your hair from roots to ends
  • let sit a 10-15 minutes (shave/bathe?) and rinse well!


  • blend 1 peeled cucumber and 1 peeled/de-seeded lemon in a blender
  • use mix as shampoo

coconut milk/aloe combo

  • see my recipe here


please keep in mind some of these shampoos/2in1’s will expire quickly. use common sense 😉 i suggest making only what you need, and keeping extras in the fridge! the conditioners listed do NOT need to be kept in the fridge.

any shampoo/conditioners YOU love? let’s hear it!


141 thoughts on “DIY no-‘poo alternative shampoos & conditioners

    1. I’ve been using my own concoction which is the result of trial and error haha…it’s baking soda, lemon juice and reduced beer….and so far (4 weeks in) my hair isn’t really any lighter. I have medium brown hair, and my natural highlights are a little more noticeable (my hair seems to have more “dimension”) but not really lighter. Its my favorite recipe so far, and I’ve tried many.

  1. Hello,

    I’m curious about your raw honey hair conditioner. I’m starting to go ‘no-poo’ and you have reinterated on your other blogs related to this that when you first start to definitely deep condition. but then you said not to use coconut oil if you use baking soda (which i am).
    Curious – can i still use this honey mask? And how often should i use this and how would i wash it out? (just with water, mix in more baking soda, etc.?)

    Also, should i use the ACV after the honey conditioner or before (after baking soda)?

    I’ve looked around your blog and can’t find specific answers to these questions.

    Any help is great!! 🙂


  2. Hi, I’m just wondering if going no poo will cause clogged hair follicles? If I suspect that they are how can I get around it?

  3. What about no poo for your body? And what about no poo for those who still want to shave? Thanks! Love your blog!!!! It has been very helpful in getting me excited about no poo 😀

    1. hey Ashley! You can use coconut oil to shave, and she also did a series on water only washing for your body….basically no poo. She also has a list of recommended soaps in the index at the top! hope that helps!

  4. Hey! I love your blog! It’s the most comprehensive I’ve found so far! Before I found you, I first used a diluted castille soap recipe…but found it left my hair frizzy. I researched a more moisturizing recipe which added honey. No frizz, but now I feel I’m having a unique problem. I’ve only used it twice so far, and my roots are great! But my ends are oily…like ridiculously oily. I fully expected it to be the other way around! Is this normal transition, or should I be doing something different?

  5. I am a guy. I will never use traditional shampoo or conditioners again. I have type 2c long hair and use rye flour, water for shampoo, and alternate types of conditioner, aloe, ACV, etc. Turning 60 in November and my hair is healthier than it has ever been in my life. Better than it was in the 70’s when I had long hair too. It doesn’t hurt that I also eat very healthily either. Plus my starting gray hair went away? I found baking soda too harsh but the rye flower is perfect for me. It has been over 5 months now and am glad I switched. Too many bad chemicals in traditional hair products that are absorbed through the skin and are accumulative over time.

  6. hi, about the vit e oil, cud i just use normal vit e capsule, poke it with a needle? 🙂

    1. Yes you can use the capsule. It’s the same thing, and might even be better since it’s safe to ingest. I think over time the capsules are more expensive though. 🙂

  7. What are your thoughts on washing hair with a mix of glycerine and aloe? I decided I cannot use Castile soap anymore as my hair is breaking very similar to using the baking soda. I have always rinsed with acv or Dr. Bronners citrus rinse but it’s still too shocking for my hair. I have been no poo since January because of your blog 😊 I’m still trying to find a way to shampoo my fine thin hair without leaving it greasy or brittle. I’ve also tried doing a honey wash and plain aloe vera juice and my hair doesn’t rinse clean it seems to get more greasy. Also, I have a shower head filter too but no changes there. Any ideas for a shampoo/conditioner remedy for fine, thin hair? Thank you.

    1. Hello there! I have fine, thin strawberry blonde hair and have been no’poo for tad over a year. I never tried castile soap for my hair, though I used it for my body for about a year. After ditching baking soda/acv, I washed my hair with lemon juice and roibos tea, special combo for my hair color and its effects are remarkable. I condition with egg yolk or a dime of argon oil. At first I washed every 5 days, then it became whenever, because conditioning was washing too and I got lazy.. anyway a few weeks ago I got liquid african black soap. It’s pretty all purpose, I got it as face wash but its also a body/hand/shaving soap, and a ‘shampoo’, but the ingredients are not that of one. Its great, an all-in-one and definitely something I recommend looking into, BUT I must say the lemon juice routine did wonders for my fine hair. The difference is astounding- my hair is no longer fine and frail, also only washing once a week the red tint of my hair is now a true color. If you want to enhance your hair color, I definitely would look into a water-based routine and substitute tea. Keep at it and you’ll find something that works for you, good luck!

      1. Hi Erin,

        I am really interested in adding rooibos tea to my castile soap/ jojoba oil/ water shampoo, but I have heard certain teas can also be used as natural self-tanners. My question is, what was your ratio of tea bags : water : lemon juice, and did you notice any change in skin tone around your head, neck, or back? Thanks!

    2. Oh my goodness, I am in the middle of the EXACT same problem! shower filter and all! I’m going to continue to read, but please feel free to email me withany breakthroughs, or to bounce ideas off of each other. I JUST read a site that helped explain why soap and baking soda aren’t working, and a little Ib the vinegar, but I still haven’t come to a conclusion.

      How Does YOUR Water Affect Your Hair?

      Good luck to you, and is love to hear from you or anyone with the same problem. I know I’m taking a chance by posting this, but I’m desperate lol

      – Cheri

    3. Oh my goodness, I am in the middle of the EXACT same problem! shower filter and all! I’m going to continue to read, but please feel free to email me withany breakthroughs, or to bounce ideas off of each other. I JUST read a site that helped explain why soap and baking soda aren’t working, and a little Ib the vinegar, but I still haven’t come to a conclusion.

      How Does YOUR Water Affect Your Hair?

      Good luck to you, and is love to hear from you or anyone with the same problem. I know I’m taking a chance by posting this, but I’m desperate lol

      – Cheri

  8. Can you wash your hair with regular bar soap? This goat milk soap I have only has 4 ingredients: goat milk, coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oil. Would this be ok to use on the hair?

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