DIY Shampoo Bar Recipe: How to Make Natural Shampoo

DIY shampoo bars

These natural shampoo bars are some of my favourite things - ever!

I discovered shampoo bars back when I started shopping at LUSH and totally fell in love with them.

A shampoo bar lasts longer than a bottle.  It's easy to use (just rub it on your hair).  And when you start making your own shampoo bars, you can have complete control over the ingredients.  (Hooray!)

Plus, a shampoo bar doesn't need to have preservatives in it, like a bottle of shampoo would.  Say goodbye to parabens.

diy natural shampoo dry to normal hair
My all natural shampoo bar for dry to normal hair.

Benefits of Solid Shampoo

  • Solid shampoo bars last longer than bottles, and you need to use less because the ingredients are so concentrated.
  • A solid shampoo bar is basically just a bar of soap (with some oils specifically for nourishing hair) so you can use it on your whole body if you wish.  This is great for travel or for yoga: just throw one bar in your bag and go.
  • Making your own solid shampoo bars means that you get total control over the ingredients that go in it.  No more parabens, no more PEG-compounds, no more artificial fragrances or dyes.
  • Using more natural ingredients on your hair means that you will not be stripping your hair of its natural oils.  That means that - over time - you'll have to shampoo less often, and you're hair will be more awesome.

How to Make an All Natural DIY Solid Shampoo 

Soap is made by combining a lye (sodium hydroxide) and water mixture with various oils. A chemical reaction occurs and the oils are saponified giving you soap (no lye remains.)

Each oil used in soap making has a different saponification value which means that each oil requires a different ratio of lye to water depending on the amount and type of each oil used.

If you decide to experiment with different oils, you will need to use a soap calculator to help you determine the amount and types of oils that you need, and how much water and lye to add to the mixture.

This is my favourite DIY shampoo bar recipe.  I use the same basic recipe for both dry to normal and oily hair, and just switch up the essential oils that are added.


  • 225g (8oz) olive pomace oil
  • 100g (3.5oz) coconut oil
  • 100g (3.5oz) palm oil
  • 40g (1.4oz) castor oil
  • 25g (0.9oz) almond oil
  • 130ml (4.6fl oz) filtered water (tap water will do, but you may get some impurities in your shampoo)
  • 65g (2.4oz) sodium hydroxide (lye)
  • essential oils (optional)

Additions for Dry Hair

  • lavender essential oil
  • rose geranium essential oil
  • clary sage essential oi
  • rosemary essential oil


Additions for Oily Hair

  • tea tree essential oil
  • rosemary essential oil
  • lavender essential oil
  • peppermint essential oil

Once your shampoo has cured (about 24 hours with the hot process method), you can pop it in the shower and go.

One 3-4 ounce bar should last about a month or longer.  (One bar lasts me 2 months on thick, just-past-the-shoulders hair.)

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