How to Make Homemade Shampoo & Conditioner with Essential Oils Customized for Your Hair Type
Ever wondered how to make homemade shampoo? Unsure about getting started? Now there’s an easy way to learn how to make homemade shampoo and conditioner with essential oils customized for your hair type! Learn about the different types of homemade shampoos, why they do or don’t work, plus how to create your own custom essential oil blends for your homemade shampoo and conditioner that fit your ever changing hair care needs.
Can I Make Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner?
One of the many not so fun parts of getting older and hitting perimenopause is that your hair changes. Couple that with seasonal changes from summer to winter, and my hair needs change often. (This is one of the many reasons I use henna to keep my hair looking healthy and voluminous regardless of external elements.)
I’m a DIY-er, so I’m used to having custom skin care and hair care products. Not only do I know what ingredients I’m using for my natural beauty routine, but I’m also able to avoid ingredients that I know irritate my skin or scalp. So when Mountain Rose Herbs recently released a line of natural, PH balanced shampoo and conditioner bases, I was super psyched! Now I can customize my own homemade shampoo and conditioner as my hair care needs change, without changing my core products. So there’s no uncomfortable adjustment period. And my hair always looks and feels shiny and healthy.
Even though I’m a hard core into DIY beauty — I have a lot of ingredients on hand to prove it! — I don’t make my own homemade shampoo and conditioner. Both of these hair care products are a bit more challenging than I have the time for. And it’s not a small investment to buy many of the ingredients I’d need. Not to mention, there’s the issue of formulating the perfect product. While I may learn how to make homemade shampoo that’s perfect for winter hair care, I’d then need to come up with an entirely different recipe for summer. And for those of you who formulate your own products, you know just how exhausting that can be.
Now I can buy pre-made shampoo and conditioner bases from Mountain Rose Herbs to customize for my hair care needs. By combining these bases with essential oil blends based on my current hair type, I can easily create the perfect hair care products in a matter of minutes. And as my hair care needs change, I can in turn change out the essential oils I use with each batch. So it’s easy and painless to switch up my hair care products with each new season if necessary.
Should I Make Homemade Shampoo & Conditioner from Scratch?
You’ve likely seen a number of different homemade shampoo recipes. They include making liquid shampoo from scratch — much in the same way you would make liquid soap using fats and potassium hydroxide — making shampoo using a ready-made liquid Castile soap base (such as these examples here), making a solid shampoo bar using the cold process soap making method, and more recently creating syndet shampoo bars using synthetic detergents.
The “no poo” version of shampoo that uses a Castile base, or the cold process soap making method, doesn’t work for most people. It also requires an adjustment period, which unfortunately can make it rather traumatic to say, look in the mirror. Or go out into public. This is in part because the PH of Castile soap just doesn’t work for hair. As such, it is advised to follow your shampoo with apple cider vinegar rinse to remedy the PH imbalance. Unfortunately, many of us who have tried this method, have learned that it can damage hair over time.
The other option for homemade shampoo are syndet shampoo bars. These shampoo bars are popular as they are deemed an eco-friendly, zero waste alternative to traditional bottled shampoo. Like most commercial shampoos, syndet bars are made using a combination of synthetic detergents. They actually do work, however, and without an adjustment period. In fact I’ve tried several and found them very similar to traditional shampoo. However, finding the right combination of ingredients and making sure they are gentle enough for your scalp, can be tricky. (Some of the ones I tried gave me an itchy scalp.) And the ingredients to make your own, quite frankly, are expensive.
Homemade conditioners don’t have the same issues as homemade shampoo as there aren’t PH issues to contend with. However, making conditioner from scratch is similar to making homemade lotions. It’s basically an emulsion with a water phase, oil phase, mixing phase and a cool down phase. Basically, it’s an involved recipe that requires basic to intermediate knowledge of the process. Therefore, for most people, it’s likely not practical to make one or two bottles for home use.
While there are recipes for homemade conditioners that don’t require an emulsion, like this one from Life-n-Reflection, I’ve found these tend to work better as a hair mask rather than daily conditioning. If you have healthy or oily hair, the lack of an emulsion can make this type of conditioner more difficult to rinse out. Therefore, you’d want to use a conditioner made up of primarily butters and oils once per month or as needed.
So yes, while you can learn how to make homemade shampoo and conditioner from scratch at home, it can be an expensive investment. It costs not just money, but it can also take a lot of time finding that perfect formulation.
(If you decide you do want to make homemade shampoo bars from scratch, you can try my ginger and lime shampoo bar or sea salt shampoo bar. Alternately, you can also learn more about syndet solid shampoo bars plus discover a number of syndet solid shampoo bar recipes here.)
Why Can’t I Add Additives to Any Shampoo or Conditioner?
You may be tempted to grab a bottle of shampoo or conditioner off the shelf and add your own additives, but please don’t do this.
Shampoos and conditioners are made with water, so they have a preservative. The preservative the manufacturer uses is specific to the ingredients used in the product and the amount of ingredients in the products. Therefore, if you add ingredients to a shampoo or conditioner off the shelf, you can break the base. There might not be enough preservative in the formula. And as such, this can cause bacteria, mold or fungus to grow. I’m sure you don’t want to wash your hair with microbes! (Just because you can’t see something growing doesn’t mean it isn’t there.)
Adding additional ingredients can also break the emulsion. Emulsifiers help combine the water base ingredients with the oil based ingredients in a recipe. If you add more ingredients to a store bought shampoo and conditioner, it’s possible you may break the delicate emulsion. This then leads to the product separating.
How to Make Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner for Your Hair Type
Making Shampoo & Conditioner Using Hair Care Bases
Learning how to make homemade shampoo and conditioner customized for your hair type, however, doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, it’s simple to create custom, homemade shampoo and conditioner for your everyday hair care routine using the new shampoo and conditioner bases from Mountain Rose Herbs. Just add essential oils based on your hair type to their natural hair care bases and you’re good to go! Ready to get started?
Mountain Rose Herbs Shampoo Base
The Mountain Rose Herbs shampoo base is fragrance free. You can add up to 2 percent essential oils (as shampoo is a wash off product.) This means that you can add 0.32 ounces or 9.5 mL essential oils to the entire bottle. Adding the essential oils is easy. You don’t even have to heat the base! Just add the essential oils and stir.
I really love this particular shampoo base. The shampoo base has no parabens, alcohol, sulfates, or phthalates. It doesn’t have harsh surfactants either. Rather it’s made from a base of organic hydrosols that won’t strip hair. While, like syndet shampoo bars, its lather and sudsing power comes from gentle sugar and glucose-derived surfactants. Therefore, unlike some natural shampoos don’t lather well, this one does.
Mountain Rose Herbs Conditioner Base
After you wash your hair, condition it with the Mountain Rose Herbs conditioner base. Like the shampoo base, their conditioner base is also fragrance free and can be customized by adding your desired essential oils. It’s a lightweight hair conditioner, so it won’t weigh down hair. You can even use it as a leave-in conditioner if your hair is dry.
As with the shampoo base from Mountain Rose Herbs, you can add up to 2 percent essential oils to this base. Or rather 0.32 ounces or 9.5 mL essential oils per 16 ounces bottle.
Best Essential Oils for Custom Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner
Now that you know how easy it is to make homemade shampoo using the shampoo and conditioner bases from Mountain Rose Herbs, you’re probably wondering what essential oils you should use for your hair type. Following are the best essential oils for customizing your homemade shampoo and conditioner.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is great for your hair and scalp. It’s antimicrobial and antibacterial, so it can kill germs on the scalp that can cause dandruff and itching. Lavender is also said to promote hair growth.
Lavender blends well with most other essential oils, so you can use it by itself or mixed with other oils.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is a great oil to promote hair growth. It has menthol in it, so it feels tingly when you use it on your skin. This also helps boost circulation, which can then encourage hair growth.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil is one of my favorite essential oils for hair. It’s said to help hair grow faster and increase hair thickness because it promotes cellular turnover on your scalp.
Try mixing peppermint and rosemary for a wonderfully invigorating scent.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil is an excellent natural dandruff treatment. Most people get relief in about a week when they use it in their shampoo. For best results, make sure you massage the shampoo on your scalp.
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood essential oil can help balance the oil glands in your scalp, so it’s a good option for oily scalp or oily hair. It’s also naturally antibacterial and antifungal and said to promote hair growth and prevent loss.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage essential oil isn’t a popular essential oil for hair care, but it is similar to lavender essential oil and also contains linalyl acetate, which promotes hair growth. Clary sage can also help make hair stronger.
Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme essential oil is often found in shampoos and conditioners, but it can stimulate the scalp and prevent hair loss while encouraging new hair growth.
Thyme essential oil is a strong oil. If you do use it, mix it with other oils or use it in a 0.5 percent dilution if you’re using it by itself.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang ylang essential oil is great for dry scalps. Don’t use this one if you have an oily scalp or oily hair because it encourages sebum production. Because it helps promote oil production, it can reduce breakage and improve the texture of your hair.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is commonly used in shampoos. It’s antibacterial and antimicrobial. It can help unclog hair follicles to promote hair growth. This is a great oil to use if you have dandruff or an oily scalp.
Tea tree essential oil can cause irritation. If you use it, blend it with another oil or use it at a 0.5 percent dilution.
Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile essential oil is a mild oil, so it’s often used to soothe irritated skin. Use chamomile for fine or normal hair. It also conditions the hair and is a good oil to use if you have an irritated scalp from psoriasis.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil can help balance oil production, so it is a great choice for oily hair. It also helps make hair shiny.
Homemade Shampoo Essential Oil Blends for Hair
Following are four easy essential oil blends you can use in your homemade shampoo and conditioner. You can use these essential oils alone or in a blend. If I’m making a blend, I blend the oils in an empty essential oil bottle, label it and measure from there.
Promote Hair Growth
- 1 part cedarwood
- 1 part rosemary
- 1 part clary sage
Dry or Damaged Hair
- 1 part clary sage
- 1 part lavender
- 1 part rosemary
- 1 part tea tree oil
Shiny Hair Blend
- 3 parts rosemary
- 2 parts lavender
- 2 parts peppermint
Oily Hair Blend
- 3 parts peppermint
- 2 parts lemon
- 1 part lavender
More Homemade Hair Care Recipes
Of course, there’s more to hair care than just a great homemade shampoo and conditioner. Following are some of my favorite other homemade hair care recipes for making your own DIY hair masks, detangling sprays and even dry shampoo!
- Hair Mask Recipe for Hair Growth
- Winter Mint Moisturizing Hair Mask Recipe
- Herbal Dry Shampoo Recipe
- Jojoba Oil Hair Treatment DIY
- 2-Ingredient Shine Spray Recipe
- Conditioning Homemade Hair Detangler Recipe
- DIY Argan Oil Hair Serum
- DIY Cleansing Micellar Water for Hair
- DIY Micellar Dry Shampoo Spray
I hope you loved discovering an easy new way to make homemade shampoo with essential oils! If you like my post on how to make homemade shampoo, then be sure to pin this hair care guide to Pinterest to refer back to later.
For more great hair care recipes as well as DIY bath and beauty recipes, be sure to follow Soap Deli News across all your favorite social media platforms. You can find and follow me now via Blog Lovin‘, facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram. Or sign up via feedburner to receive an email every time I share a new post.