DIY – Shampoo & Conditioner


Through trial and error, I have found recipes for a shampoo and conditioner system that finally work for me.  I thought of selling this system, but the reality of natural hair care is no recipe works well for everyone.  Even with the recipes below, you will need to experiment with ratios and essential oils to fit your own needs.  I have thin and oily hair, and these recipes work perfect!

If you are new to DIY, castile-style shampoos, FAIR WARNING – your hair WILL be oily for a while.  It could take days, even weeks, before your hair and scalp adjust to natural sebum levels.  Sebum is lubricant and waterproofing oil for your hair and skin.  Most commercial products strip your skin and hair of this natural oil, causing you to become dependent on those products for the upkeep as your systems overcompensate to replenish what was lost.


A few notes about some of the ingredients:

Castile Soap:  I use Dr. Bronner’s Unscented (Baby Mild) so that I can effectively add my own essential oils.

Grapeseed Oil:  Since my hair is oily, grapeseed oil is an excellent, lighter carrier oil that stimulates circulation, promotes hair growth, and strengthens and nourishes my hair.

Jojoba Oil:  Also a light oil, jojoba helps to replenish moisture and improves the texture of my hair.  It also adds a slight shine factor.

Vitamin E:  Improves circulation to the scalp, adds shine and prevents split ends.

Baking Soda:  Use Arm & Hammer™.  I’ve tried Bob’s Red Mill® and it just doesn’t cut it for many of my DIY recipes.

Apple Cider Vinegar: I use Bragg® for this recipe.  Apple cider vinegar provides essential nutrients, such as potassium for hair growth, as well as restores the pH of your hair after using more alkaline Dr. Bronner’s soap. And no, your hair WILL NOT smell like vinegar when you are done, I promise!

ESSENTIAL OILS (for hair):

**NOTE** I exclusively use Young Living oils with unmatched purity – refer to my Oils! section of this blog for more details.

Grapefruit:  Circulation booster, reduces grease/sweat/bacteria, adds volume and shine, and protects from sunlight damage.  I also love the energizing aroma!

Rosemary:  I’ve lost a lot of hair since giving birth, so I use rosemary to prevent further hair loss.

Cedarwood:  Similar to rosemary, cedarwood stimulates hair follicles and improves circulation to the scalp, which contributes to hair growth and slows hair loss.

Lavender:  This oil does everything.  For my purposes, I mostly utilize it for the aroma.  Though it also is known to prevent dandruff.

Tea Tree:  I use this to combat the oiliness factor of my thinning hair.

Copaiba:  Think of this as a catalyst oil.  Copaiba is used to enhance the properties of the other oils in this recipe.



1/3 cup castile soap

1/3 cup distilled water

½ Tbsp grapeseed oil

½ Tbsp jojoba oil

2 tsp Baking Soda

5 drop vitamin E oil

8 drops grapefruit

5 drops rosemary

5 drops cedarwood

3 drops copaiba

2 drops of lavender

*optional* 2-4 drops tea tree


Add ingredients to a glass container of your choice and slowly invert to mix (do not shake!).  You want to store your shampoo in a glass container because citrus oils like grapefruit tend to break down plastic over time.  It is also best to use darker glass to preserve the effectiveness of essential oils; I happened to have a conveniently sized clear glass bottle on hand for this last batch and I will use it fast enough that I’m not too concerned.

Gently swirl or invert to stir prior to each use.  Wash and rinse your hair like normal.  You may want the shampoo to sit in your hair a little longer if it’s been a while since your last shower.



½ cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

½ cup distilled water

5 drop vitamin E

10 drops rosemary

10 drops lavender

5 drops grapefruit

5 drops copaiba


Mix ingredients in a glass spray bottle.  Follow similar guidelines for glass bottles as stated above.

After you have thoroughly rinsed your hair of shampoo, give the cider conditioner a shake to mix and then spray it all over your loose strands.  In my experience, avoiding the roots with this conditioner helps keep my hair grease-free for longer periods between washes.  Let the conditioner sit for at least three minutes before thoroughly rinsing.  I prefer to rinse with cooler water to close hair cuticles and seal in moisture.



Give it a try!  Post a comment below and let me know how this system worked or didn’t work for you, as well as any changes you made to the recipe.




  1. This is great, Marcy! I was just thinking today I need to find some DIY shampoo recipes.
    1. Is this safe for babies?
    2. how would you advise men to use the conditioner? I noticed you said to avoid the roots. My husband has short hair, but a really dry scalp, so lots of dandruff. :/
    3. Not a question: living in Ireland has been quite the adventure when it comes to finding specific items, maybe they don’t use it here, or it goes by a different name. Frustrating, but fun (at least I tell myself that… haha)
    4. What do you know about using coconut oil on hair?

    1. 1) These recipes definitely aren’t recommended for baby’s sensitive skin. For baby wash/shampoo I stick to the following: 1 part castille soap (unscented), 1 part coconut oil, 1 part distilled water, and just add lavender essential oil to a comfortable level (for a 2 oz solution I use 3 drops). Works like a charm!
      2) Have him try the conditioner and see how it works/doesn’t for him. Maybe it’ll be a win. Maybe he doesn’t need to use it at all. I just tend to get a little extra oily if it sits on my scalp too long.
      3) What an adventure, though!! Does online ordering work well? What are the shipping costs like for you to order from the U.S.?
      4) Coconut oil tends to make my hair extra greasy, but others LOVE it. It’s a fantastic moisturizer, but you’ll have to play with ratios to make it work for you.

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