How to Make DIY Homemade Shampoo and Creme Rinse - Easy, Cheap, Healthy

September 27, 2012

Beautiful hair- shampoo free to avoid toxins and chemicals

Do you know how to clean your hair without shampoo? Did you know  that you never have to shampoo your hair again and can go shampoo free forever?

You don't REALLY need shampoo or cream rinse, so you can save a bundle and protect yourself, your family and the environment from all the harmful chemicals in these beauty products. For those that are concerned about travel and health, there is even an extra benefit, as you do not have to worry about liquid shampoo in your carry-on luggage.

This fabulous alternative shampoo method has become one of our latest travel health secrets!


Due to our travel lifestyle, I kind of ignored the many issues with  beauty products until recently during my health journey, where we tweaked our organic eating and minimalist living while traveling the world, to include things like DIY deodorant.

It is a bit shocking to discover how much harm comes from shampoo, creme rinse and beauty products and how they impact health and our environment. I didn't realize there were no controls and even popular shamoo brands have been known to cause nerve damage according to researchers at the National Institute of Health.

Everyone should read about the common myths about cosmetics safety from the Environmental Working Group to understand how important this issue is and how ill informed most of us are. EGW also has a very useful cosmetic data base where one can gather more information about products.


"Skin is a body organ like the heart. We must treat it with the same respect" Aragon

The skin absorbs over 60% of topically used products and these toxins/chemicals ( unlike the ones we eat,so even more harmful) go directly into the bloodstream as they bypass the liver and kidneys and their protection.

“Recent studies by dermatologists at the University of California and a multiple university cooperative team confirm that skin absorption is the major route of entry [for chemicals from skin or hair products getting into the womb].”

I paid a lot of attention to toxins in our food and environment when I was pregnant and my child was small, but I am grateful to my recent health crisis because this new research has given me many more  ideas on how I can support greater health for myself, my family and the environment.

"Change is upon us. We can choose to see it as frightening and incapacitating, or we can embrace the opportunities and move forward with hope towards a more sustainable world." Wendy Priesnitz


When I first started going shampoo free, my daughter said, " Oh no. You are taking this too far" and I had to giggle. I had to educate her about the reason behind this change and how frangrances that she is attracted to can have 4000 chemicals in them.... many that harm and are unregulated.

All these toxins and chemicals are the reason why puberty use to start at 15 and now is starting at 7, 8 and 9 years old. It's shocking that endocrine-distrupters and "xeno-estrogenns" like BPA are so ubiquitous that the EWG researchers found it in 90% of newborns along with 230 other chemicals.

We are frugal parents raising a frugal kid, so she did get the advantages of saving money right away. Since she has a passion for green issues, she understood immediately that not only do these chemicals harm our bodies and hair, but they are also washed down the drain causing harm to the environment and ecosystems.

baking soda makes a great natural shampoo and coconut oil is fab for deep conditioning hair


I must admit, I was a little nervous to try this method. Great in theory, but will it work?

Truthfully, it is not that much of a different process than using shampoo and cream rinse. Only now, I make my own, know it is healthy and I was thrilled with the results.

I have oily, baby fine and natually wavy hair. Davinci has extremely thick hair and Mozart has perfect hair that is not too thick or thin and can go straight or curly easily. This works great for all of us.

My hair tangles VERY easily, so that was my big concern as I can not even comb it out normally without creme rinse. Mozart's is so long, comb outs were also a concern. I was stunned that this is not a problem.


You can find other complicated variations for natual alternatives for shampoo and creme rinse online, but this is the one I like because it is so easy, cheap and simple to find around the world. We usually can find Braggs apple cider vinegar, but if not, lemons are every where ( as is baking soda which we also use for cleaning, brushing our teeth and deodorant etc).

"People will always try to stop you from doing the right thing if it is unconventional" - Warren Buffet

Lemons have many health benefits--including using them for creme rinse


Baking soda


Apple cider vinegar ( or lemon)

Essential oils ( optional and I have not used this but listing it for those who want a healthy fragrance)



1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 cup of water

Mix and store in a bottle ( old shampoo container or squeeze bottle) I just use the left over small goat milk bottles I have here.

Get your hair wet, pour the mixture on your head, rub it in and let it set for a minute or two and rinse off.

That is it!


1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 cup water

Pour over hair, massage a bit and rinse.

That is it!

We almost always just let our hair dry naturally and don't even own a hair dryer. Some say it takes a few weeks for your hair and scalp to adjust to the no 'poo way, because hair adapts to the hash detergents in normal shampoo, but we found it worked immediately.

This is the standard recipe, but you can tweak it to suit your hair or family if you need that.  Some might like a little more or less, but this seems to work fine for us. If I need a deep conditioning I use organic  virgin coconut oil.

I was worried about the vinegar smell, and you do smell it when you pour it on, but surprisingly there is no smell after you rinse it or when it is dry.  I've been absolutely stunned at how well it helps with easy comb outs for myself and Mozart. I have been misinformed for decades that I could not live without creme rinse.

The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. - Thomas A Edison

What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you or do you do shampoo free? If so, what has been your experience? If you are hesitant to try it or have questions, let us know why.

« previous | | next »


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How to Make DIY Homemade Shampoo and Creme Rinse - Easy, Cheap, Healthy:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Anne Naylor

Sounds great. What is the chemical name for baking soda? Or do you know what it is called in France?

Many thanks,

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Anne! Baking soda is also called sodium bicarbonate and we usually ask for it by that name abroad.

In Europe we usually get it at the pharmacy and I think they call it "bicarbonate de soude" in France. ( The name is similar in Spanish too).

Here we get it at the health food store.

Handy stuff! ;)


This is interesting. I might even try it. I have dermatitis on my hands and in an effort to figure out what's causing it, I've started to pay attention to what irritates it most. This morning I woke up with itchy hands. I tried to think of what I did "differently" yesterday since everything I ate was basically the same. Then I concluded, thanks to the hubs, that I washed my daughters hair (and conditioned it) and thought it might be that. I might have to try this homemade shampoo. Certainly it can't hurt. Thanks for the new idea!!

Darleen Saunders

Haven't tried the shampoo but I have tried the creme rinse. My mother taught me this when I was young. She was a beautician and she learned it while studying for her state license. It works! Now I must try the shampoo.

jeaanne @soultravelers3

Anne, I hope it works for you!
From what I have and from friends who have dealt with dermatitis, there is definitely immune issues and sensitivities involved.

You might also try a bottle of GumPlus or Del-Immune V...just google them. They both share an ingredient that has helped us in many ways and has helped friends with dermetitis.

This is not medical advice, just passing on something that has worked for us.

I am going to start writing more and reviewing soon about the products we like the best.

jeaanne @soultravelers3

Interesting Darlene! I had heard about using ACV or lemon on your hair and may even have tried it when young, but some how I blanked it out and got hooked on creme rinse for my hair that gets so tangled when wet.

I think it is the acid in them that helps. My curly hair gets much tangly here in the tropics with the high humidity and usually I have to brush it before washing just to help with the tangles.

One day for an experiment I didn't do this and used this shampoo and creme rinse on my curly, tangly mess and it still worked like a dream! ;)

Some folks say they miss the sudsing part of shampoo, but I don't at all and my hair feels cleaner this way.


I'm interested in what you do with the coconut oil. Do you put it on before the vinegar rinse or after? Does it make your hair greasy? Thanks. I want to try this and I have quite dry hair.

jeaanne @soultravelers3

I have dry ends Caroline, so how I use the coconut oil is I usually put it on my ends BEFORE I shower ( and use the baking soda, then vinegar wash and rinse).

Since I put coconut oil on after a shower as a moisturizer all over my face and body ( light layer when kind of wet) ..sometimes I put just a dab on the ends then.

It can make it greasy, so you will probably have to play with it for the right amount for your hair.

Also I have heard that baking soda can be drying so maybe try a little less than a tablespoon if it does feel too dry for you.

Mainly I focus on the scalp area more than the hair as that is where my hair gets dirty.

I use the vinegar mostly on the ends as that is where most of my tangles are ( not on roots so much).

I think every person has to kind of tweak it a bit. Feels odd the first few times, but soon feels very normal.

I was so afraid my hair would be like yuck the first time, but was delighted from the very first time.

Once I put on too much coconut oil learned from that one. It took me too showers to get that out. LOL

Now I avoid the scalp with the coconut oil, and focus on ends.

Live and learn! ;)


My first time to try this, and Day 1, it worked great. We'll see how it goes in the long term.

Jennifer Sparks

These are great suggestions! Thank you for sharing them.

Do you have a DIY solution for soap too, or do you just use bar soap?


Thanks so much for the advice - and to go easy on the coconut oil to start.


Hi Jeanne,
Do you think this would work as well if there was product buildup in the hair? And is a cup enough for hair the length of Mozart's or does she use more?


Trying this today, will let you know the result!


Thank you for the wonderful and detailed article!i am going to try it right now.
Do you know if it's ok to use this soda wash for the young children? My daughter is 2 and I would love to go 'poo free with her as well
Thank u!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

There are good solutions for soap Jennifer, but we haven't tried that yet because most of the recipes I have found have ingredients that I can not get in Malaysia.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Hi Lucy,

We haven't had any problem with build I am sure Mozart had some in her hair.

Mozart uses much less than a cup for her very long hair. We have also gone to just the shampoo now as that seems to be all we need.

You don't need that much as we just concentrate mainly on the scalp areas..if that is clean, the rest feels clean and looks great.

Jeanne @soultravelers3


As far as I know there should be no problem with young children with this and many do use it on their kids. I wish I had known about this sooner with Mozart.

The natural ingredients should make it the safest possible thing for kids.

We are not even using the cream rinse any more as the baking soda works great with no tangles even for Mozarts long hair ( which use to NEED serious cream rinse just to comb it is a breeze!).

Shampoos are one of the things that is making girls have their periods and start puberty so young these I wish I started my daughter on this from babyhood.


Wow this is great can't wait to try it out. This should work wonders for my daughter who has SPD and has a hard time having her hair washed. Do you have a DIY recipe for static in the hair? This is a major problem for us.


I wish this worked for me. I have medium length, wavy, thin yet course hair. Tried it for a week & have to cave in for regular shampoo & conditioner the other day. Just did a rinse today with only apple cider/water.

The biggest problem were tangles then too dry or too greasy (I never have greasy hair).

Would love this to work as I get "itchy" from the commercial poos out there...

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Sorry to hear that Kate and I am very surprised. I am going to write a new post soon on this topic and how wonderful it is for all of us.

We have 3 kinds of hair, but it works great for all of us.I have oily, baby fine, ( lots of it though) wavy hair, DaVinci has super thick wavy, course hair ( long now) and kiddo has thick wavy super long hair to her butt.

I have given up using this vinegar cream rinse as we don't seem to need it.

Kiddo and I have both had problems with tangles in the past with regular shampoo, but NEVER have them with this DIY shampoo ( and we are in a super humid area that makes our hair curl more).

Sometimes I do put a little coconut oil on kiddos ends as a conditioner ( VERY little goes a long way) and I have done it with a bit of kefir too then rinsed out.

My hair has never looked better or been healthier. Same for all of us.

Perhaps give it a longer try and don't use the apple cider cream rinse.

The more I read how bad shampoos and cream rinse are for us, the more I am thrilled by this choice. Saves a bundle too and so easy for travel.

Keep trying to tweak it so it works for you. Kiddo talked us into buying a big squirt container and it is perfect for using it..I now forget it is not regular shampoo!

Penny Lilly

I have been using expensive shampoos, cream rinse and some hairspray on top of the hair and keep getting headaches. I keep trying different brands, but cannot find one that does not give me a headache. At 15 - 25 dollars a bottle it takes awhile. I get a headache in about 24 hours. Will try your recipe. I should have known better that anything would be put in shampoos, since they are putting anything in the food we eat and drink.
What about chapstick? I have to put chapstick on several times a day due to dry skin?

Ember Swift

Exactly! I've been wasting a lot of money (and international shipping) on organic shampoos and conditioners for the past 5 years or so. Since they're hard to find or five times the price in China, I've been either ordering them internationally or hauling bottles back with me from overseas. What a waste of plastic! Even the organic shampoos use so many resources to create. I haven't made my own shampoo yet, I've just gone with water and/or ocean water for almost 2 weeks and the result is pretty amazing. Still, I'll probably use your recipe when I get back from my travels to freshen it up. How exciting to discover these quick fixes!

Ember Swift

And to Penny above, chapstick is like shampoo: the more you use, the more your lips need. I used to
"need: it as well. I carried around the Burt's Bees version, thinking that "natural" meant "healthy for me." When I stopped using it, my lips stopped needing it!! I'll never put it on my lips again!

jeanne @soultravelers3

Good for you Ember! I wish I had discovered this long ago when my kiddo was a baby!

Dina Farrell

I have long thick hair and live/work on a farm. My hair gets dirty and is hard to comb. I will give it a try...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner