DIY Natural Plant Based Shampoo

By now, you know my love of all things natural and simple DIYs. And as much as I love supporting beautiful little companies that create earth friendly products, I enjoy using plants in their purest form even more.

So I thought I’d write about one of my simplest and most customizable shampoo recipes using nothing more than straight up plants and water. Truly as clean as it gets… and it cleans your hair pretty well too as a bonus 🙂

soap nuts rosemary

The beauty of this little hair potion is that the only ingredient you can’t do without is soap nuts, also known as aritha or reetha.

This plant contains a lot of saponin and is often used to wash clothes. But did you know it also does wonders for your hair?


It is antibacterial, anti-fungal and is supposed to help prevent hair loss. What I like most about it is that it is both very gentle and highly effective and makes my hair super shiny.

I decided to add rosemary to my version because I had it on hand, because I absolutely love the smell and because it also boosts shine and promotes healthy hair.

rosemary soapnut packaged

But your options are endless… You can add your citrus peels, any flowers you enjoy, a mix of different herbs, some cinnamon or even a couple of drops of essential oils if you want to personalize the scent or if you are looking for some additional benefits (chamomile for blond highlights for instance). Apple cider vinegar is also a good option, as is lemon juice.


It couldn’t be simpler!

When you buy soap nuts for your laundry, the bag usually comes with a little pouch in which to put the soap nuts to they don’t end up all over the insides of your washing machine.

soapnut pouch

We’re simply going to use this pouch as a giant tea bag!

You simply put a large handful of soap nuts into it, along with whatever other plants you like (I used about 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary leaves).

Place your bag in a large pot, add a couple of liters of water (between 7 and 9 cups, depending on the size of your pouch and pot) and put it on the hob for about an hour.

After your decoction has boiled for a while, it will be a different color… just like any other kind of tea!

Leave the pouch in the pot until the “tea” has cooled completely.

Then squeeze the pouch to get all the liquid out, and you can put the contents of the bag into your compost pile if you have one.

As you can see on the pictures, it’s actually foamy!

That’s it! Bottle it up and you are done!

soapnut shampoo 2

To use it, simply pour some of the liquid (I recommend about 1 cup for medium long hair and 2 cups for long – or particularly greasy – hair) all over your wet scalp and hair and shake it about a little. You can let it sit for a few minutes as you finish up in the shower. Then rinse off and you are done!

soapnut shampoo 1

I recommend storing the shampoo in the fridge and taking it out a few hours before you need to use it to prevent it from spoiling. You may also add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract, a powerful antibacterial agent!

soapnut shampoo 3

This shampoo is also safe for pets if you don’t use any essential oils and can work as a laundry detergent or a dish soap. You could even clean your house with it. It’s so versatile you may even find other uses for it!


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