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DIY Shampoo Bar Recipe & Guide: Go Natural + DIY Today!

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I’ve used typical, chemical shampoos for most of my life and never really thought about the adverse effects of these products. That is, until I used an herbal shampoo for the first time. The difference was amazing! My hair felt smoother, more moisturized and was full of volume – and I don’t generally even pay that much attention to my hair.

I suppose that we need something to compare to in order to make a distinction to determine the difference. Using an herbal shampoo was definitely that moment of comparison for me. It’s what eventually led me to DIY shampoo – and more specifically, DIY shampoo bars.

DIY Shampoo Explained: Dangerous Chemicals

So why did the herbal shampoo make my hair feel the way that it did, and the chemical shampoo the complete opposite?

By simply turning my bottle of shampoo around and reading the ingredients contained in the back (something I had simply never thought of doing before), I found the true nature of the nicely packaged, organically themed chemical shampoo that I was using. It shocked me! Just a few ingredients off the cusp of the list were: sodium lauryl sulfate, glycol, polysorbate 20 (or PEG 20), sodium chloride and something called triethanolamine.

I don’t have a doctorate in chemistry, but using the internet to do some research on these ingredients was jaw-dropping. I suppose this is why the ‘no-poo’ movement is really gaining momentum these days. They’re all toxic and can even make you ill if ingested. Obviously we don’t eat shampoo, but would you want something that toxic on your body anyway? Ironically, these chemicals don’t even offer great benefits for your hair.

Chemicals can damage the actual hair follicles, making them weak and speeding up hair loss (for which they have another chemically based treatment on offer!) and will have a negative effect on the balance of your natural oils, which is what leads to dryness.

After realizing all of this, I decided to stop using chemical shampoos and started looking for a suitable herbal shampoo. However, herbal shampoos are costly, as are most natural products, if you don’t source them well. I didn’t want to be spending 3-times as much money just to wash my hair. I considered going the ‘no-poo’ route, but my hair knots and clumps easily and also gets oily, so that option was unfortunately out of the window.

It was then that I decided to look into making my own shampoo, as I figured that herbal hair remedies can’t be that expensive. It was then that I found out about shampoo bars. At first, I thought it was just normal soap, and I suppose that would be true in certain regards as it can be used on your skin as well. But these bars are specifically designed for hair use, with ingredients that won’t damage or dry out your hair like normal soaps do.

I preferred this option as I liked the idea of being able to have an all-in-one soap solution, which would save me even more cash for other natural products! I’ll explain the benefits of using a shampoo bar below, but I’d like to add that make a natural shift is very viable if you do your research properly.

What Is A Shampoo Bar?

The idea of the shampoo bar is not a new one and has been around the before commercial shampoos (as we know them today) existed in the late quarter of the 20th century. So everything shampoo-related before roughly the 1940’s was basically in the form of a soap bar. We’ve even covered Lush’s popular shampoo bars in one of our past Lush features. They are exactly like normal soap bars that you’d use on a daily basis for your skin, except that they’ve been specially formulated for hair use.

This means that they lather easily, won’t dry out or damage your hair and also act as natural conditioners – leaving your hair soft and smooth. The lather can be applied to your hair (this is the shampoo) as well as the rest of body and used as a soap and natural body wash.

What Are The Benefits Of DIY Shampoo?

Woman smiling with curly black hair.

Shampoo bar for natural hair.

I think the benefits of DIY shampoo are largely the same as most DIY efforts, products or processes firstly for the sensation of being able to say – you did this with your own hands! To be able to look at a finished product (whether it’s a cake, a treehouse, a shelving unit or some shampoo) and know exactly what went into making it from top to bottom, beginning to end is incredibly rewarding on its own. This applies to our DIY Foundation, DIY Facial Serum and DIY Hair Conditioner as well

Knowing exactly what ingredients are contained in your shampoo is something that I think will help you sleep better at night. You can feel at peace with the knowledge that there aren’t any dangerous and toxic chemicals lingering in your shampoo. It’s nice not having to worry about your hair drying out or falling off with extended use!

I think there’s a great peace of mind to be found in that – and being able to embrace a more natural lifestyle. Just because a shampoo on the shelf says ‘natural’ on the front, does not mean that it’s at all natural inside. Sure it might contain a small amount of natural products (citric acid etc.), but the countless other chemicals found in the bottle drown out any holistic benefits that they might provide.

Call me cheap, but one of my favourite benefits of using DIY shampoo (especially shampoo bars) is that they last roughly 4 to 5 times longer than any bottle of normal shampoo – giving that you aren’t buying the normal shampoo in bulk form.

This long-term approach to cost-effectiveness means that you can afford to spend a little more on organically sourced and ethical products in order to create a more holistic product because even though it may cost a little more than your average shampoo initially, the long-lasting nature of the shampoo bar means that you’ll be spending less overall and using healthier products at the same time! That’s a win-win in my book.

DIY Shampoo Bar Recipe & Guide

Stay Tuned For Our Shampoo Bar Original Recipe And Guide!


Although it might seem like a bit of challenge at first, no DIY project would be truly DIY if it didn’t require some modicum of patience, a bit of practice and some skill. If you take your time, you can get it right on the first try – and from then on it’ll be a lot easier and even give you room to experiment with your recipes more.

I think the added benefit is that you’ll know exactly what you’ve put into your new hair care product and know that it’s far healthier than any of the store bought products you’ll find on the shelves. Some might be thinking “lye isn’t natural” – and I agree, it isn’t. But it looses it’s dangerous qualities over the curing process and essentially mixes with the fats in the oils – becoming the soap.

As a general rule of thumb, I recommend that natural products have +/- around 10 ingredients max in order to still be considered a raw, natural product. Minus the lye, every ingredient in the homemade shampoo is purely natural and after curing – they all become non-toxic. So it’s safe, healthy, holistic and much cheaper in the long run.

If you’ve ever wanted to start living a life that’s less dependent on chemicals – or even if you’re interested in a new hobby, or to create a product for yourself, I recommend DIY shampoo. DIY shampoo bars are a great way to start.