In my urban homesteading quest to consume less, especially in the way of plastics and unecessary chemicals, I’ve been wanting to attempt DIY shampoo & conditioner recipes and came across Dr. Josh Axe’s Coconut Lavender Shampoo and his Homemade Conditioner recipe.
I will disclose upfront that, for me, the Shampoo recipe was a bust, and the Conditioner recipe was a win. Both can be found below if you want to hop ahead.
Like all things that don’t go as planned, I learned a few things, including the reality that for now, shampoo is one area where I am still presently dependent on the machine of mass production. That being said, if you are someone with very short hair, or very dry hair, his recipe might be just fine and smells lovely.
Dr. Axe’s shampoo recipe has three ingredients, but I modified it down to two since my castile soap already had lavender essential oil added.
Here’s what I used:
- 1 and 1/2 cups of Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Castile Soap
- One can of coconut milk
- Recycled pump soap or shampoo container
- (If using unscented castile soap, add 40 drops essential oil of your choice.)
The only directions are to place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together, and then shake the bottle well before each use.
This entire recipe literally took 2 minutes to create and has a shelf life of about 30 days according to Dr. Axe. Based on my 32 oz bottle below, I’m guessing I made approximately 20 oz by following the above recipe.
Our family used the shampoo recipe for about a week. I noticed that if my girls and I soaped our heads a lot at the scalp, we looked oily after it dried. This was fine for running around town and our house overall, but I drew the line for family pictures and made everyone use store bought shampoo.
After speaking with others in the clean beauty product industry, it sounds like our hair can go through an adjustment period when switching to natural products like this one. Maybe if we had stuck it out a little longer we’d have adjusted too, but I was ready to be done with it after a week.
I probably will NOT make this particular recipe again, but it satisfied my curiosity. Anyone with very short hair may do well with it and have fun trying it or adapting it. My husband, who shaves his head, never complained – ha!
However, Dr. Axe’s conditioner recipe was a success in my book. It detangled my kids’ hair without a ton of extra chemicals and was a 2 minute project start to finish. So it met my priorities of reducing chemical exposures, reducing plastic waste, and eliminated a grocery story staple that we regularly consume. Here’s how to make it.
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 10 drops of essential oil of your choice (I suggest lavender because it helps kids feel calm and sleepy before bed).
Mix the water and ACV together in an 8oz spray bottle. Shake bottle each time before spraying on clean hair. Leave in for 5 minutes then rinse
This is a great DIY detangler for young kids, and I liked it on my hair as well, but I often skip conditioner and may not be as picky as others with thirstier or thicker hair. The essential oil and rinse at the end helps ensure there is no ACV smell that lingers on anyone’s heads. I give Dr. Axe’s conditioner recipe a thumbs up! I’ll definitely make this one again.
Let me know if you try either and if your experience matches mine.
So why make stuff that is often easier (and sometimes even cheaper) to buy? I like to do homestead projects because, for me, making stuff is just plain fun – at times it’s even meditative. But equally as important to me is the fact that there are often far fewer chemicals, waste and plastics involved with things that are homemade. I also tend to appreciate the things I take time to bring to life by hand more than anything I quickly purchase on impulse.
I believe humans are wired to create. I find it interesting that when I take time to “make”, I am always more deeply satisfied at the end of the day. Additionally I love the bonus of community-building that can occur when I share or trade the things I make with others.
Try making something this week, however simple, and see if it doesn’t enrich your life too!
If you’d like support creating your own rituals, yardsteading and nature connection practices, check out The Handmade Life! There I offer nature-based coaching sessions, share herbal traditions, handcrafted goods, DIY workshops and herbal consultations.