Shampoo Free

No Poo Shampoo : 3 Homemade Chemical Free Shampoo recipes to try at home

13 October, 2015

I haven’t used shampoo for almost 4 years now. The days of greeting people with how long I have gone between washes “Hi! Look at my nice hair! Haven’t done anything to it for 5 days omg!” have long passed, but when something incredible happens, I still can’t help but slot it gracefully into conversation. “Yeah, that’s great about your job. So, do you know I haven’t wet my hair for a month?!!” By “incredible” I obviously mean “super gross” / “extreme” / “impressive” depending on where you are on the No Poo scale!

(The No Poo scale being the Herbal Essence girl who is so keen to foam up that she does it in a water fountain on one end and then my daughter Juno who hasn’t used shampoo in her whole life on the other end…)

For those of you wondering what the heck-diggidy No Poo is let alone the No Poo scale (WELCOME!! *giddy laugh*)  let me introduce you very quickly:

30 Second intro to the Shampoo Free movement:
1- Shampoo is toxic – most bottles on the high street have known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors – impacting fertility, fetal development and lot of other nasty stuff (read more on the WHY of No poo right here)
2- Instead people might use baking soda and apple cider vinegar or an egg or soapnuts or a host of other things (here is a list of ten alternatives to shampoo) or even simply water
3- People are discovering AMAZING hair as a result! Shiny, quick growing, full. As well as better skin and getting an intro to all the possibilities of a chemical free life WOOO!
4- The No Poo movement is growing so rapidly that some industry insiders reckon we are witnessing the End Of Shampoo.

So what’s with not even letting my hair even get WET? I know. A new thing (low?) for me…  Now, I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to No Poo – I like to keep things as simple as possible, doing the least amount I can get away with. Our hair and scalp are so perfectly designed that I tend to find that the less you do, the better they look after themselves. But this definitely went extreme between June and September.  We have spent the last few months in the UK where the water is incredibly different to the river-water we use here in NZ and my hair went totally bonkers. I pretty much stopped letting water get on it and it righted itself within days. How mad is that? Simply brushing it with my boar bristle brush got it looking nicer than putting it under the shower, or using any of my usual No Poo Shampoos. Weird, eh?

I did rely on the odd little shake of homemade dry shampoo (article I wrote for Cosmo on that here.)

But I realise this sort of minimalist grooming is not for all. In fact, it isn’t even for my oldest daughter, Ramona. She loooooves bubbles and potions and mixtures. So when my girls have a bath I will often give them a mix of non toxic ingredients, usually from the garden or kitchen, with which they can wash their hair.

We have come up with some amazing combinations in our no poo shampoo experimentation.

I am absolutely SURE that these chemical free, no poo shampoo alternatives will bridge the gap for people wanting to have super clean, healthy hair but not willing to go totally minimalist. They might provide the answer for all the millions of people sitting in the expansive middle of that No Poo Scale.

The last two recipes also have the fabulous benefit of being able to be made up in a batch and poured into ice cubes so you can pop one out whenever you want to shampoo, no potion making necessary.

Rightiho, hairy people, let’s do it.No Poo Shampoo Recipes

Egg and Lemon No Poo Shampoo – especially good for heavy/ waxy or tangly hair

1-2 egg yolks depending on length of hair
1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice (this is just one of the incredible uses for lemons)
Any fresh herbs you have to hand – rosemary for itchy/ dandruffy scalps, lemonbalm for extra shine, mint for a strong smell… Grab a handful and mix in.
Add a tablespoon of honey if you have a lot of tangles.

Massage all over your cool (not hot or even warm) wet hair, mid shower and leave on for two minutes. Wash out well with cool water.

This is my favourite for tackling Ramona’s dreadlocks. A kind, hearty winner.

Soapnuts and Essential Oils Squeaky Clean No Poo Shampoo (particularly good for hard water)

Soapnuts , in my opinion, are the power ingredient of the No Poo movement. They are robust enough to give your hair a good clean yet kind and ph balanced enough to keep hair super healthy and soft.

Take 10 soap nuts. Simmer them on the stove in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes.

Take a potato masher and beat them up! Strain liquid out and add essential oils of your choice. A few drops of tea tree deals with dermatitis, a few drops of lavender promotes a healthy scalp.

Pour into ice cube molds and pop one or two out (depending on how much hair you have) to replace a dollop of shampoo.

(Head to my affiliate chums, Ethical Superstore- the best place online to buy soapnuts as they come in a 1 kilo pack – which will make over 300 lots of shampoo- and you can order a few other organic quite inexpensively and get their free delivery. Whoot!)

Rhassoul Clay and Coconut Milk Moisturising No Poo Shampoo

Rhassoul clay is trickier to get hold of (hoorah for Le Internets) but is also a brilliant ingredient to get your hands on. It is kind to hair and has been the game changing ingredient for people struggling to get their no poo hair to take off. The coconut milk in this shampoo makes this one a really moisturising one. If you need less conditioning take some of the milk out.

This recipe will provide between 3-6 alternative shampoos – like the other recipe pour this into ice molds to save it between washes.

Take 4 heaped spoon of rhassoul clay. Add 4 spoons of boiling water, mix well, into a paste. Add 4 heaps spoons of coconut milk. Mix well.No Poo Shampoo recipes to try at home
Yay, team! Here’s to absolutely killer hair, naturally.

PS If you want more No Poo reading, check out my bestselling book for everything you need to know about giving up shampoo… or if you are even more dead keen, and want to be able to hit me up for support on a daily basis? You need my Happy Hair Detox Course where I am helping students discover healthy, happy hair!

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  • Lisa lock 13 October, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Ha! Am just about to try my own couple o home made shampoo reciepes and then do a post!! They are different to yours so I will try yours after !

    • Lucy 13 October, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Awesome! Can’t wait to see yours 🙂

  • Megan 13 October, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    I have been doing no water for some time now (aside from an egg wash approx 4-8 weekly) will my hair be forever heavy and waxy-will this settle down or do I need to use an alternative more regularly to have lighter hair?

    • Lucy 14 October, 2015 at 9:06 am

      It might settle down or there might be stuff in your water messing with your hair 🙁 a rinse with ACV may well work but leave it in, don’t wash out!

      • Megan 14 October, 2015 at 10:28 am

        Thanks so much!

  • Mammasaurus 14 October, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Oh Lucy- this might just be the thing that tips me into Team NoPoo! Messaging you now!

    • Lucy 14 October, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Woooo! Welcome!

  • Liz 14 October, 2015 at 1:23 am

    I have tried no poo several times but always cracked after about 2 weeks. But I recently had my long hair chopped off….. and now I’m feeling I might give it another try! Think I need to order soap nuts!
    My 2 girls are 4 & 2 and they have hardly ever used poo. Mostly because of the almighty fuss I used to encounter trying to wash their hair! But now it’s my choice because I realized hey! they actually only need water and to brush it! Gets most gunk out…..

    Now I just need to join their ranks, and convine my husband to join me (he has often got a spotty, pussy (as in yuk, not miaow) scalp and I’m convinced his devotion to head & shoulders isn’t the answer!)

    • Lucy 14 October, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Yes! Sounds like a plan!

      • Liz 15 October, 2015 at 8:48 pm

        Soap nuts ordered! I’m overly excited…….

        • Lucy 17 October, 2015 at 9:25 am

          You can’t be too excited about soap nuts! Hehe

  • Naomi 14 October, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Yay, am 6 weeks in and all going swimmingly. Loving the tea tree and coconut oil on my bad patches of skin.

    • Lucy 17 October, 2015 at 9:25 am


  • Fran House 17 October, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Hello there, very interesting! I’m desperate to be no poo but I did try it about 2 years ago, the bicarb spray and ACV. The ACV was good but I just couldn’t get the bicarb bit right. I have curly dry hair, there was no frizz because it was so greasy! I now use an organic shampoo but make my own spray on and leave in conditioner, on my site if you’re interested!
    I want to try the egg, lemon and honey, how often should I try if I try to start this again?! Thanks! Fran xx

    • Lucy 21 October, 2015 at 11:30 am

      I would use the egg shampoo once a fortnight and see how you go. Keep an eye on how it effects your hair – if it goes brittle reduce it! Use something else inbetween, like the soap nuts or something 😀 With curly hair you might be able to get away with simply a lot of scrtiching and massaging your scalp and pulling the sebum down your hair shaft with your fingers 😀

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  • Phillipa 3 November, 2015 at 12:04 am

    I’m really curious about the no ‘poo! My hair is long, mega thick and constantly tangled so surely it can’t get worse than that! My concern is the initial ditch of the shampoo. How did you find your hair (read: the greasy roots) initially? How long did it take to right itself?

    Love your blog! X

  • Lauren 5 November, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Hi Lucy!
    Greeting from Iowa. I have 9 month old twins and would love to keep them ‘poo-free. Do you think the baking soda with ACV method would be okay for little ones? I’ve never tried out soap-nuts before, would that be a better route?

    Just stumbled upon your blog. Love it!

    • Lucy 5 November, 2015 at 9:16 am

      They don’t need anything at all – just water and a flannel 🙂 My girls are older and we use this stuff for fun or if there are major tangles to get out 🙂

  • Lisa 1 December, 2015 at 12:04 am

    Hi Lucy, I went No-poo 11 weeks ago but am thinking I may need to go no water! I live in Oxfordshire where the water is very hard and although I can now go 3-4 days without washing, my hair still becomes waxy and even a water wash doesn’t seem to help. I’ve been using bc and acv which is fab for 2 days but then the wax kicks in again.
    If I stop washing altogether and just brush, will this sort itself out?

    • Lucy 3 December, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Some people keep plugging away and they find they are able to do water only in a hard water area. Personally, I think life is too short to go about with manky hair! If I lived in London again I would definitely not try and do WO – there are so many lovely options out there, I really do wonder why we put so much value on WO! When I was in UK this last summer, I always left the ACV rinse ON my hair – if I let a little bit of the plain water even touch my hair after the shower it would immediately get waxy again. See how you go with that 😀

  • Marta 14 March, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Hi Lucy
    I ditched pouring the chemicals on my head 4 weeks ago. My head was so sore from dandruff, so greasy it aleays looked like I needed a wash and fine so I couldn’t do anything with it (dead straight as well). Then I had epiphany! All those women years ago had great hair and all achieved without shampoos. I realized that enough is enough. I searched and searched and I found you among others. After 4 weeks my scalp is already calming down. Given the fact that I alredy ditched body wash years and years ago (and my skin is silky and healthy), shampoo never occured to me before. Having wintery weather, 2 split weeks annual leave helps to transition (also drop of lavender and word of warning to my fiancé). And the soap nuts are amazing thing, baking soda is brilliant. I find lemon rinse better. Now I need to experiment with some good conditioning. My hair is healthy as it’s naturally greasy, yet the ends tend to get the brunt of the damage. I found somewhere that castor oils can be amazing for growth, nutrition and fattening up the hair(yes please!), so I’ll give it a go. I feel liberated from not having to wash my hair every day and being able to shower in literally 5 mins. The only thing I cannot get the hang of is dry shampoo. I have potato starch but have no idea how to apply it in the way the proffesional product looks so I don’t look like I just left the bakery. Thanks for everything. Oh by the way. Your book is great.

    • Lucy 15 March, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Ah so great to hear from you! Go easy on the dry shampoo – can soak up sebum too much! Use a sprinkler (like a coco shaker) and tip head upside down and sprinkle on. Add cinnamon or cocoa to change tone (but only a little!)

  • Marta 26 March, 2016 at 12:57 am

    Hi. Another comment. Nearly 6 weeks on and still going good. After quite a ferw tries with egg shampoo, unfortunately my hair is greasy. But saying that, to the touch my hair is much more silky. I never suffered with dry hair by any means. Having it fine it always got greasy in double time. Baking soda/lemon rinse and soapnuts shampoo work best for me. But I decided I will use egg, honey and some oils as a nourishing hair mask on my hair the night before I am to use soda wash to protect it. Also looking forward to lightening my hair, it’ll save me dying it blonder .

  • Leny 20 July, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Hey Lucy! I am from Brazil and it has been almost a month without shampoo!!!
    thanks a lot for your tips 🙂


    • Lucy 28 July, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks Leny!!

  • Michelle 1 August, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Hii.. i dye my hair once in a while and i just want to know whether or not the dye will wash out using these ingredients.. i must say i can naturally go up to two weeks without washing my hair and it’s not so oily.. im lucky with that.. but i do suffer with very dry, almost cradle cap like pathches, on areas on my head, it gets really iritating.. so i am really eager to try out your suggestions and hope it will help..

  • Liling 7 October, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Hi Lucy, will no poo work if I do hot yoga almost every other day and perspire lots?

    • Lucy 7 October, 2016 at 8:46 am

      Hi, yep! Eventually you will get to a stage where your hair is strong and sebum coated and the grease shouldn’t effect it too much – alternatively you can just swap in one of these alternative shampoo recipes instead of normal shampoo 😀

  • Gargi 4 February, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Hi Lucy,
    Came across your blog and now I am really keen to join the no poo ladies everywhere. For the egg lemon shampoo..if I add a few drops of lavender..does it take away the egg smell..? Also should i do a Apple cider vinegar rinse at the end. I have slightly dry and frizzy hair and my scalp feels oily after 2-3 days of not washing with shampoo.. I oil my hair once a week with coconut /olive oil and can I still do the same if I start being a no poo. Thanks a ton! 🙂

  • Fay 25 September, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Hey Lucy, great post! I was wondering what I could use as an alternative to ACV? I’m allergic to regular vinegar (it’s corn-derived), and am seemingly allergic to apples. I just want to suds my head with sodium bicarbonate!!

    • Lucy 26 September, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Hey there Fay! Are you allergic to corn? There shouldn’t be corn in usual ACV. I make it and it is literally water, apples and sugar?

  • Wendi 2 July, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Lucy, I am interested in trying the egg, lemon, and honey non-shampoo, but my hair is shedding a lot, and this recipe seems like it would be very difficult to rinse out. I can’t afford to have tangles because my hair will come out even more as I try to detangle no matter how carefully. Can you tell me if this recipe will rinse out easily and not leave a lot of tangles? I’ve been wanting to go shampoo-free for a long time, but I’m so afraid of not being able to get the stuff out of my hair. I look forward to your advice. Thank you.

    • Lucy 10 July, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      It’s a conditioning shampoo so should leave your hair totally soft and sleek. Good luck x x

  • Rachel 1 January, 2019 at 2:53 am

    I quit using shampoo about 6 weeks ago and loving my natural curly (and naturally clean) hair! I have also noticed that my cystic acne that usually covers my jaw line, chin, and neck has disappeared…could this possibly be attributed to no poo???

  • Socras 4 April, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Could milk be used as conditioner ?

  • Kay Bradley 14 May, 2020 at 12:45 am

    Hi Lucy

    This is probably a really silly question, but I just wanted to double check. When you pour the homemade shampoo into ice-cube trays, do you actually then pop into the freezer?

    I like the clay and coconut milk shampoo, hair, soft, smooth and shiny.


    • Lucy 14 May, 2020 at 11:04 am

      yes, that’s right!

  • Shai Abramson 24 May, 2020 at 4:44 am

    My fine, blonde hair was feeling heavy and waxy – and driving me crazy. I just did the egg yolk/lemon juice wash and it feels like silk and looks luxurious. Thank you!