Rue Road Test: Homemade Shampoo

My hair has been crying out for attention after a long summer of sun damage, heat exposure, and (okay, I admit it) chemical highlights, so I decided it was time to give it a little DIY TLC with some homemade hair care.

After scoping a ton of different homemade shampoo and conditioning recipes, I discovered that most agreed on the use of Castile oil soap or baking soda and essential oils and as a base, and all emphasized that the end product would not resemble the thick, foaming shampoo most of us are used to. Using all of this as inspiration, I created my own recipe that included honey (to detangle), coconut oil (instead of olive oil), and some other ingredient substitutes I had on-hand.

My First Attempt
DISASTROUS. When they say to go easy on the oil, they seriously mean it (I’m notoriously heavy handed). Even after my hair had dried, it still looked like I had been dipped  in a vat of hot candle wax. When I hit the mixing bowl for a second time, I was careful to use the coconut and essential oils in moderation, and also mixed up an apple cider vinegar/hot water rinse, which I read would remove any excess residue after shampooing.

Second Time’s The Charm
The results were better than I could have expected! My hair felt softer and looked more hydrated, only without any of the oily residue this time. I also noticed my natural wave was somewhat amplified. I was, however, disappointed that it was pretty much odorless. Next time, I would definitely play around with different essential oils like orange, rosewood, or almond to create a more distinct scent.


  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (I used 4 tablespoons on the first try, oops)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Splash of Dr. Bronners soap
  • Three drops tea tree oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk



  1. Combine all ingredients in an old shampoo bottle or jar of some kind.
  2. Shake well to mix.
  3. Use about a teaspoon every time you shampoo.
  4. Shake before each use.
  5. Keep in shower for up to a month.


By Grace Romanowsky, Staff Writer

How did your road test fare? Share it in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala.

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October 4, 2012