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This week, another one of my recipes was featured on CoconutOil.com. This recipe for homemade coconut milk shampoo and body wash is awesome! I love it and am completely hooked. It leaves my hair feeling soft, smooth, and conditioned. Read my full article below. P.S. There is SOOOOOO much awesome coconut oil information on CoconutOil.com that I really, really encourage poking around the site!
by Jessica Espinoza
For anyone who wants to live a healthier life and reduce their exposure to toxins, the first place to look is at our health and beauty products. Commercial products like shampoos, body washes, and soaps are often loaded with toxic chemicals that, with long-term exposure, can create a variety of health problems.
Finding replacements for these products can sometimes be frustrating. Making your own versions of them at home is the best way to control the ingredients and the quality of the end product. Plus, it is often more cost effective to make your own health and beauty products.
This recipe started out as just a shampoo recipe, but after using it on our hair, we quickly realized that it made a wonderful body wash as well. Long gone are those bottles of shampoo and body wash with 20, 30, or more ingredients. This homemade product works just as well, if not better, and only had 3 base ingredients, plus whatever essential oils you might want to add. You end up with a safe, non-toxic product that the whole family can use.
The three versions that I am sharing are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to scent combinations. There is such a variety of essential oils available today, that you really can tailor the flavor combinations to suit your own preferences. Today, we will make tea tree shampoo, an herbal blend shampoo and body wash, and a citrus vanilla mint shampoo and body wash.
It might seem strange not to have a conditioner to follow your shampoo, but I have found that my hair feels soft and smooth after using this coconut milk shampoo. I have no problems with tangles and my hair combs out easily. If you feel like you need a little additional conditioning, you can use a few spritzes of an apple cider vinegar (ACV) solution (1 cup of ACV and 1 cup of water). You could also use a very small amount of virgin coconut oil.
Recipe Ingredients – Delicious Obsessions Trusted Product Recommendations
I am always asked about my favorite brands, so I want to share with you the places I get my ingredients.
For more information about the essential oils I use for myself and my family, click here.
Most of the stuff I buy for my DIY recipes I get from Amazon. They almost always have better prices than other places, though it does pay to shop around because every so often I find some good deals elsewhere.
Thrive Market is another exceptional online grocery store. They are like Costco and Whole Foods combined in an online format. They have great pricing on all sorts of natural and organic foods. If you sign up through this link, you will get 15% OFF your first order and I will get a coupon for referring you.
In addition, my affiliate partner, Tropical Traditions, is where I get all of my coconut products from and if you make a purchase from them through any of my links, you will receive a free copy of their Virgin Coconut Oil book, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.
Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo and Body Wash
I have linked to the products from my affiliate partners that I personally recommend.
Shampoo / Body Wash Base:
1/2 cup of liquid castile soap, unscented
1/3 cup homemade coconut milk
2 tsp. sweet almond oil
Mix all three ingredients together and place in a shower-safe bottle. I like the small plastic pump bottles or squirt bottles (look for BPA-free bottles). Before each use, you will need to shake the bottle gently to get the ingredients combined again, as the coconut milk will separate as it sits. When using, you don’t need much. Depending on the length of your hair, as teaspoon might be the most you need. This shampoo lathers richly and a little goes a long way. For a body wash, use a little on a wash cloth or a shower pouf. The shampoo and body wash should keep 1 week in the shower. You can also store it in the fridge between uses to preserve it longer.
Tea Tree Shampoo
1 batch of the shampoo base
15-20 drops tea tree essential oil (this is the brand I recommend)
10-12 drops chamomile essential oil (this is the brand I recommend)
3-5 drops patchouli essential oil (optional) (this is the brand I recommend)
Herbal Blend Shampoo and Body Wash
1 batch of the shampoo base
10 drops rosemary essential oil (this is the brand I recommend)
8 drops lavender essential oil (this is the brand I recommend)
6 drops chamomile essential oil (this is the brand I recommend)
4 drops peppermint or spearmint essential oil (this is the brand I recommend)
Citrus Vanilla Mint Shampoo and Body Wash
1 batch of the shampoo base
15 drops vanilla essential oil (this is the brand I recommend)
10 drops sweet orange essential oil (this is the brand I recommend)
6 drops peppermint essential oil (this is the brand I recommend)
For more information about the essential oils I use for myself and my family, click here.
Want to go completely no ‘poo like I did? Then read this post on “Kicking the ‘Poo to the Curb: How to Go No ‘Poo“.
Learn more about skin care from my videos!
Since I am a fanatic about keeping my skin and body care non-toxic, I get a lot of questions about what my routine is and what products I use. I created this video to discuss all of that and more. The video below that features a lot of the hair care products that I use, including henna and my favorite clean shampoo.
Think I am going to have to try this. I have a good store-bought version finally (that’s not toxic), but I am still trying to reduce my plastic consumption. Making at home is the way to go.
What do you do to preserve this? I’m not sure it’s smart to mix such a large batch all at once. Homemade coconut milk will spoil very rapidly, if left in a warm, moist environment, regardless of what you’re mixing it with (castile soap).
Elle – This recipe will keep 2-4 weeks in the shower. You can most certainly make a smaller batch if you are concerned about spoilage. I have not had any problems as long as I use it within 2-4 weeks.
You can also store this in the fridge so it will last longer!
Can I make this without the sweet almond oil?
Sure! That would not be a problem! 🙂
I wonder if you could substitute a Dr. Bronner’s soap for the Tropical Traditions. I do have the TT soap, but this recipe calls for half a bottle which is not very cost effective. Also, could you use canned coconut milk (sorry, don’t cringe)?
Hi Lisa – Yes, Dr. Bronner’s soap would be fine to use. I’ve never used canned coconut milk to make it, just homemade. Keep in mind that canned coconut milk will typically have added gums and stabilizers in it, to give it that thick texture. Even if it’s not listed on the ingredients, it’s still in there. I’m not sure what effect that would have on the mixture, but you could always experiment. Have fun! 🙂
I really wanted this to work. Mine came out so thin that it was hard to get worked through my hair and didn’t really lather much at all (I have long hair, not too thick). I don’t feel like it really cleaned at all. I made the base shampoo just like the recipe. What am I doing wrong?
Hi Amy – I don’t think you did anything wrong. It could just be the difference in our hair types. This works great on my hair, but we are all different, so what works for my might not work for you. Mine does come out thin, but I have really short hair, so a little goes a long way. I found that it lathered quite well, so maybe it’s a difference in the soap used? Also, what kind of coconut milk did you use? Maybe that made a difference?
I used the tropical traditions coconut oil soap and I made my own coconut milk with water and unsweetened coconut from Bob’s Red Mill.
Hi, I want to try a shampoo which doesn’t involve any harsh chemicals and through my search I have luckily found your site 🙂 Excellent recipe, it seems simple and I can’t wait to try it out. However, I have thick, long, curly coarse hair which I brush when I condition. I’m not sure about the vinegar option and was wondering if you had a recipe for a separate conditioner? Preferably with the same texture as a normal conditioner. Thank you so much 🙂
Hi Francesca – Thanks for stopping by!! I don’t have a recipe for conditioner, sadly. For awhile now, I have been using just baking soda and vinegar. I don’t use any shampoo or conditioner at all. The coconut milk shampoo always conditioned my hair nicely, but it is thinner than regular conditioner. Sorry I can’t be of more help! 🙁
Hi, I tried the shampoo but it didn’t work out so well. It’s so thin – and I have a lot of hair – and I couldn’t really lather it. Is there something I could add to the shampoo that would make it thicker? I used Dr. Bronners Castile liquid soap and homemade coconut milk. I also used the vinegar conditioner which seemed to go better than I thought it would.
However, my hair does seem to be extra greasy – is this normal? I washed it Sunday and Tuesday whereas I usually leave it 4 – 5 days (sometimes even a week). It’s just such a bother because it takes HOURS to dry. And I normally put coconut oil on my hair after I wash it but it just sat on my hair rather than being absorbed by it as it usually is.
Hi Francesca – The shampoo will be pretty thin. Commercial shampoos have thickeners and stabilizers added to them to give them the thickness we are accustomed to. I don’t want any of that in my homemade products, so that’s why I don’t have a thickener in that recipe. I am not really sure what would work off the top of my head. If your hair is getting oily, it could be caused by a couple things. First, it could be that you didn’t need the extra vinegar conditioner — if you use too much vinegar, it can make your hair oily. It could also be that your hair is detoxing from commercial products. When you stop using commercial shampoos and conditioners, your hair will go through a detox period as it gets rid of all of the product build-up on the hair. Even if you can’t see the build-up, it’s still there. I discuss this a bit in my “No ‘Poo” post here: https://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2013/01/kicking-the-poo-to-the-curb-how-to-go-no-poo/
Aloe gel might thicken it a bit, but you have to shake it well to get it mixed in. Aloe is really good for your skin. In some people it discloses minor skin cancer for the immune system to take out. Even a regular M.D. prescribed it for a friend of mine.
Hi Mary – I also know of another person who used aloe on a skin cancer and it disappeared. I’ve never tried aloe in this, but I’m going to give it a try! 🙂
My hair also felt very greasy and my hair is not thick, but the hair simply clung to my head! So I changed the recipe a bit and added only half the amount of almond oil (other recipes also use much less oil). But better for my hair and me.
Hi MaryBeth – Thanks for sharing the tip! Everyone’s hair is different, so it’s always interesting to hear what works and what doesn’t! 🙂
Found your recipes from a friend on Facebook. Stupid question but what is “one batch of Shampoo base” equal to?
Hi Julie – Thanks for stopping by! The recipe for the shampoo base is in the post above. It is the virgin coconut oil soap (or Castile soap), coconut milk, and sweet almond oil. I’ve never made it with anything else, so I’m not sure what it would be equal to. Does that help at all?
Could I use cocounut milk from a carton?
Hi Jennifer – I have never tried it with coconut milk from a carton, but keep in mind that most coconut milks contain many additives, whiteners, and stabilizers that make them not such a healthy choice. All of the refrigerated coconut milk that I have seen has been full of unnecessary added ingredients. I recommend the Natural Value brand, b/c it is pure coconut milk, nothing else added. Just my thoughts! Good luck! 🙂
Hi! I don’t want to weird you out or anything, but I wanted to let you know that I am going to try this recipe using breast milk instead of coconut milk. I don’t know if you’ve had anyone ask for a recipe with that substitution. I’ll let you know how it turns out. 🙂
Interesting substitution! I would have never thought about that! Do let us know how it works! 🙂
I tried this last Saturday and I really like it as a body wash. My skin felt soooo silky!!! Unfortunately it made my hair totally greasy (I am beginning to think that maybe there is too much protein in coconut for my hair I just haven’t had any success with it at all). I tried it again today diluting 2/3 cup of distilled water, 1/3 cup coconut milk base and 1/4 tsp baking soda. My hair is definitely less greasy but I feel like it will need another wash in the morning (which isn’t what I’m going for) I’ve been no poo for 5 1/2 weeks now, I was really hoping this would work for me as I want to stretch the time I use baking soda out and need something in between. Anyway, thank you for posting this!!! I will definitely use it as a body wash and it worked great in my toddler’s hair!!!
Thanks for the feedback! I am always finding that what works for one person may not work well for others! Such a journey! 🙂
Hello Thank you for the recipe. Could I use coconut oil rather than TT coconut liquid soap? I know the T T website says it is only Coconut oil in the soap, but I am not sure I can trust that ingredient list and I have a severe allergy to surfactants.
Hi Elena – No, you would not want to use regular coconut oil in this recipe. This is a soap recipe, so you need actual soap of some sort. If you used coconut oil, you’d end up with a greasy mess! You could use any liquid soap of your choice. It doesn’t have to be the TT liquid soap. Hope that helps! 🙂
Be aware that baking soda is used as an old fashioned color stripping agent by hair stylists.
You can make your own castile soap for more cost effective:
Cool, Sherry! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
I am so glad I found your website! I am a big fan of using natural ingredients as much as possible.There are way to many toxins in EVERYTHING nowadays and it’s scary.I look forward to reading more of your information. Thanks so much, Dana
Hi Dana! Welcome and thanks for stopping by! So glad the info was useful! 🙂
I’m curious whether you have created your own shampoo base. I’ve tried several recipes for shampoo and they all separate.thick gel on top. I need a solution, since I have customers asking for shampoo, and would need to be shelf stable for longer than a week. Snail mail can take than that to reach them.
Hi Lu – This is the only shampoo that I have developed. You may be interested in my friend Heather’s book: https://www.deliciousobsessions.com/DIY-Organic-Beauty
Sorry, I read through other comments and found my answer about the batch of shampoo base. My next question would be you said you don’t buy the coconut milk you use shredded coconut, where do you buy that/ what brand or do you buy coconuts at the store and get your own meat out of them? Thanks
Hi Amy! Thanks for stopping by. Glad you found what you needed. You can find unsweetened shredded coconut at any health food store and some grocery stores as well. I personally buy it online from Amazon. This is one of the brands I use: https://amzn.to/2pEnkah. I don’t recommend buying fresh coconuts unless you live in a place where you have access to them right off the tree. Coconuts start to spoil immediately after harvested and are quite often rotten by the time they get to non-tropical areas. If they are not, then there is a good chance they’ve been irradiated to preserve freshness. Hope that helps! Have a great day! 🙂