DIY (‘no poo’) pH balanced natural shampoo recipes

After discussing in the related post some of the problems you can encounter with non pH balanced ‘no poo; methods, here are a few natural, pH balanced, options for you to try. First I have included a go to list of hair herbs which can be added to any of the recipes that will follow depending on your preference or need. And, a list of other ingredients pH levels which can be referred back to if you wish to adjust these recipes or create your own.


Normal hair: Basil, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail, Lavender, Linden flowers, Nettle, Parsley leaf, Rosemary, Sage, Watercress.
Dry hair and scalp: Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey leaf, Elder flowers, Horsetail, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Parsley leaf, Sage.
Oily hair and scalp: Bay leaf, Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Lemon peel, Lemongrass, Nettle, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme, Witch Hazel bark, Yarrow leaf and flower.
Scalp conditions (dandruff, sensitive skin, inflammation, itchiness, dermatitis): Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey leaf, Eucalyptus, Horsetail, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.
Hair loss/thinning: Basil, Nettle, Rosemary, Sage.

Herbal Infused Tea – There are so many hair healing herbs that you can use in some capacity in any natural no-poo method that you choose, but plain herbal tea can be used to cleanse and/or rinse your hair as well.

Saponin Cleansing Herbs – Did you know that you can wash your hair with herbs that act like soap and get a little sudsy? If you have ever used soap nuts in your laundry to clean your clothes, then you have had a saponin cleansing herb all along! Saponins are plant versions of cleansing suds and can be used in place of soap to clean things including our hair! Saponin cleansing herbs include yucca root, soapnuts, and soapwort.


Aloe Vera – pH 3.0-5.5
Apple cider vinegar– pH of 3.0-4.0
Coconut Milk – pH 6.0-7.0
Honey – pH 4
Rye Flour – pH 5.0
Rhassoul Clay – pH 6.0 (diluted at 1 tbsp clay to 8 oz water)


One thing to remember when trying any no poo method it that there will be a transition time where your hair may feel greasier than usual, this is because traditional shampoos strip your natural oils which the sebaceous glands adjust to by producing more oil, and it can take a little time before your scalp readjusts to producing less oil again. Even when switching between no poo methods you may still experience a transition time though it should be shorter than the initial detox adjustment.

Rye Shampoo

rye shampooFrom: kannel strand

Rye contains Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, E, K, Beta-Carotene, and Lutein
Hair-healthy minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, Selenium, and Zinc, which all fight premature hair loss and promote healthy hair growth.
Rye also contains proteins, and Omega 3 fatty acids.

As you can see, rye is literally packed with vitamins and minerals that promote hair growth and keep it healthy.


  • 3-4 tbsp. rye flour (you can adjust the amount according to your hair length)
  • some lukewarm water, enough to make it resemble the thickness of shampoo


  1. Put the flour in a cup.
  2. Add some water and mix thoroughly.
  3. Keep adding water and mixing until there are no lumps left and the mixture is runny and resembles that of shampoo.
  4. Application

    1. Wet your hair and put some of the shampoo on your fingers. Massage into the scalp. Focused on the scalp, massaging thoroughly and gently, the shampoo will cover the lengths of your hair when you start rinsing.
    2. Rinse generously with lukewarm water.
    3. As a conditioner use 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar diluted in 1 cup of water. Tip: Grab a bowl to capture the ACV rinse and apply a couple of times more.

    Important! The reason why rye flour is easy and mess-free is that it’s low in gluten. Do not experiment with other flours, especially those rich in gluten, it will be really hard to take them off your hair.

Honey shampoo

honey shampooFrom Empowered Sustenance

Honey is very conditioning to the hair and can help reduce frizz too.


  • 1 Tbs. Raw honey (also called “unpasteurized” honey)
  • 3 Tbs. Filtered water
  • A few drops of essential oils (optional)


    Make the shampoo “single serving” basis to prevent spoilage.
  1. Simply mix the ingredients
  2. If necessary, slightly heat the mixture over very low heat to help dissolve the honey.
  3. If desired, add a few drops of essential oil.Yes, this is really watery… that is how it is supposed to be.
  4. Yes, this is really watery… that is how it is supposed to be.

    Application 1. Wet hair, then massage a few tablespoons of the honey shampoo on the scalp. Massage well to distribute over the scalp. Don’t worry about getting the mixture on the ends of the hair, just the scalp area.

  5. Rinse well. No need to follow with any conditioner.

Coconut and Aloe shampoo

coconut aloe shampooFrom Thank Your Body

Aloe Vera – pH 3.0-5.5
Coconut Milk – pH 6.0-7.0
Mixing coconut milk and aloe vera results in a combined pH of 4.5


  • 1 can of Coconut Milk (or about 1 1/2 cups if you like to make it yourself)
  • 1 3/4 cups pure aloe vera gel
  • A few drops of Essential oils (optional)


    1. Mix both ingredients in a bowl using a wire whisk to fully incorporate.
  1. Pour mixture into ice cube trays. (I used two full trays.)
  2. Put in freezer and wait a few hours until frozen completely. At this point you can transfer them to some sort of bag or container if desired.
  3. Application

  4. Take one cube out before you want to use it (at least the night before) and keep it in a small container or bowl in the fridge until you are ready to shower.
  5. Work into the scalp and then move toward the ends of your hair. Let sit for 30 seconds or so and then rinse completely. This will not lather… so don’t keep adding more thinking it will get your hair “more clean.” Like all good things in life, a little goes a long way.
  6. I would also HIGHLY recommend using an apple cider vinegar rinse, especially if you experience that ‘waxy’ feeling after using this.
  7. Place any remaining mixture back in the fridge to use next time you wash your hair. The shelf life of each cube is about 1 week in the fridge. Just be sure to take a new cube out when you use up the other one.

Marshmallow clay shampoo

mud shampoo
From ‘The Hippy Homemaker

Both Bentonite and Rhassoul clay have wonderful healing benefits, containing a plethora of minerals and cleansing powers.
Clay has the power to both cleanse and condition while keeping your scalp and hair’s oil cycle intact. (The ph of clay can be a little high at 6, so it’s always best to either add lower ph ingredients such as ACV or aloe vera to the mix.)


  • 3 cups distilled water
  • 2 Tbsp. marshmallow root (the slip that this provides really makes a difference in the end result. Though you can omit the “hair healing herbs” below, I would not omit the marshmallow root.)
  • 4-6 Tbsp. hair healing herbs of choice (If given a choice of herbs for all hair types that really make this recipe awesome, I would say horsetail, oatstraw, and nettle. Horsetail and oatstraw contain high amounts of silica and this helps your hair feel much softer and grow much faster. Nettle contains a high amount of vitamins and minerals that are great for all hair types and helps to stimulate the scalp.)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup clay (Rhassoul clay’s high mineral content really makes a difference on my hair, but people with oily hair/scalp might find bentonite clay helps to keep the oils at bay.)
  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1 Tbsp. carrier oil of choice (optional – If your hair is really dry, add this into your shampoo! It will wash out, don’t worry!)


  1. The first step is a decoction. When using roots, especially mucilage giving roots like marshmallow root, it is better to release their healing properties by simmering the root in water for  15-20 minutes. Bring the water and marshmallow root to a boil and turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  2. After making the marshmallow root decoction, remove from the heat and add hair healing herbs of your choice. Leave all of the herbs to steep until it’s cool. Strain herbs, taking extra care to squeeze out the herbs to get all the extra tea.
  3. Combine 1 cup of herbal infusion/decoction with apple cider vinegar, clay, aloe vera gel, and essential oils. Stir until completely mixed together.
  4. Store in an airtight container for a week in your bathroom (or longer if you add a few drops of a natural preservatives such as grapeseed extract, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary antioxidant, and/or colloidal silver. Refrigeration can also help keep your mud for several months.)


  1. Wet hair as you would when shampooing then pour some mud into your palm and begin cleansing your hair with it, starting from your roots and massaging down to the tips.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes (don’t let it dry) and then rinse clean.
  3. Follow with a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse (I use a 32 oz spray bottle and combine 1/4 cup ACV, 1/4 cup aloe vera gel, water to fill, and essential oils. I spray my hair until it’s soaked with the ACV rinse and then comb my hair through. You can either rinse clean or leave in to dry in your hair. It won’t smell of ACV when your hair dries.)


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