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All-Natural Shampoo

Natural ShampooOur hair is made up of fiber, much like wool that comes from sheep or Kashmir goats. With at least 100,000 hair fibers on our head, it makes sense to treat our hair much like we would a cashmere sweater. Most commercial shampoos contain chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate, which strip much-needed moisture and amino acids. Why not switch from the "heavy-duty cycle" to "delicate" and try these natural alternatives?

  1. Castile Bar Soap.
    Shampoo can be as simple as an all-natural, fragrance-free soap. Either grate the bar and make liquid soap, or moisten it and use the resulting lather to cleanse your hair. A little goes a long way! For an excellent chemical-free, all-natural coconut castile bar soap, visit our Online Store.

    Be sure to use a pH-restoring conditioner such as apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or coffee grounds to bring the hair back to its natural pH level of approximately 5.6.

    Greta Breedlove, author of The Herbal Home Spa, offers these suggestions for shampooing your hair:

    • Wet hair thoroughly and use a small amount of shampoo, a dollop about the size of a quarter.
    • Put the shampoo on your hands. Rub together to form lather before applying to your hair.
    • Use your fingertips, not your fingernails, to massage the shampoo into your scalp.
    • Rinse hair thoroughly, then shampoo again.
    • Rinse again thoroughly, using the coolest water possible for the shiniest hair.
    • Pat hair dry; avoid rubbing.
    • Gently comb hair. (Consider a natural bamboo comb.)
  2. Birch Shampoo.
    Adapted from the book Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond.

    Birch was a major ingredient of nineteenth-century shampoos. Birch contains betulin, which is beneficial for hair loss. (See our article Five Ways to Stimulate Hair Growth for more help on hair loss.)

    The following recipe uses a birch herbal infusion. To make an herbal infusion, pour 2 c. boiling water over 2 tbsp. birch bark or birch leaves. (Herb sources include Starwest Botanicals and Mountain Rose Herbs.)

    Combine ingredients in glass jar. Shake well. This formula can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 months.

    Note: The high salicylic acid content of birch makes it beneficial for dandruff. Add tea tree oil to the above recipe for added benefit.

  3. Egg and Lemon Shampoo.
    Adapted from the book Green Beauty Recipes by Julie Gabriel.
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1/2 oz. olive oil
    • 1/2 oz. liquid castile soap
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

    Combine egg yolk with olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and stir slowly. Wet your hair and massage well. Leave on for 30 seconds or more. Rinse with lukewarm water. For oily hair, use even less or no oil.

  4. Rhassoul Clay.
    Rhassoul ClayRhassoul clay has been used for hundreds of years for skin and hair care. This shampoo method involves some trial and error, but may be worth it for those who desire a thorough cleansing of the scalp and hair.

    To create your clay shampoo:

    Combine 2 tbsp. rhassoul clay with 1/2 c. filtered water. Allow this to hydrate for several minutes until the mixture reaches a spreadable consistency. Add more warm water if needed. This should keep at room temperature for 1-2 weeks, or longer in the refrigerator.

    Directions for shampooing:

    Apply liquid paste to hair and scalp. Comb through to distribute clay mixture. Rinse thoroughly. Comb through again and rinse one more time. If desired, use a natural conditioner like those described in our All-Natural Hair Conditioner article.

    For more information, see our article on Rhassoul Clay.

Transitioning from harsh chemicals to natural alternatives is a process requiring trial and error to determine the best method for your hair. It may take several weeks to strip the hair of the product buildup. Continue to condition your hair with pH-restoring conditioners. If needed, alternate between natural and synthetic options to ease the transition. Gradually introduce more natural options and reduce your synthetic use. Before you know it you'll be enjoying the "delicate cycle" with all of its natural benefits!


"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

" age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

This site is dedicated to a true friend and mother — Barbara Dell Kessel (1929-2009)