It’s official, I’ve gone off the hippy-DIY deep-end. Actually, it happened a long time ago when I started making my own shampoo and facial cleanser! I know, every time you think I couldn’t possibly be any more tree-huggery, I confess that I’ve been doing something like making my own shower products for years.
I started for a multitude of reasons, the biggest being that I have thick crazy hair that doesn’t respond well to most conventional shampoo products and sensitive skin that gets easily irritated with the various chemicals used in most facial cleansers and soaps. Even when the organic specialty products promised extra-hydration for dry locks or gentle formulas for sensitive skin, none of it worked. I ended up spending a small fortune on organic products that did nothing for me but give me brittle hair and dry skin.
I’ve learned over the years that simpler truly is better. Tired of expensive, useless products, I finally tried this very simple recipe from who knows where (it’s been long enough that I can’t actually remember how I got started on this, probably from a magazine or book): Diluted castile soap with your choice of essential oils.
What?! That’s it? Yup.
I tried it over five years ago and have never gone back. Gone are the pile of shampoo bottles and jars of face soaps clogging my shower caddie and putting a dent in my wallet. Instead, I have two repurposed honey-bear bottles—the large one for shampoo and the smaller for my facial cleanser.
Since I’ve switched to using castile soap as the foundation for both my shampoo and face soap, my skin is happier and my hair more hydrated. The trick is to make sure that you are, in fact, properly diluting castile soap. One of the things that can make Dr. Bronner’s soap seem expensive is that it is highly concentrated, which means it should never be used without diluting it. Once you do that, you understand that while it can seem pricey, a little goes a very long way!
Another perk to this recipe is that is reduced the amount of packaging you buy then throw out—so say goodbye to the wasteful packaging of all those shampoo bottles! Repurposing old bottles and purchasing castile soap in bulk from your local co-op, using your own container to fill up, lets you go that extra mile in waste reduction. When all is said and done, you end up spending mere pennies on shampoo and face wash.
The only real difference between the shampoo and face wash is the amount of essential oils you put in. Because the skin on your face can be very sensitive, only use 5-10 drops in your mixture. That’s enough to get the healing benefits of the oils without an irritation. For your shampoo, you can use more. When in doubt, use less essential oils than you think you need. Like the soap, a little essential oil goes a long way!
Last but not least, I have a few optional ingredients you can throw in for an added boost of nourshiment and cleansing, but they aren't necessary. Experiment and see what works for you. That's half the fun of DIY-ing your beauty routine, after all!
Essential oils of choice
Activated Charcoal (for facial cleanser only)
Olive Oil (for shampoo only)
Combine 1/4 cup castile soap with 1 cup water. Add 15-20 drops essential oil of choice. I like to use rosemary because it makes your hair shinier, peppermint, or cinnamon to boost growth (it also smells really nice!). If that said, if you have sensitivities to scents, you can always omit the oils.
Other things you can add to your shampoo are honey (approximately 1/4 cup) or olive oil (1/4 cup) to hydrate your locks and help them retain moisture. (If your hair is very dry, consider using my Goddess Hair Mask once a week.)
Combine ingredients in your repurposed container and shake until combined. To use, pour desired amount on wet hair, lather, rinse, and repeat.
Makes approximately 1-1 1/2 cups.
For Facial Cleanser:
Combine 1/4 castile soap with 1 cup water. Add 5-10 drops essential oil of choice. I love clove oil because it is anti-bacterial. You can add a teaspoon of honey to lock in moisture and provide additional anti-bacterial help. Or you can mix in a teaspoon of activated charcoal to clean pores and purify skin.
Combine ingredients in your repurposed container and shake until combined. To use, pour a dime sized amount into your hand and gently massage into wet face. Rinse.
Makes approximately 1 cup.
Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!