Moisturizing DIY PH Balanced Shampoo

I will admit that I happily hopped on the no-poo bandwagon last year. My husband was eager to try water washing, so I used him as my case study towards this shampoo-less lifestyle.

I wasn’t brave enough to try it on myself yet, but he didn’t mind me experimenting on him. I’ll frequently shove a spoonful of a new recipe in his mouth for a secondary opinion. Or approach him with a new bodycare product that I’ll just start applying on him without saying anything. The man is used to it.

Trying The No Poo Life

He started off by washing his hair thoroughly every day with water. After 5 weeks of “transition,” it was unbelievably greasy. He even got our neighbor to try it, but with the same failed results. We then switched to an apple cider vinegar and essential oils rinse. This was poured on and combed through. Finally he had results. His hair was soft, shiny, not greasy, and the dandruff from his psoriasis had been tamed.

Excited by his results, I decided it was time to ditch my bottle of shampoo. I tried the vinegar rinse and about 4 weeks later, I looked like a stringy, greasy mess! I had read that many fellow no-pooers would use baking soda as shampoo, before rinsing in vinegar, so I decided to give it a try. I instantly had perfect, nongreasy hair. I was hooked!

The Problem with Homemade Shampoo

Three months later, I couldn’t stop itching at my scalp. The problem with this method, and many other DIY shampoos is that they drastically raise the PH value of the scalp, then shock it when it’s hit with the acidic vinegar. Over time this disrupts the scalps natural PH and causes itching and flaking.

Castile soap is often used as a base in homemade shampoos, but it’s ph value is 10-11, while the scalps natural ph is closer to 5.5. And if your hair is colored or treated, the castile soap can strip the color according to Lisa Bronner.

After failing at my no poo experiment I caved and went back to my health food store brand, even though I wasn’t entirely impressed with the ingredients. Recently though, I discovered that not just soap or baking soda can be used to cleanse the hair.

It’s All About That PH

I don’t know the exact PH of this shampoo recipe, but I do know it’s not highly alkaline like baking soda. The ph levels of each ingredient are listed beside it so you can see for yourself how this works. Ideally you want the final ph to be between 4.5 and 5.5. All of the ingredients are in this range, except for the coconut milk which is between 6-7, so I added some apple cider vinegar to counteract the higher ph.

Many DIY shampoo recipes call for mixing coconut milk with castile soap, but I skipped the soap and added raw honey instead. This article does a good job explaining why raw honey is so good for the scalp and helps tame dandruff and frizz.

Many people have used castor oil to successfully grow hair, so I’ve included this in the recipe, but it can be skipped if your hair is naturally very greasy. I also use jojoba oil, which is technically a wax and closely mimics our hairs natural sebum. Learn more about carrier oils here.

So How Does it Work?

This recipe won’t lather like regular shampoos, but it will cleanse and moisturize. Don’t use too much though, or you’ll end up with leftover residue in your hair, making it feel gunky.

If you’ve been using a regular shampoo you may experience a detox period that can last for a few weeks while your hair adjusts. To minimize this you can slowly replace your regular shampoo with this recipe. So for example, if you wash your hair three times a week, start off with using the store bought shampoo for two of those washes; then the next week, reduce it to one. After a week or two, start using this recipe only. Even if you’ve been “no pooing” for awhile, it may still take a few times before your hair and scalp adjust to this recipe.

Storing Your Shampoo

In theory this DIY PH balanced shampoo can be stored at room temperature, but to be safe I keep it in the fridge. If you want to make a big batch up, pour the mixture into ice cube trays and keep in the freezer for later. Thaw out a cube or two every week as needed. My hair is just past my shoulders and I use about 2 teaspoons of shampoo on mine.

Moisturizing DIY PH Balanced Shampoo


Make It

  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. This will separate some, so shake well before each use.
  • To use, massage a small amount on the scalp and use your fingers or a comb to spread through the hair. Leave on for a few minutes before rinsing off.
  • If your hair is naturally very oily, you can follow this up with an apple cider vinegar rinse made with ¼ cup apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup purified water.


Not feeling particularly DIYish?

Simply not enough hours in the day? Pinning more than you could ever tackle these days? No worries. I have got you covered.

Please, head on over to my Pronounce Skincare Shop where I sell my skincare creations. I love making them for my family and for you!

Comments 16

  1. Pingback: 23 DIY Organic Homemade Shampoo Recipes ⋆ Bright Stuffs

  2. I’m so eager to make this and try it! (Though I wish you made it and sold it so I could just buy it instead. :p) I’ve been using natural and DIY shampoos for years and have had an itchy scalp for like a year and a half. So when I read that castille soap and such did this for you i was like hooray! Maybe this is my answer! I sure hope so. I’ll try to remember to report back after I try it out for awhile.

  3. I love the idea of this, but holy man was my hair oil. Like disgusting looking! Maybe I’ll try agian and cut the oil like others have done, but I’m afraid that won’t be enough. Maybe I used too much since there are 0 suds???

    1. Hi there! Yes, yes…a little goes a long way. You might have used too much, trying to get a suds action, but you won’t get that (and you don’t need that). There is also a period of adjustment, since this is likely unlike any other shampoos that you have used. I hope this helps!

  4. I have been using this shampoo for about 2 weeks now (every 3-4 days, with my regular shampoo in between). Next time I will try with half the amount of oil because for the moment I still need to use my regular shampoo after 24-48h, my hair being naturally oily. I freezed half of the content, for the moment it still smells wonderful and the consistency seems a bit thicker than the first day? My hair feels a lot stronger and is shinier, 2 weeks ago it would break so easily. I am very happy with this recipe, thank you so much!

  5. I love your website and how much research youve done you sound alot like me my husband gets overwhelmed with all my thats not healthy or good for you/toxic lol but for the most part ive tried to replace everything with healthy honemade if possible. I grew up with a very herbs are amazing mother that made and sold castile soaps. I had kinda deviated from all that until me and my husband finally gave up on store bought shampoo/soap with sodium lauryl sulfate because our heads were always itchy and i read some very disturbing articles about it. I make my own soap now like my mother and bought equipment to make batches of bars 240 at a time and ive found so many ppl are starting realize how bad store bought soap can be! But anyway back on track ive read alot about soap ph and tested alot of batches of liquid shampoo and ive got one currently i really like but the down side of low ph is that the sudsing effect kinda gets lost which is sad for me because i love me some foamy shampoo but its still a work in progress and there still might be something i havent tried yet that will work! Im def gunna try this and the conditioner out tho to see how they work! Keep up the good work 🙂 -danielle

    1. <3 I love that you and your hubby are "getting back on track!" I think you'll really enjoy this DIY shampoo.

  6. Thanks so much for your recipe. This has made my hay hair feel so soft. I did reduce the jojoba, and castor oil to 1/2 t. because sometimes it makes my hair look oily, but that just becomes a ponytail day cause it’s worth it to have soft hair which I’ve never had before in my life. Thanks again.

  7. Lovely recipe!! It is easy and affordavblebleble. My hair smells wonderfully like coconut and is as soft as silk. I will never go back!

  8. I love the fact that you considered the ph. I don’t see others considering the science of this. I will definitely make this.

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