The obvious benefit to making your own shampoo and beauty products is that there are no added chemicals that can dry, strip or harm your hair or seep into your system through the scalp and cause long-term effects that you won’t know about until years later. Part of living an organic lifestyle is to eradicate all chemicals – not just the ones in our food.
I love this shampoo because my hair is fine and super straight and this gives it a lot of texture and added moisture. Because my hair is so fine I can only use this shampoo for three days in a row before I take a break and use another shampoo. The fat in the coconut milk and the small bit of oil in the recipe builds up on my fine strands. If you have more and thicker hair than I do, you will likely be able to use it more days in a row before the build-up happens.
With any homemade organic product, you will not get the familiar foaming action when you wash your hair because there are no toxic detergents or surfactants used by large the manufacturers that make that happen. Making changes in your products and routine takes time and it can be difficult to adapt to a new normal, but I assure you that you will get used to and feel great about it. The fact that you don’t get the foam you’re used to won’t bother you after a while – I promise.
To further help you make the decision to make a change in your hair products, look at some of these ingredients that are used in traditional shampoo products:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) which are harsh detergents that cause foaming lather we are all used to. Many products will tell you that SLS derived from coconuts and is therefore safe, but what they don’t tell you is that during the manufacturing process it undergoes Ethoxylation, which results in a byproduct called 1,4 dioxane. Dioxane is suspected to be carcinogenic. SLES does not contain a 1,4 dioxane but it does contain ethylene oxide, which is an impurity that is considered a potential carcinogen.
- Parabens are used in shampoo and hair products to prolong the shelf life, and some are known to be toxic, to irritate the skin and to affect the hormonal balance, resulting in hair loss.
- Dimethicone, which is a synthetic polymer and a form of silicone with two methyl groups attached, is used as a surface sealant that coats surfaces to seal in moisture and to act as a smoothing and/or texturizing agent. The safety of dimethicone has been called into question as there are reports of people who react to this silicone derivative. It can cause irritation to the skin and scalp, resulting in chapped skin, rashes, burning and itching.
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THE SHAMPOO
- 1/3 Cup of homemade coconut milk *You can use canned coconut milk, but make sure it’s organic.
- 1/3 Cup of liquid casttille soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s unscented)
- ½ to 1 Tsp of your favorite carrier oil, like caster, sweet almond or Avocado
- Essential oils (Optional, but use if you have dry hair) – Be sure to test the essential oils on your skin first if you are new to them, as they can cause a reaction. I like tea tree, rosemary, lavender, cedarwood and peppermint in various combinations.
Mix all the ingredients in a glass jar and shake well to mix. You will need to shake the jar each time you use it because it separates due to the fat in the coconut milk and the oils. You can store this in the shower for 15-20 days, but I store mine in the refrigerator because I only use it a few days per week. Use a palm full of the shampoo each washing – a little more if you have longer or thick hair. You will know what works when you have enough in your hair to feel like it is all coated.
ORGANIC SHAMPOO ALTERNATIVES
Not everyone has the time or desire to make their own shampoo. If you are one of those people, I have a few suggestions that you can use instead. Be advised that these recommendations will be updated from time-to-time as I discover new products and recipes.
Acure Organics makes a vegan shampoo that is free of sulfate, paraben, petroleum, phthalates, PEG, silicon, synthetic fragrance and is gluten and cruelty free. Avalon Organics shampoos contain 80% organic ingredients, have no GMO’s, parabens, preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrances and are not tested on animals. Using one of these products, which you can now get at Costco or at any health food or specialty store or online, will give you the foaming effects that you’re used to and are a far better choice than anything commercial that you are likely using. While you ponder whether to make your own coconut milk shampoo, do yourself and your family a favor and switch to one of these store-bought ones in the meantime.
If you are looking for pure organic store-bought shampoo, it appears that the Europeans are far better at it than we Americans are. There are some good products available through the regular channels here in America including Amazon.com, but they are incredibly spendy and do not include free shipping. It appears to be close to impossible to find a 100% organic shampoo product here in the U.S. unless you spend a small fortune. If you don’t want to do that but you do want to make a difference in your overall health, consider making it yourself.