How to Make Sulphate Free Shampoo at Home? - hair buddha
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How to Make Sulphate Free Shampoo at Home?

Why sulphate free?

Sulphates are detergents used in shampoos to get rid of dirt and grease. But, they can be harsh and strip away the natural protective oils from your scalp and hair, resulting in dry flaky scalp, and lusterless hair.

And beware of term ‘plant derived’. Claims such as ‘sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) derived from coconut’ are nothing but a cute way to detracts the buyers from really knowing what they are using. All SLS is derived from vegetable oil, usually coconut, but it undergoes lots of processing involving one of the harshest chemicals – sulfuric acid – and is therefore classed as synthetic ingredient. So, there is nothing coconut-y about it.

What is the solution?

It’s pretty simple. Make your own shampoo!

When the word ‘shampoo’ comes to your mind you think of soap and lather. In fact the word shampoo comes from Hindi (Indian) word ‘champoo’, which itself is derived from the Sanskrit root capayati, which means to press, knead or rub. In India the term champoo was used for head massage, usually with some form of herb infused oil. And only after thorough oiling and massaging the hair would be washed. Ancient hair cleansers were made by mixing powdered herbs, medicated flowers, and water. Sometimes floral and herbal rinses were used.

Today the most important ritual of champoo or champi is nearly extinct, even from the place where it all started – India – and only hair washing, using detergent based cleansers, has remained.

Making Your Own Shampoo

There are some amazing ingredients in nature that make super hair cleanser and leave our hair clean, healthy, and smelling awesome. But be prepared to wash your hair with some atypical looking potions. These potions, though, will give you gorgeous hair, so they are worth trying out.

The shampoo recipe that I am going to share with you needs no pre-preparation. Most of the ingredients are not difficult to find – can be brought online or from an Indian shop.

To make this shampoo you will need – chickpea flour, orange peel powder, henna powder, and some honey.

Before we proceed on how to make let’s see what each ingredient has to offer:

Chickpea flour (Besan): Indian women have used chickpea flour and other lentil flours in hair care and beauty preparation for thousands of years. Rich in protein, chickpea flour will make your hair shiny and strong. It also cleans the hair very well.

Orange peel powder: The orange and other citrus peels help to gently exfoliate the dead skin and flakes on the scalp. It also balances your scalp pH and the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties may help with dandruff. Plus it smells uplifting and refreshing.

Henna: Henna coats the hair shaft, and adds body and luster and makes hair silky soft. Regular application will add reddish or brownish tinge (henna colour varies depending on where it was grown) to the hair. Also if you have grey hair then this shampoo is an easy answer to cover them.

Note: Those of you with lighter hair or coloured hair should avoid henna, as it will alter the colour.

Honey: Honey is very moisturizing and nourishing for your scalp and hair. It’s also a humectant – meaning it attracts and retains moisture – and therefore helps to condition the hair. Plus, its antiseptic effects will keep your scalp healthy and dandruff free.

How to Make Sulphate Free Shampoo at Home?

To make this shampoo you will need (These amounts are for mid-length hair):

  • 2 tablespoons Chickpea Flour (besan)
  • 1 tablespoon Orange Peel Powder
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Henna Powder (optional & not suitable for people with lighter hair colour; those with lighter colour can add cassia bark powder)
  • 2 teaspoons Honey (or add aloe vera juice instead)
  • Fenugreek powder (optional)
  • Some water


To make:

  • Put chickpea flour, orange peel powder, and henna (if using) in a bowl.
  • Add some water and mix thoroughly. Keep adding a lit bit of water and mixing – it should be a runny consistency, like your shampoo. And make sure there are no lumps
  • Finally add the honey and stir well. You can also add 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice instead of honey. Aloe vera is very moisturising and makes hair smoother and more manageable.
  • For natural fragrance, add 3 to 4 drops of essential oils of your choice, or choose from lavender, rosemary, peppermint, ylang ylang, or chamomile.

To use: Wet the hair. Massage into scalp and hair just like your normal shampoo, but don’t expect it to lather. Make sure all areas are covered. And be gentle, as a rough or rapid application may disturb the roots of your hair. Leave on for 2 to 3 minutes, then rinse off thoroughly.

Note: Even after you have rinsed well, there may be some shampoo bits remaining in your hair. But, do not worry as they will fall off as your hair dries and when you comb your hair. And Always use a wide tooth comb to untangle.

(Also read: 10 Best Natural Hair Cleansers: For Strong, Healthy, & Shiny Hair)

Natural Conditioner

If you hair feels clean and soft, then you do not need a conditioner. But if it doesn’t, then use a conditioning hair rinse.

I love using green tea conditioning rinse along with besan shampoo. Green it helps add extra shine and strength to your hair. Plus, some people claim that it helps to reduce hair loss. (Here’s how to make green tea rinse.)

You can also use any of your favorite herbal teas such as rosemary, lavender, chamomile, mint, hibiscus etc., to condition and add shine.  Feel free to experiment and see what works best for your hair.

You may also like: Ditch Conditioner, Use a Hair Rinse

Chickpea flour substitute: You can replace chickpea flour with mung flour (green gram), flax seeds flour or rye flour.

Make your own orange peel powder: Wash, dry, and peel oranges. Eat the orange! Save the peel. Cut the peels into thin slices so they can dry faster. Spread all the peels on a tray and place under the sun to dry. You can also place them somewhere dry and warm. Turn daily until dry and crisp to touch. Grind into a fine powder. And your beautiful orange peel is ready!

Enjoy your gorgeous hair!


Leave a Comment:

Pragya says May 29, 2017

Can this be used on alternate days?

    Minaz says June 1, 2017

    No, use once a week.

saujanya reddy says March 5, 2017


I am using a variation of this shampoo with Besan, Multani Mitti, Neem, Tulsi, Amla, Bramhi, lemon juice and honey mix. I followed it up with methi seeds and pudina soaked water as hair rinse. My problem is by end of day 2, the ends of my hair are still silky and soft to touch but my roots have become super oily. I know I can probably use a dry shampoo but how can I fix my scalp’s PH naturally and how do I train my hair to naturally dial down the amount of oil it is producing? Pls help me!

PS: Thanks for taking me back to my roots!! I LOVE your blog, thanks for everything!

Megan says January 24, 2017

super informative, thank you! Quick question… How often should this shampoo be used? My hair is so dry and brittle from heat damage, and I want to make it normal again. Should I still use conditioner too?

Mick says January 10, 2017

How often should I use this? If I wash my hair on average about every other day is it okay to use this recipe every time?

Rafaella Ioannou says December 31, 2016

Hi Minaz very helpfull blog! Can i use flaxseeds flour or corn flour????

    Minaz @hairbuddha says January 1, 2017

    Hi Rafaella, give flaxseeds flour a try. I don’t know how good it will clean your hair, you can experiment by adding shikakai powder or orange peel powder.
    Let me know how it goes.

    Rafaella Ioannou says February 25, 2017

    I use flaxseeds flour with orange peel powder and it cleans my hair very well and my hair after use these shampoo its soft and manageable with shine!

    Minaz @hairbuddha says February 27, 2017


Francis Ortiz says August 6, 2016

can this be used as a daily shampoo.

pragya says January 29, 2016

Hi dear. Nice alternative to shampoo it seems. Will it remove the oil from hair?

4 Things I Do to Save My Hair from Hard Water - hair buddha says September 11, 2015

[…] You may also enjoy: How to make besan + orange peel powder Hair Cleanser […]

harshavardu says August 16, 2015

I use sls and paraban free shampoo(khadi), does that mean it’s sulphate free? Will try this for sure!

xenyen says July 23, 2015

Hi Minaz, love your blog. Found it yesterday looking for a ‘besun sham-poo’ recipe. Had enormously thick long healthy hair in my teenage. People all over would admire it. A sibling would take a strand of my hair and pull, marvelling at how it stretched and stretched but didn’t break.

Anyway, fastforward: ups and downs from super health freak in superb shape to total neglect due to tension: I have a blend of a whole bunch of oils (I keep adding pure oils to this bottle as I learn). Here’s what’s working (a few weeks into my regime):
Oiling. Was oiling daily for in the past, and that had stopped heavy hair fall in a week.
aloe vera after the daily wash
boiling a handful of fresh neem leaves daily and rinsing with this (added chopped potatoes, fenugreek (methi) seeds and half a teaspoon rosemary leaves after reading benefits. Rosemary made me feel incredibly calm and centered!! Very noticeable effect). This from my ayurveda book.
Drinking 5 litres of water a day (incredible well being)
Onion juice on the scalp min 40 minutes before wash (blended an onion with some aloe vera gel)
Henna packs once a week (with yogurt and egg added in).
An amla a day, yoga, walks, healthy eating and other lifestyle changes.
Triphala every morning

Am adding:
Amla, ritha sikha khai, kalonji (black seeds), ber (ziziphus jujube), to my daily herbal rinse (ber has been very useful as a tea and detox bath; following my gut to add it here)

Multani mitti (fuller’s earth) shampoo
Besun (chickpea) shampoo

These will replace the shampoo. I have a very herbal range of products I buy but they have parabens. Infused that bottle with chopped onion, fenugreek seeds and rosemary leaves, to use when absolutely necessary.

Choqandar (beet leaves) boiled and pulped and mixed with my henna hair pack (this too from my Ayurveda book)

Love your attitude too! Thanks for sharing

10 Best Natural Hair Cleansers: For Thickest, Shiniest & Healthiest Hair - hair buddha says June 23, 2015

[…] Besan cleanser: To make this cleanser, mix 2 to 3 tablespoon of besan with lukewarm water to make a runny paste. You can add a couple of tablespoon of aloe vera juice for smoother and shiner effect. To use, massage the besan mixture into the scalp and work it in; let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then rinse off really well. (Here’s another recipe of besan cleanser) […]

Ritu says June 16, 2015

Hellow everybody, I have tried washing my oily hair with besan but couldnot see the desired result as my hair became sticky after the wash… I even couldnot move comb through my hair. I finally landed up with a bunch of broken hairs in my hand… 🙁

Top 5 Essential Oils For Healthy Hair And Scalp - hair buddha says April 14, 2015

[…] shampoo: You can also add few drop to your homemade shampoo to enhance its […]

jan says April 14, 2015

Hi Minaz, what exactly is cassia bark powder? Is it a type of cinnamon?The one u referred to in u r sulphate free shampoo is cassia bark and not cassia obovata right?I am using cassia obovata on my girls hair and now they have a golden tinge when it finally dawned upon me that maybe i bought the wrong cassia:)

    Minaz @hairbuddha says April 14, 2015

    Hi Jan, you bought the right ingredient

    I did mean cassia obovata, just to add some tinge.

    You can omit it completely if you do not want the tinge.

Lilac says March 28, 2015

Would this lead to product build up on the scalp? Thanks.

Ellen Little says March 21, 2015

Thanks for sharing this with us! It looks great and I will definitely be trying it (without the henna-I don’t want my hair colour to change). However, can I make a bunch ahead of time and store it in a small bottle? I could just mix the dry ingredients and have them on hand for mixing, but I’d rather have it readily available.

5 Ways To Get Rid Of Dandruff Permanently - hair buddha says February 20, 2015

[…] The harsh detergents, preservatives and artificial perfume in your shampoo can irritate your scalp, and cause excess dryness. Even the so called natural shampoos are not so natural – meaning they too contain detergents, which can strip natural oils and irritate your scalp. It would be best if you can switch to homemade shampoos such as this or this one. […]

Rosemary Hair Rinse: Darkens Hair, Stimulates Growth - hair buddha says February 11, 2015

[…] use this rinse or this one 2 to 3 times a week, either after a homemade shampoo (I prefer hair rinse to a conditioner, which I haven’t used in ages) or post exercise. This […]

6 Natural Ways To Prevent Static Hair - hair buddha says January 23, 2015

[…] to help you go more days without shampooing your hair. Also, switch to homemade shampoos such as this, which is free from detergents and […]

Thais says December 6, 2014

I just started to make my own cosmetics so I’m quite excited about this shampoo.
I might have missed it, but what is the shelf life for this shampoo?
Can it be stored or should it be made just for one wash?
Thank you very much!

    Minaz says January 14, 2015

    Hello Thais, You can store the powdered ingredients – besan, henna and orange peel powder – and add honey before use.

Gary says August 31, 2014

HI Minaz,

Will your method be effective towards male pattern baldness? I have really oil hair and my hairline starts to recede after 25. I have tried products like REGAIN before but it doesn’t work at all. I live in Australia and if I would like to make those homemade shampoos, where could I get those Indian ingriendents?



    Minaz says September 1, 2014

    Hi Gary, Apple or carrot juice (freshly squeezed) works for some people. Apply to your head and leave for 1 hour and wash off. Try doing it thrice a week.
    Also, I would suggest you drink 1 tbs aloe vera juice or gel every day (get a aloe plant if you can).

    You will find the shampoo ingredients in most Indian shops. You can substitute besan (chick pea flour) with rye flour or rice flour. Also, you can make rice flour at home using coffee grinder.

    Hope this helps.

    Best wishes, Minaz

Priyanka says August 20, 2014

Hi I am always believing in nature I always prefer to use Ayurvedic for my beauty care. I used to use kali mitti for my hair wash and I loved it. But then I moved to USA and really don’t know where to find or buy from. Can anyone please tell me if you know that where u can find kali mitti or any website I can buy from??? Please

    Minaz says August 20, 2014

    Hi Priyanka, You can obtain kali mitti (black soil) from a farm. But every state will have different soil quality, so you will have to do some research on that. Also, make sure that the farm doesn’t use synthetic pesticides or other harmful chemicals as this will do more harm than good.

    Instead of kali mitti you can try other some amazing cleansers such as multani mitti (fullers earth), besan, green gram flour (mung flour), and bentonite clay.

    Best wishes, Minaz

smaranika says August 16, 2014

my hairs are constantly falling !!!………i have tried every oil on my hair. bt no results ..
i dont know why my hairs are keep falling.. i guess its because of shampo that contains a lot of chemicals!!….
m going to try it out !! what u have mentioned above.
can i add til oil with this smapoo ?
plzz let me know about it as soon as possible.
thank you …

    Minaz says August 16, 2014

    Smaranika, Yes you can add til (sesame) oil. But, don’t add too much as it can make your hair greasy. Start with about 1 tsp.

leena says July 18, 2014

This is a new shampoo. I am going to try it out and will let you know the outcome. The hair spray that you gave me is really nice.

    Minaz says July 22, 2014

    Hi Leenaji, Do try it and let me know how it works for you.
    And thanks for your feedback on hair spray 🙂

    MEG says June 9, 2015



    Minaz @hairbuddha says June 10, 2015

    Meg, try adding a tablespoon of reetha or shikakai powder or try adding both. Experiment a few times to see what works best for your hair.

    Let me know how it goes.

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