10 Best Natural Shampoos: For Strong, Healthy & Shiny Hair - hair buddha
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10 Best Natural Shampoos: For Strong, Healthy & Shiny Hair

10 best natural cleanser


One of the best things I have done for my hair is to switch to homemade shampoo.

It took me some time to figure out what works for my hair, but the effort was all worth it. And now my dandruff is gone, I have fewer hair falling out, and my hair have never felt and looked better – there is more shine, more volume and more life in them. The best part is I don’t have to invest a lot of time, energy, and money towards its care.

These natural cleansers are already tried and tested by our past generations. Moreover they do not pollute our environment when they go down the drain.

And don’t dread for lack of options, in fact nature has provided us with so many amazing ingredients that you will be spoilt for choice. Here’s the best 10 natural cleansers I have found, take a look.

10 Best Natural Shampoos: For Strong, Healthy, & Shiny Hair

1. Rhassoul Clay

This lovely brown coloured clay, with its smooth silky texture, is a superb natural cleaner. It is known for its ability to draw out impurities that can build up on scalp and hair. Rich in natural minerals, rhassoul clay moisturises hair, improves elasticity, and makes hair super soft. It’s also very soothing on irritate scalp and may help with dandruff.

Rhassoul Cleanser: In Morocco, it is traditionally mixed with argan oil and rose floral water and used as a gentle shampoo. You can create your own version by adding floral or herbal infusion to suit your hair’s need; you can choose from chamomile, rosemary, lavender, amla, aloe vera, black tea, and so on.

To make a rhassoul cleanser, take 3 tablespoon rhassoul clay and add enough water (or herbal infusion)  to make a runny paste. You can also add a teaspoon of oil (such as almond, olive, macadamia nut) to it, and stir well. To use, massage the rhassoul mixture into the scalp and hair, and leave it on for 3 to 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Works well for: normal, dry, coarse, damaged hair. You can also try it on oily/fine hair, but it can be over-moisturising for such hair types.


Reetha 1

2. Reetha or Soapnut berries

Reetha has been used by people of Indian subcontinent for centuries to clean and maintain healthy hair. It contain natural saponins or natural detergents which is what makes it such a wonderful cleanser. Not just that, reetha adds body and shine and make hair feel thicker and smooth. Plus, its antibacterial and antifungal properties may help with dandruff.

Reetha Cleanser: You can use whole berries and make a strong tea to wash your hair. Here’s a recipe to make a superb hair cleansing shampoo

Reetha powder: It is much simpler to use powder. To make reetha cleanser, mix 1 to 2 tablespoon of reetha powder with enough hot water to make a runny paste. Let this mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. To use, massage the mixture into your scalp and hair and leave it on for 5 minutes or so. Then rinse off. Repeat if needed.

Reetha on its own can be drying for hair, therefore I prefer to use it with equal amounts of shikakai. And for more goodness you can add one or more of the following herbs to the above mixture – amla (conditioning), hibiscus flower (helps with tangles), brahmi (rejuvenating), orange peel (adds shine), neem (antiseptic), lavender (scalp balancing), or licorice (conditioning).

Works well for: all hair types

Note: If your hair is curly or thick you may want to use reetha tea vs powders as its easily washed out, while powder bits can remain into your hair.


Shikakai  Pods2

3. Shikakai

One of my favourite natural cleansers, shikakai gently cleans hair without stripping it of natural oils. As a natural hair conditioner, shikakai makes hair bouncy, shiny, and soft. What I also like about shikakai is that it is naturally pH balancing and helps to keep the scalp healthy and dandruff free. Plus its nourishing qualities strengthen roots and encourage strong, healthy hair growth.

Shikakai Cleanser: Like reetha you can either use its tea or its powder to wash your hair.
Here’s the recipe to make shikakai tea – make on its own or with reetha and amla as described.

Shikakai powder: Using powder or tea is a matter of personal preference, try both ways, then you’ll know which works better for you.

If your hair is greasy or oily, use shikakai powder along with reetha. And for an extra boost, add a teaspoon amla or/and brahmi powder to it.

For those with normal to dry hair, simply mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of shikakai powder with enough hot water to make a runny paste. Let this mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. To use, massage the mixture into your scalp and hair and leave it on for 5 minutes or so. Then rinse off with plain water. And of course you can add in more herbs (see reetha cleanser) to make a perfect cleansing blend for your hair

Works well for: all hair types

Hard water: Both reetha and shikakai work extraordinarily well in hard water. Also, using tea or powder mixture directly on dry hair does seem to help.


egg shampoo

4. Egg

Egg is fool-proof way to clean greasy, oily hair. It will not just get your hair squeaky clean, egg cleanser will also add lots of shine and volume to your hair. Plus eggs are packed with biotin (often touted as the ‘hair growth vitamin’), iodine, selenium, pantothenic acid (you hear in shampoo adverts) and vitamin B12 – all great for shiny, healthy hair.

Egg Cleanser: To make an egg shampoo, simply whisk a couple of eggs and use this to wash your hair. Some people also add warm water (2 to 3 tablespoon for 1 egg) and a few drops of essential oils to mask the smell (I like to add 3-5 drops of peppermint essential oil). Here’s more optional add-ins you can use.

To use, massage the mixture into your scalp and hair and leave it on for 5 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. (Make sure that you use cool/lukewarm water to avoid cooking the egg on your head.)

Note: There’s too much protein in the egg white, which can be drying for certain hair, especially people with already dry, coarse hair. Therefore, such hair types should just use the egg yolk instead of using whole egg.

Works well for: oily, greasy, normal hair.
How often can you use egg shampoo: Use no more than once a week as it can cause protein overload, making your hair dry and brittle. Read more about it here.


Bentonite clay cleanser1
5. Bentonite clay

This creamy grey colour clay is another excellent cleanser for oily, greasy hair. It is rich in minerals such as silica, which helps to sooth irritated scalp conditions like dandruff, decrease breakage and add lustre to hair. Similar to rhassoul clay, this clay also has an amazing ability to absorb impurities from your scalp and hair.

Bentonite Cleanser: To make bentonite cleanser, mix 2 to 3 tablespoon of bentonite clay with enough plain water (or 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice) to make a runny paste. Massage into your scalp and hair and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Works best for: normal to oily hair. You can also use this clay to wash out oil from your hair.
Note: You can replace bentonite clay with green clay.


aloe vera shampoo1

6. Aloe vera

Aloe vera is used in the Caribbean as a shampoo. Aloe conditions, moisturizes and makes hair smoother, silkier, and healthier. Plus, aloe vera has soothing and cooling properties that help relieve redness, irritation and itchiness, while nourishing the scalp.

Aloe Cleanser: The best way to use aloe vera is straight from the plant. Here’s a good instruction on how to make your own aloe vera juice from the leaf. Fresh gel/juice creates a good lather and has a viscous, slippery texture. Massage into your scalp and hair and let it sit for 3-5 minutes, then rinse off.
This is more of a conditioning wash.

Works best for: all hair types as a mild cleanser and conditioner.

Tip: For extra boast, you can add a teaspoon of lime peel powder or shikakai powder to the aloe cleanser.

hibiscus shampoo1

7. Hibiscus

Both the flower and the leaf of the hibiscus plant contain mucilage, a slippery substance, which helps to clean the hair really well. They also contain plant proteins that help in the treatment of dandruff and hair loss. The astringent properties of hibiscus helps seal the cuticles – so you will have less tangles. Hibiscus is also very moisturising and helps to restore hair’s natural barrier and hydrates the hair fibres.

Hibiscus Cleanser: To make hibiscus cleanser, simply grind a handful of leaves and couple of flowers with a little water to make a slippery paste. To use, massage into your scalp and hair and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse off.

Like aloe vera, this is more of a conditioning wash.

Works best for: all hair types as a mild cleanser and conditioner.


Fullers earth -Multani Mitti Hair1

8. Fullers Earth (Multani Mitti)

Fullers earth is another mineral rich clay which has been used for centuries to remove impurities from the skin and hair. Due to its highly absorbent nature, it cleans the hair beautifully but without stripping away its natural oils. The natural minerals in the clay help strengthen the hair shaft, provide natural shine and may also help with dandruff.

Skin benefits: This clay comes highly recommended to those with acne problems, blemishes, spotting, and people prone to oily skin.

Fullers Earth Cleanser: To make a basic cleanser, mix 2 to 3 tablespoons fullers earth with enough water (or herbal infusion) to make a runny paste. Massage this mixture into your scalp and hair and leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes, then rinse off.

Extra boost: For those with normal to oily hair add a tablespoon of shikakai/reetha powder to the mixture – this will get your hair nice and clean. While people with dry, lackluster hair can experiment adding orange peel powder or aloe vera to it.

Works best for – all hair types.


Rice Water Hair Cleanser1

9. Rice Water

Rice water is a mild cleanser with amazing hair and skin benefits. Rice water contains inositol, which helps to repair damaged hair, improve hair elasticity and reduce surface friction. Rinsing hair with rice water will add shine to your hair and keep it strong and healthy.

Rice water cleanser: just place 1/2 cup uncooked rice in a bowl and cover with water (about 2 to 3 cups) and let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Swirl it around or lightly knead it until the water turns cloudy. Now strain out the rice water into a clean bowl. Your rice water is ready to use. For better cleansing add some shikakai powder to this water.

How to use: You can use this either as a hair wash or as a conditioning rinse. Pour the rice water on your hair and gently massage your scalp and hair. Leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes, then rinse your hair thoroughly with plain water.

Also read – Rice Water For Gorgeous Hair And Flawless Skin

Works best for – all hair types.


Besan Chickpea flour cleanser

10. Besan (chickpea flour)

Due to the presence of natural saponins, besan has been used traditionally as a skin and hair cleanser by Indian women. It’s also packed with protein which helps to make hair more manageable and shiny, while strengthening the hair at the same time.

Besan cleanser: To make this cleanser, take 3 tablespoon of besan in a bowl. To this add 2 tablespoon of yoghurt and some water to make a smooth paste. You can also add some aloe vera juice  for silky shiny effect.

To use, massage the besan mixture into the scalp and hair and leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes, then rinse off really well. (Here’s another recipe of besan cleanser)

Works best for – normal to oily hair

Can I mix two or more cleansers

Yes of course you can. Get creative to find your perfect mix. For my normal to oily hair, I usually use a decoction of reetha, shikakai and amla (sometimes I add marshmallow root or licorice root). I prefer their decoction to powders, because former is more effective in getting oil out of my hair. Sometimes I also combine egg and shikakai powder to wash my hair. I also use fullers earth with shikakai powder when my hair isn’t too oily.

Condition Your Hair with Herbal Infusion/Rinse

Herbal infusions/rinses are a great way to re-balance your scalp and add conditioning to your hair care routine.

Hair cleansers such as shikakai, aloe vera, and hibiscus wash are naturally pH balancing and conditioning, so you don’t need to use a conditioning rinse afterwards.

Reetha too is pH balancing, but it can be drying when used alone. So you can either use it with conditioning herbs such as shikakai, lavender, marshmallow, or licorice, or follow-up with a hair rinse.

Similarly, egg shampoo is also pH balancing, and you may or may not want to use an herbal rinse afterwards. Although I prefer to use one.

Clays and flours have a higher pH than your hair, and can leave some people’s hair matte or dull. Adding an herbal infusion instead of plain water (or other herbs such as orange peel powder, aloe vera juice or shikakai powder) to make the clay or flour cleanser will help restore the pH balance as well as add shine to your hair.

Alternatively, you can use the herbal hair rinse – after a wash – to re-balance and nourish your hair.

The most basic herbal infusions/rinses you can use are:

Depending on the ingredients you choose, herbal rinses not only condition your hair, they also help prevent dryness, tame flyaways, and add slip for easy combing.

Read more on what herbs to use and how to make an infusion/tea here (scroll to the end of the page).


I know this sounds like a lot of work, but once you figure out what works for you, then taking care of your hair will be breeze. Hair Nirvana is well worth it!

Got any questions or Need help in finding your perfect cleanser?? I would be happy to help 🙂


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

  • Julie R Salazar says:

    I think your natural cleansers sound great for the hair. I have tried a few, especially the ones that afford me to find the products like the eggs, clay, amla and shakhiki powders have done wonders for my hair. But I’m still working on strengthening the crown area that’s thin and weak. Any helpful advice I would highly appreciate it. Thanks

    • Hello Julie,

      I would suggest that you head massage once or twice a week. Use cooling oils like amla. You can also add some castor oil to it.

      Also, include foods such as black rasins, dates, aloe vera, which help

      calm pitta dosha, one of the major reasons for hair thinning.

    • Julie R Salazar says:

      Thanks, I have been including a variety of different fruits and veggies in my diet and doing tea rinses to help with the thinning. I know age is a factor, but I no longer put any chemicals in my hair nor use heat and it has improved a lot! And by the way what is pitta dosha again?

  • […] are many natural cleansers to choose from. My favourite is reetha and shikakai homemade shampoo. Used for centuries, this is […]

  • […] 10 Best Natural Hair Cleansers: For Strong, Healthy, & Shiny Hair […]

  • brototi says:

    Dear Minaz, the ritha shikakai amla shampoo is superb! These days I add some neem leaves and fenugreek seeds to the mixture. It works even better!

    • That’s superb! thanks for your amazing feedback 🙂

      When do you add neem leaves and fenugreek seeds?

    • brototi says:

      I put all the ingredients together. Soak overnight. Boil. Cool. Strain. It is working well. Minaz, I must thank you for your superb blog Hairbuddha. I have read through EVERY post of yours. You are indeed brilliant! Thank you once more….

    • Thanks for your kind words, and your recipe 🙂

  • brototi says:

    I have straightened my hair. I was losing a lot of hair. Using your tips, I have found good results. I don’t feel like using the loreal shampoo conditioner serum meant for straightened hair anymore. But I feel scared that if I continue using the ree-shi, what if my hair gets back to its previous frizzy unmanageable shabby state once more?? It’s been a month since I have straightened my hair. I am very happy with the result and my new look and don’t want to lose it. Yet I wish to continue only with the ree-shi shampoo, the oil, the egg mask etc. Please clarify my doubts…

    • I am not for hair straightening, but since you have already done it here are few suggestions:
      – Continue with ree-shi shampoo.
      – After shampoo apply licorice or green tea rinse, you can also try them together.
      – Also use hibiscus leaves and flower mask.
      Let me know how it goes.

  • brototi says:

    Thank you Minaz for your suggestion.. But where will I get licorice? And in what form? I live in Kolkata, India.

    • Minaz Aslam says:

      Licorice is easily available in India, it’s called mulethi, or jestamadh. Here’s amazon india link: http://amzn.to/1WTQ2O4

  • brototi says:

    Minaz, when I use oil on my hair, will reetha shikakai amla shampoo make my hair squeaky clean?
    Where will I get rhassoul clay and bentonite clay?
    Thanking you, kind regards

    • Yes reetha shikakai cleans my hair pretty well. You just need to make it concentrated by boiling for longer.
      I am not sure if you get any of those clays in India, but you can use multani mitti.

  • brototi says:

    Thank you Minaz. Also tell me what licorice is. Where does one get it and how is it used?

  • brototi says:

    Thank you! I shall use it!

  • brototi says:

    Minaz, I make a hair oil which is very good for hair regrowth, so much so that it has filled up a small bald patch in my friend’s hair line. Heat(not boil) mustard oil with a judicious amount of tender curry leaves, fenugreek seeds and neem leaves. Let cool. Transfer to a glass bottle. Add some olive oil , castor oil and coconut oil to the bottle. Let ferment for 4 days. Use at least once a week. Happy hair growth!????

    • That’s a superb recipe . I am going to feature this oil in success stories.

  • brototi says:

    My beetroot salad – Cut cucumber onion tomato into thin round slices. Finely cut a few cloves of garlic. Grate a beetroot and a carrot. Mix them well in a glass bowl. The dressing is lemon juice, salt, little sugar, olive oil. Mix. Leave covered in the fridge for an hour. The ingredients give out their juices and gives a very fresh pure taste….. Enjoy….

  • brototi says:

    Minaz, of late there is a lot of commercial product advertisements on your blog site. Yours is one for natural products. These ads are demotivators…. Why not discourage them completely? Pardon me for my intrusiveness…

  • brototi says:

    Minaz, today I used your recipe of rice water as my last rinse. I am extremely happy with the result. My hair is shining and it is looking more voluminous. Before the rice water, I had put a pack made with 2 reethas 2 shikakai pods few pieces of amla 1 tsp methi seeds 1 tbsp besan (all courtesy your blog). I regret having spent so much money on commercial products all these days!
    Thank you very much, stay happy…

    • Awesome!! thanks for sharing. I love reading all your experiences, keep them coming.

  • brototi says:

    Please help me in one more thing – you (for that matter everyone) discourage straightening hair in salons because of heat treatments etc. Can you suggest natural ways of straightening hair permanently?
    My hair is wavy and though it used to wear volume earlier, has become scanty. Leaving it in its natural way does not add to my looks anymore. Hence I got it straightened 2 months ago. I am indeed happy with my new look. I wish to continue with this hairstyle but I wish to do it the natural way instead of in the salon. Can you help me?

  • […] used these herbs before here’s my favourite recipe, you can also try this one or this […]

  • rachel says:

    If the ingredients are all bought in powder form, how do you use them? I’m trying to make a shampoo… my hair is falling out very heavily…. I’m trying all your methods… love your advice! I bought in powder form. Please help!

    • Hi Rachel, just make a paste with water or herbal tea and use that to wash your hair.

  • Regina says:

    Does shikakai or reetha stain hair darker? I have very hard water and would like to try using herbal cleansers and rinses but I am worried about any colour change. My hair is mostly dark but I have bright purple pieces I would not want to cover up! My roots are also oily but the ends of my hair are dry, do you have any recommendations on what herbs would be best?

    • I haven’t noticed any colour change with reetha and shikakai… You can try adding some licorice or marshmallow to it.
      You can also try eggs..

  • pragya says:

    Hi dear. I used the shampoo by mixing powdered reetha and shikakai. My hair felt good after using that but while applying the paste on my scalp I notice some hair coming out due to its gritty texture. Do you think it is normal. For this reason I have stopped massaging tha paste I just apply and leave it for some time.

  • […] wipe out the moisture of the scalp. Instead, opt for natural cleansers like shikakai, soap nut, besan, and rye […]

  • shelly jo says:

    i have the whole “oily scalp, dry ends” conundrum with a lot of breaking happening (i have to have my hair tied back every day for work). i’m also consistently ridiculously lazy so i know i won’t stick with any preparation procedure for long… so i’m considering something like egg white for the roots and scalp, egg yolk for the ends, and maybe a tea rinse. does that sound sensible?

  • SASWAT DEY says:

    Hi, i didnt have any issues with my hair, until i reached bangalore, where i am having severe hairfall due to hardwater (i got to know this after consulting with many residents of bangalore). I dont know what to do inorder to save my hair from hardwater. As of now i am using packaged mineral water but its really expensive (spent 1200 INR in just one month because of this). Using patanjali hair cleansing shampoo but even that isn’t helping. Friends please save me from getting bald. Ur help and suggestions will be truly appreciated.

  • Deepmala says:


    Read through your posts and am totally confused what would work for me. I am actually on thyroid medication and have also cystic ovarian syndrome which causes alot of hairfall. Hairfall treatments didn’t work. Lately hairfall has been tremendous. Every time I comb more than 10-15 strands just fall off and have become extremely brittle. Breakage also. I have dry wavy hair with oily scalp and dandruff(not dry).

    Looking forward to your solutions 🙂

    • Hi Deepmala,

      my sister too has hypothyroidsim, this hair mask has helped her with hair growth.

      Practice pranayam and yoga everyday, it helps to balance your hormones.

  • Livnam says:

    Can I use soapnut berries and soak them in water and add amla powder to the crushed berries-water just before I use it?

  • Aliza Tur says:

    Hey!! I am 17 years old. I got long hairs from inheritance but with the passage of time I started suffering from hair fall , dryness , dandruff , split ends though I oil my hairs twice or thrice a week and I also don’t leave my hairs open, all the time my hairs are braided plus I also don’t use any heat appliance for styling . From last month , I started applying amla reetha sikakai shampoo but as it does not cleans the oil so I am also using my normal shampoo and conditioner along with this natural shampoo but I can’t feel any major difference. Please help what should I do and I want to go no_poo completely so suggest me something.

    • Minaz says:

      Hi Aliza, when you oil massage use very little oil. Also try homemade egg shampoo to wash your hair, then follow up with reetha-shikakai shampoo. This will get your hair squeaky clean.
      For dandruff, try the miracle hair mask recipe from the blog.
      Do you eat healthy and balanced diet as lack of nutrient is a big cause of hair fall and dryness.

  • Dhatri says:

    From two year I am suffering from dandruff problem I am losing my hair day by day .I had tired anti dandruff sampoo and soap but it make my hair dry and rough . I am tired of this .now I am trying Himalaya anti dandruff shampoo.please help me to come out this situation.I will be highly thankful to you.

    • Minaz says:

      Dhatri, try thishomemade anti-dandruff shampoo.

  • Ruchika says:


    I am allergic to shikakai and amla. I have oily scalp and dry hair.
    Tried using reetha alone. Satisfied with the results as it takes out the oil but after 1-2 days my scalp becomes crazy itchy! Cannot see any dandruff flakes. Is it because of dryness? What can I do?
    If reetha is not suitable then please suggest some other natural shampoo for me.

  • nikita kanodia says:

    Hi, I have Bentonite clay at hand and I would love to put it to use but I’m scared that it will really dry out my hair and scalp. I have a slightly oily scalp and normal to dry hair. What would you recommend I should add to the shampoo? I have a few oils at home such as castor, Argan, coconut and a few essential oils too.

    • Minaz says:

      You can add aloe vera juice or lime juice. If this dries out your scalp than add a few drops of any oil you like.

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