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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 1 tablespoon of orange peel powder 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 🙂


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