Make Your Own Natural Shampoo: Get Soft and Shiny Hair at Home - hair buddha
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Make Your Own Natural Shampoo: Get Soft and Shiny Hair at Home

Make Your Own Natural Shampoo-


For centuries people in India have mostly used various fruits, barks, stem, seeds and leaves to make their own homemade shampoo. Although, now many people are opting for more convenient options -market bought shampoos; is it good or bad is a big question.

Since I was little I have seen my mother make her own natural shampoo using shikakai, reetha (soap nut) and orange or lemon peel. I had never tried it until recently when my favourite shampoo had its ingredients changed, and my hair refused to like the new ones. Luckily my mother was paying us a visit. And I decided to use her expertise of making this all-natural homemade shampoo.

Before we go on how to make homemade shampoo, let me tell you a little about my quest for the natural shampoo. I have suffered from an itchy scalp for many many years. And I have had uncountable bad hair days. Besides, when I moved to London the hard water made things even worse. I tried using filtered water to wash my hair, this did help, but only a little. I then started trying various shampoos. I finally found a shampoo which claimed to contain all natural ingredients. My hair & scalp absolutely loved it; I used this for a couple of years. But just recently the shampoo producers changed many of its ingredients, and my hair was left ‘cuticle broken’ and my scalp was itchy again. So I finally decided to give my mom’s homemade shampoo a try.

My mom’s homemade shampoo – let’s call the shampoo Ree-Shi for its main ingredients reetha and shikakai – made my hair amazingly soft and shiny. And my scalp felt better and the itch has gone away. Moreover, my hair are doing pretty fine without the need for filtered water. I so much like happy endings! I was a bit annoyed with myself to have waited all these years to find the right shampoo for my hair. I totally overlooked my mom’s homemade concoction for all these years and never ever thought of using it on my hair. Anyways it’s never too late…blah blah.. I hope you won’t delay any bit

Here are the ingredients and how to use them:



1. Shikakai: Shikakai or Acacia concinna is a climbing shrub native to central and south India. Shikakai literally means “fruit for hair. It has been used as a hair cleanser in the Indian sub-continent since ancient times. Shikakai acts as a detangler and makes hair smooth and soft. It is rich in vitamin C and vitamin D, and many essential phytonutrients that nourish the hair follicles and promote hair growth.

Soap Nut/ Reetha

2. Soap nuts or Reetha: Reetha contains natural surfactants called saponins, which makes it a great natural cleanser. Surfactants are foaming agents that help remove dirt and grease from your hair/skin. Most commercial shampoos contain chemical surfactants which may not be skin or environment friendly. Reetha is a natural softener, so no need for conditioner after shampoo. It is an excellent alternative for people who are allergic to sulfates and parabens in the commerical shampoo.

Dried Amla

Dried Amla

3. Amla or Indian gooseberry: In traditional Indian cultures, amla is considered a valuable hair tonic and forms a regular part of hair care ritual. The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties help to maintain a healthy scalp. Amla is known to strengthen hair roots, encourage hair growth, and address premature greying.

Shampoo Ingredients: Shikakai, Reetha, and Amla

Shampoo Ingredients: Shikakai, Reetha, and Amla

How to make?

You will need:

  • 10 grams  shikakai pods
  • 10 grams reetha berry 
  • 5 gram amla pieces

This is the basic ratio, you can adjust the ingredients as desired. You can substitute amla for orange peel or lemon peel. Use any one of the three- amla, orange peel and lemon peel- if you use all or excess, it will dry out your hair.

2. Take all ingredients in a pan, add 750 ml of water and let them soak for about 8 hours. However, you can also straight away make the shampoo.

3. Heat the mix till it starts to boil, reduce the flame slightly and let it boil for 5-15 minutes. The longer you cook the more concentrated it will become. (add more water if you wish)

4. Remove from the heat, cover and let it cool. When it comes to the room temperature, crush the reetha, shikakai, and amla/peels with your hand.

5. Strain before use.

Shampoo in Process

Shampoo in Process

This is a not a long process, it just needs some planning. Yet to do this every time, before you wash your hair, can put many off. And you cannot make a large batch and store the liquid in the fridge, as it will turn bad. The good news is, you can freeze the mixture into ice trays, and use it as and when required. Take out 2 to 3 cubes (more or less depending on the length of your hair) few hours before you want to use it.

Reetha Shampoo frozen into cubes

Reetha Shampoo frozen into cubes

How to use? Use as normal shampoo. Wet hair, then massage the Ree-Shi (Reetha & shikakai)  shampoo on the scalp, and move towards the ends of your hair. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then rinse.  This mix hardly lathers. But it cleans your hair well.

If you have oiled your hair, then use multani mitti/fuller’s earth, (or rhassoul clay, or besan/chickpea flour) and yogurt pack. Mix 6 to 7 tablespoon yogurt and 1 tablespoon besan, apply on your hair and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse out thoroughly, then use the ree-shi shampoo to wash your hair. This will ensure that your hair cleans well and don’t feel greasy.

If you have dry hair: Add a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds or marshmallow root when making this shampoo. Both fenugreek and marshmallow are very moisturising and conditioning for hair and will leave it soft, shiny and smooth.

Fullers Earth/ Multani Mitti

Fullers Earth/ Multani Mitti

No more conditioner: After shampooing with Ree-Shi you will not need to follow with any conditioner. Following shampoo, pat dry your hair, take a pea-sized amount of coconut oil or almond oil and rub through the lower third of your hair, avoiding the scalp, and leave-in. The result is soft, shiny and manageable hair. 

Suits all hair types: This shampoo is suitable for all hair types and will not strip the natural oils from your hair. This traditional product is probably the original pH balanced shampoo.

Blond hair: Shikakai and amla can darken your hair over time. If you do not wish to alter your hair colour, skip these two. So use just reetha and along with it you can add one or more of the below-listed herbs (1 to 2 teaspoon each), and follow the same directions to make the shampoo.

marshamallow root – conditions and softens hair

horsetail herb – makes hair strong and shiny

fenugreek seeds – softens hair and useful in scalp conditions such as dandruff and eczema

nettle leaves – add body and get rids of excess oil, good for oily hair

licorice root– moisturises your scalp and hair and helps with hair loss

Where to buy? Reetha, shikakai and amla are available in most of the Indian grocery stores, or you can also purchase them online.

Why Shikakai – Reetha Shampoo?This shampoo is a great natural cleanser. It is free from not so good ingredients like Sulfate, parabens, and other additives, and moreover packaging – no more plastic bottles. It is mild, having naturally low pH and will not strip the natural oils from your hair. Usually, no conditioner is needed, as reetha is a natural softer and shikakai acts as a detangler.

Buying Cosmetics and toiletries: Before buying shampoo or any cosmetic products train yourself to read the labels. If you are unsure of any ingredient you can check it on

Buying herb powders: I generally prefer to use whole herbs than their powder forms, because powder can be easily adulterated.

Always buy powdered herbs from a reputed seller, so you know what you are getting is pure herbal powder.

Note: If you have never used these herbs before, do a patch test to see if you are allergic to any ingredient.

If you have used this, please share your experience. I would love to hear from you…

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Reetha Buy Now

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Amla  Buy Now

Fuller’s Earth Buy Now

Rhassoul Clay Buy Now

Besan Buy Now

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