There are plenty of reasons why shampoo bars have started popping up around drug stores and supermarkets. For one, they're a packaging-free, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional bottles. Secondly, they're the perfect solution for damaged hair and sensitive scalps that react to bad ingredients.

One other reason shampoo bars are fantastic is that you can make them at home and save some cash, using ingredients you can easily find in your kitchen. For the DIY lover, here's how you can make a shampoo bar at home with some simple ingredients and recipes.

Recommended: The Hydrating DIY Hair Mask That *Actually* Nourishes Your Hair

Ingredients and Tools for Shampoo Bars

Shampoo bars are made through the same process as soap, with near similar ingredients. To make your shampoo bars at home, you'll need a few standard kitchen tools and some key ingredients:

  • A mixing bowl
  • An electric kitchen mixer
  • Spoon/spatula to hand mix
  • Gloves (if handling Lye)
  • And a silicone mold

For ingredients, you can pick and choose depending on your hair care needs.

But most importantly, you'll need fat. The fat, which can be oils or lard, is the main component of an all-natural shampoo bar. There are plenty of different types of fat to choose from, each serving a purpose for your hair needs.

Coconut Oil: Perfect for dry and thinning hair; coconut oil helps to promote hair growth and is very hydrating for hair and scalp. It also contains natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Olive Oil: Best for dull hair that needs some extra shine; contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, anti-bacterial properties.

Castor Oil: Great for thinning hair with split ends; castor oil contains Vitamin E and fatty acids for stimulating hair growth and deep hydration to hair and scalp.

Avocado Oil: Best for damaged and dry hair; contains some healthy, rich antioxidants, Vitamin E, and oleic acid.

Mango Butter: For the scalps with dandruff; enriched with Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and mangiferin.

Cocoa Butter: Perfect for dull hair with split ends; super moisturising and conditioning to help soften hair and protect tresses from split ends.

Shea Butter: A frizzy girl's best friend; high in vitamins A and E to help tame the flyways and moisturise hair.

Secondly, you'll need one or more essential oils. If the fat is the show's star, essential oils are the backup band.

Lavender: Stimulates hair follicles to help strengthen and lengthen hair.

Peppermint: Assists with hair growth and thickness and is excellent for treating hair breakage.

Rosemary: Can help prevent split ends and helps with hair growth and thickness.

Tea Tree: A deep cleansing ingredient with purifying qualities. Ideal for sensitive, oil-prone scalps and can be used as a natural remedy for lice, dandruff, and an itchy scalp.

Cedarwood: Amazing for oily hair and hair loss prevention. It can also be used to stimulate hair follicles for natural hair growth.

You'll also need lye (aka sodium hydroxide) to help bind the ingredients. However, while Lye is often found in handmade soaps, it can cause skin reactions on very sensitive skin. So spot test or use an alternative like baking soda.

Recommended: All The Benefits of Jojoba Oil on Hair (And Why it's The Best Fine Hair Oil)

How to Make Shampoo Bars At Home

Making the actual mixture is straightforward, but you'll need to be patient when curing (aka the soapification).

Mixing The Ingredients

To start, mix water and lye/baking soda until it becomes a smooth paste. If you're using more than one fat, mix them all together in a separate bowl. Pour the lye mixture into the fat mixture slowly, then mix with a hand blender until it thickens.
Turn the blender off, mix in any essential oil, and stir by hand. You can then pour the liquid soap into the mold. Lastly, cover the mold, and let sit for 24 hours in a dry and cool space.

How to Cure Your Shampoo Bar

The only thing you need to do for curing is to let the shampoo bars rest for a couple of weeks. Then, after 24 hours, remove the bars from the mold and let it cure for at least 4-6 weeks. Curing will help the ingredients settle in and bind together, so it doesn't completely disintegrate in water.

Recommended: Protective Sleep Hairstyles To Avoid Hair Damage

Recipes for Shampoo Bars

Shampoo bars can be easily customisable. As long as you have the three main ingredients (fat, essential oils, and lye) you can pick and choose which ones you want to use. But, if you're lacking inspiration, these are some recipes for shampoo bars you can start with:

For Hydrated, Healthy Looking Hair

AKA: dry hair that needs some TLC


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons shea butter
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons lavender essential oil

Oily Hair Friendly

AKA: oily hair that needs a deep cleanse


  • 1 cup cocoa butter
  • 3 tablespoons tea tree oil
  • 1 tablespoon lye/baking soda
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons cedarwood essential oil

Super Simple (All Hair Types)

AKA: for normal to dry hair with basic ingredients


  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons shea butter
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary essential oil

Love a DIY? Read these next: