DIY Recipe: Coconut Milk Shampoo


Due to the drying nature of conventional shampoos that strip hair of natural oils, many naturalistas have turned to the no-poo and co-wash movements to care for their natural hair. However, for some, the hair & scalp just don’t feel clean without rich, sudsy lather to wash the sweat and build-up away. If you’re one of those naturals, then this Coconut Milk Shampoo is just the thing for you!

Unlike conventional shampoo, the lather in this recipe comes from a reaction between the coconut milk and the castile soap – not harsh cleaning agents that will create a squeaky, unhealthy head of hair. It’s super simple to make, extremely versatile, and smells incredible! For more information on why coconut milk might be a good choice for your natural hair, check out our Natural Ingredients for Natural Hair post.

Coconut Milk Shampoo Recipe:


1/2 cup Coconut Milk (full fat, creamy)
2/3 cup Liquid Castile Soap*
1 tsp Castor Oil
1 tsp Sweet Almond Oil
15-20 drops Lavender Essential Oil (or essential oil of your choice)

Combine ingredients in medium bowl and mix. Mixture will begin to make frothy bubbles and coconut milk may clump. Transfer mixture to medium-size squirt bottle (I used Wilton’s candy making bottles found at Michael’s). Shake well to incorporate remainder of coconut milk.


After conditioning with Honey-Almond Conditioner, add about a tablespoon of shampoo to wet hair. Concentrating on the scalp, lather mixture well for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to get shampoo in eyes – it will burn. Rinse hair completely and follow up with your favorite leave-in and sealant.

*Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Lavender Castile Soap was used for this recipe.

**The lather from this homemade shampoo is rich and luxurious without being the least bit drying. It also washes out very easily, which means no surprise bubble patches in thick, curly hair when you get out of the shower!

About Krystle Sims-Cameron

the blogger and designer behind, Krystle Sims-Cameron, is a graphic artist, poet, mother, and wife dedicated to exploring and highlighting the limitless possibilities of the Black community. she loves to write, bake, and connect with like-minded artists.

39 comments on “DIY Recipe: Coconut Milk Shampoo

  1. Oh I am so going to try this! Lately I’ve been wanting to try homemade shampoos and this sounds like a very good start. Just this evening I tried my own hand at it (using completely different ingredients), but yours caught my eye.. so I’ll definitely give this one a try next time. Also just a quick (and possibly weird) question: You used Dr. Bronner’s lavender castile soap. Is it tingly? I’ve only used the peppermint soap and recently tried it in my hair and it kind of tingled/burned. Does the lavender hair the same effect or is it just peppermint? I usually don’t care for lavender scented things, but if it isn’t as harsh as that one, I’d look into it.

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  4. I have made this and my daughtrt and i both use it but am wondering if it will strip the color out of my hair? I color it every couple months to cover the grey.

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  7. How do you store the remains of the shampoo? In the refrigerator or at room temperature? And also i see this was posted a year ago, Any updates on continued use? Pro’s or con’s?

    Thanks 🙂

    • I ended up keeping it in the fridge for a couple of weeks – but I stopped using shampoo altogether shortly thereafter. I used it to the very last drop, though 😉 It was gentle & hydrating for sure.

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  10. Do I have to use the Castile Soap & Castor Oil and can I use olive or grapeseed oil instead of sweet almond oil?

    • The Castile Soap is what makes the shampoo sudsy and gets your hair clean, so I’m not sure what you would substitute for it in this recipe. The oils, however, can be tailored to what your hair responds to best. Play around with the oil combinations and amounts until you find what makes your hair happy!

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  12. I was excited to try this but it has made my hair extremely greasy. I used olive oil instead of castor oil. Could I add more of the soap? I didn’t even need to use a conditioner at all which I usually do.

  13. I am transitioning from permed to natural hair. I have been transitioning for almost a year now. Is this coconut-milk shampoo still good to use? Also, how often should I use this treatment?

    • This shampoo is good for relaxed & natural hair bc it doesn’t strip the natural oils from the scalp. If I were you, I’d start by replacing one regular shampoo per week with this recipe; if you like how your hair feels using this as opposed to your normal product, you can switch over completely to shampoo up to 3x a week. You don’t *need* to shampoo that much, but some people like to – and this gentle cleanse is just fine for that.

      I hope that helps!

    • The soap in this recipe is very low suds as reacts specifically well with the coconut; I’m not really sure how swapping the soap out would work. If you try it, please let me know!

  14. Okay, so I am currently doing the no poo on my hair, and it’s great on my
    Roots but my hair is very dry on the ends. I wanted to try this method instead, and was wondering what you do to condition your hair? I saw above that you condition first? What do you exactly? Thanks!

    • When I used the Honey & Almond Conditioner, I have to condition first and then wash the mixture out of my hair; for that I sometime use this coconut shampoo recipe. It’s not mandatory, however.

      If no-poo is working for your roots, that’s great! Are you sealing the moisture into your ends after washing with an oil? If not, that could be why they’re dry. My favorite sealing oil is coconut oil bc it penetrates the hair shaft like water + seals that moisture in.

      You might also benefit from the method of cleansing one’s hair with conditioner called co-washing. Any quality conditioner can be used for these washes, but be sure to seal all of your strands with oil after.

      I hope that helps!

    • I personally used the same batch for a few weeks (until empty) without refrigeration with no issues. You can put your shampoo in the fridge for extra safe keeping or add a bit of citric acid as a preservative.

  15. I just made this and tried it today, I hope goes well for me, I did not add the castor oil and the almond oil, while that make a difference in the efficiency of the shampoo or is it just to smell pretty. I used Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Pepermint for mine and the coconut milk from wholefoods. please let me know if it is important for me to add the almond and castor oil.

    • Glad you’re giving the recipe a try!

      Castor oil has proteins, minerals, and vitamin E that contribute to healthier, stronger hair. It’s even known to help prevent breakage and promote growth.

      Almond oil is great at sealing in moisture and smoothing hair cuticles to prevent shedding and increase shine.

      While it may be possible to use the shampoo for cleansing without these two ingredients, they are definitely important additions for getting all the healthy hair benefits of the original recipe.

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      • Hair growth depends on genetics + health; what you put IN your body will be more of a factor in how long and strong your hair is than what you do on the outside. However, making sure your hair is properly moisturized (including not stripping the natural oils your scalp makes especially for your curls and kinks) is paramount in retaining length and stopping breakage. This shampoo will certainly help in that area. Try the honey-almond conditioner, too!

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