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3-Ingredient Coconut Milk Shampoo

By Tia Ohm

For a few years now, no-poo and low-poo have been the popular DIY beauty topics. Now I think even more people are beginning to realize the importance of using natural ingredients to put on your body since your skin absorbs so much. For those of you who are new to no-poo or low-poo, this is a method of cleaning your hair with natural products instead of commercial shampoos, or simply cleaning it less often. “No-poo” specifically means no commercial shampoo, so you’d use alternative ingredients such as coconut milk, castile soap, baking soda etc. to clean your hair. This recipe is a “no-poo” recipe. “Low-poo” means you would shampoo less often with any kind of shampoo, commercial or those with more natural ingredients. Let me tell you my story about my journey with shampoos up until now. Before I start, I want to let you know that my hair, before this adventure, was very fine, pin straight and oily. I could not possibly go a day without washing because it just became an oily mess. Not to mention I always had product in my hair because without I had no texture or volume.

This no-poo journey began about a year ago. I was intrigued as to be able to go a day (or more) without washing my hair and it looking good since there were so many success stories out there. When I began this adventure, I was using Castile soap. I would dilute appropriately and use as you would any shampoo, and that worked well when I had shorter hair (it made my hair feel like it had product in it, which I loved). After my hair started growing out a bit, the “product” texture, which was a waxy feel, and not ideal if you wanted flowy locks.

You see, I read about people reaching their “hair nirvana” after going no-poo where they obtained the best hair they’ve ever had. Some people claimed their hair got thicker or curly naturally, and I wanted that. After much research and reading about all the different methods (believe me there are a lot), I decided the baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse may be exactly what I needed. I’m sure you’ve heard of this before; it’s a no-poo method of washing where you use baking soda diluted with water as the “shampoo” then  apple cider vinegar diluted with water as the “conditioner”. The alkalinity of baking soda paired with the acidity of vinegar supposedly creates a balance in pH, or at least that’s what I read. For some people this method works great, and hey if it works for you then go for it. But for me, at least in the beginning, it did not work at all. My hair was a greasy mess. “Keep with it,” they said. “Your in the transition period.” Yeah right. This grease ball lasted for weeks and was not improving even if I stretched the time between washes. I paused from that method and tried other DIYS: honey shampoo, just using water, buying commercial “natural” shampoos (a.k.a low-poo) and more. I ended up actually breaking down at one point and using regular shampoo; I just wanted my hair to look good, and I couldn’t take the pressure anymore. (Looking back, I’m sure the stress was worse than any chemicals I was using).

Soon enough, I hopped back on the band wagon and tried the baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse method again. It worked! At least better than it did before. I could finally go a few days without washing my hair and it not looking too terrible. It felt like hair again, and was not just a mess all the time. It started getting thicker and more voluminous, and I think I actually got a bit of wave from it! This was a huge milestone, at which point I knew I’d never use commercial shampoo again. I’ve kept with it for about half a year now. It works well, and my hair is grateful. But where is this nirvana I keep hearing about? Something is still not quite right. I still need to wash my hair every 4 days (I wish I could go a full week), but hey, it’s way better than using the chemical laden products I was succumbed to not even 14 months ago, right?

Recently I came across a post about how important pH balance is, and the fact that if you are applying an extreme basic product to your hair, then putting in an extremely acidic product immediately after, it damages your hair. It is too drastic of a change in such a small time frame. Not to mention how drying baking soda can be. So I thought, maybe that is what I’m missing; pH balance. That’s it! So enters the coconut milk shampoo. It has a more neutral pH and is much healthier for your hair. It combines the voluminous effect of the Castile soap, that I was so fond of before, with a silky smooth coconut milk feel. This combination works great for my fine hair as it gives it texture without drying out, and adds moisture to keep it healthy. My hair feels light and airy too, which never occurred with the baking soda and vinegar. Here is a picture of my hair on day 1 and day 2 of washing my hair with this delightful coconut milk shampoo:

coconut hair day 1

Day 1

coconut hair day 2

Day 2

So far, it’s working great, and I’m excited to continue this for a while and see where it takes me. The best part? It doesn’t smell like vinegar after I shower! (Yes, the vinegar smell does stay regardless of what others tell you). Plus, I can add any essential oils I want to get the aroma that works best for me. So are you ready to begin the journey? Are you ready to reach your hair nirvana? This method works for my hair, and if you have been having trouble with the no-poo method, specifically baking soda and apple cider vinegar, perhaps this is the recipe you have been waiting for. Enjoy!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 cup Castile soap (we used Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk, (from a carton)
  • 1/2 tsp jojoba oil (can use olive oil if you don’t have on hand, but may create a more oily feel)
  • 10 drops essential oils, optional (we added lavender)

What to Do:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a measuring cup or something with a spout and pour into your desired bottle. We used a 2.5 oz squirt bottle (filled with about a tablespoon extra).
  2. The shampoo should last a month, but some say it may be shorter; that is why we used a smaller bottle to use it up quickly.
  3. Shake well before use and apply about 1 tablespoon each time you wash your hair.

Makes 1-2.5oz bottle full (with a bit extra) 

Thank you Wellness Mama for the inspiration!