DIY Shampoo: Soapnut Recipe

I’ve tried many different DIY shampoo versions but this one using soapnuts is by far my favorite (update: here’s a more fun soapnut recipe if you want to play with it more). I really wanted to like both the baking soda/vinegar no-‘poo method and the castile soap method but I couldn’t make them work with the super hard water in our apartment (update: I got it to work! Here’s the homemade shampoo for hard water recipe). This soapnut shampoo makes my hair feel super clean but not dry or frizzy (I’m lookin’ at you, regular shampoo). It’s been a HUGE help as I’ve transitioned to a no-heat, minimal-products routine.  Not to mention, it has absolutely no extra chemicals that could harm you or the water supply and ends up being extremely economical.  It’s a win all around!

DIY Soapnut Shampoo Recipe

What are soapnuts, you ask?  I’m going to cop out just a little and put a link here because the information is already well explained elsewhere on the interwebs. Long story short, these amazing little plants can be used from hair to laundry to dish washing. I’m a huge fan and strongly recommend you give them a whirl.  (Side note, I haven’t used them as a laundry detergent yet but stay tuned for my adventures in that soon!)

So here’s the plan: today I’m going to share my soapnut recipe. Tomorrow, I’ll post pictures and a description of how I actually go through the washing process. Then it’ll be on to the herbal conditioner recipe that I absolutely love (and that actually tames my wild heat-damage-induced frizz!). Eventually I’ll go through what M. Dig uses (if you’re new to the blog, that’s my mother) and a couple other combinations that I have found work in places with softer water. Can you tell I’ve spent some time on this??

But enough of the chit-chat…let’s get started.

What you’ll need:

– 10 soapnuts (here’s the kind I get…see more notes on soapnuts below)
– 12 0z or 1.5 cups of water (I feel like the shampoo suds a tad bit better with distilled water but I use my hard tap water because it’s cheaper and it works just fine…see tomorrow’s pictures for proof)
-container to “brew” the solution in
-cheese cloth (optional but you could end up with tiny soapnut bits in your shampoo if you don’t use it)
-jar/cup to strain into
-container to store final product, my favorite is a condiments container

(Important note: the proportions don’t have to be exact here.  It has worked just as well if I use anywhere from 8-12 soapnuts and 10-16 oz of water.)

Here’s the step by step:

1. Put together the 10 soapnuts, 12 oz of water, and “brewing” container.

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2. Put the soapnuts into the container and add the 12 oz of water.

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3. Leave for about 24-36 hours  (too much longer and the soapnuts get too soggy to reuse and your shampoo gets these weird stringy things in there).  It’s hard to tell color in the picture below but the liquid will look yellow-ish, like a pale tea.

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4. Strain the liquid with a cheesecloth into a cup or jar (I use a Pyrex pouring container).

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5. Transfer to condiment/storage jar.

6. Either use or store in the fridge (lasts up to a week).

This sized batch usually lasts me several washes.  When I see that I’m about to use the last portion of a batch, I start brewing the next one.

Soapnut buying tips:

I buy whole seedless soapnuts. I buy them whole because I like to reuse them 2-4 times and it’s harder to work with little bits over and over (it’s kind if a pain to strain). As for the seedless part, they are sold by weight usually so buying them without the seeds (which don’t have saponins and are therefore not helpful for this use) is more economical.

Want proof that these awesome little berries work? Here’s a post of my results!

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