UPDATED AGAIN!! – DIY Shampoo if Allergic to Coconut on Whatever Wednesday

Shampoo in re-purposed pump bottle

Since publishing my DIY Shampoo if Allergic to Coconut and the UPDATED-DIY Shampoo if Allergic to Coconut posts, I had a little fortuitous accident. I was making the shampoo, and I grabbed the wrong bottle and added 3 tablespoons of the avocado oil, instead of the grapeseed oil as I intended. When I realized I’d done it, I decided to just add 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil so that the shampoo wouldn’t have two extra tablespoons of oil. I also used a little less distilled water than normal because, um, I did not plan well and I was mostly out.  After the oil mishap, I wasn’t sure whether I’d end up throwing out the whole thing, or using it up as body wash.  Well, seriously, the lather is a lot freaking better and shampoo is thicker and more like real shampoo in consistency. It’s weird to think that it makes that much of a difference, but I’m much happier with it than the last version. And so without further ado, I give you the updated post, with the changes in the ingredients underlined, italicized, and in bold:

So here’s the thing. Being allergic to coconut is a b*tch, once you realize that coconut is in just about every cleaning product on the market. To get a list of coconut derivatives, go here, thanks to Becky at the Allergic to Coconut? blog. Due to some issues with breaking out much more than I should be at freaking *40*, I decided I wanted to try cutting out any coconut derivatives that touch my skin.

First, most soap and shampoos contain at least one of the coconut derivatives on the list, if not five to ten of them. Most lotions, face masks, acne treatments, etc., etc., etc., contain at least one of the coconut derivatives as well. When I decided to go looking at my beauty and personal hygiene products, guess what? Every single one had coconut in them, except one lotion, and when I looked up the ingredients I didn’t recognize on that label, it turned out to be two forms of pesticide. Yippy fricking skippy.

The first thing I did was to try to find a recipe for shampoo, because I was breaking out in my hair, which hadn’t ever been a problem before. I posted this information earlier in one of our Fabulous Friday Finds, but I’ve made some modifications.

I found this recipe for making your own shampoo, which calls for castile soap. Just be aware that even some castile soaps, like Dr. Bonner, have coconut in them. I found a recipe for making castile soap from Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap. Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap does not have any coconut in it. I made the shampoo with some modifications and found it too drying on my hair, so I added olive oil, but found it could be a bit waxy. This time I think I have it the way I like it. I’ve been using it as a body wash as well.

Denise’s Version of DIY Shampoo

  • 1 Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap – 8 oz bar, grated (I grated it in my food processor, dumped it out, put the blade in, put it back in the food processor and pulverized it some more.  Doesn’t take as long to dissolve in the water this way.  Make sure you clean your food processor really well afterwards.)
  • 4 cups of distilled water
  • 1 Tablespoon of grapeseed oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of castor oil
  • 3 Tablespoons of avocado oil
  • 10-15 drops of tea tree essential oil

Grate Kiss My Face Soap.  Place in a glass or plastic container with 5 cups of distilled water.  Stir well, cover, and leave overnight.  The next day, check to see if the soap bits have completely dissolved. If not, stir again and let sit.  When the soap has completely dissolved, add, the grapeseed oil, the castor oil, the avocado oil, and the tea tree oil, and mix together.  I used a whisk, I found it incorporated the oil better.  This makes about 48 oz of shampoo.  I put half in a pump bottle (Yes, it’s a store-brand hand sanitizer bottle, reduce, reuse, recycle, remember?) in the shower and half in the fridge until I run out.  Or you could just make half the recipe 🙂

You can use the shampoo as body wash and facial wash as well, but stay tuned for further posts on facial cleansing options.


    1. Hmm…perhaps I shall add more avocado oil to what I’ve already mixed up and see what happens. Also…this shampoo truly stings if it gets in one’s eye. Trust me. 🙂

    2. This left my hair very oily. Has anyone else had that problem? I’ve already “detoxed” and have been using no poo methods for awhile. I’m currently trying the Morocco Method shampoos but am still having a transition period. Any thoughts?

      1. If you think it’s too moisturizing for you, try cutting back the amount of oils that you add to the shampoo. So maybe cut the amount of oils in half and try it again. I think everyone’s hair is going to react differently. Also, I did find I needed to use a vinegar rinse every two weeks or so. Honestly, recently I made liquid soap using a crockpot, water, olive oil and potassium hydroxide (it’s like a different version of lye) and I’m getting a better result than with the Kiss My Face, but I’m not sure most people want to go to that extreme to make your own soap. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll post the link for how to do it.

    3. Hi Denise, I’m interested in learning how to make soap. I’ve got a crockpot! Can you tell me if you use the liquid soap you make as shampoo? Shampoo has been my achilles heel, I’m struggling to find something coconut free that also leaves my hair happy. In the meantime, I’ll try the ACV rinse and liquefying another bar of KMF and adding it to the mixture to see if that helps. Thanks for responding!

      1. Not a problem, shampoo has been the bane of my existence as well! I do use the liquid soap I make as shampoo, but I doctor it up with oils just as stated in this recipe. However, I don’t seem to have as much of a problem with buildup as I do with the KMF. I haven’t had to do an ACV rinse for weeks. The only thing with making your own soap is that you can’t ever use the crockpot for food again because of the chemicals. Mary Kate managed to find a couple at lawn sales so that we sacrificed cheap ones when we did this. Here’s the link for the liquid soap recipe http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Lye-Free-Liquid-Castile-Soap-from-your-Kitc/ Also, if you’re going to ruin a crockpot, you also might try doing a solid bar soap. I’ve made it a few times, and we did a silly blog post about it, and it’s way cheaper than KMF although it takes time – http://survivingthefoodallergyapocalypse.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/ww-homemade-olive-oil-soap/ The link to the recipe is in that post.

      1. Hi Edith, you can use any sort of essential oil you want, although some may be drying. I tried lime essential oil, and while I loved the smell, it dried my hair out a bit. You could also just skip it entirely if you’d like. The emollient ingredients are really the castor oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil.

    4. Hello! Thanks again for the recipe! I had no trouble with it the first couple days except I wished you had a recipe for coconut free conditioner too, I thought it was drying my hair out too much. The past couple of days though my hair has been EXTREMELY oily, as if I hadn’t showered for a week! Any advice for this oily situation?

      1. If you think it’s too moisturizing for you, try cutting back the amount of oils that you add to the shampoo. So maybe cut the amount of oils in half and try it again. I think everyone’s hair is going to react differently. Also, I did find I needed to use a vinegar rinse every two weeks or so to cut down the build up. However since then, as I’ve stated in the comments below, I’ve ended up moving to just making my own liquid soap from scratch (meaning using water, olive oil and potassium hydroxide) because it’s way cheaper, and the liquid soap I’ve made is way better than the Kiss My Face stuff, as I don’t seem to have a problem with the build up. I take the liquid soap I make and I doctor it up with oils just as stated in this recipe. I haven’t had to do an ACV rinse since I started using the liquid soap I made. Here’s the link for the liquid soap recipe http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Lye-Free-Liquid-Castile-Soap-from-your-Kitc/ The only thing with making your own soap is that you can’t ever use the crockpot for food again because of the chemicals.

      1. Amy, you could try it, and see what happens. You also might want to try switching out the avocado oil for another oil. Maybe jojoba if it’s something you can tolerate?

    5. Hi There… Thank you for your blog helping all of us allergics. I am making a coconut free shampoo from 100% pure castile soap from olive oil, plus a few essential oils. If it works I can send you the recipe…

      1. Thank you! I’d love it if you’d post it for everyone! At this point, I’ve gotten really lazy, and I can no longer use Kiss My Face due to corn allergy reactions (must be in the packaging). I was making liquid castile soap and using it to make shampoo, but I also need it to wash dishes and making liquid soap from olive oil, water and potassium hydroxide is too much of a pain to use it for shampoo too. It’s easier to make bar soap from lye, water and olive oil, so I just wash my hair with my bar soap.

    6. Thank you for sharing this with us. My 15 yr old daughter is allergic to coconut and it has been a pain in the arse to find anything coconut free. And so expensive when you do for such a small amount. I have bought all the stuff I need and will be starting it today. We are all going to start using it since even her touching our towels after we shower she will break out in hives.
      Wish me luck since this will be the 1st time I have ever tried making stuff like this

        1. So far it looks realky thick like the soap formed all back together and I use the food processor and made it into fine powder. It’s only been a few hours though since its been sitting in the distilled water.

    7. Thank you for this recipe!!! It has saved me for the past 6 months! I now make it continually and use it followed by a natural conditioner without coconut derivatives. I could not find one shampoo in ANY of my local stores without a coconut derivative in it!

    8. I am so glad I found your recipe for coconut oil free shampoo. In the ingredients you have 4 cups of distilled water, but in the instructions you say to add 5 cups of distilled water. Can you tell me which measurement is correct?
      Thank you!

      1. Hi Tracy,

        I think I decided in the last version that the previous was too thick for me, but either will work. If you like it a bit thinner, use 5, and if you like it thicker, use 4 cups.

        Hope it works out for you!


    9. When I turned 30 I was allergy tested and it showed i was allergic to an overwhelming amount of things. The hardest ones to stay away from are garlic, black pepper, tomatoes, eggs and coconut. Now that I am in my forties I breakout all over (when I never did even as a teenager). If I eat like a blue coconut snow cone my throat itches an my voice comes an goes. If I eat coconut fried shrimp I feel like begging for death the following day. My head, sinuses, teeth and ears all hurt as if I have a cold or something. It seems nowadays that coconut is in lotions,shampoos,cleansers, an facial masks. Well recently my scalp is itchy, do you think that I cant use coconut products as well as not ingest them or am I trying to blame an allergy for the unusual breakouts?

      1. I hate to tell you, but it’s most laundry detergents and household cleansers as well. The only way to really know is to do an elimination “diet” as it were of all your personal cleansing products, using coconut free alternatives for three weeks or so to see if your symptoms go away. If not, it’s something else. If it does go away, try using your shampoo to see what happens. If it causes problems, you might have an issue with coconut in products. Or you might have an issue with one of the other things in the shampoo. Also, I know that it’s hard, but please, please avoid eating your allergens. Just because your reactions have not been anaphylactic yet, doesn’t mean the next one one won’t be. Past reactions are not predictive of future reactions.

        1. Of course I stay away from coconut consumption since I found out. It’s so sad too because its 1 of my favorite items to eat ?. Thank you for the advice and I will start with checking my laundry cleaning items. I am really hoping it will be the cause of my breakout issues. I never realized other people had the same issues as I do. I feel sorry for them, but it’s also nice that I am no longer alone with my issues.

          1. Darla, glad to hear that you no longer eat it! I was worried because I hear about so many people just giving in to the craving and deciding to be sick, not realizing they are playing Russian Roulette. I’ve got some recipes on the blog for making your own laundry detergent if you need it. Kiss My Face is hard to find right now but some people are also using Olivella Fragrance Free Bar Soap as well.

    10. This recipe is amazing. I have hair that goes greasy quickly and this shampoo cuts through it as well as anything I have bought commercially. I’m still tweaking the amounts of oils etc just to see the difference but honestly it’s amazing. I’ve been using it now for over 6 months now and despite the initial expense of the ingredients it works out VERY cost effective. For those finding that your hair is greasy a) make sure you have covered your hair fully in the shampoo because it is easier to miss chunks than with commercial shampoo ALSO make sure you are rinsing THOROUGHLY because trust me I know it when i haven’t! With mine I put in extra tea tree as a nit repellent and so far my children have not had nits once this school year! It works on ALL our hair and we have 3 different types of hair in our house. I love how eco friendly this is compared to chemical shampoos, I also LOVE that it is coconut free, of course! If like me and you live in the UK then there is a soap available here called Oliva and it’s available in Holland and Barrets for around £1.70 a bar and it works PERFECTLY

      1. My entire family washes all of our clothing (extended family also) without laundry soap. We use magnets in the washing machine. You can look it up! My clothing and towels have all gotten softer! If needed we use oxiclean in the whites only.

    11. I’m in my 70’s. During Covid in April, I suddenly experienced a severe contact allergic reaction: intensely itchy scalp, eyes, ears, neck. First stop, opthamologist for the eyes. No help there. Next, dermatologist. He gave me a list of products for my “dry, sensitive skin”. The ones I purchased made it worse. Finally went to an allergist, had patch tests, found Cocamidopropyl Betaine was the worst of 6 reactions, including fragrance, honey, and latex. I was given a “safe list” of products to try. No relief. I found Becky’s coconut allergy blogspot and the list of coconut derived ingredients and realized I am now allergic to coconut! I have been on 2 courses of prednisone to calm the itching while I search for coconut and palm oil free shampoo and soap (be careful of babussa oil – it’s from the babussa palm!). I’m waiting for delivery of a product from Country Rose Soap in Canada. If that doesn’t work I will try your recipe. I am at my wit’s end! By the way, the shampoo that started my misery is Neutrogena T-gel. Cocamidopropyl Betaine was the first listed “inactive” ingredient. Even Ivory soap contains Sodium Palm Kernelate!

      1. Hi, I’m sorry that this might be your new normal. Watch out for lotions, toothpaste, laundry detergent, and makeup too. It’s a tough adjustment to develop new allergies as an adult. I develop 3 at 30, and about 15 more after turning 39 (now 48) and I have to say the corn and coconut are the biggest pains in my neck. If I could just get rid of those 2, I’d be fine with the other 16. I hope the product from Canada works for you!

    12. I know this an old blog post, but I hope you respond.

      I am allergic to coconut everything, oil and all. But I am also allergic to avocado. I can’t use avocado oil. I was excited when I came across this recipe but realized very soon it has avocado in it.

      Any suggestions on what I could add in replace of the avocado oil?

      I’m pretty desperate to find a recipe that will work for me, as you can imagine, finding a product in store is hard and expensive. Especially since I need to stay away from other harmful ingredients and fragrance. I have yet found a product that is a perfect match.

      1. Hi Chelsi,
        You could try jojoba oil or olive oil and see how it goes. If you think it’s too heavy for your hair, you can reduce the oil a bit and try it again. My recipe was kind of trial and error, so feel free to keep tinkering with amounts and proportions until you get something that works for you. Let us know how you make out! – Denise

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