UPDATED – DIY Shampoo if Allergic to Coconut on Whatever Wednesday

Shampoo in re-purposed pump bottle


EDITED TO ADD : Please go see the newest version of this recipe – it’s a lot better!! – UPDATED AGAIN!! DIY Shampoo if Allergic to Coconut on Whatever Wednesday

Since publishing my DIY Shampoo if Allergic to Coconut post, I’ve made a minor change to the original shampoo recipe. When you see the change you’re going to laugh and say “Whatever Denise, like that matters.” But it makes a pretty large difference in the lathering of the shampoo, and also in moisturizing your hair.  I had a tough time over the winter with original recipe because I felt like my hair was too dry.  So I tinkered with the recipe a bit, and got something that makes a much better lather and made my hair feel great.  And so without further ado, I give you the original post, with the added ingredient 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.)
  • 5 cups of distilled water
  • 3 Tablespoons of grapeseed oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of castor oil
  • 1 Tablespoon 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. I’m quite interested in making/using this. I have one question: Does it work with hair that has been coloured? (Yes, I know about the coconut in the product I use.) Thanks!

      1. Hi Meg, I dye my hair to an auburn-ish shade. I do experience some fading, but that’s pretty standard with red colors anyway especially since I’m using a store bought bottle rather than a salon. I suspect it has more to do with my use of a vinegar rinse every two weeks than the shampoo though. I’m going to be transitioning more towards my natural shade which is a light brown, and we’ll see if that makes a difference.

    2. Thanks so much! Mine is a soft black, close to my pre-age 33 going almost completely white in a few months, colour. It’s a shade that doesn’t fade dreadfully. I have my ingredients for this recipe queued and will be ordering in the morning.

    3. My ingredients arrived this morning, living in a rural state means most items are not local for me, I hope to get the soap bit going this evening. My husband is planning to use the shampoo as well.

    4. Wow! It was very easy and fun to make. (I suppose having my husband help made it a bit more fun.) I used my microplane to grate the KMF. Super fine results, it dissolved almost instantly. I still let it sit over night before adding the rest of the ingredients. I “splurged” and washed my hair twice in less than a week. I’m used to a v e r y thick creme shampoo, so I was a bit concerned at the comparative thin texture of my lovely avocado coloured concoction. (DH assured me that it was fine.) My mind had the most difficult time adjusting to this. At any rate, my hair came out squeaky clean, it felt…thicker than usual (this is saying something because my hair is pretty thick anyway). I’m pretty sure that’s just the adjustment to a new shampoo. I debated using my conditioner and decided that because of the colour protection I’d still use it. My hair is very nearly dry and it feels the way it ought to feel. My next project: teaching my mother to make this recipe.

      Which reminds me, have either of you used KMF Lavender rather than the plain scented bar of soap? My mother loves lavender and I thought that might be easier for her than adding essential oil.


      1. I haven’t because I don’t like lavender scent, and some of the other types of KMF have other stuff I have to avoid for other allergies I have, so the plain bar has been my only solution so far. I did add lime essential oil at the beginning but found it a bit drying, so I started leaving it out. If you’d like your shampoo just a tad thicker, you can vary how much water you use, add a bit less, say 4 to 4.5 cups next time to see how you like it.

        Glad you liked it!

    5. Bah! Allergic to avocado too. I have a variety of oils in my kitchen (I make my own skin care products) — apricot kernel, jojoba, olive, rosehips seed, argan, etc. Wonder what might be a good sub for avocado? Thanks for the recipe. Going to try it as soon as I get the KMF soap.

    6. How do you keep the shampoo from being like slime? I know that’s a terrible way to describe what my shampoo looks and feels like, sorry. I have it in a regular bottle that I try to pour it out of. I pour it and need to like cut it with the lip of the bottle or it sucks back into the bottle. It does seem to be doing a good job.

      1. No offense taken, it’s a pretty accurate description. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you other than to make real homemade liquid pure olive oil castile soap with lye, water, and olive oil which might help, which I really don’t want to have to do at this time. I might end up there because of my other allergies, but I’m still in denial mode at the moment. My solution to the problem is to use a pump bottle like the one shown in the picture. It makes it easier to use and control. If you aren’t allergic to coconut, you can try some other commercial liquid castile soaps, but with my allergy to coconut and corn, there aren’t any I can use unless I make one myself. Wish I could be more helpful!

      2. I made a batch for one of my daughters (she who is not allergic to shampoo). Being in her home/kitchen I lost track of water and added about 1/2 cup more. Hers is less slimey than the other three batches I have made. She’s fine with it.

    7. I recently had allergy testing for cosmetic and scalp allergies and found that I am allergic to topically applied coconut products and derivatives of coconut oil. I found no shampoos without coconut products and have since made your recipe for shampoo. Did you indicate that it lathers? Mine does not lather and doesn’t feel slippery at all when I shampoo. I have been using it for about a month now and my hair is clean but not very shiny and kind of dry. I added the avocado oil as suggested. Any other thoughts. The upside is that my scalp is not itchy or flaky. Hard to believe that all shampoos have some form of coconut oil.

      1. Nancy, I know of one shampoo that is coconut free that Becky at Allergic to Coconut has tried – https://www.morroccomethod.com/raw-store/shampoos/heavenly-chi-shampoo-8oz-detail but I just can’t pay $19 for 8 ounces because I’m that cheap. I don’t know if that helps or not. Becky did a review of it which you can check out – http://coconutallergy.blogspot.com/2012/12/morrocco-method-shampoo-and-conditioner.html

        As for the lathering, mine does lather, but not like my old shampoo. To get soaps and shampoos to lather, I believe they add Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which is a coconut ingredient. Lathering isn’t necessary for stuff to get clean, think of the difference between regular bar soap and true olive oil castile soap (like the Kiss My Face). But I’m wondering if you have hard water and that’s interfering with the lather. One thing that you can try is an apple cider vinegar rinse. I do it about once every two weeks. Take a third of a cup of apple cider vinegar, mix it with a quart of water, and pour it over your hair. Be very, very sure to keep your eyes shut (vinegar is not fun in your eyes, ask me how I know), and leave it in for 30 seconds or so and rinse your hair out. I wouldn’t do this any more than once a week because of the acidity of the vinegar. I hope this helps!

      2. Nancy, check out tomorrow’s post on an updated recipe for the shampoo. I had a little ingredient mishap and it dramatically helped the lathering, so I’m changing the recipe a up a bit.

      1. Have you ever made a shampoo out of the One With Nature soap?  I have confirmed with them and the vegetable glycerin is made from palm oil — no coconut.  The lemon sage soap is particularly nice smelling and lathers pretty well on the skin, much better than the Kiss My Face. 

        Nancy Muzzey


        1. Nancy, I haven’t because I avoid palm too because of cross reactions, but I don’t have any reason why that one wouldn’t work if it’s safe for you. Let us know how it goes!


    8. I recently added 1 Tablespoon of Jojoba oil. That seems to have cut out more of the slimy feel. A friend without the dreaded coconut/palm requested a sample and liked it so well that she has enthusiastically requested the recipe.

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