Make Homemade Soap Nut Shampoo the Easy Way
When I first decided to start using soap nuts for shampoo, I was told to boil the nuts in water for about 5 minutes before using it on my hair. I tried it once and loved the results! So for about half a year, I faithfully boiled my “soap nut shampoo” before jumping into the shower and washing my hair.
But over time, my fervor waned. It took about 5 minutes to prepare the tea rinse. Leaving it out at room temperature for more than few days would cause the natural shampoo to lose it’s potency, making it a high maintenance product (at best!).
So eventually, I moved on to try other things.
But that all changed when a reader wrote in and told me that she grinds her soap nuts to powder, adds a bit of hot water just before showering and makes her homemade soap nut shampoo in no time at all!
Of course I had to try. And I’ve been hooked ever since! Here’s the easy way to make homemade soap nut shampoo!
Step 1: Source Organic Soap Nuts
Because of their cleansing properties, soap nuts have been used by people groups around the world for centuries. Primarily grown in Asia, organic soap nuts aren’t difficult to source online. You may even be able to find them locally, at your health food store!
Here’s the thing you need to be aware of when purchasing soap nuts: the beneficial cleansing properties of soap nuts are only found in the nut’s hull (aka husk).
Similar to an english or black walnut growing on the tree, soap nuts are encased in a tough, fibrous husk that must be removed to get at the nut. But in this case, the actual nut itself has no value to offer!
And this is where the buyer needs to beware! Some companies sell whole nuts by the pound, instead of just the usable husks or hulls. So when you buy, make sure you’re purchasing just the husks/hulls.
Here is an online source that processes their nuts in the USA and sells only hulls. And don’t worry about purchasing more than you can use! Soap nuts will keep for years when stored in a dry, cool place.
Step 2: Grind Your Soap Nuts Into Powder
To prepare your soap nuts for making homemade soap nut shampoo, all you have to do is grind them up into a rough powder. I like to use a small electric coffee grinder for this task.
The nuts are actually quite brittle and it won’t take more than 15 seconds to break them into tiny pieces!
Be careful when removing the coffee grinder’s lid. Milled soap nuts will release a puff of fine powder that tastes terrible and will make you hack and cough if breathed in!
I would highly encourage you to keep a coffee grinder just for breaking up soap nuts. Because if you ever forget and do grind up coffee beans or anything else in the machine, the soapy astringent flavor that comes through will not only ruin your food or drink, it’ll leave you with a very bad taste in your mouth!
Soap nut powder can be stored in a glass jar with a tight lid. Keep it dry and it’ll last for years!
Step 3: How to Make Homemade Soap Nut Shampoo
Once you have your soap nut powder, it’s not difficult to make homemade soap nut shampoo! And the best part about it is you can mix it up in about 30 seconds, just before you jump into the shower! Here’s how it works.
- Measure soap nut powder into a jar or cup.
- Add warm water (as per measurements below).
- Stir everything for 15 seconds.
- Place a small tea strainer like this one over the mouth of a second jar or cup.
- Pour the soap nut tea into the second cup, catching the solids in the tea strainer.
- Stir in a few drops of rosemary or lavender essential oil (optional).
- Head for the shower with your homemade soap nut shampoo (ok, ok, it’s more like a tea!).
The amount of soap nut powder you use in your recipe is going to vary, depending on your hair length and type! Here’s a general rule of thumb to begin with.
- Chin-Length Hair: 2 teaspoons powder to 1/3 C warm water
- Mid-Length Hair: 1 tablespoon powder to 1/2 C warm water
- Waist-Length Hair: 2 tablespoons powder to 1 C warm water
Step 4: Tips on Washing Your Hair with Homemade Soap Nut Shampoo
Because this homemade soap nut shampoo isn’t the typical, gooey substance that most are accustomed to, learning to use it can be a bit of a trick!
But don’t worry. After a few rounds, you’ll catch on quickly!
The primary difference between commercial shampoo and soap nut shampoo is that you don’t massage soap nuts shampoo into your hair or scalp. Doing so will result in a tangled, gnarly mess! Instead, you just pour the warm tea over your head and the cleansing properties will do the rest!
Always, always, always keep your eyes closed and your head tipped back when using homemade soap nut shampoo. Soap nut shampoo is very watery and if you get it in your eyes, it will fiercely burn for several hours, even after vigorous flushing.
I once got a drop of peppermint essential oil in my eye. The burning was awful! And just recently, I got soap nut tea in my eye. It’s hard to say which was worse: peppermint oil or soap nut shampoo/tea?
Let’s just say they both awful and that I don’t think I’ll make either mistake again in the near future!
Step 5: How to Wash Your Hair with Homemade Soap Nut Shampoo
Here’s how you wash your hair with homemade soap nut shampoo.
- Moisten your hair in the shower and then keep your eyes closed throughout the following steps.
- Shield your face, keep your chin up and then tip your head to the side and gently pour some of the soap nut liquid onto it.
- Do the same on the other side of your head, once again shielding your eyes from the soap nut liquid.
- After doing both sides, tip your head back and slowly pour some of the liquid onto the top of your head, starting at the front.
- If you have long hair, gather up the tips and drop them into the cup of soap nut tea.
- Last but not least, pour the last of your homemade soap nut shampoo down the back of your head.
- Let everything sit for 30 seconds.
- In this time, your hair will start to feel as if it’s clumping into thick strands or dreadlocks. That’s normal!
- Rinse well and your hair will once again feel soft, flowing and smooth.
- Towel off as normal and let your hair air dry.
- Just like that, you’re finished!
The Benefits of Using Soap Nuts for Natural Hair Care
Soap nuts are a wonderful, all-natural alternative to “healthy” hair shampoos. Whether you want to detox your hair or actually replace your current shampoo with a more natural option, soap nuts have lots to offer.
And even better? The average woman can afford to purchase the supplies and make homemade soap nut shampoo without breaking the bank!
Once your hair dries, it will be silky smooth. You’ll want to run your fingers through it over and over again. Because it’s hard to believe a nut’s hull could create such a soft, luxurious finish!
As a health conscious, frugal homemaker who doesn’t like having having hair that looks unwashed, I’ll say yes to that every time!