Thursday, November 3, 2011

you too can make your own baby shampoo

Over the last few days, there's been some chatter in the news about Johnson & Johnson having two potentially cancer-causing chemicals in their baby shampoo. I generally take this type of thing with a grain of salt and don't pay much attention to the outcome, but this one just makes me angry. We've been using J&J's Baby Wash (which also contains quaternium-15) on both of the boys since they were born. And the thought of rubbing formaldehyde on their wee melons... ::shudder::

You can take away what you want to from the story and make the best decision for your family. I thought we could do better. There's tons of other options for organic and natural baby washes, but they can be pretty pricey. And now that we all know I'm pinching pennies, I was on the lookout for something more cost friendly.

So! I made my own. And? It was so easy I should have done this long ago. It literally took 15 minutes from start until I was washing Jbug's hair with it.

I used this "recipe":

And I took pictures!

You'll need:
12 oz. distilled water
4-5 Tablespoons of castile soap flakes
1-2 drops essential oil (I used orange, lavender would be lovely too)
a storage container (I used an old salad dressing jar)

A few notes: To get the soap flakes, I just bought the bars and used my cheese grater. You can probably use the liquid castile soap too, but I'm not sure what the conversion on it would be (let me know if you try it though, I'm curious!). Castile soap is natural soap made from olive oil, mine also had coconut oil in it. I got the soap and essential oil from our local natural food market, but someone mentioned Target has the soap as well. It's CHEAP, the soap bars were $1.38 each and the oil I chose was $4. And I have enough to outfit a small island nation with shampoo for a whole year.

Bring the water to a boil then remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Stir in the soap flakes until they dissolve (they'll dissolve, I was worried they'd just get gloopy, but they don't). Then add the drop(s) of oil - it's very very concentrated, 1 drop would probably be enough. Stir until blended.

Store in a container with a lid. Shake gently before using. (Those are bubbles on top, but they went away quickly.)

We gave Jbug a bath as I was finishing up. Gratuitous photo of giant baby in the tub:

I had visions of the shampoo being thicker, but it's really only a bit thicker than water - I thought it would be too runny but it's not at all. I was also worried the soap wouldn't lather, but it did! It's a really light soft lather that washes away quickly - it's really more awesome than our old body wash which took several rinses to get all the soap off. He was squeaky clean when we finished, and smelled just a tiny bit like oranges and mostly like a deliciously clean baby. I've read that castile soap can be a bit drying, so we made sure to put lotion on him.

Let me know if you try this. Seriously, SO easy!


  1. oh my gosh, cute baby!

  2. Ok....tear free or eye stinging? Used as body wash too? What kind of lotion? My kids have wicked sensitive skin.

  3. I am always leary of using shampoo as body wash. How was it on the hair vs the body?

  4. I made two batches today. It was super easy! I used orange oil (because it was super cheap compared to lavender and also because the woman there said it was a good moisturizing oil and it smelled good). I also got a thing of apricot oil and added a couple drops of it, too (because it is a great moisturizer and skin soother).

  5. Ok, Al....just what are you feeding our latest little (big) great nephew??? Steak and taters??? :) So cute...miss all of you! By the way, good job on the shampoo thing. And by the way way...I think JW is almost is almost ready for the big tub...just saying! Love you!

  6. Oh my chub! Cute baby! Neat idea to make your own, but I'm curious as to eye-stinging as well...

    1. Baby shampoos that claim to be "tear free" actually use tear-duct numbing agents (chemicals) so the baby doesn't feel it if the soap enters their eyes. I don't know about you, but I would rather just be careful than to have to worry about a chemical "numbing" their eyes. My son is 20 months old and we have been using these types of washes/shampoos on him since we found out the evils of J&J 16 months ago. He has never gotten it in his eyes and I even make bubbles for the bath out of it.

  7. I'm so late to this post, and so glad I didn't skip it! I may actually try this. Aedan & Trip & I have super sensitive skin. And a little orange scented baby sounds yummy!

    Like others asked, will it burn their eyes?

  8. brilliant! i want to do this... AND make my own laundry detergent (i have it pinned, just need to do it)... do you KNOW how expensive detergent is lately? sheesh!

  9. Just saw this and love the step by step photos and your darling clean boy at the end. Will follow through with our own little ones as well! Thanks!

  10. Hi, did any1 find out if it stings eyes? Thx

  11. Such a great idea. I have tried making everything except baby soap. It just dawned on me as I neared the end of yet ANOTHER bottle of liquid gold ( that I could probably make something just as nice to bath him in!! I will DEFINITELY be trying this and hopefully saving myself lots of $$$! BTW, I wanted to add about the lavender oil:

    Lavender and Tea Tree Oils May Cause Breast Growth in Boys: A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that repeated topical use of products containing lavender oil and/or tea tree oil may cause prepubertal gynecomastia, a rare condition resulting in enlarged breast tissue in boys prior to puberty, and for which a cause is seldom identified.

    Thanks mama! Can't wait to try it!

  12. The above comment is just if the essential oils are not "truly pure". An essential oil can even be "100% pure" but great care needs to be taken in where the oil was harvested, what part of the plant was used, even the climate where the plant grew, and the exact time the plant was harvested. Even the way the oil is extracted is crucial and the temperature. If any of these are not perfect the oil will just smell but be useless in its healing properties, or even be harmful, like the lavender and tea tree causing problems in boys. Its best to research the company before you buy your oils. The ones I have found in the health food stores just mass produce the plants and the oils are not very safe. I teach about essential oils and know a lot of info. The only I trust is doterra brand. You can check out here at to learn more info

  13. Hi.. Great post.. I am trying to make this homemade soap but I am not sure where to get castile soap in India.. If there is any substitute for this please suggest. Both my daughters have thick hair.. will this be able to clean them :)

    Thanks in advance


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