18 April 2022

How to Make Soapnut Shampoo Recipe

Learn how to use soap nuts for shampoo.  This natural shampoo recipe gently cleanses hair, and it can help reduce frizzy hair and nourish the hair with vitamins.  Learn more about soap nut shampoo benefits and how to make a soap nut shampoo recipe.

How to Use Soap Nuts for Hair

Soap nuts are a popular cleaning ingredient in the natural community.  Most people use soap nuts for cleaning their homes, but a soap nuts shampoo DIY can help naturally cleanse your hair and scalp too.

Most homemade shampoo recipes use liquid castile soap.  Liquid castile soap works for me in a pinch, but my dry curly hair doesn't really like it.

I had better success with a soap nut shampoo recipe.  This recipe is simple to make, and there are several soap nut shampoo benefits.

For more natural hair care recipes, check out these posts:

What Are Soap Nuts?

Soap nuts, or soap berries, are the dried shell of the soapberry nut.  These nuts grow on trees that are native to India and Nepal but are found all over the world.  

The shells contain Saponin, which is a natural soap.  When you soak the nuts in water, they release the saponin and create a liquid soap. 

Saponin is all natural and biodegradable.  They create a gentle but effective soap that you can use to clean your home, skin, or hair.

Soap nuts are often used to make a soap nuts laundry detergent recipe.  You can also learn how to make a soap nut liquid for cleaning.

For this post, we will learn how to make soapnut shampoo.  

You can find soap nut shells at Mountain Rose Herbs or from Grassroots Herb Supply on Etsy.  Grassroots Herb Supply has free shipping, but Mountain Rose Herbs has a substantially lower price.

Are Soap Nuts Good for Hair?

Using soap nuts for shampoo isn't a new concept.  In India, people have used a soap nut shampoo recipe for generations.

There are several soap nut shampoo benefits, including:

  • Soap nuts shampoo homemade creates a natural shampoo that lathers, so many people prefer it over using liquid castile soap that doesn't lather much.
  • Soap nuts for shampoo is high in vitamins A, D, E, and K to nourish your hair and scalp.
  • Soap nuts shampoo DIY is naturally antimicrobial, so it can improve scalp health.
  • A soap nut shampoo recipe may promote hair growth.
  • Soap nuts for shampoo can moisturize dry hair and reduce frizziness.
  • Regular use can temporarily seal split ends and detangle hair.

Is Soap Nut Good for Curly Hair?

Curly hair tends to be dry and frizzy.  Using soap nuts for shampoo can moisturize and nourish the hair with vitamins, so it is a great option for curly hair.

Soap nut shampoo benefits also include reducing frizzy hair and making the hair smooth.

Do Soap Nuts Smell?

Soap nuts have a mild scent.  Some say it almost smells like vinegar, but it goes away quickly.

I added essential oils to my soap nut shampoo homemade for their therapeutic benefits and for the scent.

Does Soap Nut Remove Oil From Hair?

Yes, since a soap nut shampoo recipe has natural soap in the form of saponin, it can remove excess oil.  It reduces oil from your hair and scalp without being too drying.

Are Soap Nuts Hypoallergenic?

If you have sensitive skin, a soap nut shampoo homemade can also help your skin because it's hypoallergenic.

While it's called soap nut, it's actually a berry.  Those with nut allergies don't need to worry about using soap nuts because they aren't actually nuts.

Do Soap Nuts Expire?

Since soap berries are the dried shells, they don't expire as long as they are kept dry.  This is why I like using soap nuts for cleaning and for a soap nut shampoo homemade.  

I can keep them sealed on the shelf and make my cleaning products and shampoo as needed.

How Do You Preserve Soap Nut Liquid?

Although the dried berries don't expire, a soap nut liquid or soap nuts for shampoo has water in it, so it does have a shelf life.  

Your soap nut shampoo recipe will last about a week at room temperature.  You can also store it in the fridge for up to two weeks.

You can make the soap nuts shampoo DIY and then freeze some in ice cube trays.  Simply place a few cubes in a bowl and place in the fridge overnight to thaw.

You can also preserve your soap nut shampoo recipe with Geoguard ECT.  Geoguard ECT is a natural preservative, but some people can still experience skin irritation, so always do a spot test.

You can add 6 drops of Geoguard ECT per ounce of shampoo.  This will help your soap nuts shampoo DIY last for up to 9 months at room temperature.

You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of Leucidal SF, which is a natural preservative. This preservative will extend the shelf life to 6 to 12 months.

Essential Oils for Soap Nut Shampoo Recipe

I used a blend of lavender, lemongrass, and lemon essential oils.  They smell really good, and they are all good for your hair.

Lavender essential oil is naturally antimicrobial, so it can kill germs on the scalp.  It is also said to improve cell regeneration to promote hair growth.

Lemongrass essential oil is a great natural dandruff treatment.  It's stimulating, so it can increase blood flow to the scalp and promote hair growth.

Lemon essential oil smells really good, and it can help unclog the pores in the scalp.  It can help make hair shiny and strong.

Other essential oils to use are:

I created my own blend using three oils.  To learn how to create blends, check out my essential oil blending factor worksheets.

Where to Buy Soap Nut Shampoo

What to try soap nuts for shampoo but don't want to make it?  I get it!  

You can find Tree to Tub Soapberry for Hair shampoo on Amazon.  

Soap Nuts Shampoo DIY Tips

Here are some tips when learning how to make soapnut shampoo:

  • You can place the soap nuts in a muslin bag when you simmer the water and berries.  Then remove the muslin bag when the mixture is cool and squeeze well.
  • Soap nut shampoo can sting in your eyes.  Be careful not to get it in your eyes and avoid using on children for this reason.
  • I alternate using soap nuts for shampoo with another shampoo.  I find that using this all the time doesn't get product out when I use mousse for my curls.
  • You can also add other ingredients to your water.  Try adding up to 4 tablespoon of dried hibiscus leaves, neem leaves, horsetail, peppermint, marshmallow root, or stinging nettle.  Strain these out with the soap berries.
  • You can also add 1 to 2 tablespoons of aloe vera to the soap nut shampoo DIY when you add the essential oils.
  • Place soap nuts shampoo homemade in a squeeze bottle for easier application.
  • Since this is water based, store your soap nut shampoo in the fridge or use it within one week.
  • You can use Geoguard ECT to preserve the shampoo naturally.  Use 6 drops per ounce.
  • Alternatively, you can freeze shampoo in an ice cube tray and thaw as needed.

Soap Nut Shampoo Recipe Ingredients

You will need the following to make soap nut shampoo homemade:

How to Make Soapnut Shampoo

Step #1

Place the soap nuts and 2 cups of the water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil on high heat.

Step #2

Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Cover the pan to prevent water loss.

Step #3

Add the other cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step #4

Remove from heat and let sit until cool.

Step #5

Remove the soap nuts and set aside.  Add essential oils to the soap nut shampoo recipe. 

To use your soap nut shampoo homemade, massage a small amount in wet hair and let sit for 5 minutes.  Rinse well.

Now you know how to use soap nuts for hair.

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soap nut, soap berries, shampoo, essential oils
Yield: 3 cups
Author: Cari @ Everything Pretty
Estimated cost: $3

How to Make Soap Nut Shampoo Recipe

prep time: 5 Mperform time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 H & 5 M
How to make a natural shampoo with soap nuts and essential oils.


  • 5 soap nuts
  • 3 cups water
  • 5 drops essential oils (I used 3 drops lemongrass, 1 drop lavender, and 1 drop lemon)
  • 144 drops Geoguard ECT (optional)


  • Small pan


  1. Place the soap nuts and 2 cups of the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Cover the pan to prevent water loss.
  3. Add the other cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let sit until cool.
  5. Remove the soap nuts and set aside. Add essential oils to the soap nut shampoo recipe.
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