There are many different ways to wash your hair, including not washing it. But in my  experience shampoo is one of the worst. When they say “for greasy hair” on the bottle that is exactly what they mean. Long term shampoo(ab)use made my hair more oily – so much so I was washing it everyday. Which didn’t look good!

Weaning yourself off shampoo an be painful in the short term but stick with it and you will see benefits.

Here are some gentler, cheaper and plastic-free soap substitutes.

Soap Flake Shampoo

Long ago  I stopped buying shampoo and started making my own. Simple recipe – soap flakes mixed with water to make a liquid soap

Soap flakes are pretty much pure soap and so my shampoo contains  no artificial fragrance, color, preservatives, detergents, alcohol, urea, formaldehyde, sodium laurel sulfate, DEA, propylene glycol – or any of the other synthetic hair care additives.


2 cups of soap flakes
2 litres of water
30ml of glycerine. ( I can’t decide if this makes any difference so it’s obviously not essential

This makes a big pan full.

Heat up and stir till the soap flakes melt then leave it.

When it cools the soap will go all stiff and jelly like. To get it more liquid you have to mix it up again – a hand blender is ideal. This makes a kind of glutinous soap. If it is too thick add some more water. When it is the desired consistency you can add a few drops of essential oils and you have got a washing soap that can be used in place of shampoo.

If you make a batch and store it for a while you might find that it solidifies. Don’t add water whisk it with the blender and it will return to its original consistency.

It’s not as sudsy as shampoo though if you do two washes and you get lots of lather the 2nd time.

You don’t get the feeling it is stripping your hair bare and it doesn’t leave it frizzy and mad. It seems to take hair some time to adapt.

Soap Flakes
I use Soap flakes from Dri pak, a Derbyshire based company. They are described (on their website) as follows

Dri-Pak Soap Flakes are predominantly pure soap – with no added perfumes, enzymes, bleach, phosphates or additives, so you can be confident that they will degrade harmlessly without damaging watercourses and aquatic life.

Soap Flakes have not been tested on animals. They will leave your clothes feeling soft and fresh, and far less likely to cause skin irritations than regular detergent washing powders. They are gentle enough for woollens, silk, delicates and modern outdoor fabrics that have special waterproof and breathable properties, which can be damaged by detergents and fabric conditioners.

They also come in cardboard boxes so there’s no nasty plastic packaging. You can get them from Wilkinsons hardware stores, Ebay or direct from Dri pak.

Wilkinsons also do own brand soap flakes in a cardboard box. More details here.


FOUND OUT THAT… the same liquid soap with a few dollops of body lotion added makes a great moisturising body wash – again without any added nasties. I take this to the gym with me  instead of sqishy soap bars which always end up messy in my wash bag.

Solid Shampoo

If that seems like a lot of faffing around, get a solid shampoo bar from Pure Lush. These come wrapped in paper if you buy them from the shop and plastic if you buy from the website. I know – plastic – but it is a small shrink wrapped bag as compared to a whole bottle.You can find many stores on-line selling similar.


I got to thinking why bother with all that flaking and making – surely soap is soap is soap. Turns out yes it is and you can wash your hair with a bar of soap just as well as anything else including shampoo which is just runny soap.

I find its best to wash twice.

N.B. Dove soap is not good for this.

For my hair I have to use soap in conjunction with an occasional  vinegar rinse. Seems to clear out build up.

After a while you might find your hair stops looking so good after washes. Change soap.

Ecover emergency shampoo

This one also works well and so far no one has twigged. Put some Ecover  washing up liquid, which you buy as a refill, in a nice bottle ( you can dilute it if you think it is too strong, I do). Add some essential oils. Luxury shampoo in no time at all.

Bicarbonate Of Soda

Often called the no poo method. You can read up about it here

Find more hair care products here – including conditioners….



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5 thoughts on “Shampoo

  1. I think that would be a great idea – really useful for travelling or for hotels – instead of those stupid little plastic bottles.

  2. I have an idea to put the shampoo and conditioner in those little degradable balls that dissolve in water similar to vitamin E capsules, then u could package those in cloth sacks then to ship in a paper container.

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