Kanned Goods: DIY Natural Shampoo

Five months back, it finally happened.  I decided to go au natural  with my hair.  I had already reduced/cut chemicals, additives, and what-not in many areas of the home, but by golly I was holding on to my Garnier Fructis shampoo and mousse.  I still love the stuff, but have been more than pleased with the results of my homemade shampoo and yes…gel :). My first thought when people say they are going natural on their hair is the “No Poo” challenge, which basically means no shampoo, only baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  Well, there was some courage lacking in this department, so I thought I’d attempt an in-between.  I knew I didn’t want to pay for natural shampoos, so I decided to try a few recipes.

Easy, cheap, and effective shampoo

Of course, everybody’s hair is different, so the “no poo” might actually work for yours.  For some, my recipes might not work (although I think they’re pretty awesome).  Regardless of how healthy your hair is, there will be a transition period, especially if you use hair products regularly.  My transition period  took about a week.  Even if all you use on your hair is a store bought shampoo, you would be amazed at how much it still strips moisture from your hair (which is why so many people feel the need to then add a moisturizer).

I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal, so I vowed not to put anything store bought in my hair for one month.  Yikes.  I was terrified.  I was expecting oily, flat, smelly hair that I would have to wrap in a bandana every day.  For the record, I’m not a bandana or hat person!

Nevertheless, I took the plunge.  I was honestly surprised at how painless it was.  And though I like it better now that my hair has fully adjusted, it really wasn’t so bad.  I used a blow dryer and brush and made it work.

Now, I spend hardly anything on my shampoo, and even less than that on my homemade gel (which I am LOVING! in this summer heat and humidity).

Shampoo Recipe 1:

If you feel your hair is damaged and could benefit from a gentle “stripping” shampoo, I would recommend this recipe for 1-4 weeks.  I used it for 3 weeks and it was very effective.  I personally wouldn’t recommend it for long term use due to how powerful castile soap can be when not diluted as much.  However, lots of people find it effective on their hair.


¼ Cup Water

¼ Cup Liquid Castile soap (I use a scented Dr. Bronner’s)

½ Teaspoon Oil (like jojoba, olive, coconut, or grapeseed)

Shampoo Recipe 2:

This is my daily shampoo recipe that I use now.


Note:  This is for a full recipe.  I usually halve it because I don’t want to store a gallon of shampoo

1 gallon of water

8 tea bags (I like a cheapo green tea best; you could just use water, as well)

1/2 cup baking soda

1/4 cup castile soap (I use a scented one-peppermint-so I don’t have to add essential oils)

3 tsp xanthan gum (for thickening; you could use cornstarch as well, but it tends to clump easier)

essential oils (about 30 drops-optional; I don’t use)


Place tea bags in large pot with water.  Bring just to boiling, then remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 10-15 minutes.

Remove tea bags and stir in baking soda.  It will fizz for a minute or so.

Mix in the xanthum gum, a little at a time, whisking vigorously.  Then add the castile soap.

After it cools completely you can stir in your essential oils (optional).

You can store the shampoo in an old washed out container. (I use a Homestead Creamery Jug.)  I put what I use daily in a spritz bottle.  This works really well for helping it foam, as homemade soaps don’t have all the foaming agents of store bought.

Gel recipe to come next month, and when my hair gets a little longer, I will begin experimenting with a detangling conditioner!

Recipe adapted from:

Kanned Goods: DIY Paint Boards with Beeswax Polish

My son and I have really enjoyed adding Wet-on-Wet Watercolor to our list of weekly activities.  It’s cheap, simple, and super therapeutic.  I love watching him just explore the smooth movement of the color across the page. I’ve seen lots of moms use paint boards for art activities, especially watercolors.  They contain the mess and help the paper dry properly.  Plus, it’s something you can use over and over again (unlike just laying down extra paper).  The cheapest ones I came across were $10 plus shipping.  That’s not a horrible price, but in all honesty, they’re not much to look at.  They're just a piece of wood with rounded corners and a natural finish.   Since I’m a glutton for Googling tutorials, I did.  And of course—it wasn’t hard at all.  These instructions will make 2 paint boards plus smaller boards for use with watercolors/paints.  I also found a tutorial for making my own Beeswax Wood Polish.  I only had to buy $6 of supplies total.

Waldorf Style Paint Boards

Supplies: 1 piece of Birch Plywood (I got a 24” square piece for $5.49 at Lowe’s) 1-2 Tbsp. Beeswax (found at local health food store) ¼-1/2 cup olive oil (or coconut, joboba, walnut, etc.)*

Tools: Electric Saw Sandpaper or Sander

Instructions: Cut the piece of birch into 2 paint boards.  I made mine 12”x15” (to easily fit 11”x14” paper).  You can use the smaller pieces as well, or save them for a future project.

Slightly round the corners of all pieces so there aren’t sharp points.

Sand, sand, and sand.  Don’t want splinters in those baby fingers!

Finish the boards, front and back, with your homemade natural beeswax polish.

Homemade Beeswax Polish:

You will want a 1:4 ratio of beeswax to oil.  Grating the beeswax first is optional, but will make the melting faster.

Place beeswax and oil in a microwaveable dish and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until beeswax has completely melted and dissolved.  You can add essential oils at this point if you want (make sure it is safe for wood and for toys that go in a child’s mouth).  I didn’t add any because I thought the beeswax smelled so amazing on its own.

Pour mixture into a container that allows for easy stirring.  I poured mine into a glass jar with a lid so I could store any leftover polish.

While the mixture cools, stir every once in a while to prevent separating.  It will thicken first around the edges, so make sure to scrape the sides.  You want to have an even, creamy blend at the end.

Once it’s cooled, rub it into paint boards (and any other wood you have in your house).  A little goes a long way.  Wipe away any excess with a towel, and rub any extra onto your hands and lips.  It’s wonderfully smooth and addicting.

Store any extra in an air-tight container out of direct sunlight.  Olive oil polish will last a year (joboba for 2 years) but refrigerating it will double the lifespan.

Our homemade paint boards are working wonderfully!  The watercolors wipe right off and the paper dries quickly.  You can always reapply the polish if you feel they need it.

*Note:  the olive oil finish will have a slightly yellower tinge to it than other oils, but this doesn’t show up on the wood