No SLES Shampoo DIY

Hello there! ๐Ÿ™‚

I am back with a new, simple recipe for a shampoo without SLES (sodium laureth sulfate).

No Sles Shampoo

Just to make it clear: I am NOT against SLES in general (HERE you find a recipe of a SLES shampoo I posted a while ago). I still believe that the best shampoos include SLES (these shampoos have the best wetting ability, the best spreading ability, they feel great, they wash great: overall they give a satisfactory experience)โ€ฆย However this ingredient is not suitable for everyone, here the reasons why:

1)ย sometimes, specially if used constantly, it can irritate the scalp and it can make it itchy. Obviously if this happens, it is a good idea to stop using shampoos which contain SLES, at least for some time.
2)ย for people with thin hair it is not a great idea to use a shampoo with a strong Anionic Surfactant (like SLES) in the first position of the ingredients list. It has been shown through studies that Anionic Surfactants actually weaken the hair and the skin of the scalp (because this is, to make it very simple, the way they “clean”).
However please don’t read it like “omg I will stop using SLES all my entire life”: if it can make you feel any worse ANYTIME you wash your hair (even if you were washing them just with water) you are actually damaging them ๐Ÿ˜‰ so chill: you have been “damaging” your hair all your life, and they are probably still there! ๐Ÿ˜€ (and PS I suggest you to keep damaging your hair by washing them ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).
3) it is not an eco-friendly ingredient, therefore people who want to use ONLY eco-friendly ingredients should avoid SLES (as many other ingredients as well).
[Just to make it clear: there are no real studies about the hazardousness of SLES for health. This is why I didn’t include these rumors in the reason why one should avoid the ingredient. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not everything you find on the internet is true: most of the bad rumors about SLES were inventedย in order to scare people and make them buy (unreasonably) expensive shampoos that wouldn’t contain it].

This said ๐Ÿ™‚ย now a few words about this recipe!
I have made a Glucosides-based shampoo.
I admit that the first time I used it, it was not a great experience: I have very long hair and the detangling effect of this shampoo compared to my favorite SLES shampoo was justโ€ฆ not enough! However: my scalp stopped itching from the very first use, and this was a great feeling! ๐Ÿ™‚ I learnt to love this shampoo eventually, so this is why I am posting this recipe today (I have finished one Kg of it! So I can say it is a tested recipe) ๐Ÿ™‚

This recipe makes for a quite liquid shampoo, which is usually not something I would appreciate; however, it seems functional to the recipe in the way that if it was more thick, it would be more difficult to spread (so if you try this recipe, try it first as it is! If then you want to change something, you can add a gelling/thickening agent to the water phase if you like).
To make it more conditioning I added “Polyquaternium 7”, which you could omit if you have short hair.

[In case you are new to my blog, you find all the explanation on how to make REAL cosmetics at home HERE, together with a list of all the other recipes I posted.ย 
If you, instead, know the theory but feel overwhelmed by the ingredients I am using, I have made a post which reports the links of some of the online cosmetic ingredients shop I know of, you find it HERE. ๐Ÿ™‚ Everything can be done, if you want it enough ๐Ÿ˜‰ ]


Phase A
Water to 100
(meaning HERE)
Glycerin 2ย 
Epsom Salts 1 (this ingredient helps in giving volume to the hair, if you don’t need volume, omit it)
Hydrolized Keratin Powder 0.4 (if you have the liquid form, add up to 5%)

Phase B
Lauryl Glucoside 10

Decyl Glucoside 6ย 
Coco Glucoside & Gliceryl Oleate 3 (if you have a greasy scalp, lower this ingredient at 1%)
Fragrance (oil based) 0.5

Phase C
Cocamidopropyl Betaine 10 ย 

Preservative (you add it at the specific percentage requested by your preservative)
Polyquaternium 7 – 1ย 

Citric Acid to adjust the pH IF NEEDED.

Now to the HOW TO:

1) Pour the Epsom salts in the Glycerin
No Sles Shampoo 1

2) Add the water and the proteins
No Sles Shampoo 2
(notice the color is given by the proteins)

3) Now measure the Phase B in a separate becher
No Sles Shampoo 3

4) Heat it up a little in order to melt the Lauryl Glucoside (the white stuff)
This will be the result
No Sles Shampoo 4

5) Now mix the two phases together
No Sles Shampoo 5

6) Measure separately the betaine and pour it in the mixture
No Sles Shampoo 6

7) Do the same for the Polyquaternium 7 and the preservative. Adding them one at a time and mixing carefully after you add them.

8) Check the pH and adjust to pH5 if needed.

๐Ÿ™‚ That’s all ๐Ÿ™‚ Extremely fast!

For more recipesย click HEREย 
To learn how to formulate cosmetics click HERE
For a list of online cosmetic ingredients suppliersย click HEREย 

Lately I have received from a reader of the forum the INCI ofย a shampoo with SLES but that seems to be extremely mild ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I will start experimenting on that as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Did you like this recipe? ๐Ÿ™‚
Any request? ๐Ÿ™‚

73 thoughts on “No SLES Shampoo DIY”

    1. I didn’t heat it up much, it was just in order to mix the surfactants better and I added the FO after taking it off the heat. I mixed it to the water phase quite quickly after ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. I believe extracts are more “poetic” than effective in a shampoo because it is washed off very soon after being applied so even if the extract could do something to the scalp, it won’t have the time to do anything at all.
        Just my two cents ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Hi! My daughter is allergic to coconut and it’s really difficult to find soap and shampoo that are coconut free! I’ve finally found a place that has glycerin made from soybeans so I’m going to get that and babassu oil for liquid soap but I was still trying to find a recipe for shampoo. There are a lot of ingredients in your shampoo I’ve not heard of. Are they any of them made from coconut?? I would prefer to not use sls so I’m glad I found your website! Thank you so much for all the recipes!! I just got here tonight so you might already have something for kids, if not, that’s something I’m really interested in. My oldest grandson will soon be 4 years old and he is allergic to yellow dye. He has has dry skin and I want to make him a bubble bath with out sls. I don’t know how much bubbles the glycerine will produce.


    1. Glycerin doesn’t make any bubbles: it is merely a humectant (it hydrates the skin).
      To make bubbles you need to buy surfactants and there are many surfactants which are not coconut based.
      I have written many posts on how to formulate a detergent where I explain how to combine surfactants.
      You should check a website that sells online cosmetic ingredients and they should provide information about their products (so you could ask them, if it is already not written on the website, if the surfactant you would like to buy is related to coconut).
      SLS is not a terrible surfactant if you formulate correctly, but there are milder surfactants so you could start from there.
      If you read those posts about making detergents, I explain why you need to mix surfactants (there are also 4 posts about recognizing good shampoos, if you want to formulate a shampoo you might want to read those as well).
      Hope this was helpful! ๐Ÿ™‚


    2. One more thing:
      In the recipe here there are these surfactants:
      Lauryl glucoside (not from coconut)
      decyl glucoside (not from coconut)
      coco glucoside (from coconut) and gliceryl oleate (not from coconut – but they are mixed)
      cocamidopropyl betaine (from coconut)

      You can make a shampoo using lauryl and decyl glucosides and add other surfactants that are not derived from coconut.


      1. Coco glucoside is a mixture of decyl glucosid and Lauryl glucoside. And they are all from palm oil, not coco nut.


  2. Hi! You mentioned about Coco Glucoside & Gliceryl Oleate 3 . Did I mix both and measure 3% or each ingredient is 3% so total 6%?
    How do I change from % measurement to gr or tbsp?
    And also, would you consider this as a natural or organic shampoo? Thank you


  3. Hi! You mentioned about Coco Glucoside & Gliceryl Oleate 3 . Did I mix both and measure 3% or each ingredient is 3% so total 6%?
    How do I change from % measurement to gr or tbsp?
    And also, would you consider this as a natural or organic shampoo? Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello.
      I talk about “Coco glucoside and gliceryl oleate” because they were a single ingredient, so it was a total of the two.
      You cannot use tablespoons as that’s not a valid measurement.
      Grams and percentages are easy: this recipe is for 100%, so you can think of it as for 100 grams. You simply have to multiply EACH quantity of EACH ingredient! For example, if you want to make 400 grams of shampoo, you have to multiply each ingredient *4! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Hope this helped.

      Lastly “Natural” is not a certified word, you can commercially call anything as “natural” as there is no official definition by it.
      I am on phone, cannot check if all these ingredients ate certified Cosmos or Ecocert, but if you want to make “natural” cosmetics, you should look into those kind of certifications!


  4. Epsom salt is actually Magnesium Sulfate. Could you please explain how exactly this salt gives a volume to hair.


  5. It looks quite thin – did it thicken the next day?
    I tried to make a shampoo with sodium lauryl sulfoacetate 12% cocobetaine 5% coco glucoside 5% polyquat 2% vitamin E 0.1% and I tried to thicken with salt – nothing happened even after adding 3grams ๐Ÿ˜ฆ it just stayed very liquid and cloudy – not sure what I did wrong


  6. Thanks for the reply – Wait not Polyquat – its something called vegequat
    Hydrolised wheat protein added at 2% – I will try another thickener and see if that works ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ok vegequat might liquefy surfs as well but less likely (sometimes proteins do).
      However, it is not a wrong shampoo if it is liquid! It is just liquid but you can still use it! ๐Ÿ™‚
      There are specific thickeners for surfactants, or you can even use a gelling agent (even xanthan gum, for example) if you have it! ๐Ÿ™‚


  7. I just like the silky texture of the usual gels like shower gel or hand wash or even washing up liquid

    This is how it looks – its all foam

    I tried to make a hand wash with xantan gum and a disaster it was lol
    I mixed sodium cocoyl isethionate, coco betaine, coco glucoside

    I added some rice bran oil, essential oil and seabuckthorn oil for colour – total oils = 1%.

    I thicken with 1.5% xanthan gum and ended up with an orange goo that split apart the next day


    1. Yes xanthan is gooey.
      If you like usual shower gels texture… You need to use SLES + betaine.
      That’s a very common combination and works great!
      Oils do destabilize surfactants so maybe for that combination of surfs 1% was too much. It all goes to trial and error!
      About the foam in the picture, it will disappear in some hours! ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Yes that will be more “similar” to the formula I made.
      But just to be clear: it won’t be “wrong” even if you substitute differently… It will just be more or less “far” from my original formula.


  8. Hi
    I have SLMI and cocabetine and I want to formulate a shampoo can you suggest something .


  9. Hey There ! Greetings from India.
    Can I add Sles with Sci , I read a few recipes on shampoos, and a specific Foaming Silk was mentioned a few times. Now we do not have this Ingredient here. I was wondering if a Liquid Anionic surfactant like Sles be used instead. I do have CApb in hand to use in the Surfactant Phase of the shampoo.
    How much shelf life can we claim, if I use Iscaguard Peg as a Preserve.

    Many thanks !


    1. You need to make lab tests to know the shelf life, it is NOT something you can guess from a recipe ๐Ÿ™‚
      I am not sure I understood your question about foaming silk and combining sles and sci


      1. Ok, so let me re phrase it. There was this recipe I wanted to try, which has Sci and foaming silk and Capb. I do have sci, and capb .. But not foaming silk..
        Surfactant Phase :-
        28g | 14% Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) (USA / Canada)
        10g | 5% foaming silk (USA / Canada)
        22g | 11% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Amphosol CG) (USA / Canada)

        What do I add In place of foaming silk .. To make it work for me.


      2. Ok the first thing you need to know is what kind of ingredient it is.
        “Foaming silk” is NOT the INCI of the ingredient, so once we know what ingredient it is, we can think of a substitution ๐Ÿ˜‰


  10. Hello. Thanks for ur efforts dear sis.
    I want to make a combo of coc glucoside,cocomidropropyl betaine,lamedoft po 65, olivem 400 ,plantapon sf, germall plus with some nayural e.o and extracts. Will this make a thick shampoo. Pls help as i cant afford wastage.


  11. Hi sis. I made the shampoo twice with plantapon, olivem and lamesoft, by God’s grace it was a lovely shampoo but unfortunately it didnt thicken with xanthan gum and instead gave a gooie appearance so i tried making with only capryl glucoside , it was mild but didnt like my hair so tangled and dry and so now again going back to same formula but this time plantapon (as main sirfactant)and to thicken it am going to add Carbapol aqua sf-1. May be i can’t claim it as 100 % organic after this right? Btw Thanks for sharing your post.


  12. Wat kind of hair type you would recommend this shampoo for.. Would
    It be Conditioning f
    enough for dry Hair people?


    1. “Dry hair people” is actually a very subjective thing. I consider myself to have very dry hair but I know people who have drier hair than me… so my suggestion is:
      Make a small batch and see if it works with your hair ๐Ÿ™‚
      If you have drier hair, you can try increasing Polyquat 7 to 1.5 or add Polyquat 10 or take our the epsom salts.


  13. Hello,

    I was wondering which preservatives I can use for shampoo and conditioners?


  14. This was very helpful, thank you! I think your blog is very well written and the choice of ingredients are amazing. I look forward to reading more of your lovely recipes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Iโ€™m trying to make a shampoo with โ€˜as naturalโ€™ as I canโ€ฆ..I have tried using Decyl Glucocside 7%, Sodium Cocoyl glutamate 7% and Coco Glucoside and Glyceryl Oleate 5% with 4% oils. It wasnโ€™t very foamy and what did foam didnโ€™t last very long. Can you make any suggestions?? Thank you


  16. Hi, thank you so much for this recipe and your blog is easy to understand. There are a few questions, I hope you can help
    1) I google and only found Coco Glucoside and I cannot find Gliceryl Oleate or Coco Glucoside & Gliceryl Oleate (as a single ingredient), can I use Coco Glucoside 1% instead of Coco Glucoside & Gliceryl Oleate 1%?
    2) In one of the comment, you said Germal Plus is a good preservative and use up to 1% but in the bottle the suggestion is up to 0.5% and some supplier said up to 0.8%, is it safe to use up to 1%?
    3) If I use Germal Plus up to 1%, how long can we keep the shampoo? 1 year? 2 years?
    4) IF I use Germal Plus, do I have to make sure the temperature is below 50 Celsius?
    5) Can I use Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (HEC) as thickener? May I know what is the percentage? Should I dilute it with distilled water before mix it?
    Thank you in advance for answering my questions.
    Best regards,
    Peng Yaw


    1. Hi Peng Yaw,
      Thank you. I try to respond as best I can:
      1) you CAN use it, but it won’t be exactly the same thing.
      2) I don’t know why the suppliers would suggest 0.5% because when working on a formula with this ingredient our chemist specialized in preserving systems for cosmetics suggested us to use it at 1%. Would be best to contact the producers about it though, just for safety ๐Ÿ™‚
      3) you cannot know unless you test your formula. I would say 2 years looks like a lot of time though.
      4) I always add preserving systems in cool down
      5) you can but I cannot know the percentage, there are many different kinds and they add different viscosity. You should add it to water phase, yes.
      Hope this helped ๐Ÿ™‚


  17. Thank you for sharing this formula and introducing world of surfactants to us. This recipe is old favorite of mine. Iโ€™ve made it several times as written. Love it. I have made few modified versions as well, based on my hair & skin needs, and Iโ€™m planning to make more. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi there! How could I make this formulation more pet friendly? The ph would need to be around 6.5 โ€“ 7


  19. Hi dear, would you mind to have a look on my shampoo recipe. Ive been using it on my own but my sister get caught using it and she love it. Lol. Since you are more knowledgeable i think i have to refer to u so i dont have to worry much if others want to use my shampoo. . >
    6% sci
    17% coco betaine
    0.5% cationic guar gum
    5% glycerine
    1% silk
    2% cetrimonium chloride
    1% polyquat 7
    0.5% liquid germal plus
    0.5% fragrance
    Water~ 100

    Please have a look and let me know if i have to adjust anything. . Thank you:) you are so inspiring


    1. Hi Daisy,

      I am just not sure about the adding of cetrimonium chloride, but if it works for you I don’t see why not.
      I would increase liquid germal plus to 1% but apart from that it is really mostly a matter of personal preference (which also depends on the kind of hair and scalp one has and how they react to the shampoo).
      Ie. For me ANY amount of cationic guar gum is too high but that’s cause I have very fine hair! ๐Ÿ™‚
      So all in all looks good to me!


      1. Thank you so much for the reply ๐Ÿ™‚ you are such a big help! Can i know why you wont put cetrimonium chloride in it? And what would the guar gum do to your thin hair? A lil bit curious here. . Hehe. . Thank you:)


      2. Well cetrimonium is a cationic surfactant so it doesn’t match with the anionic. It is used in hair conditioners because of its conditioning properties but it is not compatible in a shampoo formula cause it does the opposite of what a shampoo should do.

        Guar gum is sticky on my hair and tends to build up leaving me with greasy-looking hair


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