How to Formulate and Make Natural Shampoo

This series is on how to formulate and make natural shampoo. This is part 1 of 3. To formulate and make a natural shampoo requires knowledge of the types of shampoos on the market, understanding the chemistry of surfactants and their purpose and other ingredients to develop a natural shampoo that cleanses the hair but also does not strip the hair.

Part 1 Types of Shampoo

Part 2  Surfactants for Natural Shampoo

Part 3 Formulate and Make Natural Shampoo

Purpose of Shampoo

The purpose of shampoo is to clean the hair and improve the appearance of hair.


Shampoo is one of the most bought and used cosmetic, personal care product . The use of shampoo has continually grown due to more grooming and the trend of washing the hair more often, hair and scalp issues, more shampoos are available for different hair types and more consumers are willing to pay money for shampoo. Babies, children, teenagers and adults use shampoo and some on a daily basis.

Natural Shampoo

The natural shampoo market has grown in popularity and now consumers want more natural shampoo containing sustainable earth friendly and plant-based ingredients that provide gentle cleansing of the hair.


There are many types of shampoo on the market; clarifying, for oily hair, normal hair or dry hair, 2 in 1 shampoo, shampoo for color treated hair, volumizing shampoo, co-wash, baby/children’s shampoo and dandruff shampoo. There are categories for curly hair, textured hair, fine hair, grey hair and more. There can be many types of shampoos in these categories.

Natural Shampoo
Any of the types of shampoo can be made natural containing mostly natural ingredients. Ingredients that are sustainable, biodegradable, mostly derived from nature, no threat to human health, sulfate-free surfactants, essential oils or plant-derived scents for scenting the shampoo. No animal testing.

Clarifying Shampoo

Clarifying shampoo removes build-up of products, chemicals, pollution and hard water. Clarifying shampoo is usually on the alkaline side and can be drying to the hair if used daily.

Oily Hair Shampoo

Shampoo for oily hair is more clarifying and cleansing to remove oil but does not strip the hair of all the natural oil. The pH can be more alkaline.

Normal Hair Shampoo

Shampoo for normal hair is pH balanced and can be made with ingredients that cleanse and promote shine, luster and soft hair. Normal shampoo can also be moisture shampoo.

Dry Hair Shampoo – Damaged Hair Shampoo

Shampoo for dry hair is pH balanced with moisturizing and conditioning ingredients to coat and protect the hair.

Conditioning Shampoo – 2 in 1 Shampoo

This is a shampoo and conditioner in one product. 2 in 1 shampoo is popular for men’s shampoo, baby and children’s shampoo and elderly shampoo. The shampoo needs to cleanse and coat the hair at the same time, performing as a shampoo and conditioner. This type of shampoo is challenging to formulate since cationics do not combine well with anionics. Anionics are needed to cleanse the hair and cationics are needed to condition the hair. The selection of surfactants and other ingredients need to synergize together to produce an effective 2 in 1shampoo.

Color Treated Hair Shampoo

This shampoo does not strip the color from the hair. Generally, these shampoos are formulated at a lower pH and gentle surfactants. Higher pH will strip the color from the hair.

Volumizing Shampoo

This shampoo adds volume to hair and contain volumizing ingredients.

Co-Wash/Cleansing Cream

This shampoo is a conditioner containing a smaller percentage of surfactants and conditioning agents.

Moisture Shampoo

This shampoo contains humectants and hydrating ingredients.

Baby and Children’s Shampoo

Shampoo for babies and children should be very mild with low amounts of mild surfactants and little to no lather and foam.

Dandruff Shampoo – Medicated Shampoo

Dandruff shampoo is an over the counter (OTC) product and is regulated by the FDA. Dandruff shampoos contain active ingredients and must be approved by the FDA.


Look at the hair care aisle and take note of the types of shampoo. Note the names, the ingredients, hair types the shampoo is for, directions for using the shampoo, the container, the ounces/grams and the retail price of the shampoo. Also note how many shampoos in each type of shampoo.

To learn to formulate and make many types of natural shampoo join the Professional Natural Hair Care Product Making Online Course.