Our Favourite Customisable Shampoo Recipe

Our Favourite Customisable Shampoo Recipe


This is a herbal shampoo formula that I have used for years. It is gentle yet cleansing and leaves my hair shiny and clean. I love that it is packed with beneficial herbs, and you can also add in some essential oil if you wish. It contains panthenol and hydrolyzed protein, which are fantastic for hair, and lastly I love to use moisturising Hydra Hair as well.

Give it a try as is, or adapt to the custom options provided below.

Juliette’s Herbal Conditioning Shampoo Formula

Phase A

1% xanthan gum

53% herbal infusion (refer to herbs below) | or use hydrosol or plain water

3% vegetable glycerine


Phase B

10% cocamidopropyl betaine

8% coco glucoside 

15% lauryl glucoside 

5% Hydra Hair | or use a different oil of choice such as castor oil, argan oil, grapeseed, etc.


Phase C

1% D panthenol

3% hydrolyzed protein/collagen/vegetable keratin

1% Geogard 221

Citric acid to adjust the pH

Optional: a few drops of essential oil of choice


Herbs for the infusion:

I use equal amounts of hibiscus, peppermint, aloe, marshmallow, horsetail and Irish moss. But you could also consider other herbs such as olive leaf, rosemary, even chlorella powder. You can refer to the list here for more inspiration:


Soup/immersion blender

pH strips or digital pH meter

Spatula spoon

Bottle with a pump cap

As the first step, make up your herbal infusion by putting one tablespoon of each herb in a large beaker. Pour over freshly boiled and slightly cooled water, and let this steep for at least 30 minutes. Then strain through some triple folded gauze or cheesecloth so that no particles are left in the water. 

Combine the xanthan gum and vegetable glycerine in a beaker and mix them together to form a slurry. Weigh out the herbal infusion amount needed for phase A, and blend with the xanthan gum mixture to create a gel.

Add in the three surfactants and the hydra hair, and blend with a stick/immersion blender to fully combine. Lastly, add in the preservative, protein and panthenol, and blend again with the immersion blender.

Check and adjust pH to 4.5 with citric acid if required. Decreasing the pH will lead to a change in colour as hibiscus is a pH indicator!

The colour will be a light pinky beige colour if you used the hibiscus. If you left it out, the shampoo will be more of a yellowy green colour due to the other herbs.

Decant into a pump bottle and enjoy.

Can I Leave Out / Substitute xxx?

You can leave out the hydrolyzed protein and the panthenol, although they contribute conditioning properties to the hair so I don’t recommend it. If you do leave them out, just add their amounts to the water amount so the formula stays balanced to 100%.

You can substitute decyl glucoside for the coco glucoside if you wish.

If you wanted a very gentle shampoo you could use only the cocamidopropyl betaine rather than all the other surfactants mentioned - just match the amounts of the other surfactants (so a total of 33% cocamidopropyl betaine).

Other options have been mentioned in the formula.



About the author:

Juliette van der Meer

BSc, BScH, Adv Dip Cosmetic Science

Cosmetic scientist

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