30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes – Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care

30+ Homemade natural shampoo recipes – wash your hair like a Victorian lady!

30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care
Washing the hair, 1908

‘The necessity of cleansing the hair is imperative from every point of view; as much for health as for cleanliness, since the hair and scalp cannot be healthy, any more than the skin, unless they are thoroughly cleansed of impurities.

The oily glands of the scalp become choked and they are irritated to over-secretion, making the hair oily, or dandruff is caused. The hair follicles also become unhealthy, so that the hair grows poorly or falls out.’ (The Fountain Of Youth, 1905)

Shampoo was usually homemade in the Victorian and Edwardian era. So there were many homemade shampoo recipes: Some use castile soap as basis, some use natural cleansers, such as egg, wheat bran or salt, and some use saponin-containing plants, such as quillaia bark.

I’ve tried some of the shampoo recipes (you find a link “-> tried” under the recipes). If you try one of these historical shampoo recipes, I’d love to hear your experiences. 😀

Related: 200+ Historical DIY Natural Beauty Products


How To Wash And Dry Your Hair – Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care

How To Wash The Hair

Use Rain Or Distilled Water (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

A ‘secret which is well worth knowing is that pure rain or distilled water is an ideal hair cleanser. Washing the hair in very hard water is seldom successful. In the country rain-water is easily obtainable, and, if not perfectly clean, can be filtered before using. In towns it is more difficult to get, but automatic domestic stills are now so frequently employed that where one of these is in use a plentiful supply of soft water can always be obtained.

A good domestic still, if placed upon the kitchen-stove while cooking operations are going on, will produce, on an average, about a quart of pure distilled water per hour, and this may be used for both toilet and household purposes.’


Oil Treatment Before Washing The Hair

‘Massage the roots of the hair with almond oil. About ten drops will go all over the head. Frequently five or six drops will do. Don’t wet the hair, but only the scalp. The oil can be put on with a medicine dropper. To apply oil with a medicine dropper, part the hair so as to expose a wide white parting. Drop the oil along this. Use only two drops. Now take the finger tips and massage the open parting, using a gentle little spat, spat, spat.’ (The Intermountain Catholic, 1904)

‘Some hair is so very dry that washing makes it brittle. Such hair should be given an application of vaseline or an oil dressing of some kid the day before it is washed. It will then be soft and silky. The vaseline should be rubbed on the scalp, getting as little on the hair as possible.

In washing the hair use water quite warm, with a good, pure soap to make a lather. Tar or castile soap is the best. If the hair is oily, a very little ammonia or soda can be used. Wash carefully, rubbing the scalp well, then rinse in two waters. Roll the hair up in a towel for a few minutes to absorb the water, then let down and rub gently – in the sunshine always, if possible, otherwise near a stove or radiator – till dry. When dry, comb out the snarls, a strand at a time, and brush until glossy.’ (Marin Journal, 1901)


How To Wash The Hair (San Francisco Call, 1907)

‘Perhaps the simplest and certainly one of the most successful ways of shampooing the hair is to let it all down first and give the head a gentle fresh hair massage. […] rub the head and scalp gently but firmly and in a way that makes the blood circulate through the entire surface of the head. A loose scalp is a sign of healthy hair, a tight one means that a good deal of massage and special treatment is required to get it into good condition and eventually improve the hair.

After massaging rub in a tonic thoroughly. This will soothe the scalp and make it more receptive to the shampooing. […]

Warm water is best to start with. This should be well soaped with pure castile soap that it will not be necessary to rub any soap on the hair itself. […] The first rubbing should be very thorough and long, so that every bit of the scalp is cleansed and all the hair from the roots to the ends should be well shampooed.

To rinse the hair one of the rubber tubed sprays sold in any of the drug or department stores will be found to give the best service and to save time as well. […] the hair should be thoroughly rinsed with water that changes gradually from warm to as cold as one can stand it.

The first drying should be done gently with a towel. Then the hair should be rubbed with the warm palms of the hands until it is nearly dry, after which it should be brushed vigorously with a perfectly clean brush until it is perfectly dry.

Just before the brushing is ended a bit of toilet water or perfume that has no harmful chemicals in it may be dropped on the brush to give the hair a pleasing odor and take away the soapy smell that will cling to it for a little while, even if the best of soap is used and the hair most carefully rinsed. Neither the soapy nor the perfume odor will remain long. The fastidious woman never indulges in perfumes that are pronounced. If she uses any they are delicate and fleeting.’


30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care - 1905 Hair Washing
Washing the hair (The Fountain Of Youth, 1905)


Washing The Hair With A Shampoo Brush (The Fountain Of Youth, 1905)

‘The next step after the hair has been taken down and straightened and freed from snarls by means of combing is to apply the shampoo mixture with a brush. These brushes are inexpensive and are made for the purpose. An old tooth brush can also be used, but it is rather small and not as effective as the one especially designed.

The hair should be parted on the top of the head, and the shampoo applied by means of the brush, first to this parting; then dividing the hair, strand after strand, at intervals of half an inch, scrub the scalp up and down from the top of the head, holding the handle of the brush upwards, which prevents the shampoo mixture from running down the hand and wrist. Scrub as hard as can easily borne.

When the entire scalp has been gone over, always in the direction from the centre of the head to the circumference bounded by the neck and ears, then the hair should all be gathered in the left hand and brought up to the top of the head so that the brush and shampoo can be applied easily around the roots of the hair about the forehead, above the ears and at the neck.

The brush thus used removes dandruff, cleanses the scalp thoroughly, and, by bringing the blood to the minute vessels that nourish the scalp, greatly benefits the hair follicles.

The next step is washing the hair itself. The remainder of the shampoo water is put in the basin and enough water added to wash the hair comfortably. The hair is thoroughly wet, and the head is scrubbed by means of the balls of the fingers. There should be a good lather of soapsuds. When this is well done, the ends of the hair should be washed out as if they were a piece of cloth.

Then comes the process of rinsing hair and scalp. This is the most difficult and most wearying part for one to do alone thoroughly. It is easier if an attachment with a spray can be made, but if that is not possible, the water must be dipped up and dashed on the hair by means of a mug. In this and the preceding process care must be taken not to get the soap in the eyes. The shampooing will prove a failure if any of the soap remains in the hair. Rinse and rinse until not a particle remains, or it will be found after the hair has dried that it is gummy and sticky. The last water in which the hair is rinsed should be perfectly clear and clean to show that the soap is all out. This water should be as cold as can be borne.’


How To Wash Dark Hair (1908)

‘Dark hair is more difficult to wash and a great deal more difficult to dry than light hair. Dark hair should be washed with soap jelly […] and dried in the shade. […]

The way to wash dark hair is to first wet the hair with a spray of warm water. Then the soap jelly is rubbed in. It is thoroughly massaged into the hair and scalp. The whole hair is piled in a mass on top of the head and pinned there for five minutes with the soap jelly in it. This gives it a chance to soak in.

Now the hairpins are taken out and the hair is loosened. It is tossed forward into a basin of water and a heavy spray of warm water is played upon it. Dark hair should be dried in the dark, for the reason that light fades it. The lemon and the salts of tartar recommended for light hair must not be used, for the same reason. Dark hair should be shaken perfectly dry. Every night dark hair should be tossed and shaken again, for this is the only way to keep it from becoming soggy.’


How To Dry The Hair

The Drying Process (The Fountain Of Youth, 1905)

‘The drying process is a tedious one. It will not do to leave the hair wet to dry of itself, for it is at this point one is likely to catch cold. Care should be taken, when indulging in washing the hair, to choose a suitable day. If the day is wet, foggy or stormy, it takes the hair nearly double the time to dry.

When the hair has been thoroughly rinsed, wring it as dry as possible; after that shake it out and fan it vigorously with the old-fashioned palm-leaf fan. Fanning is most effective. This may be alternated with the use of the towel. If the towels are heated, the process of drying will be shortened. Some establishments have machines for drying the hair which revolve a fan by electricity, and the air is heated by means of gas. To avoid the danger of taking cold, no wet towels should be permitted to remain about the neck; the back of the neck where the hair begins to grow, should have frequent and vigorous rubbings, and the hair should be dried by being wrung out together with the towel, which helps greatly to absorb the moisture.

If one is sensitive and likely to take cold after a shampoo, alcohol may be rubbed in at the back of the neck; it is not a good plan to rub it into the scalp as it takes away from the results of the shampoo, for the alcohol, when dried, gives a stale smell to the hair. Combing and shaking the hair help the drying.

The last process of all is straightening the hair with the comb. This should be done most carefully to avoid pulling it out, for the tangles are apt to be many and complicated. The comb should never be carelessly dragged through the hair, no matter when it is employed. If a particularly obstinate hair snarl is met with, coax it along until it is far enough away from the scalp for the lock of hair to be wound around the finger, and then any struggle in getting out the snarl will not pull the hair at the roots.’


30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care - 1905 Hair Washing
Drying the hair (The Fountain Of Youth, 1905)


Air Drying Hair In The Sun

‘It is the drying of the hair that the average girl does the greatest mischief. She should beware the rough Turkish toweling, using, with as little energy as possible, an old, soft towel. Then let the sun complete the work, lifting the hair both to ventilate it and let the sunlight penetrate to the scalp. This will in a measure ward off the formation of strata of hair in different shades.’ (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)

‘After shampooing, the hair should be well dried with warm, soft towels, the hair being rubbed or rolled in strands between the folds of the towel. The hair, loose and flowing, should then be exposed to the sun, if possible, or to warm air to dry it.

It is better not to dry the hair with a hot air funnel, or at a radiator or open fire-place. Remember that intense heat makes the hair brittle. Drying in the sun is best; with warm, dry towels next best. Drying will be aided and the possibility of neuralgia prevented by a somewhat vigorous massage given while drying. Rubbing the hair between the hands makes it more pliant and softer.

Combing and brushing the hair should follow the shampooing. If you are giving a shampoo to a patron at night in her own home, a time and place many ladies prefer and for which they are glad to pay extra, it is well to put up the hair as loosely as the patron will permit so as to assure a perfect drying over night and no ill after-effects, such as cold in the head. Caution your patron, if the weather is damp or cold, not to expose herself to it, until her hair is thoroughly dry. Do not let her leave your parlors, in case she has very heavy hair, until you are thoroughly satisfied as to its perfect dryness.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)


How To Dry Hair Fast

‘If a maiden has only a brief ten minutes in which to dry her dripping hair after a bath it may be restored to beauty and fluffiness in short order by the use of a nickel-plated hairbrush with hollow back and teeth. The brush is so constructed that it separates at the handle, and into the hollow back hot water can be poured. The handle is then adjusted and the hair can be dried in a very few moments. […]

Or the tongs may be used if despatch is necessary. The use of tongs once or twice a day is not harmful. Heat the tongs just enough so they will not scorch paper. […] After twisting each lock about the tongs hold them until you can count sixty. The tongs are not too hot, the hair is damp and the pressure is steady and hard. The hair dries under this firm treatment, and the result is a nice, even wave that will stand a good deal of weather’ (San Francisco Call, 1903)

‘In this country, sunny, warm days are few, and artificial methods must, therefore, be adopted for drying the hair. One of these is to dry it before a fire, but this is rather a long and tedious process. Various ways have been discovered for rapidly drying the hair.

A method of quickly drying the hair by the fumes of benzoin has been introduced. The lady whose hair is to be dried reclines upon a lounge or sofa with her hair hanging over the end. A pan, properly protected by a cage and containing two or three pieces of ignited charcoal, is then placed in close proximity to it, and a little powdered benzoin is sprinkled upon the lighted fuel.

The thick smoke which rises, and is strongly impregnated with benzoic acid, combined with carbonic acid, rapidly absorbs the moisture in the hair, which should have been previously well wiped with towels, so as to be as free from wet as possible. In a few seconds the hair is perfectly dry, beautifully perfumed, and ready for the operation of the brush.

Another clever contrivance for rapidly drying the hair after shampooing heats the air by means of a rotary fan, and drives the heated current rapidly through the hair. An effective method is the use of the hot water comb-a thick metal comb with hollow teeth which are filled with hot water. The hair is combed with this until quite dry.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)


30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care - Drying The Hair 1906
Drying the hair (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)


How To Dry Hair In Winter (The Delineator, 1894)

‘The best way to dry the hair in Winter is to spread it in the heat of a grate fire or a coal or gas stove. The heat from a hot-air furnace is not advised, as a register usually discharges too much dust; neither is fanning recommended, because the strong current of air thus produced often causes neuralgia and other affections. In Summer the open air or, better still, the warm sunlight is the preferred dryer.’


Homemade Shampoo Recipes – Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care

Shampoo Recipes With Bran

Hair Wash For Thick, Soft And Glossy Hair (The Woman’s Own Book of Toilet Secrets, ca. 1896)

  • 1 large handful of (wheat) bran
  • 1 quart soft water
  • a little white soap
  • 1 egg yolk

Related: Metric, US & UK Conversion Table

Boil bran in water for half an hour or more. ‘Strain it into a basin and let it cool till it is merely tepid or milk warm. Rub into it a little white soap, then dip in the corner of a soft linen towel and wash your head with it thoroughly, dividing or parting aside the hair all over so as to reach the roots. Next take the yolk of an egg (slightly beaten in a saucer) and with your fingers rub it well into the roots of the hair. Let it rest a few minutes and then wash it off entirely with a cloth dipped in pure water and rinse your hair well’.

-> tried


Prepared Bran For The Hair (Encyclopedia Of Practical Receipts And Processes, 1872)

  • 1 pound powdered wheat bran
  • 2 oz powdered orris


Shampoo Recipes With Eggs

Why Use Eggs To Wash The Hair

‘An egg shampoo is supposed to leave the hair in a better condition than any other kind of shampoo.’ (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906) ‘One of the reasons why the yolks of eggs are good for shampooing the hair is that they contain sulphur and ammonia; another reason is that they are also emollient.

Hair which has been cleansed with an egg shampoo invariably looks full of lustre and brightness, and is soft and silky to the touch after the drying process is complete; but, in order that these results may appear, thorough rinsing is essential, as, if any of the egg preparation remains in the hair, it will be unpleasantly sticky and greasy afterwards.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)


Using Egg Yolks, Egg Whites Or Whole Eggs?

‘Some use the yolk, others the whole egg.’ (The Fountain Of Youth, 1905) ‘Some shampooers favor using only the yolks, and others only the white of eggs for egg shampoo. No sufficient reason appears for the latter variant, the oil and sulphur of the yolk being of distinct value. The reason for omitting the white or albuminous part appears to be grounded on its stickiness, but a thorough beating overcomes any objection on that score.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)

‘The yolk of an egg cleans the head thoroughly and causes the hair to grow. Only the scalp should be rubbed with the yolk, and the head rinsed in hot water. The beaten white of eggs is also recommended as a simple and efficacious preparation for cleansing the hair.’ (Household Companion: Book Of Etiquette, 1909) ‘Whites of eggs are among the most gentle and cleansing applications that can be made. They are slightly beaten and then thoroughly rubbed over the head and through the hair. No soap is needed unless the scalp is particularly dirty.’ (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910)


Egg Shampoo (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910)

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • optional: 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

‘For this raw eggs are beaten, a tablespoon of water being added to each egg. For an ordinary head of hair two are enough. These eggs are rubbed into the scalp and over the hair, no soap being used. Should there be the least trace of perspiration afterward there may be a final rinse in soda water, using a level teaspoonful of bicarbonate to a basinful of water. As this is drying in effect it should not be used unless necessary.’


30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care - Woman brushing hair and washing face 1887
Woman brushing hair and washing face, Eadweard Muybridge, 1887


Egg Shampoo (Beauty Culture, 1911)

  • 1 egg (well beaten)
  • 1/2 pt. warm soft water
  • 1/2 oz. spirits of rosemary

‘Beat well together and rub thoroughly into the scalp. Rinse off carefully in two or three waters. Always be careful not to rub the long hair in such a way as to tangle it. This can be done by holding the long hair up and away from the scalp with one hand, while rubbing in the shampoo with the other.’


Egg Shampoo (The Manual On Barbering, Hairdressing, Manicuring, Facial Massage, Electrolysis And Chiropody, 1906)

  • 1 egg

‘For an egg shampoo use a fresh egg, break the end sufficiently to allow the white to come out a little at a time and rub thoroughly through the hair. After rubbing the head well the same as with the shampoo jelly, wash the hair out the same as in the ordinary shampoo, but apply a little soap or jelly when you are rinsing the hair.’


Egg Lemon Shampoo (The Progress Meatless Cook Book, 1911)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lemon

‘Beat two eggs, add the juice of a lemon, rub thoroughly through the hair, and rinse in several warm waters. Dry in sun and air.’


Shampoo For Brunettes (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910)

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 pint claret
  • 1 gill water

‘A shampoo suited to brunettes is made by beathing two yolks of raw eggs into half a pint of claret, adding a gill of water. This is thoroughly rubbed over, without more water until the shampoo has been worked in.’

-> tried


Soap Egg Shampoo (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910)

  • 1 cake of castile soap
  • 1 pint boiling water

Scrape a cake of Castile soap in a saucepan and add a pint of boiling water. Keep it warm until the soap is dissolved, then pour it ‘into a wide-mouthed jar. It is jelly when cold.’

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp soap jelly
  • 1 tbsp water
  • optional: 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda to each tablespoon (!) of jelly

‘To use, it is diluted with one raw white of egg to each teaspoonful of the jelly and a tablespoonful of water. One-half teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda for each tablespoonful of soap may be added, unless it dries out the hair too much.’

-> tried


Easy Soap Egg Shampoo (The St. Louis Republic, 1904)

  • 1 egg
  • soap jelly

The hair is ‘shampooed with a soap jelly, thickened with egg, and beaten up with an egg beater, like mayonnaise. This I left upon the hair until it had had time to cut through the dust’.


Egg Shampoo With Lemon Juice & Soap (San Francisco Call, 1900)

  • 2 oz soap
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 pint distilled water

‘About as good a shampoo as can be made is as follows: Two ounces of soap, the juice of one lemon, the yolk of one egg and half a pint of distilled water. Put the soap and water in a saucepan and stir over the fire till the soap is melted. Beat the yolks of the egg and lemon juice together, pour the soap and water on it, stir briskly, and, when cold, bottle for use.’


Snow Shampoo With Eggs & Soap (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)

‘A snow shampoo is recommended for the woman with thin hair.’

  • 1 pint snow
  • 1 cup powdered soap
  • 1 egg yolk

‘Melt the snow and strain it. Heat it […] Take a pint of the hot water and dissolve it in a cup of shaved soap. To this add, when cold, the yolk of a beaten egg. Shampoo the hair well with this until it is wet from the roots to the ends. Wash off with clear water.’


Egg White Shampoo (The Ideal Cook Book, 1902)

  • 2 egg whites
  • rum
  • rosewater

‘Beat the whites of two eggs to a froth, rub well into the roots of the hair Leave on to dry. Then wash the head clean with equal parts of rum and rose water. Rinse in clean, soft water.’


Shampoo Recipes With Soap

The Problem Of Soap Shampoo

Strong soaps ‘have an irritating effect upon the scalp, and although causing the hair to be soft in texture and fluffy in appearance for three or four days after washing, the strong reaction of the skin produces afterwards excessive grease, and the hair becomes moist and lax, frequently clinging together in sticky strands.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

‘Soap should never be rubbed directly on the hair, as it is almost impossible to get it out of the hair, and it suffocates the tiny strands to which it adheres.’ (1908) ‘In the shampoo the cake of soap was not rubbed directly upon the hair. The soap jelly was applied, but no soap directly. Soap clings to the hairs, and it is very hard to rinse it off.’ (The St. Louis Republic, 1904)

‘Before soaping the hair always wet it well with water. Never rub a cake of soap directly on the head. It is impossible to get the soap out of the strands of the hair. Do not apply soap lather until the hair has been moistened.’ ‘If the hair be very oily, the lather can be rubbed into the hair and washed out. Again the lather is applied. This time it is allowed to remain on the hair fifteen minutes. It is now rinsed out with a dozen waters, the last as hot as can be borne.’ (San Jose Mercury News, 1904)

‘One great trouble with a soap shampoo is that the hair is seldom properly rinsed afterward. Every particle of soap should be removed, otherwise the hair will be sticky, and it will lack the smooth, glossy look it should have. […] Sometimes soap will change the color of the hair, especially if the soap is not of the best. […]

A little borax or a tiny bit of soda will make the shampooing easier if these are agreeable to the hair.’ Perfume can be used to ‘take away the soapy smell that will cling to it for a little while, even if the best of soap is used and the hair most carefully rinsed.’ (San Francisco Call, 1907)


30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care
Outdoor hair washing


Castile Soap Shampoo (The Delineator, 1894)

‘A good shampoo may be made with pure white Castile soap, which is more beneficial than a soap that contains much alkali, because the oil used in its manufacture is very wholesome, and enough of it remains on the hair to render it soft and glossy.’

  • castile soap
  • warm water

‘Shave the soap finely, and dissolve it in warm water, using enough soap to make a strong, thick lather, which, for convenience, should be placed in a bottle. When ready to shampoo, pour a liberal quantity of the liquid upon the hair and rub it well into the scalp with the fingers.

When the scalp and hair have been thoroughly cleansed, rinse them with clear water until the soap is entirely removed. It is advisable to use warm water for rinsing, as cold water might shock the scalp enough to produce unpleasant results. After the last rinsing, rub the hair as dry as possible with a coarse towel.’

-> tried


Castile Soap Shampoo (The Saint Paul Globe, 1902)

  • castile soap
  • 1 pint boiling water
  • optional: 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

‘At least once a week shampoo thoroughly with the following mixture: Lay a cake of the purest soap obtainable in a quart vessel, a pitcher affording the best facilities. Add a pint of boiling water and stir until a strong lather is formed. Lift out the cake of soap, and, if the hair is very oily, add a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda. Never use ammonia or powdered borax.

Wash hair and scalp thoroughly with this mixture while still warm, and rinse with warm water. Never yield to that very unnatural tendency in hot weather to use cold water for rinsing. The sudden change in temperature is bad for both hair and scalp. If the hair is exceptionally dry, a teaspoonful of sweet almond oil may be added to the final rinse water.’


Tar Soap Shampoo (Beauty Culture, 1911)

‘To tone the scalp it is well to wash the hair once in a month with pure castile soap or tar soap of the best quality. The latter is easily made thus:’

  • 4 oz. birchwood or beechwood tar
  • 6 oz. castille soap
  • optional: borax or liquid ammonia

‘In washing the hair with soaps of any kind, warm water should be used, followed by massage or rubbing, and then colder water to stimulate or cause a reaction of the circulation in the scalp. A spray tube, connected with the hot and cold water faucets of the basin, is most serviceable for this purpose. Do not use the water so cold as to shock the scalp, but just cold enough to be pleasant to the patron’s head.

Use a tar soap only on dark hair, white soap on blond or gray hair. If the hair is inclined to be oily, a little borax, about half a teaspoonful to a basin of cold water, may be used for the last rinsing, but repeated only once in the month , as it has a tendency to make the hair brittle. Its use makes the hair fluffy and lighter in color. Liquid ammonia, a tablespoonful to a gallon of water, is used in the same manner; but the same precautions must be taken.’


Soap Alcohol Shampoo (The Woman’s Own Book of Toilet Secrets, ca. 1896/ San Francisco Call, 1900)

  • 1/2 oz Castile soap
  • 1 quart warm soft water
  • 1 oz alcohol

Dissolve soap in warm water, and add alcohol.


Shampoo Paste (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1916)

  • 2 oz white Castile soap in shavings
  • 2 fl oz ammonium hydroxide
  • 1 fl oz bay rum, or cologne water
  • 1 fl oz glycerin
  • 12 fl oz water

‘Dissolve the soap in the water by means of heat; when nearly cold stir in the other ingredients.’


Shampoo Paste 2 (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1916)

  • 4 oz white Castile soap shavings
  • 1 oz potassium carbonate
  • 6 fl oz water
  • 2 fl oz glycerin
  • 5 drops lavender oil
  • 10 drops bergamot oil

Mix soap, potassium carbonate, and water. Heat until the soap is dissolved, then add the oils.


Liquid Soap Shampoo (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1916)

  • 24 parts soft soap
  • 5 parts potassium carbonate
  • 48 parts alcohol
  • 323 parts water


Shampoo Recipes With Soda

Soda Hair Cleanser (The Woman’s Own Book of Toilet Secrets, ca. 1896)

  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • warm water

‘The hair may be washed in warm water in which has been dissolved one teaspoonful of common cooking soda’.


30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care
Blow drying the hair, Edwardian ad


Good Shampoo (The Progress Meatless Cook Book, 1911)

  • 1 cake Ivory soap
  • 1 pint boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

‘Lay a cake of Ivory soap in a pitcher, pour over it a pint of boiling water, and stir till there’s a good lather. Add one teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda, wash the hair and scalp thoroughly and rinse in several warm waters.’


Shampoo Recipes With Quillaia Bark

Liquid Quillaia Bark Shampoo (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)

  • 3/4 fl oz glycerin
  • 1 1/4 fl oz eau de cologne
  • 1 1/4 fl oz liquid quillaia extract
  • 2 1/2 fl oz rectified spirit of wine
  • 4 fl oz rosewater

Let the solution stand for 24 hours, then filter.


Lanolin Quillaia Bark Shampoo (Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes, 1916)

  • 4 parts quillaia bark
  • 36 parts water
  • 4 parts alcohol

Mix quillaia bark and water, let the solution stand for several days, add alcohol, and filter the quillaia extract.

  • 40 parts of quillaia extract
  • 12 parts anhydrous lanolin
  • 248 parts 15% solution of water and spirit of wine

Shake the shampoo well before use.


Shampoo Recipes With Natural Cleansers

Glycerin Lime Juice Shampoo (Manual Of Useful Information, 1893)

  • lime juice
  • glycerin

‘Occasionally the hair may be cleaned with a mixture of glycerine and lime juice. Pomades and oil should be carefully avoided.’

-> tried


English Hair Wash (Household Companion: Book Of Etiquette, 1909)

  • 1 teacup salt
  • 1 quart rain water

‘Add a teacupful of salt to a quart of rain water. After twelve hours this brine is ready for use.’

  • 1 cup brine
  • 1 cup hot rain water

‘To one cupful of the mixture add one cupful of hot rain water. Wash the hair and scalp, rub well, rinse, and dry with a towel.’

-> tried


30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care - Woman brushing hair and washing face 1887
Woman brushing hair and washing face, Eadweard Muybridge, 1887


Shampoo For Auburn Hair (The Progress Meatless Cook Book, 1911)

  • salts of tartar (potassium carbonate)
  • warm water

‘Put five cents worth of Salts of Tartar in a pint of warm water, rub into the hair, making a fine lather. Leave it a short time, and rinse in several warm waters.’


Shampoo For Blondes (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910)

  • 1 part dried rhubarb
  • 1 part strained honey
  • 3 parts white wine
  • optional: bicarbonate of soda

‘A cleansing mixture adapted to light hair, that brightens without dyeing, is made from equal parts of dried rhubarb and strained honey, steeped for twenty-four hours in three parts of white wine. At the end of that period the mixture, which should have been tightly covered, must be strained, and the head and long hair entirely covered with it. The preparation should stay on for at least half an houlr, and until dry. It then must be washed off in clear water, with a little bicarbonate of soda in the final rinse.’


Honey Flour Shampoo (Household Companion: Book Of Etiquette, 1909)

  • honey
  • flour

‘The Chinese, who have abundant, but coarse, hair, use a mixture of honey and flour.’


Oil Shampoo (Advertiser And Central Alberta News, 1909)

  • oil
  • hot water

‘On the day of the wet shampoo a little olive oil may be rubbed into the scalp, and then the hair may be brushed until it is sleek and shiny. After this process the regular hot water shampoo may follow. This will remove the superfluous oil, but it will not impair the luster produced by the oil. When drying the oiled hair do not rub it with the towel. Merely shake it out and rub it between the hands. In this way the hair is dried naturally, and the gloss will be perfect. This treatment is particularly good for blonde hair, whic will glisten like gold after the treatment.’


Tea Rinse (The Ideal Cook Book, 1902)

  • cold black tea

Wash your hair every day with cold tea for ‘glossy, luxuriant hair. Black tea is the best.


Rosemary Tea Rinse (Household Companion: Book Of Etiquette, 1909)

  • rosemary leaves
  • water

‘The Creoles of Cuba make a decoction of the leaves of rosemary. This water, they maintain, cleanses, strengthens, and softens the hair.’


Dry Shampoo Recipes

Why Use Dry Shampoo?

‘Many women injure their scalps by shampooing too often. Of course, cleanliness is as necessary for a hygienic condition of the head as it is for the body, but too much washing dries the oils, deprives the hair of nourishment, causes it to have a dry and lusterless aspect, and finally to fall.

A dry shampoo is one of the best kinds of treatment that can be given, and if one can take this the third week after washing, and wait another two weeks before the next wet shampoo, the scalp may be kept clean without exhausting the oils.’ (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910) ‘A dry shampoo will be found useful, when patrons are in a hurry to have their hair dressed.

So-called dry shampoos are made of powder that is dusted into the hair, massaging the scalp thoroughly at the same time. The powder should be brushed out at once. This leaves the hair clean and dry and fluffy, the accumulation of oil and dust having been taken up by the powder. The use of dry shampoos is to cleanse and perfume the hair, at the same time getting the benefit of the exercising of the scalp through the necessary massage.’ (Beauty Culture, 1911)


30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care - Dry Shampoo 1910
Giving a dry shampoo (Health And Beauty Hints, 1910)


How To Use Dry Shampoo (Sacramento Union, 1914)

‘A shampoo should never be given oftener than once in three weeks. Meanwhile the tresses may be kept fluffy and soft by airing, scalp massage and an occasional application of the dry shampoo. The latter may be resorted to when it is essential that the hair shall present a good appearance, yet there is no time for the ordinary wet shampoo, drying and curling.

Hold the head over the bathtub and sprinkle the hair generously with talcum powder, tossing the locks this way and that until every part of the hair has been well powdered. A little dry orris powder or some delicate sachet powder mixed with the talcum will impart a fascinating and elusive fragrance to the tresses.

With the head still held over the bathtub – to save the carpet – toss and shake the hair well until almost all the powder is out. Do not rub it into the scalp with the fingertips on any account, but toss and shake the hair, holding the ends in the fingertips. Finally brush the hair lightly and briskly. Take a clean brush and go over it again. The hair will be soft, fluffy and managable and the powder will not show at all.’


Orris Root Cornmeal Dry Shampoo (Advertiser And Central Alberta News, 1909)

  • 1 tbsp orris root powder
  • 1 cup cornmeal

‘On one day each week let the hair be treated to a dry shampoo. […] The materials of the dry shampoo are finely ground cornmeal and a little fine orris powder. Let the proportions be a tablespoonful of orris to a cup of meal. This mixture is scattered on the hair and allowed to remain about ten minutes, when it is brushed out. Then more of the powder is applied, and the head is then tied up for two hours. When the wrappings are removed at the end of the allotted time and the hair is shaken out, the scalp will be clean and a faint orris fragrance will emanate from the head.’


Powder-Less Dry Shampoo (Hair Culture, 1922)

  • piece of muslin or linen
  • optional: alcohol

Because dry shampoo powders can be difficult to get out of the hair, try the powderless dry shampoo instead: ‘Part the hair and rub the exposed scalp briskly and vigorously with a bit of old muslin or linen you have wound around the finger tip. The entire scalp can be gone over in this way and stimulated and cleaned. The friction is very beneficial to the scalp, while the rubbing removes dust and dirt.’ For oily hair, moisten the fabric with a little alcohol before rubbing the scalp.


Cornmeal Dry Shampoo (The Progress Meatless Cook Book, 1911)

  • cornmeal

‘Sift yellow corn meal till fine, and rub into the hair, brush thoroughly, and repeat.’


Salt Dry Shampoo (The Progress Meatless Cook Book, 1911)

  • salt

‘Rub dry salt into the hair at night, wear a night cap, and brush out all the salt in the morning, to make the hair lustrous.’


Orris Root Dry Shampoo (San Francisco Call, 1906)

  • powdered orris root
  • optional: powdered saffron

‘If oily and matted, and it is not yet time for the egg shampoo, sprinkle the hair with powdered orris root, allow it to remain on for an hour, or more, then brush it out lightly. This is the best of all dry shampoos. For blonde hair, add some powdered saffron to the orris root.’


Cassia Flower Dry Shampoo (Beauty Culture, 1911)

  • 8 oz. orris root powder
  • 3 dr. cassia flowers (ground coarse)

‘Mix well together and rub through a fine hair sieve. Use not oftener than once a week.’


Violet Dry Shampoo (Beauty Culture, 1911)

  • 1/2 oz. orris root (powdered)
  • 8 oz. cornstarch
  • 10 drops oil of violets

‘Mix as the above and rub through a fine sieve or bolting cloth. Use in the same manner.’


Dry Shampoo For Blonde Or Gray Hair (Beauty Culture, 1911)

  • 2 oz. fine cornmeal
  • optional: 1 oz. powdered orris root

‘Shake well together, then shake or sift into the hair, Rub in somewhat vigorously and brush out ten minutes later. Or cornmeal alone may be used. It is well to get it very finely ground and dry it out by placing in the oven a little while.’


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30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes - Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care


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23 thoughts on “30+ Homemade Shampoo Recipes – Victorian And Edwardian Hair Care

  1. Wow! This is a really full list of recipes. A lot I would not have a thought to put together in that way. Thanks so much for all your hard work and for sharing it on the Homestead Blog Hop. Can’t wait to see what you share this Wednesday.

  2. I have dark hair so I use cocoa powder and or black walnut powder as a dry shampoo which has worked well. Definitely going to try the bran shampoo recipes!

  3. Thank you so much again, this is such a wonderful post. You made such a beautiful website. I honestly used to wonder if there was a website like this, so detailed, to the point and thorough! I adore it. Some of these recipes are used by my grandma and great grandma. And I’m probably the youngest on here, haha. Going to turn Eighteen in June! Please keep posting, and stay safe during this Corona Virus Pandemic.

  4. I have a similar recipe in a collection that my Great Great Grandmother gathered between 1827 and 1886.

    Wash for the Hair (to cleanse)
    Six cents worth of Salts of Tartar
    3 pints of water
    Stand two weeks before using…

    Thanks for sharing this interesting collection of vintage hair care methods & recipes!

  5. I looked at these recipes because my egg “shampooing” has twice left my hair unpleasantly sticky, making it difficult to comb. My conclusion is that I did not rinse enough, but the rinsing I did already felt tedious. (I do have very thick hair.) How much rinsing would you say is necessary, in your experience?

    1. The trick is to let the egg shampoo sit in the hair for at least 15 minutes (or up to 1 hour), then it’ll clean the hair. If I don’t let the egg shampoo sit in my hair before rinsing it makes my hair sticky too. Here I’ve written more about egg shampooing.
      I have thick hair too and I don’t rinse it more than I rinse store-bought shampoo.

  6. thanks for sharing, i tried the recipe of
    1 egg (well beaten)
    1/2 pt. warm soft water
    1/2 oz. spirits of rosemary
    except i didn’t have spirit of rosemary so i replaced it with a huge cup of the strongest rosemary tea i could make with fresh rosemary needles, we have really hard water so i then boiled a load of hard water to soften it and put it in various jugs to cool, it worked really well actually but even though i used coolish water i still had slight bits of cooked egg in my hair, i also tried using an egg wash just with my normal hard water, and although it did work at the front of my head where most of it was placed it didn’t quite get the grease off the back, so i would recommend doubling the mixture, and most importantly USE the ROSEMARY! as rosemary helps to get rid of any greasyness,

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