Perfect for regular washdays and even everyday use - this moisturising shampoo leaves hair soft and conditioned, but most importantly clean. And unlike with regular shampoos, the focus on conditioning elements even allows for a little detangling - hard to believe but true!


Water Phase
  • 109g Distilled Water
  • 60g Lavender Hydrosol
  • 60g Decyl Glucoside
  • 30g Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • 9g Glycerine
  • 1.5g Guar Gum
Oil Phase
  • 12g Coconut Oil
  • 15g BTMS-25
  • 3g Cetyl Alcohol
Cool Down 1
  • 3g D Panthenol
  • 3g Hydrolysed Wheat Protein
  • 3g Natural Preservative (Dehydroacetic acid & Benzyl alcohol)
  • 3g Vitamin E Acetate
Cool Down 2
  • Citric Acid (a small sprinkle)


  1. Measure out your water phase ingredients: Water, Hydrosol, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerine and Guar gum. Mix your glycerine with you gum before adding it to the water. Once evenly disperse, combine your water ingredients together in a heat proof container
  2. Measure out your oil phase ingredients: Coconut oil, BMTS and Cetyl alcohol and combine in another heat proof container
  3. Keep both phases separately and gently melt over a low heat using a double boiler or bain marie
  4. Once the oil and water phases have completely melted, pour the oil into the water phase and mix until combine.
  5. Transfer to a flat surface and continue to whisk by hand until the shampoo thickens and your emulsion is formed. Routinely whisk as it cools to ensure a stable emulsion
  6. Use a scale to add the Cool Down ingredients: D panthenol, hydrolysed wheat protein, preservative and vitmain e. Pour each ingredient into your shampoo whisking thoroughly to ensure they’re evenly distributed
  7. Check and adjust your pH by using either pH strips or a meter. Add small amounts of citric acid, whisk thoroughly between additions until you pH reads between 5 and 6.
  8. Store your moisturising shampoo in a dark-coloured airless pump or squeeze bottle container to prolong its shelf life. The shampoo should last up to 6 months.

This recipe makes 300g. See the interactive moisturising shampoo formula to customise this recipe and amount.

Perhaps you know the feeling? Sizing up a new shampoo, squeezing out a generous dime-sized amount, massaging it into your scalp, only to hear the telltale squeak of a “sulphate-free-but-still-somehow-stripping” harsh shampoo. Copious amounts of conditioner, deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner and moisturiser later the relief of your revived hair barely counters the bitter regret another failed shampoo.

But no more! The only way to be sure you’ve got a winning shampoo, is to make it yourself, and this moisturising shampoo recipe doesn’t disappoint!

We’ll be using my previous natural shampoo tutorial as the base formula this conditioning shampoo.

Why use moisturising shampoo?

Compared to most hair products, shampoos have the singular purpose of cleaning your hair.

Excess oil, debris and dead skin cells can lead to build-up that affects the health of your hair and scalp, but the act of cleaning your hair can also lead to irritation, dryness and breakage.

Moisturising shampoos are that perfect compromise between cleansing and conditioning so that your hair can reach optimal health.

How to make moisturising shampoo

The main difference between moisturising and clarifying shampoos is the addition of oils and other emollients. A shampoo can be mild just by using certain surfactants, but for it to moisturise your hair you will need to add moisturising and conditioning elements.

  • Oils: the key here is to use a deep penetrating oil that can rapidly infiltrate the hair shaft in the time it takes to apply your shampoo. Coconut oil is a great choice as it has the highest penetration of all oils, but you can also use whichever oil works best for your hair.

    As shampoos are rinse-off products the emphasis should be on fast-absorbing oils that are effective in a short time period.

  • Conditioners: fatty alcohols (e.g. cetyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol) and cationic surfactants such as BTMS are a crucial component of moisturising shampoos. Clarifying formulas can not only dry out your hair but also cause knotting and tangling, making it especially difficult to work through tight coils. The “slip” created through adding cetyl alcohol and BMTS smooths the cuticle layer of your hair, allowing for the moisturising elements to penetrate and a more effective clean.
  • Humectants: products applied to wet hair like shampoo are the perfect opportunity to get the most out of humectants. Glycerine, panthenol (vitamin B5) and protein all draw water from the surrounding environment and pump it into your hair shaft. This amplifies the hydration level of your hair, creating elasticity and bounce that are more often associated with conditioners than shampoos.

Part of a hair routine

The vibrant kinks and coils of natural hair can be prone to dryness and damage, especially during styling which is why using a moisture-rich shampoo is so important. However, you can have too much of a good thing! I’ve limited the number of emollients in this formula so that it’s just enough to leave your hair moisturised, without doesn’t compromise the cleansing capabilities of the shampoo.

Shampoos need to be more cleansing than moisturising to ensure that your hair and scalp is thoroughly cleaned. I’d recommend always using shampoo in conjunction with a rinse-out conditioner or deep conditioner to for optimal moisture retention.

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