Simply Nahala

Writer. Photographer. Soul Traveler.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Yucca Root Shampoo

For many years, my sister would say, "You know sis, you don't need to wash your hair every day." I would reply, "Yeah, but my hair is a yucky mess if I don't." The reason why my hair would get so greasy was because I was washing my hair every day with a chemical laden shampoo/conditioner that was stripping my scalp of its natural oils. Everything that we put on our skin and hair gets absorbed into our blood stream, therefore it is so important to reduce the toxin load in our bodies any way we feel compelled to do so.

So about a year ago, I decided to do a hair detox after trying many organic and homemade shampoos for several years that left my hair feeling drabby with residue that I could never seem to wash out. While transitioning away from commercial shampoos, I washed my hair 2-3 times per week with baking soda and water then conditioned with apple cider vinegar. I like to keep things simple. If I have to do too many steps or use too many ingredients, I won't stick with it, so I used the following regimen to detox my hair:

Natural Hair Detox

Mix 1 Tablespoon baking soda with water in a mason jar and shake. Pour solution on head and massage scalp.
Mix 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar with water in a mason jar and shake. Pour solution on head and leave in for 2-3 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

This left my hair feeling clean and shiny, but I did not like the vinegar smell that remained in my hair even after it dried. Also, my hair went through cycles for about a month where it would get really greasy while the pH in my hair was rebalancing itself. I did use a commercial shampoo/conditioner a couple of times during the detox to get rid of the greasy look.

So how did I discover yucca root shampoo? Well, I listened to my intuition. If we learn to listen to that quiet voice inside, we can learn so many cool things that will benefit our well-being. Also, what works for me may not work for you, but worth a try :)

I believe that my love and knowledge of yucca root comes from a past life where I lived in New Mexico. The mild smell of the root ignites such joy within my soul, it is difficult to convey in words. The yucca plant is native to Africa, Mexico, and the American southwest. Native American tribes used yucca root as a cleansing agent because it contains natural saponin, which is a natural detergent that lathers when agitated with water. They also used it to prevent hair loss and dandruff.

My favorite way to wash my hair is with a fresh yucca root, but I do not have the time to prepare it every week, so it is a special treat when I do. Instead, I use yucca root powder that I purchase from Mountain Rose Herbs. I place 1 teaspoon of yucca root powder and warm water in a recycled jar and shake, then pour on my head and massage my scalp. At the bottom of the jar, there is always some grainy residue that I pour on a wash cloth and exfoliate my face with. That's it! No more spending money of expensive shampoos or conditioners that are toxic to my body and the environment. My hair always feels shiny, clean, and healthy afterwards.

One more product that I absolutely love and use is an organic yucca root shampoo and body bar by A Wild Soap Bar. It is made from yucca root and scented with an antibacterial tea tree essential oil blend. The soap also contains black willow bark that gives the bar a rough texture, which can be used as an exfoliant. My 12-year-old daughter also loves this soap for her hair and body. I will mention though that if you have not detoxed your hair from commercial hair products that contain synthetic ingredients, the bar may leave your hair greasy.

Washing my hair with fresh yucca root is a bit more involved. You can purchase yucca root from most grocery stores located in the produce department. When I take the time to prepare a fresh root, I generally take a bath so I can wash and scrub my whole body, not just my hair. Yucca root contains many beneficial nutrients such as vitamins A, B, and C, niacin, folate, choline, potassium, manganese, calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Below is the process that I use:

How To Make Fresh Yucca Root Soap

1. Remove the outer bark with a knife.

2. Cut up the root in chunks.

3. Pound the root pieces to break the fibers in order to release the saponins.

4. Place a few pieces of root in a mason jar. Add water. Place a lid on top and then shake. This slightly foamy mixture is what I pour on my hair and use as shampoo. You can remove the pulp before pouring on your head. I just keep it in the jar.

5.  I place the rest of the pieces that have been pulverized into a bowl that I dump into the bathtub to cleanse with. While I'm soaking in the tub, I will scrub my face and body with the chunks of yucca root. It is such a treat and leaves your skin feeling so smooth and soft.

How To Make Yucca Root Powder

1. Remove the outer bark with a knife.

2. Cut up the root in chunks.

3. Place the root chunks in a blender and mix into a soft mash.

4. When the mash turns a light amber color, remove from the blender and place on a clean surface or plate and allow to dry completely in the sun.

5. Place the powder-like substance in a container that is free of grease, which adversely affects the lathering agent in yucca root powder. The powder can be stored in a dry container for many months.

If you decide to give yucca root soap a try, let me know what you think!

Your Friend,



  1. What does your hair look and feel like? I have oily hair. Did it take a while for your scalp and hair to rebalance and look clean / healthy?

  2. My hair took over a month to detox, and it was so oily and gross. A sticky mess really. Then my hair started to feel clean and look healthy again. Over a year ago, I cut off most of my hair and have not colored it since, and it is the healthiest it has ever been. Also, there is a time and season for everything. I switch up my beauty regimen. I notice that I use the yucca root shampoo mostly in the summer when I'm in the sun quite often and swimming in lakes and rivers.

  3. I have really curly hair and I use a leave-in conditioner for detangling. Is the yucca shampoo enough for cleansing and conditioning?

    1. Hi Barbara! I just noticed your comment while updating my blog. I use to get emails when someone commented, now I'm not. Need to figure that out. Anyways, I apologize for the late response. My daughter has thick curly hair as well that requires heavy conditioning. Honestly, I don't feel the yucca root shampoo would be adequate conditioning for your hair. I do also use the yucca root powder as a facial/body scrub. Feels so refreshing and earthy smelling. Best wishes!

  4. Boil 1/2 cup water add 1 TBS yucca root powder and mix it. The consistency becomes a gel that you can use for a body wash or shampoo. Add essential oils to get a scent. Works Great.

  5. i have oily decide to give yucca root soap a try, let me know what you think!

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