Sunday, May 2, 2010

Make your own herbal shampoo: Mountain Rose Herbs Blog Contest

Caring for your hair, inside and out

Ingredients for homemade shampoo

One of my favorite aspects of being an herbalist is to incorporate herbs into every facet of my life. Besides using herbs for our health we can use herbs to clean our kitchens, to cook nutritious foods, and to decorate our homes.

This article looks at another aspect of incorporating herbs into our lives – washing our hair.

Walking down the personal hygiene aisle of a grocery store you can easily get overwhelmed at the amazing amount of choices. You can also easily get overwhelmed at the amazingly high prices!

Besides being pricy, conventional shampoos can contain many harmful chemicals.
One example is parabens. These chemicals are a common ingredient in hair care products and have been linked to cancer. Surprisingly, shampoos claiming to be more “natural” can also contain harmful ingredients.

In today’s recipe we’ll make affordable organic shampoo with herbs!

But first a word about healthy hair.

Our hair (like our skin and nails) is a reflection of what is going on inside our bodies. Healthy hair comes from within. A diet rich in nutrients will do more for keeping your hair healthy than any fancy shampoo.

Many of us wash our hair daily but this can actually dry out and further damage hair. I have gone through periods of my life when I never washed my hair. Instead I rinsed it vigorously with water while bathing. You might think that I had oily unhealthy looking hair, but I frequently got compliments on my curly locks.

Now that I live in a drier climate I’ve found that I need to wash my hair, but no more than a couple of times a week. If you currently wash your hair daily and would like to experience the benefits of fewer washings I recommend slowly cutting back to every other day, then every two days, etc. You might find your hair to be oily during these transition periods, but once your hair regains its natural balance you’ll notice this less and less.

Another thing to take note of is that the squeaky clean feeling we are used to experiencing with conventional shampoos is actually signaling that we are stripping the hair of its natural and beneficial oils.

The following recipe works well for people with more oily hair. Please see below for variations for different hair types.

To make this shampoo recipe you’ll need:

8 oz distilled water
2 teaspoons of dried rosemary
2 teaspoons of dried rose petals
3 ounces liquid castile soap
3 Tablespoon aloe vera gel
¼ teaspoon of jojoba oil
30 drops of pure rosemary essential oil

Place the rosemary and rose petals into a jar.

Fill the jar with boiling water and immediately place a lid over the jar.

Let this mixture steep for a minimum of 30 minutes. Sometimes I just let the mixture stand until cool.

Strain the herbs. Let the remaining liquid cool to room temperature.

Place the liquid into a shampoo bottle. (You can buy a new shampoo-like bottle or simply store it in an old shampoo bottle that has been washed out. If wanting new bottles Mountain Rose Herbs also carries them.)

Add the castile soap to the container

Then add the jojoba oil and rosemary essential oil.

And finally add the aloe vera gel.

Shake well and voila! You have your own handmade herbal shampoo. You’ll want to shake this mixture each time before you use it.

This shampoo should last for several weeks. If it will take you longer than that to use the whole content you may consider keeping a portion of it in the fridge to prolong the shelf life.

If you don’t have distilled water (you can buy it at any grocery store), you can use regular water – but this may lead to a shorter shelf life. The distilled water ensures that you aren’t adding any bacteria to the mix.

(Feel free to mix and match herbs. This recipe uses about 3 teaspoons of dried herbal material.)

If you have blond or lightly colored hair you might use chamomile and calendula in your herbal mix.

For a dark blend you can mix nettle, sage, and black walnut hulls.

For dry hair try violet leaf and marshmallow root and possibly add more oil to your recipe.

To strengthen your hair, simmer horsetail, oatstraw, and nettle for twenty minutes. Strain and cool. Use this as your herbal base.

Besides rosemary essential oil you might also enjoy chamomile, lavender, and sage essential oils. If you have an itchy scalp and/or dandruff you might try adding tea tree oil to the mix.

Besides jojoba oil you can try almond oil, sesame oil, or even olive oil. Note that olive oil will leave more of a greasy feeling than jojoba or sesame oil. If you have really dry hair you can add a bit more oil to your recipe. If you have really oily hair stick to the jojoba oil and possibly add less to your recipe.

Enjoy your herbal shampoo!

This has been a post as part of the Mountain Rose Herbs Blog Contest.


Chantal said...

Great recipe! I've wanted to try making a natural shampoo for a while now, and this one looks great - I think I'll give it a try!

keratin shampoo said...

A friend gave me this (herbal shampoo) before as a gift and I can say that I fell inlove with this product. I'm planning to buy more of this again

thank you for sharing.
It' great post.

Erin said...

Congratulations, Rosalee! Your recipe has won the Mountain Rose Herbs Herbal Recipe Contest for the body care category. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful formula with us!

Please send an email to pr at mountainroseherbs dot com with your mailing information and I will send the gift certificate your way.

Many herbal cheers!

Strix said...

Beautiful! I can see why it's a winner. Will try this mixture next :^)

Congratulations on your win.

Sammy said...

I totally want to do this, but do you have any suggestions to add to the shampoo for a dry scalp (rather than dry hair)? After using Jason's anti-dandruff shampoo my scalp finally healed itself, but I'm a little nervous to stop using it specifically so the dryness doesn't come back. :B

Rosalee de la Foret said...

I am not sure about this recipe and dandruff, although I'd suspect that the aloe would be great for this type of condition. There is one theory that dandruff is caused by a fungal infection - the aloe and the rosemary would be great in that instance. I'd say give it a go and see how it turns out.

Anonymous said...

I know that you will probably cringe at this but I color my hair. Will this herbal shampoo strip hair color?

Rosalee de la Foret said...

No cringing here. :) I've dyed my hair for most of my life - the only reason I don't dye it now is laziness.

Honestly I haven't used this shampoo on colored hair, but there is no reason that it would strip the color. It's very gentle.

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I've read your blog. I'm glad I found it! I just have a couple of questions...

Can I add the herb and essential oil to a name brand shampoo for its strengthening quality until I get a chance to collect the ingredients to make my own? And, do you have a recipe for a detangling conditioner to complement your shampoo?

Thank you!

Rosalee de la Foret said...

I am not sure about adding the herbs and essential oils to another shampoo. I've never done that, but you could certainly give it a try.

For a hair rinse I really like a vinegar rinse. Simply infuse rosemary into apple cider vinegar (use a plastic lid) for 6 weeks, strain. Mix the vinegar with water. I do 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, place it in a spray bottle and spray on your hair after shampooing. You can leave it in or rinse it out. Once your hair is dry it will not smell like vinegar.

Anonymous said...

I am really excited to try this shampoo! I am curious about one thing: why does it have to be stored in the fridge if not used within the given time frame? Just wondering...

Thanks so much for sharing!

Rosalee de la Foret said...

I've heard reports of it spoiling although this hasn't happened to me yet, but I wanted to mention it as a precaution. Enjoy!

Buffie said...

I'm having a hard time finding dried roses and rosemary. Can it be made with everything but the dried ingredients? Thanks. (not wanting to spend a fortune ordering online)

Rosalee de la Foret said...

Buffie, You could use it without the dried herbs but I highly suggest using them. Rosemary can be found at any grocery store. Also there are lots of different herbs you can use lavender, chamomile and on and on and on. Have fun!

BUFFIE said...

Thanks so much, Rosalee! I'm def. going to make this and will experiment with what I can find locally! *GRIN*

a pine cone said...

Ahh, can't wait to try this out!

Jamaican herbs said...

This is an interesting post! great for us who are interested in herbs.I like the shampoo recipe definitely will try it ! said...

I was wondering about the rosemary essential oil. Does it serve a purpose other than scent? Like, can you replace the essential oil with a different essential oil or are the qualities in the rosemary oil that make it the preferred choice?

Rosalee de la Foret said...

Rosemary has a strong affinity for the hair. It is commonly used to promote hair growth. But any essential oil that you want can be used - I always figure that recipes are meant to be experimented with. Enjoy.

gina maria comaduran said...

hi, thanks so much for this post. i made this today and have been using it as a body wash. my question is this: i've seen posted on other sites all these warnings about home made personal care recipes that end up being breeding grounds for bacteria...anything, so the reports go, that has water in it and/or aloe. do you know anything about this? i basically have been keeping my new shampoo/body wash in the fridge due to the alarming tone of some of the posts i've seen and now am just wondering what your thoughts/experiences have been with this issue. thanks again.

Rosalee de la Forêt said...

Hi Gina Marie,

I wouldn't use anything that has mold or other signs of spoilage. Otherwise I don't get too worked up about bacteria and germs - they are everywhere you know!

If this was being eaten or taken internally I could see reason for concern. But external use doesn't phase me.

If anyone has personal experience with the bacteria in homemade personal products causing problems I'd love to hear about it!

gina maria comaduran said...

thanks so much for the reply. i am soooo not a worrier about germs and such and i'm sure i'll use all this batch up before any spoilage could even think of occurring, but i'm also glad i checked in to see what a more experienced diy-er had to say about it. thanks again, love your blog! :)

Bonnie Jaeckle said...

Rosalee or others who have used this.... have youhad any problems with the Castile saop leaving a layer of "scum" on your hair? I've made other shampoo recipes with castile soap and have had this problem. I'm hesitant to try another. Any insights? Thanks!

Rosalee de la Forêt said...

I haven't had a problem with that Bonnie.

Kelly said...

I am going to make this shampoo this weekend. Thanks for such a great recipe. I have been looking for something like this and was just unsure how to go about it myself. Thanks Rosalee!

Amber Schaeffer said...

I made the shampoo, and I love that the products are all natural, but I'm hair always feels extremely grease right after I wash it. I know my hair is still "getting used" to it but should there be that big of a difference. I've been using the new product for about a week now.

Rosalee de la Forêt said...

Sorry to hear that Amber, maybe this isn't the type of shampoo for you. I've never felt like my hair was greasy after using it. You could try it for another week to see if your hair adapts, but that is definitely not the way it should be!

Cindi said...

Rosalee, have you ever tried rosehip oil with this shampoo?

Rosalee de la Forêt said...

Hi Cindi,

I haven't tried that, if you do let me know how it goes.

Liza said...

I tried to start making my own shampoo last year and it just never worked for me. No matter what I tried: adding a little oil, adding less castille soap, etc. my hair was always dry as straw. Had great body but not able to really work with it. I just gave up after about 8 months. I have also tried to wash my hair every other day but that has not been successful either. Besides my scalp itching terribly between washings, dry shampoo, vinegar rinses, hair loss when I did finally wash it just wouldn't cooperate. I don't post this to discourage anyone but I know someone reading this article will think they did something wrong if it doesn't work for them and I just wanted to let them know that they didn't. Sometimes what works for some, doesn't work for all. It happens and it isn't anyone's fault, things just sometimes don't work out.

Melissa said...

Totally going to try this!! Thanks ")

Lorie said...

I've been using your recipe for a week now and it works like a charm. It freaked me out a little when the rosemary steeping water turned red, but other than that it has been surprise free! Thanks so much!