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.