Step 1: Make your own herbal hair care products. Step 2: Perfect your slow-motion hair flip.
|No magic ingredients in this shampoo and conditioning rinse! Just herbs, essential oils, soap, and vinegar.|
As it turns out, I wasn’t really a hippie at all. I eventually went back to whatever mostly natural shampoo and conditioner I could find in the supermarket aisle.
And that was the end of my hair product experimentation until, over a decade later, I found myself at Storey with a copy of Herbs for Natural Beauty by Rosemary Gladstar in my hands. I decided to try out her Make-It-Yourself Herbal Shampoo and her Vinegar Hair Rinse. For the shampoo I turned to Dr. Bronner’s again for liquid castile soap, but Rosemary’s recipe waters it down and adds an herbal blend, along with jojoba and essential oil.
Her vinegar rinse takes a much milder approach as well, with herb-infused apple cider vinegar (sweeter and less harsh than white vinegar), also mixed with water and a few drops of essential oils. It being winter, I lacked fresh herbs but used what dry herbs I had: sage from my own garden, rosemary, and lavender buds. Lacking also a “warm spot” in which to leave the vinegar and herbs (it being winter, still, and the new wood stove not yet installed), I simmered the dry herbs and vinegar for a while to help the process along.
|Creating an herbal infusion bound for the shampoo bottle|
Make-It-Yourself Herbal ShampooIngredients:
1 ounce herb blend of choice (I used lavender, sage, and rosemary, and Rosemary offers several suggestions in the book.)
8 ounces water
3–4 ounces liquid castile soap
¼ teaspoon jojoba oil (or rosemary essential oil for oily hair)
20–30 drops essential oil of choice (I used sage and lavender)
- Combine the herbs with the water in a pan over low heat, and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for 15–20 minutes, then strain and let cool.
- Slowly add the castile soap to the herb infusion, then mix in the jojoba oil and essential oils. Store in a plastic container with a flip-top lid in the shower or bath. Shake well before using.
Vinegar Hair RinseIngredients:
herb blend of choice
apple cider or wine vinegar
a few drops of essential oil of choice
- Fill a quart jar halfway with your herbal blend. Add enough vinegar to completely cover the herbs by 3–4 inches. Cap tightly. Place the jar in a warm spot and let sit for 3–4 weeks, shaking daily.
- Strain out the herbs, using a large strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Add the essential oils. For use with oily hair, dilute 1 part vinegar with 4 parts water. For dry hair, dilute 1 part vinegar with 6 parts water. You’ll soon discover what dilution is good for your hair. Store the vinegar rinse in a plastic bottle in the bathtub or shower.
- To use, after shampooing and rinsing, pour the vinegar rinse slowly through your hair, massaging it into your scalp. Rinse with warm water and, if you can stand it, a final rinse with cold water!
As for that last instruction, I’m afraid I couldn’t stand it, not this time of year. (See previous references to “winter.”) You, however, may be stronger than I, or live in a balmier clime, like New Jersey. Happy herbal indulgence!
Shampoo and Hair Rinse recipes excerpted from Herbs for Natural Beauty © 1999, 2014 by Rosemary Gladstar. All rights reserved.