Making your own hair products has many benefits. Not only do you know exactly which ingredients are in the products, but you can tailor them to meet the needs of your personal hair type. Plus they are really fun to make! Most conventional shampoos and conditioners are loaded with potentially harmful chemicals such as sodium laurel/laureth sulfate, polyethylene glycol (PEG), parabens and synthetic fragrances. Slathering your scalp with irritants and carcinogenic ingredients sounds quite extreme when all you want is to have clean, soft hair, so why not take it back to the basics?
We have put together some recipes for simple yet effective natural hair products. They won’t act like conventional products but don’t be put off; think of them as skincare products for your hair. After all, we know it’s important to cleanse our skin gently to avoid stripping away its natural oils, and the same goes for our hair. Harsh, foaming shampoos can strip away your hair’s natural oils, meaning it produces even more oil to compensate. Before you switch to natural products you may need to rid your hair of product build up (especially silicones which are added to a lot of chemical shampoos and conditioners) by using the clarifying shampoo.
Most of our recipes can be personalised using herbs and essential oils for your particular hair type and colour. If you have sensitive skin or coloured hair, it is advisable to do a patch test before trying any of the recipes.
Essential oils for haircare
Normal – geranium, palmarosa, lavender, rosemary, ylang ylang.
Dry – elemi, geranium, palmarosa, rosemary, sandalwood.
Oily – cedarwood Virginian, cypress, geranium, grapefruit, juniper berry, lemon, West Indian bay, lime, rosemary, petitgrain.
Dandruff – bergamot, lavender, cedarwood Atlas, patchouli, rosemary, tea tree, West Indian bay.
Itchy scalp – chamomile Roman, chamomile German, helichrysum, lavender.
Herbs for haircare
Normal – basil, calendula, chamomile, lavender, nettle, rosemary, sage.
Dry – calendula, chamomile, lavender, nettle, sage.
Oily – lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary.
Dandruff/itchy scalp – calendula, chamomile, lavender.
• 1 tablespoon baking soda
• 1 cup warm water
1. Mix together the baking soda and water until it looks clear.
2. Wet your hair then pour over the baking soda solution.
3. Massage the solution into your hair and leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing well.
• 300ml boiling water
• 30g dried herbs
• 300ml liquid castile soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s)
• 1tbsp coconut, sweet almond or olive oil (reduce the quantity or omit if your hair is very oily)
• 20 drops of essential oils
1. Pour the boiling water over your chosen herbs and leave to steep overnight.
2. In the morning, strain and discard the herbs. Mix the infusion with the castile soap.
3. Stir in the carrier oil and essential oils. Store in a bottle and shake before each use.
Rhassoul clay shampoo
• Rhassoul clay (widely available online)
1. Mix enough rhassoul clay and water to make a watery paste sufficient to cover the roots of your hair.
2. Wet your hair then massage the mixture into your scalp before leaving for a few minutes.
3. Rinse your hair thoroughly, working the mixture into the lengths and ends of your hair as you do so.
• 1 ripe avocado
• Coconut milk
1. Cut the avocado in half, scoop out all the flesh and mash well.
2. Slowly add enough coconut milk to make a fairly thick but runny mixture.
3. Apply to wet hair, comb through and leave for a few minutes before rinsing well.
Apple cider vinegar rinse
• Apple cider vinegar
1. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water and store in a bottle (a spray bottle is ideal).
2. After washing your hair, apply the solution to your hair and leave for a few minutes before rinsing well.
Banana hair mask
• 1 ripe banana
• 2tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
• 5 drops of essential oils (optional)
1. Mash the banana then add the oil (and essential oils if using) and mix to make a thick paste.
2. Massage into your hair and scalp, cover your hair with clingfilm and a warm towel and leave for 30 minutes before washing out.
Hot oil mask
• 100ml olive, almond or coconut oil
• 1 tbsp dried herbs
• 10-20 drops of essential oils (optional)
1. Pour the carrier oil into a bowl and stir in the dried herbs. Place in a pan of boiling water and simmer for half an hour.
2. Allow the mixture to cool before pouring into a jar and allowing to infuse for a week. Sieve to remove the herbs, add the essential oils if using then store in the fridge.
3. When you want to use the oil, warm a few tablespoons and apply all over your hair and scalp. Spend a few minutes massaging the oil into your scalp before combing through.
4. Wrap your hair in a warm towel, leave for 30 minutes then wash out.
• 10g dried herbs (choose chamomile for blonde hair, sage for dark hair and calendula for red/auburn hair)
• 100ml water
1. Boil the water then pour onto the dried herbs. Leave to stand for 30 minutes then strain and discard the herbs.
2. Apply to the hair and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing in warm water.
Header photo by Mateus Lunardi Dutra
Herbs photo by Kathy White