Saturday, March 5, 2011

Natural Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner

Last week, while I was cleaning the upstairs bathroom, I did something I thought I'd never do - I threw out almost all the store-bought shampoos I had collected. The only ones I kept are my L'Oreal sulfate free set 9which only has a bit left of both shampoo and conditioner, and I put these away in the cupboard, so in case Maggie is ever sick, out of town, or otherwise indisposed to make shampoo, or we run out of ingredients, etc, I can still have clean hair in a pinch) and my John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Luminous Color Glaze, which has about one application left, and I'm saving it to apply just before a friend's wedding to ensure I have tamed hair come what may. :) The rest of the shampoos - all my humectifying, clarifying, damage-controlling, for-fine-hair products - even my beloved John Frieda! - it all went.

I have become a homemade hair-product junkie!

Maggie has long been interesed in making her own cosmetics, so when her hands started healing and she reached the point a few months ago that she could begin cooking again in small amounts, she started checking out books from the library and testing recipes like crazy!

I have always had this opinion about homemade hair shampoo: I love the idea, I'm glad for you if it works well, I'm sure it's healthier, but I love clean hair, and I have funky hair that often responds terribly to a change in even brand/type of "real" shampoo, plus - I'm not willing to go through the "adjustment period" (up to six months, some folks claim!) that a lot of people say occurs when you make the switch.

But Maggie's hair was noticeably softer, shinier, had more body, and less frizz after only a few weeks on natural shampoos, and her hair was never greasy or glecky, so it wasn't long before I wanted in on the action, too!

Here are two great and easy recipes, plus some tips!

Maggie's Sunshine Shampoo

1/4 cup baby shampoo or castille soap
2 TBS lemon juice
1 TSP lemon zest
1/4 cup Aloe juice (did you know they sell this at the pharmacy of Wal-Mart now?)
1/2 TSP oil (almond, grapeseed, or coconut work well)
1/2 TSP honey

Mix all ingredients EXCEPT honey.

Heat until very warm but NOT boiling.

Cool until barely warm and add honey. Stir well. Finish cooling.

Strain (we used some cheesecloth over a beaker).

Pour into a bottle (we're upcycling an old Suave shampoo container- more on that later).

Shake well before using. This shampoo isn't as foamy or sudsy as traditional shampoos, and the ingredients will separate a bit, so shaking is really important; it helps create lather and reincorporates the mix.

Maggie's Super-Easy Best-Ever Hair Conditioner

You're never going to believe how easy and great this is...

Ten parts water
One part apple cider vinegar

Mix; after shampooing, squeeze excess water out of your hair and pour enough conditioner on it to soak your hair from roots to ends. Let it soak for a moment or two, then squeeze out excess conditioner and DO NOT RINSE.

This conditioner is amazing, even for my super-fine and tending-toward-greasy hair. I find that I need to let my hair dry just a bit before combing it out, but then it leaves my hair nearly completely tangle-free, super-shiny, and not greasy. :)

Some tips for making the switch:

If you're using a mix of natural and commercial hair products, the natural hair products may not work as well. As I understand it, this is because commercial shampoo and conditioner work by first stripping away your hair's natural oils, then replacing the lost oil (conditioner). Natural products work by restoring your scalp's natural Ph balance. If you're using commercial shampoo, natural conditioner might not be able to compensate for the stripped oils. Vice-versa, if you're using natural shampoo, which leaves more oil on your scalp, then use commercial conditioner, you're probably adding too much oil to your scalp.

Natural shampoos don't usually lather as well as commercial products (since they don't contain sulfates). While the recipe above works nicely, I have compensated with other formulas by mixing some shampoo with water and rinsing it through my hair.

Also - note on the above conditioner - some folks have said they could never use it because they didn't want to smell like vinegar. While it does have a slight vinegar-y smell when your hair is wet, once it dries it is completely odorless (unless you get caught in the rain, lol).

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