Herbs can help give luster and body to the hair and may be incorporated into both shampoos and conditioning rinses. You will be able to make your own natural homemade shampoo for hair right within your kitchen without all the additives of commercialized hair products. It is known and used as a Sulfite Free Shampoo or No Poo, and a Shampoo for Dandruff. Works great in all hair remedies for growth.
One of the most natural and refreshing ways of washing your hair is to use a homemade herbal shampoo. Herbal shampoos are made quite simply by pouring boiling water over fresh or dried herbs, leaving them to steep for 24 hours and then straining off the liquid. The usual measure is about one heaping teaspoon of herbs (or more if using fresh herbs)to one cup of water, but a slightly stronger brew will do no harm at all. Add the infusion to a mild baby shampoo.
However, if you want to make an entirely homemade herbal shampoo for hair, you will need another herb – soapwort. This common and attractive perennial grows in hedges, by streams and on damp waste ground. The pink, scented flowers appear in late summer and the leaves, from which the soapy substance is drawn, are broadly elliptical and strongly veined.
For centuries before the advent of commercial soap, the plant was used by country people for all washing purposes – and at one time it was particularly recommended for washing delicate silks because it gave them a sheen which could be achieved in no other way. The strongest concentration of the soapy substance is in the root, but it is not very practical to use it because you will destroy the whole plant. The leaves and stems should be sufficient – and are available dried.
Although herbal shampoos can now be bought, it is inexpensive and much more satisfying to make your own. You will also be assured that, unlike commercially made shampoos, they contain no detergents and are sulfite free.
When making the shampoo avoid using metal containers as these will mar the fragrance. Use small china or pottery vessels with tight-fitting cork lids, a wooden spoon and a nylon strainer.
Be sure to buy purified borax (available at drugstores) and not the kind recommended for laundering or cleaning sinks.
If your are using fresh herbs – which are always preferable if available- gently bruise the leaves before making the infusion to allow as much of the essence as possible to mingle with the water.
- 2 Tbsp Dried Soapwort (or one handful of fresh leaves and stems)
- 1 Tbsp Chamomile flowers for light hair ~ Rosemary for dark hair
- 1 tsp Borax
Divide the ingredients equally into two china or pottery jars. Fill each jar with 1 ¼ cups of boiling water. Wedge the corks in tightly and leave the mixture to steep for about 24 hours. Give the jars a good shake from time to time. Pour the mixture through a nylon strainer and discard the herbs.
If you are troubled by dandruff add an infusion of one part stinging nettle and one party parsley to the shampoo above.
A few lime flowers or two sprigs of lavender added to the basic shampoo before corking will give your hair a delicate natural fragrance.
Bear in mind that this natural shampoo will not be nearly as ‘soapy’ as a commercial shampoo. People tend to believe that a shampoo will only clean their hair properly if it produces a tremendous lather, which is why so many commercial shampoos contain detergents which do just that (and little else). A mild and gentle herbal shampoo cannot compete as far as froth goes—but its cleansing and aromatic qualities are undeniable.
Herbal Rinses and Conditioners
Herbal rinses are simply made by infusing the herb of your choice in water. All of the herb rinses mentioned, if poured over the hair as a final rinse after shampooing, will make your hair shine, but some of them have additional properties.
An infusion of nettles, lime flowers, fennel or sage will act as a good general conditioner. A rosemary rinse darkens dark hair and imparts a delicious fragrance. An infusion of chamomile flowers brightens fair hair and has a reputation of stimulating hair growth.
It is, of course, possible to combine one or more herbs together, such as nettle and rosemary, and infuse them to make a hair rinse to suit your individual requirements.
Kali S Winters has been teaching others about the Wonder of Herbs and Natural Home Remedies for over 30 years.