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Herbal Shampoo – Natural Health Starts at the Top
by Anke Bialas
Editor's Note: Would you like to have strong, long, soft, shiny, beautiful and healthy hair? Are you interested in preparing a herbal shampoo at home? It is very easy. Wondering how? Check out this amazing article.
Making your own hair products from scratch is not as big a job as you might think. Treating your tresses with Mother Nature’s bounty is a great way to pamper yourself and to let your hair recover from the rigors of modern life. Do not expect these products to feel the same as the commercial stuff. Commercial shampoos have all manner of artificial ingredients to make it fluff up and lather like mad. The natural (and hopefully organic) version will be a lot lighter on the foam. It still has suds and certainly has the cleaning power, but then it’s not the bubbles that do the cleaning.
This recipe makes a gently soapy, conditioning shampoo:
600ml boiling water
handful of dried soapwort
250ml strong herbal infusion
Pour the boiling water over the soapwort, cover and leave to cool. Meanwhile make a strong cupful of infusion of the herb most suited to your hair (see more below) – leave to cool. After 30 minutes strain the soapwort. Combine the soapwort water and the infusion – bottle. If soapwort is not available you can substitute soapbark or yucca root.
There are herbs to suit all your hair needs:
* Dry Hair – comfrey, elderflower, marshmallow, nettle, parsley, sage
* Greasy Hair – balm, lavender, marigold, rosemary, southernwood, witch hazel, yarrow
* Anti Dandruff – chamomile, lavender, nettle, parsley, rosemary, thyme
* Limp & Dull Hair – basil, horsetail, lime flowers (linden), marigold, rosemary, sage
* Itchy Scalp – catnip, chamomile, comfrey
(Inspired by Brenda Little’s Illustrated Herbal EncyclopediaYour browser may not support display of this image. )
Conditioners & Rinses:
Conditioning herbal oils can be made just like the infused oils you’d make for cooking. Choose the herbs for your needs, bruise them and put them in a glass jar. Cover with oil (sunflower, safflower, soya or if you are a brunette – olive oil). Cover with muslin and keep in a warm spot where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate too harshly. Shake every day for a fortnight. Strain & bottle.
To Use: Warm oil slightly, then rub through hair and onto scalp. Put on a plastic cap or a warm towel. Wash out after 30 minutes.
If infusing your own soapwort to make shampoo is too much of a hassle, there is a quick and very effective alternative I like to use at home. You can use an organic shampoo base to which you can add essential oils or other herbal extracts to suit your particular needs. You can get these bases at an organic shop, decent health food store or I even saw some on ebay yesterday for around $10 for a litre. That’s a lot of shampoo for very little money. If all else fails you could also mix a plain baby shampoo and a very strong herbal infusion (ratio 1:1).
An example of what you might like to add to your base:
You could make an infusion out of equal parts of the herbs below. Add approximately 250mls (1 cup) of this herbal tea to every litre of base. If you make smaller quantities of shampoo just use a 4:1 ratio.
Rosemary – stimulates the hair follicles and helps to prevent premature baldness
Sage – has antioxidants and prevents spoiling and is antibacterial
Nettles – acts as a blood purifier, blood stimulator, contains great nutrients for hair growth
Lavender – controls the production of sebaceous gland oil and reduces itchy and flaky scalp conditions
You could make shampoos for individual family members. Add a little aniseed essential oil for the student to prevent head lice infestation or add sage tea to restore natural hair colour in grey hair. Find your personal combination of scents, and you’ll never go back to synthetic shampoos again.
Remember that these shampoos foam a lot less. Extra lather does not equal extra cleanliness; it is just something that companies add to their products but is not actually necessary. Also, it may take a while to remove the residual build up from previous products, so you might wish to use an apple cider vinegar rinse (2 tablespoons in warm water) to help restore the natural PH balance of your hair. Oh, and as a bonus you will find that a lot of the organic shampoo bases have retained their natural glycerin (which is usually sold as a byproduct of soap making) which moisturizes your hair and lessens the need for a conditioner. If you like the idea of shampoo bases then you will be delighted to hear that you can get soap bases and cream bases and all sorts of products that help you make your own more easily. Have a wander around your local health food/organic stores and see what goodies you can find. And don’t forget to tell us about your discoveries!!
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About the Author
Lucky enough to have been raised with herbal traditions, Anke Bialas has expanded her knowledge of herbs and their applications over the years which she now shares with those new to natural health. She encourages use of herbs in unconventional ways, advocating that even a little bit of Nature goes a long way. With a firm believe that herbal health can fit into even the most conventional home, she makes all things herbal appealing to everyone.
Anke is known for her practical, everyday approach to herbal health which led to the creation of the Herbology At Home series of guides to herbs and natural health which provide a convenient reference you can take with you where you need them most.
Visit Anke Bialas at: Herbology.com.au, HerbologyAtHome.com, Facebook.com/Herbology