When I mentioned to my friend that I’m experimenting with my own homemade hair cleanser and conditioner, she sucked in her cheeks and rolled her eyes before regaining her composure and saying, a hint of resignation in her voice, “So tell me about it.”
I got the idea from Sarah who wrote about going commercial-hair-product free. While I’m not opposed to commercial hair products, if my hair does better on a simple homemade formula, well then, what was I doing spending money and filling up the landfills?
So. Across town to the health food store I went to fetch me a little apothecary jar of essential oil of lavender (eight bucks—yikes). And then I promptly set about concocting my potions.
The cleanser is just baking soda in water, and the conditioner is water, vinegar, and essential oil. It couldn’t be simpler, really. My hair gets clean, and, despite the blog post title, the vinegar rinse makes my hair smell only mildly vinegary, and that’s only while my hair is still wet. Once it dries, there is no scent whatsoever.
I’m still not convinced that this method is better then regular shampoo. My hair feels different, heavier and a little less sleek. And contrary to what Sarah found, my hair doesn’t seem to hold a style as well, or at least it loses it faster. I normally go two days without a shampoo, but now my hair feels like it gets dirtier sooner so I only go about a day and a half between washings.
Despite the hitches, I’m not ready to give up. Considering all the different types of hair, it wouldn’t be fair to expect the formula to be a one-size-fits-all. I’m still tweaking, using more conditioner, or less, rubbing a little coconut oil into my still-damp hair before styling, making a new cleanser with fewer drops of essential oil. My goal is to make it till my next hair appointment when I’ll ask my hair dresser if he notices any changes with my hair. If he says yes, that it’s much healthier, lush, and simply gorgeous, then I just may continue.
And I may continue anyway. While I miss the feel of a good lather, the smell and ease of shampoo, it’s rather thrilling to be doing something so totally different. Not to mention it's so dang cheap.
So, what are you waiting for? Hop on the bandwagon! Become a fellow picklehead!
½ cup baking soda
1 ½ cups water
Mix together and bottle. The baking soda will settle to the bottom, so it must be well-shaken before using. (I experimented by using boiling water instead of cold in hopes that it would dissolve better. It didn’t.)
To use: Right before hopping into the shower, while your hair is still dry, squirt the mixture on your hairline and part, massaging it into your scalp. The goal is to clean your scalp, not your hair, so squirt it here and there all over your head (about 2 or 3 tablespoons, total), rubbing vigorously with your fingertips. (I look like a wild woman when I’m done.) Wait a minute before rinsing thoroughly.
½ cup white or apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
5-10 drops essential oil (lavender, vanilla, peppermint, etc)
Mix together and bottle.
To use: Shake well and then squirt a couple tablespoons over your hair, from the nape of the neck down to the ends of your hair. Unless you have extra-dry hair, do not apply to the scalp. Leave the conditioner in your hair for about a minute before rinsing thoroughly.
About one year ago: Braised Cabbage
About two years ago: Salvation's Chocolate Chip Cookies (and my falling out with Molly Wizenberg)