One of my favorite aspects of becoming more self reliant is learning how to make my own products at home. It pleases me to look around and see fewer and fewer store-bought labels, and more glass jars filled with lovely homemade concoctions. Many people never consider how easy it is to make homemade soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and other toiletries.
I’ve been making an herbal shampoo and conditioning rinse for a while now, and am loving the results. I do recommend alternating your shampoo every couple of weeks, as I’ve found that I start to get build-up if I stick with the same shampoo for too long. I’ll share with you my current favorite recipe, which is based on one from Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health.
Now, I’m a blonde, so I’m going to give you the recipe I’m using for golden highlights. If you have dark hair, you’ll need to use a different blend of herbs, which I’ll note after the recipe.
Herbal Golden Highlights Shampoo Recipe
- 16 ounces distilled water (it’s important that it’s distilled to remove minerals that would cause buildup)
- 1/2 c. dried chamomile flower
- 1/2 c. dried comfrey leaf
- 1 c. dried calendula flower
- 3 ounces liquid castile soap (I’m using Dr. Woods Pure Tea Tree Castile Soap)
- 1/4 tsp jojoba oil
- 15 drops Lavender essential oil
In a medium, stainless steel pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the herbs, cover, and allow to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Strain and cool.
Slowly stir in the castile soap. Next, mix in the jojoba oil and lavender. Store in an old flip-top shampoo bottle for convenience. Be sure to shake it up before using.
*For Dark Hair use these herbs instead: 1/2 c. dried comfrey leaf, 1/2 c. dried, chopped black walnut hull, 1 c. dried sage leaf.
Herbal Vinegar Rinse
You might not think vinegar would make a good conditioner, but let me tell you… I have long, thick, wavy hair, and this stuff works amazingly well to detangle and soften. Don’t worry about the smell either, it washes out.
Pour the herbs from the strained shampoo into a quart jar. Fill the jar with apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs. Seal it tightly with a lid, and place it somewhere warm in your house. Shake the jar every day for about three weeks. Strain the vinegar through a cheesecloth and add a few drops of essential oils as desired.
Before using, dilute the rinse with distilled water. If you tend to have oily hair, mix 1 part vinegar rinse with 4 parts water. For dry to regular hair, mix 1 part rinse with 6 parts water.
After shampooing and rinsing, pour the vinegar rinse slowly over your head, massaging it into your hair and scalp. Be careful not to get it in your eyes or mouth. Rinse with warm water, and then with cool water for more shine.
Doing What You Can
I realize these recipes aren’t 100% “self sufficient”. You can grow the herbs yourself, and you can make the apple cider vinegar yourself. You can save money by making castile soap yourself, though you’d still have to buy most of the ingredients to make it. Although the essential oils are optional, you likely have to buy them as well. The point is, there is freedom in making everything you can yourself, even if it’s with store-bought ingredients. This way you can at least control what you put in and on your body, and you save money by doing it yourself.
Eventually, I’d love to create a shampoo/conditioner combo using only what I can grow here on my land. Until then, I’m doing what I can with what I have.