As my budget is generally stretched pretty tight and I am always concerned with the amount of unnecessary chemicals we’re putting in and on our bodies, I recently tried a DIY shampoo recipe.
Here is the original recipe, you can find this on various blogs and websites:
1/4 cup distilled water
1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap
1/2 teaspoon jojoba, grapeseed, or other light vegetable oil
Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Shake before use.
It seemed simple, I mixed it up and found that it was no thicker than tap water. If you want to try this in a foaming dispenser it might work well, but the consistency was not up to snuff for me. I looked around the web and found you could add xanthum gum to thickening the mixture. This is something I have never heard of before and after searching several local stores have come to the conclusion I might not be able to attain it locally. I decided instead to add some of my own choices.
1/4 cup distilled water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup grated Castile Soap
1/2 cup aloe vera gel
1/4 cup corn starch
1 Tbs grape seed oil
10 drops rosemary oil
10 drops lemon grass oil
10 drops peppermint oil
Grate soap and mix all ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat until ingredients are combined, allow to cool and store in a bottle of your choice. Since this recipe creates a thin mixture I like to keep mine in a nice looking glass apothecary bottle. If you have children or butterfingers, you might want to stick with plastic.
Distilled water is important as it has a completely neutral pH of 7. The vinegar helps to lower the PH even further. The natural PH of hair is between 4 and 9 and the cuticle of hair opens at PH 10. We want to keep the PH low to keep the cuticle closed. You can also achieve this by doing a vinegar rinse or leave in spray after washing your hair. Vinegar can leave your hair feeling greasy, so use sparingly.
Castille Bar Soap
This recipe already creates a thin shampoo, using a bar soap instead of liquid castille soap helps to give a little bit more thickness to the shampoo. It is a noticeable difference, but the resulting shampoo will still be thin.
Aloe is a powerhouse for hair. It is a natural acid to help lower your hair’s PH. It is easily absorbed by your hair and scalp. well known as a softener and helps to remove frizz. It can help to relieve itching and dryness, which is great for psoriasis and Eczema. Aloe’s enzymatic properties, enabling Aloe to destroy excessive dead skin cells, while conditioning the skin and scalp. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, reduces dandruff, conditioning and it helps retain moisture in the hair and scalp. It even promotes hair growth and prevents hair loss. (According to University of Hawaii Aloe Vera contains enzymes that directly promote healthy hair growth.) You can also use liquid aloe as a leave in conditioner, just sprtiz it on wet hair after washing.
I chose aloe gel instead of aloe juice in order to add to thickness. Be careful to buy high content aloe products (90% or more) otherwise you’ll be adding useless stabilizers and chemicals to your hair. While you can use aloe from your plant, be careful when storing this as it will go bad much sooner than store bought aloe products.
A cheap thickening agent. This can be used in smaller or larger quantities based on the thickness you desire. It doesn’t affect the ability of the shampoo to work, but it will turn the clear formula to a milky white, especially if you use a lot.
You can use almost any sort of carrier oil for this as long as you choose an oil that is stable. You don’t want your shampoo going bad because you used an oil that went rancid. Almond oil, Grape seed oil, sun flower seed oil and in a pinch extra light olive oil will work.
Rosemary stimulates the hair follicles, which can help hair grow. It is known for it’s ability to slow down hair loss and the onset of gray hair. It has even been shown to darken existing gray hair. It is also used to combat flaky, dry scalp.
Lemongrass is known for its gentle cleansing properties. It thoroughly cleans the hair without stripping it and leaving it dry. It add fullness, body and improves the luster of the hair.
Peppermint is known for its PH balancing properties, which makes it ideal for both neutralizing oily hair and moisturizing dry hair. It also stimulates the scalp, aiding in hair growth.
Tea tree oil is also a great addition for it’s antiseptic qualities, anti-itch qualities and insect repelling properties (including lice!). If you have a child in public school, this is a must add ingredient.
My main negative is the thickness, because I have long, thick hair, i’m sort of non-plussed with trying to get it all over my head and lathered up. I used about as much shampoo as I would normally even though this recipe should use less. I also needed to use a little more conditioner than normal. (I haven’t tried a vinegar rinse yet)
The results however were a completely different story. I could not be more pleased with the results. My hair is light, soft, not at all frizzy and quite manageable and with long, lightly curly hair, that is impressive for any shampoo.