Everyone who knows me knows I love to do things myself. From cutting my hair to homemade lemonade I love to make things myself instead of buying them. (Except dish soap, because f all that noise.)
I started off making the original recipe for How to Make Herbal Shampoo from Learning Herbs and it turned out pretty okay. I only had one issue with it, really, which was the aloe vera gel not wanting to mix in with the rest of the shampoo, giving me this weird lava lamp look when it was all done.
The first variation I tried was to heat the mixture until the aloe vera gel melted, but this turned the whole concoction a dark brown color that I didn’t like as much as the lighter tan shampoo color I had made the first time but with the aloe globs.
This time I bought aloe vera juice instead. I’m a problem solver like that. (Actually, I was in a rush at the local dirty hippie store and grabbed the wrong thing because it looks almost exactly the same except for the word “juice” and my hooked on phonics wasn’t working that day I guess but now I’m trying to play it off legit like I’m a genius. Go with it.) It’s still all natural from the inner filet of the aloe vera plant, so it will have the same hair growth and anti-dandruff benefits that are totally not proven by science but whatever I like the texture of the original aloe vera gel. Plus, I don’t have to heat it up to make it all mix together.
Here’s how I do shampoo:
Step 1 – Boil a cup of water and steep your herbs.
I hear that you’re supposed to use filtered water, but you boil it so … whatever. I boil the water for about a minute to let all that chlorine evaporate then turn off the heat. I grab my rosemary and put it in a mason jar. (2 teaspoons of rosemary into the mason jar) Now pour the was-boiling-just-a-minute-ago water into the mason jar through a strainer and cap it. Let sit for an hour or however long it takes you to remember you left it on the counter and you really need to take a shower tonight.
Step 2 – Mix your other ingredients together.
Do this in something that will accommodate everything and pour easily when you’re done. For one batch, a 2 cup measuring cup should suffice, because all told you’re going to be making about 13oz. of product in one batch. In this container you’re mixing together the castile soap, oil, and aloe vera juice/gel. This mixes together easily with just a spoon.
Honestly, I thought the oil would be a problem, but it seemed to incorporate really well. I think if I rewatched that Good Eats episode with Alton Brown about emulsification I would understand why. I just grabbed a spoon out of my silverware drawer to mix it and then set it aside while I was working on other stuff.
After this was done and my rosemary was steeped, I mixed both mixtures together in an 8 cup measuring cup. This whitish color mixes with the brownish rosemary water and it turns into a kind of dark tan color. It’s not super pretty but honestly, who cares. It smells amazing and works great!
Step 3 – Pour it into a dispenser.
I’ve used Karo syrup bottles, small or medium dishsoap bottles, old shampoo bottles, and once I used an empty lotion bottle. It doesn’t really matter what kind of bottle you use. Use something you’ve got around the house.
Step 4 – Make your vinegar rinse.
You’re going to want to skip this step because you’re afraid you’ll smell like an easter egg. I get it. But you can’t. I don’t care if you use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. I use white because the smell of ACV makes me vomit almost immediately. The point of the vinegar: It unsaponifies the soap – basically turning it from soap to not-soap so it will rinse off of your hair and out of your hair and go away down the drain. You can use as little as 1TBSP of vinegar to a cup of water up to a 1:1 ratio of equal parts. Whatever works for you – because this can vary based on how hard your water is, the type of hair you have, whatever. I usually pour about a quarter cup into an old 16oz. shampoo bottle and it seems to work just fine.
Step 5 – Make sure to let the vinegar sit on your hair for a minute so it can do it’s thing.
If you rinse it right out it won’t get a chance to work on the shampoo properly. Let it sit and shave your legs or wash your butt or something. Then you can rinse it all out. Some people add more to the ends after rinsing as a leave-in conditioner. I don’t because I always forget.
Recipe Ingredient List
- 1 Cup of Water
- 2 tsp. dried herbs of your choice (I use rosemary)
- 3 oz. Castille soap (I use Lavender Dr. Bronners)
- 2 tsp. Aloe Vera Gel (I use Aloe Vera Juice)
- 1/4 tsp. Oil (I use jojoba, you could use olive, almond, maybe coconut)
My girls absolutely love it and it makes their hair shine like nobody’s business. I’m the only one in the family who uses conditioner with it.
Have you made homemade shampoo before? What do you like to make instead of buy? Bonus Question: Are you going to try and use the word ‘saponify’ in a sentence this week? I totally think you should.