I tried no-pooing with baking soda and then Castile soap and wasn’t thrilled with the results (see why here). So I experimented further and created the herbal hair wash I’m going to share with you today. But first find out why you should ditch commercial shampoo here.
It started when I read this article on no more chemical hair care from Minimalist Beauty. I decided to use some of the herbs she recommends to make my own mix. And lo and behold, it worked.
I’ve been using this hair wash for two months at about 2-3 washes per week. My hair feels just as good as it did with commercial shampoo and leaps and bounds better than when I was no-pooing or using castile soap.
I have thick hair that tends towards oily. Maybe you have dry or fine hair. Try it for yourself and see how it works for you. Then come back to this post and leave your feedback!
What do I like about it? The combo of spice and berries smells delicious in a savory, I-want-to-eat-it-instead-of putting-it-on-my-hair way. Fenugreek is an essential ingredient in curry powder, after all. It’s also tons more hydrating than no-pooing. And my hair feels bouncy and light afterwards.
Plus it was easy to make and I felt like an old-school witch stirring a potion when I did it. Oh, is that not a plus in your book? 😉
Here are the herbs I used. I purchased the powder forms of each, but if you can’t find it powdered, you can just process it to a powder in a vitamix or spice grinder.
- The Cleanser – Yucca Root powder
- The Conditioner – Amla Berry powder (aka gooseberry)
- The Detangler – Fenugreek Seed powder
- Mix together equal parts of each ingredient, e.g. 1 Tbsp each*.
- Stir in hot water to make a paste – not too thin that it all runs out of your hair but not too thick that it’s hard to spread. Let cool so it doesn’t burn you.
- In the shower, apply and lather like you would shampoo**. Let it sit on your hair to sink in for five minutes.
- Rinse it out. It’s a 2-in-1 with conditioner built in so you’re all done!
* Mixing 1 Tbsp each ingredient makes enough for four showers or over a week if you shower every other day. Store it in the fridge between showers and thin it out as needed. If you double the recipe, I’m betting it will keep two weeks in the fridge but I haven’t tested that.
**The amount you use will vary based on how much hair you have, but don’t be stingy. I use about 1/4 of the above mix. You can thin it out and apply it with a squeeze bottle, but so far I’ve been applying it thick like a hair mask.
The dark color of this mix might stain white clothing or towels, so keep free. This makes me wonder about whether it will dye really pale blond hair so keep that in mind. It’s messy in the shower but washes off well. Once you rinse it out completely, your hair won’t be dying anything.
For travel, I would pack some pre-mixed powder and use as needed to make a paste right there in the shower with hot water to lather. Or just try pre-mixing a batch with water and keeping at room temp during the trip. (I haven’t tried that yet and can’t guarantee it’ll keep.)
It’s too expensive.
At my local health store, I purchased yucca root for $1.38/ounce, amla berry for $1.78/oz, and fenugreek for $0.48/oz.
So, at $3.64 total, I made enough mix for 16-20 washes or almost two months washing every day or two. I’m not sure how long a bottle of commercial shampoo usually lasts, but I know this is way cheaper than most of the cleaner, more “natural” labels. And it’s 2-in-1.
To avoid waste, if you find the ingredients locally in bulk bins, purchase only enough to try it out first and see if it works for you.
It’s hard to find the ingredients.
See the section “where to find ingredients” below for more details on purchasing these herbs locally or online.
For the amla “gooseberry”, you can try subbing hibiscus petals as an alternative natural conditioner. Or you can omit entirely and see if a mix of just the yucca root and fenugreek seeds works for you.
I’m too lazy.
Guess what? I’m also lazy and take the easiest way out if I can find it. This was actually really simple, especially because you premix it. I just mix a new batch once a week and I’m sure I’ll find some tweaks that make it even simpler when I have to travel with it.
The hardest part was the initial tracking down of ingredients (see below) and that I have to grab it from the fridge before showering.
Where to find ingredients
Local health shop
Check around your locally owned health stores to see if they carry bulk jars for herbs. You might be surprised what they carry. If you’re in Vegas, check out the awesome bulk herb selection at Herbally Grounded off Charleston and Decatur.
Mountain Rose Herbs
The online wholesaler Mountain Rose Herbs is highly regarded for quality, and their herbs are either organic or ethically wild-harvested. They have Yucca Root powder, Amla Berry powder, and Fenugreek Seed powder sizes 4 oz to 1 lb. Bonus to them for also being a zero waste company.
Remember, if you are just transitioning from commercial products, chances are your oil balance is all messed up. You might have an adjustment period that lasts a couple of weeks while those oils balance out. So be a little patient. But if it doesn’t seem to be working after that time period, change it up because everyone’s hair is different.
Now your turn. Would you ever make your own hair wash? What DIY recipes have you tried?