Shampoo is simply soap to clean your hair. In fact, it's so simple that homemade shampoo can be a fun and easy activity for anyone to try. Though you can add a billion different ingredients to shampoo, sometimes you just don't need, or cannot afford, an exotic shampoo. Making your own shampoo helps free up your creativity, not to mention your budget, while still giving you tantalizing tresses.
As with most homemade beauty products, you need to start with some castile soap. Castile soap is created exclusively from vegetable oil, as opposed to the commonly used animal fat. Many types of castile soap use at least a little olive oil, but the purest castile soap uses olive oil only.
Castile soap comes in any form, from liquid to flakes. It doesn't leave the residue on your hair that an animal fat soap would, and it is a gentle cleanser. Dilute the soap with warm distilled water, making sure to dissolve the soap completely. Then, you just store the soap mixture in a bottle and pour onto your hair as you would any shampoo.
Purified or plain water can still contain minerals that dull your hair. Distilled water has all these bothersome bits removed, keeping your hair looking healthy. Distilled water also makes the shampoo more effective and keeps it smelling fresh.
Adding Herbs and Oils
Once you have the basics of shampoo down, you can start playing with other ingredients. Make your shampoo perfect for your hair type and color by adding vitamins, herbs, moisturizers, tints or scents.
Almost anything you can add to your shampoo will need to be infused into the distilled water. You need to soak the nutrients out of the additive and into your water. Then you must remove any seeds, pulp or other bits from the liquid. So, if you want to use some chamomile, you need to steep it in hot water, filter it, and then mix the water with your castile soap.
Be careful with what you add to your shampoo, and remember certain combinations will work better than others will. Adding lemon oil or lemon juice can end up lightening your hair, something a blonde may love but a brunette may regret.
Also keep in mind that many herbs are used as dyes, so light hair should stick with lighter herbs, and dark hair with darker herbs. Don't worry too much, though, since most common herbs wouldn't permanently dye your hair, and they could be removed with just a shower.
Herbs and Oils According to Hair Type
For generally healthy hair, no matter the type, some basic ingredients are always good to use, such as rosemary, sage, tea tree oil, ginger and lemongrass. Dried herbs are usually preferred, though fresh ones can also be thrown in.
The easiest way to decide what to add to your shampoo is to glance at a bottle of your favorite commercial shampoo brand. If you love that one product made with sage and raspberries, then think about adding some sage and raspberries to your homemade shampoo.
Oily Hair. Oily hair calls for the least amount of oil possible since your locks are already weighed down by all the dirt oily hair attracts. Try some peppermint leaves, tea tree leaves, cucumber juice or chamomile for added strength without too much added oil.
Dry Hair. Dry hair needs a big boost of moisturizer to keep it from feeling like straw. Since cleaning hair strips the oils away, you need to replace as much of that moisture as possible. Try some orange flower, lavender flower, jojoba oil, coconut oil or avocado oil to keep your strands soft.
Adding fragrance to your homemade shampoo is a perfect way to mask a smell from an herb you don't care for or to enhance your hair-washing adventure. You can use a little of your favorite perfume, essential oil or fragrance extract.
Be careful to keep any fragrances light, and refrain from using anything with high sugar content. You can use vanilla, almond or lemon extract, but make sure it's a pure product and not meant for baking.
Other Homemade Shampoo Tips
Don't be surprised if your homemade shampoo doesn't bubble up like a store brand. Commercial shampoos have extra additives to create a thick lather over your entire head. Homemade shampoo still works just as well as store-bought shampoo, but it just won't become full and bubbly like something from a TV commercial.
Since you're making a natural shampoo, it's important to remember that the shelf life of the product isn't as long as a chemical-filled commercial brand. Homemade shampoo can last almost a year in a tightly sealed container, stored in a dry and cool place. Otherwise, consider throwing out any homemade shampoo older than six months.
Herbal Shampoo Recipe for Every Hair Type
Heat the water in a pot and bring to a boil. If you have a strainer, place the rosemary and lemongrass in it. Place the herbs in a container that can hold boiling water. Pour the water over the herbs, and mix the herbs around a bit. Cover the pot, with the herbs inside, and let the mixture seep for 20 to 30 minutes.
When the time has elapsed, take the cover from container, and mix the herbs around a little more. Then remove the herbs from the container. If needed, strain the water to remove any floating bits. Mix the tea tree oil and vanilla into the water.
Mix the soap into the infused water, and make sure the soap dissolves completely. Because you're mixing oil, water and soap it's important that you mix very well, spreading the oil out as much as possible.
Pour the mixture into your container, and you have homemade herbal shampoo. Let the shampoo cool, and then place the top on tightly. This recipe makes about 12 ounces of shampoo.
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