With a little experimentation, you can make eco-friendly hair cleansers with readily available, natural ingredients such as herbs, fruit oils, nuts, roots and flowers. These do-it-yourself cleansers create less lather than store-bought shampoos because they have a thin consistency and do not contain sudsing agents. Although they have a limited shelf life of approximately two weeks, you can store your homemade hair cleansers in plastic bottles.
The ingredients in homemade hair cleansers provide a variety of benefits. Rosemary and sage darken hair color, rhubarb and chamomile lighten hair, and hibiscus flowers and calendula create red highlights. Olive, almond or avocado oil nourishes hair damaged by the sun or chlorine. Peppermint and lemongrass counteract oily hair while comfrey root, lavender, elder flowers, red clover and marigold combat dry hair.
Castile soap, which originated in Spain, is a hard, white soap that comes in liquid, flake or bar form. Castile soap that is made from olive oil is often preferred, but it may also be made from jojoba or coconut oil. This non-toxic, biodegradable soap is a primary ingredient in many homemade hair cleanser recipes due to it's ability to soften and smooth hair. It is available in many major retail stores and can be purchased from on-line vendors.
To make 1 quart hair cleanser for normal hair, place 5 tablespoons chamomile flowers in a pot and pour in 4 cups boiling distilled water. Cover the pot and allow the flowers to seep for 1/2 hour. Strain the water and add 4 ounces unscented castile soap flakes. Mix these ingredients well, allow to cool and store in a plastic bottle. For dry hair, combine 1/4 cup each liquid castile soap and organic aloe vera gel, 1/4 teaspoon organic avocado oil and 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin. Mix the ingredients well and store in a plastic bottle. Shake well before using.
Dry Cleanser Formula
Many dry cleanser formulas and recipes are available for those who have difficulty washing their hair or elect not to use a liquid hair cleanser. To make a basic dry shampoo mixture, simply combine 1 tablespoon each of cornmeal, finely ground almonds and powdered orris root. To use, brush your hair well from the roots to the ends. Rub the cornmeal, almonds, and orris root mixture into your scalp. Allow the mixture to absorb the dirt and oil, then brush your hair a second time to remove the cleanser and contaminants.