Increasingly wary of synthetic hair-care products, some people are going the tried-and-true route of using homemade shampoos.In addition to being environmentally friendly, natural shampoos are easier on the body and the budget, and you can experiment with a variety of natural ingredients that will enhance any hair type and colour. For organic shampoos that do not include the addition of Castile soap, some ingredients may already be in stock in the home.
Organic, non-Castile soap flakes are available at most health food shops or may be ordered on the Internet. They are vegetable oil-based and contain no chemical ingredients. A simple shampoo can be made by dissolving about 687 g (3 cups) of soap flakes to 711 ml (3 cups) of warm water and storing in a tightly capped container. The mixture may be adjusted to the desired strength by using more or less water. If desired, several drops of floral or herbal-scented oils may be added to the shampoo.
This simple shampoo of glycerine, usually available at a chemist's, and camomile tea will add body and shine to hair. Add four camomile tea bags to 237 ml (1 cup) of boiling water and let steep for about 10 minutes. Discard teabags and pour solution into a container. Add about 474 ml (2 cups) hot water and 229 g (1 cup) or more of organic soap flakes. Stir or swirl contents until soap dissolves, then stir in about 2 tablespoons of liquid glycerine. Cap tightly and store in a cool place for up to one week.
The yucca plant, native to the southwestern United States, possesses a natural detergent in its root that leaves hair clean and shining. The roots are readily available in specialist and health food shops, and whole plants can be purchased at gardening centres. If selecting home-grown or local plants, choose young, healthy specimens. Cut a piece of root of the size desired, rinse and peel the outer brown skin until the white interior is exposed. Rinse free of any dirt and smash the end of the root with a spanner or hammer, wet it with warm water and work it into a lather as one would with a bar of soap. After shampooing, rinse hair very well.
This recipe is more involved, but will also bring shine and body to the hair. Soap wart, lemon verbena and catnip can be found at most health food shops or gardening outlets. Boil about 474 ml (2 cups) of non-clorinated water (preferably distilled or bottled) and add up to 2 tablespoons of soap wart to the water. Cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes before removing from heat. While mixture is still hot, stir in about 2 teaspoons of either lemon verbena or catnip. Allow mixture to cool thoroughly and strain through fine sieve or cheesecloth to remove plant materials. Store in tightly capped container in cool place for up to 10 days.
Always skin-test herbs, oils or plants for any allergic reaction before use. Homemade shampoos will not have the thick consistency of purchased products. To enhance natural hair colours: Blond hair -- add about 237 ml (1 cup) lemon juice to final-rinse water. Brunette hair -- add about 237 ml (1 cup) triple-strength cooled coffee to final-rinse water. Red hair -- add up to 237 ml (1 cup) of an equal mixture of red beet and carrot juice to final-rinse water. A thin flannel or cheesecloth square can be wrapped around the yucca before lathering.