Hair care has become more and more interesting. Many consumers are no longer happy with the traditional shampoo and hair conditioner containing SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate). Nowadays, there are really many more gentle and natural options for hair wash and conditioner. How do you choose caring herbs for hair care? Next I’ll tell you about herbs for dry hair.
Nowadays there are many different hair care methods. Most of them emphasize gentleness and organic care. Washing hair three times with shampoo, a method introduced by world famous hairdressers is long gone.
Very important thing in hair care is the acidity of the product meaning the pH value. The idea is to wash your hair with a neutral or slightly more alkaline product and use a sour conditioner.
Plants suitable for hair washing
To just wash your hair, it is not necessary to use any kind of alkaline, washing shampoo at all. Water only hair-washing is enough for many. Especially for older people, using water-only method is a highly recommended option. Young people who have very oily skin due to their hormonal function may need more grease washing products.
Let’s have a look what natural ingredients you can use for hair washing
You can use the following herbs for hair washing as they contain saponins. Saponins are alkaloids that foam like soap. Saponins-containing plants have been used for thousands of years for all washing purposes. Saponins are toxic to fish and ruminants. Therefore, never use saponins-containing plants when washing yourself in natural waters. However, you can wash your hair outdoors with saponins if you pour the used water into the ground and not directly into the waters like lake, river etc.
We have got familiar with soap nuts (Sapindus Mukurossi) in laudry. They are actually berry shells of small trees containing cleaning agents. They also a very common ingredient in Indian hair products. Their washing power is based on the saponins.
Using soap nuts in hair washing
Saponin contained in nuts is water soluble. The best way to get the saponins at your disposal is to boil the nuts and use the boiling water.
- You will need 3 soup nuts and 5 dl fresh water.
- First soak the nuts overnight in water
- Cook the nuts gently for 10-15 minutes
- Strain the broth and use as shampoo
Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) is the equivalent of soap nuts. It grows on northern hemisphere. Soapwort is easy to grow. You can plant it in your own yard in early summer and dry the plant for the winter.
Soapwort is also a gentle laundry detergent used by museum conservators to clean delicate textiles. It says a lot about the gentleness of the herb.
Soapwort is a detergent ingredient. It does not actually treat your hair. If your hair is dirty and greasy you can try the herb. If your scalp and hair are dry you will not need soapwort at all.
Aloe Vera is an example of a plant that is not a well-known soap plant, but contains a surprising amount of saponins. Aloe Vera is highly recommended for hair care as it is an acidic, moisturizing plant with gentle washing properties. Aloe Vera is therefore capable of performing three different hair care tasks alone.
Even though I would prefer domestic plants, I have not found as diverse a plant as aloe vera is. I well understand why Alexander the Great spread it everywhere he went to fight his wars. He simply couldn’t get along without aloe vera.
I have often heard the claim that aloe vera should not be used unless you get it fresh from the plant. Some plant chemicals are destroyed quite quickly. This is both true and false. Aloe Vera contains hundreds of active ingredients. Not all the active ingredients in aloe vera are even known. Also, it is not known with certainty which ones out of the hundreds of aloe vera herbal chemicals are the most effective. Even if some aloe vera ingredients were destroyed immediately at harvest, hundreds would still be left. Relevant factors for hair and skin care, such as acidity and saponification, remain unchanged in freeze-dried powder and bottled juice of aloe vera.
It is worth of trying aloe vera in hair care. I believe you will be convinced of its effectiveness. Aloe Vera is definitely my favourite hair care product. Aloe Vera is moisturizing. It is suitable for both oily and dry hair. Aloe Vera both cleans and cares the hair.
Read more about aloe vera here
How to use aloe vera in hair care?
You can use either aloe vera juice or aloe vera gel made from powder for hair care. Both have the same cleansing and caring effect.
- Prepare a gel from the powder according to the instructions on the package or use the juice.
- If necessary, strain the finished juice through a gauze cloth.
- Pour aloe Vera juice into a bottle for easy dosing to the hair
- Get your hair wet and pour aloe vera juice from the bottle into the scalp evenly
- Foam hair as in shampooing but leave on for 10-20 minutes before rinsing
- Then rinse your hair
- I will add some extra aloe vera juice to the hair to give it more volume.
- Aloe Vera also works well as a light hair spray.
Plants suitable for hair rinsing
Acids are needed to rinse your hair. It is very easy to find acidic products in the plant world. Most plants contain some kind of acid.
Another function of the hair rinse is to moisturize the hair and scalp. Many moisturizing products are not acidic. If you want to moisturize your hair, you should choose plants containing mucus.
If you have washed your hair using some alkaline shampoo you will definitely need an acidic rinse. If you also want moisturize your hair, make a mixture of acidic rinse and moisturizer. Only aloe Vera is capable to do the washing, moisturizing and acidic rinse.
You can make super moisturizing hair rinses from the following plants
Marshmallow is a truly magnificent mallow. Other mallows can be used for this purpose, but they have really small roots compared to marshmallow. Easiest way to get the root is to order them online.
I actually ordered a Marshmallow root from United Kingdom. In foreign shops you can get the root very cheaply. It also does not get spoiled so you can buy it for a bigger batch at the same time.
How to Use Marshmallow Root?
- Measure 2 tablespoons of chopped, dried marshmallow roots in a saucepan
- Pour 0.5 litre of fresh water on top and boil about 10-15 minutes.
- Strain the soup hot and let it cool down. Plants containing mucus are difficult to strain when cooled.
- Use as a hair rinse to moisturize your hair. You can let it be for 10-20 minutes before rinsing.
You can also leave some of marshmallow broth on your hair to give the hair some volume.
Fenugreek seeds are one of my favourite hair rinses. I found a recipe for one of the popular organic hair blogs Hair Buddha
There are plenty of Indian hair care tips in this site. I’ve tried few of them and this fenugreek seems to fit to Finnish hair very well. Many of the Hairbuddha’s instructions are suitable for coarser, Indian hair types.
Fenugreek gives the hair a great shine, as well as extra moisture and volume. Lack of moisture damages the hair and prevents it from growing.
How to prepare a fenugreek rinse
- 2 tablespoons of Fenugreek seeds
- 5 dl of fresh water
- Let the seeds soak overnight
- Pour off the water away and add 5 dl of fresh water
- Cook the seeds for 15 minutes
- Strain the broth and use as a hair rinse
Flax seed gel
Flaxseed contains the same mucus ingredients as the marshmallow root. The mucus moisturizes the hair and at the same time gives it volume. Flaxseed mucus is very chewy and also acts as an organic hair lotion.
I first heard about the use of flaxseeds in hair care at Henriette Kress’s herbal therapy course. She advised to use flaxseed mucus for fixing and styling hair. If you want to make safe cosmetics for children’s beauty experiments, flaxseed mucus is a very safe hair gel.
Prepare the gel like this
- 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
- 3 dl of fresh water
- Boil flaxseeds in hot water until you have only 1-1 ½ dl left. Here you can decide yourself the strength of the gel, less water means it is stronger.
- Strain the gel immediately after boiling as flaxseed will no longer separate from the cooled gel.
- You can use the gel for styling your hair. If you want to get a hair spray, the gel should contain more water. You can apply thicker gel to your hair with your fingers.
- This kind of gel is good when you want to lift the hair slightly off the scalp.
- Unfortunately, flaxseed gel does not attach itself to hair very strongly. When your hair gets dryer, it drops off. Even light brushing removes the gel easily when the hair is dry.
You can get also a very nourishing hair rinse from flaxseeds. Prepare the hair rinse same way you made the gel but use water 5dl / 2 tablespoons of flaxseed (2 dl more).
You can let flaxseed gel to work on your hair after washing for 10-20 minutes. If you want extra volume in your hair you can leave some gel in your hair.
Other plants moisturizing hair
There are other moisturizing plants as well. You can make hair rinse broths out of all these plants.
- Hibiscus juice is a very moisturizing but is discolours the hair reddish.
- Sage is extremely moisturizing and prevents grey hair.
- Lavender is a neutral hair moisturizer that is suitable for all colours of hair.
Acidic rinses for hair
This time I’m not suggesting vinegar. I’m not a big fan of vinegar in hair care. For many of us, vinegar may be too drying. For some, though, vinegar is fine.
There are many very useful plants for hair rinsing in nature. The plants also contain several minerals and antioxidants which are beneficial to the scalp. If you want to ferment the plants you will also get some very useful probiotics.
Nettle is a very good hair conditioner
Nettle is a very diverse plant. It contains a lot of silicon that is good for hair. Small nettles are best for eating. The overgrown nettles should be used as a raw material for hair rinse. They contain enough oxalic acid for acid rinsing. Nettle is also a highly antioxidant plant that also cares for the hair and scalp.
Nettle gives your hair a great shine. The only limitation to the us of nettle is its suitability only for dark hair. Blonds should not use nettle hair care.
Prepare nettle rinse as follows
- Collect about one litre of nettles. Big nettles are the best for acid rinsing
- Rinse the nettles, place them in a saucepan and pour 2-3 litters of fresh water on top of them. You can adjust the acidity of the nettle rinse with the amount of water you use.
- Boil nettles for 20 minutes
- Allow the soup to cool and strain the nettle rinse
- Use as a hair rinse
Nettle has a darkening effect on the hair. If you want to try the darkening effect, pour nettle broth several times through your hair – collect the broth and use it again.
There are other moisturizing herbal treatments for hair
I have used myself these herbal treatments. I wanted to introduce only those raw materials I have used myself. Then I know that the ingredient I recommend is functional and useful. However, you better first try out how these herbs work in your hair. We are all individuals and our hair are different.
After trying herbal hair sprays, tell me about your experiences!