Hair care has recently become very interesting in a positive way. Many people are not anymore content with a traditional shampoo and conditioner containing SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate). Today, there are several organic alternatives to hair washing and conditioner. You can prepare yourself moisturizing herbal rinses.
There are several different hair care methods. Most of them emphasize gentleness and natural care. Three subsequent shampoo washes, which were praised by famous hairdressers around the world are now history.
Very important thing in hair care is the acidity of the product, i.e., the pH value. The idea is to wash your hair with a neutral or slightly more alkaline product and then use a more acidic conditioner.
Plants suitable for washing hair
Your hair may not need shampoo or any other alkaline, washing product. Water washing alone is enough for many. Especially for children as well as the elderly, washing hair with water alone is a highly recommended. Young people with very oily skin due to hormonal activity may need surfactant.
Let’s see what natural ingredients you can use in hair washing
You can use the following plants for hair washing as they contain saponins. Saponins are alkaloids that foam like soap. Plants containing saponins have been used for thousands of years for all washing. Saponins are toxic to fish and ruminants. Therefore, never use saponin-containing plants when taking a bath in natural waters. However, you can wash your hair at the cottage with saponins if you soak the used water in the ground and not directly into the water.
Many of us are familiar with soap nuts (Sapindus Mukorossi) aka reed berries, for example from laundry. Wash nut is also a very common ingredient in Indian haircare products. Their washing effect is based on the saponins contained in the berries.
Use of soap nuts in hair washing
The saponin contained in the soap nuts is water soluble. The best way to utilize the saponins is to boil a walnut decoction.
- You will need 3 nuts and 5 decilitres of fresh water.
- First soak the Soap nuts in water overnight
- Cook the nuts gently for 5-15 minutes
- Strain the broth and use as a shampoo
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, hair moisturizing plant that also has a gentle cleansing property. Thus, Aloe Vera alone can perform three different functions in hair care; cleaning, moisturizing and acid rinsing. In addition, aloe vera gives your hair more volume if you don’t rinse it off completely.
Although I would like to prefer domestic plants I have not found as diverse a plant as aloe vera is. I fully understand why Alexander the Great spread it everywhere he went to conquer. He simply couldn’t get along without aloe vera.
I have often heard the claim that aloe vera should not be used unless it is obtained fresh from the plant. The reason is that some plant chemicals are destroyed quite quickly. This is both true and false. Aloe Vera contains hundreds of active ingredients. All of the active ingredients in aloe vera are not known. It is also not known with certainty which of the hundreds of plant chemicals in aloe vera are the most effective. Even if a few aloe vera ingredients were destroyed immediately at the harvesting time, hundreds would still be left. Factors important for hair and skin care, such as acidity and saponins, also remain unchanged in freeze-dried aloe vera powder and bottled juice.
You should try aloe vera for haircare yourself. I think you are convinced of its effectiveness. Aloe Vera is definitely my personal favourite in hair care. Aloe vera is a moisturizer for hair. It is suitable for both oily and dry hair. Aloe Vera both cares for and cleanses the hair.
Use of aloe vera in hair care
You can use either ready-made aloe vera juice or powdered aloe vera gel for hair care. Both have the same washing, moisturizing hair and therapeutic effect. The gel made from powder is easiest to use in hair washing.
- Prepare the gel from the powder according to the instructions on the package or use the finished juice.
- If necessary, strain the finished juice through a gauze cloth. The juice sometimes contains nasty flakes that stick to the hair.
- Pour the aloe Vera juice into a bottle that is easy to apply to the hair
- Wet your hair well and pour a bottle of aloe Vera juice into the scalp evenly in parts
- Foam the hair as in shampooing but leave on for 10-20 minutes before rinsing
- Then rinse your hair
- I actually add some aloe Vera juice after rinsing to be left in the hair to give the hair more volume.
- Aloe Vera also works well as a light hair conditioner.
Moisturizing hair rinse, here are suitable plants
Acids are needed to rinse hair. It is very easy to find acidic plants in the plant world. Most plants contain some acid.
Another function of a hair rinse is to moisturize the hair and scalp. Many moisturizing products are not acidic. If you want a moisturizing rinse on your hair, you should choose plants that contain mucus.
If you have washed your hair with an alkaline surfactant, you will definitely need an acid rinse. If you also want moisture for your hair, make a mixture of acid rinse and moisturizing rinse. Only aloe Vera alone takes care of washing, moisturizing and acid rinsing.
Moisturizing hair rinse is created from the following plants
Althaea officinalis is a truly magnificent mallow plant. Mallow grows well everywhere, but herbaceous rose does not really like Nordic, cold climate. Other mallows can be used for this purpose but they have really small roots compared to the marshmallow. You can also buy marshmallow roots from online shop.
I myself have bought marshmallow root from England. It can be obtained very cheaply from foreign online stores. The dried marshmallow root preserves very well, so you can buy a bigger batch it in stock.
How to use the marshmallow root?
- Measure 2 tablespoons of chopped, dried marshmallow root into a pot
- Pour on 0.5 litres of fresh water and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
- Strain the liquid while hot and cool it down. Plants containing mucus are difficult to strain when cooled.
- Use as a hair rinse to moisturize hair. You can let it stay for 10-20 minutes before rinsing.
You can also leave a decoction of marshmallow root slightly in your hair to give volume.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is one of my favourite hair washes. I found a recipe from a popular organic haircare blog called Hairbuddha
The site has plenty of Indian hair care tips. I have tried some and this fenugreek seems to fit well into my hair. Many of Hairbuddha’s guidelines are suitable for coarser, Indian style hair type.
Fenugreek gives the hair a wonderful shine and extra moisture. Lack of moisture is the factor that damages the hair.
Preparation of fenugreek rinse
- 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds
- 5 decilitres of fresh water
- Soak fenugreek seeds in water overnight
- Pour off the soaking water and add 5 decilitres of fresh water
- Boil the seeds for 15 minutes
- Strain the broth and use as a hair rinse
Flax seeds (Linum usitatissimum) contain the same mucilage as marshmallow root. Mucilage moisturizes the hair and at the same time give it volume. Flaxseed mucus is very tough and also acts as an organic hairspray.
I first heard about the use of flax seeds in hair care on Henriette Kress’s herbal therapy course. She advised the use of flaxseed mucus as a hairspray and for hair styling. If you want to make safe cosmetics for children for their beauty plays, flaxseed mucus is a very good hair gel.
Prepare the gel this way
- 2 tablespoons of flax seeds
- 3 decilitres of fresh water
- Boil flax seeds in water until you have only 1-1 ½ decilitres water left. You can decide the strength of the gel yourself.
- Strain the gel immediately when hot, as the flax seeds will no longer separate from the cooled gel.
- Use a gel such as a hairspray. If you want real sprayable hairspray, leave the gel more liquid. You can apply a thicker gel to your hair with your fingers.
- This gel is good when you want to lift your hair up from the scalp.
- Flaxseed gel comes off the hair unfortunately easily when the hair dries. Simply brushing removes the gel easily.
You can get also a very caring hair rinse from flax seeds. The hair rinse is prepared like a gel but use 5 decilitres water and 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds.
You can let the flaxseed gel act on your hair after washing for 10-20 minutes.
If you want extra volume in your hair, you can leave a little flaxseed gel into your hair.
Other hair moisturizing plants
There are other moisturizing plants as well. You can make broths from all of these and use as a hair rinse.
This time I am not suggesting vinegar. I am not in favour of vinegar in hair care. Vinegar may be too dry for many. For some, vinegar suits well.
- Hibiscus juice is a very moisturizing but at the same time red colouring ingredient.
- Sage is very moisturizing and is reported to remove grey hair from dark hair
- Lavender is a neutral hair moisturizer
Acid rinses for hair
There are many very useful plants in nature for hair rinsing. The plants also contain several minerals as well as antioxidants that are beneficial to the scalp. If you want to ferment plants, you also get very useful probiotics from them.
Nettle is a very good hair conditioner
Nettle (Urtica dioica) is a very diverse plant. It is rich in silicon which is good for hair. Small nettles are best for food. Overgrown nettles should instead be used as a hair rinse. They have enough oxalic acid for acid rinsing. Nettle is also a highly antioxidant plant that also treats hair and scalp.
Nettle gives the hair a wonderful shine. The only limitation to the use of nettle is its suitability only for dark hair. Clearly, blonds should not use nettles in hair care.
Prepare the nettle decoction like this
- It is worth making a nettle decoction
- Collect about a litre of nettles. In terms of acid rinsing, bigger nettles are best
- Rinse the nettles, put in a pot and pour 2-3 litres of fresh water on top. You can adjust the amount of acidity with water. More water, less acidity.
- Boil the nettles for 20 minutes
- Allow the broth to cool down and strain it
- Use the broth as a hair rinse
Nettle has a darkening effect on the hair. To try the darkening effect, pour nettle soup several times through your hair.
Thank you so much for your interest and thank you for reading my entire post.
It would be really great if you would share your own natural hair care tips with me and other readers of my blog!