We got to spend winter break with my family again this year, and while we were at my parents’ house, my mom let me try out her homemade shampoo. I’d been wanting to forge ahead into making custom shampoo for a while, since my hair had begun hanging onto grease buildup that my baking soda-and-vinegar routine just couldn’t kick anymore. Thankfully, my mom’s shampoo did the trick! I fell in love with it almost immediately because it left my hair sooo soft. I found myself stroking my head randomly all day. (Awkward…) When I got home, I tinkered with my mom’s recipe and came up with my very own version that I love, love, love. It smells glorious and makes my hair feel super soft. Supposedly, it should also stimulate hair growth, which is good news now that I am growing out my hair again after my unfortunate pregnancy-hormone-induced urge to chop it off. It contains chamomile, which is used to lighten hair, so if you have dark hair or don’t want to lighten your hair, omit the chamomile and choose another herb. (Green tea should work well.) Tea tree oil is beneficial for anyone who struggles with dandruff. Bentonite clay is wonderful for an oily scalp. I keep my shampoo in a clear plastic condiment bottle I found at the grocery store, and I like it because it has a tiny nose to dispense just the right amount. Here is how you, too, can make this beautiful (and thrifty! and super safe!) shampoo in your own kitchen:
Chamomile and Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
1/4 cup Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap (I used lavender-scented, as that’s what I had on hand)
6 tea bags’ worth of chamomile flowers (approximately, I probably used more like 10 bags’ worth of loose leaf flowers)
2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
1 cup distilled water
1/2 teaspoon sweet almond oil (or jojoba oil, if you have that on hand)
1 teaspoon bentonite clay
20 drops tea tree oil
20 drops ylang ylang essential oil (purely for fragrance — use whatever scent you prefer)
Bring 1 cup of distilled water to a boil on the stovetop. Add chamomile and rosemary, either in a tea ball or directly into the water, which you will strain later. Whisk to combine, then add bentonite clay, and whisk thoroughly. Allow to steep, with heat on low, for 30-40 minutes. Add more water as necessary if you see evaporation. After herbs have steeped, strain liquid into your chosen shampoo container, then add castile soap, almond oil, tea tree oil, and ylang ylang. Shake very well to combine, and be sure to shake immediately before each use. I just squirt the shampoo directly onto my head, lather up, let it sit for a minute or two while I shave and wash my body, and then rinse it out.
Now, for my “conditioner,” the recipe is ridiculously simple. Ready? Use 1 part vinegar (Any type will do. I like apple cider vinegar or plain white vinegar) and 1 part water in a condiment bottle. Shake before use, and apply to hair after rinsing out the shampoo. You can rinse out the vinegar, or just leave it on your hair. The smell will go away after a few minutes, and your hair will be left soft and amazingly detangled. If you want to get really fancy, you can make infused vinegar with orange or grapefruit peels, but the smell really is not noticeable by the time you’ve brushed and dried your hair.