Warning: this post contains lots of photos. Because: herbs. They make me so happy! So much so that my husband even bought me a bumper sticker that says "I <3 Herbs!". They are so beautiful and have so many uses. Every time I pull out my jars of herbs, I automatically feel like I'm about to do something amazing for my body's health. Here in Boulder, we are really lucky have an herbal apothecary that I stop by from time to time and splurge on a small bag of new-to-me herbs. I love shopping at Mountain Rose Herbs online too, but sometimes it's nice to walk into a store and notice what your body feels drawn to.
herbs ready to be steeped
A few years ago, I started being conscious of what products I put on my body. Sulfates, parabens and other manufactured ingredients that are used in body care products have been linked to multiple health problems (and wild fish problems!), so my first step was to buy products that don't contain those products. They usually sell shampoo, body wash, deodorant, etc that is free of these things at health food stores if you are interested in starting to reduce your exposure without having to make anything yourself. While I do enjoy the convenience of these products, I wanted to experiment with making my own body care products.
I had read about the "no-poo" and "cleansing conditioner" methods, and while I completely understood and agreed with they "why's" of both, I was still nervous to go cold turkey from washing my hair. So I decided to start with an herbal rinse (yay for another excuse to buy herbs!) to use between washings, rather than starting with something that completely replaced the shampoo I was using. And what's more Home Economics-ey than making it yourself? It saves so much money and you can customize it to fit your own body's needs.
ready to be strained
After reading an article on using hair rinses after shampooing, I was inspired to make a rinse and try using it in-between washings instead. After a few weeks of trying this, it turned out that my hair actually really liked the break from shampoo and it gave me the courage to try going completely without shampoo (which I'll talk about in another post). If you wash your hair everyday, you can start by doing a rinse every-other day and see how your hair reacts. I eventually got down to washing my hair only once or twice a week before going completely without shampoo, which not only saved money and time, but also left my hair feeling healthier than it ever has before.
The great thing is that you can customize this recipe to suit your own hair-care needs. This leaves a lot of room for experimentation and flexibility to use whatever you have on hand.
Some ideas for different hair types:
For dark hair: Nettles and sage
For blonde hair: Chamomile and calendula
For dry hair: Violet leaf and marshmallow root
For oily hair: Rosemary and rose petals
For strengthening hair: Horsetail and oatstraw
You can also add essential oils to give your hair a nice scent. You can use whatever calls to you, but some ideas would be rosemary, chamomile, lavender, sage and lemon. Tea tree would be useful if you have itchy scalp or dandruff.
ready to use!
And here's the recipe!
Herbal Hair Rinse
One, 1 quart canning jar with lid
4-5 teaspoons of desired herbs
Boiling distilled water (a little less than 1 quart)
A clean medium-sized bowl or another canning jar
A fine mesh strainer
Optional: Around 10 drops of essential oils
An empty old shampoo bottle, or something similar
Place herbs in the bottom of the jar and fill the jar with boiling water. Once the jar is full, immediately screw the lid on the jar. Let steep until cool. I usually let it steep overnight, but make sure that it has steeped at least 30 minutes. Once cool, strain the liquid through a fine-meshed strainer. You can either strain into another clean canning jar or into a bowl. Make sure to pour the mixture out of the jar in small batches through the strainer so that you can squeeze the herbs with your hand to get out as much liquid as possible. Once strained, pour the liquid into the canning jar. At this point, you can add the essential oils and shake with the lid on to mix. Store this in the refrigerator (I always make sure to clearly mark what it is so I don't forget!) and pour into the rinse into the shampoo bottle as needed. I usually put about half of the liquid into the empty shampoo bottle to use that day and store the rest until the next time.
To use, pour onto either wet or dry hair while in the shower, making sure to start at the roots. I usually massage the rinse into my scalp for a minute or two to make sure all the hair strands have been covered. Let soak for 2-10 minutes and thoroughly rinse with cold water.
It may take a couple of weeks for your hair to get used to this. It's sort of a detox for your hair, so don't give up right away! Give it at least a month to see how your hair is really reacting and don't get dismayed if your hair seems oily at first. Let me know if you try this and how you like it!