Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I'm Baaaack... With Homemade Shampoo!

Well, I've taken a blogging hiatus, but I'm back and sharing a recipe for homemade detangling shampoo! Yay!

Since Roo's hair is getting longer, I've discovered the need for detangler. In a big way. So I found a recipe for a homemade herbal leave-in detangler because she had developed a fear of baths, thanks to one eventful evening in the tub with Monkey. Baths became quite an ordeal, hair washing was torture. The detangler is amazing- it uses marshmallow root- and you can find the original recipe at Frugallysustainable.com.

But eventually, one does need to actually WASH the hair. So I searched for a detangling shampoo recipe, but came up emptyhanded. Well, fine then, I invented my own!

Essentially, I combined a variety of recipes for Castile soap shampoo with the recipe for detangler. Here it is!

5 c filtered water
1/2 c marshmallow root
1/4 c herbs of your choice
1 T baking soda
1/3 c Castile soap
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/8-1/4 tsp grapeseed oil
10 drops essential oil of your choice (optional)

Mmmkay. First of all, I know some of you are scratching your heads, wondering where to buy marshmallow root and xanthan gum. I found marshmallow at the local health food store where they sell herbs in bulk. But if you can't find it locally, it seems the fave online herb stores are mountainroseherbs.com and bulkherbstore.com.

The xanthan gum can be found at any grocery in the baking section, and it comes in handy little packets for around 50 cents.

Secondly: the herbs... I'll leave this up to your preferences, but since marshmallow does have a distinct (but not necessarily offensive) odor, you might want to go with something fragrant, like lavender or rose. I happened to have Snooze Tincture blend on hand, which contains lemon balm, chamomile, Passion flower, oatstraw, catnip, and hops and I thought that seems like a healthy blend for hair. I could be way off, but whatevs... Maybe I'll make another batch of lavender/rose for myself.

I used the baby mild (unscented) Dr Bronner's Castile soap (since it is for the BABY), but there are many different fragrances available.

SO. Begin by making your infusion. Bring the water and herbs + marshmallow root to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 4 cups (around 30 mins). The marshmallow will absorb the water like a sponge. Remove from heat. Strain through a sieve into a large measuring cup. Squeeeeeeze the herbs to extract as much of the marshmallow goodness as you can. See what I meant about the distinctive smell?

Next, add the baking soda. Then whisk in the xanthan gum, a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until all the clumps have disappeared. Let the mixture cool a little and gently whisk in the Castile soap and grapeseed oil. I used grapeseed oil because it is very light and I didn't want the shampoo to be too heavy or greasy, or leave a coating on the hair.

After it has cooled a little more, add your essential oil(s) and..... Voilà!!! Pour into a bottle and save the rest for refills!

Now, don't expect this to lather like commercial shampoos. It is completely natural and you may experience a phase of greasiness while your hair adjusts to the change.

There are plenty of ways to change this to your specific hair and scalp needs. For instance, using lavender essential oil or adding oatmeal to your infusion will make a soothing shampoo; adding eucalyptus and/or tea tree oil combats dandruff (and repels lice!). If you have particularly dry hair, using jojoba oil instead of grapeseed can add a luxurious moisture to it. Research and experiment....and let me know!

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