I have waited a year to post this. A year of research and real use to make sure it really works…and…it does!
Anytime in the past when I replaced my husbands Head and Shoulders shampoo with something else, within three days he would ask for it back. Nothing else seemed to be as effective, but OH my goodness, have you ever read the ingredients? I am no chemist, but I can read and there’s some pretty nasty chemicals in that stuff..seriously…and it leads to hair loss? (That’s a MINOR one).
The clincher for me was the reminder that our skin is our largest organ, it’s a living breathing, porus thing, and what goes on it, goes in it, most of it directly into our bloodstream. (I tried shampooing in the shower without the soap touching the rest of my skin. HA.) That’s why exposed skin to sunlight is the best way to absorb vitamin D, or if dehydrated, jumping in a shower works faster than only drinking water internally.
To avoid as many chemicals as possible I have been trying to make as much of our lotions, soaps, and shampoos etc. as I can for my family. It just has taken me awhile. When we find something natural that is really working, I get excited to share, and hope it is helpful for someone else who is interested in pursuing alternatives.
Hair needs to start with good nutrition from the inside I realize, but this post is just about an all-natural dandruff shampoo:
What I did.
1. First I researched a list of herbs good for dry scalp, dandruff, and hair loss and came up with this list to choose from. Most all have antibacterial, anti fungal, or anti something properties in them. AND. They actually cure the problem, where dandruff shampoos just deal with the symptoms. The list is not inclusive. You may come up with others that work equally as well.
Pick and choose to create your own “custom blend”, but stick with the lighter colored herbs for blond hair.
- Dry Hair– camomile, comfrey, elderflower, horsetail, lavender, marshmallow root, orange flowers. red clover, sage
- Dandruff/Itchiness/Sensitive– aloe vera, birch or willow bark, burdock, calendula, comfrey, eucalyptus, lemongrass, marshmallow root, nettle, peppermint, rose pedals
- Hair Loss or Thinning– basil, nettle, rose, rosemary, sage
2. Then came the hunter and gatherer part.
- A lot of the herbs came from my garden or somewhere on our property (horsetail is everywhere by our creek, elder as well)
- Others from the bulk herb section at the health food store. The advantage here is you may only purchase a tablespoon or two if that’s all you want.
- Or they can be purchased online (Bulkherb store, or Mountain Rose Herbs are my go-to’s)
Making the Herbal Decoction
3. Taking a couple tablespoons of each herb that I ended up getting, I made a strong tea with them; a decoction. They went in a pot, covered with 2-3 cups of filtered or distilled water, brought to a boil and then simmered for at least 30 minutes, then set aside to cool.
Sometimes, after reaching a boil, I turn it off, cover it, and let it sit overnight so I get every last bit of nutrients out of the herbs.
4. This is then strained (you can use an old t-shirt if you don’t have cheesecloth), the used herbs are discarded, and the herbal decotion is mixed with some Castile liquid soap and a little jojoba oil. Any extra herbal liquid can be kept in a glass jar in the refrigerator until needed for the next batch. (I’ve read that a bit of glycerin can also be added as a thickener, although I have not used it.)
Here is what I have been using, equal amounts of each, I set aside a portion of the dried mixture for the next month to save me time. Again, one would NOT have to use this many herbs…I just like to cover my bases!
- marshmallow root
- roses pedals
- and a 2-3 inch chunk off my aloe Vera plant, sliced open
- sometimes I add orange and lemon peels as well
Since dried herbs expand when wet, I added water until it covered them by about an inch, and then heated them for about 30 minutes. Keeping an eye on it so the water didn’t evaporate.
After the mixture had been cooled and strained I added eucalyptus and lemon essential oils (8-10 drops each) since I hadn’t added those in herb from. —Just another option. (Geranium and Frankincense are a few of other helpful essential oils we could use for dandruff)
Recipe: Amount Guideline
In the container I use (a clear squeezable condiment container), I put
- one part jojoba oil (other oils are options, jojoba is just a truly great oil for this)
- four to five parts castile soap (I normally choose the tea tree oil one)
- and up to ten parts (about double) of the herbal decoction…almost up to the top, with room to shake and mix it before each use.
Adjust amounts to suit your need.
If making a small batch to start out, try
- 1/4 tsp jojoba oil,
- 2-3Tbl castile soap,
- and around 1/3 cup of the herbal infused water or more.
Not sure if you can see the separated ingredients here before shaken. It was really too much here, so I ended up taking some of the shampoo out to allow for more room to shake the mixture adaquately.
Also, cider vinegar is also an old remedy for dandruff, as well as removing soap residue and adding shine to your hair. If you want to add a rinse of diluted vinegar, the scent does wear off when your hair is dry.
Hope this is helpful to someone else out there!