Natural Conditioner (with a possible gray-coverage variation)
My former view on hair products was to buy whatever was on sale, and if I could match it with a coupon—even better! When I began this foray into natural products, I thought it would be really easy to find shampoo and conditioner I could make myself from natural ingredients. Unfortunately, this has been a real struggle for me. I battled with the outcomes of numerous experiments that went wrong. My favorite reaction recently was when my husband came home from work and kept looking at my hair. He finally asked if I had dyed it because he couldn’t figure out why it looked so weird. I had done a coconut oil mask on my hair the previous night and it apparently had not washed out all the way. I hadn’t even looked at my hair yet that morning (my husband gets home from work in the morning, if that helps explain this whole scenario) and when I did, I was pretty mortified. Thankfully after washing it again, it looked fine and actually was quite soft. Anyway, the point of my wandering story is that natural DIY hair products are (for me) hard!
After much experimentation and agony, I have settled on a hair routine that makes me happy. I’m talking about the conditioner today, and will follow up with the shampoo soon. I’ve done two variations of the conditioner, and really it’s a conditioning rinse. One of the hard things with a lot of natural products is that you have to get used to a different feel. However, I have decided that I love the results and I love the price tag, so it’s worth it to get used to a new normal.
So, to make the conditioning rinse, I use 1 cup apple cider vinegar (please use the good stuff or make your own) to 3 cups water. Poor it into an old shampoo bottle and bam! Conditioner! Ok, I do add some lavender essential oil as well because the smell of apple cider vinegar in the shower is not the most pleasant thing in the world. I use a shampoo bottle that I can squeeze over my head, and squeeze it on the ends first. You will have to experiment as to how much of the roots of your hair you want to put this on, as I have heard to use less in that area because some people get a bit greasy. All that said, my hair is SO SOFT after using this. It doesn’t feel the same way in the shower as conditioner would, but after it dries, I am highly impressed. It is totally worth trying, people—I mean, it is the cheapest conditioner ever.
Ok, so my variation on this is a “coloring conditioning rinse.” Don’t get too excited as I have only seen minimal results, but I do believe it is doing something. I have brown hair, so I wanted to try to darken my grays. I am trying to embrace the grays, but would love a slower transition. So, I start with 2 Tbsp sage, 1 Tbsp rosemary and about 8 black tea bags in a bowl.
Pour about 1.5 liters (no, I don’t usually measure in liters but that’s the measurement my electric kettle has) of boiling water on top and let steep for at least 2 hours.
Strain this and use it as your water portion of the apple cider vinegar mix. So, 1 cup apple cider vinegar to 3 cups spiced tea mixture. Sage, rosemary and black tea are all supposed to help darken hair. The other benefit is that sage really softens my hair as well. I do concentrate on the roots where I have some gray streaks first with this rinse, followed by my usual routine on the ends. Then, I let it sit while I do the rest of my shower stuff (probably 5-10 minutes, depending on whether or not I’m shaving my legs) and then rinse out.
The jury is still out on whether this is working, and I am adding to the trial by putting the rest of the “tea” in a spray bottle and spraying on the gray roots whenever I remember throughout the day. I do keep that tea in the fridge, but the conditioning rinse seems fine in the shower. I have had it there about a month before I needed more, I believe. I know it is supposed to be a slow change in color, so I’m trying to be patient. Will keep you posted on those developments. I have read that you can do a similar thing for blondes, but you use white tea and no sage or rosemary.
I may still have to try some natural hair color soon, but I’m holding out for the moment to see what different this makes by itself. As you can tell, I have a very patient husband who endures my constant experimentation and failures. Thank God for patient husbands!