When it comes time to lather, rinse and repeat, there are many gentle shampoos based on old formulas for every type of hair — without chemicals and side effects.
A mild, neutral shampoo from the pharmacy is a good starting point for many nurturing or fortifying formulas. After washing, let hair air dry — and if you must use a hair dryer, avoid the hot setting. And when it comes to healthy hair, what you put on your tresses isn’t the only thing that counts — your diet matters, too. Make sure you get plenty of vitamin B2, biotin and zinc from foods such as salmon, dark leafy veggies and legumes.
- To make a mild, fragrant shampoo ideal for normal hair, mix 100 millilitres (3 1/2 ounces) of neutral shampoo with two drops each of neroli, lemon and ylang-ylang oil, and let steep for a week.
- Baking soda is an outstanding cleanser because it absorbs dirt very effectively and leaves hair with a silky sheen. For a clarifying shampoo, stir five millilitres (one teaspoon) of baking soda into about 10 millilitres (two teaspoons) of shampoo, and wash hair thoroughly.
- To make a fortifying shampoo from the good old days, beat one egg yolk with a fork till foamy and mix with 25 millilitres (two tablespoons) of beer, 15 millilitres (one tablespoon) of cognac and five drops of lemon oil.
If your scalp produces too much oil, your hair will become limp, lank and greasy shortly after shampooing. Strong shampoos dry out your scalp, encouraging more oil production, but pH-neutral shampoos have the opposite effect, controlling oil levels. Since oil can form an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, it is best to wash greasy hair at least every two days.
- To make a mild herbal shampoo for oily hair, pour one litre/quart of boiling water over a handful each of sage, rosemary and peppermint (fresh or dried). Steep for 30 minutes, strain and mix with about 150 millilitres (2/3 cup) of neutral shampoo before bottling the mixture.
- For a fragrant shampoo, mix 100 millilitres (3 1/2 ounces) of neutral shampoo with three drops each of cedar, bergamot and lavender oil.
Recipe: Soapwort shampoo
Soapwort has been used to lather up for generations.
What you need:
- 10 soapwort stalks with leaves
- 500 ml (2 c) water
- 2 handfuls of fresh herbs
Chop soapwort finely and bring to a boil in water. Strain after 15 minutes. For greasy hair, add peppermint or white deadnettle. For dull hair, add parsley or rosemary. For dry hair, add marshmallow or comfrey. For normal and fine hair, add stinging nettle or horsetail. Allow to cool while covered. Strain again and bottle.