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Natural Hair Care

Unless you’ve embraced the ‘no poo’ method (where you eschew shampoo), you’ll be regularly pouring hair products onto your head. Shampoo, conditioner, perhaps a hair treatment mask every now and then, texturising spray, styling pomade, colour treatment …

All of these add up, not only in cost and precious shower space, but in increasing your environmental footprint. A lot of energy goes into making and transporting even the smallest of plastic bottles, with most not being able to be recycled after their use.

Many of the products on the market also expose you to nasty chemicals such as propylene glycol (which has been linked to headaches and kidney problems), triclosan (a hormone disrupter) and parabens (which can cause skin irritation), and the majority have been tested on animals.

Yet with only a handful of herbs and some key ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your kitchen, you can easily make your own hair care products. So grab some empty jars, assemble your ingredients and have a go at concocting these beautiful, simple to make recipes.


Photo by Robyn Rosenfeldt

Your herb garden will come in handy with this recipe, as will those blooming flower beds. You can use pretty much any herbs or flowers; just experiment and see what works best for you.

You can make your own liquid Castile soap by mixing olive oil, water and sodium hydroxide. There are many recipes online which step through this process. Make sure you’re careful when working with sodium hydroxide, as it can burn your skin and eyes if it comes into contact with them.

If that’s too much hassle, you can purchase liquid Castile soap in big bottles from health food stores (Dr Bronner’s have a wide range of scented and unscented varieties out there), wholesale soap shops, farmers markets or online from a site such as Aussie Soap Supplies.

While it can be more expensive at the outset to buy a bottle of liquid Castile soap than a bottle of shampoo, it can come in handy for many purposes. It can be diluted for use as a body wash, hand soap, dish detergent, laundry rinse, window cleaner and a fruit and vegie rinse, to name just a few. It’ll also give you clean hair:


1 cup of water

1/8 cup of liquid Castile soap

2 tbsp. of dried herbs and/or flowers (such as sage, rosemary, lavender, calendula, hibiscus, etc.)

5 drops of jojoba oil


  • Place dried herbs into a jar.
  • Heat the water so that it simmers, and then pour it over the herbs into the jar.
  • Cover with a lid and steep for an hour.
  • Use a sieve to strain the herbs and pour into another jar.
  • Add Castile soap and jojoba oil, stirring to mix together.
  • In the shower, pour onto your hair, rub through and rinse.


Photo by Robyn Rosenfeldt

This hydrating hair mask is quick to make, using just three ingredients you probably already have in the cupboard. In fact you can go ahead and eat it, but then your hair will miss out on its goodness, so best not to.

This mask can be used either in place of a traditional conditioner, or as an added moisture treatment. It’s particularly great if you have dry and brittle hair as it’ll leave your hair feeling silky smooth.


2 tbsp. of coconut oil

1 tbsp. of honey

1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar


  • Melt the coconut oil if it isn’t already in liquid form.
  • Pour into a jar or small container.
  • Add the honey and apple cider vinegar, mixing together.
  • If the coconut oil has hardened by the time you go to use this treatment, warm the jar until the oil liquefies, for ease of application.
  • Dab the mask into sections of your hair, rubbing it from your scalp through to the ends of your hair (you can use your fingers for this, but a clean paintbrush or pastry brush will work better).
  • Cover your hair with a shower cap, or tie it up into a bun if it’s long enough.
  • Keep the treatment on for at least 20 minutes, before rinsing it off and washing with shampoo.


Photo by Robyn Rosenfeldt

If you have flat hair, you’ll know that a dip in the ocean can help your hair reach new heights. Use this spray to add volume and texture to your hair so that it looks sea-tousled instead of lank.

As sea salt is coarse and drying to your locks, use this spray sparingly if your hair is already on the dry side.

You’ll need a spray bottle for this, so either recycle a previously used and washed spray bottle, or buy one at a soap supply store or market.


1 cup of water

1 tbsp. of sea salt

1 tbsp. of coconut oil

1 tsp. of Epsom salt

½ lemon


  • Heat the water so that it simmers and stir in sea salt.
  • Once sea salt has dissolved, whisk in coconut oil.
  • Add the Epsom salt and lemon juice.
  • Pour into the spray bottle and shake.
  • After you’ve showered, use the spray on wet hair, letting it dry naturally.


Photo by Robyn Rosenfeldt

This multi-purposeful rinse will darken, add shine and have your mane smelling like a rosemary patch. Rosemary is said to be able to stimulate hair growth and improve circulation to the scalp as well, so it’s worth trying this rinse if you’re concerned about hair loss.

Using this rinse in the shower will give you added aromatherapy benefits, with the scent of rosemary filling your bathroom. Rosemary is thought to spark energy and concentration; the aroma will have you bounding out of the shower, ready for the day (so avoid using it when you’re wanting to nod off).

This rinse will cost you next to nothing; all you need are a couple of sprigs of herbs and some water. While it suits all hair types, add in a few drops of almond oil for moisture if you have a dry scalp.


2 cups of water

2 tbsp. of fresh rosemary leaves

1 tbsp. of fresh thyme leaves (to stimulate hair growth) OR

1 tbsp. of fresh sage leaves (to darken greys)

If you’re using dried leaves instead of fresh, just halve the amounts (for example, if using dried thyme, just use . tablespoon instead of one tablespoon).

Photo by Robyn Rosenfeldt


  • Boil the water in a small saucepan and add in the herb leaves.
  • Place the lid on the pot to stop the oils from dispersing.
  • Simmer for two minutes.
  • Remove from the heat but keep the lid on, allowing the pot to cool down.
  • Once cool, use a sieve to pour liquid into a jar (this amount fits perfectly into a 440 ml Ball Mason pint jar).
  • Store jar in the shower and use it just before you get out, pouring it over your hair and letting it sit without rinsing it off.

There are so many different hair care products you can make, most of which don’t require special equipment or lots of ingredients. It’s an easy and fun process that doesn’t need to be complicated.

By giving DIY hair care a go and experimenting, you’re creating rather than simply consuming. You’ll be cutting down on carbon emissions, avoiding a long list of chemicals, saving money—and you’ll have an impressive mane to show for it.


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