Herbal Hair Care

The majority of hair products commercially available, even among those touted as all-natural, contain synthetic detergents, fragrances, petrochemicals, and known allergens. These ingredients are harsh, stripping natural oils from the hair and scalp and resulting in imbalances to the scalp and hair. By making our own hair care products, we can help repair the health of our hair and scalp – all while saving money!

Homemade hair care products are simple and inexpensive to create while also being gentle and nourishing for the scalp and hair. They do not have the synthetic ingredients and chemicals often found in commercial products; instead they rely upon botanicals and other pure ingredients to give you healthy hair and scalp. Not only can you harvest many of the ingredients from your garden, but you can customize the recipes so that they perfectly fit your specific needs.

Herbal Hair Care

Homemade Herbal Shampoo Infused with Sage, Rosemary & Mint.

Herbal Shampoo

Homemade shampoo is not as thick or lathering as store-bought varieties, but it will effectively clean hair with nourishing ingredients and botanicals. Because this shampoo is so much gentler, you can expect that your hair will not feel as squeaky-clean after washing. This is because it will not be stripped of its natural oils!

8 oz water
3 oz Liquid Castille Soap
1-2 TBSP dried organic herbs of choice (see list below)
20-60 drops essential oil (see list below)
1/4 tsp organic Jojoba or Olive oil (adjust as needed – use more for dry hair or may omit for oily hair)

Make an herbal infusion by pouring boiling water over the herbs, cover, and allow them to steep for at least 4 hours. Strain the herbs out and pour the reserved liquid into a bottle, then add Castille soap and oils. Your herbal shampoo is now ready to use! Always shake well before use since the contents will naturally separate.

Oil Treatments

Oil treatments are a great way to naturally condition, sooth, balance, cleanse, and invigorate the hair and scalp. Leaving hair soft, shiny, and silky, they are excellent for treating damaged, dry, dull, or frizzy hair and scalp conditions. A few drops of either of these recipes can also be used to tame those dry or wild-looking locks!

To use, pour a little oil into your palm and massage it into scalp and hair. Add as much as needed, making sure to thoroughly coat your hair and scalp. Leave in for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better. I like to wrap my hair back into a bun and leave the oil in all day, washing it out at night. Once finished, be sure to shampoo the oil out completely. Don’t worry of your hair still feels a little oily after washing; it should absorb the residual oil as it dries.

Heat deepens the oil’s penetration of the hair shaft, enhancing its benefits. Harness heat’s effects by sitting in the sunshine, by a wood stove, fireplace, or in a sauna. Or treat yourself to a hot oil treatment by gently warming the oil to 100 degrees Farenheit and massaging it into your hair and scalp. Pull your hair back, cover it with a shower cap or plastic bag, and finally wrap up with a thick wool cap to help retain heat. Leave head covered for at least an hour, then shampoo out.

Basic Hair Oil

To create, simply pour 1 oz organic Jojoba or Olive Oil into a bottle and add 10-30 drops essential oil of your choice (see list below). Shake before using to blend the oils.

Herbal Infused Hair Oil

Jojoba oil infused with botanicals has all of the benefits listed above, but is even more therapeutic. It will take a few weeks to infuse, but the resulting oil will be worth the wait! To make, place 8 oz organic Jojoba or Olive Oil and 3 or more TBSP dried organic herbs (see list below) in a glass jar, cap tightly, and infuse for 3-6 weeks. Shake the jar daily. Once infused, strain the herbs from the infused oil. The infused oil will last for at least a year if properly stored in a cool dark place.

Soothing Lavender, Chamomile & Nettle Infused Vinegar Hair Rinse.

Hair Rinses

Hair rinses are simple to make, and they naturally condition the hair and scalp. They soften, add shine, body, and enhance natural highlights. To create an herbal hair rinse, simply pour 2 cups of boiling water over 3 or more TBSP of dried organic herbs (see list below) and allow to infuse for 8 hours or overnight. Strain herbs from the liquid, you can gently warm the liquid if you’d like. To use, slowly pour the rinse over your head, making sure to massage the infusion into your hair and scalp. Keep a large bowl under your head to catch the liquid and reapply. Repeat several times, and either rinse out or allow to dry.

Herbal Vinegar Rinse

Vinegar rinses have the same advantages as water-based hair rinses, and they also help restore hair’s pH balance. Vinegar is beneficial for oily hair, itchy scalp, dandruff, dull hair, and other scalp conditions. To make, place 3 or more TBSP dried organic herbs (see list below) and 8 oz organic Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass jar, cap tightly, and infuse for 3-6 weeks. Shake the jar daily. Once infused, strain the herbs out.  To use, apply 1-2 TBSP herbal infused vinegar to damp hair and scalp and thoroughly massage in, then rinse out with water. Or, you can use the method described above by combining 1 TBSP herbal vinegar with 1 cup water, followed by a thorough rinse with plain water. The infused vinegar will keep for at least a year if stored properly in a cool and dry area.

Natural Hair Coloring

Did you know that you can use a plant to dye your hair? Henna naturally colors the hair; it’s made from the powdered leaves of the desert shrub plant Lawsonia. Henna comes in a variety of colors including black, mahogany, various shades of brown, red, burgundy, and marigold blonde. In addition to adding color, Henna will coat hair, seal in oils, and tighten the hair cuticle to give hair a rich and healthy shine. Henna’s effects will last up to 3 months. You can also use herbs to encourage natural highlights, see the list below for more information.

Grace Sutherland and her six sisters were famous for their long hair. Date ca. 1890.

Herbs for Hair Care:

Normal hair: Basil, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail, Lavender, Linden flowers, Nettle, Parsley leaf, Rosemary, Sage, Watercress.

Dry hair and scalp: Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey leaf, Elder flowers, Horsetail, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Parsley leaf, Sage.

Oily hair and scalp: Bay leaf, Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Lemon peel, Lemongrass, Nettle, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme, Witch Hazel bark, Yarrow leaf and flower.

Scalp conditions (dandruff, sensitive skin, inflammation, itchiness, dermatitis): Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey leaf, Eucalyptus, Horsetail, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.

Hair loss/thinning: Basil, Nettle, Rosemary, Sage.

Golden highlights: Calendula, Chamomile, Lemon, Sunflower petals.

Dark highlights: Black Tea, Black Walnut hulls (crushed or chopped), Comfrey root, Nettle, Rosemary, Sage.

Red highlights: Calendula, Henna, Hibiscus flowers, Red Clover flowers, Rose hips, Red Rose petals.

Essential Oils for Hair Care:

Normal hair: Carrot seed, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Cypress, Geranium, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Rosemary, Sage, Sandalwood, Thyme, Ylang Ylang.

Dry hair: Carrot seed, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Orange, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang.

Oily Hair: Basil, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Orange, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme, Ylang Ylang.

Scalp conditions (dandruff, sensitive skin, itchiness, inflammation, dermatitis): Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Cypress, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Myrrh, Orange, Patchouli, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang.

Hair loss/thinning: Basil, Cypress, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Ylang Ylang.

Resources for Herbal Hair Care:

Aubrey Organics Shampoo and Conditioner

Bulk Herbs and Spices

Carrier Oils

Castille Soap

Essential Oils

Henna

Invigorating Hair Oil

Rosemary Herbal Oil

Interested in learning more about natural hair care? These books are full of information and recipes:

Earthly Bodies Heavenly Hair by Dina Falconi

Naturally Healthy Hair by Mary Beth Janssen

Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles

~ irene

65 Responses to “Herbal Hair Care”

  1. avatar organic says:

    Can’t wait to try out one of the above hair recipes… I have long strand but not like Grace ;)

  2. [...] original here: Herbal Hair Care « The Mountain Rose Blog This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged commercial-products, create-while, scalp, [...]

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  4. avatar feroxyhite says:

    These days I have been enjoying making more herbal “home-goods” than medicinal/therapeutic goods– very happy to see this posting! I actually have made some very basic hair rinses and things before, but these recipes will definitely be a good starting point for some more complicated mixes. :-)

  5. avatar bestialfeast says:

    This is so amazing. I have problem hair (dry scalp), oily hair, and it’s at my waist, so it’s pretty hard to take care of. I hope I can mix some of this stuff up and make it do some good for me.

  6. [...] Herbal Hair Care « The Mountain Rose Blog To create an herbal hair rinse, simply pour 2 cups of boiling water over 3 or more TBSP of dried organic herbs (see list below) and allow to infuse for 8 hours or overnight. Strain herbs from the liquid, you can gently warm the liquid . [...]

  7. [...] Make mom a gift set of herbal shampoo, oil treatment, and hair rinse using her favorite essential [...]

  8. avatar WonderlandFarm says:

    I really love the recipe for homemade shampoo! I will be trying it out as soon as I can get my hands on some of the liquid catille soap. I think I’ll make some for my mom for Mother’s Day. Thanks for such great information!

    #Rootstalk

  9. avatar neyatep says:

    I tried vinegar rinses and so did my hubby and we both found them too drying. We’ve switched to making herbal infusions, added aloe vera juice and essential oils and use that now. The results have been WAY better than vinegar. Something to try if vinegar hasn’t worked for you.

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi Neyatep,
      Thank you for letting us know about your experiences! The herbal rinses that you make sound wonderful, thank you for sharing the recipe with us. I am so glad that you mentioned that these recipes will not work for everyone since we all have different hair and scalp needs, but to keep experimenting until you find a formula that works for you. The end results will be worth it!
      Thank you again!
      ~ irene

  10. [...] post: Herbal Hair Care Enrich your life and the lives of others by learning Aromatherapy, Reflexology or Color/Crystal [...]

  11. Many kinds of herbal shampoos are made with herbs and plants such as lavender, vanilla, or lemon verbena that have floral or bright scents. There is a kind, however, that is made with an ingredient that is much more commonly associated with Italian cooking than with fragrance and body products.

  12. [...] the hair and scalp. They soften, add shine, body, and enhance natural highlights. To create an Herbal hair rinse, simply pour 2 cups of boiling water over 3 or more TBSP of dried organic herbs (see [...]

  13. Ahhh Natural Handmade Bath Product Recipes are so refreshing especially when compared to the chemically inundated commercial bath products. Thank you for sharing some of your recipes and experiences. :)

  14. olive oil hair therapy…

    Herbal Hair Care « The Mountain Rose Blog…

  15. Fashion Nails…

    Herbal Hair Care « The Mountain Rose Blog…

  16. [...] Make mom a gift set of herbal shampoo, oil treatment, and hair rinse using her favorite essential [...]

  17. avatar sunny says:

    I’ve been researching different recipes on line about how to make your own body wash, and shampoo because I want to start making my own. I came across some information about using distilled water for home made body wash or shampoo because of bacteria growth issues. They said that using tap water can cause bacteria to grow and cause bad skin problems. What are your thoughts on this? Have you come across any issues like this? Also, how long is the shelf life using your recipe? Does it go bad after a certain time period? Your response will be super helpful! Thanks!!

    • avatar Irene says:

      Dear sunny,
      Thank you for the great question! Since any product made with an herbal infusion will spoil fairly quickly, I prefer to make my products in small batches and use them up within a week. This means that they are always fresh, and I don’t have to worry too much about bacterial contamination. If you wish to extend the shelf life of your products, then it would be better to use distilled water in your recipes. You can also add antibacterial essential oils, natural preservatives like Rosemary Antioxidant or Grapefruit Seed Extract, or keep your products in the refrigerator to further extend their shelf life.
      Thank you again for your question and for reading our blog. We hope that your body wash and shampoo turn out wonderful!
      ~ Irene

      • avatar sunny says:

        Thanks! I made my own shampoo using this recipe but didn’t do the herbal infusion. In addition to your recipe, I added a little coconut oil and vitamin E oil. I’m not sure if this is what made the difference or what could have made the difference, but my hair was very sticky during the wash and after the wash. I couldn’t comb through my hair at all. My hair would also clump together and tangle with each other. I’m not sure what’s going on. Any advice??

        • avatar Irene says:

          Hi sunny,
          Thank you for your feedback! I’m so sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience with making shampoo. I believe that the Coconut oil was the culprit, and would recommend trying the recipe again without the Coconut oil. I would also recommend only using a few drops of the Vitamin E Oil.
          I hope that this helps! Please let us know if you need any further assistance with the recipe, and we’ll be happy to help. :-)
          ~ irene

          • avatar sunny says:

            Thanks Irene!

            I’ll definitely try that the next batch. I’m currently using it as a body shampoo and it’s great. I added a little coconut oil because I used coconut to condition my hair before. In Hawaii, after we grate coconut and then squeeze them to get coconut milk, we rub it in our hair and skin before we throw them out. I thought it would help my hair but didn’t realize it would cause my hair to be like that. LOL :) Thanks for your help! I’ll let you know how the next one goes.

            Sunny

  18. [...] Herbal Tea: The herbs used will vary depending on your hair color and type. I like to use chamomile and calendula for brightness and shine. I pour 2 cups of boiling water [...]

  19. avatar naturalme says:

    When is the best time to add essential oils to your herbal oil blend? During the infusion or after the 3 weeks are up?

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi naturalme,
      Thank you for your question! It would be best to add essential oils once that the infusion is complete. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns, and thank you again!
      ~ irene

  20. avatar naturalme says:

    Thank you so much Ms. Irene for helping me with this. I really appreciate it. I have another question . . . the herbal shampoo mix above, how long does it last? If I am making it as gifts, will I need to add a preservative and if so, which kind would you suggest?

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi naturalme,
      Thank you for your great question! Since any product made with an herbal infusion will spoil fairly quickly, I prefer to make my products in small batches and use them up within a week. If you wish to extend the shelf life of your shampoo, then you could add antibacterial essential oils, natural preservatives like Rosemary Antioxidant or Grapefruit Seed Extract, or keep your shampoo in the refrigerator to further extend its shelf life. Or, you can make your shampoo without an herbal infusion for the base. Instead, a blend of water and hydrosol (flower water) can be substituted. Omitting the herbal infusion from your shampoo will make it last much longer.
      Thank you again for your question and for reading our blog!
      ~ irene

  21. [...]  DIY Herbal Shampoo ~ One of the perks of herbal shampoo is that it does not strip your hair of its natural oils. [...]

  22. Thanks for sharing this information with us. It will help many peoples.

  23. avatar alfred723 says:

    Recently I have been enjoying making herbal products at home. I used rich and creamy butter and coconut oil to make my hair soft and supple. Apply a thin coating of warm coconut oil to damp hair and keep covered for 15 minutes. Shampoo and enjoy luxuriant shiny hair. I read this idea at Dr.Cole Hair Transplant group website-ForHair, you can Google them, which worked quite well. Nowadays there are several companies selling many natural hair care products that will definitely give you great results.

  24. [...] Herbal Hair Care Advice From Mountain Rose [...]

  25. avatar beepippi says:

    I am so happy to find this blog. Thanks a lot for sharing. May I have a question please: Can I infuse 1 bottle of oil with several dried herbs at the same time?
    Thanks & have a great day!

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi beepippi,

      Thank you for reading our blog, and for the wonderful question!

      You may infuse the oil with as many herbs as you wish at the same time. :-)

      Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns, and thanks again!

      ~ Irene

      • avatar beepippi says:

        Hi Irene,
        Thank you for your info. I’m glad to hear that. I will try the method soon. :)
        Take care!

  26. avatar AG says:

    I just infused a herbal hair rinse with distiller water. I also added rosemary and lavender EO into the infusion. Any idea long will the shelf life be? Thanks.

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi AG,

      Thank you for the great question! An herbal water infusion will last for approximately 1-2 days, unless it is kept in a refrigerator. Water infusions tend to spoil quickly, so it is best to make small batches as you need them.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns, and thanks again!

      ~ Irene

  27. avatar Fionavar says:

    How would you recommend using the hair rinses? After shampooing and conditioning? After shampooing as an alternative to conditioner? Alone? Thanks very much :)

    • avatar Irene says:

      Hi Fionavar,

      Thank you for reading our blog and for the great question!

      Herbal rinses are so versatile and beneficial for hair care, you can use them whenever you’d like. After shampooing and conditioning, as an alternative to conditioner, or alone in-between shampoos. There’s no right or wrong way to use them. :-)

      Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns, and thanks again!

      ~ Irene

  28. It is nice to see this kind of healthy products that you suggest are being noticed :)

  29. I love using green/homemade hair products, most products have so much chemicals in them

  30. Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe this site needs a lot
    more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more,
    thanks for the info!

  31. avatar Colin says:

    This was exactly what I was searching for, thanks for covering this in a post! :))

  32. avatar T says:

    Hi there,

    I am currently using the no poo method, washing weekly, (as I did before I did no poo) with just water in my head as baking soda was very saw and itchy, for ages. My hair has now got oily, and dandruff. I am starting to see grey/white hair. Thinking nettle in a vinegar infusion. (Something that breastfeeding and pregnancy safe as a dye.)Would this be good just before or after I wash my hair? And how often shall I wash it? Or what will you recommend.

    Many thanks

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Tammy~As you know, everyone’s hair is different and all sorts of things (like pregnancy, breastfeeding, weather, etc.) can cause changes. A vinegar infusion would definitely be worth a try and you can use whenever your hair feels like it needs it. You might also check out some of the hair rinse recipes to see if there is something that would work for you. I hope this helps a bit and wish you the best! ~Kori

  33. avatar Tammy says:

    With a rinse can you leave in your hair or wash out, if you want to dye it. Would using a spray bottle compared to just pouring over ones head be as effective? Or would it need to be poured to hit the roots? Sorry about the ignorant questions…

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Tammy~Thank you for reading the blog! It is really up to you how you’d like to apply the hair rinse. It will depend on your hair type and what works best for you in your situation. You might try experimenting and see which method you like the best! Cheers ~Kori

  34. avatar Cheryl says:

    Hi there…I am a newbie here but learning all about DIY. I was wondering if you add the Rosemary co2 Extract to the shampoo recipes– how will that further extend shelf life? And what is a good amount I should add for preserving? Thank you much– love the recipes!

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Cheryl~Thank you for reading the blog! You could definitely add rosemary essential oil or, it sounds as though you are interested in adding rosemary that has been extracted or steeped in water (like a tea)? It might further extend the shelf-life a little, but since these recipes are made with natural botanical ingredients, they just don’t have the shelf life of a more chemicalized version. You could keep in the fridge as well for a little longer-lasting creation. I hope this helps and we so appreciate your interest! ~Kori

  35. […] GREAT BLOG ABOUT HOMEADE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY HAIR PRODUCTS! […]

  36. I would like to try making the herbal shampoo that you have listed, but wondering if I have to leave it in the refrigerator because it has no preservatives and about how long will it last.
    Patricia

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Patricia~Thank you so much for reading the blog! An herbal shampoo or rinse with a water base will last 1-2 days at ambient temperature, depending on how warm things are. If you want to make, say, a week’s worth, you will want to keep it in the refrigerator to preserve it. I do hope this answers your question and good luck! ~Kori

  37. avatar Sheila says:

    Tried the diy shampoo, excellent results on the first use. I have very dry hair and dandruff, not a speck of dandruff. AMAZING!!! I used tea tree oil, and peppermint EO with a liquid castile base. Thank You so much…. Henna next.

  38. […] are benefits to using specific herbs and essential oils. Follow this link to figure out which is best for […]

  39. avatar Sara says:

    When infusing herbs for the shampoo, how much water is added. Also what amount of strained, reserved liquid goes into the recipe? I have gray hair and have been trying to find products to brighten the gray and reduce yellowing. Am thinking about infusing cornflowers to brighten the gray. Do you know if anyone has tried this before and what their results were?

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Sara~Thank you for sharing your questions! In the shampoo recipe above, you may notice we suggest starting with 8 ounces of water for the infusion. Then you will use whatever liquid is left after straining your infusion for the shampoo. I have not personally ever used cornflowers to brighten gray hair, so you’ll have to let us know how it works! We wish you the best of luck :) ~Kori

  40. avatar jmason says:

    It’s my understanding that 100% BAQ henna does NOT come in different colors. 100% BAQ henna will give dark hair reddish highlights. Something else has to be added to henna to get different colors.

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Jmason~Thank you so much for reading the blog and checking in with us. The line of Henna offered by Mountain Rose Herbs is made exclusively with Lawsonia inermis, other botanical ingredients are included for the purpose of creating the many different shades which we have to offer. Mountain Rose Herbs Henna is colored using the following botanical combinations which are combined during manufacturing. You might find the information available on our website helpful: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/henna/profile We appreciate your interest and support. Cheers! ~Kori

  41. avatar lady perfume says:

    Very descriptive blog, I loved that a lot. Will there be a
    part 2?

  42. […] Wellness Mama’s Natural Shampoo Recipe Mountain Rose Blog’s Herbal Shampoo […]

  43. […] source. ***From AM – I like Mountain Rose Herbs , also check out their blog – tons of recipes. I like this one […]

  44. avatar betty says:

    I have been searching for a recipe to use on
    gray hair not to color it but to bring out the brightness of the gray. What herbs do you recommend.

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Betty~Thank you for checking in with us and for reading the blog! It is really difficult to make a recommendation since we all have very different hair color, type, etc. I have heard that both sage and rosemary are good herbs for highlighting greying hair, but you might want to do a bit more research and experimentation to find what works best for your particular hair. Good luck! ~Kori

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  • ErinErin (353)
    Erin is the Marketing Director at Mountain Rose and studied herbalism, botany, and ethical wildcrafting at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. She spends her days making botanical illustrations, playing in the garden, creating culinary gems, and formulating medicine in the magnificent Oregon Cascades.
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    Christine is our Product Manager here at Mountain Rose Herbs and our Certified Aromatherapist on staff. She's a longtime Mountain Roser with nearly a decade under her belt and assists with selecting new and exciting herbal and herb-related products. She also makes sure our current products are the best they can be!
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    Kori is our Public and Media Relations Coordinator! A West Coast native, Kori is a seasoned nonprofit activist and community organizer. Having launched six adult kids, she spends her free time in her burgeoning organic and very urban “farm”—taming Heritage chickens, building top-bar beehives from reclaimed materials, baking, brewing, and preserving.
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    Irene Wolansky is the Customer Experience Director at Mountain Rose Herbs. Born and raised on the Oregon coast, her interests include crafting body care products and herbal medicine, harvesting mushrooms, gardening, brewing herbal mead, fermentation, and exploring wild areas.
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