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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo And Clarifying Rinse

In my effort to go all natural and mostly organic in terms of food, the next logical step for me seemed to be to go back to making my own beauty products. Prior to getting married and having children, I was making my own soap and many other beauty products.
All that came to a screeching halt when the twins arrived and somehow I never quite got back into it. Don’t get me wrong, we were using the natural and organic stuff, but even those still have many undesirable ingredients.
Since the pregnancy, or since my move to Phoenix, I have had increasingly worse trouble with eczema on my scalp. Oddly enough, my hair remained strong and thick and healthy, but my scalp has been terrible. Itchy, raw, open, and forever flaking.
I’ve tried so many things, even the medicated shampoos which made matters worse really.
Then I went shampoo-less for many years, only using tea tree conditioners to wash my hair. This made things a tad better, but not all that much.
Three weeks ago I decided I had enough and I was going to give my homemade shampoo/hair treatments another go.
I don’t even know why it took me so long to go back to this!
Within just a few washes, my scalp felt significantly more healed of the sores!
Within a week, the flakes were practically gone.
In the two weeks since then, the itching has gone from I-want-to-tear-my-scalp-off-it-itches-so-much-bad to barely moderate!
I still have some residual issues, but it has only been such a short time and I am hopeful that over time, those issues may disappear too!
And my hair has acquired that certain shine and extra luster that I had been missing for a while!
However, having said all of the above, often there will be an adjustment period of two to four weeks when switching from commercial shampoos. Your hair may become frizzy or oily as it adjusts to the no-sulfate and other nasties routine, but eventually everything will level out and you will reap the benefits of the new hair routine!

Coconut Milk Shampoo

1/2 cup of  Dr. Bronners Organic Castile Liquid Soap, Peppermint (or Tea Tree, Lavender or Unscented)
1/3 cup organic coconut milk
2 tsp. Burdock oil (or organic virgin Coconut Oil, or Hemp Seed Oil)
10 drops rosemary essential oil
8 drops lavender essential oil
6 drops sage essential oil (or chamomile essential oil)

Mix all the ingredients well and decant into a shower save bottle. If the coconut oil isn’t runny by itself, warm it a little to get it to a liquid state before mixing.
I have not had an issue with the shampoo separating, but if it does, just shake it up before use!
Less is more with this shampoo. I have medium short hair, but it’s thick and I have a lot of it and I have never needed more than about 2 tsp.

This shampoo works best if you follow it up with a clarifying rinse.

Clarifying Hair Rinse

3  cups or so of water
5-8  drops of essential oil (rosemary, peppermint, chamomile (will lighten blond hair), lavender, sage, lemon balm are all good options) - optional

You can also use fresh herbs in place of the essential oils, but steep them in water with a splash of the organic cider vinegar for a few days prior to use.
As you can see above, I currently have a bottle of  rosemary and mint  from my herb garden sitting on my shower shelf and I decant from that and refill right there in the shower. The herbs stay good in there for about a week, imparting their goodness!

To Use:
After you rinsed off all shampoo and/or conditioners, pour the vinegar rinse all over your hair. Cold water is best as it allows the cuticles to close, which will decrease frizz and add shine, but warm is ok too.
I use it cold straight out of the bottle, but it’s hot around here, so cold feels quite good!
Wring out your hair out as much as you can.
That’s it, you don’t rinse it out!

Then towel dry and proceed as normal.
There will be a faint odor of vinegar, don’t worry about that, it dissipates once your hair is dry! And your hair will be so soft and shiny!

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  1. I might just try this, Birgit. I am so tired of all the chemicals and stuff in shampoos. Interesting to hear your experience. Thx for the recipe, too. I pinned it to remember!

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  3. Castile soap leaves a terrible residue on my hair. Do you know of an alternative? Thanks!

  4. Hi Mamarazzi, you could try glycerine soap, however, that has it's own draw backs.
    Have you tried the clarifying Apple Cider Vinegar rinse? I find that it leaves your hair squeeky clean and residue free!

  5. I made both this morning and I used the rinse twice, hoping to get the soap out. If I increase the coconut milk and add baking soda do you think that would help? I've been reluctant to put baking soda on my hair-seems like it would be abrasive?

  6. Hmmm, I am not sure. Nobody in my family has had that problem! I know that sometimes my kids use a little much of it and then it takes a long time to wash everything out, but I've never experienced the vinegar rinse not doing the trick. So, I'm totally guessing, due to lack of experience and not knowing your body :)
    It may be the soap, but it also may be the coconut milk that your scalp is holding on to. So increasing the coconut milk may not solve this. Adding baking soda - I have no idea what that would do, I haven't tried.

    You could try the baking soda hair cleaning routine - lots of people subscribe to the "just baking soda" or baking soda and ACV hair cleaning method with great success.

    My personal favorite is my honey vanilla orange shampoo, but if it is indeed the castile soap that's giving you issues, then that wouldn't help much, since it also has a fair amount of that in there. If it's the coconut milk however, then this one might be a winner!


    Or, you could use just honey to wash your hair. I hear from quite a few people that they are doing this successfully!
    Here's a blogpost on it by Lauren from Empowered Sustenance: http://empoweredsustenance.com/honey-shampoo-updates/

    She also links to her original post, which has something like 900 comments from people who tried it, so it's worth a read!
    I hope you find something that works for you!!

  7. I have a multiple chemical sensitivity and all shampoos, conditioners, washes, etc. make me itch. I've made my own deodorant, lotion and now I'm working on shampoo and conditioner. I'd say my hair is normal, I'm in my early 30's so thank goodness I'm past that greasy kid stage.My roots actually felt pretty good but my hair is down to the middle of my back. I've used Dr. Bronner's in the past with the same results- just a weird waxy/greasy feeling. I'll try a couple of adjustments but this is the closest I've come to something that might work, so I thank you! I'll let you know what I come up with. :)

  8. I'm really interested in making my own shampoo and rinse! Thanks for your recipe! Do you use coconut milk from a can - from the grocery aisle? If so, does it have a "shelf life" once it's opened and mixed into shampoo?

  9. For coconut milk - the canned kind! I've never had any trouble with shelf life - the Apple Cider Vinegar does serve as somewhat of a preservative. However, our shampoos never last more than about 3 months in this family, so I can't vouch for any time beyond that.

  10. Thanks for the shampoo and clarifying rinse recipes. I would be hesitant to use baking soda very often on my hair because hair dressers use it to strip your hair of oil and built up conditioner.

  11. Thank you for your post, Birgit. Just to clarify, you have no trouble with the coconut milk "spoiling" once mixed into the shampoo, and can you keep it in your shower? Or does it need to be refrigerated?

  12. We have never had any spoiling issues and have always kept it in the shower/bathroom, for weeks and months at the time (I tend to make big batches, then decant into smaller bottles as we go.) No refrigeration necessary!

  13. Awesome! I'm going to try the shampoo from here and a different but similar rinse from the EOPR for YL. I saw you list a bunch of Dr. Bronners...I assume Almond would be ok too? Am I right?

  14. Sure. Any "flavor" of castile soap is fine!

  15. Do a mask prior to the wash with calcium bentonite clay to help with the reaction of sensitivity

  16. Use a scalp mask of calcium bentonite clay prior to wash to relieve sensitivity issues

  17. I want to try the shampoo but am concerned about leaving the ACV in my hair and not rinsing. Does it smell?

  18. There is usually a faint vinegary odor when you first step out of the shower/bath, but it dissipates pretty fast. Certainly, by the time I'm done drying my hair, it's no longer detectable.
    However, if you are concerned, you can rinse it out. I find it more effective if I don't but you would still get some of the benefits if you let it sit for a bit and then rinse with water.

  19. I made this shampoo but I didnt have coconut milk so I used coconut cream mixture that I had on hand. You mix the mixture with water to replace milk in recipes. It lathered pretty well and smelled nice when I got out. I only used tea tree oil and my castile soap is peppermint. After blow drying...it left it a little too oily for my liking. I know its doing my hair good since coconut oil is a great hair mask...but does the rinse counter some of the oiliness? I did not make the rinse yet.

  20. Hi do you use a leave in conditioner after you use the rinse and you get out of the shower?

  21. Hi do you use a leave in conditioner after using the rinse?

  22. No, I don't seem to need a leave-in conditioner anymore. The vinegar rinse leaves the hair really soft and manageable! I have fairly straight hair though, so I don't know how it would work for curly hair.

    1. Thanks! But if you go outside do you think it frizzes with the heat or the humidity in Arizona? oh btw i have long curly oily hair cut in layers.

    2. I don't have anybody with curly or frizzy hair in my family, so we have no experience with that. However, I would imagine that hair that has a tendency to frizz in humidity, will frizz with just the vinegar rinse, especially during monsoon season. But I'm just guessing!

    3. ok Thanks so much!! I love your blog btw!

  23. So my hair felt yucky for 3 days, and today I finally caved & used my old shampoo. But I'm going to put coconut oil into my homemade shampoo + grapeseed oil. And use the rinse. And use less shampoo, I may have been goofing on that one. I was worried that I'd start smelling rank with my nappy stiff hair. Lol

  24. Do you need to use all the essential oils listed?

  25. You don't "need" them, but each has properties that are helpful to hair and scalp.

  26. Hi ended up getting all the essential oils and followed the recipe. I used the shampoo and vinegar wash but my hair ended up being sticky even after I blow dried it.

    1. Sorry it didn't work for you! Due to the varied responses in the comments, I am beginning to think that it must depend on a certain hair type or hair "make up" in how it responds to this shampoo!

  27. Have you ever heard of Apple cider vinegar stripping the color of the hair? I've wanted to make homemade shampoo and such but don't want the color to come out. Lol

    1. Hi Katherine! It hasn't been my experience that it does anything negative to color. In fact if anything, it has stopped the color from dulling! Apple Cider vinegar balances the PH of your hair and scalp. It's not acidic enough to strip it!


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Birgit Kerr