By Lynnie Stein / September 7, 2022

DIY Hair Care

Looking for another way to go DIY with beauty products + beat inflation in your home? Here we have a wonderful range of homemade natural hair care possibilities, most from readily available garden offerings.


The easiest alternative shampoo is mud! (how inexpensive is that?)

  • Don’t laugh, it takes the grease out. (Notice how silty water lathers into foam in a flood?).
  • Package mud up in flowered plastic bottles and the supermarkets would be full of it.
  • Actually urine is supposed to be excellent too – a couple of days old and ammoniacal.
  • It does take the grease out of sheep’s wool wonderfully, but we have never tried it.
  • I am sure it would give my hair all the blonde lights of an advertiser’s dream.
  • But with so many alternatives to try….Shampoo can be made from mixtures of water and herbs, vinegar, lemon juice (as conditioner and lightener), egg yolks (for dry hair) or beer (for body). 
  • Organic egg yolks are best as a conditioner – rub in after shampooing, leave for a few minutes and wash off (cool water or you will have scrambled eggs) – but they clean hair as well.
  • Or try an infusion of soapwort. Pick a handful of leaves, bung them in the blender or a moulie, cover with water, shake, strain and use the liquid in your hair. Ivy leaves are great too, or blackwood leaves.

DIY Dry Shampoo

  • Take orris root, ground rosemary or arrowroot or a combination of any of them.
  • Dry thoroughly in the oven, grind to a powder and brush though hair.
  • The powder should take both grease and dirt with it.

Chamomile Shampoo Recipe

  • Make a cup of hot chamomile tea by pouring boiling water over a dessertspoon of dried flowers and leaving it to steep for five minutes.
  • Drain the tea off the flowers, add a teaspoon of grated soap (castile or vegetable soap) and an optional teaspoon of borax.
  • Mix well.
  • Use the whole cupful to wash your hair.
  • Chamomile tea is a brightening rinse for fair hair.

Egg + Other Shampoos

Take the yolks of two organic eggs, add the juice of two lemons, mix, and use instead of shampoo.

Oregano Shampoo

  • Make an infusion by pouring 2 cups boiling water over 1 tablespoon dried oregano.
  • When cool strain and add 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap.
  • Massage enough of the liquid into the scalp and hair and rinse.
  • Follow with a conditioner.
  • Fresh oregano can be used in place of the dried herb but double the quantity.

Hair Rinse for Shining Hair

Add a teacupful of rosemary tea to hair rinse for shiny, fragrant hair.

It is also supposed to prevent early baldness.

DIY Hair Conditioners

Oily Hair

  • Use any astringent herb like rosemary, lavender or mint.
  • An astringent herb will increase the tone of your hair.

Dry Hair

Use a demulcent herb like comfrey, slippery elm sage, and parsley.

Demulcent herbs are rich in mucilage, which puts up a protective barrier and coats the hair.


  • Combined with vinegar, herbs like rosemary, parsley, chamomile or sage will reportedly help control dandruff.
  • Good general conditioners and dandruff preventers are elderberry, southernwood, nettles, lime or quince peel.
  • Oregano is also good for treating dandruff.
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, 2 cups boiling water, 1/4 teaspoon borax. Infuse the oregano by pouring the boiling water over and allow the mixture to cool. Strain, dissolve the borax in. Massage into scalp twice weekly.

Body and Shine

  • In addition to helping hair types, many herbs also provide body and shine to serve double duty on your locks.
  • Some of the easiest to grow are rosemary, parsley and nasturtiums.
  • Remember, if you have dry hair, stick with ones that would help you, like parsley, sage or comfrey. Oily hair requires herbs like rosemary or mint.
Hay bale garden

A simple recipe to make hair rinses will work for any of the above hair issues….

  • Take 1 cup of coarsely chopped, fresh herbs and 1 quart of distilled water.
  • Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, cover and let infuse (soak) for 1 hour.
  • Strain, then add 1 quart of cider vinegar to the liquid.
  • Store in plastic containers and keep in a cool, dark place. (You may be worried about adding the vinegar, but it acts as a preservative. You can make your rinses without it, but then they must be stored in the refrigerator and used within two days.)
  • Use about 1 cup after shampooing, pouring it over your hair several times.
  • (You can catch the rinse water in a basin to use repeatedly).
  • Do the final rinse with cool water to make the outer cells of your strands lie flat, providing a smooth finish.

If you want a little extra hair care, consider concocting an herbal conditioner for greater control of your tresses.

Herbs make gentle conditioners.

To prepare one, be sure to mince the herbs first – it’s important that they be a fine texture because they won’t be strained out.

  • To make conditioner, add 1 cup of minced herbs to 2 cups of distilled water and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • (If using roots or bark, double the cooking time.)
  • Remove from heat and let infuse for an hour.
  • Then add 1 tablespoon of vegetable glycerine – just 1 drop at a time – and stir vigorously.
  • Store in a tightly sealed, plastic container and keep in a cool, dark place.
  • Add a small amount to wet hair, finger-comb, then style as usual.

Hair Conditioner Treatment for Dry hair

  • Fill a glass jar half full of fennel, camomile, rosemary or nettles.
  • Top with sunflower oil, let it steep in the sunlight for at least a week, and shake regularly.
  • Rub through hair ten minutes before washing.
  • For dry and brittle hair, any of the vegetable oils can act as a marvellous conditioner.
  • Slowly heat the oil in a double saucepan – when warm, massage into the scalp and hair.
  • Cover the head with plastic then wrap in warmed towels.
  • When towel cools repeat once; then shampoo, making sure you remove all excess oil.
  • Follow with a herbal rinse.
  • Make an infusion and either use as rinse or mix with the final rinsing water to leave hair sweet smelling and shiny.
  • To enhance colour and add shine, use sage and horsetail.
  • To promote growth and add shine, parsley and catmint. Rosemary and lemon verbena make a lovely rinse for dark hair and camomile and yarrow for fair. Columbine for the sweet smell of hay.
  • To promote hair growth, rub into the scalp several times a week either an infusion of yarrow or a mixture of two tablespoons of extract of nasturtium mixed with a few drops of rosemary oil; brush hair thoroughly afterwards.
  • Oregano has stimulating qualities and encourages hair growth.

Now you are all shiny and conditioned. If there are a few more hours to spare try a little colour.

DIY Hair Colour

Henna would be one of the oldest and best known colouring agents, and is readily available from health shops, complete with instructions.

For those with fair hair, it can be lightened quite considerably with special lightening pastes.

To Lighten Hair

  • Take a ¼ cup of lemon juice (fresh lemons are best) and mix with your conditioner.
  • Apply to hair and leave your hat off when gardening in the sun.
  • Soon thereafter you will see a beautiful summer shimmer in your hair.
  • For more summer highlights … Try rosemary for brunettes and camomile for blondes.
  • Steep a cup of camomile flowers in three cups of boiling water.
  • Use the liquid as a final rinse.
  • This will add bright golden lights, and gradually lighten hair with continued use.
  • Camomile Paste; make a strong infusion of flowers and mix in enough kaolin powder to make a thick paste.
  • Apply to hair along the full length of the strands and leave for approximately one hour. Rinse well with warm water.
  • Your initial application may not produce highly noticeably results but persevere as successive applications will produce noticeable lightening.

Rhubarb can be applied also as a lightener.

  • To make the paste; stew two sticks of rhubarb in two cups of white wine for about twenty minutes. Steep for a further couple of hours, then mix to a thick paste with kaolin powder. repeat process as for camomile.

Dyeing Hair

  • To make a blue rinse, take a cup of elderberries, add a pinch of salt and alum (these add brightness but aren’t absolutely necessary) and cover with boiling water.
  • Leave this until it is cool and use as a final rinse.
  • If the colour is not deep enough rub a more concentrated solution into hair and leave for ten minutes before rinsing off.

Henna Hair Dye

Henna 200 gm
1 teaspoon organic coffee powder
1 organic egg yolk
1 teaspoon Rum/Brandy

  • Mix coffee powder in water and make a paste of henna with the water.
  • Beat the egg yolk and mix this into henna.
  • Also add brandy to it.
  • Apply the paste and leave on for 3-4 hours before washing with lukewarm water.

Saffron Hair Dye

Saffron 1 pinch
Boiling water 500 ml

  • Soak saffron in water for 10 minutes.
  • Strain and use it on the hair.
  • Grey hair will acquire a rich golden tint.

Walnut Hair Dye

Walnut husk 500 gm
Water 500 ml

  • Boil husk (dry outer covering) in the water for 15 minutes.
  • Then strain and use this liquid to dye your hair.
  • It will colour brown hair to a darker rich shade.

Brunette Rinses

  • Rinse your hair with the cooled water left after boiling unpeeled potatoes.
  • Rinse with teas made from Rosemary, Sage, Raspberry leaves, Parsley, or Catnip
  • Rinse with black Coffee or black Tea.
  • Rinse with an infusion of Tea, Walnuts and Coffee.
  • Rinse with and infusion of Apple Cider Vinegar, Rosemary and Coffee.
  • A paste for brown hair can be made by mixing six tablespoons of green walnut skins with two tablespoons of alum powder and half a cup of orange flower paste. Chop the walnut skins finely and mix into a paste with the other ingredients, then apply as above.

To Lighten Hair

  • Steep a cup of chamomile flowers in three cups of boiling water.
  • Use the liquid as a final rinse.
  • This will add bright golden lights to brown hair, and gradually lighten hair with continued use. Lemon juice added to rinsing water is good for fair hair.

To Add Golden Lights to Brown Hair

  • Dig up some rhubarb root, scrub it clean of grit, dry in the oven then pulverize in a blender.
    Add just enough hot water to make a pulp and rub into hair.
    Leave for half an hour then rinse off thoroughly.
    This preparation may leave your hair dry, so use a conditioner afterwards.
  • Steep an organic chamomile tea bag in 7 oz. of warm filtered water with a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar.
  • Apply tea mixture to hair and let sit for 3 minutes.
  • Chamomile renders a golden tone to hair, whilst the vinegar gives hair a shine.
    Rinse hair again with water.

Blonde Rinses

  • Rinse with infusions or teas made from Saffron, Turmeric, Calendula (marigold), Mullein.
  • Rinse with an infusion of Avena Sativa (oat straw), Licorice Root and Saffron.
  • Rinse with Chamomile tea.
  • Take a cup of marigold petals, pour over a cup of boiling water, leave until cool and use as a final rinse for your hair. Better results come with repeated applications.
  • Boil chopped rhubarb in water then cool, strain and rinse hair with water.

Red Hair Rinses

  • Rinse hair with cool, strong black organic Coffee.
  • Rinse with teas made from Rosehips, Red Hibiscus, Calendula or Saffron.

To Mask Grey Hair

  • Make a strong sage tea by pouring a cup of boiling water onto a cup of chopped sage leaves.
  • Leave it until it is cool, and use as a final rinse.
  • This will have to be repeated for several weeks.
  • Make a paste with kaolin powder.
  • Sage can assist in restoring original colour.

Grey Hair Rinse

Use a Hollyhock infusion or Betony rinse to remove the yellow from grey hair.

To Colour Grey Hair Brown

  • Soak a handful of walnut leaves or husks in water overnight.
  • Use this as a final rinse when washing your hair


  • The health and quality of our skin + hair is strongly linked to the health of our gut.
  • Fermented vegetables are ideal for promoting the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.
  • Signals from these gut microorganisms are sent throughout our body—they even interact with organisms in our skin.

DIY Bacterial Hair Care

milk kefir grains
  • Milk Kefir makes an excellent hair mask, use monthly.
  • Simply massage kefir into your scalp and let sit for 20-60 minutes.
  • Rinse.
  • Repeat as often as required.
  • You can also try mixing with a little oil.

Coconut Vinegar hair conditioner: 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar to 1 cup hot water + 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • The Yao women believe fermented rice water, they use to cleanse their hair, is what helps to keep their hair long, dark and clean.
  • Rice water enables them to de-tangle and manage their long hair, they wrap around their heads in an elaborate high bun that is often described with names such as ‘gazing god’s bun’ or the ‘cloud bun’.
  • Not limited to hair, rice water also has many skin benefits. Due to its cooling and soothing effects on skin, rice water is often prescribed by ayurvedic practitioners as an effective ointment to cool off inflamed skin.
  • Rice water also has moisturizing, antioxidant, and healing properties that help to improve circulation, prevent or fade age related spots, and ease inflamed skin conditions.
  • If it is left on the skin, rice water is even believed to offer mild protection from the sun.
  • Washing or rinsing hair with fermented rice water is certainly better than rinsing with unfermented or plain rice water.
  • Fermentation lowers the pH of the liquid, and this is like our hair’s pH, which is also on the lower side (slightly acidic).
  • So, this slightly acidic pH plus the added nutrients through the fermentation process help restore hair’s pH balance, stimulate blood flow to the scalp, nourish hair follicles to promote healthy hair growth, and improve overall condition of hair.
  • For extra nourishment, add few drops of essential oils such as rosemary, lavender or tea tree.
  • After shampooing, pour the rice water on your hair. Gently massage your scalp and hair and leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes. Then rinse hair thoroughly with plain water.
  • You can also use rice water in place of regular shampoo. For better cleansing add some amla or shikakai powder, castile soap / grated black African soap, or you can also add some rice flour to this water.

To make rice water

  • Rinse the rice with about a cup of water to remove any dirt or impurities and discard the water.
  • Then, place 1/2 cup of uncooked rice in a bowl and cover with clean water. Let the rice soak for about an hour or so. Swirl it around and lightly knead it until the water turns cloudy. This will help the vitamins and minerals seep into the water, creating a nourishing rinse for your hair and skin.
  • Plain Rice Water: Now strain out the rice water into a clean bowl. Your rice water is ready to use.
  • You can either use this water for your hair or face, or better still – let it ferment for enhanced benefit.

To Ferment: Once you have collected your rice water, leave at room temperature for a day or until it turns slightly sour, implying that it has started to ferment. It can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, depending on how warm it is.

  • To decrease the fermentation time, you can leave the rice sitting in the water and strain once it has fermented.
  • Your fermented rice water is ready. If you do not care for the sour aroma – add a few lemon, lime or orange peels.
  • Store in the refrigerator and it will last for 5-6 days. Remember to shake the refrigerated rice water container before using.

We store the remaining 10% of fermented rice water in the fridge and use it as a starter for the next batch.

  • Rice to use: Every type of rice has its own benefits to your hair and skin.
  • Plus, the way rice water is obtained – rinsing, boiling, fermenting – will also change the nutrient content and pH of this water.
  • So, experiment freely and see what works best for your hair and skin

Enjoy & save some dollars,

Big Love & Bacteria, Xo

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