Herbal rinses for shampoo bars

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WeaversPort

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I am brand new to soapmaking, but have some experience with herbal and acid rinses. I started using herbal rinses in combination with honey, yogurt, or coconut oil, just as an occasional hair masque - but you can easily use the same herbs for an acid rinse just after shampooing.

While I haven't ventured into shampoo bars, I did do some research. I noticed several people had a hard time, getting oily results when starting out and with hard water it seems to be a common struggle. Several people have recommended the FAQ on how to deal with hard water from J.R. Liggett: https://jrliggett.com/faq#best-results.

In regards to herbal rinses and acid rinses, different people have different results. I don't use acid rinses often, mostly when I'm swimming regularly. I will put them in my hair just after shampooing, gently combing from ends up to scalp with a wide tooth comb, massage my scalp for an extra boost of blood flow, leave them on while going through the rest of my shower, and rinse with cool at the end. If you aren't interested in a bracing finish, stick with warm (but not hot).

Different hair seem to like different acids, so feel free to experiment and find out what works best. For an acid you can use:
  • 1.5 tsp lemon juice in 8 oz. warm water (lemon juice is often preferred by blonds)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar in 8 oz. warm water
  • 1 tsp citric acid in 8 oz warm water

For the herbal acid rinses, there are a few ways to go about it. Infusing vinegar is certainly the most "straight up". Add the herbs of choice to the vinegar (some people use kombucha vinegar, wine vinegar, most common is apple cider vinegar), warm it in a double boiler until it warm but not hot. You don't want to boil it. Then pour the herb and vinegar mixture into a clean, glass jar and let it steep for 4-6 weeks, shaking it regularly. Then you can strain out the herbs through a cheesecloth or fine mesh, and simply use the vinegar as above.

If you are using lemon juice or citric acid, it takes a little more effort ongoing because you don't want it to go bad; but it takes less time up front. If you are infusing water, you basically make an overnight tea. Bring the water up to heat (not boil), add the herbs, put in a clean jar, close and let steep for 24 hours. You can then store the tea in the fridge to preserve it for a week or two. You can dilute the tea with warm water and the acid to keep it from being an intensely refreshing rinse - 2 oz tea, to 6 oz water - and acid of your choice depending on your preferences.

I tend to infuse the vinegar directly, leave a weeks worth in a condiment bottle in the shower, and the rest of the herb mix can stays in the fridge.

As far as what kind of herbs to use? It really depends on what you are looking for. If you want to use essential oils, add those after everything is done infusing and you're making your mix for the week. Then 5-7 drops in the bottle, and make sure you shake well before rinsing, to distribute the oils through the water.

Some good herbs for the "normal" range of hair and skin are:
  • Lavender
  • Camomile
  • Nettle
  • Horsetail
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Green tea
  • Fenugreek
  • Borage
  • Burdock

Don't use Rosemary essential oil if you are pregnant or have epilepsy. In fact, if you have any serious health condition, please check to make sure the oils and herbs are safe for your use.

Essential oils used can be the same as the herbs above of course, additional ones might be; carrot seed, Clary Sage, Patchouli, Geranium, Cedarwood, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Neroli.

For oily skin/hair, recommended herbs include: Rosemary, Lemongrass, Tea Tree, Sage, Eucalyptus, Neem, Clove, Bay, Oregano, Mint, and Basil.

Just be careful of Peppermint - too much and you will feel very minty fresh.

I generally use a mix of Lavender, Sage, Chamomile, Clove, Fenugreek, Rosemary, Nettle, and Mint herbs. I then use essential oils of Clary Sage and Cedarwood. Infusing the clove in the vinegar gives an added bonus, in that it smells less like vinegar ;)

For blondes, I don't recommend herbal infusing Rosemary, Sage, Borage or Clove.

If you're interested in a color perk, blondes might consider Calendula, Chamomile, Lemon, and/or Sunflower petals.

Brunettes consider Black Tea, Black Walnut hulls (crushed or chopped), Comfrey root, Nettle, Rosemary, Sage.

Red heads consider Calendula, Henna, Hibiscus flowers, Red Clover flowers, Rose hips, and Red Rose petals.

You can use these herb combinations minus the acids, just as a nice treat for hair and scalp - especially the horsetail and fenugreek. I hope this helps give some inspiration and food for thought, whether you use shampoo bars or not!

Kaye

I'd love to hear any tips or herbs you like to use as well :)
 
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WeaversPort

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Zany_in_CO

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Several people have recommended the FAQ on how to deal with hard water from J.R. Liggett: https://jrliggett.com/faq#best-results.
Thank you for the link to that excellent site and for all the info on herbal rinses and what's best for everyone's type of hair. I've tried some of those, but when I'm feeling lazy, which is happening far too much these days, I use beer -- straight from the fridge. It doesn't smell "beery" at all once my hair dries and it's good for thin, flat hair that needs a little oomph in volume.
 

cmzaha

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Shampoo Bars or "Soap" bars. Big difference. One you left out is gray or platinum hair. Blues and purples are great for whitening.
 

Zany_in_CO

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One you left out is gray or platinum hair. Blues and purples are great for whitening.
I'm so glad you mentioned that, Carolyn! My hubby used to have that godawful yellow tinge to his silvery hair. Since he started shampooing with "Hog Wash" -- my 50/50 lard & PKO LS, his hair is the prettiest shade of glistening pure white. Gorgeous! It must be cuz I add a bit of blue liquid colorant (plus peppermint EO) to the amber colored LS to make it a lovely shade of green shampoo.
 
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