When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis last year I made some fairly drastic life changes. Eliminated gluten and dairy, cut back on caffeine (though that’s crept back up since I’m So D@mn Tired from thyroid meds being too low, lack of sleep, five kids), and I worked to eliminate as many entry points for toxins as possible. One I’d never considered: shampoo. It made sense. Your largest organ is your skin, so clearly the perfumes and chemicals in my shampoo could potentially impact my health.
Plus I just liked the idea of making my own shampoo. I did what I usually do and googled the h@ll out of it, finally coming up with a few recipe options that sounded feasible. Which swept me into several months of wild vacillations between really awesome hair and really gross hair. Some little gems I learned along the way:
- What works for my hair may not work for your hair.
- Water matters.
- Simpler is almost always better.
All that said, here’s the homemade shampoo that works for me:
- 1 small bottle (travel sized lotion bottle, holds about 1/3 cup)
- 1 Tsp castille liquid soap
- 1 drop peppermint oil (to wake me up!)
- 1 drop tea tree oil (antimicrobial and good-for-me properties)
Seriously, that’s it. Given 1 through 3 above, here are some suggestions for altering this recipe for your hair. The key here is to experiment. But don't fear! Short of pouring bleach over your head (which would be dumb), you aren’t going to “ruin” your hair by trying homemade shampoo!
I have softened water. When I added baking soda to my mix (a natural water softener) I ended up with stringy almost crunchy locks that didn’t feel clean. Incidentally, same thing happens if I add washing soda to my washing machine (except then it’s crunchy clothing, not crunchy hair). It took me a full year after moving from hard city water to realize why my wash routine wasn’t working anymore (yes, I’m that slow). So if you have hard water, you’ll need a bit more soap and likely a bit of baking soda too.
Hair is hair is hair is…not. My hair tends to be oily at the roots and dry at the ends. Possibly because my hair is, oh, about four feet long. Short hair requires different treatment than long, oily is washed differently than dry, etc.
Dry hair will require more oil, so perhaps a bit of olive oil or some coconut milk will do wonders. Perhaps your personal PH would benefit from an ACV rinse (by the way, an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse is not straight ACV. It’s about a teaspoon-tablespoon of ACV mixed with a full cup of water).
Be aware once you’ve started on more natural shampoos, you may not need to wash your hair as often. Given my hair’s length, if I washed daily it would never (and I mean never) dry, so even pre-DIY shampoo I washed it every other day. Now it’s every third day. Which strikes me as TMI, but hey, we’re all friends here, right?
I don’t find my routine has changed much at all. Instead of jumping in the shower to use toxin-in-a-bottle, I quick mix up some shampoo (it takes less than a minute - I timed it), then scrub away the grime, baby snot, bits of spaghetti sauce….
Okay, now we're really getting TMI, so I’ll be done. Enjoy the shampoo! If you try it I’d love to know how it works. What’s your favorite essential oil for healthy hair?