If you’re like me, and you use shampoo bars, you’re familiar with acidic rinses. The most common one is apple cider vinegar and water, with or without a few drops of essential oils to offset the vinegary smell. Thankfully the smell doesn’t linger after you rinse the vinegar out, and your hair ends up shiny and soft. However, after realizing I was never going to get the hang of bath bombs, I had 5 lbs of citric acid to make use of. I decided to create a hair rinse that would add shine and softness to my hair, by brewing a tea of hair healthy herbs and adding citric acid to make my acidic rinse. I change up the essential oils periodically, but the basics for the rinse itself remains the same.
Somehow I failed to get the marshmallow root in this picture, but it’s a critical part of the tea because of the polysaccharide chains it has in it that add strength to your hair shaft and make it detangle. Bamboo and horsetail are natural occurring sources of silica, which makes your hair slippery, and silky. In store products, silica is introduced in chemicals like dimethicone and cyclomethicone, but here we are avoiding these synthetics and getting our silica naturally. It still works great at leaving your hair silky and smooth.
I mix up about 20 oz at a time-enough that we will be using a preservative. I like to make a month’s worth and not have to worry about it. My bamboo comes in the form of tea bags, my horsetail in capsules, and the marshmallow root comes in bulk. How you’re able to find these things may differ.
I allow the tea to brew overnight, on the counter, then the next day when it’s at room temperature, I strain it, add preservative, essential oils, and (optional) polysorbate 80. The polysorbate suspends the essential oils in the tea so that only a gentle shake is needed before each use. If you want a solubilizer that isn’t polysorbate, you can try red turkey oil, just a 1/2 tsp. That should be enough to suspend your essential oils without being so much that it makes your hair look greasy.
Finally, per 8 oz of tea, add 1 tsp of citric acid so you have an acidic rinse to neutralize the pH of your hair after using an alkaline shampoo bar. The combination of citric acid, which will smooth the keratin scales on your hair shaft, bamboo and horsetail, which will add slip to your hair, and marshmallow root, which will add shine, should make for a great rinse. I’ve been using this rinse for over a year and can’t recommend it enough.
Here’s the recipe:
For the tea:
4 bamboo tea bags or 4 tsp bamboo
8 capsules horsetail or 4 tsp whitetail
4 tsp marshmallow root
20 oz boiling water.
Pour water over herbs and allow to come to room temperature. Steep several hours or overnight. Strain.
2 1/2 tsp citric acid
Preservative of choice, used at manufacturer recommended rate
I prefer Liquid Germall Plus, at 0.5%
My essential oil blend lately has been:
10 drops bergamot
10 drops michelia alba
5 drops helichrysum
1 tsp polysorbate 80
I store my rinse in a repurposed pop top bottle, because I can direct exactly where I want the rinse to go. Avoid the roots of your hair, as it will look greasy faster, it will stay clean longer if you only apply rinse to the ends of your hair and avoid your scalp. Let sit about 3 min then rinse with cool water.
The rinse isn’t pretty, it’s definitely very much like herbal tea.