Natural Shampoos for Dense, Healthy & Shiny Hair
- Rhassoul Clay
This lovely brown coloured clay, with its smooth silky texture, is a superb natural cleaner. It is known for its ability to draw out impurities that can build up on scalp and hair. Rich in natural minerals, rhassoul clay moisturises hair, improves elasticity, and makes hair super soft. It’s also very soothing on irritate scalp and may help with dandruff.
In Morocco, it is traditionally mixed with argan oil and rose floral water and used as a gentle shampoo. You can create your own version by adding floral or herbal infusion to suit your hair’s need; you can choose from chamomile, rosemary, lavender, amla, aloe vera, black tea, and so on.
To make a rhassoul cleanser, take 3 tablespoon rhassoul clay and add enough water (or herbal infusion) to make a runny paste. You can also add a teaspoon of oil (such as almond, olive, macadamia nut) to it, and stir well. To use, massage the rhassoul mixture into the scalp and hair, and leave it on for 3 to 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
- Reetha or Soapnut berries
Reetha has been used by people of Indian subcontinent for centuries to clean and maintain healthy hair. It contain natural saponins or natural detergents which is what makes it such a wonderful cleanser. Not just that, reetha adds body and shine and make hair feel thicker and smooth. Plus, its antibacterial and antifungal properties may help with dandruff.
Reetha Cleanser: You can use whole berries and make a strong tea to wash your hair. Reetha powder: It is much simpler to use powder. To make reetha cleanser, mix 1 to 2 tablespoon of reetha powder with enough hot water to make a runny paste. Let this mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. To use, massage the mixture into your scalp and hair and leave it on for 5 minutes or so. Then rinse off. Repeat if needed.
Reetha on its own can be drying for hair, therefore I prefer to use it with equal amounts of shikakai. And for more goodness you can add one or more of the following herbs to the above mixture – amla(conditioning), hibiscus powder (helps with tangles), brahmi (rejuvenating), orange peel (adds shine), neem (antiseptic), lavender (scalp balancing), or licorice (conditioning).
Shikakai gently cleans hair without stripping it of natural oils. As a natural hair conditioner, shikakai makes hair bouncy, shiny, and soft. What I also like about shikakai is that it is naturally pH balancing and helps to keep the scalp healthy and dandruff free. Plus its nourishing qualities strengthen roots and encourage strong, healthy hair growth.
Shikakai Cleanser: Like reetha you can either use its tea or its powder to wash your hair. Using powder or tea is a matter of personal preference, try both ways, then you’ll know which works better for you.
If your hair is greasy or oily, use shikakai powder along with reetha. And for an extra boost, add a teaspoon amla or/and brahmi powder to it.
For those with normal to dry hair, simply mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of shikakai powder enough hot water to make a runny paste. Let this mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. To use, massage the mixture into your scalp and hair and leave it on for 5 minutes or so. Then rinse off with plain water. And of course you can add in more herbs (see reetha cleanser) to make a perfect cleansing blend for your hair
Hard water: Both reetha and shikakai work extraordinarily well in hard water. Also, using tea or powder mixture directly on dry hair does seem to help.
- Aloe vera
Aloe vera is used in the Caribbean as a shampoo. Aloe conditions, moisturizes and makes hair smoother, silkier, and healthier. Plus, aloe vera has soothing and cooling properties that help relieve redness, irritation and itchiness, while nourishing the scalp.
Aloe Cleanser: The best way to use aloe vera is straight from the plant. Fresh gel/juice creates a good lather and has a viscous, slippery texture. Massage into your scalp and hair and let it sit for 3-5 minutes, then rinse off. This is more of a conditioning wash. For added benefits, you can put some shikakai powder to it.
Both the flower and the leaf of the hibiscus plant contain mucilage, a slippery substance, which helps to clean the hair really well. They also contain plant proteins that help in the treatment of dandruff and hair loss. The astringent properties of hibiscus helps seal the cuticles – so you will have less tangles. Hibiscus is also very moisturising and helps to restore hair’s natural barrier and hydrates the hair fibres.
Hibiscus Cleanser: To make hibiscus cleanser, simply grind a handful of leaves and couple of flowers with a little water to make a slippery paste. To use, massage into your scalp and hair and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse off.
- Fullers Earth (Multani Mitti)
Fullers earth is another mineral rich clay which has been used for centuries to remove impurities from the skin and hair. Due to its highly absorbent nature, it cleans the hair beautifully but without stripping away its natural oils. The natural minerals in the clay help strengthen the hair shaft, provide natural shine and may also help with dandruff.
This clay comes highly recommended to those with acne problems, blemishes, spotting, and people prone to oily skin.
Fullers Earth Cleanser: To make a basic cleanser, mix 2 to 3 tablespoons fullers earth with enough water (or herbal infusion) to make a runny paste. Massage this mixture into your scalp and hair and leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes, then rinse off.
For those with normal to oily hair add a tablespoon of shikakai/reetha powder to the mixture – this will get your hair nice and clean. While people with dry, lackluster hair can experiment adding orange peel powder or aloe vera to it.
- Rice Water
Rice water is a mild cleanser with amazing hair and skin benefits. Rice water contains inositol, which helps to repair damaged hair, improve hair elasticity and reduce surface friction. Rinsing hair with rice water will add shine to your hair and keep it strong and healthy.
Rice water cleanser: just place 1/2 cup uncooked rice in a bowl and cover with water (about 2 to 3 cups) and let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Swirl it around or lightly knead it until the water turns cloudy. Now strain out the rice water into a clean bowl. Your rice water is ready to use. For better cleansing add some shikakai powder to this water.
You can use this either as a hair wash or as a conditioning rinse. Pour the rice water on your hair and gently massage your scalp and hair. Leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes, then rinse your hair thoroughly with plain water.
- Besan (chickpea flour)
Due to the presence of natural saponins, besan has been used traditionally as a skin and hair cleanser by Indian women. It’s also packed with protein which helps to make hair more manageable and shiny, while strengthening the hair at the same time.
Besan cleanser: To make this cleanser, take 3 tablespoon of besan in a bowl. To this add 2 tablespoon of yoghurt and some water to make a smooth paste. You can also add some aloe vera juice for silky shiny effect.
To use, massage the besan mixture into the scalp and hair and leave it on for 4 to 5 minutes, then rinse off really well.