Winter-blasted hair needs renewal as much as everything else does in the spring. The following cleansing and conditioning shampoos use simmered herbs and flowers plus essential oils to nourish and repair the hair. These natural ingredients also refresh the spirit and help reconnect you to nature.
The recipes below incorporate rituals derived from ancient cultures. The shampoos include a wide variety of herbs, flowers, and even weeds available fresh during spring and summer. Each ingredient is carefully selected for gentle cleansing, softening, and moisturizing properties.
These shampoos have several ingredients in common, but water is the basis for all of them. If you live in an area with low pollution, you can use water collected from spring showers; this connects your shampoo in a mystical way to the season of spring in your area. If you don’t live in an area with low pollution, use bottled spring water.
The recipes also include gentle herbal sudsing agents: soap-bark tree (Quillaja saponaria), soapwort (Saponaria officinalis), and lamb’s-quarter (Chenopodium album). Lamb’s-quarter has a venerable history of use in the Americas by medicine men and women. You can release its natural saponins, or sudsing components, by steeping it in boiling water, or by pounding or pulverizing it.
These shampoos won’t foam as much as the ones you buy at your salon or grocery store, and you’ll need to use more of them than you do a commercial product—about 1/2 cup to 1 cup, depending on your hair’s length. Use these shampoos as you would a commercial variety; massage shampoo into wet hair, lather, rinse, and repeat (up to two to three times) if necessary. Since these recipes are gentle, you may shampoo with them on a daily basis.
These shampoos are for external use only; don’t ingest them.
Stephanie Rose Bird lives in Oak Park, Illinois, where she is an artist, writer, and mother of four. She is the founder of Almost Edible beauty products and the author of the soon-to-be-published book Down Home Beauty: An Herbal Guide for Women of Color.
• Herbal Accents, 560 N. Coast Highway 101, Ste. 4A, Encinitas, CA 92024; (760) 633-4255; www.herbalaccents.com.
• Soap Saloon, 5710 Auburn Blvd., #6, Sacramento, CA 95841; (916) 334-4894.
• Angel’s Earth, 1633 Scheffer Ave., St. Paul, MN 55116-1427; (651) 698-3601.
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