As you have probably noticed by now, I am very picky about ingredients! I originally made this shampoo with nothing but the herbs, oils and castile soap. However, that resulted in a very watery shampoo, which is a problem, especially for those of us with long hair.
This brings me to my philosophy on DIY natural and/or organic products. While it’s something on which I place a high value, I refuse to lower my standards. I’m all for natural living. In fact, one of my aspirations is to reach 100% natural in all aspects of my life.
But the stuff has got to actually WORK!
I’m not about to toss all my eye shadow, smear some utterly ineffective dried beetroot powder onto my eyelids and call it a day. I see no reason to compromise quality for the sake of crunchiness. Luckily, that is a choice I’ve rarely had to make. I believe there is always a way to have both.
I’m reminded of that bizarre saying about how you can’t “have your cake and eat it too.” That has never made any sense to me. When have you ever been told you can have a piece of cake, but only if you don’t eat it? Whoever said that was missing the whole point of cake.
Anyway, I started looking for a natural ingredient to thicken the watery shampoo. I had heard of xantham gum and knew it was a thickener commonly added to food. (I read lots of labels) But what IS it, exactly?
What I read about it surprised me. I expected something more sinister, but it sounded like nothing more than a sugary carb. The scary sounding word ‘xantham’ was borrowed from the name of the bacteria that produces the substance xantham gum during the fermentation process.
If you are really bored at work, click here to read more.
Xanthan gum is usually made from grains and other plants because they contain glucose an [sic] sucrose, two sugars that X. campestris can naturally ferment.
2 c distilled water (divided)
1 ½ Tbsp castile soap
1 tsp nettles
2 tsp rose petals
10-15 drops grapefruit essential oil
1 tsp dandelion root
3 Tbsp rose water
1 tsp xantham gum
non-reactive pan (no aluminum)
Makes one 12 oz bottle.
Let’s start with the herbal side of shampoo making.
First make the dandelion root decoction. Crush up the roots so the nutrients can more easily leach out into the water. Add 1 cup of distilled water and the crushed dandelion root to a pot, and simmer over medium heat. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until reduced by half. Remove from heat, and leave the lid on while it cools. You can leave it all day or overnight to cool. Otherwise, just strain out the roots after it cools, and save the water.
Next, make the nettle and rose petal infusion. Boil 1 cup distilled water, Put nettles and rose petals in a glass container and cover with the boiling water. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
The color changes as the infusion becomes stronger.
Strain, and set the liquid aside.
While still warm, combine the ½ cup dandelion decoction with the 1 cup rose-nettle infusion water. Slowly sprinkle in the xantham gum, stirring constantly. I used 1 tsp, but use more or less depending on your preferred thickness. I also found little blobs form no matter how carefully I dusted in the xantham gum. The quickest way to fix that was to bring out my handy immersion blender to smooth it out.
Stir in the castile soap, essential oil and rose water, and pour into a clean container. (I washed and recycled an old shampoo bottle.) Let it cool down before putting on the lid, and then stash it in your shower caddy.
Making herbal shampoo is so much easier than I thought. Not only does it make my hair clean, shiny, and soft with a subtle fresh scent, but I discovered an unexpected benefit. I didn’t even need to use a conditioner afterwards. Without the harsh chemicals found in commercial shampoos that strip your hair, there is no need for conditioner. Very cool.
P.S. I did not really have a sticker label made up for just a single bottle of shampoo. I’m sly with photoshop.