Sunday, August 24, 2014

DIY Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Shampoo

I have tried so many things on my hair: no poo, castile soap, ACV rinse, shampoo bars, mud poo... you name it! Most of them made me want to rip out my hair at some point, but the result really is 100% worth it! My hair has never been healthier or more manageable.

A couple of years ago, I decided that shampoo bars followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse was the best for my hair. I loved it and I still do, but many of my readers have told me that it just didn't work for their hair and the wanted an alternative. For months, I've been trying new and different hair products to try to find one that I can recommend to you all and after all this time --- I found it!!!

DIY hair care using Ayurvedic hair powders and essential oils

Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Shampoo
What exactly are Ayurvedic Hair Shampoo Powders? Well, they are hair powders that originated thousands of years ago in India. They are made from the leaves, bark, seeds, or other plant parts of herbs used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. They are known to increase silkiness, boost color and improve the overall manageability of hair without stripping the hair or using any chemicals.

These herbs closely resemble the Henna dyes which are becoming a popular alternative to chemical hair colors, but they aren't quite as strong. Many of the Ayurvedic hair shampoo powders can help add some umph to dull hair or even add a little color to gray hair! Of course I had to enlist the help of my dear sweet mother to test this out! She has gray hair and by using my formula for brunettes she has seen a subtle color change. Her grays have been gaining more and more of a golden color with each washing. For my hair, I haven't noticed a pronounced difference-- only that it seems like my natural highlights stand out more.

The particular recipe for this Herbal Hair Poo which I am sharing with you today is for dark hair, but I will give you some options later in the post for lighter hair colors.
  • 1 part Shikakai Powder (cleanser)
  • 1 part Aritha Powder(cleanser)
  • 1 part Bhringaraj Powder (conditioner)
  • Water or other hair friendly liquid
  • Optional: 2-4 drops of essential oil per TBSP of Hair Powder (I use rosemary, lavender and cedar wood).
I pre-mix about 1/3 of each bag of the powders in a glass container to leave in my bathroom. I will add 2-3 TBSP of the mixed hair powder into a smaller jar and add enough water and essential oils to make a loose paste for individual washings. I let this sit overnight in the bathroom and it will absorb more of the water until it's a spreadable paste in the morning. If it's too thick-- just add more liquid.

**I don't make a large wet batch because it goes bad very quickly.
 I have seen mold after only 4 days.**

Once I am in the shower, I divide my hair into section and I massage the herbal shampoo powder into each section of hair. Before I wash out the Herbal Hair Poo, I will shave my legs and wash my body to give it time to work. Washing the Ayurvedic hair powder out takes some patience because parts of the herbs can get stuck in my hair if I move too quickly though the wash. I follow up with an ACV Rinse and it makes my hair feel like silk!

My mom likes to put this on before she gets into the shower and lets it sit for 30 minutes before washing to help absorb more of the color from the herbs to help color her gray hair.

Psst... I buy 1/2 pound bags of each of the dried herbs and the last for months and months! 

How To Customize Your Ayurveda Hair Shampoo
Herbal Hair Poo should have both a cleanser and a conditioner for best results. Using them both helps to make sure that my hair is never too dry and yet it's always clean and shiny. But half the fun of DIYs is making it your own! I'm listing several alternative so that you can play around to find your signature Herbal Hair Poo! This is not an exhaustive list-- it's simply some of the more popular herbs for hair.

1) Cleansers:
    DIY Ayurvedic herbal hair shampoo is a safe alternative to commercial hair care #haircare #YLEO #shampoo
  • Aritha (cleanser): Natural cleansing agent. Typically known as soap nuts. Highly recommended for oily hair and improves volume. 
  • Shikakai Powder: Is both a cleanser and mild conditioner. It promotes hair growth, strengthens hair roots, improves dandruff, can help volume and shine. The fruit has the Saponin to produce lather, but it may be drying. It is recommended that if mixed it is 1/3 or less of the hair powder mixture. Will impart a golden color to hair. 
  • Chamomile: Blondes, red heads and those with gray hair may like to use chamomile powder as it is not definite as to how your hair will react to holding the color of Aritha and Shakakai. 
2) Conditioner. Most of the Hair Powders conditioners are recommended for brunettes or those with black hair, but there is an options for people who have lighter hair or red hair as well.
  • Alma: may stimulates hair growth, prevent graying, strengthens hair at the root. May impart a blue tinge to hair which looks pretty awesome on black hair.
  • Bhringraj: may pomotes hair growth, may prevent pre-mature balding and graying, improve hair texture, and may help with skin allergies. 
  • Cassia: Recommended for blondes, red heads or grays-- this is a neutral color so it will impart only a pale blonde color onto the hair. For brunettes, they should be no color change. 
  • Hibiscus: may promotes healthy hair growth, prevents hair loss, thickens hair. It will impart a burgundy to black cherry color.
  • Kalpi: may promotes hair growth, prevents pre mature balding, light conditioning properties, imparts shine.
  • Marshmallow Root: Nourishes hair follicles and scalp, conditioning properties, imparts shine
  • Neem: may help to correct scalp issues, as well as promote healthy hair growth.
3) Wet Ingredients: I use one or two of these liquids and I'll use just enough to make a paste
  • Aloe juice: supports those with dandruff, shine, and conditioning (I use this one: Organic Aloe Vera Gel
  • Rose Water: adds moisture to dry hair, adds softness and shine. May reduce dandruff and increase the strength of the hair. (I use this: Rose Water)
  • Green Tea: Boosts hair growth, stronger hair, full of antioxidants to protect hair
  • Water 
4) Essential Oils. I add 2-4 drops total of essential oil per TBSP of hair powder.
  • Rosemary: Brunettes, may improve thickness of hair, supports a healthy scalp. Are you blonde, a red head or have some gray? You may want to substitute Roman chamomile for rosemary. 
  • Cedar wood: supports a healthy scalp, improve hair fall 
  • Lavender: all hair types, helps support hair growth
  • Lemon: lighten hair
  • Peppermint: supports oily hair, supports healthy scalp
  • Melrose: supports healthy scalp
  • Geranium: supports healthy scalp, dry hair
  • Copaiba: support a healthy scalp
  • Ylang Ylang: Volume, boost vitality, support healthy scalp
It is very important to use high quality essential oils when applying topically to the hair and scalp. Low quality essential oils can actually cause scalp irritation and even hair loss. To find out more about which essential oils I use and recommend for hair care please read How To Find Quality Essential Oils.

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Using The Herbal Hair Poo
As with the shampoo bar, I find it important to brush my hair regularly to help spread the natural oils of the scalp down the hair shaft. Also, I do not wash my hair every day-- I listen to it and only wash when it's needed. Following it up with the ACV rinse makes my hair extra soft and shiny!

There was a transitional period for about a month when I switched from commercial hair products that stripped my hair to natural hair products. During this time, my scalp had to learn how to regulate it's oils naturally so having dry or oily hair/scalp is the norm. My scalp also purged itself of chemicals by releasing some white/yellow dandruff-like substances during this time.

After using the Herbal Hair Poo I have found that my hair is softer, more manageable, and has more shine and less frizz. I loooooove it :)

Looking for more easy DIY Shampoo ideas? I've heard a lot of great things about this DIY Rosemary Peppermint Shampoo.

How about some Natural DIY Hair Gel?

This post is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure. Please do not ask me to develop a customized formula for you-- I legally cannot "prescribe" a custom blend. :)


  1. Ayurveda- The Indian traditional system of health care believes in a holistic approach to health care and hair care is one of the vital parts of it. Ayurveda believes that just external application and precautions are not sufficient to keep it full of life, strength, luster, sheen, color, vitality and healthy life long. This issue is discussed in almost every classical text in detail which shows that our Rishis (sages) were also aware of the importance of this field.Bu zhong Yi qi wan

  2. Hello dear, i have been trying to write you a comment, but i dont know if it went through. If you receive my questions multiple times - I am sorry!!
    i would like to know a few :-
    1) can i use this DIY herbal shampoo after doing hot oil treatments twice a week? would it remove the oil completely.
    2) i have the jr liggett shampoo bars and would like to use them in between. Can i do the hot oil treatment and wash off with this herbal shampoo + acv rinse on Sundays and Fridays and use the shampoo bar + acv rinse on Tuesdays? Would it be safe?
    3) can i use the shampoo bar on my body as well?
    Sorry for too many questions, i hope you can answer me.
    Thanks a lot.

    1. I don't know about hot oil treatments, but what I do know is that natural methods are very gentle and tend to not remove an excess of natural oils from hair. Some people do use the shampoo bar on the body.

  3. Hi,

    Very true these ingredients are very good for the hair.

  4. Do you find mold even when you don't use water?

    1. Noooo... maybe the bag you purchased is bad?

  5. Hi! Love your site! I have a question for you... Ive been using shikakai, artiha and amla mixed to a paste for about 6 months now, but struggling with dry, crispy hair! i only use the paste on my roots, and i leave it like your mum, about half hour before i shower.I then follow with an acv rinse. I pre oil my roots with coconut oil and tea tree as i get dandruff. and i also put jojoba oil in my ends once its towel dry.
    Do you use the paste on the whole length of your hair? or just the roots like me?
    Im trying to figure out how to get rid of this crispy feeling! Im sure im using enough oil and not causing it to dry out- maybe you have an idea i havnt thought of! xx

    1. Jade, I don't know about dry crispy hair. Could you make the paste wetter? It can be very absorbent, but I'm not sure-- I haven't heard about this before.

      I use it over my entire head, my mom just like you and I've talked to many others who use it the same way and they do not have the same problem. Very interesting, but I really have no idea beyond letting the powder soak longer and to let it be more wet. I hope it helps!

    2. I reduced the soap nut portion in mine and that helped.

  6. Hello I want to make a shampoo bar using soap nuts powder, how much powder per 100g of oils would you recommend ? I have oily hair, thank you . JJ

    1. I have no idea. I've never made a shampoo bar using soap nut powder before. Sorry!


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