Store-bought shampoo, even premium brands purchased from a salon, are formulated around just four types of ingredients: surfactants, conditioning agents, foaming agents and fragrance. Yet the total product may contain a dozen or more chemicals within these categories, some of which are known carcinogens, or classified as hazardous wastes. If you're looking for something better, you can easily make your own shampoo with olive oil and other safe, natural ingredients that are in your kitchen right now.
Say Goodbye to Frizz
Extra-virgin olive oil has several benefits for hair, used both internally and externally. First, it’s loaded with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants that help keep your scalp's skin cells healthy. Olive oil also coats the hair shaft to make each strand smooth and shiny. In addition to adding olive oil to your homemade shampoo, be sure to add it your diet. The same compounds that add luster to your locks also increase catalase levels, an enzyme that drops off in production as we age. This is significant because without sufficient catalase, hydrogen peroxide builds up while levels of melanin wind down. The result? Your crowning glory will turn grey before its time.
Say Hello to Castile Soap
You need some suds in your shampoo, right? Castile soap is an olive-oil-based soap whose liquid form is used for making natural bath products, and it's very gentle on skin and hair. It cleanses without stripping out the natural oils like most synthetic surfactants found in conventional shampoos do. Look for it online or in health-food stores.
Blend a Batch
Gather one cup of filtered water, one cup of liquid Castile soap, one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil (organic is best) and one tablespoon raw, organic honey (optional). In a small saucepan, heat the water just until steaming. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about one minute. Add the olive oil and honey, if using, and stir well. Transfer to a clean bottle with a squirt top. A used and cleaned shampoo bottle is ideal for this purpose. To use, pour a quarter-sized amount into your palm and massage into your hair, starting at the crown and working toward the nape and temples. Rest assured that the mixture is doing its job perfectly without all of the foam that conventional shampoos produce. Rinse well with warm water, followed by cool water for extra shine. No refrigeration is necessary, but give the shampoo a shake before each use.
Tame Your Mane
Other ingredients may be added to your olive oil shampoo for added texture, shine and fragrance. Cooled green tea, for example, adds additional antioxidant benefits. An infusion of rosemary (strong tea) in place of the water in the formula, or a few added drops of rosemary essential oil, will keep dandruff in check. Chamomile tea in place of the water and a dash of fresh lemon juice will enhance blonde hair, while sage tea will enrich darker shades. For scent, consider lavender, sweet orange, peppermint or lemongrass essential oil. The possibilities are endless.
- Environmental Working Group: What’s Really in Your Shampoo, and Why You Should Find Out
- Oliveras-López MJ, Molina JJ, Mir MV, et al. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) consumption and antioxidant status in healthy institutionalized elderly humans. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2013 Sep-Oct;57(2):234-42.
- Organic Lifestyle Magazine: Five DIY Organic Shampoo Recipes for Beautiful Hair
- Natural Living Ideas: 5 Magical Ways Olive Oil Can Give You Gorgeous Hair
Karyn is a seasoned herbalist, book author, columnist and freelance writer who specializes in holistic living and natural health. She has written for numerous magazines, including Natural Living Today, Real Woman, The Herb Quarterly, Your Health, American Fitness, Mother Earth News, Better Nutrition and Natural Pharmacy, and her books are published in seven languages. Karyn also blogs for Mother Earth Living.