Plenty of hair care commercials promise shiny, beautiful hair, but at what cost? This DIY herbal hair rinse recipe nourishes the scalp, boosts shine, and strengthens hair naturally without the downsides of chemicals and parabens.
The problem with many hair care items, even many of the natural ones, is that they strip the natural oils from the hair. Many shampoos also contain ingredients that coat the hair for that smooth, silky feel, to replace the oils it’s just stripped. It’s a frustrating cycle… but there are other ways!
This herbal hair rinse features nutritive herbs that feed the scalp for healthier, stronger hair. The apple cider vinegar softens and cleanses, without removing the scalp’s natural oils. This rinse easily fits into a no-poo lifestyle but can also be used with shampoo. With regular use, hair may even go longer between washes (always a plus!).
Herbal Hair Rinse: The Herbs
This rinse is infused with beneficial herbs that help hair in a variety of ways:
Horsetail (Yes, Horsetail!)
This favorite herb of mine contains high amounts of silica to strengthen hair strands (which is why I also use it in my hair mask recipe!). Many shampoos contain silicon to coat the hair but this only copies the effect. Horsetail is also rich in calcium, magnesium, bioflavonoids, chromium, potassium, copper, and iron to name a few.
Horsetail is also slightly astringent, which is helpful for oily hair.
Lavender and Rosemary
Lavender calms inflammation on the scalp and increases circulation for better growth. Rosemary herb also affects circulation and stimulates growth. Like horsetail, rosemary is also slightly astringent, which works to strengthen the hair follicles and prevent hair loss.
Nettle is really a wonder herb as it’s full of vitamins and minerals. You’ll find vitamin A carotenoids, vitamins B, C, D, and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, boron, chromium, silica, and others. By nourishing and increasing the health of the scalp, nettle makes hair naturally stronger and more vibrant.
Basil is the last herb used in this mix and it plays a special role. Like the other herbs, basil feeds the scalp, but it also helps the body to remove toxins and heavy metals. Basil promotes hair growth as it nourishes with vitamins A and C, flavonoids, and polyphenolic acids.
Herbal Hair Rinse Recipe
- ¼ cup nettle leaf
- ¼ cup horsetail
- 3 TBSP dried basil
- 4 TBSP dried lavender
- 3 TBSP dried rosemary
- 3 to 3 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
- Add all of the dried herbs to a quart-size glass jar.
- Cap the jar and shake to mix, or stir with a spoon.
- Fill the jar to 1 inch from the top with apple cider vinegar.
- Cap it tightly, and shake vigorously.
- Keep the jar in a cool, dark location for 2-4 weeks, shaking it every day or so.
- After the first few days you may notice that the herbs have absorbed some of the vinegar. Just top your jar off with some more vinegar so that it stays about 1 inch from the top.
- After 2-4 weeks, then strain the herbs out with a cheesecloth or a very clean old t-shirt fabric. You can also strain it with a fine mesh sieve, then line your sieve with a coffee filter and run it through again.
- Store your herbal hair rinse in a clean glass jar.
- After cleaning hair as usual, mix equal parts of the prepared herbal hair rinse and water together in an empty mason jar or other container. Use ¼ cup of each for short hair, ½ cup of each for shoulder-length hair, and ? cup of each for long hair.
- Tip your head back and slowly pour the herbal rinse through your hair.
- Tilt your head from side to side and work your fingers through it as you pour to help it reach all areas.
- You can leave the herb rinse in, or wash it out briefly with water.
Store your herbal hair rinse in a clean glass jar. When you go to use it, dilute it with 1 part of filtered water. The vinegar concentrate will keep indefinitely; however water will encourage mold and bacterial growth, so don’t store the rinse pre-diluted with water.
How to Use Your Herbal Hair Rinse
After cleaning hair as usual, mix equal parts of the prepared herbal hair rinse and water together in an empty mason jar or other container. The following guidelines should give you a good idea of how much herbal hair rinse to use each time. You may need less or more rinse depending on the length and thickness of your hair.
- Short hair: ¼ cup infused vinegar to ¼ cup water
- Shoulder-length hair: ½ cup infused vinegar to ½ cup water
- Long hair: 2/3 cup infused vinegar to 2/3 cup water
Tip your head back and slowly pour the herbal rinse through your hair. Tilt your head from side to side and work your fingers through it as you pour to help it reach all areas.
You can leave the herb rinse in, or wash it out briefly with water.
- Use the herbal rinse once a week or even every day according to preference.
- Use this hair rinse in between shampoo sessions, or even in place of them if you find that works for you.
Have you ever used an herbal rinse? Did you notice a difference in your hair? Let me know in the comments!
Discussion (44 Comments)
Hi there, I made this tincture last fall and have nearly forgotten about it with the birth of our second son! Is it bad to let it go past the 4weeks?? Thanks 🙂
I make rosemary hair rinse and it smells amazing! All you do is boil the rosemary with water and our it onto your hair.
How do you store this rinse and what is the shelf life? I made mine and noticed two days later how much stronger the smell was.
Hello: could anyone advise me? I have been using a hair rinse tincture similar to the one recommended in this article except that I add sage and vitamins but what I do is boil the herbs in a minimum amount of water for 15 minutes until I get a very concentrated tincture. I then keep the tincture in the form of ice cubes. Is there a flaw in this procedure? Does boiling the herbs deprive them of their properties? thanks for the input
My understanding is boiling delicate/ leafy herbs damages or destroys their beneficial properties. Roots and berries are ok for simmering. I pour boiling water over my dried herbs when making infusions, but I don’t keep them at boiling.
I boil black tea bags, fresh oregano, fresh sage, and fresh rosemary for 45 minutes. I let the mixture cool and I use it as a hair rinse. It keeps my dark hair healthy and shiny (and helps cover up grey). I’m going to experiment with some of the herbs you recommend here to update my rinse and make it even healthier. 🙂
To mask the vinegar smell, I use citronella oil. 2-3 drops… doesn’t take much.
I live in a dry climate as well but need to manage the oil in my fine hair more aggressively than folks with a thicker hair texture. Hair stylists will tell you excess oil causes the static – that’s bull. It’s our fine hair texture combined with dry climates.
Consider adding a baking soda cleanser first, before your ACV rinse. I use a weak solution (1/2 Tbl in 5oz water) because I color my hair. If you don’t color, you could make it a little stronger, but I don’t recommend more than 1 Tbl in 5 oz of water. Spray on roots only, work through with a comb or paddle brush, let sit for 5 minutes, and rinse. I follow this up with a diluted ACV rinse and find it works really well for my fine hair. Also be diligent about moving your natural oils down the hair shaft. Use a natural bristle brush every day if you can (and wash it regularly with soap to keep it nice an clean), and work the baking soda solution and the ACV rinse through your hair with a comb or a special conditioner comb. I got one from my hair salon and it’s a wonderful scalp massage.
Hello all! I have tried all ACV rinses before and I keep having a problem with static electricity. I live on the plains in CO so it can be dry. My hair is naturally oily so I am kind of stuck on what to try to keep static away but also to not weigh down my hair or make it look oily/waterproof. My hair is also thin but curly so I am prone to frizz as well…..Jeez, when I write it all out I feel a little depressed 😉 I am open to suggestion! Many thanks!
Hi Shannon, what I have done in the past, the odd time my hair needed a bit of help, is just a drop or two of jojoba oil rubbed in the palm of my hands and then rubbed my hands through my hair… or .. just apply to the ends of your hair. What I found is that once I switched to only using ACV my hair took some time ‘detoxing’ and re-learning how to balance its oils (which took a few weeks) but once that time passed my hair always had the right amount of oil to make it shiny and manageable but not overly oily or frizzy and dry.
Love this idea, will have to try it. I already use acv rinse because I have hard water, but I could use extra softness and shine.
I use infused vinegar and have found that the infusion changes the salad dressing smell. I just smell the lavender or whatever prominent herb I put in the blend. I love it!
infused? Can you explain that please I’m new to all this, thanks!
Can you use distilled vinegar?