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)
I’ve been rinsing my hair with apple cider vinegar for almost a year but haven’t tried any herbs in it. I’ll give it a shot. 🙂
I haven’t noticed any difference in texture or growth, my hair is already pretty soft and I use natural shampoo for many years now. But I’ve completely stopped using conditioner, when ever I’ve stopped its noticeable in my scalp with dryness and itching, and frequent split ends.
How does the rinse work on color treated hair? I have been told that color treated hair
has an open shaft and is easily dried out. Thank you for your comments.
I’m trying to transition off hair color (ugh) but would like to know this too.
Tess: I transitioned off of chemical hair colour a year or so ago and just use pure henna instead. I use ACV rinses periodically without issue.
Linda: Apple cider vinegar helps close the hair shaft, so it will help your colour stay in and make your hair smooth and soft (especially if you use colder water).
What’s interesting about this is I had literally just done a hair treatment Friday. I put pure jojoba oil in it overnight. The next day, I used a raw egg and cool water to rinse it out, and then a little citrus Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap to get any remaining residue out. I had made some “tea” with hibiscus flowers, apple cider vinegar, and honey, and I used that as a final rinse. My hair is so very soft. It really helps bring out the natural type 2 waves / curls in my hair.
The only drawback to all this is that, despite what people say, there IS a faint vinegar scent left behind. I have had somebody at work comment on it and ask if somebody had salad dressing out. My husband, who HATES any vinegar types, is not happy with the rinse either. I only use it now when he’s out of town.
To get rid of the smell you could always use a flower hydrosol after, such as rose water or an orange one. Both are also beneficial for your hair.
I’m new to “all this.” I am growing basil… can I just dry this and use it in the Wellness Mama recipe?
Thanks for sharing this, Katie! I use the no-poo method and always do it using concentrated herbal teas, never thought of infusing the vinegar! Instead of horsetail I use hibiscus, which has amazing properties for the hair too (and it’s funny what it does when you add the baking soda to the tea)!
Thank you Wellness Mama for this and all of your other great articles. I haven’t used any store bought hair care products in my hair in over 6 years. All I use now is these types of ACV rinses. My current favourite is infusing sage leaves into the apple cider vinegar.
My hair is more manageable since doing this than it ever has been in my entire life. And I love that it is inexpensive and all natural.
If you are doubtful, just try some plain diluted ACV as a final rinse the next time you shower – you will be amazed at how great this is at removing build-up and leaving your hair beautifully manageable and shiny. From there you may be inspired to go further by infusing some herbs in, but plain ACV works great too!
I use a clear ketchup bottle for my vinegar rinse, makes it much put on your hair due to the small spout!
What about using essential oils instead of the herbs?
Can you just use the basil & rosemary from the organic spice section of the grocery store
Katie, I love using vinegar rinses with shampoo bars. And vinegar rinses work even better with herbs! This looks like a wonderful recipe. Thanks!
Great herbal rinse recipe, thank you!
I have platinum silver hair, so I infuse Blue Malva flowers in a similar rinse (using unfiltered organic white vinegar instead of ACV). These flowers create a deep purple hue that knocks out any trace of brassy yellow in platinum hair color. As you note, the vinegar and other herbs leave hair strong, shiny, soft and healthy. Lovin’ it!
Pam–Where do you get your blue malva flowers?
Pam, where do you get the Blue Malva flowers?
Awesome idea! I think I’d have to add just a touch of a cold pressed oil to my dry hair at the time along with the herbal mixer over my hair, Thanks for sharing. 🙂