Greasy hair. I don’t know if it’s just a guy thing, or if everyone’s afflicted once you hit puberty. Whatever the case, my hair was greasy. I tried all kinds of shampoos, but nothing stuck, from the gentlest to the most powerful. They’d all be great for 12 hours, but I had to wash my hair daily to maintain any semblance of un-greasy (I know, wash my hair daily?? Perish the thought.).
Thing is, almost every standard drugstore shampoo out there has similar active ingredients. Most of the time, it’s either sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, strong surfactants commonly used in dishwashing detergent, car wash soap, and engine degreasers. That’s all great if you’re trying to get the caked-on grease off of your pots and pans (although we try to avoid sulfates in general), but do I really want that on my head?
So awhile back, I got to thinking – your body has this funny way of reacting to the environment and adjusting to the conditions. Maybe my hair was extra-greasy because I was washing it with engine degreaser, which took too much of the natural oil away, which made my scalp overcompensate by producing extra natural oil, which… yeah, one vicious cycle.
As usual, I started nosing around and found a few non-traditional hair cleaning methods. I tried straight baking soda and wasn’t ready to go directly to the “no-poo” method (okay, it’s more my wife I was concerned about), so I settled on a homemade shampoo that utilizes nothing but water and liquid castile soap. Castile soap is made using vegetable oils like olive and coconut, and is generally a high-quality, gentle cleaner (you can use it in everything from laundry detergent to dish soap to body wash).
Homemade Shampoo Recipe
The easy method to make your own homemade shampoo is this: add 1/4 cup castile soap to an empty shampoo (or other) bottle. Add 3/4 cup water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you want to smell girly (to learn more about the amazing benefits of essential oils, see my Essential Oils page!). Put the cap on and swirl it all around to mix everything together.
The easier method is this: use a clear bottle. Add some castile soap. Add water to roughly equal 3-4x the original volume (just eyeball it; it’s not going to blow up or melt your scalp if you don’t follow an exact ratio), then shake the whole thing up. Done.
I will warn you – when you start this, your hair will feel greasier than ever. That’s because your scalp is still used to being washed with engine degreaser, so it takes a little time (about a week or longer) for it to settle down and stop producing so much oil. After an adjustment period though, it’s all good. My hair feels natural, is less greasy, and I’m only using the shampoo two or three times a week – the rest of the time I just wash with water, which my wife says is just rinsing, but I disagree.
Special bonus tip! Use a 10:1 water-vinegar mixture as a conditioner. It will help remove any residue from your hair and will leave your hair feeling silky – S tried this and her hair was tangle-free (even her regular conditioner left tangles).