Sunday 5 October 2014

Herbal Hair "Tea" Rinse

I prefer to shower everyday after my morning workout/yoga before heading to work. I find it invigorating and set my day right. It gives me a chance to also shock me awake with a bit of a cold rinse in the shower. It's supposed to be good for you, and helps to stimulate the body and strengthen the mind. 

The daily shower wrecks a bit of havoc on my hair. I have thin asian hair and I find it difficult to manage when I wash it normally with shampoo and conditioner. My hair is clean but it's also pretty lifeless. No volume. I find that the washing combo strips the oils from my hair, even though I'm using a PH balanced formula and with as little of the product as I can manage. 

My journey of trial and error began when I came across and tried the "no poo" method. It's a rinse with baking soda and a conditioning rinse with apple cider vinegar rinse. I didn't like the smell it left in my hair after most of the scent dissipated. I have a bit of a sensitive nose. I also discovered that the constant open/close of the hair cuticle with this method because baking soda is very alkaline and apple cider is very acidic, it tires out the hair cuticle leaving the hair strand prone to breakage. 

Foregoin the "no poo" method, I struggled between trying to wash my hair by adding very little shampoo to help clean my hair and eventually started alternating my shampoo days with days of rinsing with just water. Some days my hair was a bit of a tacky mess and others it was fine.

During this this time, I had been using soap nuts for my laundry and didn't think to use the soap nuts for my hair. That changed for the better. 

After more research, I came across the herbal rinses for your hair and it's been a happy and ideal match since. I researched ingredients that would increase my hair growth and reduce hair fall. The bonus is that the scent is very down to earth and real. It's also not over powering and when I toss my hair to catch a whiff of the scent, it brings a smile to my face. The scents are also soothing in the shower and set my day right. 

It took a bit of trial and error and PH testing to find the right balance. Ideally, your hair tea should be between a PH of 4 and 5, so that it keeps the hair cuticle closed and healthy. This is also what makes your hair shiny and more manageable. When your hair cuticle is open, it's more prone to snagging and damage. It does make your hair easier to style but it tangles easily, is not shiny, and feels rough when running your hands through. I started testing the mix with Hydrion PH test strips. 

The best part of the rinse, is that it also doubles as a body rinse and so you can moisturize less after the shower. I used to always moisturize from head to toe after the shower but I now find that I can get away with moisturizing my face with a gren tea eye gel and a light face cream made by Alba. The body lotion that I do use is also made by Alba, and it's unscented. 

Here's my hair "tea" recipe. You can find the ingredients mostly at Bulk Barn.


1.5 litre glass jug

3 litre plastic jug

Fine tea sieve


Measuring spoons

Blender (if you're using soap nuts)

In the big 1.5 litre glass jug, put the following:

1 tsp Hibiscus and Rose Hip Tea (Dried)

1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary

1/2 tsp Dried Sage

1/2 tsp Dried Mint

1/2 tsp powdered clove

Juice of 1/2 a lime (incl. the half lime)

2 tblsp of soap nut powder or 1 tblsp of shampoo

The soap nut is the better route to go, because it won't strip your hair of the natural sebum oils like a shampoo but diluting the shampoo first in the mix will make it gentler on your hair. 

I make the soapnut powder after I've used them in the laundry and collect them in a paper bag to let them dry out. Then pulverize them in a  nutribullet or blender.

After adding the hair "tea" mix to the glass jug, add boiling hot water to steep the hair "tea" overnight. Cover the glass jug with a silicone tea cover. 

When you're ready to use, strain the tea with a fine sieve or a cheesecloth, into a big plastic jug to use in the shower. The mix is going to be chilled. Tap the rest of the bits in the sieve back into the glass jug, and you're going to do a second steep. 

Boil another kettle of water and add it to the glass jug and let it steep for an hour.

The second steeped tea mix should be warm. Pour the second steeped tea through the sieve into the plastic jug to top it up. This will warm it up, so it's not frigid in the shower. 

You can pour the tea over your hair and rinse out in the shower with cool water, or you can let it absorb into your head and hair by wrapping a plastic bag around your hair, and then wrapping your head with a towel. The heat will help to infuse the herbs into your hair. If you infuse, I'd leave the soap out of the tea mix. 

And there you go, hair tea! 

You can optionally add:

Dried Horsetail herb

Dried Nettle herb

Dried Lemongrass

Green Tea

Black Tea

The ingredients are good for your hair, with lots of good minerals. 

I hope this will help you on your way to healthier and shinier hair. It has been quite the journey for me and I hope you find your prefect blend. 

With hair love,