I enjoy making and creating products when I have free time, especially using Ayurvedic herbs, which are wonderful for the hair and skin.
If you're unfamiliar with the practice of Ayurveda, the University of Maryland Medical Center, describes it as "one of the oldest healing sciences that have a holistic approach to health. It is designed to help people live a long, healthy, and well-balanced life. It has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years. It has recently become popular again in western cultures and is used to treat illnesses and maintain balance in the body, mind, and consciousness through proper eating, drinking, and lifestyle."
I am sharing my own recipe for a home pre-poo/conditioning treatment that encourages healthy hair growth. We'll start with a description of each of the ingredients that make up this moisturizing treatment.
The ingredients, and why they work
Benefits: Cassia is a type of cinnamon, and it gives hair a beautiful sheen. The seeds are nothing like cassia powder, and they are mostly used to make a hot tea. A low key favorite of mine, many use the powder but don't know about the seeds.
Amount: 3 tablespoons
Fenugreek Seeds (optional)
Benefits: Prevents hair loss, promotes hair growth, helps strengthen hair shaft, light protein.
Note: Fenugreek has a very strong aroma. If you find it unpleasant, just leave it out. Those who do use it love it.
Prepare: Should be soaked overnight prior to using. Fenugreek is beneficial but not necessary for most.
Amount: 2 tablespoons, soaked in 1 cup of distilled water
Whole Amla (dried)
Benefits: Amla stimulates hair growth, has wonderful conditioning properties, strengthens hair at the roots.
Amount: 3 or 4 pieces
It is my preference to use amla whole, but it is fine to use powder, also. Use what you have on hand, of course.
Benefits: Rosemary stimulates the scalp, encourages growth, provides relief for irritated scalp, proves a nice sheen to the hair.
An inexpensive, easily accessible herb.
If you are pregnant, it is not recommended that you use this herb. I'm not a doctor, of course, so please consult with your physician.
Amount: 2 tablespoons
Dried Hibiscus/Sorrel Flowers
Benefits: The flowers of hibiscus/sorrel produce a substance called mucilage, which has a softening and conditioning effect on the hair. These flowers also promotes healthy hair growth, prevent hair loss, and thicken hair.
Gives a nice rich red tone when in liquids. If your hair is light in color (ex: blonde) substitute this with Chamomile or another floral of choice to avoid any staining. Hair in the browns, reds and black tones benefit by using this floral. It adds a rich tone and has a light amount of slip for detangling.
Amount: 4 or 5 flowers
Benefits: Soothing scalp stimulant that is wonderful for dry scalp.
Use any kind you like; I've found that most people use peppermint. I use a mix of my favorite mints for my mint blend. I love the warm scent and the bit of tingle it gives my scalp.
Amount: 2 tablespoons
Benefits: A humectant that provides moisture and and shine when used. Honey can be expensive but the brand Heavenly Organic, for example, isn't very costly. Really, you can use any type of honey that you have available.
Amount: 2 tablespoons
Benefits: Goat's milk soothes irritated scalp and softens the hair. Alternatively you could use coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk.
Amount: 1/2 cup
Benefits: Pure water without any chemicals or additives. The simplest and best-moisturizing component of any regimen.
If you don't have distilled water, you can substitute coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc.
Amount: 1 cup of water
Note: add the distilled water if fenugreek step was skipped.
- Add 1 cup of distilled water to the fenugreek seeds. Let it soak overnight.
- In the morning, warm the goat's milk slightly. Then add the cassia seeds, hibiscus, amla, rosemary, and mint.
- Cover and turn off the heat source.
- Let the mixture steep until it is mildy warm.
- Strain the herbs from the infused milk.
- Add honey to the milk and stir until the honey has dissolved. Adding it at this time helps to maintain the integrity of the honey.
- Once the honey is fully incorporated add the fenugreek water or plain distilled water (if you skipped the fenugreek step). If you like to use the mashed fenugreek to infuse your water, you can use it that way as well.
This solution is very nice for the hair. It can be used as is, as a pre-poo, as a post-wash rinse (if using fenugreek follow up with something that smells nice to get rid of the scent) or added to your favorite conditioners.
Once everything is fully incorporated, I pour it into a dye applicator bottle. If using this as a pre-poo conditioner, apply it to unwashed hair, rinse, then cleanse and deep condition with another product.
If using this as a conditioner, apply it after hair has been cleansed. I apply the mask to my hair for 30 minutes to an hour and then rinse.
If you try this recipe, please comment below and let us know how it worked for you!
*Disclaimer: I am not a physician. I love DIY and to share with others. If you are allergic to any of these ingredients do not try it. If you are unsure if you should consult a physician, of course.
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This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated to incorporate reader feedback.