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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

homemade wen

I have tried dozens of shampoos, regular and sulfate free, tried the baking soda and apple cider vinegar "no poo" method, made my own shampoo with glycerine liquid soap and herbals added. I have naturally wavy hair which frizzes with an overabundance of body in damp weather and lies lank in drought, splits and breaks easily, and a sensitive scalp that gets an irritable, itchy, stinging patch on the back of my head above the nape of the the neck if I use sulfate-containing shampoos for too long.

The BS/ACV works pretty well. It's not the easiest or most convenient method of cleansing, however, especially for those with long hair or while traveling. I didn't like the homemade shampoo. It left my hair too squeaky clean, which really isn't the point of cleansing. Hair of all types needs to be treated like a cashmere sweater -- cool water, gentle squeezing rather than wringing dry, not abused until it stretches out of shape and breaks to pieces, and above all kept moisturized. I'm not the greatest at sticking to those rules, as I get bored from time to time and play around with bottled color, but the need for moisture is a big one I can't ignore, especially with processed hair.

Once upon a time, I tried WEN cleansing conditioner. Loved the stuff. It's amazing. What is less cool is the price tag. Dunno about you, but I find it really hard to justify that price, no matter how fabulous my hair looks. So I faffed around with other products and methods, had a baby, faffed around some more, and have finally got around to making a homemade, cheaper version of WEN.

1 1/2 c conditioner
30-40 drops essential oils 


You see how simple? It can be very cost effective, too, by comparison. Basically, the essential oils change the pH of your scalp so excess oil rinses off more easily, stimulate nerves for renewed hair growth, balance sebum (oil) production, and when suspended in conditioner keeps your scalp as well as hair protected against dryness. If you've never tried cleansing your hair with anything but conventional shampoos, you'll have to trust me on this. It works. But you may experience some adjustment to the new regime, as your scalp is accustomed to producing way too much sebum as it tries to counter the shampoos you've been overdrying your head with for so long. It only takes a week or two. This is also okay to use on a daily basis, unlike shampoos, for that very reason that sulfate based soaps dry out the cells too much. You wouldn't cleanse your face with dishwashing detergent, would you? I hope not! It would dry things out way too much. Do you also know the benefit of finding the right balance of moisture for your face skin type? T-zone, combination, dry, oily. Your scalp bears similar qualities to your face in terms of dryness and needs to be cleansed and moisturized almost as regularly and gently as you would do your face. Clogged pores and drought in the scalp can lead to problems, such as hair loss, dullness, itching. Homemade WEN might just improve your life a bit more, because honestly, would there be so many successful hair product lines out there if we didn't care so greatly about how our hair looks? And the classic catches are moisture, softness, shine, strength, and thickness.

Many essential oils are good for the scalp and hair. You might want to do some further research on your own. Ones I like to play with include:
  • rosemary
  • lemon
  • orange
  • tea tree (melaleuca)
  • peppermint
  • eucalyptus
  • lavender
  • Roman chamomile   
  • lemongrass 
I'll give you a few combinations that you might enjoy trying. To use, apply several Tbs to the scalp and then through the length. If you have very long hair, you can use plain conditioner on the ends to save on essential oils that are not needed there. Massage into the scalp for several minutes. Rinse well with cool to warm water, not hot. You can use cleansing conditioner daily, several times a week, or alternate with regular shampooing if you can't quite kick the habit yet.

Bear in mind that you are going to pay more for high quality oils. And it's worth doing so. One of the simplest ways to test if an essential oil is of good quality is to smear a drop on your palm. It should absorb quickly and pretty much completely. If your essential oil leaves residue on your skin, even if it smells good it's not as pure as you want. DoTERRA and Young Living are both reliable sources for essential oils, and Mountain Rose Herbs has a pretty decent selection, too. However, for high quality oils paired with sustainable sourcing, I have found Native American Nutritionals to offer the best price tag. They come in at about 1/3rd less than the previous name brand oils that claim CPTG (certified pure theraputic grade) only belongs to them, but which title is not an officially bestowed or monitored one and is really just a very clever marketing scheme. If you love DoTERRA, great. Be loyal. They produce fab oils. But if you are open to a possible alternative route, a bit of research and hunting might save you a pretty sum of money.

Sebum Balancing Homemade WEN
1 1/2 c conditioner
10 drops lemon
8 drops rosemary
5 drops orange 
5 drops lavender
5 drops tea tree
5 drops eucalyptus

Growth Stimulating Homemade WEN
1 1/2 c conditioner
15 drops eucalyptus
10 drops tea tree
10 drops rosemary
5 drops peppermint

Dry Scalp Soother Homemade WEN
1 1/2 c conditioner
10 drops Roman chamomile
10 drops lavender
10 drops lemongrass

36 comments:

  1. Love your blog-we share similar interests. I'm curious about this method of hair cleansing...any type of conditioner will suffice?

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  2. Hi! Glad you like. I would recommend a natural conditioner if possible, but those aren't always the easiest to come by. Right now I'm using Mane 'n' Tail conditioner, as it is not too heavy, doesn't irritate my sensitive scalp (especially the patch above my nape that breaks out in dermatitis with too much chemical exposure), is affordable, and doesn't already come loaded with fragrances that interfere with the essential oils.

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  3. I have lots of fine blond hair that gets nice beachy waves to it when it behaves. I need a light conditioner. I just tried something AMAZING that I saw on another blog-brew chamomile tea, then I put about ten drops of rosemary essential oil, a bit of castor oil, vitamin E oil, argan oil, and a dollop of glycerin. I put it all in a spray bottle a shook it like crazy, then sprayed it all over my hair. I thought I might be able to just rinse it, but I started feeling a "tacky" texture...likely too much glycerine. I lightly misted this on my children's dry hair just to be able to see, and it was AMAZING. My daughters soft curls were a delicate mass instead of a hot mess. My son ooohed and aaahed over how soft and shiny his hair was...so, In the shower...with wet hair, I panicked...lol, but I CO-washed with a light conditioner and my hai was amazing! My husband said it had a "glow" to it. Its definitely shinier! Softer too! No crackly sound/feel when it moves. Best waves ever! Great definition. I'm going today to get some main n tail and try that. I think I used with tresseme, very heavy. Thnks, Girl! ~Chris~

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  4. How do you store this mixture? Do you need glass containers because of the citrus oils? I'm new to essential oils and am learning so much! Thanks.

    Kayla R

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    Replies
    1. Hey, Kayla. Thanks for stopping in. Ideally, glass is best when dealing with essential oils. Herbs, too. However, since this is a bathing product, I don't want to risk dropping glass on the shower floor from a slippery hand. That could become problematic rather quickly! I recommend buying a food safe BPA-free plastic squeezy bottle that is designated only for your homemade WEN, since if you recycle the emptied bottle for something else the e.o.s won't fully wash clean from plastic and you run the risk of causing reactions. There are many places to look for such containers online, such as Mountain Rose Herbs and Bramble Berry Supplies, and essential oil supply companies like www.essentialsupplies.com, too. It's worth scouting around for the best shipping prices.

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  5. I am excited to try this. I saw your recipe for the Sebum Balancing one and wondered if you have ever found anything that helps keratosis pilaris? Thanks. Amanda M.

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  6. Hello, Amanda M! Hm. I actually had to look up keratosis pilaris as I did not immediately know what it is. (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/keratosis-pilaris/Pages/Introduction.aspx was helpful for me.) Obviously, I am no expert on this, so all I can do is suggest a few things maybe you haven't thought of, and then wish you good luck. My first thought -- is the condition painful? If so, then the mildest of essential oils should be used, and I might tend to recommending the Dry Scalp blend first. Second thought -- do make sure, as you likely already are in the habit of doing, to test essential oils on a small area such as the inner elbow before applying all over your head, just in case of reaction on already tender skin. Third thought -- have you considered diet at all? Since keratosis pillars is described as more common in people with eczema, I wonder if there might be any dietary changes that might help the condition, as is sometimes true for eczema? Best of luck, and I hope you find something that works for you! Please do share with us if you develop your own formula for this condition.

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    Replies
    1. I myself have KP. A vitamin A supplement helps with the bumps. Also, don't use shampoos and conditioners with keratin. Amlactin lotion also helps. P.S. If your KP is painful, it's probably not KP.

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    2. I have KP also and have found a perfect work for it .... avocando oil bath and use the rough side of a sponge to apply in circular motion over the washed area (leave on one minute then risne) do daily completely cures up in 2-3 day or so!!!! Pretty awesome!!

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  7. I want to make your homemade growth stimulating wen...just wondering what eucalyptus to get. Thanks!

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  8. There are basically three chemotypes of eucalyptus -- globulus, radiata, and citriodora. I don't think it matters a huge amount which you use, really, which is why I didn't specify in the above article, but I do personally prefer globulus for cleaning and topical antiviral use during cold and flu season, and I like citriodora best in the WEN. It blends well with lemon on the perfumery level, but according to a couple of books I have on aromatherapy, citriodora may be best for dandruff.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I was thinking about putting Cedarwood in as well to help stimulate hair growth. What do you think about that and how much would you put in?

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    2. Sounds great! I love cedar and sandal woods. I would recommend sticking with 30 drops essentials per 1 1/2 cups of conditioner base, so try it out and see what blends you can perfect for yourself. Woods tend to be strong so I would start off with 3-6 drops of cedar in a blend of other oils (such as ylang-ylang and orange? or rosemary and basil and lemon?) and add one drop at a time as needed. Take your time to make a blend. Allow it to sit and synergize before smelling again, and test the conditioner on your inner arm for sensitivity before applying to your whole head.

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  9. Hello, I was wondering what you recommend for the brand of c conditioner or where to buy a generic one. Also, which treatment would be color-safe and good for dry hair?

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    Replies
    1. Heya, I don't have a specific brand of conditioner I recommend, no. A scent-free, colour-free conditioner base might be best, in my opinion, but I have made this up with regular conditioners when on the go or traveling internationally and it has worked just fine for me. The conditioner base you use doesn't have to be super expensive. Just a decent moisturiser. Sometimes trying a little travel size bottle is worthwhile before investing in a really large one.

      Oh, and steer clear of purple conditioners. As a natural blonde with fake blonder highlights, I do love my purple conditioner but some essential oils mixed into a purple base can be reactive in the bottle over time. So if you're a purple user, then only use the purple after the initial cleansing conditioner in a neutral base has been rinsed out.

      Color safe -- stay away from lemon, tea tree, and eucalyptus as they all can lighten colours (and as such are fabulous stain treatments in the laundry department). Of course, lemon is good for bringing out natural highlights if you desire them, and for loosening the hold of metal-free hair dyes.

      Dry hair -- really, the best treatment for dry hair in general is not washing it. Really! Lately, the end of 2014, I wash my hair only once every 5 days, using dry shampoo on the roots as needed to stretch out a wash. As far as an essential oil blend for homemade WEN is concerned, choose something that balances your sebum levels at the roots, only cleanse the roots, and use regular conditioner through the length. Some people have oily roots and dry length, others have dry everywhere. Choose the best thing for your scalp. Even if the bottle doesn't say to leave the conditioner in for any time, always always always leave it in the length of your hair for at least 3 minutes before rinsing clean, and follow with a leave-in conditioner while hair is still damp to seal in moisture to the cuticle.

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  10. How much do you recommend using? I made the growth stimulating version. 2T was too oily and so was 1...I have a little longer than shoulder length naturally wavy hair

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    Replies
    1. Hello, Karah. How much to use each wash really depends on your hair type and texture, but mostly upon how often you have been washing your hair. If your scalp has become dependent upon shampoo at least 3 times a week, you may find that the cleansing conditioner doesn't strip your hair of natural oils as much as you are used to. That's actually a good thing! I only wash my hair once every 5 days at this point in time, but it took persistence to get to this point, and 1-2 Tbs is great for my now-past-shoulders hair. Try massaging the cleansing conditioner into your roots and about 2-3 inches down the length, let it sit for a minute, then rinse clean with very warm water. If you like, at this point you can do a cleansing and pH balancing vinegar rinse with 2Tbs apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. Then, cleanse your scalp with the conditioner a second time right away, massaging regular conditioner through the lengths and tips of your hair, and then rinse well. Avoid blow drying hair where possible as it not only weakens the cuticle but also tells the scalp more oil is needed for protection, or if you must set your style, blow hair from damp to fully dry rather than from towel dried to damp. Try using a dry shampoo and an up-do style (see Twist Me Pretty dot com for Abby's great ideas) to stretch your hair one day longer before cleansing again. As your scalp adjusts, it will produce less sebum and need cleansing less frequently.

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    2. Any particular recommendactions for very curly hair?

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  11. Any particular recommendations for very curly hair?

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    1. Curly hair tends to suffer dryness at the ends more than straight hair because the sebum doesn't slick down the hair shaft as easily in dense curls. Be sure to keep tips moisturized between washes. Beyond that, good luck! I don't have personal experience with very curly hair - mine waves but isn't curly.

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  12. Seriously it is that easy? Any conditioner and the EO's? I make my own soap and I have all the EO's necessary to make the growth one. I am excited to try

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    1. Seriously that easy! Play around with things. And use LESS essential oils rather than more. A little goes a long way, remember.

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    2. I found a recipe for homemade conditioner. I just need to order emulsifying wax and a preservative then I can really do a homemade version. I'm so excited.

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  13. Have you had any experience with creating a shampoo for someone with eczema/psoriasis scalp issues? My eldest daughter & grandson are dealing with this. Thank you.

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  14. Made the shampoo and love it. Checked out your resource for essential oils. Funny, when I am comparing prices, for example, doterras helichrysum is the same price as this one. Only this comes with no team support...and others are diluted like the sleep blend...only 25% oil. I have say, I feel like I get what I pay for with my doterra and I have a team that supports me!

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    1. Thanks for checking out my blog! I'm glad you've found an essential oil supplier that works well for you. DoTERRA is most certainly a high quality supplier. I personally lean to Rocky Mountain Oils (also called Native American Nutritionals) as I feel that I receive better quality products with more reliable sourcing. But if you are happy with your chosen brand, that's great.

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  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. (deleted as was identical to one above)

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  16. I use henna to dye my hair red every six weeks. I wonder how a little bit of henna powder into this recipe might fair to keep the color bright between dye times?

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    1. I haven't used henna in years, and I've never tried it in the conditioner... Hmm. It's certainly an intriguing idea! My initial thoughts --
      1. Make sure that you are using fully dry henna powder, as oil and water blended is prone to mold rather quickly, especially when exposed to regular damp heat in the shower.
      2. Does the henna require cooking to activate, as some herbs do? Would the warmth from hot water and your head be enough to bring out the goodness and color?
      Do please check back in and let me know how your henna Wen turns out!

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  17. Hi and thank you! I've actually used this for a few months last year and loved it. I had to stop for awhile as I ran out of eo's and no money to replace them. Now I have dandruff! And oily roots with dry length. Any suggestions for the dandruff? I actually had come up with a combination of the sebum balancing and hair growth formulas before and did as suggested, only using it on the roots and conditioning the length. Thanks soooo much! :)

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  18. Hi and thank you! I've actually used this for a few months last year and loved it. I had to stop for awhile as I ran out of eo's and no money to replace them. Now I have dandruff! And oily roots with dry length. Any suggestions for the dandruff? I actually had come up with a combination of the sebum balancing and hair growth formulas before and did as suggested, only using it on the roots and conditioning the length. Thanks soooo much! :)

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  19. Thank you for posting this. We use a Dollar General brand moisturizing conditioner and love it anyway. I added a few essential oils to it and have notice that my and my daughters' hair is growing. Especially all my little girls. We cannot thank you enough. (We used rosemary, tea tree, eucalyptus, and peppermint EOs; ten drops of each for a 32 oz bottle of conditioner. I poured the conditioner into a glass jar, added the EOs, mixed and then placed a funnel into the conditioner bottle and used a spatula to get it out of the glass jar and back into the conditioner bottle.) I will not go back to conditioning any other way. Love the way our hair behaves, feels and smells. Now I just need to get more EOs and purchase some extracts.

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  20. I'm not trying to be rude but, you pretty much excluded the entire south east from using your recipe. People with Cherokee heritage have very oily hair. I can't use conditioner at all or my hair will look like an oil slick. Most people use Wen because they have oily hair.

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    1. Hi, Nikki. Are you talking about the Southeast USA? I'm so sorry you felt excluded. It was not my intention at all.

      The Sebum Balancing blend is my recommendation for oily hair, where there is an overproduction of oil by the sebum glands in the skin. Often, when people have an oily scalp (or face -- the same applies to skin elsewhere on the body) they try to dry out the problem by removing the oil. But this then leads the skin to compensate further by putting out yet more oil. It is good to properly cleanse the skin and hair of dead cells and build up, but you must be careful not to overcleanse and thereby overstimulate your oil glands to produce the extra sebum you don't want. Consider what you yourself wrote -- you can't use conditioner at all because your hair is oily, yet you state most people use Wen cleansing conditioner for oily hair!

      The essential oils I recommend using are more like plant essences, not so much oils. A high quality e.o. will not leave an oily residue but will absorb into a porous surface or evaporate from a non porous one. When used in a cleansing conditioner, they work in your skin to help balance your natural sebum production so that it does not overproduce, but they should not lend extra oil. You can use a very light conditioner, or a conditioner with a small amount of soap, if you prefer such as your base.

      I suggest also doing oil moisturising treatments on your scalp on a regular basis. Once a week or so, on an evening where you do not intend to leave the house, add 5-10 drops of any base oil (coconut, olive, almond, apricot, avocado...) directly to your scalp. A tincture dropper is handy for this. Your hair need not be slick with oil. It need not even be as much oil as to cause the need for a towel on your pillow. It will look greasy by the roots, but you will shampoo this out the next day. Massage the oil into your scalp for a few minutes and leave overnight. Shampoo the roots and condition the lengths the following morning. Such oil treatments can help to normalise and rebalance the sebum your scalp is regularly producing.

      Best of luck!

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