You probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that friends often present me with their beauty products (and accompanying ingredient lists) to be deconstructed and rated. So, as it happens, a friend handed me her conditioner—a posh, expensive natural brand hair conditioner. The ingredients were pretty good, but what struck me was that it was really just lotion (I even used some on my hands). And as soon as I had that thought in my head, I knew I had to make my own creamy hair conditioner—but mine would be absolutely loaded with goodness.

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The water part is the first bit. I infused the water with horsetail and marshmallow root to give the shampoo strengthening and detangling properties. To that I added vegetable glycerin and silk (humectants, to help keep the hair hydrated and happy), bamboo bioferment (like natural dimethicone, for slip & shine), and phytokeratin (to help strengthen hair and add shine). If you don’t have the  bamboo bioferment and/or phytokeratin, feel free to replace them with more infused water.

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For the oils I chose camellia seed and broccoli seed. Camellia seed oil has been used for centuries for hair care in Asia, and it absorbs like a dream. It’s made from the seeds of the plant that gives us tea, and it’s a lovely, light oil.

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Broccoli seed oil is a new offering from New Directions Aromatics, and was described as “an easy substitute for the activity of silicones where the film forming activity results in a natural shine, and cuticle smoothing of the hair while preventing oxidation”. Needless to say, I had to try it. It is nicely silicone-like, but absorbs beautifully without leaving a perma-film.

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Last, but not least, a medley of essential oils designed to add strength and shine to hair.

Bamboo & Broccoli Oil Hair Conditioner

100mL | 3.4 fl oz boiling water
1 tsp marshmallow root
1 tsp horsetail/shavegrass powder

2g | 0.07oz vegetable glycerin
1 tsp silk peptides (optional)
2g | 0.07oz bamboo bioferment (optional)
2g | 0.07oz phytokeratin (optional)

5g | 0.17oz complete emulsifying wax (not beeswax!)
10g | 0.33oz camellia seed oil
10g | 0.33oz broccoli seed oil

15 drops bergapatene-free bergamot essential oil
2 drops cape snowbush essential oil
7 drops cedarwood essential oil
12 drops lavender essential oil

Broad spectrum preservative of choice (why?)

Pour the boiling water over the herbs and let steep until the water is room temperature. Strain and reserve the liquid, discarding the herbs.

Measure out 70mL of the herb water into a small glass measuring cup and add to that the glycerin, silk, bamboo bioferment, and phytokeratin, stirring to combine. Warm in the microwave for 20—30 seconds.

Weigh the emulsifying wax and oils into a small saucepan and melt together over medium heat. Once melted, add the herb water mixture to the pan and heat through.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk as the mixture cools, until you have a thick cream (the thickening may take a few days if you are using a different emulsifying wax from emulsimulse/ritamulse). Whisk in the essential oils and preservative.

Decant into a 120mL/4oz pump-top lotion bottle.

To use, start with a dime-sized amount. I generally just apply it to my ends in the shower. If you find you need an all-over dose of moisture, I’d recommend diluting the conditioner with a bit of water in your palm before spreading it through your hair, and I’d recommend avoiding your scalp. Rinse out or leave-in, as desired—I’ll rinse if I apply it all over my head, but I’ll leave it in if it’s just on the ends.

Don’t have the oils called for in the recipe? Check this out.

New to lotion/conditioner making? Watch my basic lotion how to video!

Watch Now

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