This light and luxurious hair serum smooths down flyaways, moisturizes dry ends, and imparts a lovely, light sheen. It smells divine, is absorbed quickly, and packs a punch with just a few drops. It’s the sort of thing that would sell for $40 at a salon, but you know better that that 😉
As with most hair products that are nice and light, this one is mostly water. I’ve loaded that water up with great ingredients, though. First, silk peptides. The proteins that make up silk are very similar to the proteins in our skin and hair, and silk helps smooth the hair, adding shine and elasticity.
Phytokeratin is plant derived keratin—basically, the stuff our hair is mostly made from. Adding phytokeratin to the serum helps add strength, shine, and bounce to the hair.
Bamboo bioferment is a relatively new ingredient for me, and I really like it. Rich in naturally occurring silica, It has a silicone-like feel and leaves hair soft, smooth, and shiny.
I couldn’t choose between camellia seed oil or broccoli seed oil, so I’ve left that decision up to you. Both are fantastic for hair—lightweight, silky, and downright lovely.
Guar gum and Turkey Red Oil pair to emulsify and thicken the mixture. If you don’t have them you can use 1 teaspoon of Polysorbate 20 (also known as solubilizer—though this won’t thicken the final product at all, so a pump bottle probably isn’t the best packaging choice anymore). I don’t recommend making this without an emulsifier, though. Thorough distribution of the oils is necessary for the light touch of this silk milk.
Last but not least, some essential oils. Cardamom, chamomile, and lavender pair beautifully to create a soft, bright scent blend that you’ll love.
Bamboo & Silk Hair Milk
35mL | 1.18 fl oz water
5g | 0.17oz vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
¼ tsp silk peptides, powder, or amino acids
¼ tsp phytokeratin
¼ tsp bamboo bioferment
1/8 tsp guar gum
½ tsp Turkey Red Oil or Olivem300 or Polysorbate 80 (USA / Canada)
½ tsp camellia seed oil or broccoli seed oil
5 drops cardamom essential oil
4 drops roman chamomile essential oil
4 drops lavender essential oil
0.2g | 0.007oz Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada) (or other broad spectrum preservative of choice at recommended usage rate [why?])
Whisk together the water, glycerin, silk, phytokeratin, and bamboo bioferment in a small dish.
Sprinkle the guar gum over the water mixture a little at a time, whisking to combine. Keep in mind that the mixture will thicken a bit over the next few hours, so resist the urge to add more guar gum if you think it’s a bit thin now.
Whisk in the Turkey Red Oil, camellia seed oil or broccoli oil, essential oils, and preservative.
Decant the silk milk into a 50mL (1.7 fl oz) pump bottle. To use, spread a small amount across your palms and lightly smooth and massage into your hair.
I used this bottle. They’ve discontinued the pump I used, but this one will work instead.
Hi there….sounds wonderful. Is this something you leave in or but on after washing and rinse out?
This would be a product you would leave in. That is why you use so little, and use all those fancy ingredients! You wouldn’t want to wash them right out 😉
Bang on 🙂
Leave it in 🙂 I just massage a small amount into my ends and smooth any remainders down the length of my hair.
Can you put this on wet hair or is this for dry hair?
Either works, it’s up to you!
Love your blog!
I was wondering if you have something similar to the mad hippie vitamin c serum?
Thanks, Amber! My Brighten & Renew Facial Serum is the closest thing I have to a vitamin C serum 🙂
Hi Marie! Thanks for the great post. I thought to mention Olivoyl Glutamate (http://www.theherbarie.com/Olivoil-Glutamate-Emulsifier.html) as a natural, complete emulsifier substitute if you haven’t already heard of it. It gets a 0 toxicity rating on EWG (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/723858/SODIUM_OLIVOYL_GLUTAMATE) while Polysorbate 20 is a 3. I find it very easy to use! <3 Happy Thursday!!
Wonderful, thanks Alex! I will be sure to keep an eye out for a Canadian source of Olivoyl Glutamate so I can play with it 🙂 In the meantime, my blend of TRO and guar gum also scores a 0 on Skin Deep (as best I can remember, at least—it’s down right now).
This looks amazing Marie! I think I will make it for my sister who is always fussing with her curly hair 🙂 DIY Christmas gifts for everyone!
Thanks, Lauren Ann!
If you’re going to give this as a Christmas gift I’d recommend making it closer to Christmas to extend the shelf life, and warning recipients to look for signs of spoilage if you aren’t going to add a preservative 🙂
Would xanthan gum do the same as the guar?
From my reading xanthan gum does not have the emulsifying properties that guar gum does—”It helps to prevent oil separation by stabilizing the emulsion, although it is not an emulsifier” (source). So, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Hi! I have just tried it with xantan and it seems to remain emulsified! At least since it has been done, like seven hours ago 🙂
I also substitute aloe 1:200 instead of bamboo, let’s see how it works tomorrow morning!!!
Greetings from Spain!!!!
Fun! Enjoy and thanks for DIYing with me!
You’ve probably mentioned this in a previous post, but where do you purchase the brown labels you stick on your products? I love them! They are so cute and quirky.
Hi Amanda! They’re from Amazon 🙂
Can the emulsifying flakes be used to emulsify instead or is there a specific type that must be used?
Lastly, can another blend of EO’s be used for scent or does the suggested blend provide some special qualities for the recipe?
Hi Jade! I’ve covered your question about emulsifiers in the FAQ 🙂 As for essential oils, feel free to play with any blend you like, the EOs I have chosen here are not essential to the success of the recipe. Thanks for reading!
This is one I MUST try to make! My hair is beyond hope, but my daughter’s hair is luxurious, and so is my granddaughters. They will LOVE this.
Enjoy it, Mary! And you might as well give it a try yourself while you’re at it, it can’t hurt 🙂
Hi Marie, I really enjoy your blog. Question… You said the bamboo bio ferment has “silicone-like properties”. Do you think this ingredient works well for smoothing? For many reasons, I don’t like silicones. They prevent moisture and protein from penetrating the hair shaft and they tend to build up a coating on the hair that can cause breakage over time (esp for those of us with dry or fragile hair), So I am always on the look out for DIY options that can smooth frizz or fly-aways yet still allow in all the nutrients I work so hard to give my hair. Lastly, do you think the serum provides any heat protection?
I’ve been enjoying the bamboo bioferment as a natural smoothing/shine ingredient for hair, though if you rub it between your fingers you’ll notice it breaks down/rubs away much faster than anything that’s mostly silicone. You can read more about it here.
I don’t think any natural hair things are too likely to give heat protection. Any water will evaporate off quite quickly, and I imagine the oils would just assist in frying the hair.
Wild! I learn sooo much on your blog. I’ve never heard of Bamboo Bioferment. I make a leave-in hair detangler for my hair & have been able to sub out all the silicones for plant based oils instead (ie. Meadowfoam Seed Oil, etc). I will be checking out the Bamboo Bioferment for certain now. Thanks for posting!
Enjoy! I do love investigating and sharing new ingredients 🙂
So i know you said no substitution for the turkey red oil, but Saffire Blue has zero stock. Can I use solubilizer?
You can—I would keep the guar gum so the the texture stays the same, though 🙂
What preservative can I use to extend its shelf life?
I’ve been using this lately and liking it 🙂
I also want to make this recipe and am looking at saffire blue, having just placed an order with NDA!! Anyway my issue is no guar gum, I will look in bulk barn tomorrow, but if I get the turkey red oil and I have soliubize can I use this or can I use some emulsimulse? I did read the the blog you directed us to for substitute stuff but could not figure out what I can use. I love thT I relate to your post about needing ALL the oils to cure all my issues!!!
Hi Cari! You can use solubilizer instead of the TRO/GG combo (use the same amount of solubilizer as there is oil in the recipe), but that won’t thicken the final product. This hair milk is supposed to have some thickness to it, but it doesn’t need it—just keep that in mind when applying, as it’s easy to over-apply something thin. Don’t use emulsimulse—it requires precise ratios that this recipe does not have 🙂
I wonder if you have any tips for what natural colours I could add to my homemade shampoos and rinses to darken my hair, as I’m starting to grey, and reget having to have a 2 hour chemical session on my head every 6 weeks.
I’d prefer to add a bit of colour each time I shampoo and hopefully some of it will stick and stain over time.
(I’m about to try your all-in-one bar… very excited about it, and thanks for sharng it, although I’ll leave out the lard…)
Hi Bronwyn! The most potent natural hair colouring method I know of is henna. It’s typically red, but my natural health food shop sells henna powered dyes in a variety of colours. I’m not sure about adding henna to your shampoo or rinses, though—I imagine anything powerful enough to colour your hair would stain your skin.
You should also read my entry on why I use lard in my soaps 🙂
Authentic Henna is just red. If you see any other colours for sale, it will be henna mixed with some nasty chemicals. You are right about not being able to add henna to shampoo because that’s not how it works. Henna must be allowed to sit, once mixed with water, for 4 to 12 hours depending on the type so that the colour can release. If you let the henna sit there for days, it would no longer be effective.
the best thing is to source some additive free, pure henna powder and apply it per directions. Then indigo powder can be added if one wants brown or black hair.
I can personally recommend hennasooq.com because I have used their products for years and they are the real deal
Thanks, Lisa! I have done some more research since writing that and it seems like there are ways to get slightly different hues of henna without adding nasty chemicals—LUSH has some variations using things like indigo, coffee, nettles, and Irish moss—though that’s obviously not pure henna 🙂 I keep meaning to, but I still haven’t played with henna, so thanks for your experienced advice and input!
Hey ! I would like to try this recipe. Where did you buy the bamboo bioferment
Saffire Blue—scroll up to the big box with links above the comments 🙂
Made this today! LOVE it! Super lightweight and no frizz! I used honey instead of the guar gum – worked like a charm on my super fine corkscrew curls! I’ve tried a lot of serums in my life and this is as good, if not way better, than anything I have ever bought at all price points! 🙂 thank you so much again for this recipe!!!!
Any chance you could come up with something to replace my mousse?!? Lol
I’m so glad you love it! I was using mine just yesterday 🙂 Stay tuned for moussey type things, though I’ve found mousse and gel to be annoyingly challenging, so it might be a while 😛
I live in Cape town, South Africa and I cant seem to find any silk peptide or amino acid. This is making me not ao happy 🙁
Is there anything else I can use that would have the same effect as the silk?
Hi Marle! I’ve written an FAQ on this 🙂
Is the bamboo leaf (70% silica) botanical extract from NDA comparable to the bamboo bioferment from Saffire Blue? If so, how could I substitute it, given one is liquid and one is powder?
Hmm. I couldn’t find info on what percentage of silica the bioferment contains. I feel like you should be able to make the swap as the silica is the component we’re excited about. NDA has a link on how to turn the bamboo extract into a tincture; I’d probably follow those instructions and use it as called for here 🙂
Hi! First time poster but a long time subscriber! I love a lot of your recipes and this is another one I am going to be trying! I was just wondering that if instead of a pump I could use a dropper instead (I have quite a few dropper bottles)? Or is the serum too thick for that? I am also planning to use honey instead of guar gum (like one of your readers suggested). In this instance, is it better to go with raw organic honey that is slightly harder or is runny honey preferable?
Thank you again for all your recipes and the effort you put into your site! I cannot wait till your book comes out!
Hey! A dropper bottle should work great here 🙂 The honey thing, though… that’s not a good substitution. I know somebody said it worked for them, but guar gum is a thickener/emulsifier, and honey is neither of those things :/ It would be like using honey instead of an egg in a cookie recipe.
Thanks for reading & DIYing with me!
Can I use Irish Moss (carneegan) instead of guar gum. Guar gum flakes in my hair no matter how little I use.
I haven’t had great luck using carrageenan as a thickener, and I can’t comment on its emulsifying properties so… I’m not sure? Maybe? I’m leaning towards it not working, but you’re welcome to try, of course.
Where can i find Turkey red oil?
Have you visited my Where to Buy Ingredients page? Mine’s from Saffire Blue.
Wow. I made this with bamboo powder instead of bioferment and a different essential oil blend (ylang ylang, cedar, cardamom). I heated up the water part to extract what silica I could from the powder.
The result is amazing. It kicks flyaway bum, smells awesome, and does a great job moisturizing. I’ve been using it daily for two weeks and my hair is softer and shinier than ever. Thanks Marie!
Huzzah! You’re making me think I should make another batch of this sooner rather than later 😀 Thanks for reading & DIYing with me!
How do I convert this serums to percentage ? Kindly help
I have a whole post on that here 🙂 Happy making!