This recipe for Olive and Jojoba Silk Conditioner was inspired by a request from Nick, who says “Came across your website and it’s great. Despite being the manliest of men I do like the finer things in life and the rubbish mass produced stuff from the high street just doesn’t do it for me! So I thought I’d have a go at making something myself. I have been using a conditioner, which has been great for my hair compared to anything else I’ve tried from the supermarkets or from natural product websites. It makes my hair very soft and hydrated, which is rare for me. I’m hoping you would be able to help me make it myself by suggesting what weights/volumes that you think the ingredients might have been mixed in so I can try to recreate it at home – My girlfriend and I go through quite a lot of it so it’s costing quite a bit of money (relatively speaking, for conditioner!). Are you able to help me out?”
The list of ingredients he sent over were short and sweet; it was a simple emulsion of water, aloe, and glycerin with olive and jojoba oil (USA / Canada). Certainly easy enough (and inexpensive) to make. I decided to play a bit with the oil/water balance in the emulsion to create something lighter than my usual lotions to make it a bit harder to cross that line from “conditioning” to “oops, I should wash my hair again.”
The oils bit is a blend of olive oil (pomace), jojoba oil (USA / Canada), and a fairly good dose of Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada) (which is a great antioxidant that helps with healing and just might help boost hair growth as well). The original also contained a touch of unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada), so if you wanted to work some of that in you could drop the jojoba and/or olive oil (pomace) down by a gram or two and swap in some unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada). I elected to leave it out to keep things simple and a bit lighter, but if you’ve got super dry hair you might love the addition of some shea.
A blend of water and aloe vera juice makes up the water bit, plus a pretty good dose of moisturizing vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada) and some silk, which helps strengthen your hair and adds a bit of a silky shine. It wasn’t in the original, but silk is amazing, and I couldn’t help myself.
We’ll use BTMS-50 as our emulsifying wax as it’s cationic, which is key to creating something that’s truly conditioning. While you can use emulsifying wax NF or Polawax you’ll be making more of a hair lotion than a true conditioner. I’ve done it, and the results are still good, but the use of a cationic emulsifier really does amp up the end product noticeably.
The essential oil blend is a simple one—bright bergamot and cardamom mingle with sweet geranium and calming lavender for a nice, mild scent blend that leaves your hair smelling rather pretty. You could really do anything that strikes your fancy, though; the original was unscented, so go nuts (or go bare)!
And, well—does it work? I’m happy to report that this stuff is amazing. I ran about three palmfuls of it through my hair (only from the shoulders down), let it soak in while I shaved my legs, and then rinsed it out (with a squeak test to prove it). My hair is amazing. I’ve been stroking it all day like a bit of a weirdo. It’s unbelievably soft and silky. Seriously, guys, you have to try this.
Olive and Jojoba Silk Conditioner
10 drops bergamot essential oil (since this conditioner will be washed out of the hair, it doesn’t need to be bergapatene free)
4 drops cardamom essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops geranium essential oil
While the emulsifying wax mixture is melting, combine the water, aloe juice, glycerin, and silk in a small measuring cup and gently warm.
Once the emulsifying wax mixture has melted, add the water mixture. Heat through to ensure everything is melted before removing the pan from the heat.
Whisk the mixture as it cools—it will thicken into a nice white cream. I’d recommend using an immersion blender, especially if you are using a different emulsifying wax than emulsimulse.
Whisk in the essential oils. Add your preservative (though do check the instructions for your specific preservative—some have special instructions for adding to concoctions) and decant the mixture to a 120mL/ 4oz plastic pump-top bottle (avoid glass since this’ll be in your shower, and avoid wide mouthed jars so you don’t get lots of extra water into your conditioner when you try to use it). Enjoy!
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!