Today’s project is a Bee Better for the Shine & Detangle ACV Hair Rinse I shared back in 2013. I had a lot of fun revisiting this one, taking lots of inspiration from the name rather than the original ingredients, and working in lots of what I’ve learned about hair care in the last 6 years. The new rinse is fragrant and conditioning, adding shine and slip to your hair—I really like it! It’s a fun evolution on the original concept, featuring new ingredients and resulting in a much more elegant end product.
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Back in 2013 when I shared the original rinse, I was using cold processed soap as shampoo. Despite its high pH, it always worked well for me as long as I followed up with an acidic rinse (I used it for about six years with no noticeable ill effects). The original “Shine & Detangle” rinse was an acidic apple cider vinegar rinse to counter the basic-ness of the soap-shampoo. A horsetail and marshmallow root infusion brought the shine and detangle elements, respectively. Some polysorbate 20 solubilized in a blend of lemon, clary sage, and geranium essential oils. I’m pretty sure I originally published it without a call for a broad-spectrum preservative, but I obviously added liquid germall plus to the ingredients list later as it’s there now.
Taking a look at the original, and taking into account how my hair washing has changed (mainly that I now use mildly acidic syndet shampoos so I don’t need an acidic rinse anymore), I set off to re-vamp the rinse. This time around I decided to get the shine and detangle elements from some ingredients I didn’t have (and very likely wouldn’t have used) back in 2013. The original used botanical infusions for the shine and detangling—herbal teas, basically. These can be challenging to preserve, though I have found liquid germall plus usually does the trick, especially if the infusion is well strained.
In this updated version, cetrimonium chloride and polyquaternium 7 are both cationic, so they help condition the hair and reduce tangles. Panthenol (vitamin B5) helps add shine, hydrolyzed quinoa protein boosts shine and protects hair, and sodium lactate moisturizes. A touch of PEG-8 dimethicone adds shine, detangling, and protective properties, and also serves as a solubilizer for our fragrance or essential oil. Silicones were definitely a nope ingredient category for me back in 2013, but I’ve learned a lot since then from sources like Lab Muffin and have re-introduced them into my hair and skin care routines. My hair isn’t very tolerant of heavier, less-volatile silicones (as opposed to volatile ones like cyclomethicone) or oils, so I have to keep amounts low to avoid greasy-looking hair, but I love the shine & slip small amounts of silicone give my hair.
Other changes you’ll notice from the original is the full percentage-ification of the formulation for easier scaling and understanding of what’s going on (2% is always 2%, while 2 tbsp could be anything!). Everything is also in weights—there’s no drops, tablespoons, or millilitres. I wouldn’t say the original is a “definitely don’t make this” project, but this updated version is definitely better. If you do still want to make the 2013 one, make sure the preservative amount is correct, and ensure the essential oil amounts are safe + properly solubilized.
The finished product is like the love child of a detangling treatment and a hair conditioner. If you have fine, tangle-prone hair that is easily weighed down you might find this is a great cream conditioner alternative. My hair is type 1B, and I found this to be a lovely light to mid-weight conditioner, adding slip, shine, and fragrance without a really intense “conditioned” feel. If you really like strong conditioning this might not be enough for you; you might prefer to use it between heavier conditioning treatments, or perhaps tweak it to be more of a leave-in product by dropping the cetrimonium chloride to 0.75% and increasing the water by 1.25% to make up for the loss. Anywho—let’s get making!
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Shine & Detangle Conditioning Hair Rinse
2g | 2% cetrimonium chloride (USA / Canada)
2g | 2% Polyquaternium 7 (USA / Canada)
0.5g | 0.5% panthenol
4g | 4% hydrolyzed quinoa protein
4g | 4% sodium lactate
0.5g | 0.5% liquid germall plus (USA / Canada)
84.5g | 84.5% distilled water
Weigh the PEG-8 dimethicone and fragrance into a small beaker and whisk to combine. Add the remaining ingredients, one at a time, whisking between additions. Add the water slowly and gently to avoid too many bubbles.
That’s it! Transfer to a 120mL (4 fl oz) bottle with a squirt-friendly top to make dispensing a thin liquid easier. Something like this with a glue-type dispenser lid would be great, as would a “turret”/dispensing spout cap.
To use, squirt ~2–4 tbsp of the rinse through your hair from the ears down, work through with your fingers, and let it sit for a minute or two (that’s a good time to suds up the rest of you, shave your legs, or work on hitting those high notes in that big Phantom of the Opera number). Rinse, and you’re done! I use this after shampooing.
Because this rinse contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project may eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event that you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 100g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can try replacing the PEG-8 dimethicone with a different solubilizer like polysorbate 20, but you will want to re-test the formula to ensure it keeps the fragrance solubilized. Polysorbate 20 also won’t have the same shine/slip/detangling properties as the PEG-8 dimethicone.
- You can use a different fragrance or essential oil. It could be fun to take some inspiration from the original lemon/clary sage/geranium blend!
- Please read the encyclopedia for alternatives for the remaining ingredients.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this page.