Ever since I started publishing creamy hair conditioner recipes a few months ago, readers have been asking about the possibility of including some vinegar in the water part of the emulsion to create a two-in-one conditioner that eliminates the need for a separate acidic rinse. It sounded like a great idea, but I wondered if the added acid might cause the emulsion to break, so I wanted to try it to see if 1) the emulsion would survive and 2) if that acidic conditioner would really do the trick. And good news on both fronts—this Two-in-One Creamy Hair Conditioner is awesome! Here’s to having one less bottle in your shower.
Want to watch this project instead of read it?
This conditioner is a light emulsion with a very large water part and a rather small oil part to ensure we’re hydrating our hair but not making it dirty again. The water part is a blend of water, hydrating vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada), and acidic apple cider vinegar. You should be able to use lemon juice as an alternative, but a major bonus of including the apple cider vinegar in a conditioner like this is that it’s scent is barely noticeable, so I’d give it a go as written even if you aren’t crazy about the smell of apple cider vinegar.
I decided to use a blend of rich unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada) and castor oil (USA / Canada) for the oils part, and chose BTMS-50 as my emulsifying wax. BTMS-50 is a relatively new emulsifier for me (I found it at Windy Point), and it’s especially fantastic in hair conditioners. You should be able to use other complete emulsifying waxes if you don’t have BTMS-50 on hand, though I haven’t tried them all with the addition of the vinegar. (Note: A reader has reported that Emulsifying Wax NF doesn’t work well, and that the conditioner separates if this emulsifying wax is used. I haven’t tried it myself, but if you can avoid E-Wax NF, it’s probably a good idea!)
A blend of cardamom, grapefruit, and pine essential oils give the conditioner a wonderful bright, fresh scent with a slight vinegar-y undertone, though that vinegar note dissipates quickly and doesn’t remain in your hair at all. I added some silk and phytokeratin to give the conditioner some extra oomph in the smoothing/hydrating department, but both are optional if you don’t have them on hand.
I used an immersion blender to thoroughly combine everything as I was a bit suspicious that the addition of the acid might destabilize the emulsion without some super-whippy blending. In the end the conditioner did take a few days to thicken up to a conditioner/lotiony consistency despite the blending and the fact that BTMS-50 is more like emulsimulse/ritamulse in the sense that it thickens quite promptly, even without the use of an immersion blender.
The final Two-in-One Creamy Hair Conditioner is really nice. I really like it; it definitely does both the pH correcting and the hydrating jobs, leaving my long hair smooth and happy. Now I can have one less bottle in my shower—woohoo!
Two-in-One Creamy Hair Conditioner
3g | 0.1oz BTMS-50 emulsifying wax (other complete emulsifying waxes should work as well; read the pre-amble for details. Do not use beeswax!)
3g | 0.1oz unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
3g | 0.1oz castor oil (USA / Canada)
1g | 0.03oz Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
50g |1.76oz just-boiled water
15g | 0.53oz vegetable glycerin
24g | 0.85oz apple cider vinegar
1g | 0.03oz phytokeratin (optional)
1/2 tsp silk powder, peptide, or amino acid (need a substitute?) (optional)
20 drops grapefruit essential oil (pink or white is fine)
10 drops pine essential oil
5 drops cardamom essential oil
Broad spectrum preservative of choice (why?)
Weigh the BTMS-50 with the unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada), castor oil (USA / Canada), and Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada) into a small saucepan and melt over medium heat.
While the emulsifying wax mixture is melting, combine the water, glycerin, apple cider vinegar, phytokeratin, and silk in a small glass measuring cup and gently warm.
Once the oils mixture has melted, add the water mixture. Heat through to ensure everything is melted before removing the pan from the heat.
Blend everything together with an immersion blender (or one of those wee milk frother buzzy type things)
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).
Use directly after shampooing with a homemade shampoo bar—no need for an acidic rinse! I usually use about two palm-fulls for my waist length hair, let it soak in while I shave my legs, and then thoroughly rinse it out. Voila!
Don’t have the oils called for in the recipe? Check this out.
I tried (several times) to sign up for the information on pre-ordering your book (can’t wait!!). It allows me to enter my email, but when I click on “subscribe” it just goes back to the email space.
Glitch? or me? (:
I just checked and you are on the list! Thanks so much 😀
Hi, Marie –
I studied you page with the information about “Broad Spectrum Preservatives”. At the end of the list of preservatives, you say if we want a recommendation from you, this is it ^^. Are those carats pointing to the preservative above (i.e., GeoGard ECT) or are the carats a notational character?
Thanks for your help.
Those are supposed to be arrows to the short list directly above, not the world’s most confusing notational character that refers to nothing 🙂 (Hence the “These are the preservatives I’d look at first in terms of safety:” bit at the top of the list as well 😉 )
Do you think that guar gum and red turkey oil combination could be used here as an emulsifier? As in your Apple cider rinse?
Hey Jevgeni! Nope—the BTMS-50 is part of the conditioning action of the conditioner. I’ve also written more about that here 🙂
In addition to Marie’s comment, I tried red turkey oil for a Micelar Water ingredient. When I tried it I almost DIED with the pain and irritation I felt on my eyes!!! NEVER use red turkey oil for any product that will be close to your eyes!!
Ack, that sounds AWFUL! The irritation potential is a big part of the reason I stopped using TRO; it is quite literally one of (if not THE) oldest detergent around, and we have 100% created better things since the 1800’s.
Hi Marie, could you recommend an swap for the pine eo that will still smell good. I have a snake and pine is toxic to them. Thanks Mel x
Hi Mel! Any of the coniferous tree essential oils would be a good choice—think spruce, fir, or even cedar (though cedar is quite different from pine). Happy DIYing 🙂
What can be used in place of Pine Essential Oil? Thank you,I love your site and the great recipes.
Hey Ginny! Any of the coniferous tree essential oils would be a good choice—think spruce, fir, or even cedar (though cedar is quite different from pine). Happy DIYing 🙂
I thought I’d give this a try with emulsifying wax NF which I happened to have, before troubling myself to order btms 50. I don’t recommend that substitution… Constantly separates
Oh no! Thank you for reporting back on that, what a bummer 🙁 Did you blend with an immersion blender or by hand?
Immersion blender as usual. I was quite fascinated and left it sitting for a couple days to observe – after a while the oil phase solidified a bit and they didn’t shake together. I figured there was a chance it wouldn’t work.
On the plus side I also whipped up the creamy cleansing balm over the weekend and I’m loving it.
Huh, odd! I, too, was wondering what would happen with other e-waxes… good to know we can strike that one off the list of alternatives.
I’m so glad you’re loving the creamy cleansing balm! I’m kind of a cleansing balm junkie these days… 😀
I was surprised at how well it works – took off all my makeup yesterday. I’m interested to try the other recipes you have though the cleansing lotion using SCI also sounds excellent.
Awesome! The taking-off-makeup bit is definitely something I’ve been testing pretty thoroughly with my facial cleansers, what with all the makeup I’ve been making and testing over the last few months 😛 I think this cleansing balm is my all time favourite (for now, at least!).
BTMS 25 and 50 separate in this conditioner. I got BTMS 50 because I wanted to like this recipe so bad. I am extremely disappointed.
I’m excited to try this on my hair! I just finished blending everything with the immersion blender but it’s still the consistency of heavy cream. Is that how yours was before it eventually thickened? Yikes, did it fail on me?
Hey Colleen! Which emulsifier did you use? Mine did thicken to a relatively thin lotion consistency, but it’s definitely thicker than heavy cream. Has it thickened up since you posted?
I used the BTMS 50 (ordered from Michele and Keith. They are awesome, thanks for the heads up on them!!) It actually ended up thickening a lot, within a few hours, as it cooled. Now to try it out 🙂 I got to wondering, if a dry acidic component could be incorporated, instead of the ACV, to do away with the vinegar odor? I love your dry acidic hair rinse recipe…no vinegar smell! If you think it could be done, I would be happy to experiment.
Sweet! And yes, you could totally add something like citric acid instead of the ACV 🙂 Or lemon juice or some other acidic liquid! I don’t find the ACV scent to be terribly noticeable in the complete conditioner, but the smell also doesn’t bother me very much.
If you were going to use citric acid instead of the ACV how much would you need to use? Same amount you think?
Hey Ashley—definitely not the same amount! ACV has a pH of about 3, and from my reading a 5% solution of citric acid in water would have a similar pH. Given we used 24g of ACV, we’ll need to turn 24g of water into a 5% citric acid solution. That should mean mixing ~1g of powdered citric acid into 24g of water (though if somebody with better chemistry than me would like to chime in with more precise numbers, that would be great).
If my calculations are right, it should be about 0.13g in 24 grams of water. I wrote the calculations for this specific question in the Hive:
Marie, I have just started dabbling in homemade recipes since my recent discovery of Ameo Essential Oils. I have tried a shampoo recipe with apple cider vinegar but felt it lightened my highlights. Can you shed any light on this possibility? I’m hoping your recipe with more ingredients may prohibit this action.
Hey Brenda! Since I don’t have highlights, this is all from reading, but… from my reading if you use citric acid to create your acidic rinse, and rinse it out rather than leave it in, it shouldn’t lighten hair or strip colour, but this is just from research—I don’t dye my hair, so I have no personal experience. There’s quite a lot of discussion of it here. ACV can, apparently, give a red tone to the hair, and lemon juice is also a common hair lightener, but it needs to be left in and exposed to sun to work.
You could easily use citric acid in this recipe instead of ACV; just use more water in place of the ACV and add ~1/2 tsp of citric acid 🙂
Hope that helps and thanks for reading!
Hi! I am having a hard time finding ‘Phytokeratine’. Where can I order this? Thank you soooo much for your lovely blog!! I am always inspired when I read it!! ❤️
Hey Tiffany! My supplier has since discontinued it, but I found it here with a slightly different name 🙂 Happy making!
I almost ordered the VegeKeratin from Lotioncrafters until I noticed that it contains wheat. I can’t use anything with wheat as I’m highly allergic, and the main reason I’m resorting to DIY. Do you have another alternative to the phytokeratin/vegekeratin? I’m wondering about baobab protein as a sub? Thoughts? Thanks!
A different hydrolyzed protein will work as well; baobab sounds like a luxurious alternative!
Voyageur also carries it if you’re looking for a Canadian supplier
Hey Tiffany, i don’t know if that’s possible for you, but aroma-zone.com (a French supplier) has got phytokeratine.
Do you think that Olivem 1000 could be a subsitute for the BTMS 50 ? Wendy
It’s worth a try, though it may separate. I’ve never worked with Olivem 1000 so I can’t really say—let me know if you give it a go!
Made this up over the weekend with emulsimulse as the e wax and it came together perfectly. It is a thin lotion still, but part of the batch (made too much for my bottle) has been sitting in the fridge, and that is a thick lotion. This has worked wonderfully on my waist length hair – just enough to calm everything down. With the humidity down here in Georgia I usually end up looking like Roseanne Roseannadanna by about noon, and that has not been a problem since introducing this to the regimen. Thanks Marie for another winner!
Hey Mary! Thanks so much for reading and DIYing with me 🙂 Thanks for reporting in on how this one works with emulsimulse, and I’m so glad this is working beautifully for your hair! I am loving it, too, even though our humidity is about the opposite of yours 🙂
hi Marie I just want to know if you use the conditioner on your scalp or just on the ends also what preservative did you use thanks
I just apply it to the length of my hair—perhaps the earlobes down. I used Liquid Germall Plus this time around. Also, no need to send me your question multiple times, I’ll see it! It looks like you gave a new email address with this comment, so it was caught in the moderating filter.
sorry about that thank you
Can this conditioner be used as a deep conditioner and applied on the scalp?
I just made and used this this morning. However; there was a wickedly loud bang and the ground shook a little just as I was pouring in the vinegar so I added a little more than needed. Which is why mine didn’t thicken up as nicely as I hoped it would have. I added a little guar gum to try to help thicken it but alas. Not thickening. I remember in some previous post you said to substitute photykeratin with aloe juice so I did that here. I used some vanilla and lime essential oil and the scent is to die for!
I’ve just recently (day five) gave up shampoo and conditioner after getting so angry that the elastic band lost all my hair (regular Goody brand wrapped five times around) and the band landed behind the TV right in the middle of a class and refused anything to put it up. I’ve shoulder length ridiculously straight (the kind of straight that hugs the face, horrible hair that even the folks at salons leave alone) wickedly fine and extremely silk like hair while using commercial shampoos and conditioners. I’ve never had a tangle in my life. But, I had had enough. I wanted some texture. I wanted to have a pony tail and not worry that when my kids and I do the hokey pokey my pony tail will fall out.
Since using shampoo bars and the acv rinse (with silk, turkey red oil and guar gum recipe), my hair has felt like straw and stays up, but felt like straw. I read that is because of super hard water but! The day after washing I could have gone without washing it, but haven’t yet built up the conjones to try it. Waiting for two days off in a row to try it.
Anyways. My hair has been feeling like crap with just the acv rinse. The comb and the brush went through the damp hair like usual, but my hair felt like straw and my ends felt so dry and needed some oil. I needed to make some travel sized lotions and potions this morning and decided what the heck. Give it a go. In the shower I pinned up all the hair on the crown and conditioned all the rest.
The crown still feels a little weird but the rest is so soft and NICE! I have texture and some body and smells amazing! There is a lot less hair loss today that in the past week, my ends feel moisturized. Tomorrow, I plan on using this from root to tip and see how that goes!
Thanks Marie for this recipe!
Hmm. How interesting that your hair is feeling gross/straw like, I didn’t have that experience (beyond it being dirty because I haven’t figured out how to thoroughly wash it). I, too, live somewhere with hard water, and still… nope. Hmm.
Straw like would tend to make me think the scales weren’t getting settled back down, but you’re using the rinse, so that can’t be it. Second thought would be dryness, so we’ll see…
Thank you so much for this recipe! It has made natural shampoo workable for me. I tried some other natural shampoos a few months ago and had issues much like Penny’s with the plain ACV rinse. I have fine hair with no texture. I’ve been using this rinse with the gingerbread bar and it is awesome. I can now go about 2 1/2 days between washes. I was lucky to get a day and a half with store bought shampoo. I’m travelling next week and so excited to just bring the bar and a small bottle of this conditioner since I’ll only need to wash my hair once while I’m gone!
Woohoo! I’m so thrilled to hear this is working for you 😀 I’ve been so smitten with homemade conditioner this year, I’m sure you’ll see more recipes for it coming soon 😉
It is possible could you add this one recipe to you tube? Thanks a bunch
Done! Watch it here.
Just finished the Lady London Fog lotion (and it’s amazing, may I just say) but I’m definitely having trouble with this conditioner.
I don’t have apple cider vinegar, so I made the acid hair rinse (according to the weight of citric acid/water ratio) and tried to make this conditioner and I’m having trouble.
The oils melted fine, I’m using the same e-wax (Emulsimulse) as the lotion, and don’t have a electric mixer. The lotion thickened up REALLY FAST even with just a mini whisk, but the conditioner has been sitting on the counter cold for several hours now and hasn’t thickened at all. There are particles that have separated and come to the top of the mixture.
I measured everything by weight and let the oils/waxes sit on the stove until completely melted and mixed before I added the hot acid water.
Can you help?
Hey! So, this conditioner will never get as thick as the lotion because the proportions and ingredients are really different, so don’t worry about that bit. This conditioner will always be pretty thin. If it’s separating, though, that could be an indicator that emulsimulse and acidity don’t play well together—especially since we’re not really certain how acidic yours is compared to mine. It sounds like you did everything right, so I’m guessing the low pH is breaking the emulsion (though only a little bit?).
I’ve decided to test this out again, using a tad less citric acid and an immersion blender (since last time I just used a whisk). Something I noticed last time is the rapidity of some parts of the emulsification. Parts of the water mixture emulsified almost immediately, and formed clumps that would separate out of the rest of the mixture after I would whisk it. I’m guessing that the immersion blender is VERY necessary for this recipe, it probably helps to break up the emulsed clumps and mix them with the rest of the mixture a lot better. Will see how it goes!
Wow. Yep, immersion blender did the trick. Also used Polawax instead this time of Emulsimulse (just because I had more of it to spare in case I messed up this time). I also increased the oil portion by 5 grams overall considering the potential for this conditioner in particular to be thinner than the others. Rose water, water + citric acid, olive oil, jojoba, silk, honey, sweet orange, lavender, tea tree, and a few oolong leaves steeped in the oils as well for a while. Can’t wait to try it out!
Update: used it this morning after my shower (went 4 days with no wash so I was way too happy to get my head wet) and my hair is so curly and bouncy and shiny! I’m loving this conditioner, and I definitely recommend increasing the oil portion a tiny bit to help it thicken up — but then again I like my conditioners a little bit thicker as well.
Fantastic! You can probably get away with a bit more oil as well with your curly/wavy hair since textured hair tends to be drier than straight hair 🙂
Suh-weet! Good to know 😀
Good call! I definitely have not tried this recipe with an immersion blender.
I also used emulsimulse and it didn’t thicken. In this liquid state, is it still usable (after shaking the bottle to mix it)?
Hey Micol! Did it not thicken, or not emulsify?
I am just curious if you happen to to test the pH of your batch? Mine came back as 5.5, which is a bit higher than I want. I might make another batch using citric acid instead of ACV (I try to ignore the smell but I am weak!). I might try a higher concentration this time to get the pH lower…
I don’t, I’m afraid 🙂
As we enter winter, I find my oily hair is becoming frizzier. Now using just an acid rinse isn’t enough to smooth my hair down, but my conditioner is still too moisturizing. Suggestions? I’ve temporarily given up on stretching out my washes since I’ve been doing hot yoga and going for sweaty runs almost 5 times a week recently (sweaty hair is great for styling but not so great for smelling).
My current 2-in-1 conditioner used olive oil. Should I just use grapeseed or another lighter oil instead or make the conditioner thinner?
Hmm. How about incorporating more humectants into your rinse, like silk and panthenol? That might help? You could also try a lighter oil in your conditioner… and are you using BTMS-50? Its cationic-ness is super awesome in conditioner and makes it a lot better (and truly conditioning) when compared to other e-waxes.
I was wondering if I would leave the water out could you make this into a solid conditioner bar?
Do you have any recipes for conditioner bars instead of liquid?
I do not have any BTMS 50, but have emulsimulse, emulsifying wax, stearic acid, polysorbate 20 & 80.
Thank you: Judit
Hey Judit! If you want to make a true conditioner you do need to use BTMS-50 as your emulsifying wax it is cationic, which makes it truly conditioning. I’m afraid I don’t have a solid conditioner bar at this point (it’s on the list, though!). I highly doubt simply dropping the water from this recipe will result in a good conditioner bar, but if you try it, let me know how it goes 🙂
Now you do 🙂
I was recently browzing NDA’s resource center and came across an article on hair care. They list stearic acid as a good option for hair conditioners. What is your opinion and/or experience on using stearic acid in hair conditioners?
Stearic acid is a hard fatty acid, and is naturally present in shea butter. I don’t use it a lot, and rarely as a primary ingredient—I mostly use it at ~2% for thickening when I do use it. I don’t find it to be particularly special. It’s an isolated fatty acid that thickens things, and that’s mostly it.
And, just in case you were asking because this contains an acidic element—stearic acid is a very different kind of acid from the vinegar used in this rinse 🙂 They’re not even close to the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably!
Thanks for your reply! I was asking mainly because I have very very thin and fine hair. I LOVE this recipe and the way it makes my hair feel but, sometimes I find when I wake up the next morning and look like a grease monkey because my hair is so oily. I literally use half a pump on the hair below my ears. I do find that if I just put it in then rinse more quickly rather than let it soak in, it’s much better. I thought about experimenting and halving the shea butter to use 1.5% stearic acid and 1.5% shea butter. Not sure it is the shea that’s too heavy or the castor. Just a thought I had.
Hmm. I wonder if a plainer conditioner might work better for you? Here’s a good place to start reading, and be sure to do a Ctrl+F on the page for “conditioner” to find the link to the conditioner PDF in the side bar!
I was wondering if you can sub out the castor oil for some other oil…say hazelnut, etc.?
Definitely! Hazelnut is super light and fast absorbing, though, making it pretty much the exact opposite of castor oil, so I probably wouldn’t recommend that precise swap. Read this for more info 🙂
I absolutely love your silk and cedar shampoo!! I just started DIYing a few months ago and am so glad I found your site! I am definitely going to make this conditioner. I think i will swap the acv for a citric acid solution though, I have such a sensitive nose for acv lol.
First I do have a question about the vegetable glycerin and the castor oil. I have found that neither of these work very well for my hair type.
First can I swap the castor oil for argan oil? Second would I be able to swap the vegetable glycerin for honeyquat?
Thank you so much for all you are doing for the DIYing community!
Hey Amy! Thanks for reading and DIYing with me 🙂 You can definitely make those swaps! Happy making 🙂
I went ahead and made this with the swaps I talked about, it is absolutely fabulous with my hair! I have waist length semi wavy thick but fine hair lol. I have tried for years to find a shampoo and conditioner that worked for my hair and failed miserably until I found your site! Thank you so much for everything you are doing for all of us!
Yes I tried it before your response lol. I am not worried about testing formulations on myself. I guess the worst that could happen is my hair falls out and I have to regrow it lol.
Yay! And honestly, I’m thrilled you gave it a go without waiting for my reply haha. That’s how we learn! And I’m generally inclined to tell people to just try things and see what happens anyways 😛 I’m so thrilled your hair is loving it! Wahoo! 😀 Happy making 😀
I am not sure why but my conditioner I made 3 days ago is turning pink? It still smells like the FO blend I used…
That is highly suspicious! Did you change anything? What colour is the fragrance oil? What preservative did you use?
I used Optiphen, which is clear at least in the bottle. I used https://www.brambleberry.com/pineapple-papaya-fragrance-oil-p6598.aspx
Both of which should only discolor to a light tan/ivory.
I have used these fragrances in my lotions before, none of which have turned pink!
and no I did not change anything in the recipe I just left out the optional stuff 🙂
Err… nope. Nada. I assume there’s some sort of chemical reaction happening in there somewhere that wouldn’t usually happen, but I have no idea what that might be! Sorry!
I have been perusing your blog, videos, etc. for over a month now and wanted to say I just love coming here to see what you have concocted. I am ready now to try my first recipe. I switched to a shampoo and conditioner by Acure about a month ago, and I’ve liked it, but lately I’ve noticed that my hair feels a bit dryer than usual. I wanted to start with one of your conditioners, but I’ve only found two on your website. My issue is I have hair that’s curly, and since I live in the South (USA), humidity is always an issue for me. A moisturizing shampoo & conditioner works best for me to help curb frizzy hair. Do you think this two-in-one creamy hair conditioner will be a good fit for my hair? I don’t know what ingredients are good at moisturizing, so I don’t know what to look for in your recipes. Thanks for the good read!
Hey! I think you’d be better served by heading over to Point of Interest—Susan is much more of a hair care guru than me, and since your hair sounds the opposite of mine (but a lot like Susan’s!), she’ll understand you a lot better. This looks like a good place to start 🙂
Thanks! I will do that. In the meantime, I am going to make the mascara that it is in your book; the final ingredients arrived yesterday. Really hoping that this works for me! I have become allergic to many ingredients in cosmetics and body care products which is how I found your site. I love reading and learning from you.
Good luck, and have fun!
I’ve been following your blog for a few months and decided that this was the conditioner I wanted to start with in my own DIYing, since 3 bottles is a lot when there isn’t much (or any) shower shelf space.
This is what still confuses me, though: you mentioned in both the video and one of the above comments that this conditioner is intended to go on the hair from approximately ear lobes down. If it doesn’t go on the majority of the scalp, then how does it return the scalp to a slightly acidic pH after using a basic shampoo?
Also, I’m new to the world of homemade shampoo/conditioner/etc., so this may be a silly question, but thus far I’ve been using a basic shampoo (merely unscented castille soap with some hair-nourishing EOs), an ACV rinse, and the least objectionable of the store-bought conditioners that I already had on hand (only 1 unclear ingredient in the list – pretty sure it’s the preservative, though – so figured I’d use it up until I was able to make my own), and I’ve tried doing it a couple different ways, but am not entirely sure of what is supposed to be the best order when using a separate ACV rinse: 1) shampoo, ACV rinse, conditioner, or 2) shampoo, conditioner, ACV rinse. Thanks.
Hey Rachel! This is a great question, and I’m afraid I just have a “well, this is what has worked for me” answer for you rather than anything particularly scientific.
You can absolutely apply the rinse to your scalp, but I found when I did that, my roots became greasy days earlier than they did if I did not use the rinse on my scalp. However, if I skipped the rinse from the ears down (thought I’d save a bit of room packing for a vacation once—never again!), the tangles were unbearable as the cuticle of the hair hadn’t been smoothed back down. Tangles from the ears up were never an issue.
I did this for over five years and my hair fared very well, but I do know that using a CP bar and an acidic rinse for shampooing does not work for everybody. My hair is pretty boring (straight, non-frizzy, and generally well-behaved), so I sometimes wonder if it can handle just about anything I throw at it with little fuss. I am the only long-haired person I know who loves humidity as it’s wonderful for my skin and doesn’t impact my hair at all.
As for order, I do shampoo, acidic rinse, and conditioner. A true conditioner (one that is cationic) will amplify the smoothing effects of the acidic rinse, so it made sense to me to do that last 🙂
I hope all of this has been somewhat helpful! I am working on developing a non-soap shampoo as well; I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with that!
(This is kinda long, so bear with me.)
That actually helps a lot. So the ACV rinse is more for smoothing down the hair and preventing tangles rather than returning the scalp to an acidic pH?
I noticed that when I used an ACV rinse on my roots, my hair would get oilier and faster than it did when I used regular shampoo and conditioner (I used to be able to go reliably: if I showered at night, 2 days before my hair would show any signs of oil; if I showered in the morning, by the following morning it would be oily): last month I started out with a bentonite clay/ACV mixture to wash my hair with (to jump start the detox process), but after a week or so, I realized that my hair was getting extremely oily again not very long after I showered (though at the time I thought it was just part of the detox process) – case and point: I live in the American Rockies, which is pretty dry, and was visiting family in the American Midwest (fairly humid, though not extremely) for the week leading up to and on Easter. I was still using the clay/ACV mixture to wash my hair, but instead of getting it nice and squeaky clean each time, there were days during my visit that I had to shower twice in order for my hair to look even semi-clean: some days that I would shower with the clay/ACV, I would let my hair air dry (I always do this, and it only takes an hour or so), and before it was even dry it was already extremely oily again, so much so that I broke down in the middle of the week and, just once, used a regular “natural” shampoo and conditioner just to make my hair look clean for longer than 30 minutes (and if I didn’t shower every day I was there, my almost-waist-length-though-admittedly-fine-and-thin hair would be oily halfway down by the next morning, whether or not I had showered the previous night, or the previous morning, or both) – not fun when there were several events I was attending at which I needed to look my best (at least for some of them I had something covering the majority of my hair, so it wasn’t as big a deal, but still).
Starting the last day I was there (and have continued through today) I have used castille soap to wash my hair and then I do an ACV rinse, which has helped a lot. I also added the conditioner I mentioned above after the rinse, starting a day or two after I got back, and use it just on ears-down. That keeps it fairly clean for about a day (so long as I showered the night before – if it’s been more than 48 hours between the previous two showers, then it’s still oily), so the next step is to do the same with using the ACV rinse on only ears-down and see how that works. I’m hoping for good results (though I may need to mix up some of the dry shampoo and get myself a brush to apply it with, since my hair has never – at least for the last 13 years – been able to go longer than 48 hours before it really needed to get washed).
It sounds like we have pretty similar hair (mine is also fine, though thick, and was waist length when I started this journey), and a similar environment (I live next to the Canadian Rockies).
From the sounds of it, the baking soda and clay weren’t really getting your hair clean. Your scalp isn’t going to change its rate of oil production that quickly—that oil was just still there. I have never tried either baking soda or clay as a long term hair cleaning method (I tried a clay hair mud/mask thing a couple times, but I treated that more as a way to stretch out washes than an actual wash), so I don’t have much experience with either as hair cleaners, but from what I know of them (especially baking soda), it’s not surprising they offer poor cleansing, especially for oily hair.
It does sound like the soap angle is working better for you, but do remember that soap + ACV doesn’t work for everybody, so if it’s giving you poor results for weeks on end, it may not be for you—and that’s ok! I have been experimenting with surfactant powered shampoo bars for the last 6 months or so; I’m not noticing huge differences in my hair, but I know from my research that they work much better than true soap for many people.
Good luck with your continued experiments and what not, though! This part is so fun when you start finding things that work for you 🙂
Hi Marie, what do you mean by “just boiled” water? Does that mean the water has just been boiled and still very hot, or it has been boiled but already cooled down before use? Many thanks
The first one 🙂 “just” as a short measure of time, not as a “only this” sort of thing!
(It wouldn’t let me reply to your most recent reply, so I’m starting a new one.)
Update: For the last week or so , I’ve been washing my hair everyday with a castille soap/aloe vera gel/hair-nourishing EO mixture, then following it up with the ACV rinse and the same conditioner as before, both from ears-down, and that has been working really, really well – even though the showers were at various times throughout the day, I’ve noticed my hair is starting to be slightly less oily, so I can tell that my scalp is starting to get used to it. I have just 2 more ingredients to get before I can make both the Silk & Cedar shampoo and the 2-in-1 conditioner: I found both BTMS-50 and phytokeratin (they call it VegeKeratin) at LotionCrafter, and will be ordering them soon (I had a hard time finding them anywhere else in the U.S. for a decent price). I can’t wait!
P.S. The aloe vera gel is not the stuff you get in most stores that has all sorts of nasty stuff in it – it’s the Seven Minerals brand that I got on Amazon. It’s not nearly as thick as commercial aloe vera gel, but my hair seems to like the mixture so far.
That’s awesome! I’m glad it’s working for you 🙂 The soap/ACV thing definitely doesn’t work for everybody’s hair, but when it does, it seems to be pretty great 🙂
Could hot chamomile tea be used in place of water in this recipe? I have a really dry scalp and am always trying to use less bottles or bars of soap in the shower.
I wouldn’t recommend it due to the high spoilage potential; I’d add 1g of chamomile botanical extract instead 🙂
So, my family loves this conditioner!
The first time I made it, I didn’t had pure ACV, because I’ve used all of it to infuse it with Marshmallow root and horsetail (as you suggested for the “Shine & Detangle ACV Hair Rinse”). So I figured, I might as well use the infused ACV, as it too was intended for hair. It turned out great and VERY thick. I thought first maybe I’ve added too much BTMS-50, or castor oil.
For the second batch I’ve used regular ACV it turned out pretty rainy (in comparison with the first batch). So for the third batch I’ve tried the infused ACV again and I used my new scales to measure all properly, and I must say, it is much thicker with the infused ACV. The marshmallow root does its magic 😉
My mom absolutely loves it and pretty much is the one to blame that I need to make it so often.. Even my boyfriend likes it and asked me when I’ll do another batch when mom finished the second one.. So yeah, we love it! Thank you!!
Oooh, how interesting! Now I wanna try it, haha. I’m so glad your family is loving it 😀 Thanks for DIYing with me!
So I finally got around to making this about a week and a half ago (after putting it off for 2 weeks – had to wait on the BTMS-50). One thing that surprised me was that when I made it, it thickened up really nicely right away as I blended it; I thought maybe I had just whipped in a bunch of air, but I gently stirred it with a little wire whisk for several minutes after I finished blending to try to get any air bubbles out, and it stayed thick. Maybe it’s because once it got to the stage where I knew it wouldn’t splatter, I just held the blender in it and let it run for 3-5 minutes at 1-minute intervals. I’ve also discovered that for as long as my hair is, I really don’t need much at all – nickel-sized is all my hair needs, or it gets too oily (I eventually figured that out, after starting with a full palmful, which was so much that ears-down ended up as oily as it was back when I was using the clay/ACV mixture). I also discovered that in order for my hair to be happy with it, I have to get it really really clean first. Now that I’ve figured those things out, my hair is so happy. On to the Rose Cardamom lotion (I haven’t used actual lotion since some time last year b/c of nasty ingredients in all the ones I had, and my hands have complained bitterly many times because of it, especially in winter and spring) – all I need now is mango butter, which I’ll be ordering from Amazon soon (I did look locally first, particularly because it was the last ingredient I needed, but the only mango butter that any of the stores had was a mango butter/jojoba oil mixture – not what I wanted).
I’m so glad your hair is happy! I do find BTMS-50 is one of the e-waxes that thickens up faster than others, which I definitely appreciate as it gives me a better idea of the final consistency faster.
You can use shea butter instead of mango in that lotion if you’re getting antsy 🙂 I hope your skin loves the lotion!
The reason I was surprised was because when you made it you said it was still a bit liquidy despite using BTMS-50. I found that it had thickened up a bit more by a couple days later.
I did consider using shea butter for it, but I decided, after comparing the two, that I wanted the faster-absorbing mango butter – it’s a decent price on Amazon, and there are other recipes I know I will want to make that include it, so I figured that I might as well get it now so that I will already have it on hand when it comes time to make the recipes that really need it.
Mango butter is amazing, I’d never try to dissuade anybody from buying it, haha! Especially in the middle of the summer 😀
the first time I made this I used polywax instead of BTMS50. It was really nice. My hair was soft and super shiny. I just made my second batch but this time I had the silk and BTMS50. HUGE difference! I didn’t think my hair could get softer, but it did! It also seems a little fuller this time too!
Isn’t BTMS-50 the coolest?! Cationic hair ingredients are like magic 😀 Thanks for DIYing with me!
I was always wondering about an all natural preservative to add to your recipes and I ended up finding a radish root ferment filtrate named Leucidal.
Do you know something about it or its efficacy?
Could I use it to this recipe instead of the liquid germall plus? In what percentage would you recommend (in case you know about it)
Would be nice to try it being all natural (as they claim at least) and so.
There’s a couple kinds; none are great, one is ok if you add sodium benzoate. You can learn more here. Hope that helps!
After trying a few crunchy recipes, I wanted to try this one for my hair. I made a batch yesterday (followed the recipe to a T!), and washed my hair in the evening (with a handmade shampoo bar with henna & coconut).
This morning my hair still looks wet (not greasy – lucky!).
I have fine, wavy hair.
I’m quite new to using shampoo bars (let’s say it’s the first time I try one), so I might be doing something wrong? Help!
Hmm… that is odd indeed. I can’t imagine how hair could look wet without being wet or greasy…? I’m guessing it probably is oily, but perhaps not around the scalp so it doesn’t look the way dirty hair typically does. Is the shampoo bar actually saponified? I have seen some “shampoo” recipes that are just oils that would just make the hair really dirty, so that may be the problem. You may also not be washing the full length of your hair (something I found I wasn’t doing as the shampoos I’d been using before were strong enough that just drifting past the length of my hair was enough to wash it), or you might be using too much conditioner for your hair type. You can read about some of my adventures with natural hair care here 🙂
Hey Marie! Thank you for answering so completely. I assume you’re right; greasy hair with clean roots looks rather wet. It seems the most logical.
The soap was shop-bought, so I don’t know if it’s properly saponified (is there any way of knowing?). I tried using less of the conditioner, but the greasy ends remain.
I’ve read that 6% oil is rather at the upper limit in conditioners for dry hair, so next time I’ll try a lower oil part, and maybe an oil that I know absorbs well in my hair (for me that’s coconut oil – I put a little drop in my hair every week or so).
If it’s just not rinsing out then I’d agree you should shrink your oil part, and perhaps include some more emulsifiers to help rinse-out 🙂
My new batch of conditioner is perfect! I’ve replaced and reduced the oils; I used coconut and olive oil, added more BTMS50, and changed the perfume (I used a blend of spear mint, pepper mint, thyme & pine, it smells DIVINE!)
Thanks for your help adapting the recipe to my hair, it’s perfect now!
YAY! That’s so fantastic 🙂 Don’t lose those notes now 😛 Enjoy and thanks for making with me!
I have discovered that I can not get BTMS-50 in Australia for some reason.
I can get BTMS-25 here. Would it still work out ok if I use BTMS-25 instead of BTMS-50?
It should from everything I’ve read, though it will have 50% of the conditioning power that 50 does as it’s 25% active instead of 50% active 🙂
Happy New Year!
I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I must say; it’s very insightful. It has prompted me to very creative.
Yesterday, I tried making a hair conditioner using Ghee (Clarified Butter), Shea Butter, Aloe Vera Gel, Glycerin, Castor Oil and Coconut Oil. I don’t have BTMS, I only have ceatyl alcohol and emulsifying wax so that’s what I used instead. To cut the long story short, I ended up using way too much wax; like way too much and the consistently is candle like, how a lip balm consistency is, and not smooth. Can you please advise what to do to make it creamy or smooth or thick? Please help.
Hoping to please hear from you.
It sounds like you need to throw it out. You cannot re-jig emulsions and I don’t see a preservative, so by now there is no way it is safe to use. You can read more here 🙂 In the future I’d recommend following a tried and tested recipe to see how that works and then modifying from there 🙂
Heirloom Body Care has BTMS50 as does Southern Skies Soap Supplies, although their BTMS50 is out of stock at the moment. I have made two attempts to contact Southern Skies but have had no reply either time.
Thank you so much, Kim! 🙂
Marie…I just made this…I am so excited and just wanted to thank you!…your instructions made this very easy…now I can use this cream rinse with the shampoo bars I purchased from you!
I’m so glad! Enjoy it and thanks for the support! 🙂
I am Liliana and I am into DIY skin care products for a while now, and I am always searching to improve my knowledge and my technique in order to make handmade cosmetics for a living. I love what you do and all the info that you share, I have so much to learn from you!
About this recipe I was wondering… using vinegar for this conditioner might not look glam, and I was thinking if I could use lactic acid instead of the acetic acid. To do that substitution I think that I should know the final ph of the lotion. The final ph is the key element of this one, right? As I saw, the lactic acid has a lower ph so I should recalculate the quantity if the ph level is crucial. So, my question is if the exact ph level is crucial or if I only need an acid there and I don’t need to make such a fuss.
Thank you very much for everything that you do, and i wish you a wonderful day!
You’re shooting for something around 4–5 🙂
I just made this but it didn’t immulsify. I tried jojoba oil because that’s what I had, but is that why? I’ll order some BTMS-50 to try again.
The other thing is I dropped my scale, so I’m not positive my it is accurate. Just so I can tell if it is working, do you know about how much in other measurements the ingredients are? Like tsp, etc? I know … I’ll also order a new scale.
Nevermind. I figured it out.
Can I use kombucha vinegar instead of acv?
I’d be concerned about the shelf life since homemade kombucha is going to have more bug food in it than shop-bought vinegar, so I’d probably stick with the vinegar. I know when one is making kombucha, introducing oils and other contaminants is how your scoby moulds, hence my concern—I’d be worried the preservative wouldn’t be up to the challenge.
Hi Marie! I was just wondering what other emulsifier I could use as trying to get hold of BTSM-50 in the UK is difficult and expensive (£8.12 for 100g)
What suppliers could you recommend that may stock it at a better price as I’d love to try the exact recipe, unless you know of another emulsifier I could use instead.
You’ll want a cationic emulsifying wax; perhaps ask your suppliers and see if they use a different name or have a different cationic emulsifying wax? There are a few out there, but I doubt they’d be easier to get than BTMS-50. The INCI for BTMS-50 is Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetyl Alcohol (and) Butylene Glycol, so you could also keep an eye out for that. You can check my list of suppliers here for several in the UK; I’m afraid I’m not terribly familiar with any of them as I live in Canada.
Thank you so much! Now I know what I’m looking for I’ve managed to find it 😀 Will be getting the rest of the ingredients together and have a go at making it (currently getting a business set up so will have to put time aside to make it)
Enjoy, and happy making!
Why can’t I simply put everything in one jug and heat that up and then combine? Why is it necessary to heat the water and oil parts separately?
It makes for a more stable emulsion; that said, the complete emulsifying waxes I typically work with are pretty darn fool proof. I have heated everything together in one pot before and it’s worked 😛 It definitely isn’t best practice, but nothing blew up LOL.
I have Btms 25.btms is not easily available in my country. Cab i use btms 25? Also can i use only one essential oil? I have grapeseed oil.
Lastly, are we mixing the oil and water components at room temperature or when both hot. Thank you in advance
Yes, BTMS-25 should work, you can use fewer EOs (grapeseed oil is not an EO, though).
You must mix when hot 🙂
I tried this today. I blended well periodically, but my emulsion broke. It looks emulsified if shaken well, but separates once given time to settle. What do you think could be the reason?
What emulsifier did you use? If it is pH sensitive that might be the problem.
Hi Marie. I made this conditioner but find that my hair doesn’t absorb the oil, it just seems to sit on top and feel oily. Could I substitute another oil besides castor? What would you suggest?
Hey Elise! I think you’ll find this article really helpful for choosing different/new oils for this 🙂 You might also consider making one of my newer cleansing conditioners; you don’t have to use them to cleanse (you can use a shampoo first if you want), but the addition Cocamidopropyl Betaine will increase the wash-out of the product and decrease the possibility of the greasies. Happy making!
You have excellent recipes and ingredients. I really want to learn hands on. Can you recommend a one or two week class somewhere in the us that I can attend. I am interested in creams, lotions, shampoo and conditioners.
Thanks so much, John! I’m afraid I don’t know of such a thing anywhere in the world. The course I took from Formula Botanica was wonderful, but it is not an in-person course 🙂 Happy making!
Hello, I’m really confused with the difference between conditioners and lotions far as the ingredients goes. Like what set them apart?
There’s usually a cationic ingredient (like BTMS 50) in a conditioner, and I’d usually aim to choose more awesome-for-hair ingredients for a conditioner and focus on awesome-for-skin ingredients for a lotion… but in a pinch you could very likely use one for the other with decent results 🙂 Happy making!
I read a really nice recipe you did 2in1 Conditioner with ACV. I was really excited about using it but have just read something you answered in – “What’s the point of DIY if your using all chemicals” and you said “apple cider vinegar smells pretty bad and none of those magical properties I read about ever surfaced.” Bit confused is it worth putting in shampoos or conditioner?
It does work well to lower pH, but you could use other things, like citric acid 🙂 Just keep in mind that citric acid is far more concentrated, so you’d need to adjust the formulation. Happy making!
First of all, thank you for all of your info and entertaining videos!! I tried this formula with Ritamulse instead of BTMS-50, it separated and came out thin. So, I added a small amount of high-molecular weight hyaluronic acid and it thickened quite nicely, like a white serum, (I want to use it as a scalp serum, maybe)? Do you think this a good choice and safe for scalp application?
Hello! I made this recipe with some modifications for ingredients I did not have and changed up the essential oils to ones I preferred. I love it!
I mistakenly added the glycerin to the wax mixture and it resulted in a much thicker consistency near to hair butter!
I wanted to make this for my friends and family. May I sell it on a small scale, would I have your permission? What would that process look like?