After I discovered emulsifying wax, the first recipe I wanted to re-vamp was my hair serum and turn it into an ultimate homemade hair serum. I chose to make it an emulsion so I could cut back on the percentage of oils in the recipe, but in the end it didn’t emulsify very well without any beeswax or borax. So, I melted the original batch back down and added a few grams or e-wax, and that fixed it. But now that I knew I could make a formula that was 75% water instead of 50%, I had to give it another go.

Now, not to toot my own horn (ok, I’m lying), but this stuff is great. Not only is it anti-frizz, but it makes brilliant leave-in conditioner/hair lotion. I massaged a fairly healthy amounts into the bottom 6″ of my waist-length hair two nights ago, and my ends are beautifully soft and shiny. And not at all greasy looking!

This formula uses most of the same ingredients, but results in a more fool-proof serum since it’s mostly water, which won’t turn your hair into a stringy mess. The base of the serum is aloe vera juice and a selection of hair-healthy oils. I spiked it with phytokeratin, bioplex, vegetable glycerin, and vitamin E oil. Last but not least, essential oils of lavender, rosemary, and lemongrass.

When the oils are cooling and start to look like this, it’s time to add the water.

Ultimate Homemade Hair Serum

Heated water phase
65mL | 2.2 fl oz aloe vera juice (not aloe vera gel! You can also use distilled water)
5mL | 0.16 fl oz phytokeratin (optional, can be replaced with aloe vera juice)
3mL | 0.1 fl oz vegetable glycerin (optional, can be replaced with aloe vera juice)
2mL | 0.06 fl oz bioplex (optional, can be replaced with aloe vera juice)

Heated oil phase
6g | 0.21oz complete emulsifying wax (not beeswax!)
10g | 0.35oz camellia seed oil
7g | 0.25oz jojoba oil
5g | 0.17oz castor oil

Cool down phase
2g | 0.07oz vitamin E oil
Essential oils of lavender, lemongrass, and rosemary
Broad spectrum preservative of choice (why?)

Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.

Weigh the water phase into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Weigh the entire lot (measuring cup + ingredients) and note that weight for use later. Weigh the oil phase into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place both measuring cups in your prepared water bath to melt everything through. This should take about 30 minutes.

After about 20–30 minutes the oil part should be completely melted and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove the water bath from the heat and weigh it. Add enough hot distilled water to bring the weight back up to what it was before heat and hold, and then pour the water part into the oil part. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.

Grab your immersion blender and begin blending the lotion, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid lotion doesn’t whirl up and spray everywhere. Blend for about a minute, leave to cool for ten, blend for another minute or two, and repeat this blend-cool-blend cycle until the outside of the glass measuring cup is barely warm to the touch and the serum is thick and creamy.

When the serum is cool it’s time to incorporate our cool down ingredients. Because cool down ingredients are typically present at very low amounts you’ll need to use an accurate scale—preferably one accurate to 0.01g. As these more accurate scales tend to have fairly low (100–200g) maximum weights you won’t be able to put the entire batch of lotion on that scale without blowing it out. So—grab a smaller dish. Add a scoop or two of lotion, and then weigh the cool down ingredients into that, using the more accurate scale. Stir to thoroughly incorporate, and then stir all of that back into the master batch of lotion. Doing it this way minimizes the amount of cool down ingredients lost to the secondary container.

Now you’re ready to package it! I recommend using a 120mL/4oz plastic pump-top bottle.

To use, squirt a small amount into your palm, rub your hands together, and glide over your hair. Once the water evaporates, you’ll be all shiny and set! I also love to use this as a leave-in conditioner for my ends.

Because this serum contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.

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