Garden Plants I Use to Wash My Hair

A gardening expert shares her secrets for natural, homegrown hair care.

mature woman rinses hair in shower

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I have very long hair, and determining the best solutions for natural hair care has been a process of trial and error for me over a number of years. I have not bought commercial shampoos, conditioners, or other hair care products for many years. Instead, I use plants from my garden to keep my hair clean, fresh, and in reasonably good condition. 

Switching to a natural hair care regime was important as I began to transition to a more eco-friendly and sustainable way of life. Making the switch away from commercial products has allowed me to reduce the number of plastic bottles entering the bathroom. It has also helped me to avoid using ingredients which are harmful to people and planet.

Not everyone's hair is the same. What works well for me may not work quite so well for you. But the truth of the matter is that there are natural solutions for all hair types. You just have to experiment a little to find the right option(s).

When I made the switch to natural hair care, I started by using diluted baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Subsequently, I have moved away from the baking soda and now use almost exclusively plants harvested from my own garden for hair rinses.

I find that my hair is clean and fresh-smelling (without any strong scents), and stays grease-free for much longer than it did when I was using commercial shampoos, even more natural brands. I also have far fewer dry and split ends. Here are three rinses that I like using with my hair.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is my favorite balancing hair rinse, and my regular one. I use apple cider vinegar made from the apple trees in my forest garden. It is great for balancing the pH of the hair and scalp, and it makes my hair feel clean and fresh, getting rid of any grease and leaving it feeling silky soft. I add this to warm water at a ratio of 1:3, sometimes with a little honey. Honey helps keep hair moist and is known to be antibacterial and antifungal.

Rosemary and Lavender

Another hair rinse that I absolutely love is made with rosemary and lavender. I love the smell of this rinse, and both rosemary and lavender help to keep my long hair strong, thick, and in good condition. These herbs increase circulation in the scalp and promote healthy hair growth. It's important to note, however, that rosemary will darken fair hair slightly over time. To make the rinse, I add lavender and rosemary to boiling water in a jar, then strain and rinse my hair with the solution. 


I also love to use a nettle hair rinse, which is, again, a simple rinse made by infusing nettles in boiling water. Nettles grown abundantly where I live, and while I use them for many things, there are always plenty of them for all our needs.

Nettles can help with an overly greasy or overly dry scalp, and can help hair grow lush and strong. Sulfur, silica, and other substances in the plant strengthen hair strands. I sometimes add nettles to the rosemary and lavender hair rinse mentioned above.

Brushing with a natural bristle brush is another important feature of my natural hair care routine. This not only removes tangles and helps prevent breakages, but it also helps to distribute natural oils from the roots to the tips. Modern haircare often encourages us to strip those oils, but natural oils protect your hair and make it stronger, glossier, and generally healthier. 

The rinses above might not be the best for your own hair care routine, but exploring the benefits of using plants from your garden is always a great option to consider. 

One remarkable thing that I have found since using these hair rinses is that I can go for quite a while without using anything but water to keep my hair fresh and clean. Choosing to adopt a natural hair care regime means that I have a lot more freedom, and spend nothing at all, while still being happy with how my hair looks and feels. I'd highly recommend experimenting to find what works for you.