Wash your hair with honey!
If you had told me last year that my shelf of hair care products would be reduced to a homemade honey shampoo, I would not have believed you. Shampoo, conditioner, conditioning mask and painfully pricey anti-frizz serum… how could humble honey replace all of that?
Let me start at the beginning. This past year, I’ve been on a crazy hippie journey to eliminate toxic products from my life. Now, I’m excited to say that all of my body care items are homemade and non toxic. This includes: toothpaste, deodorant, body moisturizer (a blend of coconut oil, emu oil and essential oils), facial oil, and facial toner. I tried numerous types of DIY shampoos, including the no ‘poo method, but I was never happy. They irritated my scalp or dried out my hair. As a matter of fact, the no ‘poo method (baking soda + vinegar hair care) actually damages hair!
Why use Honey Shampoo?
I’ve been washing my hair with this DIY honey shampoo for the past month and I LOVE the results! First, my embarrassing and persistent dandruff is clearing up. My hair is soft, shiny and it has become even more curly/wavy than usual. Finally, it is significantly less frizzy and I have no need to use an anti-frizz product. My scalp’s oil production has normalized and I can go 4 days between hair washing.
- The pH of the scalp is between 4 and 7, and the pH of honey is about 4. The slightly acidic nature of the honey balances the scalp and fights dandruff
- Raw honey is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, so honey washing can help treat a bacterial/fungal issues on the scalp
- Honey won’t strip the scalp and hair of the protective oils. As a result, hair will be less oily over time because the scalp will stop over-comensating with oil production (which happens when shampoos strip the scalp of all oils)
- Honey moisturizes the hair, and, since it doesn’t strip the hair of natural oils, hair will be softer with less frizz
- You will be able to go longer and longer between washings as your scalps oil production normalizes. Now, I only need to wash my hair every 4 days (and I’ve even gone a week between washing)!
- Honey washing is easy and fast!
- Raw honey (also called "unpasteurized" honey), I recommend this one
- Filtered water (see Instructions for measurements), I use and recommend this filter
- A few drops of essential oils, such as carrot seed oil, optional
- Make the shampoo "single serving" basis to prevent spoilage. Here's the basic ratio, but you can adjust it as desired: 1 Tbs. raw honey and 3 Tbs. filtered water. If necessary, slightly heat the mixture over very low heat to help dissolve the honey. Yes, this is really watery... that is how it is supposed to be.
- If desired, add a few drops of essential oil. I like adding two drops of lavender essential oils and two drops of carrot seed oil. The essential oils add a light fragrance and also help with any flaky scalp issues. The carrot seed oil (found here) is very nourishing to the hair.
- Wet hair, then massage a few tablespoons of the honey shampoo on the scalp. Massage well to distribute over the scalp. Don't worry about getting the mixture on the ends of the hair, just the scalp area. Rinse well. No need to follow with any conditioner.
- If desired, you can follow with a DIY apple cider vinegar rise, recipe and instructions found here.
How to store the honey shampoo
UPDATE: I had one reader tell me her shampoo grew mold after one week. I have not had this happen to me, but I don’t want anyone else to have this experience. After researching and hearing from readers, I learned that pure, raw honey will ferment when mixed with water and can foster mold growth.
So, that is why I have updated the post suggesting that you make it as you need it. It’s super quick to mix together right before you wash your hair.
Dun dun dun… The Honey Poo Transition Period
Nobody likes the term “transition period” but I have to mention it. When you switch from any type of sudsing shampoo (which is very stripping and drying to hair) to honey washing, your hair will probably be oily and dull after the first couple times of honey washing. It may even take a month or two for your scalp oil production to normalize when you switch from regular shampoo to honey washing. So for the first week, you may need to honey wash every day. Then you will find you can go every other day, then every second day, etc.
Honey Shampoo Updates and FAQs
After this post clocked in at the 350 comments mark in early September, I figured it was time for a follow-up. In my Honey Shampoo: Updates and FAQs post, I address some common questions and the changes I made to my hair care routine. I also give a couple of tips to make the transition period easier. Finally, I explain that natural hair care varies greatly from person to person and offer some other non-shampoo options to try if you don’t like Honey Shampoo.
Honey Shampoo doesn’t work for everyone
Hair care is PERSONAL and there isn’t a one-size-fits all. It comes down to your scalp, hair type, hair concerns, and more. If you browse through some of the comments here, you’ll find a wide range of responses. Some people experience immediately remarkable results while others deal with a transition period. For some, even after a month or two, they still struggle with oily hair (that is a sign that the Honey Poo Method is not for you).
Update as of January 2014: My natural hair care journey has been a long and adventurous one, as I tried the No Poo Method, then Honey Shampoo, then ACV rinsing. I went more than a year without purchasing shampoo. I was ready for a change and, quite frankly, was ready for the convenience of a pre-prepared shampoo. Finally, I found 100% raw hair care products that met my holistic philosophy. I was so amazed by my results with the products that I shared them on the blog with a review. While I still eagerly share this honey shampoo, because it works extremely well for many people, I have switched to this raw hair care method.
Have you experimented with natural hair care? Are you up for trying honey hair washing?
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Great article! Thanks a lot.
This is super interesting to me. I have been hearing more and more about alternative shampoo options. Doing more research about it.