Herbal Apothecary: 4C Shampoo

I have recently experienced a mini-viral boom of hits on my post about homemade herbal shampoo, undoubtedly fueled by Pinterest. 12 ounces of shampoo lasts me a really, really long time since my hair is so short, so I only make new batches maybe twice a year. For the latest shampoo, I also worked up a new recipe, with herbs that are gentle on my fine hair. 4C Shampoo also lathers up a bit more than my old recipe, which makes it a little easier to use (and makes a little shampoo go an even longer way).

The first 3Cs of the shampoo are the herbs: dried calendula, comfrey, and chamomile:


The total here is an ounce of dried herbs, in a roughly 4:2:1 ratio of calendula:chamomile:comfrey. Calendula is often used in soaps and cosmetics, comfrey is great for regenerating cells and softening hair, and chamomile smells nice — and can help highlight lighter hair with a golden tone.

Simmer the herbs with about 12 ounces of water:


I bring it to barely a boil, then turn back the heat to low for about 15-20 minutes. The lid will help preserve your moisture and essential oils from the herbs.

While that's simmering, it's time to deal with the 4th C:


This is homemade coconut milk, from which I have skimmed the solidified coconut oil. Crunchy Betty has a full tutorial on how to make it, and it's very easy. I only needed about 2 ounces (1/4 cup), and I found that 1/4 cup coconut shreds (unsweetened!) and 1/2 cup hot water pulsed in the food processor and allowed to cool made just the right amount. Once it's back to room temperature, strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a cup and pop it in the fridge until the oil coagulates on top. You can eat the leftover coconut shreds for a snack while you wait, then use the spoonful of coconut oil as a hand cream. Waste not, want not.

Once your coconut milk is fat-free and ready to go, drain the herbal tea through the sieve into another cup:


You will really need to press the herbs to squeeze out all the water they have soaked up. I usually only end up with 6-7 ounces of tea, and top it off up to 8 ounces with rosewater. This is optional, though. 

The rest is easy. Stir the 2 ounces of coconut milk, 8 ounces (or less) of herbal tea into a bowl with 3 ounces of liquid castle soap (I use lavender, but any will do). Stir gently so as not to get it too bubbly, but be sure you mix it well nonetheless. Then pour through a funnel into whatever you use for a shampoo container:


This makes 13 ounces of shampoo, so I have a couple little extra containers as well. 

The coconut milk is a new ingredient that I'm pretty excited about, because it helps the soap lather up. This makes using it more fun, and helps me use less at a time. You should know that this shampoo is still watery (it's only 23% soap, and the rest is liquid), so it's not anything like you would buy in a store. 

I can't help you with the viscosity, but if you want even more suds, you could try playing with the coconut milk ratios. Most recipes I've flipped through online have a 3:2 ratio of liquid castille: coconut milk, but little to no additional liquid. You could cut back on the herbal tea for more lather (although I really like the gentle quality of this mixture), or you could infuse the herbs directly into your coconut milk and skip the tea entirely, maybe just adding a bit of rosewater for rinse-ability. Let me know if you make any successful modifications!

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