July 23, 2020 4 min read

DIY Herbal Hair Rinses


Herbal hair rinses are a wonderful, natural way to add condition and shine to hair, clear up any dry scalp issues, moisturise, encourage growth and just have naturally healthy and beautiful hair. 

Whether you are going the ‘no poo’ hair care route, or are simply looking for something extra to condition your hair, herbal rinses are a simple yet effective solution. A botanical rinse is as easy as brewing a cup of tea and requires minimal preparation or fuss. Read on for all the best herbs for hair and how to do it.


Herbs For Hair

There are many, many herbs that are great for hair but here are some of the more notable ones. Each botanical has its own unique properties and benefits for the hair and scalp so choose whichever is applicable to you. You can choose as many as you like and make up a herbal blend for hair.


Peppermint leaf  leaves scalp feeling clean and fresh, and also stimulates hair follicles for growth.


Aloe is for conditioning and hair growth. Also wonderfully soothing!


Nettle is great for hair loss, helping along new hair growth and clearing up oily and dandruff prone hair. Nettle is also rich in vitamins A and C, iron and trace minerals as well as chlorophyll. Keep in mind that nettle can be irritating to some if used undiluted, so although it will be diluted in your shampoo formula, it would be best to do a patch test first.


Horsetail root is rich in the minerals selenium and silica. Selenium assists the body in processing iodine, which regulates hair growth. A deficiency in iodine can limit and even stop hair growth altogether. Silica promotes the structural integrity of hair strands, strengthening them, increasing shine and improving texture. 


Marshmallow is a detangler, moisturiser and conditioner. It comes highly recommended for addition to shampoos, conditioners and rinses.


Hibiscus is fabulous for conditioning, volumising and to increase shine.


Fenugreek for hair growth, healthy scalp and as a general hair tonic and conditioner.


Lavender balances oil production and can therefore be used to treat either oily or dry hair and scalp. It is calming but stimulates circulation, and is also antibacterial.


Rosemary for strong and healthy hair that is well conditioned and shiny. Rosemary is a favourite in hair care and can also assist with hair growth. Plus it leaves hair smelling great.


Green tea is wonderful for both skin and hair. It is cleansing, conditioning and adds smoothness. It is a great moisturiser too.


Ginseng is for hair growth and to treat baldness.


Moringa is a natural conditioner.


Oregano is another detangler and also assists with scalp issues, dryness and dandruff.


Thyme is also for dandruff and oily hair.


Basil is for moisturising, growth and adding shine. It contains Vitamins A and C, polyphenolic acids and flavonoids for nourishing hair and scalp. Plus it smells wonderfully fresh.


Burdock root is excellent for dry skin conditions such as problem scalp, dandruff, dry hair and dermatitis.


Though not exactly classed as a hair rinse, the hennas deserve their own special mention for their hair benefits.


Henna / henna red - conditioning, softening, adds red tints and highlights. Henna is a famous natural hair colourant and conditioner.


Cassia obovata / henna alkaner is wonderfully conditioning for hair and can be used on its own or with another henna. It does not give any colour on its own.


Henna black / Indigo tinctoria will give hair a black colour. Use after applying henna red for best results.


Here is a quick guide to the herbs for hair.

For normal hair:  lavendercalendulanettlehorsetailrosemary or any combination you desire.


For oily hair and scalp:  witch hazelpeppermintrosemarylavenderhorsetailmarshmallow, comfrey.


For dry hair and scalp:  burdock rootcalendula, comfrey,  chamomilemarshmallowlavendernettlehorsetailsagegreen tea.


For scalp conditions such as dermatitis, dandruff, inflammation and itchiness:

 burdock rootrosemarysagepeppermintnettlemarshmallowchamomile, comfrey,  horsetail.


Hair loss and thinning:  basilsagerosemarynettle.


Aside from specific benefits, you can also choose herbs to compliment your hair colour.

Light, blond or hair with highlights:  chamomilecalendulayarrow


Dark hair:  rosemarysageraspberry leaf


Red or auburn hair: calendulahibiscusred cloverrosehipsred rose petals


Making Up Your Herbal Hair Rinse

Choose a combination of one or more botanicals and then blend equal parts of each together. For one to two rinses, 1 teaspoon of each dried herb is sufficient. Mix them together, then pour over 2 cups of freshly boiled, slightly cooled water. The water should be boiled but not boiling, as this may ‘cook’ the delicate herbs, so let it sit for 3-5 minutes after boiling to cool a little. Let the herbs brew in the water for at least 30 minutes or even overnight to make a strong mixture, then strain and decant into a container. That’s it!

Some may also like to add in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar adds shine, balances the scalp’s pH and is helpful for oily hair and scalp, itchiness, dandruff, dull hair and other conditions. To use ACV, add 1 tablespoon per cup of herbal liquid above and then use as a rinse. 


How To Use A Herbal Hair Rinse

A typical rinse can be applied in the shower post washing. Simply pour the rinse over your head and hair and massage in. Repeat until your rinse is used up. Do not rinse your hair out with water afterwards, rather let it dry in your hair, then style as usual. You should start to see results after just a couple of uses.

An easier method might be to grab a trigger spray bottle filled with the herbal rinse and spritz your hair until properly damp, then leave to dry. 

You could also use these rinses simply as hair mists. Spritz onto dry hair and let it condition your hair while you go about your day.

We hope you enjoy these herbal hair rinses - we know your hair will thank you!

8 Responses


November 25, 2021

Hi Gloria, ooh macerating herbs in an oil for hair is a great idea. I would go for a blend of oils such as argan, castor, maybe some jojoba. You can even add essential oils to the mix

Gloria Kula
Gloria Kula

November 25, 2021

Hi Juliette,

If I want to make a herbal oil mixture for thinning hair. Which carrier oil would be best?


October 04, 2021

Hi Nicola, you can add essential oils but as this is a water based hair rinse, the oils would float on the top. You’d need to give it a good shake up to disperse them a bit before using on your hair. If you wanted you could use a solubiliser to first dissolve them in water and then add that to your rinse.


October 04, 2021

If I wanted to add essential oils to the hair rinse for added fragrance, would that work? Or would I need to use an emulsifier (or something else)? If so, which one?


September 17, 2021

Hi Tshegofatso, if you want to give the product a shelf life then please do add in a preservative such as Geogard 221: https://essentiallynatural.co.za/products/geogard-221?pos=1&_sid=ce14e8d91&ss=r

Tshegofatso Sehume
Tshegofatso Sehume

September 17, 2021

Will the herbal mixture go bad if used as a spritz?


July 05, 2021

Hi Nandine, I also use powdered botanicals as I prefer working with powders to the whole plant :)
One teaspoon is fine; you can’t really ‘overdo’ it!


July 05, 2021

Hi Juliette , if I am using powdered herbs instead of whole dried herbs ,should I rather be using half a teaspoon instead of a whole tspn of herb per cup of water?

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