My daughters and I all have thick hair that often gets tangled, snarly and we wake up with bed head, especially yours truly. It isn't a pretty site. We tend not to shower every single morning and even when we do, we need a little extra softening and supporting. Commercial products contain all sorts of harmful ingredients worth noting and avoiding, which can cause short term issues like headaches and eye irritation, or long term issues such as hormone disruption and contributing to long term toxic load.. I am not a huge DIYer, but times like this, I am. It is easy enough and kind of fun to make your own detangler spray at home, and it is a lot less this way too.
Some of the ingredients to avoid in products like detanglers are: Parabens (such as Methylparaben, Propylparaben, etc) Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, SD Alcohol 40B, and Fragrance. These are just a few.
Sadly, there is an impression that in the United States and Canada, that the government agencies (FDA in the US, Health Canada in Canada) are regulating products and ingredients on the market for safety. This is absolutely not true. This information can be found directly on the FDA website, it is not just an opinion.
These are quotes directly from the FDA website:
"The FDA does not have the legal right to approve cosmetics before they go on the market"
"Cosmetic companies may use any ingredient they choose"
"Neither the law nor the FDA regulations require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with the FDA"
This is why we must look out for ourselves and learn to read labels, and seek out companies and products we truly trust. I have not found many, which is why I have switched as much as possible to Young Living, and why we use YL oils for most of our needs. There is no way I am putting products with ingredients like that on my children, and I don't want anything to do with those either.
I have tried a few different recipes for detanglers, including some that included conditioners, but I found those to be heavy and clogged up the sprayers so much I had to replace the nozzles several times. This is my favorite and what I will be sticking with.
You will need:
3 TBS Marshmallow root (I like Frontier brand, which can be found on Vitacost)
1 1/2 cups purified or distilled water
2-3 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar (as you can handle the smell)
1 1/2 tsp Jojoba or Olive OIl (I use jojoba)
25-30+ drops of essential oils
I personally double this recipe because we use a lot. The original recipe calls for 3 TBS apple cider vinegar so when I double I do not use 6. I love ACV and I know it works towards softening the hair, but my girls do complain about the smell, so I go on the low end and add more softening oils instead. If you don't mind the smell, you can go heavier.
This is Marshmallow root. I order mine through Frontier or Vitacost, Frontier brand. I had never used it before I started making detangler nor have I ever used it for anything else, It is pretty neat stuff though and is wonderful for hair, Doing a little research today I found out it can also be made into a tea for immune system support , to soothe sore throats, digestive issues and urinary tract issues.
First step is to simmer the marshmallow root on the stove in the water for about 15-20 minutes. Use a lid to avoid the water all boiling away. I learned that lesson the hard way before!
Remove from heat and let cool, then strain, squeezing the root to get out as much moisture as possible. Add the jojoba and ACV and essential oils and gently mix.
Essential oil possibilities: For us, because we have thick, curly and frizzy hair, I use a combo of Lavender, Geranium and Ylang Ylang. This provides softening and taming as well as a nice scent to cover the ACV. I also add Tea Tree oil, aka Melaleuca Alternifolia, so the only thing they bring home from school with them is homework and leftover veggies they didn't eat at lunch, if you know what I mean. I do make them eat those veggies when they get home, BTW. Ha!
For volume boost: Cedarwood, Lavender and Geranium
For strengthening: Lavender and Clary Sage and Wintergreen
For thickening: Lavender, Geranium, Rosemary, Cedarwood and Clary Sage
For oily hair: Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon*, Peppermint and Cypress
*use caution with Lemon as it can lighten hair if too much is used or you head out into the sun, but it smells amazing!
This is what it looks like when it is all finished. Again, shake well before every use as the contents to tend to separate.
If you enjoy this recipe, let me know in the comments. Also, if you have any oily combinations to suggest, add those as well! Enjoy!