Looking to switch personal care products for more ethical alternatives? One natural DIY product we use every day is hair detangler, here is how to make it yourself.
It’s easier than you think
We’ve been experimenting with homemade detanglers after getting sick and tired of using artificial smelling and sticky stuff from the pharmacy or supermarket (that didn’t even work, and actually sometimes literally made me feel sick to the stomach from the artificial fragrances).
I was having better success with straight coconut oil for getting knots out of my daughter’s fine but prolific hair but not loving how it would leave little one’s hair a bit too slick and oily-looking.
After some experimentation, I have found a simple recipe that you can use to make yourself an ethical alternative to store-bought products and that works very well to help detangle hair.
And bonus, it can also be used to repel lice.
If lice are hanging around, I’ve written here about our natural do-it-yourself alternative for removal and prevention.
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil (sold at major supermarkets in Australia, it’s the one that stays in liquid form)
8 drops of essential oil (see suggestions below)
1/4 cup water
A splash of emulsifier to mix it all together: some options include aloe vera gel, castille soap, or natural dishwashing detergent – or even conditioner.
Repurpose a cleaned and disinfected spray bottle and mix all oil ingredients plus the emulsifier – ideally wait an hour before adding watery ingredients. More on emulsifying can be found here. Put simply, pre-mix the oils and the emulsifying agent prior to adding the water.
You can add more essential oil in if it’s for an adult (I recommend up to between 10 and 15 depending on your taste and sensitivity). Lavender, rosemary, tea tree, peppermint are all good for hair – any of the natural scents you notice in store-bought shampoos or conditioners are good hints.
You can play with the proportions of oil and water depending on the thickness of your child’s hair.
As an added bonus both peppermint and tea tree oil keeps the lice at bay, as will the vinegar. Go easy on the tea tree if it’s for kids though as it is a very strong oil. I prefer peppermint for young kids.
Give it a good shake before use and tweak the ingredients to suit your preference. I can help you find quality ingredients but if you’re not sure where to get them you are welcome to message me or comment below.
NOTE: If you want to use it to help hold flyaways in place you can change the proportion to make it more oily (less water, more coconut oil) which may also help keep the lice at bay by making the hair shaft less grippy.
Go ahead and share your results in the comments below. And if you have any requests for other products you’d like to be in this Switch It Up Series let me know.
Not sure you want to make it yourself? Go here for more ethical home options from an Australian certified B Corp supplier.
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If you are interested in doing more DIY,contact me now (or send me a message on Instagram) to receive a free non-toxic DIY cleaning booklet full of easy recipes for products like all-purpose spray, air fresheners or creme cleansers just to name a few.
Or, head here for more DIY low-tox home ideas.
Thanks for sharing. My daughter has curly hair which is a nightmare to comb through unless you use a lot of conditioner. Will give it a go. 🙂
Hi Ree, I know what you mean. You could potentially do some experimenting with quantities of ingredients (perhaps more coconut oil?) for curly hair. You’ll notice it doesn’t necessarily work like a shop-bought detangler and you may need to spray a little more on the curls than for bought brands but the residue is health-making rather than health-taking if that makes sense. My daughter’s hair is a lot healthier since I started using it and a lot less dry. Do let me know how you go or if you have any questions.