When my hair conditioner ran out before I found another clearance deal, I decided to see if I could make my own. After a few rounds of experimenting, I ended up with a conditioner that I like better than any commercial conditioner that I’ve ever tried. It takes me less than five minutes to make; costs very little to put together; and leaves even my oldest daughter’s crazy-long locks easy to brush. I also love that I know exactly what’s in it (not much) and that I can use essential oils to customize it to my hair’s needs.
Want to try my recipe for yourself? Here’s my latest formula (recently tweaked for longer shelf life):
Homemade Hair Conditioner Recipe
What You’ll Need:
A carrier oil (jojoba, coconut, sweet almond, etc.)
Guar gum (a natural thickener commonly used in cosmetics and foods)
Essential oils (see chart below for suggestions)
1 cup distilled water
A bottle (you can reuse empty conditioner bottles)
Essential Oils for Healthy Hair
Add essential oils to your hair conditioner to create your own custom fragrance and improve the health of your hair. Here are essential oils that are recommended for various hair conditions. Pick one oil, or mix several together to create a blend that’s all your own.
|Dry/Brittle Hair||Oily Hair||Dandruff||Hair Regrowth|
|Sandalwood||Citrus (Orange, grapefruit, lemon)||Tea Tree||Rosemary|
|Rosemary||Tea Tree||Bay||Lemon Balm|
As you can see, Ylang-Ylang makes the list for every hair condition. That’s because it has a balancing effect on hair. So if you’re trying to make a conditioner that will work for everyone in your family, it would be a good oil to use.
And if you have school-age kids, you might want to think about adding tea tree oil to your oil blend. It’s good for preventing lice.
*I use the NOW brand of essential oils. They’re 100% pure, but less expensive than other 100% pure options. I usually order my oils through Amazon. They’re cheaper than I can get them locally, and they have a better selection.
What You Do:
Step 1: Measure 1-1/4 tsp of Guar gum into an empty squeeze bottle.
Step 2: Add 3/4 tsp carrier oil (I used jojoba in this example.)
Step 3: Then, add several drops of essential oil (I used orange, tea tree and rosemary this time). I recommend no more than 6 drops per ounce. That’ll give you a 1% dilution rate, which essential oil experts generally regard as safe for kids.
Tip: Some essential oil bottles have built-in droppers, others don’t. I use pipettes to measure out my oils that don’t have droppers. That’s what I used in the photo.
Step 4: Add the distilled water. Then, stir/shake until the mixture is smooth and clump-free, and your conditioner is ready to use! If you have clumps of guar gum sitting at the bottom of the bottle. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mix it in.
- One of the benefits of making your own products is that you can customize them to meet your needs. If after making a batch you find that you want a conditioner with more or less oil, simply tweak the recipe until you hit the right amount for you. Want a thicker consistency? Just bump up the amount of Guar gum.
- This hair conditioner can also be used as a hair masque. Just apply it to your hair; allow it to sit for 30-60 minutes; then, wash your hair as usual
- Clear condiment squeeze bottles work beautifully as conditioner bottles
- The carrier oil and essential oil used in this recipe can also be used to make lotion bars, bug repellent bars and lip balm
Calculating the Cost:
Here’s a look at what it costs me to make a batch of hair conditioner:
Using jojoba, peppermint oil and Guar gum, it costs me $.60.
Using coconut oil, lavender oil and Guar gum, it costs me $.94
Compare that to the $7.99 that most of the natural brands sell for, and that’s a great deal. When I was buying conditioner, I always tried to spend $3 or less for a bottle. This blows that right out of the water.
Ways to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Homemade Hair Conditioner:
This hair conditioner recipe is preservative-free, so it will eventually break down and go bad. I’ve made changes to the recipe since I first posted it to ensure that you get maximum shelf life out of each batch, but there are a few things that you can do to make it last even longer. Here are my recommendations:
- Keep the lid closed between uses
- Avoid storing the bottle in direct sunlight
- Avoid temperature fluctuations
- Do not use tap water in place of the distilled water (It usually contains chlorine, fluorine, and other chemicals, which will cause the conditioner to go watery)
- Right-size the recipe for your family. This recipe is a good size for my family of four, but it might be too much or too little for your family. I’ve halved, quartered and doubled this recipe with good results, so just tweak it to your needs
- To keep your conditioner from going watery or bad before you’ve used it all, make a two week’s supply at a time
Learn More About Essential Oils
Essential oils can be used to make all sorts of products, but they need to be used properly. Invest in a good essential oil book, so you can educate yourself on how to use them safely. This is the one that I have: The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing. I like that it allows you to look up information by the issue that you want to treat or by the name of an oil. When you look up an oil, it even gives you a list of other oils that it blends well with. This can save you from creating unpleasant scent combinations.
Ready to dig deeper into essential oils?
Here are some other things that you can make and do: