I grow my own conditioner - Aloe vera (Aloe vera barbadensis). Simple, all natural, zero-waste, chemical free. Yes, that's it - just one ingredient, no processing - raw aloe straight from the garden to my hair. Have you tried it? I'm so delighted to be avoiding harmful chemicals, irritating artificial fragrances, plastic bottles, silicone, false smoothing and costly products. Typical conditioners have 5 main ingredients: cationic surfactants and polymers, oils, humectants, silicones, and proteins. No thanks! Aloe is great. It:
has 20 amino acids that are the building blocks of healthy hair
balances hair pH
removes toxins from hair
enhances hair strength and sheen
locks in moisture
tames frizzy hair and fly-aways
acts as a detangler
rejuvenates hair follicles and prevents thinning
contains enzymes that promote heatlhy hair growth
is not heavy
relieves scalp build up
nourishes scalp and prevents dandruff
relieves itchy scalp
It's a liberating thing - realising that you can meet your everyday needs straight from your garden like this - free, natural, nourishing and effective. Aloe conditioner is so very simply and works a treat! You don't even need to wash it out. My whole family uses it. The kids love doing it too.
Here's how I use raw aloe as a hair conditioner:
Get a leaf: Every time I wash my hair (with plain fragrance-free organic liquid Castile soap), I grab a leaf from the cluster of Aloe vera plants growing next to my verandah. Sometimes I take it into the bathroom, but I actually prefer to sit in the garden doing it.
Cut a chunk about 10cms long (I usually just give it a quick rinse to wash off the yellow latex that comes out from just under the skin). You can keep the rest of the leaf in the bathroom for a few days and keep using it.
Open it up (slice lengthwise along the flatter side and simply open it out)
Start applying it all over your hair from the scalp to the tips. (sometimes it helps to run your finger along to release more gel from the aloe flesh every now and then)
Leave it in - there's absolutely no need to wash it out.
Use it all up: If there's some left, I use it on my face, my neck, my elbows and knees.
Compost the leftover skin. This is a zero-waste conditioner. The aloe skin can go straight to your worm farm, bokashi or compost bin, or you can simply just toss it back into the garden as organic matter!
I designed my garden with my aloe patch close by for easy access. I use aloe everyday for something:
after shaving lotion
soothing insect bites
sunburn (I try to avoid this!)
kitchen/ironing burns (I also very much try to avoid these, but they happen every now and then)
Aloe vera super hardy, easy to grow and abundant. It's great in the garden or a pot. I prefer it in the ground if possible in a warm spot. It actually doesn't mind some shade - it prevents it from getting sunburnt, and the leaves seem to thicken up with more gel.
Here's a little video clip I made about aloe recently: