Conditioning Hair Rinse

Hibiscus and ACV hair rinse

Something amazing happened this week!

I ran out of hair conditioner! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been waiting for this for a while, since my last conditioner was a huge bottle.ย  I have been on a quest to make all of my own body care products, because I firmly believe that if you can’t eat it, it shouldn’t be on your body.ย 

It has been a slow process… with a baby, job, husband, garden, blog, etc.ย  (I am sure you all can relate!)– but, I have been creating kitchen cosmetics as the need arises.ย  So far I have managed:

…and now a conditioning rinse!

I hope to one day soon quit shampoo for good, maybe by formulating a shampoo bar with natural ingredients, or taking the plunge into the “no poo method” that everyone is talking about.ย  The latter isn’t likely, but we’ll see…

A good starting point for me is a conditioning rinse.ย  I was also thrilled to not have to buy more conditioner, because the brands that I am even remotely OK with putting on my body cost a small fortune; and that is not very frugal!ย  Of course, there had to be a better way by making it homemade,ย with ingredients I already had around the house.

Apple Cider Vinegar– ACV softens hair by removing buildup– you know, the gunk and junk left behind from chemical-laden hair products.ย  It also makes hair remarkably shiny by closing the hair cuticle, which opens every time we shampoo, and allows light to reflect light off the hair.

Herbal Infusion (Strong tea)–ย  I opted for hibiscus because of my brown hair, and it is my hope that prolonged use might give me some fancy red highlights.
*Chamomile is a great choice for light hair, highlighting the natural golden tones.
*Lavender for darker hair and scalp issues.
*Nettle for all hair types.ย  It softens, strengthens and increases shine.
There are many herbal options for toning, and check out this post for more info.

Rosemary Herbal Infusion– Rosemary is a secret ingredient in a lot of hair products.ย  It stimulates hair growth and treats scalp conditions such as dandruff and psoriasis.

Essential Oilsย  Added for scent and for healing benefits. I used lavender to heal my scalp; but rosemary, clary sage, cedarwood, or rose geranium would also be good choices.ย  There are many options, pick your favorite.

These natural ingredients are a far cry from the petroleum, sodium laureth and lauryl sulfates, propylene glycol, oleyl betaine, and other harmful chemicals found in commercially processed shampoos and conditioners.ย  Those synthetic products have no place on our bodies and create a whole host of skin and scalp issues.ย  Free yourself from the nasties!ย  Here’s how:

  • Boil 2 cups of water.ย  Steep your tea of choice and a sprig or small handful of fresh or dried chopped rosemary. Steep for at least 30 minutes, (I was in a hurry), but a whole day is better.ย  The longer the herbs infuse the water, the stronger the healing powers.

I used a tea bag of hibiscus tea, but loose herbs will do great.ย  A good place to get high quality loose herbs is at Mountain Rose Herbs. If you can’t grow them yourself, Mountain Rose the next best thing for most every herbalist.ย  With a strict emphasis on sustainable agriculture, it’s an easy choice knowing you are buying the best for your money and the best for the earth.

Strain out herbs, (if needed), and to the 2 cup infusion:

  • Add a 1/2 c of ACV
  • Add 1 c filtered water
  • Add 5-10 drops of essential oil of your choice.ย  I LOVE lavender, so I used 10 drops.

I mixed this all up in a glass jar and then funneled it to a squirt bottle.ย  A spray bottle would be better, but I was fresh out at the time.ย  Keep this in the shower to use after shampooing.ย  Some rinse it out.ย  Some don’t.ย  I opt not to rinse, and once my hair has dried, the vinegar smell has dissipated. (I promise!ย  DH had no idea what I was up to and I had him sniff my hair one day.ย  I asked him what it smelled like, he said, “Hair.”ย  Ha ha, typical dude).

My hair has been shinier, softer and more full bodied–which I don’t need, butย  it could be worse, right? My scalp is a still a bit itchy, but I hope that by massaging the rinse into my scalp better, and completely quitting commercial conditioner my skin will sort of ‘reset’ itself and do it’s ‘natural thang’.

Dry and style as usual and finish with a homemade body spray.ย  Mine is a lovely rose lavender ๐Ÿ™‚

Additional Resources:
Making Homemade
Shampoo and Conditioner

To Find Them Any Fresher You Would Have To Grow

* As always, the Author is not an expert or a doctor.ย  Nor is she a butcher, or baker, or candlestick maker, and thoughtfully encourages you to do your own research on topics of interest to you.ย  Remedies suggested are not a substitute for professional medical advice.

This post contains affiliate links that provide a small commission to me when purchases are made through that link–at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Sustain, Create and Flow.

**Shared with: Wildcrafting Wednesday, Your Green Resource, Fight Back Friday, LHITS DIY Linky, Farm Girl Blog Fest, Farm Girl Friday, Natural Living Monday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fat Tuesday, Make Your Own Monday, Real Food Wednesday, Adorned From Above Blog Hop, Natural Living Monday, Frugal Crafty Home










  1. OMG, I cannot wait to try this recipe. I have been in need of this for quite some time and am very excited to give this a try! Thanks for the recipe!!

  2. I’m definitely going to try this. I’ve been using water and ACV as a rinse. I stopped using shampoo about 8 months ago, and went to co-washing with V05 (silicone free), then I added an ACV rinse for residue. 2 months ago I made my own “shampoo” using shikakai from HennaSooq (which is where I found you). I simmer a cup of water to a tablespoon of the powder, with some hibiscus added. I usually make enough to fill an old shampoo bottle. Before I get in the shower I brush with a natural bristle brush, and in the shower I pour an ounce or two on my scalp after it’s wet. It doesn’t foam, and it doesn’t itch. I just scrub it around, rinse, then rinse with ACV.

    I’m goijng to make a hibiscus ACV rinse as soon as I’m done with the chicken stock on my stove.

    • Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for sharing your shampoo method! I am on the hunt for a good homemade one. I am not familiar with shikakai though. I am going to look into it. Is that the brand or is that an herbal substance? Since I quit conditioner, I can’t wait to quit shampoo! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • It’s a powdered herbal. Traditionally it was used as a hair masque, but I was just messing around with stuff one day. It has the same Ph as normal hair. It takes a little getting used to because it doesn’t lather, but the mix of shikakai and hibiscus, then strained though mesh leaves a little bit of grit behind. I brush thoroughly with a boar bristle brush before my shower, to distribute natural oils. I think I transitioned from shampoo better because I started with the conditoner wash, so it was less of a shock to my scalp. If you do try to Co-wash at first, I finished with the ACV riinse to remove the excess residue from the conditioner. My scalp adjusted to co-washing within a month, and a few months after that I started using the shikakai tea. is where I buy a lot of the harder to find hair/face stuff ( I also OCM my face). All the herbs on the site have a pretty good jumping point for further research.
        Good luck!

    • I use an amazing recipe from wellness mama for shampoo. I’ve made this rinse tonight and will try in the morning. I added floral water instead of water, added a tbsp of unpasteurized honey, 2 drops of oat oil, 6 drops,of vitamin E, essential oils of peppermint and lavender. I used camomile tea, didn’t have any sprigs of rosemary but dropped a few drops of rosemary essential oil in. Next batch I will have some sprigs to add to the tea steeping process.

      Hope it all goes well tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

      • This rinse did not work for me at all. My hair looks dirty. I’ve been using a shampoo from wellness mama that has worked really well for me, this has made my head itchy and my hair looks dirty and smells like vinegar ๐Ÿ™

        Not sure how I change it up to make it work better.

  3. I’m totally doing this after I run out of my GIANT bottle of conditioner I JUST got at the co-op!! Thanks!

  4. I absolutely love this rinse! I just tried it this morning and I am hooked. I have dry, naturally curly hair – after using the rinse (I chose not to wash it out), my hair is soft and full of shine. Thank you!

  5. After reading all the responses to this lovely conditioner, I have to admit that I have a problem that I hope someone can solve. I followed the directions to a “T” and after rinsing my hair of the conditioner, after I blew my hair dry, the following day I still have the vinegar smell. My husband is now leaning away from my head when he gives me a hug.

    • Hi Gwendolyn,
      I don’t know why the vinegar smell is staying around for you??? I wanted to add that when I make this it is for multiple uses. Did you use the whole amount at once?
      Hopefully someone else reading has input. I am sorry I am not very helpful ๐Ÿ™

      • Thank you so much for getting back to me! I tried it again today, using about half as much and added more lavender essential oil. Husband says it’s better but I’ll try to perhaps use a good smelling conditioner on the crown and ends of my hair for the good smells. I must say that I was astonished at how easy it was to comb right through my hair after using the ACV!

        • Gwendolyn, I’m glad it’s working for you! I too am amazed at how easy it is to comb through. Perhaps instead of the conditioner, you might want to try making my herbal body spray and finishing with that? I use it often on my hair and throughout the day as well. Also, when you add your tea to the vinegar you could get a more fragrant tea blend. Just a thought ๐Ÿ™‚
          Good luck, Jerica

    • I’ve noticed that the vinegar smell stays around if I get the ratio wrong. I just started using this recipe, before I was just splashing vinegar in a cup, and filling with water in the shower. If I used more, it had a stronger vinegar odor, sometimes even after it dried. I’ve also noticed that if I fill it to my “normal” and I still get the vinegar smell, a deep conditioning is in order. My deep conditioning is using whatever conditioner I have (always silicone free) heating it up in the microwave and adding a little bit of oil (usually jojoba). I put it on dry hair, wrap with plastic for an hour or two and then shower like usual, following with the ACV rinse, and I always rinse the ACV out with cold water. I have a detachable shower head, and I’ve noticed that the ACV smell usually stays in the bottom layers towards the back of the head, so the shower head helps with that.

      Hope that helps! I’ve been doing this ACV thing for a while, and those are the things I’ve worked out while asking people “does my head smell like vinegar?”

  6. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. A homemade shampoo that you can use is baking soda dissolved in water. Put in a squeeze bottle and always shake well before using it. You will need to rinse it out really good or it will leave baking soda on your hair. It doesn’t have suds, but is great at conditioning the scalp. It also helps to remove the build up the same as the conditioner. As with the conditioner, it will take about a month for your hair/scalp to be at it’s best.

    • That is so funny that you mention that, Donna! After I wrote this blog post, I made a number of herbal shampoos, none of which I was happy with. I finally settled on baking soda and water and I love it! Well, I don’t love my hair right now, but it’s getting better. It’s been about a month and I think it’s finally settling down. The baking soda is so easy and effective. I just love things like that. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I have been “no poo” for almost 4 months now, using baking soda and water. When I mix my conditioner, ACV and water, I use about a TBSP of ACV to a cup of water and put it in a spray bottle , spritz it on and let it dry, I don’t rinse it out. I will be adding in lavender or citrus oil, which I do have.

    • I have been using straight baking soda on my hair for the past month and then rinsing with about 1/4 cup raw ACV mixed with 6 oz. water. My hair is very gray to begin with. I LOVE the “no poo” and ACV rinse. I may have to try some herbs to maybe “cover” the gray a little. Absolutely love this site and all the info. Thank you so much!!!

  9. Ooh, sounds great!! I have been wanting to make my own conditioner as well. I will give this a shot!

    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday!

  10. I love this post. Its great. I never thought of using hibiscus. Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday!

  11. I had to stop by and say that I finally tried this recipe and my hair is seriously more beautiful, shiny, and full of body than it EVER has been! Thank you so much for giving me an easy, cheap, and beauty-enhancing method!! <3

  12. This is such great information! I’ve been slowly ditching the store bought stuff as well and I’m inspired by your info. I have 2 questions I wondered if you could help me out with.

    First, instead of ACV, can I use a vinegar fusion? (I use vinegar to clean a lot & infuse different herbs, citruses, and flowers to make the smell more pleasant. I do this by packing a glass jug to the rim with whatever is seasonally available and then pour in white vinegar to the rim. Let it sit for 2 weeks & shake it up every now and then. Strain & funnel into whatever concoction it’s for.

    And secondly, can I infuse different herbs & flowers into the tea mix? I would love to steep peppermint or roses.

    Thank you for this post. I found it just as I was deciding to tackle my beauty regiment…

    • Hi Gloria,
      Personally, I would make an infusion from ACV. I’m not sure what white vinegar would do to your hair. It’s probably fine, I just haven’t tried it before. Maybe another reader can weigh in on this???
      You absolutely can use any infusion of teas, herbs, essential oils, etc for this. Have fun with it, and report back ๐Ÿ™‚ That is the beauty of making your own cosmetics. you get to decide what goes in it.
      I have been really busy lately so I have just been mixing ACV, water, and essential oils for my rinse. I have tried a lot of oils. For the record, sweet orange oil with ACV smells disgusting! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Cheers, Jerica

    • I use regular distilled white vinegar because I found the ACV made my hair too greasy too fast. I assumed it was too moisturizing for my hair… But the DWV was much better… I have dyed hair and so far, baking soda and DWV have been fine!

  13. Hi! I’ve been looking into alternatives to shampoos and conditioners for a while and also doing research into essential oils. This looks like a great recipe, however I found in my research that essential oils MUST be diluted by a carrier oil like coconut, olive or jojoba. I learned that they shouldn’t be diluted with water or water based liquids. this will cause the essential oils to be driven further into the skin and potentially cause irritation. This may be the itching you’ve been experiencing. I’m sure the essential oil makes it smell lovely, but use them with caution.

  14. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! I have been using it for almost 3 weeks now and my hair feels and looks wonderful! I normally had to use a conditioner followed by detangler to be able to brush and style my hair. I was so surprised that after the rinse, I could brush my hair and I don’t need a detangler anymore! I made my rinse with chamomile tea and sweet orange essential oil. It gives a nice shine to my blond hair ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I’ve only just discovered your blog and am thrilled to read about all the marvelous things you’re making!
    I have one question ….. for now. I have white hair (have had since my 40’s). I wanted to ask what type of herbal tea you would suggest for this rinse that would keep my hair the wonderful white it already is? I don’t want to darken or yellow it.
    I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

    • Barbara, you have the hair I hope for myself when I’m older! I LOVE white hair. It’s so beautiful. You have stumped me on the herbs though. My gut says chamomile, but I need to do a bit of research and see what I can find. I’d hate to steer you wrong.

      • Also, a lot of times I don’t have time to fuss with making the tea to add to the rinse, so I end up using ACV with a hydrosol or plain water, with essential of of choice added to it for a lovely scent. Maybe you want to skip herbs all together? I think the herbs that folks use for lightening would maybe be the ticket, but I’m not sure if it would create golden tones. You might have to ask a professional… ๐Ÿ™‚

        Perhaps another reader will chime in on this?

        • I would be concerned that chamomile might leave a yellowish tinge on white hair, because it is known to bring back the sparkle to faded blonde. I’d attempt an herbal “tea” with dried lavender. You could try a hairball test by taking the hair from your brush and soaking it in a plain water version of the herbal rinse you plan on using, like chamomile if you want to try it. That way you can see if your hair would take to the yellow color or not, and then go from there.

          • That IS a great idea and I grow lavender so it wouldn’t be difficult for me to try that. I know that purple is used to “whiten” white hair, so why not give it a try? Never mind that I love the scent.
            Thank you, Michelle.

        • Thank you for replying, Jerica. In fact, I did try just the ACV with water and some essential oil of lavender (also one of my favorite scents!) and I really like the result. I may just stick to that formula unless someone has other ideas to try.
          Now. Onto the shampoo path….. I’m not ready to give it up yet but ready to try different options.

          • Great news! I am being sent an all natural shampoo to review soon (with awesome ingredients), so I’ll let you know how the shampoo is. Maybe that would be something you’d like. I do lavender a lot in my acv, but I have found that palmarosa is also pretty lovely.

          • I can’t wait to hear how you like the shampoo and what the ingredients are. I’m not familiar with palmarosa but have many different rosa rugosa roses that we grow in our garden. I could easily do a rose infusion to add to the rinse. They are so very fragrant.

        • I’ve made chamomile and calendula infused herbal shampoo and my white haired husband uses it because he likes the peppermint essential oil on his scalp. It never shades his hair at all. I mix the infused water with my homemade castile liquid soap.
          At the moment I am on a trial period of perfecting a different shampoo using coconut milk with the castile liquid, aloe vera gel, honey and apricot oil. I tried it this morning for the first time and my hair felt so much cleaner than with the herbs. It did suds up but it also caused my hair to have alot of fluffiness that I controlled with a small amount of Apricot oil rubbed into my palms and then onto my dry hair. Apricot has most of the same benefits as olive oil but is much, much lighter. It did at first cause a slight oiliness because I very, very fine, damaged hair, but in a very short time the hair shaft absorbed the light oil and right now it is very soft with no frizz:)

  16. Is this supposed to de-tangle hair? I made it yesterday and tried it today and it did nothing to ge the knots out of my hair. I followed the receipe carefully, so I know I didn’t make any mistakes there. My hair is long, thick and wavy. I washed with my normal shampoo which left it a tangled mess as always (it actually doesn’t matter what type of shampoo I use it always comes out a knotted tangled mess), sprayed it on, left it for a bit and tried to comb it through, no luck. I ended up rinsing and using my normal conditioner that does a reasonable-ish job of getting out the knots & tangles and then used it again and again my hair felt “squeaky”, is this normal? Many thanks.

    • It detangles my hair amazingly! I can comb from the top to the bottom right after a shower, and my hair is very thick. I dump it on in the shower though, and quite a bit of it. Maybe you need to use more? Or maybe you need a recipe that has more “slip,” like maybe using marshmallow root for the tea portion. Those are my best guesses. I hope that helps. ACV rinsing has been so awesome for my hair, I hope you get to enjoy the benefits as well! Best of luck, Jerica

  17. i started no poo on Easter long weekend 2011. the detox period was awful. This week i started to make my own shampoo using castille soap (Dr. Bronners) and coconut milk, so far I’m happy with it. I decided to go back to “poking” because the long period of using on b.soda and acv rinse has damaged my hair incredibly. Just a fore-warning to all you lovely’s it will be damaging over an extended period of time. Now to find a conditioning rinse i’m happy with, i’ll try your recipe but probably with the marshmallow root tea. Using just plain old coconut oil leaves too much of a waxy film on my strands and hair brush

  18. Hiya, thanks for the quick reply. I wasn’t able to get marshmallow root, but the shop does have marshmallow leaves, would that work instead? Thanks.

  19. What is the shelf life of this conditioner? I mean how long does it store before it goes bad? ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Hi,
    Great idea mixing up herbs with the acv!
    You can also use baking soda (pure) for shampooing. Cleanses more than you could believe.
    I also have dry and sore scalp, but I solve that with pure argan oil or shea butter. Half an hour before you hit the shower (right before you make your conditioner maybe) warm up a bit oil and massage it in. I do this once a week, and my scalp feels amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Go nature!

    Btw, if you have colored your hair, or curled it or something, stay away from the nettle as it will literally remove ALL chemicals of your hair ๐Ÿ˜‰ Otherwise, healthwise, THE best herb. I personally use it allot.

  21. Adding raw honey or molasses to your homemade shampoo/conditioners is a must. Honey is a super-food for hair, it’s like hair fertilizer. I put it in my baking soda shampoo & my conditioner. Shampoo is just water, baking soda & honey. Conditioner is ACV, Chamomile tea, and honey. Honey WILL lighten the hair though, especially if you let it sit too long, it is a natural peroxide. Some people like that, some people may not. Molasses is an option for darker hair, instead of using honey. It is also filled with nutrients that the hair loves. You do want to rinse with cold water after letting it sit for 5 min (longer if you want).

  22. Wow, enjoyed your post. I cut my hair about a year ago to start my all natural hair journey. I have been using herbal rinsed with acv for half of that year and I must say I am amazined at the results. I always use rosemary and my hair is growing very fast I am African American with very dry course hair. I have noticed that my hair is less dry with no frizz since using herbal rinses. My last rinse, a couple of days ago, was with the hibiscus flower added to my mixture. In my research I found out that this flower closes the hair cuticle which helps with frizz and split ends. I must say the results were remarkable. No dry frizzy hair…only moistures spirial curls after my twist out. Love your blog

  23. Hi. I like this idea, but I’m needing to make conditioner for a friend who is allergic to ACV. Do you think I could leave it out or is there something you’d replace it with? Also, what about aloe vera juice in place of water? Just a thought.

    • Hi Gia,
      The vinegar is the most important part of the recipe. I think aloe vera would be a great addition, and maybe instead of vinegar you could just use a tea infusion, but it wouldn’t detangle or give the benefits of the ACV. It would be a nice toner though. I’m not super familiar with aloe juice in hai, but maybe that would give a nice slip. Just a thought?

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  26. Question. I have long hair and just tried this in the shower and my hair instantly tangled and is a dry frizzy mess. What would cause that?

  27. I made this last week and love the way my hair looks, but I was wondering how long the mixture lasts for you and how do you store it? My batch from my spray bottle is growing things. I haven’t checked on the rest I stored in the fridge yet.

  28. So excited to try this!! I’m using a coconut milk shampoo and conditioner right now, but the conditioner is leaving my hair way too greasy so I would love to try this. I love my morning tea so why not wash my hair with it two :).

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  31. After hearing about apple cider vinegar rinses for over a year, I finally was brave enough to try it today. Infused the water with chamomile flowers, added in a little lavender and peppermint essentail oils, actually added too much peppermint, it was very invigarating! Lol! I have been using homemade shampoo bar for about two weeks and no conditioner, its been going great but needed something yet, so that lead me to trying acv rinse today. After shampooing and rinsing, poured some of the mix on my hair and let it sit while washing the rest of me, then rinsed out. I was able to get through my hair and a lot less breakage! My kids said my hair was shinier and more highlights and my husband said the gray wasn’t as noticiable! So glad I tried it, my hair is baby fine and weak, hoping that no more store bought products and herbal infusions will help it back to health! Now if I can have the same results so quickly covering my grays! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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