Category Archives: hair

Cassia and henna hair dye

I have used Rajastani Twilight Henna for years so I am switching to Rajastani Monsoon which is a lighter red, I will be mixing this with Cassia, which dyes hair a golden yellow color. My hair is already pretty dark so it wont make much of a difference. but I do have some pure white hair and ashy lighter colored roots, the length of my hair is a deep red.

It’s interesting that three ingredients can dye hair from blonde, red, brown to black if you know how to mix the colorants right and you hair doesn’t need to be lightened. And most of these natural dyes are good for your hair instead of damaging like chemical dyes, and in terms of red’s they do not fade like chemical dyes.

To prepare the dye I have mixed roughly 25 grams of henna powder and 75 grams of cassia powder together in a bowl. I have selected ordering from the Mehandi website but another site I would recommend by word of mouth would be The Henna Guy’s though I have not ordered from them directly. Not all henna is the same. The dye requires a mild acid so I have used the juice of two lemons by hand, and a little bit of water. When working with Henna never use your bare hands or metal implements, it is best to get some plastic gloves and to mix it by hand, mix thoroughly with the lemon juice and then add water to make it into a thick paste. You could do with just the juice of one lemon even. Alternately some chamomile tea or a little bit of vinegar can also do the job as well. Then let it sit for 12-24 hours. If it is in a warmer location it will release the dye faster, the summer time I cover it from the light and set it in the sun to gather warmth, in the winter I set it near the stove or near a heat source to gently absorb warmth. After it has sat I will add some luke warm water and mix it until you get a plaster or pancake batter type consistency. I prefer to leave it a little thick so it doesn’t drip. Apply to your hair and scalp until all hair is saturated, use a roll of plastic wrap to wrap your head then once everything wet is covered wrap your head up in a towel and keep it warm. After 4 hours rinse thoroughly and shampoo and condition your hair twice to get all of the dye out.

Cassia is a mild dye that will make pale hair look golden yellow. it is great for changing grey or white hair to blonde. Henna is a much more powerful dye that builds and darkens over time and with following applications. The combination of 3/4 cassia and 1/4 henna is a light red or strawberry blonde color. Because my hair is darker it may just tinge my ash color red and shift the color of my white hair to reddish blonde. Later on I plan on lightening the length of my hair as I get more grey’s so I am shifting my henna to a light more blonde color and will start doing more roots only treatments so I stop darkening the length.

These are my roots right before and after adding the dye. My natural hair is an ash toned color that just tends to look grey naturally in some light and my grey hairs come in pure white.

Henna will oxidize and darken slightly over a few days.



Argan & Nettle Hair Conditioner

I’ve tried a few different variations but this one seems to be my favorite. I prefer Argan oil over jojoba, avocado and hemp seed oils and I prefer nettle over cucumber, lotus and carrot. I’m just going to put my favorite things together into one conditioner. This recipe will make 70 oz and fill 4 conditioner bottles.


1758 g distilled water

121 g BTMS-50

24 g DL-Panthenol

28 g nettle extract

28 g hydrolyzed oats

24 g Argan oil

.24 g fragrance (optional)

1% Preservative, I used Optiphen-ND


In a double boiler, melt BTMS-50 and Argan oils together.

In a mixing bowl heat the distilled water to 150 degrees. Whisk the DL-Panthenol into the water and mix until dissolved.

Add the melted BTMS and Argan slowly to the distilled water while whisking constantly. Using a stick blender, blend in 5 second bursts until well combined. Add the nettle extract, Hydrolyzed oats, fragrance and preservative, blending again as you add each. The preservative should be the final ingredient added. Once all ingredients are added blend in bursts for 1 or two minutes.

Using a pH test strip, test the conditioner, you will want it in the 5-6 range, you can bring the number lower by adding a small amount of citric acid dissolved in distilled water, blend it all again and retest.

Once the pH is to your liking then continue to blend in bursts every 5- 10 minutes until the temperature drops below 120 degrees and it has started to thicken slightly. You want to pour it into bottles before it thickens too much which can make for a messy pour. To prevent condensation let the bottles sit without the lids for several hours, until they are room temperature, before caping.




Kokum Butter Syndet Shampoo Bar

This is a small simple recipe, I’ve played around with several different formulations but I keep making this one. I like to make 2 small bars out of it. For shampoo bars I like to make small 1.5-2.5 oz sizes. They last incredibly long time. A hard oil like Kokum butter really helps with the hardness of the bar. 




6 g stearic acid

5 g cetyl alcohol

10 g BTMS-50

5 g Kokum butter

Add Hot

15 g CAPB

32 g SCI Powder

22 g SLSa

1 g Panthenol-DL

Cool down (below 120 degrees)

2 g honeyquat

1 g oat extract

1 g rosemary tree essential oil

.5 ml liquid Germall Plus


This recipe is in three phases, add the things from the melt into a double boiler, once they are melted together remove from heat and add the things in the add hot category, mix carefully at first, you do not want to get a bunch of surfacant powder in the air. You should have a mask for this part, you do not want this stuff in your lungs. It will all melt in together as you stir. Once it is all combined check the temperature and let it sit for a few minutes until it is cool enough to continue, It’s a good time to add a colorant if you plan on doing that. Once the temperature drops below 120 add the final ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. press into a mold, or use a press to mold. I use a moon cake press. 


Syndet Shampoo Bar Test (Ziziphus)

I was looking for a way to get a more solid bar of syndet shampoo and I decided to give this a try.

Ziziphus powder has been used as a hair wash/conditioner for over 1,000 years. It is a lot like henna without the dye. It was used to condition and strengthen hair as well as clean.

I decided that this was probably the best thing I have on hand to improve the solidity of my bars.

I also modified my second formulation from the original a bit more.

Be careful on how much Ziziphus powder is added, make sure it is a fine powder. You could use rice flour as a replacement.

My press arrived a day late but I took the sampler bar I had made and pressed it anyways, despite having already cooled and set it turned out ok, it had cracks but that’s to be expected.

Ziziphus Shampoo Bar Experiment



6% Stearic Acid

5% Cetyl Alcohol

10% BTMS-50

5% Cocoa Butter


13% CAPB

32% SCI

22% SLSa

2.5% Ziziphus Powder

Below 120 degrees

1% Panthenol

2% Honeyquat

1% Oat Protein

.5% Fragrance

.5% Liquid Germall

Notes: This bar is not over cleansing, it is hard and lasts a long time. It works well but it does not lather as well as my first bar and the ziziphus powder has a slightly rough texture. I’ve been using this for a bout a month and it has hardly worn down. my hair is happy aside from my mentioned issues. Perhaps in the place of ziziphus I will try half as much of something like rice flour, clay or activated charcoal next time and bring my CAPB up by 1.5%


Syndet Shampoo Bar Testing

I have been lurking on shampoo bar making websites for about a year and I have finally gotten the stuff to give it a shot.

This is a trial and error exploration. My first attempt was using someone else’s recipe and slightly modifying for what I had on hand, it was too soft. This is what I learned from that recipe, my own modifications and what direction to go from there. This is a beginners formulation made by me from trial and error.  I did not use dimethicone, if you add it I would say at 1% would be a good place to start.

The things I learned about making shampoo bars from my initial failures:

1. You can follow a recipe precisely and still get a different result depending on what company your product is from or form it comes in.

2. Ensuring you get a hard bar is key, mine and many first attempts fail due to softness. Your surfacant is going to wash away the oils you add so think of them in terms of hardness instead of what the oil can do for your hair. Use kokum butter, cocoa butter or up the stearic acid to ensure you get a solid bar. On my first attempt I made the mistake of using jojoba oil and coconut oil and I ended up with something that was like Play-doh.

3. Make 2-4 oz test batches and document eveything until you get it right.

4. If its too soft you can remelt and add ingredients but you would need to add your preservative again as well.

5. You should pH test to see if it needs adjustment.

If this recipe doesn’t work out for you I recommend writing down the usage rates of all the ingredients you are using and then reading about their function in the product, then adjust for what you need more of within the limit of the usage rates. Start by adjusting 2% – 5% on the ingredients you need more or less of until it works for your hair.

Syndet Shampoo Bar – Beginners Formulation #2


Heat Phase:

32% SCI

22% SLSa

15% CAPB

10% BTMS-50

5% Stearic Acid

5% Cetyl Alcohol

5% Cocoa Butter

Cooling Phase:(add when under 120 degrees)

2% Honeyquat

2% Panthenol

1% Oat Extract

1% Tea Tree Oil

Hydrated Green Chrome Oxide mica (to desired color)

Weigh your batch then calculate 1% of the total recipe for the preservative, I do this by weighing the bowl and spatula before I start then discounting that from the total weight.

.5% Liquid Germal Plus


Use a safety mask for this so you do not breathe surfacant fumes while heating. Make sure you are working in a well ventilated area.

In a double boiler melt the Heat Phase ingredients, mixing every few minutes until combined well, blend smooth and set aside to cool.

While your hot phase is cooling, mix the panthenol, oat extract, honeyquat and tea tree together until well combined. Once cooled to the desired temperature add cooling phase ingredients and mix well. Weigh and add preservative, mix until well combined then press into mold. Place the mold in the freezer until solid.

Lotus Flower & Nettle Hair Conditioner



55 oz Distilled Water

4.30 oz BTMS-50

.84 oz Panthenol-DL

.84 oz Hemp Seed Oil

1 oz Nettle Extract

1 oz Lotus Flower Extract

Preservative. (I am using Optiphen ND at 1%)


In a double Boiler melt the BTMS-50 and hemp seed oil. In a mixing bowl as your distilled water and heat in the microwave until it’s about 120-140 degrees. Remove an oz of water and dissolve the Panthenol-DL.

Once everything is hot and the BTMS-50 is melted and completely clear, mix them together slowly while whisking constantly. Once fully incorporated continue to mix for 30 seconds then add the Panthenol-DL/water and whisk. Once incorporated add the Nettle Extract and mix until incorporated, Add the Lotus Flower Extract and whisk for one minute. Let the bowl rest for about 5 minutes and whisk again, add fragrance and preservative and whisk for one minute. I used a tart apple fragrance. After all ingredients are mixed use a pH test strip (you want to be between 5-6.) You will need to adjust if you are outside of that range. Citric Acid is used to increase acidity.

Also important to note that I am using Optiphen ND which causes my conditioner to thin  when I add it so before adding it you should have a fairly thick conditioner, if you are using a different preservative you may need to adjust your water or BTMS-50 ratio quickly. With any new recipe (most of the time for me) I have the new recipe back-up ingredients ready on the side: some extra hot water and some extra BTMS-50  that is ready to quick melt, just in case my conditioner is too thick or too thin.

Continue whisking for a few minutes. After the preservative is added no new ingredients should be introduced. Test your conditioner with a pH test strip. It should be in the 5-6 range. Let your mixture rest for 5 minutes then whisk again on and off for at least 5 cycles or until the conditioner is just slightly warm. Bottle the conditioner when it is still warm, it’s thinner and easier to work with the warmer it is. You also need to ensure you have a good emulsion so it doesn’t separate so do not skip the whisk and wait steps, I like using a glass bowl so I can see if there is separation.

I find a turkey baster works well for bottling conditioner and bottling at a hotter temperature is best for thicker conditioners. Leave the containers with the lids off, until they reach room temperature, this prevents condensation.



Rosemary Hair Conditioner Recipe



500 grams Distilled Water, hot

28.5 g BTMS-50

5 g Panthenol

28 g Nettle Extract

6 g Oat Extract

6 g Hemp Seed Oil

preservative of your choice


Disolve Panthenol into a few tablespoons of distilled water and set aside. Heat the remainder of the water in the microwave.

In a double boiler, melt the BTMS-50 and Hemp Seed Oil. Once clear and completely melted, whisk slowly into the heated distilled water.

Let the mixture cool for a few minutes and then add the remaining ingredients. (I used Optiphen-ND for my preservative at 1%)

pH test, you want to have your conditioner to have a pH of 5-6.

When slightly warm still, pour into containers, allow to cool with cap off for several hours or over night before sealing.



Shampoo Bars

I made Shampoo Bars with Coconut Milk, Coconut Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Palm Oil, Jojoba Oil and Sweet Almond Oil. I added Henna Powder, Citric Acid and Panthenol, Rosemary EO, Tea Tree EO and Peppermint EO.

I made the mistake of trying to cut them way, way to early so they are going to rest for a few days. I consistently make harder soaps that can be cut the next morning so I wasn’t even thinking about how soft this was going to be until the knife was already in the soap. The rest got almost a week of sitting before I cut them. I used a brand new mold with better insulation and got a bit of overheating in some of these bars, luckily these are just for family.

For shampoo bars most people forgo the use of fragrance oils and colorants. I decided to do the same. The addition of Rosemary, Tea Tree and Peppermint essential oils are more beneficial to hair than a fragrance oil could ever be.

Spring Hair Conditioner Recipe

I ran out of hair conditioner while moving so I made this up quick.

I went heavy on the extracts and there is almost no oil in it because I co-wash. If you use this small amount of oil, melting the BTMS-50 in a double boiler can be a bit of a struggle, make sure the Distilled Water is also hot and whisk as you mix them, I recommend checking the instructions and temperature listings on the ingredient packages so you know when to add your extracts. I scented it with Pikake flower and tart apple as my last ingredients along with the preservative.


28.3 grams BTMS -50

5.66 grams Argan Oil

411 grams Distilled Water

5.66 grams Pantenol

28.3 grams Aloe Extract

28.3 grams Avocado Extract

28.3 grams Nettle Extract

28.3 grams Liquid Silk

5.66 grams Hydrolyzed Oats

5.66 milliliters Optiphen ND