• DIY Green Tea Cleansing Hair Rinse

    Posted on September 2, 2011 by in DIY, Hair

    I decided to again stop using all store bought conditioners.  I did my usual online research on simple hair regimens and of course I found articles and forums filled with information about the no-poo hair care method.

    No-poo refers to no longer using shampoo and for some no longer using conditioner either.  I have been using conditioner only for quite sometime as my hair cleanser and my hair has done extremely well.  I then added shikakai powder to my coconut deep conditioning treatment to further cleanse my hair which is kind of like a all natural co-wash.

    I began to wonder if so many different ingredients in my hair care not only complicated things, but also made cleansing my hair with stronger ingredients more important.  I assumed that if I simplified my hair regimen even more with the right ingredients that my hair may not need as many conditioning products.  I could then most certainly cut things back to the basics.

    I came across a few different forums that spoke about the water only hair method, sebum only hair method, and basic ingredients to cleanse the hair like baking soda, apple cider vinegar, tea, applesauce, apple juice, and lemon juice.  My scalp does not produce excess sebum, so I’ve never had to wash my hair more than once a week.  I also was very clear that the sebum only hair method wouldn’t work on my dry textured hair, nor would it go over well with a hair stylist when working a job on set.  Whatever I used for my hair needed to work well and be somewhat simple.

    Baking soda and lemon juice are completely out of the healthy hair pH range of 4.0-7.0, so I knew both of those ingredients were not an option.  I had no interest in using apple juice or applesauce so that was out too.  But I did think about tea and apple cider vinegar.

    Black tea has a pH of about 4.9 and green tea has a pH of 6.0–6.4.  Since green tea is not as acidic as black tea, I felt that it would be a better mix with apple cider vinegar which has a pH of 2.8–3.0.  I also already use green tea in my DIY Soothing Antioxidant Toner and always like using something that I already have at home.  Once I settled on green tea and apple cider vinegar, I decided to add raw honey for its humectant and conditioning properties.

    Benefits of Green Tea for Hair

    Green tea is full of antioxidants and soothes dandruff, psoriasis, and other scalp irritations.  Green tea contains vitamins C, D, and E as well as vitamin B5 (panthenol).  Green tea stimulates hair follicles therefore increases healthy hair growth and reducing hair loss.

    Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Hair

    Apple cider vinegar’s natural antibiotic and antibacterial properties balances the pH of your scalp while removing dead skin cells on the scalp.  It is also a natural remedy for hair thinning, hair loss, and dandruff.  Apple cider vinegar rinses away chemicals and excess oils from the hair and scalp without dehydrating the hair leaving it conditioned and tangle free.  The best nutrients are in organic raw apple cider vinegar.  So here’s the recipe…

    What you will need:

    Organic Green Tea

    Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

    Raw Honey

    Purified Water

    Spray Bottle

    I steeped one green tea bag in 2-3 cups of water for 30–60 minutes.  I then added 2-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (depending on clarifying needs) and 1 tablespoon of raw honey.  I mixed thoroughly until the honey disappeared.  Once the liquid cooled I poured it into my spray bottle now ready for use.

    How To Use

    Part hair in half and rinse with water.  Now spray the tea rinse on scalp and hair thoroughly and gently massage the scalp.  Clip one side up then proceed to the other.  Once hair is completely saturated, let it sit for at least five minutes.  Use any remaining tea cleansing rinse to repeat to both sides before rinsing.  To completely avoid tangles during this cleasing process it is even better to wash hair in braids or twists.

    My Notes

    Before I even began using this method of hair cleansing I clarified my hair with apple cider vinegar and water.  I used 1:3 part ratio of apple cider vinegar to water.  The next wash day I started using the my tea rinse.

    Because this tea rinse has no slip, I no longer detangle my hair in the shower and instead detail carefully and gently before and/or after I wash my hair.  For my usual styling method of setting my curls with braids, I use a mix of aloe vera, unrefined shea butter, hemp oil, camellia oil, and guar gum.  Surprisingly the guar gum gives this mix the exact amount of slip needed to easily detangle my hair.  I don’t have a set recipe for this as it’s just been a fun experiment.

    I believe that because this hair cleansing process doesn’t open the hair cuticle detangling is also easier.  I honestly think that keeping the hair organized while cleansing has a lot to do with it too.  I do not put any oil on my scalp so that the skin can breath and does not become irritated.  I don’t feel like my hair needs to be deep conditioned weekly any more and will only deep condition my hair after my monthly henna treatments.  My results are shiny beautiful curls in the most minimal way I ever imagined.

    Understanding What Is Working For You

    Pay attention to how your hair responds to new methods and hair products. You sometimes need to isolate products to really know if they are working or not.  I have a shower filter which gives a good balance to hard water.  Depending on the water you are dealing with can also affect what works for your hair especially when going no ‘poo.

    Lastly if you have chemically damaged hair, your hair cuticle is not intact as strongly as virgin hair.  I’ve used henna for so long and know that it coats and fills in the hair cuticle.  I suggest doing henna or cassia treatments to improve your hair’s damaged condition as you grow out chemically over-processed hair.  Many turn to silicone based products to temporarily fill in damaged hair cuticles.  Henna and cassia are long term natural ways to strengthen and condition hair.  Read Henna For Hair 101 for more info.

    This hair cleansing method isn’t going to work for everyone or be for everyone.  I haven’t used natural shampoos for sometime and was ready to taking things one step further.

    I’ve been really enjoying my experience with the no-poo method (with & without conditioner) and have shared my journey on Minimalist Beauty.  You can find a list of those articles here.  Check out my most recent beauty regimen including hair care here.

    (Image by D Sharon Pruitt)

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45 Responses so far.

  1. al says:

    I have a 2 year old toddler, who has a fear of washing her hair. I have never used convetional products for her, since I have been using nautral products for 9 years now! Even at the hospital they told me to use only pure water to clean the newborn baby, and truthfully, I still have the same bottle of 2 in 1 baby shampoo and cleansing gel, that I bought for her when she was born :) – and it is obviously a natural and organic. I wash her hair with this every 3 months, if she allows it :) and I rinse her hair once or 2x a month with water only. Amazingly, her hair is always perfectly clean, smells nice, and cleans itself, as it seems. So I believe our hair needs only water. Unfortunatelly I suffer from a bad case of dandruff and oily hair, but it seems it is more of an internal problem, that is connected with my eating habits. I think i will try to simplify my hair routine too.

  2. Dawn Michelle says:

    Thanks Al for sharing!

  3. chineze says:

    I use the water only method and also use a mixture of herbs and apple cider vinegar as
    a rinse. Since i cut of all my relaxed hair in 2006 i have not used shampoo. I used to do the conditioner wash method but for two years now i have stopped using the method and my hair seems to like it.

  4. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Chineze,
    How long did it take to for your hair to get used to your new simplified regimen?
    Thanks for sharing!
    Dawn Michelle

  5. chineze says:

    Hi,
    i think it took about 6 months to get use to this method. Could be because i really don’t use that much product in my hair-olive oil and shea butter.

  6. chineze says:

    oh and henna every month. I use your method. Its works wonderfully for my hair.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Dawn Michelle says:

    That’s awesome Chineze! I’m so glad that monthly henna treatments are working so well for you!

  8. br3 says:

    i have fine and thin hair that is wavy(thankgod cuz it gives me volume). i was wondering if i could also give up conditioner and cleanser with a light conditioner like Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle conditioner? would it weight my hair down or make it greasy? i have to wash my hair everyday because since it is so thin/fine, the natural oils are very visible and my hair gets weighed down. what should i do? do you think no-poo method is for me or is it just for girls with awesome thick or coarser hair?

    thanks so much
    b

  9. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi br3!

    Check out the No-Poo Method Community to research this hair method more. You will read about scritching with horn combs and all types of other regimen practices that I will write more on a bit later. There are a bunch of different stories that will give you an informed perspective.

    The Aubrey’s Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner is very moisturizing. If you’d like to condition wash your hair, a clarifying conditioner may be a better match. Also you can try apple cider vinegar and water for clarifying and conditioning instead. I personally like to the mix of green tea with apple cider vinegar to keep the ACV smell to a minimum yet the smell will go away after your hair dries. Adding a few drops of essential oils after your hair is dry is a nice trick as well.

    If your scalp produces a lot of sebum you will experience a different kind of transition period than someone with a dry scalp/hair as your scalp balances itself. Just like with our complexions, if you have oily skin and use harsh facial cleansers, your face will produce even more oil. Your scalp is the same way with stripping shampoos. Keep me posted on your experience.

    Peace and Sunshine,
    Dawn Michelle

  10. br3 says:

    thankyou! youre the best!

  11. Vida Urbana says:

    You’ve inspired me to be more eco-friendly and to save my money! :)

    I really want to try this herbal hair cleansing recipe, but do you know a way to make it more moisturizing? I have extremely dense hair with strand size ranging from medium/caorse.

  12. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Vida,

    Try adding marshmallow root extract to this recipe. If you cook it for at least 10 minutes you will get a thick slippery mucilage from the herb. The other way to extract the mucilage is to steep in in boiling water. Here’s the recipe. It adds moisture and gives slip to the hair rinse. You could also add more honey or even vegetable glycerin. Feel free to tweak the recipe to fit your hair’s needs. You will most likely want to finger detangle your hair prior to using the DIY Green Tea Cleansing Hair Rinse to make the process easier as there is not suds with this product.

    Best Wishes,
    Dawn Michelle

  13. mangomadness says:

    @Vida: you can also add some vegetable glycerin to the mix. I did a green tea/ACV/honey/veggie glycerin rinse one and my hair felt super soft afterwards. Veggie glycerin is the key to soft hair and skin for me.

  14. Christa says:

    Hey just curious… how often do you use this method for your hair? is it an everyday thing or just once in awhile? i’m planning on trying it out to see how it works for me. thanks for the recipe! :)

  15. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Christa,

    I don’t use this cleansing hair rinse every week since falling back in love with rhassoul clay as shampoo. It is still a wonderful recipe especially with marshmallow root extract added. What is also great about this recipe is that the ingredients are so easy to find.

    I am always trying new things as I keep getting new ideas for recipes. Everyone is distinctly different and I like creating as many different natural DIY products as possible so that something will catch your eye to try out and fall in love with. Let me know how this works for you.

    Best Wishes,
    Dawn Michelle

  16. RTaylor says:

    Does anyone know if the honey hair lighter and/or henna works with locks? I also have a bit of thinning in a couple spots. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  17. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi RTaylor,

    Both the honey and henna should work well with locks. I would cleanse hair prior to the first time using either and rinse thoroughly. Also use a diluted mix for easy application and rinsing.

    For hair thinning green tea, aloe vera, and castor oil are wonderful for increasing hair growth. Depending on the length of your locks, the weight of them will pull on the roots. You may want to have a loctician check the base of the locks that are thinning to make sure they are strong enough. I hope that is helpful.

    Peace,
    Dawn Michelle

  18. mangomadness says:

    Nice recipe! I used to do green tea/ACV/honey rinses all the time. THey soothed my scalp and made my hair soft. I’ll have to revisit it.

  19. Dawn Michelle says:

    Thanks mangomadness! This is definitely one of my favorites. It is so easy to make and my scalp loves it!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I’ve enjoyed perusing your website. I admire your commitment to make your own products. I am getting into that too, as well as following Curly Girl.

    I am interested in strengthening my over-processed hair but it is blond so I can’t use Henna. From what I’ve read about Cassia, it’s strengthening effects are only temporary (versus the permanent effects of Henna). Is that true?

  21. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Anonymous,

    I haven’t had any personal experience with cassia as I’ve only used henna regularly over the years. Here is some really comprehensive information about cassia. You may want to look into tryingLight Mountain Natural Hair Color which uses organic henna and cassia for their hair color/treatments. You can also find cassia/neutral henna here.

    At one point I was using henna weekly versus my current monthly treatments. I’m sure that you could also do the same for cassia prior to condition washing your hair. I’ve also read that the effects of cassia are not as long term as henna, yet I doubt they are as short term as a regular deep conditioning treatment. Cassia would truly help with over processed hair. Like recommended in the first article linked above, do a cassia test on hair strands that have shed. That way you can see if you love the results or not.

    Best Wishes!

  22. meracle says:

    hi dawn. does this cleansing rinse help remove oils like coconut oil, almond oil, etc and butters like cocoa butter and shea butter? have you made any rinse out conditioners? I haven’t found a good conditioner for my dry curly hair… Thanks.

  23. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Meracle, This rinse does pretty well at removing oils and butters as long as the product does not contain beeswax. Also check the list of conditioners that I’ve tried and liked. Hope that helps and enjoy your weekend!

  24. yuke says:

    Hi can diluted lime juice be used to wash hair? Will clean sebum, dirt, flaxseed gel, and oils from the hair? ACV dries out my hair even in very dilute quantities, so I’m looking for an alternative. Thanks.

  25. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Yuke,

    Lime juice is very acidic, yet diluted with water the ph would raise. I’m not able to do a pH test for you but a suggestion may be to try washing you hair with clay instead. I really like using rhassoul clay and have recently been playing with yucca root as a cleanser. I tried to go back to only using herbs and clay alone with oils and butters for my hair routine and my hair was a dry greasy mess. My hair responds very well to “natural” conditioners ingredients.

    If you are want to only use simple ingredients you can do a deep conditioning treatment with coconut milk or even a blended banana with honey. I’ve been meaning to try using a banana to deep condition but they always end up in my smoothies. Avocados also work really well as a pre wash conditioning treatment. I’m not a licensed stylist but these are some ideas that may work well for you. Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

    Best wishes,
    Dawn Michelle

  26. hanna says:

    Is it drying to use weekly? can aloe juice be used with ACV to wash hair?

  27. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Hanna,
    This DIY hair wash wasn’t drying to use weekly for my hair yet it is important to pay attention to how your hair responds as we are all different. I am currently loving yucca root as a natural hair cleanser. It is very gentle and softens the hair. With aloe vera and apple cider vinegar together, they are both acidic. With this combination you would need to dilute both a lot with water and use pH strips to ensure a balance where the mix was at least a pH of 4 to be healthy for hair. I wouldn’t suggest this combo otherwise. Have a beautiful day!

  28. luna says:

    Hi
    I have used acv with honey and tea and it leaves a little weird residue. Can I use acv with herbs such as lavender rosemary or nettles as a hair wash?
    btw great site!

  29. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Luna,
    You can infuse herbs into apple cider vinegar. I wrote about doing that here. Also check out using yucca root as a hair wash. It gently cleanses hair and I noticed that it softens my hair as well. Sometimes it takes so time to find exactly what works for you, yet DIY is a lot of fun. Use your intuition on what may work best and go with that. Glad you like the site too!
    Best,
    Dawn Michelle

  30. lila says:

    I want to try washing my hair with vinegar only and I found this article http://hyphenbird.hubpages.com/hub/Ditch-the-Shampoo-Frugal-and-Chemical-Free-Hair-Care
    It says it helps with curls and cleanses well, but is 2 cup of vinegar with 2 cups of water too highly concentrated?

  31. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Lila,
    With most vinegar rinses it is a lot less concentrated yet it does depend on your hair if it would be too strong of a solution. I’m currently really enjoying yucca root as a hair cleanser. Have a beautiful day!

  32. maya says:

    hi dawn,
    I tried the rinse and my hair feels sticky and I still have gunk on my scalp. is that normal? Is this a transitional phase?

  33. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Maya,
    I created this recipe over a year ago and haven’t tried it for sometime. It all depends upon what products you use in your hair as well as the transitioning period from not using traditional shampoos. I added honey to the recipe for a humectant yet feel free to try this without it. I’m currently enjoying yucca root as a hair cleanser. I’ve also had great success with clays. Let me know if you have any other questions.
    Best wishes!

  34. Alana Sayler says:

    Hi Dawn Michelle!

    i have been following your blog for sometime and I want to give you a big KUDOS. I love all of your information and recipes, in fact, I am finding your blog as my “go to” especially since i have started a no-poo regime. i believe i am still in transition but with my weekly henna treatments,I feel my hair is getting better.

    At this moment, I am sitting here with my hair marinating in your Green Tea rinse with marshmallow root added. I can keep you posted with my results.

    You are such an inspiration! I am patiently waiting for your store on Etsy and want to try to convince you to share and/or market your recipe for your homemade conditioner.

    Sincerely a devoted fan,

    Alana

  35. Dawn Michelle says:

    Thank you so much Alana! I am really working hard on my product line. There are so many factors that go into it. I’m also trying to find eco packaging. I so appreciate your enthusiasm! Let me know how your hair comes out. Also yucca root is definitely one of my favorite no ‘poo hair cleansers. Have a beautiful day!

  36. Alana Sayler says:

    Hi Dawn!

    I can only imagine what it would take to get a product line up and running so you will get positive energy from me on that.

    I tried the rinse and i am still trying to figure out what is going to work. i like the marshmallow root added for the slip and conditioning but I think it was too much as it made my hair oily. I have naturally oily hair anyways so I might have to cut back.

    I just made another list for mountain rose and yucca is definitely o. n it as well as some rhassoul clay to speed up my detox. I just did week 2 of the henna challenge and I don’t think I will ever stop. I love Henna!

    Thank you so much again! Have a wonderful day.

    Alana

  37. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Alana, There is always a transition period when you stop using shampoos especially if you have naturally oily hair. If you havent checked out the No ‘Poo Journal online that may help as well with this transition. I experienced a minor transition at the beginning of the year when I stopped using conditioner ingredients such as cetyl alcohol. That’s a blog in itself. Well thanks so much with the good energy around the product line! I wish you the best with everything that you are doing as well!

  38. tabitha says:

    I love this hair rinse. Its helped my thick wavy hair a lot. But its turning my blond hair a weird greenish hue. Any ideas?

  39. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Tabitha,
    I had no idea that green tea could do that! You could swap out the green tea for chamomile tea. Let me know how that works for you.
    Best wishes and happy new year!

  40. tabitha says:

    Hi dawn! I switched the green tea out for chamomile and my hair is slowly losing the green tint. I think it took the tint on because it was bleached very light by the sun this summer on top. Thanks again! I love your site!

  41. Dawn Michelle says:

    I’m so glad the chamomile tea worked out for you Tabitha! That’s great news!

  42. Allyssa says:

    Hi

    The green tea cleanser sounds awesome since im hopping on the “no poo” bandwagon! It seems like a better alternative to rosemary tea. I question the alkalinity of rosemary because i noticed looser curls and straight pieces in my hair and stopped using it.

  43. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Allyssa,
    I hope that you enjoy this cleansing hair rinse. Let me know how it works for you and it’s also great that you are paying close attention to how different ingredients work on your hair. I have learned so much about my hair through the process of truly natural hair care.
    Have a beautiful day <3

  44. Angie1988 says:

    I actually started doing this last week, and flakes are gone, I quit losing my hair, and so far I’m having fantastic results. Honey, tea, and ACV works very well for cleaning hair. Since there is no slip no need to wash every day. :)

  45. Dawn Michelle says:

    Hi Angie1988,
    Thanks is much for sharing this! I’m thrilled this is working well for you!