Frugal Friday: Natural, Frugal Hair Conditioner

I ran out of hair conditioner the other day.  (With long hair, that happens a lot, actually.)  I have been know to get those “Costco-sized” containers of hair products in the past, just to keep from running out.

But after reading the ingredients on the bottles, as well as eyeing our budget, I decided that I wouldn’t purchase anymore after it was gone.  (It was supposedly a “natural” brand, so I was surprised by what I found on the ingredient list!)  Plus, it just didn’t seem to be providing the results I wanted.  
I really didn’t want the chemical-filled products that I could get free/discounted with coupons, though.  I knew there had to be a better (but still cheaper!) way of cleaning my hair.  After browsing through some different books, I decided to make my own!  
I mixed together a “rinse” of:
  • 3 1/2 Tbl. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbl. Lemon Juice
  • Optional: 1 Tbl. Rose Water and/or 10-15 drops of Essential Oils (I like lavender) 
  • 1 Cup Distilled/Filtered Water

I just poured everything into the old conditioner bottle, and shook it up.  A spray bottle would be ideal for easier application, though.  If you want a “lightening” effect for blonder hair, you can adjust the ratios of lemon juice to vinegar (increasing the lemon juice).

After working this rinse through my hair, I rinsed out it well in the shower water.  Thankfully, there were no lingering vinegar odors.  Calvin was impressed by how soft my hair turned out, and I was pleased to find there weren’t any tangles!  With long hair, I tend to get tangles easily, which is why I have always used lots of conditioner in the first place.  But with my homemade rinse, I was able to easily comb my hair out.  
I especially enjoyed reading the book Aromatherapy Handbook for Beauty, Hair, and Skin Care by Erich Keller while developing this recipe.  
Stop by Biblical Womanhood for more Frugal Friday ideas! 
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6 comments to Frugal Friday: Natural, Frugal Hair Conditioner

  • larisochka

    I recently happened upon your and Lindsay's blogs and was thrilled to find some Christians who are passionate about natural living. I knew they had to be out there, but I've rarely crossed paths with any! Anyhow, I'm thinking of making this conditioner and had a thought. I'm a missionary in Sudan and sun is a major issue there (our clothes bleach just drying out on the line!). And I know as kids we used to use lemon juice to help the sun dye our hair. Do you think the lemon or vinegar in this rinse would make the sun bleach or strip my hair? Because I really want to protect it, not damage it. Thanks!


  • Sarah G.


    Do you think this conditioner would work well for hair that is more coarse and wavy, with a lot of flyaways? Or would it be best for hair that's naturally smooth to begin with?

    Sarah G.


  • Michele @ Frugal Granola

    Larissa- I would suggest avoiding the lemon juice in your case! :) I don't know if apple cider vinegar would have that effect; maybe try it on a small section of your hair first to see.

    Sarah- The texture of your hair shouldn't matter. You may want to additionally add some coconut oil to your hair after washing, like we do with our daughter.

    Michele :)


  • Sarahpuff

    Thanks for your recipes. Hey! I am a Christian too! I am really into eating healthy, organic, unprocessed, raw foods. I am vegan, and I am also really into using all natural products and just starting to make my own! No one at my church understands me, they think I am just a health nut. Some even call me negative because I can’t just enjoy what God has given us because I am so worried about my health. HA! I’m using the brain that God gave me to keep myself healthy! They can come call me negative when they get cancer! I know that’s a horrible thing for me to say, but it’s true! I think I am being smart and they are just being ignorant. Why do they think soooo many people get cancer these days?


  • Rachael W

    Thank you for both the shampoo and conditioner recipes! Back home in California I had started washing my hair with equal parts baking soda and water, then rinsing with distilled white vinegar, then using a tiny bit of store bought conditioner (because I’d yet been able to make my own conditioner successfully!) However we moved to Tulsa, OK in January and the climate change has wreaked havoc on my hair!!!

    How do you add coconut oil to your hair without it being greasy and oily looking? Maybe I haven’t done it the right way, but my hair is always nasty feeling, and super oily when I add coconut oil after a shower. (I normally have dry/frizzy hair) Any suggestions??


    Michele Reply:

    @Rachael W, The coconut oil works great in my daughter’s very curly/dry biracial hair. However, I haven’t put it in my own hair. You might find the homemade shampoo recipe to be less drying on your hair than the baking soda mixture you’re using. You may also want to toss in a bit of aloe vera gel.

    I rarely wash my hair (1-2 times per week), and that keeps the natural oils balanced, so my hair isn’t too oily or too try. You’ll want to figure out what schedule works best for you. :)



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