Gentle Ylang Ylang and Lemongrass Shampoo

Ylang Ylang Flower on Tree (Cananga odorata)

Ylang Ylang Flower on Tree (Cananga odorata)

This shampoo will not give you multiple orgasms in the shower (more is the pity) a la Herbal Essences Shampoo advertisement. However, it will be kind to your scalp and hair and kind to the fishies when it eventually winds up in the ocean.

I have put a lot of things on my head in an effort to get my hair clean naturally – including cooked lentils and dirt (well, clay). I have tried the “no ‘poo” method which uses baking soda to clean and vinegar to restore pH balance. I found it left my hair quite dry and I didn’t like the smell. Given that hair is healthiest at a slightly acidic pH (but will be okay from a pH of 7 (neutral) down to a pH of 4 (moderately acidic)) I think it better not to clean your hair with a highly alkaline substance such as baking soda (though the internet is full of those who beg to differ).

I like the ritual of shampoo and conditioner and how they make your scalp slick for a nice head massage – so I keep coming back to them. I don’t like to leave shampoo on my hair for long so I tend to keep the massage for when I apply conditioner. The last time I got my haircut and coloured I had a scalp massage so good my whole body went limp within seconds of it starting. Pity about the cut and colour.

You can give yourself a scalp massage each time you condition your hair. Pressure and pace are key to a good scalp massage so make sure when you do it you keep the pace slow and your pressure medium to firm. wikiHow has some good instructions for how to give yourself a scalp massage. Of course if you have a gigantic spa bath or a shower big enough for two, and a willing and adept partner that would even more fabulous.

A standard shampoo contains a surfactant (short for surface active agent – in this case a detergent), water and a preservative and will probably have a thickening agent and something to make it smell nice. Surfactants come in four varieties:

  1. anionic – these are negatively charged and produce a lot of foam e.g. sodium lauryl sulphate
  2. nonionic – these have no charge and are mild and conditioning cleansers e.g. polyglucose and coco glucoside
  3. cationic – these are positively charged and have a strong conditioning action e.g. benzalkonium chloride
  4. amphoteric – these have a positively charged end and a negatively charged end depending on the pH at which it is used e.g. coco betaine (cocoamidopropyl betaine).

Susan over at Point of Interest! has written a lot about surfactants so click on the hyperlink to head over to her blog if you want more information about them. This shampoo is a gentle one (who would ever have guessed that from the title of this post?!) and will not leave your hair feeling stripped and ‘squeaky clean’. If your hair is damaged from hair dye, bleach or that classic summer combo of salt water and sun then this is the shampoo for you.

Basic Formula

  • 50% distilled water
  • 40% surfactant
  • 1-3% essential oil
  • 1% lactic acid
  • .5% gum
  • .5% preservative (follow manufacturer’s direction for usage rate)


To make 250g

Making Gentle Ylang Ylang and Lemongrass Shampoo by The Floral Mixtress

  • 144 g distilled water
  • 75 g polyglucose
  • 25 g cocoamidopropyl betaine
  • 20 drops of essential oil ( I used 5 drops lemongrass, 10 drops ylang ylang and 5 drops sandalwood)
  • 2.5 g lactic acid
  • 1.25 g (3/4 metric tsp) guar gum
  • 1.25 g liquid germall plus


  1.  Place a measuring jug on your scales and tare them.
  2. Weigh your polyglucose, then cocoamidopropyl betaine, then lactic acid into it, taring your scales between each ingredient.
  3. Add 20 drops of your chosen essential oil(s).
  4. Mix the surfactants together with a spoon for one minute and try not to get air into the mixture. You should end up with a thick white liquid.
  5. In a large glass jar weigh your water, tare and then weigh in your preservative.
  6. Gently mix together your water mixture and your surfactant mixture in a large jar or other high-walled container.
  7. Measure your guar gum into a small container on a scale. Take scoops of it out of the container with the handle of a teaspoon and tap this over the container until the desired weight is achieved.
  8. Place a stick blender into your mixture and turn it on.
  9. Keep blending continuously, trying not to get air into the mixture, as you sprinkle over the guar gum. You should have a clear liquid gel.
  10. Using a funnel, pour into your shampoo bottle. For safety reasons, use a plastic bottle.
  11. Go and have some fun in the shower with your gorgeous new creation. Feel free to have multiple orgasms whilst shampooing your hair.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: