"I tried to make my own shampoo and nearly scrambled eggs in my hair."

Image: supplied.

I’m not what you’d call a DIY person. I’m always forgetting to bring my own lunch, my baking skills leave a lot to be desired and I dread to think how useless I would be if ever handed a hammer.

But I’m also the kind of person who gets carried away easily, especially when I have new things.

So after recently purchasing and flicking through the Neal’s Yard Remedies‘ all natural beauty book, I thought nothing of signing myself up to the challenge of using only natural skincare products for a week.

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And I’m not talking natural as in pleasant smelling organic products that come in nice packaging, I mean DIY, homemade, brewed-in-the-kitchen kind of products.

“How hard can it be?”, I told myself. Ah, the naivety.

Considering my scientific skills and knowledge are severely limited (I chose environmental science at school as soon as chemistry, biology and physics were no longer compulsory), I decided to try and keep it simple. (Post continues after gallery.)

Anything that required five or more ingredients was immediately struck off the list, as was anything that required dried rose petals, frankincense (do I look like a wise man?) and emulsifying wax (sounds far too intimidating).

I ended up with recipes for four products – shampoo, conditioner, a hair mask and toothpaste.

So on a rainy Saturday I hit the shops with my shopping list. Turns out the regular supermarket just won’t do.

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I thought I had picked recipes that required not ordinary but not uncommon ingredients – things like coconut oil, glycerine and essential oils. After no luck in the supermarket, I stumbled upon a health shop and managed to tick off most things in the list, although I was surprised by just how expensive everything was.

Once I got in the kitchen, I laid out all the ingredients, chanelled my inner Hermione and got cooking. Well mixing, but there were measurements involved too.


The recipe for "Herbal toothpaste" calls for a delicious mix of bicarbonate of soda, glycerin, table salt and drops of rosemary, thyme and sweet fennel essential oils. I couldn't find fennel oil, so I settled for mixing ground fennel into the mix. "How different could it be?" I justified. That should give you an indication of how this particular product went.

Brittany whipped up toothpaste in her kitchen. As you do.

The mix doesn't make much and looks a bit like marzipan. Unfortunately it doesn't smell that way, giving off a very strong fennel odour. Oops.

I'm hesitant as I put it on my toothbrush. I take a deep breath, close my eyes and start brushing... and immediately start gagging. It tastes DISGUSTING. I actually spit it out (not that you can swallow it anyway!) and proceed to wash my mouth out with gallons of water, and brush my teeth with normal toothpaste just to rid myself of the taste.

My homemade toothpaste. Yep.

Sorry nature, I don't think I could stomach this one again.


The first hair washing product on my list is the shampoo or "cleansing hair paste", which requires the simple mix of bicarbonate of soda, water and two drops of rosemary essential oil.


It should be impossible to mess this up, but I manage it. The process reminds me of trying and failing to make icing as a child. When it doesn't look right, I keep on adding more water, then more bicarb until it's a solid mess. The second time, it finally looks like a paste.

Swapping my trusted favourites for homemade.

Using it in the shower feels like I'm putting grit and sand in my hair. There's no real smell (which I'll realise later is a blessing) and I leave it in for three minutes before rinsing with warm water. My hair doesn't feel as soft as it usually does after washing, but it does feel relatively clean.

Hair Rinse

I follow my hair paste, with a "Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse" which promises to cleanse and balance the hair, smooth the cuticles and make hair look shiny. It needs just one part cider vinegar to four parts water, and lists three essential oils as optional. I leave them out.

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In the shower, I pour it over my hair, mouth and eyes clenched shut for fear of getting vinegar in them. The smell of the vinegar is very, very strong, and the two minutes pass painfully slow. My hair feels gross and knotted although the smell does disappear after several rinses.


The "Coconut Conditioner" is the nicest sounding product on my list. Unfortunately, it was the worst one to use. The mix of egg yolk, coconut oil and coconut milk goes slightly gloopy during the waiting time and while it smells like coconut cake, it looks a little bit like vomit. Hmm.

I'm not sure I want to swap my usual hair products for these...

Because of the raw egg, the recipe advises washing off with cold water. I refuse to wait five minutes in the shower under cold water though, so I precariously try to shave my legs under the warm water and keep my hair out of it.

In addition to nearly slipping over thanks to my dangerous balancing, I manage to get some of the conditioner in my mouth, start gagging and my hair goes under the hot water. In just a few seconds, the eggs feel like they're starting to scrambe. Great.

Luckily I realise quickly, and am able to rescue my hair from turning into an omelette. I  wash it off, and surprisingly my hair feels reasonably soft.


Here's Brittany: post egg scrambling debacle.

While I wasn't impressed how my hair felt immediately after, it dried really well and felt super soft (and clean!) for a good few days. I was concerned that my hair would get greasy quickly and I'd have to wash it daily, but it lasted as long as my usual hair washing routine did.

It certainly wasn't a relaxing and luxurious experience, and I think I almost got hypothermia from the constant temperature change each product required, but the results were good.

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As for the toothpaste? There are somethings that are better when you make them yourself. A cake, a cup of tea made just the way you like, even a thoughtful homemade card. Toothpaste, as it turns out, is definitely NOT one of those things. Leave it to the professionals.

Looking for natural beauty products? I'd stick to these.

Have you ever tried making your own beauty products?

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