I’m one of those people who suffer from a very dry scalp. Almost any shampoo I try dries it out and makes it itchy and flaky. So I decided to try to cut down washing my with hair with shampoo to once, maximum twice a week. But I felt like I needed something to refresh it in between. Then I stumbled upon a recipe of a birch hair rinse (in Swedish) over at the Genevad Nygård blog. I just had to try it!
I’m so happy I did! It really gives that smooth rinse between washes and makes the hair feel clean, but not squeaky clean and dried out. I’m sure that with time I will be replacing more of my ordinary hair washes with this. It just takes some time for your hair to adjust to not being stripped of the natural oils from the scalp. If you’re prone to oily hair this might not be for you, or at least it will take longer for your hair to adjust.
Skipping shampoo is also called the “no poo” (no shampoo) method. I have tried some of that before, but I wasn’t a big fan of working with baking soda and vinegar. Some people even say it can damage your hair. As with everything, try things out for yourself and see what works and not.
How to make your own birch hair rinse
So how do you make it?
First you need to get hold of birch leaves. Birch = Betula family and Betula Pendula is the most common variety. Birch leaves contain substances that help clean your hair. According to Tina Melkersson (from the blog mentioned above) it’s best to pick the leaves before midsummer to get the best effect. I stacked up on a stock of some jars full of leaves that I dried.
She also mentions to be careful when you pick them since birch trees “bleed” (release sap) in spring and can be damaged if you pick too many leaves from one single tree. It’s better to take a little bit from several different trees instead.
Take 1-2 tbsp of dried (or one fistful of fresh) birch leaves and put in a glass jar. Fill up with 2-3 dl of cold water. Let it stand for at least 30 minutes and shake it from time to time. You can also leave it in your refrigerator for a few days.
How to use it
If you keep it in the fridge, take it out a bit before you wash your hair – unless you like it freezing cold. 😉
Filter off the leaves. Pour the liquid onto your head and massage it into your scalp and a bit of the lengths.
Rinse with lukewarm water, then use a conditioner if you feel that you need it.
That’s all there is to it. It won’t foam like a shampoo, but you will notice that your hair feels cleaner anyway.