This question comes from Aj on twitter, 'Do u have any advice about mixing homemade #naturalhair products from a scientific perspective?'
I am not a mixtress because I find commercial products work very well with my hair. I had to play with a lot of things before finally getting there but I did get there (mostly because I finally figured that type 4 hair will never look like type 3 despite what the magazines show.....so yes I can laugh at myself now lol)
Anway, product mixing from a scientific perspective!
1. Clean containers and clean water.
Hygiene is a priority. Use disposable plastic containers or glass containers that you can easily disinfect. Use clean mixing tools ideally made from glass but if not, just make sure they are clean
If you are going to use water, remember it is the number one requirement for bacteria and fungi (i.e water=germ food). Clean water is a must, boil it for 15 minutes (not just boil.....but actually keep it boiling for 15 minutes) then cool it down prior to use. Alternatively filtered water is also good.
2. Scales, paper and labels
Science requires records. Eyeballing (i.e guessing quantities) is the downfall of many mixes. If you take the time to weigh out or measure the quantities, you will be better able to reproduce the mix again. If you tweak it, you can also write this down and know exactly what you did previously. Label the final jars allowing you to know which mix is in which bottle.
3. Oils - general advice
Oils will mix happily with other oils. Always think about what you want
1. Your oil is too thick - water(not literally) it down with a less viscous or easy flowing oil . For example if castor oil is too thick for you, add some olive oil or jojoba oil to it.
2. Your oil is too heavy or too light - add a lighter or heavier oil to it. For example if shea butter is too heavy, add some coconut oil to it. If coconut is too light for you, add some shear butter or castor oil.
3. Your oil is hard in winter - Coconut oil can easily become very solid in winter, contrast this with olive oil which is liquid at low temperature. Mix the two and you have an oil which is not liquid and not too solid
4. You do not like the scent of a particular oil - Add some fragrant essential oil or add another oil with a scent that you like.
4. Conditioners - general advice
Generally the rule here is, mix only what you are going to use. Why? Every conditioner that you buy commercially has an optimum amount of preservative added to it. This preservative prevents growth of bacteria and fungi.
When you mix two conditioners with different preservatives or different preservative levels you can end up reducing or eliminating the antibacterial/antifungal effect.
This is not a problem if you intend to use the product immediately, but it is an issue if you want to keep the product for a long time. Ideally mix once, use immediately. Worst case scenario, put it in the fridge
General thinking advice
1. Conditioner too thick - Add a light oil or water
2. Conditioner not thick enough - Add honey or a liquid oil (easier to mix)
3. Conditioner not moisturising enough - Add glycerin, consider your process before and after washing
Any mixtresses around? Got advice?