In May, Chris bought me 2 aloe plants from the local high school FFA! I have been wanting aloe plants for a long time but I have never gone out to buy them. It was a wonderful surprise! The best part was that one of the plants had a ton of pups (new growth from the mother plant).
I took the whole plant out of the pot, I knocked off some of the dirt so I could see the roots and separated out each pup with as much root growth as possible for each one.
I was able to separate out around 14 little pups!
The four biggest pups were planted in clay pots with leaf mulch, and the rest were planted throughout the garden. Aloe is apparently very easy to care for. I keep my aloe inside, and only water when the leaves feel squishy instead of firm (I give them a good soak once every 3-4 weeks). It can’t get any easier than that! The photos above were taken in early May when I got the plants. Today, 3 months later, I took a few more. The transplant is already producing its own pups! The mother aloe plants have also grown quite a bit and need to repotted in bigger containers.
Now that I have fresh aloe, I decided to put it to good use and make shampoo! Most regular shampoos strip the hair of it’s natural oils. Which causes the oil glands in your scalp to go into overdrive and produce more oil to compensate, quickly causing greasy hair. For the last 3 years I have been looking for a good hair care option. I have tried washing my hair with baking soda (made my hair dry and brittle) and I have used different kinds of ‘natural’ shampoos (very expensive) and I wanted something better. I was delighted to find a recipe for a homemade shampoo that was pH balanced that nourished instead of stripped the scalp. The only ingredients in this pH Balanced Shampoo are equal amounts each of coconut milk and aloe.
I made homemade coconut milk by putting 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut in a bowl with a little over 1/2 cup boiling hot water. I used my immersion blender to blend it up for 1 minute and then I strained out the shredded coconut.
I harvested the aloe by cutting off the leaves from the base of the plant with a sharp knife. I trimmed off the pointed parts on each side and slit it through the middle. I used the back of the knife to scrape off the gel from each piece into the measuring cup. Then I used my immersion blender again to blend the aloe and coconut milk together.
It only lasts a week in the fridge so I froze the majority of it in ice cube trays. Now I just take a cube out and let it defrost in a small container before I want to take a shower, and put the rest in the fridge. 1 cube lasts for 3 hair washes or 1 week of use.
I have been using this shampoo for 2 1/2 weeks now and I really love it. The caveat is this will not produce suds. This is not a problem for me, but it is something you want to prepare yourself for :).
For the first week I think my hair was adjusting as it felt greasier than normal. But now it feels great, and my hair feels really healthy. Besides feeling healthy and not needing conditioner anymore, my hair has more volume and is easier to style too!
Now for the cost breakdown. I made 1 cup of shampoo by blending 1/2 cup each of coconut milk and aloe vera gel. It made 9 cubes. The aloe was free and I only used 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, so I spent roughly $0.20 making almost 3 months worth of shampoo. I love it when the natural option is also the frugal option!
UPDATE: As of August 2014, I am still using this shampoo and I love it! I have the same aloe plants and harvest a few leaves for more shampoo every 3-6 months. It gives my hair texture and keeps it moisturized a lot better than when I was using chemical shampoos.