How to Make Conditioner at Home: With One Ingredient - hair buddha
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How to Make Conditioner at Home: With One Ingredient

homemade hair conditioner


Life is good and beautiful when it’s kept simple.

And this homemade conditioner recipe is also very simple. Made with just one ingredient – marshmallow root – it does everything that a good conditioner is supposed to do. It nourishes and detangles hair, seals in moisture, and leaves hair looking soft, bouncy and lustrous.

Don’t confuse marshmallow root with marshmallow sweets. But the name has a link. In the olden days marshmallow sweets were made using the gummy/gluey properties of marshmallow root. Not anymore, now the sweets are made using gelatine.

Marshmallow root: Where does it come from

Marshmallow Plant

Marshmallow Plant

As the name suggests… it comes from marshmallow plant. I didn’t know about it until I came to the UK. And I am so happy to have found this fab herb.

Marshmallow is a perennial herb that bears hibiscus-like flowers and grows to a height of 6-7 feet. These plants are usually found on the banks of the river and in salt marshes by the sea and in other damp areas, hence getting its name ‘marshmallow’. Marshmallow is native to Europe, Northern Africa, and Central and Western Asia.

The root of marshmallow is rich in mucilage – which means it gets really gooey when prepared with water. It doesn’t sound pretty, but this slimy substance has some amazing benefits.

From a sore throat and laryngitis to acid reflux, it brings relief by coating the irritated tissue linings. After your insides are all good and coated, marshmallow’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions give them chance to heal naturally.

These same properties are also great for soothing and relieving your scalp. It will aid in treating scalp problems like eczema, psoriasis and dry scalp.

And for your hair, the mucilage provides the much-needed slip for easy detangling and combing.

Marshmallow Root Makes a Fab ConditionerMarshmallow root

  • It deep conditions hair and hydrates every strand
  • Leave hair soft, shiny and bouncy
  • The slippery mucilage makes detangling very easy
  • It promotes hair growth (due to its high content of plant proteins and vitamins)
  • Tames frizz and flyaways
  • Greatly reduces split ends and hair breakage
  • Soothes dry and itchy scalp

Marshmallow root is a must-try: if you have dry, brittle hair, or if you are struggling with knots, frizz and lifeless strands

It’s moisturising and emollient qualities makes hair really soft and creates a silky shine. While the slippery substance – mucilage – provides slip like a conditioner and makes detangling very easy. So you will have no more hair breakage.

High in plant proteins, marshmallow nourishes and thickens hair strands as well as promotes healthy hair growth. Regular use of this herb, will make your hair smoother and silkier, increase manageability, and restore lustre and bounce.

People with scalp conditions that are irritated, red and flaky might find it useful, too.

Why make conditioner at Home?

Because you have full control over what goes into it. Store bought conditioner have ingredients such as dimethicone that can clog hair follicles, artificial colour and perfume that can irritate your scalp, and other nasties. Also, certain conditioners may cause stunted growth or even hair loss.

How to Make Marshmallow Conditioner

To make a basic conditioner you only need marshmallow root and water. But you can personalise the conditioner by adding other optional ingredients given below. If you want to choose one, I would choose between aloe vera gel or apple cider vinegar (AVC).

You will need:

Optional add-ins (you can use one or more)

  • 1-2 teaspoon aloe vera gel (gives hair body, bounce and gloss)
  • 1 teaspoon almond oil or macadamia nut oil (provides extra moisture, especially useful for dry, coarse hair)
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil (adds fragrance; soothes dry flaking scalp and promotes hair growth
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerine or raw honey (it helps capture the moisture from the air to keep your hair moisturized, and it also helps with curl definition and frizz reduction)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar ( AVC clarifies as it conditions the hair and scalp, and revitalizes dull hair)
  • 2-3 teaspoon orange juice or lime juice (citrus juices remove residue build up; stimulate the scalp and help fight dandruff)

How to make

There are 3 ways you can make marshmallow conditioner.

1. Simple and easy: add marshmallow root and water in a bowl/jar, give it a stir and let it sit overnight (or 6-8 hours). Strain and you’re done!

2. Steep in hot water: place marshmallow root in a bowl/jar and pour 1-2 cups of boiling water over it. Let it steep, covered, until cool. Strain and use. (add any optional ingredients you like.)

3. Make a strong conditioner

  • Add marshmallow root and water to a small pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it ‘steep’ until cool.
  • Strain the liquid and it’s ready to use!

If you wish, you can add the optional ingredients to the cooldown liquid: aloe vera gel, almond oil, lavender oil. Shake/stir well and use. (you can feel free to use any carrier oil or essential oil you like)

Tip: Soak the marshmallow root in water for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Soaking helps release more of its properties into the water, and therefore make stronger conditioner.

marshmallow root in water

Add marshmallow root and water to a small pan


Homemade conditioner

Bring to a boil


marshmallow root conditioner

Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it steep, covered, until cool. Strain the liquid and you’re done!

Marshmallow root hair conditioner

Marshmallow root hair conditioner

Here’s the freshly made marshmallow root conditioner.

Marshmallow root hair conditionerHow to use

Wash your hair as usual. Pour the conditioning rinse slowly over hair and work through from roots to tips. Also, rub it into your scalp and let it sit for 4-5 minutes. Rinse with water and let your hair dry naturally.

Tip: You can use a squeeze bottle to pour the conditioner on your hair

More Herbs that you can add in the conditionerhibiscus hair conditioner

I really like to combine marshmallow with hibiscus. It makes a lovely red colour conditioner and is very effective in softening and smoothing the hair. Hibiscus also seals the cuticles – this helps to remove all your knots and tangles with ease as well as adds incredible shine to it.

Play around with other herbs and see what works for you. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Hibiscus (use 1 tablespoon dried flowers)
  2. Shikakai (use 2-3 pods): Due to its saponin content, shikakai makes a cleansing conditioner, ideal for oily hair. It balances scalp pH and makes hair soft, silky and bouncy. (you can also use soap nut or reetha instead of shikakai).
  3. Basil leaves  (use 1 tablespoon): basil adds lustre and shine to dull hair; also helps to soothe the irritated scalp.
  4. Chamomile flower (use 1-2 teaspoon): Along with conditioning, chamomile adds highlights to blond hair.
  5. Slippery elm (1-2 teaspoon): Similar to marshmallow it’s high in mucilage and makes a fantastic addition to homemade conditioner.
  6. Oat straw (1 tablespoon): Add softness, body and shine to hair; also brings out highlights in blond hair.
  7. Rosemary (1-2 teaspoon): helps condition hair and scalp; adds dark highlights

How to thicken the conditioner?

I don’t mind using thin liquidy conditioner.

But if you want your conditioner to be thick like store-bought, add natural thickeners like guar gum or xanthan gum.

Sprinkle about ½teaspoon guar gum/xanthan gum to the liquid conditioner and blend it with a hand mixer – till it thickens up.

You can also try whisking with a fork; it will take a bit longer.

How to Store Homemade Conditioner

Without preservatives, it will keep for up to a week. But if it works for your hair, you can make a large batch and freeze it in ice cube trays.

Use 2 to 4 cubes depending on the length of your hair.

Where to Buy Marshmallow Root

You can find marshmallow root at a health food store. If not, it’s available online. Click here to buy marshmallow root online.

Happy creating! 

And enjoy your soft, shiny, beautiful hair!

What do you think? Have you tried marshmallow root before? What did you make? Share your thoughts…


You may also like:

Ditch Conditioner, Use Hair Rinse: 6 Hair Rinse Recipes for Gorgeous Hair

Coconut Milk Hair Conditioner for Dry, Coarse Hair

Miracle Hair Mask for Hair Growth, Thickness and Dandruff

Castor oil and Egg Hair Mask for Faster Hair Growth and Thicker Hair

Leave a Comment:

bj says November 17, 2017

Where can u buy this marshmallow root in USA? Walk-in stores? What type? You should always tell folks what kind of stores sell the particular items. We have no idea where to look.

    Minaz says November 19, 2017

    You will find it in health store or check online.

shy says November 3, 2017

Hello Mam..:)
I stay in India & not getting the Marshmallow root.So is there any other replacement of Marshmallow root that will work as same as the Marshmallow root conditioner??Kindly suggest me Mam.

neel says October 1, 2017

Hi Minas
I have been reading ur articles on this site. Very impressive. I want to try marshmallow conditioner but unable to get it. Can U Pl tell me where can I get marshmallow root I. I live in Chennai and it would be nice if U can let me know its Tamil or Kannada name.
Awaiting reply.


neel says September 30, 2017

Hi minas,

Can U Pl tell me where will get marshmallow root on Chennai India? Tried but not able to. Also wad appreciate if you know its Tamil or Kannada name

    Minaz says October 18, 2017

    Hi Neel, use licorice root instead. I am not sure if you get marshmallow root in India.

Iga says September 27, 2017

Marshmallow conditioner is wonderful! I am so glad I made it (so easy!). I always liked those pretty and mysterious white flowers when walking outside in my neighborhood and I had no idea how good they are for us… Anyway, try this concoction if your hair is dry and frizzy. You do not have to spend a lot of money, just purchase the tea (I got mine from Celebration Herbs), soak 2TBS in a large glass jar overnight and strain in the morning. Wash your hair with your favorite (chemical free) shampoo and apply the marshmallow for 2-3 mins or longer, rinse. Your hair will have a beautiful texture and more body. It will even look better the next day. Thank you Hair Buddha (where do you get all of your amazing ideas from?)!

deep moisturizing cream says September 13, 2017

I haven’t tried marshmallow root as a hair conditioner. Is it as good as virgin coconut oil or ojon oil? Nice choice of herbs to go with this conditioner. Hibiscus is one of my favorite flowers and I used to apply it’s extract as a leave in conditioner.

Sofia says August 22, 2017

I love reading all of your articles! You provide so much background information as to why this works and it really proves your website to be trustworthy. Thank you for sharing!

LLoyd S. Gordon says August 22, 2017

What a wonderful post! My hair is soft and mildly frizzy once dried out but dead straight when wet with ‘Almighty God’s Hair Shampoo & Conditioner’. I have been seeking an alternative hair shampoo that will not require me to have ‘gooy glonk’ on my hair and killing off my follicles. I do believe that your Marshmallow/Hibiscus idea should work for me, and it is so simple. I am already acquainted with the Hibiscus plant’s gelatinous extract. Do share any ideas that you may care to at my Facebook site (not too too frequently, and message me. A friendship request would be in order if you care to make one! Best wishes!

    Minaz says August 25, 2017

    Thanks lloyd. Let me know how it works for you.

Thrive T says August 20, 2017

Didn’t know there was a marshmallow plant and roots were so useful. Now I can make conditioner at home :)…… It’s so simple just ordered marshmallow root. Will definitely give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

    Minaz says August 25, 2017

    Hi Tina, marshmallow root is one of my favorite, let me know how it works for you.

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