DIY Hair Detangler | Switch it Up Series

DIY Hair Detangler | Switch it Up Series

Looking to switch personal care products for more ethical alternatives? One daily product we use is hair detangler, here is how you can make it yourself.

We’ve been experimenting with home-made detanglers after getting sick of using artificial smelling and sticky stuff from the pharmacy or supermarket (that didn’t even work). I was having better success with straight coconut oil for getting knots out of her fine hair except it leaves little one’s hair a bit too slick and oily looking. After some practice, I have found a simple recipe that you can use to make yourself an ethical alternative to store-bought chemical products that works great to help detangle hair and can also be used to repel lice.


1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil (sold in Woollies in Australia, it’s the one that is always liquid)

8 drops of essential oil (see suggestions below)

1/4 cup water

A splash of emulsifier to mix it all together: some options include aloe vera gel, castille soap, natural dishwashing detergent.


Repurpose a cleaned and disinfected spray bottle and mix all oil ingredients and emulsifier, and wait an hour before adding watery ingredients.  More on emulsifying can be found here. Put simply, pre-mix the oils and the emulsifying agent prior to adding the water.

You can add more essential oil in if it’s for an adult (I recommend up to between 10 and 15 depending on your taste). Lavender, rosemary, tea tree, peppermint are all good for hair – any of the flavours you see in store-bought shampoos or conditioners are a good place to start.

You can play with the proportions of oil and water depending on the thickness of your child’s hair.

As an added bonus tea tree keeps the lice at bay, as will the vinegar.

Give it a good shake before use and tweak the ingredients to suit your preference. I can help you find quality ingredients but if you’re not sure where to get them you are welcome to message me or comment below.

Go ahead and share your results in the comments below. And if you have any requests for other products you’d like to be in this Switch It Up Series let me know.


Not sure you want to make it yourself? Go here for more ethical home options from an Australian certified B Corp supplier. 

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Contact me now (or send me a message on Instagram) to receive a free non-toxic DIY cleaning booklet full of easy recipes for products like all-purpose spray, air fresheners or creme cleansers just to name a few.


Click here and let me send you a bonus PDF, “Soulful Parenting: Three Simple Ways to Raise Thriving Resilient Kids”. Alena Turley is a writer, educator, ethical digital creator and mother of three based in Freshwater Beach, Sydney. I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we live, learn and create. I recognise that this land has long been a place of living, learning, and creating.


  1. 12 November 2019 / 12:26 am

    Thanks for sharing. My daughter has curly hair which is a nightmare to comb through unless you use a lot of conditioner. Will give it a go. 🙂

    • admin
      12 November 2019 / 10:02 am

      Hi Ree, I know what you mean. You could potentially do some experimenting with quantities of ingredients (perhaps more coconut oil?) for curly hair. You’ll notice it doesn’t necessarily work like a shop-bought detangler and you may need to spray a little more on the curls than for bought brands but the residue is health-making rather than health-taking if that makes sense. My daughter’s hair is a lot healthier since I started using it and a lot less dry. Do let me know how you go or if you have any questions.

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