My Fair Farmgirl Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,730 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,037 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Cleaning Up/My Fair Farmgirl Expert Level Merit Badge, I decided to focus on one area of moi: my tresses. Those locks of love. My bonny curls. And if it’s first thing in the morning: the birds’ nest atop my noggin.

Being a girly girl, I confess to being tantalized, enraptured, besotted, and smitten with all things hair. Straighteners, curlers, potions, goos, goops, lotions, gels, shampoos, cream rinses, mousses, sprays, leave-ins, detanglers, creams, conditioners …  you name it, this farmgirl has tried it at one point or another. But could it be that all my smoothing and frizzing and combing and rinsing was actually damaging my hair instead of helping it?

I took a look at the ingredients on the back of my favorite shampoo and conditioner and momentarily thought I was attempting to read a different language. Gaelic perhaps? Elfish? Klingon? Baffled and saddened by the knowledge that my “natural” almond conditioner had less almonds and more synthetic ingredients than I could shake a stick at, I tried my hand at creating my own.

The result? Shiny, happy hair that smells delish, a less cluttered shower, and a happier Earth, if I do say so myself.

Brown Sugar Cookie Shampoo Scrub

  • 4 T organic brown sugar
  • 2 T coconut oil or shea butter
  • 1 T local honey

Use to stimulate and clean scalp: massage thoroughly and rinse well.

Apple Cider Rinse

  • organic apple cider vinegar
  • water

Keep in a bottle in your shower and use generously to add shine to your hair.

Marshmallow Detangler

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 marshmallow root
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T oil (coconut, olive, or jojoba)
  • 5-10 drops essential oil, like lavender

Boil the water and steep the marshmallow root (as if you were making tea). Strain through a cheesecloth and add your other ingredients. Keep in spray bottle.

Herbal Hair Rinses
Ingredients (pick the ones that fit what you need):
Catnip: Promotes healthy hair growth.
Chamomile: Softens hair, soothes the scalp, lightens, and conditions (use it with honey to bring out natural highlights). Chamomile is also known to stimulate growth.
Horsetail: Helps brittle hair due to its high silica content.
Lavender: Stimulates hair growth.
Nettle: Conditions; improves texture; and helps with dandruff, irritated scalp, and dry scalp
Parsley: Enriches hair color and gives a nice luster.
Plantain: Great for dry, irritated scalp; dandruff; and seborrhea.
Peppermint: Stimulates the scalp.
Rosemary: Acts as a tonic and conditioner, one of the best herbs to use, gives luster and body, stimulates growth, helps with dandruff, and brings out dark highlights in the hair.
Sage: Very effective in restoring color to graying hair; excellent for weak, brittle hair.
Saw Palmetto: Good for thinning hair and hair loss.
Thyme: Good for oily hair and dandruff.
Witch Hazel: Cleanses hair.

After you’ve decided which herb(s) will get the job done for your type of hair, follow the steps below:

  1. Place the herb(s) in a pitcher (glass is ideal).
  2. Pour boiling water over the herb(s), cover, and steep for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Strain the mixture and allow the liquid to cool.
  4. Pour over your head after your regular shampoo, condition, and detangling session. Do not rinse.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    The past few months I switched to a shampoo bar with vinegar rinse. I love the results and my hair looks very shiny and healthy. I find that the full apple cider odor is too much for me so I mix apple cider with plain white vinegar in a 50/50 mix and that seems to be best for me. It did take me awhile to get over that issue of smelling like a pickle jar with every wash. At first I purchased a rinse that was infused with several herbs but I found it too overpowering in smell. So, plain and simple is better for me and it works!

  2. Oh my, I have waist length fine hair that tangles a lot. I did once use a shampoo bar while travelling in more remote countries but my hair always looked awful. I do try to be natural and now am using a good commercial shampoo without parabens or silicone and few ingredients but its surely not totally natural. Not sure I am ready to make my own shampoos but I do use nice apple cider vinegar or lemon rinses in summertime.

  3. Vanessa says:

    When I was a teen, I used rosemary rinse all the time on my brown hair. It smelled great!

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