This is a “dry shampoo” that does an amazing job of freshening the hair. It seems to really mobilize the oils and allow me to brush them through my hair. It leaves my hair fluffy, fresh, and smelling of violets.
I've made it and have been using it for over a year with Excellent results.
Nanny Pauline’s Orris Root Airing Powder for the Hair
2 quart glass canning jar
3.5 c. Orris Root Powder
3 c. Cornstarch
3-9 drops Rosemary EO
3-9 drops Lavender EO
3-9 drops Honey EO (I used Honey Absolute, I hope it's the same)
9 dried rose petals or 9 little pieces of silk about the size of rose petals.
1. Put 1 c. of Orris Root powder in the jar
2. Put 2 c. of the cornstarch in the jar
3. Close and roll a bit to mix. Do not shake.
4. Put 1-3 drops of EO on a rose petal or silk swatch and drop in the jar after the oil is well absorbed. Roll the jar a bit (don't shake). Do this with each drop of EO. Roll in between additions.
5. Put the rest of the Of the powders in and roll again.
6. Place the powder in a cool cupboard for 3 weeks, Roll jar every couple of days. It takes a while for the oils to integrate with the powders.
7. Store in an airtight canning jar or in a wax paper bag inside a tin—in a cool dry place.
I also need to stress--don't open the jar after you roll it, you'll get a cloud of powder. If you shake the jar, just don't open it for quite a while.
How to Use the Airing Powder:
1. Put some of the powder into a fairly free flowing salt shaker. You can keep it in the shaker if the shaker has an airtight lid. (I used a glass spice jar that has a shaker and screw on lid)
2. Cut some cheesecloth into squares that are slightly larger than your boar bristle brush. Remove all the old hairs from your brush and use a clean brush if possible.
3. Starting on top of head, sprinkle powder as close to scalp as possible. I part every 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Pay special attention get it to the scalp. 1 tablespoons of powder is enough, try not to use more than 2 Tbl.
4. Lift hair gently with fingers next to scalp. The idea is to create a little friction. You can shift your hair around, lifting and letting the powders move a bit at the scalp if you like. Sometimes I flip my head forward, side and back a few times.
5. After 20 minutes (or longer) begin to brush carefully with BBB. It is important to brush thoroughly with a clean BBB first, without the cheesecloth. This lets the oils polish your hair.
6. After completely brushing once, start putting cheesecloth over brush.
(Get the hair out of the brush and press a single layer of cheesecloth into the brush a bit. It helps to collect the powder and rub it against your hair.)
6. If necessary, repeat the whole procedure. (I’ve never done an immediate repeat, but it’s in the original recipe this way.)
7. Your hair will be fluffy and smell wonderful.
I do find that no matter what, I seem to use nearly 1½ Tbl. I put some in an empty spice jar that has a shaker and a cover for application.
You could make a 1/3 recipe quite easily.
Important Notes from Gladtobemom:
1) don't use this on clean hair, it's really tough to get out of clean hair
2) be patient, don't try to remove it too soon
3) if you brush your hair in sections first, then in larger clumps, the powder seems to create better gloss.
4) I find that it is important to sprinkle it close to the roots and to sort of stick my fingers in and lightly shake/massage after it is in.
5) If you try to remove it too soon, it is much more difficult to remove. The neat thing is that if you miss some, later it will just swell up with oil and be easy to brush out.
6) When I’m brushing it out, stroking the oily powder (now laden with sebum) through my hair generates a lot of gloss.
7) Then I clean my brush with a comb and start with the cheesecloth. I get it all out fairly easily. It is easily it brushed out. A lot of the powder sticks to the cheesecloth. Each time I change it (a single ply, 4-10 times), my hair just gets shinier.
About the cheesecloth:
--I just cut cheesecloth into rectangles slightly larger than the surface of my brush. Separate the cheesecloth into single layers.
--I pull the hairs out of my brush then press a single layer of cheesecloth about 3/8 of an inch into it.
--Then go on brushing.
Nanny's sister, Mary, was thrilled to hear I was putting these recipes on the web. She offered these words:
This recipe is based on their mother's recipe. It originally had fresh fragrant violet petals in it too. She would add at least 200 blossoms straight to the jar while in the garden.
The Essential Oils that are in the recipe are not there for fragrance.
She says the Honey E.O. is for shine and "fuzz control". She also says that if you leave out the Lavender or get cheated into buying fake lavender oil, the powders can go “off.”
Rosemary is for shine and is an antiseptic, astringent, helps make the hair shiney, and "is good for hair growth."
Lavender is an antiseptic (strong one). Good deodorant quality.
P.S. She cracks me up. Mary says that she and Nanny are only, "reasonable facsimiles" of their mother, who made everything from scratch.
Honey absolute is used in perfume making. It turns out that the combination of Honey and Vanilla absolute are used alot in perfume making.
Shalimar has a vanilla with honey base.
Honey absolute is also used for Catholic Church candles. Those gigantic beeswax candles they use in Catholic churches have honey absolute, Propolis, beeswax, and amber in them. That’s why they smell so good when they burn.
I looked up some information at the library and only found honey E.O. listed in perfumery books. It's considered a middle/base note that is full bodied and sweet.
I found one reference to Honey E.O. being used in a hair pomade. The pomade contained Macassar Oil, Honey E.O., beeswax, and a few other E.O.'s. This was in a book titled, "Womanly Guide to Home and Health" It was so old that it didn't have a copyright page.
The Honey Absolute was purchased from Biblical Scents (they were the only place I could find it in stock). The honey absolute smells very sweet and rich. It does add to the aroma of the powder.
Honey Absolute, Honey Essential Oil
From Nature with Love also sells Honey Absolute:
Page Does Not Exist - FNWL
I did make a small batch without the honey EO. It worked nearly as well. Honey EO (asolute), smells heavenly absolutely intoxicating, so I did miss the smell. But the effect of leaving it out was surprising--my root area stayed flatter and my ends were sort of tangly without it. It is supposed to be a strong humectant. And the combination of this and the Rosemary EO seem to be the source of the clean shiney hair look and smell.
I’ve also tried using just cornstarch, left my hair tangly and dull.
Orris Root alone actually works fairly well, but it doesn’t do quite as good at soaking up the scalp oil and making my hair fluff away from my scalp. My hair was far less shiny also.
Orris root powder has a pretty strong violet/iris scent if it is perfume grade. If it is the lower grade, it smells more earthy and slightly green. Both work well for this recipe. I vastly prefer the perfume grade because I just love the scent, but it is much more pricey.
As always, let us know your recipe and how it worked out.