Anyone who has tried to buy Earthly Delights Tropical Rain shampoo (one of my Five Best Shampoos) and who doesn't live within spitting distance of the Whole Foods in Chelsea NYC will now it to be frustrating and unrewarding experience. Trying to search for Earthly Delights online will throw up websites with signs on their doors saying "we are not the Earthly Delights shampoo guy". Even Whole Foods distributes to only a few stores in New York. Well, we thought let's do the world a favor and stock it in the TIA shop.

After quite a bit of sleuthing, we tracked down a phone number and spoke to someone for whom the concept of ecommerce was completely foreign. He didn't even have a computer. This clearly wasn't going to be a happening thing. Then I got the idea that something very similar to Tropical Rain would be easy to make, after all the formula is very simple: Distilled water, sage, rosemary, nettles, wheat germ soap, horsetail, essential oils of neroli, cinnamon and coconut. So I set about trying to track down the ingredients. The exercise ended up raising some questions as to what is really in Tropical Rain.

The first problem I encountered was "wheat germ soap". My research made it clear that you can add wheat germ to soap and get wheat germ soap, but this means you need something soapy. So Tropical Rain wasn't really giving us the whole story here. There must, be some kind of foaming agent or surfactant that isn't mentioned. Next I had a problem with the essential oils. Neroli is wildly expensive and essential oil of coconut doesn't exist. I even found a self proclaimed aromatherapist with "years of experience" saying on an online message board that she'd never heard of coconut essential oil and anyone trying to sell it was a con.

I was clearly going to have to make some modifications to my shampoo recipe. I managed to get the rest of the ingredients from a bulk seller of herbal products. I decided to go with soapwort (a plant that can be made into a natural cleanser as my foamer. And I skipped the essentials except for cinnamon. When they arrive, I might even boost this haircare potion with some of the brilliant cleanser and antioxidant, moringa.