Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

How to Wash Your Hair Without Shampoo

It’s been over a year since I told you I stopped wearing deodorant, so I guess it’s about time I get fresh and honest with you again.

It’s also been over a year since I washed my hair with shampoo regularly.

It was June of last year when my last bottle of shampoo emitted its last drops, which signified my self-appointed deadline to try the “no ‘poo” baking soda shampoo method for washing my hair.

A woman with long blonde hair

Lesson one: I wish I would have started washing hair with no shampoo NOT in the summer.

Why No ‘Poo?

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to go without shampoo; here are the two most prominent ones for me:

  1. Shampoo includes chemicals, which are absorbed into your scalp even faster than other products because of the steam of the shower.
  2. Shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils, which has a couple trickle down impacts:
    1. You need to use conditioner, another product with chemicals, to compensate for the loss of natural oil.
    2. Your scalp responds by producing more oil than usual, which means you’re more likely to get greasy hair faster.

As for why this method has been termed no ‘poo, I suppose people got tired of saying, “I don’t use shampoo. No, really – my hair is clean. I use baking soda, see? I’m not crazy…” No ‘poo is more fun. 🙂

Lesson two: This is not exactly something I advertise far and wide. People definitely think it’s weird.

The Basic No ‘Poo Method

baking soda to wash hair no poo method

The replacement for the chemical shampoo is baking soda and water, and a diluted apple cider vinegar acts as the “conditioner” rinse. People have to use varying amounts and frequencies depending on their hair type, but the general strategy is:

  • Use 1 Tbs baking soda to a cup of water – you can mix in an old shampoo bottle
  • Shake the bottle to combine, then sprinkle evenly on your scalp
  • Allow to sit a minute, then scrub your scalp in circles with your fingernails, working the baking soda through evenly, especially on the top
  • Rinse with warm water while scrubbing
  • Use 1-2 Tbs apple cider vinegar per cup of water – I mix this in a spray bottle, but others just use a cup and dip their hair
  • Apply as needed to detangle and clarify
  • Rinse well, preferably in cold water on the scalp at the end to close the pores back up. This one I just can’t handle in the winter sometimes, but it is easier if you have a hand-held shower head so your whole body doesn’t have to frigidify just to get your scalp cold!

Lesson three: There’s a catch. Before your scalp adjusts to not having to battle shampoo by overproducing oil, you’ll have to endure a period of greasy hair.

The Oil Problem (Greasy Hair)

It makes perfect sense. Your scalp has been used to being stripped of oil every day or every other day, and its habit was to generate a bunch more to fill the gap. Now you’re not stripping it at all, and it takes a while for your scalp to realize what’s going on.

With nothing to cut the grease, your hair will likely go through an adjustment period where it’s quite greasy. This is why winter (at least in my climate) is a slightly better time to try it than summer, because you won’t have to deal with additional sweat.

Personally, I think my adjustment period lasted 6 weeks. It’s amazing I ever came out on the other side! That’s exceedingly long, and there a few reasons for it:

  1. I had really long hair. I don’t know if that hurt anything, but I doubt it helped.
  2. I wasn’t using enough baking soda at first.
  3. I wasn’t smart enough to look up the method again or try any experiments with amounts or procedures for quite some time. I just waited for it to “work” without trying to fight it. As soon as I increased the baking soda considerably, things started looking up!
  4. Some find that the vinegar rinse needs a lot of personalization: spraying on the scalp was important for me, but Stephanie found that her hair was greasier if the ACV rinse touched her scalp. Many also find that they only need the rinse every other wash or once a week. With my long hair, I needed it every time. At first, as with the baking soda, I wasn’t experimenting much because I didn’t know what to look for.

Lesson four: Do experiment and expect success, instead of waiting around for your greasy adjustment period to end.

My No ‘Poo Method and Results

It does work! I remain amazed that my hair is not greasy, and in fact, I’ve found that it’s less greasy on day two (I’m an every other day shower girl) than right after the shower since I did this:

Using a rule to measure hair that has been cut
I sent this in to Locks for Love, where they make wigs for cancer patients.

Having a foot less hair changed the way the no ’poo system worked, in my opinion. It’s only been two weeks, so more experimentation is needed (see how I catch on?). I’m wondering if I should use less baking soda and/or fewer vinegar rinses.

Here’s how I wash my hair without shampoo:

  1. I pour baking soda in an old shampoo bottle to about 1/4 full, then top off with warm water. This separates and needs to be shaken every shower. I use quite a bit more baking soda than 1 Tbs/cup of water, but it’s what I needed to make the method work when I had very long hair.
  2. I shake the bottle over my head about 6-7 times, then scrub vigorously with my fingernails. I’ve also had decent success with putting about a 1/2-1 Tablespoon of baking soda directly in my palm, adding a little water, and putting it on my scalp. This is what I do when traveling, and I often just skip the rinse if I’m only gone a weekend.
  3. I spray the ACV water all over my hair and scalp and leave it in a minute or two, then rinse. I used to end the shower with cold water (I have a shower head that detaches, so I can hit my scalp and not the rest of my body), but I’m such a wimp in the winter. This may help my short hair adjustment period, though, so I may have to grin and bear it.
  4. Although I didn’t at all at first, because I was afraid of stripping my oils and having to go through 6 weeks of greasy hair, I do use a regular shampoo about once a week. Sometimes it’s the NaturOli shampoo bar, other times it’s an organic random shampoo I got at Rite Aid.

Added bonus to the method – when you refill the shampoo bottle, spill some of the baking soda (you will anyway) and use it to clean your tub. The tub that looked more or less clean at my house, with the power of baking soda and the palm of my hand, let loose more dirt and grime than I ever expected to be rewarded with.

The Drawbacks of No ‘Poo

  • Your hair might smell like vinegar. If so, you’re probably using too much vinegar and should dilute it further with water. However, you’ll never have that shampoo smell, which may bum your husband out.
  • Traveling can be more of a hassle. It can also be less, because you don’t have to wash your hair that often.
  • It’s not a hands-off method. You might have to make adjustments, especially at first, but also when you cut your hair, get pregnant, or the season changes. It takes more involved thought than “lather, rinse.”
  • Your hair will probably feel different. My mom is the one who cut my hair last week (thanks, Mom!), and she said that the texture of my hair was “awfully different.” How can I describe it? It’s almost stickier, but not sticky like tape.
  • My brush gets full of baking soda residue. Or something residue. My brush is a mess. This probably is a sign that I’m using too much or something, but as we’ve established, I can be pretty dense sometimes. 😉

All in all, it’s still worth it to me to take this “crunchy” step, and it certainly makes for interesting conversation…or it would, if I was courageous enough to bring it up in person.

Other no shampoo resources and stories:

Not brave enough for no ‘poo? Here’s my list of other green personal product options or you could try whipping up your own ph balancing shampoo recipe from my friend Jess.

Entered in Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, and Frugal Fridays at Life as MOM.

Photo by Mike Baird, Rowdy Kittens (link no longer available).

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

69 thoughts on “How to Wash Your Hair Without Shampoo”

  1. I haven’t washed my hair for 10 years. I only use water, and for a ‘treat’, plain raw honey or aloe gel. Once my hair settled into its own natural oils (about 6 weeks) it’s never been better.

  2. I’ve been using this for about a month and it certainly works just as well as commercial products–at least for me! And for a bonus, it doesn’t leave my eyes bloodshot for an hour afterwards if it runs onto my face (which almost always happens. I feel pretty confident the SLS is to blame.)

    However, I can’t help but notice that I end up using a lot more liquid than I used to with commercial products. With commercial products, I would use less than a handful for both shampoo and conditioner. With this method, I’m using a cup or more of each.

    Since it’s pure liquid form, obviously the extra fluid is because it runs off my head and right down the drain. I’m wondering if there’s some sort of “homemade” ingredient that could be added to the mix to stiffen it up–kind of like how pectin is added to recipes in home canning to stiffen up jam, preserves, etc.

    If something could be added to give the mixture a more gel-like consistency, like the shampoo and conditioner you can buy at the store, I’m sure it would last much, much longer. Has anyone heard of something like this?

      1. That’s an interesting idea… Should help to moisturize the old noggin too 😛 Most aloe vera I’ve seen in the store, though, has a lot of added ingredients, often chemicals. “Pure” aloe vera could turn out to be cost prohibitive…

        I’d also have to see if either acids or bases trigger any unpleasant chemical reactions with the aloe, and whether it will mix well at all… Looks like I have some research to do!

    1. I don’t anymore, Sarah, I just wanted an “easy button” for shampoo. My friend Tiffany at recently posted again on her own hair routine. She uses a goat milk soap, which I may want to look into if I can find some bandwidth! 🙂 Katie

      1. Do you have any shampoo/conditioner recommendations? I’m trying to get away from sodium lauerl sulfate. I’ve been using one with Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate but I’m not sure if that is better or not. I am not too keen on going with no poo from what I hear about it.

  3. Pingback: The Human Guinea Pig: No 'Poo Experiment - Archives - The Crunchy Mom Next Door

  4. Pingback: No More Magic Erasers or Scrubbing Frustrations

  5. Pingback: 10 Healthy Changes To Make To Your Personal Care Routine

  6. I get that residue on my hair brush too… After I brush my hair and see that, I feel unclean, but no matter how much I rinse and rinse, it doesn’t go away. Any tips on how to get rid of that?

    1. Jessica,
      Phew – sorry I’m so very late in replying; I got way behind on comments when I released the new Healthy Lunch Box book!

      I think trying a 1x/week shampoo with an actual soap or shampoo helps and fiddling with ACV amounts is a good idea too. 🙂 Katie

  7. Pingback: Conciliation and Day 1 of the No ‘Poo | The Family Juggle

  8. In order to not have the vinegar smell in your hair add a little vanilla extract. It automatically cancels the vinegar smell. 🙂

  9. I’ve been doing this method for about two years, and the girl who has been cutting my hair for the past 12 years freaked out last week when I told her what I’d been doing. “No wonder your ends are always like straw!” she said, after first fearing that the sudden appearance of flakes on my scalp was lice (this is the second time she’s worried about this). I never had a dandruff problem before, but have noticed it, lately. Apparently it’s worse than I thought, but my husband didn’t even bother to tell me, because he knew I liked my “no-poo” method. My stylist insists that using both baking soda and ACV is extremely stripping my hair. That’s sad, because I didin’t think so. I definitely enjoy ACV as a conditioner, and the whole “no-poo” method has made my normally straight, long hair much more manageable in the humid climate I’ve been living in. Going “no-poo” meant I had my normal hair again, rather than feeling like there was a Cocker spaniel living atop my head.

    I’m at a loss as to what to do now. I was only washing my hair twice a week- I’m a fitness instructor so even with teaching 2-3 classes/day and getting an extremely sweaty head, I thought “no-poo” was great and working just fine. My hair stayed cleaner longer, and I didn’t have to use any product because the method left just enough oil on my scalp to keep the frizzies slicked down. I don’t want horrible dandruff, but I don’t like the body that my currently humid climate gives my hair. I think I ought to still be able to use the ACV rinse, with my old shampoo, and still only wash my hair twice a week. I’ve been trying coconut oil this week, just to see. So far, nothing to report. Maybe I’m not using enough. My “no-poo” method was mixing 1 T baking soda in a quart of water, pouring it over wet hair in the shower, scrubbing my scalp, rinsing, mixing 1 T ACV in the same quart pitcher with water, pouring it over just the ends (otherwise it made my scalp too oily), and rinsing. Then a final cold water rinse. Sometimes I add essential oils to the vinegar rinse, but, really , once my hair dried I no longer noticed the vinegar smell. It evaporates, just like it does when cleaning your house with it. I did also notice my brush was always dirtier. Odd to have such a dirty hairbrush when not even using any product at all- and pretty much impossible to clean! I’ve gone through more brushes in the past year or two … And then lately the amount of hair falling out is just frightening. My hair never seems to be thinner or balding, but it’s true that more was coming out in the shower and afterward. Not so much during regular brushing, but I could pull it out in clumps in the shower if I wasn’t careful. j

    What to do?

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I actually just posted something this week about an issue that cropped up after I started the “no poo” method, and maybe the dandruff is actually similar to my experience but a different manifestation – read and see –

      The dirty hairbrush thing drives me nuts, too, but I’ve gone back to natural shampoo and the ACV rinse, and my brush is still dirty, so ???

      If you like your hair and the way it feels, there has to be a solution, right? I hope the coconut oil makes an impact for you…

      🙂 Katie

      1. I’m on my 2nd year of no-poo as well, and I have a couple ideas I’ll share:

        1. Dirty Hairbrush – I saw a tip about cutting a piece of cheesecloth to go over your brush before brushing. I love this…just change the cheesecloth out, and it really saves your brush!

        2. Cut back on the BS – My combs and brush were terribly gunky. When I started no-poo, I used the traditional BS/water solution and it worked for a while, but after six months, it wasn’t so great anymore. My hair was also falling out in clumps like you described. I read that dirty brush buildup and falling-out hair is due to the baking soda. Now, I just use castile soap with a little clump of BS to help the soap rinse out. I also use an egg yolk twice a month to put protein back in my hair. My brushes are no longer grimy, and when I do wash with a little bit of BS my hair does not fall out in clumps.

        3. I ditched the ACV – it never really worked for me and left my hair greasy, a common complaint I’ve also read. Instead, I started going by my grandmother’s motto: “White vinegar for brunettes; lemon juice for blondes.” I used white vinegar for a while and it was already so much better than the ACV; now I use lemon juice. For what it’s worth, I have had no dandruff.

        I won’t say all my no-poo issues have been resolved and I’m still searching for better solutions and trying to figure out why something will work one day but not the next. But I have resolved the issues you mention above by sticking with these three points.

      2. Unfortunately, my husband says he noticed a difference in the way my hair feels. Two days of using my old standby shampoo and he’s raving about how soft it is. Funny, I hadn’t noticed him not touching my hair as much- and it really bugs me when he touches my hair! Maybe I should just keep on with the no-poo method if he’s going to leave my hair alone! 😉

        The best part of the no-poo was having no after-ponytail bump!

  10. Mindy Robinson

    I can’t get the link for the list of other green personal product options to work…it just keeps bringing me back to this page ???

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Sorry about that error! Here’s the proper link, and thanks for helping me catch that one:
      🙂 Katie

  11. I have been no poo for about 8 months. I could never go back to any type of shampoo, even my husband’s expensive organic shampoo. I agree that experimenting is not only essential, but also fun, and you can be comforted in knowing that you won’t damage your hair with your experiments. If, like some, you have to use a lot of vinegar to get the tangles out of your hair, try just using less baking soda so your hair is not so tangley in the first place.

    I would like to respond to your “disadvantages.”
    1. it is highly unlikely that your hair, upon drying, will ever smell strongly of vinegar. the vinegar smell disappears once it dries. if it does smell like vinegar, rinse your hair better or use less vinegar. As for your hair not smelling “nice” anymore, I find I can’t stand the smell of “normal” shampoo anymore. My husband’s brother, whom we live with, uses regular head and shoulders and a normal body wash (we use my homemade soap). I hate the smell after he showers. it smells unnatural and artificial and chemically. my hair smells like me. I think my husband appreciates that :).

    2. I find traveling extremely easy now as I have less items to take with me. No blow dryer, no straightener, no shampoo, no conditioner, no styling products. I travel to and from the US from Australia about once every other year. This is a 14-24 hour flight all up (including the LA to CHI flight), and it’s wonderful to be at the airport or on the plane without my hair feeling greasy or dirty. I don’t feel desperate for a shower once arriving on land.

    2. it is indeed a hands on approach but it allows you to “get to know” your body better. you become highly aware of how diet, exercise, sleep, and stress affect the health and appearance of your hair, skin, and nails.

    3. my hair does indeed feel different. it’s actually thicker, fuller, softer, shinier, and tangle-free. your hair shouldn’t feel “sticky.” maybe it’s your shampoo or maybe you’re not rinsing the baking soda out of your hair thoroughly. baking soda can be difficult to rinse out properly especially if you use a lot of it. like one commenter said, my hair has also recently darkened to a yucky light brown, which I’m really not thrilled about. But I’m experimenting with what cleans my hair best. it seems that the less baking soda I use, the less likely my hair is to get dirty and therefore darken. I’m trying to get back to an ACV-only routine. I also clean my hair brush often.

    4. like I said, be sure you rinse your hair thoroughly as baking soda can be a bit of a pain to get out. some people complain about “dandruff”. this is also a sign that you’re not rinsing out all of the baking soda. keep in mind too that brushing your hair is also a way of cleaning it. your brush could be picking up the excess dirt, oil, and dust that your hair accumulates from the environment (work, home, outside). remember you’re not washing it all off with shampoo every day, and you’re probably not using baking soda every day. in between, your hair can accumulate dust, oil, and dead skin cells, which your brush is brushing out. wash your brush every day or at least once a week.

    no-poo is at least worth giving a try! it’s great to not have to buy shampoo and conditioner anymore! it’s so expensive even compared to the organic, unfiltered ACV I buy. I use so little of it that it lasts forever. it does take experimentation, but it’s worth it and it makes me proud that I can keep my hair clean and good-looking without the “help” of commercial products.

  12. I just started trying the baking soda method 5 days ago. I used Bumble and Bumble dry shampoo on the 3rd day and I still seem to have a bit of brown residue in my hair. I can see it on my comb. I’ve been using apple cider vinegar mostly on the ends of my hair as well. My question is how to I get this dry shampoo out? I tried a green tea rinse tonight with the baking soda solution but I’m still seeing brown residue.

    1. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I’ve never had this happen, but I’ve never used that shampoo either. I do get white residue in my brush from the baking soda but don’t really know what to do about that! Sorry!
      🙂 Katie

  13. Dear Katie,
    this article is amazing. Your writing is so easy to understand and you write in such a calm tone. Thanks! If u get a second out of your busy life 🙂 I would appreaciate if you could share your thoughts on using Brahmi Amla oil for hair.

    Regards from Serbia,

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I wish i could help, but I have never heard of Brahmi Amla oil. If it’s food grade, I’d go for it! 😉 Katie

  14. Jennie via Facebook

    Lora – I work out every day too. I always wet down my hair & massage my scalp a bit – but don’t use the baking soda every day. I actually do baking soda maybe once every 3 showers. But I have naturally very dry hair/scalp. It may help to use a vinegar rinse more often – I found 1 tsp (or less) cider vinegar, 1 tsp honey dissolved into a cup of water works well for me. (I add one drop of peppermint oil to help cover the vinegar smell)

  15. Lora via Facebook

    My problem is, is that I need to wash my hair every day since it is soaked from working out (cycling). Anyone else have the same problem and what do you use? I can’t use baking soda on my hair every day.

  16. I just heard today that kombucha is an even better “rinse” than ACV! I still don’t make it, though… 😉

  17. Stephanie via Facebook

    I’ve been trying to go ‘poo-free for a couple years, but haven’t been able to let go completely. Sometimes I can go a month or two without using shampoo, but lately I’ve been using it about once a week. I don’t know if I’m using too much/too little baking soda or what the deal is. My hair will get greasy and my scalp will get irritated and scab over. I figure anything less than every day is a good thing.

  18. Erin via Facebook

    I have been using baking soda to wash my hair for about 5 months now. I work outside and get very dirty and sweaty and my hair still smells and feels great. I use an apple cider vinegar rinse most of the time. About once a month I coat my hair with honey and then rinse just before I get out of the shower. My hair has never been softer! And I have medium length curly hair.

  19. Lora via Facebook

    I work out hard every morning(sweat a lot) and it did not work for me at all. My hair felt greasy and was stinky. I think I would rather use organic shampoo instead.

  20. Jennie via Facebook

    Angela JLM – I had a similar problem with trying the baking soda method for deoderant (switched to the crystal since then), but have be no-poo for 2+ yrs using baking soda with no such issues on my scalp (and Tiffany – I have pretty long hair!). When you put it in your hair, you massage, then rinse. When applied to armpits, it stays on all day and I think it’s the friction which makes the soda irritate your skin. I’m no expert though – just my personal experience!

  21. Holly via Facebook

    I tried this, but didn’t like the way it made my hair feel. I am washing my hair less often than I used to, though. And I use a natural shampoo

  22. Angela via Facebook

    Unless the baking soda is causing a detox of a really bad thing that when brought out causes issues on your skin, I would guess that might be an allergic reaction to the baking soda. . .with is I’m sure very rare! So unless you are eating a lot of junk and your armpits were feeling bruised and sore because of the glands being abused even before you used the baking soda, I wouldn’t suggest you try this method.

  23. Angela via Facebook

    I am terrified of using baking soda on my hair. I tried making shampoo with castille soap (from mountain rose herbs website) and that was atrocious. And any time I put baking soda on my armpits, I get skin-peeling rashes within 24 hours. I’m terrier of greasy hair and a dry, itchy scalp…any encouraging words, lol?

  24. Tiffany via Facebook

    I’ve been using this “no poo” system for about 3 months & luckily have had no problems. I have shorter hair, maybe that has helped. I just put them in an old bottle & shake every time, not a big deal , then just take the bottles w/ if I travel. I agree people think your nuts if they know, but then again they think the same thing if your child is eating an apple instead of a Twinkie – so go figure.

  25. Jenn via Facebook

    I’ve been using baking soda on my hair for over a year. Last night I tried some fancy commercial shampoo my MIL gave me. It was so strongly scented!! I’ll be donating that and going back to no-poo right away.

  26. I am trying to use safer hair cleaning practices but everything I try leaves me with a VERY itchy scalp. I used to wash with shampoo every day and coming off of it has been awful. Any ideas?

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      If you’re using baking soda, try less of it. Spray the vinegar on hair ends only, not scalp. Or moisturize, just slightly, with coconut oil. Or try nothing at all on your scalp, just on your hair! I hope that helps – 🙂 Katie

  27. What kind of vinegar does everyone use? Should I just get the ACV from the store or do people use raw ACV?

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      So sorry it took me so long to respond…I got absolutely behind on comments when I released the second edition of the snacks book and truly have never caught up.

      I just use the cheap stuff for hair myself! 🙂 Katie

  28. Chiming in late again, but after reading this post I wanted to share my experience with no ‘poo, too! 🙂 I didn’t read all 112 comments, so hopefully mine won’t be too redundant. I’ve been using baking soda/water for the past 5 months at least, love the results, and won’t go back. Here’s what worked for me:

    1. I started out alternating regular shampoo (Tigi products) and baking soda, b/c I thought it would help ease my hair through the dreaded greasy transition period until it got used to the BS. Not so. Even after a couple months, my hair felt clean on days w/ regular shampoo and greasy on days with BS. It occurred to me that if I wanted to retrain my scalp to produce the right amount of oils that God originally intended to keep my hair healthy, I was messing up the system by constantly reintroducing the chemicals. So I went cold turkey – BS all the way. After only 3 days, I believe my hair was totally adjusted – it really was a big difference. (I know 3 days is not the norm – I was expecting a 30-day detox period – but, this is just my experience).

    2. If you use too much baking soda, your hair WILL feel “hard” or “sticky”. It should feel soft and silky when done in the right proportions. I read here: that you should never use more than 1 Tbsp of BS per cup of water. You can use less, but not more per cup, or you will get those yucky results (this is past the natural detox/greasy phase). I tried using straight BS sprinkled on my scalp and it worked fine, as long as I used enough water to rinse it really, really well. What ended up working best for me was the shampoo bottle (like you said) – I measure 3 Tbsp BS and 3 cups of water in mine.

    3. I have thick, long hair, and I use a LOT of the BS mixture to get my hair clean. My bottle has a pump and I will pump over my hair 6-7 times, tilt my head and pump on the sides, flip my hair over and pump, pump, pump all over the back of my head, and even pump into my palms to splash/massage in the mixture anywhere else. I let it sit for a minute like you said, and when I rinse, I see if my hair “squeaks”. If it doesn’t, I repeat the process until my hair literally squeaks clean. Sometimes it squeaks on the first rinse, and sometimes it might be the second. I think some factors could be if I used a lot of hairspray the day before, but it also could depend on my hormones/time of the month. Oh, and I have hard water, too. I believe having hard water is another factor in needing to use more of the BS solution.

    4. ACV vs. white vinegar. I used ACV as a rinse for about a year and it worked okay, but I also noticed it could leave my hair feeling sticky. My grandmother told me that back in the old days, she and her mother used white vinegar to get the suds out, and my great-grandmother was known for her shiny black hair. I switched to white vinegar, and not only was the smell tamer, but it was not sticky and detangled my hair INSTANTLY – much faster than the ACV. I only use it twice a week, or if I’ve used my “helmet-head” hairspray. If I’m having trouble getting my hair to “squeak” in the shower, after the first rinse of the BS solution, I will spray straight white vinegar on my hair, and all that yucky buildup instantly comes off. Then, on my second round of BS, my hair is guaranteed to squeak. 😉

    Hope some of my experience will be helpful to others – I tend to learn what works for me by reading many, many blogs and combining what I learn from others. 🙂

  29. Hey! The residue on your hair brush is NOT left over baking soda…. I have washed my hair with some WEIRD stuff… including eggs and bananas (banana did not turn out so well would not advise that). The stuff in your hair brush is called sebum it is a natural oil produced by your hair, a lot of people that go the “no poo” route use a boar bristle brush in order to get the sebum out of their hair and it makes you hair more shiny!

  30. Pingback: Green Personal Care: No ‘Poo and Oil Cleansing | Modern Alternative Mama

  31. Thanks so much:). Yesterday I just got the urge to look up the No poo method again (for the 10th time). This time I actually did it. This morning I used baking soda and water. I have long, thick, curly hair, and I’m actually really surprised at how it turned out….soft curls, and not very greasy at all! This is great because I have so much trouble with grease (I have to wash everyday because of it). I have a feeling this will help tremendously.


  32. I have been no-poo for a year now, using a palm full of baking soda to wash and diluted ACV rinse. It can sometimes leave my hair a little dry so I apply a small amount of Argan oil, which leaves it really shiny. I wash 2 times per week but give it a good rinse daily when I shower. We use Dr Bronners but I haven’t tried it as shampoo yet, might have to do that.
    One of my daughters has curly hair and we love using Burts Bees Avocado Pre-Shampoo as a styling aid after washing. It smells so good and leaves her hair soft and not crunchy.

  33. Hi. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been doing the no poo method for quite a while but instead of ACV for final rinse, I use dalandan (a local orange found in the Phlippines) or navel oranges. ACV is very acidic for my hair and thus makes it dry. Also, the oranges have a better smell than ACV.

  34. A friend of mine recommended the use of 100% virgin olive oil soap to wash hair, face and body. For example here:
    I haven´t tried it yet, but plan to!! Also seems much easier than baking soda method. There is a no scent version, but also some scented with essencial oils.

  35. I know this is an old post of yours, Katie, but I thought I’d share what I discovered 7 months ago. It’s a book called Curly Girl, by Lorraine Massey. It is a no-poo method of taking care of your curly hair, so while it’s not for straight hair, almost everyone else can benfit from it.

    I have curly hair, which tends to be drier anyway. I “cleanse” my hair with conditioner, rinse it out, put on more conditioner and leave that in my hair. Of course, you do need to use a good quality conditioner, and Lorraine explains what to look for in her book. One would think my hair would be greasy, but it’s not. It hasn’t been this healthy since I was a kid!

    Interesting your use of vinegar as conditioner. It makes sense, though, as I use vinegar as a clothing softener!

    1. Thanks, Terri – great tip! Do you seek out a “natural” conditioner, or just go with what works? Thanks again – Katie

  36. Pingback: Raw Shampoo | Dad vs Wild

  37. I have tried to go no poo twice. Both times it almost destroyed my hair. I really wanted it to work. I felt good about doing it. But gradually, my hair began to look like a 30 year old corpses hair. It was awful. I tried to use coconut oil to condition and defrizz, it just looked like lo-mein after a few days. After two months, I threw in the towel and switched to an organic shampoo. If someone comes up with a magic formula that works and leaves my hair soft and shiny, I would gladly try again.

  38. I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap for my whole body including hair. It can be diluted as it is so “powerful.” I don’t even need a conditioner for my hair. It’s just plain clean and green 🙂 There’s only one drawback; be careful when using the peppermint on “special places.” There’s a distinct tingle.

  39. Pingback: Ditching shampoo and conditioner « wellroundedhippie

  40. I use Acacia concinna (shikakai in Hindi) which is largely grown in Asia and has been in use in traditional Indian medication. It acts as a cleanser, conditioner and detangler. I buy it in powdered form, make a paste and apply it to my hair. Ideally it should be left on for an hour, but I use it in the shower almost like shampoo. Put the paste, rub it in, leave it on for a couple of minutes and rinse. I have long hair so takes a bit of extra rinsing.
    And when I had dandruff, I added the dried powder of Indian gooseberry (excellent anti-dandruff properties) in to the shikakai and viola! – no dandruff in a few washes.
    The only thing one has to be careful is that it does not get in to the eyes

  41. Why on earth were all ofyou washing your hair EVERY day? I know . . . we’re all brainwashed by the modern “beauty and personal care” inudstry. That soap-reaction every day is a big contributor to making hair “greasy.”
    I’ve used Dr Bronner’s liquid castile soap, and liked it – the peppermint scent was too much for my husband’s sinus allergies, but the unscented worked just fine for me, about every 5 days. Didn’t need conditioner, either.
    I’ll try baking soda this winter, maybe, but if I have to use it every day, I’ll go back to liquid shampoo. A quick shower every day or every other day, sure, but not my hair.

  42. Pingback: The Save Money/Cut Expense Thread - Page 4 - Christian Forums

  43. Hi! So, after reading through SimpleMom’s poo-free info, and yours, and others, I am now going poo-free. Its been about 5 days. My hair is greasy, so I am going to up the baking soda- thanks for the “head’s up” about increasing.

    Not sure why I am commenting, except that I don’t know anyone else who is ‘poo-free, so I guess this helps me to not feel like such a wierdo;oP I am also going to go “facewash” free, once I get some castor oil. Wish me luck!!

    1. Amy,
      You’re certainly not alone (although I totally know it feels that way). I can go a bunch of days w/o even washing my hair now, so it’s really worth it! Keep trying! 😉 Katie

  44. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been interested in trying the no poo method, but needed a little more info. This was very helpful.

    I recently tried conditioning my hair with mayonnaise and it worked wonderfully! It is the best thing I’ve ever used on my hair.

    1. Tea,
      I hadn’t looked into other ways to condition, but that one sounds lovely. The ACV rinse gets old sometimes… 🙂 Katie

  45. I haven’t seen anyone else say this (though I might have missed it), but after my initial transition period with no ‘poo, I also experienced “sticky” hair – tacky feeling, really. What I eventually figured out is that the tacky feeling was from baking soda residue. In my case, I was using the 1T bs/1 c. H20 ratio, but I was letting it sit on my hair before scrubbing.

    The lightbulb moment for me was finding out that the way this technique is *supposed* to work is that the baking soda interacts with the grease in your hair and makes a kind of soap, which then rinses out when you rinse your hair – and it won’t work if you just let the baking soda sit on your hair before your scrub it like I did.

    I think the ratio of baking soda to water that you’re using also might overwhelm the baking soda+hair oil effect.

    Finally, just a note that even definitely-not-hard city water may be hard enough to make it worthwhile to do the stovetop mixing method (at my parents’ house, for instance).

  46. I am on day 7 of no-poo and have a few questions.. Oh, I have wavyish hair just at my shoulders/a little below.
    1) When I make the solutions (1Tbs/1C), should I use it all or should that last me a few washes?
    2)I’ve used the solutions 3 times in a week and 2 of those times I got out of the shower with little red splotches around my hair line and on my chest. It goes away, but weirds me out a little. Has anyone else experienced that?

    I really want this method to work, and so far I think I’m liking the way my hair is drying (it’s only been a week so not sure if I’m in transition or what) but I feel strange about experimenting cause I don’t want to ruin my hair in the process! 🙂

    1. Stephanie,
      I’ll do my best!
      1. All of my solutions last a really long time. I just use 5-10 shakes on top of my head with the baking soda solution and maybe 8-10 squirts of vinegar water, or less.
      2. Kind of sounds like you might be sensitive to the baking soda. Try using less. Some say (at my homemade deodorant post) that better brands of baking soda irritate less.

      Good luck!
      🙂 Katie

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top