Tips for going No-Shampoo – a 16 month update

Can you believe that it’s been 16 months since I’ve ditched the shampoo? Okay, well, I haven’t ditched the shampoo entirely, but I’ll get to that later. I have however made rinsing my hair with watered down baking soda my norm though and I have no regrets! I originally tried this whole baking soda gig out back in October ’08 because I wasn’t happy with how my hair looked using shampoo everyday. It was just kind of limp and if I ever dared go a day without shampooing it would look oily and horrid. Plus I’m always curious about how to make things myself and liberate myself from having to buy more (like with my lotion and deodorant, even with our jams and canned goods).

I did go through some awkward weeks at first, but I realize in retrospect it was because I was experimenting with how to apply this baking soda to my hair. There are oodles of folks out there who have tried this and everyone gives different advise based on what works for them, so of course I had to try them all before I found out what worked best for me. Want to hear about it all? Oh sure you do!

First there is just pouring a tablespoon of dry baking soda on my wet hair in the shower and massaging it in, then washing it off. This method gave me the worst results and had I tried only this method I would have given up in a day. My hair gets really funky doing this. Kinda dry, kinda gunked up feeling. It doesn’t brush through well. It was awful! However I attributed this all to the ‘adjustment’ period everyone talks about. The kind of shampoo detox that your hair has to go through until it looks shiny and lustrous again. But there was no shine nor luster.

Second I tried putting a tablespoon of baking soda in a little ramakin, taking it into the shower and adding about a cup of water and stirring until dissolved. Then I put that onto my hair. Also didn’t work well. Better than the first method, but also, no good.

At this point, after a couple of weeks of bad hair, a normal person would probably just turn back to shampoo, however I have never been one to make life easier for myself, so I kept on going. This time I took an empty, large Dr. Bronner Peppermint Soap bottle and filled it with a more diluted version of baking soda to water. 4 Tablespoons baking soda in 5 cups of water (all which fit into the big sized bottle). I shook it until it dissolved and just put it in the shower to use whenever I needed to. At hair washing time, I’d just squirt a bunch onto the top of my head, massage around, flip my head upside down and do the same to the underneath section of hair. Then I’d rinse it all out and I was good to go.

This big bottle full lasts me about a month to 6 weeks, washing every two to three days, and I was noticing that halfway into the month, my hair would look really good after rinsing. Really good. Soft and with plenty of volume. Much nicer than it was with regular shampooing and yet free of that oily, dry gunky look I was sporting with that first method of baking soda washing. Hmmmm….. which is when I hit upon my baking soda hair rinsing secret! You need to let the baking soda and water combo sit for a week or two before using!

Now I’m no chemist, I have no idea what chemical process goes on while that baking soda sits and rests in the water. All I know is that it does a world of good for my hair. So now I keep two bottles going, which I fill every two or three weeks alternately. So I always have two week old diluted baking soda to rinse with.

A lot of people suggest rinsing with a diluted amount of apple cider vinegar but I haven’t seen any sort of advantage to doing this myself. There are all sorts of fancy hair rinses you can do after the baking soda wash, however I guess I’m just not creative enough to have tried them yet. Have you tried any that work wonders? The only drawback I’ve found is that the ends of my hair do feel a bit dry. Maybe that could be remedied with one of these rinses.

So back to the shampoo, it is okay (at least for my hair) to use shampoo/conditioner every once in a while. Some days I just want that lather and shampoo smell, so I go for it. Those end up being really, extra good hair days too. And I can go back to my baking soda rinse without any bad repercussions. Some days when I do the baking soda rinse, I’ll follow with a little conditioner just to help with any dryness I may be feeling that day.

One of the things I’ve missed about ditching the shampoo is the smell and lather, it is kind of a luxurious feeling. So to compensate, I’ve been buying lots of beautiful handmade soaps. Oakmoss‘s soaps have been my most recent indulgence. I love her scents (especially Caravan) because they appeal to both men and woman. I share my bathroom with three other guys (one big, two tiny) and being that we only have one soap dish, I can’t get too floral with the soap smells without complaints. Her scents seem to keep us all happy.

I try to ‘wash’ my hair every three days, but sometimes I need to go to every other day depending. Other days I push it off for another day and learn a new cute braid or call it hat day.

Have you tried alternative hair washing techniques? What’s worked for you?


Filed under what we've learned

96 responses to “Tips for going No-Shampoo – a 16 month update

  1. I will have to try the 2-wk old baking soda water; prior I was using 1 tsp baking soda to an old olive oil bottle of water and followed with a vinegar rinse. Sad thing about that was I smelled of vinegar while my hair was wet or if it got wet in the rain. =( Not very appealing. I went back to poo about 4 weeks ago. Not happy with that either.

    I’ll try again with your recipe. =) We’ll see what happens.

  2. I tried it last year and ending up quitting because of dry hair, gunk, and bad scalp-flaking. I now shower every other day and use baking soda probably 2-3 times a week and shampoo the other times (on the no-shower day, my hair is better post-baking soda than post-shampoo). My hubby’s been going strong with no poo since July! We’ll have to try the pre-mixed bottle approach.

    • Lauren, I’ve had trouble with dry scalp too, but from what I’ve read elsewhere, jojoba oil could be a good solution for that. Apparently you can use it as a leave-in conditioner. I only tried it for the first time this morning, but it only took a little bit for my super-long (waist-length) hair.

  3. Hmmm. It’s worth a try. . . I’d have to add some tea tree oil I think because we have lice-importing children. Their hair always looks fantastic and they rarely wash it.

    My only concern is that I have very tangly curly hair. I’d have to brush before showering, I guess. And it looks funny when it’s slept on, so maybe an every-day rinse would be necessary. Worth a try.

    • asonomagarden

      stefaneener – you know I think there is a book called Curly Girls or something like that…all about dealing with curly hair. Anyway I’ve heard they promote the rinsing with baking soda thing. So it might work out for you!

  4. Congrats on your 16 month no poo anniversary! Your hair looks great. 🙂

  5. Congrats on finding a solution that works so well for you! I just might have to try this.

    I tried the homemade deodorant recipe, but after a few days, I got a rash. I’m not sure what ingredient is causing the problem, but I have little red bumps on my underarms. Just wondering if anybody else experienced this?

    • Stephanie

      I had the same problem making a different deodorant recipe but the rash went away after I put some pure vitamin E oil in it. This is my recipe:
      1 T. corn starch or arrow root powder, 1 T. baking soda, 1 1/2 t. extra virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 t. vitamin E oil, 5/6 drops tea tree oil, 5/6 drops lavender oil.
      I put it all in my magic bullet with the flat blade and blend. Store in a small container. Stir before applying.

    • Sarah

      I would have to second the idea that baking soda is causing your rash. I just use baking soda sometimes for deoderant and sometimes get a rash like that especially if I shave.

  6. asonomagarden

    Oh no Jackie! Did you put any essential oils in it? It could be you are allergic to tea tree, I’ve heard of that before. Otherwise, maybe rub the cocoa butter and shea butter on a spot on your forearm and see if those alone cause the reaction. Sorry that happened to you!

    • Well, I used lemon essential oil in the first batch and none in the second batch. But I got the rash from both. I’ll try your idea about testing the ingredients on my forearm. Thanks.

      • Candace

        I know I am a bit late replying but it is the baking soda that is causing the rash. It happened to me when I used equal parts baking soda and cornstarch. But I only use 3 ingredients in my deo – cornstarch, baking soda (organic) and unrefined coconut oil. So i used 1 part baking soda to 5 parts cornstarch and filled in with coconut oil. Hope this helps!

  7. Liz

    I use dilute Dr. B’s Baby (unscented) every 3 days or so. They have an after rinse that comes in a citrus scent that I use if my hair is feeling dry. So far it has been the best thing I have found for my greasy head and my detergent sensitive hands. The backing soda just didn’t cut it.

  8. Hi Kendra,
    I’m so glad you posted this! We are trying not to buy plastic, and shampoo was something I wanted to try making….so thanks for sharing!

  9. This really piqued my interest. My hair is fine and every shampoo out there leaves my hair limp, and I really like the idea of just ditching the shampoo altogether and trying something else. I might have to give this a shot. Your hair looks great, by the way!

  10. You mentioned you want to liberate yourself from buying deodorant as well as the shampoo then get the baking soda back out and put it dry under your arms. It works. Also, if later in the day you’re sweaty from playing tennis or whatever just lean over the sink, lift your blouse and splash some dry baking soda under your arms. Presto! Carry a small pack of it in your purse for emergencies.

    • Erin

      This really works. Each morning (or more usually, just after my shower) I powder my underarms with baking soda. I haven’t used deoderant for 2 weeks and I don’t smell bad at all. Believe me – plain old baking soda really works. No more ‘bowing down to the man’! Thanks for posting Patty!

  11. Liz

    this is a great post 🙂 I’ve tried the baking soda mixed in the shower right before use too and it was pretty terrible…I’m almost to the end of a bottle of Cr. Bronner peppermint soap…perfect size and shower safe…thanks for the idea!

  12. JP

    I wonder about scenting baking soda (or vinegar) rinses with a drop or two of essential oil to get a good smell going. Anyone tried this?

  13. I used my first batch of pre-mixed soda-water last night. It felt like ice water! Is there anything you do to combat that, or do you just deal with it?

    • Diane

      Just float the bottle in your tub if you’re bathing, or if you’re showering, place the bottle in the bottom of the tub to warm up in the nice, warm, shower or bath water.

  14. Pingback: hollyberry » Blog Archive » apple cider vinegar hair rinse

  15. This is soooooooo helpful! This morning was my third wash so far with the baking soda solution and while it seemed to go better, I’m still some of the coating that’s been leaving a weird residue on my brush (whether from the baking soda or the apple cider vinegar rinse I wasn’t sure at first, but I’m leaning toward baking soda as the cause). I’ll bet my solution is not quite two weeks old yet, though. Thank you SO much for going into more of the particulars about how you use it. Every site I’ve seen talks about the ratio, but few talk about how exactly to apply it — and get it to rinse out.

    As to the smell (or lack thereof), I tried a vinegar/water dilution with a little essential oil of bergamot in it. I haven’t done this enough to really see how it works, but I’d like to think that would add some nice fragrance. The other idea I’ve had — since I’ve been dealing with some dry scalp issues — is to add a little essential oil to the jojoba oil I’ve just started applying as a kind of leave-in conditioner. Kind of excited to see how all this works out …

  16. I tried a no-shampoo routine for me but it didn’t last. My hair went so oily, I couldn’t stand. So I applaud you for sticking to your plan. Just recently, instead of no shampoo, I will dilute a bottle of shampoo with water, 50% shampoo, 50% water. So far, my hair doesn’t feel as dry as it used to be. But I still want to give the no-shampoo a try. I just can’t stand the oil and the itchy scalp that comes with it. Did you get this with the baking soda solution? I used baking soda as a scrub. Didn’t know it’s good for the hair and scalp too.

  17. Jen

    Have any of you heard of using borax to wash your hair? I’ve been trying this out, but I haven’t fully figured out what I’m doing yet. I mix borax with water in a bottle (about a 1/2 inch in the bottom of a container) shake. I use about six ounces in an applicator bottle (like they use for hair dye). Using the applicator bottle keeps the COLD water in my hair and not on me. I rinse with 16 ounces of cold water mixed with a 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid. I rinse really well and then do a final cold hair rinse. Once a week I’ve been deep conditioning with coconut oil in my hair overnight. The only time the borax is not really working is the day I wash the coconut oil out of my hair. I guess one day of shampoo a week is not so bad.

    For those of you feeling like your hair is dry using baking soda wash, try putting a little coconut oil in your hair. You just melt a little in your hand and then put it in your hair, concentrating some on the ends. As long as you don’t use too much it won’t look greasy. It is also great for getting tangles out.

    • Faith

      You may want to do some deeper research on borax and/or boric acid. The are hailed as natural, safe chemicals for many uses, but they are very toxic. I used boric acid (which is similar to borax) last year for several months. I became extremely ill and didn’t know why until I stumbled upon a website from the UK listing the symptoms of boric acid poisoning. Once I discontinued its use, the symptoms resolves over a period of 3 months.

  18. Well, just in case there are any out there a little less hardcore, who’d like to go with no shampoo but want the lather experience, I’ve been using castille soap and loving it. And my husband and I have had good success with a scant amount of a shea/aloe/olive oil “gel” we made.

  19. I did put the recipe for the “gel” on, if anyone’s interested.

  20. Daryl

    How long does your hair have to be for this baking soda to work. I haven’t tried the baking soda so much. Just water and a lot of massaging my scalp. I guess my hair would have to be a lot longer for that to work. My hair is only like 5-6 inches long. I did hold out for about 9 months. I recently started massaging my oils through my hair like usual but using shampoo on the last half of my hair shaft. My hair looks great, but I really want to try getting to the no shampoo method. heeelp

    • asonomagarden

      My hair has been anywhere from above shoulder length to much longer while using this method. I really don’t think hair length makes a difference.

  21. Daryl

    huh. Ok, thanks for your reply.
    I don’t think the no poo thing is really for me completely. I like using it every week or so. Otherwise it looks too dirty. I’ve definately gotten past the de-tox period, but the film that coats the hair seems to overload after a week.

  22. annainok

    I’m on my first week of going without shampoo, but I’ve done something for years that has really helped as well and may help others who are either transitioning or just can’t break the shampoo habit.

    For the past 14 years, I’ve used an expensive “all-natural” shampoo that will remain nameless…and in that time I’ve only purchased a gallon and a half. I know, because I bought one of the largest sized bottles that lasted four years, then a couple little ones, and I’ve been working on the same gallon since 2005. I use only a dime-sized amount, work in and leave rest for a couple minutes. I rinse, use another dime-sized amount and rinse out. I conditioned maybe once every month or two. You can use this strategy on any quality product. Over time I was able to go to washing my hair only every third day.

    (The idea is, you’re giving the product time to do its chemical job, then washing away the impurities it lifts out in the repeat. You’ll find, with the 2nd step, you’ll get the lather you like with much less product.)

    But I’m curious as to how no-shampoo will work for me. So far, so good. My head itches a little more this morning, but it may be because I massaged it even more than usual. My husband says it looks great and I don’t smell like pickles, so that’s a good thing! We’ll see how it goes in the long run.

  23. Michelle in New Orleans

    I read on another blog that hard water, which we have in New Orleans, makes the baking soda rinse feel rather dry. The blogger suggested boiling the water first, letting it cool and then mixing in the baking soda. I think this would replace the effect of making it two weeks ahead of time.

    In fact, we do the same thing with tap water that we drink. We put the tap in a gallon jug and in a day, it tastes just like the bottled water we don’t have to buy. You can do the same thing with empty small water bottles. Fill them with tab and let them sit a day, either at room temp or in the fridge. Sure cuts down on our use of plastic bottles, too!

    • asonomagarden

      Great tip Michelle!

    • Anna in North Carolina and Sweden

      Michelle, I know you posted this years ago, but as a 3 month “no-pooer” you were absolutely right. I personally had the transition period FOR 2 MONTHS 😦 but this was the one thing that made the whole process finally work. The baking soda makes a nice fizz, and then feels slippery to the touch. The 1 Tbsp to one cup water works great. (and of course I let it cool before using). Just wanted to thank you for spreading the solution to why I think many people give up after such a difficult transition period!

  24. Just as an update … I had been trying a regimen consisting mainly of the baking soda wash, with occasional vinegar rinse, for about two months and was really getting frustrated, even after letting my baking soda mix sit for a while as you suggest. No matter what I did, I would always get this gunky residue on my brush afterward, and a woman who cut my hair remarked that it looked like it hadn’t been washed in a while. Since so many people were reporting great results, though, I persisted.

    After more googling, I think I’ve finally found the key: MORE vinegar, used every time you wash. I had seen various posts recommending a vinegar rinse of about 1 T. to 1 c. water (or something in that ballpark), but another blog I found said the vinegar is actually key to getting the baking soda out of your hair, which she claimed forms a very mild soap (the gunk I’ve been combing out) with the oils in your scalp. Her solution? Apply 2-3 T. STRAIGHT vinegar, rub it in and let it sit a few minutes, then rinse. I’ve done this the last several times I’ve washed with baking soda, and the results are remarkably improved. My brush is super-clean afterward and my hair is shiny and feels super-silky for a few days. In the end, I’m actually not sure how much difference the age of the baking soda solution makes at all, because I’ve had such good results with the vinegar. Full post:

    • asonomagarden

      That’s great to hear Anna. I’ve been happy with just baking soda, but now I’m going to have to try with the straight vinegar and see if it will be even better!

  25. Babs

    I thought of using no products at all instead of shampoo. I had not researched at all! Now 6 days into not using shampoo my hair is horrible. Just really oily, not itchy or flaky, just oily!
    So I shall make up the baking soda solution and try that tomorrow in my shower. I so hope some oil will go.

  26. Thank you so much for the tips. As I posted on my blog I tried for about four weeks and was having great results when it came to not having dry scalp (which I’ve been struggling with my whole life) but I ended up drying my hair out like crazy. I’ve been back on shampoo for a month now and my dry scalp problem is back! I think I’ll try the 2 week method and maybe a little oil in the mix or something to try and keep from drying out my hair. It could also be my sensitivity to baking soda. I tried straight baking soda as deoderant one day and ended up with a gnarly, painful rash. Now I use equal parts cornstarch and baking soda for getting my rash away. I’ma have to make my own cream though, like in your other post, because I wear a ton of black and this has made me go back to deoderant for my underarms. Hmm…So many ideas!

  27. claire

    After accidentally finding articles on “no poo” I decided to try it. Eventually I began to use the baking soda method which works well for cleaning the scalp. I do use a vinegar rinse. I use about a pint of water with a teaspoon of vinegar in it. I heard that it is good to re-acidify your scalp after using an alkaline product like baking soda. I think the vinegar rinse detangles the hair. I do not use conditioner but will put shea butter or coconut oil sparingly on my ends.

    I also really like to use dry shampoo. I make my own now. I use oat flour, tapioca (powder type) cornstarch and dark cocoa powder for my brown hair. You can buy mineral powders online to make dry shampoo, but cocoa powder is easier to find. My best advice is to use dry shampoo sparingly! Buy a dedicated medium sized make up brush and use it to apply a small amount of powder to your hair. Don’t apply right on top of your hair or in the part but flip up the hair and apply underneath the area. Brush hair a little. Go to bed and the next day your grease will be gone. No powdery look and that combo of grease and dry shampoo helps my hair stay smooth and styled just like product used to.
    PS I have fine, thick, wavy hair and this method has tamed it in a great way.

  28. I use a combination of dry shampoo, baking soda and herbal vinegar rinses and my own homemade shampoo bars.

    Dry Shampoo is when I am in a hurry. I try not to shower everyday but everyother unless I have done something particularly physical because like your hair the skin does not like to be washed frequently. I love the dry shampoo and even scent mine with essential oils but you must mix it in well and let it dry well before packaging.

    Baking soda and water is the shower routine and I also premix mine and let it sit for awhile. I make an herbal hair vinegar infused with herbs that are great for my dark hair and leave it on while I wash the rest of my body and then rinse it out last.

    When I want the bubbles and later I use one of my homemade shampoo bars. I cold process bar of soap that is made with oils that the hair and scalp JUST LOVE. Wheat Germ Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Jojoba and ahimsa silk fibers. It leaves just enough oil on the hair to make it shiny and easy to comb without being too oily. My hair feels clean but not stripped. I have shipped these bars all over the world including one girl who used it when she went hiking through Africa and she loved it.

    One more thing…during the colder weather (I live in the mountains) if I feel like my scalp is dry then I just massage two or three drops of jojoba oil that I have added rosemary oil to. Then just brush it through. The Rosemary disinfects and stimulates the scalp making your hair grow strong and healthy.

  29. I started no poo some weeks ago… awkward weeks ever! Damn it is so difficult to keep it up, it looks horrible and.. yuh! Haha. I don’t use baking soda cuz I can’t find it anywere, I just try other stuff like herbs, green clay, just water…soapwort! Some of them are very good, some of them doesn’t work at all. But I won’t give up. 🙂

  30. Erin Nordin

    I’m very inspired. going to try it out! thanks!

  31. Mandy

    I have long, thick, brown curly hair. I started using the baking soda/vinegar method a couple of months ago and my hair is totally happy. I have been using all natural shampoos for years, so I don’t think the transition was that bad.
    What I do now is mix up my concoctions with hot water right before I use them because I hate the cold. I use 2 Tbsp baking soda in a 16oz bottle and about 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar in another 16 oz. bottle and fill each with water. I use the WHOLE bottle. With as much hair as I have it seems very necessary. I do this every 3-4 day and just rinse my hair well with water on the other days. Every day I apply a mixture of Jojoba oil and Apricot oil with some Lavender and Sweet Orange essential oil as a leave-in product to help battle any dryness and frizzies. I only notice some residual vinegar smell on the day that I use it, and really I think it is just I that can smell it. Using the essential oils seems to have taken care of most of that problem.
    Since I can’t really “brush” my curly hair I don’t know of any residue. But I can tell you them my hair always seems clean, detangled, healthy and strong. For years my hair was fairly short and now that it is long again it was getting painfully expensive to buy the nice natural shampoos (I was in-love with Aubrey Organics). My pocketbook LOVES this method as much as I do!

    • Kathy

      Hey Mandy, what ratios of the Jojoba &Apricot oils do you use. I’ve been on the no-poo method for about a year but the ends of my shoulder length hair do get dry. I would like to try your leave-in product!


      • Mandy

        Generally 50/50 works pretty well. I don’t have it down to a science, that’s for sure. Jojoba is a bit on the pricier side and I haven’t replenished my supply, so currently I have been using just apricot and then finishing my hair off with a little bit of coconut oil.

  32. Pingback: My No-Shampoo Hair Saga | A Sonoma Garden

  33. James from the Philippines

    First of all, I really enjoy reading your blog! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this info. I’m trying to grow my curly hair long but with my constant coloring and use of shampoo and mousse, it has become really brittle and lifeless. Not to mention that I’ve started to have really bad dandruff because of all the chemicals I put in my hair.

    I tried using baking soda but had disastrous first time results since I used waaaay too much and didn’t take enough time to massage my scalp and rinse well. My curls turned into almost dreadlocks!

    I followed your advice and made a more diluted formula and let it sit for a few days before using it (I’m very impatient and wasn’t able to wait for a week before trying it out! :p ). This time, my curls look so much healthier and my scalp is itch-free! I think I can even do away with styling mousse since the baking soda mixture sort of sculpts and defines my curls.

    I’ve added tea tree oil (to treat the scalp flaking) and ylang ylang oil (for fragrance) to the baking soda mix and I’ve been using this formula for a month now. I wash my hair with this twice to thrice a week and massage my scalp with tea tree oil for about an hour at least once a week to help with my irritated scalp ( I really do blame 20 years of daily shampooing for this!) I’m still waiting for the oiliness to subside, but so far so good!

    It does feel great to pass by the shampoo aisle in the grocery and not buy anything! 🙂

    • James, what ratio of tea tree oil do you use to baking soda/water?

      Also, as a note to the others: I have thick, waist-length hair, and use about half a cup of straight white vinegar to rinse with. I’ve been adding a few drops of essential oil to a quart of vinegar, which seems to reduce the vinegar smell from the rinse a lot.

  34. Thanks for the advice. You along with some other bloggers really helped me transition to using no shampoo. It just makes so much sense. The transition period for me wasn’t too bad, probably because I have short hair (3/4″). But I did have a problem with smell, which I haven’t heard anyone else complain about. Luckily, it didn’t last too long.

    Ultimately, I think using baking soda to cleanse your hair is a good way to transition to using nothing except water. Although baking soda is much more natural and gentle than traditional shampoos, it is still technically a shampoo. I still use baking soda and vinegar about once per week and am slowly expanding that time period. I used to hate my hair; now it’s better than ever and I love it. I’ll soon be sharing my own experience and opinions about shampoo on my new blog. Thanks again!

  35. Breanna

    Hi. Love your posts. I too love the feeling of not relying on stores. As far as the letting the soda rest for two weeks all I do is heat the water and dissolve as much soda as the water will take and use that. It has a slippery texture and works great. The vinegar rinse is used as a conditioner to help seal the cuticle of he hair for additional detangling. Hope it helps

    • I’ve been poo-free since early this year. My hair is very curly and does very well. I have 2 plastic bottles in my shower. To clean my hair, I put one tbs baking soda in one and 1 tbs vinegar in the other. I add warm water from the shower. I don’t measure, really, I just add about a cup. I have no trouble with dryness, split ends or gunkiness. Most days, when I don’t wash my hair, I still rinse it with water to tame the curls. I will sometimes use a bit of a curl gel from Aveda. I sure do not miss standing in the shampoo aisles, wondering what my hair needs to make it better. Have you noticed there’s not much shampoo for normal hair anymore?

  36. Breanna

    Sorry I forgot to day too that I have very long hair. And how the baking soda works is it is slightly alkali so when mixed with oil it has a mild saponifying effect making a mild soap. And yes I find the 1tbsp vinegar 1c water mix essential. I also add a few drops of Rosemary essential oil to my non shampoo as it is sooo good for your hair.

  37. Shannon

    I’ve heard so much about this and although I just bought a value size giant bottle of a rather expensive organic shampoo I’m still aching to try it. I just have one little problem, I tend to use a fair amount of hairspray when styling my hair each day. Should that be a problem? I’m worried that the baking soda rinse can clear away oil but not product. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

  38. Thank god. I’ve been shampooless for a month now and I went cold turkey. Been wondering if there were alternatives so will stock up on dilute baking soda and jojoba oil. Would NEVER go back to wasting money on shampoo again. Not sure how I’m going to explain to the hairdresser…but at least that’s only a once a year experience.

  39. hi kendra!! just found your blog. love it!!

    i have been poo-free just over a year. your insight into letting the baking soda solution sit is brilliant…….i’ll have to try this. i have noticed that some days i get almost a “lather” and silky, smoothness and sometimes it’s that dry, gunky mess……… now i wonder if it’s the difference between my fresh, just mixed baking soda solution or the solution left from last week.

    also, i didn’t see anyone else mention this in the comments …….. are you still noticing dry ends? i have read other places that adding a little coconut oil on your ends at bedtime helps. it’s not too greasy (you only need a teensy bit).

    thank you for sharing your experience. thank you for sharing your other recipes and gardening and adventures!!

    happy wednesday,

  40. Pingback: No Shampoo… Week 3 « proverbs3512

  41. Phil

    What is baking soda made of? What makes it a “natural” cleanser? You have my husband and me thinking about trying to go poo-less.

  42. Lisa

    I too have been shampoo-free for some time, however I have been using conditioner to “wash” my hair and not baking soda. I am going to try it. One thing I do, that I didn’t see mentioned, is a final cold rinse. After I have completely showered, I turn the water to a cooler temperature and do an entire body rinse. I usually repeat a second time, turning the water cooler still. Now I’m not talking leaps and bounds here. Just a sliver of a turn on the cooler side. Feels great in the summer time! What the cold water rinse has done for me is make my hair shiny and easier to comb. I also feel it closes my skin pores. I like to think it has helped me stay “cold-free” during the cold & flu season!

  43. Alice

    I LOVE this! I have been a hair dresser since 1986. Having said that, I am concerned about the enviroment, and I love the no shampoo idea, the only thing I would add is the type of baking soda you use. So many baking sodas are loaded with things to avoid, so I have found Redmill baking soda, thank goodness! Here is the link (but really any health food store should have it)….
    Good no shampooing to you all!

  44. Chotnae

    I’ve been semi-poo free since Oct 2010.
    I did baking soda\distilled water wash with ACV\distilled water rinse. BIG grease ball. Cold turkey did not work for me.
    I added a lemon rinse (juice of 1 lemon with a cup, or so, of water). This was GREAT! It’s good for the PH of your scalp and takes the extra oil\residue off the hair.
    I then would soak the lemon rind in distilled water (we have hard water) and would use the lemon water to mix with the baking soda. What ever is made has to be used then or tossed. I liked this.
    I now use an all natural shampoo when I need the lather (it’s a hard habit to kick). Every 3-4 days, sometimes up to a week, I do the ACV rinse only (but massage it in and let it sit).
    As needed, I’ll do the baking soda wash.
    LOVE the poo free!

  45. Pingback: Week-end links – 10 February 2012 « La Creature and you

  46. Karen

    Ever since I read “My No-Shampoo Hair Saga” about a year ago I’ve wanted to try it. My reason is because I am LAZY, and having one less thing to do sounds great. So when I got my longish hair trimmed on 2/01/12 I announced to the stylist that that would be my last shampoo (and make it a good one!). I’m not doing the baking soda, etc., stuff either since that would be work. Today, ten days in, you could lube your engine with my hair, but that’s okay! I’m in it for the long haul!

  47. I’ve started using this non-shampoo on my dog, with a few drops of tea tree oil, and it seems to be keeping the itching down and her fur looks and feels great. I’m shampoo free for 4 months and my hair looks great! Thanks for the information.

  48. Kay

    Great blog, Thankyou for sharing your experiences. I am a newbie in the baking soda hair washing thing. My hair is fine and shoulder length, very similar to yours. I had been using v expensive sulfate free organic shampoo and conditioner for years. I quit them about a month ago when i heard about bs.
    The first two times I used baking soda (diluted about 1tbs to cup water) my hair was wonderful. Thick, clean and stayed clean for a week. Amazing
    I went running about telling everyone how wonderful it was, in my excitement!
    Now, a month later, my hair falls out at the roots in great amounts when i wash it and it feels dry and sometimes itchy scalp, plus it gets oily real quick, so i have to wash it more frequently and I think this isnt helping the balance of oils in my scalp much…

    I wash with bs every 2/3 days 😦 I’m always very careful when washing not too use too hot water and to rinse very well. Rather than put my hair under the shower, I submerge it in the tub then pour fresh cool water over it several times to rinse it. I treat it like silk!

    Ive been using less baking soda and have tried a very diluted apple cider vinegar rinse twice ( like you, it’s no good for my hair in any way, just makes it much greasier)

    I feel so bummed after my earlier experience with the pooless method. Want to keep going pooless – and i can’t afford the “good” shampoos anymore. But I don’t want any more of my hair to fall out either. Did you experience any hair loss early on, or any other readers here? Please share advice or stories.

    Meanwhile, I will try keeping the baking soda and water mix in a bottle for a week to settle, like you suggest, before using it and see if that helps…

    Are hair loss and dryness just normal side effects to expect during the so called adjustment period?

    Also, do you brush your hair? I never have but hear its good for spreading oils.
    I’ll keep reading your blog to see what else I can learn

    • Hey Kay,

      My hair also falls (and breaks) from just thinking about it! What ha worked best for me since ditching shampoo (for several years now) is indian herbs.
      There are many free recipes online -try googling ‘homemade ayurvedic shampoo’. Some are very elaborate and you have to spend hours with stuff on your hair -a very nice luxury which I actually do for myself from time to time. After many experiments I’ve come up with two super easy hair wash mixtures: Aloe vera juice or gel and fenugreek powder. That’s it!
      Say you have about 1/4 cup of aloe, add 1/2 a tsp. of fenugreek powder, stir and check consistency (I never measure it but fenugreek will thicken A LOT) keep adding a tiny bit at a time til you reach a nice thick spreadable gel you like. Wet hair, massage ever soooo gently, let some excess water fall off, slather on your paste concentrate on scalp which will loooove the fenugreek massage), and slather on hair too. leavit for the duration of the rest of your bath. rinse very, very,very well. your hair will be so soft you won’t believe it and will feel thicker too. Many fewer strands will fall. If you need further conditioning a tad of good oil will do (for hair my fave is coconut). If you’re feeling really adventurous and want a spa day for peenies. Night before soak about a tbsp. whole fenugreek seeds. Next day drink the water if you like herbs and can take them. Add new water
      and simmer til very thick. Let cool. Put in blender, grind as much as possible, slather on scalp and hair, cover w/ plastic bag from produce, or shower cap, go do your thing for at least an hour (I’ve done it for up to four)
      and then rinse like there’s no tomorrow. May clog your sink. I’ve done this only in warm weather, rinsing in the backyard with a hose (shampo + conditioner + compost!)> Maybe you or a friend has one of them ‘garbage disposals’ in the sink. Best of luck.


      Best of luck

  49. Christina

    Thanks for sharing your no-poo story. I have spent the last 6 months trying to go no-poo and I have tried all kinds of things. Our water is very hard and I found some info about putting the baking soda in boiled water if you have hard water. That worked the best for me, but going through all the boiling and making AC rinse just seemed like a lot of work in the wee hours when I don’t even want to get out of bed, and I never managed to remake a BS batch in the day hours when I ran out. Then I moved on to co-poo and I actually really loved that. It was much easier with the hard water but for some reason I got a bit tired of trying to find good silicon-free conditioners. Currently I am trying a handmade shampoo bar I got on etsy. I have only used it once so I can’t really tell yet. I still need to either use an acid rinse or conditioner because of our hard water, but the bar itself lathers like shampoo, feels very decadent and smells like a dessert. I grew up with soft water and some days I think that if it was not for our hard water, I could probably use just water!!

  50. I read this in June 2011 and haven’t used conventional shampoo since. I started off with bicarb and apple cider rinse and had an tricksome month or so. To be honest, I have just got used to the fact that my hair isn’t going to be swishy and salon soft anymore – in fact, that seems unnatural to me now. I use a bit of bicarb chucked into a bottle and filled from the shower every couple of days and about once a week I use a really dilute solution of Dr Bonners which is basically castille soap I think. I use hair oil on the ends every now and again when I remember. My hair is mid length, fine but lots of it. Not sure if my rather loose regime qualifies as no-poo but it’s certainly cheap and easy. Never again will I buy off the shelf shampoo.

  51. Trix

    I don,t use shampoo but I use kefir whey, the liquid that comes when you make kefir fresh cheese.

    It gives you beautiful, full and shiny hair.
    It cures itching scalp instantaneously.

    After rinsing I use very deluted liquid castille soap with a drop of lavender for a nice smell.


  52. Cathy Farrington

    I totally agree with your take on the body wash issue, and I think companies have really brainwashed us all into thinking we need to wash our hair daily! The best thing I *ever* did for my hair was to quit washing it every day! Now I wash it only once or twice a week MAX. Even after a gym work out, I often don’t wash my hair. That isn’t to say I don’t *RINSE* it really well on the days I don’t wash it.. that helps take out the product I use daily (hair spray, heat protector, etc). I do like using ACV with cool water. Currently, I’m using a bar shampoo from Lush; it’s amazing, and handmade in small batches. For ladies who commented on dry ends, that *might* be a sign that you need a trim? My daughter has long hair, and when she starts to get dryness or more tangles, it’s usually because she needs her ends trimmed.. ask any hair stylist, who will tell you how important a cut/trim is no matter how long/short you keep your hair.

  53. I stopped using shampoo about six months ago. Initially, I used baking soda to scrub into my scalp, but I too had the weird gunky yet dry thing happening. I experimented a bit and this is what I found works for me:

    1. In an empty old shampoo bottle I add 1/4 cup of baking soda and then fill with warm water.

    2. In a second bottle, I pour 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and fill that bottle with warm water.

    3. Shake the baking soda/water bottle until well mixed and use as a hair wash, roots to ends.

    4. Rinse WELL! A lot of the problems come from residue.

    5. Then rinse your hair with the apple cider/water mix. Leave on for a few minutes and then rinse.

    The vinegar seems to remove any left over baking soda residue.

    I have very fine, long hair and this has been a lifesaver!

  54. Laurie

    I put 3 tsp baking soda into an empty shampoo bottle with a cup of warm water (I don’t like using cold water, brrrrr!) and I get in the shower. I squirt the mixture on my DRY hair all over the roots under and over and then massage it in just like you would with shampoo. Rinse very well. Then I keep a bottle of 1tbs apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 cup water, a few drops of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon for scent. At the end of my shower I squirt some of that onto the length of my hair (not the roots) and rinse first with warm, then with cool hair. My hair is full of body and shine, and no longer has that brassy look from the chemicals in the shampoos! It ever look good air dried! It NEVER was like that when I was using shampoo/conditioner! (I’ve been doing this for a few months now, and I never had the “transition period” just took time to get the ratio and method down)

  55. Joanne

    I have waist length hair, I was getting so frustrated. I would shower before bed and it took 8 hours to dry and was still damp when I would get up for work. I was so tired of how much shampoo and conditioner it took to clean my hair, it was ridiculous. Then it the course of looking up lotion recipes I came across your blog on shampoo, or more accurately, no shampoo. I decided to try it, I am in love!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t really have a transition period, it just took some time to figure out the mix ratio. I ended up with a Dr B bottle and fill it with distilled water and add baking soda to about an inch depth, I make two up at a time and leave them sit. Obviously with this much hair I use a little more. Then I filled a regular squirt bottle half full of apple cider vinegar and half water, and just squirt it on my hair. My husband loves it. He says it smells when it’s wet, but as soon as it dries the smell is gone, but he can run his hand thru my hair and it is never tangled. I also discovered that my previously straight hair actually has a nice soft natural wave.
    I’m a soap maker and when I miss the suds and the sweet smell, I make up a batch of sandalwood shampoo bars, I usually need only one so I give the rest to family and friends. But I will Never go back to shampoo now. Thanks so much for your blog.

  56. Joanne

    OOPS, almost forgot, my hair now takes a total of 20 to 30 minutes to dry completely.

  57. Kristi

    Do you have hard or soft water? Someone told me that baking soda does not dissolve in hard water and perhaps that’s why it wasn’t working for me??

    • joanne

      I have hard water so it doesn’t completely dissolve for about 2 weeks, so I have started doing a bottle every weekend, and by the time and just use the bottles in line.

  58. I know this is an old thread, but I just started doing this a few weeks ago, and like you I have been persistent in trying different techniques… I continue to get this gunky almost greasy feel at the roots of my hair, doesn’t look oily or dirty, but feels really weird and I’m not sure what to do about it – I’ve tried rinsing with vinegar and that hasn’t helped – maybe I’ll try having my baking soda sit for a week or two first? I would really like this to be a victory for me, but if I don’t get this gunky feeling to go away I don’t know what to do! Thanks for sharing your story!

    • asonomagarden

      Rene, it could be your water. We moved a year ago and I’ve had a hard time with that gunky feeling since then, I realized recently that it was our water! I bought bottled water at the store to mix with baking soda as an experiment and it totally solved the problem. Maybe try that and see if that works!

  59. chrisinsocal

    Hi again! I’m so sorry, but I just left a question about your “hair washing” before I thought of checking it out on your blog topics, where I just found the answer. As always, love your blog!

  60. Laura

    I am going to try the baking soda & vinegar no shampoo regime – sounds good. One of my friends hasn’t washed his hair for 15 or so years, just rinses with water every few months. His hair is amazing, super shiny long curly hair. I haven’t brushed my hair for about 3 months or so now, just run my fingers through as it is drying. It has so much more body and curls, and no tangles.

  61. Venia

    I struggle with having to be extremely limited in what I purchase for commercial personal care products due to allergies (deodorants, body/hand/laundry/dish soaps, shampoo/conditioner, and lotions, perfumes, etc. You name it…). I also struggle with dry scalp come spring/summer which is only irritated by commercial shampoos.

    Last week after doing some research, I washed my hair with a quick mixture of baking soda diluted in warm water with a few drops of olive oil and a few drops of peppermint oil. I put the ingredients in a measuring cup and stirred it up and poured half of the mixture on top of my head, flipped my head and poured the rest. Massaged through my hair and into my scalp for a few minutes. Then I waited for 15 minutes before wetting my hair down and massaging the mixture OUT of my hair (massage while rinsing – flip head do again).

    After I was sure the baking soda mixture was completely rinsed away – I followed up with a 40/60 mixture of vinegar to water (which conditions and balances the PH). Let it set for a few minutes while I was showering and then rinsed the mixture out completely.

    I have to say that I have never had my hair look and feel so good ever. LOL It was so soft, tangle free, had volume, looked radiantly healthy, etc.
    Also – my scalp was no longer irritated from being dry.

    I have not given up on commercial shampoos (yet) because I really do like the smell and lather that comes with using them. HOWEVER …I certainly will be doing the baking soda thing at least once a week for now. I noticed I did not have to wash my hair for a few days after doing that and never got greasy.

    I know this is an old blog post – are there any updates since then? Still doing this no-shampoo thing?

    • Erin

      Thank you so much for adding your comment – I’m going to try out your idea on my hair this week. I’ve done no shampoo for just a few weeks but reverted back after my hair was so greasy. I think I’m going to try massaging more and using the vinegar afterwards like you suggested. Thanks!

  62. Janell

    I clicked the link for the Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap and it doesn’t exist anymore. I need to know the size of the bottle! I want to try to this out!

  63. Dar

    I tried the no poo, I have colored hair, that has thin strands. It totally dried out my hair and tangled it. Anyone know of a good moisturizing organic shampoo?

  64. Laura

    Mint tea makes a great conditioning rinse.
    I stopped using shampoo about 6 weeks ago, and hopped on the baking soda method. I just keep a bottle of dry soda at hand and sprinkle on as much as I need to get my whole scalp.
    I did the vinegar rinse, which worked, but I didn’t like the smell.
    So now I use mint tea as a rinse and it works great.

  65. Sonia

    I prepared a “mix” last week, and started using it this week, and I am amazed at the results! Not only does my hair look awesome, my scalp seems to be healing (it’s really, really dry). I’ve been telling all my like-mind friends about this.

    I’ve been using tea rinses as well for months. Whatever I have on hand, right now using up whatever old herbal tea I don’t like to drink.

  66. Pingback: The No Shampoo Challenge | Homegrown Joy

  67. Jenny

    What I’m wondering is if it’s still noted as important to use ALUMINUM FREE baking soda?? It was noted earlier that the aluminum would just have the same effect as shampoo….?

  68. tbjockny

    I’ve been no-poo for 3 1/2 Just see a alot of oily hair this week. I dissolved baking soda with water and massaged it through my hair.and this helped today.
    Prior to my no-poo, my hair felt dry, brittle, VERY itchy and flaky. Within three days of stopping the shampoo it stopped flaking and itching and was softer and fuller.

  69. sarah

    I’ve stopped shampooing and share the same results! But why dont you deep condition or even use a 2 minute conditioner after the bs rinse??

  70. Charlotte

    Hi! I am very young and I swim in chlorinated water at least once a week, but I’ve heard a lot about this whole no-poo thing, and I want to give it a try.
    Do you encourage under-13-year-olds to try this? Should I do anything different?

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