The oh-so-important HAIR update

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

One of the all-time most popular posts here on Simple Mom is about my hair. In that I don’t wash it. Almost two years old, and this post still gets at least one comment per day, it still makes its way around Twitter, and people in real life still ask me all sorts of questions.

I wonder sometimes if those people are closely inspecting my hair, wondering if I hide spider webs underneath, or if it would smell like — I dunno, something gross if they came too close.

Reader Sandra recently wrote and asked:

“I have been reading your blog and found the no shampoo post interesting. I see it was posted a while back — are still doing it, and if so, how your hair is today? I started to do this last week and I am finding my hair very dry and tangled. I am wondering if this is part of the process, or if I am doing something wrong.”

I suppose it’s time for a hair update. Because I know you’re all on the edge of your seats, wondering if I haven’t washed it in 24 months.

Drumroll, please.


Yep, I still don’t wash my hair… in the traditional sense, that is. I still do what I shared in that post two summers ago — I use a simple mix of baking soda and water to cut the typical grime, and I follow it with apple cider vinegar to keep it smooth and shiny.

No shampoo, no conditioner.

Now, in my last trimester with Finn, I did use a gentle, natural shampoo because my hormones were out of control and it showed in my hair. I didn’t have the patience to tweak the right baking soda-water ratio. No conditioner was necessary though; good ol’ vinegar was still fine.

And a few weeks after his birth, I was back to baking soda.

What about the rest of your family?

Kyle tried baking soda for awhile, but he just didn’t like it, so he uses either a natural shampoo or castile soap, which we also use on our skin. Either of these work well for him, and it still saves us boatloads of money each year.

I hardly wash my kids’ hair at all. Honestly, they just don’t need it very much because they don’t have the hormones activated that cause the grease. The only time they really need a cleaning is when their hair is caked with yogurt, oatmeal, and who-knows-what. It also gets washed a bit more often in the summer with the pool chlorine.


Don’t mind the goofy face. If you’ve ever had a three-year-old boy, you know what it’s like to take photos.

Just because it’s easy, I use whatever natural soap on their hair that I’m already using on their skin. After her shower, Tate also uses a natural detangler to tame her otherwise nest.

This works perfectly for them.

I don’t think it’s a major deal if you choose to use shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products — this method is simply what I’ve chosen for my family. But I do think it’s important that you make an educated choice.

My original poo-free post shares my reasons for skipping the shampoo, so you can decide for yourself and sleep well at night, knowing you’ve made a thoughtful choice. I simply want you to know that there are alternatives to “traditional” hair care.

When the weather is drier (like in the winter, or in less humid environments like our new home in Oregon), I also like to finish my clean hair with a tiny dab of hair butter — oh my goodness, this stuff is heavenly.

Common FAQs

1. Doesn’t the vinegar smell?

Not at all. Sure, it does when you pour it on, but as soon as you rinse it off, it’s gone. Unless you put essential oils in either of these mixes, your hair will smell like… nothing.

2. What amounts do you use?

For me, one tablespoon baking soda to one cup water works well. If I do more, my hair feels strawlike; less, and my hair doesn’t feel clean. This amount will last me about two cleanings.

I use about a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar to one cup water, and I use this very sparingly. It lasts a really long time.

My mother-in-law brilliantly mixed a large batch of both and keeps them under her bathroom sink, making it easy to refill the bottles in her shower.

3. How often do you clean your hair?

Depends on the season (both the year’s and my body’s). On average, I’d say I do this about every four or five days. My hair doesn’t create needless, extra oil because I’m not stripping it with shampoo, so it doesn’t require cleaning more often than this.

4. What do you put the stuff in?

Simple squeeze water bottles with a drinking valve. But I don’t drink it.

5. I tried this, and my hair is too crunchy/oily/dry/icky feeling. What did I do wrong?

Probably nothing; you just need to tweak your recipe. I’m not an expert, so I can’t dispense too much wisdom on the matter. I know some people prefer honey over vinegar, or making a simple paste of baking soda with a few drops of water. Play around, Sandra.

6. What’s the benefit, really? Shampoo isn’t the evil or evils.

No, it’s not. But it’s one small thing my family does, and we reap the benefits. It saves us gobs of money in haircare products, we feel like our hair (and therefore our bodies) is healthier, and we’re not contributing to the environmental impact it takes to make traditional shampoo.

Plus, it just makes things… simple. It works for us.

I know a number of you are shampoo-free. What’s your experience?

Join the Conversation

Comments

  1. I’m not completely ‘poo free but only wash once a week at most. This actually came about because years back I had damaged my hair (went light brown to black several times) and was trying to get back to a shade of blonde before getting married. My stylist told me to stop washing my hair and hopefully the oils from my scalp would heal my damaged hair.

    It worked. I got back to blonde for my wedding day and my hair didn’t fall out when they coloured it.

    Now I wash once a week or every 10 days. I save a load on shampoo and time. And I swear my hair never looks greasy.

    Wondering if I should take the plunge and go ‘poo free…

    • Do you still color your hair? I have early graying (refuse to have gray hair at 30!) and I am concerned that the baking soda will cause the color to fade sooner. Any ideas?

      • I too was wondering the same thing about coloring? Shirley, I have the same problem. I notice that my hair gets really greasy and weighted down only after two days from each washing. I am considering doing this but am concerned about the color fading faster. I think I am going to try this and find out for myself.

        • avatar
          Lisa Eagle says:

          I have very straight thin hair and thought I needed to wash it everyday because of the grease that builds up. (plus live in FL and work in the heat) The two new tricks that saved me are: 1. Use dry shampoo-powder form. I’m sure there is a natural option (maybe baking powder??) but I buy mine from Sephora. 2. Add volume to your hair by gathering all of your hair into a ponytail, twisting until it twists into a bun and securing with a clip. The higher the ponytail the better-more volume. Sleep overnight and will be awesome in the morning after you brush.

          Can’t wait to try the baking soda wash. My hairstylist recommended for buildup but said to add to shampoo. Will try both ways.

          • Here is a great page for DIY natural dry shampoo. I have tried it and it works perfect. I have several colors in my hair and use the half and half mix.

            http://wellnessmama.com/5047/diy-dry-shampoo/

          • I have fine, straight hair making it very easy for oil to slide down the hair shaft making my hair look really greasy. I used to shower every day just to get rid of the grease. A girlfriend suggested using baby powder, and trust me, it works! I have tried other dry shampoos but nothing can beat the baby powder (or the price!) I sprinkle it on my roots, rub it in, quickly brush it, and go to bed. In the morning I brush it out and am done! I have volume and soft hair – not greasy and piece-y looking. If a touch up is needed, sprinkle some in, rub, brush and quickly blast with the blow dryer to get rid of the white look.

          • I’ve heard that cornstarch can also work as a dry shampoo.

        • I’ve never noticed my color fading significantly. But I don’t color it very far — naturally I’m like a dark-medium blonde and I dye it to a lighter color, just to get out that dishwater tone it otherwise has.

      • Depending on your hair color. you can always use henna dye. it is a natural dye just put some on your roots and it will keep the grey away. It does look different on everyone but you can also adjust the darkness of the color as well from a brownish red to almost black. henna is also a natural conditioner as well. you can learn more from this site. http://www.crunchybetty.com/the-fine-art-of-dying-your-hair-with-henna.

      • I found an interesting ebook…Hair Gone Wild….is full of facts and tips. For people that color, it talks about using henna and/or herbs. This may answer some of the questions you may have about that.

      • I have been poo free for 2 years and I color my hair. It has made no impact either way.

    • The exact same thing happened to me! I naturally have a dark blonde or dirty blondish color hair, I started with high and lowlights and did different things once a year. And this one year I went jet black. The colorist said it was very hard to go light from black and that I had to leave it on at least 9 months… I did it, I was thinking I wouldn’t get married before 2 years… Suddenly things changed and my bf and I started to like the idea of getting married next year. I wanted to be closer to my natural color for my wedding and black was the opposite almost.
      I tried all those color removers like oops, it did get a little lighter but not really noticeable to others… After hours at the salon and a LOT of bleaching my hair was orange, like copper! After months and a whole lot more visits to the salon I ended up with a nice color… Some sort of strawberry blondeish with blonde highlights. And we got married :-D in september.
      That christmas I wanted to go blonder, since I’ve always love ashlee simpson’s blonde hair (pre-pixie) and hillary duff’s, kate hudson, cameron diaz… love blonde hair. Went to the salon, it turned out ugle, like really yellow on top, and on the bottom layers still orangeish blonde… so when it grew a little it looked like my roots were growing black.
      So I decided that it would cost me way less to do it at home, and if I wouldn’t like it, at least I didn’t spend all that money I did at the salon…
      Bad result, but actually closer to what I had in mind than what I had gotten at the salon. So I went to the lady who usually just cut my hair, since now she changed work places and also did coloring. I loved the result! At first. But sometimes my hair would look really yellow, and sometimes really white… The only time it ever worked (and very great!) was when I straightened it or curled it and put on heavy makeup, like black eyes or dark shadows… I don’t do my hair or makeup a lot, maybe just once a week, I believe it to be unnecessary to damage my hair like that just for staying at home all day or just for going out to buy groceries. So that was a short phase… Still love the pic though with it straightened and by very black eyes :-)
      So I went to my hair-cutter lady. Told her I wanted it to be darker. Turned out bad, it looked completely gray, dark gray, like someone who is starting to get white hairs in her dark hair. I actually looked into the mirror at home and cried. But the ash color IS supposed to wash out after a coulple of shampoos… It didn’t, not enough. So I called the lady and she said she’d fix it for free. She did make it a little less horrible, but it was not at all what I asked for. So after a couple of weeks I was in a city that had a sally beauty supple close to the hotel I was staying at, I went in with my husband (who hated all of the blonde things I did after we got married, I don’t blame him, I did too) who told me to go dark brown :-o I told him he could choose from the blonde book samples and of course, he chose the darkest. That evening in the hotel, I got to work, it took a while. The next morning and a couple of days afterwards it looked more like a light to medium brown to me than dark blonde. But I liked it and so did my honey and my family.
      It’s been 6 months now, and I haven’t colored it since. Because it was really really damaged after going through all of that in such a short time. I’ve been trying to growi it long (it was a little past shoulder-length) since I painted it black, that was more than 2 years ago and I can BARELY see it being a LITTLE longer now than 2 years ago… But I’m not giving up!
      I am using something now that has seemed to make its texture better and it looks less damaged and straw like. I cut half an onion into chunks, put it in my regular shampoo, let it sit for 15 days and use it now. I also bought one pack of the cheapest birth control pills, ground them to powder and added it to the shampoo and onion mix. It has seemed to help my poor hair, I don’t care if people give a lot of reasons why this wouldn’t do my hair good, I am trying it, it has been a month and I am seeing better results that I did with the Grow! shampoo, hair vitamins, multi-vitamins, hair skin & nails pills… Anything. And I have tried a LOT. Maybe after this onion-thing I’ll try the baking soda thing. Or Wen, I’m thinking of trying wen, because it’s also not really a shampoo.

      Cheers to all those who are trying to grow their hair long and just CAN’T get it to grow no matter how hard they try. Don’t give up!

      • I tried WEN once. Used it for about 6 wks. My hairstylist asked right away what I was using on my hair. I had a flaky scalp!, which I’d never had before. She told me to stop using WEN immediately. Went back to my regular shampoo, and my scalp is fine now. I am trying to go poo free. Only just started this morning. My hair came out very soft and clean feeling. Hoping it continues, and I’ll see what my stylist says next time I go in. Hoping it works!

      • I use henna, my hair is stronger and grows faster, you can get a clear henna if you don’t want to color, the one i use brings out natural highlights.

      • I have used Wen many times – when I could afford it. I love it but only when done properly. I think there are a few things about it. It is essentially washing your hair with conditioner (which is another no’poo alternative) so you have to rinse it out well and then use a teeny bit on the mid-range to ends for a leave-in. Once my hair adjusted to it, it was wonderful. I like that it’s made in USA, too. But I like the BS and ACV better. Hilda Blue has some good info on her blog about using conditioner, BS/ACV, and even simply water washing on her blog. You have to find what’s right for you and your hair/scalp.

    • avatar
      Mary Ann says:

      If it ain’t broke, DON’T fix it!

    • I have my hair died two colors, blond and a red that is about half way between a natural red and an auburn. Red is usually the quickest to fade for most people, but the poo-free method hasn’t effected my color at all. I have my color done by a hair stylist so it stays really well. I have had the same red out of a box and had it fade long before it should with regular shampoo. You can also try using a smaller amount of baking soda.

  2. I love hearing this update! I started the whole process over a year ago, but gave up after a few months because I wasn’t happy with how my hair was. I tried going back to shampoo and couldn’t stand it! In January I went back to no-poo and realized I needed to tweak the amounts. Now I use 2 teaspoons baking soda to 1 cup water and probably more like 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 cup water. I use that once every 4-5 days and “wash” my hair with water once in between. I even recently took hair pics every day for a week and plan to put that on my blog soon as an update and to show people that it really does look OK every day – LOL!

  3. Thanks for the update :)

  4. It seems to be very convincing as it actually works and a lot of people are positive about it. I’m planning to use your no-poo method, but at some point I feel so unsure about it. I would like to know if it is appropriate in all types of hair. I deeply appreciate it if you can help me with this. Anyway, it was an interesting post and I would love to hear more from you.

    Have a nice day!

  5. Our family went shampoo -free after reading your post last year and I’m loving it. It works perfectly for me and I just wash my hair once a week, the same as I used to with shampoo. My husband and 11yr old daughter sometimes complain of an itchy scalp, so I rub a little coconut oil into their scalp after washing and that seems to help.

    • For itchy scalp, selenium. No need to put it in your shampoo, though. You’ll see it on the list of vitamins and minerals in a good multivitamin, can buy it as an individual supplement, and look for foods which provide selenium, as options. The individual supplement actually works very well and fast, so it’s what I use, but were I able, I’d probably just go for selenium-providing foods.

      How did I come up with this? It’s the active ingredient in Selsun Blue. Head & Shoulders finally produced a version based on selenium, too. Both work better on dandruff and itchy scalp better than other products, for the vast majority of people.

      Feel free to add some fresh mint to the baking soda solution for a nicely spicy, tingly feel, too.

  6. Thanks for this info, Tsh! Although I’ve been ‘Poo free for almost two years and a loyal Simple Mom reader for about six months, I had no idea that you were one of those “crazy” baking soda / apple cider vinegar folks too. ;) I really appreciate your advice on how to modify the formulas, because lately I have been feeling like my hair is dry and “straw-like.” Now I suspect I am using too much baking soda and/or washing my hair too often. I was about to give up on the whole thing, but you’ve inspired me to play with it instead. Thanks, and keep up the great work!

  7. Great update…that was the post that first brought me to Simple Mom, but I stayed for tons of other great content. I did try the baking soda/ACV for about 6 weeks but just couldn’t get the proportions right. Still, an interesting experiment…your update makes me think I should give it another chance sometime in the future!

  8. I use shampoo very rarely these days. Then I do use traditional herbal powders to wash and condition my hair and my hair feels so lovely. I use shikkakai as a shampoo and henna and hibiscus flower and other powders as a conditioner. I think it’s way better than using a shampoo

    • I never heard of shikakai, and read up on info about it. I love 100% plantbased things! (that’s why I eat vegan) I want to try and get this powder in the Netherlands, where I live. Maybe in an Indian shop or order it online otherwise. Thanks for your comment! Oh and I also use henna, for naturally coloring my gray hairs :D

  9. I came to your site in February as I researched the Poo-Free and Oil Cleansing lifestyle. I have been using just water since February. I use a combination of oils on my face and body and just water on my hair. I have used the baking soda/vinegar cleanse if I go swimming in a chlorinated pool. I did a whole blog on just what and why I do what I do.
    A friend wanted to include it in her Thrifty Sister Newsletter she has been writing for a few years now.
    Here’s a link to my blog post on going Poo-Free
    http://wp.me/p1sSea-30

    Kara

  10. I admit it – I’m fascinated by the idea of not using traditional shampoo/conditioner. Especially when I think about how much I spent each year just on washing my hair. That said, I think my husband would be really sad if my hair stopped smelling a certain way. He’s always smelling my hair and commenting on how good it smells. :)

    • You can check out the fragrance ingredients of the shampoo you use that your husband likes and try to find the essential oils that match. Tweak the formula till you find something he loves smelling too :-)

  11. Thanks for the update! I tried your no-poo method some time ago, but eventually gave up and went back to my old routine. Then I read about the importance of letting the mixtures sit in the hair for a minute, and that has made all the difference. Now I love the results! I’ve also increased the quantities (although I hear that with time I should be able to gradually cut back), and when I apply the mixtures, I gently de-tangle my hair with my fingers, working it into the hair until my hair starts to feel “slippery.” Then I rinse. After I’m out of the shower, I’ll use a bit of hair lotion or coconut oil and blow dry with a large round brush.

    Thanks for your encouragement! I’ve always struggled with hair that was frizzy, but not quite curly, but my current routine finally gives my hair the shine I’ve always wanted.

    • Naomi – your hair sounds like mine. Wavy, dry, and sometimes frizzy. Can you let me know the amounts of baking soda you use? Thanks!

  12. I missed the original post, I was oblivious to the ongoing comments, and I had no idea that the no-poo method was ever used by straight-haired girls. (I knew it was quite popular for Curly Girls.) Very interesting.

    Please, please tell me more about “natural detangler.” Brand, recipe, source? We need a lot of detangler for the wee fine-haired girls at my house.

    • avatar
      Caroline says:

      Yes Tsh! I second this request…please let us in on the secret of the natural detangler. For my “wee fine-haired girls”, too!

      • It’s called the Rainbow Detangler for Kids, and I got it at Whole Foods (but you can apparently also get it on Amazon). It looks pricey, but it lasts forever. I’ll admit it’s not the absolute best stuff in the world, but it works for Tate’s hair just fine. We have a little session of me spraying and brushing after her showers.

        • Thank you! I’ve been looking for something like this for my girl!

          • My daughter has fine wavy hair. We got Alaffia’s shea butter leave-in detangler. It’s like rubbing a tiny drop of shea butter lotion into her hair but it works great!

        • avatar
          Laura Chin says:

          I made a detangler out of our left over conditioner from going “poo free.” I used a tablespoon or so of conditioner in a spray bottle and filled the rest with water. Nice and light! And very economical! :)

          • What a great idea! I will try to remember that if I have a girl! My son won’t have to worry about tangles with his short, straight hair. But we will be having more kids down the line. Thanks! :)

      • avatar
        shawna lane says:

        try a homemade marshmallow root detangler.
        works great. cheap to make. no residue or chemicals.
        :)
        http://frugallysustainable.com/2012/04/a-recipe-for-homemade-herbal-detangler-spray/

  13. Fascinating! My friend did this for a few months and the rest of the moms in our playgroup (myself included) were continually very interested in the process.

    I love keeping it simple and saving money. I just got into couponing, so our shampoo costs are pretty minimal. Maybe after I finish this last bottle of shampoo, I’ll give this method a try. Sounds like you’re a believer!

  14. Has anyone tried this who has curly hair? I have naturally curly hair and I’m a bit hesitant to try this BS/ACV method. I don’t shampoo my hair now, but I do use conditioner on it to wash it. I’d love to hear from someone who has curly hair who has tried this method.
    Thanks for the post, Tsh! Your kiddos are adorable. :)

    • avatar
      Cluttered Mama says:

      This is my question too. I can go w/out shampoo, but w/out conditioner I can’t get a comb through it. I also find I need product to keep it curly instead of frizzy after it dries & then I need shampoo to clean the product out. Anyone have tips for us curly girls?

      • I have natural curly hair, and have been poo free for over 6 months. I don’t use baking soda except once a month, or if my hair is feeling dirty and I need a super clean feeling. About every three days, I usually use the apple cider vinegar and water rinse, massage into my scalp, and than rinse with lots, and lots, and lots of hot water. I also love just using half a lemon, I squeeze the juice on my hair, massage into my scalp, and than again rinse with lots and lots of hot water. It takes your hair a bit to adjust and spread the natural oils into your hair to keep the curls nice. The first couple weeks I used coconut milk as a natural conditioner, light coconut milk worked best. I also started making my own gel, I needed this to keep my curls nice, I just mix 1 tsp plain gelatin into 1/2 cup hot water, mix till dissolved, than add 1/2 cup cold water. Let it sit up in the fridge and than mix up the next day (I use an immersion blender to get it to a nice gel consistency) I keep this in a jar in the fridge. It works great for me! and I no longer need to use 8 million products on my hair to keep it looking nice and not frizzy.

    • I have very oily curly hair and I use the no poo method. When using the vinegar rinse make sure it only goes on the hair and not the scalp. For some reason the vinegar produces more oil when it reaches the scalp. I add essential oils to my rinse and it gives me nice tangle free, shiny hair. I alternate rinsing and leaving in the rinse. Most of the time I leave the rinse in, squeeze out the excess and let air dry. I noticed a huge difference between rinsing the vinegar and leaving it in.

  15. I am also ‘poo-free, particularly because I’ve got dreadlocks (or, more precisely, haven’t been combing my hair since February). I wash with baking soda but my method is a bit different since I don’t scrub my hair the way someone with unlocked hair would do. I combine 1/3 cup baking soda, 10 drops of tea tree oil & 25 drops of rosemary essential oil in a half-gallon pitcher full of hot water. I stir to dissolve the soda & then pour the concoction over my entire head. I allow it to soak for 5-15 minutes & then rinse – sometimes I scrub my scalp, but it’s actually not totally necessary because the baking soda turns any residue/dirt into liquid & it all just rinses right off. If I need a little softening (which I mostly avoid at this point since softening discourages the locking of some of my baby dreads), I add about 1/4 cup of ACV to that same pitcher, fill it with cold water (to prevent dandruff – it really works!) & pour it over my head, rinsing immediately. That’s it! It’s simple & I only wash about every four days. My hair is clean & I spend SO VERY LITTLE money to take care of it. Combine that with the glorious fact that I don’t have to style/comb/etc my hair, & I’ve got an extremely easy maintenance routine! =)

  16. For years, I only used baking soda for my hair. Another tip, is to rub Coconut Oil throughout my hair. It seems to give it shine and smells so good. I do use shampoo whenever I straighten my hair. But, maybe I’ll give “poo free” a try for a while!

    I also love using baking soda as a body scrub!!

  17. I’ve tried the baking soda/vinegar several times, and had never had any success. :( I have gradually cut back on the number of times I wash my hair–now it’s only every 3 or 4 days, and I think I’ve finally got the oil production of my scalp regulated. But my hair looks awful when I try the bs/v. Maybe I need to alter the amounts?

  18. I do not have curly hair, but a hairdresser of mine (who actually touted the no-shampoo method instead of trying to sell me a zillion products! how refreshing!) said going shampoo-free was actually THE secret to managing curly hair and having it be healthy and not frizzy.

    I’m basically shampoo-free, and have been for a few years. But I do think that the water in your household is a factor to consider. When we’ve been on city water, which is filtered and treated with chlorine, etc, the baking soda method worked very well for me. But the rural-well-water that we have now has iron in it, and my hair is a lot harder to get and keep clean. I don’t know—it just doesn’t rinse clean very well. I may not have tinkered with the recipe enough? I also have found that with not completely clean hair, the vinegar rinse smell did bother me.

    The solution I happened upon was this: I found a big bottle of something called “The Original Mane ‘n Tail Moisturizer Texturizer Conditioner,” at our pharmacy. It’s a conditioner for…horses, but is also usable for people. Kind of like that Udder cream that got popular awhile back. It’s not a shampoo, and it does have some objectionable ingredients, which I’m not totally reconciled with (but no sodium laureth sulfate). But I love using it to “wash” our hair… those objectionable ingredients do enough cleaning, plus our hair comes out silky and smelling lovely. It’s fantastic for keeping my girls’ hair tangle-free and sans birds’ nests. That said, I wash their hair with it maybe once a week, and just rinse with water the other times they bathe.

  19. I started doing this and LOVED IT! But after a while, I noticed that my color (highlights) were not lasting as long and became dull. So, I stopped and used a shampoo for color treated hair and it’s fine now. I am disappointed that I can’t stay with it though.

  20. We started the no poo method about 6 months ago and are really happy with it. About a month ago we had to evacuate our home because of a HUGE wildfire and in the hustle and bustle of packing up three small kids a dog and our stuff I just didnt think to grab the supplies. To make things easy on us during that stressful week I just picked up a very cheap bottle of shampoo and conditioner to use at the hotel. My husband and I couldnt stand it! The smell was horrible. The deodorant I bought in place of our glass jars of homemade deodorant smelled horrible too. I can’t believe how strongly scented so many things are. When you use them every day you just dont notice the smell but now that we have gone so long without using those products anymore they just plain ‘ol stink to me! Dryer sheets are the worse, they smack me in the face with their smell, lol. I have to close my window when the neighbor does laundry because her dryer sheets give me a headache, thats a lot of fragrance right there :)

    • I agree, the smell to conventional products is powerful once you’re no longer used to them. I can hardly stand to walk down the aisle of cleaning products at the store now.

      • I had the same reaction. Since I stopped using harsh cleaners, and artificial fragrances several years ago I now can’t stand the smell of them!.. makes you realize just how unnatural it all is.
        Thanks for your posts about going shampoo/conditioner free Tsh!
        I can’t wait to try it!

    • avatar
      Traci Bowman says:

      what is your recipe for home made deodorant?

  21. I had always shampooed and conditioned every single day until I read about no ‘poo a few months back. I have been using baking soda/ACV for 4-5 months now and have been very pleased with the results. I still may do it more than I need to, but I just love the feeling of freshly cleaned hair. I clean my hair every other day and on the opposite days I rinse in the shower and use a dab of detangler in my ends. Contrary to many, many of the comments I read online before starting this process, I’m not sure my hair has “never looked better in my life” or has “more life and body than ever before.” But my hair is clean and manageable, has body, and holds style. I definitely don’t feel like an oily mess when I wake up in the morning, and would even be willing to be seen without showering first. :) And the cheap factor…well, that is an obvious plus.

  22. Thank you! I’ve been (mostly) ‘poo-free since I read your first post – and loving it! I confessed to my stylist recently, when she commented on how healthy my hair was. She praised my “wise choice!” And when friends complement me on my hair, I share my experience with them. Two of my friends are now also ‘poo-free.

    I find the acid rinse essential; even if I rinse thouroughly, I don’t like the way my hair feels after only the baking soda solution. I mess about with the acid rinse recipe – sometimes adding lemon juice, sometimes making it with chamomile tea and vinegar, but always making it just a bit stronger than 1 T vinegar to 1 cup water… closer to 1 1/2 to 2 T total vinegar+lemon juice. One of my friends uses a rinse of dilute lemon juice, because she doesn’t like the vinegar smell, and it works well for her. She is a brunette, BTW, and it doesn’t bleach her hair – lemon juice requires heat to lighten hair.

    I use a _very_ dilute castile soap solution sometimes (between the baking soda solution and the rinse) when I feel my hair needs it.

  23. I tried going poo free. it did work but i experienced the same things as others which means i need to work on my ratios. i have naturally curly hair and when i was doing the baking soda and water my curls were together “not broken”, but my hair did look oily. i had an event for work and didnt want my hair to look oily so i have went back to shampoo, conditioner, and mousse. i definitely want to try it again, but i am not at all patient.

  24. i forgot to ask my ? in my last post…. is it for all hair types? since i have naturally curly and very thick coarse hair, not sure if it is for my hair. i like to wear my hair both straight and curly but have to use a straight iron.

    • Read the comments above. :) Sounds like it’s actually perfect for naturally curly hair, though you have to get the proportions for your hair right, which takes some tinkering.

  25. Tsh, I actually learned about going poo-free from your original post. I started doing it in my third trimester with my third pregnancy. It took me about 6 weeks to adjust, but went really well from there. My hair felt thicker. I did it for a whole year. I actually switched back to natural shampoo because every time my hubby would smell my hair he’d say it didn’t smell good–it just smelled like nothing. He didn’t say it, but I think he missed my hair smelling fruity or floral-ly. So, I switched back. But I still highly recommend the no-poo method. I loved how low maintenance it was for the end of my pregnancy and several months with a newborn!!
    P.S. How do you pronounce your name? I’ve haven’t come across a post where you mention it.

    • It’s like Tish, with an i. It’s a Russian name.

      • Thanks. :-) I was saying it wrong in my head.

        • Megan, have you tried adding a few drops of lavendar, tea tree, cinnamon, etc. essential oil to your vinegar rinse? Or brewing some pepermint tea, and replacing half the water in your vinegar rinse with that? You can get all the pleasures of the smell without having to buy the shampoo. To be honest, when I cut back my rosemary plant this fall, I boiled the trimmings in a pot of water and used that with my vinegar, and it made my hair smell lovely.

          • That is a fabulous idea for the tea and I’m going to do poo free asap. I giggled when I told my husband because he just paused then said I can’t go to work with oily hair :) I’ve been making tons of changes this year with food etc. and he’s a little shell shocked. Here’s a great idea too I use coconut oil for my deoderant my husband says he loves it and hasn’t noticed a smell at all.

  26. I tried going no-poo this past winter. I planned it ahead of time and decided it was best begun in the winter (for me) because I sweat a great deal in the summer and would normally need to wash my hair once a day or more. But, even with preparation and planning, the initial few weeks were harrowing. I have hip-length, naturally curly hair that tends to be oily at the roots and dry at the ends. Since it’s curly, I very rarely comb or brush it. That turned out to be a real problem when I stopped removing all the excess oils with shampoo. For a little more than two weeks, I wouldn’t have dared to leave my house.

    After that time, there was a marked decrease in oil production, which was nice. For the first time in my life I was able to go two and three days between washes, just rinsing with water in the shower. Initially, I really loved the feeling of my my hair, too. But two months in, my hair was starting to get very dry and brittle and tangling easily. With a wedding (one that I was in) rapidly approaching, I fearfully switched back to shampoo and conditioner.

    Now, having gone back to shampoo and conditioner, I can feel an incredible difference in my hair. Right now, in the middle of an incredibly hot, humid summer, I can’t imagine switching back to baking soda. I’d like to try again, perhaps with less baking soda, but think that I’ll have to wait for fall. Unfortunately, I’ve kind of convinced myself that this method of hair care just isn’t meant to work for someone with hair as long as mine, so I’m afraid I’m setting myself up for failure (self-fulfilling prophecy, you know?).

    I think before I switch back to no-poo, I will try organic/natural hair care products first. I’m willing to spend a little more for convenience, but I really, really want to use something healthy and natural.

    • avatar
      Kameron Bybee says:

      Have you tried the Curly Girl method? Her line is called DevaCurl and I LOVE it. I have very curly hair that’s about mid-back length, and her (natural) products have worked wonders for me. Granted, as with the BS/ACV method, it’s all about proportions, and where you live – with curly hair thrown in, it’s all about the humidity levels. More humidity = a little more product. But I’m pretty much no-poo, though I do use DevaCurl’s conditioner almost daily. I’m not one of those curly girls who can sleep on their curls and have them look fresh the next day. Not even close! I’m always experimenting with different approaches, though, so this thread is awesome (even at 3+ years old)!

  27. I tried the no-’poo thing and it didn’t work for me. The baking soda turned my hair to straw. It was literally breaking off in clumps. And it never was clean. My hair tangled like crazy, which it never does. The vinegar helped some, but it smelled so bad. Everyone I know says that vinegar doesn’t smell once it’s rinsed out and dried, but I could smell it all day long. The smell of vinegar makes me sick (I’m talking massive headaches if I get enough of a whiff), so I was just miserable. I went back to regular shampoo and it took about 6 months to undo the damage my hair went through. Now, I have a shampoo and conditioner that work well and I only need to wash my hair every 4 days or so.

    I’m kind of disappointed that it didn’t work for me, but it goes along with what you said – that it’s what you do, and what works for other people may not be the same.

    • True. It also sounds like maybe you were using too much? 1 Tablespoon water to a cup of water isn’t much at all — it almost feels like there’s nothing in it at all.

      Whatever works for you, though! :)

  28. It great to hear your update!
    I tried the poo-free method for quite a few weeks and noticed a big difference. For one, I’ve always been one to have “thin” hair, but after using this method, I noticed my hair was much more full and thick and seemed easier to style.
    My hair is quite long however (to the middle of my back) and I found that I needed to use much more of both solutions to get my hair clean and “conditioned”. I went through about 5 oz. each time I washed my hair, so was refilling constantly.
    I regret to say that I ran out of the solution once after I was already in the shower and just went ahead and used shampoo and conditioner and since have become lazy and continued to do so.
    I would love to get back to being poo-free though, and plan to do so…especially now that I’ve made this comment! :)

    • I have hair about as long as yours sounds, and I found that I was having issues keeping enough of the solution “stocked” without having to make some before each shower (I’m too lazy to do that – sorry). When I used the last of my shampoo from my liter sized bottle, I filled it with the BS/H2O solution. The bottle has a pump, so it’s easy to pump out the solution right onto my head/hair. This amount lasts about a week (about 3 washes). The bonus was, since I didn’t rinse out the shampoo from the bottle before reusing it, for the first week or so I still had small amounts of shampoo left from the bottle – so I feel it made the transition period eaiser for me. I also reused a medium sized plastic bottle of vinegar as my conditioner bottle and store it in the shower. It came with a plastic cap, and I just pour it on as needed. Again, it seems to last me about a week this way.

      Hope you have better luck the next time around!

  29. Tsh – I have read seveal posts from bloggers who have made the choice to go “poo-free” and I am intrigued. I tried to cut down on the amount of times I wash my hair (since I figure I’m home more often than not and no one sees me but my son). The thing that scares me about going 100% poo-free is that my hair gets really oily between washes and I can’t stand the feeling. I may still give it a shot for a week or two and just see how it goes (?).

    • The oil in your scalp will stabilize and you will have less oil by the next wash. When I first went no poo I was afraid, because I read everyone’s crazy posts about a transition period, but I had no transition period. The first time I used the baking soda my hair felt wonderful and I stopped having super oily hair. The only part I had to tweek was the vinegar rinse because my hair was super dry and tangled like crazy until I figured out what to do. My solution; pour the vinegar rinse onto the hair 1-2 inches away from the scalp, let sit a minute, then squeeze out the excess, and leave it in.

  30. I’ve been using the baking soda/vinegar method since reading your book and I’ve been happy with the results. It saves money and I feel good about how natural it is. I use an old shampoo container with a pump for the baking soda solution and a spray bottle for the vinegar rise.

  31. Your post is so timely. I just tried this for the first time last night! I’ve been wondering though, should I stop using all hair products? I currently use hair spray & paste, but am wondering if they will build up and not get cleaned out of my hair with this baking soda method of washing it…

    • I don’t use other hair care products, other than the Hair Butter mentioned in the post (which is natural), so I’m not sure. Maybe someone else can chime in?

      • Right now, I “wash” my hair with the BS/ACV regimen. But, I have to wash my hair every 2-3 days because it is SO HOT AND HUMID where I live. I use hairspray and sometimes dry shampoo between washings to help with the oiliness and I don’t have a problem with rinsing those products out. I also use a scalp scrubber while washing, though.

        On the topic of using other products, I used to use Neutrogena T-Gel on my hair to break down the extra sebum that cakes onto my scalp and itches like CRAZY! Does anyone know what I can use instead to combat this? Right now I don’t see myself washing my hair any less because of how itchy it gets…

    • Try using 100% pure aloe gel! I have also heard that coconut oil is fine for light styling.

  32. avatar
    Heidi C says:

    I tried this after reading your original post and kept with it for a little over 6 months. I have hard to manage hair (straight, but with tons of cowlicks and things), and I was able to stop using styling products for good once I stopped using shampoo. I switched back to regular shampoo/cond recently and my hair is GROSS! I did it just as an experiment and I will definitely be going back to the baking soda/acv. The only downside I found is that I have to keep up on getting my hair trimmed because it REALLY shows when not using regular shampoo.
    Another thing- I tried it on my daughter (who is biracial) and it didn’t work at all. I don’t know why, but her hair was a frizzy mess of straw no matter what ratio I used and I even tried coconut oil once she got out of the shower and it didn’t help. She has very coarse hair that doesn’t curl in perfect ringlets like my other daughter, so maybe it’s just her type of hair that didn’t work, but it definitely was a failed experiment!

  33. I have been no poo for about three weeks now. I have thin baby fine hair. I use almost a tbsp of baking soda to a cup and a half of water and then rinse with 2 tsp apple cider vinegar to a bout a cup of water.. It’s amazing that I have absolutely no tangles! My hair has more volume then ever and no fly a ways!. Before with shampooing I always had to use a conditioner because the shampoo caused my hair to tangle. I really think the manufacturers of these products make them so they are dependent on each other hence you have to buy more than one product to get your hair to look good. Not any more!

  34. I just started doing this 15 days ago. So far everything is going okay. Some days my hair feels straw like, sometimes thick, sometimes oily. I think I need to tweak how much I use, or pay attention. I’ve just been putting the baking soda in my hand and adding water. I need to be more technical with it I think.
    My hairline also broke out last week with about 6 or 7 blemishes all the way around my head.
    Thanks for the update.

  35. This is such an interesting hair habit. I didn’t realize that going shampoo/conditioner (especially the conditioner free part) was possible. I have really unmanageable wavy hair that is virtually un-tameable unless I condition it so that it untangles. But maybe, when I get a brazillian blowout and go back to straight hair, I’ll try this!

    L

  36. I went poo-free about a month ago…so glad to know you have been doing so long! I got some negative feedback on my blog (such as “that’s nasty”). So, it’s encouraging to read others are doing it successfully. I will re-post this article on my blog’s facebook page.

  37. You converted me awhile ago. I live in the middle east, and my favorite shampoo isn’t available here. So I switched, and I love it. My hair is fluffier – it doesn’t get stringy and heavy anymore, so I can dry it and wear it down without it looking tired. I only use shampoo when I’m travelling and don’t have access to my baking soda and vinegar.

  38. Love that there was an update on this today! I just started going shampoo-free yesterday after coming across your first post. I was most pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to get a comb through my hair wet after using the rinse! Typically for me, I’m in for a world of hurt anytime I try to comb my hair wet without using conditioner. Still a work in progress, but I’m pretty much sold. Thanks!

  39. Tsh, thank you for bringing us up to date. My husband and I tried poo-free for several months and mostly liked it. We felt boxed into a poo-free routine because he has become very chemical and fragrance sensitive. We both found the poo-free routine to be soothing to our scalps but our hair felt a tad too dry. So, we began using the Avalon Organics products which we really like. They have some fragrance free options and are “safe”. I like Avalon’s lavender fragrance shampoo. After reading your update I want to try poo-free again but this time I will also try the hard butter you suggest. Thanks again!

  40. Tsh, love you & love the blog, hope you know that.

    Sometimes it’s hard for African-American (or black international), ethnic minorities in general in regards to posts like this. I feel a little left out. A little bit un-addressed. My hair would never make it through your routine. Although, I only shampoo/condition once every three weeks to a month. I hope you know I’m not criticizing you, this post, your baking soda routine or anything like that –promise! I just thought I’d mention that it could be helpful once-in-a-while to say something at the end of a post like this, along these lines… “If your hair type is of a different texture than mine and people who look like me, what type of products do you use? How long do you go without washing? Anything you’ve used besides typical shampoo and conditioner that you’d recommend to my readers other differing hair textures?”

    A simple question like that, believe me, goes A LONG way to make your black (speaking for myself) readers feel like you see and understand our ethnic differences and want to be a part of the conversation. It’s a small thing, but another representation of something much bigger called white privilege that I think isn’t addressed well until it’s said publicly, with love and respect.

    Overall, I do think that the ways whites can care for & style your hair with a lot less money and a lot more ease is a part of this greater privilege. You don’t have to ever think of that, mention other textures in your blog and you’ll be no worse for it…also, part of that privilege. All this said in love in respect and thankfulness for what God is doing through you in the blogging biz! I have no judgment, no anger, no grief. None.

    Now to answer my OWN question… My mom is Italian & my father is African-American. My hair is thick and resembles more of an African-American hair texture but can get quite long, more like my Ma’s side. I don’t let water touch it for 3-4 weeks out of any given month, but my hair has the opposite problem than white folks: it sucks up oil constantly. I put oil in every day to keep it healthy. The next day it’s dry as a bone. So, I constantly need to deep condition. I love “Cholesterol” for that. Other than that I’m pretty committed to Pantene’s line for women of color.

    Blessings…

    • Grace, thank you for showing this white privileged person a way to be more sensitive to other people. You are well named, since you very graciously addressed this issue. We white people just don’t have a clue, and we need to hear things like this. Keep the comments coming!

    • Hi Grace,

      Thanks for commenting! To be completely honest here, the only reason I didn’t bring up anything about other ethnicity’s hair is simply this: I don’t know anything about it. This was just a little update about what’s working for my family, so I just shared what I know, from my own personal experience.

      I’m so glad you’ve brought up the topic of how other types of hair require other types of care! And I’m so glad you’ve shared your $.02 on the issue. This is exactly what the comments are for — for people to chime in with their expertise, their ideas, and other tips from which all sorts of readers can glean.

      Now, the Hair Butter I mentioned above was initially created specifically for African hair, but it’s really so great for hair of all types. You can read more about its creation here. I love the company, and I obviously love the product!

      Thanks again for chiming in with your thoughts.

      • mmmm, I’ll check out the hair butter. Thx!!

        About you not knowing .2 cents… It’s okay. We all know you don’t! =) But, oddly enough I’d still love your voice in it somehow. I guess I appreciate your angle on so many things that I’d love to hear your thoughts /questions to your many black female readers.

        • avatar
          Jamiella says:

          Grace, thank you so, so much for your response. Very similar thoughts went through my mind but my heart wasn’t in the right place to respond as thoughtfully as you did, so I wasn’t going to respond at all. Thank God for your words!

          This issue is something I struggle with because, being part African-American, Spanish, and ??? myself (we are a mix of everything in my family), I can only do the vinegar/baking soda part of this exercise, but the no-conditioning is absolutely out of the question. Sometimes I feel ashamed when I speak to my friends about it because they proudly announce they don’t need to buy anything “fake” or “processed” and then look at me oddly when I admit that I still condition. I am still searching out there for something that will work for my mix.

          I agree too that extending the invitation to other types of hair is a great way to be more inclusive and acknowledge the diversity of readers that are out there. Good luck in your hair care endeavors!

          • Jamiella and Grace.

            I have heard of using avacado’s and or olive oil to help condition hair along with the vinegar. I havent tryed either of these yet, I only found this site while looking for ways to clean my hair without water, I recently had surgery and am unable to shower (gross) and my hair is getting very oily.. but had already purchased the vinegar and avacado to try them, once the showering resumes Im definately trying the baking soda and vinegar along with avacado paste.

    • Hello Grace!

      I’m writing this from France. I’m white with very thick curly hair and I’m thinking about going poo-free.
      Here in France a lot of black ladies make their own conditionner by mixing natural oils and water in a spray bottle. One of my friends (she has the most beautiful afro to ever grace the Earth!) told me about and I started doing it as well. My hair is now a lot healthier, softer and shinier, it’s really awesome!
      Here is a list of oils commonly used for haircare:
      Coconut
      Sweet almond
      Castor
      Linseed
      ARGAN (the best!!!!!)
      Avocado
      Monoi (smells heavenly, but it’s really just coconut oil infused with tiare flowers)
      Olive

      I usually mix argan, avocado and almond oil with water (no precise formula, I just eyeball it) and spray it on my hair. It works wonderfully!
      When my hair is dry I just use a small amount of any oil for extra moisture and shine. No more flyaways! Every now and then I use coconut oil for deep conditionning. I can’t use it on a daily basis since I find it too thick for my hair texture, but my friend with the fro swear by it! I also always spray good amounts of oil on my hair when I go to the pool, to protect it from chlorine and other chemicals.

  41. I’ve been ‘poo free for almost a year and a half and after a year I decided that cleaning every other day with the baking soda was too much for my very thin hair and I was getting too much breakage. I’ve cut back to about once a week and just rinse with water every other time. It’s working pretty well and I think my hair is becoming more healthy.

  42. I have been shampoo free for 7 months and I’ve experienced great results! I have very straight, thick hair. I use baking soda/water, in a squeeze bottle every other day. I played with the ratios of baking soda to water and it took about 6 weeks for my scalp to adjust. I also use hairspray, but that hasn’t seemed to make a difference. During this summer, when I am swimming almost everyday, I use apple cider vinegar on my hair after the baking soda/water and it helps to soften it.

  43. I saw this last year when I first began blog- hopping and it did not really appeal to me at that time. However, as I prepare to live full-time in an RV, the concept of not using lots of chemicals and not having to wash my hair as often are appealing to me.
    I am assuming that this would not work as well if one used other types of hair products to style their hair, as it may not come out as well. I like the idea of just washing with water in between times!
    May have to try it!
    Bernice
    Don’t get distracted by the SHINY!

  44. avatar
    Madeline says:

    This is how I FOUND your blog! I have been poo-free for about a month now. Love it. love love love. My hair is awesome. I have long hair naturally loose curls and they are more perfect with less effort than I have ever had. Even better than expensive products, and I used to be a stylist, so I have tried everything. I punched holes in the top of a jar lid and sprinkle the baking soda on, add a little water and scrub. I had a couple of rough hair days, but now…I am really happy.

  45. I have very thick and very long hair and I tried using this formula but my hair always felt stringy and unclean. I’d like to hear from someone who has done this successfully with long thick hair and what amounts they use. If you happen to run across someone could you point me in that direction? I would greatly appreciate.
    And your hair does look fabulous! ;)

    • Like Stephanie in the post below, I use much more vinegar in my rinse, and this works best for me. My hair is about half way down my back and medium/thick. The 1 Tbsp baking soda /1 Cup H20 still works for me. But I’m about 1 part vinegar / 1 part H20 on the rinse. Also, I have no idea what difference this creates – but I use white vinegar instead of ACV. (This could explain why my vinegar/water ratio varies so greatly, too).

      I would recommend playing around with the rinse solution (try lemon juice?? I haven’t, so I can’t speak to that).

      Also – make sure you are letting the solutions sit on your hair for a bit before rinsing. (I ususally put on the solution and shave something before rinsing each time.)

      Good luck!

  46. I do this also, but I put more vinegar into my rinse. I have waist length hair, and I’ve been doing the baking soda wash and vinegar rinse for a year or so now. Great stuff. Haven’t converted my husband to it yet, but he just uses a bar of soap to wash his hair. I may try converting my oldest daughter to this soon. She was quite intrigued when I mentioned it the other day.

  47. And you still look Beautiful!
    … Simple.

  48. I tried baking soda and vinegar after reading your original post, but I gave up after awhile because I didn’t like the way my hair felt. I guess I just needed to tweak the recipe! I may just give this another try!

  49. avatar
    Tiffany Larson says:

    I don’t know if this would work for straight hair but for my curly hair (and my daughter’s curly hair), we only use conditioner. I “wash” my hair 3-6x per week depending on how often I’m running and swimming. I use conditioner to scrub my scalp with my fingers and then rinse it well. It makes my highlights last longer and there is no fading. I save money on shampoo and don’t have to use a detangler afterwards. My hair has loved this for over the past year and has never looked better. I will never go back to shampoo!

  50. I tried this for a while but then stopped after getting my hair colored. I read Theresa’s comment above about her color getting dull. I’m curious if anyone else has had this problem? Colored treated shampoo is so pricey- then again, getting it colored isn’t cheap or natural either :)

  51. New reader here: love this site already. I have to comment because I’ve been using baking soda instead of shampoo since last Christmas, when I ran out of shampoo and was just too lazy to go to the store! And since then I’ve found an incredible number of reasons to keep it up.

    However, I do use conditioner, Infusium to be precise. And I find that I have to wash (with baking soda) at least every three days to combat the greasiness. I wonder: if I cut out conditioner too maybe I can wash less…? Thanks for the tips, and for an excellent, inspiring site. :)

  52. Thank you for re-posting this. I had read this on your blog and on smallnotebook; tried it about four months ago and love it! With very curly hair, it is “all about the products,” which has always frustrated me. Too expensive, too much time, too much focus on appearance. The first time I tried the ACV, I couldn’t believe how soft my hair felt. I wash with baking soda once a week, and use the ACV every day because we get very sweaty in our workouts. Also use shampoo bars once or twice a week (depending on how wet and sweaty my scalp feels) from http://www.chagrinvalleysoap.com. I love not having to buy expensive specialty products that really don’t work anyway! Thank you.

  53. Wonderful update, thanks so much. Your post inspired me to go poo-free, which I did, for 6 months. I then suddenly had this LONGING to feel shampoo in my hair. And I am now using a gentle, organic, natural shampoo, but only every 3 days or so. I think this is the secret, if going completely poo free seems daunting, switch to an organic (vegan) shampoo without silicons, and try to wash only every few days, or even just once a week. It’s a good starting point. From there, it’s not that hard anymore to go completely poo-free. And I will, again, very soon!

  54. I’ve been using the no ‘poo method for almost 5 months and I love it!

  55. Wow…never heard of this. So interesting. Kind of intrigued. Might have to try it, but not sure if I am willing to give up my shampoo yet. Do you use hairspray or are you all totally natural?

  56. Thanks for the update! I started going no-poo last November or December and haven’t looked back! I tried it once before to disastrous results (waxy, stinky hair) and gave it another go using your ratios. Here’s what I learned, comparing my first and second tries: 1) You have to shower it out – at our old place we had only a bath, and I just couldn’t rinse it out well enough. 2) The ratios of baking soda and ACV to water matter! First time around, I didn’t measure anything at all. Blech. 3) You have to use enough. This time around, I started by only using a few tablespoons of the baking soda mixture each time, and it just didn’t get my (quite long) hair clean. Now I use about a cup each time and my hair looks lovely!

  57. I started this after your original post, but as I’d just been suckered in to buying a conditioning treatment from my hairdresser, I just used baking soda and then the treatment. My fine, wispy hair did have more body and was easier to style (since I’m too lazy to blow-dry!). I still use hairspray and it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I also feel like it clarifies my scalp which can be prone to build up.

    I will confess, I had a pause for a while when I ran out and kept forgetting to make up a new batch, so just used my husband’s shampoo (can’t convince him to try it yet!). Then I thought I’d put some baking soda in a jar and store it in the bathroom, but didn’t bring a spoon, so that sat there for literally months before I managed to bring a spoon up from downstairs. I’m back on track now though, and love how my hair is looking.

    My kids (2yo and 9mo) just get water-washed, with occasionally a bit of baby wash on the toddler if he’s got into something dirty. I don’t see any need to use anything else.

  58. I’m planning on giving this a try once I run out of my shampoo/conditioner. (I had found a few extra bottles when I recently organized my master bathroom cabinet – oops!)

    How are things in Bend going? Getting set up in new house already?

    • Right in the thick of moving in, actually. Our Internet just came on a few days ago; until then I was either making coffee shop trips to check on the blog, or popping on via the phone!

  59. Love it! I have naturally curly hair and people are asking me how I keep it up. I simple say “I don’t wash it.” I get it wet in the shower and MAYBE once a week shampoo it. Other than that it’s just naturally awesome!

  60. OMG, hair butter! I have to have that!! I use shampoo, but my father never has. And at 87 he still has a full head of thick, wavy hair. I have no idea if there is any correlation, but he swears there is :)

  61. My husband and I are in our second week of the poo-free method. My hair is now extremely oily but I am trying to power through. I guess I am in the transition period. I’m not going to lie, it is very frustrating, but I am trying to hang in there. Hopefully it will clear up soon. I am going to try to add more baking soda to my mix and see if that helps.

  62. I *just* started the no shampoo route yesterday. I am going gradual though – I’ll continue to use my natural conditioner for the first week, and the baking soda paste for shampoo. Then the 2nd week I’ll try going without the conditioner and switch to the apple cider vinegar. I’m very excited to see if my scalp/hair respond positively to the change :)

  63. I have never heard of this. As a woman of color, I wonder if it would work for my hair. I love what vinegar does for my laundry. I do not shampoo my hair any more, I just put conditioner on and rinse it out. My hair loves conditioner. I will have to try this and blog about what happens. I would save a lot of money on my hair. The boys use their soap for everything.

    • Eileen, perhaps you can glean from Grace’s super helpful comment, above? Let me (and especially her) know if you have any questions or tips!

  64. avatar
    Aimee Mulligan says:

    Hi Tsh! Started the bkgsoda /h2o and acv/h20 on my hair today and loved it! I think it will be an easy fit for my naturally oily hair :-)
    Quick question, did you do a blog a while back about shaving? I can’t find it if you did, and I am interested in eco-friendly shaving, but don’t see many razors online or much info really. I can’t give up shaving, I don’t think I can handle the old-fashioned straight-edge, and I am not keen on electric razors or wax (ouch) so I was looking for suggestions for good reusable or green disposable razors…Thanks and anyone else please feel free to chime in!

  65. OK, I originally did *not* think this was for me, as I have longish naturally curly super thick heavy heair. But… maybe… I will… give it… a go… maybe… :)

  66. I was reading in a magazine today that people with curly hair shouldn’t use shampoo. Mine is always a frizzy mess, so I am thinking of going shampoo-free. It would definitely save a lot of money, too–I have to use loads of product on my mid-back length hair. I’m so glad you shared this!

  67. Thanks for the post (and re-post). I’ve been shampoo-free for over a year now, and I’m still loving it!

  68. I started this about six months ago…love it. I make a paste of baking soda (just in my hand, I don’t measure) and do a vigorous scalp massage with it, which feels great. Then I just rinse it through my shoulder-length, fine & slightly wavy hair. In the summer I need to wash every couple of days & I must admit when it’s hot and I cycle to work I usually use a castile soap following the baking soda. Then I rinse with ACV and water (my mix is about 50% vinegar, less leaves my hair still greasy). Love it. My fine hair is no longer limp on day 2.

    I’ve noticed my colour gets faded a bit faster but since I do it at home I just colour a bit more frequently.

  69. So you have washed your hair in the last two years, just not with conventional shampoo. Not being mean but I do think your hair looks a little greasy around your head especially around your temples. It also looks very dry in the ends and no doubt that would be caused from the harshness of the baking soda and vinegar. They are both very strong ingrediants and i’d imagine very drying. No way would I use that on my hair, which is very long and tangles easily. I use baking soda and vinegar on my teeth, aparently under the microscope, these two products individually are able to kill any germ living in your mouth immediately. My point being does your hair really need such harsh ingrediants. Why not try some camomile, coconut butter, some tea tree oil instead of vinegar. Morrocan oil is also a fantastic natural product and would make your dry ends amazing in no time. Just my opinion.

    • Hmm… Thanks for your thoughts. I’ve heard of your ideas, too, so they’re not new to me. My hair looks just fine, feels healthy, and is neither overly oily or dry, so perhaps it’s just the picture. Many, many people just use baking soda and vinegar, and have for years, with incredibly healthy hair. It’s not a new idea of mine.

      Thanks for reading!

  70. …I found your original post via a link on Pintrest yesterday… and I went ‘Poo-Free last night!!! I have naturally wavy hair and I get high lights and low lights about every 8 weeks or so… and my hair is getting so dead and frizzy… I have tried everything… Even some super expensive shampoo and conditioners… :( and nothing was helping… and when I read your post… a bell went off on my head…ding ding ding…. ‘Poo-Free!! So I am trying it… happy with the results from day one… :) BTW… hubby thinks I am nuts!!

  71. I have used this method on myself and my kids for a little more than a year now, and I love it. My husband has chosen to use traditional shampoo. My hair is very long, and color-treated, so it can get a bit dry towards the ends. To combat this, I rub a tiny dab of coconut oil through the ends before I get in the shower. Doing this before I wash with baking soda means I reap the conditioning benefits of the oil, but I am not left with the greasiness from it.

  72. I tried this a few years ago and got the combnation way off one day so I had to stop. I like the idea of the squeeze bottles, after thinking about it a bit, I might just reuse my old shampoo bottles!

  73. avatar
    Sharon W says:

    I am newer to your blog so this is the first I’ve heard that you don’t use regular shampoo. I recently went to a new hair stylist who was telling me all the awful things that are in regular shampoo. I have thick crazy curly hair and am always looking for the “it” shampoo/conditioner/gel that will tame it. I have heard that curly hair looks best the less you wash it. BUT, after two days, my hair gets oily. Especially my bangs which I insist on straightening. That’s interesting that your hair isn’t getting stripped of oils since you don’t use regular shampoo, so it isn’t getting oily as often. I’m gonna have to try your concoction. So glad you did an update on this now!

  74. Hi Tsh,

    Thanks so much for this. I tried the no poo method a few years ago, and gave up after about 3 weeks. My hair looked ok I guess, but it felt all gross and like it had build-up on it or something. I’m wondering if I needed to tweak the recipe, or if I just didn’t give it long enough for my hair to transition properly.

  75. I haven’t done the no-poo myself, but switched about 6 mos ago to J.R. Liggett’s bar soap (no affiliation with the product), after trying lots of other natural shampoos that were super drying to my scalp. I have straight, oft-oily thick hair and the bar shampoo made of all-vegetable oil and no detergents has been really terrific for my hair, without using a conditioner. Most days I don’t use any other product but, on days when I need to use hairspray or mousse (I’m a performer), the shampoo still works beautifully to clean without drying or changing the chemistry balance of my hair and scalp. Perhaps it’s an option that other gals might find helpful!

    p.s. all of their formulas smell great and lather beautifully, for those who may miss the lather of no-poo :)

  76. Hi Tsh! For people who gave up on the no ‘poo because they didn’t like the way their hair felt, or for those just starting the process after reading this post, it may be a good idea to remind people of the “adjustment period.” A few days to a few weeks for the hair’s natural oils to adjust. Just so they don’t throw in the towel before that time is up out of frustration. Good comments and good post! :)

  77. Disgusting!

  78. I have to say, I was VERY impressed with your original post on being poo-free. I LOVED IT. My hair is a few inches above my waste (gobs of it), and very thick. I actually noticed the tangles to be significantly better. However, since I had some red highlights in it, the baking soda stripped my hair of its color. So just a little tip that if someone pays a lot of mulah for any type of hair dye, using baking soda as a wash may not be the best choice if they want to keep the color.

  79. Hi Tsh and friends!

    I have naturally curly, very thick hair, and I haven’t “washed” my hair in 18 months! I don’t use baking soda, but “wash” with a very gentle, natural conditioner only. I do also use the ACV rinse occasionally.

    ** For the ladies who have tried the bs/v wash technique, there is one big thing to consider. You need to be sure that you aren’t using any products with silicone in them. When you use products with silicone, you NEED shampoo to clean your hair (to break the chemical bonds between the product and your hair). If you’re not using any products with silicone, THEN the bs/v wash or “conditioner wash” (like I do) will work…once you find the right combination of cleansers for you. But you will be fighting an uphill battle if you continue to use products with silicone (and almost everything non-organic has them).

    Look for organic products, or check the ingredients (avoid anything ending in -cone, -xane). I personally use Suave conditioner and LA Looks gel…and my curly hair has NEVER looked better!

    amy :o)

    p.s. Tsh, thank you for introducing me to the olive oil facial cleansing routine! My dry skin thanks you very much!

    • Please take this with the pure intent that I say it, but I would love to actually see a picture of someone who has naturally curly, thick, longer than shoulder length hair who has done this and had it work.

      For the first time in years, I actually went a whole day without washing my hair and by the time I went to bed it was disgustingly frizzy and shapeless. I would love to tame the mane with less product and time, but haven’t managed to find a way to do so.

      Thanks!

  80. I started this yesterday after reading your post. My husband joked that I wouldn’t be doing it for more than a few days and that there will be fruit flies buzzing around my head in public. Ha! I’m out to prove him wrong. I already like how it feels and want to try it with my twin toddler boys too.

  81. avatar
    Meredith says:

    My hair has never been more even consistent since making the switch. However, I could not stand the ACV smell (could still smell it even when dry) and found that a little bit of powdered citric acid disolved in water makes my hair smooth and easier to comb through. Even air dryed in the humid summer it looks great! I use the peri bottles I brought home from the hospital after child birth for my mixtures.

  82. avatar
    Lillian says:

    Hi, does anyone have information on whether water temperature makes a difference? I’ve always heard, when using regular shampoo + conditioner, that a cold water rinse is best to combat the frizzies and add shine. I just started using this method yesterday (liking the results so far) but I think my usual cold rinse is making my hair feel hard and stiff – or maybe that’s just the baking soda and vinegar. Any thoughts on warm vs. cold water?

  83. You live in Oregon now?! Really? Wow, what an honor to have you here in our state. Welcome, I pray you are blessed here!

  84. @Lillian – I’ve heard the same thing about not rinsing out conditioner with hot water. Not necessarily using cold, but just not using the hot water. I’ve tried it and I’m not entirely sure that it makes much difference.

    @Tsh- Thanks for the follow up post. I remember reading your original post and often thought about trying it myself but just haven’t been able to muster up getting through those first few days of greasiness. I’m thankful I have hair that seems to do okay with a daily wash but still wonder if it would feel so much better by going the baking soda route. Maybe this post will re-inspire me to try again.

  85. I just started this a week ago so the update is so timely!! I obviously will be tweaking my routine for a while but really dislike the lingering scent of the ACV in my bathroom after I shower. I have been researching using honey instead…anyone have a good “recipe” to share?

  86. Hey, I just started this last week as well! I have super-short hair, so I don’t bother with the acv–my hair doesn’t really get long enough to get dull or damaged. Anyway, the bs has made my hair really soft. And I used to never air-dry my hair, because it would just stick straight up–but now I can air-dry, and it’s fine.

  87. Hi Tsh,

    Your blog has been really helpful as I’m currently doing this transition. I created a blog too but I’m at the whingey stage right now! I’m on Day 10 and it’s proving to be a real adjustment, but I’m willing to keep persevering in hopes that one day I’ll be able to do this as easily as yourself.
    Thanks for your advice :)

    Jen

  88. I refer everyone who I tell about it to your site, you did such a great job explaining. I tried it last year and got frustrated–my hair was always very greasy. But I still did it for a few months. The thing that kept me going was that my scalp didn’t itch by noon! In fact, it didn’t itch for days! So after taking a break, I started back up again and it is SO much smoother this time–it feels great. Also, learned that I could not put the vinegar on my scalp, which causes greasiness for me. Love love love it. I still have to wash it every other day or so b/c it gets too itchy, but am working out the kinks. THANK YOU!!!

  89. avatar
    Laura (nanny, gasp!) Murray says:

    Glad to see some comments here about black hair. I’m a full time (10 hours a day) nanny for a sweet two year old African American girl named Vivienne and I do her hair everyday and wash/condition it once a week. My amazing boyfriend Brad is also African American and we both grew up and still live in NYC, so naturally I am aware of different types of hair and their unique needs. Honestly, I don’t expect many suburban Midwest and southern families to run into ethnic hair too much, although I’ve heard of families adopting african babies and soon realizing their need for education on this matter.

    Once I read this post I thought, “I’m gonna try this!” but, of course, I also realized that Viv’s hair demands an almost opposite approach to mine. She NEEDS products in her hair or else it becomes a dry and tangled lint trap.

    A great, natural product that I use for her hair is raw Shea butter. It might be stinky to some people, but you can find it with some good smelling essential oils added to it. One good brand is Shea Moisture and you can pick it up at Target. I shampoo her hair with Burt’s Bees honey tear free shampoo and condition it with Burt’s Bees hair repair Shea and grapefruit conditioner. Also, this is awesome – Carol’s Daughter hair milk. Pricey but so worth it. You can get it online or at Sephora.

    Also, to Tsh if she happens to read this – thanks! Here’s my story. I’m twenty, full-time nanny in NYC, seeking to get a doctorate (some day!) in Phil. Of edu. And a member of my acts 29 church Apostles.I was fed up one day with being so unorganized that I stopped by Barnes and Noble for an organizing book. I was rushed so I scanned the organizing section and just quickly looked and flipped though Organized Simplicity. I decided to buy it not knowing it was written by such a wise and (thank God) a Christian woman. And although I do not have to manage a household and a family it has been so encouraging and helpful in the work I do as a nanny. And it has given me a small, but significant glimpse into the responsibilities and demands maintaining a God-glorifying and people-loving family. Thank you. God continue and bless, in His grace, everything you do and have already done.

  90. avatar
    Laura (nanny, gasp!) Murray says:

    PS I have no clue why or how my avatar picture came to be that of Max Fisher (Jason Schwartzman) of the Wes Anderson film ‘Rushmore’ but I can assure you I am a woman and nanny. I swear! I’m on Facebook under Laura Kayla Murray. Look me up if your not convinced. Nevertheless, ‘Rushmore’ is a film worthy of being an avatar picture. But if someone knows of a way to change this I’d be very grateful if you’d let me know. Okay, thanks! Bedtime is way overdue.

  91. I’m totally excited to see this post…I saw your original post a couple months ago when I was researching switching off shampoo and conditioner. I definitely had to try it when I saw that one of my favorite bloggers does it! We’ve been using the same system for a couple months, and I think my hair has gotten used to it. I have to use a 2 tbsp per 1 cup water solution, and I’ve also found I need to wash my hair with it every day rather than every 2-3 days like with ordinary shampoo (in order to keep oil from building up too much). The vinegar works great also! Thanks for posting this update as I had the same question!

  92. I started the b/s and a/c/v method last year when I was a few months pregnant. It took me about two months of pretty much awful hair before my hair was able to adjust and I could get my ratios down. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!!!
    This is what I love about it:
    I can “wash and go” and not have to blowdry and straighten my hair after every shower to get it to fall nicely. I used to have unruly hair if I didn’t blowdry and straighten but now I can let my hair air dry and it will look as if I spent the time to blowdry and straighten it. (I do find the vinegar smell is there until it dries).
    I only have to clean it every 5 days or so. Beauty!
    I just went camping and didn’t bring along a hairbrush, after 5 days of not cleaning or brushing my hair, (my hair was a naughty mess) I hopped into the shower applied my b/s and a/c/v and I could run my fingers through my hair when I was out–no hairbrush required!
    After my pregnancy was over my hair did not fall out!!
    I don’t need a trim as often because I’m not using heat on my hair anymore.
    ….and the list goes on! I will never go back to conventional shampoo and conditioner EVER!!
    Thanks Tsh!

  93. Thanks for the update!! I actually just found your original posting last week and have been shampoo/conditioner free for a week. I love it. I have been hating my hair for about the last two years since I had a baby. I recenlty switched shampoos and that was better, but now I love this treatment. It is a bit weird though. And I can smell the vinegar until my hair is completely dry . . . anyone else have that problem? I don’t really mind it . . . just waiting for my husband to notice :). BTW, I am not doing this to save money or the environment. It’s nice not to have to spend $100 on Aveada products, but I really do like my hair better. It’s curly and I used to put tons of product in it too. Now all I use is the Air Control hairspray and nothing else!!

  94. Okay, so this intrigues me. I understand how this works for normal wash & wear hairstyles and average lifestyles, but I have some different questions that weren’t answered in the comments. Granted, I didn’t read all 108!
    1. I run. I MUST shower AND wash my hair after a run because I sweat. Can this method be used frequently enough for me?
    2. I have to use mousse or curling serum to make my very straight, below shoulder length hair hold any sort of a style. Would this get my hair clean?

    I hope that someone out there can answer these for me, because they are what are keeping me from trying it! :)

    • I think this is the beauty of this method—you can wash your hair frequently without worrying that you’re constantly stripping it with overly-harsh shampoos.

      The other cool thing about not stripping your hair with shampoo is that you will find your hair is less limp. I can’t make my hair do anything I want it to after shampooing, but using this method leaves my hair with body. I think it’s because there are still natural oils left in it. So it won’t be “squeaky clean” … but it will BE clean and smell clean, if done correctly.

      “Squeaky clean” has always been a problem for me—that is when my hair won’t hold a style, flat in the summer, or flyaway and full of static in the winter.

    • I don’t always have the time to wash my hair every day – but there have been weeks that I have. I had no problem using this method. It didn’t do anything weird to my hair.

      In regards to the products … the BS is the powerful cleaning agent in the solution, make sure let it sit on (and you can also scrub it into) your hair – and yes, the product should be washed away.

      Good luck & let us know if you’ve tried it and how it worked!

  95. avatar
    Ali Federwitz says:

    This is so funny. I ‘ve been shampoo free for about 2 months now and I’m starting to have some trouble with my hair. I was searching the web for wisdom, found your original post and then followed the link to this one. Crazy that you just posted a few days ago and here I am. Not sure what I’m doing right/wrong but my hair is feeling…nappy. That is the best I know how to explain it.

    Anyone out there using regular white vinegar? Just wondering what difference that may make.

    • I use white vinegar. I use about 1 part white vinegar / 1 part H2O. It works great for me!

    • Ali, I’m not sure exactly what you mean by nappy, but if you mean dry, I’ve heard you can use honey instead of ACV, but you have to be careful because honey is more likely to make your hair oily if you are prone to that. I also have to be careful and not get ACV on my scalp or I get oily faster.

  96. avatar
    nopinkhere says:

    I’ve been doing no poo for about six months now. I did have to tweak/increase the amounts, but I found a combo I am mostly happy with. I do occasionally wash with shampoo if I feel like my hair just isn’t clean (once every other month or so). One odd side effect is that when I use bs/acv almost none of my hair comes out when I wash. If I use shampoo, I have a big huge handful of hair that I’m trying to keep from going down the drain.

  97. I think I’ll have to try this…

  98. avatar
    Ginevera says:

    Here’s a tip for those who don’t like the smell of acv, a T of lemon juice and 2-3 T honey to in a 20 oz bottle filled with watter works well for me. it smells much better on my hair than it does in the bottle. it doesn’t smell bad in the bottle either though. I think it works better for me too.

    • Huh! the ACV has been a problem for me… but doesn’t the honey attract bugs to your hair when you go outside?!? (Or is it just that I live in a particularly buggy part of the universe…)

    • I am really trying to get the best solution to the smell thing and you did marvelously given me the answer. I am very grateful for the tips you have shown.

    • Do you think lime juice would work in place of lemon juice? I like the way ACV works, but you’re right, I don’t love the smell. It kind of smells like stinky feet to me.

  99. avatar
    Mims Athome says:

    Love the conversation about not using shampoo. While I’m not exactly not shampooing my hair, I so only shampoo once a week. But this idea got me thinking about something else I never do and wonder if anyone else does or not?

    I don’t shave, either my legs or my arm pits. This is another way I save LOTS of money on all that gear people use to shave body parts. I simply don’t think it’s necessary for a woman to shave, although there is lots of pressure in our US society to make us do it. How many times do you see advertising on TV for hair removal?

    So, adding a new (but similar) topic: Do you shave? Why or why not.

  100. I am not shampoo-free, but I only wash my hair 3 times a week instead of daily. It is VERY dry here in New Mexico (only about 10-15% humidity) so I feel that I have to use a conditioner otherwise my hair has a lot of static becomes dry. People always ask how I get away with so little washing but after a month or so your hair and scalp really does adjust. I first started out doing this about 6 years ago and then I washed every other day, slowly building up to just 3 washes per week (usually Sunday, Wednesday, Friday). Madeline ( 3 1/2 yrs) has very long hair with natural curl so her hair actually looks a lot better this way, less frizzy. I only wash her’s about 1-2 times a week, unless we’re swimming or she gets food in her hair. Otherwise I just wet it and use detangler.

    • I’m fairly new to Pinterest, so I just happened upon this post a few days ago. It sounded so interesting and eco-friendly that I gave it a try. Great results. My hair is clean and feels great! Thanks for your wonderful idea!

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