The oh-so-important HAIR update

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?

Reading Time:

4 minutes

 

 

 

343 Comments

  1. Rachel

    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…

    • Shirley

      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?

      • Laura

        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.

        • Lisa Eagle

          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.

          • Lily

            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/

          • Tammy

            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.

          • Ari

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

          • C

            I use rice flour from an Asian supermarket as dry shampoo. I have lighter hair and it works great – it is also the active ingredient most dry shampoos that come in spray cans. I friend with dark hair tried it out, though, and looked like she had died.

        • Carley

          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.

      • HOLLY

        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.

        • Dario Chicco www.voihaircuts.com.au

          A good way of adjusting color tone with red henna is to mix grounded coffee.Add more coffee to fade the red out.

          • Chrissy

            I used to mix coffee and henna all the time. Man, is it ever messy to do, but its awesome! I love the colour it makes. I also mixed it with one egg which makes your hair really soft and shiny!

      • Nicole

        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.

        • Natasha

          I love “Hair Gone Wild” by Diane Kidman. Lots of interesting and useful info!

      • Lea W

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

      • Monica

        For early greying (I started turning grey at 16! By the age of 28 I was 100% grey) I just read an article online that taking a supplement of copper will help. I have started taking this supplement, AND IT WORKS 😀 I am getting back my natural hair color, it’s not all back yet but after 3 weeks I see some color in all of the grey 🙂

    • A.P.

      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 😀 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 😮 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!

      • Sharon

        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!

      • kitty

        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.

      • Jamie

        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.

    • Mary Ann

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

    • Lily

      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. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates

    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. lucy

    Thanks for the update 🙂

  4. Trisha @ Travel Wisconsin

    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!

    • susie

      try it you will be pleased. I have very very fine and very long hair along with dry scalp and oily hair but that has changed since i started just three weeks ago. I will not be going back to poo.

  5. Kit

    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.

    • DocAtheist

      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.

      • susie

        do you mean like a mint oil or????

  6. Erin G.

    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. Monica

    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. sos

    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

    • sam

      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 😀

      • susie

        does henna work on a;; hair types and colors for the grey and where do you purchase this product?

  9. Kara Nutt

    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. TAbitha (From Single to Married)

    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. 🙂

    • Rachel

      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. Naomi

    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.

    • Annie

      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. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    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.

    • Caroline

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

      • Tsh

        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.

        • Bdaiss

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

          • Karen

            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!

        • Laura Chin

          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! 🙂

          • Joy

            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! 🙂

  13. Katherine

    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. Kinda Crunchy Kate

    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. 🙂

    • Cluttered Mama

      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?

      • katie

        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.

        • Cluttered Mama

          AWESOME!! Thank you so much for the info. I’m going to try this out one of these days!

    • Carrie

      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. Rissa

    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. Heather @ Work At Home Market

    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. Angie

    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. Sarah Park

    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.

    • Tsh

      Excellent points and helpful tips, Sarah! Thanks.

    • kitty

      i’ve used mane and tail as a leave in for tangles.

    • Jamie

      I have uber hard water. I discovered the secret: boil your water before mixing. Can still rinse with the tap/shower water.

  19. Theresa

    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. Jo

    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 🙂

    • Tsh

      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.

      • Colleen

        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!

    • Traci Bowman

      what is your recipe for home made deodorant?

  21. Amy C

    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. Tipper

    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. Kelsey

    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. Kelsey

    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.

    • Tsh

      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. Megan

    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.

    • Tsh

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

      • Megan

        Thanks. 🙂 I was saying it wrong in my head.

        • Kelly

          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.

          • leslie

            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. Kate S.

    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.

    • Kameron Bybee

      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. Rachel Salazar

    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.

    • Tsh

      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. Kristen

    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! 🙂

    • Liz

      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. Alana of Taylor Made Home

    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 (?).

    • Carrie

      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. Linda

    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. abigail

    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…

    • Tsh

      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?

      • Jessica

        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…

    • Denise

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

  32. Heidi C

    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. Kathie

    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. Jess

    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. Leslie

    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. Rebecca

    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. Donna

    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. Amy R (Honey, Love and Other Things)

    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. Kristy

    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. grace

    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…

    • Pamela

      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!

    • Tsh

      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.

      • grace

        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.

        • Jamiella

          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!

          • Linda

            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.

    • Jess

      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. Sarah

    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. Hannah

    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. Living the Balanced Life

    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. Madeline

    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. Kim @ Homesteader's Heart

    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! 😉

    • Liz

      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. Stephanie - Green Stay at Home Mom

    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. Tina

    And you still look Beautiful!
    … Simple.

  48. Emily

    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. Tiffany Larson

    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. Sharon Gryzlov

    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. Monica

    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. Maureen

    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. sylvia

    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. Amanda

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

  55. Amy

    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. Lisa

    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. Narelle @ Cook Clean Craft

    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. Heart and Haven

    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?

    • Tsh

      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. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

    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!

    • Michelle {Fun On a Dime}

      Can I ask what you use to style it? I’m running into an issue of build up with what I use to keep my curly hair curly during the day.

  60. Trish

    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. Sarah

    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. Amber

    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. Eileen Leacock

    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.

    • Tsh

      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. Aimee Mulligan

    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. karen

    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. Jen @ Jen Spends

    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. Mindy

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

  68. FrancesVettergreenVisualArtist

    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. sharon thoms

    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.

    • Tsh

      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. Meg

    …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. Sarah B.B.

    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. Val Curtis

    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. Sharon W

    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. beth@redandhoney

    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. Brenna

    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. Amy C

    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. Catie

    Disgusting!

  78. Archer

    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. Amy

    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!

    • Kim

      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. Dawn@Whispers and Shouts

    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. Meredith

    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. Lillian

    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. Kari Patterson

    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. Kimberly

    @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. Suzy

    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. Andrea

    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. Jen

    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. Trista

    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. Laura (nanny, gasp!) Murray

    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. Laura (nanny, gasp!) Murray

    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. Emily

    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. Joyce

    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. Jill

    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. Dawn

    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! 🙂

    • Sarah Park

      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.

    • Liz

      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. Ali Federwitz

    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.

    • Liz

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

    • Jennifer

      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. nopinkhere

    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.

    • Lisa

      I’ve noticed the same thing!

    • Jennifer

      I’ve noticed that too…that I am not losing as much hair when I “don’t shampoo.” I thought it was my imagination.

  97. Brittany Ross

    I think I’ll have to try this…

  98. Ginevera

    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.

    • Sarah Park

      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…)

    • Lowela

      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.

    • Jennifer

      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. Mims Athome

    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. Katie | GoodLife Eats

    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.

    • Esther

      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!

  101. Alice

    Thank you for bringing to mind another wonderful memory of my mom (who passed away in 1999). Up until I was about 6, she would lay a towel on the kitchen counter for me to lay on & she would wash my hair in the kitchen sink. At the end, she would always rinse it with vinegar. I had completely forgotten this until now. I think I will bring this back to my hair care routine. Thanks!!!!

  102. Marion

    I’ve heard about ‘no poo’ two years ago but wasn’t brave enough to try it until I saw your post a few month ago. After trying it just once I knew this was the way to go. I was amazed how easy my long hair was to comb through!
    I dropped the vinegar rinse because I found it made my hair too oily. My hair is perfect with just the baking soda.
    However, when we went on vacation two weeks ago my hair got terribly oily and I couldn’t get the right baking soda/water ratio that worked. I had to wash my hair with shampoo twice.
    Now I am back home and so happy to use the baking soda again.
    Not sure what happened on vacation. I am wondering if it might have been the different water plus the pool water. At home we have a whole house water filter.

    Thank you for the update!!!

  103. Rebecca

    Thanks so much for posting this update! Going without shampoo has been on my “to-do” list since I read your original post about it. I am near empty on the old shampoo bottle and thought it would be a great time to try it! Then came your timely update! Just the encouragement that I needed. Tomorrow, I’ll start my no-poo routine!

    I think I’ll mix up some Oil Clean Method face cleanser too! It sounds wonderful! https://theartofsimple.net/oil-cleansing-method/

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us all!
    -Rebecca

  104. Katie @ imperfect people

    I tried it but I didn’t love it. I have found some shampoo soap bars on easy from owl tree soaps that I do love. And they have tea tree oil so it smells heavenly!

  105. SophieB

    I have to add that I’m glad to see more and more people picking up on this. I started going without shampoo about four years ago in favor of ‘co-washing’ my dry, curly hair. Since then I’ve also stopped dying it and cutting it. The result is that it looks better than it ever has, with no more frizz or split ends (plain jojoba oil helps with this). I stumbled on your posts while researching an alternative for when I do have the occasional need for deeper cleaning, as my reaction to detergents has become increasingly unpleasant. Baking soda makes sense, since I’ve noticed my hair feels quite good after a soak containing a LUSH bath bomb.

  106. Kathie

    I have been no poo for a month and a half and just love it!. I use the 1 tablespoon of baking soda but needed to tweak the rinse. I use about a teaspoon of a/c to about a cup of water. Anymore for me leaves it greasy. My hair is baby fine. I now have more body. Don’t need hairspray or any other products. I just started the omc for my face and love it also! So now I’m making my own laundry and dish detergents, hair and face care products, hand soap. Next on the list is lotion!

  107. Mareeyah

    From a post on curbly.com, I landed on a post on beingfrugal.net, which led me to your original post about this topic, to this very post. Your discovery and experience are quite interesting! I and my family have resolved some weeks ago to be more healthy. I try to keep my hair as chemical-free as possible… no perms, no colors, etc. I normally shampoo 2-3 times a week and thought the only thing I could do to save more in this aspect is to keep my hair as short as I can tolerate it. But going totally without shampoo would be amazing. More savings and healthier….I would really love to try this.

  108. Elizabeth

    I switched to using baking soda for shampoo about 5 months ago and I love it! I bring it up in conversation every chance I get, hoping to be able to convert someone! People freak out every time they hear and assume my hair is dirty or smells bad, so I make them feel it and smell it to prove to them that it isn’t haha. I use just the typical tbsp to one cup of water and that will last me about a week or two, depending on how often I wash my hair that week.
    Since I’ve been using baking soda, I don’t need conditioner or the apple cider vinegar. I can come out of the shower and actually be able to brush my hair. When I used regular shampoo and not conditioner, I’d have to load on the products to even be able to TRY and get the brush through my hair.
    My hair also barely gets oily anymore. When I first switched, there was only one day that I noticed it was oilier than normal, but that was it. Since then, my hair never gets oily. The only reason I wash it is because I feel like I should! I’m also very environmentally conscious so not using shampoo and conditioner and contributing to those awful companies, as well as contaminating our water supply, and bringing toxic chemicals into my body makes me feel really good.
    Everyone needs to try it! Too many people are discouraged after their first try because they haven’t found the right ratio for them. Just keep trying, and I’m confident that everyone can love this process! 🙂

  109. Joy

    I just tried the “no-‘poo” method today. Was surprised to find my hair felt squeaky clean on rinsing, and that when I brushed through it, I didn’t come up with a head full of tangles! If I use shampoo with no conditioner, or simply wet my hair and try to comb through it, I get nasty snarls. My hair is straight and somewhat fine but with a few coarse strands here and there.
    Anywho, partway through the day my hair still feels very soft and looks noticeably shinier. I await the end-of-day results to see how greasy my hair is compared to shampoo & conditioner use. I know there may be a transition period, but so far so good!
    I just love the thought of being able to care for my hair on something like maybe $10 a year! Just guessing on the cost but that may even be too high! I can’t believe no one knows about this, that’s nearly miraculous to me to be able to save that much! Even buying dollar-store shampoo and conditioner, which leaves my hair looking limp and lackluster, I will still slash my costs by probably 75%! Amazing!
    Another thing, I looked at the hair butter link, and I wondered–I use coconut oil for many things including lotion, and would a little dab of that work for flyaways? I am finding lots of uses for it, including a mild sunblock (something like 4-8 SPF).
    Thanks again!

  110. tina

    I use egg yolks to wash my hair. I use one egg yolk. I started off using baking soda and ACV but my hair felt like straw. Then I went to no poo and just water for 8 months and my hair always looked greasy and gross. Now I use egg yolk and my hair looks super. It’s not particularly cheap but I only wash my hair a couple of time per week.

  111. Grady Pruitt@Success Building Blocks

    I just read both posts on cleaning your hair without shampoo. Sounds intriguing, and I might have to try it out myself. Thanks for sharing!

  112. Sandy

    I’m on my third day of no shampoo. For the last two weeks I have only been washing my hair every second day. I mainly did this because I have had dermatitis on my hands and I feel like using a shampoo is drying out my skin. My hair feels slightly on the oily side but it has a natural beautiful shine. Hoping to keep going shampoo free and if anything, will be changing over to a natural shampoo. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  113. EllenID

    Tsh, I haven’t washed my hair for going on 7 years now. I mostly scrub my scalp with my fingers in the shower and this works fine. Occassionally, I will use some conditioner in place of shampoo. I have very curly hair and this is a recognized ‘no-poo’ routine for us curlies. I do use loads of conditioner, as curly hair is very dry and needs all the moisture it can get.

  114. K

    I read about going ‘poo free and decided to try it. I’ve been doing it for two weeks now except, I use regular conditioner and use the baking soda with water to wash. I am impressed. I want to try to put some fragrant oils in the baking soda wash just because I do like my hair to be fragrant after I wash it but my hair looks amazing and I really don’t feel any urges to go back to ‘poo.

  115. DarionJames

    So after reading this i am thinking about going shampoo free, but i don’t exactly want to give up my hair spray and hair gel, Do you know of any diy products i can make that mimic the way hairspray works?

  116. jami

    I haven’t gone completely suds free on my hair, but I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s as my shampoo for years and won’t ever put shampoo on my hair again. I have naturally curly hair that likes to be frizzy, especially when I travel and have harder water than my hair is used to. I’ve found that applying a little coconut oil right after I get out of the shower works wonders. I massage it into the ends and lightly run my fingers through the roots. It keeps my hair shiny and tangle free all day, just make sure not to over do it, because it can look greasy. When I’m having a night in I’ll do a hot oil deep treatment with the coconut oil and my hair loves it!

  117. Jenny

    Tsh, I’m wondering about that detangler for your gal. I have a gal with hair that is really hard to brush through. Thanks, Jenny

  118. Robert

    Baking Soda? Well, it is used in salons as a clarifier, added to a shampoo. Chemically, would I use it in place of a shampoo? No way! Harsh, very alkaline, very damaging. Way too much alkalinity. Will it clean, yep, the grease from your pots and pans, your mold from the shower, and the stain off your teeth, but my hair is a fibre, and not stainless steel, porcelain, or ceramic tile. I think you should leave the beauty realm. The poor woman wrote that her hair tangled, well no kidding. It sure would, and them SLAM the cuticle shut with vinegar. Kitchen chemistry. Leave the vinegar for the salad, way too harsh and way to acidic to put in hair. You swing the pH from way alkaline to way acidic, and break more cuticle than any salon treatment. No, I will use a good shampoo any day, and leave those things in the kitchen where they belong. Take a few chemistry lessons before trying to share ideas. You are not a very good chemist.

    • RickyBobby

      You would be surprised about how gentle baking soda can actually be! I have used it many times as a facial scrub/mask and it has done wonders, yet it did no damage what so ever. I am much more willing to put a natural substance on my body than some synthetically created chemical.

  119. brooke

    Hi Tsh,

    I am wondering when you say you only ‘wash’ your hair every 5 days about, what do you do with your hair in the shower the other times in between that you are showering? I only wash my hair about twice a week now and just put it in a shower cap in between, do you do that? or do you just rinse with water? I am starting with b/s and c/v today and would love to know what you do in between.
    Thanks!

  120. Abby

    I have thick, coarse long hair that breaks too easily. I’m just not willing to try, since there are lots of really great organic shampoos out there. Plus, like you I only wash my hair about once a week so I’m not getting exposed to those chemicals often. Plus I rarely use any other hair products like hairspray or gel that trap grease.

    It’s all about experimenting enough to figure out what works. I’m proud to say I’ve just figured out how to curl my hair (without looking like Shirley Temple) with no heat!

  121. Diana McCleery

    I came online today for alternatives to store-bought shampoo and conditioner, after the only brand that ever worked for me changed it’s formula entirely. 🙁 Until I find (or recreate) a recipe that seems like the commercial one, I think I will try your routine.

    I’m going to try mixing it into my regular shampoo. slowly increasing it’s proportions, in hopes of avoiding or minimizing the “breaking in” period. Maybe not making my hair go cold turkey will help. 😉

    I have curly hair, so I am optimistic. I also color my hair, so I don’t know if this will be good for that or not. Even if this isn’t the right regimen for me, I know there are alternatives to shampoo out there to be investigated. Thanks!

    • RickyBobby

      In my opinion cold turkey is the best way to go. Why prolong the “breaking in” period by using reduced amounts of shampoo? Why not just get it over with as quickly as possible? Our bodies are amazing machines and it will do its best to compensate for the lack of shampoo.

  122. Kalera Stratton

    Thanks for your original post, and your update! I found it searching for “shampoo free”, because I recently stopped shampooing my hair and I wanted to know what other people do. I have long, thick, dark, very curly hair, very expensive to maintain, and a real PITA. Ages ago I used to work with a young man who didn’t use shampoo, soap, or any other cleansing products… just water. He always looked and smelled totally clean, and his hair was glossy and healthy. I always found it intriguing, but didn’t think much more about it until last summer a friend of mine stopped shampooing, and yet another this summer, with rave reviews about how much nicer their hair is now. I’d cut shampooing down to twice a week, but my scalp would get itchy and flaky, and I just got so frustrated that a few weeks ago I just quit. I don’t use baking soda or vinegar or anything as a replacement; I just massage my scalp thoroughly. I can’t believe how much better my hair and scalp feel! It’s really great. I may add vinegar to my routine, but otherwise I think plain water is doing a great job.

  123. Gregory

    Baking soda was made to make cakes and pies and cookies-not soft, luscious hair. Vinegar was made for pickle brine. Yup, that’s better than shampoo-NOT!
    Oh, and BTW honey is more expensive than shampoo.

    • B. Reader

      Haters gonna hate.

      Both baking soda and vinegar brands have cleaning information right on the package. If you want to keep pouring Methylisothiazolinone and Ammonium lauryl sulfate all over your head that it your right.

  124. RickyBobby

    I have been going strong without shampoo for about 3 months now, and I am thrilled with the results I am having. But now that fall is upon us my hair is becoming dry and filled with dandruff. What can I do to reduce the dandruff with out using special medicated shampoos like Head & Shoulders?

  125. melissa

    I want to be a believer! I swear! I’m on week 5 and about to take the shampoo plunge. Simply put, my hair feels gross. My brush gets pretty nasty each time I brush it. I must be doing something wrong. I wonder if I am in a special category with my long blond hair?

  126. Kit E.

    I’m intrigued by this and would like to try it. However, only in the last few years have I really started enjoying a trendy, short hair cut. My hair has some wave to it (not in a nice way) that requires flat iron and products (at least hairspray) for it to look sharp. In addition, we live in central Florida where the humidity is beyond ridiculous! Will this method work to rinse out styling products? (I don’t use a huge amount)

    I used to keep my style simple (braids, pony-tails, buns) but my husband has adored my transformation from tom-boy/earth girl to hot fashion mama. I still like to be frugal, healthy and green as much as I can but I also like that I finally have my own “style”.

    Thanks for the info!

  127. Nicole

    Tsh, and anyone else, I have an important question. My best friend suffers from a serious dry scalp issue, and I am trying to find a home remedy that WORKS. She has tried t-gel and medications but I think they are making her situation worse. Please help me and let me know if you all have any ideas!! Thank you!

    • B. Reader

      Washing her hair less often will help (and she’ll be able to do it if she goes no-poo), keep the water at a cooler temperature and tea rinse have all helped me immensely. I could not go without T-Gel before. Good luck to your friend.

    • Crystal

      I had the same problem 2 winters ago and it drove me crazy! No special shampoo, aloe gel, or anything worked! Then I found out this condition was due to lack of vitamin D (I’m indoor most of the time). After taking vitamin D drops I’m back to normal. Have your friend get her vitamin D level tested!

  128. Jennifer

    Hi Tsh,

    I wonder if you would comment regarding the use of colour and the baking soda/apple cider vinegar regiment. I’ve been anxious to try this but hesitant because I’m not sure how it will affect my blonde highlights. This is the 3 rd time I’m trying the no-poo experiment but I had never added anything, just rinsed with water after a certain amount of time. Now I’ve not washed in probably 10 days or so and would like to try the baking soda/apple cider vinegar. Thanks.

  129. Becky

    I have to say I’ve always been fascinated by people that can go so long between washing, but I’ve never heard of no poo! I would love to try it because honestly, I cannot stop my scalp from itching. My whole life, my scalp has itched. It’s not terribly bad so I just live with it, but oh wouldn’t it be nice to have an itch free scalp. I just don’t think I could go out in public with greasy hair until my hair got used to it. The transition would be horrid, I just know it. When I don’t wash my hair for 24 hrs, I look like I poured a bottle of vegetable oil over my head. I am thinking about this though. Thanks for the info.

  130. Bron

    I love Simple Mom, and thank God I found your site, Tsh,,,a year or so back, I think?

    My question is: can you just put baking soda in your hair and comb thru it, dry?

    I am now wheelchair-bound as the result of an amputation of most of my right leg below the knee, (eight months ago) and cannot get into the bathtub or shower. I have used an expensive organic dry shampoo that I found at our local natural store in Augusta, GA,,,but now we’re in Fort Worth, TX and I am running out of this dry shampoo. I love it, it smells beautifully, and it works great, and I only have to use it maybe twice a week, if that much. It’s very concentrated and has lasted me almost six months. But it costs $42 a little paper canister, and I really don’t want to spend that amount again if I don’t have to. The brand name is skinnyskinny.com.

    So I’m wondering…do y’all think I could just scrub the bakin’ soda into my hair and comb it through?

    Thanks for any help.

    And God bless you, Tsh, for this wonderful blog that blesses *me* personally. <3

  131. Bree

    I have tried this method and I cannot stand the overwhelming itchiness that accompanies it. My hair is clean and acts just fine when I use the BS/ACV method. I just can’t stop scratching my head… or feeling like I need to. Any ideas to combat this problem (oil afterwards just makes my hair gross)

    Thanks

    • B. Reader

      I had the same problem at first. You want to cut back a little on the BS amount. Tea rinse in place of ACV has helped me too.

  132. Madeline

    Tsh

    I have been doing this for about 3 months now and I cannot believe how wonderful my hair has been. I get compliments all the time and have recruited some more no-shampooers from it. I love that I can skip days of washing my hair and it still looks decent.

    Do you have any ideas on dry flaky scalp? I have always had it when the weather changes from hot to cold and it is not a result of no-pooing.
    I just found your two posts on the topic and shared it on my FB page.

  133. Wichita

    My husband and I are in are 3rd week of poo free. I am past the ugh stage into “this really works.” Thank you. I have had cancer and constantly worry now about bad chemicals, and then, worry that I don’t know what the bad chemicals are. But this – baking soda and apple cider vinegar? You can’t go wrong. And my hair has never felt so silky. Really shiny too. I have gotten several compliments on the “color” too. What? It’s grey. Or shall I say silver. Thank you again.

  134. Kay

    Tsh, I am so glad to have found your site-a girl after my own heart!

    I have also been following the No-Poo method for about two years and my hair has never felt softer and more healthy. Finally allowing your hair to just breathe can work wonders! I recommend this especially for women who have “problem hair”. It may be that your hair is just rebelling from all of the products that it constantly endures.

    Another great natural hair treatment if you need a little shine and bounce, is to do a hot oil treatment with a natural oil, such as castor oil for thick hair, or sweet almond oil for fine tresses. Add a few teaspoons of honey to the oil and warm slightly in the microwave or a double broiler. Apply the mixture to your hair and place a plastic cap on for a few minutes to a half hour. Afterwards, Do your clarifying rinse as normal. Your hair will be fabulously soft and shiny. Enjoy!

  135. Cortoney

    Thank you very much for posting this! My family is looking for more ways to be frugal and with all of the toxic chemicals in shampoos and conditioners, I do believe this is very much worth trying. One question I have is, have you noticed a difference in shedding since starting this routine? My hair sheds like crazy and after doing some research I have noticed that it is because of all of the chemicals in the shampoos and conditioners. I hope you let me know! Thank you very much for the post!

  136. Stacey

    Did you ever have leftover baking soda in your hair?

    I have been using this method for a little over one month now, and I just started to notice some baking soda left in my hair (and on the brush when I brush my hair). I am using the 1 T baking soda to 1 cup of water, so I am not sure if that is too much for my hair or if it is just not rinsing out properly. I have really thick medium length hair. I have been using a bit of jojoba oil as a conditioner on the ends, but I wonder if the ACV would be a good solution.

  137. Ashley Kean

    Our Family has been on BS/ACV for about a year. Lately I’ve noticed more flyaways (breakage) and it seems my hair has lost its elasticity. I tried the aloe+olive oil rubbed in after ACV and now it’s disgustingly oily and still feels wet 6 HOURS after washing it. I washed/rinsed, conditioned/rinsed, and conditioned/rinsed again with the olive oil. Shoulder-length, straight, fine, thick hair, Super dry (we’re all blonde/red-heads, but we’ve got some African in our past). 😉
    What about the chamomile? Doesn’t it make your hair darker? Are there gentler alternatives than the BS/ACV? I couldn’t find an adequate description to try another method.
    Thanks!
    Ashley

    • B. Reader

      I use a chamomile tea rinse and I haven’t noticed a darkening of my hair. (I have dark blonde hair). Instead of olive oil which is a really, really heavy oil you can also put a few drops of jojoba oil on your hair. Jojoba is the oil most closely related to the natural oil our bodies produce. It is very light and it calms fly-aways well. My husband uses it everyday and his hair is shiny and not at all oily.

  138. Holly Greene

    Ah, but shampoo is evil as well as many other products. It has harsh man-made chemicals in them that after long periods of use can cause illnesses such as cancer. Here is a great resource to look up your shampoo product (or any others!) to find out if it is creating havoc on your body. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
    We only use 100% vegetable glycerine soap on our hair and bodies for the last 2 years – never been softer! The trick is once you switch over to natural things is to keep going. As she mentioned in the last post about p00-free, laundry detergent is harsh… well just think, that is rubbing on your skin (the largest organ on the human body) so switch to something like Seventh Gen. It takes a way to detox out what shampoo and things have been doing to your body for years and it’s all a combination but once you do get to that point of adjustment – it works and feels so much better, promise.

  139. Sarah Rachelle

    I tried no-poo last year and got frustrated. After reading your wonderful book (I feel like it was written just for me!), I am now inspired to try it again.

    I have, however, been using ACV for conditioner for months and LOVE it! I had a bunch of conditioner left over since I don’t use it anymore so I use it to shave my legs because I hate to waste it. It works pretty well! After that’s gone, I’m going to go back to using my salt/oil skin rub which works great for shaving.

    Thanks for another boost back to no-poo. And I’m so glad to read what you do for your kids. I’ve been wondering what to do for my own kids’ hair.

  140. lisa

    All new to me, and I think I”m going to try this!

    My cheap, easy, help yourself thing is to make my own lotion. The basic recipe I use is over at wabi sabi baby, google that, with lotion 101.

  141. Abby

    How does this work for colored hair? Is there a way to add a scent without compromising the formula?

    • B. Reader

      I used this method with my colored hair to great success (I’m now back to my natural color). As for scent, I just take a tiny bit (teeny tiny) of essential oil and apply it to the ends (only) of my hair. Peppermint, lavender, whatever I feel like that day.

  142. Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable

    I found baking soda to clarifing for my hair and have started using a homemade shampoo bar soap! It is super easy to make and one batch lasts us about 6 months! Thank you for sharing your update with us:)

  143. antoinette

    Hello Tsh, a good blog! I tried it and was happy with the result but I have one
    question that I cant seem to figure out. You say shampoo removes sebum fromscalp. And thats why the scalp is overproducing oil afterwords. I feel so clean after washing with baking soda.. but how can baking soda leave the natural oil? It feels like it also removes it. And I wonder if i should continue.
    Can you explain why this super strong cleaning product can leave natural oils on my head? Hope you can reasure me…cause I do really like this clean feeling of the baking soda..

    thanks a lot

    best
    Antoinette

  144. Sharilyn

    Cool–just found your blog and will be subscribing when i find the right button LOL

    I wanted to comment that I’m a no-pooer, have been . . . since 2008, you do the math. I use a homemade bar soap on occasion that is organic, essentially oiled or naturally smelling (avacado and oatmeal, yum). To condition I use–and you ABSOLUTELY have to try this–a teensy tiny amount of citric acid with a couple cups of water (I have medium length hair) which I pour on my hair, then rub under pits and such, as it is anti-bacterial and keeps the smell down (which, btw, isn’t much since I’m vegan). My 4 year old daughter had BEAUTIFUL to her back hair (until she found a pair of scissors in the back of a drawer that I forgot were there, whoops!) that had never had soap or poo of any sort on it. Ever. She has GORGOUS hair!!

    • Sharilyn

      Oh, the citric acid leaves my hair suppppeeeerrr soft, yet it’s still got panash and bounce, unlike my hair after using chemical conditioners, which was always flat. I get citric acid from a local organic grocer, or Hy-vee’s in the Health market section. It’s a powder, seems pricey, but when you do the math only costs you pennies. Gotta love that! ☺ ~♥~

  145. B. Reader

    Love your blog! I have been no-poo for a few years on and off (occasionally I will use Castile soap for a little but I always come back). The best thing that I’ve found is using a tea leave in rinse. It makes my hair shiny and battles my naturally oily scalp better than ACV ever did. I just take a cup of hot water from the shower and put a bag of chamomile tea in it to steep while I do all of my other washing (I take about 20 minute showers) so it is ready to go for my final rinse.

  146. ilknur

    Dear Tsh,
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I run a blog in Turkish called “women saving the world”, where we try to collect and share experiences of women that take simple and important steps like going shampoo-free. I translated some sections of your post for our post, here is the link http://dunyayikurtarankadinlar.blogspot.com/2012/01/sampuansz-yasanr-m.html

    I hope you dont mind

    Cheers

  147. C Buchanan

    I’m a hair stylist and salon owner. I can confirm that most shampoo’s contain harsh detergents, etc. However, most salon’s use Sulfate free, paraben free shampoo/conditioners, which is why your hair always looks and feels so great after leaving the salon. In the past, you could only purchase these type shampoo’s directly at the salon. However, more suppliers are listening to consumer demand and putting them out for the general market. Baking soda WILL strip your haircolor, otherwise, I fully support the baking soda method. However, if hair fading is a concern, be sure to purchase a shampoo that is Sulfate free and then you’re good. Also keep in mind if you’re concerned about your haircolor, that baking soda was originally used as a household cleaner itself, so it will strip everything from your hair, including color…

  148. De'Dee

    I found your poo-free recipe as a search for gluten free shampoo. Really it was a great find since I have been using a gluten free shampoo but going on a special diet for a time before thyroid cancer treatment. So gluten free usually means there is sea salt, dairy, and soy in a shampoo. As part of the treatment I needed to be off all sea products (gar gar gum is one I believe), soy, dairy amongst other things which typically are not in shampoo’s. But for my gluten intolerance I needed to have no gluten. And for my general health SLS. Thank you for sharing weather or not I continue using this after my treatment period is over I do not know. However it has been nice to have something for my hair and not worry that I am taking something in thru the largest organ of my body that will hinder me in some way or another.

  149. Julie P

    This update shows you use 1/4 c. cider vinegar to 1 c. water while your original post shows 1 T. cider vinegar to 1 c. water. Is there a reason for the increase? Just wondering where to start. Thank you!!!

  150. Q

    I’ve been using no shampoo for a little over three months now after reading your original post. I haven’t noticed any major changes in my hair; the only differences are that my hair doesn’t get super greasy after a few days, and that my hair is a bit easier to style/manage. It could be that I’m a guy and my hair is not long enough (~4 inches) for me to notice any big changes. My hair doesn’t “feel” a lot cleaner or healthier than using shampoo, but that wasn’t what I was expecting anyways. I used to shampoo daily, and it always felt as if my hair was untamed and impossible to style, so I do think that switching over to no shampoo was a good decision. Saving money is always a plus too!

  151. Herozero

    food for thought: food is good for your body inside and out. A new routine which I actually picked up from an woman of color-Jamaican to be specific–who happens to be a stylist and color treats and styles her beautiful hair pretty often. She suggested several different “masks” for hair as an indulgence she won’t do without. I have dry scalp and I mentioned using coconut oil on it to reduce the itching and dandruff. It worked wonders. And I use the baking soda to wash and a lemonade for “conditioner” (honey, lemon juice, water and rosemary oil for growth). Then a bi-weekly smoothie for hair like she said which might just be coconut oil scrubbed into the scalp and massaged into the length, or any combination of all kinds of delicious things like avocado, banana, yogurt, egg, honey, lemon juice, and essential oils. Leaving the mask on for 20-40 minutes and then washing gently with the BS/lemonade. Rinsing thoroughly and towel drying seems to have helped with the dryness.
    And for the past 5+ years my daughter and I have always used a “cold shiny” rinse at the end of the shower and always get comments (even when my scalp was dry or oily) on the shininess unless we skip this step. The key is to close off the shaft of hair again by making sure that all the hair is fully cold again. It keeps shiny and smooth. That’s why blow dryers have a cold setting. It’s kinda like the toner that most people use after warm washing of their face. closes the pores. This is particularly difficult if you can’t stand cold showers, but you can use the sink instead for the final one minute cold water rinse.
    And yes, less hair loss with this method. I’m going to ask my Jamaican stylist if she knows about hair butter. I think the coconut oil or other indigenous oils are good for people with other backgrounds–hence the centuries old use of olive oil and such for hair and body cleansing.
    Oh and the same smoothie mask I use for my hair works great for my face, after a gentle baking soda exfoliating. May need to adjust ingredients a bit.

    Bon Appetit

  152. Julie

    I have been “poo free” for 11 months. It is amazing how often I am asked about it when I mention that I no longer use conventional shampoo. I work as a wilderness guide and it is wonderful because when I am in the backcountry I can go so many days without washing my hair where as when I used conventional shampoo my hair was noticebly greasy if I went more than 2 days without washing. I also did not experience the transition that is mentioned by many. Love this! Don’t see why I would ever go back.

  153. Anja

    I just recently went shampoo-free after reading your first blog post about it. I’m loving my results, but I do use dry shampoo after I blow-dry my hair. I have a question though. Any tips on getting out stubborn smells? I went to a bonfire a couple of days ago and even after “shampooing,” I’m still left with the smell in my hair. Any suggestions??

  154. Kristin

    Great post – thanks!! I just read the book “No Impact Man” and wanted more info on his baking soda shampoo — when I googled ‘baking soda shampoo’, your post came up! I’ve had your blog bookmarked for a while now and it was fun to read about your transition to no shampoo. I’m looking forward to trying it. 🙂

  155. Nichole

    I like the No Poo method alot. But I have naturally, very curly hair and it gets very dry. Right now I am using Shea Moisture products (all natural ethnic hair products) and they are very moisturizing and keep my curls looking very nice. What do you think would be a good condtioner for curly hair?

  156. Jenn W

    I am really excited to try this. I use shampoo and conditioner now and I only have to wash every 4 days or weekly because my hair is so dry to begin with.

    My question is about heat styling. I prefer to straighten my hair daily because my hair is really curly on the underside and almost poker straight on top and in the front and I was wondering how straightening would affect my hair if I was using the poo-free method? Should I still be using the heat protectant spray and would the straightener (or blow dryer for that matter) damage my hair? Also, how would it react if I used coconut oil as a detangler? Would it fry my hair like a French fry?

    Have any of you had experience with this?

  157. Col

    For the longest time I suffered from “extremely itchy scalp”, from the time I was 11 years old until I hit my 30th birthday. It would flake so badly that it was never a good idea to leave it loose if I was wearing any other color than white, and even then I always had someone kindly flicking my bangs to knock off some clingy pieces. It was horribly embarrasing, not to mention damaging to my scalp and hair, since I couldn’t stop the itching.

    I would suffer from sores from where I had scratched repeatedly until it bled, my hair was starting to fall out in clumps due to stress from work and the loss of my hair was starting to show how raw my scalp really was in the thin spots.

    I was getting to the point where I was showering twice a day to get temporary relief from the itching. I moved to pouring lotion into my hair onto the scalp to sooth the itching and ignored the burning on the raw spots. I’d sit with my lotion drenched hair in strings around my ears and face, relieved that I wasn’t itching for the moment, dreading having to shower to wash it out so I could go out in public. I was going through a large bottle of lotion every two or three days.

    One morning found me rummaging through my lotion stash trying to cobble together enough lotion to soak my head in and not having anything I could use. I actually cried and then it hit me…I could shave myself bald! I’d be able to get rid of all of my brittle, dry as the desert hair AND be able to use a lot less lotion!

    Thankfully my better half searched the internet for possible solutions while I was being a lotion-crazed-hunting-machine and asked me, “Have you ever used medicated shampoos?”

    I looked at him and explained that I’ve tried medicated shampoos, prescriptions and over the counter types. Still was itchy…

    “Have you considered you might just be allergic to shampoo? Read this blog, they’re using baking soda instead…”

    I read it, tore through the kitchen looking for the ingredients and mixed up a batch and ran to try it out.

    My head, hair, wallet and boyfriend all thank you for your original post about going shampoo free. I never realised how much I actually dug at my scalp until I started not having to. My hair actually started looking healthier. I was able to bring down the amount of times I washed it to every other day and then every three days. My hair recovery period took about a month before it looked like hair instead of the end of a broom.

    This coming summer will be the start of my third year without shampoo. I’ve shared your blog post with so many of my friends. I tell them that I only add in teatree oil for scent but it was initially added to help my scalp heal from all the damage I did to it. I like using the baking soda as a runny paste to gently exfoliate my skin, particularly on my feet and my face.

    Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  158. Mary

    I’ve been doing no-poo for five days so far and even though I’m still in the “transition” or “detox” phase, I love it. I have super straight hair that gets dry easily– I used to have to use expensive, high-moisture shampoo and conditioner, a daily leave-in conditioner, and a weekly hair mask to fight frizziness and brittleness. Now, the only products I have to use are a $0.67 box of baking soda and a $2 bottle of apple cider vinegar… Considering that the BS and ACV will last me much longer than bottles of shampoo and conditioner, I’m saving a lot (and I mean a LOT) of money.

    My hair (although it was a teensy bit oily at the roots before I washed it last night) is gorgeous, too. It has a lot of shine, doesn’t have flyaways, is very soft, and the split ends that I used to have either disappeared or got smaller. The downside? It takes FOREVER to dry. I used to take morning showers, but since my hair will stay wet for hours now, I started taking nighttime showers.

    I think in the future, I’m going to experiment with more elaborate rinses. Babyslime (http://babyslime.livejournal.com/174054.html) has a lot of great ideas for adding scents and herbs to the ACV rinse. My boyfriend misses the old perfume smell my hair had, so this might help.

  159. Tamara

    I have tried Poo-Free from Aug-Dec. I loved it until the winter hit. My hair became static and dandruff. I have psoriasis/eczema on my elbows, knees, feet, and a palm of my hand. It comes and go. I remember when I was little, my mom used to put Sea Breeze on my scalps because I had dandruff or dry skin that was thick that you could peel (almost with skin off). I was still using Poo-Free during Dec when that kind of dry skin on my scalp close to my forehead. It was frustrating because I love poo-free. I’ve tried honey/brown sugar to exfoliate my scalps. It worked for 2 days then I’d have to do it again. In the end, I gave up and used Head and Shoulder. Now that winter is almost over and I have been using poo-free again for a week. Is there any suggestion for this kind of scalps? I’ve noticed hair butter, will that help? or any suggestions?

  160. Naleen

    Hey Tsh,
    I’ve been poo free for about 6 weeks but am still having some issues. I’m finding my hair is straw like but still very oily, and also full of static. I didn’t think I could have oily, strawlike, staticky hair but there you go! But I am sticking with it. My plan is to lessen the BS and ACV. Any suggestions on whether this is the right thing, or why I’m having such an odd combination of problems?
    Thanks Tsh, and love this site!!!

  161. Lacey

    I’m having issues with this method. I so want to drop the shampoo forever I have very fine, straight hair. I tried this natural method but I hate the way the baking soda makes my hair feel. It felt very dry, tangly, and just unmanageable. I’ve tried so many ratios and all are not working well. I was doing 2 tabs of baking soda per 2 cups of water. Then following up with 2 tbs ACV and 2 cups of water. It just doesn’t seem balanced. I’ve also tried the ACV alone with greasy results (we have hard city water). The only way my hair looks good is when I use a sulfate suave shampoo with the ACV rinse. Only then is my hair full, bouncy, and shiny. But I want to get rid of shampoos so I don’t know what to do.

  162. yara el gerzawy

    hey 🙂
    thanks for the post i have been trying this method for more than 7 months and in the beginning my hair was great and i felt it was more bouncy than ever ( i have a very curly hair) but more than a month ago i started to feel it became VERY dry even though i do a honey+yogurt mask 2 aweek and also the frizz has increased to a point that is driving me crazy !!! i just dont know what has changed and why is my hair getting so intolerant to this method and what should i do now?? thank you 🙂

  163. Morgan J

    I love your whole blog on the baking soda attempt – you’re a brave woman! With my water it didn’t work very well, so I tried Castilian soap, and NO LUCK – it was worse than with the baking soda! Any tips? I thought maybe I wasn’t diluting it enough, but I was told you don’t need to dilute it…thoughts?

  164. Rachael@LovelyCraftyHome

    I am a no-poo girl as well, since I first wrote about trying it on my blog in July 2010. I guess I’m going on 2 years! http://lovelycraftyhome.com/2010/07/21/the-no-poo-solution/

    People are constantly surprised…I have long, thick, wavy hair. I use the 1tbs/1cup of both, and I use the whole amount every time (I use a plastic cup in the shower and keep containers of BS and ACV in there). Truthfully I could probably use less, but I haven’t bothered to change it. I use zero styling products (except the occasional hairspray for a crazy updo or something).

  165. Karrie Lawrence

    I have been poo free for about 2 years now…shortly after my first son was born, I started doing it. Since going poo free, I’ve noticed several things about my hair: 1) I lose less hair in the shower and brush! 2) My hair is gloriously voluminous 3) whatever the cut, it falls naturally into the style without any product! and 4) My hair is shinier!

    I’m working on convincing my husband that the poo free way is better, but he has a dandruff problem (that wasn’t fixed by using the medicated shampoos either). I’m searching sites to find out the best way to control flakes and itching. I read on one site to use 1/2 and 1/2 white vinegar/water wash twice a week before the baking soda wash. I think this might be a hassle for the 5-minute showerer, LOL!

    I DID have a moment in the beginning of my next pregnancy in which my hair was severely greasy, but it all changed after the 1st trimester. I just wore it in a pony for those few days.

  166. Urs

    I’d already cut out parabens and sulfates but the cheapest natural products are $6 or $7 a bottle. Since I stopped using 😉 about two months ago, I haven’t replaced what was there. My kids and man still use it once every week or two. I don’t like Castille on my hair though I’d try again with ACV for rinse. But for now baking soda works great. Somehow my natural dark color is shining with a new clarity and my gray is no longer as noticeable. I won’t go back until I’ve completely healed the chronic dry scalp and psoriasis I’ve contended since my teens. It’s much better since baking soda exfoliates my scalp when I mix as more of a paste.

  167. sarah robertson

    “After her shower, Tate also uses a natural detangler to tame her otherwise nest.” Interested to see what type of natural detangler she uses, my hair can be nest-like as well.

  168. Allyson

    I have a question. I have been reading about the no poo shampoo and I seen in your blog where you would have to slowly make the transition. How can you start with that transition? Should you use the regular shampoo every other time or every 2 times? I am trying to get more information so I can teach my family so they will know. Thank you for post

  169. Cait

    I’ve been washing my hair with your recipe for maybe a month or so now – can’t remember the exact start date – and I LOVE my new routine. I used to wash my hair every other day, but usually no less than that because my hair would get greasy (of course). Now, I wash my hair every 3-4 days. It’s not nearly as oily now, even on the third or fourth day – it just kind of loses volume, which is how I decide to wash my hair now.
    Along the same lines, I’ve been using other home remedies to cleanse my skin – sea salt water steams and baking soda paste masks for my face, coffee ground exfoliant for my body. I feel so healthy and happy!

  170. k

    I have gone a month or 2 without washing, since I had a roommate who was a natural chiropractor… but lately I wash my hair every couple weeks, just cause i like the smell… and we found some Cheap shampoo .. I’m a little organic, but not terribly .. just Very Frugal & like simplicity. I think i tried baking soda once or twice, but didn’t know if I was sposed to use water or not .. & i’ve used vinegar – my hair is naturally curly and I do like a balsam conditioner – but i always use less than they say to use so a bottle lasts me literally Years!

  171. Dot

    Yes, no-poo was certainly a fad in the blogosphere for a while there. This is the first I’ve seen actual photos (though you show no “before,” only “after”). To be honest, no offense intended, but everyone’s hair except your husband’s and the baby’s looks dull and straw-like. Kids’ hair is usually naturally shiny, so it’s surprising that your kids’ hair isn’t. This is a disappointment because I thought with all the talk about retaining natural oils that the hair would be shiny.

  172. JRo

    I came across your post from two years ago and was intrigued. I had never heard of going “-poo” less before so I thought I read up on it. I tried my first ever shampoo/conditioner free shower tonight and so far its great. I haven’t really noticed any difference, which may be a good or bad thing, but I’m willing to give it a try for a few weeks to see.

  173. Lynsey

    I have been “no poo” for almost a month. and my hair is still very oily. should i mix more/less baking soda?
    you said your baking soda mix only lasts a few washes? I am still on my first mix… (am i not using enough). (i have medium-long hair)

    I broke down and washed it with burts bees shampoo because i wanted to wear my hair down.. i feel like i haven’t been able to wear it down since it is so oily. (just the scalp-my ends are fine!)

    help?

  174. Sheri

    So, I know this is an older post, but I am wondering if you have some advise for me. I have been doing no-poo for 2 years and have for the most part loved it. The only time I have trouble is when there is a change in water type – vacations, visiting relatives, or running out of softener salt. In these cases I have needed to temporally use traditional shampoo or my hair is extremely oily/waxy. However, recently I have been having a huge problem with tangled hair. I have been letting my hair get longer, which is the culprit, but I am not ready to give in and cut it. My hair is extremely tangled in the shower, and of course while combing it out. I have been using a little traditional conditioner to help it out. Have you had this problem (although it looks like you keep your hair fairly short)? Do you have any ideas for natural remedies, either in the shower or a leave-in type detangler? Thank you! i am not wanting to give up the no-poo or cut my hair at this point.

  175. gracie

    Hi everyone. I’ve started no-poo for about a week now and the reason I decided to do it is that, i have a stubborn itchy scalp which is driving me crazy. i have this like for a year now and i think i tried almost everything to no avail. so far, i’m not itching that much anymore. also, i shed a lot of hair and it depresses me. though, i haven’t notice any improvement on that yet, i’m keeping my hopes up! i hope no-poo can improve my hair shedding as well . can you guys suggest anything? thank you.

  176. Gina Thorsen

    I’m one week into going shampoo free and I am so happy I did it. Honestly, I really didn’t have a transition period at all. My hair feels and looks great. I’m especially impressed with how it feels the day after washing…in the past I would almost never skip a day of washing my hair. This week I’ll start going every other day and see what happens. Thanks for posting this – reading your first hand account made it so much less scary to try!

  177. Joslynne

    I exercise a lot and the vinegar rinse made me smell like a salad when I worked out! It also didn’t leave my hair soft or easy to comb. So I now use a tiny bit of natural conditioner after shampooing (with baking soda) and I leave it in my hair – just enough to keep it soft and easy to manage. Also, I found a super easy way to wash my hair with baking soda and warm water – just mix about 1/3 cup of baking soda with about a cup of warm water in the shower, shake it up then just pour it over you hair. No need to scrub or anything. Then just rinse it out – I didn’t believe that just pouring it over my hair would get my hair clean, but it does and it is soooo easy! This idea came from Farmer’s Almanac fyi!

  178. WoodanHair

    Hello,
    I recently washed my hair with BS&water(left out the vinegar thingie).
    It’s been 4 days and my hair and scalp feels great.
    The thing is,from now on,i will get my head and hair dirty on a daily basis with…chemical dust(wood&glue dust).
    If i use the baking soda mix everyday,will it damage my scalp and hair?
    If i use the conditioner too will this eliminate the Ph possible problem?
    I want to wash my hair everyday,that’s why i ask.I don’t want to take the risk of living this shitty dust on my hair and i dont think it can be washed out with water only.

  179. Kittia

    I’ve done this in the past but this summer I’m trying to go completely no ‘poo.

    I just have two questions…
    1. Do you ever use heat in your hair? Is it safe to without protecting the hair first?
    2. I’m assuming you shower [I dunnno, after you said you don’t wash your hair.. :)]… so how often do you shower in between hair washing? I recall that your body produces important oils that shouldn’t be washed out daily.

  180. ashley

    i was wondering if you still wet your hair in the shower between washes.

  181. Danielle

    I started doing this about 2 months ago. I usually use it every other day, though. I don’t know if I am not using a good ratio or what, but it just doesn’t feel clean after a day or two. I am still not sure about the vinegar. I use it, but it doesn’t seem different from when I don’t use it. I was thinking of having hubby try it, but he gets really bad dandruff, so I am not sure if that would be a good idea. Any thoughts on that?

  182. Amanda

    Thank you so much for all of your information on the”poo-free” method. I just started today! After years of wheat/gluten allergies I fight everyday with shampoos/conditioners that clame to be “gluten free” yet still cause hives/acne around my scalp and back. Not to mention kill my wallet. Everyone I went to for my skin said it wasnt acne… Only an allergic reaction. So I am really praying this works for me and gives me some relief. Thank you thank you thank you for your blogs!

  183. kevinp

    Do I need the rub the baking soda and water all over the hair or just the scalp?

    Do I need to put the vinegar and water all over the hair or just the ends?

    My daughter has long hair and I need it all soft to comb it probably and not have any knots, so was confused over this.

    Thanks

  184. Amy

    I am 7 days into my poo-free experience and I am happy, happy, happy.
    I use 1tbs bs to 1c water for a “wash” and 1tbs apple cider vinegar to 1c water for my “conditioner”. I have very fine, slightly oily and dandruff-prone hair. Ugh.
    My scalp has been irritated and my hair began to jump ship this past year at an alarming rate. I finally decided I didn’t need to buy yet another toxic shampoo/conditioner to combat the problem. I would let my body do it’s thing and see what that got me. It’s gotten me great hair!
    My hair is also dark and so the traditional go-to dry shampoo of corn starch left my hair with a dull gray look. Instead, I use a small spice jar (the kind that fit into a rack) filled with pure cocoa powder and a drop of essential oil. I shake it on my head, rub it around my scalp and then brush it all out. My hair looks full and smells yummy in between washes.
    A note on the apple cider rinse: I know everyone says they can’t smell it after it’s rinsed out, but I can. Maybe I’m not rinsing well enough or my ratio is too strong, I don’t know. But I live in rainy Oregon where if you put your umbrella up for less than a monsoon you’re considered a wimp. When it rains, my hair gets wet and I smell vinegar. No one else experiences this? Really? :/

  185. Cindy

    These were great articles…. I remember when I was little I would wash my hair with the bar soap probably zest or dial or ivory and my mom would go nuts because it did not come out smooth or silky as if I washed with shampoo.

    For the past 10 years I have not used shampoo. Because they use Dawn on the ducks and wild birds when there is an oil spill, I have been using dawn about once a week. I raised waterfowl for 12 years and know that you should not use soap on them as it screws up the oils that their feathers need.. So I figured that if Dawn was safe to use on them it could not be all bad on hair. My hair is clean and not oily nor does it have oil build up. my scalp does not seem to produce an overload of oil as it did with shampoo. I know Dawn is a detergent but I think it is something much different than the main stream detergent.

  186. Diana

    Both my husband and I have been shampoo free for about three months now. I most likely will never use store bought hair care products again. I use 1 egg with a tablespoon of honey once a month for conditioning. I use this also as a facial. Let it sit f0r 15 minutes then rinse with cool water. Once every other week I use baking soda and water with 1 drop tea tree oil to wash and ACV to rinse. I use a drop of emu oil once a week messaging it into my scalp and leaving overnight. My hair is in the best condition it has ever been. No more split ends and my hair is slowly growing back where it has been receding since I hit my 40s. I have many reasons for trying this method and many more for staying with it. I have blogged about my experience on my blog since I started at the end of March.

  187. Ernahant

    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.

  188. Sarah

    This sounds like a fabulous idea! The only problem I have is that I’m a competitive swimmer, which means my hair needs to be washed every day to get the chlorine out. Will this method work well?

    • Jessica

      I do…every day 🙂 and my hair is doing great.

  189. Kate

    Can I use this every day? I mean, is that too much?

  190. Tessa

    I was wondering…..
    If you only wash every few days do you still wet/rinse it in the shower when you bathe?

    I have wild wild hair that tends to look like a retarded Afro when I brush it. So I straiten it when I go out anywhere public.
    Touching your hair that much to straiten it makes your hair greasy.
    And when it gets wet/moist (Florida is horrible when it comes to humidity) I loose control of it.
    So I have to wash it again at night to wash out the grease from touching it, and so I can straiten it again.
    Would it be ok to wash it daily with the poo-free system?
    I know your not suposed to wash hair daily, but I have to…

    • Jessica

      You probably won’t have to shampoo again, but if you use the conditioner (vinegar and water or lemon juice and water) the acid should strip the oils, but hopefully not damage your hair. 🙂 I do this to get the hair product out of my hair, as I also have an afro. I HAVE to use gel daily. 🙂

  191. alex

    thought i would get the the comments fresh and up to date with my input , i am now going to go poo free, thanks for your article it has been very helpful all the way across the Atlantic in olde england

  192. Jessica

    I have been shampoo and conditioner free for 25 weeks now. I LOVE it! I have super thick and super curly hair. I use 1 tablespoon baking soda per 1 cup of water and 5 drops orange essential oil for my shampoo now. I use lemon juice instead of vinegar, as my hair is very porous, and the vinegar smell was very strong. I used 1 oz lemon juice per 1 cup of water and 5 drops orange essential oil for my conditioner. I always have plenty of lemon juice, as we make limonchello quite often, and it stores in a mason jar in the refrigerator for weeks. I save so much money, and my curls have never been happier. I encourage all people to give it a try. I made it through my transition week of frizzy hell with hats and bandanas 🙂 , but after that my hair has looked amazing!

  193. Grette

    Hi tsh from Oz, I put a permanent water based hair colour just on the hair growth around my face as this is were my grey starts have been doing this for about 6 years, would the poo free wash & vinegar rinse strip this colour out as i only have to re-colour every 9-10 weeks my hair is in good condition for my age just past shoulders. could you please advise/ is the shampoo free not suited when hair is coloured??????
    Yours faithfully
    Grette

  194. Grette

    Hi Tsh from Oz, could you please advise me whether the poo-free and vinegar rinse would strip the water based permanent hair colour I use approx every 9-10 weeks to cover my greys just around my face, I have been doing this for approx. 6 years my hair is in good condition for age and is to my shoulders, the colour looks just like my natural colour, I know there is a acid alkaline to the hair but am not sure how this will works with my coloured hair hoping you can advise me. Thanking you
    Yours faithfully Grette

  195. cd

    nothing to do with hair but your kids are gorgeous :o)

  196. amanda

    This is so encouraging and informative! I’ve been “no ‘poo-ing” for a year and a half and I love it! Lots of friends ask me for updates and are so surprised that my hair doesn’t look funny or stink. 🙂 I do let my hairdresser wash it when she cuts it, but that is just a few times a year. I’ve shared this post, so friends can hear more about it!

  197. Redweirdo

    I have been ‘poo free for one year though i use conditioner only, i mix it with water half and half. i do the acv but never considered putting backing soda in it.

  198. Maggi

    I’m interested in trying this out, but I have very long, thin hair and a LOT of it so it tangles very easily. Is there something that anyone would recommend using as a natural detangler? I’m afraid I’ll get out of the shower and have one giant dread lock.
    Thanks,
    Maggi

  199. Mel

    In between washes I love to spray my hair with rose water. As a hairdresser I love natural products to make my hair feel great.

  200. Jim

    Since reading your column about two years ago, I’ve been primarily using only water for hair cleaning. At first it left my head too oily, but a couple doses of BS and vinegar got rid of old shampoo residue, and now all I need is a water-only rinse and about 15 seconds of scalp massage. Every three or four months, my head gets the baking soda and vinegar treatment. But it’s not for everyone. My daughter (who doesn’t have my coarse, wavy hair) found it wanting.
    My sweetheart uses 7th Generation dish soap. She has gorgeous hair down to her butt, which is the envy of many. I suppose we’re bad consumers in shunning all that indoctrination that hair-product advertisers paid so much for!

    • Lyrical Challenger

      Hi Jim,
      not many men commented so far. It’s good to hear you. The best though from your statement for me was noticing you are not sold by the rackateering marketeer’s, Well done and Good luck!

  201. Karin

    I got inspired of all these comments and tried it myself for about six week. I had so much trouble with finding out just how much soda my hair needed. Once it was dry, the other time it was still greasy after washing it… Then I tried something else – washing my hair with egg. This is something our grandmothers used to do back in the old days, when there was no conditioners and hair masks. This method is also chemical free, comes in “one-time packages” and ALWAYS leaves my hair COMPLETELY CLEAN! I understand, it probably will not suit for veggies, but everybody else should try it.
    I do like this: I take one full egg, pour it into a little bowl, beat it up and spread it out on my hair roots (you can use a brush as hairdresser applies the hair color). Then I wait for approx. 10 minutes (can drink a cup of tea so long) and then simply wash it out. Beware not to use hot water, because egg will clot then. Use warm water instead and after you have rinsed your hair for a while, you can rinse it with hotter water if you want. You can follow it up with apple vinegar as you do after washing your hair with baking soda.
    Washing your hair with an egg leaves it soft and shiny, because it contains a lot of protein. So I believe it is better for your hair than baking soda is.
    You can add some honey to this egg mix as well, it makes it even better.
    Yes, it is a bit messy, but I had more trouble when I washed my hair with baking soda and I can assure you, that it is worth trying!!!

  202. Britney

    Hi!
    I’m super interested in not using shampoo. Like you, my family maintains a simple/chemical-free home, so the shampoo & conditioner in the shower are natural products. However, I’m concerned with moving to baking soda for one reason: does it remove sweat very well? I attend several fitness classes at a local gym, and I sweat.. A lot. My hair looks really nasty afterwards- not greasy, but sweaty. On days I don’t workout I only use the conditioner, which works great for my hair, but I’d like to get away from these, if possible.
    Thanks!

    • Carley

      It works great for me! I live in florida and went poo-free over this past (very hot) summer and didn’t have a problem. Just don’t go too heavy on the vinegar and keep it away from your roots 🙂 Ends and body only.

  203. Carley

    I went poo-free over the summer. My reason was because my scalp was painful and itchy all the time even though I only washed every couple of days — I have very sensitive, oily skin — and my hair was usually quite greasy because I didn’t wash it much. I was considering a medicated shampoo, but then I heard about poo-free, and since I like to try taking things away before adding new things (instead of a diet pill, just eat less, etc), I decided to give that a shot first. It took me awhile to really get the hang of it, but I’m really happy with it now. I do still get some itching and pain, but not NEARLY as much as before. I recommend this method to any of my friends who aren’t happy with their shampoo.

    • Kamila

      My hair is so itchy too. No dandruff just itchy scalp. I wash it every 4-5 day with, head n shoulders dry scalp.. Don’t judge. Glad to hear it helped you. I’ll have to try it again.

  204. Lyrical Challenger

    Having logged on this evening to search for a natural alternative for shampoo and conditioner, I landed on this site after viewing others that failed to hold my attention. For the past 7 years I have suffered an itchy scalp that has gotten worse this past few weeks. I only use natural skincare products and hardly wear make-up but this hair washing drama posed a real dilemma.
    To my surprise I read most of the posts with interest before collecting the BS from my kitchen to which I added organic stinging nettle that I has dried from my garden instead of water. One should check out the properties of natural nettle you should all drink it daily if it is available to you. http://www.naturalnews.com an excellent article is posted on it for more info.
    Anyway the nettle is full of silicon and having read about the contra-dictions of silicon for this purpose I did think twice before going ahead.

    After towel drying I applied coconut oil before completely drying in a hood dryer. The results are amazing since my hair is soft and scalp calm (For the moment anyway!).
    I learned so much from each sharing their experience and believe it is a fabulous post.
    My thanks to the originator Tsh, it’s powerful stuff Tsh…

    I was amused by the following though:
    Catie says: July 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm
    Disgusting!

    I am so pleased no one took any notice of this churlish nonsense, however free speech still prevails though I was worried whether her mama left her unsupervised home alone. I hope next time Catie will bring some substance to the table, gigglexx

    By the time I arrived at Grace’s comment I was questioning whether this would work for Afro Caribbean hair as mine is. This nicely opened up the arena by adding clarity to the subject matter, Thank you Grace for your boldness and encouragement for others to come forward. In all things someone carries a torch and leads the way.

    I can confidently remark that to wash hair is the beginning of the process but by the end this should be the only difference to our diverse ethnicity. The usually dry afro would need appropriate oils applied so it should stand to reason that the BS,ACV and / or WV, should work for all hair types with some tweaking by the user!

    It also seems an excellent opportunity to add essential oils for fragrance as well as for the benefit of the individual properties derived from them and with the bonus of keeping partner happy in close proximity as usual.

    In England the climate can be harsh and drying on afro hair and I know living in some of the sunnier climes enjoyed by many who commented, would make it an even better proposition for afro hair, which should be obvious as afro hair is better suited in the sun. Tee hee!

    It would be nice to hear the participants from last year to learn how many remained converted. In any case, thank you all for your blessings and best regards to all xx

  205. Sofia

    I’m at it for a third week now, i’ve been washing every second day (skipping some on the weekend) and i just started noticing hair loss. a quite scary amount of it, not too much, but you can see that something’s wrong.
    what IS wrong? what can i do?

    • Ewa

      It’s hard to say without looking more closely at your hair treatment and lifestyle.
      Weak BS+Water (1 tbsp per cup of water) and ACV+water solutions should not have a power to do anything destructive like this. But it’s possible that they helped uncover a pre-existing hair condition.
      That aside though, I would first look into your diet. Make sure you get enough vitamins (especially B6 and biotin).

  206. ania

    I’ ve gone no poo and I love it. I am still in the transition period , I think, but know for sure that. won’ t ever go back to shampoo. I wonder if using BS twice a week would be a good idea, cause don’ t want to get dependent on bs now; I wash it once a week but after 3-4 days it looks greasy. Anyway, great post and in a few weeks I will share my experience.

  207. Alycia

    I’ve recently started going more natural with my haircare routine. I’ve switched to doing a deep-condition once a week with coconut oil and love the results (my hair has never been so soft!), and diluting regular conditioner to make a leave-in detangler. I currently only wash my hair every 2-3 days, but find that when I rinse after my workouts my hair builds up with calcium and mineral deposits from our hard water. I’m debating trying ‘poo-free but am wondering if this is likely to be a problem with hard water? Has anyone with hard water tried this or castile shampoo?

  208. Lillian

    I have long and fine hair. I wash with traditional shampoo every morning and my hair is greasy and gross by the evening. If I skip a day of washing my hair it looks and feels so unbearably greasy plus my scalp itches. My question is if I decide to go poo free – how often should I do the baking soda and vinegar method to start? Should I do it everyday and ween down to every few days? Any advice would be helpful.

  209. Adela

    Hi Simple Mom! I love this post, I love the simple natural beauty recomendations you give. I thank you for all the tips! I started with the shampoo and the conditioner this week, I was a bit unsure because my hair is frizzy and I have a few dreads, but my first try was very successful! My hair feels so soft and smells good! So I’m happy!! I’ll let you know how I’m doing in a few months, here’s a pic of my hair: https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/305904_278689145567315_1846682788_n.jpg 😀

  210. shawn

    I have been poo free for a year now and love it! 🙂 My husband thought I was crazy, but now doesn’t think anything about it. I mix up a large batch and keep it in my bathroom cupboard, just refill my shower bottles as needed. I have colored, very curly, passed shoulder length hair. When I don’t wash my hair, I just give it a good rinse to reactivate my curls. Wouldn’t dream of going back to shampoo. Went to a new stylist a few months ago for a trim and she couldn’t believe I didn’t use shampoo. Said my hair looked better than some of the women who used the shampoo/conditioner they sold in the salon.

  211. Summer

    This worked great for me for six months but now that the cold weather is here, it doesn’t seem to be working as well. My hair needs its ‘washing’ more frequently and it seems to get way more static-y than when I use regular shampoo. Of course some static is pretty much a given in winter, but this is crazy bad. Has you experienced this/had to adjust your ratios for weather change?

  212. Billy bob

    No offence, but your hair Isnt shiny at all in those photos…it’s looks very dull.

    Do you colour it at all? Have you tried beer or olive oil as a conditioner to give it some shine as life? It looks lank to me. Sorry, but this is one I certainly won’t be trying.

  213. js

    i’ve looked everywhere for the answer to this question but i haven’t found any suggestions at all, so i’ve come to seek your wisdom. i like to deep condition my hair with coconut or grapeseed oil once a week. can i still use baking soda to wash it out? i need to get the oil out but i don’t want to go back to using regular shampoo. i’m thinking maybe a natural nopoo?? ughhh help!

  214. Anne

    Does it ever bother you that your hair has lost it’s shine? It bothers me a little. It’s a trade-off, I suppose.

  215. Find me

    Great update…. can you write for short hairs. I am having round face..

  216. shelley

    I am confused at some of the comments. Why are you going poo free but going and getting chemicals on your hair at a beauty shop? I am going poo free to be chemical free? Just wondering??

  217. Laura

    I’m on Day two of going “no-poo” and so far, so good. I haven’t had any problems with oil control and my hair is very soft. One surprising side effect-my hair looks darker! I’m a brunette with fine hair living in a hard-water area so I’m guessing mineral build-up on my hair changed it’s color slightly.

    I even convinced my 10 year old son to try it last night because he hates getting shampoo in his eyes. He liked it and his hair is nice and clean despite the fact that it had been several days since he had washed with shampoo.

    Love it!

  218. Stacy

    Howdy,
    I started the no shampoo method of washing my hair in Oct. 2012. And it works great for my hair. However, I am beginning to discover that my hair is returning to that brittle horribleness that shampooing caused after I rinse off the chlorine from my daily swims at my local lap pool. I just started putting coconut oil in my hair to try to give it a little protection from the chlorine, because I am not giving up my lap swimming until I can no longer pay to use the pool. Anyway, I haven’t quite figured out the necessary amount of coconut oil needed to protect it, so it has been too much, and my hair is a greasy mess right now, even after a thorough scrubbing with baking soda in hot/warm water and a spritz of diluted ACV. Because I swim everyday, I have to wash out the chlorine everyday. So I was wondering if you had any advice on how to manage this mess without sacrificing my pool time and my hair health.

  219. Tammy Maynard

    I have been shampoo free for probably 6 years now. I have down to my waist, naturally curly hair and using shampoo on it was awful!! My DIL was trying a new french braid she learned on my hair and made a comment that she couldn’t believe how healthy my hair was. My little sister is a cosmetologist and it still freaks her out that I don’t use shampoo (unless she colors my hair). You can accomplish the same cleaning with your conditioning method by massaging your scalp to loosen any dirt etc from the scalp and simply rinse it away when you rinse your conditioner out. No need to use anything but the conditioner!! Love this post and I am a new follower on your blog!!

  220. Kendra

    I want to try this, not because it’s eco frielndly or whatever, but because my hair is almost to my bra strap and my ends are dry and around my crown is especially oily, I just recently dyed it blonde and no matter what I do it never feels clean, something’s got to give! I will by dying my hair back to my natural color promptly and starting this method.. but I’m worried about the smell, like other ladies have said, their hubby’s and themselves like the fruitly/floral scents.. it’s going to be a change for me, but I’m more than willing to try this! I’m also trying to re-grow my hair.. like an ass I chopped it all off due to all the horrendous tangles.. but cutting DID NOT help out with that issue. Hopefully this will.

    I got some tea tree oil to maybe add to the mixture.. would that help the smell?
    I also got some olive oil conditioning spray.. hopefully this willhelp me out with my crazy hair.. and it’s naturally curly and from reading the reviews hopefully for my head it’ll help tame the frizzy Afro head I have.

    Thank you tsh, for this post!

  221. Patti

    I have started using baking soda and apple cider vinegar on my hair,I also used the baking soda on my skin and it felt very soft after the shower. My hair is fine and gets frizzy and I have tried so many shampoos that I’m sick of all their claims that don’t work.After using the baking soda and apple cider vinegar my hair felt very soft,but it still gets frizzy so what do you use for natural frizz control? I have been looking through your site,but have not found the answer for that. I’m trying to go more natural and not wash my hair except for every five days or so and then I’m only using baking soda and apple cider vinegar,thanks so much for sharing all your information;]

  222. Desert Girl

    I am very interested in trying this out, but I’m afraid it will be a real change. Do you use hairspray or any styling aids? I wash my hair daily and use hair spray. If I don’t wash my hair it sticks out all over. I would at least have to wet it down and then the hairspray residue would make my hair look dirty. Any ideas?

  223. Corina

    Hi Tsh, Loved your books and enjoy reading your blog!

    I’m considering the “no-poo” method, but I’m nervous as to whether long term use of baking soda is healthy for the hair. I see that it is recommended 1/week on most health nets, but starting out (having an abundant oil production :)) I would need to use it more than 1/week then gradually work my way down. Do you have recommended sources I can do some more reading on using baking soda for hair? Also, I was wondering if you have ever used coconut vinegar instead of ACV? Since that is the vinegar I have on hand I think I will give it a go 🙂

  224. stef

    i guess i just don’t understand how baking soda gets rid of oily hair????? anyone??

  225. Jamie

    I have been shampoo and conditioner free for almost three years! I use the baking soda a apple cider vinegar method described here. Overall, my hair is healthier and more manageable for it. People always look at me funny when I tell them but many have commended me as a “pioneer” of sorts.

  226. Traile Meyer

    Got a sample of the Shielo Volume shampoo and conditioner and I swear its the Best thing that ever happened to me!!! I have alot of naturally wavy hair, that I was told was thin…and doesn’t do well in humidity. Ive practically tried every shampoo and conditioner out there and Shielo was IT for me!!!!!! Makes my hair feel soft and silky! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!!!

  227. Jane

    I am in a swimming pool every day so regularly rinse or wash my hair to rid it of the chlorine. Any advise if a rinse with just water is adequate? Or would I need to BC & ACV wash my hair after each pool session?

  228. sharon anne

    Hi…
    I’ve gone shampoo free off and on for the last 6 months, only washing with shampoo after an olive oil scalp massage every few weeks. I’ve been tweaking the mix and am still having trouble. My baby thin hair did end up straw-like so I backed off on the baking soda. I stopped using the vinegar for a while. My trouble is, I soak and do exercises in the bath tub wetting my hair daily. The hair on top would be ok, but fine hair on the sides of my head would look greasy. For a while I rinsed with vinegar in between washes and but then adjusted to a milder soda mixture (1T 2tsp soda to 2cups water) I used distilled water with tiny drops of vinegar, and now my hair has a lot of volume, but is very heavy and not manageable. It only looks good when I comb it and I get a lot of oil on my hands when I touch it. It’s also hard to run my fingers through it. Help! I don’t know what to do next…?! After the baking soda in the morning, the fine hairs on sides and in back feel light and clean, but the hair on top still feels very oily even though it doesn’t look it. No one is complaining that I look bad, but it doesn’t feel right to me. Any suggestions?
    I haven’t been able to read through all the blogs so will continue to try and get it right.
    Thanks for all the pioneering efforts! I love living this way. 🙂

  229. Monica

    Hey ya’ll! I’ve been doing the baking soda/vinegar hair wash routine for a few weeks, with amazing results. Besides an oops moment of waaaayyy too much coconut oil (and the several days of waiting for it to be removed without harsh soap), I have one question: is the baking soda wash interchangeable with, say, castile soap? I fly frequently, and I would love to be able to travel and not have to check a suitcase with a loose white powder, if you know what I mean. Not having to start over with baking soda would be awesome.

  230. Jenee

    I have tried this method, but it seems more hair comes out when I comb my hair out after my shower, than when i wash with shampoo. Is this normal?

  231. katherine

    My hair is my favorite thing to take care of on my body and ive always struggled with what shampoos and conditioners to use. Even the most expensive hair products didnt make too much of a difference on my hair. To replace conditioning treatments i have found that coconut oil is the best thing. Leave it in overnight mostly on your ends(if you but it on your scalp it will be hard to wash out) and wash it out in the morning. I have been using the baking soda and vinegar routine for about a month and a half but I also use regular shampoo about one time a week. I use the regular shampoo after doing the coconut oil treatment. Im still working on the perfect mix of baking soda because my hair tends to get very dry after I use it, even with vinegar. I am definitaly going to y the lemon juice method and ill get back on how it works. Love

  232. lizzie

    I have a question, I’m all for going shampoo free but, when you got to the hair dressers, don’t the fact that they use shampoo before cutting your hair will cancel out every thing that I have been working for? It’s takes the hair about a month to adapt to the shampoo free method. Will the hairdressers shampooing strip the oil on your hair in one wash?

  233. CTD

    I like the idea of letting my natural oils do their work and of decreasing my impact on the planet. I was curious, though, whether baking soda really constitutes a lower impact than shampoo – I realized I didn’t know anything about how it was made. I don’t have a good comparison, but this website discusses all that goes into baking soda – I had no idea it was such a modern and relatively high impact product.

    http://www.madehow.com/Volume-1/Baking-Soda.html

  234. Charlotte

    I agree with not using shampoo, but I’ve read a few times that baking soda damages and weakens the hair shaft. I’m considering just washing with water and maybe shampooing once a week, then gradually shampooing less and less. I have already binned all styling products because they do more harm than good!

    • Ellesar

      I just wash with water and find it fine.

  235. V

    I only wash my hair a few times a week. Every other day really. I don’t have dandruff per se, but weather/season changes cause dry scalp. So I started researching this. I don’t normally use conditioner, and also don’t use products AT ALL aside from shampoo. I haven’t brushed it in a VERY long time. I am just a little concerned because in the last few years, my hahir went from strong, thick, and fast-growing to thin, weak and slow-growing. Do you think this will help my scalp? I am considering a henna wash/powder as this is supposed to help my scalp and encourage growth.

    • Ellesar

      I think that you may have to accept the ageing process. That is exactly what has happened to me in my mid 40s, before all my hair fell out due to the chemo.

      I recommend that you stop using shampoo, as the hair that has grown back feels good without it – it may not be the thick hair I had when I was young, but it is nice in its own way.

  236. Ellesar

    I have used NO product on my hair at all for 18 months – this was after chemo – I decided to let my hair grow back TOTALLY natural. I find that the oil is self regulatory! Some days it feels more greasy, some days less, but it always feels fine. I hate my hair being short, but otherwise I love my hair the way it is. I use virtually no soap on my body either – and I really don’t stink!

  237. Steph @ hellostephni.blogspot.com

    Hi. I was wondering what you would do if you exercised daily. Would you simply wash your hair with water or would you use this baking soda/vinegar method?

    Thank you!

  238. Sophie

    I’ve officially gone ‘poo free after a year of only using natural shampoo once a week – it really does work!! No vinegar smell, or grease!

    Once question though – has anyone tried adding any essential oils to the mixture?

  239. Annette

    I never trust what works for non-“African” hair when it comes to hair care, but I have heard that the ACV rinse is great for all hair. I tried it, hated it and the smell, but what I do now I love. I mix conditioner(Garnier, Pantene ect) with avocado or olive oil plus gelatin and coconut milk and let that sit on my hair a few hours then risnse. The oils are anti-bacterial and natural soaps, and my hair looks so much healthier. This is good for curly to nappy dry hair. This is a pretty blog, but I don’t think that ACV and baking soda will work for all hair types, alone that is.

  240. Kelly

    Hi!! I’ve been reading so many posts about this and I really want to try it! My only “dilemma” is that I have eczema. It use to be extremely terrible, I’ve gotten in under control but recently it’s starting on my scalp again. Do you know if this would okay for my skin? Or do you know if there are any websites with information about eczema and shampooless shampoo? I’m not able to find anything. Thank you for your help!!!!

  241. Diana Murdock

    Curious with your attention to what you don’t put on your hair because of the chemicals, do you not worry about chlorinated pool water being absorbed by the skin and affecting your body?

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