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UPDATE 10/20/16 – I am happy to report that I am no longer having the hair problems that I did for so many years. I attribute this to quite a few different things, including continued work on my health and autoimmune illnesses. Mineral balancing (HTMA) had played an incredible role in improving the health of my hair. It took about 2 years for the damage from the no poo method to resolve. I can’t believe how much the no poo method impacted my scalp and hair health. It still is not the same as it was before I started it, but I am really happy with where I’m at. I know so many people that no poo works well for, but sadly, I was not one of them.
UPDATE 8/18/15: Since writing this post, I have had quite the struggle with my hair. Not only have I had a lot of hair loss, thanks to my autoimmune disease and mineral imbalance, but the effects of going no ‘poo for those 5 months left me with years of damage that I am just now getting resolved. I know the no ‘poo method works for a lot of people, but it didn’t for me (which was a bummer because it was so cheap). The only products I have found that REALLY made a difference in improving my scalp and hair health since that time are the products from Morrocco Method. I share my experiences with their products below.
UPDATE 1/15/15: This article was originally published on January 21st, 2013. Since then, a lot has changed. You can read my updates from 3/19/13 and 5/15/13 below. It took my well over a year to fix the damage the no ‘poo method caused my hair. I was so frustrated that it didn’t work for me because it worked well for so many other people. You can read about my personal hair struggles and the products I am now using here.
UPDATE 5/15/13: Well, folks. I’m not going to lie. This is no longer working for me. Over the last month and a half, I have noticed my scalp becoming drier and itchier. My hair is not as soft as it was for the first few months of the no ‘poo experience, and I was not quite sure what was going on. I did some research and found that some people experience problems with the no ‘poo method, as it alters the pH of your hair and scalp, creating dry, flaky, itchy patches, as well as drier, more brittle hair. While my hair was still looked healthy, my scalp was really unhappy. I tried a few other no ‘poo methods, like using plain coconut milk, herbal rinses, etc., and nothing helped. I have since switched back to using pH balanced shampoo (I use Aubrey Organics), although I only wash my hair 2-3 times per week, as it doesn’t get overly oily or dirty. I am pretty bummed about my experience, because I personally know people who have been no ‘poo for years and years and they love it. But, it’s a good example of what works for one person may not work for another. I still am an advocate of keeping our chemical exposure to a minimum, so I really hope others will still give it a try, or look into other ways they can cut out chemical-laden hair products. Would love to hear your experiences.
UPDATE 3/19/13: I am over 4 months into my no ‘poo journey and I am still loving it! My hair is soft, healthy, and happy. I have had many people ask about whether the baking soda lightens my henna and I can attest that it does not, at least on my hair. I re-did my henna about a month ago and it is still the same shade a month later, as it was when I did it. Read how to use henna for hair here. I have also had some people say that doing this long-term will ruin your hair, but there are enough people out there who have been doing this for years and years and have healthy, shiny hair to believe that. We are all different, so find what works for you!
ORIGINAL ARTICLE, PUBLISHED 1/21/13
So, I am finally doing it. I am finally jumping onto the “no ‘poo” bandwagon.
Over the last year, I have greatly reduced my chemical exposure. Because I am working on healing my autoimmune diseases, I am trying really hard to eliminate toxins. I have never really used a lot of toxic things in my home, but over the last year, I have really stepped it up and now make pretty much everything I need. I now make my own coconut oil toothpaste, my own deodorant (that really works!), and my own cleaning supplies (most of the time).
When I do purchase cleaning supplies, I only use the eco-friendly products from my affiliate partner, Tropical Traditions, because I like them, they work, and they are non-toxic. For skin care, I don’t put anything on my skin that I wouldn’t put in my mouth. There are only three companies that I buy skin care items from: the non-toxic, herbal skin care from L.c. of acirema, the beef tallow body balms from my affiliate partner vintageTRADITION, and the non-toxic skin care products from my affiliate partner Tropical Traditions.
I have stopped using hair dye and only use henna. I made that switch well over a year ago. While I didn’t dye my hair often, I always preferred my hair to be red, rather than the dirty blond I am naturally. My sister introduced me to henna and I have not looked back. Henna is amazing. Post on it coming soon!
All that said, the one place that I was lacking was shampoo and conditioner. I’ve made my own coconut milk shampoo before and I loved it. Not sure why I didn’t stick with it, other than that I am a habitual shampoo and conditioner purchaser. I stay away from the mainstream brands for the most part, but I have been suckered into buying the expensive, organic stuff at the health food store more than once. Frankly, I’m sick of spending money on it. So, it was time to go no ‘poo. A simple Google search for “no poo” will yield countless blog posts, instructionals, etc., about how to make the switch. So, after reading quite a few sites, I decided I was ready! 🙂
Kicking the ‘Poo to the Curb
So, why do I want to kick the shampoo habit? The most important reason is to further reduce my chemical exposure. Even the organic and natural shampoos and conditioners still tend to have some not-so-healthy ingredients in them. Plus, they are ridiculously expensive.
But, how on earth was I going to give up shampoo and conditioner? All of that lathery goodness and rich conditioning power? I was uncertain.
After my hours of “research” on Google, I decided that I could do this. Since my thyroid issues have really acted up, I feel like I am getting dandruff regularly, something I have never had a problem with. I read a few sites that said the baking soda and ACV actually help with the dandruff, so I was excited to try. All I needed was baking soda and apple cider vinegar, two items that I always have on hand. Save money? Check. You can also add essential oils to the “conditioner”. I chose to add some rosemary, since I had that on hand.
I have to say, I was nervous. Yeah. I have always taken comfort in a good sudsing of the hair and a nice thick conditioner. How on earth was baking soda going to clean my hair and apple cider vinegar going to condition it. And, even more importantly, was I going to smell like a bottle of salad dressing all day? Would people walk past me and cringe at the cloud of ACV surrounding my noggin? Well, I was about to find out.
I took a couple squeeze bottles and made my mixtures:
1 tablespoon of baking soda + 1 cup of water = shampoo
2 tablespoons of ACV + 1 cup of water + 5 drops of rosemary essential oil = conditioner
I carefully labeled the bottles and headed for the shower, announcing to my husband that I was giving up on shampoo and apologizing in advance for any funky smell, texture, or look of my hair moving forward.
In the shower, I wet my hair and squirted the “shampoo” all over my head, careful to not let it drip in my eyes. I massaged it into my scalp and then let it sit for a minute or two before rinsing with warm water.
Then, it was on to the conditioner. The first time, I squirted the ACV mixture all over my head and massaged it in. This seemed to make my hair really oily (see my note on Day 3 below). So, the second time, I only used a little on the ends of my hair and it was MUCH better.
When switching from traditional shampoos and conditioners, it’s important to know that your hair will go through a detox period. This, I learned from Mommypotamus’ new DIY Organic Beauty Recipes book (affiliate link). The ingredients in commercial brands of shampoo and conditioner essentially coat your strands of hair with silicone. The detox process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on your hair, the types of products you use, etc. Your hair might feel dry, course, or tangle easily. Bear with it, because it shall pass.
The other aspect of the hair detox is that your scalp will need to learn to readjust the amount of oil it produces. So, there might be a transitional period where your hair gets super oily, but from everything I have read, this passes as your body regulates production.
My detox period was really short, honestly just a few days, as you’ll see in my diary below. I never really had an extreme oily period, other than the first three days. After that, my hair was back to normal, the dandruff started to clear up, and my hair felt smooth and soft.
I know A LOT of people are skeptical of the no ‘poo method — hey, I was one of those people! So, I wanted to keep a diary of sorts, chronicling my no ‘poo journey. I know everyone’s hair is different and if you’re used to using a lot of hair products, or really heavy conditioners (think Pantene), then your hair may react differently. Also, success with the no ‘poo method will depend on the type of your hair, though I have met people with all different types of hair that have had success. My hair is very, very fine, and pretty thin (thanks to the massive amounts of hair I am losing daily due to this dang thyroid issue), but so far, so good.
Day-by-Day Playbook of Jessica’s No ‘Poo Journey
Exciting, I know. But, considering how skeptical I was about this whole thing, I figured at least one person might find it interesting.
Day 1 (Sunday): Washed with the new concoctions. Hair felt good, but seemed to still be a bit oily right off the bat. Let air dry.
Day 2 (Monday): Hair seemed more oily than it would have been normally, and was pretty flat. Didn’t wash.
Day 3 (Tuesday): Hair SUPER oily, from roots to tips, by the time shower time rolled around. Washed with the baking soda/water mixture, and conditioned the just the ends of my hair with the ACV/water mix. Hair felt and looked great when it dried.
Day 4 (Wednesday): Hair feels smooth and soft. Not oily at all. Did not wash today. Still flat, but I have only been letting it air dry, which yields very flat hair for me.
Day 5 (Thursday): Hair not greasy or oily looking. Pretty flat, but still feels great. Washed today and blew dry, which gave it some much needed body (no hair products used). Hair was a little tangle-y as I was combining through it.
Day 6 (Friday): Didn’t wash today still had some body and wasn’t oily.
Day 7 (Saturday): A little oily around the temple areas, but not bad. Washed and blew dried again (no product used). A few little tangles at the ends of my hair.
Day 8 (Sunday): Had a little more oil than “normal” it seemed. I didn’t wash today, but the sides of my hair seemed oilier than other days.
Day 9 (Monday): Oilier than normal. Washed. Hair still feels great when it’s dry – smooth and soft.
Day 10 (Tuesday): Skipped the wash. Hair looks normal — no oil.
Day 11 (Wednesday): Washed hair, though it really didn’t look like it needed it.
Day 12 (Thursday): Hair feels smooth and soft. No sign of oil. Skipped the wash.
Day 13 (Friday): Washed hair, but again, it didn’t really look like it needed it.
Day 14 (Saturday): I am confident that my hair is sufficiently detoxed and I won’t be experiencing any further issues. I’ll stop with this silly diary and quit boring you to tears now 🙂
Here’s a photo on Day 14 of the no ‘poo experiment. Yes, I took it myself. Hubby wasn’t home and I didn’t feel like waiting! Sorry for the blur — it’s hard to get a steady shot with your hands over your head! 🙂
For a twist on the baking soda and AVC concoctions, I do like my recipe for coconut milk shampoo and body wash. I really like how it makes my hair feel. I actually had forgotten about this recipe until I ventured out into the official no ‘poo world. I whipped up a new batch of it and remembered how much I like it. I am going to start alternating that with my baking soda and ACV moving forward.
So far, I am quite happy with the results of my no ‘poo experiment and have no plans on going back to my old ways. This is working for me and I’m going to stick with it. What about you? Have you tried the no ‘poo method? Does it work for you? Share your experiences below!
Want to get a second opinion on this whole no ‘poo thing? Check out this post by my friend Sandra at The Prairie Healer. I guess I inspired her to give the no ‘poo idea a try and she shares her story in her fun post!
I’m glad you’re getting such great results in just a short time of going no poo!!
I’ve also really been working on whittling down my exposure to toxins from personal care products. I’ve been using homemade coconut oil toothpaste for awhile now and love it. My dental check ups have never been so good!
I made my own lotion and scented it with ylang-ylang, which I LOVE, but it was very greasy. I think the coconut oil in it keeps it from sinking in. I found a brand which is all natural, not too expensive, and works great – Shea Moisture. I actually had a mysterious skin rash which had persisted for months that cleared up very quickly once I started using this moisturizer. Maybe it was coincidental, maybe not.
I was using Dr. Bronner’s soap for a body wash, but switched over to the Shea Moisture brand once I discovered them.
Ok, on to my no poo experience..
I tried it for the first time about a year ago. I used the coconut milk shampoo, and the Dr. Bronner’s shampoo, and the baking soda shampoo, all with an ACV rinse. I found that anything with Dr. Bronner’s in it made my hair really sticky and tacky, no matter how small of an amount was used. I kept smelling it as well, which kept reminding me of when I went to Burning Man (Dr. Bronner’s is the only soap allowed there because it’s non-toxic).
I kept up with it for awhile, hoping that I could get through the detox period, but it just wasn’t happening. Eventually I started buying “all natural” shampoos and conditioners. My hair still wasn’t really happy, but I felt like I was making a compromise.
A few months ago, I started getting really bad dandruff, which I had never experienced before. I read that it could be caused by candida overgrowth. But now I know from my labs that I don’t have an overgrowth. So I’m not sure what else could be causing it. I started reading up on natural remedies for dandruff and came across using Borax as a shampoo.
I used it for several months, along with an all natural tea tree oil shampoo (my hair wasn’t getting clean with just Borax), and then used some argan oil afterwards just on the ends for conditioner. It helped a little with the dandruff, but the itching was still horrible. I could wear black without looking like it had snowed on my shoulders though.
Recently I got fed up, I couldn’t take the itching anymore, and I decided to get the heavy duty medicated shampoo. I also got my hair cut a couple of weeks ago by my sister-in-law hairdresser, and she admonished me for the state of my ends! I told her about my all natural forays and she said that I absolutely have to use conditioner, at least on the ends. I was thinking that if I’m only using conditioner on the length of my hair, I wouldn’t really be absorbing any chemicals that way. So I conceded. And I can actually get a brush through my hair now without causing breakage.
I tried the tar shampoo for dandruff and itch – no luck there. And I recently picked up some Nizoral, which I used to use all the time. The jury is still out on that one.
Your post almost makes me want to give no poo another shot..
My hair is like yours – fine and thin, with a tendency to get really oily.
Hi Beth – So sorry for the delay in responding! This week has gotten away from me! I that you share your stories here! I really enjoy learning about other people and their personal experiences. The dandruff was getting better and now it’s coming back. I am not sure why, but I am assuming that I do have some candida issues, so that could be it now that you have pointed it out. Seems like the more I research, the more issues I have. It’s never ending! 🙂 Let me know if you go no poo again. Would love to hear if it works or not for you. We all have to do what we have to do though. I’ve heard a lot of people say that no poo works great for them, but then an almost equal number who say it doesn’t. We are all so different, yet so much the same! P.S. You went to Burning Man? Right on! 🙂
Haven’t finished reading the entire book, but Bruce Fife talks about dandruff in his oil pulling book – and he got rid of it when he started oil pulling…so that might be worth looking into? Just an idea,
(I have not used shampoo or conditioner or anything on my hair in almost 2 years and it is generally pretty happy – just needs brushing on a daily basis to get its shine back – and I only wash it once or twice a week, like before I went poo-free)
Hi Kerstin – Thanks for stopping by! That’s interesting about the oil pulling. I oil pull and it hasn’t helped (but, we are all different, that’s for sure!). I know that the dandruff and hair issues are directly tied to my autoimmune thyroid disease. I am confident that once I get that under control, by scalp and hair health will also improve. So far, I’m happy with the no ‘poo. I just like that I don’t have to spend all that money anymore on expensive organic products! 🙂
Just curious, how often did you wash your hair before you went no poo? I only need to my hair once a week, and you mentioned it could go dry?
I used to wash it every day, sometimes every other day, depending on my activity level. I could now go for a few days between washing, though I do wash every other day, just because my hair is so fine that it gets flat and won’t hold a style after a day or so. I would just experiment with what works best for you. We’re all different and I even know some people who only rinse their hair with hot water every once in awhile and that works well for them. 🙂
I also changed to this method for washing my hair. I didn’t have a hard “detox” period but I found that once I was on the right track that this method does dry out my hair (even washing 3 times a week). I have been playing with using regular conditioner 1 time a week to fix the dry issue, since using coconut oil on my hair took a week to clean out…
But I like my hair with this method. I have long curly hair so I use more than the norm of baking soda. And have found less static & friz in my hair and also my hair drys in 1/2 the time that it used to. I don’t ever blow dry.
Hi Stephanie – Thanks for sharing your experience. I have had a little frizz the last couple days, but I was attributing that to the weather. I also notice that my hair drys so much faster now. I rarely use the blow dryer now because of it! 🙂
I tried this too, but found that the baking soda mixture did not play well with Denver’s hard water. Have you noticed any problems with that at all?
Hi Reb – I’m in Denver too and I have not had any issues. I am wondering if it’s a difference in the areas of town that we live?
Thanks for sharing. I have fine thin hair.. mine due to iron deficancy (sp). I just switched to a no aluminum deoaterant and want to try to go more all natural on alot of things. I can not wait to hear about the henna hair coloring.
Hi Cassandra – Thanks for stopping by! I love my henna! Thanks for the reminder that I need to get that post finished! 🙂
Henna has been around for 1000 of years and its a vegetable based color it really stains the hair and coats the hair to make it look healthy . I have used it on my hair for many years but if you want to color you hair with any kind of hair color besides henna be careful .It will throw off the wrong color and then it has to be chemically removed once its had chemical on it you are dealing with a different kinda color . Some colors contain metallic in them and mixed with it can cause the hair to smoke .I have done it myself put color on my customer who say they dont have or put color on their hair . The real bad one was loving care and it literally smoked on the hair and damaged the hair real bad. Henna is great for reds and browns but blonds it looks dirty .and It also builds up on the hair but it make the hair appear healthy because the hair is coated so that smooths the cuticle down the hair has a cuticle,is the outer part of the hair cortex is the middle and the medulla is the every center and that has to be changed to color gray hair thats how come chemical hair color became so popular . and Highlights are made .Henna is great if you aren’t covering a lot of gray hair . or you just want to add a little color to your hair and it look healthy . Happy hair coloring
Hi Bev – I am a blond and have used henna for years. My hair doesn’t look dirty, nor is there any build up or residue. I wrote a big post about henna and you can read that here: https://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2013/07/how-to-use-henna-for-hair/. I think it must depend on the type of henna you use. The cheap henna you get in the store is not high quality and I would never recommend it. The key is body art quality henna from a reputable source that tests for contamination and heavy metal presence. I discuss all of this in my post on henna above.
I just read this and I have super super issue with dandruff, which I am now starting to believe is also due to my thyroid. Will get that checked… I’m happy to see that you gals are loving henna, in the subcontinent (Pakistan and India) we have used it since God knows when.. Would like to give you a few pointers on that if you don’t mind.. If you mix henna in tea or coffee you will get a darker color in your hair.. secondly henna can dry your hair so always apply a little olive oil after coloring.
Secondly, women here make a natural shampoo which will foam, 🙂 yes foam. The shampoo is made by boiling equal weight of Shikakai, Amla, and Reetha (I’m sorry I don’t know the English names for these herbs). You will find these in an Indian spice store.. Just soak them in water for a couple of hours and then boil in enough water to make them soft. You can then mash them up, take out the pits, and strain in a wide strainer.. Believe me you will not find anything better. Your hair will become darker, longer and thicker. You wont need a conditioner after this shampoo.. Just make sure you tilt your head back when rinsing because it will sting your eyes. I’m going to make this shampoo and start using it… Love and peace
Hi Erum – Thanks for stopping by and sharing your knowledge! I love learning new things and you just taught me a bunch! 🙂 I didn’t know about the coffee or tea for the henna. I’ll have to give that a try sometime. I have never had henna dry my hair out, actually, just the opposite. My hair feel so amazing after I henna. It makes me want to do it every week, but then again, it’s a bit too expensive for that! 🙂
I must say I applaud your effort. I have done all of the above except sources for washing clothes. I wash my hair with a natural soap so I didn’t have any hangups on this. I have no need for shampoos. I don’t know if that is because I am a guy.
Have you noticed any differences in your health since changing your cleaning supplies? What cleaning supplies have you been able to make changes with?
While I totally agree with making these changes to eliminate sources of toxicity, I wonder if doing so gets to the entire root of the issue of being to sensitive and/or exposed to all the junk we have in modern life. For example, I use a natural deodorant free from poisons like parabens and yet I breathe dirty air like everyone else. I think another part of the equation is how well your body adapts to all these things. My experience indicates a lot people who have chemical sensitives have low levels of something called reserve energy. In the Reams Biological Theory of Ionization, (RBTI), we observe people who have fairly high levels of reserve energy can handle this toxic environment that virtually all of us live in, without problems. Someone who has sensitives can raise their reserve energy and gradually eliminate their allergic reactions once and for all, assuming of course they are part of the vast majority of people who respond well to the RBTI program.
I personally have done much detoxing and had great results initially and up to a certain point.
Hi Jamil – Sorry for the delay in responding. A few years back, I worked on getting rid of all of my toxic cleaning supplies. Now I use a lot of vinegar and baking soda. I do like the non-toxic cleaning supplies from Tropical Traditions, so I use those too. We are already exposed to so much pollution in our water, air, and food, so I know it’s impossible to go toxin-free. But, I figure that if I can eliminate as much as possible from the areas within my control, it’s sure to help! I am not familiar with the RBTI. I will have to look into that. Detoxing is also great, as long as it’s done safely. I know too many people who have done fad detoxes and ended up so sick. I don’t think people understand the true purpose and sometimes severe reactions that detoxes can have. Not everyone has bad side effects, but some do, so it’s just a good idea to be safe! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! 🙂
I came across your site last week when I was researching recipes for carrot/ginger ferments (my daughter is on the GAPS diet). And I’m a huge fan!!! I read the entire string about if we are fermenting correctly – totally fascinating and it didn’t deter me from trying my own experiment. I’ve got carrots and ginger sauteeing in their own juices (with a bit of salt) right now in my kitchen in a seal-tight container. We’ll see how it goes.
Anyway, on to the no ‘poo… I tried this over the summer. The first day of using the backing soda/water and ACV was great. (I’ve used ACV in the past as a conditioner – makes my hair so shiny). But on day 3 or maybe it was day 6 (very early on), my hair became so brittle and breakable. It scared me away. And I stopped. BUT – I think that I maybe put in too much baking soda in the mixture and this is most likely why it over-dryed my hair. So my recommendation is to not mess with the recipe.
I went back to conventional shampoos (albeit those with an organic slant) and am now thinking of heading towards the brommers (which I use for everything else) and ACV route… But your coconut shampoo is intriguing. I’m going to give that a try too. If I find the time!
Hi there – Thanks for stopping by and sharing! It seems like there is a wide range of experiences when it comes to no ‘poo. Just shows how different we all are! 🙂 So happy you found me and I look forward to seeing you around more!
I started no-pooing several months ago and this is a second go around for me. The first time I felt like my bathroom had become a second kitchen and just didnt stick with it long at all. This time I was determined not to ever buy shampoo and conditioner again.
At first I started with the same method as you. But after 2 or 3 months with a greasy frock I decided it certainly wasnt going to hurt my hair by switching my method. So then I decided to simply take the baking soda in powder form and rub it into my head with no extra water. I have very long and very thick hair so I have to make sure I get it every where, or else I will have greasy areas on my head.
I can go many days without shampooing but tend to do it every third day anyways. I put the vinegar on only the bottom half of my hair, and then rinse it out, so there is no smell. I have tried spritzing it on my dry hair, and thats when I smell like ACV.
I hate how long it takes to wash my hair using the no-poo way. So recently I started seeing what other ways you could no-poo your hair, and found an article about washing and conditioning your hair with an egg! So I did that this morning and it was super easy, it feels like you are rubbing shampoo into your hair. I only used one whole egg, and let it set in my hair for a few mins. then rinsed it out with the water on a colder temp. so it wouldnt turn to scrambled eggs. LOL. My hair looks and feels great today. Maybe not the best use of eggs though, since I dont own chickens.
Hi Michelle – I love using egg as a deep conditioner. It makes my hair feel great! I have found that if I use ACV on all of my hair, it gets really oily, so I just use it on the ends and it works great. For me, the no poo method takes less time than shampoo and conditioner, but I have really short hair, so that helps cut the time way down! 🙂
Yes, I agree about the detoxification. I did fasting, had great results, and then overdid it. I was naive and did not have the knowledge and experience I have today to know when to cut back.
RBTI is a health program created by the founder of one of the primary approaches of high brix nutrient dense farming, Carey Reams. In case you are not familiar with the above, see http://www.westonaprice.org/farm-a-ranch/nutrient-dense-food-high-brix-farming-gardening. The WAPF website is down at the moment. The following link has a book that will tell you all about RBTI, http://www.advancedideals.org/pub_order_options.php#option3.2. I have written some articles about RBTI on my blog, such as http://highbrixnutrientdensefoods.com/2012/12/25/the-connection-between-crummy-digestion-and-crummy-farming-practices/ and http://highbrixnutrientdensefoods.com/2012/11/02/more-on-electrochemical-compound-colloid-post-2/
Regardless of how sensitive one is to conventional cleaning supplies, I cannot see how using these toxic things can be useful. So agree this is a simple, no-brainer change with no downside.
Thanks for the extra info! I’ll go check that out! 🙂
I should have commented last week when I came upon this, but I <3 this method! In fact, I can't wait to get myself a couple of squeeze bottles to make application easier. I had to laugh when you mentioned announcing to your hubby about funky smells! I was wondering the same with the vinegar, but it just goes away entirely! Thanks again for sharing this and sharing my 2nd opinion. 🙂
I want to stop using hair dye too . Tell us more about Henna please. Ive been using Herbatint which is a safer level but have been to affraid to try henna especially cause i hear its hard to cover gray. You color is pretty but i would like something more chocolate.
Hi Kim – I need to finish my post on henna. There has been a lot of interest in it! There are different types of “henna” and there are kits that are especially for gray. This is where I purchase mine: http://www.mehandi.com. Also look for my post in the near future on henna as well! 🙂
indigo and casia are two natural dyes that can be added to henna to create a range of natural colors but unlike the henna these dyes will fade so that is something to keep in mind. The indigo and casia will fade but the red wont so if your hair gradually fading to red is a problem you will need touch ups more often (think monthly) but henna works wonders on gray and will not fade. Dying your hair more often will also deepen the color of the henna since it builds on itself. My grays come out fire engine red(using just henna) and they are beautiful highlights. Im only 25 but I get grays. Also I get my henna from the same place as Jessica, they are local for me 😀
Great tips Heather! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
I still say Tropical Traditions’ coconut bar shampoo beats it all. They suds up nicely, clean the hair well and are all coconut oil that has been saponified. In the rectangular size it is called shampoo (has petouli oil in it) and there’s also the round ones, some with lavendar added. Both can wash the hair and the body. I need nothing else when I shower.
LOVE their shampoo bars! They are great, though I haven’t used them in a really long time. I should check to see if they’re back in stock! 🙂
Hi, I like you make a lot of my own products, especially cleaning (I just use vinegar and water), and toothpaste. I wanted to try the no-poo method, but I henna my hair like you and was told that the no-poo method might mess up the color because of the baking soda. I love the henna so much and use mehandi henna like you. I make mine by mixing it with indigo to get a medium brown color with red highlights. It’s sooooooo much better than any other hair color and my hair shines now and I get lots of compliments, but it is tedious and time-consuming as I leave it in for about 4 hours. I have some grey I am trying to cover up, too, so I have to do it frequently. Anyway, this is the no-poo recipe I have: 32oz water+2-3 TBSP baking soda+a few drops of essential oil of choice(some are stronger than others; for instance, I use more drops of lavendar than when I use the citrus oils) I put the shampoo in a squirt or pump bottle and apply then rinse in the shower.
Conditioner: 32oz water+1/3c. apple cider vinny+ essential oil of choice. I put this in a spray bottle and apply to hair after shower, wrap a towel around it for a few minutes, then dry.
I mixed it up in 2 spray bottles and my daughter, age 10, is using it instead of me. I use it on my son, age 5, also. Both have great hair anyway so who knows but we are saving money for sure. My daughter’s hair gets very tangled though and the no poo method hasn’t helped. The creamy texture of a conditioner seems to work best to get knots out. I’m not sure what to do or what I can do to continue no poo with her. Lots of tears brushing out tangled hair.
Any tips? Do you think my recipe isn’t good?
Hi Claudia — So far, I haven’t had any issues with the baking soda and henna. I actually just henna’d my hair this weekend, so this will be the ultimate test to see how it holds up under the no ‘poo method. I only henna my hair about every 3-4 months, so this will be the first time of having fresh henna and the no ‘poo. Your recipes sound fine to me. Have you ever experimented with using just a tiny, and I mean tiny, bit of coconut oil on your daughters hair to help with tangles? You don’t need much, but it might help! I hope this helps even a bit! Let me know how it goes if you keep up with it. I’ll make sure to keep an eye on my henna color and see how it holds up with the baking soda. 🙂
I’m going to try a little coconut oil on her tangles. It’s so funny but I use coconut oil for everything just didn’t think of that one, lol.
I henna my hair a lot more than you and use the indigo too mixed together so maybe it’s the indigo that would be affected by the baking soda in the no poo method. I’m not sure. I posted the question to a henna forum several months ago and they responded that it might affect the color but I can’t remember any specifics of why except that someone on the forum was trying to get strip the color of a henna plus indigo job that didn’t turn out right and it was recommended to use baking soda to do that. So, then, I asked about the no poo method and they said it could do the same, strip the color. So, I didn’t want to mess with it. It is time consuming and because of the greys I have to do it every other month it seems. Let me know if you do have probs with the baking soda. Thanks.
Will do! The henna is too pricey to be wasting! 🙂
Would like to know if the ACV left a residual smell afterwards. I’ve used white vinegar before to get nits out of the kids’ hair after a lice outbreak, but the smell kind of lingered. Since I work with the public, I don’t think a vinegar smell would go over too well with the customers. I am always looking for ways to do things cheaper and naturally. This sounds like a great thing for me.
Hi there — Sorry for the delay in replying. I have been traveling and just returned. The vinegar smell does not last, at least on my hair. I was afraid I’d smell like salad dressing, but once I rinse it out, there is no lingering scent. 🙂
Hi, I have gone no-poo off and on but still need to play with the soda: water ratios when washing. I feel like it doesn’t get clean and I stay in the overly greasy (maybe detox?) stage until I give it one wash with regular shampoo (eek) and then go back to no-poo. No luck yet, but I’m not giving up…
I was wondering though about your henna coloring and using baking soda. I color my hair (but I haven’t tried henna yet) and I feel like the soda strips the color from my roots really fast. have you had any trouble with that since you use the henna? thanks for your article!
Hi Kelsi – It could be a detox period. Keep playing with the ratios and see what works for you. We’re all unique, that’s for sure! You know, I just re-did my henna about a month ago, with the sole purpose of paying attention to using the baking soda on it. So far, I have not noticed that it has lighted my hair at all. I was curious, b/c I had not paid close enough attention when I first started with the no ‘poo method. But, so far, so good. Can’t tell that it is making it fade. I have not used regular hair dye in years and years, so with those, it may affect it. Hope that helps! 🙂
I just washed my hair for the first time with recipe.. and I have to say it feels alot thicker and product-ier than normal. Is this just an effect of the detox?
It sounds like it might be a detox reaction. I would keep going with it and see if the feeling improves. Some people have said it has taken up to 4 weeks for the full detox period, but others only a few days. It will just vary depending on your hair and the amount of products you used. Hope that helps! 🙂
Hi Jessica, I am so glad I found your blog. I just want to know how long should the ACV+water mixture conditioner should stay before rinsing it out?
Hi Deeda – Thanks for stopping by! I usually “shampoo” first thing in the shower, rinse it out, and put the ACV in. I then do everything else that I need to do and was the ACV out at the end of the shower. Hope that helps! 🙂
Just been reading the above. I am from India and a lot of what we do at home is natural and home made. I saw a few questions about dandruff – what I do is squeeze the juice of half a lemon in the last rinse of water and it works really well. I had a scalp infection that has gone down over time.
For Henna, here is the mix I use –
Amla (also available at any indian store; this is basically dried gooseberry powder but I prefer to use freshly ground gooseberry mix). The reason we add this is henna adds a reddish tint to the hair and gooseberries darken the shade. This is also believed to improve the texture of the hair
Egg whites – since henna dries the hair, u need something that conditions it. Also, egg white ensures the hair sorts itself out and doesn’t get too knotty
Tea water – boil tea leaves in water and strain the water and cool it. Mix this into the henna after it cools.
Coffee water – same as tea water
Juice of 1 lemon – for clearing off dandruff.
Use equal quantities of henna and amla and similarly, equal quantities of coffee and tea water. You mix the powders first and slowly start adding in tea and coffee water and mixing till it forms a slightly hard dough. Squeeze the lemons and cover and leave overnight, preferably in an iron vessel. In the morning, beat in the egg whites (this will now make the mix of a consistency that you can apply on the hair). Egg white doesn’t leave a smell and hence is good. It lends a great sheen to the hair and is also known to thicken hair. People at times get headaches with egg white, I would recommend creamy curd for them instead which is also to be mixed in the morning. I leave my henna on for about 2 hrs. This way, it colours the hair and also gives time for the scalp to absorb the herbs (I use fresh henna leaves.. 🙂 )
Wash off with soapnuts and that way, the colour and benefit of the herbs are not lost with the chemicals in the shampoo.
For bathing, we use chickpea flour. You can walk into any Indian store and ask for Besan. Personally, I prefer a mix of green gram and chickpea flour so this doesn’t stick to my skin when I form a paste and apply it.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for all the tips! I have actually had the opposite experience with henna in that it is an amazing conditioner for my hair. If I could afford it, I’d henna once a week, just for how good it makes my hair feel. Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail! I’ll keep your ideas in mind next time I henna my hair and will give them a try! 🙂
I use the BS & ACV twice a week and on the days that my hair seems to be the dirtiest then I use my favorite no-poo DevaCare no-poo shampoo and conditioner. I have natural curly hair and the BS actually brings out the curl. So I use that when I want more natural curl as does the DevaCare. I like to alternate. the ACV makes my hair very soft so if I want to wear it more relaxed and straight then I use ACV.
Interesting! I find it fascinating how well it works for some people and how it doesn’t for other people. We are all so different! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
I just want to comment that I am going on 4 years now of no poo with the baking soda and water solution as shampoo and vinegar as conditioner. My hair is so much happier with this method. It was very picky and I had to use a certain shampoo and a particular pantene conditioner. My hair is very long and fine and mostly straight. Some things I noticed along the way include that when using the baking soda and water solution it only worked for me if I heated the solution until it was clear and the soda baking soda was dissolved. I found that no more than 1 tablespoon per cup of water was the best ratio for me. Then I distribute it across my scalp as I can feel where it runs through my hair because it is so much colder on my skin. I let the liquid run through my hair from there and don’t worry about lathering or distributing further. With the vinegar, I use plain white vinegar as I can get it for less in the large containers. I apply it to my scalp and hair using the same method as the baking soda and water. I use it without dilution, (it is 5% acidic,) and I found that I need more vinegar than baking soda and water solution. When I used less of the vinegar I had what appeared to be dandruff and my hair was more tangley. When I looked this up I found that people said the dandruff was really soap buildup that was not removed with the vinegar rinse and that I should try using more vinegar. Once I did I found that it made all the difference. Also, I found it is important to leave the vinegar one’s scalp and hair for at least 4 minutes before rinsing it out. I use old shampoo bottles for all this that have lower flow openings as the lack of viscosity comparable to conventional products allows the solutions to flow much faster and can make reasonable distribution more challenging. Squirt bottles might work well and I may try that if I need to replace either of mine re-purposed shampoo bottles.
Hi Susan – Thanks for sharing your tips! This will be very helpful for others who are wanting to try it. I think it just comes down to seeing what works for your hair. We’re all different! 🙂
in the past two years I have developed a sensitivity or allergy to detergents and soaps – natural and synthetic. It makes me itch all over, from the inside out and givems me blisters on all the mucous membranes (eyes, sinuses, vagina, mouth). So now I avoid all forms of soap and detergents. I really mourned the loss of my favorite organic sulfate free shampoo, then tried the Dr. Bronner’s/coconut milk shampoo, but it was a no-go. Even Dr. Bronner’s makes me itch. I started the no-poo method and so far it’s working for me. I hope it continues because I don’t have another plan. I even use baking soda to wash my body in the shower and my hands at the sink. I even carry a liitle bottle of it in my purse.
Hi Diana – I am sorry to hear about that! No fun, and I’m sure it makes life difficult! I hope the no poo method works for you! Good luck! 🙂
I tend to oil my hair before a head bath hence am not sure if just baking soda + water would work for me. I am thinking that I could try this option when I don’t do the oil thingie and just need to wash my hair. I have been looking for a natural conditioner for awhile so your tip on vinegar seems to fit the bill. However, can you tell me if ‘plain white vinegar’ is the same as distilled white vinegar?
Diana: I developed something similar 2 yrs back.. any soap/body wash made me exceptionally dry and felt like my skin had been ripped apart. My mum suggested a mix of chickpea flour and cream of full curd (apply and leave for 5 min; then massage yourself once all over to remove grime and dirt and bathe with lukewarm water). Trust me! I haven’t used body lotion since and my skin is as soft as a baby’s.. 🙂
I too have tried various different no “poo” methods and found that like you I developed bad patches of itchy flaky stuff and my hair started falling out more rapidly than ever before. I have waist length, very thick, wavy hair. I went to the doctor and discovered that I had developed psoriasis so we are back to head and shoulders, have only been back to it for 3 days but already noticing far less redness, itching flaking and hair fall. Like you said it doesn’t work for everyone.
Sorry to hear that! The itchy, flaky scalp is the worst! My scalp is still recovering from this. It’s been several months now and I have a little residual damage. I was so bummed it didn’t work for me. I have friends who have been doing this for years and it works great. I loved the simplicity of it, but not the results! 🙁 I started using Aubrey Organics and so far so good! 🙂
Also this is a wonderful post thanks
I found that as a type O I was allergic to the ACV. Try it again with no vinegar.
Hi Kathryn – Interesting. I’ve already moved on, but if I ever try the no poo method in the future, I’ll keep that in mind.
I have read your blog on the no-poo, but not the other comments. I want to suggest a couple of things if I may – I have been no-poo for over a year and a-half now – try again, your scalp may have adjusted, second, don’t leave the baking soda on your scalp at all, wash and rub your hair and rinse immediately, you should give a good massage over the scalp, wash the hair and be done. Rinse really well, no baking soda left at all. Then leave the ‘ACV conditioner’ in as you would normal conditioner, I actually do do my whole scalp and hair. The third thing, don’t was when you don’t need. Your diary mentioned you were doing so. The best part for me is the less frequent washing. I went from everyday (with my hair and scalp looking oily by noon the next day) to twice a week (that’s when I had long hair). Go with the flow and enjoy
Thanks for the tips! 🙂
Have You tried Cornstarch and cocoa for a shampoo
And then raw honey for a conditioner? One Tablespoon of cornstarch per one cup water (What I use) for shampoo ,and then 1/4 – 1/2 cup honey to every cup water for conditioner. It makes my hair really soft, But doesn’t have a smell. still has the “transition” stage
Never tried that! What an interesting combo. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
I’ve heard that baking soda should be used only for deep clean occasionally. I use one beaten egg with some avocado oil. Leave it in for 30 minutes. Then rinse with not too hot water. Don’t want scrambled eggs.. then i use the acv water and some honey for conditioner. Works well for me. I Add some more oil to hair when it has dried. This because I have frissy dry curly hair.
I started the no poo process by using normal conditioner as schampoo. The hair has gotten more easily used to no poo. Tried with hot water the first time but itch was unbearable.
Great tips, Sari! I use egg yolks in my coconut oil deep conditioner recipe (https://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2012/04/coconut-oil-hair-treatment-with-egg-yolks-and-honey/). Thanks for sharing!
Just came to your site via Happy, Healthy, Homemade in Australia and am really enjoying reading through all your lovely body recipes and will be giving many of them a go.
May I chime in (belatedly) on the ‘no poo’ discussion – you need to brush. Brush, brush, brush. You remember our grandmothers would brush their hair 100 strokes morning and night? You need to do that. While the scalp is working out just how much sebum it is supposed to produce now that the goal posts have been moved, you have to work those natural oils through your hair. Get a really good boar-bristle brush and brush your hair for at least 10 minutes every morning and night. I went hard-core and wanted to see how long using NO product (not even natural ones) would work. I went to 28 days before I felt I was losing control of the situation. People would comment, when I mentioned it, that it looked like I’d shampooed the previous day. Now, even back to using commercial products, I only need to wash my hair once a week.
Oh! – I should add, that even while not using product, it also seemed to help to rinse the hair every few days, just stand under the shower.
Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Isn’t zinc one of the active ingredients in the medicated shampoos? Maybe you could add zinc to your no poo. I have been reading recently how important this mineral is and we maybe deficient in zinc.
I had never thought about that. Most of us are severely deficient in zinc. I don’t do the no ‘poo method anymore, but it’s an interesting thought!
Question about your conditionner. I have very long and fine hair that love to hugssssssss… so… ouch when I try to detangle them without conditioner. But, because I never used shampoo — only Castille soap for more thant 25 years… just wonder if the recipe you just gave would be strong enough… do you know of something else?
Thank you 🙂
Hi Amyah – I am not sure. I have really short hair that doesn’t really tangle, so I couldn’t say for sure. Maybe another reader with hair like yours can chime in?
My no poo experience is different. I have the big berkey and use that filtered water with the acv and havent had any problems…no tangles hair feels clean longer my hair is grey long and curly.
When my kids were baby’s we used baking soda for cradle cap.
Great advice thank you for all your good post.
That’s great Cynthia! I know so many people who do great with the no poo method, so it definitely comes down to each individual person!
I haven’t used shampoo for at least 5 years. It works for me. I do have very course skinny strands. Which will kink up in humid weather. Not a happy camper when that happens. I found a recipe that helps calm that down plus regrow hair and helps make it shine. I have been using it for about 6 months and the results.
are wonderful. The coarse strands have gotten smoother, the kinking in humid weather has calmed down a lot but not completely. Keep up with no poo it will work out for you.
I have had a thyroid issue for 12 years no fun.
I am so happy to have found your sight keep healthy and keep posting! 🙂 Thanks
Hi Beth – Thanks for stopping by and sharing! Happy you found me! 🙂
It’s only day two of my no poo hair and it’s not going too badly considering how oily my hair usually is. I have found that using a mix of sauce flour and cocoa works well as a dry shampoo for the first few days if like me it is a rather oily affair. If you live in a hard water area boiling the water first helps with making the baking powder shampoo. My hair does feel a bit manky but I’m sticking with it!
Interesting Michelle! Thanks for stopping by and sharing!
Useful info! I will try it!