Wednesday, January 22, 2014


What I've Learned From Three Years Without Shampoo

When I wrote about quitting shampoo over two and a half years ago, I was a relatively recent convert to the natural-hair game.

Here’s what I knew then: You go through a terrible phase where you don’t wash your hair at all. When that phase is over, you do the following instead of using shampoo: put baking soda in your hair, rinse it out, put apple-cider vinegar in your hair, rinse it out. Repeat once every 5–7 days, washing with just water in the meantime. Boom bam boom, the end.

That’s all still true, but now that I’m a seasoned veteran (kind of literally, because of the vinegar), I thought I’d divulge the seven most important lessons I’ve learned in the years since that first post.

1. Well, the first lesson is my hair looks ridiculously good now.

After about three years without shampoo, my hair is noticeably softer and fluffier than it used to be. I never use any product—I just blow-dry it with a finger diffuser and it stays in beautiful perfect waves all day. And when you know your hair looks great, it’s like a magical girl-power spell that grants you confidence and erases worries about the rest of your looks.

Something I didn’t anticipate is that my hair is also several shades blonder, to the point that people regularly ask me if it’s my natural hair color. It’s weird to realize that yes, it is my natural hair color, and the borderline-brown dirty blond from before was artificially darkened by shampoo. Or rather by grease that shampoo caused my scalp to overproduce, because the human body is a soggy box of horrors.

2. Quitting shampoo works because of science.

Remember pH from high-school chemistry class? If you don’t, here’s the tl;dr version. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14. Water sits in the middle with a neutral 7; anything below that is acidic and anything above is basic or alkaline. Human skin needs to be slightly acidic to prevent fungus and bacteria from colonizing your life. When you use baking soda (a base) and then apple-cider vinegar (an acid), your scalp’s pH remains stable and its oil production stays low. That’s why your hair keeps cleaner longer. (It’s also why you don’t use white vinegar: it’s too acidic.)

What’s tricky about this is that they intentionally manufacture shampoo to be slightly acidic—that’s what it means when you see stuff like “pH balanced” on the bottle. But some of the ingredients they usually use, particularly sulfates, will still strip away the oils from your hair, causing your scalp to overproduce oils despite the friendly pH. I don’t know. I got an A in high-school chemistry, but they didn’t cover hair-care products, the sexist pigs.

3. The magic ratio is 50/50.

Take a bottle and fill it with half baking soda, half water. Then take another bottle and fill it with half apple-cider vinegar, half water. Keep the bottles in your shower. This seems to be the optimal level of dilution—not too basic, not too acidic (though of course all our individual scalps require their own unique and disgusting balance of oils, fungus, and bacteria). Shake before using as the materials will separate. Use as much as you need.

4. The part of your hair that isn’t touching your head doesn’t really get dirty.

I mean, it does a little, and you do have to wash it, of course. But your scalp is where things are really happening (“things” = sebum blasting forth from your sebaceous glands). For both the baking soda and vinegar steps of the process, focus on the roots of your hair, not the tips. The bright side is that even if you haven’t washed your hair in a while, you can just wear a hat or even a wide headband—the rest of your hair will look more or less fine, because it’ll be all soft and fluffy from not using shampoo.

L: A few months in; R: A few years in.

5. The more you sweat, the more often you’ll need to wash your hair.

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. If you work out a lot, or live somewhere hot and humid, you’ll probably have to wash your hair more than once a week. But probably not more than twice a week.

6. Beautiful hair is at your fingertips.

Your fingernails are almost as important to the process as the baking soda and vinegar. They scrub your shampoo substitutes into your scalp and help clear a little hair gunk out when you’re just rinsing with water between washings. I apply my baking soda mix to a small section of my scalp, gently scratch it in, apply it to another small section, gently scratch it in, and continue like that until my whole head is covered. Same for the vinegar. You don’t have to have big long claws or anything. Mine are always bitten down to nubs, and they do the job just fine—though the vinegar stings like a whole hive of bees on freshly picked-at hangnails.

7. I have never failed the smell test.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who will bury their noses in a stranger’s hair at a party, and those who won’t. I’ve encountered a lot of the former, and tempted a lot of the latter. It actually comes up pretty often because people compliment my hair all the time now (seriously, you guys, it looks so good!), and then I’m like, “Well, let me tell you a fun secret.”

Some people are content to take my word for it, but I am always happy to let anyone cuddle up and see for themselves that my hair doesn’t smell like vinegar. It doesn’t smell like pomegranate rainwater or whatever, either. It just smells like nice, neutral, clean hair. People are always surprised, but seriously, diluted apple-cider vinegar is way less gross than your body. Shampoo, on the other hand, just makes you grosser. Quit it. I dare you.


Previously: How to Quit Shampoo Without Becoming Disgusting

Top photo via kkanouse/flickr.

Lauren O'Neal is the Rumpus's assistant editor. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, the New Inquiry, and Corium Magazine. She's currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing in San Francisco. You can follow her on Twitter here.

159 Comments / Post A Comment


I hope this isn't rude to point out, but shampoos weren't artificially darkening your hair before-- the constant application of vinegar has lightened it. I have used vinegar to lighten my hair, and I still shampoo it. It is only mildly acidic so it happens slowly, but you are "artificially" lightening your hair with the vinegar over time.


@zeytin AHH I am still intrigued by the possibility of hair lightening for crazy reasons though. My hair is very black and lightened to brown during Peace Corps (a dark brown, but noticeable and the only time it has ever lightened naturally) which I attributed to my extremely shitty diet but now am thinking might have other causes???? WHAT IS HAIR


@zeytin That's entirely possible! But the level of oiliness does seem to make some difference. Like, if I go a full seven days without washing and my hair is dirty, it definitely looks darker. I also find occasional random black hairs that I didn't use to find before?? (Black as judged against the shower wall, not against the rest of my hair.) NO idea what that's about.


@zeytin Thanks for pointing that out! I dye my hair dark, almost black, and I suspected this wouldn't work for me anyway. Now I assume not - there is no way I am putting something on my hair that would impact a color I am paying for.

Stacy Worst

@j-i-a Coulda been the Sun?

Sea Ermine

@j-i-a Could it have been something acidic in the water?


@Sister Administrator I wondered that! But I was volunteering in a suuuuper cold, not-that-sunny environment and I spent my entire childhood outdoors in Texas with zero hair-lightening, so I guessed it was something different


@j-i-a Maybe you were outdoors in the sun a lot more than usual? Could have been a weird hair product though. I was using a german shampoo with chamomile extract in it for while which didn't exactly lighten it but gave it a more golden brown hue, as opposed to my mousy medium brown hue.


@Lauren_O'Neal Yeah, my oily hair is darker than my clean hair no matter what the current hue is. But the difference in your before and after pics is pretty extreme. It looks great though, by the way, I can see why you are singing its praises because it really works for you.


@zeytin haha yes it could also have been my bootleg Russian shampoo

Jessica Messica

@zeytin Oil naturally makes your hair look darker as it accumulates in most blond tones though. The vinegar has the same lightening properties as lemon juice


that's weird. Is it for sure the vinegar, or is it the vinegar-baking soda combo, do you think? Because i've been using only vinegar on my nearly black hair for a year now and haven't noticed any color change. Or do you suppose it's because her hair was so light to start?


@zeytin Yeah, as with most gentle lightening techniques its really only noticeable on lighter hair. It also depends on hair type. Some people have more porous, easily damaged hair that is prone to being lightened. Like how some people get really good highlights in their hair naturally after a summer of sun, and some people's hair is really not affected. If you have thick glossy hair likely you fall into the latter category.


@j-i-a Where were you with the Peace Corps?... It was probably the sun.


@zeytin Also the baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate is a salt. Salts can bleach.


What about when you use hair products? Does it just wash all that mess away as well? I'm a fan of hair powder and it's hard to get out, even with shampoo.

Lee Van Queef

@MaryMaryBoBerry I second this question, and also what about when you get your hair cut? Do you just get it cut dry, or do you ask for a rinse but no shampoo, and if so does it weird out your hair stylist or whatever?


@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

Re: hair products, I don't use any anymore. Baking soda/ACV will definitely wash them out, but they may mess up your oil balance. I imagine it would differ depending on the product.

Re: haircuts, I wash my hair with baking soda/ACV that morning, and then I just ask them to only use water and no shampoo and no product. If they ask about it, I tell them about the whole no-shampoo thing. My favorite reaction was a woman who just immediately grabbed a bunch of my hair and smelled it and said, "WHAT?! But it smells GOOD!"

or Elsa!

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas Obviously I can't speak for the author, but when I get my hair cut, I never get shampooed. (I have a chronic back problem that can be triggered by leaning back in that position, so I always ask to skip it.) No stylist has ever questioned me or had a problem with it; I arrive with hair washed that morning and the stylish will spray my hair with plain water to wet it.


@Lauren_O'Neal How long had you been shampoo-free before you first got a haircut?

I can't imagine it working with my hair. It's too short to not use product, and too fine to grow out. That's a shame because your experience sounds delightful!

dracula's ghost

@MaryMaryBoBerry Hey! Fellow short, fine, hair-owner here and I just want to tell you that our hair is actually IDEAL for this regiment (or lack thereof!). My whole life I struggled with this fine dumb hair that just lays there and you have to put a million pounds of product into it to give it volume and texture and shape. But guess what? When I stopped washing my hair, it started looking textured and volumized ALL THE TIME, without need of product. Our hair is naturally thicker and oilier than shampoo makes it, so you forget that what you're doing when you're adding product, a lot of the time, is just simulating oiliness and the rough/driness of hair that's a bit dirty. You should try it! I haven't washed my hair in over 3 years--and I almost never do the baking soda either, maybe once a month, and I NEVER do the vinegar, not for years. And my short, fine hair has NEVER looked better and it's so great to just have it look that way naturally!!!

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@MaryMaryBoBerry Alternately, I think if you do some googling and find out whether your hair products are water-soluble, then you'd still be able to use them if you need to.


@KJH Also a fellow shorthair over here. Haven't used shampoo in years, use product all the time, baking soda totally takes care of it. Also I've noticed that I now have natural wavy-ness and volume that shampoo used to kill. Go for it!


HOW? How does it not smell like vinegar? I am blonde and greasy and I only made it about a week doing this because the constant smell of vinegar was unbearable - it's so awful smelling and my hair looked horrible and darker than usual. Is it just that the water pressure in NYC isn't sufficient to really rinse out the vinegar?

I've read some dicey thing about using such a harsh acid/base combo on your hair can actually ruin it: http://www.futurederm.com/2012/06/20/3-reasons-why-baking-soda-and-apple-cider-vinegar-destroy-your-hair-and-what-to-use-instead/

Sea Ermine

@parallel-lines I think it depends on the person. I did this for about a year and I tried a number of different vinegar mixtures (from a tablespoon of vinegar in a bottle of water to a 50/50 mix) and I either smelled like vinegar, or my friends/family told me that my head smelled really bad (I couldn't smell anything though, I got used to it). My sister has a friend at school who also insists her hair doesn't smell like vinegar when it does, so it might be how it mixes with your own personal body chemistry.

Plus a chemist friend later told me that the switching back and forth from basic to acidic is bad for your hair so I stopped.

However, I fully support those who are into this! And if you want to try it I would recommend getting a shower head that has a intense massage pulse option, that can help get everything out. You can also try alternating with a mild sulfate free shampoo (ex. aubrey organics) or swapping the vinegar for 60/40 lemon and water.

or Elsa!

@parallel-lines I'm starting to believe it depends on the individual's body chemistry, or on some idiosyncratic thing. I remove build-up from my hair with a light spray of diluted cider vinegar every two or three weeks, and my hair definitely smell like vinegar afterward, even if I use shampoo and rinse several times. It's faint and not especially unpleasant, but if someone buried their nose in my hair, they'd get a good whiff of it.


@parallel-lines Could be that the vinegar wasn't diluted enough, or water pressure, or just body chemistry weirdness. Also possible that you weren't making enough use of your fingernails? I don't know.

The 60/40 lemon/water mix might be a good idea, but also if shampoo works fine for you, then it works fine for you.

Sea Ermine

@parallel-lines I was thinking about how you mentioned that each person needs to find the right vinegar mix based on their hairs oilyness/dryness. It's possible that in addition to body chemistry, the amount of vinegar in the mix that some people need for nice hair is so much that it does leave a scent. Maybe?


@parallel-lines Same here. No matter how diluted it was, the vinegar made my hair smell awful when there was any moisture present (mist, rain, perspiration). I was mortified when I had my hair cut and as soon as the hairdresser sprayed it it smelled like vomit.
I never got very far with no-poo not because I'm afraid of lank hair but because we have such hard water here in London and in my experience hard water makes no-poo virtually impossible. My hair felt like wet cardboard and it became dry and bleached. The elaborate filtered water operation that evolved to rinse it was just too hairshirty for me.


@parallel-lines I'm all about using cheaper alternatives for things, but I don't really think that this is the best option - all due to pH. Your hair care products should range from a pH of 6.5 to 7.5 (in the neutral range). Diluting each of these with water will neutralize them somewhat, but it takes a LOT of water and some pH strips to be sure - and I'm not so sure most people want to be standing around testing the pH each time they use this.

And while it might seem that the two would neutralize each other due to their opposite pH levels, that's actually not the case - if you mix the two chemicals together, they react to form CO2 and water. Just think of those volcanic science experiments from middle school! That's not exactly a reaction I want going on in my hair. (here's a video for more details, including the chemical equation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo5bG2sVEv4)

If you're looking for a DIY shampoo method, try using a beer rinse with brewer's yeast (that means it's unfiltered). Just make sure you rinse it out of your hair afterwards so you don't smell like you pounded a few beers before coming into work that morning :)

Crystal Villalobos@facebook

@Lauren_O'Neal do you condition your hair at all?

Rosanne Kruschke@facebook

@parallel-lines I have been using baking soda and vinegar for only three months. I rinse with cool water and after my hair dries, I cannot smell the vinegar. Perhaps your hair is more porous and absorbs some of the vinegar.

lucy snowe

I am intrigued. I really like suds, though.


1) I am really really tempted to finally try this.

2) I remember that earlier post. HOW WAS IT NEARLY THREE YEARS AGO?! where does the time go, etc.


How do you even comb your hair with out conditioner. Seriously do you just hide inside any time it's windy and never open windows? cause my hair can last about 4 days before it becomes a single knot.

Erica B. Robinson@facebook

@Onymous Apple-cider vinegar acts as a detangler. I have tangley hair down to my waist and have been doing the no-poo thing for 2 years.


@Erica B. Robinson@facebook wait how!? I have super tangly hair which I only shampoo once every two weeks or so (it doesn't really get greasy; I wash it if I've used product or gotten particularly sweaty), but I need to use massive amounts of conditioner every time I shower to make it manageable.


This is cool and your hair looks great but does anyone have tips about how to do this when you have curly hair? It's difficult/long enough to untangle it with conditioner. And yes it does need conditioner, it goes really frizzy and dry if I just rinse or just shampoo it.
Any tips send em this way (or I could google it myself I dunno)


@yossariangirl I spent some time in Texas and big-haired Texas ladies swear by using beer or mayonnaise.

I'm really not sure how I feel about the whole quest-to-use-anything-but-shampoo-and-conditioner. I mean, they're sort of designed to be used in hair, amirite?


@commanderbanana Texan here, and I've heard the mayo suggestion. Also, avocado. Anything fatty? Who knows.


@yossariangirl I was really fascinated by the no-poo movement, but it was unbearable with my hair. Cowashing (using a cheap conditioner without cones as a shampoo, then a second heavier conditioner) has been pretty fantastic for my hair, however. I've been doing it on and off for six years, and I like it exponentially more. It makes it less frizzy and tangled, so I spend less time/money and my hair looks a lot healthier.


@yossariangirl Yup. And also rub egg whites into your scalp to stimulate hair growth (actually the real recommendation is sperm, but if you're short on that, egg whites. Something about protein.).

You can google homemade conditioners and find a bunch, most avocado based. I used an avocado "pre-wash" treatment by Burt's Bees but didn't like it.

I do the conditioner-no-shampoo thing after I dye my hair so I can delay washing it as long as possible.

For other readers, "cones" is silicone. There are a lot more silicone-free conditioners out there now. I also use hair oil, like argan oil, on the ends.


@yossariangirl heard the mayo suggestion as well! also: yogurt! along with avocados, so yeah, I'd say anything fatty.
I wouldn't know about conditioning, though, I think you'd really have to rinse the shit out of your hair to get the greasiness out - but I'm spagetti-straight-haired so that's my own nightmare -
but I did use the yogurt on my hair while doing my bi-monthly henna routine. after about a year of experimenting, I ended up mixing yogurt, olive oil and a bit of honey, which made my hair silky smooth after the super drying-out henna mask... so yeah, I'm disgusting!


@yossariangirl Look into the Curly Girl method! I was just coming down here to post about it, since I tried the baking soda/ACV method once and I have never before seen my hair be frizzy -in the shower- until that day.

Tips are all over the internet, but my only advice is that you don't have to use the associated line of products, which are not cheap; the method gives you all necessary tools to find drugstore equivalents. If you live near one, I highly recommend finding a salon that will do a DevaCut for you, it was the best thing I did for my hair and I got to try all the fancy expensive products included. (and @commanderbanana, I use mayo as a leave-in treatment! And I relish the response I get when people tell me my hair looks so shiny and I tell them why)

Stacy Worst

@yossariangirl I wish I could mustard up the nerve to try that!


@yossariangirl I certainly relish it.

Hyuck hyuck hyck! No but seriously, folks, mayo has no smell so it rinses out without your hair smelling like an egg salad sandwich. Not that that would be awful; I like them.


@yossariangirl The theory with no-shampoo goes that shampoos have detergents in them that clean your hair by stripping the dirt-filled oil off it. In the process though, they strip your hair and scalp of natural oil that keeps it healthy and shiny. To make up for the deficiency of oil, your body over produces it, making your hair oily, which in turn makes you want to wash your hair with the same soap that was stripping it off before and the cycle repeats. (Same goes for the idea behind washing your face with oil to prevent blackheads.) Baking soda is great for getting oily dirt out and vinegar is supposed to bring balance to the force or something. Whether there is actual science to back any of this up though, I'm not sure.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@yossariangirl Seconding (or thirding) the Curly Girl method recommendation. I found out about it here just over a year ago, and I've been doing it, slightly modified, ever since. No regrets. My hair is at least a little bit prettier and more manageable.


@yossariangirl I use Devachan's No-Poo products. I don't have to use very much, so even though they're expensive, they last a long time (I buy maybe 3-4 bottles a year, and I work out/use their product to wash my hair every day) and frankly, I'm doing this to look pretty, not because I'm a hippie. I spend no money on products (because my hair looks great), styling tools (because my hair looks great), or color (you get the idea) so I feel I can justify the cost of 6 bottles of products and a great cut twice a year. And *gets on high horse* unlike everyone who appears to be writing about this on the internet NOW, I have been doing this for 15 years, since I was 13 years old. I grew up in New York and have used nothing but their products and their cuts for basically my entire life, and literally have only distant memories of bad hair days. The only thing that ruins my hair now is if I have a date at night and I get nervous and scrunch my hair too enthusiastically in the morning and squish the curls in an effort to make them really stay.


@yossariangirl For curly haired girls who like Deva products but not the price, I've found Jessicurl to be pretty comparable quality for 1/2 to a 1/3 of Devacurl. I initially switched because I'm sensitive to strong fragrances, but stayed because they're so freaking awesome.


Does anyone have experience stopping shampoo when you have dyed hair? I dye mine black and don't want to screw up the color. I don't actually wash it that often, and sometimes just scrub conditioner through it instead of shampoo.


@commanderbanana i dye my hair and use the conditioner method mentioned above. it does not have a detrimental effect on my hair color. in fact, i think not using detergent based shampoos prolongs the life of the color. BTW i have been shampoo free for about 10 years. i'm only shampooed when i get my haircut.


This is really interesting and I'm also kind of tempted to try this. I also do nothing to my hair--no color, no curling, I never even blow dry it. (In the summer, when I'm on vacation, I do like to wash my hair in the lake water. My god it comes out so soft.)

How long did you have to go without washing your hair before you started with the baking soda and vinegar solution?


@peculiarity Try a water filter, esp if you have hard water! I've heard it really helps.

Carrie Shuck

This is really interesting. You are very pretty and have nice thick hair, but I have to say, the after pic is not selling me on this.


@Carrie Shuck It reminds me of what hair looks like after using Sun-In or lemon juice in the sun to lighten it.


@Carrie Shuck I do a vinegar rinse about twice a week (which is how I often I wash my hair, with shampoo) and it's lightened my dark brown hair to a reddish-brown that's fine, but it's really basically the sun-in affect for sure.


@Carrie Shuck I was too shy to say it myself but yeah, the after hair does not look great. It looks drier and the color doesn't look natural (since it's not, as others have suggested due to the vinegar.)


@aphrabean So I made a username to ask about my crazy-frizzy hair, and I thought "I'll do something off Aphra Behn's name," and then I looked down and saw you'd done that. She is the best.


@Carrie Shuck Yep, after does not look great in this picture at least. Maybe IRL it's better?


@smartastic Also, I'm not sure lighter and fluffier are what I want from my hair. I'm in the market for sleeker and less frizzy which seem at odds with light and fluffy.

Sea Ermine

"When you use baking soda (a base) and then apple-cider vinegar (an acid), your scalp’s pH remains stable and its oil production stays low."

I hate to be that person but a chemist friend told me that this isn't actually true. Because they're going on one after the other (as opposed to mixed together which would cancel them out) what's happen is your hair is swinging from basic to acidic and it's actually not super great for your hair.

The big reason why people find their hair gets soft and fluffy from this method is because the baking soda is so alkaline that it starts to break down the bonds in your hair.

If it's working for you, obviously, you do you, but if you worry about the above or find in a few years that your hair is getting a little damaged you might want to switch to some sort of less basic substance (maybe cornstarch?) and use a slightly more diluted vinegar mix.


@Sea Ermine I'm glad you were that person! They both can break down your hair eventually especially if not diluted properly. There are some better alternatives if you choose to go no 'poo
honey shampoo (http://empoweredsustenance.com/diy-honey-shampoo/) or castile soap. This can be followed by an Apple cider vinegar dilution (1-2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup of water)
The Apple cider vinegar solution should not leave a strong smell when dried.

Sea Ermine

@Kitekatze castile soap is also very basic, and unfortunately making it more neutral or even acidic would cause the oil and water to separate. I bet there are other gentle solutions (either neutral or mildly acidic) that can be mixed up though. I wish I still had that Klutz book about making your own bath products!

ooh and also I read about this mud wash recently? I don't know the ph so it might not be any better but it's a think to look into. you can either make your own by mixing rhassoul or bentonite clay with oils, or you can buy one from somewhere like terresentials.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@Sea Ermine I've tried to do the BS/ACV thing but my scalp realllllly didn't like it. (dandruff, etc)

Now I"m trying a mixture of castile soap and coconut milk, which I found on this blog: http://wellnessmama.com/3701/how-to-make-natural-shampoo/

I rinse with ACV.

So far, I'm liking it better. I use Dr. Bronner's peppermint and it gives that tingly feeling to my scalp. Lots of suds, feel like my hair gets clean but is still soft (thank you coconut milk!)

Hoping this concoction works better than the BS/ACV, because that was a disaster for me.

kelly a

thank you for sharing, Lauren! this is so great. can you tell me more about blow drying your hair? I definitely want to hold on to my blow drying ways (I'm volume-obsessed), but past no 'poo methods I've read about have all suggested ditching the dryer. good to know it's not a must.


@kelly a Well, blow-drying is sorta bad for your hair, but I'm also volume-obsessed, so I still do it. On days when I don't have to leave the house, or I'm just running errands or whatever, I try to avoid it so my hair gets a break.

But when I do blow-dry it, I use a finger diffuser like this one. Basically, you stick the "fingers" in your hair and rotate them a half-twist, which sort of wraps your hair around them so that the dryer dries your hair in waves. I start with the roots, in six sections: front, middle, back on the left and then on the right, then do the same with the ends.

polka dots vs stripes

@Lauren_O'Neal Is THAT how you use a diffuser?? I have super straight hair but kept the one that came with my blow dryer for visiting curly haired friends (of which I've had exactly 0) but I wonder if that method would maybe give me waves for once?

Something to try this weekend, hmmm


I definitely agree that giving up shampoo can be awesome for some hair, but I have one quibble. Vinegar and baking soda both act as mild bleaching agents, so any color change is most likely due to that rather than shampoo darkening hair. I tried it when I was younger, and one of the reasons I switched to cowashing instead was because it was slowly lightening my (black brown) hair to a shade I did not like.


Been doing this for a year and I love it. Saves so much money! I'm not quite so strict - if I'm staying at someone's house or at the salon I'll just go with whatever is there. You should play around with the measurements to find what works (I use 1TBS:1cup BS or vinegar:water). Add a few drops of essential oil if you want. The only thing I don't like is that, unless it's freshly made, the water sitting in the bottle in my bathroom gets COLD in the winter!

polka dots vs stripes

I had a weird hair issue about a year ago and considered the no-poo thing, but instead found something else: tea tree shampoo! I wash every other day, to prevent my hair from drying out too much, but the tea tree oil stops the gross build up I was getting, my hair is soft (and not from baking soda/vinegar breaking it), and smells neutral-to-good.

If you want to ditch the sulfate shampoos/conditioners but aren't ready to go full no-poo yet, I can't say enough good things about tea tree shampoo/conditioner.


@polka dots vs stripes Yes! I rotate conditioners but tea tree shampoo is the absolute best. I have a very oily itchy flaky scalp and it helps clear up a lot of that nastiness. I have tea tree oil I mix with olive oil. Once a month or so, I use an eyedropper to put that all over my scalp and cover my hair in coconut oil. Braid it and throw a shower cap on. If it is under 75 degrees, heat the whole deal up with my hair dryer a few times to keep the coconut oil liquid. Leave it in for a couple hours then wash it out and condition. My scalp feels tingly and awesome and my hair is super soft. The tea tree smell sometimes holds for a day or so.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@polka dots vs stripes Is this a brand? Or a homemade concoction?

@bitzy interesting re: the tea tree oil treatment. how long did it take for this to help your flaky scalp? i want to try it, and want to be patient, but hate doing things for a long time when they are failing.

polka dots vs stripes

@:Cinnamon Girl: I use Nature's Gate, but Trader Joe's has a tea tree shampoo/conditioner, as does a fancy pants Beverly Hills brand that I've found at Target near the natural/Burt Bee's section (can't remember the guy's name). The fancy pants brand isn't too expensive to try out just once, but it comes in a smaller bottle so something in a larger volume like Nature's Gate is cheaper per ounce if you decide to do it long term.


@:Cinnamon Girl: The oil treatment helps immediately with the itching and burning feeling. It feels so good. You have to wash your roots extra well to get the oil and the buildup out. It seems to work for about 3 weeks before I really feel it come back hard and go for another round.

The shampoo works, but is much less dramatic in its results. I use Jason shampoo.


What about dandruff &/or dry scalp issues? I lasted about 3 days doing this but it made my flaky scalp even worse. I think? It was flaky but also so greasy I couldn't stand it, and the ends seemed fried. And I think of myself as having pretty dry hair even when I don't heat style it. The itch and flakes was one of the reasons I was going to try this, thinking that I was was allergic to shampoo/conditioner.

Reading these last couple articles on this, I think I was probably doing it (somewhat) wrong but I'm still scared to do it again. Plus I can't get away with nasty hair for a week or more at my office job.


@BornSecular I tried no-poo for about a year, with mixed results. The ACV controlled my dandruff, but something I was doing was making my hair break or fall out (maybe the hair routine, maybe stress). So I switched to a sulfate-free, mild shampoo (something from Whole Foods), kept the ACV, but then followed it with conditioner, and I try not to wash my hair more than 2x a week. It's the only thing that's controlled my dandruff - I used to use Nizorall, and it was effective for a while, but stopped working after a few months.


@BornSecular Saaaaaaaaaaame. I lasted about three days and chunks o'scalp were falling out. And I've never had a problem with dandruff except when my scalp gets dry in the winter and I forget to super condition. I don't wash my hair that often, but I have bangs so sometimes I'll just wash those and leave the rest alone.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@BornSecular Maybe your scalp was just getting used to it? Seems like the transition period would have to be longer than three days. I stopped using shampoo for a while and just co-washed (and now I use sulfate-free shampoo every now and then when my hair gets a little grosser than usual) and my hair was a little weird for about a week and a half.

That, or you need to be conditioning your scalp, maybe with some kind of oil? Someone upthread mentioned tea tree oil so maybe try that, or argan oil.

Crystal Villalobos@facebook

@BornSecular i'm going to go with rookie here. i've had chronic dry scalp most of my life. i've been doing this rinse for about 2 months now and my dry scalp is no longer! what really helps is using a natural-bristle brush WHILE rinsing out the baking soda and the acv. once out of the shower, i use bumble and bumble's tonic spray, which is basically a fancier version of diluted tea tree oil. this WILL help with dry scalp, it's just going to get bad before it gets better is all!

Crystal Villalobos@facebook

@BornSecular ALSO after the tea tree-based spray, using argan oil. it helps with any lingering smell (which i've only experienced once -- conditioner usually takes care of any vineragy-ness) and makes your hair so shiny and smooth! i like to let it sit in my damp hair for at least 5 minutes before blow-drying (IF i'm blow drying)


What did you do with your hair in the first few weeks when your it was a stringy grease-mess? Or am I imagining it worse than it was? Did you wear a hat to work/all the time? I've always been interested in trying this but I am afraid of the inbetween phase and can't wear hats at work.


Yeah, I tried this NOT FOR ME oh god the dandruff and the smells and the failure to remove products. And baking soda makes my hair mad crazy and coarse and weird.

But, paradoxically, treating my scalp with a bit of baking soda in my shampoo and a bit of diluted ACV before conditioner is a pretty effective dandruff treatment.


@RNL Aha, I was just about the google how this works with dandruff as I have it and feel tethered to my H&S. Do you use dandruff shampoo and the baking soda or do you use regular shampoo?


@shantasybaby Let's talk flakes, baby!

Effective things I do to control dandruff:

1. Selsun blue from time to time. I actually use the extra-strength yellow stuff. I hate the way it smells, and I have long hair, so it's kind of an ordeal, but it really works and will actually cure your dandruff, at least for a while*. (If your dandruff is fungal, which I think a lot is). The first couple of times, rub it all over your scalp and along your hairline and sit in the bath like that for maybe 15-20 minutes and really just murder ALL that fungus. I then usually taper off to "every once in a while when I'm itchy and I can handle the smell".

I selsun when things get bad, and it is the most effective thing.

2. Baking soda and vinegar, as above. I just use regular shampoo. I do this on regular hair-wash days. Also a good douse of a ACV solution on my scalp with another 15 minute soak is a good middle ground, but watch out because that much acid on your hair for too long can be not so great.

3. Eat less sugar. I swear eating sugar gives me dandruff. :(


Ok, so I am very tempted to try this, but, I swim in a chlorinated pool almost every day. So, what will happen if I keep swimming but stop washing it with shampoo? Will my hair turn green?

polka dots vs stripes

@ComradeQuestion When I tried shampooing 3-4 times a week (I used tea tree shampoo) I wet my hair and put conditioner in it, then rinsed it out at the end of my swim. The only problem I had was that my cap slid off a lot, but maybe someone with more dedication could figure out something to keep it from sliding it around too much. I now shower every other day and either just wash my hair twice in a row, if I swim two days in a row or schedule my swims around my hair washing schedule.


@ComradeQuestion I read somewhere that club soda and lemon juice will get chlorine out of hair, but I haven't tried it.


@ComradeQuestion I'm a brunette, so I've never experienced the green thing in years of swimming, but vinegar actually helps remove chlorine so I would imagine not. And basically, shampoo+chlorine=double damage to your hair. Removing the lathering chemicals (at the very LEAST, switch to a sulfate-free shampoo) will be great for your hair health overall.


@ComradeQuestion You should be rinsing your hair with fresh water immediately after getting out of the pool regardless of what you wash it with later. You really dont need any sort of shampoo or treatment to "wash" the chlorinated water out, just non-chlorinated water, and if youre waiting until you get home or later that night to do it, the damage is already done.


So. I stopped using shampoo or conditioner a year ago--at first just to try it, and then ultimately not because my hair seemed nicer, but because the ACNE I've had my entire adult life suddenly went mostly away (quitting caffeine two months ago seems to have taken care of the rest of it, for any interested parties)! I use only diluted apple cider vinegar as a rinse, and then either olive or apricot oil after, because my hair is curly and needs something with a little weight to keep it together. I haven't noticed any lightening. It's actually pretty much the same as it always was. I would probably go back to shampoo if not for the acne thing--I don't know if I'm just particularly sensitive or what.


@davey Ugh I quit caffeine about two months ago as well and I wish it made my acne go away! With regards to energy I can't figure out whether I'm not back to normal yet or maybe this just is my normal.


@davey Wait, I just realized it's actually been a little over three months for me, ha. I can't count. It did take a while for the acne to clear up, which I guess makes sense--lots of layers to clear, right? So maybe it still will! I actually did it mostly for migraines. I had given up on my skin, so that was an unintended pleasant benefit. Other than like the first few days I didn't notice any difference in my energy level, so alas, perhaps it is your normal. Or maybe it's just taking your adrenals or whatever a longer time to recuperate! Who knows.

I do still miss it, though. It's a way, way stronger addiction than I realized. Which is, you know, I guess why it's an addiction.


@davey I have adult acne too, and a dermo I know suggested I quit shampoo because shampoo has sodium laureth/lauryl sulphate in which is actually akin to a mild paint-stripper, which can be terrible news for your skin. I don't use any SLS skin products now at all, but I cannot give up my shampoos!
Anyway, that might explain why your skin got better.


I just reread the original post a couple weeks ago and wanted to try it, but I was waiting until this summer when I am not teaching, so not washing my hair stakes will not be as high. BUT, I am walking part of the Appalachian trail part of this summer. Do you think it is the perfect time to try the 5 weeks/no washing, bc I ALREADY won't be near a shower for 4-5 days at a time, and I will be gross so who cares, or is it the worst time because there will be more sweat and grime and I won't be washing it out??


I think it's weird that you call the body "gross" when you've chosen to go "au natural"... Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I haven't washed my hair in about 3 or 4 years. I use conditioner every time I wash it, but I use no shampoo, vinegar or baking soda, or anything. Just water is completely enough, and it won't bleach your hair the way vinegar does.

Lastly, I don't think you should consider your natural oils to be the gross dirt you're supposed to be washing out. The gross dirt is all over your hair, not just the roots, and it comes from being in contact with the world: pollution, germs, soil, bird poop... ;)

Krispy McGrumpypants

I've been super happy using stuff from here:

I use their peppermint tea tree shampoo bar, mainly because my scalp is weird and gets irritated easily. And they have a nice ACV spray.

AND it's darn cheap! And shipping is fast! And I really do like them, a lot :)


I wondered if anyone with ethnic hair has experimented with this since our pH balance is different and producing extensive oils isn't the immediate problem...


@Mezzo333 Not sure what you mean by 'ethnic' hair, but I do know a lot of people with African hair types follow the 'nopoo' method with great success. It's a little different from the above recipe, but a similar concept, namely eliminating shampoo.


@Mezzo333 I mean, I am multiracial (black, white, and NA), and I tried it. It did not go well--even in small doses the baking soda made my hair feel straw like, and the vinegar was not enough on its own to condition my hair. My hair also kept the smell of vinegar even while dry (until I reduced the vinegar/water ratio to roughly 20-80).


I triiiiiiiied the method in the original post, I tried so hard, but things did NOT work out. After about eight weeks my hair was still so greasy and I couldn't hack it anymore. :(

dracula's ghost

I haven't washed my hair in nearly 4 years, and I never do the vinegar at all, ever. I do baking soda maybe once a month. My hair looks and feels awesome. I don't have to use product anymore, because it just looks like it's got product in it all the time. I LOVE NOT SHAMPOOING.

I had this epiphany when I was looking at a hairstyles book from the 70s and it was like, everyone's hair looks SO GOOD, thick and shiny like a horse's tail, what's the deal?? And the deal is, they didn't WASH it that much, and they didn't put any product in it. They brushed it all the time, to distribute the oils, they washed it once a week (with shampoo I have to assume was mellower than ours) and that was that.

dracula's ghost

Also I just want to say that this is a process. I do think our hair is all different and that different routines will work for different dudes. I see up-thread someone mentions that they never wash their hair but they always condition it, and I tried that briefly, and it made my hair a limp mess. But it may work for you! Other people do the baking soda/vinegar once a week and that does the trick, whereas for me that's too much and my hair gets kind of brittle and weird. All the vinegar is is a softener, and my hair is soft and fine as-is.

So if you're intrigued by this, just know that it might take you a few weeks or months to figure out what's going on with your particular hair and what exactly's gonna work for it. If after one week you feel gross and weird, don't freak out, stay the course!


@dracula's ghost my hair is similar to yours, as you described above. what do you use, how often?

dracula's ghost

@dracula's ghost when I first quit shampooing, I used baking soda and vinegar every day. Then slowly tapered it off over the course of maybe a month: every other day, every three days, etc.

I realized after awhile that the vinegar didn't do anything for me, so I cut it out completely. Haven't done the vinegar in maybe 3 years.

And then with the baking soda, at some point a few months in, I realized my hair was just basically never getting oily/lank/gross, so I stopped using the baking soda too. Now I'd say I do the baking soda maybe once or twice a month.

It's just really important to understand that shampooing every day makes your head produce MORE oil than it normally would. So the way your hair is gross and lank after 3 days of no shampoo is NOT necessarily representative of how your hair is "naturally" if you don't wash it. You have to help it through that adjustment period and let its oil-production go down to normal, and then you can see what your hair is REALLY like!


@dracula's ghost i am sooo greasy. i definitely have a sense of foreboding and doom about this idea, but somehow am irresistibly drawn to it. i love DIY beauty stuff that could potentially save me money! but it reminds me of the oil cleansing method a bit (different area on body, but same diy, sounds-weird-on-paper, but people rave about kind of thing), & my skin was fucked for FIVE MONTHS after trying it just a few times. do you remember what ratio of water to vinegar solution you used on your hair?


@dracula's ghost do you still shower daily and rinse it out with water daily? i know this can be googled, but people say so many different things!

dracula's ghost

@dracula's ghost When I used to do vinegar, I'd just dump a capfull straight onto my hair and rub it in. It's fine! You could also do half and half with water in a bottle if you'd rather squirt it all over (my hair is short so just the capful on top of my head seemed to do the trick).

I do bathe daily as I am not a monster! Ha ha but seriously, yes, I shower every day (all I use on my body is Dr. Bronners, in case you were wondering, and hippie soap for my face only when I need to get sunscreen off it), and just rinse my hair in hot water. Scrape your scalp with your fingernails real good and rinse your hair as you do so and you're fine. If I have to go to work, then I blow dry it because I have crazy cowlicks. If I don't have to go to work I just let it air dry. Either way, in terms of shine, texture, and body, it looks great! Looks like I put cool styling mud in it or whatever. But my secret is it's just my scalp's weird oils!

I am happy to answer any and all questions related to my personal hygiene regimen

dracula's ghost

@dracula's ghost Also I tried the oil face cleansing thing and it wasn't good.

Generally I agree with the grouchy poster below who says if you really want to go natural you should just use water. I only use water on my face (except to get sunscreen off). I use Dr. Bronner's for my pits. I clean my house with baking soda or vinegar. I feel like I can't go FULLY without products (Bronners, vinegar, etc.) but my vibe is pretty low-impact for a semi-middle-class American. So anyway I want to reiterate that I almost never actually clean my hair with baking soda. The vast majority of the time I just rinse it with water. I'll give it a baking soda scrub once a month or so if it starts looking grimy.

I think the baking soda is ideally just to help you through your hair's adjustment period, and after that you phase it mostly out. At least that's been my experience.

It is SO LIBERATING to devote so little time to thinking about my hair. I used to have to think about my hair so much. Dealing with it, coaxing it, packing certain products if I went on a trip, etc. Now not only is everything easier but my hair ALSO LOOKS BETTER.


@dracula's ghost ahhh i'm sold, i'm gonna try this. simple, good for the environment, cheap, natural, can't resist despite sense of foreboding. thank you for the advice (i THINK! dun dun DUN).


@dracula's ghost Have you considered just shaving your head? Its much easier.


@dracula's ghost I DID IT. It's been months, but because talking with you was the final push that made me decide to go for it, I wanted to update you on my fantastic and disgusting hair adventure. There have been highs and lows and smells. I will do my best to keep this somewhat brief.
So for about six weeks, my hair was absolutely vile. I kept it in a bun and wrapped up in a cotton headband in an attempt to hide it, at least while at work... or around people at all. I was soooo close to quitting & going back to shampoo. The only thing that stopped me was that the massive amounts of hair that I shed everywhere daily suddenly disappeared (seemed like a good sign for my limp, flyaway-prone, fine hair). Greasiness disappeared at week 6 but came back when I phased out baking soda in favor of tiny amount of very gentle bar shampoo (jr liggett's... at least i think it's gentle). I elimnated the vinegar pretty early on because it didn't seem to be doing anything for me. Hair plateau. It was not completely disgusting anymore, but also not great. Still very oily.

AND THEN... I added homemade dry shampoo to my routine. That was it. Magic. Pretty much everyone in my life has stopped me to comment on how great my hair looks. It's to the point where as a somewhat reserved person i kind of don't know how to handle all the attention. I've heard this from lots of people who know nothing about my experiment, haven't seen me for months & didn't see me going through the really horrible oily phase, so it's not just better than my peak grossness hair (my week four hair, blerg). It's definitely not just the dry shampoo. I've tried dry shampoo in the past and it wasn't anything special. It's the alchemy of hair oil + dry shampoo together that is working the magic. And on top of that there's cocoa powder in the dry shampoo and my hair smells so fucking good. Although it makes me crave sweets.
Thank you for you hair wisdom, girl. I don't think I'll ever go back to shampoo.

Lush Life

"...the human body is a soggy box of horrors."

I just logged in to say that I love this.


I tried BS/ACV for over a year. Worked very nice... until my hair started falling out and breaking everywhere. It turns out, the harsh changes in pH are incredibly damaging and greatly weakens your hair. You see the difference in your before and after pictures? That's damage. The color lightening the equivalent of a heavy peroxide bleaching. The way it sticks out more is because the hair cuticles are fuzzed out--creating more volume and sticking to everything. That's literally what damaged hair looks like. If you put a hair of yours under a microscope, it would look like a pine tree.

Also, I don't know where people get the idea that baking soda is natural. It is made in a lab. If you want to go actually natural, go water-only.

dracula's ghost

@aspen Are you sure you weren't just doing it too much? My mom tried to switch and had the same experience, but then I discovered she was doing baking soda and vinegar every single day. I think that definitely would fry your hair. I don't do the vinegar at all and I only do the bs once a month or so. my hair is healthy and not frizzy and it hasn't changed color and it's been YEARS

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@aspen It sounds like Lauren's washing her hair every day, which, is that a good idea, even without shampoo and products? I don't know. I have a friend who swears by this method, and it's hard to compare because her hair is very different from Lauren's, and longer, but it's a lot less fluffy. Maybe because she brushes it, which helps distribute the oils around so that she doesn't have to wash it every day. She has occasional frizzy hair days but overall, it looks pretty great especially considering she doesn't use styling products or conditioner.


I'm so happy to read this! I've been using BS and ACV for 1.5 years, based on the original article and additional research. It's still working! And has actually become a litmus test of potential friends/boyfriends... Like, if we have the "no-shampoo" conversation and they're cool with it, they must be fairly open-minded right? It's a bit more difficult for hair-dressers to accept it (they spend all day with opinions about different products, it's to be expected), but my favorite hairdresser accepted it, after his initial freak-out.
Cheers to fellow no-pooers!

Shelly Shim@facebook

Im sorry. ..not to be rude but doesnt anyone else think her hair looks better on the left???? Maybe its the funny face she is making in the pic on the right that is unflattering. ..


@Shelly Shim@facebook Her hair looks better on the left because in that picture she hadnt yet spend the past few years literally chemically bleaching her hair with both carbonic and acetic acid.


I don't use a lot of products. I blow-dry only when it's late and I don't want wet hair when I sleep. I rarely iron/curl it. When I do, I spritz it with protectant spray first. I shampoo and condition every other day (which is when I take showers). I shampoo the hair at my roots and work the lather down, then condition hair at the tips and work my way up. I do a deep conditioner when I remember to (once every couple months?).

I am currently using an awesome Japanese shampoo/conditioner with some sort of silk protein as well as a sulfate/paraben free set that smells like coconut (I switch it up every couple days). I like my hair. Other people like my hair. I don't get dandruff, I have a clear complexion.

Should a person like me ever do the 'no poo' method?

Erica Sackin@facebook

I've used coconut oil on my hair. Just straight, virgin coconut oil, and then rinsed it out. It's great, and didn't leave it greasy.


wah, rambutnya jadi gimbal itu nanti ya tempat wisata di bali

Michelle Wyatt@facebook

Ive tried this and my hair is very greasy. Can anyone whose had the same advise me? Thanks. Not tried vinegar she says if your scalp is acidic you wont get grease as much?
And which if them do you guys say damages the hair the vinegar or soda?


I've been no-poo for about 8 months now, and here's an alternative recipe for any curious folks:

aloe vera gel (the blog I adapted this recipe from said to use shelf-stable, store-bought gel, but I just grab a bit from my aloe plant)
coconut milk
tea tree oil

I scrape the gel into a bowl, then add 1/4-1/2ish cup of coconut milk and a few drops of tea tree oil. This makes enough for two little travel bottles, I keep one in my shower and one in the freezer (this stuff spoils after a while).
I like this a lot better than the baking soda/ACV method. It smells nice, doesn't mess up your hair's pH, and isn't abrasive like baking soda. Also: IF YOU DYE YOUR HAIR, DO NOT USE BAKING SODA ON IT. I use baking soda when I want to strip out color because it is gritty and abrasive and generally Not Good for keeping color in. ACV should be fine, though I haven't tried it myself.


This sounds really tempting, but I have a few questions:
-Can you use other kinds of vinegar or does it have to be apple cider? They don't sell apple cider vinegar where I live.
-Don't baking soda and vinegar explode when you mix them? I might be misremembering 6th grade science class but this seems like a scary mixture.
-Does this make your hair really dry? I swim in the ocean a lot and my hair gets super dried out and turns into weird dense straw.
-If you do moisturizing stuff like coconut oil treatments, is the vinegar/baking soda enough to get it all out of your hair?

Thanks for any tips! I have thick wavy hair that takes a long time to get oily. I wash it about once every 4 or 5 days now but I would love to stop using stupid products entirely.


What if your hair is regularly exposed to filth from external sources? I might be fine some days but depending on my workday I can come home covered in soot, mortar, plaster, fiberglass, or lead dust. So then it's not just the roots, and I do need to remove it. But I'm generally pretty sympathetic to a minimal-product approach.


I don't mean this comment rudely, but don't you think your hair looks WAY healthier and prettier in the picture on the left, at the 3-week point? Your hair looks bleached, overbrushed, and stringy on the right. Fluffy, yes, in the way that brushed hair is fluffy. I ask this because I'm in the middle of trying out the no-poo experiment, yet I have yet to see photos of hair that actually looks healthier sans all products.


(And on the left, your hair looks full of body, curly, healthy, etc., like ideal brown, curly hair.)


Hey Lauren and other people who've quit shampoo: do you guys use normal soap/body wash/face wash? Are there similar things to avoid in any of these products?

Alice Morales@facebook

Hello EVERYBODY! Just read this wonderful blog. Hey @Lauren_O'Neal I hearby accept your dare! I'm definitely excited to see the outcome. My hair is full, not thick, and naturally wavy. I've been trying to find a shampoo to enhance my curls and volume. After experimenting w many, I'm realizing I simply will not find that shampoo. I've heard of not washing hair before but have been afraid to try. I'm a stay at home mom so this is my opportunity! We will see what happens. I will be happy to report my updates and pics for this blog if anyone is interested, just holler at me. Thanks Lauren for this topic!!

W. Texas

Rich Amor

I hope my kid never read this. Because he really doesnt like shampoo.


LOL that you thought your hair got so much lighter because shampoo was darkening it before, when you have literally been washing it with two different kinds of bleach multiple times a week for the past few years. I mean why would you not even research what acetic acid does to hair before devoting your entire haircare regime to it?


Any acid compounds the lightening effect of UV rays on hair.


What kind of effect would this method have on hair that has been artificially bleached/dyed? I've bleached and dyed my hair a few times and I'm interested in trying this, but if it'll kill my hair because of the bleach and dye in it I'd rather not take the risk.


I guess I am lucky in that I had no "yucky" transition period, probably a combination of 1)not over-washing/over-processing my hair and 2)having long naturally wavy (=fragile!) hair. I have used shampoo once in the past 6 months (a mistake!) & my hair has never looked better; I'm of the baking soda mix/occasional vinegar school and even less often an egg/olive oil/honey conditioning treatment (it will make curly hair look better than it has EVER LOOKED IN YOUR LIFE, CURLY-GRRLS!) But...my hair is starting to have the not so fresh feeling. Sometimes like vinegar, sometimes just...not good. Any suggestions? Soap isn't an option for me now that I know how it wrecked my hair, I just want to freshen it up without frizzing it up. Definitely not looking for a perfume-y solution, as I hate a strong perfume smell.


I could never go without shampoo. I use Healthy Skin for a Happy Life's all-natural shampoo which is sulfate free, paraben free, synthetic free and made from jojoba, coconut, essential oils, lemon and natural soap. SOOOOO good! My hairdresser can't get over how long and strong and healthy my hair has been growing. If you're not into the no poo thing, this is a great alternative! www.healthyskinhappylife.com

Jolene Anderson-Brown@facebook

I color my gray. Don't suppose this will work on color treated hair?


I very occasionally operate shampoo on my ringlet, yet definitely don't narrowly scour it among ocean. In accession to your everyday conditioner you should bribe a flagon of indeed inexpensive conditioner moreover this is worn to purify the ringlet along. Ethical habituate a monstrous reach of the affordable conditioner to clean your ringlet, rectify toward the cheers furthermore therefore wash absent furthermore requirement the mid fragment moreover the aims of your ringlet as average. The inexpensive conditioner besides the work of scrubbing your ringlet guidances relax some grime which would be sinister seat if you except wash using sprinkle.

Compatibility Horoscope


I can't believe this without shampoo hair becomes dull and dirty but your hair looks beautiful. Thanks to share this post here it helps me to save hair and save money which i spend on cosmetic products.
outsourcing article writing

Maya ANthesis@facebook

I wash my hair everyday. I know that's supposed to be bad. I started using the Shielo Hydrate Shampoo, my hair looks and feels so healthy. I barely need to use any shampoo, a quarter-size only, and I have a ton of hair. Typically I've had to rinse and repeat , but with Shielo - I use just the quarter-size and its perfect. Feels soooo good and its super hydrating.

I would recommend this to any gal with thick hair prone to getting dry.

Miz Lipz@facebook

@Maya ANthesis@facebook Maya you are right - I have just started using Shielo and I am getting all these complements on my hair. HIGHLY RECOMMEND! :)


Oh my goodness! An amazing article dude.


I was just wondering...I would love to go the bakin soda n vinegar way to get my hair more healthy...But what about if you have well water? Do any of you have it too? Well water is suppose to be harder on your body and hair and we don't add any softener to it either. I'm sure if it takes all the chemicals away from the shampoos it would with the well water...And can I use white vinegar? I was planning on washing my hair now with bakin soda n the white vinegar...least till I go to the store and get the apple cider vinegar.


My concern is this - you say your hair is fluffier, and it looks noticeable fluffier in the picture you posted. To me, this sounds like a NIGHTMARE. I don't want fluffy hair! My hair is wavy/slightly curly and fluffy puffy hair sounds absolutely horrendous. I want nice hair and I want to stop washing it every day and stop stripping it of oils (it's a vicious cycle - my roots get SO oily every day, so I wash my hair every day, which makes me produce all the oil that makes my roots oily, and so on) but I want my hair to be defined not a fluffy mess.


Another question - if I want to use product in my hair, like hair gel or curl creme, will ACV and baking soda get rid of all the product? I also moisturize my hair with coconut oil weekly. How will I get the oil out with no soap and only ACV and baking soda??? What do I do?


Living now in Florida (yeah, don't start..). Always had acne-prone skin. Never could find a be-all and end-all treatment for the acne. Now as an old lady I will get huge cystic pimples occasionally on face and now have them around scalp with the extremely warm weather here. Took someone's advice and used Desert Essence tea tree oil on skin followed by witch hazel as toner and aloe gel as moisturizer. Pimples are gone but now have huge red, dry patches on cheek and chin (possibly rosacea?). I find using plain soap and water on red patches alone tones redness down. Whole body and especially scalp has been so, so itchy with the heat. Scalp was so itchy this morning I poured tea tree oil on head and rubbed in. Burning started. Help! Decided to read these posts and used 1:4 ratio of ACV to water. That was about two hours ago. Hair feels great. Extremely shiny and soft. After two hours my scalp has calmed down. I figured out that the shampoo I was using had Sodium Laural Sulfate (Nexxus Humectress). Lists itself as a "MOISTURE SHAMPOO". After reading this blog it's now in the trash. Told by acupuncturist to consume a tbsp. of ACV every day. Supposedly this will treat the problem from the inside out (balance alkaline and acidic). I am going to wait out this TTO and ACV treatment I used today to see what changes, if any, happen to hair and scalp. Also, someone recommended Nature's Gate Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Conditioner for itchiness. You can get it at Walmart. Will give it a try.


@bossestblueeyes Hey, I'm and 'old lady', too (63--some days feel 83,once in a great while feel 23!)I've been doing the baking soda/apple cider vinegar for 10 months and love it. But you have to find a ratio that is right for you (someone suggested 1 cup soda to 1 cup water!!! That would strip most hair.)I got tired of all the crap in commercial shampoos as well as the $$$. My scalp broke out, itched, etc. Now I use 1/4 cup baking soda to a qt of hot water,pour it through, scrub like it's frothy old shampoo, then I shower. Then rinse it out while I keep gently scrubbing. Next I use 2 T. ACV to 16 oz.cool water (in an old Tupperware Tumbler!), pour it through, gently massage and rinse out with tepid water. My hair looks 30 years younger and has NEVER FELT OR LOOKED BETTER. It's soft but bouncy and I don't even mind the streaks of grey because my hair is shiny. I've found I only need to "wash" my hair 2 times a week. I can do an extra wash if I have a something special planned. It took about 2-3 weeks to get used to it. My hair used to be oily at the scalp and dry/brittle at the ends but not anymore. I don't have any lingering odor, but if you have a fave scent such as lavender, you can put a drop or 2 in the soda. I have saved scads of $$$ NOT buying shampoo. Just be patient to get through that first initial period, but it's worth it.


Your comments: “...the human body is a soggy box of horrors.” and “...your scalp is where things are really happening (“things” = sebum blasting forth from your sebaceous glands).” plus the tone of the entire article brings a big sigh-of-relief and causes me to laugh instead of cry. Thanks for taking the truth out of the dramatic and horrifying realm and making it simple and funny. Write on.


So you mentioned that even if we work-out we can go without washing hair with baking soda and ACV for days. Doesn't the hair smell because of sweat?

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A big heads up to anyone with dandruff/flakey scalp... going no poo made my hair shed like crazy! Too much hair was coming out in my hairbrush. :( If you google it, other people have had similar experiences.

I was definitely upset, because my hair started looking great. But now I'm trying it again, only every day or other day, I'm combing a small amount of tea tree oil into my hair. This will kill any fungus, which is actually what causes dandruff, and is also the likely culprit for excessive shedding. When you aren't shampooing your scalp on a daily basis, tea tree oil is the answer. :)



I really enjoyed your article and now will begin using some baking soda/ACV once in awhile. I say once in awhile because I have not washed my hair with shampoo for about two years. I only wash with water and that only once a month. For the first two to three weeks, it was greasy but then began to absorb the grease. Now it does not get greasy at all. Sometimes, there is a little more oil but I just brush it with 100 strokes. It distributes the oil and I sleep on it. The next day, the rest of my hair has absorbed the oil from the brushing.

It definitely helps that I live in the Rocky Mountains. It is dry here and I believe that helps with the oil production/distribution. When I go to Florida, I definitely need to wash more, but I still do it with water only.

Edythe Emmet

Hi, this is a great article but my concern is the smell. So how does your hair smell? or your head for that matter. I live in a tropical country and everyday my head is perspiring because of the weather. I want to keep my hair healthy but I don't want my head to become smelly.

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