Way back in early 2012 my friend told me she was using the ‘no poo’ method to wash her hair, which replaces shampoo with baking soda and water and conditioner with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water.
I was hooked and planned to try it right away. Feeling pretty comfortable with making my own cleaning solutions and a mostly homemade, whole food kitchen routine I was ready to take my crunchy journey to the next level.
Cutting out shampoo and conditioner seemed like a good place to start detoxifying my personal care routine.
1. Shampoo is bad for you and the environment
Shampoo is very similar to the detergents you use to wash your clothes and bathroom, it just smells better. It’s chock-full of nasty chemicals, like carcinogens, pesticides, and mineral oil (derived from crude oil).
2. You have to wash your hair more often with shampoo
The oil in shampoos blocks pores and doesn’t allow the release of natural oil your scalp produces to keep your hair healthy, thus making hair more greasy and in need of more frequent washing. Shampoo perpetuates the problem it’s supposed to solve.
3. It hardly costs anything to go ‘no poo’
While there very well could be some really good-for-you commercially produced shampoos out there, I can’t afford them. A bottle of ACV and baking soda? That I can do, especially since they’ll last for months, probably longer if I didn’t also use them in my kitchen.
4. Your hair is GORGEOUS!!!
Okay, so this might be a bit hyperbolic but from my friend’s testimony and what I read on blogs, everyone loved how their hair looked and felt with ‘no poo’. It seemed like you could get everything the shampoo commercials promise from a couple of ingredients in your kitchen cupboard.
So, how do you wash your hair with baking soda and ACV? Here’s the basic recipe:
Mix one tablespoon baking soda in one cup of warm water. You can use a squeezable container, like an old shampoo bottle or I use a Gatorade bottle, or a spray bottle.
Pour over scalp and massage or comb through with a pick. Rinse after a minute.
Mix one tablespoon baking soda in one cup of warm water in a bottle.
Pour over scalp and massage or comb through with a pick. Rinse immediately and repeat if necessary.
Important notes and tips:
- This is the basic recipe and instructions. I have normal/dry hair so I use the ACV all over my hair, while people with oily hair typically just need it on the ends. I often double rinse.
- You might also need to adjust the amounts of baking soda and ACV. You can go up to 2 tablespoons ACV but you shouldn’t go over 1 tablespoon baking soda, just use less. Here’s a rule of thumb: thick or curly hair needs more baking soda, thin or fine hair needs less.
- Fair warning: there’s a transition period, lasting from no time at all to a month, usually a couple of weeks. During this time your hair relearns to handle the natural oils and balances the scalp’s pH. Don’t freak out if your hair is super greasy, it will stop.
- You won’t need to wash your hair as often. I wash my hair twice a week and if my bangs get a bit greasy I use a DIY dry shampoo.
- Your hair won’t smell like vinegar. But you could add some essential oils, like lavender for normal/dry hair or peppermint for oily hair.
- I make mine in batches, two cups at a time and it lasts for about a month. You could make up a gallon and refill when you need it.
- There’s no soap scum with this method! It might actually clean your shower.
My story with the ‘no poo’ method
So now that you’re totally sold on the idea of washing your hair with baking soda and ACV let me share my story, success and failure included.
As I said before, I was stoked to throw out my bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I was all over the bandwagon (and I am not bandwagon-jumping type). I was fine with dealing with the transition period, willing to wait as long as I needed for my hair to recover from decades of harsh shampoo.
It was winter and my otherwise dry hair became greasy pretty quick, but like I said I was okay with it — I was going to let my hair do it’s thing. But somewhere in week three I couldn’t take it anymore, probably something to do with the 15 younger, prettier, and better dressed university students that moved into our house. So I used Dr. Bronner’s soap, got rid of the grease and continued to use it for the rest of the winter.
Come spring I was eager to try the ‘no poo’ method again, not knowing if the change of weather would make a difference. It did, though I’m not sure why. Immediately my hair was shiny, healthy and beautiful. I loved it.
I use the ‘no poo’ method for the next two years without a hitch. At times my hair would get kind of stringy but not bad and never for more than a few days.
This past winter my hair started to get greasy again, similar to when I first ditched shampoo. Wanting to nourish my hair with more than just soap I found Wellness Mama’s homemade coconut milk shampoo and used it through the winter months. Once spring came along I made a smooth transition back to ‘no poo’.
So while my experience with ‘no poo’ isn’t all flowing locks and fingers through touchable hair, I am totally satisfied with the end result.
I love filling my home with products that are safe and work as well, or better, than the conventionally produced ones. Getting rid of shampoo and conditioner has been fairly easy and I have no intentions of switching back.
Want to hear other blogger’s experiences? Check out:
Tsh at The Art of Simple: How to wash your hair without shampoo
Kathleen at Becoming Peculiar: Why I ditched shampoo (and you can, too!)
Would you consider the ‘no poo’ method? Why or why not? And if you already use it, what is your experience?
Got questions? Ask away!