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The no-pooing method

Day 1

I was recently introduced to the idea of not using shampoo, also known as “no-pooing.” I was fascinated by the concept of never having to use shampoo again. But like many of you most likely are right now, I was worried.

However, I told myself that if all the claims were true, then I have definitely found an easy, economical, non-toxic means to keep my hair clean and shiny!

Off to the store I went to purchase my baking soda and organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) concoction. I bet you are thinking… Baking soda? Apple cider vinegar? What, am I cleaning my floors?

You may be wondering how you can possibly live without shampoo because your hair would become an oily mess. Well, actually, the opposite will happened. Your hair will have never looked better. I know it, because I tried it.

When you shampoo your hair, you are stripping the natural oils away. Therefore, you are creating a demand and dependence on shampoo, because of all the oils that are being produced. However, when you stop shampooing, the oils will keep producing until they naturally find a balance.

Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients on a bottle of shampoo? It can be endless and usually contains ingredients that most of us can’t identify. But we don’t question these products because we think they must be safe, or they wouldn’t be selling them.

Both Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and its close relative Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are surfactants and detergents that may cause serious health issues. They are most frequently found in detergents, household cleaners, as well as personal care products such as toothpaste, mouthwash and shampoo to act as a foaming agent. Many studies have shown that these chemicals can cause eye damage, skin irritation and diarrhea.

Propylene Glycol is a cosmetic form of mineral oil, which is a byproduct of gasoline distilled from crude oil. It can be found in antifreeze and brake fluid, as well as shampoo. It is added to shampoo to help give hair that shiny look.

Whenever we wash our hair, we often forget the impact that it has on the environment. All the harmful ingredients get washed down the drain, polluting the lakes, rivers and oceans around us.

By not buying shampoo, we are reducing our consumption and demand for plastic that either needs to be produced or recycled.

Baking soda and apple cider vinegar are much cheaper than shampoo, so you will definitely be saving some money in the long run.

Day 4

Now for the fun part! How to “no-poo”:

Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with approximately 1 cup of water. However, not everyone’s hair is the same, so this can be tweaked to your needs. You can mix the baking soda and water in a squeeze bottle, which might make this process more manageable.

Add the baking soda and water to the ends of your hair as well as your scalp. Massage your scalp to incorporate the baking soda.

Now, do your regular body cleaning while the baking soda sits in your hair for about a minute.

Rinse your hair thoroughly.

Baking soda does wonders for your hair! It’s very gentle, and it cleanses your hair from harmful chemicals.

Mix a small amount of AVC with about a cup of water. I used a glass spray bottle to spray my hair, which made it easier. Again, spray or apply the diluted AVC to your roots and a very little on your scalp. Massage once again. Rinse after a minute.

AVC detangles the hair follicles, seals the cuticle and balances the hair’s pH levels.

Yes, your hair will smell a little vinegary, but you can always add some essential oils such as tea tree, lavender or rosemary. I found once I dried my hair the smell went away.

If your hair is too dry, try adding some oil such as coconut oil, which can do wonders for your hair!

If you find your hair is becoming too greasy, try adding less ACV. You can also try lemon or lime juice in place of the ACV.

You will have to remember, there will most definitely be an adjustment period which can last a few weeks to a few months. Your hair will be reacting to the surplus in oils, due to the lack of shampoo. Play around with the amounts to find the best fit for you.

It took me four washes for my hair not to look like it belonged on the head of a gross, greasy participant on Survivor. I don’t wash my hair every day, so I would say after a week and a half, my hair looked awesome!

So, who’s up for no-pooing? Come on, I know you want to! Enjoy the ride to a healthier you and environment!

Please let me know how it all works out for you!

Sources: Natural Health Information Centre.com and SimpleMom

Reader Interactions


  1. oh my gosh, I could never do that. my hairs a train wreck as it is, need all the help it can get and I love the smell of shampoo – so does Hubster 😉 good for you though!

  2. I’ve been researching this idea for a while now & I’m excited to try it. I have long hair tho so I do worry a bit but what do I have to lose?? A few weeks of greasy hair, I can handle it ;o)

    Jennifer, your hubby likes the smell of you! Women release a lot of pheromones via the top of their head, men from their chest so cuddle up! :o)

    • You should try it, Ruby!!! You will love it…and if you don’t, well at least you tried! But from what I know of you, you wont go back to shampoo! Thanks for taking the time to read 🙂

  3. Hi this is Ruby’s sister johnnie. I am going to try this too. My boyfriend already does this because he has dreadlocksand extremly “green”. He has the greatest hair I’ve ever seen and he hardly has to wash it.

    Thanks for the info!

    • That is great Johnnie! And I am so happy that you found me through your sister! Please let me know how your no-pooing goes either by email or yo can post on my FB fan page.Thanks for taking the time to read my post today!

  4. Over the past year I have trained my hair to only require being washed once a week. When I shower I generally just rinse it with water other then my once a week shampoo. Thinking the transition to this would be very easy on my hair as it already doesn’t rely on shampoo too much. A hairdresser years ago told me the less I wash my hair, the more natural it is, and she was right!

    Going to have to try this and see how it works with my wild hair.

  5. I understand the concern about the chemicals in the shampoo, but to use the argument of reducing plastic demand is a bit of a stretch. Your process includes 2 – 4 ingredients if you add essential oils, coconut oil, lemon juice etc. all of these items including your ACV and the baking soda have non-environmental packaging too.

    • Thanks for sharing Paul. Yes, you are right, I use 2-4 ingredients, but the coconut oil, AVC, and essential oils all come in glass jars (I buy them in glass) which is much better for the environment and your health, than plastic. Plastic leaches out chemicals into whatever it contains where glass does not. In my opinion, we consume way too much plastic and if there is a way for me to reduce the amount of plastic I use, I look for that alternative. For me this is a great alternative to not using plastic. As well, baking soda can be bought in bulk in cardboard which can be recycled and again it is not plastic. 🙂

  6. Loved this. Quit washing my hair everyday about a year ago. I lived. I do want to try this. Maybe on a long weekend. And I also like the idea of buying a little less plastic (our fancy shampoo bottle then there’s the conditioner bottle). I’ve been shopping for organic shampoo, this mixture lets me know exactly what is going on my hair and my scalp. I will try it (on a long weekend:))

    • Thats great Myra! Please let me know how your hair turns outs! And AVC, essential oils and coconut oil all come sin glass jars, so that is much better for your health and the environment! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Not so ready to go “no pooing” all the time. What do you know about using this combo on occasion to strip your hair of all the extras?

    • It would definitely not do any harm to do on occasion to help your hair. I mean the idea behind doing the “no-pooing” is to have healthier hair. So you could start off slow and see how you feel. And eventually get to the “no-pooing” all the time! Like I say, a little can make a big difference! Good luck Erin!

  8. Very intriguing idea! I checked and I have these chemicals in my shampoo- even the baby’s! 🙁 As a side note, for those not ready to go no-pooing, there is a company called Green Beaver which offers many hygiene items chemical free.

    • Well, Mary as least you know now and can try to do better next time. And yes, there is definitely a middle between shampoos loaded with chemicals and “no-pooing”. I realise it is not for everyone. All people have to do is read labels and check out the ingredients. It does take more time, but worth it in the long run! My favorite is Dr.Bronners! Check this site out: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ Oh and thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  9. Thrilled to have found your site! I went no-shampoo a year or so ago and haven’t looked back. For me, it’s as simple as Castile Soap. Nothing else, no concoctions. Just the same bar of olive-oil soap I use for face & body. It works great! Now of course I’m a guy, with fairly short hair, and it can be argued whether my hair needs are universal. But for what I need, I’m amazed how well it works. And I wonder how I got marketed & sold on putting all that gunk in my hair all those years.

  10. Do it! If you dot like it, you can always just shampoo your hair! My hair doesn’t smell like Apple Cider Vinegar anymore! If I let my hair air dry, it is much less dry then if I dry it with a hairdryer! Good luck. Any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!

    • I’ve been meaning to report back. I’ve been doing this “no-pooing” for a couple weeks ago and am in love with how my hair has responded to this recipe. I was using natural shampoo and conditioner which is GREAT but pricey. This is sooooo much cheaper & with awesome results. I still use natural hair gel that doesn’t harden (cause I have long curly hair) and I use a natural body splash which adds some gloss, and I am getting so many comments on my beautiful locks. You’re right, no vinegar smell after it’s dried. Keep up the great work. I’ll be checking your website very often =)

  11. I’m definitely trying this recipe!!! Thanks for sharing Steph.
    I have had psoriasis problems for years and don’t know what to do anymore. Who knows?! This just might be the trick.

      • So far, on the day of washing my hair with “no-poo” it’s ok. The second day it feels “thick” as if I’d been swimming in the ocean and letting my hair dry naturally. I don’t really like that. I don’t wash my hair everyday and don’t want to start now. Let’s say it’s a good thing I work from home for this testing period. 😉
        I’m thinking that maybe I should try a solution of water and lemon juice as a conditioner after washing it with the solution of water and baking soda (or maybe adding more baking soda to the water would do the trick). I did add lavender essential oil to the water vinegar solution. Maybe that’s what give it that “thick” feel.
        I’m not done trying.
        I’ll keep you posted.

        • I found if I try my hair with a blow dryer it feels yucky too. I let my hair air dry and it feels much less dry! Try adding a drop of oil in your hair, that might help! I heard lemon juice can work as a conditionner as well! Have you been using apple cider vinegar? That I use as my conditionner. Let me know how it goes, MG! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  12. I love using the ACV method, I have been using this method now for 4 months and my hair is most wonderful. It really doesn’t take anymore time in fact I now wash my hair about 2 times a week. If I get a sweaty I will rinse it and perhaps add apple cider vinegar to the rinse but that is it. And it works for all ages! My two daughters use this method too. They are 11 and 13. I have not yet convinced the men folk in this family but

  13. I’ve seriously thought about this every time I step into the shower and see my shampoo and conditioner in there. I keep telling myself, once its gone, I’m going to find something more organic and natural. I’m glad I found this How-To so I can plan ahead and try this new method. Question: Do you use the raw ACV or the regular one? Does it matter?
    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thanks for the info… another person who has done it LOL! I am sitting on the fence but sliding over to your side… Are you still using it? Is it something you willl do the rest ofyour life or just do for a bit and then switch back? I have been using an all natural shampoo for a few years now and it took a month or so for my hair to adjust to that. I have a feeling it won’t take as long this time since I am already avoiding the SLS etc. My hair is definitely healthier using the natural shampoo. I am tempted…

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