No Shampoo?

So, last week I ran out of shampoo, and thought that circumstance would be a good time to try something I've been curious about for a while... a method of cleaning one's hair without relying on commercial shampoos, commonly referred to as the "No 'Poo Method."

Basically, you use a baking-soda paste to scrub the scalp, then use an apple cider vinegar rinse to condition and add shine.  Other people have talked about the chemistry behind this... I don't understand it, but I thought I'd try it.  I do know you're not supposed to wash as often, which means your hair doesn't over-produce oils, which means you don't have to wash as often... There are also all kinds of fancy but "natural" things you can do, like adding honey to the rinse or giving your hair a "mask" involving eggs, but I thought I'd stop at vinegar.  I like my food on my plate, not my hair!

Anyway, I did the first such wash last Wednesday evening.  I was really impressed with the results: my hair felt clean, and didn't smell weird -- in fact, it smelled clean.  Also, no added scents, which is nice since I tend to get scent-related headaches a lot.  It stayed clean for several days, also.  Saturday it started feeling a little grungy and by Sunday evening it was definitely oily and getting itchy.

This is about par for the course for my hair.  I haven't washed it every day since my freshman year of college - it's usually every other or every third day, but I've been known to go longer.  Wednesday night to Monday morning is on the long end, though, for sure!  I washed again today - same method - with slightly less pleasing results.  My hair is clean, I think, but it feels heavier and smells a little "hairier", if that makes sense.  Not unpleasant, but there.  It does seem to have a little more body than usual, though, which is another alleged side effect of this method.

(One seems to have to describe one's hair in order to blog about this properly.  So - mine is about midway down my back, naturally very straight, not keen to hold a curl, fairly thick but with very fine individual strands.  Inclined to be fly-away and slightly frizzy, especially in humidity. I probably should have taken "before" pictures, which most of the people who have blogged about this have done, but I didn't.  But you've all seen my hair before.)

I'll probably keep doing this for a while, partly because it certainly doesn't seem to be hurting my hair, and partly because I'm too cheap to buy shampoo ;-P  I'll report back later, whether I end up liking it or not!


  1. I've started using this too, and I've done some research because I was not having the same results as most people!

    Basically, the baking soda is what will remove the oil from your scalp. The vinegar somehow neutralizes that, lol.

    I diluted my baking soda in water, so it's not a paste at all. Right now it's 1 T baking soda to 1 c of water. I'm going to half that next time, it's been drying my hair out too much now. I make sure and use it only on my scalp now.

    I started with a solution of 1 T vinegar to 1 c of water. It did absolutely nothing for me. I proceeded to pour the rest of my apple cider vinegar into it, but I didn't measure it. I think it's pretty close to half and half, though.

    I'm going to have to do a little more tweaking before I'm perfectly happy with this method, especially since I've been having a lot of trouble with static electricity. I'm learning, though, that there are sections of my hair that get oilier than the rest.

    Some people say to rinse the vinegar out of your hair, but I've found it works better for me to leave it in, like a leave-in conditioner.

  2. I diluted the baking soda the first time, but it was so messy (didn't want to stay just on the scalp!) that I just made a paste this last time. But it seemed to work better the first time so maybe I'll go back to that? I did rinse out the vinegar, and I know I used more than 1 T to a cup (what I'd heard recommended. I just dumped about 1/2 c. into my old conditioner bottle and topped it up with water! I haven't had any trouble with static though. I might try not rinsing the vinegar out next time. Does it smell vinegary if you leave it in?

    The top of my head and about 4-6 inches down get quite oily - the rest hardly at all. I read somewhere that it's good to get a natural-bristle brush to help distribute the oil - I wonder if that's why people used to recommend brushing "a hundred strokes every night"?

  3. It smells vinegary until it dries, and then there's only a whiff of vinegar scent if your hair gets wet.

    For the baking-soda/water mix, I just flip my head upside down in the shower and just pour it on my scalp (I have it in an old shampoo bottle, so I can control the flow), and massage it in for a few minutes. It doesn't seem to disperse through my hair a lot that way, and then I just rinse it out.

    Hmm, I might try a natural bristle brush as well. My hair isn't as long as yours right now, it's just below my shoulders, but the ends are where I'm having the static problem. Getting the oil spread through it more might help.

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