Give It A Try – No Poo

Posted on July 31, 2007 by Allie

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After reading several articles about the “No Poo” movement (insert juvenile joke here), I decided to give it a try. Going No Poo means giving up shampoo in favor of natural choices like baking soda, honey, and apple cider vinegar.

The reasoning is that shampoos can contain harsh and possibly harmful chemicals. As the chemicals strip the natural oils from your scalp, your body catches up by increasing oil production. Stop shampooing and your scalp will return to its natural balance.

I gave it a try. I mixed some baking soda and water and massaged it into my scalp. I loved the exfoliating action of the baking soda, but after a lot of rinsing, I still felt like I had some gritty residue left behind.

Instead of conditioner, I rinsed with apple cider vinegar and cold water. I thought I’d never be able to get a brush through my hair without a good gob of traditional conditioner, but I had no problem with it.

I let my hair air dry. It was soft and clean, but the ends were stiff. The apple cider vinegar made my hair shine, but later, when I went for a bike ride with my husband, the smell of vinegar wafted out from under my helmet.

I would definitely consider doing this again as a clarifying treatment, but I can’t see myself doing it every day. Right now, I’m growing my hair to donate, so it’s super long. I’ll give No Poo another try once I chop it all off. Less hair may make it easier to rinse out all of that baking soda grit, and there will be less of it to hold the vinegar smell.

Have you tried No Poo? Is there a technique or ingredient that made it work better for you?

Click here for more information on No Poo.

Have you come across a natural remedy, treatment, or cleaning technique you’re unsure about trying? E-mail me at alliesanswers at gmail dot com and I’ll give it a try it for you!

24 Comments +

  1. I use organic shampoo from Trader Joe’s. :)

    August 1st, 2007 at 4:35 pm
    Comment by Melissa
  2. I use aveda shampoo and conditioner. You should check out Aveda products as they are 100% environmentally friendly. No chemicals, organic ingredients, even Aveda’s warehouses are solar powered. And, this might work better for your hair than trying to cleanse with honey and baking soda is really drying (and the pH would be off). FYI, I am in no way connected with Aveda, just wanted to recommend this environmentally concious brand/company. The makeup is great too from Aveda.

    August 2nd, 2007 at 12:18 pm
    Comment by Pam
  3. [...] a month ago, I attempted to give up shampoo in favor of baking soda and apple cider vinegar, but I wasn’t impressed with the results.  A [...]

    August 23rd, 2007 at 5:17 pm
    Pingback by Allie’s Answers » Blog Archive » Give It A Try - No Poo, Take 2
  4. From the sound of it, you gave it a good shot, but it was a shot in the dark. I think you were probable using to much baking soda to water. “I loved the exfoliating action of the baking soda, but after a lot of rinsing, I still felt like I had some gritty residue left behind.” The mix should not feel exfloiating, and nothing should be left after your rinse. A mix should be about 1TBs baking soda to 1C water, the baking soda is harsh if you use to much and can do wonkie things to your hair. This wont make a paste or even anything thick, its more of cloudy water. As for you saying “I would definitely consider doing this again as a clarifying treatment, but I can’t see myself doing it every day.”, it makes me giggles. You have to keep in mind here what you are trying to do! When using this method you are not trying to “Clean” it in the traditional sense, but rather restore your hair natural glory. This not only takes time, but, oddly, LESS WASHING! Doing it once here and there wont do much at all, it will take a few weeks even up to a month before you get past what you might call hair from hell! Once you start doing this your hair will go though a detox, and after you will be able to see what really helps! Like with the “I let my hair air dry. It was soft and clean, but the ends were stiff. The apple cider vinegar made my hair shine, but later, when I went for a bike ride with my husband, the smell of vinegar wafted out from under my helmet.” One again you probably used to much vinegar, 1ts to a 1C is all you need, hence the smell you had. As for the ends, again I stress IT TAKE TIME! You need to give time for your hair to have its oils reach the ends, or nothing will happen. To help with this you can “brush” your hair with a wash cloth when your hair is still wet, and use a bores hair brush to move the oil along.

    I hope the next time you try this it really is for more then one wash, and I think you will see it really is wonderful!

    January 3rd, 2008 at 10:02 pm
    Comment by Angil
  5. I’ve been using this system of washing with baking soda and rinsing with vinegar and honestly my hair is in excellent conditon. I soaked Rosemary in the vinegar for three weeks and dilute that down, one tablespoon to a cup of water. I’ve also soaked some lavender but that isn’t ready yet.

    July 25th, 2008 at 9:08 pm
    Comment by Audrey
  6. Thanks Angil!….your info was so helpful. I’m new to no pooing. I tried it after reading about it but kept reading different amounts to use. So, last night I tried it and my hair is SO nice today. So clean and shiny! The only con was I picked my hair up this morning while I only bathed my body since I washed it last night and some of my hair got a little we….ughhh the smell came out! but when it dried again it went away. I know for sure it’s that I used too much vinegar. The next time I wash my hair which hopefully will be in a few days…b/c before I had to wash every other day or my hair would get oily. So, next time I’ll use the amount you recommended. Thank you SO MUCH. I’m also going to add rosemary or lavender as Audrey suggested….THANKS to you too Audrey :)

    September 18th, 2008 at 3:32 pm
    Comment by jess
  7. Do you think that I can add a few drops of an organic lavender essential oil?

    September 18th, 2008 at 3:37 pm
    Comment by jess
  8. FYI, Aveda is owned by Johnson & Johnson. Just like Odwalla is owned by Coke. Sad but true!

    January 9th, 2009 at 12:07 am
    Comment by Maria
  9. [...] recently left a comment on an old post about no-poo saying “FYI, Aveda is owned by Johnson & Johnson. Just like Odwalla is owned by Coke. Sad [...]

    January 9th, 2009 at 6:01 pm
    Pingback by Is Big Green Bad?
  10. I am on my sixth day without shampoo and I am having no problems so far! I’ve been using baking soda and vinegar and haven’t really noticed any change in my hair – for better or for worse.

    March 10th, 2009 at 1:05 am
    Comment by Emily
  11. Aveda is not owned by Johnson & Johnson. Horst Rechelbacher, founder of Aveda Corporation, sold the company to Estee Lauder in 1997 for $300 billion. Estee Lauder still owns Aveda today and Aveda’s products account for about 10% of Estee Lauder’s worldwide annual sales. Estee Lauder has stayed true to Horst Rechelbacher’s formulas for all of the products he developed before the sale of the company. New products have been developed since 1997, of course, and I can’t speak to the purity of those.

    March 24th, 2009 at 5:02 am
    Comment by Lara Elizabeth
  12. This is my 3rd week “no-pooing” :D My hair is really greasy, but I’m putting up with it, hoping next month it’ll get better. The oils are reaching the ends, which were fried by the last dye I had (about 4 years ago). Still working. I’m going to try the lavender or rosemary, sounds nice. Thanks for all the input, can’t wait to see the results so I can share with others :D Love and peace to y’all!!! :D

    April 7th, 2009 at 8:59 pm
    Comment by Paula
  13. I’m in my 2nd week of no pooing and I love it. Previous to this I’d tried shampoo without Sodium Laurel Sulfate and it dried my hair out so much it was as if I’d poured straight bleach on my hair and then let it dry in the sun. So I took that stuff back to the store and just decided to try going no poo. It’s fabulous. I haven’t even gotten around to using baking soda & vinegar yet because I haven’t really felt the need. My hair had been so damaged from coloring, and now is coming back to life from its own natural oils. It’s more manageable and has more body than it’s had in years. I love no poo!

    May 11th, 2009 at 6:35 pm
    Comment by Heidi
  14. I have been doing no poo for about two months now. I only wash my hair about twice a week with baking soda, but I still use my regular conditioner (for color treated hair). My hair is fabulous, it has never been this manageable before – I am hooked! I have even put dry baking soda on my scalp and combed it out instead of washing, works great in order to get by another day without washing.

    June 8th, 2009 at 12:37 pm
    Comment by Diana
  15. Hello, I have recently started using baking soda in place of shampoo. The reason being that my scalp is always itchy and flaky, so I’m trying to find something that will not be a problem for my scalp. What I found is that all the suggestions for how much to use, suggest WAY too much! I find that just sprinkling some baking soda around where my part is, and then running baking soda covered fingers through my hair a few times, seems to put enough in my hair. I do this when my hair is dry, before showering. I think I used about a teaspoon the last time I showered. my hair is medium length, but you mostly need it around the scalp, anyway, which is where I focus my attention when applying. As for vinegar, a couple teaspoons mixed with a cup or two of water is all I need. Don’t give up just because the measurements you find, are not the right ones for you. It sounds clear to me that you used way too much of both baking soda and vinegar.

    July 14th, 2009 at 2:06 pm
    Comment by Sarah
  16. i think i’ll pass on the poo and stick to the old traditional, but i did find a website that deals with worm poo if your interested: http://fishing-usa.blogspot.com/

    September 7th, 2009 at 3:49 am
    Comment by Dr Doc (dlcs)
  17. This may be a silly question, but I’ve been doing the whole baking soda / apple cider vinegar thing for about a month. Will there ever be a time when you don’t do anything to your hair ? Or will it always have enough grease that you will always have to use baking soda ? Just curious. Any thoughts ?

    September 13th, 2009 at 3:36 pm
    Comment by Patricia
  18. oh how I’ve wanted this to work… but it hasn’t so far for me.
    I also used to LOVE Aveda…. but have you read their ingredient list? Oh yes, they are FULL of chemicals (SLS anyone?). they may have bottles made from post consumer plastic (which are not actually recyclable) and source some of their power from wind and renewable sources, but chemical free they most certainly are not.

    I’ve yet to find a chemical free regular shampoo and conditioner that I like though. sigh. Someday. :) Thanks for sharing your story!

    November 3rd, 2009 at 5:46 pm
    Comment by EcoYogini
  19. I tried this for about 6 weeks and didn’t quite mind that my hair was greasy because I desperately wanted to believe that this would work. What I couldn’t get over, was that the grease attracted dirt that I could not wash off. I was using a white comb for the application of the baking soda/water mixture and was combing my hair with a brush with white tines so I could tell that my hair was not clean when each wash coated the comb and brush with more black gunk. I did notice that by leaving the white comb in baking soda mixture would eventually clean the comb. However, that required soaking the comb for an hour or more. That is time I do not have to devote to my hair. Needless to say, I am now back to shampooing.

    November 8th, 2009 at 6:32 pm
    Comment by Judy
  20. Hi,
    Sounds interesting! For those of you who will return back to shampoos, there are some excellent german brands like Sante or Logona, which are certified natural cormetics. Sodium laureth sulfate is the main reason that make’s hair dry, but there are some other synthetic ingredients which may cause the same. Check that the product has some certificate, because there are lots of “so-called” natural cosmetics out there..

    December 1st, 2009 at 3:58 pm
    Comment by Suvi
  21. EWG was a website dedicated to listing the formulations of personal products like shampoo.

    Check out Aveda’s listing:

    http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/brand/Aveda/

    May 20th, 2010 at 9:00 pm
    Comment by Erinn
  22. I’m not sure you will find it that much easier to wash your hair using this method after you donate it. My mother was using this method, and she found she started getting greasy hair after she cut it. I have super long hair, and I only use baking soda on my scalp. I use conditioner on my length, though. I find this method quite easy.

    December 22nd, 2010 at 11:45 am
    Comment by Ruth
  23. Every time there is a mention of No Poo somewhere, there are tons of questions and comments from experience. So, I thought it might be a good idea to set up a question and answer site to help beginners, and kind of let everyone discuss the No Shampoo/Soap lifestyle, and all the different experiences and experiments we are doing.

    I would like to invite you to come post on our forum to provide info and experiences.

    So, if you are interested, go check it out: http://beyondshampoo.com

    I’m not selling anything, and I would appreciate people participating in honest, good discussions.

    January 6th, 2011 at 12:23 am
    Comment by Abe
  24. I have dreadlocks and wash my scalp & dreads with baking soda followed by a vinegar rinse. I use white vinegar because I like to reserve my ACV for health purposes.

    I keep a tall glass in the bath room and before I get in the shower I sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of the glass, probably 1tsp-1tbsp but I never measure. Once in, I fill the glass with warm water from the shower head and let all the baking soda dissolve. I pour it over my head, massage only a little and only gently into my scalp, and let it stay on until the end of my shower.

    Then I pour some vinegar, which sits just outside the bath tub, to about a half inch high in the glass and fill the rest with warm water. I pour this over my head, making sure it drips down into the hair too, and then I do a very thorough rinse with regular water. I never ever smell like vinegar, ever. In fact, my dreads have no smell at all. I like it that way. I’m very sensitive to strong smells, no matter how natural they are.

    I do this once weekly and it gets my dreads and scalp so squeaky clean.

    January 21st, 2012 at 3:05 pm
    Comment by Rachael

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If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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