The No ‘Poo (no shampoo) Decision and Recipes

A couple of years ago, I came across a couple of posts about the “no ‘poo” method of washing hair. It sounded like something I’d do, but at the time, life was really heavy on me… But just a few months ago, I came across those few posts again. I did a few more searches and made a mental note to pick up a couple of containers and my own jug of Apple Cider Vinegar the next time I went to the store.

Since you are here, reading, you’ve likely already decided you have some interest in this method, so I’m not going to go into all the gritty details of why this method is good, or better. We know we’re surrounded in life with chemicals, shampoo and conditioner are no different. Read on for the basics.

No ‘Poo is just a way of cleaning your hair without the harmful chemicals found in most shampoos and conditioners. It’s cheap.. er, frugal and easy, so set aside your bottles of shampoo and conditioner (really, you can always go back to it, should this no shampoo method not work for you – don’t sweat it and don’t pitch the bottles yet.) and gather up a few simple ingredients. Here are a few things you will want.

Ingredients for the No ‘Poo, no shampoo method of washing your hair:

One or Two containers that are easy to mix, easy to pour. You may dedicate a specific bottle (or two), or you might just want to use a large cup.

You’ll want a spoon or scoop of some sort – I just use an old spoon, like the small spoon that would come in silverware set. I think I’ll switch to a tea-spoon for the longer handle (but keeping the smaller scoop of the spoon).

A box of Baking Soda. You could put this in a pretty jar, or just leave it…. eh..

A jug of Apple Cider Vinegar (if you are collecting articles about this method, you’ll frequently seen this as ACV)

There’s your basics. Easy peas-y.

Long Hair

This is not a picture of the no 'poo method, just long hair.

I use two rubber maid bottles. I rinse them after each use, so my next shower, I can use either bottle for whichever step. Sometimes, I just use one bottle. It’s no big deal.

Before my shower, while the bathroom are water are heating up, I put about 2 rounded teaspoons (not an exact, just “about”) into one container. In the shower, I fill it with about 2 or 2 1/2 cups of water – give a shake.

I have found I prefer to put this solution on my head before I wet my hair. This way I get most on my roots, rather than on the hair length since it can be drying. Turning my head this way and that, I get it on all my scalp, rubbing it gently with my fingertips (not my nails). Rub gently, don’t scrub.

I leave this on while I rinse the bottle. I use about the same amount of ACV as I do Baking Soda, but I just “splash” it into the bottle or cup, then add about 2 or 2 1/2 cups of water. This, I pour over all my hair as it acts as a conditioner, but importantly, it balances the ph of your hair and scalp – so don’t skip this.

The Apple Cider Vinegar does have a light smell while your hair is still wet, but once dry, you don’t smell it. This is all well and good, but I do smell it if I get hot and sweaty… and I don’t like it. I love vinegar in salads and on sandwiches, it definitely has its place in household cleaning and laundry, but I swear, the only thing that comes to mind when I smell it, is coloring Easter eggs… and really, just gross. But, I found a way to combat this negative side effect…

Instead of using plain water to add to your vinegar rinse, I made a strong tea. My plan is to keep tea bags I’ve used for making pitcher of iced tea, and throw them in a gallon jug of water. Over time, they’ll steep. You could also do this with different herbs (lavender quickly comes to mind) and essential oils. One drawback to essentials oils, however, is they are an oil – they don’t mix with water – so you’ll need to make sure you shake your mixture well before using. Then use this water with your splash of ACV and you don’t smell the vinegar (little, if at all) even while it’s wet.

I’ve been using this method for a couple of months now and not only do I like how it makes my hair feel, I am enjoying it.

Just a few notes to add. If you have been reading articles, you’ll know you may have an adjustment period for your hair since it’s use to having to over-produce oils to help moisturize your hair (shampoos and conditioners (certain ones) strip your hair of its natural oils, while others coat it with a barrier that keeps it from getting moisturized naturally. You really don’t need to wash your hair every day, so gradually lengthen the time between washes. I typically wash my hair every five to six days, and it really is good up until that last day – when it feels dirty, but still doesn’t look it.

Where are you with this no ‘poo method? Have you just come across it, and are researching, or have you been doing it for awhile? I’d love to hear your experiences, and even additives to the recipe(s).


  1. I wish I could figure out a way to use no-poo and not look greasy. For awhile it seemed like my hair was happy but then it started looking like I was a person who did not like to bathe. :-/

    • Where you using a baking soda wash? If not, it will definitely take some time for your hair to adjust. With store bought shampoos, we train our bodies that we need to produce extra oils.. because the shampoos we use strip our natural oils off. When you switch to something more natural (and there are other ways besides baking soda and ACV), there is usually an adjustment period where your scalp and roots may feel or appear too greasy.. but it will definitely get better.

  2. I have actually started using Borax….yes, Borax. It is all natural AND I don’t have to use the ACV as a rinse afterwards. I love it…makes my hair so soft and manageable and feels cleaner than the baking soda/ACV method made my hair feel. Borax is very poorly absorbed through intact skin and is only VERY mildly toxic if you ingest it or inhale it. I love this method and have never gotten sick using it.

    • My understanding is the ph balance in borax is very high and you need to use a citric acid rinse to bring the balance back. I’ve tried it, and didn’t care for it. But I’ve started using a more natural ingredient shampoo every 4-5 days, alternating with a baking soda/acv rinse. It’s going fine and I like the way my hair feels much better than just using the baking soda / acv rinse alone.

  3. It’s all bullshit, you hippie types always claim there are “harmful chemicals” in everything. well what are they and what harm do they cause? No-one ever mentions that, because there is no actual harm. Trillions of people all over the world every single day use shampoo. Get a grip.

    • Really? Just because I don’t mention which chemicals, and how they are harmful doesn’t make it not true. [however, for other readers, not trollers, I do plan to write an update about my no’pooing, and chemicals, so this was a nice reminder it still needs done.] My article isn’t so much about the harmful chemicals we use, consume and put on our bodies every day. It’s about using a more natural (and cheaper and yeah, healthier) way to clean your hair.

      I am assuming by your “tone” that you intended ‘hippie types’ to be an insult. It’s not. I am how I am, some things I do natural, some I don’t, sometimes I’m totally consuming way too much energy for our family, other times, not. And I think “trillions of people” is a bit much. But whatever. You do your research and I’ll do mine. And the people who are interested in following what I share, will.. and you, well, you are welcome to not. Maybe next time, before you try to post and re-post, you might take a couple extra minutes to search what you are spouting, so you don’t end up sounding ignorant.

      • Just wanted to point out that the world’s population just passed 7 billion so there are not “trillions of people” anywhere. ahem.

      • Ignorant, indeed. What I want to know is..why is Louise reading a blog specifically for no-poo’ing if she is so utterly against it? If you, Louise, are going to let something that is of complete personal preference bother you to the point of name-calling over the internet, then I’m perfectly fine with my strange hair-washing ways. No need to be a prude :)

        • So Louise am I a as you call it a “Hippie type person” because I am using the no poo and natural body scrub and soap because I have to? I am allergic to the harsh chemicals that you find in shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, and laundry detergents. I have actually been suffering from the painful and embarrassing symptoms of this allergy for years. I have tried everything to help and I finally came across this. Thanks to this I am no longer in pain I do not feel like taring my scalp off because it huts so much I can actually enjoy myself. So the next time you feel like turning to childish name calling and feel you have a right to judge others by what they personally decide to use as far as hygiene care think about that. You are not anybody here who feels that this helps them in one way or another so what makes you think that you can attack the people of this blog. Who do you think you are?
          To everybody else I am new to this about a week in and I feel so much better and pain free. Does anyone know how long the transition stage is suppose to be or does it vary from person to person? Any Information I can get from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
          Thank You

      • Actually if you check your shampoo bottle, among other bathroom items, you’ll find Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, which has been linked to an increased risk of cancer….I’ll take the natural stuff myself, so far I’m happy. Just trying to get the mixture right for my extremely thick, curly hair. Question: Do you rinse between your mixtures?

        • Dixon – I *do* rinse the baking soda out.. But I leave the ACV ‘rinse’ in.. I just squeeze out the excess and wrap up into a towel…

          To style, instead of using store bought products, I’ve filled a spray bottle with water, salt and a couple drops of essential oil. I spray my hair until it’s pretty wet, scrunch, towel dry, scrunch some more and then leave it. My hair isn’t long enough to get the pretty ‘beach waves’, but I’m much happier with this than *any* hair products I have every purchased. :)

    • Louise – seriously?!? – I think you need to get a grip….there are all kinds of blogs out there, why comment on one you totally disagree with, or just kindly say you disagree & leave! You do it your way & I’ll do it mine – how simple is that? And by the way….I’m happy to be a “hippie type” & one that avoids the harmful chemicals in whatever I can, and yes, I LOVE my no-poo!

  4. I’ve been no pooing for about 2 weeks now, and I think I’m still in that detox phase because my hair is dull, shineless and somewhat greasy. I have shoulder length, generally straight, nearly black hair, so when it’s dirty/greasy, it’s very obvious! I tried to just wash with BS and not put any ACV but my hair was crunchy, dry and tangled. I tried to just put the ACV on the ends of my hair, but because I have such thick hair, the hair near my hear feels crunchy and dry, and it’s hard to comb through. I’m wondering if I need to put the ACV on my scalp as well, or perhaps use a tea rinse (what kind and what ingredients??).
    I really love the fact that I am not using chemicals in my hair…but I’m having trouble with no pooing right now!

    • Hi May – I’m answering this as quickly as I saw it. It is very important to use the ACV on your scalp. The baking soda has a ph level that is harsher that what our skin really likes. The Apple cider vinegar balances that ph back to what we need it to be. It could be you are using too much BS, try diluting it a bit more. And make sure you are diluting the acv enough too. I use right about a tablespoon per 2 cups of water – for each.

      Here are some things I’ve done to improve my hair’s feel and look. First, I only use the bs / acv around my roots and try my best to avoid my ends. I felt both ingredients were getting on my ends too much and causing dryness that I have never had before. Then, I decided that a shampoo and conditioner with simple, basic ingredients was fine to use. I mean, my point is to stay away from the extras that inadvertently cause hair issues, like dryness, or possibly lead to health threats. So I started using my kids shampoo, and a conditioner called Mane & Tails – showing a silhouette of horse on the front (yes, people can use it, but it’s ingredients are exactly what I want, simple and basic – and you can use it on your pets too). With conditioner, I *only* use this on my ends – never my roots. And, I don’t over wash my hair. Unless you are working out or otherwise causing a lot of sweatiness to your head, you just don’t need to actually wash it as often as some people think. Under normal conditions, I wash my hair every 5 days or so. Sometimes, it’s 4, other times it might be 6 days. Then, I alternate between the bs/acv as a wash, and the next time it will be shampoo/conditioner. Still maintaining the spacing between washes.

      All that said, there are other ways to wash your hair. Some swear by just doing a water rinse, and then using a boars hair brush to brush the natural oils from our roots, down through the hair. And yet others wash their hair just using conditioner. While others will make their “shampoo” using a veggie juice, like cucumber. The point is, if something isn’t working for you, experiment, try something else. But getting away from washing so often actually is healthier for our hair, letting the oils our body produces to help keep our hair healthy and beautiful. Those shampoos with all their goodies are what causes our heads to over produce oils, causing the greasy look we try to avoid (which works great for the shampoo makers.. because if our hair feels bad, then we want to wash it and the more it feels bad, the more often we wash and of course, the more shampoo we need).

      I agree with getting away from a lot of those chemicals, since there is a concern of them causing all sorts of health issues.. which is yet another post.

      Good luck, and if you find something that works for you, let me know about it. And switching up, using shampoo sometimes, isn’t a bad thing… so don’t let yourself feel any guilt over it.

  5. Hm, ok, someone’s out trolling angrily today…if not wanting to put silicones and phtalates onto my little girl’s hair makes me a dirty hippy, then I’ll go buy the t-shirt and wear it proudly.

    Moving along…

    Thanks for the lengthy suggestions Judi! I’m looking forward to trying the ACV on my scalp only and seeing the results…I’d also love to try a few different tea rinses…To be continued!

  6. Judi and May thank you so much. I am very new to this method and I was having the same problems that May was but after reading this it sounds like I was doing a lot of things wrong. I was using a BS paste on my scalp and then only using the ACV on my ends!! I swear I read that somewhere but maybe I got it wrong.

    Oh and I am not a hippie, quite the opposit in fact. But I am someone who is not happy with my hair and after years of trying different products on my hair to no avail I am giving this a try. It’s just another option to try. No need to get all snippy about it!!

    Thanks again Ladies!!

    • I was telling my husband about the recent comments on this ‘poo -less article and how Louise felt it was… well.. bullshit, to use her own term.

      My 10 year old boy overheard our conversation. A few minutes into the discussion, he nudges my arm and says ‘look’. He had done a search for harmful chemicals in shampoos and found an article connecting those chemicals to nerve damage.

      We home school, and this is exactly the type of thing I like to see in my kids. Their own interest in things leading them to further their own knowledge *and* taking the time do take that extra step.. If only everyone took advantage of the wealth of knowledge out there on the web.

      And though this is totally off topic of shampoo’ing or not, if you don’t like an article, you can always go check out what others might have to say about it. We all do things in our own way. I post here on MommaMuse what way I do it… but that doesn’t mean it’s the *only* way, or the *best* way, just *a* way.

      • How about an anecdote on how I’ve had horrendous scalp for years. Massive dandruff and painful itch, things that turn into scabs.

        I’ve tried every shampoo and condition available in California, Kansas, England, and wales. Nothing helped.

        Three weeks (3 washes) of baking soda and acv, and my scalp is so much better. Maybe I’m a dirty hippy (and trust me, I’ve NEVER been called a hippy before) but my healthy scalp says I should avoid shampoos.

        Also, homeschool is awesome. :)

        • Sara – sounds like you found a fix for your issues.. I also notice an itchy feeling at the back of my head that ends up in scabs periodically – I think it was due to over washing. :/

          Also, homeschool is awesome.

          We like it! :)

  7. The only problem I see with this recipe is the baking soda taking color out of processed hair. Not sure if I would recommend it if you have spent a lot of money at the salon?

    • Hmm.. this is something to consider, of course. I have read that others do both – use this shampoo recipe as well as color their hair. I don’t color my hair, so it’s not an issue for me ~~ but thank you for mentioning this for others!

      • Hi,
        I’m about 8 weeks into no poo (BS/ACV) with only one shampoo in there – when i got my hair colored. Yes, i know those chemicals are harmful…i’m working on my vanity….that said, i use a very weak BS solution and my color is fading quickly. I wash my hair once or twice a week, depending on my workout routine for that week. if anyone has any no poo recommendations for color-treated hair, please share! It has cleared up my scalp so much, i don’t want to quit!

    • Hi Hunter — Baking soda is suppose to be completely safe with color treated hair.. actually, making an improvement. I was able to do a search about it and find lots of information about personal experiences with the no poo method and processed hair.. I hope if others are interested and concerned, they’ll do a search to find what others have to say about it.

      • I had a hairdresser recommend baking soda to strip a bad colour out once, and I have to say it did work. It’s pretty widely know that bs strips colour. Perhaps it differs depending on the porousness of the hair?

        I’m day 4 of the BS/ACV routine (I have 1 tbs of BS and 1 tbs of ACV to one cup of water, plus peppermint essence and vanilla essence and rosewater to neutralise the odour) and doing fine. Not overly greasy, but I’m easing into it and still washing daily with this mixture. Will back off to every second day in week 2 and see how I go.

        • I wouldn’t say it’s widely known that BS strips hair – I have not seemed to come across this in my readings on using BS / ACV. After having used this off and on for almost 2 years now, on highlighted hair (not color yet), I’m willing to say I believe it is highly doubtful that the small amount being used to “wash” hair, will strip color from it.

          My current routine:
          . make 1 1/2 cups tea – usually using 3 tea bags (I like orange spice and green tea) to make it strong.
          . divide half into another container
          . first container steeps a bit longer, this will be my rinse, so I add about 2 teaspoons ACV and a capful of Rose hydrosol (When my hydrosol is gone, I may get some orange hydrosol, or I may just make rose or orange water) — set aside
          . second container I add 2 heaping teaspoons of BS and some cooler water (bringing it back up to 1 1/2 cups or so- eyeball it) and mix well

          – wet hair, pour BS water onto my head keeping it aimed at my roots (flip hair over to get nape of neck well)
          – rub around roots.. I love the feeling.. kind of slippery, clean
          – rinse with clean water
          – in remaining container, remove tea bags, add some cooler water (so there is about 1 1/2 to 2 cups).
          – Use the ACV rinse focusing on areas other than roots.
          – Do NOT rinse.
          – Squeeze out excess, towel dry as usual.

          I have been using this system consistently for at least a year now. Much happier with this way than I was before. I do use regular, cheap shampoo very periodically.. but my hair never feels as good when I do.

    • Hunter,
      I have found some recipes for hair color on it has a bunch of information and web-links on there, I didn’t really read up to much on it because I do not color treat my hair. However I think it might have helpful information.

  8. I can’t seem to get to the no-poo glory. I’ve tried different people’s no-poo shampoo bars but then I have to hear people like my mom asking me what’s wrong with my hair.
    I hate using all the harsh chemicals, but I don’t know what else to do.

    I haven’t tried baking soda, but I’m not sure of the ph issues. I have tried ACV and other vinegars, and somewhere along the way, I also tried a beer rinse.

    • Personally, I don’t like no-poo shampoo bars – I never could get a nice result from them. My dad, otoh, loves to use my soap for his hair – and it’s not even “formulated” to use on hair. He and I have different texture hair, and I wonder if maybe that could be some of it.

      In the end, I didn’t end up 100% happy with baking soda / acv rinse myself.. I do still use it, but I alternate every couple shampoos. I still only shampoo every 5 days or so.. I don’t seem to be able to get any longer than that, and I’m ok with it (as I think hair carries bed-time sweaty smells and so bed-head takes on a whole other meaning, haha).

      All the natural, all-natural recipes and view points aren’t for everyone, and only some things work for some people.. I’m trying to keep it in perspective.. that some things work for me, some don’t and sometimes work some times. I figure, every little bit is good.

    • If you don’t want to go no-poo and you don’t want the chemicals etc., may I suggest Aubrey Organics hair products. They contain NO harmful chemicals of any kinds. I have a book written by him (all about hair and skin care) and his entire philosophy for his products is to make them without the chemicals. This man has done his homework and makes products of very high integrity.

  9. Hi again Judi,
    Just wanted to update you on my no-poo journey. My family and I rented a cottage in the middle of nowhere this summer and ended up having a heck of time washing…anything…with the water that was being pumped through the pipes. I think it was just lake water and it was too soft. The clothing we washed still smelled bad after washing, and of course, no pooing was a disaster. We all had lank, dirty looking hair!

    Once we got back in town, my mother went to buy a “vegan” shampoo (perfume, glycol, phtalate, and SLS-free) so we could all clarify and start over. Strangely enough, it seems we passed the detox phase while at the cottage, so no pooing seems to be working better. We have however permanently switched our rinse to diluted lemon juice because ACV just made our hair greasy right away…no sure if it has something to do with the type or length of hair…

  10. Hi Judi. When I was using the baking soda method, it dried my hair out too much, even with the ACV rinse afterwards. AND I hated walking around smelling sour every time it was hot out and my pores would release the left over ACV lingering in my hair. My family couldn’t stand being around me because of the smell afterwards. Tried a diluted lemon juice rinse, but got the same dried out results. I have never had any of those issues or with PH balance using the Borax alone. I have never used a rinse afterwards, just plain old H2O. I only need to wash my hair once about every 4 or 5 days using the Borax, as it stays healthy and shiny that entire time frame. But in between washings, you MUST brush out your hair (I brush my hair out each day for about 5 minutes) to distribute the natural oils and release dirt particles that get trapped or no no-poo method will work for you. Perhaps this is why May is having issues? My hair is long, a little passed mid-back, and normal thickness, and it always looks beautiful and healthy. When I was using regular shampoo, it needed to be washed every other day at least, and was dull and lifeless. I will never go back to regular shampoo!

  11. Bumped into this article when I searched for “vinegar for hair” and found the title very interesting. I just wanted to ask, is this effective against dandruff too? I’m suffering from severe dandruff and no dandruff shampoo could get rid of it that’s why I’m looking for a remedy.

  12. I have started using the no poo shampoo. So far, I really like it. I have very naturally curly hair that tends to get oily fast. I was having to wash my hair every day or it would have that oily smell and go flat. I always put a leave in conditioner in my hair and my head would itch after one day of not washing. Since using the ACV and BS, I have gone three days not washing and my hair has not been greasy, flat, itchy or too frizzy. I too did not care for the smell of the vinegar afterwards. I am anxious to try the tea.

  13. I’ve been No-Pooing for the last three weeks and i really like it, still trying to find the perfect balance for my hair type but i think it will be so worth it. ive actually found that if you blend a cucumber and a lemon together and strain it through cheese cloth or a strainer, it makes for an excellent conditioning no poo. i’ve had some dryness issues with the baking soda rinse but im going to try dilluting the rinse and see if that helps. i’ve really enjoyed reading how people tweek their own recipe for different types of hair and im deffinantly going to try a few!

    • Sally – I <3 the cucumber and lemon idea! That sounds terrific! I found the baking soda and the apple cider vinegar each on their own to be so drying, and I just wasn’t finding the perfect balance.. so I gave up.. but I’m still sticking to shampoos with less ingredients, and not washing so often. I do want to get back to trying no-poo.. But with a new plan of action – and the cucumber and lemon idea is going on that list of things to try.

  14. Hi Judi! Thank for this article! I am starting out on my no ‘poo journey and I was wondering, do you pour on the ACV mix AFTER you rinse out the BS mix? Or do you pour the ACV mix on while you still have the BS mix in your hair?
    How long do you leave each mix on your head for?

    Also, my hair has been super dry since I started no ‘poo, especially since the weather got colder, so I have a ton of static on my hair! Do you have this problem? Maybe I’m doing something wrong like using too much BS or not enough ACV as conditioner?


    • Melanie – sorry I was slow to get back to you. First, kudos for starting the no-poo journey. It’s a trial (and error) method for certain.

      Ok.. BS (baking soda) mix goes first.. work it in at the base of your hair, on your scalp and try to avoid it getting on the most of your hair (it can be drying)… after you’ve worked it in, massaged your head and fantasized about a stylist massaging your head (they always make it feel so good), then give it a good rinse. I never left the bs on longer than to work it in to my scalp and give a good rub around before rinsing. So not more than a minute or two.

      Then, you pour on the ACV (apple cider vinegar).. At that point, I finish some of my other shower routine, and then rinse the ACV out. I also started making a tea and adding the acv to the tea, rather than just plain water -as it seemed to help with the vinegar smell. During the summer, when I’d get hot and sweaty, the vinegar scent would “come out” and, while I love vinegar, smelling it on my body like that was not a good thing.

      I don’t know if you saw any of the other comments, but before you, Sally, commented that she uses cucumber and lemon (strained through a cheese cloth, or similar). By her post it sounds like she’s using that for the shampoo.. and I think it sounds wonderful. And I’ve read about the cucumber being used for hair (no-poo). I imagine this would help with the static problem.

      You aren’t doing anything wrong. I think all of us are stumbling through trying to find a method that works for us – and being that we’re all individuals, the ratio and the ingredients of what we try is going to be individual too… we just keep plugging away to find what works (and what doesn’t) and then share our findings so others can try it out too.

      If you find something that helps, or if you find yourself frustrated with the whole thing, regardless, I’d be happy to hear what you do… so if you want to share you experience, please do! :)

  15. Hi everyone I just wanted to add on to my last comment about the cucumber and lemon recipe, you don’t really want to put it on your roots unless you have extreamly dry or curly hair. I found it looks to greasy, but for the middle and ends of your hair its a great conditioner. You will also want to put it in the refridgerator so it dosent go bad :)

  16. You know I haven’t tried that yet but I don’t see why not. I found another recipe that uses Dr. Bronners soap, water, and baking soda that works great and you can put olive oil in if necessary, plus some essential/fragrance oils for a nice smell :)

  17. Love your website!!! One question…do you have to mix the bs/water and ACV/water every time you use it, or can you just make up a bottle and leave it in the shower and shake it up when you are going to use it?

    • Thank you Laurie! As for whether you can pre-mix or not, that’s completely up to you. It might be possible that molds could grow in it if it’s left long enough.. I always made fresh, because I like it warm. 😉 Maybe try distilled water, into a sterile container (run through a dishwasher).. that would definitely help prevent any molds. Also, a quarter-size of shampoo in your palm warms up much faster than a cup of room temp water on your head – I found the pre-made to be too chilly for me (but I did try it). But if neither of those things are a worry to you, then, try it (and let me know how it works out for you!).

  18. I recently started “no pooing” lol. I’ve been growing my hair out after a horrendous haircut that left me looking like a chipmunk. I knew I looked better with long hair anyways but my hair always had one problem or another and was just ok. Then I lost my job and as a single mom had to cut corners wherever possible. I was skeptical because my hair is long, dark, straight, fine and tangles really easily. To top it off my scalp gets oily but my strands and ends get dry. This has been a life saver for me and it started by reading your column and making a recipe that worked for me.

    Here it is & I hope others get use out of it too. (by the way I had all these supplies on hand and just thoroughly washed out my old shampoo and conditioner bottles.)

    No Poo: heat 2 cups spring water and put in 2 bags chamomile tea. Put in rosemary if you like as it is good for scalp. Turn off when it boils and as it cools add 1 tbs of baking soda and 1/4 tsp. Olive oil.

    Rub this in for a minute and rinse with water.

    Conditioning Rinse: you might not need this but since my hair gets tangled and I love having it shiny I take the apple cider vinegar rinse one step further.

    Heat 2 cups spring water and put in 2 bags green tea (organic is best but at least make sure its 100% natural & nothings added). Turn off when it boils. I used more rosemary. 2 tbs. ACV and a good splash of rosewater. Essential oil can be added if the vinegar smell bothers you but only a few drops. I swear no more combing my hair through a bunch of tangles and when I dispense this I can smell the acv but after rinsing the conditioner out and towel drying I cant smell it at all. The rosewater and green tea are all I smell. This made enough for several washes. I love it and hope more people try it.

  19. I started using baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair over 3 weeks ago, and even if my hair feels ok, it still looks dull and not shiny, why’s that? I use 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 2 table spoons of vinegar, I dissolve both in different containers… not sure what to do!

    • Federica – I don’t know if you read all the comments, but Megan N. just a few comments before you posted how she’s washing her hair… maybe her additions will help you out.

      I’d also suggest doing some more searching on ‘no poo recipes’ or ‘natural hair masks’, or similar. I picked up a cucumber (I got the seedless kind) and plan to run that through the blender and mixing it with the “tea” (acv and tea rince) and straining it to get any pulp out (rather than pick the pieces out of my hair!).. this is suppose to be a good conditioner.. maybe it will help with shine. I also found a hair mask that calls for yogurt, egg and mayo – and another that calls for avocado, banana, egg & oil. I’m sure there are lots of different natural things to use for our hair/face body.. it’s a matter of trial and error to find which ones work best for our own body. Good luck.. and if you find something that works for you (or something that doesn’t), let us know!

  20. Hey!
    it’s me again! I have been having problems with the no poo solution and I was wondering if anyone had the same problems/could help me solve mine! So basically, sometimes I wash my hair with the bicarbonate solution and acv rinse and it’s fine… other times I wash it and when I brush it or comb it, my hair leaves a gross greasy thing on the comb and the brush, and I know when this happens there is nothing I can do other then wash my hair with normal shampoo at least once… anybody experienced the same thing?
    thank you!

  21. Hi everybody!! I tried this no poo method on my hair and aftr only one try I absolutely loved the results!! Im Japanese, so I have Asian hair of course. My hair felt so much better, not flimsy, more body, its a little drying, but it works for me because I hated how shampoos make my hair weighted down. My hair feels cleaner.

    I wanted to point out that I drink ACV for many things, diluted in water of course, but I only use Braggs brand. They claim theres work better for ailments. So maybe if you switched you might get different results?? Anyway just a thought.

    Thanks for the article!!!

  22. I forgot to mention that I never do blow dry my hair. So if you do blow dry, that could be one reason your may be dry after you are no pooing your hair. Also I try to only no poo my scalp, not so much the hair. Its your scalp that needs the washing.

    I also use filtered water in the bottles. After the baking soda wash, i wrinse using cooler water, then take the diluted acv filtered water in the bottle and pour that all
    over my head or hair. Im surprised i dont smell like acv after my hair dries!!

    If you really need to blow dry your hair, use the cool setting.

  23. Hi
    Linked to this post over here-
    Hope that’s ok? Love all the question/answers in the comments, some great advice.

    • Thanks Katie – the picture you are using doesn’t actually link to my site.. if you could fix that, it’d be awesome. :) Your site looks great.. keep at it… before you know it, you’ll be a source everyone will be coming to for information on eczema. I make real soap – I’ve always heard that’s good for eczema too.

  24. Hi,
    I’m also using the bs and acv and am generally pleased although I do get this greasy with stuff on my brush and my hair does seems to be much more heavy than with regular shampoo. It gives it more body and look thicker but I am a little worried that it actually looks kinda dirty, cause it feels a bit dirty :-/
    Also the acv makes it very greasy so I really use a minimal amount.
    Do you also have that greasy film on your hair, leaving white stuff on your brush?

    • The greasiness is likely coming from your body having to adjust — with store bought shampoos, our hair gets coated and isn’t able to soak up our natural oils – so our bodies create more oils, because our hair has dried out, thus leading to greasy looking hair. Once your body adjusts to the new method of washing, you shouldn’t notice as much oils. ACV doesn’t contain any oils, it’s main purpose is to get the ph balance back to normal after using the BS.

      I’m not sure about the white greasy film.. try rinsing more thoroughly?

  25. I had been using homemade shampoo bars as an effort to go no poo but recently started the bs/acv method and I guess my hair had already “detoxed” because my hair is so shiny and soft. While I used conventional shampoo my ends were always frizzy and by my scalp was always oily so I was forced to shampoo every day!! This method has been a real lifesaver!! I only have to “wash” about every 4-5 days now. For the wash i put 1 tbps baking soda in 16 oz boiling water and add 16 oz cold water when all baking soda is dissolved so it wont burn my scalp. Pour it slowly on scalp and gently massage into roots. Rinse with plain water making sure to get out all traces of the baking soda. For my final rinse I brew 1 green tea bag and 1 chamomile tea bag in 16 oz water and after its brewed I add another 16 oz cold water so the mixture won’t burn the scalp. I then add 1 tbps acv and 3 drops lavender essential oil and put a bamboo skewer in it so I can mix it all up when I’m ready to rinse. I then slowly pour it over my hair again massaging it into my scalp and I don’t rinse it out I just wrap in a towel until I’m ready to style it. I can’t believe the difference in the texture and feel of my hair!! It’s been life changing and I actually can wear my hair down now and have discovered I actually have some natural curl where the frizz used to be!!

  26. anyone ever use washing soda instead of regular baking soda?

  27. I’ve started doing the no poo method. I’m on day 6 now and I just put together now that I’m not sure no poo will work for dying my hair. And I had been planning to dye it darker before I started this. Is there a complication in dying my hair when I’ve taken shampoo out of my daily life? Should I try washing it with baking soda before I dye it? And will baking soda be okay to use afterwards? I’m not sure if you know any of this, but I figured I’d ask since you seem pretty well versed on being no poo and it’s effects. Any suggestions would be helpful :)

    • I do not think the small amount of BS we use to ‘wash’ our hair will hurt your hair color.. but it’s worth paying attention to.

      When I first started doing the no poo method, I was washing the ACV out of my hair.. quickly realized how dried out my hair was… a few months afterwards, I read where you should leave the ACV IN.. so that’s what I do now and it’s perfect! I am absolutely happy with the whole method now. I did post a few comments up (or down?) about my newest routine and I’ve been doing this way for over a year now.

  28. Hi Judi, thanks so so much for your post.

    I would like to start this method but I’ve been soo used to washing my hair everyday. My hair is starting to thin, would this help my hair? Also, I’m very active and go to the gym almost daily and that is why I wash my hair daily. I see you mentioned using no poo every 4-5 days. What should I do in my case? Would it be bad to use this method daily or it would dry out my hair more?

    • hi Brooke,

      I think this method, or a variation of it, is best for all hair types (and amounts). I don’t wash my hair that often, so I’m not really sure if it would be drying or not. But, if it were me, I’d start off gradually. Wash your hair every other day.. and after a week or more of that, see if you are able to stretch it to every 2 days. And so on.

      If you need to, between ‘washes’, just rinse your hair.. run water through it and see if that can’t hold you off one extra day, or even get you from that morning to that night.

      And if one recipe doesn’t work for you, try a different one. I had to switch up my recipe and I’m much happier with it now. Keep me posted and let me know if you have other questions. :)

  29. I was having problems with too greesey. so i used more bs and less acv and that has worked well for me. ANd i definately don;t leave in the acv. jUst wanted to say what worked for me.

  30. I have been going no poo for around a month. My hair is fine, curly, dry and I am going grey, ( silver & white ). I use baking soda, ACV & honey as a conditioner. I use coconut oil on my hair as as an oil treatment before cleansing my hair, and I mix some coconut oil with lavender essentel oil and I dab bit in the palm of my hand rub them together and lightly rub it into my hair

    • Great suggestions, Carolyn! I love how much info everyone shares. Love the coconut oil and lavender oil suggestion. Sounds wonderful!

  31. Hi! I have been looking into trying the No-Poo method and have read many blogs and websites about it. I like the tips you have given, especially the tea one, because apple cider vinegar smells nasty. I have been wondering if I could soak something like orange peels or cucumber peels or slices in the ACV rinse to take the stink out? I have read that you can apparently soak orange peels in regular vinegar for a natural orange household cleaner, and I was wondering if I could do the same with the ACV hair rinse. Just curious. :)

    • Lori

      There are no hard and fast rules to going no-poo.. just like with a recipe, or tutorial, feel free to add your own twist to it. I think orange or lemon peels added to the vinegar would be a great idea! I’m currently using some left over rose hydrosol in mine and it’s great – but almost gone. I think I’ll give your idea a try myself. I started juicing and we don’t use the peel in the juicer (too bitter), so this will perfect for all my leftover orange and grapefruit peels! (I’m so excited with this idea, lol!

      Cucumber peel may not add as much to it, since it’s so thin, but you could try it.. or experiment. Maybe blend a whole cuke in the blender/food processor (or juicer, if you have one) and use that as part of your liquid in the rinse. If you use the blender/food processor, I’d filter out the fiber first – otherwise, it’ll be a mess to get out of your hair. I’m also excited about this idea. I just got out of the shower and wish I’d thought to juice up a cucumber for my rinse. Ahhh.. next time. :)

  32. I’m 2 weeks in to my no poo journey and just tried the black tea rinse with the vinegar and its so sickley sweet scented (I used chai tea) i want to hurl. Is there a tea that you would reccommend that covers the vinegar scent but isn’t so strong?

    • I know what you mean. My favorite is an orange tea and I like ones with clove in it too. I’ve been meaning to pick up some cloves (not powder) to try in the water too. Anymore, I only use about 2 teaspoons of ACV. I’ve found I don’t need a whole lot, especially since I don’t rinse it out.

      One other thing, I’m not sure if you’ve read all the comments, but I also use a teaspoon or so of Rose Hydrosol along with the ACV and it works well even when I don’t use any teas. There are all sorts of hydrosols available (some more fragrant than others),so you should be able to find one that might work well with your nose… :) should you want to try it. If you do, definitely look in bulk, online, in health food stores, you’ll pay a premium for a tiny amount (just like essential oils). Here’s one place I’ve ordered from in the past and will again soon –

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