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By Sara Baker, Contributing Writer 

Going no ‘poo has been a big craze over the last few years.

Many wonder if it is just a fad, or worth looking into. Does it really have benefits or is it just a “hippie thing?” How does one go “no ‘poo?” And of course, the big question: “Does it work?” Let’s find out!

Why Going No ‘Poo is More Than a “Hippie Thing”

When I heard about no’poo a few years ago, I brushed it off as one of those things that only crazy people did. But it turns out that pretty normal people aren’t using shampoo either!

Our scalps secrete oils. When we use shampoo all the time, we wash all of those oils away and our scalps are forced to secrete more oils than they were intended to. Oil is often seen as a bad thing, but we actually need these oils to have healthy scalps and hair!

Shampoo wasn’t invented until the early 1900s! How did women before then wash their hair? There are different ways (some including washing with eggs!)…but how does the modern woman (or man) go no ‘poo?

How to Start

Going no ‘poo is so much easier than you may think! All you need is

  • baking soda
  • apple cider vinegar
  • water

That’s it! The general consensus is that 1 Tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 1 cup of water is the best ratio. If it dries out your scalp or hair, you can look into using less or an alternative. A tip: put the baking soda into a cup before getting into the shower, then fill the cup with warm shower-water so you aren’t dumping cold water all over your head! 

Scrub the baking soda water into your scalp and hair and rinse very well.

The ratio is the same for apple cider vinegar to water. Pour onto your hair (not on your scalp entirely) and rub gently. Rinse very well!

And you’re done! Easy, huh? Cheap too!

Some Things to Add

It is very normal to go through a transition period of a few weeks! So many people try out the no ‘poo method for a few washes and then give up when their hair doesn’t look good. But it is a good idea to commit to 3-6 weeks before giving up! Your hair may not look the way you want it to, but what is happening is that your scalp is trying to adjust how much oil it is producing. You need this transition time.

Rarely, going no ‘poo doesn’t work past this transition time. Some things to consider if your hair doesn’t adjust after 3-6 weeks:

  • Perhaps look into getting a shower water filter. Chlorine does damage to hair, as does hard water. Many people report better experiences after getting a shower water filter.
  • Consider an alternative to baking soda…some people just don’t have a good reaction to it, but only a few. Most people tolerate it just fine. You can also adjust how much baking soda you are using.
  • Some people wash with just water and love it!

Going no ‘poo eliminates the need for chemicals and products to use on your hair that are often expensive or just another cost. Your skin does absorb the chemicals you put on it, and shampoo is full of them, even “natural” ones! Going no ‘poo is definitely worth considering and trying!

If you would like to read a personal account of my journey going without shampoo, check out the following links:

I Ditched Shampoo!, Update #2, Update #3, and Update #4!

 Have You Ever Tried No ‘Poo? What Experience Did You Have?

This is the writings of:

Sara of A Joyful Mother is a follower of Christ, married to a strong man with a leader’s soul, and Mama of a sweet little boy who is more like his Daddy every day. Sara is passionate about natural health and the vibrancy it brings, the powerful role of the stay at home Mama, Christianity, herbs, real food in all its deliciousness, and natural birth. You can find her at her blog (www.ajoyfulmother.com) writing about abiding in the home with joy (Psalm 113:9) and finding fulfillment in the little things Mamas do every day.

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22 Comments

  1. I started using the raw organic apple cider vinegar for the rinse because I was suspecting that the shampoo and conditioner (almost 100% organic) that I have been using for years has caused buildup and it was killing my roots. My hair roots became very weak and thin and my hair was falling out after it was passing shoulder length so I had to keep cutting it short. As soon as I cut it, the hair loss stopped until it grew out longer again and the weight was too much. So I am using the organic shampoo following up with the vinegar rinse. Why is not OK to rinse your scalp? I was targeting that the most because of the root issue. I did notice that my hair gets very oily on the second day, so I am assuming that the vinegar removed some of the buildup and my scalp is secreting the oils again.

    So I guess my questions are: are you absolutely sure about the not rinsing the scalp and why? And does anyone else battle this same issue with weak hair roots? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Cristina, for your problem with your roots, I would look into a diet change. I would work on a nutrient dense diet. But that is just my first thought…I am not entirely sure. As for the rinsing, that is just what I read. The vinegar is really just for your hair, not your scalp.

      Reply

      • Hi Sara, it is very difficult to pinpoint what is missing from my diet. I eat 100% organic, fruits, veggies and meat. Very little dairy, cheese, occasional eggs and almost none grains.

        Reply

        • Have you looked into raw, grass-fed dairy? The nutrients in raw milk heals teeth, so I imagine it could do great things for your hair and nails too!

          Reply

          • I have been eating only non-processed, whole foods for a couple years now; but, although my skin improved continually, it wasn’t until I switched to grass-fed beef that my hair finally started improving. And now I can clean my hair with baking soda and ACV. I had tried it before without good results. But now it is the best thing ever for my hair — and everyone seems to notice! I do also rinse (after the ACV) with some organic raw honey/water mix and then rinse it out after a couple minutes (about 1/4 cup honey in a cup of warm water). It is awesome! No more shampoo or conditioner for me. Don’t know if it’s the beef or the lack of shampoo/conditioner/coloring or what, but my hair is even less gray than it used to be!

      • Can there anything bad happen if the vinegar gets on my scalp? I really do have a lot of build up on my scalp from the shampoo and other products, only vinegar is able to remove it.

        Reply

        • I have curly hair, a bit dry, but I use 50/50 or 30/70 ACV and water as shampoo… let it soak as I wash my body and rinse out as I rinse to end shower. Once a month or so I use the baking soda… I really like the ACV. Experiment, be your own ‘DR.’
          I have heard that drinking Distilled water for longer than 4-6 weeks will damage and weaken your hair. It sounds like you are not absorbing nutrients?
          keep searching and testing, be the scientist, blessings,

          Reply

    • Hi Cristina,
      I have recently discovered something called diatomaceous earth. I came across it when searching for something natural to rid my cats of fleas and then discovered it is supposed to be really good for hair, skin, nails and detoxifying the body also. I ended up buying from a company called Diatom who sell it in different forms, one for getting rid of fleas, one to feed animals and a human food grade one too, so I have bought the lot!
      As I have only been taking it for a couple of weeks I can’t really say if it has helped my hair yet (similar to yours in that it falls out and grows no longer than shoulder length) but I have high hopes.
      It is not expensive so might be worth a try :) )

      Reply

  2. I’ve been ‘poo free for over a year now, grateful and never looked back! One thing I tried without thinking it through was to rinse the soda out of my hair using the dilute vinegar – but of course this produces a salt as the two react so my hair was bad for a couple weeks until I realised what I was doing! Only my husband left to convince now ;-)

    Reply

  3. You’ve piqued my interest!
    But… what about conditioner? It is no longer necessary?

    Reply

  4. I do this too! It works GREAT! Talk about cheaper & healthier :D

    Reply

  5. I’ve been doing BS/ACV on my hair for almost 4 yrs. It works wonderfully except my hair has gone curly now and I have switched to alternating “no poo” with “co-poo” (washing with no-sulfate/no-glycerin/no parabenans, etc. conditioner – my curly hair needs the increased moisture). I will say that I’ve found that too much ACV (apple cider vinegar) makes my hair look and act all greasy and gummed up. I’m convinced that most of the folks that have troubles with “no poo” are using too much vinegar, or not rinsing well enough after washing and then again after rinsing. I use much different ratios than shared in the article (my hair is down to my bra strap): 1(one) generous Tablespoon of baking soda to a pint (2 cups) of warm water. I also add a few drops each of rosemary and peppermint EO’s (wonderful for clearing the scalp, hair growth and volume) and mix in well. I use about half of this mixture for one wash. I wash well, focusing on vigorously rubbing the scalp and just squeezing through the rest of my hair. Rinse very well. For the ACV rinse, I only use maybe 1 teaspoon of ACV to 2 cups of water (I look for it to have barely any color). I use the whole pint and pour over my scalp, working through my hair. I usually leave the ACV in while I finish showering, then rinse out well with cool water at the end. I can usually go 2-3 days between washes this way.

    Reply

  6. [...] sex of the baby (next week!). So I am also looking at ways to save money in the coming months. I went no ‘poo once, but my hormonal, itchy, flaky scalp could not keep up. Should I try again? It is a [...]

    Reply

  7. Just can’t do it. I have used the same shampoo for over 6 years and my hair is the healthiest it has ever been. I get compliments all the time about how shiny and healthy my hair looks, my hairdresser is envious! My hair has been SHORT for 8 years , I started growing it out in September and is now to my earlobes (had 2 trims to even things out). I don’t want to mess up a good thing! Plus my shampoo costs $1.39 a bottle and lasts 2 months… cheaper than baking soda and vinegar. I also cannot stand the smell of vinegar… eeewww. Can’t hardly clean with the stuff, yet alone put it in my hair. Glad it works for some, just not for this chick.

    Reply

  8. What about dandruff? I tried not using shampoo, but as a result i get a lot of dandruff. Does backing soda or avc help with that?

    Reply

  9. I have gone no poo and use conditioning shampoo bars. They are with essential oils. I have dry scalp like dandruff. The Baking soda, cider vinegar dried me up too much making it worse. I do well with the conditioning shampoo bars. They are from Apple Valley Soaps – Read up on them yourself.

    Reply

  10. [...] The Poo-Free Method is a great way to clean your hair and scalp naturally without synthetic ingredients. Because it balances the scalp’s pH and regulates healthy oil production, many people find that the Poo-Free Method solves long-time hair/scalp issues (excessive oil, dryness, dandruff, etc). But going poo-free doesn’t necessarily mean it will magically solve all your hair problems. Sometimes the scalp and hair need a little extra help. Here are some solutions to common hair/scalp problems (they are to be used with the poo-free method): [...]

    Reply

  11. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who was doing a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me lunch due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this issue here on your site.

    Reply

  12. I actually prefer to use cold/cool water in my BS solution because I can feel where its going when I pour it on my scalp. My hair is so long and heavy – getting my fingers through it to clean is incredibly hard and time consuming!

    Reply

  13. […] which is really the most inexpensive option if cost is a factor for you. (No poo resources here, here, and here to get you […]

    Reply

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