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Eco-Friendly Shampoo and Conditioner

Eco-Friendly Shampoo and Conditioner

I seem to be on a body-care roll these days. Perhaps it’s the cold weather, keeping me inside and giving me time to think about all the ways in which my daily routine is still in need of an eco fine-tuning. I tend to live pretty low on the consumer scale, but I still buy commercial (all-natural) toothpaste; I still use shampoo in plastic bottles (though I buy as local, handmade, toxin-free as possible); I still buy commercially-made soap (Dr. Bronner’s – but I could make my own, or buy more locally if I really tried). So the other day, when my friend sent me a link to a mom-blogger who posted her homemade, non-toxic, eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner routine to her site, I thought, okay, I should really try this.

I was definitely (still am) thrown off a little by the caveat, “You might have a transition period that lasts from a few weeks to a few months, where your hair reacts with excess oil to the lack of shampoo.” Now, my hair is naturally fine, naturally prone to being oily, and naturally my least favorite feature, so when someone tells me it’s going to look worse than it usually does, I take pause. But this week, I’ve washed and conditioned it with six different shampoo and conditioner combinations (due to construction at my house, I had no hot water this week, so vagabonded my way through showering at other people’s houses), all resulting in less and less happy hair. In fact, resulting in very oily hair. Which led me to realize that if I was going to suffer through oily hair, it might as well be while working towards the gorgeous results I hope to find in homemade shampooing and conditioning.

Here is her basic homemade shampoo and conditioner recipe (I would quote her by name, if I could find her bio anywhere on the blog site, but all I know of her, besides her beautiful hair, is her byline name of TSH), and I encourage you to read her whole post as it explains a bit about why commercial shampoo is damaging to both you and the environment and gives a nice personal story to go along with the recipe below:

1 TBS baking soda
1 C water

Note: “Those with curly or thicker hair might need a bit more baking soda, and those with thin or fine hair might need less. Experiment, and see what works for you. I use a simple 8-ounce squeeze bottle, pour in a tablespoon of baking soda with a funnel, then fill up the rest with water from the kitchen sink. I give it a good shake to dissolve the baking soda, and itís ready to be used. In the shower, I soak my hair with water, then I squeeze a bit of the baking soda mixture on my scalp, starting at the crown. I massage it in as I go, squeezing a bit more here and there, concentrating mostly on the scalp. I include my hair as well, but since most of the oils originate from the scalp itself, the hair will naturally get cleaned once the scalp is clarified.”

1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 C water

Note: “For this, I use an old conditioner bottle, and fill it with the vinegar and water via funnel, then finish it with a shake. My hair tends to rest a little on the oily side naturally, so I donít use much of this. I pour a little on just the ends of my hair, let it rest for a few seconds, then rinse it out.” [1]

I am without both baking soda and apple cider vinegar, but am clearly with oily hair that needs washing so badly, even the “I-just-got-back-from-the-yoga-studio-knot-of-hair-on-top-of-my-head look isn’t fooling anyone; and therefore am off to Whole Foods to go get myself some old-fashioned hair washing ingredients.

- Jocelyn Broyles

[1] “How To Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo” by TSH on

Headline image © Jessica Mullen

Read more: Basics, Bed & Bath, Conscious Consumer, Family, Food, Health, Home, , , , , , , ,

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4:02AM PDT on May 21, 2015


11:42PM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

Will try

12:55PM PST on Jan 16, 2012

I can't believe people are afraid to try something. Thanks Greenil. This makes more sense than lathering up and drying out. It's our hair, not the laundry. Plus, the environmental impact is zilch!

4:15PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

I think I'd rather you just give us a relatively good shampoo brand without the harsh chemicals. There has to be SOMETHING at the store.

1:30AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

i don't know about smelling like apple cider vinegar...

12:27PM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

Thank you!

1:06PM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

I just tried the baking soda! AMAZING!

2:16AM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

I have tried these recipes twice now, and I AM A FAN!!! It works marvellously! And it's so easy... Thank you so much!!!

9:10AM PDT on Jun 15, 2011


10:13PM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

I've heard of adding baking soda or vinegar to shampoo to get rid of buildup,but never to use as shampoo and conditioner on their own.Don't know,not sure if I want to try it...

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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