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No ‘Poo: Get Beautiful Hair with Just Baking Soda & Vinegar

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No ‘Poo: Get Beautiful Hair with Just Baking Soda & Vinegar

Truly natural or organic shampoos can be pretty pricey, but you don’t need to drop big bucks for shiny, healthy hair. It might sounds like the recipe for a hair volcano, but baking soda and vinegar work great as shampoo and conditioner substitutes. Folks who use baking soda and vinegar instead of shampoo often call this technique the  “no ‘poo” or “no shampoo” method.

Here are some tips on how to wash your hair with baking soda and vinegar!

Why Do No ‘Poo?

Like I mentioned above, it’s much cheaper than truly natural or organic shampoo and conditioner, but why not just grab a cheap bottle of Herbal Essences and be done with it, right? The trouble with conventional shampoo, including faux natural brands like Herbal Essences, is that they contain potentially harmful ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and fragrance.

For me, fragrance is the worst synthetic chemical in beauty products. “Fragrance” is actually an unregulated term that could refer to any cocktail of thousands of largely under-tested chemicals. Companies can get away with this misleading labeling under the guise of “proprietary information.” Meanwhile, we’re washing our hair with potential allergens and carcinogens. Boo on that!

I used to wash my hair with shampoo every other day, and after a few months doing no ‘poo, I only have to wash it once or twice a week, depending on how active I am. That means that not only do you save money, but you save water and the energy used to heat it for all of those longer showers.

Before we get into the ins and out of no ‘poo on the next page, I think it’s important to talk about one downside to making this switch: many people experience a breaking in period.

The Breaking In Period

I will warn you right now that almost everyone who switches to no ‘poo initially does have a breaking in period that can last from a few days to even a few weeks while your scalp adjusts. Some folks write the no ‘poo thing off after just a week or less, saying that it doesn’t work, but chances are that is because their body hasn’t gotten used to this more natural method for cleaning their hair.

Shampoo strips your hair of natural moisture, so your scalp might still be in oil-production overdrive for a little while while you adjust. The breaking in period can be pretty unfun, but there are a couple of things you can do to make it easier on yourself.

If you have short hair, brush it regularly. This helps distribute the oils more evenly, so your hair won’t look so greasy during the transition. Brushing can help distribute the oil in long hair, too, and you might want to go for updos, like pony tails or buns until your hair adjusts.

On the next page, check out my basic no ‘poo recipe and then some tips from fellow no-’pooers, including info on no ‘poo for curly hair!

Image Credit: Creative Commons phoot by trenttsd

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


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4:27PM PDT on Sep 26, 2014


I was excited to read this article, because I don't trust corporate America to have our health in mind when they create products. So I've been on the baking soda plan for more than a year, and used it with my children, as well. Recently I started noticing that my hair seemed to be getting a lot thinner, which is odd since I'm 50 and have always had thick hair. A little late to start going bald when it's not in the family.

Yesterday I looked at my hair in the mirror, after seeing a bunch more hair in my comb, and was shocked by how thin it had become. I started researching minoxidil and wondering how this could be happening to me. Then it occurred to me that I never had problems until I started using baking soda shampoo. I just looked up "baking soda and hair loss" on Google and found several pieces about how it burns your hair because it is very alkaline. i'm going to stop immediately and hope that the damage isn't permanent.

9:35AM PDT on Aug 11, 2014

Good article! I'm always delighted to find another no-pooer. In response to your question, I've been doing baking soda/Apple cider vinegar for nearly five years and wouldn't go back to commercial products for anything. I have thick, wavy hair and always had trouble finding a shampoo and conditioner that didn't leave it looking and feeling kind of greasy, gloppy and icky.

My routine is to wash my hair every fourth or fifth day with 1 tablespoon baking soda in a cup of warm water, followed by a rinse using 2 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar with live cultures. In the beginning I used 1 tablespoon ACV, but later found that 2 work better for my hair, leaving it silky-feeling and soft. The other days, I do water only and a quick scalp massage.

I blogged about my experience for awhile, and more recently wrote about it on Squidoo ("Could you give up your shampoo and conditioner?")

I hope someday to get to the water only method, but I've a ways to go. By the fifth or sixth day, my hair still feels lovely and clean, but in the mirror is hanging slightly greasy and clumpy, so I wash it again.

Your article is so well done. Thank you for sharing it here.

3:37AM PDT on Jul 10, 2014


3:44AM PDT on Mar 22, 2014

If you have dandruff, you might try limiting animal products and eliminating gluten. Along with the baking soda wash (for skin too) that's what rid it completely for me.

4:52AM PST on Feb 23, 2014


4:50AM PST on Feb 23, 2014

very good, I did wonder if it would work for me as I have curly hair, I'll check out 'at Beautiful Somehow' and see how she got on!

10:07PM PST on Jan 29, 2014

That’s a nice site you people are carrying out there..
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4:42AM PST on Jan 25, 2014

i have been seeing and reading a lot of no-poo approach. and im getting very curious that will be trying this soon. i have been doing the vinegar though. its a hair rinse as they call it. i boil 2 cups of water put in rosemary for anti-dundruf (but you could use whatever herbs you want) and once its cooled i add 1-2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, you could add a couple of drops of essential oil if you fancy. and make sure thats its not hot when you use it.

in the first 2 weeks i have been doing my hair rinse 2x a week but now its only once a week. and i must say i got good results, my hair is not as dry as before and my dundruf is lessened.

hope this helps somehow.

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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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