Nourishing Flourishing

I Don’t Wash My Hair.

23 Mar

NOTE: There is a follow-up/FAQ post! Click here if you are looking for more detailed information : )

Yessir (ma’am?), you read that correctly. I don’t wash my hair. Fact. (I hope I roped you in… I feel like we’re taught early on in middle school to have a catchy title that’s misleading and sensational enough for a teacher to give it a proud nod, and pass your name on to the National Enquirer. Apparently that’s an important part of learning to write an essay. Who knew?)

Anyway… I suppose I should come clean (*snort*) and let you know that I may or may not wash my hair, depending on your definition. (Most of you are thinking, “If that has to have a definition, it’s not washing…” Please don’t exit yet. I’m not as gross as I seem.)

Here is an accidental shot of my hair my husband took whilst hiking this Sunday (after a few days of not ‘washing’)…pretty normal, right?

Our good friend Joshua (the one I bribe to eat salad by making honey mustard dressing) was here last night, and somehow it came up that I don’t use shampoo or conditioner, nor do I really use much soap (an upcoming post). He was shocked. But after talking we seemed to be on the same page, and it actually made sense that my hair looks as healthy as it does.

This is what I do, instead of shampoo: After getting my hair wet, I use a small amount of (1-2 Tb) baking soda and (1/2 – 1 cup) water, mix, pour or rub into my roots only, let the shower spray a little more on roots (only) again to spread it out, massage my scalp, let it sit for a minute or so, rinse, and condition with a tiny bit (>1 Tb) of apple cider vinegar mixed with (1/4-1/2 cup) water only on the ends of my hair, and rinse. If I want, I rub a miniscule amount of almond extract on my hair (totally unnecessary, I just like the scent). No, I don’t smell homeless. No, I don’t smell like vinegar. No, my hair doesn’t look like someone who never showers. If anything, I get kind compliments on how healthy my hair looks! No one believes me when they learn I don’t shampoo.

Let me start by giving you the main reasons I believe that shampoo is not a necessity, and is actually more destructive than helpful:

1) Cost

After I realized shampoo was not a necessity, I also realized how much money I wasted on it in the past. Some women are willing to shell out $50 (yes, I have seen this) on shampoo and conditioner. On a normal basis. Most people might spend $6 a month or so on average for hair care like this. Baking soda is so much cheaper, especially if you get it in bulk! I spend maybe $1 a month, and I don’t even get mine in bulk. Why be dependent on something you don’t need?

2) Health

This was my internal conversation as I considered going “[sham]poo-less”: Self, did you know that your skin is the largest organ in/on your body? And that those little pores actually absorb things into your bloodstream? Guess where your bloodstream goes? Oh yeah, all through your entire body system. Do you really want to fill it up with things like Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate? You wouldn’t eat it, right? Sick. That junk is used in car washes and engine degreasers. Why are you putting this in your body?!

This was my logic, at least. It’s one of the easiest ways to avoid nasties like carcinogens and other toxic chemicals. It just seems like even if not using shampoo didn’t work out, it would be better to sacrifice a little vanity for the sake of…you know…life, health, vitality.

Emily did a great post earlier on how preparing for pregnancy helped her make some good choices about products like these — things that she would never want to expose her (yet unborn) baby to. This led her to question exposing herself to them, too.

3) Environmental stewardship

I considered how many plastic bottles are produced for the purpose of beauty products. And how few of them are recycled. And how much energy and other resources are used by factories to continue to manufacture shampoo alone. It makes me sad. I reuse the container I keep my baking soda in. That makes me less sad. Oh, and I don’t have to wash my hair as much! Saves water. Saves time. Win win win.

What about all the junk going not only into my body, but also into my drain and water system? How might that affect other people and animals who drink the water, bathe in it, etc? I found that once I actually looked into this, I wasn’t very satisfied with the results… That’s not a scare-tactic, it’s an honest reflection: things need to change.

4) Simplification/Less consumerism

You spend less, you buy less, you need less. I love feeling like I’m free and not “owned” in some sense by “stuff.” It’s nice to not be reliant on a product.

5) It makes my hair look and feel awesome. There, I said it.

My hair is soft, manageable, and shiny. Shampoos are harsh bleach-mimickers, and they strip your hair of necessary oils. This makes your oil-glands freak out and start producing extra oil, because they’re confused (soap does this too, by the way). Then, the vicious cycle continues…–> oil –> strip –> extra oil, etc. With a [sham]poo-less approach, your hair gets the oils it needs, and is no longer high maintenance! No damage = no need to drop big $$$ on fixing your hair constantly. My hair has never been healthier. Ever.

Does this all sound crazy? Yes. Most good ideas do. That is not a reason to blow something off, in my opinion.

Is there a transition period? There is indeed a transition period, of about a month, where your hair might annoy you a little. If you are really afraid of this, you can ease into being ‘poo-less by using either organic shampoos that are safer than normal junk or some Dr. Bronner’s. But try to wean yourself off of it — down to once a week or so. Then let it go. Give yourself a full month or two before you say “I can’t do this!” It’s going to take time. Change is hard, especially when your body has grown accustomed to responding in a specific way. Don’t worry about it. It takes time for your oil glands to adjust. Just be patient with yourself. You’re still pretty. You’re still lovely. You will be healthier. It’s all good. Love yourself enough to trust that it will be ok, and this is what taking care of yourself looks like! <3 (Oh, and maybe invest in a cute headband to cover it up if you’re that self-consious ;  )

I wish I could cover everything extensively, but as it is, others have done a better job than I. I think if most people really looked into this, they wouldn’t easily dismiss the costs (figurative and literal) of using shampoo. Here are more helps to check out as you mull this over:

Ok. Enough lecture. What about you? Thoughts? Objections? Questions? Speak your mind!

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86 Responses to “I Don’t Wash My Hair.”

  1. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate March 23, 2011 at 4:56 am #

    Another lecture?

    I use coconut oil shampoo, body wash, and conditioner. Love that stuff.

  2. lauren @ spiced plate March 23, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    Thanks so much for this — my husband and I coincidently just started the transition off shampoo and toothpaste, and are using baking soda combinations instead. I feel better knowing I’m not dousing my body in chemicals! Thanks for this, Katie!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 23, 2011 at 8:20 am #

      Yay! It takes some time to figure out the right ratio for each individual’s hair, but once you do it’s smooth sailing. :) Yes, it feels better to me as well — there’s less anxiety involved when I know exactly what I’m putting in/on my body. Plus, it’s just so easy and simple. Congratulations on your decision, and thanks for your comment Lauren!

  3. Jackie @ Baking Charms March 23, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    I am so jealous of people who don’t have to wash their hair or can use shampoo alternatives. I could wash my hair twice a day and it still wouldn’t be stripped (use organic ‘poo tho). Maybe I will try the apple cider vinegar as a “hair cleanse” every once in awhile :)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 23, 2011 at 8:31 am #

      That’s so funny, of all the responses I anticipated, I did not expect anyone to say they were jealous! Ha. Have you tried it before? I thought the same would be true for me, but somehow it works — I was so surprised! Let me know if you want to discuss it more if you’re eager to try ;) It’s nice that there are more and more organic shampoos out there to choose from. For my two cents, I wouldn’t recommend the ACV as a hair cleanse, though, as it is acts like a conditioner, and can make some oily hair feel even greasier if used like a shampoo. The baking soda is actually a really good “clarifier,” even if you continue to use shampoo — just do it once a month to remove build up and soften hair. I always appreciate your comments :)

  4. FoodCents March 23, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    I love that you shared this. I only wash my hair a couple times a week, because it doesn’t need it more & I have read how that we overshower & overwash Americans.

    I still use shampoo & conditioner, but try to rely on completely natural ingredients if I want to do a “deep conditioning” or something similiar. Both cocunut oil and/or ‘cado works quite well.

    Following the idea of natural ingredients, I make my own facial masks, composed completely of things I eat. MUCH cheaper, natural and easier…

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 23, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      Yes, it’s crazy that we live in the cleanest era, yet we are totally obsessed with washing ourselves! We lose a lot of the natural benefits as a result, and end up blowing lots of money on non-essentials (that we don’t realize aren’t essential). Haven’t tried the avocado yet, but I want to. I love homemade facial masks! :)

  5. Nichole March 23, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    How often do you wash your hair a week? I wash 3 times a week with organic, but would love to try your method. Thanks!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 23, 2011 at 10:25 am #

      Hi Nichole! I probably clean it about 2-3 times a week. Some people I’m certain get away with less, but since I do hard workouts, I tend to sweat a lot ;) That is so exciting that you are thinking about trying it out! Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions/e-mail/etc., as the first few weeks can be kind of tricky. Let me know how it goes!

  6. Michelle {the lively kitchen} March 23, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    I’m intrigued. I tried it a few times, but my hair felt ‘odd’ (for lack of a better word) after. Maybe I should give it a longer trial.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 23, 2011 at 10:50 am #

      Yeah, at first it’s a little different. I used an excessive amount of baking soda initially because I was afraid it wouldn’t work and I’d be a greaseball, but it ended up drying my hair out. I was about to throw in the towel when I realized that I could adjust things (ratios, etc.) and give myself some time to figure it out. I had to make it my mantra that, worst case scenario, I wear my hair up today ;) If you decide to give it another go, keep me posted! I’d definitely try it for at least 6 weeks before moving on; you might see benefits a few weeks in that you don’t get towards the beginning. :)

  7. Erin @ Big Girl Feats March 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    This is so interesting. After my cancer diagnosis, I’ve been slightly obsessed with getting rid of carcinogens and weird chemicals and nasty stuff in my beauty products. The Dude calls is “hippie-fying” and it’s been so interesting. I love the “if you can’t eat it, don’t use it” idea. So true! I’ve never tried the baking soda trick but I really want to give it a shot! I wash my hair every day and I really don’t need to. Slow changes, right?! :)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

      I love that you are so proactive in response to your diagnosis! My dad always teases me that I’m a hippie… I guess I don’t help my case by living in Boulder and not washing my hair. Haha ;) Definite yes to the slow changes idea! Sometimes it’s easier to ease into something like this by just cutting back on what you already do, and integrating natural/organic products as replacements. From there, it’s just cutting back again, and then testing this out. Obviously I say go for it! :) If nothing else, it’s a fun experiment, right?

      Keep me in the loop if you give it a go!

  8. Annie@stronghealthyfit March 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    I’m so glad I found this post! I’ve been interested in transitioning to all natural/homemade if possible natural care products. I’m definitely going to try this method! Do you just keep baking soda and apple cider vinegar in your shower, or do you pre-mix them with water?

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 23, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

      Hi Annie! Glad you found it too :) I love that you’re willing to try this — most people find it a little too…granola. Heh heh. Yes, I keep my baking soda (dry) in a container in the bathroom, and mix it with water either in the palm of my hand (not as effective, ha) or in a little 1/4 c sized bowl while I’m in the shower. The vinegar I mix right before using as well; I find it easiest and most fool-proof (<– and goodness knows I need that) to just mix it in a drinking glass, and literally dipping just the ends of my hair into the water/ACV mixture. I let it sit a second, then rinse it out. I don't see why you couldn't mix the ACV and water beforehand though, and store the jar in the shower.

      Does that help? Let me know if I was confusing — clarity is not my strongpoint ;)

  9. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat March 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Have you seen the commercial for Wen “cleansing conditioner”? I just saw it a few days ago and bought the generic product at Sally Beauty supply… very similar explanation to your post!

    Unfortunately I have very thin, light hair and I look like a total greaseball by the end of the day even after washing my hair that morning. I WISH I could get away with not washing it even for a day.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

      I’ve never heard of it (I don’t have a TV though, which is comparable to living in the Stone Age now…ha). Ok, I just looked it up. Sounds intriguing. To be honest, the ingredient list on it still makes me uncomfortable, but it sounds like they are moving a better direction than the majority of shampoos! I have thin hair too, and I had similar worries. I’ve found that it works at least as good as normal shampoo as far as looking like a greaseball goes (for me), but it’s true that you have to be patient that first month or so as your glands adapt. If you ever decide to try it, let me know — I’d be glad to help. :) Thanks for your comment!

  10. Lauren @ Hungry Dancer March 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    This is really interesting. It never even occurred to me not to use shampoo…..maybe I will try and ease into it because your hair looks fabulous!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

      Thanks Lauren, that’s so nice! Yes, shampoo is one of those things we just take for granted. I hope you try it! Keep me posted on how it goes. Definitely be patient — it can be an adjustment ;) I will never go back — I absolutely love it!

  11. Casey (TheHealthGoddess) March 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    I am really happy that I came across this post because this past week I have noticed that my scalp has felt so dry (which makes me feel dirty…which makes me wash my hair more often…which dries out my scalp even more…endless cycle!).

    I am def. going to try this out! Thanks SO much!!!

  12. Noelle March 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Katie, any tips or readings on curly hair and doing this?

    I remember when I made the switch to natural deordorants vs anti-perspirants. It took a month of pit detox, then wa la! I don’t really even need to use deodorant unless I want to smell like Apricot oil.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

      For sure. Actually, part of how this whole movement back to no shampoo got started was due to curly-haired needs! :) This is one site that may help, and here’s another. The main thing is that your curls will probably tighten, thus making your hair appear a little shorter, since the shampoo and conditioner residue will no longer be weighing it down. If that’s a problem, I would just rub a tiny bit of coconut oil on the tips. I’ll keep looking for more curly-haired-specifics and will let you know if I find anything else :)

      • Noelle March 25, 2011 at 6:22 am #

        :) Thanks Katie. I had no idea. I am so wanting to try this. Though I am saving money with less expensive shampoo these days (I admittedly used to shell out the big bucks for poo)…it’s doing weird things to my hair. I am tired of the aweful fragrances and the slightly itchy scalp. I figure – I already do not wash my hair everyday cause that’s bad for my curls, so I may as well try this out. So excited!

  13. Noelle March 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Also, what sites are good resources for checking on ingredients in your beautification products?

  14. Chelsey (Cookteen) March 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    That is so interesting! I would definitely consider doing that, but what do you do when you get your hair done or cut and they wash it?

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 24, 2011 at 9:10 am #

      Hi Chelsey! Excellent question. I was thinking about this recently as well, since I do need a chop. I haven’t decided if I will ask them to just wet my hair and then cut it (no shampoo), or let them use a natural shampoo that once. Since I always go to Aveda (um, $16 haircuts — yeah!), they’re better than most salons at being open to natural, organic, and eco-friendly products (however, that is not an endorsement). I’m thinking I will call ahead and make sure I can request that they us one of their organic shampoos. Since I only cut my hair once or twice a year, I think I’ll be ok with that. If they can’t provide an organic shampoo with an ingredient list I feel comfortable with, at that point I might just seek one out that does have an ingredient list that I like, and take it with me to all hair appointments after that. :)

      • Chelsey (Cookteen) March 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

        That’s a good idea, I doubt a salon would have an issue using your shampoo if they don’t have a good one. Hair is such a big part in my family (mostly because my grandma owns a salon in NYC) so we are always popping in for a quick cut or blow-dry…so naturally that was my first concern ;) haha I love your blog by the way!

  15. Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] March 23, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    This is really cool. I’m constantly buying shampoo/conditioner/hair product =(

    I don’t know how’d I’d make the switch with such oily hair though.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 24, 2011 at 9:27 am #

      Hey Hilary! Ok, most people are freaked out for the same reason (my hair is similar). Don’t let it scare you off! :) Here are some resources to check into, if you want: a forum, and FAQs. It sounds like there are essentially two groups of oily-haired experimenters. Those who push through that rough period where you are still producing excess oil for a few weeks often end up finding that their hair balances out soon with this method, though there may be more trial and error involved (e.g., using citrus juice instead of ACV, etc.). The second group consists of those who still prefer to use a shampoo bar. A shampoo bar is different from shampoo, and perhaps that would give you the comfort of knowing you won’t look oily, but without the chemicals of normal hair products. Another option is using something along the lines of Dr. Bronner’s. Let me know what you think and if I can help! :)

  16. Zarah March 24, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    Do you use any hair products (mousse, hairspray, etc)? I’ve always wondered how the no-poo thing would work in combination with that type of thing. I have really thin hair and I feel like I have to wash it every day plus blowdry with some kind of volumizing product to have it look decent (and it still looks scraggly/stringy by the end of the day).

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 24, 2011 at 9:33 am #

      Hi Zarah. No, I don’t even blow dry my hair, ha! The no-poo thing would work if you used specific types of products — namely, homemade ones that are water-soluble. My grandma used to tell me that flax and water was the best type of hair gel ever created ;) Here are some ideas. Also, if you give this a go, you might find that your hair actually has more volume and such than it does now! I didn’t realize how much some of the products I used affected the natural character of my hair until I went off of them :) Let me know if you try it!

  17. MariaJepsen March 24, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Hey Katie!
    I LOVE this post. Really! I don’t wash my hair more than once every 7-10 days, because I want my scalp do adapt and neutralize, if you can say that. I will give this routine a try first thing tomorrow and I am looking forward to seeing the result. No one I know understand my decision of not washing my hair very often. It just seems wrong and unhealthy to me. Thank you so much, sweety ;)
    Love, Maria

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      Thanks Maria! It takes some time to figure out what works for you (I fried my hair the first few times, but nothing a little ACV didn’t fix) ;) Hope it goes well — keep me posted!

      • MariaJepsen March 27, 2011 at 6:15 am #

        Hey Katie!
        I tried your “cure” yesterday and guess what: I’M LOVIN’ THE RESULT!!! :) I took a long break (almost 2 weeks) from not washing my hair, because I wanted my scalp no neutralize. That means my hair was pretty much a greasy mess, but still…: perfect, clean volume result by using only 1 Tbs baking soda and 2-3 Tbs vinegar (my elderflower-kind worked very good!)
        I am really excited to see how long my hair will stay “fresh” looking :)
        Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!
        Love, Maria

  18. kate@ahealthypassion March 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    OMG you are a genius im so trying this im sick of shelling out 20$ a bottle for my natural shampoo that does not even bubble up!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

      Well I wish I could take credit! ;) This stuff won’t bubble up — it’s weirdly just a paste. But it does work! It just takes some time to figure out what works best on your hair. I used way too much baking soda at first because I didn’t want to grease out, but ended up drying my hair up a little. It was easy to fix, but just don’t be afraid if there’s some trial and error involved ;)

  19. Emilia @ Namaste Gurl March 25, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    What good and useful info! So many people are mindless when it comes to personal care products- it, too, does have an effect on what you put into your body! I may just have to try your technique….
    I use all- natural, environmentally friendly hair- care products…

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 25, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      Nice! If you try it, let me know how it goes. It can be frustrating at first, kind of like a detox… But it really has been awesome for me. :)

  20. myveganstory March 26, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    Oh my god I so want to try this! My shampoo is so expensive because I buy kinds not tested on animals but this seems so much easier!
    (I admit when I first started reading I was like “this. is. weird.” but now I think i’m going to give it a shot!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 26, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      It is way easier! Haha, yes, it is weird, but try it. After the transition period and experimenting with what works best, you will probably fall in love :)

  21. Pure2raw twins March 26, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    okay I am a little behind on your post, sorry, but so glad you posted this!! I already wash my hair very little, with as natural as I can get products. I have always wanted to try baking soda, just scared, but now I think I just might have to now. You made it seem so easy, LOL ;)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 27, 2011 at 11:04 am #

      Haha, well…it is simple, but at first it’s not easy — not mentally. ;) It takes time to figure out the ratios that work for each individual, but really, I am loving this more each day! If you try it let me know how it goes. I think you’ll like it ;)

  22. Katie March 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    This is really interesting. At the recommendation of my hair stylist (of all people!) I started washing MUCH less often about a year ago (1-2x a week). On days I work out and sweat a lot I’ll stick my head under the water to disperse the oils through my hair, but that’s all. My hair looks MUCH better/healthier now. However, I also have very curly/frizzy hair, so I do use quite a bit of product to keep it from looking like a bird’s nest! I think I could quit the shampoo, but I’m not sure I could quit the anti-frizz serums, etc. Is your hair naturally straight? Have you done any research on managing more “unruly” hair in a natural way?

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 30, 2011 at 9:37 am #

      Awesome! I am sure there is more advice out there, but here are my two cents on how to keep frizz, curls, and dryness in check:

      1) If your hair starts to get static-y and frizzy, use less baking soda.
      2) Use more apple cider vinegar as conditioner; it seals the cuticle. This will help keep the craziness under control ;)
      3) If you don’t like the ACV results, honey is another excellent way to de-frizz and moisturize. Just sub it in for the ACV.
      4) COCONUT OIL! It’s a wonder food and beauty product! Just rub a very small amount (a little goes a long way) into the ends of your hair, and lightly on any areas of frizz. It’s like a pomade and conditioner in one. Should do the trick (and make your hair deliciously shiny and healthy in the process).

      Hope these help! :)

  23. Danielle @ Analytical Mom March 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    I am so, so excited to see this post! I tried going no-poo about a year ago and fell off the wagon after about 5 days. Just like someone else commented, my hair felt…really weird. Not soft, kind of coarse. Do you just get used to that feeling, or did you get the balance of b.s. and acv right so that your hair felt “normal” again?
    Anyway, I am really excited to try again, especially after seeing your pictures of your beautiful, totally non-gross hair. Lucky for you, even if your hair was a little greasy, I don’t know if anybody would notice it in Boulder. :)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 31, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

      Hi Danielle! I totally understand — after the first few times I felt my hair and thought, “What is going on?!” I was worried I would have to give it up, but kept experimenting with ratios and now it feels crazy soft, and I’ve found the balance of baking soda, etc. that works for my hair. Hehe, you’re right — Boulder is the place to be during the grease transition period! ;) Check back in the next day or two for a follow-up for lots of FAQs answered about the no ‘poo thang…!

  24. sarah April 4, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    Hi Katie
    I found your site from Oh she glows. I saw your interesting post and immediately started trying out the non shampooing method the very next day. Atm my hair is feeling great. It does get oily during the end of the day but that doesn’t bother me. I wanted to know if the baking soda should be made into a paste or not? I clicked on the link to never home maker and she suggested to make it to a paste. Would that be too much. Atm I am probably using a handful and filling it in a 500 ml water bottle (just half way though).

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing April 5, 2011 at 11:40 am #

      Hi Sarah! Thanks for the comment. Some people prefer the paste, but I like to make mine more like a liquid, so that I can disperse it throughout my scalp more easily (I just kind of pour it on in sections and then massage my whole head). I find that the paste is more difficult to spread around, which results in oily spots and dry spots on my hair — but that’s just me. It sounds like you are using an good amount; if your hair is feeling great, don’t worry about it. If it start to get dry, however, just decrease the amount of baking soda a little. Hope this helps! :)

  25. Vicky May 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Hello! I’ve heard a lot about the no poo method and finally decided to try it after reading about it. After the first time of trying it, I LOVED it! I was please with how soft my hair felt. I have very thick, very dry hair…No matter what kind of shampoo and conditioner I use, my hair is dry. After using the no poo method, I found that my hair was soft and shiny. A couple of days ago, I had my hair cut, and my hair stylist told me that baking soda will strip your hair. After spending many hours searching for information about baking soda and if it’s bad for your hair or not, I was unable to find anything. All I keep finding are blogs. Did you do research about the no poo method? If so, could you share where you got your information? I really like my hair stylist and I value her knowledge, and she does have a cosmetology degree, but I keep telling myself that this woman believes in using harsh chemicals on hair, such as hair dye, hair products and shampoos and conditioners…So, I’m not sure what to believe. I would really like to see some actual facts, but am having a hard time finding any information. Could you please help me?

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing May 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

      Hi Vicky!

      Hmm. I’m not sure what your hairstylist is referencing… I will say that a cosmetology degree is not synonymous with a chemistry degree, though, so she might not have perfect knowledge of how baking soda affects the hair. And yes, using harsh dyes and products are definitely worse and will strip hair way more than baking soda ever will. However, I readily admit that I’m no scientist either. Unfortunately, I don’t have any hard, scientific data to point you to, really, but perhaps there are books on natural personal care out there that do a more detailed job of explaining the chemical processes occurring. In my opinion, any damage done by the baking soda is negligible, if it exists at all (and I would guess that that would only be the case when used in significant amounts). If you like your hair better when you use the no poo method, do it! It is undoubtedly safer, and just as effective, as regular shampoos.

      Hope this helps — sorry I can’t point you to more research!

  26. Shelby May 9, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Hi Katie!

    I was just wondering if you know of any alternatives to the baking soda for the no-poo method? I tried a tooth soap once that had baking soda in it and after a few uses, my whole mouth was broken out in ulcers. I have also tried baking soda as an exfoliator (I had read that it was a good one for sensitive skin) and I broke out in red bumps. I can only assume that my skin doesn’t like baking soda. I have used the baking soda in my hair a couple of times, and didn’t have an issue, but am afraid that I will react with continued use. I am currently washing with a natural conditioner (no shampoo), but would love to transition to your method. Any ideas?

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing May 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

      Hi Shelby!

      I could offer two thoughts. One, simply continue to not use anything — no baking soda, no shampoo, nada. Of course, this might not work for your needs (as I’m inferring from your desire to try something along the lines of baking soda). Another idea is to try something like Dr. Bronner’s All-In-One liquid soap. It is very, very mild, and you can dilute it and spread it out more easily than with natural shampoos. It’s economical, versatile, and smells great. I tried it a couple times while on vacation last month because I didn’t have access to baking soda, and it worked just as well — no overly oily reactions or anything (but I did only use it twice).

      I wish I could be of more help, but unfortunately I looked for alternatives to baking soda and just couldn’t find any. If I do figure something out, I’ll be sure to let you know ASAP! Thanks for your comment!

  27. Katy (The Singing Runner) May 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    I know that this post is kind of old, but I wanted to comment. Recently, I have realized that my scalp has been reacting to typical shampoos and conditioners. My scalp was red and it hurt to touch, which lead me to think that I may be reacting to some of the ingredients in the shampoo. I’ve been using the same shampoo for years but maybe prolonged use has led to issues?

    Anyway, today was my first day of the “no-poo” method. Hopefully this will work for me and save me lots of money in the process. ;)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing May 17, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

      I hope it works for you too! If it doesn’t (though give it 6 weeks at least of experimenting! Check the follow up post for help :) ), I would recommend Dr. Bronner’s. The soaps are so mild, and do a great job of cleaning hair. Still, I like the baking soda method the best ;)

  28. Heather Eats Almond Milk July 29, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    I’ve been doing this for about 2 weeks now, and it works great. I can’t believe how easy it is to comb my tangles out without globs and globs of conditioner. The vinegar works great!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing July 29, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      Glad to hear it’s working for you! I think the vinegar conditioner is probably the best conditioner ever — conventional or not. Plus, it’s cheaper than regular conditioner — win/win ;)

  29. Holly @ The Runny Egg August 3, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Hey Katie :) I reread this whole post but forgive me if I missed it — how often do you do this? Every day? Or do you find you can go a day (or more) without the baking soda/ACV wash?

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing August 4, 2011 at 10:25 am #

      Holly! I feel like we haven’t talked for a while — it’s been a busy summer for the both of us! :) I do it every two or three days. It varied in frequency in the beginning transition period, but I was able to just use this method in the same way I used my old shampoo method (every few days). Hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions! xo

  30. Cat August 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    So glad I found this post! I’ve recently transitioned to using Dr. Bronner’s for my hair, but I’m definitely going to try the baking soda & ACV. Thanks!

  31. chelsey @ clean eating chelsey August 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    Um, you’re basically the coolest person on the place of the planet. I totally want to try this.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing August 5, 2011 at 9:30 am #

      Bahaha. Obviously, Chelsey. ;) Give it a shot! Even just to use the baking soda wash once a month as a clarifier is awesome. But nothing beats the ACV rinse. Seriously, nothing.

  32. Brandy Bennett August 4, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    (Found you via HEAB) I’ve been doing the baking soda/ACV wash for about 6 months now and I love it. I used to wash my hair daily and it looked like a grease pit by the time I got home from work. Now I can go day’s between washes and it still looks great. I keep a squeeze bottle with a nozzle on it (like you apply hair color with) in the shower and do my baking soda mix in it, makes it super easy just to apply to the roots and I keep a spray bottle of the vinegar solution. My hair has never looked better and my wallet is loving it! I also gave up soap and my acne went with it. I actually love my skin now. Who knew all this time I was just making it worse with all the toxic chemicals I was dumping on it.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing August 5, 2011 at 9:29 am #

      Hi Brandy! So glad you are having success with this method! It is so much cheaper than buying the normal stuff, and it’s all biodegradable; what’s not to love, right? :)

    • Melissa B. August 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

      That is great to hear about your acne, Brandy! What do you use instead of soap?

  33. Kayla August 16, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    I was linked here via HEAB and I’m so glad I clicked over! After reading through your post a few times and reading many many other blog posts about going no poo I started last week.

    I really am liking it so far. I’ve only washed my hair with the baking soda and vinegar 3 times in the last 8 days, which is crazy since I used to shampoo/condition almost every single day. I haven’t experienced any oily hair or too dry hair, which I’m really happy about. I read your follow up post, and how the baking soda was making your hair light, and I only hope my hair does the same thing! My hair is naturally dirty blonde but it’s been getting darker and darker lately and I wish it was lighter again!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing August 17, 2011 at 10:59 am #

      Hi Kayla! Thanks for the comment. I am delighted that it’s working for you! And don’t worry if your hair seems to get darker at first; it took a couple months for mine to lighten up :) Keep me posted and feel free to ask questions if you encounter any along the way. <3

  34. Jonathan | World of Diets September 16, 2011 at 5:44 am #

    I’m bald so I only use water. However, the cost of shaving blades is pretty high too (-:

  35. Amy November 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    This is such an awesome post! I had heard of using castille soap and vinegar as a rinse, but never baking soda…I will have to try it since I had big problems with build up when using soap on my scalp. And I have THICK curly hair, so I was going through a bottle of vinegar every week…

    Your lecture reminds me of the one I made on skin care a couple of weeks ago. Pores let things out, yes, but they also let things in, people!

  36. Audra Smith-Hanusek June 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm #


    I love your sentiment and agree on every point. I had read about this method and I tried it, for about 6 months. I liked it at first but it’s difficult to style and eventually my scalp was so dry it was itchy. How do you apply the almond oil? Does it make your hair look greasy? I found that my hair got split ends faster and wouldn’t do anything when I tried to style it. I loved being “off the grid” as far as product was concerned and would love to go back.


    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing June 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

      Hi Audra! Yes, I had some scalp problems too… (I have psoriasis on my scalp, so it’s pretty tricky!) I eventually ceased this method — you can read the update here. I have tried diluted Dr. Bronner’s with some success, but ultimately went back to a natural shampoo. Feel free to email if you want specific brand info. Hope this helps!


Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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