How to “No-Poo” Shampoo Alternative: Don’t use Shampoo Again!


I have to let you all in on a little secret: I haven’t used shampoo since umm before Labor Day. And no, my hair is not disgusting.  Well, not from lack of shampooing anyway. 🙂  Why the crunchy granola craziness?  I want to eliminate all unnecessary chemicals in our life, and save money at the same time.  I decided I would look for an all natural alternative to conventional shampoo; something that I could make myself and save a little money as well.  I found just that, and haven’t looked back since.

When you use conventional shampoo, all of the chemicals that are in the shampoo make their way into your body via the pores in your skin.  If you’re using shampoo with sodium lauryl sulfates (which is used also in commercial floor cleaners), you are entering those toxins into your body in a fast and easy way.

When we were in Colorado on vacation, I threw out the shampoo after we bought a “Squeaky Green” shampoo bar from Lush. I knew that I wanted to start out slowly as I heard there was a “detox period” that your hair goes through when you are weaning it off normal shampoo.  After using the shampoo bar for a week, I was hooked.  It made my hair feel so soft, luscious, and weightless!  I felt like I had done something really great for my hair.  I was happy I decided to ditch the shampoo.

About a week after we got home, my hair felt very weighted down, oily, and gross. It wasn’t unbearable, but it was definitely not what I had experienced using the shampoo bar at first.  Luckily, I decided to keep on trying it and after a few days of that my hair was back to normal.  I then decided that I would try to use baking soda as a shampoo and vinegar as a rinse.  I was very hesitant the first time I used it.  It didn’t lather up like I was used to, and I was so scared that my hair wasn’t coming clean.  I kept with it, used my vinegar rinse, and that was it.  I let my hair dry and waited for the results.

My hair felt amazing! It felt like it was back to its natural state, so light and fluffy and wonderful.  I am so glad I switched.

How to No Poo Shampoo Your Hair:

  1. I dissolve about 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of warm water.  I make sure that I take my fingertips and rub my scalp to loosen up oils and such.
  2. Then I take the baking soda mixture and pour some on the left side of my head.  As I work that in with my fingertips, I pour some on the right side, and then down the back.  I make sure I massage it in well to remove all the sebum and oils that I don’t want left.  If I feel like I need more baking soda, I add it to my soaking wet hair.
  3. I use about 1 T of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar to 1 cup of water.  I then pour this all over my head to neutralize the basic baking soda and condition my hair.  Don’t worry, you won’t smell it after it dries!

This is it. That’s all I do to no poo my hair.  It feels the best it’s ever felt, and I feel great not using nasty chemicals on my body. I am also saving a ton of money and the environment by not purchasing shampoo!  I feel good all the way around.

I think you should give it a try. Think of all the money you will save! You may need to ease into it like I did with an all natural shampoo bar. You can also go gung-ho and just start using baking soda!  It’s up to you.  If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help!

Now that you know how to no poo shampoo your hair, will you give it a try?

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162 thoughts on “How to “No-Poo” Shampoo Alternative: Don’t use Shampoo Again!

  1. MIss M says:

    I haven’t embraced green living to this extent yet! I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my shampoo. What do you do about conditioner? My hair is dry – this brunette masquerades as a blond.


  2. Catherine says:

    How long is your hair? I have heard about these alternatives, but I have been concerned if they would work with long hair. My hair comes down to the middle of my back and I am still growing it out – I plan on cutting it for Locks of Love at the end of the summer.


  3. Mrs Money says:

    Miss M- The apple cider vinegar works as a conditioner. Some people take a drop or two of coconut oil and use that for conditioner too for really dry hair. I know this sounds totally weird but I promise it works for me now!

    Liz- It is fascinating to me too!

    Catherine- My hair is chin-shoulder length. If I were you I would give it a shot for a couple weeks. Try the Lush shampoo bar (or a natural shampoo bar from somewhere like Whole Foods) first for a week or two and then try to transition over. That’s what worked for me. I think it’s great you are doing Locks of Love!

    rosemarie- Please let me know how it works for you! I’d love to follow up with you. 🙂


  4. Sheri says:

    Hi Mrs Money! Thanks for the nice comment on my blog today.

    I’m a fellow no poo’er! I just celebrated my one year “No-Poo” Anniversary! Last Jaunary, after all of our shampoo was used up, we began no poo-ing…and we never looked back! Hubby, myself, and 5 kids all no-poo our hair. I LOVE it!

    there’s several different no-poo techniques out there — we use the baking soda wash with apple cider vinegar to rinse.

    We did go through a transition period, my hair more than anyone else’s in the family. A week or two of greasy stringy hair that had me ready to run out and buy a bottle of shampoo. But I promised myself I’d try for a month and then re-evaluate. By the end of week #2, I was no longer greasy haired…my hair was fresh and lovely! And that was it…from that day on, I was a fan of no-poo’ing.

    We even no-poo the baby and have done so since birth.

    You mentioned coconut oil…we use that as a moisturizer for our faces and skin, and if my hair is feeling a bit dry that particular day I do use a drop or two and rub into my palms and then smooth them over my hair.

    Anyhow, great post! Am so glad to find your interesting blog — looking forward to reading you!
    (sorry about this novel of a comment…such a good post that I couldn’t help myself)


  5. Fit Wallet says:

    Interesting. My girlfriend is more “granola crunchy” than I am and is a big fan of the shampoo bars. I’ve never been able to get into them, but I also hate looking on the back of the bottle and seeing so many nasty chemicals in what I’m using. When our current shampoo runs out, I’ll see if I can convince her to try this. Why not give it a shot?


  6. Sasha says:

    i love the idea of this, but i have to admit i am now very leary about using any amount of baking soda in my hair. i previously tried a mixture of an all natural multipurpose cleaning agent with some borax (i added the borax myself). i got wonderful results! my hair was so clean and soft and would hold any style (i used a regular commerical brand conditioner after shampooing). i washed my hair about once every 5 days.

    over a period of time i noticed that my naturally very dark brown hair, almost black, with natural red highlights was getting LIGHTER! one day i had my hair pulled up in a ponytail and i could see light brown streaks! it was especially noticeable in the sunlight and under bright lights. i started looking more closely at my hair and noticed that it was getting lighter all over and not on just the top layer of my hair.

    i found out that BAKING SODA will lighten the color of your hair if used continuously. the multipurpose cleaner base i was using as a shampoo had “Sodium Bicarbonate” as one of their 4 ingredients. BINGO!! it’s been about 2 months since i stopped using it.

    how often do you wash your hair? have you noticed your hair getting lighter in color? correct me if i’m wrong–so you put the baking soda all over your hair from root to tip and then you rinse that out and THEN apply the ACV rinse and just rinse that out??

    is your hair able to “hold” any style now? for me the magic ingredient was the borax. if i used too much the curls would fall out after a few hours. if i used too little the curls would be gone in less than 2 hours. the right amount and the curls would last until i washed my hair again. oh, i miss my old concoction!!

    anxious to hear your feedback!!


  7. jen says:

    Wow, what a great idea. I have never heard of this before but would like to try it. My only problem is I color my hair (I know, I know, talk about chemicals…:/) and I’m concerned about what baking soda and vinegar would do to the color. Has anyone had experience with this?


  8. Mrs Money says:

    jen- I found this info: “If you colour your hair, you may notice it dulls when you use a baking soda wash very frequently. However, if you’ve been using no-poo for a while before you start colouring you’ll be at a point where you rarely need to wash your hair – at which time your colour may last longer since you need to wash so infrequently. When I used to colour my hair, I’d initially let it go as long as possible without washing to “set” the colour. Whether or not this actually worked I have no idea, but it made me feel better. I also found that I could go as long as a week before “needing” a shampoo after colouring. I haven’t dyed my hair since going no-poo, but I’d imagine I’d have even better results. Alternatively, use a conditioner wash during the time you colour your hair. You can buy “clarifying” conditioner from any pharmacy or grocery store which contains a small amount of mild detergents. If you use a wash-out colour, the baking soda will probably be rid of it quite quickly.
    Using Henna to dye your hair is an even better option to preserve your hair’s health. Provided you aren’t sensitive to any of the ingredients (like I am).”


  9. Mrs Money says:

    Hi Sasha- sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, it looks like my spam filter got your comment!

    I’ve never heard of using borax, but if it works for you’d I would keep doing it!

    I wash my hair everyday which is overkill but I’m paranoid it looks bad when I don’t. Plus, when I sleep it gets crazy in the morning! I don’t flat iron or curl it so I’m really not much help there!

    I have noticed it getting a little lighter, but not much. I actually like it.

    What I do is make the bs/water mixture, pour it on my head, and then scrub my scalp. I leave it on for a couple minutes, rinse, and then do my ACV rinse. It works for me!


  10. Sue says:

    I haven’t washed my hair with anything for the last 2 years and it’s in lovely condition now. I just stopped using all the chemical products and let my hair go back to it’s natural state.

    It was a bit skanky for about 4-6 weeks and then found it’s own balance. I just massage my scalp under the shower and that’s it!

    Once when I went away for a few weeks, I noticed my hair became greasy when I returned to my tropical home. It returned to normal after a week or so of daily washing.

    No need for conditioners or rinses of any kind. My hair is more manageable than it’s ever been.

    Give it a try! It’s cheaper than baking soda and vinegar!


  11. Mrs Money says:

    Fabulously Broke- Glad I could help!

    Sue- That is really interesting! I think I may try that in the summer. Thanks for sharing!


  12. Sue says:

    On the subject of not using chemicals… I also use my own homemade toothpaste made from Bicarbonate of Soda, Peppermint Oil, Lemon Oil and water.

    Use one drop of each oil for every teaspoon of Bicarb, i.e., 10 tspns Bicarb /10 drops of peppermint oil / 10 drops lemon oil. Mix with just enough water to make to a paste.

    It keeps indefinitely and a dentist confirmed for me that it’s the brushing that’s important for the teeth, not the type of toothpaste you use.

    It doesn’t froth up and isn’t unpleasant if you happen to get some down your throat.


  13. Sue says:

    Just a note of warning Mrs Money: if you let your hair go back to its natural state, don’t expect it to feel ‘squeaky clean’ like it is when you shampoo it.

    Your hair will contain more natural oils and will feel heavier. I also have to wash my combs more frequently in hot water.

    Hair is supposed to contain it natural oils for healthy condition, but it doesn’t look or feel greasy.


  14. Emily says:

    To Catherine, who posted that she was going to donate her hair to locks of love, a word of warning. Locks of Love will more than likely not use your hair. They are not what they make themselves out to be. Look into it.


  15. Lauren says:

    Oh, wow. I wish I could go without washing my hair. That’s just too big of a step for me right now.

    I use vinegar regularly. I get horribly dry scalp in the winter. I’d like to try the baking soda with water, it wouldn’t dry out my scalp any more, would it?


  16. Sue says:

    I’m not an expert, but vinegar is an acid and baking soda is an alkali, both of which will dry and even burn. I think we need to treat our bodies gently.


  17. Mrs Money says:

    Sue- Thanks for the warning!

    Emily- Thanks for the heads up to Catherine. 🙂

    Lauren- a lot of people who do the “no poo” use vinegar for dandruff, so I don’t see why it would dry your skin out more. I used olive oil before, let that sit on my scalp overnight and then used an all natural shampoo in the morning to get it out. It worked well!


  18. Sue says:

    Lauren, I agree that your use of olive oil/natural shampoo works well. I’ve done that in the past too.

    We all have different skin and hair, and I’ve found vinegar to be too harsh for me. It stings my skin and scalp, as does baking soda. Perhaps it works well for others.

    I’ve never had dandruff, so I can’t comment on that. Also, I don’t use any products on my hair, so my needs may be simpler than other peoples’.


  19. Briana says:

    I too have switched to the baking soda and vinegar routine. I’ve probably been doing it for 3 months now. I never really went through the week of bad hair weaning my hair off shampoo. My hair is much softer and healthier now, to the point where my friends have been commenting on it as soon as they see me.
    I have always had trouble with my scalp, tried lots of things, nothing has ever worked. The baking soda thing hasn’t fixed it by any means, but its not getting worse, and I no longer get little sores on my scalp.
    My hair is so soft, and my split ends have virtually disappeared. I’ve never had trouble with my scalp burning or stinging with either the baking soda or vinegar. I just used white vinegar, probably 1:3 with water.
    I think using something straight up like baking soda or vinegar is gentler on your body than all the random chemicals and crap they put in shampoo.
    You can also brush your teeth with baking soda, although I’m not that adventurous… I like my minty toothpaste lol


  20. Mrs Money says:

    Briana- That’s great! I’m glad it works so well for you. I like using it as toothpaste every once in awhile but mainly use Trader Joe’s. 🙂


  21. Yelena says:

    What a great idea! I tried the baking soda this morning, but forgot to bring the vinegar into the shower with me. My hair is clean, but feels a little weird and really full of static today. I’ll have to try it again tomorrow with the vinegar rinse!

    -If you no-poo your baby, do you use the vinegar rinse on them as well?
    -I’m assuming you can use this on your dog as well?
    -Do you use apple cider vinegar?
    -Does it have to be organic? Where do you buy it?
    -Do you use A&H baking soda, or can you use any old Sodium Bicarbonate? I hear that getting this at a “feed and seed” is the cheapest way to go.



  22. Mrs Money says:

    Yelena- I don’t have a baby so I’m not sure, but I would probably dilute it very well if I was going to do that. I would perhaps use coconut oil instead of the vinegar as a conditioner for the baby. Here’s a link on no poo on dogs. I would use a castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s on my dogs. I use the apple cider vinegar but I also use white. It depends on what I take in with me in the shower. You can get organic white vinegar and organic apple cider vinegar at Whole Foods or your local health store. I can’t imagine why any old sodium bicarb wouldn’t work. I would try a little from your “feed and seed” and compare it to Arm & Hammer baking soda. I would assume it would work just as well. Good luck!!


  23. Ed says:

    I am really intrigued by this! I live in a very environmentally healthy area and its really rubbing off on me. I never cease to be amazed at how baking soda (often paired with vinegar) seems to the be end all be all product for awesomeness.
    I will try it out when my current shampoo runs out (although it is all natural and works like a charm).
    With regard to vinegar being an acid and baking soda being a base, yes that is true. However, vinegar is fairly close to neutral on the pH/pOH scale. I mean we can consume it in food, its not harmful to our bodies.
    I am not sure where Baking Soda lies on the pH/pOH scale, but given the solution is is dissolved int it technically can function as an Acid or Base. It acts as a pH/pOH buffer, drawing or releasing stray hydrogen or hydroxide ions as needed (I forget which of the two acid-base ions baking soda specifically deals with).
    All in all baking soda and vinegar aren’t hazardous to our health if used responsibly, chugging a gallon of vinegar might screw up your insides a bit though. But I also am not an expert, but I did take general Chemistry I last fall semester so it is mostly fresh in my mind.


  24. Mrs Money says:

    Ed- Thanks so much for the great comment! I love the point that we consume vinegar so it can’t be harmful to our bodies. Great point!


  25. Ed says:

    I did some more research on vinegar (on wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt). It seems that the store bought stuff is diluted in water due to regulations, since in its concentrated form it can be hazardous.
    Even still I would feel much more organic (for lack of a better word) using vinegar than I would with most synthetic products.
    I look forward to being a no-pooer once I use up the last of my shampoo/conditioner!


  26. amber howard says:

    I just started reading up on the noo poo last night. I skipped the shampoo on my daughters scalp, and used lightweight dove conditioner for conditioning. Her hair dried nicely and c0mbed out pretty easily. I also went poo-less in the shower this mornging. I dont have any vinegar in teh house so I used dove conditioner to rub scalp then used it all over for condition. My top layer of hair is a bit frizzy but it dried nicely. I did the plop. I cannot wait to be shampoo free and am raising my four year old to do the same. We are about to take the full green switch and alter our entire lives. I get a sense of power when acting out organically.


  27. Mrs.GB says:

    I am very interested in this. But my hair is thin, straight, and a combo of oily/dry.

    My ends are dry, and I have dandruff which can get bad & itchy without conditioner. BUT if I don’t wash my hair everyday my hair gets very oily at the roots.

    I also use a serum on the middle to ends of my hair because it can get staticy.

    I guess I’m wondering if the baking soda wash would be enough for oily hair? I read here that vinegar helps with the dandruff (nice!). And I’m thinking, from the comments, that coconut oil as a serum would work well.

    (I just found your blog and I am loving it!)


  28. Mrs Money says:

    amber- I know a lot of women go “conditioner only” instead of doing the baking soda/vinegar combo. I have heard you have to have a conditioner that is free of “-cones” though. I haven’t given it a try though. I think it’s awesome you are raising your daughter this way! I hear you on the sense of power- it feels amazing to know you are doing something good for yourself and for the environment!

    Mrs.GB- Be careful because the baking soda can cause dandruff if you use too much too frequently. Personally I have oily hair and it works well for me. I have used baking soda or cornstarch in between washes and it works fabulously! Thanks so much for the nice comments, and please stick around!


  29. amber howard says:

    Thank you Mrs. Money and Ms. Gb for the comments. I purchased some organic vinegar and some bs yesterday at out local Green Tree mkt. I mentioned the no poo to the regulars in the store. They looked at me as though I told them Godzilla was in their garden. Thats ok with me though, I ran a 5k this morning then did my co-wash, then plopped my hair. It looks and feels so nice, a bald co-worker told me that my hair looked nice today. (Its a big deal when baldys notice nice hair)I cannot wait for it to dry. I’ll kepp you all updated.


  30. Emily says:

    I’ve been doing the no poo for awhile, and I must say I like what it has done for my hair! But I only used baking soda and regular conditioner (Pantene). Anyway, I was wondering, when you use the apple cider vinger rinse, do you use it on your scalp also? Or just the ends of your hair?


  31. Jessica says:

    I used baking soda on my hair for the first time this morning and had a horrible experience. Within about 2 minutes of application, my scalp began to itch and burn, and within 5 minutes I was in serious pain. I rinsed it out and got out of the shower to discover bright red itchy skin all around my scalp, neck and cheeks – pretty much anywhere the baking soda had touched while it was being rinsed out. I washed all exposed skin and that helped a little but it’s been 5 hours now and my scalp is still burning. I eat baking soda regularly and use baking soda toothpaste without a problem, so I’m not sure what the issue is, but it’s not something I think I can try again. I really would like to stop using shampoo, however, so if you have any other suggestions for cleaning hair, I’d love to hear them. Thanks.


  32. amber howard says:

    Ok here is the update, as of today I have washed my hair 3 times with th bs\asv wash. I love it. It does feel heavier and also a lot thicker, I have these huge waves that I cannot get enough of. I have been washing my 4 year olds hair with burt bees shampoo bar and acv for conditioner. I cannot do the baking soda on her because I dont want it to get into her eyes. I am loving this, my hair is getting curlier everyday. I dont even need to wash it everyday, I do though because I am a runner and sweat is yucky. I am suprised that I am not a huge monster of grease. My face even looks clearer. WHOHOOO I am loving this


  33. amber howard says:

    Jessica, I am sorry to hear that you had such a bad reaction to the bs. I would suggest using a conditioner that does not contain silicone. I did this for the first 3 days and my hair was still very nice. Massage the crap out of your head and then rinse out very very well. You could also go to a local health store and purchase and organic shower bar. I use a burt bees shower bar on my daughters hair Im sure that you can purchase them at meijer. Good luck. I couldn’t figure out how to respong to you privately so if anyone can help me figure that out I would appreciate it. Thanks amber


  34. amber howard says:

    EMILY, I dont know how to respond privatly to your message. Anywho about using apple cider vinegar on your hair. I mix two table spoons in a cup with warm water, (doesnt seem like it will do much I know) I then seperate my hair so that 1’2 is hanging over my right shoulder and half over my left. I then submerse my hair into the cup and ring out a little bit of the excess and slowly pour it over the crown of my head. I wash my body then use a wide tooth comb beginning at the ends working my way up. I rinse it thoroughly with warm water then will cool water. I step out and go. Two hours later I have beautiful big waves. I do have to use my curling iron on a very thin top layer do to the fact that its a little frizzy and though I would like to leave it alone, it wouldnt look very professional. I love my hair!!!


  35. amber howard says:

    Does anyone mix up their vinegar into a big bottle with water? I would assume that you would just need to shake it befor use and you’d be ok! right!? If so can you please tell me your formula like a cup 1/4 vin per 3 cups water. I have a huge glass bottle of vinegar in the bottom of my shower its quite cumbersome. I was also wondering if I could do this with the bs and just shake it everytime. Thanks amber


  36. Mrs Money says:

    Emily- I do put it on my scalp too. It’s good for your scalp.

    Jessica-wow! That is crazy. That’s the first I have heard of that happening to someone. There is a method called conditioner only that you may want to look into. Some people do water only washes as well.

    Amber- I am so happy you are having success with it! I wouldn’t mix my vinegar and water before and leave it because it gets cold and then you have to pour that on your head. 🙂 You may be braver than me, though! I use like two tablespoons to one cup water.


  37. Kendal says:

    I am one week into my no-poo experience and i am going through the greasy period. I have pretty long hair, about mid-back, and I find that I need a little more baking soda than is mentioned above. It’s not too bad so far but i keep my hair in a ponytail all week at work so i am anxious for this weekend so i can play with it a little more. I am hopeful that this will save me a lot of money and be better for my health in the long run.


  38. Lauren C says:

    SUE, you’re right, it is a combination of an acid and a base, and both of these individually can dry and burn. BUT an acid is an acid because it has extra Hydrogen protons, and a base is a base because it has extra OH- molecules. When acids and bases mix, they neutralize one another to create water! OH- + H+ = H2O So as long as you use one (MILD!) base/acid in conjunction with the other, it shouldn’t turn out too badly- they complement each other 🙂


  39. Lauren C says:

    One question: I have very curly hair down to my shoulders. It usually doesn’t do well in humid weather unless I use some kind of gel in it to weigh it down, and it’s hard to comb without conditioner. Any suggestions on how to give up shampoo, yet avoid becoming a ball of frizz?


  40. Mrs Money says:

    Lauren C- Thanks so much for your explanation! That was fantastic! I would try using a little coconut oil rubbed between your hands on the ends of your hair as a conditioner. That really helps me! Experiment with how much you need, but a thumbnail sized dollop goes a long way for me. 🙂


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