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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The no 'poo method of making your own shampoo and conditioner

"No 'poo" is short for "No SHAMpoo." I didn't make it up, or I would have called it something else.

Do you remember how your grandma (or mom) used to go get her hair washed and fixed once a week? That's what mine did, anyway. I never did understand how grandma's head wasn't always an oil slick by tuesday. It turns out that in most cases, we train our hair to be oily by regularly stripping all of the natural oils out, causing our scalps to overreact. That oil is actually good for your hair.

I've always had fine, limp hair. I thought that I needed to be getting it really clean so it would have more volume. It turns out I was shooting myself in the foot.

The first time I tried no 'poo, I was sold on it. My hair had more volume (notice I said "more," not "tons") and it held its style better when I styled it.

Not to mention the fact that your average bottle of shampoo is loaded with unpronounceable foaming agents, fragrances, and an array of other questionable chemicals. Natural shampoo can be a bit pricey, however averaging about ten dollars a bottle.

So, here's how to get started with the no 'poo method:

Here's what you need:

2 bottles or jars
a funnel
about 1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider or white)
about 1/4 cup baking soda

Don't you like my mustard and ketchup bottles? They cost me about 2 dollars at the grocery store and work great! Hubby Dennis says they looks silly, and I believe he is right.

Here's what you do:

Using the funnel, spoon baking soda into one bottle until it is about 1/8 full. Fill the rest of the way with water.

Repeat the process with the second bottle, but fill 1/8 with vinegar instead of baking soda.

That's it! You're done! That was easy, huh? (You may want to label them so you know which one is which, if your bottles aren't clear.)

Here's how you use it:

1. Wet your hair

2. Shake the baking soda "shampoo" vigorously.

3. Pour a generous amount of the baking soda water on your scalp.

4. Massage it in for a few seconds. (I like to let mine sit for a minute or two, but I'm not sure this is necessary.

5. Rinse Thoroughly.

6. Pour the vinegar water onto the ends of your hair and rinse thoroughly.

Not too complicated, eh? It's pretty much like what you were already doing, right?

Now, I'm going to try to read your mind and answer in advance any questions you might have.

Q: Won't I still have oily hair? 
A: You may go through an adjustment period while your scalp learns that you're not going to be stripping it daily anymore. I didn't, but used regular shampoo once a week while my scalp gradually adjusted.

Q: Won't the baking soda and vinegar react on my head and fizz up?
A: I wondered the same thing, and I haven't had that experience. Do be careful to rinse the baking soda out before you add the vinegar, just to be cautious.

Q: Won't I smell like vinegar?
A: No, you'll smell it when you put it on your head, but the smell dissipates quickly.

Bonus tips:
Another use for your vinegar water mixture is as a facer toner. The acidic nature of the vinegar helps restore your skin's natural balance.

Also, straight baking soda makes a great, gentle face scrub to make your skin nice and soft! Just rub in for about a minute after you've washed your face.

If you're interested in learning more about the no 'poo method, check out Keeper of The Home and Crunchy Betty to read about their experiences.

Questions? Comments?

Anyone planning to take the no 'poo challenge?


  1. How often do you wash your hair? I am thinking about giving this a try, but some blogs talk about washing only every 2 to 3 days. My morning shower is what gets me through my day. LOL


  2. Yes, I've heard that, too. However, I do it most every day and I haven't had ant problems!

  3. Totally going to try it! I was running out of my toxic store-bought stuff. This is perfect timing! Thanks.

  4. LOVE IT!!!! Thank you so much, Sarah! I'm totally going to try this! I can't wait to do some of these natural things! They're so much cheaper & simpler because most of them are using vinegar, baking soda & water! Do you prefer the white or apple cider vinegar for your hair?

  5. So glad ya'll are taking the no 'poo challenge! Laurie - I think I heard somewhere that white vinegar is better for blonde hair and apple cider vinegar is better for darker hair, so I use white vinegar. Also, I don't really like the smell of apple cider vinegar. I've used both, though, and they both worked equally well. Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions!

  6. I love the ketchup and mustard bottle idea! I've been doing 'poo free for over a month and absolutely love it. I only have to wash my hair every three to four days. (Crazy, right!) At first, my hair was a gross, vinegary mess. Then I stopped using the vinegar after a few weeks and now I don't have any problems at all. My best advice for others is to stick with it and try different amounts/methods. It's worth it once you find what works for you!

  7. What do you do about conditioning your hair?

    1. For a long time, I was using the vinegar rinse in place of conditioner. It closes the cuticles of the hair, making the hair smooth and shiny. This is what most "no 'poo-ers" do, with both long and short hair. I am currently trying to grow my hair out, and I am using a strengthening conditioner on the ends most days.