No ‘Poo Update

Remember back when I made the crazy decision to toss my shampoo and start going “no-‘poo”? Ever wonder what happened with that experiment?


Over a year later, I’m pleased to say that I have continued it for the most part! I went strong with this method from last April, up until December this year, when I got pregnant. The only time that I briefly stopped was during the first half of this pregnancy, when my hair, scalp and hormones all went crazy. It wasn’t pretty, so I started using natural shampoos again for that season.

Since things have evened out a bit (probably the last 3 months or so) and for all of the months I did it last year, I’ve been really enjoying my simple, frugal habit.

The method I’m using these days is to:

  • Keep a squirt bottle with about 1/8 baking soda and the rest water in the shower. It settles between use, so each time I just shake it up briefly before I use it. I squirt it all over the top of my head and a bit onto the back, and then just rub it around and somewhat “lather” it (I add the quotations because it’s not a true lather, like shampoo, but it does foam up a bit) for about 30 seconds, then rinse.
  • Next I use some apple cider vinegar for conditioning. I dilute it 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water and keep it in a glass jar with a lid. This isn’t ideal, and I’d like to get a squirt or spray bottle for it as well. I only apply it to the bottom half of my hair, because it causes my fine, thin hair to get a bit greasy if I use it anywhere near my scalp.
  • Every once in a while, I shampoo with a high quality, natural shampoo that I happened to have around. It served as a nice transition from when I stopped no-‘poo temporarily, and has helped me to ease back into it without it being obvious that I was transitioning back again. Soon I don’t think I will need to use it anymore at all.
  • I wash my hair only every 2nd day. Back when I started, last April, I was a shower-every-day kind of girl, and my hair would get so greasy without being washed daily. Between the no-‘poo and gradually spacing out my showers (taking advantage of days at home, when I could toss it up in a ponytail!), I’ve managed to get it to the place where I can almost always go 2 days in between. The picture of my hair above is actually taken on a 2nd day, without showering, and you really can’t tell.

Once in a while, I notice that my hair is a bit dry, but then again, I’m struggling to stay hydrated enough with a summer pregnancy, and it has been a dry summer here so far this year. I have experimented once with using my homemade mayonnaise as a deep conditioner, but I didn’t find the results particularly impressive, so I haven’t bothered much since then.

I stumbled across a blog post the other day, about how a mother has adapted a similar method for her daughter’s beautiful, long hair. She uses a natural bar soap, every 5 days, and then the apple cider vinegar rinse for conditioning. Looks like it’s working well for her. Check it out!

For my kids, I continue to use just water on Caden’s short and fine hair, and maybe 1-2 drops of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
on Abbie’s slightly longer (but still very fine) hair. I wash their hair about 1-2 times per week and I don’t ever find that it looks dirty. I mean, aside from the smears of yogurt and jam and spaghetti sauce. :)

Have any of you transitioned over to using the no-‘poo method? How is it going for you, and do you do it any differently than I do? Any deep conditioning suggestions for me? What are the rest of you using for shampooing?

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. Hi Stephanie, I have searched and searched the internet for an explanation and I’ve come up empty handed, maybe you can help. I went poo-free about 4 months ago, using the same method as you, and it worked great for about 2 months. Then I started noticing pimples in my hair, around my hair, down my chest and shoulders. I assumed it came from the BS and thus eliminated that and only used water and ACV. During that time, we moved and the water is much harder in the new house. On the crown of my head I got this waxy buildup (is that sebum?) that repelled water and I could hardly comb through it. I had an aunt cut my hair a few weeks ago and she said I had to use shampoo to get that “funky gunk” out. I have shampoo twice since then and my hair is back to what it was before no poo—flat, frizzy looking, and no fun. I loved the volume. Any tips? I am trying a “natural shampoo” now and my hair is the same as before.

  2. I commented earlier how I just made the switch to toxic free cleaning. What I didn’t say is that it was TODAY and your site and recipes were the catalyst! Old cleaning products are history as I have jumped in with both feet. I was able to say ‘YES” when my four year old asked if she could help clean :-) I already had the essential oils on hand and grabbed the other products needed. As a “clean” and organic “primal” eater, I know how important what we put into our bodies is. We often times feel we are surrounded by so much toxicity that we can never win but you help to show how easy it is to make a huge difference! Cleaning up my home is easier than I would have thought! I often use food items as facial masks and moisturizers but today I started the oil cleansing method as well. I will try this as a shampoo tonight! Once again THANK YOU for inspiring positive change.

  3. Hi,
    Can you tell me the exact measurement and ingredients
    for making (no-poo) shampoo and conditioner?
    I have a daughter she is 11yrs. She is using chemical based
    store bought shampoo and conditioner every single day.
    Every single morning I am struggling before she goes to school.
    Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease can you advise me how to handle the situation?

  4. I started the no poo method about a week ago. I’m having an issue and i’m not sure if it is part of the transition phase. When dry my hair looks normal and feels soft and a little greasy. When wet it feels terribly greasy and clumpy to about halfway down its length from my scalp. The bs mix never seems to cut this oily mess. Do I need to use more? Should I cut out the vinegar? Is this normal?

  5. Need help. Have been shampoo free for almost three weeks. My scalp is itchy and flaky, but my hair looks great. My hair is thick and to my waste. I use baking soda and apple cider vineger to rinse. Last night I couldn’t help it, I used a small bit of shampoo. This morning my scalp feels dry and oily at same time. Any suggestions? Because my hair actually looks better!

  6. I have used nothing but baking soda to wash my hair for 2 and a half years! I will never touch shampoo ever again. I have a method of washing my hair. In a plastic salad bowl I put about 4 Tbs baking soda and 2 cups water. With a cup I pour and scrub until I feel it is clean. I rinse with warm water and style without chemicals. It’s FANTASTIC!!!

  7. I have been debating about this no shampoo thing for a while.. I wash my hair every 2-3 days anyways with it getting pretty oily so I think I’m going to try this but had a question about the acv rinse. Does it have to be the raw, unfiltered acv or can it be the “normal” acv? I have curly hair ( really curly when short but its about past my shoulders now) but its always frizzy no matter what concoction I try.. I’m just really wanting to have no more fly-aways.. I hate looking like I have an Afro when I put my hair in a pony.. Also can I dye my hair while doing this or wil the bs/acv have a reaction with it? One more question and that’s it, promise . If I decide to do deep conditioning treatments like hair masks will the bs wash it out or will I have to use shampoo? I know these are quite a few questions that probably have been answered but I have a 2 year old and an 8 week old, I don’t have time or the energy to search through looking for answers, and would appreciate the help

  8. Question: What “high quality, natural” shampoo do you use? I’d like to know if I could give the brand a try!

  9. Im 6 days into being no poo and, honestly, my hair isnt tht bad, its mostly greasy on the underneath layers where no one can see. its already going less frizzy, although I dont know if thats just becuase the grease adds extra weight, which stops it springing up. Anyway, I love this, thank you and all the other bloggers that convinced me to make the jump!

  10. So I have been reading so many articles/ blogs about no-poo
    for the last 2 hr now :) it totally makes sense to me why no-poo is the way to go, but honestly I am still a little confused on how to do so?!
    I think I understand the Baking Soda Shampoo & Apple Cider Conditioner concept but then again, I am not 100% sure…
    So do you wash your hair with water on a regular base and once your hair gets to greasy you use the “Shampoo & Conditioner” or
    do you not wash your hair on a regular base with water at all
    and then when it gets greasy you use the “Shampoo & Conditioner”?
    I know this must sound like a stupid question, but I am confused,
    esp. since I work out 6 days a week and there for wash my hair
    after each work out, so please help me to do the switch the right way!
    thank you! :)

  11. I use olive oil as a deep conditioner. You put it on the length of your hair, but not on the scalp. Leave it on for half an hour to an hour (depending on how dry your hair is) you can leave it on for longer if you think your hair needs it. Then rinse out in the shower. I do that every couple of weeks. If you google “olive oil as deep conditioner” you get a lot of good information.
    I’m currently trying no poo. I heard you could wash your hair without anything but warm water, but it leaves my hair too oily. I’m going to try the baking soda and vinegar method.
    I have really long (past my waist), and wavy hair, so it’s important to me to keep it healthy. I’m hope it works for me and saves me some money.

  12. Michelle says:

    When I tried to go the no poo way, I just couldn’t get through the transition/”greasy” period. I really wanted to do it, so kept reading everyone’s blogs. FINALLY I read a post by a woman who said she got through the “greasy” period by periodically using a mixture made of two egg yolks and two teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar. Don’t use hot water or you’ll cook the eggs. I tried it and it works. I also added a couple drops of my favorite essential oil to mask the egg smell. I decided with the egg mixture natural too it was better than commercial shampoo and worth the try. I am totally poo free now. I still use the egg mixture from time to time because I think it deep conditions my hair too. I can’t find the blog where I originally found the idea anymore, but I try to spread the word since it seems to be the answer to the adjustment period.

  13. Hello there! A friend of mine was telling me about how she’s trying to go shampoo free, and she wanted me to try it out, too. Since I have a lot of skin allergies, I thought it might be an interesting try since I already use my own skin treatment.
    That being said, I have a few questions that I’m hoping somebody with some more experience might be able to shed some light upon. The first would be that would I have to use cider vinegar for a rinse or would white vinegar be fine, too? I thought about lemon juice, but my hair is super light already and I’m afraid it’d bleach it so badly that I’d look like Paris Hilton. Another thing that I have a question about is if the baking soda would mess with my hair color, since I have highlights. It wouldn’t make anything fade faster, would it?
    I hate having to wash my hair every day, sometimes twice a day and everybody seems to be singing praise for the no shampoo deal. I wouldn’t mind hopping on this band wagon! :D

    • Hi! I’ve been going no poo for about a month now, and I did tons of research before starting, and I think I can help answer your questions. The white vinegar will work just fine, as long as your hair isn’t super dry. The ACV is really good for dry hair, but if your hair is oily, you want to use the white. As far as the lemon juice goes, it’s normaly used with the vinegar because the vinegar on it’s own can darken the hair, so in your case, you do not want to use lemon juice. The baking soda will not affect your hair color. It’s actually better to use than “color safe” shampoos and conditioners. Good luck with your no poo!

  14. Question: Ok I don’t know if I can go even 1 day without showering, in the california heat I sweat, alot. Would it work if I used a shower cap and washed my body and not my hair? I’m assuming this would work since the oils from my hair won’t get washed away.

  15. Bethany Mazur says:

    I like to use Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-one liquid soap. Does anyone who have posted have any opinions or suggestions? It is expensive but a little bit goes a long way.

  16. I’m having my second try at no poo now. First time around I got impatient with it. I think the transition was bad then due to dietary and hormonal issues. So I’m confident I’ll see success with it this time. Still experimenting to find the best formula for my hair during the transition period, but so far so good. :-)

  17. I went poo free about 2 months ago and am loving it! I have thick, curly hair and I use 1 tbsp of baking soda and 1 cup of water for the shampoo and the same for ACV for the conditioner about once a week. The only problem that I have had is with the dry winter air and so I have added 2-3 drops of vitamin e oil in 1 cup of water to rinse. I have never had such healthier and cleaner hair. Even my natural highlights (gray hair) are shinier, which I don’t mind. I also use a hair cap at night which helps to hold in the moisture that would otherwise get sucked out by my pillowcases.

  18. I have just started this transition! I had oily hair even with shampoo. If I washed my hair at night it was greasy looking by noon :( So I figured that it would be so nice for my body to actually start regulating itself. I have to tell you that I didn’t wait a whole two weeks to tweak the formula. After 3-4 days my hair was so oily that when I took the ponytail holder out, my hair didn’t move!! So I added some more baking soda and it’s gotten better. I am only on day 6 so it’s still early and I still think my hair is looking a little on the gross side but ponytails and hats are helping and hopefully in the next week or so it will start to look better. Your hair looks great! Can’t wait to get there!!!

  19. Just came across your blog and love it! I’ve been using a very similar method for washing my hair for about 10 months now with excellent results. The difference in my “recipe” is I combine the baking soda with Dr. Woods Pure Black Soap. Then I condition with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar in 3/4 cup of water to which I add several drops of essential oils, usually a few drops of orange and a few drops of grapefruit. Sometimes I’ll use lemon or peppermint (which makes the scalp tingle). I mix it up so I’m not using the same EO’s all the time. I used to wash my hair every other day but now I only have to wash it once every five days!!! Amazing!! I love getting back to basics!


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