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Do You ‘Poo?!

Hey! Don’t worry, it’s not that kind of post… (Couldn’t help my self, I do live with any 8 and 5 year old boys…and a baby. We talk a lot about poo…)

Back to my point: Tarrin and I were recently asked to weigh in on this whole shampoo or no shampoo thing. Of course we said yes…because of course we have an opinion. (Have you met either of us?!)

I have been shampoo-free for nearly 5 years. Yup. I haven’t used shampoo for five years. It’s been an evolving journey for me, but I love where I’m at with it.


So, once upon a time there was a girl who needed a new way to wash her hair…

I started out looking for an alternative to shampoo for three reasons. First, about that time I had begun my journey of purging the house of toxic products. (Truthfully though if any of these products were really giving me great hair I probably would’ve let them stay. I’m sorry, I will never throw out my mascara.) But they weren’t. Everything bothered me. Even so-called “natural” products irritated my scalp, giving me hive-like bumps. I’d try something new, things would seem to be good and improve for a bit, then… Irritation again.  I’d look for a new “and improved” product shell out more money…and go through the same cycle. My bathroom had so many half used bottles of shampoo and conditioner and styling products-and when I began to realize just how much I was spending (to still be miserable) I decided I was on a mission. And if you know me you know what that means…

After me and my friend Google spent some quality time together discussing hair care, I found my solution. No shampoo or the “‘poo free method.”

What that really means is washing your hair with baking soda mixed with water to make a runny “shampoo” and then doing an apple cider vinegar rinse.  No more shampoo, no more conditioner.

And holy moly!  My scalp healed and BONUS the acne that I could never quite get rid of cleared significantly (and now since going Paleo it’s practically nonexistent, but that’s another story).

 No ‘Poo Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup water

The Rinse Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Mix the baking soda and water together before you are ready to wash your hair in a cup/bottle. In another, mix the ingredients for the rinse.

Wet your hair, and massage the baking soda mix into your scalp (hint: I found using an old squirt bottle that I could easily mix in then squirt on my scalp made this easier). The important part is getting this into your scalp, not your hair.  Rinse.  Grab your cider rinse and squirt/pour it on. Massage it well, and rinse (you don’t want to smell like a salad)!  Really though. Rinse it.

You can play with the ratios until you find something that works for you but this recipe seems to be a safe start and has worked well for me. At the start, I tried several other ratios thinking I needed more baking soda to get my hair clean. Remember, sometimes less is actually more. 🙂 It’s also fun to add some essential oils for scent and properties (lavender and chamomile are ones I’ve used).  I just mix this up right before my “hair-washing shower” and then I’m set.

 What To Expect

If you are going try this, one thing I believe you must do is get over this idea that hair must be washed daily, or even every other day and that the natural oil in your hair is “bad”.  Honestly, (now take a breath) I “wash” my hair only about every 7-10 days. By “wash” I mean make a mixture and put it in my hair.  Every time I shower I am sure to get my hair wet and massage water in and rinse. But that’s all it takes.  My hair doesn’t stink, it’s not gross.  Over the last 5 years my hair has been both long (shoulder length) and quite short.  The longer I am ‘poo free the less I need to wash my hair, it looks pretty good, and I very rarely need to use anything to tame it or style it (and I have pretty curly hair that can get both frizzy, and well, weird). I think it looks pretty nice, if I do say so myself.


My “no ‘poo” hair and gratuitous cute baby picture.

If you’re already somewhat familiar with this,  you have probably also heard about the “transition period”–in other words greasy hair. Yes, it’s real. For me, it really wasn’t all that bad, but I know for some people it’s really difficult and their hair is very oily while they adjust. In about 4 weeks (which seems to be the average for most people) my hair started to even out and it looked really well and even when it was “bad” it really wasn’t awful.  I mean I wasn’t going around wearing a hat or in hiding or anything. However, I think since I have curly hair that tends to frizz the oily period might not have been as bad for me.  Just be aware that for some the oily period is truly difficult.

The key though for me was definitely getting over the idea that my hair should be washed daily. Once I cut back, I was well on my way.

Remember, it’s trial and error and you may have to experiment to figure out what works for you.  If your hair is too dry, use less baking soda. Brushing or combing when your hair is not wet will also help distribute the natural oils—this was important for me.

Don’t give up!  Your scalp needs to adjust.

Another alternative is to shampoo with raw honey, which is currently my favorite. This is now my go-to method!

Honey Shampoo

  • 1/2- 1 tablespoon raw honey (note: it must be raw honey). I find 1/2 tablespoon is more than enough for my hair.
  • 3 tablespoons of warm water

Mix immediately before you wash your hair and massage into your scalp. Then rinse with water.  Yup that’s all.  I also use my handy squirt bottles for this. 😉

 In Case You Were Wondering…

My routine looks something like this: At each shower, rinse hair well with water and massage scalp well.  When hair is dry (at night for me), comb it well to work your natural oils through.

Depending on how my week is and what my hair is looking like, every 7 days prep out my honey shampoo mix and then wash.

As needed, (maybe once a month) add a vinegar rinse.

If things are looking a little oily, wash with baking soda.  For me, this is now rarely needed.

So, what do you think? Will you ‘poo or no ‘poo?!



1 Comment

  1. I’ve been doing no ‘poo for years, but I can’t go more than ~2-3 days between baking soda washes. My hair just gets too greasy, it shows terribly. And it’s a little frustrating, having curls myself – they’re usually fairly frizzy/not wanting to hold the curl too well the day that I full-out wash my hair, then I get a day or two of good curl, then I’m all greasy and nasty and I have to wash again.

    Makes me sad, to only get 1-2 days out of 4-5 when I have good curl – but then again, natural curl is fussy anyway.

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