December 3, 2012

No Shampoo

Posted in Random Ramblings at 5:02 PM by goingbeyondzebra

Oh no! I missed posting yesterday! I got hit with some sickness this past weekend. Yesterday & today have been particularly difficult, and yesterday I couldn’t find the energy to write a post. However, I will try to make up for it today by posting twice! I have been promising this post about not shampooing for a while now, so I figured now was a good time to do it.

Sometime in early April I stumbled upon a post in Pinterest that promised “A cleaner, simpler life without shampoo.” Since my hair is so thick (a blessing and a curse) and therefore a terror to shampoo, and since I’ve also been trying to start switching to a less chemically-based lifestyle, this piqued my interest.

The blog poster said that she had decided to switch out her old Head and Shoulders routine with a baking soda rinse/apple cider vinegar rinse and see if eliminating the chemicals would help her problematic scalp. She didn’t provide much information, but did point to this blog post about how and why to make the switch. I, too, had a problematic scalp that required the highest level of Head and Shoulders, and after reading over the information from both blogs and doing a little more research online, I decided to give it a try. I already had everything I needed on hand, therefore it wouldn’t cost me anything, and so, why not?

Since the above posts do a pretty good explanation about how and why to switch, I am going to concentrate mostly on my experience for now.

First about my hair. Because my hair is thick, longer (about six inches below shoulder length), and curly, it tends to be on the dry side, so I only shampooed/conditioned my hair twice a week before I even started this process. Also, I don’t have “normal” dandruff, instead, I have what I’ve been told (by hair dressers) is called “oily dandruff.” Beware, this is kind of gross. This means that, instead of having that dry, white-flaky type scalp that most people associate with dandruff, I get scabby buildups of grossness on my scalp (along with the itching). Like I mentioned before, to control this issues I was using the Head & Shoulders Intensive Care, which just barely worked to keep things in line (and because I couldn’t afford Selsun Blue, which worked a bit better).

In the beginning of April I started the switch. I still had some good conditioner left, so I decided to start with just switching out my shampoo. I found an empty shampoo bottle that Mark had just finished and rinsed it out, filled it with about two cups of hot water and dissolved around 4 tablespoons of baking soda into it. When it came time to wash my hair, I poured it all over like I would shampoo, but more generously, and really concentrated on scrubbing it in. Like I said, my hair is thick, so it took some effort. I let it sit for about a minute before rinsing it out, then I conditioned like normal.

I couldn’t tell a huge difference afterwards, although my hair did feel a little less “coated”. I decided I would keep giving it a try, at least until I got a few weeks into using the apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse once I finished up my conditioner.

It didn’t take long for my conditioner to run out, so I took an empty (and rinsed) mayo squeeze bottle, filled it with about two cups of hot water and 4 tablespoons of ACV. After rinsing out the baking soda mixture from my hair, I squeezed on the ACV mix and let it sit until I was almost ready to get out of shower before I rinsed it out. This time I could definitely tell a difference, and I wasn’t sure how happy I was. My hair felt a little straw-like, though definitely lighter and again, less “coated.” I really wanted this to work, so I decided to stick with it for a few weeks.

That was about 8 months ago.

I LOVE using this method. Almost every time I wash my hair I rave to Mark about how soft and light my hair feels. For a while Mark complained about the smell that ACV left of my hair, so I started mixing in about 15 drops of lavender essential oil in with my ACV mixture, and that seems to help a lot (you can choose any scent you like, I just find that lavender usually seems to be the cheapest). Also, because my hair is curly, I still use a leave-in cream post shower by Garnier Fructis that’s really nice on my curls. There is usually about one time a month or so that my hair will feel a little weird afterwards, but it doesn’t usually look any different. For the first month or two my scalp was still a little itchy, but I haven’t had any problems with my “oily dandruff” since I switched, and at this point the itchiness is almost completely gone. Another bonus I’ve discovered is that it seems to help cut down on split ends. I usually get my hair cut about three times a year, but this time I was able to go from February until November before I started to see split ends. When I went to the hairdresser she DID mention that my roots seemed a little dry, but I also hadn’t washed my hair in over a week due to some water issues and had been keeping it in a ponytail the whole time, so with that and my overall trend towards dryness, I wasn’t really surprised.

I will warn you, like the other posts, that if you decide to do this, there WILL BE a week or two in there where your hair will be kind of funky because it is having to adjust it’s oil levels and whatnot. If you can make it through that period (it was around week four for me I believe once I had switched over fully to the baking soda/ACV mixtures), then it is well worth it.

I have used regular shampoo and conditioner a couple of times since switching when I have been away on a trips. I’ve hated it every time! For one, I forget how LONG it takes me to rinse regular shampoo and conditioner out of my hair (another bonus, while this method increases your shower prep-time, I have found it decreases my overall shower time). Also, afterwards my hair always just feels so coated and unnatural.

So! For an overall recap of the process/pros/cons:


  • Mix 1-2 tablespoons baking soda per one cup of warm/hot water
    • I started out using 2 tablespoons because I have so much hair, now I use about 1 1/2 tablespoons
    • It takes about two cups of the mixture to do all of my hair
  • Mix 1-2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar per one cup of warm/hot water, add favorite essential oil if desired
    • I use 2 tablespoons per one cup of water with about 15 drops of lavender oil
    • It takes about two cups of the mixture to do all of my hair
  • Wet hair, scrub in baking soda mixture, let sit for about one minute
    • I concentrate this mixture mostly onto my scalp. It took me a while to learn how to really scrub it in and make sure I am getting my whole scalp, as it doesn’t really spread like shampoo does.
  • Thoroughly rinse baking soda mixture out of hair
  • Smooth ACV mixture into hair and let sit for 5 minutes or so (or until you’ve finished the rest of your shower activities)
    • I mostly concentrate this mixture on the ends of my hair, though I make sure it gets everywhere
  • Rinse ACV mixture out of hair
  • (Optional) Rinse hair again in cool water
  • Repeat two or three times a week


  • Hair feels less “coated” and lighter
  • Helps “oily dandruff” (and I imagine regular dandruff as well)
  • Introduces fewer chemicals to your body
  • Fewer split ends
  • Less time in shower
  • Ability to act like an evil scientist whenever you mix your concoctions
  • Cheaper than regular shampoo/conditioner


  • MAY cause hair to tend towards dryness (at least if your hair leans that way to begin with)
  • ACV smell may bother you or loved ones (helped by essential oils)
  • Longer shower prep-time

So there you have it! Feel free to ask me if you have any questions. I hope this post will help or convince some of you to try this process as well. I am working on convincing Mark to at least try the baking soda mixture, since he doesn’t use conditioner anyways.

Good luck!


1 Comment »

  1. Mark said,

    I don’t remember you asking me to do this treatment. Is this your way of convincing me?

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