Shampoo Free and Loving It!*

*Update, May 2013: since writing this post I have gone back to regular shampoo. Although this baking soda/cider vinegar combo worked great for a couple of months, I had to discontinue due to an unhappy scalp. While my hair remained healthy and clean, my scalp became very dry and I began to have dandruff for the first time in my life. I have since found a new recipe for shampoo that includes coconut milk, and will give that a try in the near future.*

About a decade ago I tried to go shampoo free for a couple of reasons:

1) To avoid some unhealthy chemicals that are in most shampoos
2) To allow the natural oils to regulate in my hair and eliminate or lesson the use of product in my hair

At that time I stopped using shampoo altogether and just washed my hair with hot water. This lasted a couple of weeks and resulted in some pretty yucky looking hair. Needless to say, I shampooed.

Fastforward to three weeks ago, when once again I decided to ditch the shampoo. This time I had an alternate plan though, and it has made all the difference! This alternate plan is so simple that all it involves is baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

homemade shampoo and conditioner

Here are the supplies: For the cleanser, I add 1 Tbsp of baking soda to 1 cup of water and shake until the baking soda dissolves. For the clarifier, I use 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar added to 1 cup of water.
So here’s how it works: After my hair is thoroughly wet, I use about half of the baking soda mixture squirting it directly onto my scalp, and then massaging it into my scalp for a couple of minutes and then thoroughly rinsing it out. Next I use my apple cider vinegar mixture to restore the pH balance to my hair. I apply this just to the ends of my hair and avoid the scalp. I work it in for a few seconds and then rinse (I got the recipe from the book “Organized Simplicity” by Tsh Oxenreider – a great book with lots of fantastic ideas. Tsh also has a website:

The result? For the first week I wasn’t using enough of the baking soda mixture and I experienced some greasiness. After adjusting the amount of mixture I use to approximately half of the bottle per wash (every 2 or 3 days – when I shower more than this I just wash with hot water) I ended up with clean hair with no grease at all. I love it! And, I am using less product than I did when using shampoo since my natural oils aren’t getting stripped each time I wash my hair. I have also been using it to wash the kids hair, and their hair is nice and clean with the only drawback being that there are a few more tangles to brush out than when using a conditioner in their hair (I need to look up a natural detangler recipe).

To make this really simple, I just keep a box of baking soda, a tablespoon, and a funnel under the bathroom sink so that I can mix up a bottle of cleanser really quickly whenever I need it. It takes quite a lot longer to go through the clarifier, so it’s no big deal to go down to the kitchen to refill that.

What do I love about going shampoo free? Not only am I exposing my body to less chemicals, I am also using less product in my hair to control my head of curls, I have nice clean hair, and I’m saving money! I love simplifying.

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    1. Too bad it didn’t work out for you again! I remember the first time….. 🙂
      I’ve been using this method for a few months now as well, and havent’ come across the dandruff yet. Thanks for the “heads-up”! I’d be interested to hear your recipe with the coconut milk after you try it!

      • Yes the first time was interesting…if it wasn’t for our stay at the Ivanhoe, I probably would have kept going! Hopefully the baking soda will continue to work for you, from what I read some people never have a problem with a dry scalp from this method so maybe you’re one of the lucky ones! I will definitely let you know if I try the coconut milk method.

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