The No ‘Poo (no shampoo) Decision and Recipes

A couple of years ago, I came across a couple of posts about the “no ‘poo” method of washing hair. It sounded like something I’d do, but at the time, life was really heavy on me… But just a few months ago, I came across those few posts again. I did a few more searches and made a mental note to pick up a couple of containers and my own jug of Apple Cider Vinegar the next time I went to the store.

Since you are here, reading, you’ve likely already decided you have some interest in this method, so I’m not going to go into all the gritty details of why this method is good, or better. We know we’re surrounded in life with chemicals, shampoo and conditioner are no different. Read on for the basics.

No ‘Poo is just a way of cleaning your hair without the harmful chemicals found in most shampoos and conditioners. It’s cheap.. er, frugal and easy, so set aside your bottles of shampoo and conditioner (really, you can always go back to it, should this no shampoo method not work for you – don’t sweat it and don’t pitch the bottles yet.) and gather up a few simple ingredients. Here are a few things you will want.




Ingredients for the No ‘Poo, no shampoo method of washing your hair:

One or Two containers that are easy to mix, easy to pour. You may dedicate a specific bottle (or two), or you might just want to use a large cup.

You’ll want a spoon or scoop of some sort – I just use an old spoon, like the small spoon that would come in silverware set. I think I’ll switch to a tea-spoon for the longer handle (but keeping the smaller scoop of the spoon).

A box of Baking Soda. You could put this in a pretty jar, or just leave it…. eh..

A jug of Apple Cider Vinegar (if you are collecting articles about this method, you’ll frequently seen this as ACV)

There’s your basics. Easy peas-y.

Long Hair
This is not a picture of the no 'poo method, just long hair.

I use two rubber maid bottles. I rinse them after each use, so my next shower, I can use either bottle for whichever step. Sometimes, I just use one bottle. It’s no big deal.

Before my shower, while the bathroom are water are heating up, I put about 2 rounded teaspoons (not an exact, just “about”) into one container. In the shower, I fill it with about 2 or 2 1/2 cups of water – give a shake.

I have found I prefer to put this solution on my head before I wet my hair. This way I get most on my roots, rather than on the hair length since it can be drying. Turning my head this way and that, I get it on all my scalp, rubbing it gently with my fingertips (not my nails). Rub gently, don’t scrub.

I leave this on while I rinse the bottle. I use about the same amount of ACV as I do Baking Soda, but I just “splash” it into the bottle or cup, then add about 2 or 2 1/2 cups of water. This, I pour over all my hair as it acts as a conditioner, but importantly, it balances the ph of your hair and scalp – so don’t skip this.

The Apple Cider Vinegar does have a light smell while your hair is still wet, but once dry, you don’t smell it. This is all well and good, but I do smell it if I get hot and sweaty… and I don’t like it. I love vinegar in salads and on sandwiches, it definitely has its place in household cleaning and laundry, but I swear, the only thing that comes to mind when I smell it, is coloring Easter eggs… and really, just gross. But, I found a way to combat this negative side effect…


Instead of using plain water to add to your vinegar rinse, I made a strong tea. My plan is to keep tea bags I’ve used for making pitcher of iced tea, and throw them in a gallon jug of water. Over time, they’ll steep. You could also do this with different herbs (lavender quickly comes to mind) and essential oils. One drawback to essentials oils, however, is they are an oil – they don’t mix with water – so you’ll need to make sure you shake your mixture well before using. Then use this water with your splash of ACV and you don’t smell the vinegar (little, if at all) even while it’s wet.

I’ve been using this method for a couple of months now and not only do I like how it makes my hair feel, I am enjoying it.

Just a few notes to add. If you have been reading articles, you’ll know you may have an adjustment period for your hair since it’s use to having to over-produce oils to help moisturize your hair (shampoos and conditioners (certain ones) strip your hair of its natural oils, while others coat it with a barrier that keeps it from getting moisturized naturally. You really don’t need to wash your hair every day, so gradually lengthen the time between washes. I typically wash my hair every five to six days, and it really is good up until that last day – when it feels dirty, but still doesn’t look it.

Where are you with this no ‘poo method? Have you just come across it, and are researching, or have you been doing it for awhile? I’d love to hear your experiences, and even additives to the recipe(s).