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DIY Hair: My Experience With the No Shampoo Movement

I love finding alternative ways to style my hair without using heat or products. I can achieve salon results without damaging my hair!

My experience with the no-poo movement.

My experience with the no-poo movement.

To Shampoo, or No-Poo?

We're caught in a conspiracy! So apparently shampoo is bad for you. Who knew, right?

Well, the chemicals in it strip your own hair of its natural oils, which cause it to be dry after washing. Your head gets confused and starts over-producing oils, which is why your hair will get super greasy after a few days. What the government DIDN'T tell you is that these oils are actually good for you, in moderation. To moderate them, you gotta quit shampoo!

Note: put in some tape-in extensions during my de-pooing process (which you can learn about here), so don't be alarmed by my magical growing and shrinking hair. Also, this isn't actually a disclaimer.

No Shampoo Steps

 1. Baking Soda and Vinegar2. Water ONLY3. Baking Soda and Vinegar, Weekly

amount of time

2 weeks

1 month


amount of beauty

average and lame

weirdly captivating


Step 1: Ease In

So here's what you have to do: get rid of your shampoo and conditioner, and instead substitute baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Seems weird, right? Well, the baking soda will absorb the grease, and apple cider vinegar smooths and shines. It smells funny, but the smell doesn't carry once your hair is dried.

You can use the baking soda as a powder, or mix it with a bit of water to form a paste. This will act as your shampoo. You should mix equal parts of vinegar and water, and use this as your conditioner.

Once you've got the magical hair ingredients, you've got some decisions to make. You could start washing your hair with water immediately and have super greasy hair for a month or ease into it by using baking soda and vinegar and then just water. I'm not a fan of the dirty hippie look, so I opted for the second choice.

To ease in, start off by using your baking soda/apple cider vinegar concoctions when you shower. You'll do this for about two weeks.

My Experience with Step 1:

I started this endeavor right before I went to Bonnaroo, which I figured was appropriate because those hippies don't shower anyway. My friend Brittany and I decided to try it together. She has really big, fluffy, curly, and generally untameable hair. My hair is just thick and straight, so I'm mostly doing it because I'm a bum.

As I said, we opted to ease into the no-poo process. We started with baking soda and vinegar, using them 3 or 4 times in the first two weeks.

After our first baking soda wash, Brittany's hair was absolutely ridiculous. I think this is probably because she used too much vinegar, and chose to brush her hair post-shower. I actually liked the way my hair came out - it had much more body, though it did feel a tad dry.

The next time around, Brittany used a little bit of coconut oil in her hair, and she was looking like a sexy beast. At Bonnaroo, which we both attended, we didn't wash our hair for FIVE DAYS. And it was still sexy as hell. We were amazed.

Me and Brittany within one week of starting.

Me and Brittany within one week of starting.

Brittany's hair post-coconut oil.

Brittany's hair post-coconut oil.

Step 2: Use Only Water

This step is necessary for the whole balancing of pH and restoration of natural oils bit. And since you're trying to get your hair back to its natural state, that means no hair products. For some of you, this may seem like a nightmare. But, have I got several tips for you!

  • If you have super-duper fluffy hair, use a bit of coconut oil post-shower as a hair-tamer. Take a small amount on your fingertips and work it through your hair.
  • If your hair is unbearably greasy, rinse it more often, or sprinkle a bit of baking soda on your roots to help absorb the nasty.

After about a month of pure water, you'll notice your hair becoming fabulous. It'll become greasy at a much slower rate - I'm talking around 5 or 6 days between washes. It'll have more body, and be much softer.

My Experience with Step 2:

After our two-week baking soda period, we both started the water washes. Brittany has reported only having to wash her hair every 5 days, and I could go about the same time. As mentioned above, after this stage my hair became much softer and bodacious.

Most surprisingly, I actually received compliments from people during this stage... People who DIDN'T KNOW I wasn't actually washing my hair. I had several people telling me how good my hair looked, to which I could only respond, "I haven't used shampoo in over a month."

Obviously, they were surprised, seeing as how my hair didn't even look greasy. This was the prime time for recruiting more no-pooers!

After my first pure water wash!

After my first pure water wash!

Step 3: Re-Introduce Fake Poo

After your hair is fairly stable, you can go back to using your baking soda/vinegar combo once a week. And there it is—a cheaper, more healthy alternative to awesome hair!

Now, I'm back to using baking soda and vinegar once a week. Honestly, I don't miss shampoo, except for the way my hair smells after using it. Now, my hair just smells like nothing... But this can be remedied by using essential oils. Other than that, my hair is softer, shinier, and healthier. Will I go back to shampoo? Probably not.

At the end of our journey.

At the end of our journey.



This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on March 06, 2017:

Well Alex, this is very interesting. I have to wash my hair every second day, so maybe I will give it a try. Definitely more healthy. I like that you use apple cider vinegar, as I use it practically every day. One teaspoon in a glass of water, once or twice a day. But that's for my health. Thanks for a super hub.

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on April 01, 2015:

I gave the no-poo method an honest try for a couple of months. Dang, it's a good thing I work from home! People asked me if it was a lupus symptom and I seriously could have just switched to wearing hats. It makes slightly thin hair look like very thin and stringy hair.

Anyway, this is a method that only works for people with thick, full hair.

Geof Awunyo from London on March 29, 2015:

Its very interesting hub for hair for women.. I like this hub

Deya Writes on March 14, 2015:

I bookmarked this article moooonthssss ago, and I kept seeing it in my bookmarks tab and it kept reminding me to do this. So a few weeks ago I started a variation of this...

I mix a tablespoon of baking soda in with a tiny amount of shampoo to make a paste, then wash with that, rinse it all out, and spray my hair with a little bit of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then rinse that out too. It's been working great! I'll try to see if I can slowly cut the baking soda and shampoo out, the vinegar step I want to keep because it gives my hair such a nice shine to it.

Thanks for the great article, one of the few DIY's that I actually read AND do.

Georgene Moizuk Bramlage from southwestern Virginia on November 22, 2014:

Interesting article and approach to a not new situation. Many, many years back, I'd rinse my hair with beer or sometimes lemon juice. I don't remember knowing what a conditioner even was. I've never heard of the "water shampoo" before reading this HubPage. Very well done...I like your chatty style of writing. And really appreciate the time and energy you took to take good illustrative photos.

Michelle Scoggins from Fresno, CA on September 28, 2014:

Thanks for sharing your experience. I tried this a few years ago when my hair was dyed blonde and about bra strap long. I also have a review on my page. I found that the baking soda really dried out my hair. I used coconut oil as well but over time my ends were really dry and broken which sent me to get a more drastic hair cut than usual. I did go back to shampoo. But I do agree that it made my hair soft, full of body and really manageable. Oh yeah and it stripped my hair color which baking soda is known for. So maybe that method is not meant for those of us who color our hair.

lirrle on August 15, 2014:

I would try this, but I love my Wen too much.

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on August 04, 2014:

Thanks!! I'm glad you're giving this a shot, thanks for reading!

L Anex on August 03, 2014:

This is great, thank you for sharing. I have very curly, fluffy, frizzy and untameable hair like your friend. My hair looks the best when I haven't washed it in 5-9 days but I get a lot of shit from friends and family for not washing my hair. Shampoo just kills it, it looks awful after a wash, for a few days too. I will definitely try the no-poo method. I'm very excited about this! By the way, you're quite funny, I enjoy reading your articles.

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on July 15, 2014:

Thanks girl! I recommend it, hope it goes just as well for you!

Rebekah Nydam from Massachusetts on July 15, 2014:

Thanks for sharing this! I have been wanting to try ditching shampoo for a while. Currently I only wash my hair maybe twice a week as it is with regular shampoo, so I figured it won't be too hard to switch. Your hub is very helpful about the process. And your hair looks so much healthier after you made the switch! :)