Instructables
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Picture of How to Go No Poo
To go No Poo is to stop using shampoo. Why would you want to do this?

1. Shampoo is expensive.
2. Chemicals in shampoo can irritate and dry out your scalp and hair.
3. Chemicals in shampoo can be hazardous to your health.
4. Your body produces oil to naturally condition your hair and keep it healthy. Using shampoo daily upsets the natural balance and causes you to produce more oil than necessary to compensate.

When you stop using shampoo, you will probably experience a transitional period while your body gradually adjusts to produce just enough oil to keep your hair healthy. During this time, which can range from a few days to a few months, you'll probably have some extra oil and grease that you may want to take care of to look presentable. The cheapest and most effective way to handle this is to use baking soda. The method I use involves a plastic cup, some baking soda, and a shower. You may also want to condition your hair after using the baking soda mixture, as sometimes it can leave your hair a bit dry. There are lots of different ways to do this; I use apple cider vinegar.
 
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Step 1: Cleaning

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Put 1-2 tbsp of baking soda into a 16oz cup (or close). The ideal ratio is about 1 tbsp of baking soda per 1 cup of water. When you get in the shower, fill the rest of the cup with water and stir until the baking soda is dissolved. You should have some cloudy water at this point. If the mixture feels gritty or pasty, either add more water or use less baking soda. Now apply the mixture to your hair. Ideally, you should aim to get most of it around your roots and work it in with your fingers, gradually distributing it throughout the rest of your hair. It won't lather like shampoo, but it does give your hair a distinct "smooth" feeling when it's properly distributed. Once you've rubbed it around a bit, you should be ready to rinse. When you are completely rinsed you are ready to condition.

Step 2: Conditioning

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The simplest way to condition is to use apple cider vinegar, in about the same way as you used baking soda: 1 tbsp of the vinegar per 1 cup of water. If you like you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, some honey, or some lemon juice. When you've mixed up your conditioner, pour it on and work it in just like you did the baking soda. When you're satisfied, rinse thoroughly.

Step 3: Closing Thoughts and Advice

I hate the smell of vinegar. However, apple cider vinegar isn't as harsh as white vinegar, and after you rinse and dry your hair, the smell is completely gone. Your hair will smell like hair, or maybe whatever you added to your conditioner.
The eventual aim of this process is to let your natural oils care for your hair, so you should use the baking soda and vinegar only as much as you need it, hopefully reducing your usage to zero eventually. Good luck, and don't give up!
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I would love some advice! I have been at this for 2 months maybe longer. It was very hard at the beginning and now my hair is ok but not great. It feels heavy and thick (I already have very thick hair) And often feels a bit greasy. It doesn't look as good as it did when I used regular shampoo. I would love any ideas/advice from Tubular or the community. I use 2 TBSP of baking soda and the ACV mix about every 2-3 days. Just water doesn't work at all. I am dedicated to going healthy with this but it's hard to hold on :(

AC94 months ago

This sounds great.. I do have questions! What happens if you hair is fine and extremely oily?? Will I be okay using this? I need my hair to stop falling and I also hate using these shampoos loaded with chemicals.. Any one out there have fine thin hair and has tried this? Thank you!!!!

I have fairly fine hair, it was very oily for about two weeks (even after baking soda) then totally cleared up and now has even more body

I have been "no poo" for about 16 days now. For the first two weeks my hair felt disgusting, oily, and very heavy. I did use the baking soda and vinegar method twice and baby powder on dry hair to help absorb the excess oil. After about two weeks suddenly my hair went back to normal, no more pony tails!

NetWt4Lbs1 month ago
I've been at this a month. I have only used baking soda twice, and do a rinse with diluted vinegar so I don't burn my scalp and strip too many oils. My hair is still greasy and stringy and stinks of unwashed hair
I will be trying for two more weeks since it takes longer for some people, but if it's still greasy at that point in getting myself a good natural shampoo
15, 7:27 PM.jpg15, 7:27 PM.jpg

when I started it took longer than two weeks and for some a month or more. Don't give up! Even "healthy shampoos" like wen have chemicals. You could also try it with just water, scrubbing your scalp with your hands. That's what I do. Although the smell of vinegar fades when your hair dries, I didn't feel like I needed it.

I swim, so how do I go about getting those chemicals out of my hair...

I use a towel to get water out of my hair.

What if you color your hair? Any special thins you have to do?

Hi, I'm really tempted to try this after reading what you all have to say but I'm afraid because I have dandruff and hairfall issues. My hair starts falling if I don't wash it every alternate day.

hubina2 months ago

after giving up shampoo.. once my hair has adjusted, the baking soda solution IS the 'shampoo'? or is that just to help my hair adjust?

tubular (author)  hubina2 months ago
I'm no expert, go with what works. But the intention of this instructable, and what I did, is to use the baking soda while you transition from using shampoo every day to very rarely or not at all, and then don't use it anymore. I don't put anything but water on my hair these days unless I get grease or something really dirty in it.
tubular (author)  tubular2 months ago

Sorry I just realized you may be asking if you should use shampoo and baking soda together, and the answer is no. At least I didn't, I think that would be redundant.

K.Kanee tubular28 days ago

You can add baking soda to your regular shampoo to give it a more clarifying effect.

kbohl28 days ago
I've just finished doing this the first time! Any pointers for continued use? Did anyone use any essential oils? If so, which ones? Thanks! Super excited!
My hair hasnt been greasy or oily but it looks so much fuller and more beautiful after a month and blonder than ever
YGBSM1 month ago

I'm living like a caveman; I've taken one full-body shower since 1/1/15 (for a top to bottom doctor appointment), and haven't washed my hair in 9 months. I occasionally use no-scent baby wipes on my arms, neck and nether regions (once every couple weeks), and have never used baking soda/vinegar on my hair.

I am amazed how much healthier my skin, scalp and hair feel since I stopped my daily showers. This has been a eye-opening experiment. One thing I did have to do was cut my shoulder length hair to a more military style cut, as I found my shirt collars/suit jackets absorbed all of the grease/grime from the unwashed long locks (think caucasian jerri-curl effect).

Unless you are under the care of a physician for immune reasons, give yourself two weeks of no-soap showers and just massaging your hair and scalp with nothing other than warm water. See how you feel. If you're freaked out after two weeks, try the baking soda/vinegar advice on your hair/scalp and a soft loofah (no soap) on the rest of your body.

No promises, ymmv etc, but this regimen has changed my life. Even after regular bike rides and long walks in humid south Texas, I stick to this regime even at the height of the Summer season.

Again, no promises and ymmv. But this caveman approach to whole body hygiene has changed my life. Yet, after all of this laissez-faire approach to whole body hygiene, I still wash my hands vigorously from palms to dorsals, to fingers and nails and everything else in between, including wrists.

I use the happy birthday to me x 2 technique to ensure a good cleanse. I wipe with a clean disposable towel until completely dry. Why? Because I eat with my hands, and whatever is on my hands is transferred to the food that I ingest..That miniscule amount of fecal material on a bathroom door left by the jacka** who did not wash his/her hands can lead to a Hep A infection.

So there you have it: pay particular attention to your hand hygiene for your acute health. Unless you suffer from immune deficiencies, daily, even weekly, whole body cleanings are overrated and can keep your skin, scalp and hair out of balance with the natural processes the body has developed over millions of years of evolution.

[i am not a doctor. but have spent many yeas in second and third world areas where daily whole-body hygiene was not available for weeks at a time, which is why i recommend the mildest non-scented baby wipes as part of my cave man hygiene regimen]

saintevierge2 months ago

The comments below have helped me get more information on this method, so here is my contribution:
I've been raised washing my hair every 3 days (it got mor like 4-5 days while growing up). I was using pretty chemical shampoos tho. I've tried this today with 1tbs/cup and it's pretty evident that I'll have to lower to 1/2tbs./cup because my hair, without being itchy or ugly or anything, are really dry. Yet, I've got surprising good results!

oups! Mes recherches confirment tout de même qu'il est plutôt recommandé de n'utiliser ce mélange qu'une fois par semaine, sinon le bicarbonate de soude serait trop abrasif pour les cheveux. Minimiser la concentration du mélange serait aussi une bonne idée je crois...
http://www.consoglobe.com/bicarbonate-soude-poudre...
http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Actualites/Dossie...

http://www.monbicarbonate.fr/laver-en-profondeur-l...

Wow, I forgot to speak English... However, you guys can't understand the links I've posted here, but they all refer baking soda as a good product for hair care, but for occasional (1/week) use only.

I love that you can just 'forget' to speak a language!! Wish I was bi-lingual!! Thanks for the links by the way

megline2 months ago

Expired apple cider (like Martinelli's) and beer is good too. Cleansing without stripping the oils. Doesn't leave a residue or smell and an essential oil is brilliant.

lacyc12 months ago

I've gone no poo for a few months now. Didnt worry about using acv or baking soda to clean, too much work. Just stopped using. I will say before that I washed maybe only 3-4x week with organic/natural products. I run regularly and work outside, one would think my hair is dirty, but a thorough rinse with good ole h20 does the trick. I also dye my hair with bright colors (plant based) which can be a bit drying, so I use a bit of coconut oil just on the tips and let the oils seep up a little. Looks a bit greasy for a day, but I leave it for conditioning. My hair looks amazing even with the dye! I love it

It is better to wash your Hair with Corn Starch, than Baking Soda.

Baking Soda is very harsh on your hair. Also Great rinses are Green Tea, Rosemary Water/Tea. Occasionally I rinse my hair with Apple Cider Vinegar, to remove hair care products. Also Beer is great for your hair, especially wheat beer. It gives my hair lots of volume but you need to find the right one for you. I have tried several an I find that Millers works best for me an Wheat beer. Also great moisturizers are Almond Oil,Castor Oil,Ylang Ylang Oil,Pomegranate Seed Oil, Rosemary Oil, Neem Oil, Avocado Oil, Jojoba Oil, Cedarwood Oil

kiva.rakosi3 months ago

I began my "no poo" journey earlier this month. I shared some of your tips on my blog where I'm tracking my progress. http://thriftytightwad.blogspot.com

palpable_air3 months ago

baking soda and acv IS a toxin free way to clean your hair , through in terms of how'll it look since they're both such high alkaline sources they'll naturally strip your hair of natural oils that are nice looking.. this is why it leaves with a dry look.. though in my experience doing this method is healthiest and better looking then putting any type of toxins in your hair .. look for natural ingredients in the shampoos and conditioner you purchase, or home make shampoos and conditioners that assist healthy hair oils

it's also important to note that acv is only effective when it contains 'the mother.'
also some sources of baking soda contain toxic heavy metals such as aluminium, make sure the type you buy is toxin free

People! Please do your research. Using baking soda is probably WORSE than using shampoo. It doesn't soak up oil and is far too abrasive to use on your hair or skin. The best option is either use shampoo a lot less, find a shampoo that contains natural ingredients and not damaging chemicals. But trust me, you need to ignore the baking soda method and do some scientific research to see how damaging it is for your hair.

Umm.... I've been using apple cider vinegar and baking soda on my hair for a little over a year now and my hair is in great condition. I've bleached the hell out of it to put in some crazy colors and people are surprised that my hair isn't as dried up and dead as everyone else that bleached their hair the same way. Also, manic panic color lasts a hell of a lot longer too!

I have just started using baking soda, and I am still using an organic all natural coconut conditioner I have, tho I am switching to vinegar soon. I also use Manic Panic, so I am thrilled to read that your color lasts longer!! I use the fuschia, and I prefer it quite dark and intense. I can't wait to see how it lasts!!!

tubular (author)  nina.bannister4 months ago
By all means, please post some references supporting your assertions. I honestly don't know enough to argue but you'll have to forgive me if I don't take your word for it.

In any case, as jco77on pointed out, what I described in this instructable is not intended to be done long-term regardless of any health or wellness impact. It's simply a method I understood to be common knowledge once I learned about it (which is why it's public domain) and it has worked fine for me.
tubular (author)  tubular4 months ago

Also: "The best option is either use shampoo a lot less"

I agree, and that's the entire point of this instructable, hence the name. Please see the final step where I wrote: "The eventual aim of this process is to let your natural oils care for your hair, so you should use the baking soda and vinegar only as much as you need it, hopefully reducing your usage to zero eventually."

Did you even read the article before posting? It didn't say to replace using shampoo daily with baking soda forever. It said that during the short transitional period, if your hair is excessivly oily and greasy, you can use this baking soda method to clean it up.

rebeccakelsey4 months ago

I've been interested in trying baking soda/ACV rinse for awhile. For about three years I've been using conditioner only washing (this is how I do it if anyone is interested: https://omghow.com/articles/stop-using-shampoo-co... )

Has anyone switched from conditoners only to baking soda or vice versa? How did it go?

Kindness is the best accessory,

Rebecca

I only use baking soda and apple cider vinegar, now i dont need to wash my hair as often and my hair seems a bit stronger for it too + i bleached my hair and it still isn't as dead and dried up as it should be. while using baking sida and apple cider vinegar i went from bleach blond to green to dark blue to red then once that faded back to blue. The colors even last a lot longer too. I just need to comb it before washing, and i just put the baking soda directly on my roots and lather it in while the shower hits it if i feel it isn't getting rid of all the oil.

I got quite excited after reading this and have just tried this now. I used white wine vinegar (couldn't find any of the cider stuff!) And baking powder. I didn't realise baking powder and baking soda were different things so I looked it up and apparently baking powder is basically baking soda but with an added acidic element. Do you think this will change anything? Also, I realised that after I rinsed out the baking powder mixture, my hair still felt a bit oily. Is this normal? Thanks!!

Although I did not use white wine vinegar, I did feel oily after the baking soda. It felt better than before I washed it. Maybe its the "adjustment" period epople talk about.

galitsharon14 months ago

what happens is the hair is dry and frizzy¿

kliu81 year ago
Also, about no soap thing, how do you clean your private parts with just water? Would just pouring water there make it more habitable for bacteria? What do you do if you got paint, ink, glue, or motor oil on your skin? The purpose of soap is not to moisturize but to remove lipid-based impurities such as bacteria, excess oil, grease, paints, resins, wax, etc that cannot be washed away from water alone. Yes it can strip the skin but in some cases it's necessary harm especially if you don't want something like printer ink sitting on your skin for a long time. Thankfully my skin and hair is very tough and hardy. One time I got a build up of castile soap in my hair due to using Dr. Bronner's for too long and I washed it with a natural, non-toxic all purpose cleaner, and my hair came out silky smooth and bouncy, I have also washed my hair with vinegar, dish soap, make-up removing face wash, hand soap, etc. To be fair though, I only take showers when I feel I need it which is about 1-2 times a week but once I went camping with someone and even though I had only gone two days without showering they said I stank too much and had to sleep away from them. But even with soap my skin's oils rejuvenate well on the drier spots. That's just me though hygiene is a huuuge concern for me and how it can effect others health.

You could use Dr. Bronner's though. It's very safe and healthy. I bought a BIG bottle last year and still have it. Only 3 drops with lather up in your hands! :) LOVE the almond oil sent.

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