How to Get Self-Cleaning Hair: the Survival Guide (Health & Hygiene)





Introduction: How to Get Self-Cleaning Hair: the Survival Guide (Health & Hygiene)

Disclaimer: Much of my work is an elaboration and compilation of other sources material as such I will post my resource links at the end of the Instructable.

(Health & Hygiene)
A Short History of Hair
Human Hair is naturally self-sustaining and will clean itself without use of shampoo or hair care products (same thing applies for toothpaste, though it whitens them) if taken care of correctly. The hair on our heads is called Terminal Hair because of both its definitive coarseness and maturity. This Instructable is in reference to Human Terminal hair on the head. Hair can and will clean itself after it has been weened off shampoo and conditioner...How else did people keep their hair clean in ancient societies?

A. You + Willpower
B. Hot Water (Not scolding)
C. Someplace to bathe or shower
D. Scalp Massaging Brush (Can be bought at Amazon or in some Health & Beauty stores)
E. Vinegar (To strip Hair of excess oils)
F. Regular Hair Brush

Step 1: 1. Forget the Shampoo and Conditioner

1. Getting rid of your "Shampoo Habit" is the first step to rejuvenating your natural hair oils as shampoo and conditioner strip your hair of the its essential oils which prevent a buildup of dirt, making your hair dry. When your hair tries to restore these oils, it overcompensates and makes your hair greasy leaving you uncomfortable.

This process seems counter-intuitive as "Shampoo" has become a way of modern life because it seemingly keeps your hair "clean". A sentiment that is projected by many family households as well as perpetuated by the USD $ 24 billion dollar skin care industry (USD $12 Billion in Hair Care,2004). Who see their projected market as "Baby boomers are still the core consumers, but the next generation in their 40s and beauty obsessed youth are also great potential customers for skin care industry.(" Thus if there is a large sum of money in the picture, many of the "facts" could be in fact false.

Step 2: 2. Be Patient

It takes about six weeks in order to ween your hair and re-regulate your hair oils for those natural oils to be fully balanced and restored. During this time, your hair will most likely become varying degrees of greasy. The worst of it will occur during weeks 3 and 4.

Tip: In order to counteract gross amounts extra oil during this time period of re-balancing use vinegar or method below to strip a healthy amount of hair. Oil build-up makes your hair look drab, lose its luster, and can make it appear unclean! But you can remove it with ingredients from your cupboard, if you follow the instructions below.

* Keep your eyes closed when pouring on the ACV because it may sting your eyes (harmless otherwise)

  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (also called ACV)
  • 1 gallon of distilled water
1. Mix the vinegar and water.
2. Shampoo and rinse as usual.
3. Pour 2 cups over the scalp and let the mixture saturate your hair.
4. Finish up with a cold-water rinse.
5. Store any leftover mixture in a cabinet or the refrigerator and use it every couple of weeks to keep your hair squeaky clean.


  • Baking Soda
  • Water
1. Mix two parts baking soda with one part water in a large bowl.
2. Apply the paste to hair thickly.
3. Leave the paste to soak for up to half an hour.
4. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
5. Pour any leftover mixture down a drain. It is environmentally friendly and safe, but only usable once.

  • Dish Detergent
  • Conditioner
  • Water
1. Shampoo your hair with Dish Detergent once a week.
2. Apply conditioner after shampooing hair.
3. This will keep your hair from feeling lifeless. It will increase body in your hair.

Step 3: 3. Continue to SHOWER!

Rinse your hair thoroughly.Use hot (not scalding) water to wash dirt and excess oil out of your hair, then cold water to make your hair smooth and shiny. Remember, this Instructable was made to promote a healthy hygiene and relinquish the benefits of living with self cleaning hair without giving up your healthy showering habits. DO NOT STOP SHOWERING JUST BECAUSE OF HAIR! Showering is a necessity to keep hair clean and your body free of dead skin and but shampoo products aren't!

Step 4: 4. Groom Thine Self....Brushing Specifically....

IMPORTANT! Brush your hair regularly. Scalp massage brushes are good for reducing dandruff and stimulating healthy hair. Brush twice a day to maintain a healthy main. Brushing also keeps hair from "dreading" into dreadlocks.

  • You an obtain a Scalp Massage Brush @ Target,, etc. When all else fails, Google it!

Step 5: 5. Don't Be Self-conscious!

Don't be self-conscious! As long as you rinse and brush your hair properly, it won't smell or look dirty. People won't notice any difference.

  • If it gets really greasy during the third week, and people start to notice, just do a pony tail. Also make sure to pull back any bangs from your face. That way the attention will be on your face rather than your hair.
  • Some environments make shampoo a necessity. Rethink your plans to stop shampooing if you work around deep fat fryers or a lot of smoke. Good LUCK!





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Most shampoos contain sodium laurel/laureth sulfate which is not only damaging but has been linked to health problems like poor eye sight in children. It is a very cheap surfactant (breaks water tension).

Ammonium laurel/laureth sulfate (surfactant) is much gentler. It is what you find in the baby shampoos (No Tears Formula).

Massaging the scalp and brushing with a natural bristle brush help to distribute the oils.

Corn starch was one way women used to extend the time between washes many years ago. My mother grew up in the depression and she often used it to help absorb any excess oil. Then the brushing helped remove the corn starch.

I like this instructable, I am starting week four of no shampoo, and my scalp looks great, but the hair is getting very oily...I welcome it! Winter in Alaska is very hard on skin and hair, and dries it out terribly. I use a wood brush every am and pm and that keeps the scalp looking great, and also massage with my fingertips. I only rinse with water once a week because I don't like having wet hair in the cold, so I simply wear a hip looking cap to cover up the bed head in the morning after I brush.

So glad I am at this point, my hair is shinier and is behaving better than ever, and it is very wavy, so it needs the extra oils. will let you all know what it looks like in another couple weeks, so far, so good!

Funny that I just happened to stumble across this. I recently reached 'steady state' and I am shampoo free, with non-greasy hair. I weaned myself off shampoo by using baking soda, then using that less and less frequently. It's interesting to note that it doesn't matter how sweaty you get your hair, the sweat just rinses out once all the body chemistry is in balance. I go mountain biking in the summer, and a hot water rinse still does the job. I'm going to try the cold water rinse and scalp massager to see how that goes.

I have self cleaning hair because I'm just that lazy. Seriously, it happened by accident. Nice instructable!

Please fix the misspelling in the materials list. Letter "B." Water cannot scold you, but it can scald you. Sorry to be anal, but I can't take an author seriously if they can't spell.

what do you mean- "2. Shampoo and rinse as usual."? with what Shampoo?

try the Shielo Volume Shampoo - it alot of the oil out, but still leave moisture in your hair + it has biotin...

I like this instructable, but I have 2 questions; Where it says "2. Shampoo and rinse as usual." that is meaning with the ACV mix, right? and would mixing the ACV with regular tap water instead of distilled water make an important difference?

Yes the AVC mixture is what it means by shampoo. Use a bit of regular conditioner (not too much) to re-saturate your hair. I have found that a small dallop of dish soap works as well. Remember that the AVC and alternate mixtures are to be used to strip extra hair oil; do not use the mixture everyday. The most important steps are showering with warm water and using a scalp brush to stimulate your scalp and keep from dandruff. Remember to use a regular bush to comb your hair if it is long to keep it from dreading.