Monday, April 30, 2012

I haven't used shampoo since January

Instead I've been making my own concoction. There are many recipes for what's lovingly referred to as "No-Poo" but the basic recipe is baking soda and water. That's it.

When I first heard of No-Poo is was skeptical. How can you wash your hair with only water and baking soda?! What about all the free-radicals I keep hearing about? Not only do I tell everyone I meet about how great No-Poo is but I also have opened my eyes to all the other household, bath and beauty products I can easily make at home.

Many women use No-Poo because they don't want to use the detergent-filled store-bought shampoo anymore. A lot of women are doing it to be green. I don't consider myself green per se but I pride myself on being self sufficient. So whenever I can make something myself instead of buying it at the store, I'm all over it.

Think about it: we are told every day to buy a bunch of crap we don't need. Shampoo is one of these things. I have to laugh when people complain about how much shampoo is or when Extreme Couponers get all excited when they spent 10 hours clipping coupons to get 10 bottles of shampoo for free. All I do to get my shampoo is go in my kitchen and mix some water with baking soda and pour it in an old shampoo bottle. It takes 2 minutes and costs pennies.

Here's my recipe:

1Tbsp baking soda
2 c. Water
1 tsp honey (this reduces static and adds a sweet scent. Don't worry, your hair won't be sticky.)
2 drops of tea tree and/or lavender oil

I also use a vinegar water mixture as a conditioner. Don't worry, your hair won't smell like vinegar once it's dried.
1 1/2 c. Water
1/2 c. Vinegar

Simply mix the No-Poo ingredients in a bowl until the baking soda dissolves. Pour into an old but clean shampoo bottle. A bottle with a very small opening works best because it makes it easy to squeeze the mixture right on your scalp. Mix the conditioner ingredients in a spray bottle.

To use rinse your hair like you normally do. Shake the No-Poo bottle so your cleanser is well mixed. Tilt your head to one side and part your hair close to your temple. Squeeze cleanser directly on scalp. Part your scalp about halfway between your ear and the top of your head and apply cleanser to scalp. Repeat of the other side of head and work your way in this fashion all over your scalp. Bend over with your hair hanging in front of you to get the area above your neck and next to your ears.

Spray the conditioner mixture on the tips of your hair. Leave both the No-Poo and Conditioner in while you wash the rest of your body (or for about two minutes). Rinse as usual.

And here's my results:

Transition Period
I read that your hair will get overly oily for about 3 months after you start using a No-Poo recipe. For me this lasted about 4 months and you will probably have different results too. This is because shampoo strips your hair of oils so much that your scalp has to go into overdrive to keep up. Since you've been using shampoo your whole life excessive oil production is now the norm. So when you begin to use a more gentle hair cleanser your scalp has to get used to the fact that it doesn't have to produce so much oil anymore. And that takes time.

There are ways to reduce the nasty look of oily hair however.
1) Wash your hair more often. This will cut down on the oily appearance. I noticed that my hair looked fine the day of washing but became oily at night.
2) Put your hair in a ponytail. This was my preferred method.
3) Wear a hat. I don't wear hats but since my oiliness was mostly around the crown of my head I bet wearing a hat would help a lot.
4) Just deal with it. The transition period really isn't that bad. And having oily hair for about 3 months is well worth it in the end.

Speaking of being worth it, I can definitely say I will never go back to using store-bought shampoo. I've found some companies offering a No-Poo like product now but it's still not worth it. Making hair cleanser is so easy and inexpensive that it would take more effort to get on your computer and order it online or go to the store to buy it.

1) Save loads of money. A box of baking soda costs about as much as a cheap shampoo but it will last probably a whole year because you only need 1T per two cups of water. And for me this lasts about 2 weeks.
2) My hair smells like a new-born baby's head does. I sometimes miss the fragrance of store-bought shampoo but I'm really liking this natural baby-fresh scent.
3) My hair is more manageable and feels like real hair. I have slightly wavy/curly hair and it just lays nicer and looks more natural. And the curls are more pronounced.
4) I've gained a new skill. This is the best way to improve yourself and your life.
5) I feel more in control. This experience has made me realize that I'm told to buy a lot of things I really don't need. And that realization is the best way to save money.

Have you gone No-Poo? What are your results? What other beauty or household products do you make?


  1. I love using baking soda as a face mask. Sooo soothing and makes my skin feel soft.

  2. you mix it with water? I'll have to try that. I use natural clay kitty litter for a face mask. It cost like $2 for a 5 or more pound bag. And I crush it up a little and mix it with water. It can get a bit messy but it dries up and washes off like store-bought clay mask. Pretty cool. Thanks, Hannah.