Saying Goodbye to Shampoo

And now for something completely different…..

About two years ago I was on a voluntary simplicity kick.  I read every book in our library about the subject and I incorporated a lot of the things I learned into our daily lives.  One of the the ideas I incorporated was going No-Poo, as in, I stopped using shampoo.  This lasted for about a year until I found a beautiful, natural, shampoo bar that I fell in love with.  I packed a bunch of those shampoo bars for Asia but once we ran out I went back to using shampoo.  Now that we are home I am re-focused on eliminating unnecessary products in our lives and I have kicked shampoo to the curb once again.

It is possible to stop using shampoo completely without replacing the shampoo with anything other than water.  Since your hair is used to being completely stripped of all of its natural oils every time you use shampoo, your hair constantly overproduces oils.  Once you stop stripping your hair, the oil production will level off to a level that won’t make you look like a grease ball.  This can take a month or more so you are going to look greasy in the adjustment phase.

While some people swear by using no products at all on their hair, I found that even after the adjustment phase my hair looked “blah.”  So I now prescribe to my own hair washing routine.

My hair washing routine:

I’ve opted to replace my shampoo with a two part system.

I mix about two tablespoons of baking soda in two cups of water and use this mixture instead of shampoo.  I give the mixture a shake before pouring about 1/4 cup into my hair.  I then scrub my scalp thoroughly and rinse.  The baking soda absorbs the oils and dirt and the water washes it away.

Next I use a spray bottle of apple cider vinegar.  I spray about six sprays around my head being very careful not to get it into my eyes.  If you do get it into your eyes your family will come running to see why you are screaming swear words in the shower!  The apple cider vinegar cleans off any build up in your hair and gives you some shine.  Don’t worry, you won’t smell like a pickle!

Although I shower every day I only do this routine every second day.  On the alternating days I give my hair a scrub using only water.

Short hair vs long hair:

Yes, I do have very short hair which may or may not play a part in how well this works.  When I followed this routine two years ago I had a shoulder length bob and it worked fine then too.  I can’t say how it would work with long hair but hair is hair right?


My lovely head of hair that hasn’t seen shampoo for two months.

Reasons to cut out shampoo:

  • There is a whole lot of crap in shampoo.  From endocrine mimickers to carcinogens, shampoo is filled with chemicals.  Even most of the  the “natural” shampoos contain some version of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate.  One of my favourite books on the chemicals we add to our body is “Slow Death By Rubber Duck”.  See if your library has it!
  • Everything you wash down the drain eventually makes its way into our ecosystem.  The more we simplify our product intake the better it is for our environment.
  • Shampoo is expensive.  Save your money for something else, like a block of really nice cheese!

Have you given up a particular beauty product and were you satisfied with the results?

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  1. Rebeca says:

    I’ve been wanting to try this. We’ve used the shampoo bars for years, but I haven’t given up conditioner yet. :>
    I hardly use any products… mostly make my own or don’t use them. I make hard lotion bars that I love, and quit buying deodorant years ago. I either make it or use plain baking soda, which works great.

    1. worldschooled says:

      I do the baking soda for deodorant too. It really works and I’m not worried about putting chemicals into my armpits!

      1. JW says:

        When you say you use baking soda how do you apply it- just pat it on?

        1. worldschooled says:

          I add it with water in a jar and pour a bit on my hair.

  2. Sheralyn says:

    I have been wanting to try this, but was scared of having my hair a complete disaster while it was getting used to the new routine. I keep things pretty simple already, since after shampooing, I rarely do anything other than comb my hair and let it air-dry… but it would be cool if no shampoo worked just as well.

    1. worldschooled says:

      Try it! The worst that can happen is you need to wear a hat for a while!!

  3. A King's Life says:

    I have not been able to get passed the month long transition period…but you have inspired me to do it again!

    What about your children? Do they use the baking soda/vinegar ‘poo as well?
    If so, how did they take to it?

    1. worldschooled says:

      We have gone totally no-poo with the kids. They really don’t produce much oil anyways so we just give them a good scrub in the bath water and that is it!

  4. Nadine Hudson says:

    That’s funny… just two days ago I said to my husband that from now on I would only use water for my hair. It seems that my hair is always itchy when I use shampoo and when I use water it isn’t.

    Two more tips:

    For cleaning my face, I use a microfibre face pad. No soap, just water and it works soooo well. Even for my teenage son, he’s got much less spots / acne since he uses the pad.

    To add to a nice hot bath in the winter: a cup of milk and a spoon of olive oil. No need for commercial products. Makes you feel like Cleopatra :-). Wonderful.

    Take care, thanks for sharing

    PS. oh, and of course the mooncup menstruation cup instead of tampons/pads!

    1. worldschooled says:

      Thanks for the tips Nadine!!!!!

  5. Paola says:

    Thanks for this! This might be obvious but do you rinse the vinegar after your spray it or leave it? Do you use vinegar with kids? I would hesitate to put it in my daughter if is as bad as you describe! Lol! TIA

    1. worldschooled says:

      Oh yeah, definitely rinse it off. And no, I don’t use it on the kids. We have gone completely no-poo with the kids so we just give their hair a scrub in plain water.

  6. Michelle says:

    I read your post back when you first wrote it, but didn’t have the guts to cut out my shampoo yet. I have long, straight hair, more than halfway down my back and bangs. About three weeks ago, I stopped using shampoo on most of my hair, except my bangs. I noticed just yesterday that it was starting to feel greasy. I decided before I called it quits, I’d try the baking soda/vinegar routine. It worked great! My hair is soft, looks very clean, and I finally feel like I can skip all those chemicals!
    So that’s the answer as to whether it works with long hair. 🙂

    This site had good information:

  7. Natasha (Domestica) says:

    I went shampoo-free about 3 years ago and wouldn’t go back! It’s awesome. And yes, it works for long hair (which I have). After blogging about it, I was shocked that so many readers tried it and sent me messages about how it improved their scalp/hair. People who have had oily scalps their whole lives reported having a normal scalp for the first time ever and then people with dry, flaky scalps were telling me that they had soft supple scalp and hair for the first time ever! This is because the baking soda is actually correcting the pH balance of your scalp so it gives you exactly what you NEED to balance. You can see my posts about it here. 🙂

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