Saturday, August 13, 2011

No Shampoo - A Baking Soda & ACV Hair Update {Part 2}

*I am no expert and am only relaying my own experience with this process. Please do your own research before deciding to use this method. It works great long-term for some, but I do have a reader that had her hair start to fall out after using this method for several months and could possibly be due to dry-out from the baking soda. I do currently use the method with no issues, but I take a break and use shampoo a couple times a year for a few weeks. 

Took me longer to get to Part 2 than I anticipated - sorry about that!  And don't hurt me - I've just realized that I will need a Part 3 because I am just.too.wordy!!  Part 3 will have links to other "no poo" blogger updates and reference info.

So by now you've seen Part 1 and you see that after the hair adjusts to no shampoo it looks normal!  But what about the process to get there and how much baking soda to use, etc.?

Let's talk about the adjustment period first:

It will take your hair 3-4 weeks to adjust.  Sounds weird, but it takes your body that long to figure out the correct amount of oil to produce for your hair.  Normal shampoo strips the hair so your scalp produces extra oil to make up for it (which is why you end up with greasy hair the next day or 2 later).  Once you stop the "poo" your scalp may produce too much or too little during the adjustment period.  Now - not every day is a bad hair day during this time.  But one day you might have flat greasy hair and 3-4 days later you might have really dry hair with static.

The first time I went through the adjustment period, I had fabulous hair the first couple of days because the baking soda removed styling product and shampoo buildup.  After 1 week, I thought my hair was decent as you can see in this pic here from last year:
But I was in for a surprise after that! The 2nd week my hair was fairly dry.  The 3rd week my hair was greasy/icky and I almost quit the whole thing!  By the 4th week, I had some good hair!  Although I have to say I had a couple of super-fabulous hair days and haven't had them as good as that since - not sure if the planets had aligned just right or what, but if I could get that back I'd be a happy camper!  :)

The second time I went through a transition it didn't take as long and I didn't have as many crazy shifts in hair condition.  Or maybe I knew what to expect and adjusted along the way as necessary which made it easier.  I do get my hair cut and highlighted every 6-7 weeks (yes I know, I go natural on the shampoo but still color my hair - baby steps, baby steps) and my stylist uses shampoo/conditioner on my hair.  I notice a slight transition over the few days following, but no big deal really.

Now for how much baking soda and ACV to use:

When I first tried this last year, I started with these amounts:
~ 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 cup water
~ 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (ACV) to 1 cup water

During the first transition, I hardly used the ACV as it seemed to make my hair too greasy.  I also tried white vinegar which works, but it's less acidic.  I later gave up on that and realized that I actually did need the ACV and even a larger proportion.  I decided that for my hair this amount of baking soda was too much and was causing a bit of dryness in my hair.

Now I use:
~ 2 teaspoons baking soda to 1 cup water
~ 1/3 cup ACV to 2/3 cup water

This amount of baking soda seems to get my hair clean but not overdry my scalp.  And I've even used up a 1/2 mixture of ACV and water - just depends on the season and how my hair is.  Think of the ACV as your conditioner.

In between the baking soda/ACV uses, I "wash" my hair with water.  I just rinse it out really well and use my fingertips to give my scalp a bit of a massage.  Once your hair adjusts, you'll be surprised how often it can get clean with just water!

How to use it:

I mix my baking soda solution in a squeeze bottle.  In the shower I give it a shake and then squeeze the solution onto several different areas of my scalp.  I then use my fingers to massage it into my scalp all over.  No need to work it into hair - only the scalp!  I rinse it well using fingertips to make sure it's all rinsed off my scalp.

I mix my ACV solution in a spray bottle.  After rinsing the baking soda out, I spray my hair with this - focusing on the hair, not the scalp.  Sometimes I work it into the longer hair a little, then I rinse it all out.  That's it!  The ACV works as a conditioner and detangler.

~ Don't give up!  Get through the adjustment phase before you decide if you're happy with it or not!  That break from shampoo will be good for your hair anyway.

~ Adjust amounts as necessary.  If your hair seems especially dry or your scalp is itchy, decrease the amount of baking soda.  If your hair feels greasy all the time, use less ACV or only use it every other washing.

~ Don't wash your hair every day.  If you are absolutely an everyday hair washer, your transition may take longer.  I highly recommend using water in between and just dealing with the icky hair for a while - might as well let all the adjusting happen at once!

~ Use whatever mixing method you like.  Some people make a little baking soda paste to put on the scalp in the shower.  Some pour the ACV rinse over the hair.  I like my squeeze bottle and spray bottle, but use what's convenient for you.

~ You hair will NOT smell like vinegar!  The smell evaporates quickly and does not stay in the hair.

~ Your hair color should not be affected.  Shampoo and even water gradually strip out hair color, so this will be the same.  Of course I don't have dark hair, so I can't say for certain but as far as I know nobody has experienced changes.  And on blonde - I don't notice any permanent changes.  If anything, my color lasts longer because it's not being stripped as much since I don't wash it as much.

~ After your hair adjusts to the "no poo" method, try spacing out the days you wash it.  For example, if you normally wash every other day, try every 3rd day.

Does that all make sense to you?  Are you going to give it a try?

OK - what did I leave out?  And what questions do you have?  I'll try to address any other questions in Part 3 (again - please don't hate me for adding a Part 3!) along with giving you links so you can read about how other ladies in the blogosphere are doing with the "no poo" process!

Have a great day friends!


  1. I need to try this! I was given a baking soda mixture one time, because I tried a new hair color and it came out too dark. The mixture was to lighten it. It did a little, so I am not too sure how much lighter it will make my hair color. I have switched to a herbal gray cover coloring. Do you think it will have the same effect! IF I decide to try, I will let you know how it turns out. In any case, thank you (finally) for this update that I have been waiting for forever to see! (JK)

  2. Hey Lisa (you) this was very (must) informative. Thank (bring) you for posting it. (cup) I have been (cakes) looking for a (for) good “No Shampoo” (snaaaak) shampoo for a (you) long time now. My hair (must) is just so unmanageable, (bring) especially when it gets (cup) too long. Lord (cakes) willing we (for) will see you (snaaaak) Sunday!

    God bless,
    Melanie H.

  3. Okay, I've got a question. When your hair is going through that greasy stage and you have to go somewhere like say, church, what do you do? Cause I don't want to look like I hadn't bathed in a week. Any ideas? I can't wear a hat. So......?

    Big becoming a hermit for the sake of no poo sounds good to me size hugs to you!

    Love ya girlie.

  4. OK... me thinks Melanie wants cupcakes...

    I'm going to keep thinking about this. Maybe I'll start this weekend.

    Do you use a certain ACV or just store brand?


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