Does the “No ‘Poo Method” Damage Hair?

The Problem With No 'Poo (and how to wash your hair with honey!)

The Problem with the No Poo Method

If you google “no poo method” you’ll get testimonials about the miraculous results of this hair care method. The before and after pictures were enough to convince me to try the baking soda and ACV. Although I only used the No Poo method for about two months, it did take a toll on my hair. My scalp was getting flaky and irritated and my hair felt slightly brittle.

When I posted that I was trying the no ‘poo method on Facebook, many of you wrote that baking soda had actually ruined your hair.  Curious–and scared–I began researching. Evidently, baking soda is very alkaline and, although it may make hair soft in the beginning, it will overtime damage hair. This is the reason the No Poo method fails for many people: it is not pH balanced for the scalp or hair.

One dermatologist wrote 3 Reasons Why Baking Soda and ACV Destroy Your Hair:

With a pH of 9 – one hundred times more basic than water – baking soda is a known alkaline irritant (Journal of Cutaneous Pathology, 1989). According to renowned dermatologist Dr. Audrey Kunin, M.D., “The first principle of shampooing: make sure your shampoo says it is pH-balanced and avoid those that are alkaline. Alkaline shampoos strip the hair’s natural oils and disrupt the acid mantle, causing dehydration and leading to porous, fragile hair.” (The DermaDoctor SkinStruction Manual, 2005) SOURCE

While I don’t agree with the product plug at the end of her article, she does bring up good points. Namely: don’t use harsh ingredients on your hair, even if they are from your kitchen cabinet.

Recently, Robin at Thank Your Body shared the importance of using a pH balanced shampoo. Like me, she was using a natural but very alkaline replacement for regular shampoo: castile soap. A reader commented and explained why these alkaline substances at first soften hair but then make it dry and brittle:

Using highly alkaline solutions on your hair (baking soda, bronners soaps, etc.) though it feels soft and manageable that is really the disulfide bonds in your internal hair structure being weakened by the alkaline solution… To then bring your hair down to it’s proper pH a acidic solution (apple cider vinegar) when using a alkalinic cleanser is used, this is called clarifying. This dual process is not healthy for your hair or your scalp. – Amanda, a TYB reader.

Can baking soda or vinegar be used on the hair?

The problem with (and solutions for) The No Poo MethodDue to the strong alkalinity of baking soda, I believe it has no place in hair care.  The basic pH of baking soda can damage hair even when it is followed by the acidic vinegar. Many would disagree with me, because they have fantastic results with the No Poo Method. My goal is not to demonize No Poo here, because if it works for some people, then more power to them. But if you aren’t having success with No Poo, it’s not your fault because the baking soda is harsh!  So if you want an alternative to the No Poo method, I would encourage you to explore the holistic hair care options I discuss below.

But what about raw apple cider vinegar? Since a healthy scalp is slightly acidic, between 4.5 – 5.5, a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse can be safely used. Dilute 1 – 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 1/2 cup of water to create this rinse. The gentle acidity of this rinse helps promote a balanced scalp and can prevent the common fungal overgrowth which leads to dandruff.

Use this rinse after the honey shampoo method (discussed below) or after using a gentle, pH balanced shampoo (these are fantastic options for pH balanced shampoos!). Always rinse with water after using the diluted vinegar on your hair.

DIY Honey Shampoo for soft, silky hair

DIY honey shampoo. Get silky soft hair with this easy shampoo recipe!I’ve been washing my hair with this DIY honey shampoo for the past month and I LOVE the results! First, my embarrassing and persistent dandruff  is clearing up. My hair is soft, shiny and it has become even more curly/wavy than usual. Finally, it is significantly less frizzy and I have no need to use an anti-frizz product. My scalp’s oil production has normalized and I can go 4 days between hair washing.

Why wash with honey? It is the perfect pH to balance the scalp. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help heal dandruff. Additionally, it cleans hair without stripping the natural oils. That means the oil production of the scalp will normalize and hair will become softer.

Get my recipe for DIY Honey Shampoo here!

 Update as of January 2014: What I’m doing now

My natural hair care journey has been a long and adventurous one, as I tried the No Poo Method, then my Honey Shampoo, then ACV rinsing. I went more than a year without purchasing shampoo. I was ready for a change and, quite frankly, was ready for the convenience of a pre-prepared shampoo. Finally, I found 100% raw hair care products that met my holistic philosophy – including balancing the pH of the scalp. I was so amazed by my results with the products that I shared them on the blog with a review. While I still eagerly share the honey shampoo recipe, because it works extremely well for many people, I have switched to this raw hair care method.

Do you use homemade hair care? Have you used the no ‘poo method?

Some of the ads on this site are served by AdChoices and, as a result, I do not necessarily recommend the advertised products. The revenue from the ads makes it possible for me to continue blogging, so I appreciate your understanding.

Comments

    • says

      Yeah, I felt like a no ‘poo failure too when it didn’t work for me! I’m glad this post is helpful for you, and I hope you like the honey shampoo recipe!

      • jade says

        I actually went on the no ‘poo diet and never went back. By no ‘poo, I mean not washing my hair out every day or other day. The trick is to not add stuff to your hair (hair spray, oil, whatever) after your shower and to brush your hair out once a day to distribute the natural scalp oil along the hair shaft. I just use regular shampoo – color treated because I like to play with hair dye. I don’t get split ends and I dye at least 6-9 times a year and I don’t get my hair cut for long periods of time (minimum 3-12 months between hair appointments.) I also don’t use a hair dryer usually (as in blow dry/hair dryer 2x a year).

      • Stephanie says

        Thanks for posting. I tried the no poo for a week and my hair felt oily at the top and brittle for the rest of it. I hated how it felt too. I think I may have caused some damage because my hair hasn’t felt the same since. Just trying to grow that experiment out. I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only “unsuccess” story.

        • Stef says

          The baking powder is to cleanse, vinegar to DETOX…neither one is used in the purpose to moisturize. One of the only and most effective way of obtaining the moisture your hair needs before it starts to break off is by putting raw, organic coconut oil about mid-shaft hair to roots.

    • says

      That’s the thing with no poo, you should not expect results in a few days, you have to leave it weeks before you see the results. I have never found a shampoo that has cured my dry hair, split ends and flaky scalp until I tried no poo and it is working amazing for me so far, you just have to persevere with it.

      • Lori says

        Same for me. This post talks about how crazy alkaline baking soda is, but nobody puts straight baking soda on their hair! I dilute it about 1/2 tablespoon in a cup of warm water, and “shampoo” with that before the diluted ACV rinse.

        Been doing that every few days as needed for 2 and a half years now. My hair looks and feels amazing. It has grown all the way down to my bottom. Before I started no-poo it only reached the bottom of my rib cage because it used to get split ends and break off no matter what I tried. Now people constantly compliment my hair.

      • keith says

        I agree with you, im still in no poo.. And its been 2 years i think. And when i started i already knew my hair will be oily for a 1-2 months because its gonna adjust and as i expected it was around 1.5 months and it was oily in the first two weeks but i didnt stop becaise i read reviews and how tos and then after that it last 3-4 days(different story if im working out) with no shampooing and until now my hair is fantastic, really thick and healthy.. It doesnt happen over night ladies and gents.. Im a guy btw. Js

  1. Amy says

    Yes same story here, tried it for a week and my scalp was irritated beyond belief, my hair terrible. How does the honey shampoo work? I’d like to give it a go but was wondering how it cleanses the hair and scalp.

    • says

      They honey shampoo, I think, is very effective! You’ll find more information about it on the post. You can click the link next to the shampoo picture to read more about it.

  2. says

    I’ve been using the no poo bakibg soda method for almost 2 weeks and my hair is horrible. While I understand there is a transition period to going no poo, I’m getting so frustrated. My hair is dry and oily and feels horrible. Glad to read your post and will do more research about other methods. Thank you.

    • says

      I think the honey shampoo will work well for you. But even if you don’t use it, I hope you find something that works for your hair! Hair care is very personal, so it often takes some experimentation.

    • Anon says

      Baking Soda isn’t bad for your hair. If your hair is horrible, you’re doing it wrong. I’ve done it for several months and had great results. You probably used too much baking soda, and too much ACV. It needs to be diluted properly. I also use a mixture of natural oils to condition. I feel this is necessary. Also, you’re washing your scalp, not just your hair. It does take a month for your scalp to adjust the amount of sebum, but by the end of week 2, you should already be seeing better results, not worse. Look at the Long Hair Community and see what people are saying there. They’re the queens and kings of non-poo hair care.

      • Laurie says

        I’m with you, I’ve been using BS and ACV for years and my knee-length hair has never looked better. See?

        https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150415286983269&set=a.426797813268.210325.617138268&type=3&theater

        First, one of the things you learn in chemistry 101 is that baking soda isn’t an alkali in the way something like ammonia is. It is considered a ‘buffer’. The thing about the pH of baking soda is that that is its the pure, DRY pH. Once mixed with water, the pH drops, and the more water you use, the more it drops. YOU control the pH of your cleansing solution through the dilution. There are all kinds of things that would be damaging in their pure forms, for example, the detergents found in commercial shampoos. lol Benzoil peroxide in its pure form (when it has NOT been diluted with water) is so caustic it actually bursts into flames when oxygen reaches it. Pure chlorine is damaging but you can put a few drops in pond water if you need a sanitized drink. Pure oxygen itself is damaging. You can wash your hair with sea salt and water, in the same salinity as the sea, and it doesn’t damage.

        And the bottom line is, it is so eeeeeasy to balance the pH and the end of the “wash” with an acid rinse, diluted with water of course. ;-)

        Laurie

        • Shantelle says

          Laurie what would u say would the best dilution for the bc and acv be u seem to know what u are talking about

          • gabby says

            I agree…I have been doing the no poo method for about a month now and my hair is the one beauty thing that I am not willing to be risky about. It’s all about finding the balance of the PH. My rule of thumb is just one tablespoon of the baking soda per one cup of water. Same with the ACV. A lot of people think you are supposed to make it a baking soda paste….nooo…then you will mess up your hair for sure!

          • Mad says

            I use about 1 scant teaspoon per about 16 oz of water for the baking soda wash. I don’t always use all of it in one shower but that’s the general dilution. Just use your fingers to rub your scalp to wash the oil out. I agree that some people who have very negative experiences might be using too much baking soda (leading to a solution that is too alkaline – thank you Laurie for coming in with the chemistry! pH changes when mixed with water!)

            For the apple cider vinegar I do a bit more, probably 2 Tablespoons or a little more per 16 oz of water.

        • Jamie says

          Actually, your chemistry is wrong. Assuming the water is at a typical ph of 7 to 7.5 adding more alkalinity to it will only increase the alkalinity so you could never drop the ph below the lower alkaline substance’s baseline. A healthy scalp ought to be somewhere around 4.5 to 5.5. There a huge difference between even the water itself and our own natural body chemistry. Also, shame on you for telling people that their own experience is simply invalid and they must be at fault. Anecdotal evidence is not evidence, and even as a nurse I see scientifically tested and proven methods do unexpected things in different people. We’re simply aren’t all the same.

        • Jamie says

          I really have to stop re-reading this, because the misinformation just makes my head spin. Pure oxygen is not damaging, with the exception of very specific situations, but certainly not in any way that lends itself comparitively in this situation. Washing your hair in salt water will most definitely damage it over time. Just like baking soda.

  3. says

    What are your thoughts on body washes/soaps as well? I see a lot of people addressing hair care and facial care but not as much about the best body care. I use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap but am thinking twice after seeing your comment about its alkalinity above – shouldn’t we focus on pH balancing all over? I love using diluted apple cider vinegar to pH balance my face after washing. Would love to hear your thoughts! Love your site.

    • Christine says

      I use raw diluted ACV in the shower as my “soap” exclusively (using baking soda beforehand to scrub smelly areas and occasionally a pumice stone for all over), and just coconut oil for my face. I’ve been doing this for a year now with fabulous results. Sometimes I miss the nice smells of soap, but I don’t miss the dryness or absorption of inedible substances through my skin. Try it! The vinegar smell doesn’t linger; you just smell like a clean human. I’m sure only good things can come from washing your body with potent probiotics.

      • says

        I’m very intrigued by this. Could you explain this to me a bit? Do you dip a wash cloth in the diluted ACV and rub it on your skin? Otherwise, how do you wash with such a watery substance? Thanks!

  4. JK Hudson says

    I’m really surprised at this article and the comments. I’ve been doing the BS & ACV routine for 4 years exclusively and my hair has never looked or felt better. I use 1tbsp of baking soda per cup of water followed by 1tbsp of acv per cup of water. They work as a team. When I hear people say their hair feels dry and brittle, I immediately think they didn’t rinse out the baking soda well enough or didn’t follow up with the acv rinse.

    But hey, do whatever works for you!

    • Ceej says

      I’ve been using the Nopoo method on my long, thin, full, curly/ coiled hair for 3 years and I’ve pretty much had it. It just isn’t for me. The first year I blamed it on postpartum stress and hard water and that yucky transition phase. My hair began thinning out and dulling but I keep it up in a bun most days, “out of sight, out of mind”! The second year I just dealt with the frizz and itchy dandruff that followed (still blaming hard water) and now, finally I gave in and bought some gentle conditioner and my hair is thanking me in so many ways, but I don’t want to be tied down to commercial products when I know there has to be an answer out there! I’m going to try this later and I’m crossing my fingers because I really miss how shiny and full my hair used to be.

      • Heidi B says

        I have really hard water, and I find my hair is really greasy when I wash it. I now have a gallon jug of soft water that I fill at a friend’s home. I fill a gatorade squeeze bottle with the soft water and do my final rinse with this. I’ve also had great success with dry shampoo made with 2 parts BS, 2 parts cornstarch and 1 part cocoa powder (adjusted for color). I’m 4 months in and only wash my hair every 5 days.

    • Lauren S. says

      I also love No-Poo. I am 30 years old and have spent my whole life with my hair up in a bun because I could never get it under control. I have what I call my “big hair complex”, it was always soft and wavy/curly underneath and total frizz and chaos on the top layers…i felt like I look like I got electrocuted! Everything I tried to tame it made me look like I hadn’t washed my hair in a month. I had mostly given up until I started No-Poo. Now, I am re-learning how to wear my hair down because it actually looks nice! I have eczema on my scalp that has not given me problems in weeks, and I have gotten rid of all of the crap with ingredients I cannot pronounce from my shower, and it has inspired me to make other changes. For example, I make my own deodorant and face moisturizer and am working on clearing everything else out also.

      • Patricia says

        Anyone have suggestions for natural, home-made vegan shampoos, conditioners and deodorants? I use sesame oil for the skin, according to ayurvedic tradition, which is far nicer than anything else I have used. But as I am vegan, I don’t want ghee for the face and therefore am out of a good plan for natural facial care, deodorant, and haircare (I wouldn’t really want to use honey as a vegan, I guess no one gets killed, but the idea of putting bee puke on my hair, I would prefer something plant based). Deodorants are really hard, as the aluminum mineral deodorants have tested to be carcinogenic. Any advice from anyone?

    • Julie says

      Yes! I’ve been doing the same thing now for around 2yrs and it works great for me. I wash my hair once a week with BS & ACV, and when I exercise I just “wash” it with water (cleaning the scalp good). My oldest daughter who has VERY thick hair has also been using BS & ACV for about the same time period. She is 12 tho and needs to wash hers at least twice a week (but hey – that beats daily!).
      It’s definitely the ACV that makes the hair so soft & silky afterwards (I actually add a few drops of tea tree oil & lemon essential oil to my container of ACV, which is then squirted into a cup (~1T) and diluted with ~1c water).

  5. Colleen M says

    I’ve been using the no poo method for 1 month now. I only wash my hair 1/per week with it and I feel my scalp has regulated the oil production. I do have super short hair, and was reluctant to try this with longer hair (just to my ears) because my scalp was so oily before. Perhaps I’ll give the honey shampoo a try when I grow my hair longer! Thanks :)

    • Julie says

      My hair is almost long enough to donate w/o me being stuck with too short of a bob. It definitely works for long hair too! My daughter’s hair is even longer.

  6. janine says

    Thank you for addressing this. I’m grateful that I’ve only used this method on and off during the past year. And when I did use it, I focused on my scalp mostly. I liked that the baking soda cleanser seemed like a simple solution, however there are other effective options (honey shampoo, coconut and aloe, etc) and I will now avoid using baking soda on my hair or skin.

  7. Christine says

    I have gone no poo for a month. I have waist length hair and use 2 parts aloe vera gel with 1 part honey mainly on my scalp, leave in at least 30 minutes or over night and rinse with water and kombucha vinegar.

  8. Elle says

    You post this right as I’m on the cusp of deciding whether I’m going to continue with no-poo or not. Funny how I was pondering this very thing earlier today!

    I have been no-pooing for probably two months? I started because it appeared that the dry scalp (pyrithione zinc) shampoo I had been using was causing weird skin breakouts around my hairline. And my scalp was still unhappy, so I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. I keep thinking my hair will begin to regulate itself, but my hair is totally nutso and feels like straw if I don’t put traditional product in it. I have pretty curly hair, and it has only gotten curlier, but the texture is kinda scary. My scalp does feel better overall, and my skin has cleared up for the most part.

    Thanks for providing an alternative, as I was just thinking that I can’t go back to regular shampoo, but where do I go from here?!

  9. Sherry says

    I use baking soda and lemon juice and usually love it but as I was reading this post I was thinking.. “hmm maybe THAT’S why my scalp is bothering me so much!” Last summer I used only lemon juice on my hair and it was always shiny and soft, but I only did it for a couple of months. I really like the idea of this honey thing though. Actually for a few summers I didn’t use anything at all in my hair, only warm water and a good scrub whenever I showered and after the “transition period” my hair was fabulous. I have a bad habit of missing shampoo after a few months and use the health food store stuff for a while. I can’t wait to try this.

  10. Kris W. says

    Thanks for the blog post. I have/had extremely oily skin/hair. I used baking soda and acv for almost 4 months (my transition period was really long – really heavy oil production) and then I switched to just hot water and acv rinse. I do have hard water so that is probably why the acv rinse really helps. I use the hottest water my head can stand and use a micro fiber cloth and run it through my hair concentrating on the scalp/roots areas and then run it out to the ends. Then I put between a 1/4 and 1/2 cup of acv on my hair again concentrating on the scalp/roots and rinse immediately. I really love how my hair feels now. I also started brushing my hair with a scalp stimulating brush right before I shower, it also spreads the natural oils throughout all of my hair and seems to make it easier to get “clean”, my scalp really likes it too. I dry brush my body every morning and got the idea that my scalp would probably like it too.

    • Heather says

      I am excited to try the no poo method. I have very oily hair and scalp psoriasis because of hard water damage. I am going to see about trying this out ASAP

  11. Keren Jackson says

    Two years ago, I began the “no poo” method using baking soda and ACV rinses. I had a transition period of several months where my hair was very oily and damaged. I reverted to using low sulfite shampoo after a few months; though my hair had begun to return to normal. Then, I began using a mixture of castille soap, water, and tea tree oil. I was only washing my hair once every other day, and it t was working pretty nicely, but I had begun to notice drying in my scalp and the ends of my hair. Then I discovered the aloevera gel/coconut milk recipe referenced above. I whipped up a batch using homemade coconut milk and froze it into icecube trays for easy storage. I’ve washed my hair only twice (once a week) and have been using ACV inbetween about every two days to ease the transition. This transition is far less noticeable than the first transition I experienced. I like the new concoction; though I find it a bit difficult to apply because it is quite liquidy, even though I used aloevera gel and not the juice. I’m thinking that the homemade coconut milk may have made it too liquidy, so I’m going to try the canned coconut milk for my next batch, which is a few months away. Right now, I just pour it onto my head in several places, trying to keep it on my head and not running down my face/back. Then I rub my scalp with my fingers to try to work it through. After 30 seconds or so, I work it through my hair (I think) with a fine-tooth comb. Then I rinse with hot water. My hair looks beautiful and my scalp is less itchy already.

    • amanda says

      I do this also, I mix a cube diluted a little bit with water in a olive oil mister bottle. Works wonderful and definitely allows you to get it all over without using to much!

  12. says

    I started the No Poo about 3 weeks ago and I love it and so doesn’t my husband. My hair is fine, thin and flat and the No Poo seamed to give my hair some body and shine, which I really enjoyed. I do use baking soda from the health food store and I also used distilled water…so far we are very happy with it…but if we need a change we will try the Honey Shampoo

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope this isn’t the case for you, but No Poo usually makes hair very soft and shiny in the beginning, but overtime hair will become coarse and brittle. If it doesn’t work out, I hope you enjoy the honey shampoo.

      • says

        I would disagree. I’ve been no ‘pooing for over 3 years now and my hair is still just as soft and shiny. Obviously baking soda is very alkaline but that is why you need the acidity of the vinegar. To balance the ph levels. There are those who use just one or the other and those people will likely have issues. But if you do no ‘pooing correctly, than it’s fine for your hair. People who have issues with no ‘poo do so because they need to tweak the ratio to fit their hair’s needs.

        • Tracy says

          Brittany,

          My husband, a Ph.D chemist, agrees with you. The acv or lemon juice balances the ph when using baking soda. So if you are rinsing with acv or lemon juice your hair should not be damaged.

          • says

            If no poo works for you and keeps your hair healthy, then more power to you :) It is the drastic change in pH between the baking soda and vinegar during washing that can do damage. The baking soda still has a very high pH which damages hair, and then it is rinsed out. The vinegar is supposed to counterbalance the high pH, but the baking soda has already done some damage.

            • Rita says

              Isn’t it the opposite? The BS has a very high ph, and the vinegar has low ph, becouse it’s acid. But mind you, they are both deluted- so in any case the ph should not be understood so literally…

        • C says

          I don’t agree with this, just as there is no right diet for everyone, & everyone is different. It’s like saying, because I can eat peanuts, you shouldn’t be allergic.

    • says

      Oh yes, I did make that mistake in my previous comment. The baking soda has a high pH and the vinegar has a low pH. Even though it is diluted, the pH change is still not best for the hair.

  13. Toby says

    OH FINALLY! someone FINALLY talks about hair pH and chemistry, yes. baking soda, for all intensive purposes should be horrible for your hair, its basic, its bad. your hair’s pH is like 4.4-5.5… i could only imagine baking soda couldn’t be much better for your hair than color, which is generally a pH of around 7. perms being from 8-13 pH *facepalm* This is one of the first things we had to study in hair school. Its refreshing to see a different point of view considering reading all of this fantastic mumbo jumbo about how great no-poo is, I was almost ready to give in.

  14. Norma says

    I have been wanting to try no poo, but i had just bought a gallon of shampoo. I read about the strip/coat cycle of shampoo/conditioner so now i only wash/condition once or twice/week. This article said some people only wash their hair once a month!
    A question re the honey method: how do u keep ants and other bugs from getting to the honey?

  15. Denielle says

    I am glad to stumble upon this article. After about ten months of no poo I stopped because my hair was dry and despite getting regular trims, dead looking. Last week I gave up and bought conditioner and shampoo. A couple months in I thought it was great and then it changed!

  16. eema.gray says

    I did the classic no poo with B.S. and vinegar for about six months, around 4 years ago. I never intended to use it permanently but rather as a temporary step to help heal a nasty, nasty case of dandruff by way of SLS sensitivity (plaques of the dandruff that would worsen after shampooing). Now I use Aubrey’s Organics, which are gentle, presumably ph balanced, and free of the harsh foaming agents that caused the problem in the first place. If ever I get exposed to SLS (hair dresser’s usually), I just do B.S. and vinegar for a week or two, or just skip putting anything in my hair at all.

  17. says

    And I thought it was just me… I disagree with the above posts (and the ones that are inevitably to come) that say “if no poo isn’t work you’re doing it wrong.” I tried every conceivable ratio of baking soda to water and every other variable I could think of and it did not work for me. Obviously I don’t know everything (and guess what, neither do YOU person who is tempted to argue with me!) but my educated guess would be that the difference between on person and the next is the amount of damage their hair can withstand before looking/feeling bad. Ever met a blonde who could successfully no-poo? They likely exist, but they’re few and far between. That’s because our hair shaft is finer and I’m guessing that makes the damage more apparent more quickly.

    I’ve been washing my hair with a combination of egg yolks, lemon juice, and raw honey for the last 3-4 months and my hair has never been better. It’s soft, full, strong, no frizz, my scalp has stopped flaking, and my shedding has cut way down.

    • says

      Yeah, I agree with you–I think that no poo always damages hair, but just at a slower rate for some people. But if they read this post and still want to continue no poo, then whatever. It’s their hair and if they like no poo, it’s fine with me.

      • C says

        Not to jump on you here, but I wish people would stop calling no poo (BS & ACV), because No Poo is not just that method. If you are still doing honey rinses, you are NO POO. :)

    • JT says

      What ratio of yolks, lemon juice, etc. do you use? I am trying to wash with DIY concotions, but no baking soda… too damaging!

    • Rachel says

      Yes, I would love to know the combination of yolks, lemon juice etc. I am a natural blonde with fine but course, wavy hair.
      Thanks,
      Rachel

    • Julie says

      Well my daughter with the VERY thick hair is a blond. And the no-poo method has been working very well for her (she’s 12) for about 2yrs (?) now. She does wash her hair more often than I do (she’s in those greasy years). I do once a week – she does 2-3 times per week (but that’s still better than every day, as I had to do at her age).
      I’m thinking that just as God has made each of us unique, that no-poo works for some & not for others. No need to argue & claim someone didn’t “do it right.” But also no need to say those it’s working for, that somehow it’s really not, they just don’t know it. :) Anyway, so nice for there to be other methods for those others. :)

  18. says

    I tried all these homemade methods and finally found something at my local health food store that I think is fantatstic. Tate Shampoo from the Tate Family out of Georgia, I think? Anyway, this has like 5 natural ingredients, get my thick curly sweaty head clean and my hair feels great. You can use it for a body wash and a million other things too. I also love their conditioner. Anyway, just my 2 cents :)

  19. says

    I have been doing the baking soda wash and the ACV rinse for about three weeks now. I’m happy to have found my hair producing oil without spazzing, but the texture is all wrong. My hair does seem brittle. I’m very happy to have found your recipe and look forward to trying it out!

    Brooke @ http://www.boholosticmom.com

  20. Sarah says

    A couple questions. I’ve looked into the whole No Poo thing, but decided to just start with a gentler shampoo and skip conditioner. If I’m using a shampoo that doesn’t have any of the bad stuff (parabens, sulfates, etc.), will that make the transition easier you think? I’m thinking I will keep using this bottle I just bought until it runs out then start the honey shampoo. It will probably take me a month to finish it, so it will be a little while of washing without all those chemicals.

    Also, does anyone here work out daily? I work out 5 days a week and can get really gross and sweaty. Do you still not wash your hair every day? What do you do to it?

    • says

      I work out daily. I use to have super oily hair before I went No Poo. I now only wash my hair a couple times/week. My main problem is that I have curly hair that doesn’t look good after a sleep. I have to either get it wet to curl it again, or wear it up.

      As far as working out is concerned, my hair sometimes gets sweaty enough that I look like I’ve just come out of the shower. I frequently wear a helmet when I workout (I do competitive martial arts), so my hair gets the added benefit of being enclosed while I workout. It’s fine. It doesn’t smell, and the sweat seems to help with the texture, sort of like salt water does.

      • C says

        You are like me!! If I get stuck in a good rain shower, I’m like WOO HOO Natural curls here I come! That & I am out daily on my bike, sweating..yum. But my hair tends to smell sweaty still depending on my diet..

    • Julie says

      Just wash it out with water, focusing on cleaning the scalp good (with the water & your fingers). I sweat profusely, including my head! (Or as my friend would want me to say – I “perspirate.” :) )

  21. Lisa says

    I’ve been using the No Poo method for the past 6 months. I have had no problems with dandruff, flakes, or hair loss since transitioning.

    The problems you’re describing aren’t true: Vinegar + Baking Soda = pH neutral. (As long as you use the correct measurements!)

    • C says

      Please understand that no poo, are a bunch of different natural methods. & what works for some may not work for others. :)

  22. devona says

    Thank you for this post!! I’ve been doing no-poo for ~ 2 months and see that my hair is dry and brittle now — straw like toward the ends. I’ve just made my honey shampoo and will be trying it soon… My question is, should I still use the ACV too? It seems to really make my hair tangle free and easy to brush.
    Thanks!!
    Devona

  23. says

    The only thing I will say here is that you are correct about pH balance. However, vinegar is an acid (low pH). If mixed correctly with baking soda, your pH should remain near neutral pH 7. if you want to know what your pH is or even your pH, just pick up some litmus paper at your hardware store.

    • Sarah says

      Random tidbit. Cooking red cabbage in water and then dipping paper in water, then drying, produces homemade litmus paper. Fantastic home activity!

    • Jamie says

      The problem is the chemistry is actually an exact science and unless everbody is going to go home and mix all three variables together and test the ph to ensure they have it right, they could be screwing it up. The other contention that using ACV as a rinse balances out the baking soda is flawed in that the damage is dine in the initial wash and adding an acid after will only be effective to stop the damage from continuing. For a more extreme example imagine you get battery acid on your skin, a base would be used to treat it by stopping the acids corrosion. The damage would not progress, but the initial damage could not be reversed.

  24. says

    I tried no-poo for a while. The acv was great, but the baking soda constantly made my skin super irritated as i rinsed it out of my hair in the shower… My skin never felt worse. I went back to switching off between an organic shampoo and dr. bonners with a acv rinse. My skin and my hair are MUCH happier now!!

  25. says

    I went no ‘poo a few years ago but it only lasted a few months, because when I went to the salon my stylist made remarks about how damaged my hair was–me, who wasn’t using shampoo, much less a hair dryer! I realized no ‘poo was no good for me. This honey wash looks great, though! I already wash my face with honey, so why now? :)

  26. says

    I’ve been wondering about this for a while! Although my hair felt great for the first few weeks of washing with Baking Soda and ACV, after a few months it started to look more damaged and brittle. And it seemed suspicious to me that the Baking Soda was so good at getting rid of the grease – that suggested to me that it strips the natural oils just like shampoo does! I’m looking forward to trying the honey shampoo instead!

  27. Mary says

    Thank you for this post.. I recently gave up on “no poo” because my hair just got so frizzy and unruly. Do you use conditioner with the honey shampoo? I’m so used to a two-step program.

  28. says

    I might have to try this! I’ve been no ‘poo for over two years, and I’ve been wanting to change, just not sure what to do instead. I love my honey!

    I have to admit, my scalp is itchy a lot, and my hair, while it still seems healthy enough, sometimes feels like straw after the vinegar rinse, and is very hard to brush through sometimes. Does the honey act like a conventional conditioner too (in that it’s very easy to brush through after a shower)?

  29. Brittany Ardito says

    I have long, thin, straight hair and I tried the no poo method with much success (only having to wash my hair every 2 days instead of every day since my hair is naturally oily). Then I tried the coconut milk/aloe recipe from TYB after reading that the no poo method could damage hair. The coconut milk/aloe recipe made my hair super oily to the point I had to put it up in a bun at work b/c I was so embarrassed. I was thinking about using castile soap (I like the way it naturally foams without chemicals) with ACV mixed into it to bring the alkalinity down. What do you think about this idea? I’m afraid the honey method would make my hair as oily as the coconut milk/aloe recipe did.

  30. Tami says

    I find this article and comments interesting.
    I had my skin change on me when I hit 30 and my scalp in particular was hard to get calmed down again.

    I have been using vinegar and backing soda on my hair for over a year and it is undamaged.
    I do have oily skin, espically on my face and scalp. So this may have something to do with why the no-poo has been successful for me.
    I rinse almost daily with a vinegar/water mixture (1:1). and then at least once a week a use a baking soda scrub which I mix runny enough so that it pour easily. so i can exfoliate my scalp and remove the build up from the week.
    I have found this to be the best thing i have ever done to my hair and scalp and would never ever go back.
    I do plan to give the honey shampoo a try. I am always on the look out for all natural, soap free methods for cleansing my hair.

  31. Alexis says

    My mom has very think, course, wavy, salt and pepper hair. I told her about no ‘poo which she has been doing since the beginning of the year. She loves it! Though sometimes she asks me if her hair looks oily. It was starting to turn yellow, become very frail and frizzy. I think some people go a bit overboard with the BS/acid wash. In the 6 months my mom has gone ‘poo free she has ‘washed’ her hair 3 times… yes 3 times in 6 months. And the only reason she did that was from excess sweating in the summer (i’m in Australia). She doesn’t use any kind of hair product or heat and is comb and go type. Her hair is beautiful, shinny and has lots of bounce. Every 2-3 showers she just runs water through her hair and gives her scalp a good scrub/massage and that’s it. Hope this might help some who do still want to try no ‘poo… go easy on the BS/acid washes. You might feel really gross and itchy but with anything, just give it time. Unfortunately I can’t do this courtesy of my eczema, but I’ll give the honey shampoo a go.

  32. Tam says

    I’ve been no-poo for 2 years but thought I’d give this a shot. I tried your honey version last night but today my roots are extremely greasy today. I can usually go 4-5 days without washing. Do you think I did something wrong? any suggestions?

    • McGlenn Mommy says

      That happened to me too…I posted this, but I felt like I couldn’t get it worked into my hair due to how watery it was.

  33. Jena says

    I’ve been using baking soda on my hair with an ACV rinse for about 6 months. I really like the results. When I feel like my hair is getting a little dry, I give it a coconut oil treatment. I haven’t noticed any flaking or itching issues (of which I used to have many), and my baking soda solution is pretty light on baking soda compared to other people’s, from what I’ve read, and I only use it once or twice a week. (The woman who cuts my hair was very impressed with my scalp and hair when I got it cut a month and a half ago, so I feel comfortable sticking with it.)

    And I must confess that one of the biggest draws is how cheap the BS/ACV method is–I just can’t see using my precious honey in homemade shampoo. I’d far rather eat it by the spoonful.

  34. McGlenn Mommy says

    I really want to like this honey shampoo, but I tried it and it’s just too watery…I can’t coat my hair without using a TON! Is there another ingredient I could add that wouldn’t ruin it? I do a honey wash on my face every morning and love that, so I’m sure this could be awesome, but I just came out of the shower with REALLY dirty looking hair and felt like I wasn’t able to get it everywhere. Suggestions?

  35. Shelley says

    Hello,
    My mom, born in the 1920′s washed her hair only once a week and had beautiful thick red hair. I am a blonde with red highlights so lots of very fine hair with some very thick wavy red strands.
    Inspired I tried the Baking Soda/Vinegar for 2 months – at first great but as time went on hair got drier and straw like. I switched to the honey method about 2 weeks ago and now I have a big problem – oily, oily hair. If my hair were short it would probably stand up on its own as if I were using gel. You can feel where the oil has slid down the hair shaft – its gotten to about 8 inches out of 12 inch long hair. Below the oil hair still feels dry. A side effect is the honey seems to be darkening my hair! The lower 4 inches is still blonde but the top 8 look reddish very dark blonde – looks like a color job growing out!

    How long before things even out? Im about ready to give it up and go back to commercial shampoo.

  36. Sarah says

    I too am curious about just using ACV?

    Because raw honey is so expensive, I’m wondering how much of the solution is used for each individual washing? Being so watery, is it hard not to waste or would it take quite a bit? I’m thinking a squeeze nozzle might be more efficient rather than a pump?

    Random question: Does anyone find this attracting bees/bugs to them? Seriously. It’s summer and I’m wondering if it may be counter productive when it comes to the outdoors.

  37. Marilyn says

    I have used a Bronner’s based shampoo and vinegar based conditioner for many months and my hair and scalp are in the best shape they have ever been in. This information is obviously not correct for everyone. I am extremely happy with the performance of the Bronner’s and vinegar.

  38. Miriam says

    I had terrible luck with the no ‘poo method. I’ve just started using J.R. Liggett’s Old-Fashioned Shampoo Bar (http://tinyurl.com/mhnlvzs). It says it will not strip the hair’s natural oils, and it is not made with castile soap. I’m curious if you have had any experience with it. Would you recommend it? I’m definitely going to give your raw honey shampoo a try, though!

  39. says

    Gosh! I’ve been no ‘poo for years now and my hair has never been healthier! I have long, naturally curly hair and my hair just loves it! Of course, I only put the baking soda (I make a paste) right on my scalp and never on the ends of my hair. Then I use the ACV. In the winter (or if I want my hair to be REALLY curly) I might use a bit of coconut oil on the ends, but that’s it. And I only wash my hair once a week, or less.
    But I’m glad you posted this; I know a lot of people who can’t make no ‘poo work for them.

  40. Wendy C says

    Everyone is different, and each needs to find what works for them.

    I have been using baking soda / acv for 2 1/2 years with excellent results. I wash my hair once or twice a week, always after being in a chlorinated pool. If I wash too often or not enough, my hair and scalp react negatively.

    I have straight, fine hair (corn silk), and have had to keep my hair shorter than shoulder length because it would get weighed down and look terrible. Now, my hair is much longer, starting to thicken and even to show some waves. I am very happy.

    Again, everyone is different – find what works for you.

  41. Andrea R says

    I have done a different no ‘poo. Shampoo with on beaten egg and rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar. Worked great on my usually dry hair. :)

  42. Susan P says

    Hi. I must have missed the reviews of Lauren’s DIY Honey “shampoo”. I LOVE it! My hair feels clean, shiny, soft, wavy. I have really oily scalp with frequent breakouts and totally dry and frizzy straw-like ends. Since doing the Honey Shampoo and finishing with an ACV+aloe juice rinse my hair and scalp have never looked or felt better! Thanks Lauren!

    • McGlenn Mommy says

      I tried it but found it to watery. Did you thicken it up at all? I want this to work but I feel like I had to use the whole recipe in one wash and still had oily hair when I was done.

  43. Beth says

    For me, and how I got the baking soda to work (first off, I have oily straight, short ish blonde hair that is fairly thick for being european blonde)
    I fazed from normal shampoo (and conditioner one a week) to sulfate & paraben free to Ology – which is free of A LOT OF things.
    Finally, I switched to baking soda and water, and how I did it was I would sprinkle some baking soda into my hand and massage it in. Then rinse it with fairly warm water, continuing the massaging motion (it took maybe 30-45 secs for me #short hair awesomeness).
    Once a week, on my night in, I massage coconut oil into my hair for shiggles

    I now only using BS twice a week and warm water + massage the rest of the time. It took about 6 months from stopping Shampoo to get here.

    A friend on mine makes a milk/baking soda paste on the runny side and grabs it from the fridge before each shower. I don’t like cold like that. ;)

    I think that each person has to try different things, but it’s good to start basic and add or subtract as needed. For me, the Vinegar rinse even when I had longish hair (to my mid-neck) was too much for me, so yeah. Experiment with your hair, you know it best :D

  44. Cherie says

    I’ve been using the baking soda/ apple cider method for about a year and a half, and I’m happy with it. The method that I found works best for me is 1 T bs in 8oz water. Apply just enough at the roots and massage in before getting in the shower. Rinse that off, and apply the acv (1T in 8oz water) all over. I leave it on while I wash, then rinse. I will usually also rub just a small amount of coconut oil into the ends of my hair to help condition my thin, wavy hair. I only need to wash my (formally oily) hair every 2-3 days. My whole family uses it. Hubby and kids don’t need the coconut oil. Quick, easy, and cheap! With 1/4 c of honey in just 3/4 c water, we would go through it so quickly, and the cheapest raw honey around here is $34.00/ gallon. I’m not saying it doesn’t sound lovely, just trying to stay on budget!

  45. Carmen says

    What a helpful article! I have tried Bronner’s as well as the No Poo method and my poor grey hair was falling out with the former and the latter turned it the most subtle shade of green :0 No matter how natural baking soda is, it is still far too alkaline for most people with sensitive skin…even homemade coconut oil/baking soda deodorant made my underarms blister and peel…so now I use peppermint Milk of Magnesia ( with a few drops of Peppermint Eo added for extra good smelling pits), as blogged about by Meghan over on Whole Natural Life…love her blog, and yours. Thanks

  46. Eve says

    Just to add another informal case study in support of raw honey – and also suggest another alternative that I don’t think has been mentioned here: soap nuts. I’ve been no poo for about 5 months, and thought I had the BS/ACV thing worked out, but a month ago I had started to get this crazy static hair that i’ve never had before in my life. It was stuck flat to my head, with a top layer of hair that was actually perpendicular to my scalp. Needless to say, I looked comical. My hair is dry and frizzy anyway but it must have become extra, extra dry. Also, I was sick of boiling up pans of water to wash with (hard water and BS for hair don’t mix). So I started to use a raw honey treatment after the BS/ACV and that helped so much. Raw honey washes make my hair feel really strong and elastic somehow and it seems to help it hold curls better. You know, I think I’ve left BS/ACV behind me now. Recently I also tried soap nuts (boiled a couple on the stove for 10-15 mins, put in a blender to make foam, which is lovely and easy to apply) and it’s working really well for me so far – the soap nut liquid pH is within the healthy range for scalp and body, I believe. Soap nut liquid is fine on its own it seems, but add a bit of raw honey, a dab of aloe vera, maybe a splash of tea, whiz it all in the blender = very shiny hair. Plus I don’t need to boil water to wash with any more and my hair looks and feels lovely. Soap nut liquid keeps in the fridge for about a week, and longer if you add some citric acid (or so I’ve read, but I haven’t tried to make bigger batches yet). Am keen to try the coconut/aloe shampoo as well, because why the hell not. Thanks for the information everyone.

    • Maria says

      Thanks for sharing this. The honey has not worked for me at all, it wasnt doing any cleaning g on my hair.

  47. says

    Thank you so much for your post!! I wanted to try the no poo method also (well…to save money) however was skeptical of the ingredients. I REALLY appreciate your thorough explains and research. Thank you!

  48. MF says

    I’m in the midst of trying this now, since I’ve had bad recently with the baking soda method. Is it supposed to be just like water? How do you get the right amount on your hair?

    • McGlenn Mommy says

      This is the EXACT thing I want an answer to and no one responds to my posts!! This is why it hasn’t worked for me. I ended up using a whole recipe at once and it still didn’t work. Do you know of some thickening ingredient that we could add?

    • Andie says

      I used a small pastry decorating squeeze bottle. I got it at joannes in the candy making section. Just measure out the tablespoon, fill it with water, and squeeze it onto your scalp!

  49. Tasha says

    I have been doing the no poo for about 7 months and my hair (which is pretty long) is REALLY dry now and I have terrible dandruff as well. I have been thinking about changing my routine–thank you for another option. :)

  50. Nawee says

    I’m just a little bit confused. If baking soda is bad for the scalp and hair, how come it is recommended as an exfoliant on the face in your other article? I’m not trying to be smart or anything. I’m really trying to go natural and still working out what will be good for me.

  51. jmr says

    I’ve been using baking soda for a few years (the acv makes my hair super greasy so I skipped it). I really like it and my hair doesn’t seem damaged. I have thin super fine flyaway hair and this method gives it some body and control. I tried the honey shampoo and my hair felt disgustingly greasy in the shower and when it was wet. The horrible feeling was almost unbearable. Then I blow dried my hair and something strange happened. My hair didn’t feel greasy when dry. It was very, very soft. And it was kind of full and bouncy and shiny. I’ve used it twice and I think I may love this. I’ll keep trying it. I don’t like the cost of it, but the results have been surprisingly good.

    • jmr says

      An update: my hair became so unbelievably greasy/matted in a couple days I couldn’t stand it. This doesn’t seem to clean the hair in any way like the baking soda does. It was so bad, I actually used shampoo to wash my hair 4 times to get it clean…I haven’t used shampoo in quite a few months. Now, I’ll use this as a conditioner every week or two since it didn’t work for me as a shampoo. I’ll go back to using bs about 2-3x a week, which is all my hair needs.

  52. Andie says

    I’ve been on the no poo making soda only method for a year and a half, i wash it twice a week. . Everything was awesome, until about six months ago. I have very long hair, to my butt, and I started noticing a dryness almost crispiness to the texture. I also noticed that my hair hasn’t been growing like it used to. I’m worried but wasn’t sure of other natural alternatives until I found this. I will definitely start experimenting again!

  53. Chrissy says

    I am going to try this too. I have a really bad case of dandruff. I just started doing the no ‘poo’ method and so far i like it really did help with my greasy oily hair :) I gotta try this for sure :) i really need to find something for this dandruff that i’ve had since i was little… I have been now doing homemade shampoos because i dont like all the chemicals in the shampoo :) Thanks for posting this!!!!!!

  54. Trinity says

    My hair has been so sad lately and this seems like a great alternative to baking soda. I used a mix of aloe vera gel and honey on my hair today and the results have been lovely!

  55. Abby says

    I just wanted to say that I absolutely love this recipe for shampoo! I know you said that someone had their honey go bad, but I asked my grandfather, who is a retired food scientist and a Master Gardener. He said that honey is supposed to be shelf stable, so if it did go bad, then the person had bad honey. Just wanted to make that note, since I’ve had mine in my shower for a few weeks and theres nothing wrong with it at all.

  56. Colby says

    Hi!
    I have very long natural blonde hair and have been using the no poo method with baking soda and ACV for at least 3 months. I went through about a month where my hair was amazingly soft and silky, but now my hair seems rough, stringy, flat and dull. I typically use 2 Tbsp baking soda to 1 cup distilled water, and about 50/50 ratio ACV to water and wash every 2-3 days. Since my luck seems to be running out with the BS/ACV, I tried your honey shampoo. My hair does feel soft, but it just is not clean and every bit of oil shows up on my blonde hair. Do you have any suggestions such as an egg yolk wash or a lemon juice rinse that might help to keep my scalp cleaner without making it dull and dry?

  57. Gina says

    Hi Lauren! Love your blog and have been incorporating a lot of your advice into my daily routine. I have a question about the honey shampoo though… I haven’t used shampoo in about 3 yrs…I’ve been “washing” my hair with a clean rinsing cheapy conditioner. I’ve been very happy with the results for the most part. My hair is much more manageable however I do have to “wash” it everyday or it looks very greasy. So when I read about your honey shampoo I was really excited to try it and was looking forward to only having to wash it once a week!! I’ve been doing the honey wash for about 2 months and as my hair looks healthier it still is greasy looking (especially around the back by my neck line) and not only does it look greasy it’s sticky!! I rinse it out for a ridiculously long time to make sure I get it all out but it’s not getting any better. Help!! What am I doing wrong? Or is this normal?

  58. Maria says

    I have not tried the BS+ACV, but the honey method so far has been a disaster for me. With every wash the hair would look more and more dirty.

    I thought may be I haven’t rinsed well at first, but no matter how much I rinse it – the hair still would come out super-dirty looking at the end.

    It is surprising that the hair dies brush well after. But it looks as if you haven’t washed it for a year. Also feels like it never fully dries.

    Has this worked for anyone else other than the author?

    • Ashley says

      I’ve been doing the honey shampoo with ACV rinse for over a month now and my hair is greasy at the roots. I went from using the baking soda & ACV method for a couple months straight to the honey. The baking soda & ACV was making my scalp itchy and giving me dandruff. I really want the honey to work for me but my hair is so greasy! Please help!

  59. C says

    I’ve been no poo for 3.5 years. First I did lemon rinses & bentonite clay masks…which were damaging. I should add that after a year and a half of no poo, I started “using” again once every 4-6 months. When it was for a special occasion & I wanted to use heat too. In the last few weeks I’ve gone to water only. My hair is SOFT again. BUT it comes with that, a bit greased look. It doesn’t always look greasy, it just looks different.. It still takes forever to dry, my guess due to the damage. Sure it’s my natural curls & waves, but I only get those if I don’t comb it….so it’s kind of a mess. Plus I’m googling for shiny hair, & came across your blog. Still googling.

  60. Amber P. says

    I been doing ‘no poo’ with baking soda and regular vinegar (not acv) since January. I love it. There have been some tough times with static at first but that’s about it…oh and for awhile my hair got darker. But I have felt like I’ve been one of the blessed ones with this. My results have been amazing. My hair grew in six months what it would take in about a year. I’ve found no split ends and I used to all the time. I wash my hair twice a week and it is flamboyant, wavy, volumized, etc. I read this article a couple months ago and I been wondering if I have had such great results because I tend to be very acidic in my ph balancing and that the baking soda offsets that. Years ago I went to the doc and come to find out that I had a ph at level 9 out of 10! I can tell when my body is getting too imbalanced and I know what to do to keep a healthy ph. But this is why I think the baking soda has given me great results, because I tend to be too acidic…and what’s going on in our bodies comes out in our hair. Either that, or it’s just because we have horrible water and so it offsets that…I don’t know. But what I do know for sure is that I love the bs and vinegar style. I have tried washing with aloe and honey and I did like that…maybe I’ll mix it up and see if i get the same results…
    However, people like to find reasons as to why new trends are ‘bad’…when in reality nothing is perfect. If people are so worried about ph balance that they watch what they use to wash their hair then they should do the same with everything else from food, to detergent, to what they breath in every day. Everything effects our ph. So just watching one thing will not make a person healthy, we would need to be careful of everything.
    P.S. I am enjoyed this article. It’s good to see the whole picture of things.

  61. Jules says

    Wow, scientific literacy in this country is pathetic. Apparently people have no concept of acid-base chemistry or anatomical systems, so they’re going willy-nilly using baking soda and vinegar everywhere just because their stomach can neutralize it. Let’s just go back to using belladonna in our eyes, after all it’s a NATURAL flower. Wake up, people! Learn more about those big, scary chemicals you can’t pronounce because the majority of them are harmless, whereas nature can and will kill you.

    • Charlotte says

      I’ve been using BS&ACV with no problems for almost 3 years now: Actually, the reason I stumbled on this post is that I washed my hair with watered-down regular shampoo at a friend’s house two days ago – the first time in a loooong time that I’d used store-bought shampoo – and my scalp is driving me nuts! It’s unbelievably itchy and flaky, and I think I’ll wash it with BS and ACV tonight in the hope it will go back to normal.

      My chemistry classes were a long time ago, but wouldn’t the dilution of the BS with water lower the pH level?

      Chemistry aside: different things work for different people. A skincare product may be fantastic for one person, and cause another to break out. For me, BS&ACV works: I use a heaped tsp of BS in about a cup of boiled (and cooled) water, pour it over my head and scrub my scalp only, then rinse it out. I only use a small splash of ACV in again a cup of boiled water, pour it over my head, and rinse it out again quite quickly.

      My hair is medium-long, and I used to have to wash it every day or it got horribly greasy, and every single hair had a split end. These days I only wash it every 4-5 days, and I don’t have a single split end.
      I also dye my hair with henna every two months or so.

      • Sinomi says

        I do remember my chemestry classes. And I understand how dillution with water doesn’t lower the PH very much at all. it’s because there is actually a huge difference between ph7 (water) and ph9.5 (baking soda) that youd have to dilute it with hundreds times more water that bs before you manage to lower the ph even a little.

        Still might not be harmfull to scalp and hair for all people, but it’s important to know that it doesn’t really matter if you dilute 1tbsp to 1 cup of water or 1tbsp to 3 cups of water, doesn’t make any differance, you’d have to use 20cups of water to 1 tbsp before you get any lower ph.

  62. Tera says

    I don’t pretend to understand the chemistry of it, but I stopped shampooing my hair six months ago. My hair refused to grow, was baby fine, thin, and breaking off. I had tried many expensive shampoos. I read some reviews about Wen hair care that said V05 conditioner would work as well. So I stopped shampooing and started only using V05 conditioner ( no shampoo), I wash with the conditioner, then I condition with the conditioner. It costs .78 cents here, that’s it, and my hair has grown about 5 inches, is thicker, shines, and is healthier. I wish I could post a before and after pic to show you all. The results are shocking. I read that it works well on curly hair too, but I have straight hair that gets wavy when wet or in humidity, but since doing this I don’t even have to use a straightener anymore. I just condition, rinse, and blow dry straight. I have pretty hair for the first time in my entire life. It doesn’t work for everybody, it made my daughters hair oily, but if shampoo is killing your hair, and you are fed up, give it a try. It’s about a $1, it takes about a month to see changes.

  63. Jessica says

    I just tried the honey (using natural raw honey I bought at the farmer’s market) and it was a TOTAL MESS for my hair, leaving it matted and greasy. I had to wash my hair out twice in order to get it out.

    Lauren, I’m sure you mean well, and you’re well-meaning, but if the no poo movement should have taught anyone, it’s that one size does NOT fit all. Posting that “this way is wrong and you should all do it my way” is categorically incorrect. Yes, I’m very very very glad that you found YOUR PERSONAL Holy Grail with the honey shampoo, but that doesn’t mean that it will work with everyone’s particular hair situation (past history/damage, hair type, ethnicity, water type).
    Everyone on this thread defending some miracle cure that happened to worked for them personally, please repeat after me: “Everyone is different, and what works for me, might not work for you.”

  64. Beth says

    I tried “no poo” for a couple months and stopped because the natural oils from my scalp were seeping onto my forehead and causing breakouts like I haven’t seen since I was 16.

  65. says

    i’ve been no-’poo for a year, and i have the BEST hair i have EVER had in my life :) my hair dresser even comments on it!
    everyone is different, and i believe this whole “no-’poo is wrong and damaging, period, point blank” post is very…uhm…incorrect (i guess is the word?) and misguided. if you REALLY want to get technical, even pure water is way different in PH from your scalp… (water is 7, scalp is roughly 5)! also, this post is assuming you’re using straight bs and straight acv (as per the ph levels posted), which are different from when mixed with water. also, i know the whole “drastic change in ph” was brought up, but there’s a drastic change in ph when you put your hair under water…and then again when you rinse it in honey… and again when you rinse it out. just food for thought :) if you want a true “ph balanced” hair product, make it yourself and test it. end of story :) i’ve used bs/acv and my hair is not damaged in the slightest! it’s the healthiest, strongest, & shiniest it’s ever been!

    NO-’POO SUPPORT <3

  66. Angela says

    I tried no poo for exactly one week and immediately went back to shampoo. Here’s why: I stored my baking soda solution in a glass jar with a metal lid, next time i washed my hair, the metal lid was rusted. Eww. I remember my old seventh gradescience textbook said alkines and acids corrode metals. Probably not good for your hair. I want to try the honey shampoo because it sounds like a good idea, just one question, I work as a lifeguard and swimming instructor and just wondering if honey will get the chlorine out of my hair. Thanks for listening.

    • Kmcg says

      Hey Angela,
      I swim often and did a lot of research into getting chlorine out of NP hair. It’s easier than you think. After swimming I don’t use any of my homemade shampoo mixes, just an acidic rinse to neutralize the alkaline effects from chlorinated water. I just use whatever is handy. Sometimes that is my ACV mix, sometimes just hibiscus tea, or club soda with citric acid. I typically add a couple Tbsp aloe, few drops jojoba, and some EOs to my conditioning rinses to help moisturize and detangle. Rinsing my hair before and after swimming with plain tap water (usually cold) also makes a big difference. Honey will moisturize your hair but there are cheaper alternatives to quickly cleaning chlorine ridden hair.

  67. Kmcg says

    I’m a member of CrunchyBetty’s community forum and this particular article is discussed: http://www.crunchybetty.com/crunchycommunity#/discussion/9122/no-poo-damages-hair
    I did my best to research the information provided and offered my findings and feedback in the discussion (including a list of the pH levels of household items that can be used for hair). I encourage you to check it out soon as the CB forum will soon be moved to Facebook. I’m surprised at how often I see a link to this article as a reason to quit NP. That is disappointing since people are quitting out of fear before doing their own research. When I looked into verifying this information I found that baking soda does NOT break disulfide bonds (sources listed in the CB discussion). At worst, baking soda can weaken the disulfide bonds in hair but doesn’t break them.

  68. Mia says

    I’m thankful I found this article/discussion. I’ve been doing the no poo method with BS for 5-6 weeks. I have long dark brown, straight hair with lots of natural volume, I have a lot of hair(that’s what the stylist always say at least). I have always had healthy looking hair. I decided to stop using conventional shampoo because most contain irritating foaming agents, GMO ingredients and can be expensive. So, I started no pooing. As I stated earlier, I use to have healthy hair. Now the ends of my hair are dry and brittle like straw and I swear the color seems lighter. Anyway, I am going to try the DIY honey shampoo and see how that works. I am definitely stopping the BS method. It is not working for me.

  69. Jessica says

    This is perfect!
    I have been trying the no poo method for almost two months and I’m not enjoying the feeling of my hair, and flakes are starting to appear once again. I will definitely be trying this method!

  70. Chris says

    I had been going poo free for over a year and LOVING it. My hairdresser routinely inspected my hair and said she would have NEVER known anything had changed from my cleansing routine. I noticed my hair was softer, lighter and had more body. I had a very short transition phase and I fell in love. However, after I got pregnant with our 3rd, whether it was hormone or chemical changes, it was a disaster. My hair was ALWAYS greasy and I mean I would get out of the shower, blowdry – no product whatsoever – and it was stringy and a nightmare (and when you’re already pregnant and hormonal, a bad hair day to this extent is never good for anybody around)… I ended up washing my hair with dish detergent because NOTHING would make it less greasy! So after nearly 9 months of that my hair (as expected) became a dry brittle mess and I not only had split ends, my hair was splitting throughout the entire strand! I just cut off over a foot of my hair!
    I am back to poo free but I think I have to start from square 1 again with the transition period and I am not happy about it; reconsidering it altogether to be honest. Now with 3 kids I dont have the patience to deal with greasy hair, I feel self-conscious enough dealing with the post baby body and a bad hair week or month is not going to cut it!
    I’m hopping in the shower right now and I am excited to see how this “honey-poo” works for me! If it works better I will be switching hubby and kids to it!

  71. Cheyenne Patane says

    With the No Poo method, you don’t have to use baking soda. In fact it is common knowledge that you should rarely use vinegar or baking soda in your hair. They gradually strip your hair. With me having curly hair, I’ve always avoided shampoo. Instead I co-wash. I wash my hair with conditioner. It cleans my curls just enough and keeps them moisturized. In fact I don’t even rinse it out. I guess that wouldn’t work for girls with straight or fine hair. But really, there are so many ways to do the no poo method that you’ll find one that works for you.

  72. Kelly says

    Maybe someone can help me. I’ve gone “no-poo” (baking soda/vinegar) for about a year now. Overall, I do like this method, but I still haven’t been able to achieve the same results others have shared. My hair becomes oily at the roots almost on a daily basis, but my ends tend to stay pretty dry. I’ve tried both higher and lower proportions of the baking soda and vinegar. I’ve tried washing my hair this way daily. I’ve tried washing it every other day. I’ve tried a rinse on those days that I skip a wash. I’ve tried using a rag in the shower to help distribute the oil. What I mostly don’t understand is how people can go for multiple days without washing or rinsing their hair. I cannot get this oil on my scalp under control. My drier, wavy ends are less of a concern. Oh, and I also use a boar brush to help distribute the oil.

    What can I do for my oily scalp? I don’t want to use more baking soda on it and I don’t want to have to go back to commercial shampoo.

    • sally says

      Dear Kelly, since you’re already no-pooing for about a year, you’re more the expert than I, but I like to share some of my little experience with you. Maybe it turns out to be bullshit for you, but who knows, there may be a little hint that could help. In the past months I experimented also with different products. First of all I would suggest to wash your hair with an egg yolk. It leaves the hair shiny, soft and clean as if you would have used a shampoo and that’s really good for your self confidence. But because it’s not good to use an egg yolk to often (maximum every two weeks or so), you also have to search a solution for in between to egg yolk- washes. Have you already tried to clean your hair with clay? I was pretty happy with it, nevertheless my hair felt a little dry. On this site I found a link that could be interesting: http://wellnessmama.com/9321/detox-your-hair/
      It takes away the oil pretty well. Don’t forget to rinse very thoroughly. I always use a herbal rinse afterwards as the site also suggests. It’s also important no to use hard water but I have no idea if that’s a problem where you live. And then… try not to wash or wet your hair to often. Try to stretch the period between to washes (for example: wait one day longer than you normally would), if you can without feeling horrible. Good luck anyway!

  73. Kim says

    Hi,

    I am no-pooing for the second week now. The condition of my hair is not getting any better but it feels sticky at all time and it does not seem to dry. What could be wrong here? Is this due to sebum? I tried vinegar but it doesn’t help to remove the stickiness, I am so stressed up :(

    • sally says

      Hi Kim, I had the same problem if I used the honey mix or the coconut milk – aloe mix. To get the stickiness out of your hair lemon juice works terrific. Mix the juice of one lemon with a little bit of filtered water (in a glass: 1/2 lemon juice, 1/4 water) and rinse your hair with it and let it dry with the lemon rinse in your hair. You can repeat this several times if your hair is very sticky, but mostly one time will be enough. Because lemon juice dries the hair, surely at the ends, don’t exaggerate.
      Afterwards it’s searching what works for you: water only, clay, herbal rinses, soap nuts, egg, …

  74. krissy says

    So I have been on the same schedule since I was 14, mostly due to laziness. I wash my hair with whatever shampoo and conditioner is available (usually my sons all in one no tears stand a half before my hair gets greasy and dirty. In summer during active outdoor weeks I wash my hair every 4 days while in winter I can go as long as almost 2 weeks. My mother is an avid hair critic at least she is of my hair lol. If its even a bit greasy looking she’ll gripe. I have found that she always complains about my hair either the day of or day after I was my hair. Which is so funny. And the days she marvels over how soft and beautiful my hairless looks I usually haven’t washed it in days. I feel bad sometime because when I go to get my hair cut I get told how amazing my hair is and they all want to know what I do to it. It makes them a bit jealous when o sheepishly admit I do nothing but wash it once in a while. I think though that I just have naturally good hair especially since my sister is much the same way.

  75. Karam says

    I have psoriasis and I have been using baking soda for about 7 months now. My scull has gotten really oily, to an irritating point. I did enjoy it for the first couple months, because it brought my curly hair back. Before the “no poo” method, i used shampoos and hair color, Which kind of took away my natural curls.
    I will try the raw honey with rosemary and see what’s up.
    If you have any recommendations for hair treatment ( natural of course) for people with psoriasis, please share.

  76. sally says

    Hi, this is a very interesting blog. I’m a Belgian woman and I really couldn’t find so much helpful information in Dutch. Last July I started the no poo adventure and I only want to share my own experience, considering that everyone is unique and that, like it’s already mentioned so many times, one size never fits all.
    The first weeks I went on a vacation to South France and used only baking soda to clean my hair. I was happy because it was so easy and removed the oil from my scalp and hair. Once I got home I took a good look in the mirror and noticed that my long hair had turned very dry. I started to search for alternatives. I didn’t feel ready for the water only experiment and I feared that using my self brewed herbal rinses wouldn’t be enough to clean. So I tried different natural remedies, such as this suggested honey shampoo and the coconut-aloe potion. Those made my hair look wavy and soft but also very greasy and sticky like many of you also wrote. It was very difficult to get it rinsed out. Finally lemon juice rinses got the stuff out of my hair. But I still remained with the question how can I clean my hair in a natural but also effective and efficient way? Then I tried the egg yolk (with some drops of essential lavender oil) and that was really a fantastic experience. It cleaned my hair like shampoo and left my hair soft and shiny. But I read that I shouldn’t use this egg yolk to frequently (maximum twice a month). So there I was again: what can I use between two egg yolk washes? I used white clay to wash my hair with and that was OK, but it left my hair a little dry at the ends, even if I used a little coconut oil to massage the ends with and after three days my scalp began to itch and was full of dandruff. Help! What now? I brewed my herbal rinse (soaking green tea, nettle, thyme, rosemary, parsley,… for 30 minutes in hot water and adding afterward the juice of one lemon) as usual. Before wetting my hair, I massaged my scalp with my fingers thoroughly and then I got under the shower and wet my hair. After that I poured the herbal rinse over my head and massaged it again in my scalp. I didn’t rinse this with water. I combed my hair easily and let it dry. Away was the itchy and flaky scalp and the hair looked OK. Not as soft and shiny as with the egg yolk but still clean enough. I’m curious how this will continue…

  77. Teki says

    This article is mostly right. The BSV/vinegar thing definitely takes paying attention to your hair a bit. Too much BSV can mess it up – I use much less BSV than I do vinegar now days, and I’ve gotten lots of gaping hairdressers telling me how healthy my hair is. Been without shampoo without over three years now!

  78. Lisa says

    I have been no pooing for about a year now and am very happy with my results. It took several months of different concoctions to find out what worked well for me. I boil raw coconut, letting it cool and then using equal parts of the juice and bronners castille soap. I add a little baking soda……several different essential oils, including some citrus………….I add one or all of either apricot oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or coconut oil (tho this one solidifies and even shaking doesn’t alleviate all of the chunks)……I also add hydrolysed collagen. I tried honey in it once and it didn’t seem to work for me, but this time I added it again just to see…………..I wash my hands with it to be sure it leaves the right “feel”, not stripping……….finally I rinse with very diluted raw apple cider vinegar, and follow with a detangle of one of the oils that I run thru my ends. My curls, which I have not seen for years, have resurfaced. My hair feels nice, has a nice shine to it, and oddly it seems as if it isn’t graying as much. My philosophy was sort of “this can’t be much worse than the chemicals” and I’m never done experimenting and trying to improve the recipe!

  79. Barb says

    There have been a lot of great comments arguing both for and against using bs&acv for washing hair. I wouldn’t have added my two cents except that none of the people who have commented have been doing so as long as I have, so I thought this might help some people.

    I started using baking soda to wash and apple cider vinegar to rinse my hair after talking with a friend who had recently started and was going through the transition period. That was 9 years ago!!! I have psoriasis and had been searching for years for a natural shampoo that would help me with my scalp, but could find nothing. After talking with my friend, I researched it and made the change immediately.

    For a number of years, I had to change up my “system” – using more or less baking soda – at the major change of seasons – fall into winter and spring into summer. I also did a deep condition with coconut oil around that time. In the last year or two I’ve gone to using about 1-2 tbsp bs in a cup of water – just enough for exfoliating, and about 1 tbsp acv in the same amount of water.

    I have always made sure to COMPLETELY rinse out all baking soda before doing my rinse. I haven’t always rinsed out the acv, but found I prefer to do so. I add essential oils to my acv – rosemary mainly, sometimes others for scent. I never use lavender eo on my scalp because lavender accelerates the turnover rate of the outer layer of skin cells, which is exactly the opposite of what I want. :-)

    My fine hair is extremely healthy, too. I go to a high end salon for my haircuts, and always explain my system to new (to me) stylists and often ask about my the condition of my hair (I don’t want to continue doing something that isn’t good for me – I love having hair ;-) ), and they always let me know that my hair is very healthy (though they deny the amount of silver hairs I know I have hiding back where I can’t see them :-P ). I have to explain to them that I can’t let any sort of product touch my scalp or I get a flare up.

    I’ve been using this method on my kids, too! I did start using a shampoo on them for a while, because I was afraid of damage, but as the two oldest moved into their pre-teens (and now the oldest is a teenager), and oil began, using shampoo was a nightmare and they are back to this method.

    I wash twice a week, though I can occasionally do once a week if necessary, and especially if I use my dry shampoo (on my bangs). My pre-teen needs to only wash once a week. My 8yo even less often. My oily teenager should probably wash 3x per week but 2x is okay.

    I also have not washed my face with soap or product in all those years! I “wash” twice a week with the bs & acv that runs down my face (which is why I like my wash to have a bit of exfoliating ability). I’m in my 40s now and my skin is very clean and healthy – I often get comments on how great my skin is. I always have gotten such comments, but I’m mentioning this to show that the system has not affected my skin negatively, either.

    I’ve been through various lengths of hair over the last nine years, and the system has worked through all lengths, too.

    I like that there are other systems that work well for people for whom this method doesn’t, but I’m not about to change a method that has worked well for me and my family for almost a decade. :-D

  80. karen says

    I’ve been using no-poo for almost two years with great results; in fact, the salon person who cuts my hair regularly says my hair and scalp are the healthiest they’ve ever been, and my hair feels and looks beautiful and behaves very well. My dermatologist – I see one every six months for skin cancer checkups – completely endorses the use of baking soda. I think before you make blanket statements, it’s better to say it works for some and not for others.

  81. Latosha says

    I just have a quick question. I have super, extremely, unbelievably oily hair. The ONLY thing I’ve ever found that helped it was the baking soda & ACV mixture, and even then, I had to use only baking soda mixed with water on my scalp, and ACV on the ends because the ACV made my hair more oily. This post makes alot of sense to me though, because I noticed lately my hair has been more on the dry side on the ends and unmanageable. It’s past my waist, so I thought I would end up having to cut it. I the honey recipe today, along with some coconut milk & it made my hair really soft, shiny and manageable, which was awesome, but it’s also back to being oily. So my question is, would it still be just as damaging if I were to use the baking soda to get rid of the oil & then use the honey & coconut milk mixture after instead of ACV? Or is the baking soda just damaging period? If not, do you have another suggestion?

  82. Daniela says

    Hi Lauren,
    thanks for the tips. I’m from Czech Republic, EU and I came across some czech website about no poo method. When I had a week off, I used this opportunity to try no poo method (baking soda and apple cider vinegar) and I was really disappointed. Something was wrong. Suddenly, I had lot of dandruff and my scalp was itchy. I thought that I would have to give up but then I started googling and found your website. Your honey shampoo is amazing. It improved my hair within 2 days. Simply things are the best!
    Luckily, I have lot of honey. From some reason lot of people gives me a jar of home-made honey as a present and I don’t use it as a sweetener that often. Now I know what to use it for!!! Thanks for again!

  83. angela says

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    Angela

  84. Rachel says

    Hi,
    I’m really interested in reading these posts and the questions that are being asked. It’s is, however, a little bit frustrating when hardly any of them are being answered?!

  85. Coolynn says

    Too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing. You can also wash with just apple cider vinegar – just every now and then to strip out the chemicals from the normal products you use that can build up on the hair.

    Most of the people that “no poo” are black or African American women with dry, fragile, brittle, course, tightly coiled and/or kinky hair. And, a true “no poo” means not “washing” the air with anything. They just condition the hair.

  86. Agnieszka says

    I need help girls. I have been doing nopoo for about 12 weeks now and while everyone says that greasy hair goes away, on my head it feels like it never will. It is constantly greasy, no matter what I do. I have got very straight, and partly fine hair and I used to love wearing it open but now I am constantly having a ponytail……i feel so ugly. I used to have shiny and wonderful hair, now its all a mess and i have tried so much already. What shall do? Open for any hints that will keep me away from going back to the industry.

    • Michelle says

      I went through a 2 month transition. I figured out it was because of my hard water, the baking soda wasn’t mixing with the water properly. It should feel like slimy water. Boil your water and add the baking soda, it’ll get all fizzy. Let it cool off and use it. I would make a bunch and store it in bottles. If you have hard water this might be what you need.

  87. Squeaky says

    I’m totally out of shampoo and have heard of this for awhile so I gave it a go today. Oh my goodness I can’t stop touching and looking at my hair ! It’s better than it has ever been! ::sigh:: who knows if it will last.

  88. Cassandra says

    Honestly, I don’t believe that the no poo diet is terrible for your hair. We are humans, we weren’t created to use artificial chemicals that can soak into our skin and blood stream. In fact, many popular soaps out on the market have a pH of 9.5, 10, and I’ve even read one company with a pH of 13! Baking soda is less harsh than many common soaps and shampoos are simply a bottle full of chemicals. I’ll be trying out your honey recipe!

  89. Emilie says

    I’ve been using the baking soda and apple cider vinegar method for about a year now, sometimes using natural shampoo (when I’m not showering at home). It took about 3 weeks of transition, and since then my hair has never been nicer! Soft, shiny, no dandruff, and best of all… I can now go 5-6 days without washing my hair before it even starts feeling greasy or dirty!

    I use very little baking soda, about ¾ tablespoon diluted in 1 ½ cups of water. I scrub a little everywhere and rinse very well, immediately. I then use about 1 ½ tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the same amount of water, and leave it in while I look after the rest of myself :)

    So no problem for me up to this day!

  90. Christina says

    I’m not ready for the no poo thing yet, but I’ve been using baking soda about twice monthly for deeper cleansing. I wonder if this is considered a bad idea as well…

  91. PennyLane says

    Wow, people really need to do their homework before trying no ‘poo. You really think one week will tell you if any of the no ‘poo methods will work for you? Patience is the key here and also trial and error. And why are people so concerned about how their hair looks, but not about what those bad chemicals in shampoo and stuff is doing to their health?

  92. Tanya says

    How will you know when the transitions period is over? This is my second day of using the honey shampoo, and in the morning my hair looks great, but after only a few hours, it turns into a grease ball……help?

  93. Sandra says

    I went no poo 2 years ago and water works just fine for me, I use baking soda mixed with water once in a while, not every month and it has only had a good effect on my hair ..
    Get compliments on my hair regularly and wont support bee slavery ;)

  94. Sheril C says

    While I appreciate your sharing your experience and I certainly believe this is the truth of your experience, I’m not likely to try this because the truth of my experience seems to differ from yours in two very noticeable ways. First, you equated Castile soaps as being just as alkaline as baking soda and I’ve had a year or two use to prove to me that that level of alkalinity has done nothing to ruin my hair. And second, I’ve had plenty of experience to prove to me that honey is a terrible ingredient for whatever sensitivities my skin and I suffer with. Everytime I see a natural recipe for personal care that includes honey I cringe and want to cry for anyone who may try it and end up in severe burning sensations across however large an area they’ve covered with it. OUCH! I hope all the young folks and proven sensitive skin folks always remember the rule to test on a small spot first! And seriously, after that test in a different small spot and then later a third different small spot with anything new. The last thing you want is that level of pain or an ugly red angry patch of skin that just won’t go away!

    I’ve been avoiding even my natural soaps for about a week and just brushing my natural oils through my hair two or three times a day. Not sure yet what I’ll do next. Maybe the water only method, or maybe I’ll incorporate the baking soda and vinegar idea. In anycase, I’m sure I’ll keep on with less frequent “cleaning” as that seems to be working with my natural state of body chemistry pretty well.

    Best wishes to ALL!

    • Meghan says

      I used the honey method and it worked well for a while. It sounds to me like you just may have an allergy to honey if it makes you break out that badly. The comment about brushing your natural hair oils through every day and keeping a “natural state of body chemistry”, I couldn’t agree with more, though. ;)

  95. Aimée says

    I’ve used baking soda semi-regularly for almost 8 years since having dreadlocks and have no noticeable hair damage. I have a fringe at the front which I wash more regularly and again – no damage. Perhaps it depends on how regular you use it – if you’re using it as often as most people seem to use shampoo (like every day or every other day) then maybe that’s why? I use it once or twice a week at most.

  96. Michelle says

    I did no poo for a year. I have very long wavy/curly hair (but not thick). I have trouble with both oil and dandruff. I went through a 2 month transition time before I figured out a good tactic for the baking soda, I had to boil water then add the baking soda for it to work properly. Hard water problems. After I figured that out it was great, i used 1tbsp per cup of water and the vinegar rinse every 4 days and my hair staid oil free.
    All was well until a year in I began to notice that I was getting tons of breakage all around my face and split ends everywhere. I went back to a natural/organic brand but the damage is already done, it’ll take years for this damage to grow out. And my hair is back to being oily the same day I washed. I’ll try your recipe, it’s time for a change again.

  97. Danielle says

    I have been using the BS/ACV for a little over four months now. Although I have not had any problem with it whatsoever, this does make me feel concerned…But then again, at the same time, there are quite a few comments saying that the honey is bad for you too/doesn’t work. So, now, I don’t know what to believe, BUT if the ph levels in baking soda are really that high, then I guess I will consider trying the honey. I have felt no damage to my hair at all since I started the BS/ACV. In fact, my hair stays cleaner longer, doesn’t dry like a frizz-ball, and just feels clean.

    But, since I’m willing to try the honey shampoo, where do you buy hour raw honey? It can be quite expensive…but I want to try it. I live near, WalMart, Target, Whole Foods, and other small convenience stores (walgreens, cvs, etc.) If I can buy it online for cheaper, please suggest those websites as well. Thank you!

  98. Victoria says

    HELP, I need advice! I’ve been using No Poo (BS and ACV) for over a year now, but lately I’ve been having problems. I recently started using coconut oil to condition the ends of my hair because I didn’t like the smell of ACV (the smell comes back every time your hair gets wet). However I noticed problems so I tried to go back to ACV at least every once a week. I’ve always diluted it, but lately I’ve been needing to clean my hairbrushes. Dust and other matter has been collecting on them, and I think it is from my hair. I figured that it was just because of the oil, even though I used very little. However even after going back to ACV I’ve been having to wash my hair more frequently and it feels dirty even when it is not greasy. Any thoughts? (My hair brush is keep inside a dust free cabinet for the majority of the time and water does not seem to clean it.) I don’t want to go back to commercial, nor do I particularly want to buy something fancy.

  99. says

    Useful post. I have a question, is this honey can wash the oily hair and scalp?. I am now using a shampoo which is homemade with soap nuts, and it worked for me. I also use provillus for stopping my hair loss, which is having minoxidil and biotin in it.

  100. Silke says

    Hey!

    I was trying to switch from baking soda + apple cider vinegar to honey shampoo, like you did, but this does not take away any greasyness. I have to go to work so I can def. not have greasy hair, so currently I am sticking with the no poo method, only… the vinegar burns.
    I have no idea why because on many sites there is a statement that ‘acv can be used to REDUCE red marks on your skin blablabla’ but when I get out of the shower, my face and neck are full with red marks, like that of a burn victim. They go away eventually, but I am worried because I do not find a solution by googling.
    Everybody tells me that this is proof that I should stop with this method, but I have nowhere to go.
    My hair has been greasy since I was a toddler and it is wafer-thin. By removing the chemicals I was hoping that in two months my hair would be like that of anyone else. But I can’t stop worrying about those red marks that actually burn, what if they would not disappear one day?

    PS: I really want to switch to honey shampoo, because you really recommend it, but I really can’t see why. If i wash it with honey, it even gets greasier..

    Pls help me :(
    Thank you x

  101. Mike says

    I have been doing no poo for about 10 days now and just did my first baking soda/ACV treatment and immediately, I notice my hair is softer, shinier and the treatment got rid of the excess sebum (which wasn’t much, my hair was barely oily after 10 days of just rinsing in warm water) and I love it so far. I won’t be doing this that often, but once in awhile should be fine.

    I find it amusing that, while talking about baking soda and ACV, you use the “harsh chemical” argument against them. First off, the foaming agent in shampoo is caused by SLS and it’s derivitives. This stuff was invented to help auto mechanics get oil stains out of their garage floors. This is the stuff you are putting in your hair when you buy commercial shampoo. Talk about harsh ingredients? This stuff strips your hair of *everything* and leaves nothing behind, not even sebum. Commercial conditioners are supposed to mimic sebum, but nothing is better than the real thing. Second, the pH of commercial shampoos is FAR higher than that of baking soda even before water is added to it. I’m talking a pH of 10 or higher, so not even these shampoos are balanced for hair and are more harmful to it than baking soda or ACV. What do you think the commercial shampoo/conditioner does to the hair? It opens the hair shaft, then closes it only with much harsher chemicals being used to do it.

    As others have said, if you are having problems with this method, you probably aren’t adjusting it to your personal needs. This method does work and when executed properly, it will not damage hair. It’s probably not a good idea to use this every day or maybe even every week, but when no poo works for you, you won’t even have to anyway.

  102. sonya says

    I heard the argument proposed by Lo many times that you just have to wait it out and your hair will adjust to no po. I don’t recall how long I tried it, but I remember thinking that it was a decent amount of time. Well, my hair runs oily and I certainly gave it a fair shot, but I can’t go to my professional job looking like I hadn’t showered in a week!! I’m glad that this method works for some people because it’s certainly very economical and environmentally friendly, but nope it doesn’t work for everyone!

  103. Megan says

    Man, thanks so much for this post. I have actually always been grossed out the the feeling of shampoo lathering. I noticed that at the very bottom of a bottle, it got weird and goopy, so that grossed me out. I’ve really been trying to cut out chemicals, and the stuff in shampoos kind of freak me out.

    My hair is normally pretty oily (I have to wash it once every two days) so the no-poo method of no chemicals and only having to wash it twice a week was really appealing to me. I’ve been on it for maybe three weeks, but I haven’t been terribly impressed. My skin is dry to begin with, however, I have never dealt with a dry scalp before. Since starting this method, I have developed really awful dandruff. I’ve never struggled with dandruff before!

    A couple nights ago I rubbed olive oil into my scalp, and then when I washed it the following morning I made sure to put the ACV rinse in my roots after the BS (I read on a few different websites to not bother putting the ACV on your roots as it doesn’t need it and your hair is prone to get greasier quicker). The dandruff is still present, so I’m wondering if the BS/ACV method isn’t for me. My hair is fairly long, but I’ve found it challenging to balance out not using too much baking soda while trying to get all of my hair clean …. like the top part of my hair feels nice and clean, but the back underneath the visible layer is greasy and gross.

    Also, really interesting to read about the PH balances. The last thing I want is hair damage … off to do more research!

  104. Keith says

    I’ve never liked how you have to recover from a shampoo based hair wash with more products to get back to being 3 days dirty.

    i’m a guy with thick, semi curly, long hair on my second week of no poo. so far so good. Pror to trying this, i only used shampoo once a week. so this is such a shock to my scalp.

    i feel a little greasy, but no greasier than a day with pommade or some other hair schmutz. im not brittle and nothing stinks. im not itchy either. i think i was itchier when i was useing leave-ins. i’ve even noticed less hair pulling out during combing as well.

    one issue i don’t dig so much is after i rinse my hair. while my hair is air drying, it feels kinda gross. but after im dry, all good.

    last night i went to be with a damp head, woke up with a morning birds nest that combed out with no problem, and with no pulling. i’ll hang in for a while longer.

  105. Cassie says

    Just stumbled onto your blog and I am in LOVE already! I will definitely be trying your honey shampoo! However, I’ve been “No Poo” for 8 months using just BS and ACV and my hair feels FANTASTIC!

    Ive found that a lot of people who start out, read the posts that say to use straight BS and make a paste. DO NOT DO THIS! I did it the first time and it was horrible!

    The trick is to dilute the BS in water (I use 1 tbsp per cup of water – enough for two washes for my hair). Anyways – Just thought I’d share a non-horror story about BS/ACV. :)

  106. Daria says

    Thank goodness for the sensibility of this blog. I voiced my concerns – similar to the content of this article – on the blog of an NP fanatic and was immediately blocked. I found that a little alarming because hair is so important to most women and they have a right to know the ins and outs of the chemicals they are using. Well done!!!

  107. Daria says

    Abovementioned blog was called Living In Another Language BTW. No anti- NP comments are allowed there apparently, only comments on how marvellous the NP method is and desperate questions from women who have tried the method and are a bit peeved off to find, after all the promises made, that it doesn’t work. The person obviously likes to be seen as a guru and won’t brook any argument despite obviously knowing nothing of chemistry nor the possible harm the treatment could do one’s hair. One woman had even written in to say her hair was shedding as a result of the NP treatment, yet the blogger was still touting it as fantastic, which I found totally cruel and was appalled at!! Just had to vent here.

  108. Darcy says

    Hi there I’m just curious what your “no poo” method consisted of? I’m going it with very damaged, very very fine (my ponytail is smaller than a quarter), waist length hair and it’s the only thing that’s worked. $40 shampoo ruins my hair even.
    You are NOT supposed to be washing your hair with baking soda everyday…Should only be brushing to distribute oils and using warm water daily and doing the BS/AVC once every 3-7 days. If you and your readers have been doing it every day no wonder your hair is in shambles! Baking soda is a scrubbing agent as well and if your grinding into your scalp that could be causing physical damage…

  109. jasmin says

    Hi there,

    Lovely and informative article!

    Do you happen to have any other DIY shampoos/conditioner recipes that do not include any animal by-products such as: eggs, honey, milk, etc.?

    Thanks a bunch :-)

    -Jasmin

  110. says

    Does it matter what type of vinegar you use?
    I’m seeing a lot of articles where people are using apple cider vinegar, but I was wondering if I can just use any old vinegar. The baking soda is going eliminate the cancel out the smell anyways right :)

  111. Meghan says

    Hey, I found your honey method last year and I’ve been shampoo-free since November, however, I think I might have a similar hair type to yours, in that it’s wavy and the honey made it feel heavy after about a month. So I tried what you suggested in one post with just rinsing with water, followed by ACV, which I do once a week at most (my hair’s natural oils seem to be wonderful for my hair, so I don’t rinse them out very often). My scalp is awful, though. I’ve always had a problem with dandruff, but it’s horrible these days! If I scratch my scalp, my nails come up with head-grud caked under them. I don’t want to change my routine much, because I love the way my hair is, but I REALLY want to fix my dandruff! Suggestions? Maybe massaging on an essential oil before my rinse? I don’t want to use coconut oil on my hair (which I had read on another blog for dandruff problems) because it never wants to rinse out.. my hair is an oil sponge that never lets it go again (a big reason why my hair’s own oils are plenty enough for me…). I do want to figure out first: how to remove the gunk on my head, and second: how to keep dandruff away! Please help!
    Thanks

  112. Sandie says

    I too love the BS/ACV method, and I have used it for about 4 and a half years, so I don’t agree with the comment “it will work at first, but then make your hair worse’” I think if that was going to happen it would have by now.
    I do think many people use too strong a mixture though. I find (very thick coarse hair, so dry) that 1 tbs of BS in a Litre of water is plenty for me. I would never try the using a paste of BS. The vinegar rinse also I use very sparingly, maybe 2 tbs in the same jug.
    I use coconut oil as well for a nice treat, and these three things work the best of everything i’ve tried to give me relief from my chronic dandruff problem.
    to those it doesnt work for – I really don’t know why, I find it truly excellent.

  113. Kyle Fuson says

    I haven’t ever tried putting baking soda or apple cider vinegar in my hair, nor have I heard about doing that before. I thought the No ‘Poo experiment was about washing your hair with only cold or lukewarm water. It’s what I’ve been doing and I’ve been liking my results. I like the feel to it better, shinier and easier to manage too. I don’t have to use product to style my hair, it just naturally styles itself when dried. My hair doesn’t have a poofy effect after it’s dry (I had to use so much product before just to get the look I wanted) I don’t plan on touching shampoo ever again :)

  114. EH says

    With the Morrocco shampoos – how long did it take before you got lather? Or did you ever get lather?

    I had been using my daughter’s California Baby shampoo. It took that a while to lather when I started, but after it got out much of the silicone and plastic build-up, it lathered just fine. Rarely would I use/need conditioner even though I have shoulder-length baby=fine hair. Occasionally (once or twice a month?) I’d curl my hair with some traditional (bad) “product.”

    So on a relative basis, my hair was slightly detox-ed to begin with when I started Morocco. I’ve been using the morocco shampoos for just over two weeks. I’ve used their clay detox product 2x, once as a mask and once dry on greasy hair at the scalp before shampooing. While I fully expected a rough transition period, I’m wondering if I’m missing something? Currently my scalp is greasy (expected this), the middle is “weird” (plastic-y?), and the ends are dry. Shampoo doesn’t lather at all: I’m not sure it’s doing anything, or that it can get past whatever is still on my hair.

    Finally, in desperation, I poured cider vinegar over my hair, then shampooed, and finally got a bit of suds. When I say a bit, I mean…infinitesimal. I would never do this regularly, but I was hoping the acid would eat off some of the gunk. However the shampoo after that, same deal, no suds.

    I realize this is raw, natural haircare, and that surfactants are not present as with regular shampoo, but any tips or insight on what detox trajectory I can expect would be appreciated! I don’t see how these morocco shampoos will ever get out whatever residue is in my hair. :/

  115. mimzlipz says

    I have long wavy hair, which tends to be dry at the ends and a bit oily at scalp. Try Shielo’s Hydrate or Smoothing Conditioners – they smell good without being over-powering, and give a level of moisture that is neither too light or too heavy for me. Anyone interested in more organic hair products should give these a try.

  116. G says

    Thanks so much for this post.

    I’ve been doing no shampoo for a few years. I had a one month transition period, and then for some reason, for the first two years I never really needed to clean it beyond water. My hair was always seemed clean.

    Then in the last year it seemed oilier, so I started using baking soda, and apple cider vinegar. Fast forward to now: very dry hair. I think I mistook it for grease and started using more baking soda + ACV. Big mistake. I actually noticed it’s drier on top, where I dumped the baking soda. The sides are pretty soft.

    I’m lucky that I’m a guy, and have short hair. Should take too long for newer hair to grow in. I just tried a honey wash. Will using the honey wash every day help restore my hair a bit in the short term?

  117. Melody says

    I’d like to just add another reason why baking soda is bad for your hair, because it’s not only the alkalinity that’s a problem! Baking soda, at a microscopic level, is extremely jagged-think shards of broken glass. So the alkalinity causes the cuticle of the hair to open up, and then the texture of baking soda rips it up. It might soften hair at first (especially coarse hair) but in the end it is literally scrubbing the cuticle of your hair off, while also slowly dissolving disulfide bonds, as you said. To make matters worse, ACV is NOT a conditioner. It smooths the cuticle down, leading to smooth and shiny hair, but it does absolutely nothing in the way of adding moisture to your hair. It can mask the damage of baking soda, but it’s not actually doing anything to fix it. That’s why outside of the baking soda-ACV method, it’s usually recommended as a rinse after you already conditioned your hair, to add shine.

  118. says

    I did No-Poo for a long time and liked it at first, since it was one of my first forays into homemade beauty, and so it was exciting that it seemed to work. But then my hair was getting very very dry and even being bleached by the baking soda, so I stopped a while ago. The past half year I’ve being using Shikakai powder and my hair has never in my life been healthier. I posted about it here: http://www.schmatzen.com/shikakai/

    You have a great site Lauren, I reference it frequently!

  119. Bobbie says

    This article is stupid and whoever wrote the article obviously has never used the baking soda and ACV method. You don’t wet your hair and put raw baking soda on. The baking soda is diluted before it goes to your hair. I use 3:1 water to baking soda. So 3 spoons water, 1 spoon baking soda. For ACV it’s 4:1 water to ACV spoons.

    This article, just like many others, keep some information out to move you onto other products. While honey may or may not be better, don’t go around saying that this method is bad.

    Also for those who have tried it for some minor time, you will need at least minimum 3 weeks before your hair starts going back to its normal self (meaning, the greasy hair will stop being greasy.) You have to let your body adjust from being used to give off ALOT of grease/oil because you were using shampoo which strips all of it off.

  120. says

    A lot of store bought honey is not really honey. So I’m thinking people who have trouble with using honey may be buying honey that isn’t even honey! Google “honey scam” to learn more.

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