Shampoo Free. Seriously.

If you follow me on Twitter or read my blog, you may think that I am consumed by my pregnancy. Not so. (Okay, mostly so. Let’s not address my complete and utter inability to focus on anything work-related. Ask me my opinion about a project that’s happening in September and I’ll probably stare at you with glazed over eyes. I’m busy Googling birth stories, thinking about maternity leave, and wondering what taking care of a newborn will be like. Sorry, boss.)
I’ve done lots of non-baby or pregnancy related things this summer. I had a tire blow out on the highway. We went camping. I worked a lot. We redecorated our apartment and I love it. We went across the state to visit with Mike’s niece and nephews. I created a new budgeting system. We saw my extended family a lot. My commute became really freaking long. My sister moved back across the country and asked me to be her maid of honor (yay!). I continued to take on blog design work and have new hopes and ideas for how to grow my little business. And I stopped using shampoo nearly four weeks ago.
Let’s talk for a minute about that last one. First, I promise you I’m not a scuzzball. See?
So maybe I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner from a bottle, but I have used baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and water to keep my hair clean.
I ran out of conditioner and was trying to figure out if there was a plastic-free option for conditioner when I stumbled across this great post (the whole website is fabulous, by the way). Intrigued by the idea that baking soda and apple cider vinegar could get my hair clean, I figured I’d give it a shot. If it worked, I’d be saving tons of money, not using any chemicals, and reducing my waste. If my hair became greasy, tangled, or dirty – I’d just wash it. No commitment, nothing to lose.

That was on July 22nd. I haven’t touched my (giant!) bottle of shampoo since.


Tsh recommends a mixing a tablespoon of baking soda per cup of water for the shampoo part. (I have thicker, wavy hair, so I increased the baking soda.) I keep the mixture in a plastic squeeze bottle that used to hold chocolate syrup. Just squirt and rub into your scalp, massaging as you go. The baking soda acts as a clarifier on your scalp and removes dirt and oil.

For the conditioner, mix a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar per cup of water. I keep this mixture in an old conditioner bottle and apply mostly to ends of my hair. I have even stored it in a cup and dipped the ends of my hair in the cup to really make sure they get good and conditioned. I have pretty dry hair, so I make sure and apply lots of it and leave it in for a few minutes while I finish showering.

Since my hair is typically pretty dry, I sometimes use a teensy bit of coconut oil (we’re talking a dab on my finger) and rub it through my hair to get rid of flyaways and such. It’s sort of like this stuff, minus the cost.

What are the results?
My hair is soft, clean, and manageable. I don’t have to choose between chemically-laden, but cheap or expensive, natural shampoo. My new ‘shampoo’ and ‘conditioner’ cost me very little and create hardly any waste.
I am going to continue on my happy shampoo-less existence until a problem arises.

Wanna try?

I’ve told a few friends what I’ve been doing, and one of them tried it out as well. Here’s what she said:  “Also, Teej and I have been ‘poo free for a week now! Just baking soda and apple cider vinegar! I LOVE the vinegar as conditioner… I think it works WAY better than store bought conditioner.”

Check out this post for more details, ideas, and links to other blogs. And let me know how it goes!

About Ashley

Ashley is a web designer by day (and night). She blogs about her attempts to live more simply and pursuing happiness while juggling a job she loves and life with an adorable toddler and an academic husband.


  1. I really am very much wanting to have a freebie on this product. Crisis looms us and a free items is a must for every person I think these days.
    Lola’s most recent post :: best shampoo for hair lossMy Profile

  2. hello there! I just happened upon this post as I have not checked my Google Reader in an insanely long time. I am so excited about the shampoo-free. My husband and I are both trying to move towards leading a more natural and environmentally-sustainable lifestyle, and I’ve started doing more diy type stuff. I am mainly writing because I have a question. My hair tends to be on the oilier side at times, so I normally wash it once a day. Have you had any comments from others that the baking soda recipe remedies that. I ask because you said frequent washing causes hair to produce more oil, and I thought this could be the thing my hair needs if I can adjust initially. I’m curious about your thoughts on this, and eager to try this. And as always thanks for your lovely blog!


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