Tips and Tricks to go Shampoo-free

22 Apr

My hair is thicker, shinnier, and healthier than it ever has been now that I’ve gone shampoo free!

I stopped using shampoo, conditioner, and any other test tube-made product on my hair a month ago. Now I only use baking soda and vinegar, and my hair is thicker, shinier, has stopped falling out, and stays cleaner longer than it ever has in my entire life. And this dramatic effect costs literally pennies compared to expensive store-bought products. Not only that, but going shampoo-free eliminates the need to buy gels, mouse, anti-frizz stuff or any of that. Think of the savings!

And for those who like to stockpile supplies for a rainy day or buy in bulk, it’s much less expensive to buy gallons of vinegar and pounds of baking soda than worry from where the next deal on shampoo is going to appear. It’s always nice when your bulk goods do double-duty, too. Vinegar and baking soda should be staples, for cleaning you, your home, and for cooking. Shampoo only does one thing (and sometimes it doesn’t even do that very well). And in a pinch, you can make your own vinegar.

Before you decide to give shampoo-free a whirl, check out this overview. Much of this information is all over the internet, but I experimented with everything I read, got feedback from a ton of people who have gone shampoo free (or who tried it), and compiled everything I learned here.

(NOTE: Because of the many questions I get about this method, I’ve written a companion article, “Going Shampoo Free: Frequently Asked Questions,” to answer these questions. Please READ this article before asking a question in comments. I answer most of the questions people have in this companion article.)


The type of water you have will have an effect on how baking soda (or shampoo for that matter) works on cleaning your hair. Soft water causes hair to be naturally sleek and is essentially free of the calcium and magnesium hard water contains, which can get “stuck” to your hair. Soft water makes it easier for the baking soda to be rinsed out of your hair easily.

Hard water contains a lot of calcium and magnesium and causes hair to become rough and tangly by elevating the microscopic scales that are on each strand of hair. The minerals get caught in the scales and make it more difficult to rinse anything (including commercial shampoos) out of the hair. Companies add chemicals to shampoos to combat this problem, but they have a drying effect on the hair that necessitates the need to buy hair conditioners and other products.

When you go shampoo-free in a hard-water environment, the minerals do react with the baking soda, and can cause a build-up. Beyond installing a water softener (your laundry would thank you, too), there are a few things you can do to combat hard water such as using distilled water or filtered rain water (see below for more info).


The only ingredients you need are baking soda and vinegar. Some people add an oil to the mix to counteract drying some people experience. You can use coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, or any oil you want. One woman I spoke to has very oily hair and adds a few drops of liquid castille soap to her baking soda solution to give it a little boost. Many, if not most, men and women won’t need to do this.

There is about a three week adjustment period for your hair to go through its detox withdraw from shampoo: Shampoo strips your hair of just about everything and it takes awhile for your hair to readjust back to its natural, healthy state. How your hair will react to this transition period will vary from the next person. Some people experience a temporary “greasy period” lasting only a few days. This greasy period can occur anywhere in the three-week adjustment period. I had mine at about the half way mark, but it was barely noticeable to me. Others have more of a problem. But stick with it, your hair will quickly improve in a matter of days and continue to get better after that.

It works great on curly hair: A lot of the ammonium this and ammonium that in shampoos can play havoc with curly hair, necessitating the use of anti-frizzers and whatnot to reclaim what you naturally had before shampoo removed it. Going shampoo-free eliminates the need for all of the “product” previously used to keep curls in check and frizz under control. You may want to add a few drops of oil to your locks if you like sleek curls.

Your hair won’t need conditioners to combat tangles, because they will be limited: A baking soda wash and vinegar rinse won’t strip your hair of anything but the dirt, so your hair’s ability to detangle itself won’t be inhibited.

It works with dyed hair: Vinegar is known to actually set dyes, and it has the same effect on hair dye. Some people also report that they experience less fading of their dyed color once they make the move to baking soda and vinegar.

It’s wonderful on grey hair: In fact, vinegar and baking soda will whiten grey hair, while shampoos can cause grey hair to yellow.

Baking soda, white vinegar (you can also use apple cider vinegar) and essential oils keep my hair looking better than it ever did using store-bought shampoo and conditioner.


There are several ways you can go shampoo free, and you really need to experiment on your own hair to see what works for you, keeping in mind what kind of water you have. This experimentation can be frustrating for some who are used to the squirt-and-suds of shampoo, but considering the ultimate pay-off both in your budget and potential hair awesomeness, you owe it to yourself to pay attention and see what method works best for you.

No matter what you do, rinsing the baking soda out thoroughly is a must: It’s also a must with shampoo, but many people don’t rinse as thoroughly as they should and walk around with shampoo still in their hair. Rinsing the baking soda out well is very important; leaving it in can dry your hair and I’ve even heard of some people rinsing so poorly that they complained of white stuff on their locks (unrinsed baking soda). Rinse it!

The most common way to wash your hair with baking soda is to make a solution with one tablespoon of baking soda per one cup of water, pour it over your head, then scrub away: Some people use less baking soda and deciding how much is part of that experimentation process; thinner hair requires less baking soda than thicker hair. You can make as much of this solution as you want and keep it in a bottle in the shower (an empty shampoo bottle would work great). Adding a small bit of liquid castille soap to the solution is an option if you have very oily hair. And if you have hard water, use distilled water or rain water in this solution. Rinse thoroughly after you’ve scrubbed your scalp and head.

If you’re lazy like me, you can just put the baking soda in a shaker and leave it in the shower, sprinkling it over your head and then scrubbing: When you wash your hair, just shake about 1/4 cup (depending upon hair length) on your head, making sure to part your hair in areas to get it to your scalp. Work the baking soda in, occasionally putting your head briefly under the shower head to allow the baking soda to dissolve and be distributed all over your head and hair. Work it in with your fingers as you would shampoo, and rinse thoroughly.

Next, pour vinegar over your head and briefly work it into your hair: I use about 1/2 cup of vinegar on my hair, which is to the middle of my back. Make sure you don’t get it in your eyes (been there, done that, ouch).

You can use either white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar: I found that apple cider vinegar was too heavy on my hair and made it feel a tad limp and heavy, but white vinegar worked great. Experiment to see which one works for you!

You can leave the vinegar in, or rinse it out: Official mantra is to leave it in, but again, this didn’t work great for my hair. Leaving it in weighed it down too much, but I imagine for curly hair leaving it in would be wonderful. Try both methods and see which one works best for your hair. And, no, I’ve never had my hair smell like a salad, even when I left the vinegar in. Apple cider vinegar, however, does have a stronger natural scent than white vinegar.

If your hair is becoming too dry, you can just wash with the vinegar and forgo the baking soda: Some people I talked to said the baking soda was a tad too drying for their baby fine hair. Instead, they just washed with the vinegar and were very pleased with the results. Others used the baking soda once a week and only vinegar for the rest of the week. If you find your hair becoming too dry for words try adjusting how often you use baking soda versus vinegar alone, or…..

Conditioning your hair with natural oils daily or weekly is wonderful with this method: Some people who complained that their hair was too dry now add a few drops of an oil (olive oil, apricot oil, jojoba oil, a mixture of oils, the choice is yours) to their baking soda and include it as they wash their hair. Myself and others condition weekly. I take about a teaspoon or two of coconut oil, melt it, and work it into my hair and leave it in for about an hour or so, then wash as usual with baking soda. Your hair will sing with glee!

Washing your hair like this allows you to add personalized scents to meet your own needs and wants: I love to add essential oils to my vinegar, customizing it depending upon what I feel like at the time. Lavender and rosemary are personal favorites. I’ve never had a problem with the smell of vinegar on my hair, but this is a nice way to make your hair smell wonderful without artificial ingredients.

You can add herbal hair enhancers as natural remedies to hair and scalp issues: Sometimes just getting off shampoo will cure issues like dandruff and allergic reactions on the scalp. But if the move to baking soda and vinegar alone doesn’t solve the problem, you can add herbs to your baking soda or vinegar to help you out. If you have dandruff, you can add some tea tree oil to your baking soda or vinegar. Tea tree oil is wonderful for scalp health, and if the switch from shampoo to baking soda/vinegar alone doesn’t solve your dandruff or scalp problem, adding medicinal herbs will.

In a future ‘spin I’ll cover hair enhancers and natural remedies to include in this process. Until then, start giving it a try, and do make sure you give it a full three weeks before abandoning the process if you can manage it!

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261 responses to “Tips and Tricks to go Shampoo-free

  1. Jo-Ellen

    April 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I started using baking soda/vinegar right after you did. The biggest change for me is that my hair doesn’t fall out anymore! I love that!! Thanks for this spin. I am going to try filtered water and white vinegar and see I like it better.

    • Rural Spin

      April 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      Agreed! Mine stopped falling out, too! Share the results of your distilled water experiment if you can. :-)

      • Pepper

        November 10, 2012 at 11:32 am

        I’ve recently moved residence and have noticed an awful change in my hair. The biggest concern is that lots of hair seems to fall out with brushing/washing. I’ve always had thick, full hair with some curl. Now, my hair feels a lot finer and without any volume. I can’t seem to get it to do anything. My hairdresser said it was normal for people to shed hair and not to be concerned about it. One of the changes with the move, is that we are now using soft water. I’m going to try the baking soda/vinegar mix and I’m praying that it will work for me. It causes me great anxiety to see so much hair in my brush to the point that I avoid brushing or doing anything to my hair. I also had a lot of stress to deal with in the last few months and I think that’s a factor. I’m really trying to de-stress, but find it really difficult when I see the changes in my hair.

      • time17

        November 25, 2012 at 12:19 am

        can I use other treatments along with this formula like aloe vera, yogurt and egg. if so then would I have to change the the amount of bs or the same amount will work with these?

      • Rural Spin

        November 29, 2012 at 9:13 am

        It all depends upon your hair. You need to experiment to see what works for you! Some people only use the baking soda once a week as a deep cleanser if they are using other methods (aloe, egg) at other times.

  2. Julia

    April 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I tried just the baking soda for a month and I had such awful results that I gave up – oily, smelly and just unmanageable. I got tired of wearing it in a pony tale and went out and bought Bert’s Bees products. And my hair looked amazing (in comparison) BUT, after reading your description of using vinegar as a rinse, I might have to give it another go. I use baking soda instead of soap and absolutely love it so I WANT this to work…

    • Rural Spin

      April 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Give it another try, Julia, and see if one of these adjustments works for you. But like anything else in life, no one thing works for 100% of the people all of the time. One woman I talked to added a few drops of Dr. Bonners castille soap to her baking soda and she said it solved her problem. I shoulda included that in the article! I think I’ll add it now….I had forgotten about it. :-)

      • Julia

        May 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm

        I’ve tried again for the last week and a half (about 4 washes total)… with the added vinegar rinse I have none of the problems I saw last time! I’m so glad I read this blog…

        For those that might be interested, we have a water softener and filter on the whole house, so there’s no chlorine and it’s soft. I keep my baking soda in an old Parmesan cheese container and shake about 2 Tbs into my hand and wet until it’s the consistency of shampoo and then I work it into my scalp add water, work it in more and then rinse. I decided to keep my vinegar in a squeeze bottle that I had bought for icing – it looks like a ketchup bottle, only a bit more light weight. Because it has a nozzle on it, it is really great for squeezing it into my scalp and I don’t feel like it’s all running off. I use about 1/3 cup vinegar and then rinse with cold water (I’ve read cold water closes the shafts and makes it shinier).

        Most of the time that’s good enough, to get it clean and soft. I do use coconut oil on my face and hair when I’m feeling dry or for added shine. I LOVE that my cosmetic counter is void of chemical cleaners now! I used to use proactive and expensive moisturizers… Thanks again!

    • luci

      November 25, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      How do you use baking soda instead of soap????

      • Rural Spin

        November 29, 2012 at 9:17 am

        Soap is not the only cleanser…baking soda and vinegar are also very good cleaners.

    • gerberdaisy210

      December 2, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      I tried just the baking soda at first and had the same results that you did. oily, and felt really rough. I recently heard about the vinegar rinse and have been trying that this week. It’s amazing! My hair is even easier to comb through now than it is when I use conditioner.

    • KatmC

      September 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      Sounds like hard water is the main problem. Use distilled ($0.80 a gallon) or filtered water to mix with the BS. The vinegar rinse is also important, or your hair could feel rough, especially at the ends.

    • Frances

      April 1, 2014 at 10:38 am

      definitely use the vinegar after washing with baking soda! My hair is so smooth and tangle free after I blow dry it!!!

  3. The Random Family

    April 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I tried this once before and had horrible results. The baking soda made the hair close to my scalp thick and horrible. And the instructions said the vinegar rinse wasn’t supposed to touch the baking soda. So I tried again today. This time, I tried applying white vinegar all over my hair and scalp. It made that horrible clumpy hair smooth out! Aha! Chemistry. :) I also used a natural shampoo on just the length of my hair- not letting it touch my scalp- to help with the oily buildup without affecting my scalp chemistry. The last time I tried bs/v, the oil was awful. Hoping this will help transition. I also have trouble with my hair falling out in huge clumps and eczema on my scalp. Hoping desperately that this will help! Thanks for giving me hope!

    • Rural Spin

      April 23, 2012 at 12:40 am

      I hope it helps, too! And if you find the transition to be too oily to bare, definitely try adding a few drops of liquid castille soap to your wash on the days you feel overcome with oil. It will help and since it is not shampoo, it won’t interrupt your shampoo detox. :-)

  4. Marenda Babcock

    April 23, 2012 at 12:29 am

    I am a natural blonde, have well water and very dry scalp and hair. I tried using vinegar as a rinse once and it really dried my hair out further. Suggestions?

    • Rural Spin

      April 23, 2012 at 12:38 am

      It’s unlikely that the vinegar was the cause of your dry hair–vinegar is known as a great way to actually *moisturize* hair and restore very dry hair or hair that has been overly processed (not that yours has…just sayin’). I can’t speak to the well water piece without a chemical analysis of your particular well water. But did you use shampoo or were you using baking soda as a wash for your hair? Did you leave the vinegar in, or did you use it as a rinse for your shampoo/vinegar, then rinse with water? But if your hair is dry, add a few drops of oil along with the shampoo/baking soda, or add oil to your hair (just a few drops) after it is washed and rinsed. Here’s more information on dry hair and how vinegar actually helps with that problem:

  5. willamettevalleyhomesteader

    April 23, 2012 at 2:38 am

    Excellent post. I agree with everything. I have noticed that where I used to get a really weird stiffness to my hair the day after washing, it is gone now that I am no poo. I would add that if you don’t have soft water, dissolving the bs in bottled or rain water is a must. Otherwise it won’t disolve and won’t rinse clean.

    • Rural Spin

      April 23, 2012 at 3:00 am

      Thanks! I’m glad you like the post, and I appreciate the added advice!

      • neha

        April 1, 2014 at 2:25 am

        Hi i have a problem of hair fall. but the place i live right now is having availability of only hard water. that is y i shifted to ayurvedic shampoo even then no results. can you please tell me will baking soda can resolve my hair fall problem? please mail me the reply to m badly in need of suggestion because my hair is just falling down all the times which makes me worry

      • Rural Spin

        April 1, 2014 at 8:10 am

        Hair falling out is a medical issue and no shampoo or baking soda can help with this. I hope you can visit a doctor who might be able to tell you why your hair is falling out. Best of luck!

  6. Amy S

    April 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    I am curious if the Brand of baking soda and vinegar make a difference? Also wonder what kind of water You have? I am a little skeptical having tried No Poo shampoos with terrible results. but would love to try it. I have soft water, hair dry, naturally wavy and have a problem with frizz!

    • Rural Spin

      April 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Baking soda is baking soda…no matter the brand. Brand of vinegar also won’t make a difference, but the type of vinegar will (i.e. plain white vinegar vs. apple cider vinegar). Soft water is great for hair. With dry hair you’ll need to experiment with how often to use the baking soda, and the addition of oil as you wash your hair (just a touch) or adding a few drops of oil to your hair after you get out of the shower.

      • Nicole

        December 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm

        arm and hammer has a “washing” soda as well as a baking soda, what’s the difference? Can you use the washing soda or does it contain “other” stuff not good for your hair?

      • Rural Spin

        December 28, 2012 at 8:06 am

        Washing soda and baking soda are chemically different–they are not the same substance. Washing soda doesn’t contain anything additional, but it is simply a different molecule and will do different things. What those things are I don’t know but I would be reluctant about putting it on my hair.

  7. Wendy D.

    April 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    After nearly a year no poo, I just recently went back to shampoo. I was ok with it until my hair started breaking and breaking bad. I had never seen my hair in such terrible condition, even when I was young and dyed and bleached and permed my hair constantly, it never broke off like it started doing a few months ago. I had the system down of baking soda and vinegar, I loved only having to wash it once every 4 or 5 days, but there was no way I could live with it breaking like glass. Any thoughts?

    • Rural Spin

      April 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      It’s hard for me to tell without knowing about your water chemistry, hair, what your exact methods were, etc. But did you condition it with any sort of oil as well? Did you try just using vinegar and forgoing baking soda altogether, or just use baking soda once every few weeks?

    • Eileen

      August 8, 2012 at 3:36 am

      After almost a year of baking soda and vinegar I too am going back to shampoo. All the hair on my crown broke off to about 6 inches. Before no poo it was all long. I’m thinking the alkalinity of the BS was just too much for my fine hair. At first I loved the fullness after no poo washing, but it just went down hill from there. I don’t want to find out what another year of experimentation will create, so back to the beauty supply store I shall go.

      • Melanie

        November 20, 2012 at 11:10 pm

        I feel the same way, I really like no poo and the body it gives my hair, but all my hair at the crown has broken off and in general seems to be breaking. What’s an alternative to BS? I’ve been trying clay recently… It’s very disappointing, I want to be no poo but I can’t be losing hair!

      • Rural Spin

        November 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

        It sounds like you need to condition your hair more often to get more moisture into it. I recommend a weekly deep hot oil treatment for your hair to help prevent breakage.

    • Melanie

      November 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      I just did no poo for about 6 months and I really enjoy it, but i have very fine hair and it seems to be breaking and perhaps thinning as well, has your hair improved since stopping no poo? Have you found a way to make it work?

      • Rural Spin

        November 29, 2012 at 9:12 am

        It sounds like you might need to “up” your conditioning. Baking soda is a VERY effective cleanser, and as such you need weekly deep conditioning with a hot oil treatment (you can use whatever oil you want, but I am partial to coconut) to ensure that moisture is retained in your hair enough to prevent breakage.

  8. Renee C.

    April 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    How many times a week do you wash your hair with the baking soda and vinegar? What is your daily routine in the shower for your hair? Are you washing it everyday? Every other day? Are you using vinegar every day etc. etc. ?

    • Rural Spin

      April 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      I can only speak to myself, Renee, as the point of the article is that everyone is different and everyone needs to experiment to see what works best for *their* hair. For me, I use nothing but baking soda and white vinegar and I use both every time I wash my hair. I wash my hair about every other day. My daily routine is outlined in the article (the “If you’re lazy like me, you can just put the baking soda in a shaker and leave it in the shower, sprinkling it over your head and then scrubbing” portion of the article).

      • Renee C.

        April 25, 2012 at 3:03 am

        Thank you for the info! I will continue to experiment to find what works for me. This is all very interesting and exciting! I love trying new things!

  9. Amy S

    April 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Can you add oil to the vinegar? Or just in the baking soda mixture or after showering? I rinsed for a LONG TIME for both and can smell the vinegar.

    • Amy S

      April 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      I used white not apple cider.

      • gerberdaisy210

        December 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm

        I have been using apple cider vinegar in the same ratio as the baking soda. 1 Tablespoon to one cup of water. It still works great watered down and no vinegar smell.

    • Rural Spin

      April 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Amy, you can add a tad of the oil to the vinegar, but since vinegar and oil don’t really mix well, I wouldn’t recommend this. Instead, after you rinse your hair and use a towel to get out the extra water, add a bit (it depends upon your hair length) of oil to the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, and work the oil into your hair (avoid the roots). For my hair (see the pic in the photo for length) I use about 1/4 teaspoon of oil. For the vinegar smell, I add essential oils to my white vinegar in whatever scent I want–this does the trick for me.

      • Amy S

        April 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm

        Is essentials oil a special brand? Im confused! Dont add oil to the vinegar but you add essential oil??? My hair is frizzing out as it drys right now. Today is the first day for me i didnt wash my hair for 3 days before I did this. Any suggestions for frizz or will the essential oil do the job?

      • Rural Spin

        April 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm

        Essential oil is a term used for the scents that are extracted from flowers. It is not really an oil…it is a liquid that is derived from distillation of flowers and leaves from nice smelling plants and since it is not a true oil, it is fine to add to the vinegar. Try using an oil of your choice (again, essential oils are not true oils…they are extracts that are meant to be diluted) such as olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or some other oil and (depending upon how long your hair is) use between a few drops and 1/4 teaspoon (for very long hair), rub the oil in the palms of your hand, and then lightly distribute the oil into the ends of your hair or where you are experiencing frizziness. Again, it is hard for me to tell since I am not in front of you and can’t see your hair, but try this. Realize that this process requires experimentation to find what works best for your hair. It might be good to leave the vinegar in your hair instead of rinsing it out, as it is a very good conditioner and will help with frizziness.

    • Erica

      May 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      The vinegar will smell as long as your hair is wet. Once your hair is completely dry, there is no vinegar smell. That’s been my observation with my own hair. I have tried both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar and find that that rule applies to both.

  10. Lee Searles

    April 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    My 16 year old son has MCS along with being allergic to grass, trees, weeds. The main problem we find, aside from all the perfumes and chemical smells he encounters in high school, is the plant based personal products burn his wet skin. Even the scent free products from the health food stores that my husband and I use are not good for him. We have started with the baking soda as a shampoo and at least it is not burning his scalp. Too soon to see how clean his hair will be but he is more than willing to try it. Incidentally, I’ve gone to washing soda/borax combination for laundry detergent. I no longer worry about the soap residue on his towel burning his wet skin after a shower and it is far cheaper.

  11. Keren R

    April 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    I tried this and lasted three weeks… The water here (in England) is really hard and after reading your post it makes sense that it didn’t work for me. The BS never really washed out and my hair was disgusting. When we move back to the states I will give it another go!

  12. sherlont

    May 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Reblogged this on uniqueperfection and commented:
    May not work for everyone :-D

  13. ashpauls

    June 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I really like this idea! I’ve used vinegar in my hair before and oils, but never really thought that it would work well for an every day wash! Your hair looks exactly like mine in terms of length and thickness (I have crazy thick hair, it drives hair dressers nuts trying to keep the knots out) so I think I will pick up some baking soda and give this a try!!!

  14. lavanya

    June 13, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Iam from India, i use soft water (supplied by municipal and heavily chlorine) b’coz of this i am loosing hair , can use vinegar for washing my hair.pls help me!

    • Rural Spin

      June 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      Hi Lavanya. I don’t understand why you are losing your hair? Baking soda would not make you lose your hair. But, yes, you can use only vinegar to wash your hair and not use the baking soda at all. Try that and see if it helps! I also would encourage you to see a doctor to see if something else might be causing you to lose your hair. Good luck! :-)

      • Hope

        July 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

        maybe the heavy clorination has something to do with it. I would not drink the water. Clorine is a cancer causing agent. Be careful Lavanya.

    • KatmC

      September 9, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      You probably have hard water, not soft. Try keeping a spray bottle of 1/3 vinegar plus 2/3 distilled water in your shower and spray it into your hair at the end of your shower. You can rinse it out or not. Henna and amla treatments a couple of times a month might help too.

  15. prairienymph

    June 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    A lot of people from India and other more tropical places lose hair when they move to a more temperate or northern climate. Moving is high stress and that contributes, but also our food here is often imported so we do lose nutrients. Soft water won’t make your hair fall out, but stress and change of climate and diet will. Most people I’ve talked to don’t continue to lose hair, but it settles at a thinner state than when they were in their home country. There are multi-vitamins made for hair loss and those might help. Also, shampoos here are made for getting styling products out of hair.

    • Rural Spin

      June 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm

      That is definitely all true! However, Lavanya doesn’t say she moved from India…she says she is from there. I took it to mean she lives there otherwise why point it out? But your points are well taken.

  16. KimBot

    July 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Hi! Thank you for encouraging people to use less/no unnecessary products for their hair care! So I started only washing my hair once a week (with Dr. Bronner’s) when I was in Hawaii. Rainwater, so no problem! Now that I’m back home in Chicago, I’m dealing with some of the hardest water in the country. Ideally, a daily vinegar rinse would probably be a good idea, but I’m wary of the smell (I’m single and wouldn’t want to be self-conscious…) Any suggestions? I imagine my hair gets a dose of minerals every day in the shower, whether I like it or not!

    • Rural Spin

      July 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      I use white vinegar on my hair every day and it never smells. It smells a tad in the shower, but after it dries, no smell. And you’re welcome! :-)

  17. Lynna

    July 7, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Hey there! I have started to to use baking soda and white vinegar, but my hair feels gummy. I dont have the white residue so it’s getting rinsed out but it is still gummy. Also, I steep a herbal tea bag of my choice, add vinegar and I get a wonder scent in my hair.

    • Rural Spin

      July 7, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      The gumminess sounds like it could be a hard water issue. You don’t necessarily see white residue if baking soda doesn’t get rinsed out enough…it could still “look” clean and have baking soda not rinsed out. Try alternating baking soda days and use just vinegar to wash your hair in between to see if that makes a difference. And I’m also wondering about the effects of the herbal tea. Try not using it for a week and see if that makes a difference, too. The secret to this is experimenting, unfortunately. It’s not as easy as just opening a bottle of shampoo and since we are dealing with the balance of an acid (vinegar) and a base (baking soda), how they interact with our local, variable water chemistry can vary. Make some adjustments and make note of how it affects your hair! :-)

  18. mochichick

    July 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks for the troubleshooting post! I started using baking soda about a month and a half or two months ago. Went through the grimy detox phase for about two weeks and then magically my hair started feeling super clean. I mix my baking soda and water together and keep a spray bottle of it in the shower (do the same with the vinegar rinse). After my first or second bottle of baking soda mixture ran out, the second batch doesn’t seem to be doing so well… I’ve been back to grimy hair again. I am hoping it is a hard water issue (though weird that I didn’t have that issue during that first batch, right?) Anyway I will be trying distilled water for my next baking soda wash. I’ll let you know if that works! =)

    • Rural Spin

      July 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      It could be a hard water issue–it can take awhile for the minerals to build up on the hair. Try the distilled, and keep me updated!

  19. Catie

    July 17, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I just have a question–in another blog I read, it suggested that you don’t put the vinegar on your actual scalp–just the ends of the hair because if it’s on the scalp, it’ll make you produce more oil. Is this true? I’ve been using the baking soda/vinegar remedy for about a week and my hair is oily even without the vinegar on my scalp. Will it help or hurt to try the vinegar rinse everywhere? And I LOVE your tea-tree oil and castile soap suggestions! I’m so excited! :D

    • Rural Spin

      July 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      I use vinegar on my scalp every time I wash my hair and I have not found that it makes my scalp produce more oil. Everyone’s hair is different; that is why it is so important to experiment and determine what works for you (or what doesn’t work). :-)

  20. Sarah Leave

    July 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I have not washed my hair for about 5 and a half weeks, but I did use Baking Soda once. My question is- where did you find the information that Baking Soda ONLY strips away the dirt and not the natural oils? I loved the results of the BS but do not want to use it if it is going to strip away the oils.

    • Rural Spin

      July 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      I’ve read it in several places and have found this to be true in my own experience. Traditional shampoo is what strips out ALL of the natural oils.

  21. ria

    July 22, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Love this! Very helpful and informative. You have answered all my questions- even the ones i didn’t know I had.

  22. Pari

    July 22, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Hi! I wantd to know that can we oil hair before using baking soda and vineger… Or oiling not recommended?

    • Rural Spin

      July 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      It depends upon your hair and how dry/oily it is. If your hair is very dry, you can add a few DROPS of oil in with your baking soda as you wash it. For myself, I put coconut oil in my hair once a week and leave it sit for an hour or so, then rinse out. You have to decide what works for YOUR hair. Experiment!

  23. Pari

    July 23, 2012 at 5:32 am

    This is great method…. I tried it today and i m feeling amazing…. My hair hav become so soft and shiny… Thnks… Realy it workd … M sooo happy..:) thnks a lot :)

  24. Vandana

    July 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I’m from india, plz tell me how do i use baking soda and veniger. In How much quantity i mix it.

    • Rural Spin

      July 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      The article tells how to do this…I can’t tell you specifically since I have no idea how long your hair is or anything else. It doesn’t need to be exact…start with 1/4 cup or so of each and see if it’s enough. With this process you need to experiment to see what works for you, your hair, and your water chemistry.

  25. Christain K

    July 24, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    So I’m pretty sure I have the hard water issue. I also cannot go and buy distilled water at the moment, so I’m going to try just vinegar, see how that works. The first month or so my hair was great now most days it seems oily, probably because of the build up, and it smells like baking soda build up, sort of the way a hotel room smells when it’s clean, that’s really the closest I can describe it. It just seems grimy, a little smelly and sometimes a little stiff/dry. Also in the shower it feels tangled, even when I get out, it’s hard to brush. I can definitely see white reside on my hair brush(when it dries), but none in my hair, so I’m positive it BS build up. I really had no idea about the affects of hard water.
    Also, I use rose water(for the scent) to spray my hair with after I get out of the shower, I also use it as a toner, but I don’t think it has any affect on my grimy hair, do you? I think it’s made with distilled water itself.

    • Rural Spin

      July 25, 2012 at 9:44 am

      It definitely sounds like you have a hard water issue. If there’s any way for you to collect rain water (since you can’t buy distilled) that would be wonderful to wash your hair. Rain water in general is great for hair! You can also boil your hard water for 10 minutes before adding the baking soda; this will help precipitate out some of the minerals in your hard water. You might want to try adding a drop or two (and I do mean a drop or two) of oil to your hair when you wash it to combat dryness; you can use olive oil, jojoba oil, or most types of oil for this. The rose water should be fine for your hair, depending upon how much you’re using. A few spritz would be nice for your hair, but be sure to check the ingredients.

  26. ursant

    July 25, 2012 at 7:59 am

    I have to second Wendy and Lavanya; I love almost everything about switching to baking soda and no shampoo, but my hair is definitely coming out in my comb at an unprecedented rate, either breaking or falling out. I don’t want to go back to shampoo, but this is DEFINITELY caused by the baking soda. I’d be interested in any advice. So sad! I thought I had it made.

    • Rural Spin

      July 25, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Well, I can’t say whether it’s caused by the baking soda as there is nothing in baking soda that would make hair fall out. However, everyone’s chemistry is different so it’s difficult to say. I suggest stop using the baking soda, and just wash your hair with vinegar, rinsing after you wash, then apply again as a final rinse. See if that helps you out.

  27. Kricket

    July 25, 2012 at 11:09 am

    would u smell like pickle all the time?

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:51 am

      No, I never smell like a pickle, ever.

  28. Tammy Trayer

    July 25, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I did the same thing…. It is absolutely amazing!! I used to have to buy expensive conditioners to get rid of the tangles and knots that I have found now were caused by the shampoos I was using. I get out of the shower and can brush through my hair with no problem. I won’t go back to using shampoos and conditioners. My hair could not be healthier… Now to find the natural removal of gray hairs…:) Nice post… Look forward to following you….

    • Beth

      September 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      I’ve heard henna is great for hair conditioning and you can use it to dye or not dye your hair depending on what you get. Of course certain colored hennas work better for a certain hair color, but it should help to “remove” grey hairs. I know someone who even dyed/colored/stained their nails with it.

      • Rural Spin

        September 19, 2012 at 7:38 am

        I used to use a mix of henna and indigo on my hair for YEARS (the indigo makes it brown/black instead of red). It’s a WONDERFUL conditioner, and you can get a version that supposedly doesn’t color your hair; I’ve been meaning to try this. However, henna is drying, even though it is a good conditioner. Good conditioning doesn’t necessarily equate to good moisture. Henna does a nice job of dyeing grey hair, but you do need to leave it sit on your head for hours to get good saturation. A benefit of henna is that it doesn’t fade. Henna is used worldwide to dye many things, and in parts of Asia (especially India) henna is used for some marvelous and intricate body “tattoos” (they can last for weeks, but aren’t permanent). Indigo is also used for body painting.

  29. Jenn

    July 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

    We have hard water, but have a mineral removal system on our well…do you think this might do the trick? Buying water for washing my hair seems to defeat the point of saving money! (Although I’d love to hook up a rain water system of some sort…later!)

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:51 am

      If the mineral removal system is a water softener, then it would help. Contact the manufacturer of your system and ask if it serves as a water softener. You can also try boiling your water for 10 minutes before using it for washing; this can sometimes precipitate out some of the hard minerals, etc.

  30. Marty Jackson

    July 25, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I had a Stroke and have no use of my right arm. Thank goodness I am left-handed. Do u have any sugguestion on how I can keep my hair cleaner longer. It’s a very dark brown and gets greazy on my scalep and on the hair down my face. I have to go have it washed 1 or 2 times a week, just depends. And cost me about $40 a week!

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:49 am

      I’m sorry to hear that, Marty. You might be able to keep your hair cleaner longer if you wore a hat outside, but other than that, I can’t think of anything. Maybe someone else will have some suggestions.

    • Frances

      September 26, 2012 at 12:51 am

      I don’t know the length of your hair but you might try a “easy” short cut. I tore my rotor cuff a few years ago and was able to wash my hair with one hand and blow dry it and I was in my 50′s!

  31. Shirley

    July 25, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I use baking soda in my bath which of course is water to wash my hair.. my hair stylist said don’t use baking soda on your hair said very bad.. have you talked with a professional in regards to this? Just curious. I would love to try as I have very fine thin hair, but can not afford any to break or loose any lol

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:46 am

      Yes, I have talked to professional cosmetologists about this.

  32. Leila

    July 25, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Have a question for you regarding hard water. I know citric acid helps soften water. I use it in my homemade dishwasher detergent. Has anyone tried adding it to the hard water with baking soda for the hair? Thank you.

  33. dianne bennett

    July 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I am wondering if a reverse osmosis water filter takes enough of the minerals out of the water to use or does it need to be distilled water. the water is very hard where I live and water softeners are expensive. thank you!

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:30 am

      I recommend checking with the maker of the filter and see what they say.

  34. greeneyes247724

    July 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I am sooo glad to have found this and can’t wait to try it!! My hair has been falling out and breaking like you wouldn’t believe!! I also color my hair in the salon on a regular basis. So me and my notes will be going ome and trying this tonight!! : )

  35. Will

    July 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I stopped using shampoo months ago, and I’ve noticed my hair is much much healthier. My adjustment period lasted about two weeks, and it only felt a little greasy for a few days, it looked fine. I have really wavy hair, and I’ve noticed it dries a little straighter now. Normally the curls would be like freakin wings. Now they’re a lot less tight and they don’t curl up, they just wave and my hair hangs down more. But I actually never have used vinegar or baking soda. I just stopped using anything in it altogether. All I do is scrub it in the water. Maybe I’ll try this and see what it does. -shrugs-

  36. fieryrebel

    July 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    This is fantastic. I’m so glad I found this blog. I’ll give it a whirl and let you know the outcome. Cheers!

  37. slywlf

    July 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Hmm – I tried it once and gave it up because my scalp tends to be oily and it didn’t seem to be getting it clean. Now I see maybe I just didn’t give it enough time. Still have the dispenser in the bathroom – guess I’ll try again ;-)

  38. hele911Helen

    July 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    No poo since December. No BS though. ACV is your friend ladies, trust me. And all natural shampoo bars. Hard water definitely killed my hair but a water softener on my shower head and the changes I mentioned made a huge difference. Also if you comb your hair with the AVC on it before you do a final rinse your hair is even softer. I do use coconut oil or camillia oil on my ends, small dime size amount to moisturize. I also stopped using toxic hair dye and switched to Henna bout the same time. It was a lot for my hair to adjust to but we seemed to do just fine and remained friends during all the transitioning. :-)

  39. hele911

    July 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    No poo since December. No BS though. ACV is your friend ladies, trust me. And all natural shampoo bars. Hard water definitely killed my hair but a water softener on my shower head and the changes I mentioned made a huge difference. One thing you can try is combing hair before you do the final rinse of AVC, it makes the hair even softer. I also switched from toxic hair dye to Henna around the same time so that was a lot for my hair to adjust to. We got through it and have remained great friends. I also use about a dime size amount of coconut or camillia oil on the ends and that helps keep it moisturized.

  40. Avani

    July 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I’m about 1 month in and I LOVE it! My hair was funky for a couple of weeks, but I kept with it and experimented with amounts. I make the two solutions… shampoo: 1 tbsp of baking soda in 1 cup water, conditioner: 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar in 1 cup water – both in plastic bottles that I keep in the shower. It doesn’t get any easier than that. I only need to wash my hair every few days (as with store bought shampoo before). My hair feels and looks great and *natural*… imagine that!

  41. Chelsey

    July 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I’ve wanted to try this for a really long time, but I’m curious as to how it would work if I use styling tools & products? Yes, I know the point is to get away from chemicals & such, but my hair can get quite unruly, and since I have naturally curly hair, I like to straighten it every once in a while. Not mention my bangs… Will the baking soda takeout hairspray or would I need to use the castille soap to get it out? Thanks so much for all your info!!! Hopefully I’ll be able to try this out :)

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:43 am

      The baking soda should take out the hairspray, but much of it depends upon the water you have available and of course the kind of hair spray you are using. You really need to try it and see what works for your hair, your water chemistry, and the products you are using. Unfortunately, no easy answers.

      • FrugalGal

        August 24, 2012 at 10:33 pm

        You can make your own hair spray. It’s best not to make too much at a time, as it’s made with fresh fruit juice, so goes rancid eventually. Dice or slice 2 fresh lemons, cover with distilled water, no more than 2 cups, I use less. Bring to boil on stovetop, then simmer for an hour or until the liquid is reduced by half or less. Let cool, then strain over onion paper or a very small strainer. Pour into a spray bottle, and spray on. Smells lemony, not chemically. If it’s too sticky, you can add a little more distilled water to the spray bottle. A little water goes a long way.

  42. Tiffany

    July 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    What specific “medicinal herbs” would you recommend for flaky scalp, dandruff, or psoriasis?

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:42 am

      I’m working on a separate post for this issue, so stay tuned!

    • Shirey

      July 27, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Dry nettle works on dandruff

  43. aimedattheheart

    July 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I have been shampoo-less for almost a year. I have decided that vinegar just doesn’t like me. I have much better success with just using baking soda and no vinegar rinse. The vinegar makes my hair dry, brittle, and incredibly difficult to brush. I have tried less, I’ve tried more. I’ve tried brushing while in the shower, brushing after it’s completely dry. So I’m done with vinegar :) The baking soda wash/rinse makes my hair super soft! Not as easy to brush as chemical filled conditioner mind you, but much easier than with the vinegar!
    Though I do miss the yummy smells so I am hoping to try making my own liquid shampoo and add some yummy EOs to it.
    As for the breakage: is it possible that the breakage is just after you shower and not between showers? I find that I have a lot of hair loss after I “wash” but pretty much no hair loss the day after so it kind of balances out.

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:41 am

      It’s wonderful that you were willing to experiment to see what worked in YOUR hair! That is so important. And you can add EOs to your baking soda when you wash! Try that and see how you like it. As for breakage, it is natural for hair to have breakage; we can’t eliminate it completely. When we wash our hair it tends to “slip” out of our hair more than when it is dry.

  44. PomeGranate

    July 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I prefer borax with a citric acid rinse. I find baking soda too scratchy and drying. I like borax, and I use it in powder form. It is exfoliant without being too scratchy. Then I rinse with a citric acid/reverse osmosis water rinse. My hair is shiny and I get compliments, even though it’s salt and pepper, mostly salt.

  45. Marcy

    July 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I’m excited to try this. I have been wanting to go no poo with the curly girl method, but this intrigues me even more. I have naturally curly hair, we have hard water that is softened, and I have a plethora of essential ols. Can’t wait!

  46. nan

    July 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Trust me this is not good for the hair! Im a hairdresser almost 45 yrs the use vinegar only if it is diluted at least 50/50 I would use more water. Baking soda again to acidic for human hair also leaves a residue. Vinegar again to acidic for the hair full strength if u wanna stripe ur color then go ahead it will do a good job! This combo will only dry out and possible burn the hair. Sorry I wouldnt recommend.

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:38 am

      Baking soda is basic…not acidic, and it will only leave a residue in hard water. And vinegar SETS dyes, which is why it works so wonderfully on color-processed hair (as my color-processed hair will attest). And commercially available vinegar is only 5% acidity…that’s how it comes in the bottle. I’ve conferred with several cosmetologists who confirmed everything I’ve written and my hair (and many other people who do this) has never been healthier. Sorry…but you need to do more research.

  47. Jackie

    July 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    It is mentioned a lot in the article and the questions and answers about using distiller water or rain water if your water is hard. If I use this method to combat my hard water in Calgary Alberta, does it matter about the rinsing of the BS and vinegar with the hard water coming out of my shower head?

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:36 am

      I’m not 100% sure what you’re asking, but if you do not rinse out the baking soda thoroughly, you will have problems, and in hard water it becomes difficult to rinse out the baking soda. The vinegar is not a problem; many who use this method leave the vinegar in their hair as a final rinse; in this way it can serve as a leave-in conditioner.

  48. Erin Buhler

    July 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Will placing a water filter on shower work well enough to reduce hard water issues? Also, I tried this before and my fine color processed hair turned into a rats nest I couldn’t brush through without ripping/breaking my hair. Only tried it a couple times and just the vinegar not the baking soda. Any thoughts?

    • Rural Spin

      July 27, 2012 at 6:34 am

      My understanding is that a water filter will not turn hard water soft–you need a water softener for that. As for your hair, if you have hard water it will make it harder to comb. Try leaving the vinegar in your hair instead of rinsing it out; vinegar is a natural hair conditioner.

  49. Jenifer Adkins

    July 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I tried this tonight for the first time. I have curly hair so it is always hard for me to comb through if I dont use conditioner. Well i used the baking soda as directed then used the vinegar. I left the vinegar till I was done then rinsed it. I was amazed that when I combed my hair it was so soft and went right through my curls. I will keep trying this. I am a fan of my hair smelling good. I am curious of the oils. Where do I buy these oils for my hair? Also can you use this on black peoples hair?

    • Rural Spin

      July 28, 2012 at 5:59 am

      Nice! The essential oils you’d buy can be purchased at a place like Whole Foods, a local food coop, or a natural grocer. You can also but them online–I like the brand Aura Cacia, but there are others. Just google “essential oils.” The oils come in small bottles (an inch or so high) and they must be 100% natural essential oil. (Don’t worry…it’s not a true oil…just the name they call the scented distillates from flowers and herbs). For curly hair, I’ve heard women say that leaving the apple cider vinegar in their hair as a leave-in conditioner works really nicely to soften the curls and tame any ‘frizz” some women might have; but as is important to remember with this method, we each need to find what works for our own hair with our own water chemistry.

      For African American hair, I am not sure. I have read about African American women who use this method, but there is not a ton of information out there. It seems that the baking soda would need to be dissolved in water first and it must be rinsed out very well because AA hair is so thick. I also think the success of this method would depend upon other products an AA woman was using on her hair, and on that topic I have no clue. Vinegar would be a great conditioner but, again, I think this would depend upon other products used. It’s definitely a topic I’ll look into more, though.

  50. simplesparrow

    July 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    i am on day 3 of going shampoo free, the first day i used the vinegar and my husband complained that i smelled bad, i even put a few drops of oils in it. any one have any suggestions? I really want to keep up with this, but also want my husband to want to kiss me :)

    • Rural Spin

      July 30, 2012 at 7:31 am

      Did you rinse the vinegar out or leave it in? And I find that apple cider vinegar is more odoriferous than white vinegar. It’s unusual to find someone who can smell it, but it does happen as you have obviously found out. I’d say maybe 10% of people who use this method have a problem with still being able to smell the vinegar. Do YOU smell it, or does your hubster just have an extra sensitive sniffer? :-)

      • simplesparrow

        July 30, 2012 at 11:21 am

        i went back and read your post again, and measured out the baking soda and vinegar in old shampoo bottles. As well as after my shower i lit incense in the bathroom to mask any smell of vinegar. ( im So sneaky) he hasnt said anything today :) so we will see….
        thanks for the imput.

      • Rural Spin

        July 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm

        Sneaky indeed! ;-)

  51. jewel

    August 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    First off, I love your blog! So much wonderful information. I’ve been using baking soda and apple cider vinegar for a year or two, and I can attest that it works wonders for my thick, easily tangled hair. It’s never been softer or more manageable. My only problem is that I have to be very careful not to use leave-in conditioning products because they are very hard to wash out. Do you have any recommendations? You mentioned you leave in coconut oil for a couple hours. Do you use more baking soda and vinegar to wash it out? Do you use coconut oil on your roots or only on the length of your hair? Thanks for the insightful post on the no poo method!

    • Rural Spin

      August 3, 2012 at 9:26 am

      I use coconut oil two ways: 1) I use it as a leave-in conditioner on the ends. To do this I just put a drop or two (no more) in my hands, rub it around, then rub my hands in the ends of my hair. 2) I use it as a deep conditioner. T do this I take a tablespoon (my hair is long) of coconut oil and work it into my hair, all over. Then I leave it sit for a few hours, and wash with baking soda and vinegar rinse as usual.

  52. Raven

    August 7, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Going to try this!!! Used a vinegar rinse before and it worked great but didn’t know about the baking soda!!! Will post what I think of my results!!! Thanks!!

  53. Erica

    August 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Okay I’m at the end of my second week,
    Going into the third week of doing this, but my hair has not improved! It’s getting worse it seems. The very first day my hair was soft and shiny and then from then out it just started looking like I took grease from a pan and poured it on my head and now it looks like my hair is made of brown straw, and feels like my hair is fake, you can hear it crunch when you squeeze it. Is this normal, will it go away within this last week? I’m starting to freak out and think I’ve totally killed my hair!!!

    • Rural Spin

      August 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      It’s difficult for me to say for sure since I can’t see your hair, etc. But it sounds like you need to condition it, which some people do need to do weekly when they ditch the shampoo. I condition weekly with coconut oil. I load it in my hair, wrap my hair in a hot towel, then leave it cool. Then I wash normally. This helps prevent my hair from doing what yours is doing. You haven’t totally killed your hair…just condition it.

  54. Hailey

    August 12, 2012 at 4:43 am

    I’ve been having hair loss problem since I moved to England. Guess it must be the hard water issue. You mentioned that soft water should be used in making baking soda solution, but I wonder what should be used for rinsing it? soft water too?

    • Rural Spin

      August 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      You can use distilled water for the baking soda solution if you have hard water, or you can boil the hard water that comes from the tap for 10 minutes to precipitate some of the minerals out, then let cool before washing your hair. Ideally, you’d use the same to rinse your hair. Hard water makes shampoo-free a challenge!

  55. Tracy

    August 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I keep trying this method & no matter what I do my hair becomes gross after a few days.. I have used distilled water too. But the water here is soft. At least thats what I’m told. I want this to work but even the vinegar rinse makes my hair gross, either its greasy with dry ends or waxy or it just feels weird. I have been doing this since April & I’m about to give up. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I have used more BS & tried less .. Used white vinegar & apple.. Have washed every other day, tried every 3 days & every day. Have tried using only vinegar.. Tried the castile soap…The results are always the same! I have very thick coarse hair & its to the middle of my back. I’m getting married in about a month & don’t want this gross hair on my wedding day. Any suggestions?

    • Rural Spin

      August 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      I’m not sure what “gross” looks like for you so it’s hard for me to say. It could be that you’re not rinsing your hair enough to get everything out. If your hair is very thick and coarse, try adding a few drops of oil (olive oil, coconut oil, etc) to your baking soda as you wash–this will make your hair a little “slicker” and might help with the “weird” feeling (but, again, I have no way of knowing how you’re defining that word). Just use a few drops of oil or else it will make your hair oily, which you don’t want. But adding a tad oil to the wash will allow some conditioning to your hair while the hair “scales” are raised and open because of the alkalinity in the baking soda. As you wash with the baking soda, it will allow the oil to penetrate the hair, but not stick to it too much. Then rinse with water very well, and rinse with vinegar, then rinse with water again. I am imagining that your hair is in need of extra conditioner if it is coarse, and this might help. I’d also recommend a weekly conditioning–take your oil of choice (I like coconut, but have also used olive oil with good results) and put a fair amount in your hair. Wrap a warm, wet towel around your hair and sit someplace as the towel cools. After the towel is cool, wash normally. You might need to wash more than once to get the oil out, but this is a great conditioner, and that might help you.

      • Tracy

        August 13, 2012 at 9:09 am

        I will try the coconut/olive oil in my baking soda. What I meant by gross/weird is it almost gets a waxy, grimy, greasy, dry feel all at once. But I will keep trying.. I’m sure its something I’m doing to much of or not enough. Thank you.

      • Julia

        August 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm

        Mine was like that when I only used baking soda. Then I started using a lot of vinegar to rinse it and only washed with baking soda 1-2x a week, meaning sometimes I ONLY use vinegar. Also, I only use a tiny bit of coconut oil on my hands and run them over my hair after it’s dry. That’s enough to get it shiny without the dry feeling.

      • Tracy

        August 14, 2012 at 8:45 am

        I’m glad I found this, everything I have read & the advice I’ve received has already helped. I think I know what I was doing wrong. I am still retraining my thinking on “washing”my hair. But I’m getting there. My only problem now is, I have to at least wet my hair down everyday. But I have read about people who only use water.
        I won’t give up.

  56. Tabitha McMillan Koehn

    August 13, 2012 at 8:30 am

    On week 2 of shampoo free and I must say I’m loving it so far. I have very thick, curly hair that is mid-way down my back. I tried so many different shampoos, conditioners and products. Store brands, name brands and salon. My hair has never been so happy. I no longer have to put tons of product in my hair to keep it from becoming a frizzy mess after I shower. I have nothing in my hair now and my lock are curly and defined. No frizz! :-) My hair brushes through with no tangles. I used to have so many knots it would take 10-15 min just to brush my hair out. Hair loss is getting less and less. I used to get handfuls of hair each time I showered/bathed. Now down to a few strands. I took a clean, empty jelly jar and made a baking soda/water paste. Added ~1 Tbsp Castille soap and mixed thoroughly. Then I just scoop some out. I put my vinegar in a squeeze bottle. I tried both rinsing the vinegar and leaving it in. Leaving it in works best for me. Keeps my curls more defined. If I feel the need, I use a mixture of coconut oil and gardenia oil just on my ends after washing and rinsing. Thanks so much for posting your story and the information on going shampoo free. My hair also thanks you. :-)

  57. Tracy

    August 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Update on my “gross” hair….
    One week later & I have not had that problem! My hair is soft & healthy. My ends are still a bit dry, but compared to 2 weeks ago when my hair felt like straw…yeah much MUCH softer. My hair has never been so soft. I really hope it stays this way. Thank you so much!

    • Rural Spin

      August 23, 2012 at 7:31 am


    • rachel

      December 18, 2012 at 11:05 am

      what did you do differently Tracy in that week? I have the same problem, it looks greasy, grimy, waxy but feels kind of dry?

  58. Laura

    September 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    My hair have actually no problem with this new change of “no- poo”, however I find the BS and water mixture starting to look funny. I started to use hard water, boil a liter full and put it in a bottle and left it next to the tub, with days passing by the water temperature turned really cold, and whenever I tried mixing the mixture the baking soda doesn’t dissolve completely, it will turned into piece of particles, so I thought I need to just mix it with water with a higher temperature. The same thing occurred, so I thought it should be the baking soda, maybe it was too old since it was in a zip-lock bag for cooking usage before I placed it in the bathroom. I opened a new one, but that one has been seated on the shelf for awhile as well, and the same thing happened, did anyone experienced this? Should I just try and get a new box of BS from the grocery store, or is there another reason behind that?

    • Rural Spin

      September 10, 2012 at 6:43 am

      It sounds like one of two things could be happening, Laura. You could have just added too much baking soda for the amount of water you have (water can only absorb so many baking soda molecules), or your hard water and baking soda combined are causing some of the minerals in the hard water to precipitate out, which I think is probably the cause. Boiling hard water definitely helps, but it doesn’t eliminate all of the minerals in hard water. What your seeing is evidence of why hard water is not as great for this method as soft water. Personally, I’d leave the minerals at the bottom of your container–don’t try to shake them back in. There is probably plenty of baking soda dissolved in the water to clean your hair, and this just means the minerals you see won’t end up in your hair. :-)

      • Laura

        September 14, 2012 at 12:25 am

        Thanks a bunch, I’ll just have that in consideration.

        Also, when your scalp get itchy the day right after a wash, does that mean the scalp is overly dry? Does that mean I should start decreasing the amount of BS in the solution?

      • Rural Spin

        September 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

        It does sound like it’s overly dry. The tricky thing is that people really do need to adjust the process to their own hair, which you are doing! I would decrease the amount of baking soda you’re using, and also consider using baking soda for every other wash and see how that works. For the “off” days you would just use vinegar. I have done this myself; I don’t seem to need the baking soda washes as much as I used to. And be sure that you are conditioning your hair weekly, making sure you’re getting the oil into your scalp.

  59. Laura

    September 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I read off somewhere that people adds honey, olive oil in additional to the solution, but is that for the BS or the WV? And how do I tell if my hair is “dry”? Not the scalp but the hair itself?

    I bleached my hair multiple times, and I really have learned my lesson since my hair has lost its volume partial due to the bleaching effect and how I tie my hair up daily, is there any way I can change that?

    • Laura

      September 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      In additional to that, I’m not sure if I am using the right term, but strands of my hair would stick up in a fuzzy way after a long day with my hair tied up, what does that mean?

      • Rural Spin

        September 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm

        I am not sure since I have no idea what that looks like nor what your hair is like. It just sounds like your hair is sticking up because it was tied up? I have no idea. Sorry!

      • Frances

        September 26, 2012 at 1:56 am

        just an idea…could it have alot of electricity?? (Maybe need a hair oil conditioning??)

    • Rural Spin

      September 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      Those additions would be with the baking soda. As far as if you can change that, I’m not sure what “that” you’re referring to. But I’m assuming how can you improve the moisture in your hair. If your hair is damaged from bleaching, then I’d recommend a deep conditioner on a regular basis (put warm oil in your hair, wrap a damp, hot towel around it and let it sit until the towel has cooled off, then wash). But It’s very hard for me to say since I have no idea what your hair is like, so I’m just making assumptions. It might be good to see a good cosmetologist for a hair consultation, so a professional can look at your hair and determine what state it really is in.

  60. Laura

    September 15, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Warm oil, like boiling it then let it cool and apply to hair? Also what oil were you referring to?

    • Rural Spin

      September 16, 2012 at 6:06 am

      Warm as in rub it in your hands, or you can place a bit in a container then put that container into a bowl of warm water. The choice of oil is up to you: coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, etc. I’d avoid something like canola oil, though.

  61. Erin

    September 29, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I have been shampoo free for a week now. But im having one issues I would like to see if anyone else has had.
    When my hair is wet it has a film that makes it kind of sticky. This film makes it hard to brush through. Is that just the oils freaking out? My hairs even starting to brake off some cuz of this issue. Any ideas on this?

    • Rural Spin

      September 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      How often are you washing your hair with the baking soda? It sounds like you might want to try the baking soda every other wash, and just use vinegar for the “off” days. Depending upon hair type, some people only need to wash with baking soda once a week, using just vinegar the rest of the time. I also recommend you do a deep conditioner. Just take an oil (I use coconut but you can use just about any kind; jojoba is nice, but many also use olive oil) and put it in your hair, paying special attention to the strands. Wet a towel with hot water, wrap your hair in the towel and keep the towel on until it is cold. Remove the towel and wash your hair with baking soda. This is a weekly must for many people who go shampoo-free. But it does take several weeks for the hair/head to adjust when ditching shampoo and everyone’s hair behaves differently. You need to be willing to experiment with the baking soda and vinegar to see what suits your hair. Some people add a drop or two (and I do mean drops) to their baking soda when they wash. Some people wash with baking soda once a week. Some people don’t use baking soda at all and instead only use vinegar…it’s all matter of finding what works for your unique hair. :-)

      • elixandra

        September 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm

        Thank you so much for the quick response.
        I have been washing my hair every other day. So maybe ill try every 2 days. Since I did wash my hair today. Would it really hurt to do the oil treatment tonight and wash it out with backing soda or should I use just the vinegar after? Thank you again for your help I will keep experimenting with it. :)

      • Rural Spin

        September 30, 2012 at 6:16 am

        Just as a note, there’s a difference between washing your hair, and washing your hair with baking soda. Some people wash their hair every day, but only wash with baking soda once a week. I want to make sure you understand that I am suggesting washing less with baking soda, not altogether. After you condition, you have to wash with baking soda; the vinegar alone won’t get the oil out.

  62. Sheree

    October 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Hello there! I started the BS/ACV routine just a little bit before you (in March, I think) and at this point, I’m loving it. I have medium length hair and find I only have to wash it once per week these days and it stays so nice and shiny and soft. However, I read a few comments above from people who had done this routine for a year or more and their hair started breaking off~~does that concern you at all? I’m starting to wonder if I should try to phase out the baking soda and just use vinegar so I can avoid breakage? My hair is finally so nice and long and I would just hate to see it break off! Right now I’m using 2 teaspoons of baking soda to about two cups of hot water~~then leaving on a few spritzes from a mixture of one tablespoon of ACV to two cups of water (that amount lasts me a long time as I only spray a little bit on). I’ve had to adjust over time as my hair seems to require less of each product as time goes on. Any thoughts as to how to be sure to prevent sudden future breakage? (can you tell I’m a little freaked out now, lol?)

    • Rural Spin

      October 18, 2012 at 9:52 am

      First, since I have no idea what your hair looks like, etc. I have no way of telling what your hair may or may not do. But to put your mind at east, after this much time you’ll be able to tell if your hair is responding differently. You won’t see any “sudden future breakage” that will turn you into a short-haired woman overnight or anything. Just pay attention to your hair and if it seems to be getting too brittle adjust your regimen (and it seems to be fine at this point so unless you move where the water chemistry is different or change something else in your hair care it will likely continue on the road it has been). I do recommend a weekly hot oil conditioning, however, to make sure hair gets the moisture it needs. To do this, put some oil (a teaspoon at most…coconut or olive oil are fine) in your hair, wrap your hair in a hot, wet towel, and leave on the towel until it has cooled. Wash with baking soda and rinse with vinegar.

      • Sheree

        October 18, 2012 at 10:05 am

        Thank you for easing my mind and I am going to do a hot oil treatment before my next wash~~I can tell it needs it so thank you for this tip!

  63. Ivy's itch

    October 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I started this no-poo method a week ago, as you said, I am at the “adjusting” period which is really hard to keep on, because I feel my scalp is greasy all the time but hair is dry. But at the same time there are so many people who use this method raved about the result, healthy and better-look hair so I figure this is the price I am okay to pay.
    My hair itself is dry but my scalp is oily, so when I wash my hair with only baking soda and apple cider vinegar, I feel my scalp is still greasy and the worse thing for me at this stage is without the chemical conditioner which I’ve used for all my life, my hair feels dry and very hard to comb witht even wide hair brush, not to mention my hair volum is not much and it’s fine and easy to fall off,so when I see there is so much hair being ripped off when i comb, it’s hard for me to believe in this method.
    I always tell myself that i have a sensitive hair root so my hair is easy to fall off (even though i am not sure if it’s right). One of the reason i can’t wait to try this method is i hear so many people say they will have “fuller and healthier” hair after a good while. Do you think it’s okay for sensitive hair like mine to use Baking soda to wash hair?

    • Rural Spin

      October 18, 2012 at 9:59 am

      It’s hard for me to say, Ivy, since I have no idea what your hair is like or anything, and I’m not 100% sure what you mean by “sensitive.” It does sound like you’d benefit from the tried-and-true method of brushing your hair 100 times a night with a boar-bristle brush. There was a reason women used to do this: it helps distribute the oils down the hair shaft to combat the oily scalp/dry hair. The oil is simply distributed down the hair; in some women this occurs naturally and in others such as yourself, the evening brushing of 100 strokes does help and those natural oils are great to keep hair soft. I also recommend a weekly hot oil conditioner for people using this method to prevent hair from drying out; baking soda is a VERY good cleanser and for this reason it can be drying for some people, which is why some only wash with baking soda once a week. But it all depends upon each individual. But if you don’t feel this method is working for you, then by all means you need to use your own judgement.

      • Ivy's itch

        October 18, 2012 at 10:56 am

        Thanks a lot for all your information and the tips. After 2 weeks, now I am just used to this way to clean my hair. I do start to feel the scalp isn’t greasy as it was when I started and my hair does feel softer. I believe the idea behind all these “adjustments” is to know I can get rid off all the chemical and artificial stuffs from my scalp and then the healthy and fuller hair will come out. Thanks again for your helpful tips and information. I will keep doing this, in fact, I just convince my fiance to do the same so now we are both excited about where it will take us.

        My problem is actually afterward the wash. After rinsing with the ACV, my hair is still hard to bursh, feel like they are tangled together. Even though I brush them as gently as i can, i still see lots of them falling off on the brush…wondering if you have any though on this?
        I see people wash hair only with ACV, can vingar wash off the oil from the scalp to clean hair?
        About the oil treatment you mention here. I tried it last week, I did not only do it on my hair, also on my scalp (with essential oil mixed in), because it can’t be washed completely with only baking soda, so I did as some people suggest, add one or two drop amount of shampoo in the baking soda water to wash it off, is it a proper way to clean the oil? When you do the oil hair treatment, should I do it on the wet or dry hair?

      • Rural Spin

        October 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm

        Hi Ivy. It’s soooo hard for me to answer your questions since I can’t see your hair, etc. I know my hair was a bit harder to detangle after washing with this method, and I just bought a wide-toothed comb and simply took more time combing it after washing it, starting at the bottom and working my way up. And, yes, people do wash their hair with just vinegar effectively but, again, that depends upon an individuals’ hair type. It doesn’t hurt to try it and see how your own hair responds. FOr the oil treatment, I do not recommend putting it on your scalp, especially for you since you say you have a lot of oil there already. I put it on the hair shaft myself…but here to everyone is different. I don’t have a problem getting the oil out (I use coconut) with baking soda, but some people do use castille soap in the baking soda to help and that’s fine. A shampoo is fine for this, but if you’re wanting to eliminate chemicals from your body, buy a liquid castille soap and use that as it lacks chemicals (Dr. Bonner’s is the most readily available).

      • Ivy's itch

        October 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

        I see. It’s also a relief to see I am not the only one who has tangled hair after wash :)
        I will do as what you suggest in terms of wide-toothed brush and the vingar clean method. I would like to thank you again for the information and knowledge you share here!!!

  64. gabbi hellinger

    October 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    im 13 and ive done this for only 2 days now and my hair stoped breacking its really shiny and it grew 2 in in 2 days so its really starting to get long thank u so much for this article it is a life saver :)

  65. Esther

    October 7, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I just tried the baking soda and vinegar in my hair. One thing it did for my hair is made is very soft. I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to comb my hair after rinsing my with the vinegar. It usually takes a whole lot of conditioner for my hair to be that soft. I have black curly hair. Thank you for posting.

  66. heather

    October 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Do this method work for all hair types, even straight hair? I’m worried my hair will break.

    • Rural Spin

      October 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      I haven’t heard it not working on any particular hair type…but, again, everyone’s hair is different and this method relies heavily on each person’s ability and willingness to find what works for them with their local water chemistry. It will work on everyone’s hair if each person finds out what their specific regimen is. Your hair will break if you allow it to dry out. If you find it drying out and getting brittle you either need to cut back on the baking soda washes (using vinegar on the “off” days), make sure you condition your hair regularly to maintain hair shaft moisture (there are also leave-in hair oils you can buy that are quite nice), or both.

  67. janie

    October 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Hi, I just found this site and I’m kinda excited about it. I’ve been washing my hair every other day, with head and shoulders for flakes, and by the time I wash it, it is a grease bomb! I was looking for something to keep it cleaner longer and bam! I find this blog! My question is how often should I wash my hair with bs/v? And what do u mean ‘off’ days using vineger? How often will I have to treat my hair at all because it is a pain to blow dry it every day. My hair is a lil passed my chin in length if that helps.

    Thanks sooo much for an advice!

    • Rural Spin

      October 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      How often you was with baking soda is totally dependent upon your hair and water chemistry (hard water behaves differently than soft water)–this method is heavily dependent upon your ability to be patient and experiment until you find the method that works for you. Everyone’s hair is different, and as such everyone has to do things a little differently. Some people are great using a baking soda wash every other day; some people do better with it once a week. Baking soda is alkaline, and is very good at cleaning hair. VERY good. Because of this, some people find that washing too often with baking soda dries their hair out; these people need to wash less often with baking soda. This does not mean you don’t wash…this is what those “off” days are about. On the off days you just wash with vinegar. There are even some people who have hair that responds best to just washing with vinegar and forgoing the baking soda altogether. What is important is that you condition once a week with a hot oil treatment; take olive oil, coconut oil, or some other oil and place some in your hair (how much depends upon how long your hair is…you don’t want to saturate it, use your judgement), wrap a hot, wet towel around your hair and leave it sit until the towel cools. Then wash with baking soda until all of the oil is out. A weekly conditioning treatment like this will help prevent hair from drying out too much. But, again, you really have to listen to your own hair and pay attention to how it is reacting; cut back on your use of baking soda if you feel your hair is becoming too brittle.

      • janie

        November 15, 2012 at 8:38 am

        Hey its been a couple of weeks since I been on this poo-free thing. My hair is falling out like I have never seen! I’ve adjusted the amount of baking soda. I’ve use the vinger rinse. If I don’t use baking soda, my hair doesn’t even look or feel clean. If I don’t use enough bs I get the same thing! Idk whaat to do. I’m gonna have to back to the poo if I can’t get my hair to stop falling out…
        Please help!

  68. Emily

    October 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I just wanted to drop by and let you know that this really did work for me. It took some experimenting but my hair looks great. I just moved to Florida and my hair was not handling the move all too well. Going from low humidity/soft water to high humidity/hard water it reeked havoc on my hair. I tried a couple of $6 bottles and a few $15 bottles but nothing worked. I got to thinking that my hair should be able to adjust naturally and maybe I was the problem. Perhaps piling on more products wasn’t the answer.
    I use baking soda and dr.bronners well diluted twice a week then rinse with white vingar that I have been soaking with orange peels to make it smell nice and added cleaning power. I just keep a little tuber ware container in the shower for my mixing. I also brush my hair to distribute the natural oils through my hair before I wash.
    Now I can air dry and my hair has less frizz, holds styles better and feels stronger.
    I’m excited to travel now because it’s going to be a lot less things I need to bring with me.
    Thank you!!!

  69. Brandy E

    October 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    About the VINEGAR – In my research I have found that not ALL vinegar is created equal. Make sure when buying white vinegar that it says DISTILLED on the label. Otherwise it could be a chemical biproduct that is considered “substantially equivalent” (kind of like GMOs are considered “substantially equivalent” to naturally grown food). I’m not interested in using any chemical biproducts on my hair or body! This is a big industry secret – and a well kept one at that. I have started making my own apple cider vinegar (apple scraps + some kind of sugar, i use organic agave), and I love using it as a hair rinse. Leaves my hair so soft and shiny and light feeling.
    Also JOJOBA is a GREAT natural conditioner. Just a few drops rubbed into your comb is like magic – and SO inexpensive! One 4 oz bottle costs less than $10 and will last for over a year. You can add essential oils if you like for the scent and scalp benefits.

    • Jen

      October 28, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      I am using a Spectrum brand certified organic raw unpasteurized unfiltered apple cider vinegar… do you think that’s ‘natural’/okay? I eat it all the time so I sure hope so :)

  70. Jen

    October 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Just tried this for the first time with some interesting results! I did a 1 tbsp coconut oil hot oil treatment beforehand then about 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar wash.

    - I generally lose a LOT of hair when I wash. This time around there was very little.
    - My hair feels amazingly soft and conditioned.

    - Found the baking soda a little difficult to “suds” up/disburse into my scalp
    - A bit greasy in areas, which I suspect is because of the coconut oil
    - Vinegar smell is really intense/strong

    - Less coconut oil next time I condition (thinking I’ll do this once/week)
    - Going to add some essential oil to the vinegar to hopefully tone down the smell. Any ideas if grapefruit oil is okay on the hair?

    Also- I LOVE Brandy E’s suggestion of jojoba oil on a comb. Definitely going to try this!

    I’ll post any updates if things change, but I am definitely going to keep this up. Thanks so much for this post, Rural Spin! :)

    • Rural Spin

      October 29, 2012 at 7:00 am

      Jen, to disperse the baking soda more, make sure you dissolve it well in water first, then use the water to pour (not all at once) onto your scalp. Pour some, scrub, pour some, scrub. Also, I would not use any kind of citrus oil in your hair–it will be additionally drying to your scalp and hair shaft.

  71. Sarah Carr

    November 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I normally wash my hair most everyday. How often do you use the baking soda and vinegar? I am really wanting to try this method!

    • Rural Spin

      November 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      How often you wash with the baking soda and vinegar varies greatly depending upon the individual. Some people wash with it every day–others find this too drying. Some people wash with baking soda once a week, and use only vinegar the rest of the time, others never use the baking soda and find the vinegar to be enough. I suggest reading through the various comments/answers for greater insight. This method is variable depending upon individual hair and also the ever-important factor of local water chemistry (i.e. hard vs. soft water). If you find your hair drying out, use baking soda less often. And don’t forget a weekly hot oil treatment for your hair.

  72. Julia

    November 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    It’s been 6 months since I last posted and here is my update: I’m still all baking soda and vinegar, no need for regular shampoo at all! I did change how I apply the baking soda, though. I no longer sprinkle it on my hair. I found my scalp getting really dry and itch and I got dandruff, even with the vinegar rinse…

    Rather than give up, I altered how I used it. I now put about 2 tablespoons of baking soda into the bottom of an 8 ounce or so cup of water and then fill the cup up with warm water and stir until it’s mixed in. THAT is what I put on my hair and I only do it 2x a week.

    I follow up with a 1/2 cup of vinegar mixed with a cup of water that I squirt on my hair. When I don’t use the baking soda, I use the vinegar mix.

    When my hair dries (I don’t use a hair blower) I take about 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and rub it into my hands. Once my hands are covered, I run my fingers through the ends of my hair (I have long hair) and work my way up, staying away from my face and scalp. I am not doing the set in oil with a warm towel both because I have no time for it and because I tried it and could not wash it out well enough for my satisfaction – it took me several days of washing. (I might be doing it wrong, but so far I don’t need it with how I am doing it, so I’m fine with it)

    I am loving my hair so much that I am not even wearing it in pony tails anymore which I used to always do! If I don’t have time to wash and let my hair dry I have just been wetting my hair slightly and it looks like it has been washed.

    • Rural Spin

      November 11, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks for the update, Julia! And it’s wonderful how you did, indeed, experiment to find out what worked for YOUR hair. That’s the secret! Thank you!

  73. Heather Tamara

    November 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Great post. I have been trying to detox my beauty routine for quite some time. I only cover grays with BAQ henna, and ma very happy with that move. I haven’t used any commercial shampoos or conditioners for a few months, only using natural shampoo bars and more recently baking soda occasionally and/or ACV. I travel constantly for work, so I never really know if the water is hard or soft or what. I’m experimenting with what works, but it seems my hair lives the vinegar, not too sure about the BS so far. I go from Dallas to Phoenix next week, so we’ll see what the new water brings…

  74. Maddie

    November 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    When you use coconut oil before you wash your hair, do you ever have a hard time getting out the coconut oil with the baking soda? I’ve done this a few times and I use baking soda (a lot of it!) to try and get the oil out but it never really works. Should I leave the baking soda in longer and make sure I scrub really well? I hardly use any coconut oil!

  75. Me

    November 25, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    For those of you saying your hair is falling out…. Conventional shampoos often contain plasticizers that coat your hair and basically keep it glued together. This makes it appear less damaged than it really is. When you stop using shampoo, you start washing out the chemical residues, thus “ungluing” the hair. If you have been using synthetic shampoos and products for a while, you will probably see a lot of hair falling out. You are uncovering your real hair, which has been damaged from all those nasty chemicals. This will decrease over time and your hair will become healthy. Don’t expect the detox to happen overnight. Hang in there and then do some experimentation!

    If money isn’t an issue, another shampoo-free option is the clay-based hair wash sold by You will still have to go through a detox period, but they use only clay and USDA certified organic extracts/oils, so it’s another option if you are struggling with finding the right DIY procedure with the baking soda and vinegar. The clay does an amazing job of cleaning the hair and the added extracts and essential oils help with keeping your hair healthy and soft. I can’t afford to buy enough Terressentials hair wash for regular use, so I normally use baking soda and vinegar and then use Terressentials every few weeks as a special treat to give it some extra cleaning and conditioning :) I’ve also used their body washes on my hair and followed with a vinegar rinse.

  76. Catherine Ruth Albrecht

    November 29, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Hi, thanks for the great discussion/information. I’m a 59 year old woman with chin length silver/black hair, 85% of which is silver. Unfortunately, my silver hair has turned a horrible yellow. The only place it’s not yellow is at the roots + one inch of growth. I am pretty sure the hard water and old pipes in my apartment building are causing the discoloration. I am going to experiment with the baking soda and vinegar, as described on your website. Rinsing will be tricky because I’ll have to have a fair amount purified water in a bottle to rinse out the baking soda. In your opinion, would it take 1/2 gallon? Less or more? (Last year I was washing my hair with shampoo once a week and used the purified water to rinse it out. It took almost a gallon of water to thoroughly rinse it out. Holding a gallon jug over the head in one hand and rinsing with the other is rather tricky.) Anyway, I’m going to go out today and buy the water, baking soda and vinegar at my favorite co-op. I hope this works. Thanks again. –Catherine

    • Rural Spin

      November 29, 2012 at 9:21 am

      I’m not sure how much water you’d need to rinse your hair since so many things depend upon your unique hair type and water chemistry. However, I recommend pouring the water in a bucket or the sink and submerging your head, so you have both hands free to rinse your hair. If you can, collecting rainwater to rinse your hair would be great…rainwater is wonderful for hair!

  77. Cookie

    December 2, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I am anxious to get going on this method. Has anyone tried applying then brushing the baking soda through your dry hair first and then rinse with water and follow up with the vinegar?

    • Julia

      December 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      I would not recommend that at all. When I first started doing this I was so used to the shampoo mentality of needing a lot of cleanser that I would put a couple table spoons of baking soda in my hand and add water to make a paste that I would put on my hair. I went through the icky stages of this change, started using vinegar and then my hair started to break off and fall out. I thought about giving up, but thought, maybe I’m just using too much. SO I went to only a teaspoon in 8-10 ounces of water. I never would have thought that would clean my hair, but it does! My hair does not fall out any more and I only have to wash it 1-2x a week. I also cut down on the vinegar, using only 1/4 a cup per 10 ounces of water. I do use coconut oil to condition it, but only enough on my hands to run through the ends of my hair. I have been getting compliments on my hair for the first time in years…

      • Rural Spin

        December 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm

        You bring up the point I try to get everyone to realize…everyone’s hair is different and everyone needs to find out what works for them, and their unique hair type in conjunction with their local water chemistry. Good for you for finding what works for you! :-)

  78. Shann

    December 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    THANK U SO MUCH FOR THIS INFO!! Seriously….everything you wrote was VERY informative (why can’t everyone give such great advice? lol) which is a rare commodity on the net. I stumbled on your article by accident (a fortunate accident) and I can’t wait to give this a whirl! After reading your post, I did a bit of research and wow, you really did your homework on the matter! You included literally everything one needs to know in order to go shampoo-free including mentioning the use of essential oils & reminding people to pay attention to the type of water they have. Thank you thank you, THANK YOU for taking the time to educate us :)

    Perhaps I’ll post before & after pics (my hair is naturally curly and is down to my butt).

  79. Sheree

    December 11, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I’ve been doing this since last February or so and just love it! For those who say their hair is breaking off, make sure it’s not *new* hairs coming in (you can tell by looking at the ends)~~since my hair no longer falls out in massive amounts the way it used to (I would have to clean the drain in my shower each time I washed), I have tons of regrowth and for awhile it will look like breakage, but it’s not. My hair is so thick now! It’s never been thick like this and I love it!

    I’ve switched things up a bit since my hair did feel a little dry (and I tried the hot oil treatment, but my hair looked like it was wet for an entire week so I had to try something else).

    Now I wash with about 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda mixed with hot water in a 12-ounce squirt bottle (and I always wash my hair upside down, either in the shower or in the sink). I rub that in with my fingers and then immediately rub in about a handful of clarifying conditioner (I use White Rain kiwi and it doesn’t have any of the harsh chemicals in it). Then I use my fingertips to really scrub and massage well, then rinse it out (with lukewarm/cold water).

    This allows me to go a full week without having to wash (although mid-week I might “wash” my hair without using anything~~just get it wet and really massage my scalp and distribute the oils). I think all the massage is really good for making sure your pores don’t get clogged and helps it grow.

    Someone above mentioned she no longers has the need to wear her hair in a ponytail on “off” days and I am the same way~~my hair looks good enough to wear down almost all the time. I love it!! I also bought some Caruso steam rollers and my hair holds that curl for days (never would have held a curl in the past!).

  80. Cyndie

    December 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    It’s been five weeks and my hair is so nice! Here is my experience in a nutshell: First day of baking soda wash I used 1 Tbsp dissolved in 1 cup of warm water. I took filtered water into the shower with me and used it to wet my hair and for final rinse. I rinsed with 1 Tbsp lavender-infused white vinegar in 1 cup of filtered water. I used maybe 1/2 cup of the bs solution and less than that of the vinegar. I had the best hair day ever and that is what kept me going through the second and third weeks when my hair was yucky, waxy, stiff and plain old ick. I have oily hair and need to wash every 2-3 days with shampoo. I’ve been trying to stretch my washes to three days but the third day looks not great. Anyway, I got really close to giving up on day 21. I did not shampoo but used conditioner in the shower that evening. The next morning my hair was very oily. I almost gave in, but once again used the bs and vinegar. My hair came out pretty nice and was pretty nice for the next two weeks. I was using baking soda wash every two days except once when I stretched it out using cornstarch and yesterday when I just looked kind of oily on the third day. Last night I did a bit of an oil treatment with a little castor oil massaged into my scalp. I also covered my hands with my coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil mixture that I use on my face and body. I ran my fingers through my hair and it ended up looking oily “wet”. In the morning I washed with bs solution, rinsed and repeated to be sure to get all the oil out. Then I used an apple cider vinegar, black tea and rosemary finish and rinsed with filtered water. My hair is close to how it was on day one. No gel, no hairspray but holding shiny bouncy soft curls. My goal is to stretch the bs washes to 3-4 days and do an oil treatment once a month. Maybe I’ll alternate bs/acv with plain water every other day. By the way, I am a young 60 year old.
    Thank you for the info and encouragement. I’ve been all over the web researching “no poo”. Your info helped a lot.

    • Rural Spin

      December 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience!

  81. Zoe

    January 12, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Hi, I have fine hair and have recently had hair extensions – would the baking soda/vinegar wash work with (real hair) extensions? My own hair is oily at scalp and dry elsewhere.

    • Rural Spin

      January 20, 2013 at 11:40 am

      I don’t know…I’ve never worked with hair extensions before and would not feel comfortable making a guess about it. Sorry!

  82. Stephy

    January 27, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I’m on my second week using BSODA and apple cider vinegar. With regular shampoo I only washed hair twice a week . But I would rinse with water everday in the shower. I wanted to do the same with bs and vin but my hair has been a massive greasy mess! I’m now using it everyday because when I tried to skip a day my mother mentioned she could smell me from a foot away . When I asked what she smelled, she said Like a homeless person! In the shower aftet scrubbing my head my hands smell and feel greasy too. I’m scared to touch my face after showering. My hair feels sticky, waxy, disgusting.
    I want this to work soooo bad !! I wanted a more natural hair care routine. Should I use distelled water or reverse osmosis water. I know there is an adjustment period but this is unbearable. Even when I put my hair in a bun… It looks like I havent showered in a week.

    • Rural Spin

      January 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      Hi. Unfortunately, without knowing anything specific about your hair or local water chemistry there’s not much I can do in terms of specific recommendations. From the “sticky, waxy” description it sounds like you have hard water, in which case using distilled water would help if this is the problem. I also recommend using more baking soda when you wash your hair and seeing if that helps. The transition period is harder for some than others and I’m sorry this has been a problem for you. You can also purchase Dr. Bronner’s castille soap and add a few drops to your hair wash–others have had good luck with this and it is a natural soap.

      • Stephy

        January 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        Ok today I brought into the shower a big jug of reverse omsomis filtered water to rinse, and wash my hair with. BIG difference , I wasn’t expecting it to help that much but it did! I live in a small town within Los Angeles county, I would bet the water here is hard not soft. My hair feels clean today and hobo-scent free. :) Thank you for your helpful tips !!

  83. Jeanne

    February 6, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Starting out did u wash your hair everyday and eventually go to less often?
    Thank you for your time

    • Rural Spin

      February 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      No, I didn’t but my hair is oily. But through time, yes, my hair has not needed as much baking soda washings (I wash it the same…just use less baking soda than I did at the beginning). It really depends upon your hair. If you have oily hair that you’d normally wash daily, I’d wash it daily, but every other day just use water. Baking soda can be drying, and sometimes people overdo at the beginning and end up disappointed. If you feel you need to switch to daily baking soda washings, do so but do pay attention to the effect on your hair, and add a drop or two of oil in with the wash if needed. Pay attention to your hair and adjust things if needed–this is very unique to the individual and you will need to be patient to determine what works best for your hair type and local water chemistry. :-)

  84. Jeanne

    February 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Do you recommend still using vinegar on the every other day that u suggested just using water?


    • Rural Spin

      February 11, 2013 at 10:01 am

      I am not sure I understand your question, but again how often you use vinegar totally depends upon your hair and local water chemistry. Vinegar is a natural conditioner and helps to chemically off-set the baking soda (baking soda is basic, vinegar acidic). Some people only wash with vinegar and don’t use baking soda at all. I recommend trying both ways (using vinegar on the baking soda-only days, and using vinegar on both baking soda days and water-only days) and seeing what works best for your hair.

  85. jcahyo2vl

    February 14, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Thank you so much for this tip. I live in a city where the water supply is really hard water. I have this distilled white vinegar bottle and gonna try it out. Hope it works on me.

    • Rural Spin

      February 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Keep in mind that the *water* is the thing that needs to be distilled if you live in hard water country. Hard water is tough to do with this method because the minerals in the water interact with the baking soda and vinegar. But it all depends…it’s good to try it out! And remember…everyone’s hair and water chemistry are different; experimentation and adjustment are important. Read previous comments and answers for guidance. :-)

  86. jeanne

    February 24, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Thank you for all the info it has been a big help. I have been no poo for 2 weeks now. I currently use baking soda and vinegar each day and condition weekly with coconut oil. Although I think I need to use less coconut oil when I condition because even after washing twice with baking soda it is greasy the next day. I noticed that you stated that you wash your hair every other day. I would like to get to that point also and am wondering how you

    transitioned from washing each day to every other day. Example do you suggest a time frame of washing with baking soda and vinegar one day and the next day ony vinegar

    • Rural Spin

      February 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      If the coconut oil seems a bit thick to you, try olive oil instead–it’s a bit easier to wash out. As for my washing every other day, it’s just a natural process each person’s hair may or may not take, depending upon each person’s hair. You can’t make your hair do something or behave in a way that it is not meant to. That being said, your hair will transition through time, but there’s nothing you can do to hurry that process up. And how long that takes depends upon each individual. It probably took me a few months for my hair to transition to the point where I only need to wash every other day.

      • jeanne

        February 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

        Thank you. Another thing I read somewhere was to brush hair with a boar bristle brush to help distribute the natural oils. Is this something you had heard also?

      • Rural Spin

        February 26, 2013 at 9:28 am

        Ironically, I’m working on an article now on other natural hair-care tips, and using a boar bristle brush is indeed one of the tips! And don’t forget to brush 100 times a night…there is real benefit in doing this. :-)

      • jeanne

        February 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm

        wow! 100 times..thats alot! I am surprised that many times does not.promote breakage. Thanks.for

      • Rural Spin

        February 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm

        Brushing 100 times enhances hair strength by distributing the natural oils down the hair shaft. These natural oils help promote stronger hair and also help to decrease frizz (no, it won’t make your hair look greasy). And since you’ll be using a bristly boar brush, it is gentle on hair. But start at the bottom and work your way to the scalp–don’t start at the scalp immediately, which would promote breakage. And it’s not as much as you think once you actually get to it. But do NOT do this when the hair is wet, that will break hair (you should never brush hair when its wet; it’s more fragile when wet). The only thing is if someone has thick, curly hair they are better off using a combination bristle boar and synthetic fiber brush–a 100% bristle boar brush has a hard time penetrating thick, curly hair at times.

  87. Michelle Batty-Dickens

    March 8, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Today is my first day going shampoo free. I had another allergic reaction that put me in the ER for 9 hours of observation. We have narrowed it down to what we think is a coconut allergy so now I need to stay away from all things containing coconut ex. toothpaste, soap, shampoo just about EVERY body product out there. Just one more thing to add to my LONG list of allergies. So anyway this morning I tried the baking soda wash with vinegar rinse. I have extremely hard water where I live so I decided to just start with the vinegar rinse and take it away if it’s too much for my hair. It just so happened that a month or so ago I saw on pinterest that you could add citrus peels to white vinegar and let it set for several weeks and it would take away some of the over powering vinegar smell for cleaning. So this morning that is what I used for my vinegar rinse after the baking soda wash. I was surprised at how mild and fruity the smell was! Hopefully after it dries the smell will be almost nonexistent. My son has a powerful nose (it’s one of the perks of being on the Autism spectrum) so the ‘true’ smell test will come once he gets home from school. Maybe it’s too soon to make this kind of conclusion, but this has been the first day that I have not been itchy all over after taking a shower. It’s been a LONG time since that happened last. Not only did I use the baking soda wash for my hair, I used some on my body because I don’t have a coconut free soap on hand. I still can’t believe that I’m not itchy all over! I hope this is the beginning of a silver lining for crazy allergic life :)

    • Rural Spin

      March 17, 2013 at 8:50 am

      I hope it works for you, too!

  88. Adeline

    March 18, 2013 at 4:14 am

    Hello, first of all thanks a lot this blog is really helpful! I’m in my third week of baking soda and vinegar experiment and I’m still going through an uncomfortable transition period. But I’m being patient, and as it worked for my husband who has been doing it – with great results!! – for about a year now. I’m just a little preoccupied with the sticky white residue that my hair is leaving on the brush and comb. I can’t get rid of it, it &also causes my hair to be sticky at the roots… Is it part of the adjustment or could it be a dosing problem? What do you think? Thanks a lot!

    • Rural Spin

      March 18, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      I see in a following comment you say the water in our are isn’t supposed to be hard, but what you are describing could easily be mineral build-up from hard water. Either that, or you aren’t rinsing the baking soda out enough…try cutting back on the amount of baking soda you are using and see what happens. To test to see if it’s your water, buy (or make) some distilled water and use that for several washings to determine if it is, indeed, a water chemistry issue. :-)

  89. Adeline

    March 18, 2013 at 4:16 am

    (I am leaving in south west France and the water isn’t said to be hard)

  90. nazzy

    March 19, 2013 at 2:39 am

    hello, my problem is i recently shifted from sri lanka to malaysia.Here it is hard water, so my hair falls endlessly now. i have a long and curly hair. It is really dry, and now for this hardwater my hair tangles too much. i am really upset. please tell me whether this experiment will help me stop my hair fall?Is baking soda good for dry hair?

    • Rural Spin

      March 19, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Baking soda would NOT be good with the hard water you’re describing…it would make the problem worse. I recommend trying just washing with the vinegar, and add some castille soap, which is gentle. I also recommend a weekly hot oil treatment for your hair, using almost any kind of oil you have on hand (I like olive oil or coconut oil, but I know some who use just plain vegetable oil). Heat the oil a bit and coat your hair in it. Wrap your hair/head in some sort of wrap, then place a towel over your head. Leave it on for a few hours to start since it sound like your hair is in need of some care. You will need to wash the oil out of your hair several times…vinegar alone won’t do it, so try castille soap (the liquid kind if you can find it in Malaysia). If you can’t find castille soap at all, just try the most pure soap you can find that doesn’t have any chemicals in it. I think you’ll find that a weekly hot oil treatment will greatly benefit your hair, especially in a hard water situation. After a few treatments, you won’t need to leave the oil on for two hours, but you’ll be able to judge the time based upon how your hair feels.

      • nazzy

        March 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm

        ok thank you! i will try this and see.

  91. Nicole

    March 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Hi I really want to try this but I’m a bit confused. I know you don’t have to wash your hair everyday but are you saying you have to at least rinse it everyday? I don’t like to wet my hair every time I shower. Also I have heard that oils (coconut, avocado etc) can strip indigo from your hair. Do you know if this is true? Thanks.

    • Rural Spin

      March 26, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      No, you do not need to rinse it every day…how often you wet your head is up to you! :-) I have not heard that oils will strip indigo from your hair, but your hair has oil at the scalp that travels down each hair shaft, so if this were true, indigo would not stay penetrated into hair at all.

  92. Galeenalix

    April 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Hello, I was having the same issue as most here, hair falling off, dirty hair in a few days and a whole bunch of commercial products stuffed with chemicals. I live in the Caribbean and after a lot of research I decided to pull the plug on “hair care products” for good. I started in October 2012 using the Baking Soda as shampoo and Apple cider Vinegar as Conditioner. The results, In about 3 weeks my hair started to feel different, no frizz, scalp and hair felt healthier, no headaches, hair loss went back to normal levels. I have some gray hairs and they look really shiny, so far I love the change I made. Fast forward to April 2013, I do not use the vinegar anymore, what I do now is a single Baking soda wash, towel dry and just for scent purposes I mix a few drops of Virgin Coconut oil (about 10 drops), 1 drop organic geranium oil and 1 drop peppermint oil. My hair is straight/thick/medium length and looks way better than before. even If I blow dry my hair I do not need to use any “no frizz” product.

  93. Melissa

    April 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I would love to try this because I have noticed my scalp being really dry & my hair also falls out in hand fulls. But I was wondering does it leave a awful Vinegar smell in your hair?

    • Rural Spin

      April 30, 2013 at 7:31 am

      Most people don’t notice it…some do. It just depends upon the person. You can add essential oils to the vinegar if you’d like. But if you have dry hair already you will need to be faithful to hot oil treatments once a week using this method, and probably cut back on the times per week you use baking soda (say, every other wash). You’d use just vinegar on the days you weren’t using baking soda. Make sure you experiment and pay attention to your hair and find out what works best for you and your local water chemistry. :-)

      • Lizzie

        May 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm

        Can I use vinegar as a shampoo? Does it make my hair healthy?

      • Rural Spin

        May 15, 2013 at 5:57 am

        I don’t know anything about your hair so I can’t say whether it will make it healthier. But, many do use vinegar as a shampoo and report good results doing so.

  94. sruthi

    July 3, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Plz reply me. From last one year im loosing so much of hair. Im having so much dandurff and itchy scalp. Ive starts using apple cider vinger but I didnt find any result. I worked on many natural remedies but they did in’t work on me. Non im living in banglore which contains hardwater. And now I’ve used clinic plus,kesh kanti,sesaoil,dabur amla oils but still loosing lost of hair its becoming thinner day by day . I’m getting cry by seeing my hair. Plz im begging u help me out of this problem. Im sending my husband’s mail plz reply me as early as possible what to use and how to use. My hair is long its upto my hip. I will be very thankful if anything works for me.

    • Rural Spin

      July 3, 2013 at 10:19 am

      I am not able to know what the problem is since I know nothing about you, your hair, nutrition, etc. Your hair may not be falling out….it may be breaking. Please read this article/FAQ about this method of cleaning your hair and it will provide much guidance for you:

      If your hair truly is falling out at the root, it is a medical condition and you need to see a doctor about it. Good luck to you!

  95. Shruti

    July 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm


    Thanks for the great article. I started the no poo method a few weeks ago. The thing is that I oil my hair regularly between washes. I use olive oil or coconut oil and as Indians we have been oiling our hair thoroughly from roots to scalp to ends since childhood. How do I remove that oil from my hair? It is pretty oily as you can guess. Shampoo solves the purpose because of the chemicals, but what can I do if I want to continue using the no poo method.


    • Rural Spin

      July 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      You can remove the oil using baking soda thought it takes a few wash/rinses. You can also add a few drops of liquid castile soap to your baking soda/water and wash with that mixture.

  96. Tania

    July 9, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I have to add myself to the list of believers. I’ve been doing the bs/v for 5 months and I love it. It took a while to figure out the right ratio of bs and v to water. My hair did go through the transitional phase for about 3 weeks, it was pretty gross but now it’s awesome. I have 2 small squirt bottles that I mix with the bs and vinegar. I squirt a bit, and then rub, and repeat. There is a bit of a vinegar smell in the shower but once the hair is dry it’s gone. I also put a drop of coconut oil on my hands and run through my hair (not roots or scalp) every 2 weeks or so.

  97. Angela

    July 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I recently went with a baking soda deodorant product (Primal Pit Paste) that is absolutely wonderful. No aluminum, no parabens, just basic natural ingredients and it actually works on me. I can’t wait to try baking soda on my hair. It has been shedding more than usual and has been abnormally frizzy as well. If this solves my hair issues, I will have eliminated yet another chemical source from my life! Fingers crossed!

  98. Sheree

    July 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I just wanted to drop in and give a little update. I’ve been washing with BS/white vinegar for about 1-1/2 years now. At about the 13-month mark, my hair finally settled into the routine and is now unbelievably easy to manage. I only wash once per week (I will rinse with water only if it gets sweaty during the week) and my hair lies down perfectly and looks thick and shiny and my scalp is so clean!

    I am now using just 2 tsps. of baking soda and I spray a diluted white vinegar w/peppermint oil mixture on my ends *only*. I use a comb only these days and also will go to bed with wet hair because it gives my hair extra body overnight (I have hair just past my shoulders).

    Also, I am 53 years old and have silver streaks and the colors just look so vibrant now with no added chemicals. I don’t get “the frizzies” anymore and my hair feels so clean without any type of residue (in the first year, it did feel kind of gunky, but those days are gone now, so don’t give up hope!).

    One more thing, what I originally thought were broken hairs around my hairline were actually new hairs growing in! So don’t automatically assume that shorter hairs = broken hairs! My hair is now the thickest it’s been since I was in my 20s. Happy, happy girl!!

  99. Milena

    July 15, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Does this method help in case of hair loss?
    my hair are falling out & lost their shine, thickness, itchy scalp, etc

    • Rural Spin

      July 16, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Hair loss at the root is a medical issue, and without a diagnoses regarding why the hair is falling out, it is impossible to tell whether or not it will help you. But this method has been known to help many people who are having problems with their hair. Whether it will help your issue is impossible for me to know.

      • Esther McKenzie

        July 17, 2013 at 10:47 am

        I am African american, will using the baking soda and vinegar help my hair. My hair is extremely dry and sometimes very brittle. I have natural hair. y hair is fine and curly. Thank you so much. A response is greatly appreciated.

      • Rural Spin

        July 18, 2013 at 7:21 pm

        It is tough for me to make predictions regarding an individuals’ hair without seeing their hair, knowing their diet or local water conditions, etc. From what I’ve read elsewhere, women with coarse hair or natural hair experience increased manageability using this method, and less breakage. I encourage you to try it, but realize that it takes a fair amount of experimentation to adjust the method to suit your specific hair and water conditions. Be patient! And read this FAQ about the method:

  100. Zoe Tan

    July 28, 2013 at 8:24 am

    I only have hard water in my house, so is it still safe to use baking soda as a hair wash?
    I`m really excited to try this out..

    • Rural Spin

      August 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      It is safe to use it (i.e. not harmful) but it is more difficult with hard water. Read the FAQ companion article (the link is provided in this article) for more information on how to deal with hard water.

  101. Charlotte

    July 28, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I have not used it myself yet, but I thought it was worth mentioning just how important the vinegar rinse is, when using baking soda: baking soda is even more alkaline than regular soap. If your skin/scalp pH is too alkaline, the natural “acid mantle” is destroyed, allowing bacteria and fungi access to your pores and hair follicles.

    Luckily, a quick rinse with the vinegar will restore the pH balance to the natural, slightly more acidic state.

    This also goes for baking soda in facial masks, bath soaks, etc. Baking soda is a wonderful product, but if you intend to use it regularly, it is very important to correct the pH balance after use.

  102. AB

    August 6, 2013 at 8:03 am

    hi there rural spinners

    in the intro above you ref. filtered rainwater below but I could not find it
    any chance it might be repeated ?

    our new home is but a couple of miles from the water companies chlorine adding depot -

    we had the water tested and it registered a massive 0.44 ( just below the legal limit of 0.5)
    because apparently chlorine strength diminishes with distance and it needs after us to
    reach several further outlying villages

    obviously at some point we’ll get a softener fitted but for the time being using EVIAN for
    hair washing is not v eco-freindly (plastic bottles / transport carbon footprint )

    ideally we would like to gather rain water for this purpose but the water butts we have
    had fitted for watering the garden look a bit slimey after too much sun to risk this

    any ideas for simple but effective home made rain water filter systems welcome

    many thanks AB


    January 21, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I am going to try this for the first time. Need some clarification. Do I wet my hair before I use the baking soda mixturer? Or put it on dry hair? Then rinse it out with distilled water ( because I have hard water). Then use vinegar and rinse out. Thanks for the info.

    • Rural Spin

      January 21, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Yes, you wet your hair first, wash with baking soda, rinse, vinegar, rinse. :-)

  104. Mimi

    January 21, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    No offense, but your hair looks really dry. Looking at it makes me not want to use it.

    • Rural Spin

      January 22, 2014 at 9:03 am

      My hair, when dry, isn’t this shiny. When dry it is dull. It’s not dry at all.

  105. Julia

    January 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    It’s the same Julia again giving another update – I still use the teaspoon of bs in 8 oz of water to wash and then after I rinse that out, I use apple cider vinegar. I am still having the same great results with only having to wash my hair 2-3x a week. But I had to stop using coconut oil when it got cold. That oil solidifies at 74 degrees Celsius and would become solid in my hair! So I have moved to olive oil in the winter and it is fine.

    Here is a photo- first with flash, second without:

    Thanks again for the tip!

    • Frances

      January 22, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      So when do you use the olive oil and for what reason?

      • Julia

        January 22, 2014 at 5:32 pm

        Once my hair is completely dry I put about a teaspoon of oil (more as it grows longer) on my hands and rub them together, covering them front and back. And then I gently run my fingers through my hair being careful not to put too much in any one place. What this does is cut down on frizz and adds a nice shine. I prefer coconut oil and have even had some great results with palm oil, which gives my hair a beautiful golden sheen. But when it’s in the low 60s or below I find olive oil is better… and the smell does not linger either.

  106. Janet Diaz

    February 25, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Nice post. It is really good to go shampoo free. The harmful chemicals presented in the shampoo are doing much harm to the healthy hair and causes hair loss. It is good to go for natural homemade shampoos(without using any chemicals). It is an Indian trick, Take 5 pieces of each Reetha(also known as soap nuts), amla(also known as Indian goose berry) and shikakai(Acacia concinna), soak them in 2 cups of water over a night. And the next day press them to get the juice and filter the juice to separate the pieces from the juice and boil it for 15 to 20 minutes. And let it be cool and then use it to wash your hair. Warning: don’t let it go to your eyes.

  107. Frances

    April 1, 2014 at 10:53 am

    I had been losing hair by gobs for at least 6 months and barely had any hair for bangs. I had read about the bs/v for some time and had just never tried it until I became desperate! ONE time of using this regime and it totally worked for me!!! My gobs of hair falling out became to just a few (like natural hair fall out). I was so ecstatic!!! I know it will be some time before I have fuller bangs but I’m not losing hair anymore. Btw, I didn’t do any measuring, which I should so I don’t waste product. I believe the key is to really use enough baking soda and wash scalp well with it, rinse very well and then use vinegar and LEAVE IN FOR A FEW MINUTES and then rinse. I was hoping not to have to use any other products for smooth hair or tangles and I am so happy to say, I do not!!! I blow dry my hair and it comes out soft, smooth and tangle free!!! Thank you soooooo much for your help!!!!

  108. Mariam

    April 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I’m researching this method thoroughly before I actually begin it, and I’ve read on other sites that you’re not supposed to put vinegar on your scalp, but just on the outer layer of hair the way one would apply conditioner? Is that how you do it too?

    • Rural Spin

      April 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      I apply vinegar to my whole head, as I would conditioner (scalp included). You rinse the vinegar out of your hair, as you would with conditioner, so it is not sitting on your scalp for more than a few minutes. But of course everyone is different and you need to decide which is best for you (pouring it on your whole head, or just on the ends of your hair).

  109. Lan

    April 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Hi! I’ve been wondering how long people rinse their hair after applying the products with this method. I have shouder length hair, could you give an estimation of how long I should rinse it?

    • Rural Spin

      April 6, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      It depends upon what someone’s hair is like: is it short and thin or long and thick, or medium and very curly? It all depends, and water chemistry plays a part, as well. So rinse it until you feel it is completely rinsed, then rinse with vinegar, then rinse with water again. Once the hair is dry you will be able to tell if you are rinsing enough. :-)

      • Lan

        April 7, 2014 at 4:44 pm

        Thanks for answering! My hair is short and rather thick I suppose.. It also gets oily fast. When I used shampoo I usually rinsed for 4 minutes but maybe it’s too long.. I don’t know for sure because of the adjustment period I’m going through. I guess I’ll just keep rinsing it like that, unless you think it’s ridiculously long.

      • Rural Spin

        April 7, 2014 at 5:22 pm

        If you feel that is what your hair needs, then it’s not for me to say it’s too long. Use your best judgement! :-)

      • Frances

        April 7, 2014 at 6:48 pm

        If you hair feels oily after washing once, then wash it again rinse well and put vinegar on leaving on 2-3 min.

  110. Sabrina Harrell

    June 3, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    i literally just did this and after my hair dried it was the softest its ever been!!! <3

  111. Jennifer

    June 8, 2014 at 9:58 am

    I started using baking soda to clean my hair about 3 weeks ago. I only use it twice a week. I only had to wash my hair with shampoo about 3 times a week before so it wasn’t hard to switch to no shampoo. I have noticed when I brush my hair though that a lot more is falling out since I started using baking soda? Any suggestions as to why or what I can do to fix this?

    • Rural Spin

      June 10, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Without knowing much about your hair or local water chemistry it’s impossible for me to tell. But I’d encourage you to determine whether your hair is actually falling out at the root (which is a medical condition) or breaking. If it is breaking, it may be that you have hard water, which is not kind to the shampoo-free method, or you need to condition your hair with hot oil treatment once a week if you aren’t doing so already. You can also try cutting back on how often you use baking soda on your hair, and wash your hair with only water and vinegar on the “off” soda days.

    • Tracie Andersen

      June 10, 2014 at 10:33 am

      Try using less baking soda. I found that happening to me & when I used a tsp per cup of water I didn’t loose as much hair.

  112. ABC

    June 19, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Can vinegar case any kind of harm to the scalp????? Bcoz people used to say if you, even by mistake drink vinegar, it causes internal burns…Is that true?????

    • Rural Spin

      June 19, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Vinegar is very healthy for you and people drink it all the time! Apple Cider Vinegar is especially healthy for you. No, you cannot burn yourself with regular vinegar.

  113. Martha

    June 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    do you have any advice for gray hair? I know the stuff to color is not good for you, but gray hair is not so attractive (to me, anyways) my hair is brownish now… natural color is black….

  114. Candice

    July 5, 2014 at 1:40 am

    I’m sorry to rain on your parade, but in the photo at the beginning of this uninformed blog, your hair looks, quite frankly, like straw, which is the effect bicarb will have upon it, sooner or later.

    If one prefers a ‘no poo’ method, then use only water (very hot water in the case of oily hair).

    Try rinsing with a combination of brewed herbs and a mere teaspoon of apple cider vinegar added to a litre of cool to tepid water.

    • Rural Spin

      July 10, 2014 at 6:09 am

      I always wonder why people seem to get some sort of benefit out of attempting to put other people down? My hair is nothing like straw, thank you for asking. The shampoo-free method does require a lot of experimentation by the individual, and some will benefit more with a simple water wash, not using baking soda at all. It all depends upon the individual, as the article(s) emphasize.


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