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Simply Natural: No Shampoo Tips for Your Healthiest Hair Ever!

No Shampoo

After going no-poo, my hair went from being stick-straight to having some natural wave and curl!

 
UPDATE: Wow! This post just exploded with people checking this out. Thanks Kathy Lee and Hoda. ;) This post is actually a couple of years old. I’ve been shampoo free for two and a half years now. My hair is very clean, I do wash it regularly, just not with shampoo. I get compliments on it all the time. Read on for more details of how to wash your hair without shampoo.

Every woman wants beautiful, healthy hair. We see those hair commercials of women with long, luxurious locks swaying back and forth and jump in line to buy the product that promises us such beauty. After all, our hair is our crown, isn’t it? I’m no exception–I fall for the advertising gimmicks myself. That is, until about eight months ago when I discovered that is exactly what they are: gimmicks. I don’t need a ton of beauty products. I don’t need shampoos and conditioners, pomades and anti-frizz serums, mousse and gel. I don’t need ANY of it. This is where my simplicity journey began–with a few natural hair cleansing techniques that in the end have not only left me with simply gorgeous hair, but have revolutionized how our whole house is run.

Eight months ago I decided to try a radical experiment in natural hair care: I ditched the shampoo. It was a bit like jumping off a cliff (and I’m so not a fan of heights) but I decided that there was nothing to lose, so I jumped. And four months later as I look back, I realize that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Four months in to No Shampoo (often called “No-Poo” on the web) and my hair is so healthy that I have decided to make my experiment permanent: I will never go back to shampoo.

Still, when I tell people I ditched shampoo, I tend to get one of two reactions: they are either intrigued or horrified. Sometimes a combination of both. It’s always fun to see the shocked looks as they try to subtly check my hair to see just how gross it must be. (It isn’t–it is clean and shiny.) As my experiment has turned into an everyday habit, I find a lot more people taking notice and asking me how they can do it too. Yet it can be fairly scary, this idea of ditching shampoo. What about grease? Won’t I look horrible? No. While there was a month detox period for my hair, it rarely looked bad. And once that detox period was over, my hair has never been greasy again. Never.

My hair has more shine than it ever did. It is softer than before, it is cleaner than it was before, and it stays cleaner for a longer time as well. It has so much natural body that I don’t have to use any styling products whatsoever! My hair is fine and super-straight, and often had a mind of its own before starting this. In the shampoo and condition days, if I didn’t use styling products, it laid there limp and bland–or my cowlicks made it stick up in funny patterns. Not now! I use no products at all, and I now wash my hair every ten to twelve days, depending on what my hair needs. I rinse my hair with water every three to four days, but nothing else. I am working towards a goal of washing it only once a month, which I hope to reach by Fall.

You can read my previous blog post about the why and the how of what I did. Over the four months I’ve tried a lot, and learned a lot! My original post on No-Poo has a lot of information on why shampoo is so bad for you, for your hair and for the environment. Surprisingly, the No-Poo post has been one of the hottest topics of the past few months! I still get dozens of emails and comments a week, asking me for more information and updates, so I thought I would share with you some of the things I’ve tried, and my results. Remember that everyone’s hair is different, so you may experience slightly different results than I have.

 

    My hair after eight months of no-shampoo.


Baking soda wash: The baking soda wash works really well. I use one tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of warm water from the shower. It removes most of the oils from my hair, without stripping it of the natural protecting oils, the sebum. However, I began to experience some issues with an itchy scalp, and after some research found that using the baking soda too often was causing a reaction on my scalp. This doesn’t happen for most people, but it did for me. So I moved to using baking soda once a week, instead of every time I wash. Because baking soda is very alkaline, you MUST make sure to follow with an acid wash of some sort–Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice both work really well. Contrary to what many people think, the acids in the vinegar or lemon juice actually smooth and soften the hair without damaging it. I prefer to use lemon juice on my hair. Do NOT use baking soda on color-treated hair. It will remove coloring on the hair. The other methods listed below are completely safe for color-treated hair. In fact, they will help your color last longer!

Natural or Castille Soaps: I bought a bar of Dr Bronner’s Castille soap not long after starting No-Poo, and have really liked it. I do find that it does really strip quite a bit of the oils, and used it a good bit during the greasy detox period. Now that the detox period is gone, I have tapered off my use to 1-2 times a month. I love the lather that it provides, giving me just a little of that shampoo feeling, without any of the nasty chemicals or stripping off all the protective oils. I find that when I use castille soap too often that my hair doesn’t have the same body, so it is removing quite a bit of the oils. When buying natural soaps for use in your hair, it is important to make sure there are no sulfates in them, and that the lye content is low.

Beer Wash: This is an oldie but a goodie. I washed my hair with beer leftover from the holiday party the weekend before–it had sat open overnight and was now flat. The beer made my hair very soft and shiny, but didn’t do a great job of cleansing. However, I will use it again as a great conditioning treatment, especially as my hair grows longer.

Brown Sugar and Honey Hair Scrub: I’d read several people touting a brown sugar and honey scrub for cleansing your scalp and your hair. I tried it but found it didn’t really clean my hair all that well. My scalp was certainly clean, but my hair wasn’t. The honey rinses out very easily in water, so stickiness wasn’t an issue. It just didn’t remove any of the dirt or oils that were there to begin with.

Egg Wash: This has quickly become my favorite choice for washing my hair! You can use a whole egg, or just the egg yolk, it doesn’t matter. I prefer to use just the egg yolk (let’s just say I had a little egg white “cooking” in my hair one time) and find that it leaves my hair fantastically clean and shiny! It infuses my hair and scalp with a good dose of protein, and leaves my hair more ‘fluffy’ than it was before. To use I simply take one large egg yolk and pierce with a fork, adding a tablespoon of warm water and scrambling slightly. I know, I know. The Ewwww factor is high, right? Wrong! It actually feels a lot like the slipperiness of shampoo. I rub it along my scalp where my hair is dirty, and then out through the ends of my hair. I follow this with the lemon juice rinse. My hair is super-silky after an egg wash! It is possible to have too much protein in your hair, so I use the egg wash a maximum of twice a month.

Conditioner only: Most people don’t realize that conditioner has enough cleaners in it that it will wash your hair as well as shampoo, but won’t strip your hair of the protective oils. Right now my kids are using a bottle of Trader Joe’s conditioner, which is all-natural and only costs $3.50 a bottle. I have used conditioner only a couple of times myself, especially when caught somewhere without my normal supplies. I was travelling recently and wasn’t expecting to need to wash my hair, but did. I used the little bottle of Crabtree & Evelyn all natural conditioner that the hotel had in the room, and found it did a great job of cleansing my hair!

If you are really nervous about the idea of giving up shampoo altogether but still want to try this out, I suggest starting with either the castille soap or the conditioner only method. Really, for most people the baking soda method works wonderfully–but it can be a bit scary for some. It really only took about four weeks for my hair to adjust to the new regimen. Since the end of the first month I haven’t really had any greasy haired days. I was sick a couple of weeks ago with strep–it really knocked me for a loop. But even after being in bed for six days straight my hair wasn’t bad! It needed a good rinse and styling, but it wasn’t greasy or oily by any measure. That was totally new to me!

I’ve also found through this process that my hair has a natural wave to it–something it has never had before. It is very wavy and almost curly when wet. It holds curls really well now, something it has NEVER done before. I am currently in the process of growing my hair long in the hopes that I will be able to curl it more often. I’m finding that my hair is growing faster than ever before!

So, have you tried no-poo? What did you think? Do you have questions about ditching shampoo? Tell me what you think!

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Comments

  1. Im intrigued but I feel like there’s a catch somewhere. I can’t imagine my hair not being a greasy mess after 2-3 days, much less going two weeks without washing it! Does it smell? Seriously, what’s the catch?

    • Heather says:

      Leigh, there really is no catch. This is what humans have done until the last 30 years, when Americans changed the pattern. There is a detox period. But after that, no, it isn’t greasy and it doesn’t smell. Mine was fine enough to even do my weekly tv appearances during the detox period and not be embarrassed by my hair. My hair used to be like that–I could go two between washes, but any more and it was gross. Being blonde the smallest amount of oil shows! What I’d discovered is that the amount of oil your head produces is directly related to the amount of oil you strip off of it on a daily basis. The oils are a natural protection and defense for your hair to keep it healthy. Stop using shampoo and after a short time for your body to adjust, your body will stop producing all that oil!

  2. I use Castillo soap with coconut oil so I don’t have the dry issue. I haven’t used shampoo for about 6 months and I love my hair. Most of th time I can go 5-6 days without washing. Only when I have worked out and sweated a lot do I need to wash more frequently.

    • Hello Lynda S.,

      Can you please tell me how you incorporate the coconut oil into you castile soap since it is a solid substance? Do you use right along with the castile soap as a shampoo or do you use it after you wash with castile soap. Also, are you using a liquid or solid castile soap? Thanks in advance :)

      • Nea, many Castille soaps have coconut oil in it. Lynda is my mom, so I can tell you she’s using a solid Castille soap–I have the same stuff in my home as well. Just make sure you follow with a ACV or Lemon juice rinse after to balance the ph of your hair and leave it shiny and soft.

  3. I’ve been doing the no poo for about 6 months now and I LOVE it. The rest of my family has joined me in the last couple of months. My hair has never been softer, to the point my husband has noticed and now can’t keep from running his fingers through it. The only problem I had after the initial detox, which wasn’t really bad, was that I work out which causes me to sweat A LOT. I didn’t want my hair to stink. What I do daily is brush it, wet it, use a weak solution of apple cider vinegar (which is a great conditioner itself) letting it sit for a minute or so while rubbing it into my scalp, and then rinse really well. That totally gets rid of all the sweat and related smell and leaves my hair so soft. I wash it anywhere between once a week and once every 2 weeks with a shampoo I make. It is a cucumber/lemon smoothy with a touch of tea tree oil and lavender oil.

    • Heather says:

      I’m the same–I find myself running my fingers through my hair a lot, because it’s so silky I can’t believe it! As for exercising, as I’ve gotten further and further into this, I’ve found a good water rinse in really hot water removes most of the sweat. If not, I’ll use some lemon juice to rinse. It and ACV do the same things, but because my hair is blonde the ACV seems to darken it. I think it just depends on the hair texture.

  4. I actually just thought of something. My Mom used to use eggs and mayonnaise in my hair when it seemed really damaged. Leave it on covered in plastic wrap for 10 minutes and wash out. So, this all makes sense.

  5. Molly Dery says:

    Day One! :)

  6. So what do you do for dry scalp or dandruff? Nothing out there commercially really works.

    • I have not had any issues with dry scalp since starting this. The sulfates in shampoo were aggravating my itchy scalp! My son (who is entering the puberty years) had an issue with dandruff when we started this. We found that switching him to the Trader Joe’s tea tree oil conditioner. No shampoo, we just washed with conditioner. It was enough to clean his hair without stripping it. After about a month of that, we went to water-only except for once a month cleansing with that conditioner, and he’s had no issues whatsoever. I’ve read that many people find when they ditch the shampoos they find these dry scalp and dandruff issues disappear.

  7. So i’m a couple of days shy of a month “no-poo.” The first two washes were great. My hair was so light, fluffy, and silky. The last couple of weeks have not been so great. The crown of my head was greasy for about a week. Now it feels like there is a residue in my hair when i run my hands through. Also I find it hard to get my hand through my hair. Its not so much that it is tangled but kinda feels like theres product in my hair and i can’t get it through. I use dry baking soda on a wet crown of head and scrub. I let some water run down my head to get me mid-back hair clean. I then spray the ACV in my hair, mostly the long part of my hair not my crown. My hair doesn’t feel all that clean and I’m not sure where to go from here. Please help. I like the idea of cheap natural “shampoo” but right now it doesn’t feel so good.

    • Jenine, I know exactly what you mean! This is the detox period i talked about. My hair got that way at the end of the first month too–then it suddenly went away. I did two things to really break that cycle and get the “wax” out. First, I washed my hair with an egg yolk or two. It’s simple to do, cleans REALLY well and will get all that gunk out! Simply take an egg yolk and put it in a cup. Add a couple tablespoons of water and spread it on your wet hair. Rub it through and rinse. I know it sounds kinda gross but it feels a lot like conditioner in your hair. It puts a TON of protein into your hair and will leave it really light and fluffy again. Second, I ditched ACV early on. It was making my hair darker and oilier. I use lemon juice to rinse with. It won’t lighten your hair, and it does a much better job in my opinion. It also removes more of the buildup on a regular basis.

      The good news is that once you get through the detox period you will see a HUGE difference!

      • Thank you! I know everyone talks about the detox period but i was expecting grease ball hair detoxing not this “wax” feel. That is the perfect word to describe it. I did read suggestion yesterday about the egg wash. The funny part is I was where you suggested to only use the yolk due to cooking the whites. Well, i thought i just won’t mix hot water in the cup. Little did i forget i have to rinse my hair after adding the egg and used hot water. That was interesting. Ha ha. I did notice the ACV was making my hair darker. People kept asking me if i dyed it but I don’t mind because my hair is naturally an ash brown and I ususally dye it darker anyway to get rid of that ashy color. I do mind the oily part though. I might try the lemon juice to see if it helps remove the wax feeling. Stupid question, do you use fresh lemons or lemon juice from a bottle?

        • I got a great deal on bottled lemon juice on Amazon, so I bought a bunch of bottles. I use lemon juice for so much. It is 100% juice though.

          • The egg worked mircles! My hair felt amazing of course i went to hot yoga the next day and got all sweaty and had to wash it, but i only rinsed it with ACV. It felt a little waxy while i was blow drying it but woke up this morning and it feels pretty good. Maybe its working its way out of detox, finger crossed. I love amazon and get everything from there. I will have to check out the lemon juice. Maybe i can switch between ACV, to darken my hair, and lemon juice, if it startes to get waxy. Thank you so much for your help. I was starting to lose a little bit of faith for a minute but now i’m definitely going to stick it out! Glad i found someone to ask questions about the process!

          • I’m so glad it worked! I’ve been there and had soooo many questions along the way. I’ve tried everything from baking soda to eggs to beer to even applesauce! LOL, I’ve tried quite a few. Eggs seem to be my favorite because they’re inexpensive, simple and really do great things for my hair. The longer you go through this the longer your times in between washes will get. I’m now a little over a year in, and I average a wash every ten to fourteen days. I simply rinse with hot water in between. I still have a hard time believing it can really be this easy!

          • Hey I have dark brown hair lemon juice usually lightens hair do you think my hair will. change color ?

          • I’ve spoken with several brunettes who’ve told me that no, it doesn’t lighten their hair. Since they rinse it out, I don’t think it would.

      • SophieE says:

        Do you use straight lemon juice or diluted? How diluted?

        • Heather says:

          It is up to you. When I first wrote this I was being careful, putting a tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup and adding half a cup or so of water from the shower to it, then pouring it over my head. It worked well. In true ADHD fashion (LOL) that was too complicated, so now I literally squirt the lemon juice from the bottle right onto my head, just a small squirt, and then use the water from the shower as it rinses it out to spread it through (I just keep the lemon juice bottle in the shower.) It is my lazy metood, but it does the same thing. So it is really up to you. It really is less about the lemon juice and more about the acidity which closes the hair shaft and smoothes it. It doesn’t take much.

          • SophieE says:

            I decided to go for straight lemon juice as well. I’m not yet sure about putting it all over my hair vs just on the ends yet (my hair is so variable day by day at the moment so I can’t make a judgment)- any advice?

            I’m on day 17 of no-poo (just yolks and lemon juice). It looks fine at the front- just an oily crown at the back. I’m holding out for at least another 3 weeks, though I have to admit that it is somewhat difficult! I feel like people are judging me and that it might never readjust fully but you said it took you a month and I’ve seen that others have had 6 weeks of detox so 6 weeks of no-poo it shall be. Staying committed.

          • Heather says:

            I totally understand that feeling Sophie! One thing I will say is that as I’ve gotten older ive learned a little secret: most people don’t notice 90% of the things we are most worried about. They’re too busy worrying about their own issues and what people might think about them to ever notice anyone else’s issues. :)

  8. Hi, I am very curious if natural shampoos are an exception because they do not contain any of the harmful products that strip your natural oils. Would i still be able to wash my hair daily or do you still reccommend to ditch the shampoo even if it doesnt have products that will strip your oils.

    • Very few “natural” shampoos are sulfate free from what I’ve seen. Even Aveda has sulfates in it. And from there, those that are sulfate free still use harsh cleansers. It is the lather–to get the lather you have to use harsh products. I’ve done a lot of reading on this and so far I’ve not found very many who advocate using natural shampoo. It just isn’t needed, does that make sense? The natural shampoos are expensive, versus the low cost and ease of baking soda or eggs. Or castille soap. I know it is scary to think of ditching shampoo, because we are so trained to believe we need it. I still wash my hair regularly–I rinse it really well with water and give it a lemon juice rinse several times a week. But I only use the egg or castille every ten days or so now. It would feel really odd not to cleanse my hair every other day or so. But talking to my mom, my grandmother and those in the older generation I am reminded that they did not wash their hair daily. Their hair was not oily, and it wasn’t gross. This is a recent trend in our country, only in the last forty years. I hope that helps!

  9. I’ve been shampoo free for about 6 months. I wash with BS about once a month. It was working great till a couple weeks ago. My hair is greasy and stiff all the time now. And i have noticed a lot of dandruff. Is there any advice you can give me?

    • Kelly, I’d take a stab and say your scalp ph is out of whack. That happened to me with baking soda, and that’s why I went looking for alternatives. If your scalp is too alkaline, it dries it out, which would cause your hair to produce more sebum, and the dandruff. Baking soda is very alkaline in ph. Try a good soak with apple cider vinegar for immediate relief. (Or lemon juice, which is what I use.) let it sit on your scalp for a few minutes. Next, try varying your wash items. I’ve found eggs to be the best thing around. It’s really good for your hair, full of proteins, and won’t dry out your scalp or hair.

      • Thank you! I love the no-poo method would hate to give it up! I will try the egg wash soon. Do i need to rinse with ACV or lemon juice after the egg wash?

        • Not really. It’s balanced ph wise so it doesn’t need the acidic rinse. (Conditioner is an acidic ph, as is ACV/lemon, and it closes the hair shaft to make it soft and shiny.)

        • Kelly, on more thing about the egg wash: make sure to use only the yolk. Or if you use a whole egg, keep your water lukewarm. Egg white cooks at a very low temp, and can leave bits in your hair as it cooks in hot water in your shower! So I freeze the egg white for use later and just use the yolk in the shower. :)

          • Awesome I did it this morning and it was amazing! Thank you so much!!!!!

          • So I have been using eggs for a while now. But when i wash, my hair becomes oily about 2 days later. Do you have a solution?

          • It takes a while to get out of the wash, wash, wash cycle. Your hair will produce oils as often as you wash it. One of the things I do to lengthen the time between washes is to do daily hot water rinses with a bit of lemon juice. That rinses the day’s oils out and gives you an extra day before it needs to be washed. After a week or two of three days between washes, you should be able to push it to four days. And so on. Or, you can let it get a little oily on the third day, and just out your hair up. Your body will learn it doesn’t need the extra sebum, and slow down production.

  10. Megan Harris says:

    I have been doing the no poo with baking soda for one month now. My girls who are biracial have been doing it too, however as you said my hair got curlier and theirs did too, however curlier is not good for them it gets so curly I can’t comb it out. I am going to try just doing the conditioner method you recommended for my girls and no shampoo.

  11. Hello,
    Thanks for all your info; I am going for it. One question though: Would it benefit do you think, to install a water softener–at least in the shower head? I would like to avoid the chlorine.

  12. Cherenique says:

    Hi there! I am pretty new to “no-poo” just in my second week and am still in detox mode for sure! The thing I was wondering is when you use your lemon juice rinse/conditioner do you mix it with water, or just use straight lemon juice? My hair is not loving this and I think it is in part due to the vinegar, when I used ACV my hair got super waxy and now with the white vinegar it just feels dry with greasy patches around my scalp, yuck!
    Another thing, do you still use heat styling tools such as a blow dryer? And if you do have you noticed that damaging your hair at all with not using a heat protectant spray? I am with you about buying any and all products that say they might help and I’m tired of it! The less products needed the better. Any help or advice would be appreciated thanks :)

    By the way your hair looks lovely!!

    • Thank you! These photos are rather old, my hair is now long and past my shoulders–but so healthy!

      I had the exact same issue with ACV, which is why I switched to lemon juice. I do mix it in with just a splash of water from the shower, to warm it up. I have no issues with it.

      I know the waxy buildup you’re talking about–it drove me nuts. The good news is it DOES go away! It took me four weeks to detox and then it was gone altogether. I now use egg yolks to wash my hair. It was what broke the wax down and I’ve not looked back since. Eggs are SO good for your hair, and you don’t need the lemon rinse. I’ve got some other posts in the sidebar about my techniques and things I’ve tried. They might help you!

      • Cherenique says:

        Thanks for the info about the lemon juice and eggs! I can’t wait to try that.

        So do you blow dry your hair? With the no poo method I have been not blow drying my hair but it takes so long to dry and I feel like it would be easier to style if I could blow dry it. The only issue I have is that it might cause too much damage with out any heat protectant spray but I want to stay away from using products.

        Thanks for your input!

        • Sorry, I totally forgot to answer that. Yes! I blow dry my hair and I use a flat iron on it. Not every day, because it doesn’t need it. But a few times a week. I’ve had no issue with heat damage, and I use zero product on it. See, once you leave the sebum intact, it protects your hair for you! That is its job. What we’ve been doing is stripping off the sebum to “clean” our hair, then replacing it with conditioners, stylers, heat protectants and even Argan oil. When our own sebum that our body produces does most of that for us. I blow dry mine with an ionic dryer and a round brush, the same ones I’ve had for a few years. Then I will flat iron it to finish the style.

  13. My hair is mostly gray. Will the ACV make it darker? Noticed a lot of the post commenting on darker hair as a result of ACV. I’m not searching for anything to make my gray darker although I wouldn’t complain about it either if it looked natural. Gray hair is ok with me as long as it looks healthy and natural.
    Just wondering what the effects will be with baking soda, egg yolks and ACV on gray hair. Gray hair seems to be more dry looking and “straw-like” than younger hair.
    Do you have a plan I can print that will take me from day one? I’m really looking forward to trying no-poo. Thank you for sharing and God Bless.

    • Glen, I’m not really sure about gray hair. I’m a natural ash blonde, so I can remain in denial about any gray hair (that I definitely don’t have ) for a good while to come. :D

      I will say that yes, ACV did make my blonde hair darker. I switched to using lemon juice instead as my rinse of choice and haven’t looked back. It works just as well as ACV and has the added benefit of giving me a little lift in my natural color. :)

      I don’t have a plan, unfortunately. I’m a tad (er, the queen of) ADHD so I tend to just wing it and learn as I go. I will say that the baking soda worked well for a while, until my hair went through the worst of the detox period. When I hit that really bad, waxy hair part of the process, about week three, I tried an egg yolk and it all went beautifully from there. Egg yolks are my preferred method now.

  14. So when you say natural soaps, would a glycerin soap work? I don’t know where castille soap is around here(though I’m sure it is available locally) but I got some all natural glycerin and coconut oil soap from the renaissance faire here locally, and I was wondering if that would be good for the startup, since the first time I tried the baking soda method was not working on my hair.

    • Heather says:

      Mary, I buy Castille soap at my local grocery store, in the natural foods section. It is pretty common. I don’t know about glycerin soap–I would think it would leave a residue behind. I’ve never tried it though.

  15. Hello again Heather,
    I had written to you a couple months back about ACV making my hair waxy. You told me to switch to lemon juice and I did. I also switched to boiled lukewarm water.I had great results for about a month and then all of a sudden BAM it all went to grease again, i’m not sure if its because the boiled water has been hotter than normal or what. I read above that someone ran into the same problem and you suggested the egg wash, which i think i’m going to try again tonight. I was wondering what exactly is your washing routine? Do you egg wash every other week and BS wash once a week the other two weeks? Do you also lemon juice wash in between these washes, if so how often? I think i may have started washing too much again before i was only washing about once/ twice a week and wearing a shower cap the other days. Of course I keep washing too much now because i’m trying to wash the grease out. Its a bad cycle. I so bad want to get back to where I was a couple weeks ago.
    Thanks,
    Jenine

    • I’m was also getting a decent amount of dandruff, even when my hair looked great, and now i’ve got a lot of build up in my scalp too.

    • Yeah, I mainly use the egg yolk wash once a week. If I happen to be out of eggs, then I’ll use either Castille soap or baking soda, with a lemon rinse. The egg yolks do such a great job that I’ve pretty much stuck with that. I do rinse my hair a couple times a week, especially after I’ve been exercising. I will rinse it with hot water, and if I feel it needs it I will add a lemon rinse. The “needs it” is usually because I have hard water here and it can leave my hair “rough”–as in, rough texture. The lemon smooths and shines it.

      As for buildup, that likely is sebum building up again. If you’re using exclusively baking soda to wash with that can cause itchy dry scalp sometimes. It’s part of why I switched to egg yolks mainly. You’ll be amazed how clean a single egg yolk will get your hair!

  16. Without having to read through all of the comments to get the answer, how much of the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar do you use? Do you use it right after you wash with the baking soda mix or do you wait a few days? I have been shampoo free for 1 week now and I’m excited for this new adventure. I have never been happy with my hair. I’m really hoping this will make the difference. All of my friends are using me as the guinea pig and if it’s successful for me they are going to try the switch!

    • Heather says:

      Rebekah, I use the lemon juice or ACV the same way you’d normally use conditioner–right after you wash. They don’t really clean your hair, but they smooth it and close the cuticle of the hair so that it is soft and shiny. If you just use the baking soda and let it dry your hair will feel rough and dry.

  17. I am 2 weeks into the NP method and I know in a few weeks I will LOVE it. It already has so much more body and it may just be the grease and “wax” feeling, but my hair stays in place & I don’t have to use hair spray! My hairs greasy, yes, but I don’t think other people notice it. I really think this will be my forever method!
    My only concern is.. I have ashy blonde hair that I highlight and I’m about to get my hair recolored. Do you think I’ll have a problem with this? I mean, I know she’ll have to wash out the color, will this set me back and I have to start all over? And I know you said Bs will make it fade, but should I stop now- before I go? Or just start after I get it colored? What about the vinegar? Will that make it fade? I really like the NP method but I have to color my hair- I’m getting married in six months so I really have to keep up appearances.

    • How brave are you? LOL, I ask because the simple solution takes a bit to ask someone who may or may not understand what you’re doing. The simplest answer is to take an egg yolk in with you and have her wash out the dye using an egg yolk. It’s an excellent cleanser and won’t disturb your no-poo progress. I’ve also used conditioner to rinse out hi-lift highlights out before. Or, you can pick up a sample bottle of sulfate free shampoo and try it (Trader Joe’s makes some, as does L’Oreal) for just that one day. It isn’t perfect, but it won’t strip your hair too badly.

      Actually, truth is that the highlights themselves will strip your hair. Not as badly now that you’ve left your sebum intact–but it will still strip your hair. Just be aware of that. It shouldn’t set you back too far.

  18. Hi! This post and comments have been so helpful to me. I have been NP for nearly two years now and keep experimenting to get the best results. Judging from your pictures and description, my hair description seems very similar to yours, only it’s longer. My hair has always been super-oily, but I have finally brought my wash frequency down to twice a week, thanks to discovering cornstarch as a dry shampoo between washes. For washing, I have tried a mix of BS, castille soap, coconut milk, vinegar rinse, etc. but after I find something that works, after a few weeks/months I’ll get that grimyness again. After reading your posts, I started incorporating egg yolks into my routine in January, doing those twice a month with BS/castille soap/lemon juice rinse in-between. The first three times or so, I had pretty good results, although I never got the “light and fluffy” effect you describe. My hair would look shiny but oily or “piecey” after it air-dried (I don’t use a blow dryer), but the next day when I did dry shampoo, the effect was amazing…grimyness was gone, it did seem light and clean, and it lasted several days longer than usual. After the first three tries, though, I can’t get that effect back. That “piecey” look on day 1 stays and then just looks gross on the days after even with dry shampoo. I have tried with and w/o the whites (as best I can; seems I can’t totally separate the white from the yolk and find pieces in my hair later :) ), with and w/o a lemon juice rinse (I noted you don’t find it necessary), 1 egg yolk vs two egg yolks (my hair is long, so I thought maybe I needed more), but I can’t figure out why my hair seems greasy after I do the egg yolk now! Do you have any advice? It does still seem to be good for a “reset” after washing with the BS/soap for a while, i.e., after an egg wash my next BS/soap wash turns out really good.

    • Hmmm…I’m not sure. What the photos don’t show you is that I actually had my hair long for a good bit of the past year. It was down to my shoulder blades before I cut it off again, on a whim. For your washing question…let me think. Well, I do rinse my hair three times a week with a hot water rinse, and an occasional lemon juice rinse. When I rinse it with water I give my hair and scalp a good scrub, as if I was shampooing. I rinse it a few times. (This is usually after I’ve been for a run, so my hair is sweaty.) I do believe that helps. My suggestion would be to try that. When I started that, I started by rinsing with water every night. At first it wasn’t a big impact, but each night I did it, it got better, until it was almost as clean as if I’d just washed it. Now it’s just the M-W-F rinse, with the Saturday wash. I wonder if that will help you?

      • Couldn’t hurt to try. I’ve been afraid to try water rinsing b/c my hair is still SO oily, but I may as well try something new. I’ll let you know, and thanks again for being so helpful!

        • You’re welcome! I tried a lot of things before finding the right combo. The thing I’ll add is that it’s important to push out those washing by a few hours to a full day every week or two, getting farther and farther between. Your hair will continue to adjust.

          Reading through again…it looks like you’re still getting that sebum rush after a wash. I wonder if you’re still getting too much cleaned off? I couldn’t use vinegar–it made my hair oilier.

          • Yes – when I switched from ACV to white vinegar early on it was much less oilier, and switching from white vinegar to lemon juice since January has been even better. (By better I mean it looks clean for 24 hours instead of oily as soon as it dries, making you wonder if it ever got clean.)

            My current routine consists of 1 T. liquid castile soap w/ 1 t. bs and 1 T. lemon juice in 1 c. water 2x a week. On the off days I’ve been dry-shampooing with cornstarch (have to put that in the night before and all the white gets absorbed through the night and looks good the next morning, if I don’t use too much). If I forget to dry shampoo, the very next morning my hair already looks oily. Twice a month I’d been doing the egg yolk wash in place of the soap/bs. I use almost zero product…once in a while hairspray.

            My current thought is to try foregoing the cornstarch and doing the hot water rinse every other day, but probably use the lemon juice each time starting out, and then doing an egg on weekends. We’ll see how it goes and if I can make it without the bs/castile soap…unless you have a different suggestion. Thanks!

          • I think you may be over cleaning it? I have used all of those items, but never together. Castille is gentler than shampoo but still strips a lot from your hair. Also, I never mix the lemon into my cleaners. It’s separate, like conditioner. Have you tried it that way before? Just trying to think through this…

          • Sorry if I wasn’t clear…I don’t mix them all together either. I use the soap/bs together and then rinse with the diluted lemon juice as a conditioner.

            When I first started two years ago, for shampoo I did the typical bs/water solution and it worked for several months. When I started having problems with that, I switched to liquid castile soap, but my hair never looked clean and my hairbrushes/combs were scummy and disgusting. Then I read a helpful tip that if you have hard water, castile soap won’t rinse out of your hair on its own…it needs a little baking soda. I added that back in a little at the time and found that 1 tsp baking soda was just the right amount for 1 T. castile soap, and have been doing that since January.

            I do appreciate your helping me think through this!

          • Ah! That makes more sense! Let me know how you get on. It’s been fun to learn this stuff and help others try it too.

  19. Dear Heather, I just tried your egg wash yesterday and my hair is amazing! It really does get your hair clean. I tried the BS and ACV but my scalp is very pH sensitive. I have found an excellent organic shampoo and conditioner called Organic Excellence. Another one is Fundamental. Both can be purchased for about 12 dollars a bottle ( a little pricey) at Earth Turns.com. If shipped in the U. S. it ships for free. I like them , they’re pH balanced and without chemicals. But, like you said , they strip so much from your hair and make it superclean. I’d like an alternative or at least use them much less frequently. Can you recommend where to start? I wash my hair 3X a week. Is just rinsing with water best or should I just switch to conditioner only washing. Thanks so much, your hair looks great. Lisa

  20. Leauna says:

    I have ponded the no-poo for a while and i finally did it 2 weeks ago this saturday. I really like it. I have been doing soda and acv. I washed the first time on saturday and was able to go until tuesday the very first time. On monday i could tell it was almost time to wash. So i misted it with really warm water and rubbed it in the scalp in the crown and over the ears and front hair line. Worked great. I am going to try the egg wash tomorrow. I have been plant strong for 10 minutes and have noticed my hair thinning. Infact my hair dresser said something to me. Asked if i was sick. I set out in a search for shampoo and rinse with Biotin and B-Complex in them and they were organic. It was drying my hair out. When i went to the dermatologist for a skin problem she told me i need to stop using it and start using “Free & Clear” hair care because the other stuff was drying my hair and skin out. She said No dye and No scents. So i jump into the “no-poo”. I can’t wait to try the egg wash. Hope it will give my hair the boost it needs. I see where people say their hair becomes wavy. How long before that happenes?

  21. I was wondering if you HAVE to us apple cider vinegar or if you can use white vinegar instead?

  22. Hello! Are you still using this method? How is it going long term? I have dry hair that I’m trying to grow longer, but am ready to throw in the towel because it clings at the top and bushes at the bottom. I tried BS with vinegar rinse on Friday. My scalp feels tight in some areas and my hair is dry and frizzy even though I let it air dry without any other products. Not sure i can give up my gel. Any suggestions?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Lori! I am still doing this. In fact, I’m almost to my two year anniversary! But I did modify my technique: I haven’t used baking soda and vinegar in quite a while. I found the ACV was making my blonde hair darker, so I switched to lemon juice for a rinse. But mostly I use the method described in this post, where I use an egg yolk to wash my hair. It works instantly and leaves my hair so cleany and shiny! No rinse is really needed. I really love it!

      • Hi Heather!
        Thanks for your reply. I’m a bit nervous with tomorrow being a workday and all, but I need a wash and am already four days in without using my “natural” shampoo from Whole Foods. I’ll let you know how it goes. Do you blow dry after using the egg wash? My hair was really crazy after the BS and ACV round on Friday and then air drying.

        • Yes, I do. I think you’ll be surprised how clean the egg yolk leaves your hair. And fluffy. There’s just no better term for it. My hair has natural body and style with the egg wash. I used to need product or it was very flat, but now I don’t. Let me know how it goes for you!

          • Success! I used one yolk with water and washed, rinsed and then 1T ACV in a cup of warm water. My hair is really fluffy, too! I can’t believe it! I want to try the egg wash without the ACV as the hair feels a little rough, but it felt that way before this. I will try letting it air dry if I can make it til Friday (day off) and see how that goes. Thanks for the tips!

          • Heather says:

            I have found the egg yolk to be an all in one product–using ACV or lemon juice just isn’t necessary. The protein in the egg does wonderful things for softening your hair. I’m glad it helped!

          • Yes I realized that too. I just washed my hair yesterday as I have normally done for the past 4 months- with a whole egg+a little bit of sea salt (a naturopath recommended adding a bit of salt for the extra clenliness) and then I rinsed it with diluted lemon juice.
            I find my hair waxy today, I guess the lemon juice dilution was a little strong.
            I’ll definitely stick only to egg without the lemon rinse as I find it works so much better for my hair in terms of softiness.
            Just to mention, my hair is blonde dyed+highlighted.
            Thank you Heather!

  23. Hello!
    Thanks for all your good information here. I have found the same thing happening to my naturally blonde hair with ACV, that it has become darker, or at least lost its highlights. When you switched to lemon juice did it get back to normal? I haven’t used ACV in over a week and have been experimenting with white vinegar and chamomile tea rinses instead, but my hair is still darker!
    Thanks!

    • Yes, my hair went back to normal with the lemon juice. White vinegar is even more acidic than ACV, so I’d think it would continue to make it darker!

  24. Helo! :)
    i think what you are suggesting are actually effective!but i have a lot of dandroff problem.that’s why i have to shampoo my hair frequently!do you think that your options will help me to get rid of this problem also?please suggest!

  25. Hello, I’d just like to say that the baking soda does NOT remove dye all the time. Everyone’s hair is different. I have dyed hair and the baking soda has never even slightly removed the colour. :)

  26. Hello there! This sounds really neat! I am one of those people you wrote about who has greasy hair after a day of not shampooing and I hate it. It makes traveling confidently difficult. When you stopped using shampoo, did you immediately start using egg/castille/ lemon juice to clean it? Or did you wait for a few days before cleansing your hair? Thank you!!! :)

  27. Hi! I am one of those folks you wrote about who have to shampoo every day. If I don’t I look disgusting. I was wondering if when you went no-poo did you immediately cleanse your hair with egg/lemon juice/ or Castille? Or did you wait a few days before cleansing your hair at all? Thank you! :)

    • I used the baking soda wash with lemon juice rinse as often as I wanted to in the beginning. You will still have some detox period, no matter what you use, because your hair will take time to adjust. But I did eventually find the egg wash, and found it to be the best for me. I’ve not had any issues since–which was two years ago today, in fact!

  28. Trying no poo soon says:

    Hello, thanks for this great post, I read your blog and 3/4 of the comments. And I was wondering if you could post or give us a months worth of daily usage? I want to try this regimen but I’d like to have a step-by-step guide- my OCD tends to kick in :). I have oily hair and have been losing quite a bit of hair over the past few years, help!

  29. How long does the detox period last?

  30. I did no-poo for 11 months about 5 years ago. My hair became brittle from the harshness of baking soda and I just missed having a scent in my hair. I transitioned back to Organix shampoo and haven’t thought about ditching the shampoo since. My hair looks good and I smell girly again.

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