Experimenting with Going Shampoo Free – Week 1

One of my goals has been to “green up” our personal products – switching away from shampoos, creams, lotions and soaps with lots of ingredients in favor of more natural products. I’ve loving my homemade deodorant, so when I started seeing people posting about using baking soda and vinegar in place of shampoo it seemed like a completely reasonable thing to try out myself. I’m already using those products to do pretty much everything else in my house so why not use them to clean hair?

In theory it is pretty simple – all you need is baking soda, apple cider vinegar, water and two containers.  But, it’s supposed to make your hair nicer and my hair and I are at constant odds. Even though I’ll often go two or three days over a weekend without washing, if I know that I need to go out for work, school, dinner or anything other than a trip to the grocery store, I’ll wash it because I hate how it looks. I also hate how it looks after I’ve washed it.

There’s lots of advice out there on how to go shampoo free – I figured I’d start with what seemed easiest to me and tweak it as I need to. I rounded up two 8 oz (1 cup) bottles from my cupboard, plopped a rounded TBSP of baking soda in one and 2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar in the other, and then topped them up with water. When you want to wash your hair you “lather” the baking soda mixture into the scalp, rinse and then “condition” the ends of your hair with the apple cider vinegar mix. Apparently there can be a “transition period” of greasiness but I’m hoping I’ve got the will power to stick it out past that point to see if this works.

It’s been just over 7 days since I started and here’s how my first week of no ‘poo went:

Tuesday was my first no shampoo day and I was pleasantly surprised with how my hair felt after I dried it. It also looked pretty much like it always does. Wednesday I was little worried about how my hair would look but even after a morning swim and then a wash with baking soda at the pool, I think it still looked normal. I’ve started wearing a swim cap and it keeps a lot of pool water out of my hair which probably helps.

Thursday I definitely noticed that my hair was different. I went to deep water workout in the morning and then had to rush to shower and get to work. I’m not sure if the difference was the result of not shampooing or doing a poor job of it at the pool showers. My hair wasn’t hideous (thank goodness) it just looked (and felt) more textured.

Friday I washed after two hot yoga classes and it seemed ok. Then on  Saturday I gave my hair a break from washing and just let it get greasy as I hung out at home. Sunday I gave it a quick wash at the pool and then blow dried it and while it didn’t feel great, I just put my hat on and forgot about it. Monday was day 7 and my hair started to feel heavy and “waxy”.  It’s not greasy so I don’t know exactly what is going on but it’s not exactly soft and shiny either.

I am craving a wash with shampoo – just to feel the lather and that cleanness – but I’m holding out. I’m going to see how week two goes – I’m hoping we’re into the worse of it and by next week it’s looking healthy and happy. I tried brushing my hair before bed on Monday (something I don’t normally do) which might help to spread around the oils and speed things up.


2 thoughts on “Experimenting with Going Shampoo Free – Week 1

  1. Just wondering if you’re still shampoo-free? I’m trying it out and also am a swimmer and wondering if using the baking soda is enough to get rid of the chlorine.

    1. No – I gave it up. I found that my hair was just terrible after getting out of the pool. Good luck with it though – it really does seem to work for people!

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