Natural Hair Care: Three Reasons to Live Shampoo Free

| 5/27/2010 9:49:57 AM

Tags: live shampoo free,

You could easily be saving at least $20 a month. You could look and feel better every day. You could do something great for your health. You could do all of those things in 10 minutes a day. Intrigued?

Next time you run low on shampoo, don’t run out and buy another bottle. Below are three reasons why that decision will change your life for the better.

Woman combing hair1. The chemicals in mainstream hair-care products are bad for you. 

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it’s absorbent, so if you think you’re safe from chemicals if you don’t eat them, think again. From sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate (two dangerous detergents also used in engine degreasers) to propylene and butylene glycol (compounds used in photographic film processing), your skin is soaking up all kinds of toxins that will eventually enter your bloodstream.

Stick to this rule: If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin.

Visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep to get the dish on the dirty little secrets your favorite shampoo has been hiding.

10/2/2013 3:33:34 PM

Has anyone had trouble with their natural hair color fading with the baking soda and apple cider vinegar method? I love how my hair feels but I don't want the natural color to keep getting lighter.

6/23/2013 5:53:42 PM

Thank you for writing such a great article and promoting awareness of this important issue!  I will try these "recipes" soon.  Several months back, I found Essante Organics and I've switched to all of their personal care products which are 100% certified chemical free and toxic free.  I love their shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in hair conditioning emollient.  I also use the hair gel, which is clinically proven to help your hair color last longer.  Available at:

amanda koker
12/16/2012 4:23:20 AM

I worked in the Marshall Islands for 2 years and I made very good friends with a girl from Kiribati. She has the most amazing hair. Her pony is 5 times or more thicker than mine (and I get told I have think hair) and she wears it to below the hollow of her back. She has no broken ends and her hair just looks amazing! I asked what her secret was. She said her hair was exactly like mine, then she started using a method her grandma taught her. She takes the hair that collect in her brush, comb and shower and rolls it into a ball and burns it and then she rubs ash into her scalp. Then she rinses with water until all the ash is washed out and then she rubs about 2teaspoons of coconut oil into her scalp. I can't even express how amazing her hair looks. I decided to try this method. My hair has been falling out a lot lately. I don't heat dry my hair at all and there is not a trace of dye left in my hair and yet it still breaks and falls out. I have just started this treatment about a month ago and I can already see the difference. Yes, i will mean tons of fly aways as little hairs will sprout out everywhere, but that is not a bad thing. Give it a few months and the difference will surely show. I like the idea of going natural. Been using apple vinigar as a build up cleanser and a dandruff prevention and it makes my hair feel amazing. I will empty my bottles of pantene and there after try the bicarb. This sounds like an amazing plan!

11/15/2012 7:19:55 PM

The secret is all in the final rinse with cider vinegar. Tablespoon with large glass of warm water. Leave on scalp for 20 seconds. Keeping eyes closed.. Final rinse, partly dry, then comb to style required.. Works so well and costs 5 dollars a gallon.

7/1/2010 11:33:21 AM

I've been trying this for about a week now (washed my hair like this 3 times). The first few times my hair looked great! This morning though, it was a heavy, thick oily mess in the shower and the baking soda didn't seem to help get rid of it at all. Now my hair is totally dry, dull, and heavy. It looks like I haven't even washed my hair and it doesn't look healthy or shiny as it usually does. I have thick, wavy, long hair. I guess I should try the castille soap method mentioned by Sandra. I usually wash my hair every 2 days, but today I hadn't washed it for 3. I guess it just got too oily???

e. pucci
6/30/2010 12:43:00 PM

I use baking soda and vinegar on my hair and it works great. I dissolve a tablespoon of soda in a large cup of water and pour that through my hair. I then rinse the soda out and use a vinegar rinse, just a little bit of apple cider vinegar. I only do this about two or three times a week, the rest of the time I just wet my hair. My hair is long and curly and I used to have more split ends. Now it is less frizzy, less dry, and very soft. I also travel a lot so now I don't have to take shampoo and conditioner with me. A little bottle of soda will last a long time.

sandra b_6
6/22/2010 11:16:15 AM

I'm an African American woman who doesn't chemically straighten my hair, and I chose the no shampoo route years ago (the sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate is EXTREMELY drying to kinky hair textures, causing it to become extremely brittle and break off). However, the baking soda only method didn't work for me either, so I started mixing with castile soap (which doesn't contain detergents and is better for the environment). Here is what I do: Combine one tablespoon baking soda with enough Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Liquid Castile soap to form a paste, massage through scalp and hair, rinse thoroughly. Condition with apple cider vinegar and warm water mixed with two drops each lavender, jasmine, and frankincense essential oils (to cut vinegar smell and stimulate scalp). I have been doing this for six years now and my hair is in great shape.

6/22/2010 10:31:10 AM

I use Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap every 3-4 days and have to use a lemon juice "conditioner" because we have rather hard water. It works!!! It does take a little time to get use to. I tried the vinegar method, but my husband didn't like the freshly-dyed Easter egg smell while my hair was still wet. The vinegar smell does go away once your hair dries, but if you have an aversion to the smell, try lemon juice instead.

m. cozzens
6/22/2010 7:02:43 AM

I also tried this for a while, but my hair got worse instead of better. Like Jessica, my hair was totally dull looking, was impossible to comb through and just generally looked like trash. It was clean and not greasy, but still managed to be horrible. I finally gave up after trying to tweak the mixture with no improvement. I really wish I could get this to work because I totally agree with everything said in the article. I don't want bad stuff in my body or in my kids' bodies, but we can't go around with permanent rat's nests in our hair forever either.

6/21/2010 8:31:55 PM

I tried the soda and vinegar route. Lost about 1/3 of my hair in around 2 months -- I understand that happens with some people -- but fortunately it all grew back. So, I washed my hair the regular way just to get any residue out and then stopped using anything (and I mean anything) on my hair. That was two years ago. I rinse it well every other day -- that's it. I admit, I don't have really healty hair yet, but I think that is a reflection of other health issues.

trudi dixon
6/21/2010 5:25:15 PM

I've been considering trying hair mud from this site ( They say there's a detox period for your hair, while the "mud" removes all the plastics and polymers that commerical shampoos leave. ( Has anyone tried this product? If so, what was your experience?

heather h.
6/21/2010 3:34:09 PM

Jessica, a lot of curly haired girls have found success with the Curly Girl method. Do you have naturally curly hair? and as far as shampoo bars melting away....Most soap makers suggest you don't store natural soap in the shower and that you use a wooden soap deck (where the soap won't sit in water). That will keep it from melting prematurely. I use only handmade soap and one bar lasts a really long time, but I keep it on a wooden soap deck on the counter right outside the shower.

6/21/2010 11:45:14 AM

I saw an article about this probably 5 years ago and decided to try it. Until then, I'd been trying all kinds of shampoos and conditioners -- I always seemed to have an itchy scalp, and my hair was pretty limp, but nothing I tried made a difference for more than a week or two. If I let it grow past my chin it would just kind of lie there. Since switching to baking soda and vinegar I have loads of body, no itching, and my hair is actually quite wavy. I've let it grow long and I get compliments on it regularly. I've recommended this to several people who have also had good results and made a permanent switch.

elizabeth k
6/21/2010 11:01:47 AM

One other suggestion - Rosemary Gladstar, an herbalist of many years experience has a number of books that may be helpful.

elizabeth k
6/21/2010 10:59:52 AM

Jessica - sorry you've had a bad experience. I use baking soda with good results, but the best anti-tangle shine treatment - along with the extra benefit of removing product build up is the apple cider vinegar rinse. I use a 1:2 mix - half cup apple cider vinegar to one cup water, then I add a few drops of pure essential oils appropriate for my hair. The internet has plenty of info about which oils help certain types of hair. I have soft, shiny - but very fine - LONG, down to my tush - hair. People love to touch my hair, my hubby calls it angel hair. This article is just a starting point and sometimes it can take a couple of months for your hair to adjust. BTW - I'm an esthetician and hair stylist.

6/21/2010 10:35:47 AM

If only the no-shampoo method actually worked! I tried it for several months and my hair was totally limp and dull. No wave, no shine, it looked like a mop. And the fancy all-natural shampoo bars tend to dissentigrate. I've used mine maybe 5 times and it's almost gone from melting away in the shower. It'll blow my mind? Yep, it blew my mind because it's such a joke!

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