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natural beauty // going shampoo free

When I began to hear the buzz about going shampoo-free, I knew it was something that was totally up my alley. Going completely au naturel when it comes to beauty has been a goal of mine for some time now. I am so passionate about nature and what the earth has to offer, and I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like my vegan, plant-based diet is just the beginning–it has inspired me to work further towards incorporating these philosophies in all aspects of my life. Plus, more opportunities to DIY? Please.

There are different recipes out there, but the typical no-poo regimen consists of a baking soda scrub (the “shampoo”) and an apple cider vinegar rinse (the “conditioner”). The baking soda cleanses and lifts grease (and stank) from roots, and the vinegar clarifies strands and adds shine.

There were some daunting aspects to the process. For one, I read many a horror story of this monthlong period of nonstop grease, before going poo-free begins to “work.” I’ve never had the kind of hair prone to greasy roots (I generally only need to shampoo 2-3 times a week), but the prospect of hot summer days and not shampooing didn’t seem like the most ideal of situations. Also, one of my friends (Sara!) had begun to give it a try, but stopped for reasons along these lines (with the addition of hot yoga). And that vinegar rinse? I had no desire, as Sara so perfectly put it, to “smell like salad dressing.”

But I wasn’t ready to give up the idea, so I decided that there had to be some kind of transitional way to go, rather than just giving shampoo up cold turkey. After some research, the most feasible course of action seemed to be cutting down the ingredient list of my current regimen drastically. I had been using a great line of shampoos and conditioners, Organix, which I chose for its simplicity, affordability, and because it smells freaking awesome. But my next step was to choose something even more basic, and I went for a little homemade concoction made of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (I love the almond scent), a couple tablespoons of coconut oil, and a few drops of jasmine essential oil as my new shampoo, and went straight for that vinegar rinse in place of conditioner.

It worked!

It wasn’t without occasional pitfalls–on one particularly memorable occasion, my mom noted that my hair smelled “earthy”–but I met these with little adjustments (and sometimes, quick Google searches) to remedy whatever the situation was. 

But that obviously wasn’t the end. Last month, I decided to go for the moment of truth, and switch exclusively to baking soda. I had one very iffy week, but it was nothing that a topknot couldn’t hide. And compared to the 4-6 week-long nightmares I kept hearing about? I’ll call it a complete success.

Which brings me to now! I am now a month into the new regime, and there are no signs of turning back. I love how healthy my hair looks and feels, I love that my puffy frizz is so much less of an issue than it has been my entire life, and while I haven’t calculated it, I imagine that I’m saving a crapload of money to boot. Take a peek at my regime–and I hope that I have at least a couple of no-poo converts in the making.

Baking Soda “Shampoo”

– baking soda

– water

– essential oils: I use tea tree oil (it does wonders for an itchy scalp and is basically the ultimate skin remedy) and jasmine (smells amazing)

To make: Fill an empty bottles about 3/4 full of baking soda. Add just enough water to make a paste, and then add the essential oils. Mix well.

To use: In the shower, apply the paste to all areas of your scalp, and massage as you would normal shampoo. Don’t worry about covering all of your hair–the scalp is the focus. Rinse well.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

– Unfilitered Apple Cider Vinegar

To use: Avoiding your roots, pour or spray the ACV on your hair from the middle of the strands to the ends after your baking soda cleanse. Let sit for a couple of minutes, and rinse well. Finish off with a blast of cold water to seal the cuticle of the hair.


After towel-drying, while my hair is still damp, I put just a little bit of coconut oil on my fingers and apply it to my ends, scrunching my hair as I go. This has allowed my natural, curly texture to really shine through–and it makes my hair smell really good.


– Greasy roots: Up the baking soda, and make sure you’re getting all of your scalp. Also, make sure the vinegar is not touching your roots. This was my problem, and once I learned that it encouraged grease, this simple adjustment worked wonders. I also have found that using a spray bottle makes for easier application, and wastes way less vinegar. Also, make sure that 

– Smelly hair: If you smell like salad, really make sure you’re rinsing that ACV out of your hair well. It’s completely normal for your hair to be a little pungent while it’s still wet, but that should completely dissipate once it’s dry. In between washes, use baking soda on your roots to lift any grease or smells–like dry shampoo!

A mess or wasting ingredients: I bought some travel bottles at a beauty supply store and they’re great–particularly the spray bottle for the ACV. Much easier than trying to pour or scoop from a plastic container or glass jar.


Give it a try, and stay tuned for my next natural beauty DIY: face cleanser.

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