A Family Builds a Homestead in the Rain

No-‘Poo Hair Care

I’m now four months shampoo-free and in love with the results! My hair has never been so soft, frizz-free, quick-drying and easy to brush out. It feels healthier, and if I do say so myself, it looks great.

Shampoo and conditioner were the last products in my shower rack loaded with carcinogenic chemicals. After a year and a half of struggling with acne–brought on initially by pregnancy hormones, and persistent after my daughter’s birth–I ditched the half-dozen expensive facial cleansers that seemed to sustain my skin woes and against all advice began to use our homemade soap on my face. The results were almost instantaneous– finally, clear skin. Add to that the knowledge that I was saving money and sparing my body the exposure to the proven toxins in bath and body products, I couldn’t be happier.

My hair is very, very thick, coarse, and wavy. Since I don’t blow-dry, washing it means hours of wet-head, and if I dare to put it up in a pinch, it will stay wet easily all day long. When I used to blow-dry, the process took at least 45 minutes to an hour and resulted in ultra-frizz. Even washing takes forever. Since I dread it so much, I wash about every 4 to 7 days.

The thought to try out an alternative hair care came late last fall. As cold weather set in, dry scalp was another annoying issue that I hoped a new method would solve. Fortunately, it was. I read an article in Tree Hugger about a baking soda and cider vinegar treatment, and I gave it a shot. With a few modifications, it’s what I do to this day and foresee no change. I’m hooked.

The moment the vinegar goes into my hair, I can hardly describe the silk. I can run my fingers through the coarse locks instantly, and combing is totally optional.

Here’s what I do: We keep a bottle full of cider vinegar in our shower rack, as well as an enameled metal camping mug. We keep a box of baking soda in a bathroom cupboard. When I’m planning to wash my hair, I grab the mug and shake about a tablespoon of baking soda in (that’s for my heavy-duty hair; my husband uses about a teaspoon). Then I put it back on the shower rack. When my hair is wet, I fill the mug– right under the shower head, so it gets mixed well– with about a cup of water and swirl it around to be sure none is stuck to the mug. (Reminder from third grade: residual baking soda + vinegar = volcano!) I squeeze a bit of water out of my hair to help absorb, and pour the baking soda right onto my scalp. I scrub a bit with my fingers, then rinse really well.

Next I add about 2 tablespoons of vinegar. (Again, considerations for hair quantity.) I mix with another cup or cup-and-a-half of water, give my hair another squeeze, and pour it over. I let it just drip down into my hair, then rinse immediately. Yes, it smells like vinegar at first. Expect it, and you’ll get over it fast. It doesn’t bother me at all. And run your fingers through and you’ll forget the smell. After a good rinse, there is zero residual odor, I promise.

When I do have any dry scalp or flakiness, the solution is simple. About an hour before I am going to wash my hair, I rub about a teaspoon or so of coconut oil into my scalp and give it a good brush to distribute and open the pores. Then I proceed as usual. Results are immediate.

It takes about five weeks for the natural scalp oils to regain their rhythm, which better prevents frizz. In the first couple of weeks, I used a tiny amount of coconut oil rubbed into my fingers to tame the fluff. It can be done wet or dry. But when I applied it wet, it tended to be uneven– some areas still fluffy, others visibly oily. Once the natural rhythm of oils returned, my hair stopped looking greasy, no matter how long I go without washing.

My new hair regimen is incredibly affordable. An 80-cent box of baking soda and few-dollar gallon bottle of cider vinegar goes a long way. And the coconut oil I’ve used regularly has amounted to probably a tablespoon or two at most. Plus, all ingredients are always on-hand at all times, at least at our house.

This post was shared on the Homestead Blog Hop.

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  1. March 7, 2015    

    Hmm, I may have to give this a whirl. I’m trying to go natural with most everything and this is simplistic with seemingly great results. Thanks for the detailed information! 🙂

    • March 7, 2015    

      I hope you do and love it as much as I do– I started for the environmentally-friendly and health benefits, but stick with it for the amazing results! 🙂

  2. March 7, 2015    

    I tried this a few years back without success. But I like your method, I would love to make this regimen work for me. Thanks for sharing your success with us. So glad I found you through Homestead Blogger Network.

    • March 7, 2015    

      Me too, Sarah! Thanks for visiting. I love HBN!

  3. Allie Allie
    March 7, 2015    

    I need to do this! I have a ton of coarse, naturally wavey-curly hair! Waist length and I spend way more than I should on product to keep it manageable!

    • March 7, 2015    

      Do it, Allie! Seriously, I’m freed from my chains of hair-maintenance! You will understand the bit about taking forever to dry or detangle. This is a miracle cure, and I can’t complain that it’s practically free. 🙂

  4. Ann (LiveTheOldWay) Ann (LiveTheOldWay)
    March 8, 2015    

    Great article! I’m going to try this! I have waist length hair and only wash once a week for exactly the same reasons. 🙂

    • March 8, 2015    

      I love hearing from so many people who can feel my pain! I used to be rather embarrassed to admit how seldom I wash it, but seriously, it’s a major hassle. This routine has made it so much easier and now I actually wear my hair down!

  5. MM MM
    March 11, 2015    

    It was great to hear your success story with the vinegar and baking soda. I have washed my hair before with an egg mixed with distilled water and vinegar, and had great results with that because I have hair that has little body and weight to it. My daughter, however, has hair like yours, incredibly thick, and taking hours to dry. I will mention your experience to her and have her try it. It is great to hear your personal experience and amazing results!

    • March 11, 2015    

      Thanks, MM! I recently heard about using egg– interesting to consider! I hope your daughter tries this and has the great results I have. I don’t see myself ever going back to commercial hair products.

  6. trisha trisha
    March 13, 2015    

    I’m thrilled that you found success in the No-Poo Method. I have very fine and thin hair. I tried a similar method for 6 months and gave up. I’m looking for a method that works well for fine/thin hair.

    • March 13, 2015    

      Someone with fine/ thin hair commented that they use egg and vinegar and it works great. Maybe worth a try!

  7. March 17, 2015    

    I’ve heard so many mixed reports on this, but every time I see a success it makes me wanna try it out! Maybe I’ll be brave enough sooner or later. Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop! 🙂

    • March 17, 2015    

      Thanks Lindsay! I recommend giving it a shot because even though it’s even better after a few weeks, the very first time sold me. Thanks for hosting!

    • March 17, 2015    

      I’m also adding the link-back– I forgot!

  8. August 30, 2015    

    I have really greasy hair and when I tried this it was so bad, but I pushed through about 4 months hoping it would subside, no luck. Mostly I’ll just use castile soap instead and that helps a lot. I’ve got super thick hair, and I’m looking forward to cutting it after the wedding so it’s nice and short again

    • August 31, 2015    

      I tend to have more dry hair, so maybe that’s why it’s worked so well for me. I’m glad castile soap works well for you! And my hair also is usually short, but I’ve basically been too lazy and cheap to go get a haircut. Soon, though, because it’s so heavy, it gives me headaches and sore scalp when it’s up!


I'm Kelly. Writer, crafter, forager, country winemaker, cook. Mama of an awesome toddler and married to my best friend. We recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, where we're setting out to grow, make, and learn as much as we can as the future unfolds.

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