DIY Baking Soda Shampoo & Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner – 100% Green & Effective!

Baking Soda Shampoo and Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner

My curls high on baking soda shampoo and apple cider vinegar conditioner!

I can only imagine how much money I’ve spent in my lifetime experimenting with all different types of shampoos, conditioners, mousses, and hair gels to tame my unruly curls (see my other post on how I care for my curly hair). Since switching to baking soda shampoo and apple cider vinegar conditioner a year ago, I haven’t tried another product and haven’t even wanted to! If you think this sounds like a gimmick, I can’t blame ya, but I promise it’s not. Just start browsing the comments on this post and you’ll see one success story after another.

I’ve tried Nexxus, Frizz-Eaze, Kérastase, DevaCurl, Matrix Biologe, Redken, and Bed Head to name a few. I’m 30 years old now, and until a year ago, I still hadn’t found the perfect products to keep my hair soft, manageable, moisturized and most importantly, tamed. After using no-poo (no sodium laureth sulfate) shampoo and conditioner from DevaCurl for a couple of years and only washing my hair every 3-4 days, it was only fitting that I take the full plunge and make my own Baking Soda shampoo!

So ewww, that’s totally gross! Wash your hair every 3 to 4 days and not use real shampoo? Well, at first it is gross because your hair has to go through a 2-4 week transition period (mine was about 2 1/2 weeks) as it adjusts how much oil it produces.

See, regular shampoo has harsh sulfates in it, which are synthetic detergents. These sulfates clean the hair a little too well and end up stripping it of its natural oils, which causes your scalp to produce more oil than is actually needed. Baking Soda doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils, but simply removes dirt from your hair.

I was determined to try it and stick it out – especially because it’s so incredibly cheap, gentle on my hair and 100% green! My hair did continue producing excess oil for about two weeks, even after having used a poo free shampoo for several years prior! I was very surprised by this. After that period, however, my hair felt softer than ever and started to actually lay flat! This works for all types of hair, not just curly. In fact, most bloggers who’ve written about it have straight hair.

UPDATE – If you’re not sure if you are ready to make the switch but still want to use more natural cleaners for your hair, check out my No-Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda post. I use an aloe vera and glycerine shampoo and talk about it there.

Testimonial – Removes Cradle Cap

One of my readers, Deanna, has been using the diluted baking soda on her five month old baby and says that her baby’s skin is much softer and it is helping to remove her cradle cap. Wow! It’s really not necessary to spend ten times the money on natural baby soaps when you can make baking soda shampoo and soap for pennies!

So, let’s get started!

Ingredients for Baking Soda Shampoo

All you need to make your own shampoo! Baking Soda and water – doesn’t get any cheaper or easier than that, folks!

Baking Soda Shampoo

  • Filtered Water
  • An empty container – I use an old shampoo bottle
  • Baking Soda (where to buy)
  • Measuring Cup
  • Tablespoon
  • 1 Funnel

Approx. Ratio for the Recipe: 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 cup water OR make a paste with baking soda and a small amount of water and store in an old lotion tub. Just rinse thoroughly if you make a paste. The ratio for this recipe is flexible – there’s really no right or wrong way to do it. Add more baking soda if your hair is thick and long or oily, and less if it’s short and thin or dry. I use a little bit more, because my hair is so thick and long. So, for a 32 ounce container, I use 5 tablespoons of Baking Soda and 4 cups of cool water. I use the funnel to get the water and baking soda into the container. I’ve used warm water before (so I could use the shampoo right away and it wouldn’t be cold), but warm to hot water causes the baking soda to break down and clump, rendering it ineffective.

It’s so easy! Takes me about 5 minutes to complete it.

I take the bottle, flip my head upside down, and squirt the shampoo onto my scalp (the mixture is usually colder than room temperature, so it’s COLD to just pour on the scalp, which I why I flip my head over!).

Then, I take my fingers and rub my scalp in a circular motion, adding more shampoo if it feels like I need it, and rinse very thoroughly.

TIPS:

  • It’s very important to rinse thoroughly or your hair will feel grainy and dry.
  • Make the recipe with cool to lukewarm water, but not warm or hot. Warm/hot water reacts with the baking soda and causes it to clump up.
Ingredients for Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner

Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner

  • Empty container (I use an empty vinegar bottle)
  • Measuring cup
  • Funnel
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (where to buy)
  • Water (see tips below for scented, herb-infused water in the “Worried About the Smell?” section

Ratio for the conditioner is one tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar to one cup of filtered water. My hair is so dry, thick and long that I use a lot more and it works wonders for my hair – about 1 cup ACV with 1 cup water.

I shied away from using this as a conditioner for a long time because as I used it in the shower, my hair did not feel soft and silky like it did with commercial conditioners, so I thought it wasn’t working. Then, I bit the bullet and decided to try it without any commercial conditioner just to see what would happen. The result? After my hair dried (and I ignored that it didn’t feel soft while wet), it was softer and smoother than when I had used commercial conditioner! I was amazed and now I’m HOOKED.

Worried About the Smell?

Don’t be – I promise you will not smell like a walking pickle jar! If I did, believe me, I wouldn’t be using this. I may be into green living, but I do have pride (smile). Once your hair dries, the vinegar smell disappears. In fact, it starts to dissipate right after rinsing and I don’t notice a smell at all. However, I have been doing this method for a long time, so I am used to it.

If you are just starting this method and just can’t stand the smell of it in the shower or while it’s drying, here are several ideas:

  • You can add essential oils like lavender, rosemary, sage, or citrus to freshen it up. However, if you get the raw ACV like I do, the essential oils will make the raw material (aka “the mother”) clump up. (where to buy high quality essential oils)
  • You could also make your own scented water to mix with it by steeping some herbs in hot water (like making herbal tea) in a pot on the stove, strain the herbs and use that water to mix with the ACV.
  • A reader wrote that she uses just a little bit of rose water (where to buy) and orange blossom water (where to buy) and a few drops of her favorite essential to make it smell heavenly.

Tips for Application:

  • When starting this method for the first time, be careful to pour the ACV on just the ends of your hair so it doesn’t get on your scalp. It makes my scalp feel oily.
  • However, if you are dealing with psoriasis, dandruff or dry skin on your scalp, ACV does WONDERS for healing dry and damaged skin and I recommend applying it to your scalp until your skin heals. I have had a few spots of dandruff in the past and the ACV has cleaned it up after one application!

Trying this Method and Still Dealing with Frizziness?

I’ve gotten quite a few comments from curly girls who are dealing with frizziness while trying this method. I highly recommend reading my other post on my Curly Hair Regimen and follow all the steps when it comes to washing your hair and applying a product afterwards – each step counts. If you find it is drying your hair out, I have had the same issues (after using it for a year and a half, but many have been happy with it long-term). I wrote another post to address this issue - No-Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda. To be clear, I do still have to use a hair cream or mousse with this method or my hair would look terrible and frizzy. I know that may sound strange, but that’s just how coarse and curly my hair is. Before this method, my hair was frizzy, unruly and really dry even with hair products on it. Now, my hair feels soft and lays much more nicely and isn’t nearly as dry. Not only that, I’m saving tons of money as gentle shampoos and good conditioners are very expensive.

Another idea is to use coconut oil as a pre-conditioner. I get my coconut oil from Tropical Traditions and love it! Apply it BEFORE washing your hair, preferably an hour before and let it sit. Then, wash and rinse like normal. Do this on an as-needed basis until you hair feels like you want it to! I have been doing this since having my third baby as the hormonal changes made my hair very dry. The coconut oil has worked wonders to moisturize it!

See More Hair Posts, Keep Reading Below!

See my Natural Beauty Recipes page for ALL of my DIY green projects, like homemade deodorant, lotion, detergent, and cleaning products!

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

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Comments

  1. I am 2 weeks into using BS and vinegar rinse. I have straight, fine hair which is normally oily and I need to wash it every day. I have been using the BS method every 2 days and I am ready to give it up! I really want it to work but my hair has not been de-greased on a single occasion. The grease it just building up. I have even resorted to using neat BS on wet hair tonight and leaving it in for several minutes. No variation seems to work. I have read the suggestions on this thread and have tried them all. I have an interview in the morning and am about to resort to chemical shampoo. I’m so disappointed I can’t seem to make it work. If anyone has any suggestions, they will be greatly received :)

    • Mel, I’m going to post about this soon, but I’ll give you a heads-up. One thing I haven’t promoted much is something I’ve been trying – it’s a great transition from shampoo to baking soda. I use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (sorry, this won’t help you tonight unless you’ve already got some on-hand!). It suds up a little but it is totally sulfate-free. I dilute it – about a 1 to 4 ratio with water and add my favorite essential oils. I only use it on my roots. Otherwise, with you having an interview, try adding a little more baking soda to the recipe and wash again. But if that doesn’t work or you don’t feel like trying, I think you deserve pretty hair so you can slam your interview. Then, start again when you regain the courage! :)

      • Thank you Sara, I indulged and washed it with a little sachet of shampoo I found in my cupboard. It immediately looked clean and shiny again (no doubt thanks to the chemicals coating it!). I have just ordered a small bottle of Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap in lavender from their British site. I’ve also ordered a lip balm :) Thanks for the advice.

    • What ratio of baking soda to water were you using? Were you using the apple cider vinegar as well? I too have straight-ish fine hair that I washed every other day (only because I refused to wash every day. One the second day my hair was super greasy. I could give myself a faux hawk without gel) Now I use 1 tbsp. baking soda to 3 tbsp. water and 1 tbsp. acv to 4 tbsp. water. It works really really well for me! At first, I had my hair was only a little bit less greasy but now my hair looks the way it did on the second day on the fourth day. And it feels less gross, too.

      Although, my scalp is very flaky. I have psoriasis and very short hair so that may be the case.

      • Eliza, if you’re just switching over then you will experience the greasiness, like I write about in the post. Your scalp is adjusting to producing less oil (it overproduces oil with regular shampoo). The only way around this is to just wash your hair everyday or every other day for the first few weeks (2-3) of switching to no-poo. If you’ve been doing this for a while, then you might need to increase how often you wash or increase the ratio. The ratio I used is here in the post – 1 tbsp baking soda to one cup. This should greatly help your psoriasis, as there are tons of comments here with people who have dandruff and psoriasis and have noticed it healing.

    • Johanna Coreas says:

      I see your comment was in August, and it is now October, so I hope you didnt actually stop. Remember it takes between two weeks to a month, give or take, for the scalp to adjust. It’s totally wortg it. If ypu did stop, atart it again and give it about 5 weeks to make your final decision about it.

    • Angela Thorassie says:

      Make sure the baking soda water feels slimy and I like to let it sit for a little while. I usually put it in rub it well and then shave or wash the rest of my body before rinsing it out. You might also want to try the paste instead of the water solution.

    • Mel,
      I too have, straight, super- fine “just hangs there” oily hair. I misunderstood the directions and have had GREAT success! I put about 1/3 of a cup of baking soda in my hand and and then work it into my hair (somehow I missed the whole mix it with water into a shampoo part???) and then I rinse it out. I then use a spray bottle filled with unfiltered apple cider vinegar (again, I missed the adding water to it part???) and spritz it all over my hair and then rub it in and rinse it out. I towel dry my hair, spray in some CHI volume spray (what I normally use) and bow it dry……GREAT results. Soft, full, shiny and lasts two days. I never had 2nd day hair before. I do this in the shower. 3 times I’ve done this in the tub and it doesn’t work the same. I guess the rinsing is not as good or the water temperature isn’t the same….so I’m sticking with the shower. As for making the BS into a shampoo and the vinegar into a conditioner, since it aint broke, I’m not going to mess with it! Everyone has noticed the difference, even my hair stylist. I brought my supplies to her salon because I dot ever want the chemicals in my hair again! I have grey and was worried the vinegar would strip my color, but it actually appeared to keep it on so long that I only had to get it done again once my roots grew out. Usually I lose the color before that happens. My only issue was that I was paranoid that I smelled like fish-n-chips( because I eat mine with malt vinegar) and kept asking my friends to smell my hair and they swore I never did! I still swear that when I sweat I can smell the vinegar, but again, friend checks have verified its all in my head!

  2. Ronda Gilbert says:

    Hi,
    Just want to ask before I try this, can I make a batch a head of time and leave in the shower for family or does it need to be prepared before hand each time we use it? Thanks so much, Ronda

  3. Georgia Bennett says:

    I tried your recipe for cleaning and rinsing my hair and LOVE it!!!! my hair is very fine and thin, it measures 29 inches from the nape of my neck..I put a couple drops of coconut oil in my hand and massaged it in my hair when it was dry and it looks amazing!!! I have a picture of it on my fb page, it’s Georgia Bennett Ravens’ Tail Weaver..thank you so much :)

  4. Georgia Bennett says:

    I squirted some on my face scrubber and washed my face, what a big difference!! the face wash I normally use makes my face a bit dry but the baking soda water didn’t dry it out at all and my face felt very nice and clean. I will continue using it for a face wash and let you know how it works out…No more shampoo & conditioner purchases for me and hopefully no more face washing stuff

  5. blanka maria says:

    My hair is thick, course and blonde and highlighted. I have been using Kerastase for years and it has gotten to the point of being so dry I can barely wash it – it is hard and brittle even when wet. Silicon build up is the culprit. It doesn’t wash away and takes a while to wash out, even with a silicon free shampoo. But after one wash with the Shielo Hydrate Shampoo, my hair is back to feeling baby soft again! I love Shielo and I have never even heard of this brand! I am going to use this as my regular shampoo until it is gone. Its from the Shielo brand, called Shielo Hydrate Shampoo.

  6. I have a question. My hair is long and curly too. Any moister at all causes it to knot up terriable. Does your hair knot up with or without our Apple Cider Vinegar?

  7. Hi Sara, I just want to say a big THANK YOU for sharing this. I have really fine hair and I used to suffer from really oily scalp which resulted in some hair loss problems. I tried a lot of shampoos and none of them worked. After using this method (almost 3 weeks now), my hair loss reduced drastically and my scalp is also a lot less oily than before. I used to wash my hair every day (and sometimes 2x a day) but now I can do it every other day. You’re a life saver! :D

    • Wow, that is wonderful news! I’m so excited for you. Hair loss is even worse for a woman since it isn’t expected to happen to us. I’m so glad the method works for you!

    • Grace-
      my hair is long and thin and it is knotting up as soon as I put the baking soda paste on it, and then even after using the ACV (probably need to increase the ratio to more ACV) it is horribly difficult to comb through. It took me about 25 minutes just to get through all of my hair this morning after shower. Then while and after drying it feels like I have sculpting wax in it…. not really greasy, but starchy. I began yesterday, and this shower was #3 with the baking soda/water, ACV/water system.
      I have lost a ton of hair after ‘normal’ shampoos and conditioners- no knots, but my hair just falls out with combing… I really want this to work but not sure what I need to do to help my hair during the transition period.
      And… I’m curious what I should do while traveling…

      • Heather, did you stick with the BS and ACV? I have really fine, thin hair that falls out in the shower and with combing (I have ruined drains because of how much hair falls out) and just wants to know if this does help if you stick with it. Thank you!

  8. Do you use bottled water, cold filtered fridge door water or distilled water?

  9. I know Bragg ACV is awesome but isn’t it way more expensive than a regular store kind? Do those other ones work just as well?

  10. When you say you don’t wash your hair every day, do you use a shower cap or do you still rinse it in the shower water?

  11. I discovered your website quite but accident but am very glad I did. I have short, colored hair and have been unable to achieve the look I wanted…..until now. This morning I used the baking soda shampoo and ACV rinse and could not be more pleased. I am just amazed and so glad I found this. Thank you so much!

    • That’s wonderful, Mary! You might be cursing a week or two from now, as your hair goes through the shock of switching over, but I’m glad you are starting off on a great foot! Come back here for support if things get really oily…

  12. Hi, i am having a hair loss problem since 2011 due.to dandruff, oily and dry with grease. my hair is very thin now.. i used head and shoulder shampoo and it works just fine it controlled the flakes but the itch still there.. last week i consult a hair consultant and he wanted me to undergo corrective treatment for scalp because when she checkedd my scalp a lot of dandruff residue were there. Its very expensive you know. 40,000 pesos! Wtf! So i searched some home remedies and see ur post and gave it a try just now! Ohh i still cannot comment on the results because its my first applied. After i dried my hair, i felt my hair really clean and lessen the itch, hopefully and pray for me this work for me as well! Thank you author!

    • I do hope this works for you, Kristan! You are smart to find your own therapy as dropping that kind of money is just crazy. There are TONS of testimonials here on the blog about people who’ve reversed hair loss and dandruff by switching to baking soda. I think it’s the sodium laureth sulfate in shampoos that are stripping the scalp of it’s own protective oils, so the skin is left vulnerable and defenseless. My fingers are crossed for you!

      • I love to use this now, but in between days, can i use apple cider vinegar for rinse? or can i wash it with plain water? in between days make my hair so oily looking but in the sense when i touched it so smooth and silky, what will i do in this day? is this now a transition that they said? waaaaa.

        I just love this formula. It’s my 2nd time to applied this last morning and i love the results, no need to style, just comb, and i don’t worry on wind now that will flip my hair, because it will back to its normal shape even without touching it! And my dandruff itchy problem really lessen, i think, i noticed the itchiness awhile ago is now tolerable.

        And btw, i just bought essential oil, and i have now a lavender oil, can’t find a rosemary oil, but can i use tea tree oil for substitute to this? is rinsing with water rinse okay tomorrow or i just have to wait for 2 days to rinse it again with BS + ACV? MWF schedule is it fine? thank you, i am new to this so im still coping up with the changes! thank you guys especially you author!

        • Hi Kristan! There aren’t hard and fast rules for this, really. You have to do what works for your hair type. So, the oiliness you’re experiencing is part of the transition. You’ve got to allow about two weeks to get off of shampoo – your scalp has to adjust to producing less oil. So, if the oil is driving you crazy, then I suggest washing every day or every other day for a few weeks. Tea Tree oil is great, but doesn’t smell nice. Rosemary oil smells nice and woodsy. Did you try looking online or buying it online? I buy my oil on Amazon.

  13. I’m looking into a natural way of cleaning my hair and would love to try this method!! I’m wondering thou, would it be effective or is it recommended for dyed or processed hair??

    • Hi Lorena! I have only heard of it affecting those who dye their hair blonde, that it might darken it a little. I color mine and have not noticed stripping or fading. It is safe for processed hair. An even safer method is washing with aloe vera gel, which I write about in another post.

  14. I am just wondering if white vinegar will do anything to my hair versus acv? I have darkish brown long fine hair and I don’t want to use something that may discolor it. I have not tried the BS shampoo or the ACV/white vinegar conditioner yet but I have both at home. I do use plain baking soda as a dry shampoo to obsorb extra oil on my scalp so I only have to wash my hair every other or every 3 days and that works amazingly in case anyone might want to try that while they are in the transition. My hair does not have artificial color in it either if that matters.

    • Hi Amy! Yes – white vinegar is a pH of 3 and ACV is 4, so it is more acidic and, therefore, harsher for your hair and skin. Great for cleaning, but not hair. Thanks for your other tips on using the baking soda – great idea! The vinegar shouldn’t change your hair color at all- I’ve never heard of that happening except to dyed blondes.

  15. Hey there. :) Quick question, I apologize if you’ve already answered it, I may have missed it. I have very bad allergies and am under Dr orders to wash my hair daily (gotta keep any pollen and dust it gets on it through the day off my pillow, and keep my bed and pillows as clean as possible) – would this method be okay for daily use? :)

    • Did you get an answer to this? I have bad allergies too and have to wash hair every night in warmer months due to pollen and air pollution

      • Emily, have you seen my posts on essential oils? They are very very helpful for allergies, especially one combination of lavender, lemon and peppermint. You can diffuse those or put into a roller bottle and rub on the bottoms of your feet, under your nose and more! But getting high quality oils is a must most on the market don’t work as they are so diluted and adulterated. Read more here.

  16. I’m on day 5 of baking soda/ACV shampoo and conditioner…. and I’ve read it takes about 2 weeks for the oily-ness to lessen… but right now I have a bad combination of really greasy/oily hair and really dry….like starch….. I’ve tried less baking soda and more like a paste…. I’ve tried more ACV and less… I’ve tried combing it in the shower, which helps ever so slightly, but basically I’m tearing my hair out trying to comb it. I can’t rub it into my scalp much b/c it will knot it even more than it becomes. I brush it before the shower and it gets knotted instantly after the shampoo and the conditioner doesn’t help with softness…. what am I doing wrong….???
    I know the typical shampoos and conditioners were causing my hair to fall out, but this isn’t better b/c i’m tearing it out to comb it. I’ve got highlighted longer hair and it’s very thin and thinning….
    Help!!!!

    • Hi Heather! Oh goodness, sounds like you’re having quite the hard time with this. I’m so sorry! First, what is your hair type? My suggestion is to check out my post I wrote a year after this one – No-Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda. Baking soda works really well for a lot of people, but after a while, it can start to dry out the hair because it’s very clarifying. I’ve never had a person write here (there are currently 422 comments!) say it caused such dryness right from the beginning, though. I loved baking soda for the first year and a half, then I switched to using aloe vera and glycerine because my hair got very dry. If you still want to keep giving BS a try, then try using less BS in the recipe and not more and use your regular conditioner on the ends of your hair to restore the moisture.

  17. Carol Nathan says:

    I’ve been thinking about this method for awhile but have not jumped in as I have highlighted hair and have heard ACV can strip color….any insight?

    Thank you :-)

  18. So I’ve been doing this for probably about three weeks now. I’ve been experiencing a lot of different results. Sometimes my hair feels nice, but other times it just gets very separated and oily, no matter how I wash it or dry it. And that happened yesterday, and I’m at least into week 3 now. Probably more than that… I’ve gone through a shampoo size bottle of it and have had to make more.
    Anyway. I’ve been using about the same amount of shampoo and try to be consistent with how I was, but the results keep varying, and its very annoying.
    Also, I think I am losing a lot of hair from this =/ I have a lot of hair and I normally lose a good amount when I wash, but I feel like the amount has really increased since I started this. I was really on-board, but I’m thinking of trying to find a good shampoo or something now.
    Any thoughts for me?

    • Hi there, Dee! That is interesting that you feel like you’re losing hair. Many people have reported to me that it’s helped their hair grow back! Some things just don’t work for everyone, and this is no exception. If you want to keep trying, then try increasing or decreasing the amount of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. It might also be that you have hard water and need a filter (can get at Wal-Mart for $35). The filter made a big difference for me. However, if you are just tired of trying, you can check out my other post – No-Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda. It was written for people exactly like you! Also, many have told me on here that they like Aubrey Organics shampoos. I have not tried it, but I have tried their other products and have been happy with that brand. Their shampoos are sulfate-free. Best of luck! I’m here for support!

  19. Day before yesterday, I ran out of conditioner so I nervously jumped in feet first last night with the ACV. I’ve always had to use conditioner to just be able to get a comb through my hair, so I was really nervous that I was going to have problems with the ACV. I was SO pleasantly surprised to find it was super, super easy to come my hair afterwards and it does seem to be pretty soft. And I love that my hair doesn’t feel heavy anymore. That said, I’m having a major problem with fly-aways and static.

    I’m still using up the last of my regular shampoo, and I think I’m going to go the Dr. Bronner’s route first, so I’ve just switched to the ACV to replace my conditioner. My hair is probably medium in thickness, but I have a LOT of hair and it is naturally wavy. I don’t use product. Haven’t in years. And I haven’t had a problem with fly-aways or static in years. Is this just part of the adjustment period or does that only apply to the no-poo shampoo? Any suggestions for controlling the static and fly-aways? I’m reticent to use oils because even with regular shampoo and conditioner, I’ve been able to get away with washing only every other day. I’m afraid any oils will make my hair greasy and I’ll have to shower every day. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi Myndi! Yes, I suggest spraying some aloe vera on your hair, or glycerine. Both are very moisturizing without being greasy at all. I write a lot about using those in a similar post – No Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda. I actually now use aloe vera/glycerine to wash my hair and my hair has never been softer and more beautiful!

  20. Big Help
    Thank you

  21. Sara. I’ve been on the curly girl method for 2 1/2 years with mediocre results. I finally decided to take the plunge and use nothing but bs and acv and did not use a commercial conditioner afterward. I used 1 tablespoon acv to 1 cup of water. my hair was so dry I couldn’t get my fingers through it even after 2 days. what am I doing wrong? Nothing I try works. Not even coconut oil. My hair is so dry and Frizzy but doesn’t absorb oil either. Oil just sits there

  22. Hi Sara, Thanks so much for all your recipes. Do you know how I can go green in my dishwasher and do you have a recipe for detergent for hand washing the dishes Thanks Janene

    • Hi Janene! Yes, I sure do! Click here for the recipe for homemade laundry detergent. As for hand washing detergent, right now I’ve been buying it from Seventh Generation. They sell it in my grocery store and it’s pretty safe – not as safe as castile soap, but very close. You can make it from a bar of castile soap – grate it and melt it over the stove then add a pinch of salt and water to dilute it. Then, you’ll have a thick handwashing detergent. But castile soap is not sudsy (since it does not contain artificial surfacants in it like sodium laureth sulfate).

  23. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. When I was a child and got my hair washed. Right away as soon as the soap was out of your hair, u had a vinegar rinse so to make sure to get kid of the soap. Can’t remember what soap, not shampoo and your hair was squeaky clean and u didn’t smell like vinegar at all. That is a very old method that was used . If your over 60, more than likely u.know what im talking about.

  24. I have been using this very same method for well over a year. I put the vinegar in a spray bottle for easy application. I am working on my first batch of home made ACV right now, so there is barely any expense to this at all! Also, for AA hair which is very dry I use straight ACV (with no baking soda step) and it serves as both cleanser and conditioner.

  25. Shivani Patel says:

    Hello, I have read many posts about baking soda shampoo and apple cider vinegar conditioner. I have finally decided to give it a try and see what it does for my hair. Lately I have been losing a lot of hair when I shampoo my hair with regular shampoo so I am hoping this helps reduce the hair loss. I only have one concern, I read on one website that the baking soda and acv shampoo works great but after a while it starts damaging your hair. Apparently, it has something to do with the pH level of baking soda since baking soda is alkaline which causes it to start damaging your hair after using overtime. This is the link http://empoweredsustenance.com/no-poo-method-damages-hair/. Any thoughts on this and any tips for starting to use this method as I want to start soon. Thanks for any help!

  26. Question…how much of the no poo do you put on your head each time? May sound dumb but I’m kinda confused. How much solution do you use at a time?

  27. I want to start doing this, but I’m wondering how good it protects color? I’m getting my hair coloured in a few weeks. Do you know if it washes out the dye or if it preserves it?

  28. Hello,
    I am new to this so have a very silly question. You say you make it in a 32 oz bottle, how much do you actually put on your head? Same as regular shampoo? Same question for the ACV. Thanks

  29. I am having a hard time with the switch and am about to give up on it. I am approaching week 4 of the method and I am not getting the results I want. My hair is dry, tangled, and still oily. I have been doing 2:1 ratio for the shampoo, I add about a forth tbs of liquid castile soap and a few drops of jasmine oil and then I put it just on my scalp. My conditioner rinse is 1:1 a ratio. I started using it in a normal bottle but after it making my hair more oily I switched to a spray bottle where I can spray a little all over my hair but then focus on the ends. Also when I sleep on my hair after washing, it just ends up being stiff and on it’s way to matting. Am I doing something wrong or is this method just not for me? My hair is past my arm pits and not incredibly thick but not thin either.

  30. I have very fine, light curls. Do you know if this method works for softer curls? I skimmed the comments and couldn’t find any others who had tried it.

    • Hi there! Yes! Absolutely. There are almost 500 comments here, so I bed you did have a hard time finding one you needed, but there are many throughout. Did you see in the post that I myself have very curly hair? I did find that baking soda started to dry it out after about a year. It’s perfect to transition off of shampoo, though. I now use aloe vera and glycerine to wash my hair – read more here.

  31. I used this product for a couple of weeks. I had excellent results. But I had to stop because after spending thousands of dollars at hospitals I finally figured out my symptoms were caused by the acv conditioner. Not a gluten allergy possibly having M.S. or a brain tumor testing cost way more than the difference to just use my normal conditioner and or treatments. I suggest they find a different conditioner. I am not the only one I know that got sick using the conditioner. I suggest no one to make the conditioner.

    • Hi Nicci! Wow, you had a reaction to ACV? I’m shocked! I haven’t seen anyone who’s reacted to ACV before. I have seen reactions to baking soda, but not ACV. I drink ACV in water every night and find it helps tremendously with my eczema and other inflammatory issues. Glad you figured out what it was so you’re not suffering anymore!

  32. Hi! I’ve been using a baking soda and Castile soap shampoo and ACV rinse for about 6 months. I started using it towards the end of my pregnancy after I finally used up te last of my store bought shampoo and I am 5 months post partum now. I love how clean and shiny my hair feels BUT I have a ton of breakage and split ends (which I have never had a problem with). Have you heard of anyone else who had this problem or do you think the hair changes are more likely because of my pregnancy? Would love to know your thoughts :)

    • Hi Mallory! Hmm, that is hard to say. I have never had anyone say (and there are 450 comments on this post as of right now) that it has caused breakage and split ends. However, people have told me it causes dryness. Now that your hair has transitioned to no-poo, I do suggest switching to aloe vera/glycerine, as I write about here – . It could be the changes in your hair from pregnancy, but I’ve never had that happen afterwards. I usually just lose a ton of hair, but everyone is different, so that’s why it’s hard to say…

  33. Hi, I read that BS is not good to use as it is not PH balance? and that is better to use cocnut milk, what do you know about this. Thanks

  34. Fuego Azul says:

    Gonna make the ACV conditioner tonight! I’m waiting to use up our shampoo bottle so I can make the baking soda shampoo. We’ve been using Nature’s Gate sulfate free (& cruelty free!) hair products, so I’m hoping the transition will be somewhat easy. I have medium-ish hair that likes being thick & wavy, or thin & flat when it feels like it, lol. I recently put a potent mix of ACV & rosemary water rinse in my hair &, although I couldn’t get the ACV smell out (I obviously used too much for my head), my hair/scalp felt sooooo good! It felt like it had a full yoga session while I slept, lol. Can’t wait to get started! :)

  35. I have been using baking soda as a shampoo and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner for two weeks now and I love it!!! I have long, thin, oily hair and was tired of the whole shampoo and conditioner regiment and was worried about the amount of chemicals being leached into my septic system and onto my body. I will never go back to regular shampoo and conditioner. My hair is soft and manageable and it has more volume and bounce.

  36. I apologise if this has been covered, but I tried to use coconut oil as a pre conditioner last night, and it didn’t rinse out. I’ve read conditioner will help, but I was curious if anyone knew a more natural option. Other than this, the baking soda and Apple cider vinegar has been great!

  37. Just started the bs/acv….am I supposed to rinse after rinsing with the acv?

  38. Maggie Hammond says:

    I’m really wanting to try this – I know a few friends who do it and love it. But I read somewhere else that you shouldn’t wash your hair with it every day? Is that true? I have long, thick, oily hair.

    • Hi Maggie! There really isn’t a rule for how often – it depends on how long you’ve been doing it and your hair type. Since you’re just starting, every day for a week or so is fine, I think. Then, gradually decrease as your scalp starts to acclimate to producing less oil.

  39. I used the baking soda wash and the ACV rinse last night. Is the ACV supposed to condition the hair? My hair was very hard to comb through and had lots of knots and tangles. I ended up with a headache (not to mention lots of hair in the tub) after working the comb through. I have very long, thick, curly black hair. Is there an additive I can try put in the ACV rinse? Or use something after? Any suggestions will be appreciated. Much thanks!!! :)

    • Hi Amber! Yes, it is supposed to condition it. I am able to comb through my curly hair with the ACV in it in the shower, but you weren’t able to? If so, then I suggest adding aloe vera or using it separately to your hair and working it through. Honestly, with curly hair, it isn’t necessary to comb it at all. I just used my fingers and do it that way. The DEVA curl method teaches to never comb your hair as it can break the follicles. Also, another thing that’ll make your hair softer is to increase the ACV ratio to water. That usually does the trick for me.

      • Ok. Great. Thanks. I will try that. I normally do not use a comb, but it was so bad last night, I didn’t know what else to use. Thank you!!!

  40. Stephanie says:

    I’m only in my first week of trying this… And so far the results are very mixed. I have pretty thick hair that’s naturally wavy/curly, and when I let my hair curl, the results are decent. However, I have been cut off from my hair-dryer and straightener because they are on strike against my oily scalp.
    My hair feels… Pretty good. It’s a little dryer and frizzier than usual (the static! Whew!), but soft and manageable. My scalp, however is in full revolt. I am willing to give it the month needed for my scalp to adapt and hopefully see less of the oily buildup, but in the meantime, is there anything I can be doing to minimize it? I’ve been stuck with headbands, hair clippies or curls… And unless the weather is warm (and I can leave my house with wet hair), I don’t have the time in the mornings to manage the curls.
    I really want to see this through, but I fear the oil is only getting worse and I do still have to maintain a professional appearance for my job while my scalp is learning to re-regulate itself. Help?

    • Update:
      So now I’m 2 weeks in, and everything feels chaotic.

      My oily scalp is not resolving. It looks okay, but it feels awful! About the first 4-6 inches of my hair feels sticky and stiff like I didn’t wash out yesterday’s hairspray.
      The rest of my hair is dry, stiff and has completely lost its shine and flow.

      I was crunch-curling it up every morning to hide the oily look, but even that used to be so much simpler. Now I have to use product in my hair to calm down the copious amounts of frizz… Which I never had to do before.
      I traded one kind of chemical for another to make this work. (I do plan to try the gel recipe from this website).
      So when I stopped adding product for curl, my hair is now just a dry, inconsistently wavy frizz-ball that looks like I’ve spent too many years dying and blow-drying. (PS, my hair used to be smooth, healthy, shiny, soft and rarely tangled up and I never dye it).

      I’ve also found that my shower routine has almost tripled my water consumption as I have to stay in so much longer trying to use a spray bottle to do what a quick handful of shampoo used to.
      This doesn’t feel very green to me at all.

      I’m extremely frustrated because I want this to work so badly, but these results are not going to work for me in the long term if something doesn’t change.

      I’ve tried changing the amount of baking soda and ACV to dilute down, as well as how much I apply to my hair. I tried coconut oil as a pre-conditioning treatment and I’ve tried just leaving it and not getting it wet at all for a day (those results were an epic disaster, my hair has never looked so disgusting–literally looked homeless).

      Please help!! Do I need to just keep giving it time..? Am I getting the measurements wrong somewhere?
      Or is this simply a matter of this doesn’t work for everyone?

      • Hi Stephanie! Oh, I’m sorry you’re so discouraged. It’s true that it doesn’t work for everyone right away – you can still do no-poo but I’m guessing the whole baking soda routine is just not working for you. So, I say drop that and let’s try something else. Have you seen my other post – No Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda? Check that out – I suggest using castile soap to wash your hair to clarify it and get rid of the excess oil. Then moisturize the ends well with aloe vera or apple cider vinegar and use the homemade gel or whatever you already have. I would use the soap only on your scalp so your ends don’t get dry.

  41. Hello, I’ve been using this combination for almost a year with great results, BUT – the conditioner that I make will grow a sliminess after 5 or 6 days – I wonder if it really could be because I add just 5 drops of essential oil or something else might be going on. I welcome your thoughts, Sonia

  42. I sorta dread the idea of using ACV on the hair because its kinda acidic but this looks like an awesome DIY way to get rid of dirty hair (especially if you live in cities with heavy air pollution). Thanks for sharing!
    Marissa Lee recently posted..L’Oreal Paris Volume Filler Shampoo & Conditioner ReviewMy Profile

  43. Hi. So ive been shampoo free for a month.i first tried castile soap but beacuse i had mixed with some vitamin e and coco oil my hair was really greasy and heavy so i decided to just do bs with acv rinse. Its been weeks and my hair still feels so heavy and greasy while wet and after it dries. Ive been washing every third day which is what i would do with regular shampoo(at least during winter months) . Do you think i need to wask more often ? Or maybe im using to much bs or acv? I really want this to work so any feedback would be great. Btw i have long thin wavy hair. Ive been surviving by keeping my hair in a braid but my bangs are begging to be be soft and fluffy again lol
    also i put bs on scalp rinse with water then spray acv on ends and rinse with cool water. Is that correct?
    Thanks for your great tips and comments. Love your site

    • Hi Yve! Sounds like you’re giving it a really good try! So, I suggest using the castile soap without any added oils for a couple of washes to get rid of that extra oil and buildup on your hair. What matters is how your hair feels when it’s dry, not wet. Does it feel okay then? If so, then this method is just fine. I don’t think you’re using too much or too little BS and ACV necessarily.

  44. Hey All!! I am just starting this and hoping this is the key to getting rid of dandruff! First day down.Just wondering how often do you wash and condition? I have extremely curly hair, I don’t usually wash everyday but I was told with this you start out every other day and then get down to once maybe twice a week.

    • Hi Danae! Well, it’s different for each person. I’d take each day as it comes – if you can go 2-3 days between washings, then great! If your scalp is super oily and you can’t stand, then by all means, wash. There’s really no rule while you’re switching over, or even after. It’s whatever works for your scalp and hair type.

  45. Just tried this today again and so far so good….. I did the recipe the same but being a stay at home mom afforded me the ability to forgo washing for two weeks BEFORE trying the “no poo” method and honestly it worked better this way than starting it without. I have incredibly thick hair and long (middle of back) as it is and even with shampoo if I washed it once a week and conditioned 2-3 times that was a lot…..it wasn’t manageable that way and dry….I found my hair was way better going wash free….I would’ve done longer but I have a wedding so I wanted a clean smelling head though the hubs assured me it didn’t….. Any who the reason I wanted to comment is that I just wanted to verify that the baking soda/water mix goes on dry hair unlike shampoo which goes on wet b/c that’s how I did it

  46. I’ve been using the baking soda acv method for almost 4 weeks now and am having some issues. My hair is straight and long (almost reaches my lower back) and thick. It used to be shiny, soft, and manageable and now it seems lifeless and dull. It gets extremely knotty and dry and it’s hard for me to run my fingers through my hair, even once it is dry. I haven’t had much of an issue with it being too oily, it’s mainly just oily in one part of the back of my head. I started this because I heard it’s supposed to make your hair more bouncy and shiny but I’m experiencing the opposite. Do you have any suggestions?

    • For some, the baking soda doesn’t work well. I suggest alternatives that I mention in this post here – No Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda. I think your hair might do well with castile soap instead, which is mentioned in that link. Hope we can get it worked out for ya, Brooke!

      • ah man! I really wanted it to work! One thing that I may have been doing wrong is the baking soda mixture. I was never able to make a paste, or to even get the baking soda to dissolve. I would mix the water and baking soda and then after awhile it would just settle to the bottom. I’ve tried mixing with warm and cold water and there was no difference. Do you have any suggestions on how to mix it?

  47. Hi, I wanted to share some home research on why you should NOT use baking soda on your hair… it’s pH balance is such, that it akin to doing a chemical process on your hair… extremely harsh and damaging. See the research here:

    http://blog.kanelstrand.com/2014/01/baking-soda-destroyed-my-hair.html

    Thankfully I found this info before I ruined my hair! I also tried her organic rye flour remedy with good results.

    • Admittedly, I do tend to have somewhat sensitive skin, but I was shocked by the almost immediate flurry of hives that covered my back and chest after using the baking soda mixture for shampoo. I’ve used baking soda in the bath before and had no problem, so perhaps it has something to do with the combination of it touching my hair and/or the ratio of baking soda to water. Thankfully, the hives were not severe and were alleviated by putting aloe vera on them. FYI: Using the ACV as conditioner did not create any allergic reactions for me.

      I’ll just go back to using EWG’s Skin Deep website to find shampoos, conditioners and other toiletry products that are rated as having low toxicity/allergens: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

  48. I’m going to give this a try, but that’s not why I am commenting…

    I had to laugh when I saw the Weis label on the vinegar. I’m from Central PA and it just looks so normal to me!

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