No-Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda – Some Recipes

If you’re a die-hard no poo-er (if you think that means some bizarre practice of forced constipation, then you’re not…) that gets tired of using baking soda as shampoo because it has no poo (you miss the suds) or because your hair or scalp is starting to get dry, then this post is for YOU!

No Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda

So, I haven’t washed my hair with shampoo for a year and eight months, using only baking soda/water as “shampoo” and apple cider vinegar as conditioner (see my no-poo post here). It keeps my hair squeaky clean and I’ve been very happy with it (I promise – it’s not disgusting!). The price is right (cheapest thing EVER!) and it really works to clean (contrary to what one might think). Except for one thing – my hair is dry.

I’ve had to use a lot of styling cream and oils to replenish the moisture and even then, it’s gotten drier. There have been some comments on my first no-poo post with folks who have the same dry hair issue, so I realized about a month ago after a comment that mentioned baking soda can be drying, that my no-poo regimen might be to blame. So, after lots of research and some time in my chemistry lab kitchen whipping up some new concoctions, I came up with a few other no-poo options that I have personally tried and can all recommend.


I look like a gelada baboon without moisture. Credits: Wikipedia Commons – Source: Eigene Fotografie, March 2006, Author: Kolumbusjogger

Keep in mind that my hair is thick, very curly, very dry and coarse. I’m one of those that without the right haircut and care, I could be confused with a lion or a wild baboon (especially in the mornings – ACK!).

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, er, I mean, scalp, here are the things I’ve tried that also work as a great no-poo but baking-soda-free alternative!

No-Poo Alternatives

All of these options will have a transition period if you’re just coming off of shampoo. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, read more about it in my original no-poo post.

Diluted Liquid Castile Soap – Good for All Hair Types

If you’d still like to try baking soda, this one is a great transition from shampoo, because it will make you feel like you’re in the old Herbal Essences commercials (ahhh! ahhh!) and it is still sulfate-free. Best part about using this is that you can use on your hair and body – make a batch to use all over! I like to use the Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap in Baby Mild  (where to buy) because my skin and hair are so dry and sensitive, but it comes in many different scents.

How To Make

1 part liquid castile soap to 3 parts water. To make it even more moisturizing, add a teaspoon or two of your favorite oil (castor oil) and Jojoba Oil are my favorite for the hair). To add scent, add your favorite essential oil! I like lavender, rosemary, and carrot seed oils for hair (where to buy high quality essential oils).

Add Some Castile Soap to the Baking Soda – Good for Oily Hair & Scalp

One of my readers commented that she adds a small amount of castile soap to her baking soda shampoo to give it some suds and make it feel more like shampoo (it will make it suds up).

Aloe Vera and Glycerine – pH balanced shampoo, leave-in conditioner, and spritzer – FREE PRINTABLE

This is a ph-balanced concoction because aloe vera and glycerine both have a neutral pH of 7, so they will be the best option (although not as cheap as baking soda!) for the health of your hair. (Baking soda is a litle bit basic, at about 9 pH). This has been my favorite cleaner so far. Glycerine acts as a cleaner because it bonds to dirt and oil and washes it out when you rinse and aloe smooths the cuticle and moisturizes the hair. By the way, in the picture I use a pretty pink plastic spray bottle because I ran out of my glass spray bottles. So, for the record, I do not recommend using a plastic bottle if you add essential oils to the recipe – they will make the plastic deteriorate and make the bottle unusable. I get my glass bottles on Amazon here.

    • 1/4 cup of pure aloe vera (this one is totally pure, from Aubrey Organics)
    • 1/4 cup vegetable glycerine
    • 1/2 cup water
    • Essential oils for scent or to treat a problem if desired – Tea Tree and Lavender are great for psoriasis and dandruff, and carrot seed and rosemary are healing to the scalp (where to buy high quality essential oils).

Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake. Shake before each use to combine. To use, just squirt onto your scalp and scrub with the fingers to loosen the dirt. Rinse.

I also use this concoction in between washes as a leave-in conditioner and a spritzer to freshen up my curls. It helps with the frizz and tames them!

Here’s a free printable label for you, if you want something pretty to stick on your bottle!

Aloe Vera and Glycerine Shampoo with Free Printable Label

Comes with a free printable label so you don’t have to look up the recipe again!

Some Notes

I use vegetable glycerine because it is derived from vegetables and not from animal fats like regular glycerine is.

I use pure aloe vera gel that contains no added alcohols or fragrances, as those can be unnatural and drying to the hair. But, it is more expensive. You can use regular aloe vera or you might be able to use it right out of the plant if you have one. I haven’t tried it, but I think you’d need to blend it, along with the other ingredients, with a mixer since it’s so thick.

Other Options (I haven’t tried)


Also need alternatives to Apple Cider Vinegar for conditioner? Then check out my sequel to this post – Oils and Other Natural Conditioner Alternatives to Apple Cider Vinegar

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

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About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.


  1. I have been using the baking soda and apple cider vinegar for almost a year now, roughly every 3 days. It has been working well for me, until recently. My hair is fine and long; lately it is dry and snarly and I have an itchy scalp. Tried adding E.O.’s but they make my hair look oily the next day, as does any moisturizing treatment. I thought about using Dr. Bronner’s but was afraid that it would “shock” my hair/scalp again as when I ditched shampoo. Suggestions anyone?

    Another question – would aloe vera juice work instead in the above recipe?

    • Krystal – perfect timing! I just recently wrote a post that would answer all of your questions. It’s “No Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda.” You are right on about the aloe vera – that’s what I’ve been using for shampoo. All the details are in the other post.

      • Oops, I didn’t realize that your comment was on the No Poo post – so nevermind! But to answer your question, the Dr. Bronner’s won’t shock your scalp. It is not a detergent so it cleans like baking soda does. I have been doing baking soda for a year and half and switched to Dr. Bronners for a few days and my scalp didn’t start producing extra oil.

        • Sara, thank you!

          I think I’ll try Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap with a smaller amount of BS in water for a few of weeks. My problem is that I have fine, straight hair and any type of oil (wash out or leave in) makes it look greasy.

          • Totally get that. You probably don’t need any oil, but you need something more nourishing and less drying. If that doesn’t work, since you’ve already been no-pooing, I think you’d be fine transitioning to the aloe/glycerine shampoo. It doesn’t grease up my hair at all.

        • How much of the Dr. Bronner’s would you add to the Baking soda ratio of 1 tbs to 1 cup water?

    • I use a little bit of Tea Tree oil in my baking soda mixture. Not a ton, but enough to condition my scalp from getting dry. Hope this helps!

  2. I only wash my hair 2x a week, but haven’t been able to make the leap to No-Poo yet. I did start using ACV as conditioner and my hair feels soft and clean longer!
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  3. I love this! I have tried a few times to go no poo but just can’t get it quite right. I think adding some castille soap would work out perfectly. I started using this method on my kid’s hair and they hate how it feels, but their hair is so clean. My almost-3 year old has always had dry skin on her scalp and it never smelled clean even after I washed it. Now it does! I think they will like the addition of castille soap, too. Now I must be off to buy some.

  4. Will this work on hair that has been colored?

    • I color my hair and it works on mine (even to color grey). I can’t guarantee it, I suppose, but it’s so gentle that I know it won’t strip color and it’s colorless (the aloe and glycerine), so it won’t deposit color onto the hair.

      • The aloe/glycerin shampoo should not hurt colored hair, but ESSENTIAL OILS CAN STRIP COLOR! So careful how you scent your shampoo. My sister in-law is a stylist, she warned me about essential oils. There are specific ones that you can use, but I don’t remember what they are…

  5. I have shoulder length drown wavy hair and yesterday I tried a Beer conditioner alternative. I’m blown away with the results!! I used my cleansing conditioner (I no longer use shampoo) and then used a bottle of Sweet Josie beer I had left open over night so it would go flat, added 2 Tablespoons organic Apple Cider Vinegar. As my “conditioner” I let it fully soak my hair an let it set about 1-2 minutes an rinsed. Amazing how shiny, soft and tanglefree my hair its! LOVE IT!

  6. Can I just say that I LOVE your website! I just love you and your curly hair!!! *I have curly hair too and I am JUST now able to consider it a blessing*!
    Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge and diy tips!

  7. I only have the bar castile soap. so how can i use it to make shampoo?

  8. Have you tried egg yolk for shampoo? It’s the best thing I’ve tried so far. Just separate a raw egg, wisk in about an equal amount of warm water, and pour it in at the roots (egg can cook in very hot showers–don’t take too hot of a shower). No, it doesn’t lather at all, but it also doesn’t leave residue the way the baking soda and water combo do on my head (I have very fine, wavy hair that weighs down very easy when I use products that are too heavy) The baking soda actually broke off my hair strands; it is VERY abrasive if your hair is fragile. And an added bonus–protein treatment! You can then condition with apple cider vinegar and water (which I add to my ends almost daily). I like to make the egg-wash day my deep-conditioning day–I use a mixture of equal parts coconut milk and aloe vera gel, with a tiny bit of olive oil (I want to try jojoba oil instead, though) added. I divided the mixture up and froze it in ice cube trays so it doesn’t go bad, just thaw when needed (I only need a half cube plus water for my medium-long hair). I add an equal amount of water to the melted cube when I’m ready to use it, working it in the ends first. Leaves my hair super glossy, but you can overdo it, so only once a week is enough.

    • Hi Cindi! Wow, cool. Thank you for sharing your tips with everyone. I have heard of egg yolk shampoo, but haven’t been brave enough to try that yet. I’m happy with the aloe vera/glycerine so far! The link I included for Coconut Milk shampoo is the same recipe that you mention. Have you had good results with that, too?

      • I love the aloe vera and coconut milk combo as a conditioner for the ends–it would be way too conditioning to put near the scalp as a shampoo. I HAVE to get some vegetable glycerine to try out your spray! I will only do the egg wash and coconut milk/aloe conditioner once a week, and in between…I can’t go quite a whole week without needing another wash of some kind, so I am still experimenting with the “in-between” days. So far, a washcloth rubbed all over the scalp and then ACV rinse with a wide-tooth comb are working–it doesn’t feel nice in the shower using any of these home made recipes, but so long as my hair dries light and fluffy… I want to avoid the chemicals for the sake of healthy hair and scalp, and I just can’t walk around with “ooky” hair just for the sake of being chemical-free. It’s been a long road to good no-poo hair–been experimenting for over a year.
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  9. how long does the aloe shampoo last you? and do you use it as a shampoo by spraying it on?

  10. Hey there! The glycerin/aloe shampoo sounds great! Just a quick question, do you condition after with an ACV rinse? I made up this shampoo with your recipe and am wondering if I ahould’ve done my usual ACV rinse 🙂

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  11. Oh- also do you have to keep it in the fridge? I know aloe gel should be kept in the fridge after opening…
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  12. Sara, I used the glycerin/aloe shampoo last night and I just wondering how much you use? I sprayed liberally all over and today my hair, although soft, is a bit gunky-I think I may have used too much…

    Amy suggestions? I have fine, shoulder length slightly wavy hair 🙂

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    • Hi Alicia! I spray about 10 times or so I guess, it’s not a ton but I do notice if I spray a lot my hair and scalp are also gunky. Have you already been no-pooing it for a while? If so, then you aren’t going through no-poo shock. But, if you’re just switching over from shampoo, your scalp will continue producing the excess oil it was producing while on shampoo (to compensate for the detergent – sodium laureth sulfate – that was stripping your natural oils away). So if you’re new to all of this, it’ll be about a transition of two weeks (sometimes more).

  13. Hi Sara! Well, I have been “no-poo” for about 3 weeks. However, I washed my hair yesterday, but clarified first, then used the glycerin shampoo, then did an ACV rinse and it seems to have solved the problem! I aslo used less aloe/glycerin shampoo 🙂
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    • Hi there! I’m not totally sure – it has a thickening agent in it and some other things that aren’t harmful, but might add deposit some things into your hair. The one I suggest is just pure aloe vera gel. This one is juice that can be drunk. It’s probably fine, but I just can’t be 100% sure.

      • SO, I have the same question as “K”, but I got the Lily of the Desert “preservative free, Aloe Vera Juice”, and the only other ingredient is citric acid (pH stabilizer). I’m going to try it, because I was overwhelmed with exactly what I wanted to use when I was at the health store. There was some whole-leaf stuff that was made into a solution of some kind, then there were others as well, so I just picked this one because it looked pure and liquid…

        I’m going to try it tomorrow and hope for the best. Going to Mexico and don’t want to regress back to using shampoo because every time I do it out of necessity (don’t have access to my baking soda) I regret it and it takes a week or more to get back into no-pooing.

        The reason I’m looking at this new alternative is my head is getting dry and I’ve never had dandruff issues, but lo and behold, here I am with a flaky head. Hopefully this helps my woes.

        Thanks for this post!

  14. I do not want to be rude and with all the intention of helping to educate women on good hair health I feel I must tell you that the hair, skin, and nails live between 4.5 – 5.5 on the pH scale. Anything higher on the scale will raise the cuticle layer, the higher the pH the more the cuticle will be raised. This is what you want when cleansing the hair but when it comes to conditioning, the ideal pH of a substance would be as close to 4.5-5.5 as possible. Oils have no pH and have little effect on the pH of hair making them easy to use for conditioning or styling.

  15. Hi there I’ve been trying this for two days. And I think my hair is currently going through shock haha. But I can feel how easy it is to comb. 🙂 I do agree I need to stop shampoo-ing. I hope to see amazing results soon ^^ maybe after two weeks after my hair gets used to it.
    I did purchase the Aubrey Organics aloe Vera, however I do find it slightly expensive to purchase as it is not available in my country. Is there a good alternative?

    • Hi Valerie! I haven’t found a good alternative yet, sorry to say. However, you could just use glycerine and remove the aloe vera and I think it would still work very well. The glycerine cleans and moisturizes at the same time.

      • Thank you! What do you think about 100% aloe vera juice haha.
        It’s been 6 days since I’ve gone off shampoo and a lot of gunk is coming out of my hair.
        I think that’s a good thing :))

  16. Hi
    Was just wondering how much diluted castile soap you use (and how much water to soap) if you make up the amount of baking soda shampoo on your other page. I’m looking forward to trying this, but am nervous about the quantities

    • I usually fill about 1/4 of the bottle or less with castile soap and then fill it up with water. The more you add the more sudsy it will be, so you can do it to your liking, really. The concentrated Dr. Bronner’s I mention here in the post is very strong so it will last a long time.

      • Great thanks Sara. The Dr Bronner’s one is the one I purchased, just waiting for it to come through the post and I can get started

  17. Hhmmm, I wonder if the reason my hair feels waxy when using castille soap it’s because I didn’t dilute it first? I was thinking that it may be from having hard water, seems like I remember reading somewhere that castille soap reacts to the minerals in hard water. I’m also only about a week into no poo (again, I’m a total bubble junky!).
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    • Hi Dawn! Yes, I have found that hard water affects my hair a great deal and does make it feel weighted down, waxy, more oily. However, you’re only a week in, so it’ll probably improve within a week or two anyway. I write in my other post on baking soda shampoo that I used to use a Culligan water filter for the showerhead and it did wonders at our old house where the water was really hard.

      • You might want to point out the hard water issue more in the main blog. I’ve tried a couple different commercial sulfate free shampoos, your Dr. Bronner’s recipe and your baking soda recipe and have been discouraged by them all. The baking soda was especially awful! With everything, my hair was weighted down and waxy like you describe. With the baking soda, it was that AND dry and brittle at the ends! I was feeling like I must be doing something wrong which is why I started combing through these comments. Now I think my water is a major factor. We have extremely hard water here. A drop of water on the counter turns into a crusty, hard water spot the moment it dries. (Vinegar is my best friend when it comes to cleaning!) Now I feel like I can stop beating myself up and maybe try the glycerine recipe.

        Thanks for everything else though! Your blog is my new “go to” for natural cleaning and beauty products.

        • Hi Kris! Yes, I agree, hard water can be a big issue why no-poos don’t work. In my old house, we had very hard water and I bought a water filter for my shower – it was just $35 from Wal-mart. It made a HUGE difference in my hair and skin!

  18. Have you ever ordered from bulk apothecary? I am going to start making your recipes and need to order a lot of things…..trying to get the best price!
    I love your site, I am gluten free and have curly hair and skin problems!!!

  19. Thanks for the recipe. I followed your directions to the letter and then used a ph strip to see if the mixture was neutral and it actually registered as highly acidic. Any ideas why?

    • Hi Ann! I’m not sure – is there any water mixed in? The EO’s might turn it acidic, depending on the brand. Are there essential oils in it? And it would depend on whether or not the aloe vera gel is pure without many additives.

  20. Hi Sara,I am from India and like you I have gone shampoo free.. I use something called shikakai for my hair,its is a soap nut powder and gives amazing results

  21. I’ve really enjoyed reading your site and am considering going ‘poo free, but I’m scared…and clueless 🙂 I have a huge aloe plant, can I just use the gel from that in the recipe? I’m sorry if this is a crazy question, as I’ve mentioned I have no idea what I’m doing!

  22. The pH of hair is between 4.5-5.5. Using the aloe vera and glycerine recipe is just as good as using commercial products, pH-wise (near a neutral, 7). The baking soda is also drying hair out because it has a pH of 8-9. That’s the reasoning behind using diluted apple cider vinegar (it matches the pH of hair).

  23. This may be a silly question, I’m new to the whole no-poo scene. Do you spray the aloe/glycerin on dry hair or wet? Does it matter?

  24. I just found your website the other day while looking for alternatives to no-poo. Loving your site so far! It has been 3 days since my last shampoo. LOL I purchased the ingredients to make the glycerin/aloe shampoo (including the awesome cobalt blue glass bottles), and I’m really excited to get started.

    But I need a little help getting through the transition period. I exercise daily, and some of this involves running outside with a hat on, so my hair gets dirty and greasy quickly. And once that happens, I am relegated to a greasy ponytail until my next shampoo. Do you think an occasional baking soda wash with ACV rinse during the transition period is damaging? Perhaps once a week just during the “transition?”

    Also, I know the idea is to just use the glycerin/aloe shampoo once or twice a week, but is it OK to just rinse my hair out with plain old water on non-shampoo days?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Jess! Great to have you on the blog. Yes, yes and yes. Basically, you should do whatever works for you. There is not a one-size fits all scenario. I think it makes perfect sense to wash your hair after running – don’t expect you to feel greasy and dirty! 🙂 And yes, rinsing your hair and then wetting the ends with ACV (to untangle it) in between washes is a great idea to keep your hair looking nice. Let me know if you have any more questions and welcome to the world of no-poo!

  25. Hi,
    I am new to no-poo, about 3 weeks. I started with a Dr. B recipe and while it cleaned my hair, it left it a bit oily if I let my hair air dry. It also left my hair feeling waxy so I wanted to try the aloe/glycerine recipe you have. I have used it for about a week now and it doesn’t seem to clean my hair at all 🙁 It is just as greasy after I shower as when I stepped into the shower. I don’t know if I am in a ‘transition’ period or if this just isn’t the no-poo for me. Any tips/suggestions? I tried adding a bit more glycerine to the mix but it didn’t seem to help.

    • Hi Rae! Hmm, I’m sorry you’re having a bit of trouble. I do think you could still be in the transition phase. What is your hair type? From what I can tell, those with straighter, more oily hair do better starting with baking soda and apple cider vinegar first, then once your hair has transitioned and your scalp is no longer producing excess oil (could be a month or two), then transition to aloe or castile soap. The good news is that the baking soda shampoo is super duper duper cheap and easy!

  26. Hi again, Sara! Ok, bizarre question…when I run out of my current sulfate free shampoo and conditioner, I plan to make the aloe vera/glycerine concoction. I am a minimalist, and was wondering if the same mixture could be used as a wash for the whole body?? I sadly won’t be using any essential oils because most of them don’t agree with me (I’m super sensitive to scents, even natural lavendar, tea tree, etc.) What do you think, in your professional-ish opinion? Would this be just plain crazy? Thanks again for all your awesome posts!
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  27. Hi, thank you for the great recipes! Also, I was wondering if I could sub Dr. Bronners Castile soap for the aloe vera? I just do not have any aloe on hand, but I have Castile soap & vegetable glycerine & EOs.

    Lastly, just wanted to add that I’ve been no-pooing for about 4 weeks & STILL transitioning w/oily scalp & waxy feeling hair. I’ve used honey shampoo, coconut shampoo & a rosemary infused almond oil shampoo. I also tried the baking soda…once! It broke my hair off at crown & made it very brittle. So, I am not “camp baking soda” lol. Anyhow, thank you again!

    • Hi Eileen! Sounds like you’ve tried it all. Yes, using Dr. Bronner’s might be great for you since you’re still having oily issues. But it makes my hair feel completely different than the aloe. I use the soap more for when I need to clarify my hair. I hope you figure out your perfect formula!

  28. Hi. I love your site. I am ready to stop using commercial bought hair products and ive spent the last few days reading all about different diy shampoos and conditioners. All the information has been great , problem is ive read so much that now im totally confused and dont know where to begin. I have waist length dark wavy hair. My hair tends to look greasy a day or two after a wash but i also occassionally get dandruff so im not sure if i have oily or dry hair. Anyways i would love your suggestion on what home creation i should attempt. ?? If I try castile soap should i condition with acv or an oil based conditioner??

    • Hi there! I can understand your confusion, sometimes there are TOO many options! Okay, I would be that you actually have drier hair than oily because of the wave. But, it acts like it’s greasy because you’ve been using shampoo which has been stripping the natural oils. But you already know about that because you’ve been reading a lot, so moving on! I think starting with either Dr. Bronner’s or baking soda and apple cider vinegar as conditioner will work for you to start – for the first month or two until your hair fully adjusts to producing less oil. Then, you could start washing just your scalp with aloe vera or continue with the Dr. Bronner’s. If ever your hair seems dry, increase the ratio of apple cider vinegar and/or rub some oil just through the length of your hair (not near your scalp). Let me know if any of that works for ya!

      • Great thank you! I think I’ll try the dr bronners first since I want to start washing my sons hair with that anyway. Thanks for all the great info hopefully im on my way to a healthier life in and out. 🙂
        Sorry this might be something you’ve already answered but if i use the bronners and oil as a shampoo do i Need a conditioner? If so what type?

        • Yes, you definitely need a conditioner. Apple Cider Vinegar makes a great conditioner, however I also really like using aloe. I’d try the ACV first as it’ll be the cheapest and use the aloe when your hair is really dry.

  29. Hi Sara, thank you for your earlier response. Also, just wanted to let you know that I tried your shampoo recipe (except I subbed the Castile soap for the aloe). Now, I’ve used Castile soap in other DIY shampoos & the results were just ok & actually left my scalp fairly oily & my hair kind of waxy. However, w/the addition of the vegetable glycerine…the results were beautiful & amazing!! Soft, moisturized hair & a much less oily scalp. Thank you SO much for posting your recipe & I cannot wait to try it w/the aloe as I’m sure it will be even better! xo

    • P.s. I used apple cider vinegar diluted w/water as my conditioner

    • Great to know that the glycerine made the difference, Eileen! Thanks for reporting back. Are you just now switching over to no-poo? If so, then your hair is going to be oily and waxy until it adjusts – a few weeks or so.

      • Sara, it has been about 4 or 5 weeks for me being no-poo. I guess it is a mixture of finally “breaking through” the transition period & the addition of the glycerine, but I’ve gone 4 days w/out shampooing (or no-pooing actually! Lol) & it just needs to be washed as of tonight. I was beginning to have my doubts if the transition would ever end! So, hang in there ladies! It does get much better & I agree that everyone needs to experiment & find their best no-poo formula.

        • Great to know, Eileen. You’re so right – everyone has a different perfect formula and it takes experimenting to find your own. Aren’t you glad you stuck with it now? To go 4 days without shampooing is SO nice, isn’t it?

  30. Hi Sara, I appreciate your recipes and tips.
    I’ve been no-pooing for about 3 months now (I have long, straight hair, which is thin, but I have a lot of it).
    Baking soda worked well for my greasy locks for the first couple of months, but now I find it is getting a bit dry and static-y.
    My main concern is that as great as it was for my scalp, it is ruining my complexion. I usually have nice clear skin, but since using the BS/ACV combo I’ve been breaking out (I don’t have sensitive skin, but I’ve only ever used water and a wash cloth to clean my face, so it’s not used to anything like that). I try to not let the baking soda-water touch my face, or rinse immediately if it does, but to no avail. I also tried ‘honey no-poo’ recently which did not work AT ALL for my hair.
    So I look forward to experimenting with your recipes on my hair to see if they help with my skin too.

    • Hi Lynsee! I have seen a few others who have your same issues and it seems to be the baking soda. I definitely think it’s time to go off the baking soda and try either Dr. Bronner’s or aloe/glycerine hair cleaner. Hope that’ll work well for you!

  31. I’ve not used commercial shampoo in about a year now. I used the baking soda, a few drops of liquid castile soap Rosemary EO in water for months, and the main thing I loved about it was that my dirty blonde hair was always a few shades lighter. The baking soda made my hair very soft though and I have baby fine straight hair(allergic to perm) and at times had a bit of trouble fixing it. I decided to try just the castile soap and so I took a 5ml bottle of Rosemary EO, added it(after removing equal amount of soap so the EO would fit) to an 8 oz bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Rose scented liquid castile soap and now that’s my shampoo. I also add a couple of drops of Ylang Ylang EO sometimes.
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  32. I need help. I have very thick mid back curly hair and have tried several of your recommended shampoo ideas, including just baking soda and then acv rinse. My problem is my hair always looks greasy and the under hair in the back of my head literally takes two days to fully dry. I hate the greasy look, I’m so frustrated!

  33. Hi Sara, I’m very glad I found your site! I’ve been using the baking soda & acv treatment for about 3 weeks now & really like how it cleans my hair. My problem & question.. My hair is very thin with just a touch of wave; not oily, but not dry either. It’s mid-neck length right now. I would like to get my hair permed because it is seems so lifeless; just sort of ‘hangs’ no matter how it is cut. I haven’t seen any comments on using the no-poo treatments with permed hair. Does anyone know if it would cause a problem if I do this? Would using the aloe/glycerine be better to use with the perm? I know perming isn’t really good for anyone’s hair, but at least for me when I’ve had it done it lasts for 8 to 12 months. BTW, I’m 65-years-old & think my hair is just going to keep getting thinner, so any advice would be appreciated.

    • Don’t use baking soda. It will make you hair dry especially after a perm. What you need is a cleanser with a ph of 4.5-5. This is your hair’s natural ph. Baking soda is a 9ph which opens up the cuticle and strips moisture from your hair and scalp.

      I would try the aloe/glycerin recipe and use some vinegar to acidify it. You will want to get some ph strips to test it and and make sure it is in the right range. If it is in the right range then a conditioner shouldn’t be necessary.

      The thinning hair I would think is part age and diet. Try more protein (if vegetarian make sure you are doing protein combos to get enough of whole proteins) and calcium.

  34. Where did the rest of the recipes go?? All that’s on here is the diluted castile soap… I’m looking for the Aloe Vera Gel & Vegetable glycerin one. Confused.

  35. Is there a way of making this or a similar natural recipe for ph balanced hair that would last longer? I am exploring different options and recipes as a new mom to make for farmers markets, and would like something that’s safe, inexpensive, and has a lengthy shelf life. Thanks mama!!

  36. Hi,
    I would love to try these natural shampoos.
    Sometimes I oil my hair & leave it overnight & then shampoo next morning to clean it.
    I don’t think so these shampoos would be able to clean the oil, So what should I do to clean my oily hair?
    Thank you 🙂

  37. I am quite familiar with the no-poo methods, and had horrible results… partly because using baking soda is akin to a salon chemical process on your hair, from a pH standpoint… and rinsing with vinegar helps reset your scalp, but not enough. You might want to check out Kanelstrand’s use of rye flour…

  38. Hi Sara, I love this post and love the fact that you actually respond in-depthly to comments. I’m definitely in need of some advice. I went fully no-poo in November 2013, mainly using the baking soda/lemon +minute amounts of avc (leaves my hair supper greasy) with coconut oil masks…then bentonite clay/aloe & honey…my hair’s health improved greatly (I had thinning hair and extremely itchy scalp)…cutting out commercial shampoos made my hair thicker & healthier…but I never got the right method down. I have fine very oily hair…the scalp and ends became dry, but in-between length was always gunky and waxy feeling. In May I got a more professional job and also experience a ton of hair fall, so I chopped my hair off to a short pixie & starting using John Masters and/or Acure…I am ready to go back to being fulling chemical free. I am wondering what steps you’d advise to going back to no-poo? The aloe/glycerin shampoos sounds great, but should I wait until my transition period is over? It’s been hard for me to find the right thing for my fine oily prone hair 🙁 Thanks for all your info!

    • Hi Danaan! Wow, you have tried everything! You get major props for patience and perseverance. Okay, so I would suggest with oily hair to use castile soap first with an apple cider vinegar rinse. If it makes your scalp oily, just do it on the ends.

  39. I am a guy. I will never use traditional shampoo or conditioners again. I have type 2c long hair and use rye flour, water for shampoo, and alternate types of conditioner, aloe, ACV, etc. Turning 60 in November and my hair is healthier than it has ever been in my life. Better than it was in the 70’s when I had long hair too. It doesn’t hurt that I also eat very healthily either. Plus my starting gray hair went away? I found baking soda too harsh but the rye flower is perfect for me.It has been over 5 months now and am glad I switched. Too many bad chemicals in traditional hair products that are absorbed through the skin and are accumulative over time.

    • Great to have a guy’s opinion on here, George, it can get quite pink and frilly around here! And that’s awesome that you’re a natural, healthy eatin’ kinda guy, too. Rye flour, that is the first I’ve heard of that! So, do you use it dry?

  40. It just blows my mind that some people would use baking soda and acv on a weekly basis for their hair. Once a month to clarify? Yes, sure! Just pure ignorance. Just because it’s more of a “natural” alternative doesn’t make it safe or even healthy for your skin or hair! And to say its “chemical free”? People!! Baking soda and acv or regular vinegar creates a chemical reaction! I just shake my head. Oh, and you think you don’t stink when using acv (even with added essensial oils and herbs)? News flash, YOU DO! I’ve been around people and even tried it myself to clarify my hair but I quickly decided that regular vinegar is way better than the acv. I guess “green living” means throwing “smelling decent” out the window? Why not opt for a pH balanced homemade concoction of aloe vera and coconut milk? Seriously……

    • White vinegar is much more acidic than acv, and will therefore need to be diluted more. Acv is actually pretty close to your hairs ph.

      When people say “chemicals”, they don’t mean fermented fruits/vegetables, which is what vinear is.

      You can smell the acv? I’ve tried it before, and after rinsing I never really notice the smell. Maybe your nose is more sensitive than mine.

      Coconut milk and aloe is not a pH balanced product for your hair. Both have pH levels close to 7, pretty far from the pH of 4.5-5.5 which is natural, and ideal, for hair.

      You shouldn’t call people ignorant when you don’t have your facts straight.

  41. I suffer from a very dry scalp & have been trying the no poo mehtod for a few weeks (once a week). I have been using around one teaspoon of baking soda per 2 glasses of water. And around a 1:4 ration with AVC and water. Now the hair around the roots is quite greasy (I think because I was pouring the AVC rinse rather than using a spray) but my scalp is REALLY bad! I have never seen so much flakiness. I have tried using coconut oil prior to doing the no poo but that hasn’t worked either. It’s the worst I’ve ever seen. Is the baking soda too abrasive for my scalp? I really want to leave commerical shampoo but am wondering if making my own natural shampoo might be better than baking soda?

    • Hi Fatima! Yes, baking soda doesn’t work for everyone. I do suggest making your own with castile soap instead, as baking soda can be really drying. You’re not using much baking soda at all, so it’s not that it’s too much. You could actually try using more and really scrubbing your scalp. I use baking soda when I feel my scalp or hair needs clarifying and a really good cleansing, but I do not use often anymore, as I explain in that post. Essential oils like carrot seed, cedarwood, rosemary, lavender and even melaleuca could be really helpful to get rid of the current issue.

  42. hi I’m new to the whole no poo method I’ve been doing it the last two months and I haven’t gotten good results at all, I’ve been online looking for alternate methods for a while now, I’ve tired the baking soda and acv, clarify with lemon juice, and “nourishing” avocado honey masks etc, my hair is till,oily and gross and terribly dry and staticky still, I have longish hair, and normal when it comes to thickness etc its fairly dry at the ends from damage,I started this whole process to help if grow and be healthy, what process do you recommend I’m at my wits end with this?!?:(

    • Hi Bethany! Oh man, I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time with it. I think it’s like anything – it works for some but not for all. So, I suggest you start using castile soap, like I mention in this post. It works really well for me, much better than baking soda did. And it feels like shampoo – you can add essential oils to it for a luxurious experience! Plus, it’s still chemical and sulfate-free if you buy the one I suggest in here.

  43. Aaaaahhhhhhhh nooooooo, pH balanced does not mean neutral, it means balanced with respect to your hairs natural pH, or the same as hairs pH, which is 4.5-5.5. Ergo, products with a pH of 7 are too basic, NOT balanced. Products you use should be more acidic. Anything higher than 5.5 will raise the cuticle and cause damage.

  44. Heather Orr says:

    Carrot sees oil can cause a miscarriage as it breaks down the mucus barrier surrounding the baby. You should do some research on what these oils do before suggesting them on your blog.

    • I do a ton of research, but I am not a medical professional, Heather, and don’t pretend to be one :). If this post was direct at pregnant women, then that would be an important concern, but it isn’t. Where did you read carrot seed oil is dangerous for embryos?

  45. I have tried doing the BS/ACV method for the past few weeks. My hair got oily for the transition and then my scalp got dry, but my roots were super oily. I tried some lye soap and the same thing ended up happening. I had to wash my hair with a normal shampoo because it got so bad. I have always had oily hair so I don’t know how the aloe and glycerin would do on me. Is the Castile version ph balanced? I think it would work for me, but I am not to sure. I was thinking if I could add stuff to the Castile shampoo to balance it if not.

  46. Hi, Great post! I tried this over the last week – I love the feel and the smell but my hair is naturally quite oily. I cut down the glycerine the second time but it still leaves my hair a bit lank and sticky. I’ve been no-poo for 6 months but I think I’m about to fold and go back to shampoo 🙁 Shampoo makes my scalp itch and get oilier, but I just can’t find a way to wash my hair and not get the ‘just oiled’ look (anything other than baking soda) or scarecrow look (baking soda)…

  47. I have very, very fine hair and the aloe vera + glycerin shampoo leaves my hair still greasy and oily no matter how long I rinse it out for. Am I doing something wrong? I’ve been on this recipe for over two months. Is this recipe supposed to work for fine hair as well? I put it all in a glass spray bottle and shake before use every time. Does using too much make your hair more oily? Should I add less aloe vera? And: will an ACV rinse help with washing out the oil?

  48. Just to clarify, you shouldn’t use baking soda at all. Yes it does a great job cleansing, but it is also way too alkaline for your hair (that is why everyone using it ends up with dry hair and itchy scalp). I believe it is a 9ph while our hair/scalp is a 4.5-5ph. Even diluting it doesn’t work until it’s about 1/20th a teaspoon in a gallon of water and that is only a 7ph.

    For great hair, whatever you use to cleanse needs to be a 4.5-5ph for it to be properly balanced to your hair. Anything else is a “ph balanced” misnomer (even a 7ph isn’t good for your hair and will eventually cause it to dry out).

    I am excited to check out some of these recipes. I have been avoiding no poo because everything I have seen so far destroys hair (because of the baking soda).

    Thanks so much for sharing these, I really appreciate it!!

    • Sure, hope they work well for you, Kandy! I do know quite a few people who’ve used baking soda for years as shampoo, and it hasn’t damaged their hair. So, honestly, I think we are all different and one thing doesn’t work for everyone. So if baking soda doesn’t work for you, then try something else. 🙂

  49. Hello,

    My question is in regards to the aloe vera gel and vegetable glycerin recipe. I have a latex allergy and cannot use anything with aloe in it. Most shampoo and conditioner products contain aloe. That is why I am researching how to make my own.

    Unfortunately, I also cannot use anything with coconut, shea butter, or nuts!!!

    Is there an alternative to the aloe vera gel in this recipe? Thank you so much!

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