Squeaky Clean Hair with Simple Ingredients You Already Own

Cleaning Your Hair the Natural Way

This technique for cleaning your hair is sometimes called the “No Poo” method. Ya gotta admit, talking about “poo” just doesn’t sound right when it comes to getting your lovely locks squeaky clean. But “poo” is a shortened reference to shampoo, and No Poo is a hair care method where you do not use shampoo. The No Poo method leaves your hair soft, shiny, and yes, squeaky clean. Some people love it, some people don’t. But it’s worth giving it a try if you like to save money and use fewer chemicals.

Completely au naturel, all you need are a few basic ingredients that are probably already lying around your kitchen: baking soda, vinegar (apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar are preferred), and some oil. Gee, maybe they should call it the ‘salad dressing’ method.

Read more: Easy and Natural Home Cleaning

The Standard Way to No Poo Your Hair


Simply put 2-4 Tbsp of baking soda in a mason jar (I use a tall 1 liter jar), and head for the shower. Bring your apple cider vinegar (ACV) with you. Get your hair really wet, including your scalp. Now, add some water to the mason jar (about 1/3 cup) to create a thick paste in the jar. Place some of the paste onto a section of your hair, and massage it in all the way to your scalp. Add more of the paste to another section of hair, and massage again. If you need more water you can add it to the jar, or just briefly put your head under the shower. Massage in enough of the baking soda paste to cover your scalp and all of your hair.

If your hair is very long, you may need more baking soda than the standard 4 Tbsp. If this is your first time trying the No Poo method, you may want to bring the ingredients with you so that you can adjust, until you get a better feel for the amount of each ingredient that is right for you. The measurements are not set in stone. These are all safe ingredients, and you should find the measurements that work best for you.

After you have applied the paste, let the baking soda work for a bit. Wait, just wait. If you’ve ever cleaned your bathtub with baking soda, you know that you want to let it work for a minute or two to make sure that it gets in there and does its sparkling thing. After a short time you will know when it’s ready.

Before rinsing, you can optionally add a splash of Dr. Bronner’s soap onto the palm of your hand and massage it into your scalp and hair. As soon as you do, you should feel everything getting very sudsy. Shampoos are all bases on the pH scale and so is baking soda – which is why it’s an excellent ‘poo replacer! Now rinse thoroughly with water. Your hair is now clean!

The next step is the vinegar. You know what happens when you add baking soda and vinegar together? Exactly. Base and acid come together and they neutralize each other. Same thing here. ACV is known for helping with dandruff, giving highlights to brown or red hair, adding lustre and shine, and even acting as a natural detangler.

[Click Here to Learn About Natural Cures for Dandruff, Stinky Hair, and Oily Hair. Free eBook by Marjory Wildcraft in the Grow Network’s Free Library.]

Time to re-use the mason jar. Put in 1/4 cup of ACV and add water to the top of the jar. Pour this solution over your hair, while leaning forward or backward to protect your face and eyes. ACV can sting the skin on your face, especially if yours is the sensitive kind. Massage the vinegar solution into your hair, and let it sit for another minute or two. Thoroughly rinse the vinegar out. If you like, you can repeat one more time.

Since ACV acts like a detangler, you can also use it to brush your hair while while you’re in the shower. Although it’s usually not recommended to brush hair while wet because it causes split ends, the ACV in combination with the pressure of the water can help you to gently brush any knots out of your hair. Note that this tendency of the ACV to act as a detangler may not happen to you on the first few times you try the No Poo method, as your hair needs to adjust from the chemicals that were in your old shampoo. Yes, it’s true: even many so-called natural shampoos that are sold in health food stores have been found to have less than savory ingredients.

Once you’ve toweled your hair, you can then use this easy to use conditioner to help control fly-aways, frizzies and dandruff; as well as to give some shine to your locks. This third step is highly optional but oh-so simple to make. Place equal amounts of fresh sage and fresh rosemary leaves into a 250 ml (1 cup) or 500 ml (2 cup) mason jar. You can use enough leaves to fill the jar to the top. Add olive oil to cover the herbs and fill the jar. Cover with a lid and secure with a screw cap. Let sit 6 weeks in the cupboard, and then strain out the herbs using a nut milk bag or a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Store the oil in an amber bottle in a cool, dry place.

Read more: How to Properly Store Your Garden Sprays, Potions, and Powders

The Easy Way to No Poo Your Hair

Too much time, you say? Try this faster method instead: place 1/3 cup each dried rosemary and sage leaves in a crock pot. Cover with olive oil and set crock pot on low. Gently warm for 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Let cool, then strain and store in an amber bottle.

To use the herbal oil: simply place a small amount in the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together with the oil and apply throughout your hair, concentrating most of the oil on the ends. Add more as needed. Use this oil anytime to add shine or to help style your hair.

To use herbal oil as a leave in treatment: apply a generous amount of oil to the scalp, massaging well. Add more oil to coat the hair. Wrap in a towel or shower cap. Leave for several hours or overnight; then use the No Poo method to remove it in the morning.

Still too much time, you say? You can easily buy sage and rosemary oil from a health food store. An even simpler solution is to use pure coconut oil. As with the sage/rosemary oil, simply rub a bit onto your palms and apply it to the ends of your hair and/or to help style your hair.

Coconut oil can also be used as a leave in treatment for dandruff, dry scalp, and dry hair. Simply melt coconut oil to a liquid. Make sure it’s cool enough to handle, then generously apply it to your scalp and hair. Wrap hair in a towel or shower cap and leave it in for several hours or overnight. Use the No Poo method to remove it in the morning.


So, what’s so great about the No Poo method again? No more buying pricey shampoos from health food stores. It’s easy to do, even when you’re travelling. It uses simple non-toxic ingredients that you already have around the kitchen. It is natural and environmentally friendly. It’s dirt cheap, and it works great!


Editor’s Note: Marjory wrote a great eBook on Home Made Shampoo. It includes several recipes, techniques to address specific hair problems, and many plants that can be used to clean hair. You can request a free copy of Marjory’s eBook here – The Grow Network Free Library.

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This post was written by Cat Wilson


  • Linda says:

    What if you have permed hair? Will this natural solution ruin my curls?

    1. Cat says:

      Hi Linda,

      No, the ‘no poo method won’t ruin your perm. Have fun trying out the no poo method!

  • Vickie says:

    Wouldn’t the coconut oil clog up the pipes with continuous usage like that?

    1. Cat says:

      Hi Vickie,

      Coconut oil has been used for a long time by women in the Caribbean and in India. It’s only recently that coconut oil has been getting a lot of attention, and thank goodness, because it’s such a phenomenal oil! Everyone’s hair is different, so try and see how the coconut oil works for your hair. You can always try the sage/rosemary oil mentioned in the article instead. Olive oil and avocado oil are two other oils that are beneficial for the hair. Good luck with your locks!

  • Linda says:

    I have grey hair, how will the vinegar (ACV) rinse affect the color? I don’t want red highlights, just shiny gray hair.

    1. Cat says:

      Hi Linda,
      I have some grey hairs myself and they aren’t affected at all. If you are interested in dying your greys naturally, consider using all natural henna (look for body-art quality) or consider this new product offered at Longevity Warehouse that restores your greys to your form natural color: http://www.longevitywarehouse.com/hairprint-restoring-color-for-european-hispanic-asian-women-light-brown-to-brown-hair

  • Julia says:

    Do you really want to use a glass jar -slippery when wet – in the shower?

    1. Cat says:

      I’ve never had it happen to me 🙂 Mason jars are pretty tough notwithstanding, however you can also use a plastic container or even an old shampoo bottle. Good luck with the ‘no poo method!

  • Brenda says:

    Sounds great but I would not want to use a glass jar in the shower! That’s an accident waiting to happen.

    1. Cat says:


      No worries! Just sub in a plastic bottle or container instead. Have fun with the ‘no poo method!

  • Farmer Phyl says:

    I tried “poo-less” concoctions and didn’t like them. The baking soda made my hair dull. For the last 4 years, I’ve made my own shampoo for pennies and U love it. I buy Costco’s Eco-Friendly dish washing soap, and use it for dishes, soft soap in the bathroom, an all purpose cleaner, spot cleaner for laundry, and shampoo. Don’t use dish washing detergent that has chemicals. To make shampoo, dilute 1 part dish soap with 4 parts water. Sometimes I like to use 4-5 drops of peppermint essential oil for scent, and add 2 tablespoons strained lemon juice to make hair shiny.

    1. Cat says:

      Glad that you found that a method that works for you! I tried using dish soap and it left my hair dull and lifeless.

  • Pam B says:

    I had cancer twice 30 years ago and never used any detergents after that – no shampoo, dish washing liquids, laundry detergent, etc. I began using this method then and I still do now. I have shoulder length hair.

    – Dissolve one teaspoon bicarbonate of soda in a jug with hot water making it up to about 500ml
    – Put a Tablespoon organic ACV in a 1 litre bottle and add few drops of Rosemary essential oil and few drops of argan oil, top up with warm to hot water
    – Lean over the sink and wash your dry hair with the bicarb solution
    – Rinse with the 1 litre ACV solution and leave it in the hair
    – That’s it, no more rinsing or messing about – wrap a towel around your head and dry your hair however you want

    A comb will go through the hair nice and easy but sometimes those that have used commercial shampoos that strip all the oils from the hair may not get the full benefit until the detergent shampoo treated hair has grown out. A hairdresser once asked me what shampoo I used as my hair was in such lovely condition (this before I added oils to ACV). She thought I was joking when I told her how I wash my hair and when I assured her it was the truth never said another word. Mind you her shelves were full of commercial shampoos!

    1. cat says:

      Pam B,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story and the way you wash your hair!

      Yes, even so-called “organic” shampoos can damage your hair as even organic companies do not always disclose all the ingredients they use in their products.

      In fact, even all the hair dyes sold in the health food stores (except henna and indigo) contain chemicals.

      It does take a bit of time if you have been using chemical shampoos for your hair to “detox.” I noticed this change in my hair when I started using the no ‘poo method. However, I, too have gotten many compliments on how shiny my hair is!

      Thanks again, my dearest Pam!

      Cat 🙂

  • Caroline says:

    All shampoos irritate my scalp. I make up a concoction of Ayurvedic herbs that I buy from the Asian grocer.

    My basic formula contains Shikakai powder, Amla powder and Soapnut berries or powder

    To that I might add some Neem powder or Brahmi powder

    Depending on what’s in my cupboard or garden I als add some dried hibiscus, rosemary herb or lavender

    My hair is soft, clean and conditioned and it has even thickened up a little because all the herbs are nourishing

    I never have any issues with irritation using the herbs

    Sometimes I massage some oil into my hair and scalp if I want to deep condition

  • cheri says:

    I used this method for awhile, but found the baking soda dried my scalp too much.
    now I simply use organic soap – liquid or bar – and rinse with ACV. I found it too wasteful to pour the vinegar on my head so I keep it in a spritzer bottle, spritz my hair after rinsing the soap, run my fingers through and rinse. clean, smooth, shiny hair that looks clean for a few days. it makes travel easy, too, only one soap to bring.

  • Carol says:

    I have short hair and discovered that all I need to do is put my head under the shower to get my hair clean, even if I am coming in from the garden all sweaty and dirty. I wouldn’t use soap on my skin, so why on my hair? We do have soft water. I’m not sure this would work if the water is hard.

  • Iris Weaver says:

    Interesting article!

    I just want to mention that the sage or rosemary oils you buy at the store will most likely be essential oils. These are very different from the infused oils you describe using olive oil, sage, and rosemary.

    Using the essential oil on your hair won’t have the same effect, I don’t think, as the infused oil, and will be expensive, and possibly harmful, as essential oils shouldn’t be applied undiluted to the skin/scalp.

    Many years ago I got rosemary essential oil, having heard that rosemary oil was good for the hair. I applied some with a brush that had a hard plastic back. I later found the brush exploded in my purse–the essential oil had degraded the hard plastic. That was the end of my trying the rosemary oil.

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