Shampoo? What shampoo? Simple herbal hair care.

I’ve been getting hair care questions in the comments to my facial scrub post, so I thought I would write a bit about how I take care of my own (long, unruly) hair.

Careful brushing. Brushing gets a bad rap because it can cause breakage. But if you have a little patience, you can get all the benefits of brushing without the damage. First, detangle. Brush the ends, then a little higher, then a little higher, until you reach the roots. Then brush firmly from the roots to the ends. Remember what grandma said? 100 strokes? Right. That. You want to spread your hair’s natural oils from the roots to the ends and get the blood flowing to your scalp. (I’ve found that a wood-bristle brush works best for this, but your hair might need something different.)

Herbal rinses. Rosemary and sage are my favorites, but chamomile is traditional for blondes, and rose for redheads. Strong herbal tea with a dash of vinegar reinvigorates your scalp and helps the hair cuticle stay smooth, preventing breakage and split ends.

Good food. You won’t grow good hair if you don’t eat good food. Protein. Minerals. Vitamins. All that. Bone broth is the best food I know of for healthy hair — your grandmother didn’t tell you that gelatin is “hair food” for nothing!

That’s it. That’s all I do.

I hear you, I hear you: “You didn’t mention shampoo! What about washing? If I don’t wash my hair, it’ll get all greasy and icky!”

Well, I don’t use shampoo. And no, my hair is not greasy and icky.

If you want to stop using shampoo but you don’t want to end up with icky hair, here’s what to do: Every day, use a little less shampoo. After a while, switch to a soap-based (rather than detergent-based) shampoo. Then use less and less of that soap-based shampoo. Try washing every other day, then every third day. Now switch from your soap-based shampoo to baking soda water (1/2 tsp in a pint of water) and a vinegar rinse (1 tablespoon in a pint of water). If you brush thoroughly, you can probably stop using the baking soda eventually.

The whole process needs to be done carefully, paying attention to how your scalp is adjusting. I’d say it should take 3-6 months for most people. If you go cold turkey on hardcore industrial detergent-based shampoo, well, don’t blame me if your hair gets greasy and icky!

How to make an herbal rinse:

Pick an herb. Any herb. (OK, rosemary and sage are traditional, like I said. Or chamomile. Or rose. Lemon verbena is lovely, and yarrow is nice and stimulating for the scalp. Mint is pleasant. So is thyme. Bee balm is absolutely wonderful. Play with it! Use what you like!)

Pour about a pint of boiling water over a good size handful of your herb. Close it tightly and let it steep until it’s cool.

Strain your tea and add about a tablespoon of vinegar.

Pour it over your head in the bath. Let it stay on your hair and scalp for a couple of minutes if you can.

Your hair will be ridiculously soft.

If you find your hair’s too fluffy, try some flaxseed gel (which doubles as leave-in conditioner).


  1. kate said,

    February 2, 2008 @ 4:28 am

    Oh and you have long hair! I’ve known people with short hair who use only water to wash it, but not anyone with long hair. I have hair to my shoulder blades. I stopped using anything in a bottle 2 months ago (I’ve used Dr Bronners for years). I’ve used egg once and baking soda a few times since then but otherwise using water only once or twice a week. In the past 2 weeks I’ve been swimming daily and finding I need to use the b.s. more often, and wondering how to make that final transition to water only. And now I find it’s the brushing! That is so cool. I love brushing my hair but have gotten out of the habit. I’m really happy to get back to that.

    My understanding about how the advice used to be brush 100 times, and now hairdressers say don’t brush it’s bad for your hair, is because we used to use natural bristle (boar?). Now most brushes are plastic and that’s what hairdressers have experience with. Plastic is really hard on hair. Also, never brush hair when it’s wet, use fingers, or, if you really need to, a wide tooth comb.

    thanks Rebecca :-)

  2. Orla Hegarty said,

    February 2, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

    I recently switched to making my own shampoo (see below for my entry) and now will attempt your suggestions :) This is a great blog…thanks!

  3. darcey blue said,

    February 2, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

    Yes! Yes! I found the baking soda and vinegar rinse to be sufficient for my hair as well, but I did get a bit of a wet dog smell in the hair after awhile, and I used to add some essential oils to my vinegar rinse. Rosemary was always my fav. I also really like a yucca root rinse. Hair didn’t need a thing. BUT a marshmallow root rinse is just devine too.

  4. kate said,

    February 2, 2008 @ 8:12 pm

    Do you think that the kind of water used for washing makes a difference? I used to use rain water and egg when I was a teen, and it made my hair so soft. Now I use untreated well water or chlorinated town supply depending on where I am. The well water is quite hard I think, or at least it’s got lots of minerals in it that build up inside kettles (is that what hard water is?).

  5. anita said,

    February 2, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

    Cool! ummm if I go swimming semi-regularly in a chlorine pool (sigh, I know), do you think this will still work??

  6. crabappleherbs said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

    Thanks everyone!

    Kate — Yes, the kind of brush used definitely makes a difference. Plastic bristles don’t transport the oils very well either.

    Orla — Cool! This would be a good soap-based shampoo to use for transitioning…

    Darcey — What’s the marshmallow root like as a rinse? I imagine it would be nicely conditioning. Do you use it hot to prevent it from getting too mucilaginous?

    Kate — Yes, I imagine the kind of water used does make a difference, but I don’t have enough experience with different kinds of water to say exactly what that difference is. When I stopped using shampoo I was using a shower-filter on chlorinated city water, and that was fine. Then I was using highly alkaline well water, and that was fine too. Now I’m using cistern water that’s a combination of rain water collected from a slate roof and pond water that’s sitting on a lot of limestone. And that works just fine as well. I certainly haven’t noticed too much difference when I visit places with chlorinated tap water, though it’s possible I would notice a difference over time. Have you noticed differences between your well water and town water?

    Anita — Yes, I think it will still work, though it’s possible you’ll want to keep using the baking soda water every so often (see Kate’s comment above). I would experiment with different herbs in the rinses to see what neutralizes the chlorine best.

  7. crabappleherbs said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

    PS It turns out someone stole this post, whole-cloth. Sigh. I think I’m going to stop letting the full text of my posts go into the feeds, at least for the moment. Sorry about that.

  8. Becca R. said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

    I have very very very oily hair. Do you know if this works for oily hair? I would love to switch, as shampoo is expensive (at least I found a good biodegradable one), and would love to wean myself of my dependence.

  9. kate said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

    My daily swimming is in fresh water, not chlorinated water. What does pool chlorination do – dry it out? I agree with Rebecca, experiment. Rebecca’s weaning off process would show you were the limit is for you.

    I haven’t noticed that much difference between town supply water and the well water, but then I only was only washing it once or occasionally twice a week so it’s not been long enough to tell probably. There’s definitely a difference now that my hair is wet most days but I can’t tell is that is the kind of water or simply that it’s wet much more often than usual.

    All very interesting.

    Becca, baking soda will remove oil from hair very well, depending on how much you use. However my understanding is that the more you totally remove the oil (which is what soap and shampoo does, and b.s. can do) the more the oil the scalp produces, so it’s good to find that balance point between removing enough so you feel good about your hair but not so much that your scalp produces more oil than is ok.

    Sorry to hear you’ve been plagarised Rebecca. I like the full post in the RSS (so I can read easily from dialup), but I can understand the need to take action.

  10. Kiva Rose said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

    Hmm, that’s not cool at all, getting your post stolen… how did you find out, and how do you think that restricting the feed will improve that? I am a bit worried about this myself, as I’ve been seeing my words show up in the strangest places lately.

  11. crabappleherbs said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

    Becca — It’s possible that your hair is so oily because of the shampoo… As Kate said, anything (like shampoo) that strips oil from the scalp causes your body to ramp up oil production. So the slow weaning from shampoo, plus a good brushing every evening, might really be good. Rosemary vinegar rinses are also really great for oily hair, and you can use those whether or not you stop using shampoo. (Stress can also cause oily hair, I’ve found.)

    Kate — Sorry for assuming your swimming was in a pool! (It’s probably because it’s winter over here, and our pond is frozen…) Yes, pool chlorination dries hair, and it also leaves a residue, and a certain scent. In high doses, it can turn light hair green!

    As far as the plagiarism goes, I’m working on ways to combat it, and I should have the full feeds back up soon.

    Kiva — Blog plagiarism is apparently totally routine, and it mostly happens through feeds. I’m sure it’s happened with more of my posts, but this one appeared right away — I noticed because they kept the internal links to other places on my site! They went to some effort to date it earlier and do some “prequel” posts (to pretend they wrote it). Grrr. They’re hosted on blogger, so if they don’t respond to the polite-but-firm comment I left them, I can fax a cease-and-desist letter to google to get them to remove it. It’s a pain, though, and I’m busy enough as it is. I think I’m going to install the digital fingerprint plugin for wordpress and see how that works. Here’s some more information from Plagiarism Today.

  12. Becca R. said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 11:25 pm

    Good to know about the rosemary vinegar wash for oily hair! I think I might start with that. I didn’t know that baking soda helps with oil, I just read a post that said to add it to shampoo to keep buildup down, so I might try that at least.

  13. crabappleherbs said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

    If you do use baking soda, definitely follow it with a vinegar rinse — baking soda is quite alkaline, and the hair’s natural pH is more acid. Have fun!

  14. Lisa said,

    February 4, 2008 @ 2:36 pm


    I used to have very, very oily hair and it is much improved now. Here’s what I did. I started by weaning down to a shampoo wash every other day. After a few weeks of this, I switched to a baking soda “wash”, followed by a apple cider vinegar “rinse”. If I were to do it now, I would probably just skip the shampoo weaning step and just go straight to baking soda, but it took me an mental adjustment when I was going no poo. I add about 1/4 c. of baking soda to an old 8 oz. shampoo bottle, add about 10 drops of whatever essential oil I feel like using and then fill the remainder with water. I use about 2 oz. of apple cider vinegar in a 10 oz. squirt bottle and top off with water as well. I wash my hair every other day now and my hair is so much less oily than it used to be.

  15. kate said,

    February 4, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

    Lisa, with those quantities are you then using the whole 8oz bottle to wash your hair?

  16. Lisa said,

    February 4, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

    No, I use just a couple of tablespoons of each solution. Just enough to get it through out my hair. My hair is just below my ears now, but I used this method when my hair was halfway down my back and I just had to use a bit more. I’ve been using this method for almost three years now!

  17. crabappleherbs said,

    February 4, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

    Lisa — I was also going to ask how much of the baking soda mixture and vinegar rinse you use per washing. I generally mix up much weaker solutions and use them all at once.

    Kate — I think using the whole 8-oz bottle would likely leave quite a bit of baking soda residue on the hair, though I’m curious to hear from Lisa how much she does use per washing.

  18. crabappleherbs said,

    February 4, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

    Lisa, that’s great! That way you can have your “shampoo” and “conditioner” bottles in the shower — you don’t have to remember to mix them fresh every time.

  19. kate said,

    February 4, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

    Yes, sounds like a good system to try. I have trouble getting solutions evenly distributed throughout my hair, which is why I usually do a vinegar rinse in the hand basin (the amount of vin varies, I just tip the bottle until I’m satisfied but it’s probably closer to Rebecca’s concentration than Lisa’s). I never really got the hang of baking soda solutions (I used to mix it in a yoghurt pottle) which is why I often went back to using Dr Bronners, but might try it in a bottle now.

    How long does the b.s and water keep in the bottle? I won’t be using EOs… I’m not sure if b.s solution degrades over time.

    Rebecca, I agree the stronger the solution the more rinsing needed. At the moment I’ve been just rubbing dry b.s into my wet hair when I’m swimming, letting it sit in my hair for a bit so it ‘runs’ through, and then rinsing out (which is so easy because I’m in the water already).

    I’d like to try Lisa’s bottle method when swimming – it sounds like it’d be great for camping too, just take the bottle down to the river or lake. Even better if I can get the vinegar only to work.

  20. Brandy said,

    February 4, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

    My husband stumbled upon your site a few days ago and sent it to me. Your site is such an awesome blessing! I’ve been sitting here for hours going through it! Invaluable info for sure!

  21. Celia said,

    February 4, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

    Do you find this accentuates curly hair more or less than conventional shampoos? My partner has lost his curls since his he stopped washing his hair everyday.

    I have been at the shower with a little shampoo, twice a week for over five years now. I didn’t know what the next step was, but I am grateful I read these comments! I am going to try BS tomorrow.

    My hair is much less greasy, but I have noticed an unprecedented amount of breakage/spilt ends since cutting back on washing…no oils have seemed to help (only cutting often does, then they just come back).

    Generally well-water responds better to detergents than actual soap (soap, made with animal fats, will cause precipitates (like hard water) with the minerals which can end up in your hair and cause it to break off. I have seen this a few times. My grandma said all the women in her family never cut their hair, it just broke off because of their high-mineral well!

  22. Lisa said,

    February 4, 2008 @ 10:55 pm

    Rebecca-It does work out very well. If I had to remember to mix them fresh each time, I probably wouldn’t ever wash my hair!

    Kate-I haven’t noticed that the bs solution degrades. My bottle usually lasts through a few weeks’ washings and I haven’t had any problem with it in that time frame.

  23. Ritsumei said,

    February 4, 2008 @ 11:52 pm

    That’s a complete bummer that you were plagiarized – and also sort of a backslap compliment: someone thought your work was good enough to wish it was theirs. Too bad they didn’t just post a link.

    So I read through this this morning, (and posted about it, with a link on my blog), and now I’ve just come back & re-read the whole thing, this time including the comments. I had no idea that such a thing was possible! The number of chemicals that I use has been bothering me, not that I use a lot of them. I don’t wear make-up or put goop into my hair, just wash myself and put on a bit of deodorant. But still, the number of chemicals that the ordinary hygiene routine, even a simple one, uses can add up really quickly.

    I’m already only washing my hair every 2-3 days, but I use quite a bit of shampoo & conditioner, as my hair is 1/2 way down my back. Your directions seem pretty straight-forward. Weaning off the shampoo a bit at a time, natural fiber brushes. Got it. What about the conditioner? My hair is near impossible to comb if I don’t use a goodly glob of the stuff. I’ll have to go check your post on the flax-seed gel stuff. I don’t think that I’ve looked at that one yet.

    I have to say, I’m intrigued, but it’s a big step. Makes me more than a little nervous. I suppose that you grow your own herbs for the rinses? I was planning to do some of that herb-growing thing this summer, but I really don’t know what I’m doing. Doing this with grocery-store herbs would be pretty expensive.


  24. crabappleherbs said,

    February 5, 2008 @ 10:11 am

    Brandy — Thanks so much!

    Celia — Well, I think it depends. Having more of the natural oil on his hair may have caused it to “lie down” more… Has he tried vinegar rinses? I find the vinegar rinses make my (curly) hair too fluffy for my taste. I end up wanting to “weight it down” with flax gel. The vinegar also helps prevent breakage — it keeps the hair cuticle smooth. (If you try the vinegar you’ll see what I mean — the hair feels very soft and smooth.)

    Ritsumei — Guess what? The vinegar rinse is a conditioner / detangler. I know it doesn’t have the texture of “regular” conditioner, but it still leaves the hair silky and easy to handle. (Though I would avoid trying to comb while the hair is wet — there’s a higher danger of breakage that way.) The flax gel is also very moisturizing for the hair, but it doesn’t have as much of the detangling property — at least I’ve never used it that way (I think you’d have to use so much that it might have more of a “setting” effect — they used to use it for “spit curls” in the twenties.)

  25. anita said,

    February 5, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

    Yup, the chlorine pool water dries my hair and it feels like there’s a layer of gunk on it afterwards. I suppose the drying out might counteract the oily icky transition phase, but it likely just upsets the balance. Anyway, I went with only water washes and lots of dedicated brushing (my scalp adores me now!) after my last swim, and it’s only starting to feel slightly oily on this fourth day (usually by the second day I’m already oily). Regarding the layer of gunk, I wonder if a) my body’s oil or b) vinegar or lemon rinses would help?? Anyway, I’ll let you know how my experiments go! oh and if anyone swims in salt and doesn’t use shampoo, I’d love to hear about that too :)

    Great thread, Rebecca. So sorry to hear about the “stealing”.

  26. crabappleherbs said,

    February 5, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

    Anita — Yes, I think vinegar rinses would help remove the chlorine. Let us know how your experiments go!

  27. Ritsumei said,

    February 10, 2008 @ 12:12 am

    How do you tell if your shampoo is detergent or soap based? I’m presuming that the “normal” stuff at ye old department store/grocery store is detergent based. So where would you find this “soap-based” shampoo?

    Brushing like you said to do is pretty cool. Makes my hair static-crazed. But everything is static-crazed right now. Even my blankets snap and crackle when I move them around. I’m looking forward to spring.

  28. crabappleherbs said,

    February 11, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

    You’re right, Ritsumei, most store-bought shampoo is detergent-based. (Ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, etc. are detergents.) Some health-food-store shampoos are soap-based. They usually trumpet this on the label. I know that Aubrey brand shampoos are soap based, but they’re not cheap. Shampoo bars are soap-based, too. And some baby shampoos are detergent-free — they usually say so on the label.

    Ah, yes, winter static. It does make things interesting…

  29. anita said,

    February 11, 2008 @ 9:39 pm

    Update! This is the 10th day since my last chorinated swim. I’m surprised I haven’t been swimming yet. I went cold turkey and my hair has been oily, but not toooo oily. It is beautifully soft. I’m sensing that a rinse would make my hair very very happy…and even softer. I’ve been brushing a lot and playing with my hair, and my scalp still adores me. Today my hair started feeling a little less oily at the scalp. I don’t know if it’s the beginning of a turn or just an anomaly. I’ll find out!

  30. Andrea said,

    February 12, 2008 @ 1:16 am

    A question! I’d like to stop using shampoo, but if I don’t use it I have terrible dandruff. I was wondering what you (or anyone here) would recommend?

  31. crabappleherbs said,

    February 12, 2008 @ 6:14 pm

    Anita — Have you tried a vinegar rinse yet? I’m curious about how it will affect your hair.

    Andrea — Dandruff can be caused by heavy oil production, in which case this approach (less washing, more brushing, herbal rinses) might work really well for you. Dandruff sometimes also has a fungal connection, in which case the herbal vinegar rinses would be especially good. I would choose aromatic herbs like rosemary and sage, and I might add a bit more vinegar than usual. (Vinegar helps lower scalp pH, which can make your scalp less hospitable to fungus.)

  32. Holly said,

    February 13, 2008 @ 10:40 am

    Brilliant, brilliant site, Rebecca. It’s helping me to live more holistically.

    This is a slight non-sequitur to your post, but I use baking soda to wash my face. I’ve got combo, acne-prone skin, and I’ve tried a host of evils over the years to tame it. Now I’m finding that the less I do, the better. And I’m shocked to find that the baking soda does not irritate, but only slightly exfoliates. (I then follow with a spritz of either rose water or witch hazel, which soothes in case I’ve used too much of the BS-water paste.) When it’s really cold or dry out, I use yogurt or whey or sour milk to cleanse and find that that makes my skin happy, too.
    Thank you again!

  33. Brandy said,

    February 13, 2008 @ 11:22 am

    How long can you store an herbal vinegar rinse? I want to make up a batch, but I don’t know how long it will keep.

  34. crabappleherbs said,

    February 14, 2008 @ 11:12 am

    Holly — Thanks! I would be sure to follow any baking soda face wash with something more acidic like the yogurt or whey (or a diluted herbal vinegar face rinse!) — your skin’s pH is naturally more on the acidic side, and baking soda can be too alkalizing.

    Brandy — I’m not sure how long an herbal vinegar rinse would last — I generally make only a batch or so at a time. But if you store it in the fridge, I imagine it should last at least a week or two. (Just sniff it — if it smells off, make a new batch.)

  35. tahli said,

    February 15, 2008 @ 12:27 am

    Grrr, I wish I found this post before! I went no shampoo about 11 months ago and have used a mixture of organic shampoo and baking soda/apple cidar vinegar since. My hair is thin and still horribly greasy… Now I do the BS/ACV once a week, but it’s still oily. It’s too late for the graduality. I want to buy a brush now, and I will try the herbal rinses. Thanks for the site!

  36. anita said,

    February 15, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

    Since my last update, my hair remained somewhat oily at the scalp but not tooo oily. It was a bit like the wet hair look that some people wear. Away from the scalp was starting to feel moderately dry.

    Rebecca, yes, I’ve now tried the rinse! Yesterday I juiced half a lemon (I have a lemon tree but no ACV), picked a sage leaf and lavender sprig from someone’s front yard :), and poured hot water over the top of all of that and let it sit until cool. I left it in my hair for a little while, then rinsed out in the shower water. Today my hair feels….the same as before the rinse! Maybe I shouldn’t have water rinsed afterwards??

    I’m pleased to have made it to two weeks. Alas, I’ll be disrupting the balance next week to be a model for a free haircut, which might involve shampoo, but hopefully that won’t happen again for a while!

  37. crabappleherbs said,

    February 15, 2008 @ 1:02 pm

    Hi Tahli. Thanks! Definitely try the brushing. And for really oily hair, I would do a rosemary / sage vinegar rinse at least every other day until it calms down. (I think I mentioned this in another comment, but stress can also cause oily hair.)

  38. Melody said,

    February 22, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

    Would ginger be suitable for an herbal rinse? I love the way it smells and am making a lot of ginger tea these days. I’m wondering if I could multitask my tea-making by adding a dash of vinegar to the leftover.

  39. crabappleherbs said,

    February 22, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

    Anita — That’s interesting. I’ve never used lemon, myself. You say your hair was really soft before you used it? Maybe your hair just tends to be soft already! (Mine is usually pretty coarse until I rinse it with the vinegar, then it gets soft and even fluffy.)

    Melody — Ginger sounds great. Yes, herbal rinses are a great way to use leftover herb tea — I do that all the time!

  40. Susan said,

    February 26, 2008 @ 10:37 am

    Hi Rebecca,

    I discovered this site 2 weeks ago and changed to soap shampoo right away and natural brush. good transition. My problem is that I have colored hair. I am thinking about fading out my brown color over mostly gray (I think, I haven’t seen the real color in over 10 years) I just cut my hair pretty short, have very fine hair and on the thin side. Any suggestions?

    Thanks, Susan

  41. Charysse said,

    February 27, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

    Hi there. Just found your site through a friend and am loving it.

    I had a question about hydrosols. I have several types including rose, rosemary, lemonbalm, and peppermint. They’re pretty acidic. If I wanted to use that in a rinse, would it work in place of the vinegar/herbs? Or should I not think about it for a rinse at all?


  42. Charysse said,

    February 27, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

    I also forgot to ask, I am using a store-bought cleanser on my face and back that have been working for a while, but not always, and it’s harsh on my skin. I’d like to get away from needing to buy facial wash and moisturizer, any ideas? I’m sorry if I missed this in another part of your site, but I didn’t see anything when I looked.

  43. crabappleherbs said,

    February 27, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

    Susan — If you want to transition slowly from the color, you could switch to a “health food store brand”, or try henna. Henna is a lovely conditioner in itself, though some grey hair doesn’t take henna color very well.

    Charysse — Thanks! I think you should try the vinegar, then try the hydrosol and compare. And don’t forget to come back and let us know how it works! As far as skin cleansers go, yogurt-based cleansers are my favorite. I posted a recipe (and ideas for more) a while back here.

  44. Charysse said,

    February 28, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. I’ll give them a try!

  45. sean said,

    March 3, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

    i stopped using shampo years ago, i went cold turkey and used hot water to melt the oils out of the hair, after 2months of cold turkey i used regular shampoo once to kind of catch up and viola! it stayed nice and normal after that. i actully do not use any soap products on my body, i use olive oil or not very processed almond or brazil nut oil. soaps are a scam they make you need them more and more, it is ok to wash off your hands with soap but using it on your whole body causs the body to produce to many oils. when you wash with hot water and oil the old skin and dirt comes off and leaves you smelling and feeling clean. it is one of the distasteful things about western society the obsession with sterility and cleanliness, i beleive it to be the root of many illnesses. i fortunatley live in Bolivia where people still tolerate the smell of normal sweat, whereas every time i come to the states to visit everyone smells like chemical soaps and even weirder smells of their bodies fighting against chemicals.

  46. kate said,

    March 4, 2008 @ 4:49 am

    I’ve been using baking soda and vinegar instead of soap, but really want to stop using so much b.s (I think it is a mined product). How do you use the olive oil? Quantity, technique etc.

  47. tahli said,

    March 5, 2008 @ 5:03 am

    Thanks for the herb advice you gave me, but unfortunately using herbs are too much trouble and also expensive. I might try lemon juice or sea salt to help the oil.
    Sean, I’d like to know more about how hot water could melt the oil out of hair? I’ve read that it would make your hair more oily.

  48. sean said,

    March 5, 2008 @ 12:46 pm

    for kate,,,i use the olive oil like a liquid soap only a lot less, while under the hot water i rub it all over my body and riinse it off, you can essential oils to the olive oil, just try not use oils that are to active or that can sting…essentials i have used are orange, vanilla, cedar, sandalwood, oils that you have to be careful with are eucalyptus, lavender (they can sting} tree tree oil also can be mixed in. basically you can try anything. i find vanilla extract to be real nice, you have to shake it each time you use it as it floats on the oil, i recommend a plastic dispenser so as not to have glass in the tub area. the combo i have been using is orange essential oil and vanilla extract mixed into the best olive oil you can find, preferably extra virgin cold press, a good quality olive oil is GREEN in ther bottle not yellow, shop around. but any will work. also almond oil and brazil nut oil are equally nice. i also recommend cold water rinse after showering, an excellent treatment for the skin to keep it healthy and elastic.

  49. sean said,

    March 5, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

    sorry typo on tree tree, i meant to say tea tree,
    well i guess i will use this to also comment on the evils of anti-perspirants. i cannot believe these products are legal! it is very bad to put things in your pits that stops perspiration it is so typical of a society that has become totally disconnected with the reality we were born into. i met a woman once who because of her job used a lot of anti perspirant and managed to shut down her sweat glands in her arm pits! this is a seriuois health problemn folks, also having high levels of aluminium in your body has been linked to lots of other health problems. i recommend instead of using chemical deoderants and anti perspirants, mix up some essential oil you like the smell of with a bit of olive oil and keep it in a small bottle with you all the time so you can rub some into your pits if it becomes necessary to work in close with people who are not used to the normal everyday oder of the human body.
    having lived a large part of my life outside of “developed countries” i can say that sweat is a normal smell that the human race lives with easily, it is only in developed countries that people lose their ability to live with normal body odor and begin to only accept the smell of overperfumed deoderized chemical smelling people. and the interesting thing is that when people begin using these chemicals a lot, their normal body oder becomes very disagreeable, i guess because all the chemicals are causing strange reactions. the smell i notice most on people in the “developed countries” is a kind of acetone farty smell that underlies all the chemical smells. ok that was my deoderant rant sorry to put you all through that, lol

  50. Jennier said,

    March 5, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

    Thank you so much for your blog – it’s absolutely incredible!

    I’ve got some questions about hair care. First off, I recently switched to bs/acv for my hair. Even with commercial shampoo’s, I went 3-4 days between washes because I’ve got long hair (past the mid back). But now that I’ve stopped using them, my hair feels strange (sheesh, that sounds weird) I mean the texture feels off to me – it doesn’t look oily or greasy (I don’t have any sebum under my nails when I scratch my head), but feels tacky – much like touching a beeswax candle. My hair is very thick and I can’t even get a boar bristle brush through it from scalp to ends unless I section it off into 8 sections. It’s not even easy to run my fingers through it. I never used to blow dry my hair, but now I have to otherwise my scalp stays damp for up to 36 hours (even though the lower 12″ of my hair dries in 15 minutes). My hair not particularly soft nor dry, and is rather dull looking.

    I know I’m in a detox period right now, but right now, my hair feels thick and heavy at the scalp – much like a wig does. So I’m kind of at my wits end here. I’m a heartbeat from giving up – so any advice you could share would be very, very appreciated! Thanks so much for all the information!

  51. Jen (Modern Beet) said,

    March 5, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

    should one use fresh or dried herbs? does it matter?
    Your site is awesome! I’m so glad I found it (from a link on on pickled lemons)

  52. anita said,

    March 6, 2008 @ 1:13 am

    yippee! So now it’s been a month since I went cold turkey. And it has been two weeks since my swim + hair shampoo/cut. This week I noticed that my hair has been slightly oily — but a) I think that is largely my fault for being busy and not brushing as much this past week, and b) it is significantly less oily than in the first fortnight. So I think this is working :)

    Today I lightly shampooed my hair (but not scalp) for the first time just to get a smoky food smell out, and to give my hair some love :) I think I will strike a balance of shampoo’ing like this once every few weeks just ‘cos I like it. So I might not be completely non-shampoo, but I’ll certainly be a long way from my previous daily shampoo!

    (Rebecca, yes my hair is soft without rinses. I dunno if the lemon did anything, but it was fun).

  53. crabappleherbs said,

    March 6, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

    Jennifer — It sounds like your scalp might be a bit dry, actually. You could try rubbing it with a bit of olive oil and leaving it on for a while before you shower. (My hair is very thick too — no way I could get a boar bristle brush through it. I use a wood-bristle brush.)

    Jen — Thanks! Fresh or dried herbs both work. Whatever you have around! (I often just use leftover herbal tea.)

    Anita — I’m glad it’s working!

  54. Rachael said,

    March 10, 2008 @ 4:57 am

    Thank you for such a wonderful site, I really enjoy reading your posts. I wish I had seen this one before I got my hair cut, though – my hair was just past my shoulders and getting really tatty (I have fine hair, but loads of it) so I decided to go for a mega-chop. In the past this has seemed like the only option, though I’ve always lusted after lovely long hair. Now I have a teeny bob that is impossible to style without brushing whilst wet!

    I have switched to leaving a day between washes and using a smaller amount of shampoo, as the first stage of my detox. However, my scalp has become really itchy on the days I don’t wash it. Has anyone else experienced this? Any tips? I don’t want people to think I have headlice!

  55. Jennifer said,

    March 10, 2008 @ 6:50 am

    Update: Talk about feeling stooooopid ;-) I found out what the problem was. I had been using a hair product I THOUGHT was just coconut oil (a little on the top of my head on the ends to control those pesky short hairs that like to stand up in winter weather)….well, come to find out the main ingredient was petroleum (basically Vaseline!) so that’s why my hair felt tacky and looked dull. So I spent hours trying to strip the stuff out of my hair (what else is there to do in a blizzard?) Tried using eggs, but what worked fairly well was glycerin based soap… great on the hair close to the scalp, but not so much on the rest. I finally broke down and used Coke. Worked like a charm and didn’t strip my hair as bad as I expected. I’m glad I didn’t have to use Dawn dish washing detergent.

    Anyway, my hair is back to it’s soft, shiny, silky self and now I CAN use a boar bristle brush on it. I’ll be easing back into the bs/acv routine now.

    Lesson learned: Always read the ingredients…even if it looks like what it says it is. I mean, it looked like coconut oil – but it was so much more….

  56. crabappleherbs said,

    March 10, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

    Rachael — I would use a soothing rinse, maybe lemon balm and marsh mallow? Or chamomile? You could also use diluted flaxseed gel as a rinse — leave it on for a while to let it have its soothing effects on your scalp. It’s also possible your scalp might be a bit dry — you could try a coconut or olive oil treatment…

    Jennifer — Very interesting. Good to know that Coke can strip petroleum out of hair! ;-) I’m glad your hair is soft now. And thanks for the reminder about reading the ingredients!

  57. dianna said,

    March 11, 2008 @ 11:06 pm

    hi – i just read this blog and love it. just wanted to say that i wash my hair with amla powder. i either make a tea with it and pour it through my hair – or – sometimes i make a thin paste and work it through my hair and wash it out. both ways work well. i also use amla paste on my face for cleaning. when i first went herbal i used to use shikakai paste – but you have to oil the hair first for this and i had trouble getting the oil out. with the amla powder it is so gentle that i do not have to oil first. glad to see there are like minded people out there. i have tried ACV and liked that as well. i think the reason that the amla works so well as it is very high in vitamin C and probably acidic (like ACV) instead of alkaline. also my hair is very strong now.

  58. crabappleherbs said,

    March 16, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

    Hi Dianna.

    Good to know about the amla. It makes me wonder about other acidic herbs… I’ll have to do some experimenting this summer.

  59. Jen in CT said,

    March 25, 2008 @ 6:46 am

    This method of hair care intrigues me a great deal. About 6 months ago I switched from shampoo to a cleansing conditioner that is astringent based ( The product is great, but extremely expensive–around $1.50/ounce. What are your thoughts about weaning from something like this over to your method with the herbal rinses?

  60. Robyn said,

    March 28, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

    Love this! My boyfriend and I have both been boycotting shampoo since the summer time.. I have long curly hair down to the middle of my back, and without shampoo it’s no longer dry! I dont need to use any hair products to get the bounce back in my hair.. and it does not look greasy or unclean! I do use a little bit of conditioner once or twice a week, though, just to get the tangles out. Otherwise my hair is an absolute mess that takes hours to comb! Thumbs up! :)

  61. crabappleherbs said,

    April 3, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

    Jen — I don’t have personal experience with that product, but from the ingredients, it looks like a chemical cleanser. I think I would go slowly and try to transition in the same way as for shampoo.

    Robyn — Thanks!

  62. Barb said,

    April 6, 2008 @ 9:02 pm

    I started making my own shampoo and I love it. I think that I will def give this a try. Thanks so much–Barb

  63. Beth said,

    April 6, 2008 @ 11:49 pm

    Hi I have very fine natural blond hair and I use an anti-dandruff shampoo because it’s the only thing that doesn’t irritate my scalp as i have sensitive skin. Because of my type of hair i pretty much wash it everyday because I hate unclean hair and it looks so dark and dirty if i don’t wash it. However, I sometimes get this patch at the back after I’ve washed it and it looks and feels tacky. I would love to not wash my hair so much and have it looking cleaner. What do you suggest I do?

  64. crabappleherbs said,

    April 9, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

    Barb — You’re welcome, and good luck!

    Beth — I would try the vinegar rinses. I think they’ll get the film off your hair without causing irritation.

  65. Beth said,

    April 9, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

    Thanks for that. How often should I use them?

  66. Bianca said,

    April 12, 2008 @ 12:42 pm

    Hi there! I just wanted to say I’ve stumbled upon this blog some time ago, and now I have almost given up shampoo completely. I haven’t used baking soda either. Only eggs, vinegar and peppermint herbal rinse. My hair stopped falling almost completely and it’s soft and shiny:D I love the herbal rinse, it’s one of the best things that happened to my hair. Thanks a lot for the tips!
    Now, you have a blog entry about flax seed gel. I have straight hair, if I used that gel, what would actually happen? Has anyone tried?

  67. lydia said,

    April 20, 2008 @ 8:45 am

    for super-short (inch-long) fine thin hair that hasn’t been brushed in years, is 100 strokes still a good goal for brushing? i know it sounds silly, but that makes this feel high-maintenance! though i could at least start by acquiring a boar-bristle brush.

    once you’ve resolved into using just herbal rinses, how often are you doing them?

    there must be an obvious way to use a pint of liquid rinse on your head when you’re standing in the shower? shampoo as gel or foam stays in hair long enough to feel like i’m spreading it around, but wouldn’t a vinegar rinse disappear almost right away? do i need to submerge my head in a sink instead?

  68. Anne said,

    April 25, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

    I have totally totally straight hair but would also like to go poo-free… can I do it using this method?
    Thanks very much. Very helpful and inspiring blog!


  69. crabappleherbs said,

    May 4, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

    Beth — I use the vinegar rinses every few days, but you may want to use them more often. I would experiment and see.

    Bianca — I think you should try the flax gel on your straight hair and let us know what happens!

    Lydia — I think for your hair 100 strokes is probably overkill. The goal is to move oil along the hair shaft. You can feel your hair before and after brushing to get a sense of when that’s happening. As for herbal rinses, like I said before, I use them every few days. But more than that would be fine too, or less often if that works for you. I just pour the pint of liquid over my head. With such short hair, you probably don’t need a pint. Just use enough to saturate your hair, and let it sit for a bit. You can actually feel the difference in texture once you put it on (in other words, it doesn’t disappear).

    Anne — Thanks! I think this method should work just fine for straight hair.

  70. Corey said,

    May 12, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

    HI! I am wanting to go shampoo free with my daughter first. She is three and has pretty thin hair. Currently, I use a tiny amount of shampoo on her hair 2 times a week, and her hair is never oily.
    What would you reccomend for her? Baking soda wash twice a week? ACV rinse once a week? I am scared to hurt her fine hair.
    Thank you in advance.

  71. crabappleherbs said,

    May 15, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

    Hi Corey.

    You won’t hurt your daughter’s hair by going shampoo-free. If anything, plain water or a light vinegar rinse is the best thing for delicate baby hair. You could try a chamomile rinse — it’s very nice for fine hair, too.

  72. Anne Marie said,

    May 17, 2008 @ 11:27 pm

    I want to try going without shampoo too but baking soda scares me, it seems rather harsh. I’m worried it may weaken my hair because I have thinning extremely fine hair. I don’t want to unnecessarily lose a strand of it! My hair is also super oily… or perhaps it’s regularly oily but having thin, fine blonde hair it looks lank after one day without washing and after two days I look like I’ve been dipped in oil (this is frowned upon where I work and as hats are against the rules I can’t even cover up). I love the idea of using herbs but I come /this/ close to running late for work daily so I doubt I can fit in mixing up herbal rinses. I like Lisa’s idea of using pre-made mixes in the shower but herbal rinses can’t be stored like that, can they? I guess what I’m saying is I want to be good to the earth and my hair but I don’t know how to move beyond good intentions. Any advice will be much appreciated.

  73. Kathleen said,

    June 5, 2008 @ 8:26 pm

    I haven’t tried the bs/acv but will be giving it a go!! I stopped using shampoo about 2 months ago, I wash my hair about twice a week using a concoction of grated pure soap melted in boiling water, with a couple of drops of peppermint oil for the yummy smell. I make it up in a jar, to use it is a bit tricky – you have to bend over so your head & the jar meet without the soap slopping out all over the shower floor, rub it all over your head til it bubbles, then carefully detach your head & the jar! It’s much easier than it sounds..honest :) When you’re done, top up the jar with more hot water, put the lid on and give it a bit of a shake. No tangles, shiniest hair ever! I’ll start trying out the baking soda..if I’m using rainwater do you think I still need to use vinegar?? I remember reading somewhere that the acidity of rainwater is different to town supply…

  74. kate said,

    June 6, 2008 @ 12:48 am

    I used to use that method when I was younger. I used ordinary grated soap though, which left the hair ‘rough’ so I also used a vinegar rinse. What do you mean by pure soap? (I’m not in the US so a brand name won’t explain).

  75. Kathleen said,

    June 6, 2008 @ 1:17 am

    I’m not in the US either – I’m way down in new zealand… I used simple soap – it has no colours or preservatives or scent in it, just tallow & caustic soda – I think the book I first read it in said to use lux flakes?? Couldn’t find those anywhere though. Any soap that isn’t loaded up with fragrances & other mysterious ingredients will do the trick, I stood in the soap aisle at the supermarket for ages deciding which one had the least junk in it. Funnily enough the vegetable based soaps have more weird ingredients than normal ones, & I’m pretty well informed about chemical names for things. I just tried the baking soda & vinegar thing, not sure what the result is yet! It was kinda cold pouring stuff over my head, I think I need to read through all these postings again to figure out if I did it right!

  76. kate said,

    June 6, 2008 @ 2:56 am

    Hey, I’m in NZ too! Did you get that soap idea from Elizabeth Francke’s Make Your Own Cosmetics? Great book!

    You can still get lux flakes I think, but for the last decade or so it’s had perfume in it :-( It’s used for washing woollens.

  77. kate said,

    June 6, 2008 @ 2:58 am

    I’ve been finding the baking soda and vinegar mixes cold too (wasn’t a problem in the summer). I might start keeping mine in a room that’s a bit warmer. It’s nice not to have to mix them each time.

  78. Kathleen said,

    June 6, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

    That’s the book alright – I just love it! I was getting it out from the library all the time then found it on sale for $10 in the local bookstore here in Gisborne – what a bargain!

  79. La Shawn Samuel said,

    June 22, 2008 @ 10:24 am

    Hi there:

    I am in the process of preparing my own herbal shampoos, body wash, and conditioners for my family. My mixture works well, smells good, and feels good, but it looks horrible. After I poured all the cooled herbal ingredients into the bottle, the mixture was very watery – but it worked fine. However, I wanted the mixture to look the same but with a more thickened consistency. So I went back to the drawing board and re-heated the mixture and added Xanthan Gum (powder) until I got the right consistency. Unfortunately, now the mixture is thick and cloudy. I wanted it to just be thick like other shampoos I have seen. Can you offer any advice that will help me get the thickness with out the cloudy look?


  80. dianna said,

    July 15, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

    hey!!! i just wanted to say that after using the amla rinses to clean my hair for a while i noticed my hair was getting very dry on the ends. so i went to pretty much water only with diluted lime juice (1 lime for 32 oz water) every once in a while.
    lately i have started using 1 tablespoon of ACV with about 5 drops of essential oil – i like patchouli or orange or lavender or rosemary….
    what i have been doing is wetting my hair and rinsing it first good – then pouring the mixture over my head and letting it sit a minute then rinsing out well.
    this is working great – and my hair smells wonderful!!!
    i had started getting worried about using the lime juice and it left my hair smelling funky – but the ACV works great!!! for me the key is diluting it a lot.
    because i was pretty much to the point where a diluted acid rinse works to keep my hair clean this is all i need.
    thanks for your site!!! does anyone else here do this method for washing your hair?
    oh – and i only have to do this a couple of times a week!!!
    it also works great after swimming in a chlorinated pool – as did the lime juice.
    i just think that probably ACV has more hair benefits than lime juice and i was a little worried about the photosensitivity lime juice can cause on skin.
    i also use diluted ACV about one cup ACV to 2 cups or less water in a spray bottle with a few drops of lavender oil to spray my body and face with before a bath. when i do this i notice that all i need to do is to scrub my body with an exfoliating cloth and my dead skin comes off easy.
    afterwards i use virgin coconut oil on my skin. this works great!!! evidently i needed to use some type of acid to help my skin to exfoliate easier. i used to use water only bathing and i had a very hard time getting my dead skin off. we have pretty hard water here and i never use soap.
    sometimes also i will massage virgin coconut oil all over my body and then get into a bath of warm water and scrub my skin. this works great too – but it takes more time than the ACV spray.
    hope this helps someone!!!
    thanks for your site!!! love reading stuff like this!!!

  81. crabappleherbs said,

    July 16, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

    La Shawn — I’m not sure about thickening homemade shampoo. I would think that the starch would weigh down your hair. Is there a reason you want it to be thick?

    Dianna — Thanks for all the information!

  82. Kathleen said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

    Since reading about the baking soda/acv hair cleaning ideas on here I’ve been using it a couple of times a week – and my hair is amazing! Thank you so much :) Next step will be eliminating the need for the baking soda & just using the rinse.

  83. Asherah said,

    August 25, 2008 @ 11:37 am

    I am now trying the experiment of not washing my hair anymore to see if it gets less oily after (one month?). I am only a few days further and my hair is *very* greasy now, but I work at home, so it’s not that much of a problem.
    I wanted to add that you can also use Indian soapnuts as a natural shampoo. I’ve already tried it and it washes your hair very well. I’m going to use it again just to get the grease out I have now, but still I don’t want to use it everyday like regular shampoo, therefore I’m letting my hair get greasy now, so it can become less oily within time..

  84. Asherah said,

    August 25, 2008 @ 11:40 am

    for those who get dry and splitty hair from rinsing only (or baking soda), wouldn’t it help to use an egg once in a while to nourish your hair?

  85. Lauren said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

    I love this crazy blog.

    I have been trying a vinegar rinse, but I just turned 50 and have a nice white streak at the front of my hair. I am concerned that tea rinses will turn my white streak green, and not a nice gardeny-green either! Has anyone with gray or white hair tried this?

  86. crabappleherbs said,

    September 9, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

    Kathleen: You’re welcome!

    Asherah: An egg would be good indeed. So would a flax gel treatment.

    Lauren: Thank you! I don’t know about the color soaking in to white hair. As far as I know, grey / white hair doesn’t take up color as easily as other kinds of hair. But you could play it safe and use black tea, or other rinses that are brown…

  87. Jenna said,

    September 20, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

    In the ACV rinse, would it be alright to add a few drops of Jasmine Absolute (Grape Seed Oil & 7.5% Jasmine Oil)? I really love the smell of Jasmine!

    Also, for those looking for something good for their skin, have a soak in the tub and add a cup of milk and a cup of honey to your water. The enzymes in the milk break the bonds that hold on dead skin cells and the honey is an excellent moisturizer. Also, honey can be put on your skin directly. Let it set for about 15 minutes then rinse it off. You’ll have the softest skin you’ve ever had!

    (who is wondering if a once of month treatment of honey in the hair wouldn’t be moisturizing and nourishing for the hair…even if it is sticky, it rinses off easily enough)

  88. crabappleherbs said,

    September 22, 2008 @ 7:44 pm

    Essential oils in the rinse work fine.

    I’ve wondered about the honey thing, too, but I’ve never tried it.

  89. Kate said,

    October 14, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

    i have read your forum with avid interest since trying to go shampoo free back in march. My husband went cold turkey and his very short hair was pretty much back to normal after a couple of months. I stopped washing my children 6 and 7 immediately and they only ever use water on their hair now and if anything their hair is in better condition than it ever was with their hair there was no period of detox it just remained the same – but does look all the better for a good brush.
    however my hair is a different story – i tried several times to stop washing initially by lengthening time between washes but after 3 day my hair would begin to be uinbearable – so in august i went cold turkey i have endured 2 months of oil slick hair – and i mean a thick thick layer of grease
    i have tried brushing which seems to make it worse; bicarb in dilution followed by vinegar – no effect
    so in desperation on saturday after trying again the bicarb and nothing i literally took a handful of dry bicarb and massaged it into my hair – and followed with a vinegar rinse – this was amazing but two days later and my hair has started once again its grease build up
    i kind of thought i would be free of washing but it seems i have just swapped to a different style of washing which is more high maintenance than before
    i have come to the conclusion that my type of hair must be why they invented shampoo int he first place
    id love it if someone could suggest something would work but must say i have lost all hope

  90. Anne J said,

    October 29, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

    Greetings, All!

    I have taken most of the day (off & on) to read this WONDERFUL site! My goodness! I’ve been an aspiring herbalist & midwife for some time now & am THRIVING on all of the fabulous resources I have found here!

    Re: Going poo-less … I have switched to a product called “Giovanni” that I purchase at the health food store. It is sulfate free. (expen$ive) I use the tripple treat tea tree shampoo & it has really helped my scalp. Reading about going “poo-less” has REALLY sparked some GREAT ideas!!! I just turned 40 & my hair has been thinning tremendously. Sadly, in our culture vanity is etched into our psyche. Historically, I have had thick, long hair. In the past 2 years, the hair loss has REALLY excellerated. I am taking infusions of Stinging Nettles for nourishment, fertility & hopefully to get my hair back into a healthy state. I am excited to try the ACV rinses & diluted soda!!! I shall even try the soda as a face wash! I COMPLETELY relate to the greasy head thing! I will go for 3 days without washing my hair & WOW … it’s like I’ve hit black gold!

    Thank you ever so for providing such wonderful information in such a loving environment!

    In Peace,

  91. MaddyAnne H. said,

    November 9, 2008 @ 7:54 pm

    I have really fine, long strawberry blonde, mildly wavy hair that tangles terribly and i definitely don’t want to cut it, but it has a lot of split ends and major fizzes. I’ve been using water mostly and herbal essence about once every two weeks, and my boyfriend recommended me a thistle boar brush (he’s a total white blonde), but I can’t find one. I am also on the school dance team (sorta, if you know what colorguard is that’s what I do, but if not – the dance team) and we have to gel our hair and mine just gets gross!
    I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions to help me out. I have started the cut back on shampoo by using less and less. Also, how can you tell the difference between a detergent shampoo and a soap based one?
    I hope someone will be able to give some advise to me.

    Thank You!

  92. MaddyAnne H. said,

    November 9, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

    I forgot to ask, where can you get acv? Or do you have to make it yourself, if so, how? Also how do you “use an egg” on your hair?
    I’m sorry I have so many questions, I’m really new to this stuff.

    Thank You!

  93. Anne J said,

    November 17, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

    Hi, MaddyAnne ~

    You can get acv at any grocery store … just look for Apple Cider Vinegar! :-)

    When you look at the ingredients in shampoo(s), look for Sodium Laurel Sulfate (sp?!). The best thing I’ve found if you want to make the switch AWAY from shampoo is to get a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. I LOVE the peppermint & the Almond variety, but there are several more to choose from!

    I’ve been using the baking soda that the ladies above have recommended as well as a vinegar rinse & it’s doing my scalp a WORLD of good!!! I sneak in a bit of Dr. Bronner’s when I feel the need for some lather. Give it a try!

    Blessings of Peace,

  94. Potter said,

    January 24, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

    I grew up overseas and since coming back to states have discovered that I have chemical sensitivities so I am trying to use no shampoo, now I only use a soap-based organic variety every 4-6 days but I am concerned about conditioner. I have very long (past my butt) fine straight hair that I haven’t cut other than a trim occasionally since I was still in school and I find I still have to use quite a bit of conditioner to keep the ends soft and split-end free. Back home we would sometimes massage oils into out hair but I’m not sure what oils they were. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  95. Peeko said,

    March 21, 2009 @ 12:10 am

    I came across this blog from a google search for natural thickeners for shampoo. Though I leave empty-handed, I wanted to leave a couple comments:

    For those battling split ends, I can relate what I have done to get rid of them. My hair is fine and curly, and I have lots of it. I used to have a lot of split ends, but am virtually split end free now. I shampoo every other day on average, with a castile-based soap. But, what has really helped with split ends is following shampooing with an ACV rinse, 1 part ACV to 3 parts water, with a few drops of sweet orange essential oil, (sweet orange eo spurs production of collagen). Because my hair is long (mid-back), I use a full 16 oz bottle each time. I pour it onto my scalp first, massaging it in and working my way down to the tips. I let it soak for 1-3 minutes and rinse for the same amount of time. It took a couple months before I noticed a reduction in split ends, so patience is a virtue.

    My hair also likes to frizz out on account of the curliness. To combat that I bring 2 cups of water to a boil, remove from heat and add 1 Tbsp of rosemary needles. This sits for a few hours and is strained into a spray bottle. Then I add sweet orange and lavender essential oils, about 7 drops of orange, 3-4 of lavender. This works best when sprayed onto wet hair, then style, but it also helps to calm down my hair when dry.

    When my scalp starts producing excess oil, I apply an oil mixture (olive and jojoba usually, with aloe vera gel, honey, and various essential oils) and leave it on for at least a couple hours. It takes a couple shampoos to rinse it out.

    I also drink a lot more water than I used to and avoid fast food and processed foods that have preservatives and other nasty chemicals in them. I try to eat a wide variety of whole foods, especially leafy greens, root veggies and whole grains. Diet and staying hydrated is half the battle. If you’re only using external treatments to solve a hair problem, you’ll see temporary results at best.

    Good luck to everyone and thanks for the blog :)

  96. andrea gutierrez said,

    April 3, 2009 @ 11:15 am

    i just replied to you via twitter (i’m pomegranates) but i had to leave a comment here as well. first, i’m sorry about the plagiarism, that’s terrible that people don’t have enough of a conscience not to feel bad about it. anyhow, i am amazed at the suggestion and reality of going sans shampoo. i want to try it out. when i am in the shower i am always thinking about what’s going onto my body and going down the drain as well. now, with this regime, do i have to rule out conditioner as well? i know it sounds silly but i have the kind of hair that absolutely needs conditioner. well, maybe that’s where the rinses come in, no?

  97. crabappleherbs said,

    April 3, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

    Hi Andrea. Yes, the tea / vinegar rinse is smoothing like conditioner (though not detangling in the same way.)

  98. Sandy B. said,

    April 18, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

    I’ve been no-poo for about a month. It wasn’t easy at first. The greasy scalp and dry ends were horrible, but eventually I got over the detox and now I can’t believe how happy I am. My hair is long (mid-back), heavy and I have a 3a curl. I’m washing my hair twice a week using a solution of 2 tbsp. of baking soda per cup of water making sure to rinse very well. Next I add a solution of 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar per cup of water to rinse. If I need extra conditioning, I use Sauve Naturals coconut conditioner on my ends (from the ears down). This conditioner doesn’t contain any cones (dimethicone, silicone, etc.) and therefore this product doesn’t build up in your hair.

    When I get out of the shower, I spray my hair with a “leave-in” I made. It’s a combination of 2 oz. water, 1 oz. aloe vera, 1 tsp. of jojoba oil and a couple drops of lavender essential oil. The aloe vera acts like a gel and holds my curl. The jojoba oil conditions away the frizzies and the essential oil makes it smell nice.

    My hair is soft and I have long spiral curls. I was never able to get my hair like this using detergent shampoos, heavy conditioners, and expensive gels or hair serums.

    I learned all I know from sites like this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Because of all this new info, now I’m making my own cleaning products, and other personal products. This is fun.

  99. Holly said,

    May 15, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

    I’m three weeks in my quest to go poo-free, but its not going well at all! I went straight away from shampooing into the baking soda and acv rinsing. The first week I did it every day, and then one day I followed with a chamomile honey tea rinse to try to get rid of the vinegar smell (didn’t really do anything- still smells like vinegar). I’ve now gone two weeks of doing the baking soda wash and acv rinse every other day with hot water rinses in between. The problem is that before going poo-free I had incredibly oily hair, dandruff, scalp buildup (I could scratch my head and white crusty stuff would stick in my finger nails), and an itchy scalp. I still have ALL of those problems PLUS my hair now feels incredibly tacky and filmy! I even have white film that develops on the edge of my hair brush as it moves down my hair when I brush it. It feels like I didn’t rinse very well, although I rinse really well, and rinse well on days in between my “washings”.

    I’d really love to be able to go poo-free, but I’m at my wits end here. I really need to get a trim too, but I’m too embarrassed to go in to a beauty salon and have someone see and feel my scalp and hair in this wretched state!

    I broke down and ordered an all natural mud hair wash from (I ordered the Left Coast Lemon one). I got it yesterday in the mail, but I haven’t used it yet. It’s really expensive, so I’d like to not have to rely on that to keep my hair feeling, looking, and smelling good. I’d love any suggestions anyone has for me. I’m also wondering if I could use terressentials’ wash like once a week? Would doing that type of washing prevent me from being one of you lucky ones that in 6 months doesn’t have to do any sort of washing?? Please let me know what I should do!

  100. Winnie said,

    June 17, 2009 @ 1:09 am

    how about grey hair? What can we use in place of chemical based colors used in the salon.

  101. Kitten said,

    July 29, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

    First off, love the blog and I love this post so so much and I can’t wait to try things myself. I’ve had long hair all my life (somewhere between shoulder length to butt length) and I have serious issues with split ends(and yes, some of it is due to brushing it while wet, I know, shame on me) and I’ve come to heavily rely upon commercial conditioners to the point that, the cheaper shampoos don’t cut it anymore and I have to use more expensive things like Garnier, Herbal Essence, things like that and it’s not cheap. Also after reading your post I think there’s now a more healthy alternative, and certainly cheaper, for my hair, my only question is this: If plastic brushes aren’t good for your hair, what kind of brushes work best then? And where would you acquire them? I had some kind of bristle brush when I was a kid and it used to make my hair crazy staticy because my hair is also fine, so if it’s a brush like that any suggestions so when I’m brushing it more it doesn’t become super-static’d?

    Thanks guys :-)

  102. Cynthia Plourde said,

    December 4, 2009 @ 7:41 pm

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  103. thebathoholic said,

    April 7, 2010 @ 10:16 am

    I found this information to be very helpful. I’ve stopped useing anything in a bottle long time ago. I’ve found that all natural shampoos work best.

  104. Carly said,

    May 24, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

    Wow! Nice blogs :) What can you do for dandruff? I want to get it off my scalp. I don’t know what to do! I have tried many different shampoos but nothing is working :( HELP?!?!?!?!?

  105. Rebekah said,

    July 6, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

    Loving this, as everyone else said. Could spend all day reading comments too! I tried to quit shampoo a few months back and my oil scalp was awful. I finally gave up, could not stand the smell. Will try this again. Am wondering how you rinse a little guy’s hair with vinegar? Just water won’t cut it, he smells stinky. His hair is really course and he’s only 2 years old. I’m also wondering how you brush your hair, since it’s curly? I only wash every 3 days, but get really itchy, so am thinking brushing will help, but I don’t want to disrupt the curl pattern if I’m not washing the next day. Any ideas?

  106. ali said,

    July 25, 2010 @ 11:56 am

    okay so this sounds great for clean hair BUT:
    a. what if you color your hair? does it work then, and
    b. what about adding hair products like gel and mousse? can you still go without shampoo?

  107. Jennifer said,

    August 23, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

    Wow, this is so fascinating!
    I’m in the process of going ‘poo free.
    My big concern is the products I use after I get out of the shower.
    I have very soft, straight, always been healthy hair. Oh, and it’s really thick too.
    I can’t imagine doing anything with it without using some sort of pomade/wax/texturizer. I’m afraid I’ll look like a giant q-tip–tall, big head, and just a pouf of hair that just hangs.

  108. kaite @ Imperfect People said,

    October 18, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    oh WOW! I have some bee balm and mint in the garden. I am totally gonna try this. I tried the baking soda “no poo” thing and had white flakes in my dark hair. Not cool. This sounds much better. Thanks!

  109. Soila Marsden said,

    January 25, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    I think your blog is marvelous I found it on Bing. Definetely will return again! I am very exsiting about learning newthingsCheers, Geroge

  110. Vicki said,

    February 20, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    Hi all–I admit I’ve only read about half of the comments, but I wanted to put my two cents in about the chlorine-in-hair issue.

    I swim regularly, and have for years, in chlorine pools (Lake Michigan ain’t too friendly for 9 months out of the year). One way to minimize the amount of chlorine water your hair absorbs is to wet it down with tap water first (or filtered, I suppose, though I’ve never bothered to do that) and wear a swimming cap. You may also dab some moisturizer that won’t run (maybe flaxseed gel?) on the ends and around your hairline (especially in the back) in order to prevent breakage from the latex or silicone in your cap and to provide another layer of defense against the chlorine water. (Don’t overdo it, though, since that might cause your cap to slide off.)

    Happy swimming, happy “shampoo”ing!

  111. Peter Coppola said,

    March 25, 2011 @ 4:27 am

    I would love to use herbal products because this will be helpful to get healthy hair and clean scalp. This is good for the hair. Thanks for the sharing.

  112. Lindsey said,

    May 24, 2011 @ 9:29 am

    You ladies are AMAZING! I have thyroid cancer which destroyed my hair and I’ve been using Pantene Pro-V to try and heal my hair but all I’ve noticed is that it’s gotten greasy. Everytime I got to the salon they recommend and conditioning treatment which would just be putting more crap on my hair. :( I can’t wait to try baking soad and ACV, I never would have thought of using those on my hair. We recently started going green so hopefully I can get my hubby on board with this too. Thanks again!

  113. Terry said,

    October 15, 2011 @ 11:16 pm


    Just found your blog and loving it already, I’ve been making my own products for a while now, on and off, made a good herbal shampoo the other week, just needs a little tweaking :) I have also been growing and using herbs as long as I can remember – this looks like a fabulous blog and I’m going to keep looking around. :) You’ve all got some great tips and advice – I will get mine up soon – but wanna keep looking around and reading this blog first :)


  114. mish said,

    October 29, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

    Omigosh–and with long hair? Mine is ridiculously long, which my guys all love–I have four sons and my hubby. My scalp has really been suffering from the shampoo/conditioner regime, and I’ve been too scared to try something different on account of the length.

    This? Will be my New Year’s resolution: to be shampoo-free by Easter. (Or thereabouts.) Thanks!

  115. Tracey said,

    November 12, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    I just stumbled across your blog, and i am sooooooooooo happy! (thank you, thank you) I’m going to start today, with the no shampoo process. When i get to that point, what can i use for the soap-based shampoo? Something like Dr Bronners?
    Again:thanks! -Tracey

  116. Bill said,

    November 13, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    Thanks for sharing. It seems everything things your not nuts if you don’t use soap. Glad I’m not the only one.

  117. Tracey said,

    November 14, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

    Sorry, one more thing…as i’m weaning myself off shampoo, am i supposed to slowly introduce the no-deterg and rinses ?

  118. Ashley Kean said,

    December 2, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

    Can you recommend a body wash or moisturizer? I searched your site, but couldn’t find anything on body washes and I’m hesitant to smear yogurt and sage all over myself. ;) I have EXTREMELY dry skin. Doctors kept putting me on steroid creams until I found Arbonne skin care and got off the ridiculous (but effective) steroids. Arbonne is SO expensive and after reading some of your other posts, I think they use detergent agents . . . eh, I’d like to be as chemical-free as possible as cheaply as possible. Thanks!

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  120. Noni said,

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  121. Scarlet said,

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    I went cold turkey no poo about 2 months ago. Hair is still oily but getting better the ends seem too dry to me, I do think a good brush would help with this buy have not been able to find anything that will penetrate through to my scalp once halfway down my head. I also did not find information on bs and asv so have only been using water. I am wondering if I should try the bs and rinses or just keep going water only and see what happens. I loved reading your blog and all the comments.

  122. Ashley J said,

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    What type of vinegar do you use in your herbal tea rinse? I know that another lady posted that she uses apple cider for her shower mixture. I was just wondering, because I use white vinegar a lot around the house. I wasn’t sure if there was one that works better on the hair. Thanks.

  123. Ashley J said,

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    I just made a chamomile/apple cider rinse (added a little sweet orange) and it was so difficult to comb out my hair. I normally have to use tons of conditioner, for this very reason. I want to get into doing the natural thing, so I guess my question is will this get easier? It takes me 5 minutes or more to comb out my hair, being very careful and combing in small sections. Any advice would be awesome, thanks!

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