Friday, March 11, 2011

No Poo Recipe & Routine

This post has been updated to reflect a very slight change in my no-poo technique.

Google "no poo" and you will find a plethora of tips, posts, recipes and reviews (including mine), all dedicated to cleaning your hair without shampoo.  Despite this treasure trove of information, or perhaps because of it, I still had questions when I began no-pooing.  Here are some of them:

Should I wet my hair first, or just apply the baking soda solution to a dry scalp?  Having tried it both ways, I find that wetting my hair first works best for me.  Since I wash my hair while showering, this provides an excellent excuse to stand a little longer under the cascading hot water. :)

Do I need exact measurements of baking soda, water, vinegar?  I've found this method to be very flexible and forgiving.  I measure by eye, very roughly, and my hair comes out fine every time, even with our ultra-hard water.

Should I scrub only my scalp with the baking soda solution, or do I need to rub it all  through my hair?  Again, what works for me is just scrubbing my scalp with my fingertips.  Thanks to gravity and what I imagine is capillary action, the solution distributes itself through the rest of my long hair.  Since I don't use any styling products except hairspray, and that mostly on my bangs and crown area, I don't feel the need to scrub further down.

Should I rinse with plain water after the vinegar rinse?  I rinse with a cupful of plain water.  If I don't, my hair comes out so soft I can't do anything with it.

Q&A out of the way, here's my very loose recipe:

For washing: About 1 tablespoon baking soda in 1 cup water - I keep some baking soda in the shower in a little plastic tub, along with an empty cup.  I dump a little baking soda into the empty cup, add hot water, and swirl. Then I slowly pour it over my scalp.  (You can make up a large batch in advance if you like, and store it in a squeeze bottle, but remember it will be cold when it hits your scalp and trickles down the back of your neck.)

For rinsing: About 2 tablespoons of vinegar in 2 cups of water - I use apple cider vinegar, which I also keep in a small bottle in the shower and mix fresh every time.  Any excuse to stand under that hot water!

And here is my routine:

First I wet my hair. Then I slowly pour the baking soda solution all over my head, and scrub the scalp well with my fingertips. My hair gets oiliest at my forehead and just in front of my ears, so I pay particular attention to those spots.

By this time, my hair is saturated with solution, down to the ends.  I let it sit there while I wash my face, ears and neck.  Then I rinse my hair under running water, and slowly pour over it the apple cider vinegar solution (which I mix fresh each time in the cup).  I fill the empty cup with water and pour that over my hair.  Done!

I keep two cups in the shower for convenience' sake: one for the baking soda solution, one for the vinegar. You can use the same cup for both - just be sure to rinse it well between the baking soda and vinegar steps - otherwise the dregs of the baking soda will neutralize the vinegar and prevent it from doing its job.



  1. love your blog
    very practical

    Mary in Thailand

  2. I have been trying the no-poo "reveloution" for about two weeks. My hair isn't as manageable and clean feeling as I would like. I really appreciate your specific details. I will give your method a try as for sure as I really have no desire to resort to traditional commercial cleansers again. Thank you! A SAH Wife and Mom of two from TN.

  3. Good luck! I felt really lucky that it worked so quickly and so well for me. There's a lot of information out there on the Internet to help you tweak your routine.

    P.S. I don't use the squeeze bottle for the baking soda solution any more. I just pour it from the cup - it saves a step.

  4. Hi, how about dandruff and oily hair? can i use this method

    1. Sure - as far as I know anyone can use it. I had oily hair too, but this really helped tone down the oiliness. And all the finger-scritching involved might help the dandruff - who knows? The important thing is not to wash too often - that just makes your scalp pump out even more oil to compensate for what's being taken away. Good luck!

  5. Thank you for the recipe! When I was a young girl, I remember washing my hair with rain-water from the barrel it collected in and rinsing it with either lemon juice (for blonde hair) or vinegar for darker hair. I used vinegar for light brown hair and it left it squeaky clean and shiny!

    1. The longer I use this the looser my "recipe" becomes - at least with the baking soda part. Just getting it onto the scalp and well rubbed in seems to be the only important part. Vinegar rinses are wonderful, aren't they? :)

  6. Ok have to show my ignorance here and give you a laugh. I thought that the no poo recipe was for people who were constipated...duh. Eva

    1. It does have an unfortunate sound, doesn't it? :)


I love comments! Speak on....