© 2012 Stacey Viera

Of Baking Soda, Apple Cider Vinegar and No ‘Poo

When you tell people that you stopped using commercial shampoo and conditioner, you get a variety of reactions. A quick list of those varied reactions:

1) Skepticism
2) Excitement
3) Horror/Disgust/Pity
4) Why are you posting about this on a food blog?

Not sure how I really stumbled across this No ‘Poo post on the Crunchy Betty blog, but after reading about breaking the commercial shampoo-and-conditioner cycle, I was sold. I gave myself three weeks, 21 days, for my hair’s natural oils (sebum) to balance out and get used to the lack of chemical manipulation. At that point, I’d reevaluate my hair and deem the No ‘Poo Experiment a success or failure.

And why post on a food blog?Well, I’m using items from my kitchen to treat my hair. Stay with me. This post might change your life.

OK, a bit of background: I never used to air dry my hair. It would get all frizzy and hideous, especially in the summertime. Before I had my kid 14 months ago, I would shampoo, condition and blow dry my hair daily. Once Myer came along, I didn’t have time to do that, so I’d wash and put my hair in a ponytail or blow dry every other day. So how could a gal like me, a shampoo devotee, go no ‘poo?

Today, August 9, 2012, is Day 21. I’m proud to report that the No ‘Poo Experiment is a SUCCESS. My hair today is as soft (softer, even?) as when I used commercial shampoo. So how did I do it?

I went cold turkey on shampoo and conditioner. As of Day 1, I stopped using it altogether. For a week, I only rinsed my hair with water. I’d either allow it to air dry or I’d put it in a ponytail.

Day 1

Day 5 – Super Greasy

On really greasy days, I’d even cover it with a shmatte. And by day 9, I was disgusted. A little part of me said, “Maybe you should just give up.” But I revisited Crunchy Betty and read about how It Gets Better. You must be in it to win it!

Day 9 – Worst Day. Ever.

On Day 11, I couldn’t stand the grease any more. So I called in for reinforcements. In a plastic squeeze bottle, I shook up 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. In the shower, I applied the baking soda (BS) solution at the root all over my scalp and massaged it. Then I rinsed. Though I didn’t achieve the desired look, my hair felt great! I followed the same routine the next day, and by the evening of Day 12, I had THE BEST AIR DRIED HAIR OF MY LIFE. I kicked that frizz to the curb!

Day 11 – Much better with baking soda!

Day 12 – Evening follow-up. No ‘poo makes air dry possible!

After a few BS washes, the ends of my hair felt stringy, so in a second squeeze bottle, I mixed 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV). After using the BS solution, I applied the ACV to the tips. Just the “solution” (pun alert!) I needed.

By Day 15, I was brave enough to start using a shower cap every other day, and by Day 18, a Shower Cap Day, my hair was looking better than it had in weeks. No grease, no need to use baby powder or anything to soak up extra oils.

Day 18 – Shower Cap Day. No ‘poo, no water, no nothin’, no grease!

And here we are at Day 21. Success Day. My hair feels nice today after a BS wash and ACV rinse, but tomorrow with no wash, I bet it will feel even better.

Day 21 – Winning!

Answers to a few Frequently Asked Questions:

  • But what about getting sweaty/exercising? I would often rinse my hair with water only in between washes if I got really icky. I mean, it *is* summer after all.
  • But didn’t your hair stink? Nope! My hair doesn’t smell like anything. Just…hair.
  • Now that 21 days have passed, are you back on shampoo/conditioner? Nope! I’ve kicked the commercial stuff completely. Only BS and ACV for me, and I hope to slowly wean myself off of those in coming months.
  • Is your hair better than before? YES! It feels softer and less frizzy than ever.
  • What will your Mom say? She says I’m icky and gross, and my hair care regimen makes it sound like “you smell like a salad.” But deep down, I think Mom knows (but will never admit) that I look better than ever.

I went No ‘Poo thanks to Crunchy Betty and encouragement from my friends and husband. Have I convinced you to go No ‘Poo? Do you have a No ‘Poo story? Any questions?

Share the joy


  1. Posted August 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm | #

    I am really tempted to do this but there is this fear in me that I can’t make it through the 3 weeks without freaking out. My current shampoo and conditioner costs a boatload of money and I would love to stop the madness. Do you think you could have avoided the super greasy days if you had started with the baking soda solution from the start?

  2. Stacey Viera
    Posted August 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm | #

    Sylvie – Definitely give it a try! Maybe have a few very bad hair days and start the BS wash earlier in the regimen. This will work differently for everybody, though. We have bad hair days even when we use our favorite, fanciest products.

  3. Anne
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm | #

    Stacey, I only wash my hair every 2-3 days, and I always have. I do use store bought shampoo and conditioner, but only from the Yes Organic market. And I stopped drying it a year ago (except if it’s really cold out and I have to run to meetings, and even then, I mainly blast my roots). I do use a ceramic iron on a low setting to smooth it down when it’s dry (granted my hair is only wavy, not curly), but it lasts until the next time I wash it. My hair has never been shinier. I have a fabulous homemade recipe for a summer face toner. It’s the first (and only) thing to finally put an end to my monstrous explosion of oil and zits.

  4. Posted August 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm | #

    I’m thinking about it. Let’s see if I make it through the weekend. My hair dries mostly straight, but I wonder if it will get more body, texture, and shine (in a good way)? I wash every 2 days usually. Now my question is, am I the only person who routinely showers without washing my hair and just puts my hair in a bun on top of my head? Why shower cap?

  5. Katie
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm | #

    You look great! I am so happy your crunchy experiment worked out for you.

  6. Posted August 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm | #

    Congrats on making it all the way! Your hair looks fabulous!

  7. Stacey Viera
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm | #

    Anne – What fantastic tips. There’s a way to make the no ‘poo or sorta ‘poo thing work for everyone. I wonder if I could eventually stop blowdrying my hair. Eek.

    Andrea – You can do it! Think of it as your own personal Olympic competition. Go for the gold. I use a shower cap so that the humidity from the shower doesn’t kink up my hair. Plus, my hair is too short to wrap in a bun.

    Thanks, Katie & Cecilia for your encouragement!

  8. Kara
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm | #

    Andrea – I too just put my hair in a bun/knot on top of my hair when I (very often) don’t wash it.

    I’m SOOOO tempted to try this but would probably dive into the BS/ACV very quickly – I usually get a day or 1.5 of semi-grease with my current regiment (only washing every 3-4 days) – but it’s usually on a pool day so I’m happy to leave it dirty and have a reason to jump straight into the pool. Not sure how that’d work in the winter.

    Also, this might be a little TMI but do you ever have an itchy scalp? I promise I’m a hygienic person but I sometimes do have one and use some more specialized (not prescription or anything) shampoo for that and I’m wondering if I wouldn’t be able to do the BS/ACV because of that. I’d LOVE to be able to air-dry with such great results as yours.


  9. Stacey Viera
    Posted August 16, 2012 at 12:23 am | #

    Kara – Thank you for your ongoing support! You helped me push through the ugly hair days and get to this happy place. 🙂

    I looked into the itchy/dry scalp issue, and what I gather is that you kind of cross that bridge when you come to it. Your scalp might be naturally happier with no ‘poo than with ‘poo. Or it could get worse. I’ve read about folks using brown sugar scrubs to exfoliate or coconut oil to moisturize.

    There will always be good and bad hair days, so you adjust your formula to make it fit your hair.

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