What Years of Baking Soda “No ‘Poo” Did to My Long, Healthy Hair {Or, When a Natural Living Experiment Fails}

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while.

If you’re one of my long-time readers and friends, you very well may remember my enthusiastic posts about “no ‘poo” natural hair care.

I raved about it. I loved it. I had fantastic results. I had to tweak my system a couple of times, but I was convinced that I’d never want to care for my hair any other way.

What Years of Baking Soda No 'Poo Did to My Long, Healthy Hair {Or, When a Natural Living Experiment Fails} from smithspirations.com

However, as time went on, I started to wonder if no ‘poo wasn’t such a great option after all. And then I became totally convinced of it because of what it did to my long, healthy hair.

Ugh. Friends, it ain’t pretty. 

Disclosure time: This post contains a couple of affiliate links. If you choose to purchase anything by clicking on these links, it helps support this site with a small commission without costing you a thing. Thanks for your support!

Wait, What Is “No ‘Poo”?

If you aren’t familiar with no ‘poo haircare, allow me to back the train up and explain.

No ‘poo means no shampoo. If you have young children in the house, it’s probably hard to get past the term ‘poo and apply it to haircare, I know.

Typically with no ‘poo haircare, you wash your hair with baking soda and water and then condition it with a vinegar rinse (usually apple cider is used, but some people use white distilled).

I first read about the routine here and was instantly intrigued. It took me a while to try it, but once I did and once my hair adjusted, I was hooked.

Why I Loved No ‘Poo

I like simple. I like natural. I like frugal. You really can’t get much simpler, more natural, and more frugal than washing your hair with baking soda. Unless you just do water, which suits some ladies just fine.

The ingredients list on typical bottles of shampoo and conditioner is scary. Plus, while using standard shampoo and conditioner, I had to wash my hair daily. There was no way around it, no matter how many times I tried to go every other day between washes. Once I started out on a natural living journey, I just wasn’t thrilled with putting so many chemicals on my head and in my hair so often.

With no ‘poo, there were no funny ingredients. I started going every other day between washes, then every three days, and finally every four days. My hair wasn’t flat, limp, and weighed down anymore, and it felt really clean and free. It was easy to style, it looked healthy, and it felt great.

Milkmaid braids with bobby pins

I cringe when I see this picture now. There was so much breakage happening here!

When Others Jumped Off the Bandwagon

After some time, maybe two years or so into no ‘poo-ing, I started reading a few things here and there about baking soda being rather hard on the hair. Ladies were saying they tried it and felt that it dried their hair out and made it brittle.

I’d love to say that I took their words to heart and began researching the effects of baking soda on hair more extensively. But I didn’t.

I thought that these ladies just weren’t doing no ‘poo the right way, like using too much baking soda, washing too frequently, and not doing occasional oil treatments like I did. Or maybe their hair tended to by dry anyhow and so they just weren’t a good fit for that kind of hair washing routine.

So I continued on with no ‘poo, but I didn’t forget the experiences that these ladies shared.

And Then The Breakage Began

I started to notice severe breakage in my hair a little over two years ago, which would have been a little over two years into my no ‘poo ways. I started finding sections of hair that were only about 3-4 inches long on the top of my head along my part.

At first, I thought it was all due to a bad experience involving a vacuum cleaner and my hair. I still feel that the vacuum cleaner fiasco had a lot to do with the sudden breakage that started. I mean, you’re not doing your hair any favors by letting it get sucked into a vacuum and tightly coiled around the spinning brush while frantically yelling and trying to get the thing turned off.

I realized, however, that it wasn’t just the vacuum cleaner accident that was causing the breakage when sections that didn’t get caught in the vacuum started breaking off just as short as the others. Months later I read this article from my friend Kristen of Taming Rapunzel and I recognized that what happened to her client was exactly what happened to me.

The change in my hair’s texture was gradual. So gradual, in fact, that I didn’t really noticed how brittle my once soft and silky hair had become until it was breaking all over. And then, it was too late.

Long-term results of no-poo

Assessing the Damage

When I stopped using baking soda to wash my hair, I actually did it before I fully realized how damaged it had become. It just felt a little dry, and I was curious to try the new shampoo bars that Tropical Traditions was carrying.

Once I started washing with the shampoo bar, my hair started to feel like it did before no ‘poo came along. It became soft and silky again and didn’t have the coarse, straw-like feel that had developed with baking soda. It also didn’t knot and tangle so easily.

However, though the texture of my hair started to improve greatly, the breakage continued. Even today, almost a year since the last time I used baking soda to wash my hair, I still have breakage. Too much damage has been done.

To help you understand, before my hair started breaking, it was down to my knees at its longest. (In case you’re wondering how it got to be so long, I actually don’t cut my hair at all. No, not even trimming.)

Now my hair reaches my hips at it’s longest section, but that section is very thin and continues to break. My guess is that after all of damaged sections have broken off, my hair will be mid-back. I realize that’s still long to most people, but compared to where it was, that’s a tremendous amount of damage.

And it’s quite disheartening.

Could No ‘Poo Work for Some?

I hesitate to give a blanket suggestion like “Never ever ever ever ever ever wash your hair with baking soda! Ever!”, but it’s tempting after my experience.

Is it possible that occasionally washing with baking soda could work for long-term haircare? Sure, it’s possible I suppose. Maybe using baking soda every few months would work for cleaning and clarifying without doing much damage.

I don’t know. And because I don’t know, I won’t recommend it or suggest it.

One thing I’ve really come to believe through my studies with Vintage Remedies is that we should never use our families (or ourselves, for that matter) as guinea pigs for home remedies and natural living adventures. We ought to know what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and what to expect.

Healthier hair growth

Sadly, my no ‘poo experience was really a natural living experiment that yielded devastating results. I hate seeing how damaged, broken, and uneven my hair is, knowing that it will be months before all of the damaged sections break off. Yes, it will regrow, but the interim isn’t exactly fun.

Even more than that, I really cringe to think that someone may have followed the suggestions I gave here or in person and ended up with hair damaged from baking soda no ‘poo. It truly saddens me to know that I gave such bad advice!

I wish I could undo all the damage that baking soda did to my hair, but I can’t. I can, however, share with you in the next post what I’m now using on my hair, and also give you some other ideas of gentle ways to naturally care for your hair.

Before you check out my suggestions for other natural haircare options, be sure to read the follow-up to this post, Yes, I’m Sure It Was the Baking Soda. It has an FAQ on my experience, as well as some really important info on baking soda’s chemistry and how that can effect hair.

 Did you ever try baking soda no ‘poo? Have you thought of trying it? Do any of you use it now?

600x100 LR banner

Comments

  1. Thanks for your honesty!

    I tried the baking soda/ACV and other natural methods but they all left my hair feeling flat and blah. I was told it could have been our water which is naturally hard and salt softened.

    I’m stickin’ with shampoo though I don’t wash it as often as I used to.

    • I am a hairstylist, I just wanted to share with you, unless you trim the part if your has the breakage , what happens us that it will actually continue to break up the shaft of your hair even into the healthy parts. You will end up losing less legth by just getting your hair lightly trimmed regularly until the breakage problem us resolved. Just make sure you find a hairstylist that loves long hair! Some just want to over do it with the cutting, lol! I also stopped the no poo method after about 1 week of trying! Thankfully I found very affordable and clean products by looking at this website that does testing on skin care to check the toxicity levels. http://Www.cosmeticdatabase.com. They have done resting on over 65,000 products. I found the dessert essence fragrance free shampoo has a great rating and we love it! My husband and I both use it and 1 bottle has lasted 2 months! Also you can get it on amazon prime $7.63 :) and we found a body bar soap we love that has a very clean rating as well, pure fragrance free olive oil bar by kiss my face. 1 bar lasted my husband and I 2 months as well! Amazon has it in an 8 pack for $24.11!! That will last at least a year so great value. I hope this info helps you:) God bless !

      • Thanks so much for sharing your insight and the Cosmetic Database link! I have heard others recommend the Dessert Essence brand for shampoo but I haven’t looked at it myself. I think I’ll have to do that since you mentioned it, too. :)
        I do realize that trimming off the damaged part is a pretty well-respected recommendation. For me, though, not cutting my hair at all has to do with our personal convictions and understanding of the Bible. I suppose I’ll just be praying and seeking the Lord for grace for my hair!
        Thanks again, Chelsea!

        • MaryLisa Doucette says:

          I applaud you in telling all of us that you dont cut your hair at all. I, as well, do not cut my hair. People think that I am crazy. I just tell them that I need my long hair to wipe my tears from Jesus feet when I see him for the first time. God bless!

          • I like that, MaryLisa. Thank you for your sweet words!

          • I do not cut my hair either, or ever will! Same convictions and understanding of scripture! I live on an island that has hard water, I miss stateside soft water. My hair just doesn’t seem to be the same, no breakage tho, I just miss that soft silky feel. Just wanted to say love the comment on using our long hair at Jesus feet! Beautiful!

          • Thanks for sharing, RayAnne! Living on an island sounds so dreamy… :)

    • That’s a great point about the water type you have, Danielle! I’ve also always heard that can make such a difference in how different methods and products work in your hair.
      Thanks for chiming in with your experience!

  2. Kimberly J. says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I’m sorry your experience wasn’t a good one and that you feel you lead people astray with your suggestions. I do think though that this method is still good for a lot of people. Our bodies are all chemically different and what works for some will not work for others, so there are many people out there who will always enjoy the “no poo” method. I want to encourage you, though, if the “no poo” system is NOT for you, to at least stick with the natural methods and not go back to using the chemically-laced store versions. I love using a bar of the natural soaps I buy at Earth Fare in my hair. I also like to make my own shampoo with the Dr. Bronner’s castile soap bars. Keep experimenting with recipes that other people have tried until you find the one for you. Have a wonderful day and thanks again for all of your wonderful posts. You certainly are a “Smithspiration”!

    • Hi Kim! Thanks for taking the time to comment! :)
      Like I said in the post, it’s definitely possible that this could still work for some people. I have *zero* research on it outside of some of the posts I linked to and my personal experience. I just know I won’t recommend it after what happened to me.
      And for sure on the standard shampoos! I like the shampoo bar I’m using (I’ll be sharing more on that later this week) but might try some other brands. Do you know the name of the soap you sometimes use from Earth Fare? I’d love to check it out.

  3. I tried no ‘poo’ too. I was so very disappointed with the results. When using conventional shampoo, I never had greasy hair; it was long and soft, but thinning. After about a year of no ‘poo’ my hair was an embarrassment. I even remember sitting in town one day watching ladies walk by with their hair blowing in the gently breeze. My hair was greasy, weighed down, and oh so brittle. I constantly had bits of hair all over my cloths, and brushing was a nightmare.

    I got a hair cut, switched to a natural shampoo, and started regular oil treatments. It took a while, but my hair has recovered, and is growing fast (about an inch a month), and thicker then before. I also have a tone of new postpartum hair growth.

    I just recently started oiling my scalp again to tame the poof of new growth. I also generally wait 2 weeks between washings. I probably could go longer too, but Im not sure I want too.

    I am due to deliver another baby in 2 months, so I know I will be loosing quite a bit of hair in the coming months, but i’m ok with that. My hair is thick, and shinny again, no thanks to no ‘poo’!

    • So glad you shared your experience, Tina! What do you use when you oil your scalp? And two weeks between washings is awesome! I think I was washing once a week for a while but I just couldn’t keep it up. Every five days is my max right now, but I’d love to figure out a way to go longer.

      • I went to my local healthfood store to see what they had in stock. Then I reasearched the products I found. We use Andalou Naturals shampoo and conditioner.

        For oiling, I use just plain high quality coconut oil. I let it sit on my scalp for at least an hour, then brush it through to the ends before washing my hair.

        • Kristen says:

          Thanks for sharing the details, Tina! I also like to use coconut oil in my hair. I’ll have to look into Andalou, too!

    • I would like to know what natural shampoo you use Tina and what you use for oil treatments?

      • I oil with cocnut oil, and wash with Andalou Naturals shampoo, and conditioner. I don’t think I would need the conditioner after oiling, but it’s a habit I keep for the sake of my hair tips. I don’t put conditioner on my scalp at all.

  4. I also forgot to mention my conditioner which I also found by researching on the cosmetic database.
    Alba Botanica Leave-In Conditioner, amazon sells this for $8.28 a bottle. I have loved this conditioner! It’s hard to find conditioner with a good rating that works well!! I don’t leave this in my hair but use a small amount on my ends in the shower and rinse very well. I’m the only one who uses this so it’s looking like this will last at least 3-4 months for 1 bottle:)

  5. Oh, my! I am always tempted to try this when another of my children enters that pre-teen/teen stage and has to deal with oily greasy hair and skin. Although I had very oily skin and hair in my younger years, it’s now very dry and I know I won’t be trying the no’poo method.
    Thank you for the shampoo bar recommendation, though – I’ll be looking into that!

    • Hi Linda! Thanks for reading and commenting! If you try the shampoo bar I’m interested to hear what you think and how it works for you. :)

  6. I had the same experience with baking soda. Breakage was horrendous!! I did no poo for nearly 2 years.
    I have not had baking soda on my hair for over 2 years now. Switching back to a natural castile bar soap ended the dryness. Then I started regular trimmings [ KEY to slowing down and eventually stopping the breakage is to give your hair a good trimming].
    If you don’t trim all the breakage areas will continue to split upward and break.

    • Sounds like we had very similar experiences, Pamela! While I’m not happy to know that you had so much damage, too, it is helpful to have others share that the same thing happened to them. Glad yours is on the mend!
      And yes, I do know that one of the top recommendations after damage is to cut or trim all of the damaged sections off. I have some personal convictions based on our understanding of Scripture about cutting my hair (even trimming), so for me, that’s one step I’ll be skipping. I will just have to trust the Lord for help!
      Thank you again for sharing!

      • Kristen, I would love hear your views from scripture on not cutting your hair. What scripture references?

        • Kristen says:

          Sure, Pamela! The main reference comes from 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. If you’d like, I can email you more details. :)

          • Feel free to email me with your views on the scripture passage. I am very familiar with that reference.

          • Are you referring to the part that says, “For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.”?

            We were reading this past year on whether this is referring to hair or head coverings.

            There were women prostitutes that would shave their heads, which is how they were identified. I have read this passage many times and not once thought it referred to having a haircut or trim.

            Our hair is a glory, but if it’s broken and damaged, could we not say it’s a dishonor? I don’t want to argue against your convictions, I just am not sure that you’re interpreting that portion of Scripture correctly. A trim is definitely different than shaving your entire head!

            The only time the Bible refers to a blade not to touch hair is in the case of the Nazarenes – such Samson. Which to me seems that everyone else cut their hair.

          • Hi Candace,

            I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. I’m certainly aware of the viewpoint you shared and that was something I considered years ago when I was praying about this.

            I came to these convictions after many, many months of Bible study and serious prayer. I completely understand and respect the fact that I’m in the minority of Christian women who believe this way, and I’m okay with that. However, I’m not sure it’s quite fair to suggest that I’m misinterpreting Scripture when I’ve never even explained how I view this passage or others relating to hair.

            The point of this post isn’t really to argue or debate the meaning behind 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, nor is my blog a place where I try to teach doctrine and Scripture. I’d like to keep it that way. :) Thanks for understanding and for taking the time to read and comment.

  7. I’m a licensed cosmetologist and when I first got diagnosed with Lyme, I tried no poo…It was an epic failure for my hair. I have fine-textured wavy hair and it was limp and tangly. Now I use Acure shampoo and conditioner and LOVE it. I only shampoo a couple times a week and use dry shampoo in between :) I can live with that!

    • Kristen says:

      Thanks for chiming in, Sherry! I haven’t heard of Acure (though that shouldn’t be surprising, seeing as I haven’t looked through the shampoo aisle in over 4 years…). Do you get it at a salon?

  8. Samantha says:

    THANK YOU for being honest! I tried no-poo for 11 months and my hair ended up super dry and brittle. I had to quit and go back to using shampoo. I felt guilty, really guilty. Like I was some sort of anti-Christ of the natural movement. Every time I read about no-poo people I felt shunned by people claiming that I didn’t give it long enough or that I was doing it wrong. No. Just no. I wasn’t doing it wrong, this just isn’t all it’s hyped up to be.

    • Kristen says:

      Hey Samantha! Glad you joined in with your experience, and I’m so glad that you stopped at 11 months and didn’t go longer with the baking soda! No fun about feeling shunned, though. I’m sorry to hear that you felt that way! This has certainly been a humbling experience and taught me that I need to be careful how I approach natural living and also very receptive to the experiences of others.

  9. I also tried the no ‘poo. My hair is thick and curly, so I don’t know if that was part of the problem, but I had to stop after a few weeks. It was just a mess! However, my usual method of washing is using a sulfate-free shampoo and only washing it every few days (the thickness helps it not get greasy too often) so I’m back to that for now. I had tried a shampoo bar before but it didn’t work well; I may try some others as they become more popular and there are more options! Thx for coming clean about this method! :)

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Hannah! I’ve heard from other ladies with curly hair that no ‘poo was a total disaster from them. It’s probably a really good thing that you stopped when you did. My guess is that you spared your hair from a lot of damage!

      I definitely want to be careful and truthful with everything I recommend here. This experience has certainly made me feel extra careful!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)

  10. Maybe argan oil can help your hair get back to normal. I’m using it in a beard oil I’m developing since beard hair tends to gets brittle and break.

    I did try the bs and acv for a while but ended up using a shampoo bar that I liked MUCH better.

    • Kristen says:

      Carina, we must be on the same wave-length. After writing this post, I got to thinking about argan oil and have been meaning to get online and order some to try! I’ve heard such wonderful things about it and I am hopeful that it can help the new hair growth I have stay healthy. Thank you for sharing that suggestion!

  11. I have heard a lot about the no poo method – so glad I’ve read this before trying! :)

  12. I’ve heard of the no-poo method too, but have never tried it. My hair is long and it tends to be very dry, so I can’t imagine what baking soda would do to it!

    Thanks for sharing, Kristen!

    • You’re welcome, Kristy! Yes, I don’t imagine baking soda no ‘poo would have treated your hair very kindly. Do you use anything now that you love?

  13. I tried washing with baking soda all of one time. Prior to that, I was increasing the amount of time between washings, my hair was looking good, it didn’t feel greasy, things were going well. One time, I washed with baking soda, and my hair turned into straw. It was awful! It took months to undo the damage that one time did to my hair. And, that was the end of my no poo experience. Now, I just use a sulfate-free shampoo. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always make my hair feel super clean, no matter how much I scrub or how much shampoo I use. Then, I have to break down and use a chemical-laden shampoo because I cannot stand it when my hair feels gross and dirty.

    • No fun, Robin! I’m kind of in the same boat now. I do like what I’m using on my hair (I’ll be sharing specifics in a couple of days), but I wonder if I need to do something different in order to help restore it. I’ve gotten some great recommendations, though, so I’m going to try to compile them all for Friday’s post!

  14. Gudrun B says:

    I really appreciate your honest update – at the same time it saddens me, that is messed your hair up so badly.
    For me it is working very well! Some one in the comments wrote about different body chemistry, on a hunch that may have to do a lot! I also agree with the type of water; the chemicals and hardness in city water could on its own do some damage.
    I never followed any particular recipe, but mixed my BS either with distilled or rain water and added some Dr Bronner lavender castille; may be i use less BS, may be it is because my hair is short, or may be my body agrees with it…. ? I only wash once a week, with few hot summer garden work sweat days exceptions :) or even every 10 – 14 days; if it feels too dry ( i always had oily hair!) i run my coconut oiled hands through. so far my natural waviness is actually better than with shampoos, it grows fast too.
    BUT i will watch closely now! I think I am into my second year and still love it! No, i did not read it from you either and tried it, so rest assured the “bad advice” is not all your fault.
    I have been wondering over the years though, if using other plants that are in the saponin family might work …. more food for thought
    God bless you!

    • Gudrun, your comments are always so thoughtful and kind! I always like hearing from you. :)

      I’ve heard about soap nuts being somehow used for hair washing (and laundry, and other things!). I’ve also wondered if that would be something worth trying. I’m not sure. I think I’ve even heard of shampoos being made from soap nuts. So yes, I agree, saponin plants would be something to look into. Let me know if you find anything!

      • Gudrun B says:

        after my comment i looked up a few plants – have not reached a conclusion yet; there seems to be a fern, but i have no idea where it actually grows…. need to do more research.
        the issue i have with soap nuts is that they are imported and from what i have read previously is that the people who use them in their native country now have a harder time getting them, because they try to export so much and it raised the price for the locals.
        for the past 2 years i have been trying to locate a horse chestnut tree and give those a try, they are supposedly making a fabulous laundry detergent as well as hand soap – if i had only known when i was a kid and we used to collect tons of them every fall… wait, i was not concerned about laundry back then :)

        thank you, for your kind words! love reading your posts!

        • I hadn’t heard that about soap nuts, but that does make a lot of sense! Definitely something to keep in mind. I haven’t used them yet for anything.

          Ah yes… for the good old days of no laundry… ;)

  15. beingjennifer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I did try the no-poo for a few months three years ago and my hair stylist suggested that the BS and ACV were drying my hair too much, so I stopped. He’s the one who said I “shouldn’t” wash my hair every day, so he’s part of the reason I tried the no-poo. About 18 months ago my hair started coming out in clumps. The thinning was frightening. I was concerned that it was a medical issue, but nothing else was wrong. Now I can gather that it was from my no-poo experiment and rest a bit easier. I still don’t wash my hair every day and use baby powder as a “dry” shampoo to keep the oil down. I do want to try the Dr. Bronner’s castile unscented baby soap to see if that will work instead of regular shampoo. Thank you again for your honesty and I pray that your hair heals quickly.

    • Kristen says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience. What a blessing that someone noticed your hair drying out before it went on too long! And thank you for your kind well wishes. :)

  16. Wow. I am so glad to find I’m not the only one with no ‘poo problems. I used baking soda and vinegar for almost four years and just recently stopped when my hair began to go haywire! It would fluctuate from being super nasty greasy on the top to horribly dry and brittle. I partly attribute it to a change in water (due to moving from MT to SC), humidity, and post-pregnancy hormones, but since leaving off the baking soda it’s been so much better. I’ve just been using a tiny little bit of really watered down liquid castile soap for about a month now, and my hair is so much better, though it’s still healing.

    Anyway, thanks for the post!

    • My hair never did the super greasy then dry thing, but I’ve heard that from numerous people who did no ‘poo for years. I wonder if that’s the scalp trying to get enough oil back into the hair? Just a guess, of course!

  17. Gudrun B says:

    just opened my next email and Vitacost has Avalon organics thickening shampoo on sale!
    the regular price there is 7.39 for the 14 ounce bottle now on sale for 5.47 for any one interested :)

  18. maria valverde says:

    Hi Kristen.Kristen how much did the bar soap cost with shipping?

    • Maria, I try to buy a couple at a time to get more out of the shipping cost. I can’t actually remember the exact shipping cost, though! I’m sorry! I doubt that helped much.

  19. It’s interesting reading this. I had exactly the same experience a number of years ago. At first it felt wonderful, but gradually over time it started to not work so well. After two years of no pooing I had to call it quits. My hair was brittle like straw, as well as being greasy – it never felt clean – and my scalp would itch from the BS. I have very thick hair, and no matter how much I rinsed I would always have an itchy scalp. I really hated wasting all that water trying to rinse it out.
    I quit no-poo about three years ago and it’s taken this long for my hair to recover. I’m still dabbling in various shampoos, but havent found anything I love. Just this week I started washing with my own homemade soap (20% coconut oil & 80% olive oil). I’ll just have to see how it goes. The vinegar rinse would be OK if my hair didn’t continue to smell like vinegar for the next 2 days. Any way around this?

    • How diluted is your vinegar rinse, Jane? I’ve heard that if the vinegar isn’t diluted enough the scent can remain.

      • From memory I think it was around 2 tablespoons ACV to 1 cup water. How does that ratio stack up with what you do?

        • Hmm… That seems about right. I don’t know that I have any suggestions for you! I assume you’re rinsing well after?

  20. I would love to try Tropical Traditions, but I’m in Australia and shipping is crazy expensive! If I buy anything from overseas i have to stick to iherb as their shipping is reasonable.

  21. How sad! I’ve been using baking soda as shampoo for nigh on 5 yrs. I was also using the acv rinse but stopped that in short order when my hair started feeling like straw. My hair is down to my shoulder blades and I get the length trimmed about twice a year.
    my initial response was to suggest that hair is a place the body releases toxins (or diet related) but when many of you had good outcome by changing back to shampoo, I am baffled.

    • Hi Karen! I certainly don’t have all the answers, especially as to why some people are able to use baking soda for years without seeing the extensive damage that I (and lots of the commenters) have. Did you see the follow-up post I wrote with some links to helpful articles and a video? I found some of that information really insightful to at least understand how baking soda works on the hair.

      I do hope that you continue to have good results with your baking soda routine if you choose to stick with it! :)

  22. I’m so glad I read this today! I’ve been doing the baking soda/vinegar routine for 4-5 months. It looked and felt amazing at first, but not so much anymore. In fact, I used to receive all sorts of compliments on my hair from friends and hair stylists alike – but haven’t had ANY since the 2nd month of doing the soda/vinegar method. So to read this post today just validated what I’ve been thinking about “maybe it’s not the BEST thing after all.” Disappointing for sure, but I’m so glad to be aware of it now, and not a year from now!

    I know there are some good natural shampoos on the market, but they’re a bit out of our budget. And I don’t want to do just water. Can you recommend anything else that’s cheaper than $10 but still nourishing for long hair?

    • Yes, Elizabeth! My whole goal behind these posts was sparing other ladies from what happened to my hair.

      For an affordable option, shampoo bars might be something to look into. I wrote about the Tropical Traditions bar that I’ve been using since in this follow-up post. I do still use the diluted vinegar rinse and like to put coconut oil through the ends when it feels a little dry. But, that’s kind of all the time now, so I use coconut oil in my hair a lot. ;) You probably wouldn’t need to do that as often.

  23. Jennifer Bennett says:

    I have been searching for some decent, natural haircare products. I met a sweet and knowledgeable couple at a Farmer’s Market in Waldport, Oregon. They have developed a line of products. They are a bit more expensive than some on the market, but I have been purchasing cheap/generic conventional shampoo/conditioner products. They seem to be priced similar to other salon grade products. They created the formula’s and also grow many of the herbs organically themselves. Very neat and so far I have been impressed with the results of the products. The shampoo doesn’t foam up like traditional products, but it is very effective at cleaning and restoring my long hair. I believe the website is: truessential.com They are from Waldport, Oregon.

    • That sounds fantastic, Jennifer! I grow lots of my own herbs, and anytime I find someone doing that and making their own products from them, I’m so intrigued! I’ll definitely see if I can find them online. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Pamela Gammill says:

    I’m so sorry that happened to your hair. I never tried the baking soda wash, but to wean myself off shampoo, I went to washing with watered down conditioner (a safe, healthy conditioner). I liked my shampoo and conditioner, but they were really expensive and I was looking to save some money and be more natural. For the past year, I have only washed my hair with water and I rinse with diluted vinegar, about 1/4 cup to two cups of water. My hair is very curly and tangly, otherwise I probably wouldn’t use anything to rinse it with. I wash it once a week, so it doesn’t get exposed to the diluted vinegar that often. It’s soft, and never greasy. Maybe I have just been lucky so far.

    • I think that curly hair does really well with a method like that, Pamela! I don’t know that the diluted vinegar can harm the hair. I think it is more an issue with the baking soda because of the pH of it.

      I love the idea of washing with just water and am so glad that works for you!

      Thanks for reading and commenting today.

  25. I use Dr. Bronner’s castle soap and an ACV/Water rinse and my hair is fab…..Baking Soda is drying; however it is great for drying out fever blisters and cold sores. :)

    • I wish I would have noticed how baking soda made my hands feel after cleaning with it and made the connection with my hair years ago! It is drying, but certainly has lots of other great uses!

  26. There are other methods of no poo than just baking soda and vinegar. There are some really good resources online including facebook groups that can shed some light on more no poo and low poo options.

  27. Have you tried using talcum between washing to control the oil? My husband brings home whole talcum rocks that we ground down to fine powder with a mortar and pestle. I love it for baby bottoms and you really can’t get more natural. Just make sure you either use a boars style brush or you brush it out really well because it can feel like you have “stuff” in your hair if you don’t. I have naturally curly red hair and only need to wash once a week now but when I was younger I couldn’t go more than a day and if I had an evening appointment I would really need to wash my hair a second time. That is when I discovered the talc trick from my grandma.

    • Hi AisLynn!
      No, I haven’t used talcum between washing. I’ve seen lots of recipes online for different dry shampoos to use between washes, but I’ve never taken the time to make them. I keep thinking I should though, especially on day 4 or 5 post-wash! ;)

  28. I’m doing no poo but also no ACV/baking soda. Really happy withthe results. ALmost a year now. I actually had to have my hair thinned out because it was getting too full to handle

  29. Wow–lots of comments on this issue…I find the same results as you and am struggling to find an alternative because if I use any shampoo with wheat, my head itches so bad I’d rather go without ever washing my hair with anything–the same is true if I use any products that have anything–and I really mean anything–associated with the ocean–I’m highly allergic and the results are horrible. With all the crazy names of ingredients it makes it difficult to “KNOW” what is inside the shampoo/conditioner as I’m standing in the store looking at the various bottles. I see the breakage in my hair, too and it doesn’t matter if I have soft or hard water–the baking soda/acv kills my hair–I wish it was as simple as the water for me. We went chemical free in our house because my husband had cancer, so that was why the big push for us and we are enjoying the chemical free life–other than the shampoo issue. Any help, thoughts, ideas would be relished at this point. Thanks for sharing!

    • Maybe a good shampoo bar would work for you, Janely? As far as I know, wheat and ocean products typically aren’t in them. I like with the shampoo bars that I typically know exactly what’s in them. You can also find more ideas in this follow-up post I did. Good luck!

  30. I love my natural soap nut shampoo. The website to purchase it is naturoli.com. It can also be purchased on amazon.

    • A few other commenters wrote about soap nut shampoo. Glad it works well for you! Thanks for sharing the source for yours in case someone wants to try it. :)

  31. So helpful! I’ve debated on whether or not to take the leap. I don’t think I will now. :) I do just wash the triplets’ hair with water – about 1x a week I use homemade soap. But I think they’re young enough that they may be able to get away with it -not having used conventional shampoo/chemicals and all. We shall see! I’ll be keeping a close eye out for subtle changes with all our hair now!!

    • I’d recommend steering clear, Jennifer! ;)
      With my children’s hair, we do very little soap still, and my oldest is nine. I think we do shampoo bar and ACV rinse every 2-3 weeks on her, and even less on my younger girls. We water wash in between the shampoo bars. I would love for them to grow up with a scalp that’s used to having it’s own natural oils there!
      Thanks for reading today!

  32. I tried the no ‘poo ONCE. And holy creepers, it was a complete disaster. Even doing everything by the book, my hair was greasy, lank, and disgusting after that first go with baking soda. My scalp has been healthy since I stopped using shampoos with certain ingredients, but the baking soda made the sebum production go haywire. Once I washed with my regular go-to shampoo (I use Nature’s Gate’s Herbal formula) my hair was no longer greasier than a frying pan of bacon, though it was oilier than it should have been and exceptionally dry.

    Since then, I have perfected a routine that works for me, and recommended Nature’s Gate shampoos and conditioners to people who have all had really good results with their own combinations of the brand’s available formulas. I wash my hair 2 or 3 times a week with about a nickel sized dollop of shampoo, and rotate conditioning agents each wash. (The rotation goes: ACV diluted with rosemary/sage tea and rose water; raw, unfiltered honey; Nature’s Gate Herbal Conditioner.) Once a month I use coconut oil as a deep conditioner, and once every three months I use this hair growth mask: http://youtu.be/4JSaMmPMmy8 and with a few drops of sage and yarrow essential oils added.

    My hair has always been picky, so I have to pamper it accordingly if I want it to be healthy– and I do want it to be healthy! I don’t dye/highlight/chemically process my hair at all, and I chop off all the growth about once every year and a half so that I can donate it to foundations which make wigs for cancer patients. If those 12 to 20 inches aren’t healthy, they can’t use it, and the hair is wasted. Keeping my hair healthy, chemical- and damage-free isn’t just something I do for my own vanity, if it were just for me I would personally feel the effort isn’t worth it. Since it’s something I do in memory of my friends who lost the battle with cancer in the hopes that my hair can give some person the hope they need to keep fighting, it feels like the work means something.

    • That hair mask looks great! I might give something like that a try. I’ve used straight castor oil on my hair a few times, but it was so thick and sticky that I only did it a handful of times. I like the idea of mixing it with other oils. Thanks for sharing that!

      I’ve been considering infusing ACV with hair-helping herbs like rosemary, sage, and nettles. Your routine reminded me to put more thought into that!

      Thanks for reading and taking a few moments to comment.

Speak Your Mind

*