I’m Quitting Shampoo For a Month (and you can too!)


Sometimes when you witness wrong-doing it is appropriate to respond in a strong manner. And other times, it’s helpful to counter with a more subversive answer. This is the latter…

(There are so many ridiculously silly ways I could have titled this post. You see, using alternative methods to clean your hair is usually called ‘no-pooing’ (as in, “no-shampooing”), and honestly – I think we all have a little bit of fifth-grade boy inside of us that wants to automatically giggle every time they hear the term. Right? No…? Just me then. Okeeeeeydokey.)

I’ve written before about the fact that our current body care industry (shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, shaving cream, the bajillion brands of rip-off anti-aging junk, etc. etc.) is not well-regulated for safety.

When I first started my natural living journey over five years ago, I became more aware of this:

“As I began learning about the toxic chemicals that are used in products, I found that the ingredients in my favourite shampoo are associated with things like neurotoxicity and organ system toxicity. I don’t know about you, but to me that does not seem like a desirable side effect of washing my hair.

So I told my inner frugal rockstar to hush-up, and I marched my booty down to the store to peruse the organic shampoo aisle. Then I died dead on the floor of a heart attack after seeing that they all cost eleventy hundred dollars each. When I finally recovered, I picked one out and took it home to try.

This is what my hair looks like these days (ok, admittedly this is on a pretty good hair day: my baby’s first birthday party): ShampooBreakUp: No Poo Experiment

I have found over the years that my hair likes certain shampoos more than others. Most of the natural/organic brands I’ve tried (which is probably numbering in the dozens by now) have worked on a mediocre level. They’ve been ok, but never amazing. There is one brand I love, but I think the ingredient list is the most questionable out of the crew.

Mostly though, I’ve found that none of them work well long-term. As a result, I’ve had to switch up my brand every few months or so, or I find my hair getting dull and build-up-ish. (It’s a word. Really.)

That’s the problem with shampoos: they strip your hair of its natural oils and leave it greasier and yuckier than it was ever meant to be. The reason most people have to shampoo daily is because their head is being so bombarded with the stripping from the harsh chemicals in shampoos that it ends up over-compensating and producing even more oil. And thus the vicious cycle that never ends.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m really, really tired of the price tag and I’m growing very tired of mediocre, high-maintenance hair. So I quit. I’m breaking up with you, shampoo. We’ve got some irreconcilable differences, and I want out.

For the month of February, I’m quitting shampoo.

I will be using baking soda and water to cut the grease and grime, and apple cider vinegar if necessary for conditioning (and nope, it doesn’t smell after it’s rinsed out.) You can google “No Poo Method” for more on the ins and outs if you’d like.

I am also pretty inspired by a success story right under my own roof:


She’s three and a half years old now, and her hair is enviably healthy and shiny and gorgeous… and long! Her hair grew fast as a toddler, and it was nearly waist-length on her third birthday, like you see above. We gave it a trim last fall, and it continues to grow beautifully. We rinse it with water whenever she has a bath (and I rub her scalp a little with my fingertips), and on a rare occasion we’ve used some Dr. Bronner’s to wash it after the usual toddler antics like an entire bowl of spaghetti on the head or unauthorized diaper cream smearing. That’s it. Her hair gives me hope for my own!

I am crossing my fingers and toes, hoping that by the end of the month, I’ll be pleased with the experiment and continue it indefinitely. However, I’m setting a time frame so that I can give myself permission to stop if necessary.

I’m not gonna lie: I’m scared. I tried getting out of this. I tried telling myself I could just try it quietly, and THEN if it was a success I’d blog about it. Then I said “Self, NO, just no. You can’t hide this. Public embarrassment is far more entertaining for The People. And it’s All.About.The.People.” See how much love I have for you guys? Feel the love, peeps, it’s the truth.

So, I’m dubious, but I’m willing to give it a whirl. Are you?

Wanna join me in my Great Shampoo Breakup for the month of February?

Leave me a comment to let me know. If there’s any interest, I might start a FB group and invite some of my expert blogger buds to join who have written on this topic before.

PS. I opened up my email today after having started this post and lo and behold: my friend Lauren is challenging herself to go no-poo for February too! Go check out her post and follow along with her blog to see her updates as the month goes on. I’m not the only nut out there!

Hit me up with your questions, concerns, and thoughts. Surely this is not the nuttiest thing I’ve ever done, and I doubt it’ll ever rank up there very highly. I mean – after all – I *do* have a post coming next week about cloth TP. So there’s that.

Note: I did try the no-poo method once before a few years ago, for around 3 weeks, but I abandoned it quite dissatisfied. I later learned that the hard water we had in Tiny Town at the time was most likely to blame, since several of my other crunchy mama friends in the same town had also tried and given up on it while living there (but had been able to find success after moving to a different province. I’m hoping for the same!)

So, what’s your poo-status? (Shampoo, Duh.) Would you ever consider no-pooing?

I'm Beth. I created Red & Honey because I'm obsessed with the wild art of wellness.

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  1. Liza says

    Been no Poo no Soap for years… am 45 no wrinkles, and have donated 12″ (Hair) to Pantene Great Lengths in 2011 and 2013… got another 12″ to donate

  2. Mallory says

    I’ve been “No-Pooing” *insert schoolboy giggle* for 10 months now. I will never EVER go back. My hair has never been softer or more healthy. Just a warning to you though… It may take more than 1 month together over the “funk period” and for your scalp to normalize. But once it does, you’ll be a believer. I promise.

  3. says

    I gave up commercial shampoo last summer. I tried making my own but I was unsuccessful and looked online found Dirty Diva Soap on Etsy. It took a while for my hair to adjust but now I love it. My hair is so soft and I still color it every 6 to 8 weeks with commercial color.

    I’ll never go back to Shampoo.

  4. meagan novak says

    I read somewhere that baking soda and vinegar raises then lowers the pH, and its not good for your scalp or hair. I tried it just once and my hair was already being difficult. Then I found something that takes about a “detox period” which makes sense– no matter what you do, you need to give it time to normalize… But I have heard about so many people “trying no-poo” including experienced crunchy bloggers… But not so many stories about people sticking with it… I might try a coconut milk method someone suggested… But it was when I saw the terrible news story about littleowlcrunchy mama that made it click… I have now gone 2 weeks using only water for my hair. I have to brush it a lot to get the oils all the way through, but it makes sense… brushing the natural oils from my scalp all the way to my tips has left my hair less tangly and dry and brittle. Also my head used to be itchy all the time and now it isn’t. As I said, I might try an occasion rinse with coconut milk, and an essential oil or two, but I’m very impressed so far with water only :)

  5. Summer says

    I will go no poo with you this month. My last real shampoo was February 1, and I’ve only rinsed with water since then. I’m looking forward to trying the baking soda and Apple cider vinegar rinse this weekend. Wish me luck!

  6. Alison says

    I love the idea that you’re ditching shampoo! I do have to say, though, that I tried using baking soda and ACV to wash my hair for a couple of months and it ended up ruining my hair. My hair became dry, coarse, brittle, frizzy, and flat. It breaks very easily. I do have hard water, so I’m sure that was part of the problem. I just wanted to give you a heads up as to what could happen. It might take lots of trial, error, and tears to figure out what will work best for your hair.

    After the failed no ‘poo experiment, I tried a bunch of different natural homemade shampoos and nothing seemed to work. I finally resorted to just rinsing with plain water in the shower in an effort to balance out the natural oils. A few days ago, I tried an egg mask (just whisked a whole egg and put it in my hair for 20 minutes) and it worked beautifully. This morning, I washed my hair using Wellness Mama’s homemade coconut milk shampoo and it left my hair feeling clean and soft, so I think I’ll try using this recipe once a week or so and see how my hair likes it. You can see the recipe here: http://wellnessmama.com/3701/how-to-make-natural-shampoo/

    Unfortunately, it’s going to take a while to get my hair to be strong and healthy again.

  7. Rebekah S says

    I used baking soda and ACV for a while, (PS you need the ACV to balance the pH after the baking soda!!!!). Eventually I switched to a recipe using shikakai and flaxseed instead. Still pretty frugal, but even better looking hair :)

  8. Edwina says

    Good on you Beth! I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar. It cleans my hair just as well as shampoo, so why waste the money on shampoo? My biggest problem – its hard to get the baking soda residue out of my hair. Does anyone have any tips on this? Stick with it Beth, it gets worse before it gets better but at the end its heaps better!.

  9. Bea Bywalec says

    This sounds very interesting. I switched to Wen shampoo and I love my hair but still would like to try this. Wen shampoo has no suds so I am used to that. However my hair is dry and someone indicated that the baking soda does dry the hair. There was mention of coconut oil but not specific directions which I would be interested to hear more about. I also like the soap nut idea or/and castile soap. Think my husband would benefit from this if I can sell him on it. Can I get more feedback on the coconut oil and whether there is a concern of dryness with baking sida

  10. says

    I gave up regular shampoo 2 1/2 yrs ago when nothing seemed to work any more. I’ve been using a homemade shampoo bar ever since. My hair is in the best condition that it’s ever been.
    Go for it!
    We crunchy people have to stick together 😉

  11. Pamela says

    I’m game. What have I got to lose? Nothing. And if it’s a success, I’ve only got yet another item to cross of my shopping list and more cash in my pocket. We have super hard water here too, but we have a filter. I know, that’s cheating. I’m currently doing an almond oil conditioning, so when I wash tomorrow I’ll use soda and call it good. The detox phase is gonna kill me.

  12. bECKY says


  13. Brenda says

    I have been “no-poo” for over a year now. I mix 1tbsp baking soda with a cup of water and slowly pour it over my hair working it in just as I would shampoo. Rinse well. Then mix 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and pour that over my hair. I let it stay on a couple minutes then rinse out. I have been getting the most complements from people on how shiny and healthy my hair looks. And no one but my husband knows I don’t use shampoo! I have long, very thick hair and I couldn’t be happier with my experience. This time of year I wash it 2x a week. In the summer I have to wash more often because I live in Florida and I get hot and sweaty.

  14. Darlyne says

    I was just discussing this with my husband. I like the ideas and principles behind it but I am a bit nervous about it. I rarely use any products on my hair and only shampoo about 2-3 times a week now. I have heard that baking soda can cause hair to be dry and break. Not really excited about that prospect as I do not cut my hair at all. I think I will do a no shampoo but will have to do a conditioner of coconut oil or something to ensure that my hair retains some moisture as well. Guess we will see how it goes!

  15. Rachael says

    I believe I will join you. I have been thinking about this for over a year, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. We shall see! lol!

  16. says

    I did the no shampoo for almost two years and loved it….until I moved to your same tiny town where I continued for about three months and it was AWFUL! Flat, greasy, itchy mess. Since moving from there, I’ve never really gotten back into it for more than a few weeks at a time. I want to and always intend to but just seem to start using shampoo again. One note that I have from when didn’t use shampoo is that I found the popular baking soda and avc method to be really hard on my hair after the initial super greasy stage that lasts about a month. Even though I only used Baking soda once a week or less, I found it was making my hair dull and brittle. Instead I started doing a rosemary rinse with fresh rosemary or EO in winter. That made my hair really soft and shiny as well as bring out the red highlights in my brown curls. I’d then do baking soda maybe once a month.

    Hope it goes great for you!

  17. Mary says

    I have already started. I think about a month already. I rinse with a mixture of water, apple cider vinegar, and rosemary and lavender essential oils. I am interested in trying natural rinses to cover my grey hair. Ready to give up coloring it.

  18. says

    I have been thinking about it for the last few weeks, but I have functions coming up, so it kind of scares me, though I do have a hair style I can do that helps “hide” the yuck, and the baking soda could help some…I am not quite ready to jump, give me two more days 😉

  19. Debbie says

    Does Castile soap count? I have been using this soap to wash with and to do my hair. I love my hair more now than I ever did when using poo. If this counts as going without poo then I am so in.

  20. Katrina says

    Ok, so do you have hidden cameras in my house?! I’m on day 3 of no shampoo. This pregnancy NOTHING is agreeing with my hair so out of desperation & cheapness I decided to try no-pooing again (last time it was a major fail or maybe I wasn’t that committed). So far my hair is softer & no yucky build up. Now I just got to stick it out :)


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