MMM7 Round-Up: Going No-Poo

November 30th, 2009 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

On the first Monday of every month, we take on a ‘mission’ – a shift or habit or inspiration – to work on together. There’s strength (and support) in numbers! On the last Thursday of the month, we reconvene to see how far we’ve come.


This was a lengthy mission, spanning 2 months to allow everyone ample time to see it through. I first proposed the challenge in early October, but it wasn’t until this follow-up article later that month, that things really got rolling. So many people signed on! And there were so many wonderful questions, with so many experienced ‘no-poo’ers sharing their wisdom. It warmed my little heart! That’s what this whole project of a website is about, but I digress . . .

It seemed that a lot of interested folks were coming in late to the game, and so in an effort to make sure we all could benefit, I extended the mission an extra month. This was great for me as well, as it gave me a full two months to acclimate to the new cleansing method.

So what can I say? NO-POO IS AWESOME. I use baking soda paste with an apple cider vinegar rinse, once per week, and my hair is in excellent shape. Why would I ever, ever go back to chemical cleaners and conditioners? My hair is strong and shiny and thick and soft. I don’t get ‘build-up’, even though I clean only once a week and use product every day. I never feel greasy or oily.

So suffice to say, I’m sold. Hands down. I can’t imagine I’ll ever need shampoo again. How liberating!

But what about you, my dears? Yours are the stories I’m really dying to hear. How has this little adventure gone for you? Will you continue to no-poo? Let me know how it went!

  • Crystal

    I have been no-poo for 3 months now (and it just so happened that you started the challenge right after) and I too am liberated! I have really long hair so I was hesitant to give it a try but I’m so glad that I did! I wash with baking soda and vinegar about every 5 days at this point, and I don’t have a single negative thing to say about the results. My husband has even jumped on board so I couldn’t be more excited :-) I just feel so much better about no spending $15 on a bottle of vegan, sulfate free, paraben free shampoo- I really wish I had done this sooner!

  • Minna

    I’ve done no-poo for two weeks now. I love it. I was absolutely AMAZED the first time I tried soda & ACV on my hair. When I first applied baking soda on my hair, it felt so wrong, but since I had read about so many positive experiences, I knew it was gonna work. I have shoulder-length naturally wavy hair and this no-poo thing really helps me keep my hair naturally very curly and gives a lot of volume. + the fact that you won’t need that much styling products anymore, is true. I guess that comes form the natural oils.

    But. I have noticed my hair getting “dirty” quite fast lately… I wash it every Monday and Friday (since I used to shampoo every other day) and by Friday it really does look bad. I just washed my hair yesterday and it looks great now though. I hope this week it’ll last clean longer :) Do you think I should now start no-pooing once a week now? Or shall I wait until my hair doesn’t get dirty anymore?

  • Julie

    Your hair may well stay that way but, just as a warning, my hair was much, much healthier when I was pregnant. I usually shed a lot, especially while washing and when I was pregnant, not a single hair fell from my head in the shower. You may find that you experience some changes after you deliver. Also, when the baby is around 4 months old, if you are still nursing, you will lose some hair. I can’t remember the specifics but I talked to my doctor when it started happening and was assured that it happens to nearly everyone, something to do with oxytocin.

  • Kate

    I am no-poo and loving it as well. I wash my hair about once/week. Thank you for the inspiration girl, I couldn’t have done it without you ;-)

  • Kathryn

    My experience, I assume, is a little different because I have dreads, but I also lovelovelove no-poo. I wash my dreads once a week, and every once in a while do a deep clean (baking soda, acv, lemon juice, tea tree, salt) to get them extra healthy, clean, and tight.
    Three cheers for healthy scalps and hair!

  • Courtney

    It’s been 3 months since I’ve used shampoo and I’m loving it! I’m still getting the hang of ratios. While I’m washing every other day, I don’t mind since I’m not using chemicals and a more diluted mix of baking soda and water instead of a paste. What can I say, I’m afraid to make it too strong! Also, has anyone noticed any fading of colored hair. I’m about to dye mine tomorrow for my wedding Friday and I don’t want it to fade too fast. I haven’t dyed it in a couple of years and am really looking forward to having the color again!

  • Courtney

    Oh, and I just noticed I’ve still got my old website up with my name. Here’s the right one. :)

  • Lisa M

    At first I only washed it once or twice with the baking soda but now that I changed my hair to wearing it straight and thinned out I wash it more often. I have a really sensitive scalp so I like using the baking soda. I don’t like the smell of the acv so only use it if my scalp is super dry. I don’t think washing it less than twice a week works for me but I love baking soda. It is very gentle. I color my hair and don’t feel it makes my color fade any more or less than with regular shampoo.

  • Lisa M

    I forgot to mention I cheated once and used regular shampoo and my scalp felt terrible and my hair looked awful.

  • Valerie

    I have EXTREMELY oily hair, it’s been that way all my life. I have to wash my hair every day and I still struggle with too much oil. I tried the baking soda and there is no way it will work for me. I am however using environmentally conscious shampoo.

  • Sarah

    I’m still no poo, and I love it. I’ve had a bit of stress in my life lately, though (holidays + death in the family), so it’s more oily than it has been. Stress will do that, though!

    My hair is really oily right after I get it wet with or without baking soda/acv, but the wash cloth treatment someone recommended on the previous no poo thread is great. I just wipe it down with a washcloth in the shower 100 times (it takes me a while-I have butt length hair). Plus, I brush it with a boars hair (sorry vegans!) brush 100-200 strokes to distribute the natural oils once it’s dry. Thanks for all the tips with this :)

    @Valerie-my husband’s hair oil is pretty epic (seriously-I have to wash my hands at least 5 times before hand soap will suds after running my hands through it), but it’s actually worse for him when he shampoos every day. The more he washes, the more he had to wash! Just a thought :)

  • Heather

    I got my first haircut in about 10 months yesterday (my hair grows VERY slowly.)
    Been MOSTLY no-poo for about 3 months with occassional use of my daughter’s Burts Bees conditioner.
    ANYWAY, the stylist asked what I use for products and I told her baking soda and vinegar. She said, “Because your scalp is like, wow! Seriously. It’s really healthy.”
    ‘Nuff said :)

  • Sayward

    Hooray! Wow, I’m so happy that everyone has had such a positive experience! I’m not really surprised, but it’s so great to hear 1) how many of you attempted this (!), and 2) how many of you benefitted. What an awesome, successful MMM!

    I’m just thrilled that so many people will be eliminating yet another harsh chemical from their hygiene regimes. That’s the best news ever! =D

    @ Minna – I wouldn’t rush anything. Let your hair acclimate to this new method, and then, when the oil calms down, you can move to once-a-week washing. Luck!

    @ Courtney – I haven’t noticed any faster fading, and I’ve heard the same from other Bonzai readers. I think you’ll be fine!

    Thanks guys! You ROCK!

  • Angela

    I’ve been on a BS and ACV routine for over three months now. I usually just rub the dry baking soda into my wet scalp and I keep the vinegar in a mustard bottle, but after seeing your bottle of soda “paste”, I think I’ll make a paste that can squeeze through a mustard bottle; that’d save me loads of time!

  • Salekdarling

    I’ve been no pooing for awhile now and I’ve just gotten a question from my father about using baking soda and vinegar. Is no poo-ing safe for the septic tank?

  • Sayward

    @ Angela – Hope it works for ya!

    @ Salekdarling – I’m 99.9% certain that this is not an issue at all. The solution in the tank will be so incredibly dilute, I can’t imagine anything dangerous occurring. I wouldn’t worry about it at all (really!)

  • chris

    i tried no poo a year or so ago, did it for about 4 – 5 months, but found i was getting that “head” smell after a while. i gave up and went back to poo, which made me say “boo”.

    any problems with head smell anyone?

  • Angela

    @ chris~Like wet dog? A little. Try adding drops of lavender or other essential oil to your acv. Or, brew an herbal tea to blend with it. I like raspberry or something else fruity.

  • Salekdarling

    @ Chris- I get that smell if I really don’t try to scrub and rinse my hair. It doesn’t bother me because I really don’t care if people think I smell funny. lol. Sometimes my dandruff flares up so I put 1-3 drops of peppermint oil in my ACV mix to relieve the pain and itch. Makes me smell good too! :-)

  • Sayward

    @ chris – Oh no! I haven’t experienced that myself, and I was paranoid about it. I kept asking my husband to smell my head! ha! You may just want to try no-pooing more often, and then wean down more slowly. The other suggestions here are great as well.

    (Thanks Angela and Salekdarling!)

  • Marilyn

    Please keep this going because I was introduced to your method today which I will start with my shower this evening. If it works for me like for all you have written in, I’m certain I will sharing this with all my friends too! Thanks you Tina for sharing with me.

  • Kazmira

    Hey all,
    Loving this discussion (yay for making your own body care products!) and just wanted to add that if you have dry hair, you can try adding a dollop of honey to the baking soda and mixing them together in a bowl with a little warm water (just hold it under the shower stream for a sec) to make a paste. You’ll end up with a wonderful, moisturizing shampoo/scalp cleaner (yes, honey does clean things, believe it or not! it also has superb antibacterial and antifungal properties, which is why it never goes bad) and bonus, you can use whatever doesn’t go in your hair as a super-skin-softening facial and body scrub – take that, Dr. Bronner’s! (respect, but sooo not using that stuff in my hair)

    Also, Sayward, I’m not sure if you or any other commenters have mentioned the awesome role that herb infusions can play in ACV rinses?? Based on totally unscientific but centuries-old knowledge, chamomile is used to brighten blonde hair and bring out highlights, rosemary’s great for brunettes (not sure how, exactly, but worth a try), and nettle leaf, green tea, sage, thyme and a whole host of other herbs are great for volume, shine, and all-around hair health. You could also just use whatever teas you have on hand and experiment – even that bag of Lipton tea in the back of your tea drawer contains antioxidants and other good stuff that can’t hurt.

    To make an infusion, just combine one part herbs (dry or fresh, but double quantity for fresh) to three or four parts vinegar in a mason jar, close tightly, and let it sit on a sunny windowsill for about two weeks before straining into a clean glass jar or bottle. If you’re impatient you could also place the mason jar in a pot of simmering water for a few hours. Either way, slow steady heat is what you need to unleash the herb awesomeness.

    I make herb-vinegar mixtures all the time to use as facial toners and body rinses, and ALWAYS dilute – at least 1:4, I usually do 2 tbsps vinegar per 8 oz water. If you’re interested in finding more info or recipes like this, there are of course tons of online forums and random pages out there, but it’s best to go straight to the source and check out good ol’ fashioned paper publications like Herb Companion magazine, the Herb Quarterly, and Janice Cox’s book Natural Beauty at Home. Also, if you don’t have a health food store nearby where you can buy organic, freshly dried herbs in bulk, Mountain Rose Herbs, based out of Eugene, OR, is a godsend – they have an amazing selection, and some great recipes on their site too. Hope this helps!! :)

  • Kazmira

    Just realized that honey isn’t on the list of vegan-friendly items, but there are lots of small-scale beekeepers out there that don’t inflict cruelty on bees and in fact care and advocate for these amazing creatures in ways that are important to the survival and well-being of the species overall. I’m puzzled as to why veganism doesn’t make this distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ honey, so I’ve been reading up on sustainable beekeeping (, and trying to figure out what I’m missing. Sorry to be taking up so much room in the comments section, I just can’t help myself when it comes to topics like this!! :)

  • Sayward

    @ Marilyn – Oh, we’re still going! I hope it works out for you – let me know!

    @ Kazmira – Thanks for all the great info! I have had people mention infusions but not in that much depth. I’m very interested in exploring the lightening/brightening options!

    And for those who eschew honey, you can replace it in that recipe with some vitamin E oil and a drop or 2 of tea tree or other antibacterial/antifungal essential oil.

    As for the honey/vegan issue, I can understand your confusion. There is some debate within the vegan community (although I have trouble seeing how someone could consider honey vegan, ethics aside), and there are definitely those who live a totally vegan lifestyle with the exception of honey. I would hope that these people would call themselves veg*ns, or ‘beegans’, but that’s because I believe very strongly in the power of words and in using them properly. But that’s a whole other issue . . . ;-)

    I think a lot of the confusion with honey comes from the misunderstanding that the word ‘vegan’ is somehow synonymous with the word ‘ethical’, which it’s not. What is technically vegan may not always be what is the most ethical, and vice versa. It’s an important distinction to remember and may alleviate some of the hurt feelings that can come from these discussions (ie, saying ‘That is not vegan’ to someone is NOT the same as saying ‘That (you) is (are) not ethical’)

    As far as why honey is not vegan, 2 of the main tenets of veganism are Animal Rights (which is very different than animal welfare) and the concept of speciesism. Animal Rights teaches that animals are sovereign beings and should be allowed to go about their business without interference from humans. Speciesism, like racism or sexism, is putting the needs of one species above the needs of another, to the detriment of the other.

    So with the honey, it really comes down to these two ideas and the issue of consent. Bees cannot consent to having their honey taken from them, thus vegans would say it is simply not ours to take (this same approach applies to chicken eggs). Even on small ‘humane’ beekeeping operations, humans take that which was made by bees FOR bees. If they take enough (which they will if it’s commercial in any way) they have to replace it with a nutritionally dis-equivalent glucose solution. So, we are taking something they made for themselves, without their consent, and leaving them with something worse.

    That would be the vegan position, and I hope you understand that I’m just explaining the position and I’m not casting judgement in any way!

    Personally, I go back and forth on honey. But ultimately, I always come back to the issue of consent and the fact that we are taking something and cannot know how that impacts the animals we are taking it from. For me, personally, it’s just not worth it. Again, that’s just my own stance. =)

    Hope that helps explain where we’re coming from! Like I said, it’s a controversial issue and like everything, each person has to follow their own inner truth.

  • Leah

    Just tried my first day of no ‘poo. I was really impressed after my shower that my hair was so easy to comb. Usually if I don’t use conditioner, it’s really easy to break.

    This morning it looked totally normal (I wash it at night) and feels fine. We’ll see what happens tomorrow…

  • Sayward

    @ Leah – Glad it’s working so far. Let me know how it all turns out!

  • Leah

    Ok, not sure if this thread is dying or what, but I’m posting an update here in case anyone wants to read it later.

    I’m on day five and I’m so excited about this. Some background: I have fine, light brown hair, just above my shoulders with bangs. I “washed” with BS and ACV for three nights (I’m a night shower girl), then washed one night with just water and fingers. The next day my hair looked great, was soft, and my bangs didn’t look greasy (big accomplishment). In fact, my boyfriend told me that my hair looked “sexy” at lunch, without any prompting!

    I did the BS/ACV again last night, but I’ll try going two days in between washes this time. I’m using the BS/ACV to ease into this, hoping that I can get up to several days in between.

    Hooray!!!! I freakin’ love this!

  • Sayward

    It’s great that people keep posting! I love the ‘testimonials’ and I know other readers get a lot out of hearing people’s personal experience. =)

  • Lottie

    I just wanted to let you know that myself & daughters have enjoyed reading your blog on and off today! We were doing some research on alternative products (ie. d/w detg, laundry soap, cotton “pads”, toothpaste, hair “stuff” and alllll the other goodies we found on here today) & here was this wonderful resource, your blog!!! Thanks for ALL your hard work on your “project”; What a bright spot in our day! Many blessings on the birth of your little one, he is just beautiful!!!! :0)

  • Lottie

    Oops… forgot to mention … starting the “no-poo” experiment in the am! I’m anticipating extreme JOY … ha :0)

  • Sayward

    @ Lottie- Thank you so much! And I love that you and your family have been reading the blog together. That’s just so awesome.

    Good luck with the no-pooing! =)

  • Katrina

    Hi Sayward!
    I’ve been following your blog for several months now, but haven’t made the effort to comment (I’m lazy!).
    But now i have a question. Baking soda did not work for me. It took too much time and I got tired of it. Recently, I got a bag of soapnuts for my laundry and started finding information on soap nut shampoo. Have you looked into this? What have you found? Is it effective???
    Thanks :)

  • Sayward

    @ Katrina – Man, I wish I had something to say about soapnuts but I just don’t have any experience with them. I’ve gotten so many inquiries though, so clearly this is something I need to try! Sorry I couldn’t be more help (yet!)

  • Katrina

    Ok thanks! I’ll start experimenting with them. I’ve had a wonderful experience using it with the laundry and dish washing, but I’ve got to practice some more to figure out the shampoo and soap. :)

  • Happy Green Mama

    I’ve been poo-free for a while now and I love it, but have two questions:
    1. can I wash my two year old’s hair with soda?
    2. how would my hair react to highlights now?

  • Sayward

    @ Happy Green Mama – Hello! I would totally try no-poo on a toddler. Sometimes bs can be hard on sensitive skin, so watch out for that but otherwise I say go for it! Better than any store bought chemical stuff . . .

    I’ve bleached, dyed, and everything in between while no-poo. Never an issue for me – I think you’re hair will react the way it always did. Luck!

  • Sara

    I had a question, I before was doing the “No Poo” and using baking soda. However when I moved into a new apartment it had hard water and my hair was not a fan, when I had soft water my hair loved the “No Poo” Shampoo.

    Any idea on what I can change for hardwater? I would really like to get back into it.

  • Sayward

    @ Sara – You may want to consider getting a special shower head to soften your water. Also, more vinegar! It’s a great conditioner. =)

  • Vivienne Grainger

    I am new to no-poo, about two weeks in, but I can’t imagine ever going poo-ward again. Baking soda is simply wonderful, not just for shampoo but to clean your whole exterior (not recommended for teeth, due to its high abrasion, and I can’t really say how it would work as a douche, since being post-menopausal I don’t do that, and vinegar seems to have that market cornered). I don’t even need to use vinegar more often than once weekly, and my hair is shoulder-length (and growing).
    What really surprised me, though, was how well it works on my oily skin, which I’ve had to wash at noon and night for as long as I can remember. No more; once a day does it. Awesome.

  • Jayna

    Hi Sayward,

    I was reading this post because of the no shampoo content (I’m in the second week of using BS (a solution of 1T in 1C water) and ACV (diluted using the same ratio)–I really like how it’s going, so far!), but I’m commenting to thank you for your comment shedding light on the honey confusion. Or more specifically the vegan/ethical confusion.
    I’m a new reader here, and I haven’t yet looked around to see if any of your posts feature similar discussion, but I do appreciate both that you took the time to give an explanation and the way you presented the explanation of the position.

  • Sayward

    @ Jayna – Thank you deary, that’s awesome to hear and helps keep me motivated. =)

  • Erica Englert

    yes I’ve been dooin the no-pooin for about 2 years now and my hair is the opposite of what it was before hand! my hair was thinning and dry- you could see my scalp when my hair was wet. and ever since i changed my regime- long, thick, hydrated hair. I also stopped drinking alcohol and going out late. which i think contributed very much!

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