What Years of Baking Soda “No ‘Poo” Did to My Long, Healthy Hair

Washing my hair with baking soda and rinsing it with vinegar seemed like the perfect natural hair care routine. But my no ‘poo before & after story shows how wrong I was.

I remember brushing the 3-inch long sections of hair out of my eyes, wondering at first if new hair growth was coming in postpartum. Except I knew that the timing was off.

My hair’s texture had changed from silky soft and easy to brush to something much more tangled. It made a strange straw-like sound when the strands rubbed together while styling, too. Or had it always done that?

I had read some scathing articles online about how awful the baking soda no ‘poo haircare routine could be on hair, but I refused to believe them. It had worked so well for me for two whole years. How could it suddenly ruin my long, healthy hair?

It did. And this is my awful baking soda no ‘poo before and after story. 

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The No ‘Poo Method and Why I Loved It

If you aren’t already familiar with the term, “no ‘poo” simply refers to any method of washing your hair that doesn’t use conventional shampoo and conditioner (think “no {sham}poo”).

Often, when someone refers to no ‘poo, they’re talking about washing their hair with a baking soda and water solution, then conditioning it with an apple cider vinegar rinse.

I learned about the method from a blog I used to follow, and since the blogger spoke so highly of it and had been using it for a couple of months, I thought it was safe enough to try.

That’s not to say I didn’t feel a little hesitation, though.

You see, I babied my hair. I never colored or permed it and rarely used heat to style it. Though it was extremely long (almost to my knees) and hadn’t been cut in around 10 years (because of personal convictions), I didn’t have split ends.

So I didn’t want to do anything that could damage it.

Despite my slight hesitation, the whole idea of no ‘poo haircare really appealed to my burgeoning natural tendencies. It was a simple, inexpensive, and nontoxic DIY way to wash my hair.

With only great reviews to be found, I decided to dive in and try it. I loved it.

I was able to stretch my washes out to every other day for the first time since junior high. Then it was every three days, and finally every four.

My hair wasn’t flat, limp, or weighed down anymore. It felt clean and looked healthy. I even felt like it was easier to style.

I had found the secret to healthy, natural hair for cheap. Or so I thought.

When Others Jumped Off the Bandwagon

About 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. Women said their hair became dry and brittle after trying it.

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 told myself that these ladies were just doing no ‘poo the wrong way, like using too much baking soda, washing too frequently, and not doing occasional oil treatments like I did.

Maybe their hair was dry to begin with, so they just weren’t a good fit for that kind of wash routine.

Or perhaps they had some sort of nutritional deficiency that gave them brittle hair.

Clearly, it couldn’t be my beloved baking soda wash routine. So I continued on with no ‘poo, but a nagging, quiet worry took root in the back of my mind.

And Then The Breakage Began

When I started to notice those short sections of hair along the very top of my head, I wanted to believe it was new hair growth. I couldn’t imagine that what had once worked so marvelously for me and what I had enthusiastically shared with so many other people could suddenly cause disastrous breakage.

But that quiet, nagging worry started to grow louder. There wasn’t another reasonable explanation.

Baking soda no 'poo has been a natural living trend, but what happens when you wash your hair this way longterm?
I cringe when I see all the breakage my hair had while using baking soda no ‘poo

My baby was 8 months old, so I was past the postpartum hair-thinning and regrowth phase. My whole foods diet and average stress levels had stayed the same. I didn’t have dry skin or brittle nails, symptoms that would point to an internal problem.

And then I read about other people who had the same terrible experience I was having, all because of washing their hair with baking soda. I read this woman’s experience and this explanation from a dermatologist.

I started to wonder what might happen if I tried a shampoo bar instead of washing with baking soda. My hair was feeling a little dry, and I wondered if a new wash routine might help its texture. And that’s when I couldn’t ignore how severely damaged my hair was anymore.

Assessing the Damage

My hair’s texture changed so gradually after starting no ‘poo that I hadn’t noticed how awful it had become. I thought it just needed some extra moisture, but it had actually become porous, brittle, and parched.

Within one wash with a shampoo bar, I immediately noticed an improvement.

Suddenly my hair started to feel like it did before no ‘poo came along. After more time off the no ‘poo routine, it became softer 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.

I decided that I was done with baking soda no ‘poo for good. But though the texture of my hair started to improve significantly, the breakage continued. Too much damage had already been done.

For almost two years, all of the hair that had been damaged by no ‘poo slowly broke off. It started with those top sections near my face and went all the way down to the hair that grows at the nape of my neck.

It was heartbreaking and awful. My once long, healthy hair became shorter, broken, and frayed at the ends.

Baking soda no 'poo seems like a natural frugal way to wash your hair. But is it a good longterm solution?
My no ‘poo after picture was heartbreaking

Could No ‘Poo Work for Some?

After publishing this post, I’ve gotten comments from people who say no ‘poo is working great for them, so the problem is with me:

  • I just did it wrong (I thought that about other people, so I get it),
  • I must have underlying health issues (it’s always good to consider root causes),
  • Or I’m a lying shill for some shampoo brand (but my bank account differs).

Other commenters have honestly asked me if I think using baking soda as a clarifying hair treatment could be safe once in a while.

It’s possible, I suppose. Maybe using baking soda every few months could clean and clarify your hair without doing much damage. Maybe.

But I’ll never recommend it or suggest it. Some things carry too much of a risk to even bother trying. Especially when you consider baking soda no ‘poo’s big pH problem.

The pH Problem You Can’t Ignore

You see, the problem with washing your hair with baking soda isn’t just that it’s abrasive and drying. It’s extremely alkaline.

Shampoos are usually pH balanced to be slightly acidic like your scalp is. This keeps the hair shaft healthy, smooth, and closed.

What I later learned is that highly alkaline baking soda, no matter how much you dilute it in water, opens the hair shaft. Over time and repeated use, it causes the hair to become porous, brittle, and eventually break. There aren’t any oil treatments, dietary supplements, or vinegar rinses that remove the pH problem.

In fact, though the acidic vinegar rinse shocks the hair back into a more pH-balanced state, it also puts the hair through a harsh process similar to chemically coloring it every time you wash with baking soda (highly alkaline) and rinse with ACV (highly acidic).

If you colored your hair weekly, you could expect it to become brittle and damaged in time. So it is with baking soda no ‘poo.

And sadly, most shampoo bars, homemade castile soap shampoos, and many other DIY or natural haircare methods have the same pH problems as baking soda. While the shampoo bar I tried after quitting no ‘poo helped my hair a little, I stopped using it after 6 months.

Reversing the Baking Soda Damage

If you’ve experienced hair breakage from baking soda or something else, you might wonder if there’s a way to reverse the damage.

My free guide 3 Easy Herbal Hair Care Recipes for Naturally Healthy Hair You’ll Love, along with the tips below, will give you a great place to start!

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I’m glad to report that the damage my hair suffered from baking soda no ‘poo wasn’t permanent. Almost 8 years after my hair started breaking off, it’s now healthy and soft once again. Along with taking care of my overall health like usual, these things helped my hair recover.

Gentle, Natural Wash Routine Options

After moving away from baking soda washes and not liking shampoo bars, I tried a number of shampoo and conditioner options. I wasn’t up for another DIY disaster, so I avoided any homemade wash mixes.

  • First I tried Shea Moisture products. I liked how hydrating they were, but tended to be too heavy for my straight, fine hair.
  • Then I switched to Acure Organics and Desert Essence shampoos and conditioners. But they sometimes left my scalp feeling tight and dry.
  • I tried soap-based shampoo bars one last time, but they still left a waxy build-up in my hair.
My hair is healthy again after being damaged from baking soda no ‘poo

Finally, I came across Viori shampoo and conditioner bars. I was intrigued by the fair-trade, natural ingredients and waste-free packaging. The shampoo bars were pH balanced, too, unlike soap-based bars.

After combing through their stellar reviews, I decided to try them. I was not disappointed!

  • My hair is silky soft, shiny, and strong again.
  • I’m not tossing out plastic bottles.
  • The natural ingredients rate well on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.
  • Viori uses Longshen rice to strengthen the hair and pays a fair, premium price to the Red Yao people who grow it.

I’ve now been a paying Viori customer for 4 years and counting. Since I only wash my hair every 4-5 days, one shampoo bar lasts me 4 months or more! 

If you’d like to try Viori, you can get 10% off your order with the code “thrive10.” I like the auto-ship subscription option because you get a discounted price and free shipping.

Gentle natural hair products, top to bottom: Jojoba oil, Bass bamboo brush, and Viori shampoo & conditioner bars

Add a Little Oil to It

As my hair was recovering from the baking soda wash breakage, I did weekly oil treatments on it.

For around six months, I applied a mixture of castor, almond, argan, and jojoba oils from root to tip. After a few hours, I’d wash it out with shampoo. Because this oil blend was a bit heavy, I’d have to apply shampoo 3-4 times to get it all out. 

But my hair felt incredible after!

Even now with the no ‘poo breakage over, I still use oil in my hair to keep it healthy. I usually just use a few drops of jojoba oil through my ends, but sometimes I’ll do a full scalp oil treatment with a blend of oils like I mentioned above.

Gentle Brushes for Healthy Hair

I never cared much about my brushes before. But after my hair became so damaged from the no ‘poo method, I bought some better brushes to help prevent breakage.

  • A boar bristle brush helps distribute natural oils from my scalp down the hair shaft. I don’t use this as often as you’re supposed to, but some is better than nothing.
  • The Wet Brush has very thin, flexible bristles. It helps you get the tangles out of your hair without breaking the strands. Since my hair was so brittle after no ‘poo, the Wet Brush was a lifesaver.
  • I also bought a Bass bamboo brush. It feels great on my scalp, the bamboo bristles help distribute oil, and I like how it looks. This is my go-to brush now that my hair is healthy again.

Choose Protective Hair Styles & Accessories

If your hair is brittle or damaged, hair elastics, bobby pins, and certain hairstyles often lead to more damage.

When my hair was breaking, I opted for gentle styles and hair accessories that protected my hair and kept it from breaking more than it already was.

A Lilla Rose Flexi-Clip in Extra Large gently holds back my very long, straight hair without breaking it

My favorite tool was the Lilla Rose Flexi-Clip. Its unique design allowed me to hold back my long hair in a loose bun style that didn’t kink, break, or tear it. Flexi-Clips look great, too, so I felt confident wearing them.

I still opt for loose, gentle hairstyles that won’t damage my hair or pull it too tightly. But now my accessory of choice is a Swerve U-Pin, also from Lilla Rose. I wear these almost daily. They’re gentle, comfortable, and secure, all without breaking my hair.

I also avoid styles that require teasing, heat, or styling products. God made my hair straight, so I’m not going to damage it just to make it look different.

Baking Soda No ‘Poo FAQs

No. Baking soda stays extremely alkaline, even when you highly dilute it. According to the pH strip photo from Kranelstrand, one tablespoon mixed in 20 cups of water was just as alkaline as the same amount of baking soda in 1 cup of water.

That means all baking soda no ‘poo solutions are far too alkaline to safely use on your hair.

A baking soda hair mask will strip your hair of any oil and product build-up that might be there. Unfortunately, as it does that, it can lead to porous, brittle hair.

Since oil keeps hair healthy, it’s better to find other ways to remove any product build-up you might be dealing with.

My diet and lifestyle supported healthy hair. My skin didn’t change and my nails remained healthy and strong. But the most important clue that it was the baking soda was the fact that ditching it immediately improved my hair. And I’ve never had a problem with that kind of breakage since.

Yes! Unlike baking soda washes, diluted vinegar rinses can actually be part of a healthy hair care routine. I like to mix a tablespoon or so in a cup of water and use it as a final rinse. Vinegar rinses can remove product build-up and leave your hair smooth, shiny, and detangled.

No. Baking soda can exfoliate your scalp, but in the process, you’ll strip your scalp and hair of all the beneficial oils that promote hair growth and strength. Instead of helping your hair grow, it’s more likely to cause your hair to become brittle and break.

There are better ways to encourage hair growth than trying baking soda no ‘poo.

If you don’t want to buy shampoo, you can look into other DIY hair wash options that are gentler for your hair. Egg washes, rhassoul clay washes, and rye flour washes are some options people have tried with various results. 

Be careful of any DIY shampoo options that include castile soap. Though it’s natural, it’s highly alkaline, just like baking soda. That means your hair could end up porous and brittle in time.

A Devastating Lesson

One thing that’s become important to me now as an herbalist is that you should never use your family (or yourself, for that matter) as guinea pigs for home remedies and natural living adventures.

You need to know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what to expect. I learned that the hard way through this awful experience.

Sadly, my time doing no ‘poo ended up being a natural living experiment that yielded devastating results. It was so disheartening to watch my hair continually break off, month after month after month.

Even more than that, all I could do was cringe when I thought about all the people I previously encouraged to wash their hair this way. Though it was a painful lesson, it taught me to be skeptical of natural living fads and to look for solid evidence before recommending any natural living alternatives.

Because the evidence isn’t on the side of baking soda no ‘poo. I and so many others who experienced the same kind of damage can attest to that.

Do you have a no ‘poo story? Please share in the comments below!

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    1. It’s good to see that you are so environmentally conscious regarding plastic waste. May I also point out that animals are part of the environment. Boars undergo torture followed by death in order to get their bristles to make your brushes. Do you really think it’s fair to torture and kill boars for human hair vanity? I ask you to reconsider your choice. Thank you.

      1. Hi Tammy. While I am environmentally and health conscious, I’m not an animal rights activist or vegan for a host of reasons. However, I haven’t looked into how boar bristle brushes are manufactured, and I’m willing to do that. I believe God has given us animals to use for food, clothing, and other needs, but they need to be treated humanely in the process. Best wishes to you!

    2. I am about four months post no-poo and feel like I’m losing hair like crazy using the Viori bars you recommended. How do I know if it’s it’s breaking off or if it’s the shampoo bars? I’m extra concerned because in 2020 I tried a natural brand of shampoo with essential oils in it that caused me to lose nearly all of my hair. Now I’m still losing a lot every wash, though not as much as I did in 2020. Honestly, I’m getting a little desperate to find something.

      1. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, Karisse! Having experienced severe hair breakage myself, I know how many big feelings go along with that. And it’s got to be extra hard for you this time after your past experience.

        It sadly took years for my hair to finally stop breaking after no ‘poo. All of the weakened, porous strands will keep breaking until your new hair growth that wasn’t exposed to baking soda comes through. My best hunch is that it isn’t the shampoo bars, but just a continued process of the no ‘poo damage breaking off. But maybe you’d feel better pausing the Viori bar and trying a different clean shampoo brand for a while? It might help you pinpoint what’s going on for you. Also, if you haven’t tried it yet, maybe some jojoba oil in your hair will help? I’m wishing you the best and praying God helps you find the right path forward for your hair.

    3. Hi, I am wondering if you cut/trimmed your daughter’s hair when they were little to help it grow. I have not cut my 3 girl’s hair. They are 7 and under. They do not have split ends but the ends are a bit scraggly looking. Also, thank you for this information. I have been trying a shampoo bar and have a hard time getting it washed out. I want to try this viori bar you use.

      1. We don’t cut their hair at all, Jill. When their hair gets a little dry at the ends, we just rub a few drops of jojoba oil in to smooth and hydrate it. I hope that helps! We all really like the Viori bars.

        1. Yes it does. Thank you. I have been wondering if it is necessary to cut thier hair and have not met someone who has not cut their girl’s hair. Also, I was not sure I wanted to ask a hair stylist as they may have a biased opinion.

          1. Hair grows from the scalp and not the ends so it would not make sense to trim the ends to help it grow. Hair is stands of protein so I there than genetics and time, the best thing for hair growth is a diet with lots of good protein and fats.

    4. Hi kristen. I tried the baking soda no poo method. It made my hair break off. It was horrible. I tried it about 6 years ago or more. Sorriest thing i ever did. I had really nice healthy hair. Because I was a lot older than you when I tried it. I had a really hard time with it after that. I sure cried alot

      1. I’m so sorry you had a similar experience, Linda! I understand how devasted you were. I hope your hair is doing better now!

    5. I’ve used Baking soda & acv rinse only once a month, & honey/olive oil/egg yolk shampoo the rest of the washes for at least a year on my thin ,oily hair .. never had a problem. My hair was the healthiest at that time. Strangely enough when I moved to a different country the baking soda was just different on my hair done years later .. doesn’t wash well.

      1. I’m glad you never had a problem. It sounds like you used less frequently than I did and for not nearly as long.

    6. Hi!
      Thank you for sharing your story! <3 If there’s one good thing that’s come from your experience it’s that you are helping to spread the word and help others by bringing awareness to the dangers of using baking soda on the hair. I am one of those people who for all my life, my hair had been the envy of others because of it’s total thickness..
      Only within the last couple of months now, my hair seems to have done a complete 180 on me! It’s so much thinner than I remember it being, and it honestly seems like I have lost a lot of my hair. It’s so scary. I actually had a small period of time too where there was a very visible patch of scalp skin on the back of my head!! I couldn’t believe it! Then I thought to myself about the recent routine I had been doing in the shower using baking soda in a natural shampoo solution and leaving it on my hair in the shower for an extra long time (10-15minutes at times). I also had been using baking soda off and on in my shower routine for the past couple years or more, but this particular routine of using it in my shampoo and leaving it on for so long had been new to me.
      Honestly, I have a deep-seated internal feeling and knowing that it has been the use of the baking soda in that way that had been the cause of this so-suddenly complete hair transformation (for the worse)!! I am looking back at old photos of me now and my hair (over the past few years), and it’s making me feel sad, and panicky over what I am now seeing today! I only hope I can get back to the hair that I know and love that I’ve been blessed to have all these years! This is an experience that is making me realize that more and more, how blessed I was to have the hair I am normally used to having. And I am so thankful to have this support coming from your webpage.. that we are all in this together.
      Thank you.

      1. I’m so sorry you’re having a bad baking soda experience, Amanda! But glad you could see you’re not crazy or alone for going through it. Though it took a while, my hair did fully recover. I hope yours does, as well!

    7. I used baking soda to try and lighten my hair from a too dark dye job. After rinsing I saw I had lost about a third of my hair and it looked destroyed. 5 years later it has only gotten worse despite being on minoxidil and finasteride. I am heading toward baldness with each day and still searching for answers.

      1. Hi Erinn. I’m terribly sorry for what’s happened to your hair. I’m not sure why it’s taking so long for your hair to recover. Brittle hair can be a sign of dehydration and nutrient deficiencies, too, so that’s an area I’d recommend exploring. I hope you find answers soon!

    8. I talked my mom into doing no ‘poo YEARS ago now (probably 8-9 years ago). She hated washing her hair all the time because hers is so thick and she hated having to do it so often because it would grease up so much. So after telling her all the things all the blogs said, she started doing it. And she HATED it. She had the nasty smell phase last for almost a year and then suddenly she could go for several days without having to do her hair. Something always felt off to her though.

      About a month ago she finally caved and bought shampoo and conditioner. She had stopped using baking soda a while before that and was scraping baking soda out of her scalp daily. She still is to this day. We’ve used scalp cleaning shampoo, scalp scrubbers, etc and she’s still scraping baking soda out of her head… I don’t even know what else to do. I feel so bad for suggesting she do it.

      1. Such a bummer! I hope her hair and scalp recover soon. I understand what you’re feeling. I felt terrible that I encouraged people to use baking soda to wash their hair when I thought it was working well.

        1. Scrubbed an entire box of baking soda combined with vinegar and mostly shampoo onto my beautiful long hair to get layers of dull toner color off. It really messed up my hair. Keep trimming and trimming off split dry brittle hair. See hairline breakage and the long hair underneath in the back breaking. I too am devastated. I had done this one this one time. With the intention of coloring it darker once these toner layers were off. Instead I feel helpless to what is happening to my beautiful hair. I had grown long through the pandemic not touching it really and now it’s untouchable. I don’t think I can color it now because it is so fragile. I washed it ten days after the baking soda and used Olaplex no. 0 and 3. Then after reading your blog put jojoba on my scalp. It’s so dry and I use argan oil normally but not thing seems to penetrate. I am too, am devastated. I had don’t the baking soda because after a quick google drive n how to get toner out of hair, baking soda showed up. I figured it was a natural home remedy. My daughter then reminded me (after the fact) it is an acid and can also eat through steel.

          1. Oh, I’m so sorry for what’s happened to your hair! I’m not sure of a great solution for you besides what I personally shared that helped me. Your hair is very porous right now, which is why it’s breaking so much. I wonder if some protein treatments, like egg conditioning, might help? I’m not sure on that but I don’t think it would be harmful. Baking soda is actually very alkaline, not acidic, and that’s the reason it’s problematic for our hair. Alkaline solutions open up the hair shaft while acidic smooth it down. I hope you find a good solution for your hair because I know how hard it is to see it all break off.

    9. I was recently diagnosed with several skin allergies. I had always used Aveda products and was very happy with them for my hair but my scalp was itchy and flaky. I thought that was just me.
      I now know I’m allergic to about 95% of the hair and skin care products on the market. What’s left is garbage. I miss hairing nice hair. 🥺 I tried the baking soda and vinegar yesterday. My hair was the nicest It’s been in awhile. Now your saying that won’t last either. My next idea was to try a shampoo bar I’m not allergic to. You’re saying those aren’t very good either? Well poop! My dermatologists office diagnosed me with a patch test and sent me off with an app that has few suggests and the one’s I’ve tried all suck. I miss having nice hair! Argh!

      1. I’m sorry for all the frustration you’re experiencing, Dawn! That would be really challenging. Some people are able to use shampoo bars with good results. Since my hair is extremely long, most just don’t work well for me. Right now I’m using bars from a company called Viori that seem to be working very nicely. I don’t know if any of the ingredients will cause you problems, though. Maybe another option would be soap nuts? They’re a kind of berry that’s naturally very high in saponins. Some people make homemade shampoos with them, so perhaps that’s worth trying? I’ve never used that method so I can’t say for sure how it might work, but the ingredients would be very simple. I hope you find something soon!

      2. I don’t have skin allergies so take this with a grain of salt. I do have sensitive skin and I do live in a really dry climate. However, I have noticed that just washing my face with water and only occasionally with a nice soap (I make my own soap for fun) have really helped my try skin.
        Story time, I tried to make a homemade natural baking soda toothpaste and baking soda deodorant where I knew all the ingredient were quality. Anyway after about 2-3 months of using the toothpaste my gums felt super tender and I started worrying about my tooth health. Same with my armpits, they started to get super red and irritated. It took me a week of worrying about it but I finally deduced that what was causing these things was my toothpaste and deodorant. I removed them immediately and my teeth and gums felt better in a week and my armpits recovered too. Anyway, basically I have started to figure out that the LESS you put on your body the better it tends to be. The skin on my face naturally moisturizes itself now that I don’t wash or moisturize 2-3 times on a daily basis.
        So to make a long story longer, I took my experiences with my toothpaste and deodorant and applied it to my hair. I want to be free from shampoo and conditioner. But you look up “no-poo” and there is all KINDS of different things you can do to your hair while “no-poo.” One of the main ones is baking soda and vinegar. I knew I can’t do baking soda because I am sensitive to it but really if you think about it you shouldn’t need ANYTHING to wash your hair. So I started off with the mindset of water-only washing with a 3 month transition. So I stuck to my guns and didn’t wash my hair for 3 months. UGH. NO. My hair was limp and greasy and horrible and smelled a little. My family started to comment on it. So I broke down and washed it 3 times. Twice one week and once again 2 weeks after that. But I didn’t want to go back. The only shampoo and conditioner I like are expensive. So I decide to do it again. But my hair eventually started to do the same thing. SO I researched and found a company called Hair Story that does a “shampoo” called New Wash. I decided I maybe needed a non-shampoo shampoo to get my through. I started to use that in November. I also started to wash my hair with the soap I use to wash myself but ONLY when it got greasy. I started no poo last year in May. I broke down and washed my hair in September. I started my New Wash/soap thing in November. I have gradually used both soap and New Wash less and less to where right now I don’t remember when I last used them. My hair is almost where I want it. It is still not as nice as it was on shampoo and conditioner. But my hair has body and bounces again and curls really nice even after I brush it out. I have never used baking soda/ vinegar, oils, soap nuts etc. My “transition period” has taken a year so far and I need more time. I was only washing my hair once or twice a week with shampoo before starting in May 2021 and had been for about 2 years. I have brown thick, somewhat curly hair and live at 7000 ft with a dry climate and hard water. I wrote this down thinking that my experience might help others.

    10. I can’t help but wonder what your natural hair porosity is. I have not just low, but extremely low porosity hair. It actually dries very fast, because it doesn’t open at all to normal shampoos (although shampooing too much still strips my scalp of natural oils). I have to literally steam my hair open for 35-45 minutes before the follicles will open enough to take in water or products, and only then can I retain any wave or curl in my mixed 2a + 2b + 2c hair, because otherwise I get no moisture in it at all (I know it retains moisture when I do this because it switches to 1. holding a wave/curl 2. taking hours to dry). I am considering starting a periodic baking soda + deep conditioner regime because losing a whole flipping day to managing my hair every wash day is such a pain. I appreciate the technical science-y breakdown you gave us, though, because forewarned is forearmed when it comes to “all-natural” hair care products and routines.

      1. Hi Rhea. Prior to using baking soda, my hair was low porosity. While I used baking soda, it became quite porous, though that happened so slowly I didn’t realize what was going on. Now that I’ve been off baking soda for years, it’s back to being low porosity and is much healthier. I hope that helps.

    11. Oh gosh reading this brought back bad memories. I have suffered from terrible scalp hair issues, possibly immune or hormone related. Extra sebum coated my scalp, terrible heat on scalp and pain, yellow dandruff and breakage. So I researched and used everything. Dr bronners and also baking sofa with my shampoo once, bathed in baking soda also. Sea salt, which wasn’t so bad. The most recent baking soda with my shampoo. Terrible. Instant thinning and looks so terrible. Acv rinses seem to just break my hair.
      It was strange how there’s so much mis-information on the internet about natural remedies. My hair is so fine and thin now and I have terrible rosacea, probably again autoimmune issues underlying but those products surely didn’t help. My opinion is to never dye hair at a salon or from a box unless natural and organic and with a professional. Even then steer clear. Also don’t google too much in regards to hair or skin, it can be a disaster. Best to speak to a holistic dr or herbalist like Kristin and just leave everything alone. Coconut oil as make up remover and lemongrass and coconut oiling for shine on hair orbs well. I’m still yet to find the perfect combo. I guess just be careful and do your homework. Thankyou for these tips though, I’m not touching baking soda or Castile soap ever again. I pray my beautiful thick shiny locks come back again…it’s truly sad when you think you’re doing a good thing by your body going natural and these horrible things happen. 🌸

      1. I’m so sorry for the trouble you’ve had, Danielle! Yes, it is awful when you realize that the things you thought were helpful were actually harmful. But be encouraged… my hair that was so damaged it long, thick, and healthy again! It just takes time.

    12. I like adding moringa oil , moringa powder ,goats milk powder and rhassoul clay . It doesn’t dry out the hair.

      1. Thanks for sharing, Mercy! Do you add these to your shampoo or a different homemade formula?

    13. Oh dear I can completely empathise with you on this, I had long healthy hair also and had always used drugstore products and purified my hair every so often, I had actually shaved my head completely from a terrible hair dye job at a franchise salon, and re grew my hair natural with no heat or dies and was so proud of my new healthy natural hair, until one day a friend suggested I started to use natural hair care products and ditched all drug store products as they were “ secretly damaging “ my hair, she told me my hair was only soft and shiny because of the drug store shampoos etc but this wasn’t really good etc and nothing but fake softness and shine, so I took her advice and ditched sulphates and silicones, I tried shampoo bars, all the natural fads just like your story, within six months my hair was completely ruined along with my scalp and I had never ever experienced scalp issues prior to this , my hair was dry and frizzy, like you I believed the hype and convinced others to also do the same, when I realised how damaged my hair was, I tried to go back to sulphates and silicones, and my hair was having absolutely non of it, I was that devastated I re shaved my head to start over, i started re using drug store shampoos and conditioners, I am now nearly two years in and just had it cut to a chunky chin length Bob! I tried to use salon products too containing sulphates and silicones as people say they use better ingredients, i spent hundreds of pounds and I can honestly say it’s a load of … too they caused awful build up on my hair really quickly and were terribly difficult to rinse thoroughly out and I have a power shower !! how ever after a few detoxing shampoos and a change back to my usual drug store products it’s completely back to normal and prodigy build up free and my hair is as healthy as usual, Iv gone back to my regular affordable drug store products !! What I have learnt is don’t fix something that isn’t broken, don’t jump on fads and just because it’s “organic” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t panic !! .. and lastly .. never take hair advice from some body who has terrible hair them selves !! Iv learnt some valuable lessons also, I suppose it was a blessing in the end and Iv gained some knowledge. Here’s to 7 years of absolutely no trims what so ever so I can have my long hair back !! If I was to give anybody advice ( can only speak for straight/ wavy Caucasian hair) stick to sulphates and silicones, clarify when you start to get build up, then continue the use with your favourite products, sleep on a satin pillow case, keep away from heat and dies, be gentle when your hair is wet, pat hair never towel dry , and invest in some salon professional combs and brushes & satin bobbles !!

      1. Hi Abbeygayle, and thanks for sharing your experience! I’m glad your hair is growing back healthy once again and you’re happy with your old hair care routine.

    14. I sufferer for years from flaky scalp and put the cause down to psoriasis. Eight months ago I gave up all commercial shampoo and conditioner, going no-poo. However, rather than using g the baking soda/vinegar which I had read was not good long term, I use light rye flour and occasionally an egg. Both are ph neutral.

      My weekly routine is to mix up a couple, of tablespoons of flour with warm water in an old squeeze sauce bottle, and before my shower massage the mix into my dry hair, concentrating on the greasy roots. Then I Jump Into the shower and rinse it out, pulling a detangling brush through to get all the little rye flakes out, Every couple of months if I feel my hair needs some extra care, I replace the flour with a beaten egg.

      For the rest of the week, she my hair gets greasy (I have very fine straight hair) I just give it a water wash, massaging my hair with my palms to get out as much grease as possible, then rubbing it afterward with a microfibre towel. This keeps it reasonable for up to ten days, but I like to wash it at the end of the week because it’s when I have time. I I g up the flour and the. Rinsing it out takes a little more time.

      1. Thanks for explaining your process, Roxanne! I’ve heard of rye washes but haven’t tried one myself. I hope you continue to have great results with it!

    15. I’m postmenopausal and store bought coconut and shea butter shampoos and african black soap and goatmilk soap hurt me. Maybe I need more organic stuff. Aloe vera and tea tree oil and cooking oil as a moisturizer is a no no for me!!! I tried almost everything on the market and a third of salon products
      Salons are not always telling the truth. Please help me.

      1. Hi Angel. I’m very sorry to hear that you’re having such trouble with your hair and scalp. I’m not able to give you the perfect answer since I don’t know your whole situation. Sometimes skin and hair trouble is the result of things inside your body being out of balance, though, so that’s definitely worth considering. Hormones often come into play for women, too. If you’d like one-on-one help, you can read about my client work here.

    16. I have dandruff issues it breaks my hair… When i comb my hair… Nd after shampooing it breaks alot of amout.. My hsir getting thin nd short…. What do i do..

      1. Hi there. Hair loss can result from many different factors, like hormonal imbalances, malnutrition, and stress, among other things. The best thing for you to do is check in with a health professional to rule out any illnesses, deficiencies, imbalances, or even medication side effects and try to find the root cause of your hair loss. In the meantime, good nutrition, getting enough water, and managing stress levels can help promote healthier hair. I’m sorry it’s happening to you. I understand how emotionally difficult it is to have your hair break off or fall out.

        1. Diet is hurting me too. I am on mood stabilizers because of this. I do have depression but I’m experiencing alot of mania. I have compressed nerves. Quit smoking 5 years ago this April 10th. I take antihistamines to fall asleep. . Praying everyday. Never had a child. Miscarried after 6 weeks 20 some odd years ago. Not sure where your actual business website is. It is cut off on top. Thank you.

          1. Hi again, Angel. I left a link to my client work with your other comment. I also want to say that I’m very sorry you lost your only pregnancy through miscarriage. I understand how heartbreaking that kind of loss is.

    17. This w as so interesting. I have never ever heard of this method. I’ve been helping my postpartum hir loss from the inside: started taking the baby blues postpartum hair loss vitamins: https://babyblues.care . and it’s been really helping but I’m curious about the method you shared and since I want to grow my hair long may try this out. thanks again

      1. Hi Layla. I definitely don’t recommend washing your hair with a baking soda and water solution if you’re dealing with hair loss. Diluted vinegar rinses can be nice, but they won’t help with hair loss. Those vitamins are new to me. I’m glad you’re having good results! The postpartum hair shed can be really unpleasant. You can see the other hair care formulas I’ve tried in my follow up post here.

      2. Dont try thi method read full story of her hair journey read last 2 3 paragraphs… It is not good for hair… Her hair breaks totally she didn’t recommended baking soda as shampoo…

    18. I am 1 month into no-poo washing using only water, which has been okay so far, however the first few weeks were extremely oily(as I expected). I did see many people talk about the negative effects of ACV and Baking soda, which is why I veered away from it. I have researched online and I don’t think water only washing has any negative effects(it hasn’t for me yet, at least), but now I am interested to see if it does have any longer lasting negative effects. Does anyone happen to know anything?

      1. I’ve heard that washing with just water can stress your hair because water expands the hair shaft. So you might eventually need to use a conditioning agent, but maybe not. I tried water washing for a while and it was a disaster for me, but I’ve read of other people who really like it. Diluted apple cider vinegar will smooth down the hair shaft and isn’t harmful. I use 1 tablespoon in a cup of water as a rinse every week or two.

      2. Wow 2020. How is it going with water only? From my research, water has a ph of 7 and your hair is very acidic and has a ph of 2-3. SO there are a lot of mixed reviews of water only washing. Unlike your skin, which has living cells, which can rebalance its pH balance when you get out of water your hair cannot, because it is not living. Your hair makes itself better with its natural oils. I only wash my hair probably once a month with regular bar soap or New Wash. However once a week I will wash my hair with only water in the shower. Otherwise when I get in the showers I put it up so it doesn’t get wet. I’m only 1 year into this though, so take it with a grain of salt. Although my hair is much better from when I started, I still think it is transitioning.

    19. I’ve always heard to use baking soda as a way to strip hard water mineral deposits from hair very tuff on hair but effective for that it’s probably why you initially liked it. I have used wen and one and conditioner to wash my hair yet at least once a week I continue to use shampoo.i feel we have to get environmental pollution off the hair on a regular and that includes using baking soda once every 4 to six months. I have yet to find a natural method that is a suitable replacement. Although I have used mayo hair masks beer rinses, vinegar rinses, oils, and enjoy them on occasion. Moderation seems ok

      1. It will definitely strip your hair. I personally will never use it again because I don’t find harsh and potentially damaging treatments are necessary to keep my hair and scalp healthy.

    20. Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry you had such a bad experience.
      I am on ‘no poo’ hair washing for about 10 years now. I remember doing the research before and I found out that the baking soda is too harsh and may damage the hair. And I never dared to try a baking soda wash since my hair is very fine and can easily break. I use apple cider vinegar only and I am very happy with the results. My hair doesn’t break and looks healthy. I have less shedding, no flakes and my scalp is never oily or itchy. I wash my hair every day. I dilute 2 tbs of organic apple cider vinegar with little water (maybe 1 cup) and use that to rub my scalp. I don’t rinse for a few minutes while I wash my body . Then I rinse my hair and I do a final rinse. I have a small jar that I fill with water and approx. 1 teaspoon of vinegar and I use that as a final rinse. I find it helps to detangle my hair ( I have long curly hair). I also sometimes put a little coconut oil on my ends to have more defined curls.
      This method works for me and I don’t think I will ever go back to a shampoo again.

      1. That’s awesome that diluted apple cider vinegar works well for you for a hair care routine! I like using a diluted vinegar rinse still. Just no baking soda! 😉

      2. Thanks for sharing–I’m new to any of this so when you say you use ACV water as a final rinse, does that mean you pour through hair and that’s it before you leave shower, or do you still need to run clean water to wash out that rinse? Thanks.

        1. Hi Andie! I use about 1 tablespoon ACV in a cup of water and rinse with that, but don’t use any additional water after.

    21. Hi, thank you so much for this informative article! I have recently began the no poo method and used baking soda and apple cider vinegar with water about once a week. My hair looked really good after washes and felt light and shiny, but I have recently noticed a lot of hair loss, more than normal which is rather worrying. I have also noticed a couple split ends ( which I hardly ever get ) and am not going to use baking soda on my hair again! Unfortunately I live in South Africa and there isn’t yet widely available organic and sulphate free shampoos and hair care products to substitute this change. However, I will have a look around online. Thank you so much for this article and for sharing your experience! You completely saved my hair!! Xx

      1. Ooo, so glad you read this and could stop before having more damage, Jodie! Best wishes on finding a good solution for your hair.

      1. Years ago when I wrote about my experience, it was very popular in natural living circles to wash your hair with a diluted baking soda solution. I’ve never actually heard of it being used for hair removal but not surprised after my experience. Glad trends change and this one is fading out! 🙂

    22. I would like to know what you found that works. I will not use Dr. Bonner Castille soap after getting a chemical burn in my eye.

    23. Hi Kristen, I enjoyed reading your blog. Could you please add to your post on how you do it? What ratio usually used, and how often do I need to achieve what I wanted? My hair got damaged due to over-styling, so I need to start all over again only to bring back my natural hair. I search for the other alternative online, and I found this similar to your topic https://juvetress.com/shampoo-recipes/ it might be helpful for the others too. Thank you

      1. Hi Angel. I’m not entirely sure what you’d like me to explain. I don’t recommend using baking soda and water to wash your hair, so I don’t have any ratios to share. I did check out the link you shared but don’t recommend hair washing formulas that include Castile soap. It’s very harsh and alkaline, so it has many of the same problems as baking soda. In case it helps, this is what I use now to care for my hair.

    24. So what do you use now that you have given up shampoo bars and baking soda and ACV? I am using Baking soda to neutrilise the hard water area, washing with shampoo bar and rinsing with ACV, but am concerned after reading your blog. So I’m curious what your routine is now.


    25. I also had a bad experience with baking soda, but for my face!
      I used to suffer from bad acne, in particular on my face. I tried EVERYTHING for my skin. I read on a website about using baking soda as a natural facial scrub with warm water. A lot of people were raving about using it everyday, so I did so for about a week. I must also add that I put on a lot more moisturizer afterwards because, as the site said, the soda dries your skin. Even so, my skin became WAY worse! It aged me about 15 years. I was in my early 20s, but I quickly developed crow’s feet, laugh lines, and not to mention twice the amount of acne. My skin was so dry, that it bled if I scratched it, felt tight every time I smiled, and was flaking all the time.
      I immediately stopped, and a friend recommended I moisturize with coconut oil. After a couple of weeks of daily coating my face with coconut oil, I got it back to it’s youthful look, and it even helped drastically reduce my breakouts. Also, I’ve since become vegan, which has really helped my skin.
      So in conclusion: using baking soda=BAD…………..using coconut oil + vegan based diet=GOOD

    26. Ohh god! The same thing has happened with me. I read about baking soda on the internet and loved this inexpensive diy technique. At first, my hair seemed less greasy, i liked for some time, but after that, the series of breakage started. I had really thick and healthy hair, and now, it has become so thin, dry and brittle ! After reading this post, i know who’s the culprit. Thank you so much for sharing this experience of yours!!

      1. I know that feeling, Jana. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing the breakage, though! I’m glad you found my experience. Wishing your hair a speedy recovery!

    27. I started washing my hair either with a no poo product or just plain conditioner, like alot of videos suggest…I am now suffering with MAJOR and painful sores all over my scalp…I’m 64 yrs old and this has never happened….I’m now using all sorts of things including tea tree oil and anti fungal shampoos…if it doesnt clear up soon, I’ll need to visit my Dr…

      1. So sorry to hear about your hair and scalp trouble, Tori! Definitely sounds like it might be worth a visit to your physician if it doesn’t clear up after switching products.

    28. I am so happy I found your post. One of my “grey hair” Facebook groups heavily promotes use of baking soda. I already have dry but untreated hair and now I see the risk of using baking soda for grey brightening. I will continue using my sulfate free shampoo and conditioner. This sounds like a recipe for hair damage for my type of hair. Thank you..

      1. Glad you found it, too! I think baking soda would be especially problematic for graying hair since it already tends to be more porous.

    29. I have been doing no poo for 3 years now and am getting worse and worse results. My hair is at a very unmanageable stage. I started with baking soda/lemon or ACV and after a couple months quit this combo, it didnt work at all for me. Then I tried rye flour which worked for some time, although I always had what appeared to be dandruff, as the flour was terribly difficult to get out of my hair. I switched to chickpea flour, as the flour is softer, less grainy and that worked for about a year. Then I moved to a different town and all of a sudden, it didnt work anymore. Not to mention, that flour blocks the drain in the shower, so I always had to put some drain chemicals in the shower. I tried coconut oil, as many people seem to have success with that, but that was impossible to wash out of my thin hair, plus it felt like I had 3 extra layers of grease always on my head, it was just too heavy. After that, I went straight to lemons or ACV on my hair. And have continued with only that, doing rinses about 1-2 a week, however, it has been burning my scalp and my hair seems much more unmanageable. It is like oily straw, I cannot brush it now, even after the ACV rinse and have to keep oil, I use sesame seed oil, on my hair 2-3 times a week to be able to comb or brush through it. I found I was still washing my hair almost everyday with the ACV, so going no-poo to save on washes hasnt helped at all. I am at the point of trying another “home” remedy or going back to shampoo, and I found this blog. Just thought to share.

      1. Hi Stacie. I’m sorry for all the trouble you’ve had with these haircare routines. In case you didn’t read the follow-up, I shared what I’m doing now and how I got my hair back to normal HERE. Wishing you the best. I understand how frustrating this can be!

    30. When I started the no-poo routine ,I was determined to not use baking soda and acv rinse that bloggers talked hugely about , I just kept using water with occasional use of curd sometimes (when my hairs really needed a conditioning) or applying oil overnight , just like I used to before shampoo, except the fact that now I rinsed with just water and no I can say from my experience that oil+water was at least not bad as per my experience.The oil would come off easily after a few months of your hairs adjusting to wash it away with water only, the curd thing I tried when I was late for college or needed some extra shine to my hairs. That’s it!! The other days just water and yes since I live in quite a polluted environment it was hard water! still better than the chemical-laden shampoos though. Anyhow my hairs adjusted quite fast to this routine and I started getting results sooner than expected(within two weeks).My family has a series of baldness problems so did I,this significantly helped. People talked about never oiling their hairs but I did without washing it with bars or shampoos but with just water!!Now I leave the oil overnight and it comes off easily the next day, what I’m trying to say is some methods work on some people ,other methods work on others!! Oil(overnight)+water rinsing worked for mine but not for some bloggers,bs+acv also might’ve worked for some fellows but didn’t for you.Happy that now you’ve gained your hairs back(ask a girl with a family problem of baldness the value of it ) .Take care dear

      1. Certainly, our hair type is a factor to consider. 🙂 I’m glad you’ve found a natural hair care routine that works well for you!

        1. Hey Kristen, I also have very fine, brittle curly hair, and I’ve been super low poo for years until today that I tried the no poo soda+acv recipe for the first time. My feeling: my scalp didn’t like it at all, the hair looks damaged and very dry and frizzy, even though I put oil afterwards. And after googling for an explanation, I stumbled on yours. I also thought baking soda is too harsh and even though many ppl recommend it, I think that it’s just not doing it for the very delicate hair types. Thanks for sharing your helpful experience.

          1. Hi Connie! Glad you found this post and could spare your hair future damage. I still use diluted apple cider vinegar rinses (1 tablespoon in 1 cup water) once a week or so, but would never let baking soda touch my hair again. Hope you find a routine that works well for you soon!

    31. Baking soda IS rough on the hair, you’re not suppose to do it more than once every 2 months or so; It completely strips the oils, grime etc from your hair. Baking soda is a harsh cleaning product, an amazing one, but not for your hair.

      I decided to go ‘No Poo’, but I certainly wasn’t going to the soda + acid bath that people keep pushing and it seems/is counter-intuitive. I’m also not doing the whole coconut, egg etc routine either. The whole “No Poo” movement is about reducing the amount of chemicals being thrust upon your head and ‘re-training’ your scalp to produce less oil, which none of these guides do.
      Essentially; Let nature re-balance things for you.
      You only need one ingredient; Cornflour.
      First few weeks are hellish, the scalp may flake as it dries out and gets used to the new routine. It will look awful, it will feel super heavy and it will get greasy – This should subside with time. Every time the hair feels like it’s greasy, use cornflour on the scalp/roots and comb it in (if your head turns white, you’ve used wayyy too much) – Give your hair a “dust bath” to remove that extra grease.
      After 2+ weeks (Note: My hair used to be super greasy within 48 hours of each shampoo), you should start to notice the hair doesn’t feel as greasy, softer, shinier, and, is starting to feel lighter. I haven’t washed my hair in 3+ weeks (not a single drop of water), I just woke up one day and noticed that the hair was much better… Silky shine, stronger, longer, less ‘frizz’, and breakage. I’m using less cornflour now too.
      Just keep at it and avoid getting your hair near any contaminants like chlorine (swimming; Put on a swimming hat etc).

      1. Thanks for sharing your corn flour routine, Draylynn. I’ve heard of this before. Do you happen to know why corn flour is the magic ingredient? I know corn starch is the main component in dry shampoo.

    32. I think it also depends on the hair type too. I occasionally use baking soda on my curlyhair, I did it more at one point then I noticed it was drying my hair out. So I just went to using ACV and my hair is lighter and less frizzy now. When I swim in a pool it gets my hair all messed up. Takes a while for it to recover. I’ve been using ACV only for a few years now and I notice a big difference when i use shampoo. My hair is heavier and feels more greasy.

      1. Yes, hair texture always plays into the types of products we need. 🙂 Occasionally rinsing with ACV can be a nice way to clarify and smooth your hair. It doesn’t seem to have the same damage risks as baking soda.

    33. I’ve been poo-free for six years, and have never had any problems with breakage. The amount of oil in my hair varies with my diet, female cycle, stress, and time of year, but as long as I don’t wash too often(BS/ACV), my hair is soft and beautiful. Maybe the water is the problem.

      1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m glad your hair is in great condition! We have a whole house filtration system, so our water is about as good as it gets in a house. The problem for me was definitely washing with baking soda.

    34. I just started the no poo method for the same reasons listed. Thank you for your story. I would hate for my healthy hair to be damaged!

      1. I’m so glad you could be spared the potential damage, Randi! Best wishes on finding a nontoxic haircare routine that works for you.

    35. salam , use soapnut , its easily available in india , its also called reetha . google reetha and shikakai , its something my family has used for ages , back since my great great great grandparents time , realy way back

      1. I’ve used soapnuts in the laundry before but never in my hair. I’ve been interested in trying it sometime. Thanks for reminding me! 🙂

    36. Hi Kristen,
      I do agree that baking soda is harsh on hair. I did it once because of dandruff but didn’t like the the feel of my hair. I still do no poo but I just use warm water, at times I heat up rice wash and use that on my hair.
      If your hair is extra oily use white vinegar or lemon juice mixed in the warmest water you can take. The amount of water should be enough to dip all your hair in. Massage lightly using finger tips from scalp through the whole length of your hair to remove oils. Keep repeating that until it’s clean.Finish with tap water . Use a cotton cloth or a cotton shirt to dry your hair. Rice wash is also good for the skin too. You might want to try it. Hope this helps 🙂

      ** When hair is a bit oily, manage it by using a cotton cloth or buy cotton gloves and run your strands between your fingers with that.

      1. Hi Michelle. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve heard interesting things about washing with fermented rice water. Right now I’m pretty happy with the routine I’m using now, but I appreciate your suggestions. 🙂

    37. I think u just rescued me . For a few months I’ve been using 4cowfarm liquid castille with calendula on hair and body , always left waxy film so I’d put corn flour on once dry and looked amazing. I also did a few BS washes and rinse with lemon water . I also added BS to water and the Castile mix , always still waxy and scalp became itchy no matter what. Tried water only washing and same story and I know all the directions as you did too and never felt like hair was clean , tried rose water , aloevera etc . Today after reading this I washed my hair for the first time with Sukin balance shampoo and conditioner. I feel so nice and fresh .added jojoba to my ends . Scalp looks nice and non greasy.
      I was going to use the 4cowfarm castille on my newborn . Is Castille. unsafe for that?
      Best my hair ever was in my life and was using a cheap Thailand conditioner as a leave in called lolane. (Not natural at all)

      1. I’m so glad your hair is feeling better! I’m not familiar with that castile soap brand, but assuming it’s like all other castile soaps I wouldn’t say it’s unsafe for your newborn. The soap is pretty concentrated, so you’d want to be careful with how much you use. I use a very diluted castile and water mixture on our homemade cloth baby wipes and in a foaming hand soap. In the bath, though, I prefer using just water on our newborns or very mild bar soap.

      1. Hello, Em. Yes, after dropping baking soda washes I tried using water washes for a while. It left my hair super oily at the scalp but dry and tangly at the bottom. I wasn’t happy with it so I switched to a more natural shampoo and conditioner. You can read about that here.

    38. Hi,
      I believe I have had my hair damaged from using baking soda for several years. It took over a year of horrible dryness and breakage before I finally traced it back to the baking soda. I wanted to get your opinion on something.
      I described my situation to a hair stylist and he recommended a keratin treatment (formaldehyde free version). He said that was the best way to restore the health of my hair quickly. Do you think this is a good idea or could it cause more damage to my very fragile, dry, brittle hair??

      1. Hi Leah. I’m sorry your hair was damaged from baking soda, too. I haven’t tried keratin treatments and really don’t know anything about them. Our hair is made from keratin, so it seems to make sense to use a keratin treatment. You can look at the recommended brands and see if they’re listed on the Skin Deep database to get an idea on their safety.

        This is what I did to get my hair in good condition again. It took a while, but it’s so much better now! I hope your hair recovers soon!

    39. Really informative. Now I want to do the no poo method, currently I am just using natural products like Maple Holisitcs.

    40. Occasionally using baking soda would probably be a good thing for low porosity hair because the high ph opens the cuticle. Especially right before a deep conditioning treatment. I have low porosity hair and it’s really difficult to moisturize. Maybe mixing some in with clarifying shampoo will help with that

    41. Baking Soda is great for balancing out PH, when your hair is very oily and gets oily very soon after washing. People sometimes use Baking Soda like regular shampoo,
      using it 3-5 times a week or even every day, which is not so good since then it will definitely dry out and damage your hair, it doesn’t need to be used that often. I used it
      1-2 a week, although every one is different in terms of their hair scalp PH. I am also a plant-eater/vegan, which might effect it, just like a lot of variables, diet/exercise/hot weather
      all effect the condition of your hair. I found that if I also washed my hair with Organic Cyder vinegar afterwards it was really smooth, but if I washed it with cold hair it was even
      smoother and softer, which might be the key, when using baking soda. Since baking soda is alkaline and our scalps are more acidic (especially on acidic diets with lots of processed food,
      it’s great) it does balance but using warm to hot water will then make it more dry than soft. Having a last rinse with chemical free water/filtered or bottled water (glass rather than plastic is better)
      also does wonders.

      I have found alot of people also turn to these methods when they already have damaged hair or dyed hair, I was wondering if you could explain about your side view photograph close up of your head, because it looks like dyed highlights even though I know you said you hadn’t had it dyed.

      I also recommend you or anyone else to use little bit of organic coconut oil on the ends of your hair if its medium to long and your using baking soda, because it’s great for the scalp if you are oily or have allergies to additivties, but yes it will dry out the ends of your hair if you don’t give it extra nourishment. Always do a patch test on your skin first, and then a small part of your scalp to make sure you have no bad reactions. When testing it on your skin don’t rub it in
      as it can irritate your skin, some people use it as an exfoliant perhaps but even though I use it on my hair, my facial skin reacts to it a bit. Always be cautious and wise when trying something new 🙂

      Happy experimenting!

      1. Hi there. I also used baking soda to wash my hair once or twice a week, and faithfully used coconut oil on the ends and lightly through the length of my hair after washing. Like my post says, my hair felt incredible for about two years. And then the damage set it and there wasn’t any fixing it. If you scroll through the comments (though I realize there are lots on this one!), you’ll read other people who had results very much in line with mine. So if someone decides to experiment with this method, I want them to know it’s a very risky experiment.

        To answer your question, no, I’ve never dyed my hair or gotten highlights. It’s never been chemically processed in any way, so those are just natural highlights. I appreciate you asking and not assuming! 🙂

    42. I’ve done the “No ‘poo” method for years, and have never had anything but soft silky hair. Drop the vinegar. Why would you want to put something so acidic on your hair, not counting the chemical reaction (that can erase soap scum and mildew in a matter of seconds) that occurs when vinegar hits baking soda? Just a suggestion, but perhaps it’s not the baking soda causing the problem. Take care.

      1. Hi Dee. Thanks for chiming in! I stopped using baking soda about five years ago and my hair has dramatically improved since. A mild vinegar rinse can actually be quite healthy for our hair, though! The scalp’s pH is slightly acidic, and the vinegar helps rid any chemical build-up. Baking soda is extremely alkaline, and that can be quite problematic for hair. That’s why the vinegar rinse is usually suggested as a follow-up. It helps offset baking soda’s damaging alkaline. Some people have used baking soda for longer than I did and not suffered the devastating results, and yet others used it for only a few months and had damage like mine. I don’t know why this is, but hope you continue to enjoy healthy hair. 🙂

      2. The chemical reaction that occurs when mixing vinegar and baking soda is salt water. Vinegar is acidic but baking soda is alkaline, which isn’t good either. You know what else is alkaline? Bleach. Plus, there’s a ton of actual scientific evidence (fyi, blogs aren’t good resources for this) regarding the harmful effects of baking soda on hair and skin. I’ll never understand people that just take someone’s word for something like this without any research. You’re damaging your hair. That’s not an opinion.

    43. you arent supposed to use baking soda and vinegar forever. its for transitioning. i never use shampoo and now use a natural conditioner about 1-2 times a week. hair his so thick its ridiculous.

      1. Hi David. Years ago when I was using baking soda for my usual hair wash routine, it was being promoted on various natural health and natural homemaking sites as a great alternative to shampoo and conditioner. Not as a transition. I haven’t followed how it’s being promoted now, but I’m glad your hair is healthy and happy. It’s not something I personally recommend to anyone but realize other people can have different results depending on how long they might use it.

    44. This is heartbreaking 😭 I have been using baking soda and vinegar for 3 years and my hair has lost more than half of it’s volume…I never realized it until now. I thought it was because of getting older…I was only trying to do what’s best…but clearly the damage has been done. My hair is definitely more dry and every time I brush the breakage is devistating. I just bought my first shampoo bar and hopefully I can get my hair back in the next 5 years 😪 Before baking soda it was to my hips strong and thick….ugg I’m heartbroken

      1. I’m so sorry, Alissa. I understand so well what you’re going through and it is absolutely heartbreaking! Make sure you read my follow-up post here that shares how my hair has recovered since quitting baking soda no ‘poo. It took time but it’s so much healthier again! There’s hope! Sending hugs.

    45. I’m getting similar results, my hair feels dry and brittle and is also breaking off. I have been making sure I eat well and I juice a lot. So I am considering using regular shampoo again. This definitely doesn’t work for everyone.

      1. So sorry, Beatrice! I know the feeling quite well. I think this method rarely works well for people longterm, unfortunately. If you read my follow up post here, you can find out what shampoos I’ve used since quitting no ‘poo (along with some other healthy hair treatments that helped). I still just wash my hair once a week, so you won’t have to be a slave to the shampoo and conditioner routine if you do switch back over to more conventional products. Hope your hair is on the mend soon!

    46. i am so tender headed. I don’t mind greasing all out and just using water to rinse my hair for a few days to a week. just until it gets too greasy looking to be acceptable. then shampoo is a must. When it is greasy it is so easy to comb through and no problem on my scalp. But I mean do whatever is good for your health. The longest I went with just a water rinse on my hair and scalp is a month. I blew it dry, used blow outs or hair drying to give it body and a flat iron to kind of keep it clean. It looked great. Just after awhile my scalp starts hurting and no poo is history. I can’t wear mascara because my eyelids start hurting. that bad. no extensions for me. but yeah, i am alive to tell the tale of the grungiest month, ever. i feel like my hair grows quicker if i grunge out, but, it is whatever is healthy and pain free. anyway, nice blog, thanks for posting.

      1. Thanks, Zoi. Yeah… I couldn’t do water washing for more than a week or two. It wasn’t pretty!

    47. There’s a really great chance that this was related to the no poo but more then likely it wasn’t that it was intact post-partum related. During my pregnancy my hair grew super thick. At about. 4 months after having my daughter my hair began to fall out first at the hair lines in the front and back. And then it calmed down for a little while. At 10 months it roared its ugly head as I began to loose it again. Slowly it all grew back coming in at my temples first. I have shoulder length hair now and the hairs that I lost at 10/12 months are now about to my chin almost a year later. My daughter will be two in September and it still has yet to all even out in length. It looked like damage but in reality it was just diffrent lengths and thickness of hair through out my head. In addition the hairs along my neck and behind my ears grew back in spiral curly! I had straight hair before pregnancy it goes to show how much Horne’s effect our bodies. I wouldn’t complete blame the baking soda I’m sure it was probably a mix of the two. Especially the fact that you had been going strong for two years.

      1. Hi Rebecca. I am quite familiar with the lovely postpartum hair shed. However, this was completely different. My hair wasn’t shedding. It was breaking off with just short sections left near my scalp and brittle. It took time for the baking soda routine to leave my hair porous and brittle. If you read some of the comments in this post, you’ll find many other women and some men had the exact same experience I did after using this method for months or years.

    48. I’ve been “washing” my scalp with baking soda and rinsing my hair with diluted vinegar for about 5 years (3 times per week); I also put a coconut oil product on my hair. It has never been more healthy – have even experienced new hair growth adding new “bangs” to my forehead. In addition, it has really helped with the psoriasis I have on my scalp and I no longer get any cycsts on my scalp.

      1. I’m glad you’ve had good results. Most of the commenters here had the same experience I did, so perhaps just keep it in mind in case you start to notice any changes in your hair texture? I just don’t want you or anyone else to end up with hair like I did. 🙂

    49. I’m so happy I just came across your article! I have been using Apple cider vinegar from a recipe found on Pinterest in my hair for MONTHS, maybe close to a year? My hair was so damaged from bleach I was ready to use anything. My hair was once again silky, shiny and luxurious from the vinegar. As time went by, I slowly noticed my hair would break while I was flat ironing? I thought nothing much of it because I was heat styling? Then my hair’s texture was completely not my own in all my 35 years! It was pure FUZZ! I haven’t bleached it in over a year , it should have been healthier I than ever! I could run a flat iron over it and it wouldn’t do a thing. It’s ruined and I’m devastated. I been trying oils and my hair basically soaks them right up. I’m so disheartened to hear that nothing can reverse this damage? I

      1. Hi Elena. I’m so sorry your hair has been damaged. Usually, occasional apple cider vinegar rinses with diluted vinegar are a great way to get rid of product build up. I don’t know if using the vinegar after bleaching can cause more damage? Jojoba and argan oil might help your hair the most right now. I hope you see improvement soon!

    50. I’m kinda experimenting with no poo and I haven’t had any bad experiences yet. This BS treatment sounds really bad and I often read that it’s quite harsh, but it might help to get into no poo at the beginning. I never used BS before and I don’t think that I ever need to use it. I switched to organic/natural shampoo over 10 years ago. I’m from germany and we have several seals that make sure that the stuff wasn’t tested on animals and doesn’t contain any chemical ingredients. I’m not sure if that’s the case for other countries. I know the UK doesn’t have it.
      A few years ago I couldn’t use conditioner anymore as I started to get a build-up on my hair, so I completely switched to ACV rinse only, or ACV+tea rinse. I tried several no poo methods like Rhassoul clay, rye flour, hair soap (not shampoo bar, they usually contain SLSA), egg-honey wash. The most important thing is to get a good(!) boar bristle brush to distribute the sebum into your lengths. Because of this brush my hair is finally soft which it has never been! Right now I’m doing the egg-honey wash with a bit of ACV instead of lemon juice, once a week. My hair goes down to my butt and it’s incredibly shiny now. Soon I will also try out soapwort as it’s growing like crazy outside. I haven’t tried chestnuts yet although i did wash my dishes with it which works fine.Lots of options! So if you ever decide to go no poo again, try out different things. Many people like the rye flour method. I wish you good luck on your hair care journey 😀

      1. Thanks, Angi! I love my boar bristle brush, too. 🙂 Right now I’m really happy with washing once a week with a nontoxic shampoo and conditioner and my hair is back to normal. Yay!

        1. Kristen, have you heard of the Morrocco method shampoos, conditioners and elixirs? I just ordered some.

          1. I have, Karen! I haven’t used them myself, but I’ve always heard good things about them. I’d love to hear what you think after you use them for a while!

    51. I found your post because I was googling negative effects of the baking soda wash because today, after six months of the “no-poo method”, I noticed how strikingly thing my very thick hair felt in the shower. Do you have any recommendations for a good shampoo/shampoo bar that would help start the recovery process? I don’t want to go back to the old shampoos I used to use, and were prefer a more natural alternative, that is conducive to washing my hair every few days.. I liked the baking soda method because I was easily able to go at least a week without washing my hair (in terms of my roots/greasiness), but I now see what a job it is doing on my ends. I brush my hair and lose pieces 2-3 inches long of the ends of my hair.

      Thanks in advance for the advice, and thank you for your knowledge!

      1. Hi Becca. I’m sorry to hear that your hair is breaking! I understand that feeling very well. 🙁 I posted my update and the best things that helped my hair recover in this follow-up post. It should help you find some better alternatives for you!

        I also loved that using baking soda allowed me to wash once a week. But good news! I’ve never had to go back to washing daily or even every other day. In fact, I still wash my fine, straight hair that used to be quite oily once a week. Yay!

        Wishing you lots of success finding a better solution for hair.

    52. No idea how old this post is, since my phone isn’t showing dates anywhere.
      I just tried a baking soda way for my hair, but it was to neutralize all the sulfur coating me after two hours coking coal in a smithy!
      I basically just added a quarter cup of BS to the bath tub to soak in… By putting it on my hair and upper body and useing it as a scrub. Definitely a much more aggressive version than a regular no-poo, and I’m glad I found your post: smithing is a weekly class, so it’s good to know I shouldn’t use this cleanup method very often!
      As it is, my scalp is itchy after a thorough rinse, so I’ll be putting a regular moisturizing conditioner on and letting it sit for a while. I think my hair is ok for now given the amount of sulfur smoke I was standing in, but I’ll be a lot more careful in the future!

      1. Wow… coal smithing? Sounds like a very unique class! I’m glad you found my story so you can find a safer way to clean up after your smithing. I don’t have any suggestions, unfortunately, but hopefully you can find something that will safely get the sulfur out without drying out your hair and skin too much.

    53. I bought vineger and baking soda last night and started looking for different recipes when I came across this page. My hair recently recovered from severe damage, so I think I will heed the warning! I can’t thank you enough for writing such a detailed post. Although it may work for my hair, the risks outweigh the positives in my opinion. Glad to know it’s working for some, but there’s no reason for me to roll the dice.

      1. Hi Shea, and I’m so happy you found this post first, too! The risks definitely outweigh any potential benefits some people may experience for a time. I hope you find some solutions you love for your hair soon. Be sure to read the follow-up post linked at the bottom of this one for some ideas!

    54. I have always had thick dry coarse hair. When I was using conditioner in the shower, before I blow dried my hair, and again when I flat ironed it, my hair became unmanageable. Yet, hair stylist/beauticians were telling my hair was dry and needed more conditioner.. I used to braid my hair but now my hair wouldn’t stay in a braid it was too soft. I stopped commercial shampoos and conditioners about 2 years ago. And I think I have only dried my hair with a blow dryer 3-5 times in that time period. I still use the flat iron. But, I now was my hair every 1-2 weeks. I have long hair about halfway down my back. I can now braid my hair and it stays in place. No stylist/beautician has commented my hair is too dry. My hair color did not change but I have gotten more wave. Will be getting it cut soon to donate since I have enough. It will be interesting to see what this stylist says about my hair. I’m experiencing some hair loss but since I keep it long, I can cover it up. But that could be too age, medications, medical conditions. I’m not worried at this point. May start using a commercial shampoo every now and then. But I’m staying with the baking soda/apple cider vinegar routine. My hair is easier to comb after washing, minimal tangles but then again I have started combing my hair before bedtime each night. And, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of split ends or breakage. My hair is also less full. Before when air-dried I made a good witch for Halloween! This seems to help as well. I had wanted to post some pictures but am unable.

      1. Hi there, Debra. I actually experienced some of the same things before my hair started to show severe damage from baking soda washes. Soft, easy to style, easy to comb, etc. (One of the links I include in the article explains this can be because the very alkaline solution is breaking down the hair structure, and that makes it feel so soft.) It was sometime after that period that the breakage and damage began. I just share that so you can be really observant and watch for any changes in your hair, even slight ones. I don’t think this method is worth the risk, but if you want to stick with it, just be careful. 🙂 The breakage usually catches people off-guard. Best wishes to you!

    55. There are many ways to go “no poo.” I read baking soda was drying so never went that way, instead opting to use an inexpensive conditioner as a shampoo. It has worked great for five years now with great results. My hair is very long, though not as long as yours!

      1. Glad co-washing is working well for you, Tamara! Yes, there are many ways to go no-poo; that’s why I specify baking soda in the post title and throughout the article. I think most people assume the baking soda method if they’re familiar with no ‘poo, but it’s certainly not the only way to skip shampoo in haircare.

      1. Hi Ranja. A friend of mine had this happen, as well. Though I can’t say for sure, I think it may have been product buildup coming off. Conventional shampoos and conditioners can leave a film on the hair that makes it feel soft. Baking soda and vinegar can cause that come off, but if some still remains, your hair might feel sticky or strange after. I hope that helps!

    56. 11th Feb 2018. Thank goodness i stopped no poo early.
      Was recently watching lots of videos in making your own homemade shampoo and conditioners. Was so impressed I purchased everything needed to make it happen. I did the conditioner huge success. Even put Germasail plus in it ,Extra.
      However the Castile soap after 3 washes only left my hair a mess. Oily , lack of Ulster, heavy itchy scalp. This morning literally I washed my hair with normal shampoo and used the conditioner I made. Much better results . Hair is smooth , lovely. ( still greasy abit on my scalp , itchy )After reading what Castile soap can disrupt the acid mantle in your head and body, I will now use what s left of Castile soap for washing dishes. It’s safe for that only plus clothes and nothing on your body. And the vinegar rinse after using Castile soap was crap.
      Thank goodness for the above article. Thank goodness did not use the shampoo on anyone’s hair in my family.

    57. Thank you for writing your experience, it is not easy to admit when we are wrong, to open ourselves to ridicule and criticism. This post explains exactly what has happened to my hair. Originally I thought it was shock from the pain and stress my bod y had been in for a long while that took the toll on my hair. But once I read this it rooted deep in my heart that the Lord was showing me the mistakes I had made. That I did this myself to my hair. Along with that came shame that I had recommended it as well to so many people! My hair was once thicker than a silver dollar. I had absolutely no split ends and it was to the tops of my calves. Now, I loose a handful each washing, it is above my knees at the longest and my thickness wet is a little longer than a nickel. Thank you, thank you for posting.
      Lord Bless

      1. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience, Virginia! It’s an awful feeling to realize that we unknowingly caused severe damage to our hair, all while we thought we were doing something natural, frugal, and effective. I’m glad this helped you understand what happened to you. Let’s both keep sharing our stories and trying to help others learn from our experiences. Wishing you restored hair very soon!

    58. I went 1 week without washing my hair. On the second week I used the baking soda . The ONE time using it my hair was so dry feeling and so tangly! My ends were awful. Again this was ONE time using it! During the first week I was only using Apple cider vinegar and loved the results. I will NEVER use baking soda on my hair again though. So thank you for writing this . I completely believe you!

      1. Thanks, Hope. 🙂 I’m glad you realized right away that baking soda is usually terrible for hair. It’s just not worth the risk!

      1. I don’t know if I should just laugh and move on or take the time to give you a logical response. I think I’ll go with the former option.

    59. I have used baking soda & water followed by a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse every day for at least 5 years now. I have NOT had your experience. My hair is the healthiest it has ever been . My hair is shoulder length so at this point, all of my hair from root to ends has always been washed this way. Before I started the no poo thing, by hair was oily at the top and very dry at the ends. I always had split ends. Now though my scalp still makes a lot of oil and I do wash every day because of it, the ends are not dry at all and no split ends ever! I find that rather than completely stripping the oil away, the system I use rather redistributes my hair’s natural oil where it’s needed, at the ends. I do find that varying the mix can make my hair temporarily frizzy and if I forget to use the apple cider rinse, forget about it! Bad hair day. But when mixed properly and always followed by the apple cider vinegar rinse, you shouldn’t have any problems. I would say 5 years is a good long time and if I was going to have any problems, I’d have seen the effects by now. Are you getting paid by Johnson & Johnson? Just wondering.

      1. How did you find me out? I’ve tried to hide it for years, but yes, it’s true. I’m an undercover J&J operative. In fact, so are the hundreds of people who have commented, emailed, and messaged me after this post with the exact same experience. We’re all on their payroll. It’s a lucrative position.

        In all seriousness, I’m glad you haven’t had the same experience because I don’t wish it on anyone. I don’t know why some people get away with using this method for even longer than I did and not having such awful results, or why some people experience the breakage in less time than I did. Maybe our hair type and structure? Water type, nutrition, and general health likely play in, too.

        But here’s what I know. I did everything “right” with no ‘poo. I loved it and never wanted to use anything different until it ruined my hair. Stopping that method is what got my hair’s former health and strength back. I don’t feel the method is worth the risks, but if you feel differently, I hope you continue to have success with it. My goal with this post is to let others know what can happen and what I wish I had known before I tried washing my hair this way.

    60. My story is almost identical as yours had my long thick hair past my waist ( tried and love the baking soda and vinegar wash for a few years and love how it made my hair feel so “bodyfull)
      But just like you my hair started to get thinner I would have handfuls falling out in the shower very dry I tried all the different kinds of oils to help it but my hair is at least one eighth this thickness 😫😭
      I’ve always had long hair but it’s come to the point where it’s too thin to keep at this length and It’ll be really hard to give it a cut but I can feel all the healthy new growth coming from my scalp and I just have to be patient and wait till it can grow long again

      1. I’m so sorry, Sarah. I know how heartbreaking it is! My hair thickness is back to normal, though it did take time. I hope yours grows back in quickly!

    61. Came across your story, because i haven’t been using shampoo for 8 months too and i did use it again a week ago, beacause i was washing off all of my halloween makeup and since that my hair is getting greasy each day, almost like after stopping to use shampoo for the first time, have you had similar issues? Gotta say though I haven’t been using baking soda, but just plain hot water, might take a little longer to wash but the texture has always been way better after…

      1. Hi Moe, and sorry for the late reply. I never had that reaction, but it might be that your scalp just overreacted after not being stripped for so long. When I switched to more natural shampoos, my hair just improved in texture and strength. It never got really greasy again. So maybe a gentler shampoo will help? I hope you can figure it out.

    62. I’ve always had nice hair until about 5 months ago. I thought I’d get a water softener attachment for the shower. I started to notice my hair getting really thin and breaking off. Sometimes just falling out. Then I panicked and began researching everything possible. I after leaving my home for a week tdue to Irma, I realized it had to be the attachment. I read about the chemicals and byproducts of the water softener and it was sodium bicarbonate!
      Essentiallky, ever shower was a baking soda shower. My hair is thin, and all different lengths. It feels awful.

      1. I’m so, so sorry to hear about your hair breakage, April. I know how devastating that is! If you haven’t read the follow-up yet, you’ll find some ideas for hair restoration in this post. Side note: did you fare okay through the hurricane?

    63. Use olaplex u can order it online and u can use it on virgin hair as well as bleached hair and olaplex is amazeing it actuslly heels split ends and makes your hair beautiful . U don’t have to use olaplex 1&2 just buy olaplex 3 and use it once a week not as a conditioner u wash it out and the longer u leave it in the better it works . Sleep in it with a shower cap on over night .it really works I promise! Xo

    64. So what do you do to your hair now? Would you recommend making your own shampoo, just without baking soda and vinegar? Something PH balanced? I want to go off of shampoo because my hair is always oily if I don’t wash it every day, so I need something that will clean it without all the chemicals!

      1. Hi Stephanie! I shared what I use now and how my hair has recovered at the bottom of this post, but you can just click here to read the follow-up so you don’t have to scroll back up. 🙂 Slight spoiler alert: I don’t use anything homemade. Definitely check out the options I listed in the follow-up. I hope you find a great solution for your hair!

    65. Just as you, I loved no-poo! On my 3rd year, my hair began to fall out and I blamed everything except no-poo. Now, almost 2 years after stopping, I haven’t recovered. I have half my volume (a pony tail smaller than a dime when it used to be a silver dollar) It’s so thin and wispy, different lengths,and tangled all the time. It feels awful and looks worse, and my dark brown hair is now red and brassy. Ugh. Be warned. No poo will change the way you look, but not for the better.

      1. Ugh, Becca… my heart just dropped reading your story! I understand. Neither of us wanted to believe no ‘poo would betray us like that! Have you found a good haircare routine to replace no ‘poo? My follow up post linked at the end of this one does share the haircare brand I use now, so if you’re still looking for other options, be sure to give it a read.

        Sending a consoling hug! I’m so sorry for what’s happened to your hair.

    66. Have you tried JUST water as a shampoo? I, too, tried no poo using baking soda, and got similar results, although my hair was no where as long as yours.

      I recently have been finding a lot of bloggers and DIY people stating that they had no idea how the baking soda idea came up, and that no poo basically had so many other options: just water, just sea salt water, just conditioner, etc.

      I am on a new quest to find a no poo solution that won’t ruin my hair. There was a time that there were no soaps or detergents, and people washed with just water. Trying to take that plunge. This week I have tried a mud detox, then an herbal tea shampoo–and currently waltzing through the greasies as I contemplate my next option.

      1. Hi Heidi! Yes, I did try washing with just water for a short time. It really wasn’t a great fit for me. I couldn’t get my hair to adjust. With it being so long, it also got more tangled from just water washing. Sort of like your skin can get dried out from being in the water too long. I know just what you’re saying about it seeming like we shouldn’t *need* shampoo, though. I haven’t found a way to make that work for me. The best option I’ve read about and heard success from is a rye flour mixture in place of shampoo. I haven’t looked into it thoroughly, but thought I’d mention in case you really want to avoid shampoo and conditioner.

        For me, I’ve finally just accepted that if I’m okay with using soaps, oils, and butters on my skin, I’m okay with using very gentle and more natural shampoo and conditioner on my hair. I wish you the best as you try some new things!

    67. My hair has started falling out!!! I have a few other things going on medically but I am getting my thyroid checked (waiting on the blood results) and let me tell you, if that level comes out normal I am done with no poo completely. Normal thyroid level and still having hair loss will indicate, to me, that it’s probably the baking soda. I would like to find a natural shampoo since I have been having some kind of allergic reaction to “regular” shampoos with all the chemicals and cleaners. Needless to say i’ve been doing some heavy research.

      1. Hi Meredith. I’m so sorry to hear about your hair trouble. You made a good move to have your thyroid checked since that can be the root of hair loss for many women. If you click over to the follow up post on this topic, I link to my new favorite natural and gentle hair care line. It gets great ratings on EWG’s Skin Deep database. You can read the post here. I hope you learn some helpful info about your hair loss soon!

    68. Is it possible you have underlying health problems causing your hair to break? I’ve never heard of breakage with this method, and have used it for four years with amazing results.

      1. Hi Lee! That’s a great question and definitely worth considering anytime someone experiences hair loss or hair breakage. But in my case, no, there was no underlying health condition or nutrient deficiency that caused the hair breakage. It was definitely baking soda no ‘poo. If you check out some of the links included in the post and read through the comments, you’ll see this is a very unfortunate, common experience of many no ‘poo-ers. The pH level of baking soda makes it a very risky choice for hair care. I’m not trying to convince you to give it up if you love it, but just keep my experience in the back of your mind in case you start noticing any changes. Wishing you the best and healthiest hair! 🙂

        1. I have also used this for over 4 years, but want to clarify it is ONLY to go on your scalp. I am always extremely careful to avoid putting it directly anywhere on my hair, as it is extremely abrasive. Not only do I have great results on my scalp from this method, but I also use the baking soda solution on other parts of my skin(like my forehead right below my hairline) where makeup builds up and it works beautifully as a cleaner. It is very unfortunate that you had such negative results.

          1. Hi Kelly. Thanks for chiming in. 🙂 When I was faithfully no ‘poo-ing, I also only used the baking soda solution on my scalp. I’m glad you haven’t experienced any breakage yet and hope you never do. Just be aware that many, many other people used this method “correctly” like I did and ended up with devastating results. I’d honestly hate for you to experience what we did, so just keep my experience tucked in the back of your mind in case you start to notice even the slightest change in hair texture. Best wishes!

    69. Thank you so much. I am into a year of no poo. My hairloss is getting worse. Like you, I ignored the nagging inner voice and insisted I’m doing it wrong. Then i switched to water only and occasional acv. Works for a moment and hair continued to fall. Using egg yolk wash and honey wash did not work or mayb I did not give it enough time but too many hair loss is fearful and I am so glad I came across your blog. I guess its time to for a new haircare routine.

      1. Oh, I’m so sorry Naz! It always makes me sad when I read about another person who has gone through or is experiencing that awful breakage now. Do check out the update that’s linked at the bottom of this post, because I’ve shared the things that helped turn my hair around in it. Wishing your hair a speedy recovery! I know how saddening it is to see it get damaged.

    70. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I was just considering starting the Baking Soda as a shampoo hair care routine today but decided to research more thoroughly first. Glad I found this. I have read a lot of other things about the harshness of baking soda on hair. Currently I do an applecider vinegar rinse varying at most to once a week. What is your opinion on ACV hair rinse used alone, not in combination with baking soda?

      1. Hi Jesse! I still do a dilute apple cider vinegar rinse from time to time. It does such a great job at removing product build-up! I personally use it every 2 or 3 weeks, either when I notice a little build-up or finally remember that I haven’t done it in while. 🙂 I haven’t read anything that really makes a case for vinegar rinse concerns, so as far as I know now, I think it’s a fine thing to include in your haircare routine. Hope that helps!

    71. Sorry to hear your story! I tried baking soda for a while until I read that it can damage hair. I have switched to all natural shampoo bars and love them! My hair has never been healthier!! (Shiny, no grease!) I highly recommend shampoo bars followed by an apple cider rinse twice a week!!

      1. I’m glad you learned about the problems with baking soda for haircare before you experienced any damage. Your hair was spared! 🙂

    72. So I’ve been no ‘poo since 10/2012. My hair is fine and as I have aged it has become a bit thinner (big family trait). I probably use baking soda and acv rinse once every month or two…really only if my hair is getting oily. My hair feels thicker than when I was shampooing. I probably skimp on cuts because I hate hair salons and I’m a bit cheap too. For my job I’ve had to pull my hair back in a braid three or four days a week…I think this contributes more to damage than the baking soda, personally. I am also an early gray goer so the texture of my hair changed with that too. Personally I would say baking soda is fine in m9deration. Even no pooers sometimes think they need to wash more than they do. About once a month I just use plain water and that refreshes my hair and scalp too. I use a boar bristle brush to pull oils down my hair. I think everyone is a little different. My partner tried no poo but it just never worked out well for her….like really not well…. so it isn’t for everyone, but I would hesitate to pass blanket judgement because the method defiantly works for many of us. Thanks for sharing your experience, though. Too bad it didn’t work out!

      1. Hi Laura! Sounds like you’ve got a natural haircare system going that works great for you. That’s wonderful! Like I mentioned in the post, it is possible that a baking soda wash routine would be fine in moderation. Because of the damage I and so many other readers experienced, though, it’s not something I will personally encourage. I just think there’s too much risk for damage involved, especially when there are other options that don’t carry that risk.

        But that being said, I’m definitely not going to encourage you to stop if you’re happy with it! And it sounds like you’re able to use a baking soda wash so infrequently, which is incredible. I tried going that long between washes and just using water, and my hair never adjusted well. Everyone is definitely different. I share my experience here to let others know that this method can lead to significant damage and hopefully save others from experiencing what I did. I hope you continue to enjoy healthy hair! 🙂

    73. Could baking soda have permanently changed the texture of my hair or are my hair cuticles still open. 2.5 years and my hair is still very dry, damaged and thin.

      1. Hi Jack. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having so much trouble this far down the line! I can’t really think of a reason why your hair is still brittle and breaking. I don’t see how it could be attributed to baking soda after so much time has past. Have you been able to mention it to your doctor? If you’re dealing with any dry skin and brittle nails, that could indicate some nutrient deficiencies, so maybe pay attention to that, too?

    74. I am practicing no-poo right now and have been for about a year and two months.
      I tried baking-soda ONCE and yes, it dried out my hair a lot and made it so coarse that I never tried it again. I am now washing with rye flour (awesome: Cheap, makes soft.falling, voluminous hair), hair soap and occasionally a shampoo bar.
      Rye flour works every time, some hair sopas work well, others, not so well and until now I have only tested one shampoo-bar that also works well.
      You might have wanted to try oil treatments on your hair. I wash now every three to four days and do an oil treatment (either short for about 30 mins to two hours or long: over night) every second to third wash. What’s also awesome is a mask of one egg with a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of oil (sesame, coconut or jojoba work well for me) and sometimes half a teaspoon of aloe-vera-gel left on the wet hair for about one to two hours. This makes the hair both soft and very shiny.
      If oil treatments seem to much time, you can distribute one to two drops of oil on your hands and brush your hair (slightly) with the hands (use a dry brush to distribute the oil in the hair afterwards). Jojoba oil works well for that.

      The quickest, least troublesome method to me is rye flour: Mix about one to two table spoons of flour with double the amount of cold water, let it stand for about 5 to 20 mins and massage ist on your scalp. Rinse out carefully, shake your head afterwards to make sure there is no more flour in the hair. This requires not ACV, but if your hair likes ACV, rinse with a L of water and 1 tablespoon of ACV.
      If you notice that the hair gets dry, use less rye flour or apply a little oil. The only drawback of this method: It does not wash out oil treatments reliably, so if you took too much oil or the wrong kind of oil (castor oil for instance), some will remain in the hair after the first wash and you will need a second or third wash. For such oil treatments, hair soap or a shampoo bar are better suited.

      1. Hi there, Frederica. Thank you for sharing so much about your hair care routine! 🙂

        I actually used oil treatments regularly before, during, and after doing baking soda no ‘poo. They definitely helped with all of the damage I experienced. Jojoba is a favorite of mine, too! You can read about the update and how my hair recovered in the link at the bottom of this post.

        I haven’t tried the rye flour method, but I’ve had other commenters share about it. It sounds like it might be a great option to investigate further. I’m glad you are having such great results with it! And it’s good to know that it’s not the best for getting out an oil treatment. Thanks for sharing!

    75. Omg, thank you so much for sharing! I just started the BS method today, but I don’t think I want to continue. I’m worried the same thing would happen to me. I’ve had this instinct that something bad could happen to my hair, and I love my curls. Again thank you for sharing. I’ve heard so much how the BS method is so good for the hair but nothing how it could go wrong. I’ve been struggling with maintaining dandruff ( that’s how I originally thought of beginning to do this). Is their a natural shampoo and conditioner you reccommend I use?


      1. Hi there, Alexis. I’m so glad you found this, too! I think you’ll be much happier with a different haircare routine. I share about the shampoo and conditioner line I’m using now in this post. I’ve been very happy with it!

    76. Thanks for sharing your story. We hear so much about more natural methods of haircare, and not enough about what can happen when things go wrong.

      To be clear about where I am coming from, I’m not a “natural remedies don’t work” person. In fact, I see a Naturopath physician exclusively and think what you are doing internally in very important. Also, I experimented for years with natural haircare methods, and looking back at those years and the photos, my hair was a wreck.

      What I have learned, is that natural methods can wreak havoc on hair, unfortunately. Baking soda, shampoo bars, Castile soap, certain soap based shampoos (Aubrey Organics, for example) are highly alkaline, and forcing the cuticle open like that can really do damage over time. The acidic rinses (ACV, citric acid), on the flip side are too acidic for hair, which can also dry it out. Constantly disrupting the acid mantle and cuticle with the alkaline/ acidic cycle is a recipe for disaster.

      Also, the anti- sulfate info out there does not give you the full story and is very misleading. Sulfates are not used in isolation. Companies that know what they are doing, who make properly formulated, ph balanced products for various hair types are who I buy from now. My hair is in much better shape now than it was years ago doing the “natural” methods.

      Some websites I found helped and who cleared up a lot of myths that are floating around are the science-y hair blog, thebeautybrains.com, and Paula Begoun’s reviews and blogs.

      1. Hi Rusty, and thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience. You’re exactly right about the pH trouble with no ‘poo and other natural DIY hair care methods. What a painful lesson to learn the hard way! Just like you, my hair is in much better shape since switching to a well-formulated shampoo and conditioner line from an ethical company. I don’t miss the “natural” DIY methods at all. Sounds like you don’t either!

    77. Hi all, I’m so glad I came across this post after reading g about the BS hair regime which I was tempted to try. My hair has been thinning terribly over the past year so much so that my scalp is now visible through my thin hair (I have dark brown hair) which is very visible. My question to you all is this…has anyone had or needed to try anything because their hair was thinning and if so did anything help??

      1. Hi Tint, I’m also glad you read this before experimenting with baking soda hair washing! I think it would have been especially problematic for you. Thinning hair can happen due to aging, but it can also signal a medical issue that needs addressed by a doctor. Thyroid conditions, for example, can lead to hair loss. My suggestion would be to visit with your doctor to go over any potential causes and maybe do some blood work if needed. I hope you find the cause soon!

    78. Ok, So a friend of mine saw the no ‘poo remedy on her facebook page and showed it to me as I have long oily hair that is baby fine and thin to begin with and I keep looking for ways hopefully make it thicker. I have worked on cars for roughly twenty years, and to say the least automotive fluids and creepers are not friendly to hair, especially long hair. But in reading your post I got to thinking we use the same mixture to neutralize battery acid, I can only imagine what it does to the glands in your scalp that produce the oils to keep your hair healthy looking. If anyone does decide to use this, I would ‘maybe’ use this once a year, longer if possible between uses. It is a great cleaner and neutralizer for household and automotive uses, not haircare.

    79. Hi Kristen, my last post was about a year ago. I am still having thin, dry and brittle hair. Is it possible the baking soda could cause this problem, or after the damage hair directly affected by the baking soda is cut off, should the incoming new hair be fine?


      1. Hey Jack, I’m so sorry to hear that your hair is still breaking! It doesn’t seem logical to me that using baking soda in the past should cause such chronic dry hair for you, especially after all of that hair has been cut off. I would think the incoming hair should be fine. Mine has been, at least.

        Have you had any other big changes in your life, diet, or health? Hair health can be an indicator of overall health, so checking in with your doctor may not be a bad idea.

    80. 8-24-2016 I have been on No Poo for 18 months now and use only water…No baking soda, no Vinegar! ..Just water! Occasionally a Organx Conditioner.. My hair went from OK( I tried this because I loved the idea of it and thought my hair could be better) to exactly what you are describing, a thin dry hay like mess, always tangled even shortly after brushing, it’s like it wants to tangle… I admit, or a while it was great, I told evryone about it but then about 3-4 months ago(so 15 mos. in) it started going the other way and fast.. My 4″ beyond shoulder length hair is down at least I estimate 30% in volume, always looks nasty, hay like,,,so so dry, brittle, breakage when I brush, tons of hair in the drain, mainly from the part area…. 3/4″ wide scalp part now. So0o,, feeling like it failed, but have to move on, I’m done.. Washed with Organx yesterday…But I am looking for a natural shampoo/conditioner I can use once a week or so..and a good haircut probably chin length, yes, that’s how bad it is…and see if it can recover.

      1. Hi Diane! I wonder if the water washing ended up drying your hair out? I know my skin feels dry after washing with just water. Definitely check out the follow-up post I did on what has helped my hair recover. It’s taken time, but is SO much better now! I hope you see improvement soon.

    81. Have you tried soap nuts (aritha) at all my dear? I have been using them for my laundry for the last month or so and I must say that I am impressed by the results! So much so that after clarifying my hair with a baking soda/acv treatment I will use it (and shikakai powder) as a shampoo in the long term. I have already used a soap nut ‘tea’ on my hair (before clarifying) and was very happy with the results – clean feeling and oh so soft!!

      1. We used soap nuts for a while with laundry as well, and I do know that some people use either soap nuts products or make their own as a shampoo alternative. I haven’t tried it myself, though. After my experience, I decided not to do anymore DIY shampoo alternatives, but I would consider a trying a soap nuts-based product sometime. 🙂

    82. This post helped me so much. I recently quit baking soda, but I don’t know how to get my hair back to normal! It is SO greasy every time I wash with regular shampoo. I think my scalp’s PH is off–I have to use dry shampoo every time, and most days, I have to wear it up. Do you have any clue how to get my hair back to normal? I just want to be able to use normal shampoo!

      1. Hi Ashley! I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time after quitting baking soda. That sounds frustrating! For me, I never had trouble with oily scalp after using baking soda. I wash my hair 1-2 times a week, depending on the weather. Is it possible that it’s the shampoo you are using? Or maybe a natural shampoo bar would work well for you, with a vinegar rinse?

        One thing that I have noticed is that if I do a oil treatment regularly, my hair seems less oily. Once a week I usually use one. You can use coconut, jojoba, apricot kernel, whatever you have on hand (olive oil is a bit heavy, though). I do root to tips and leave on for a few hours, then shampoo and condition as usual, though I have to do a few washes to get all the oil out. There wouldn’t be any harm in trying it since it’s great for your hair and scalp. I should have a post on it coming out in the near future!

      2. Try conditioning your hair naturally. Try coconut oil, argan oil, or look up natural masks with yogurt etc. Conditioning hair is just as important as cleaning it. I don’t think the baking soda /vinegar destroys hair unless you don’t condition it too. When my hair is dry I put oil on my hands and run my fingers through my hair. If it is just dry on the ends, just do the ends. Leave it in as long as you like the longer the softer your hair will be. You can put plastic over it if you need to sleep in it, then wash it out. Hope this helps. Makes hair so soft and shiny. Anytime your hair gets dry, condition it, I don’t think you can over condition hair. I do this twice a month.

        1. Sometimes when I do an oil treatment, I put a plastic grocery bag over my head for a few hours while the oil does its magic. My children are always so impressed by the look! 😉 But the results are worth it, like you mentioned.

          Unfortunately though, from my experience, a baking soda and vinegar wash routine can still lead to a lot of damage even when doing oil treatments. I regularly used oil on my hair, and usually after every wash, but still ended up with terrible breakage after 2 years. It’s strong pH values (very alkaline, then very acidic) make it really hard on the hair longterm for most people. No amount of oil can fix the pH problem. I wish it would have!

    83. Hi Kristen!! Just wanted to say a big thanks for this post – I have been no-poo for almost 2 years. I love the simplicity of it, as I am in year 12 and sometimes go stretches of a month before I wash my hair again. My friends think I’m crazy… haha. My hair is no longer looking as shiny and isn’t as soft! There’s definitely breakage in my waist long hair… So pretty much just wanted to say a big thank you for writing this post and allowing me to reevaluate my hair care.

      1. You’re welcome, Siobhan! Hopefully your hair can be spared from long-term damage. Quitting the baking soda instantly improved my hair’s texture, but it’s taken a while for it to get back to normal.

    84. Although I haven’t been doing no ‘poo long, I can’t imagine my process would damage my hair so much. I know that baking soda can be quite abrasive, so if you’re ever interested in trying no ‘poo again, maybe try something softer on the hair? I’m so sorry for your breakage though, that’s devastating!

      I use castile soap with essential oils that work for my hair and ACV/water (equal parts) for conditioner. My hair has never been so soft, and it’s growing a LOT faster and thicker than it ever has!

      Thank you for sharing your experiences. Honesty like this is incredibly beneficial for those who may be looking to try no ‘poo with baking soda! I hope your hair has since recovered ❤️

      1. Hi Emily! Thanks for your kind words. Yes, my hair dramatically improved after I stopped the BS no ‘poo method, thankfully! It continues to improve and is pretty well back to normal. I give my ends lots of love, though. 😉

        I’m not sure how long you’ve been using the castile soap, but I have read that since it is really basic (meaning pH), it can also end up damaging hair in the same ways baking soda can. Just something for you to check into since I’d hate for that to end up causing you any damage. I learned a lot about DIY hair care through my disaster.

        I use a really natural shampoo and conditioner now from Shea Moisture. It’s super moisturizing and really gentle. I’m a big fan! I’ll be doing a follow-up post on it soon!

    85. Hi Kirsten,
      I am a Christian, but I currently have hardly any hair. It thinned really badly through taking methotrexate (an anti-cancer drug used in higher doses in chemo). I don’t have cancer, I have sarcoidosis. I had to have it shaved. It is now about a quarter of an inch long. This is the third time this has happened. I read your article and I am grateful I did because I was going to try ‘no ‘poo’ starting today. I really, really, want to grow my hair, as long as possible, but I also want it to thicken up. Do you have any ideas on how I could do this? I have read about not washing my hair as often, but I wondered if that would make any difference as my hair is so short. I have also read that massaging coconut oil into my scalp and hair might help. I was wondering if you, or any of your commenters, have any ideas on how I can get my hair to thicken up? I have tried vitamins which help it grow faster, and make it less grey, not sure how(!), but they don’t help the thinning. I am fifty but have already gone through the menopause, years ago, as I had to have a hysterectomy aged 36, and had to stop taking HRT when I was 37 as it sent my blood pressure up, so it’s got nothing to do with the menopause, just the methotrexate. I would be so grateful for any advice you can give. Thank you so much for reading this.

      1. Hi Annie! Sounds like your body has come through some serious battles. I’m really glad you were able to read this before trying the no ‘poo method with baking soda! For regrowth, good nutrition will definitely be vital, as I’m sure you know. A food-based multivitamin can help fill in the gaps. There are lots of folk methods out there for hair growth, but it’s not always easy to tell if the results are typical.

        Some things I found with some quick research included daily scalp massage (study here), a supplement of purified polyphenols from E. cava (PPE) (study here), and a supplement called AminoMar (study here). There is a conflict of interest noted in the last study, so just be aware of that as you read. 🙂

        Castor oil is often believed to stimulate hair growth, but I can’t find any research to back that claim. Essential oils of rosemary, Zizyphus jujube (jujube), and Chamaecyparis obtusa (or Hinoke cypress) have been shown to increase hair growth and/or thickness.

        Seems like your best bets would be scalp massage with a 1% essential oil solution, great nutrition, and some dietary supplements. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a new supplement routine, especially if you’re taking other medications. Some have also found extra gelatin in the diet helps with hair and nails.

        Best wishes on growing your hair back out! Also, please check your email for a message from me. 🙂

    86. Hi here. I just stumbled upon your blog. I’m so sorry to hear of your bad hair experience. I steer clear of baking soda and acv cause they are simple ingredients that cause strong chemical reactions. Have you tried any protein treatments to stop the breakage? Perhaps some natural oils like Argan, Olive, or Coconut could help?

      1. Hi there, Nikki. I haven’t used argan oil on my hair, but I did find jojoba oil to be the most helpful. Coconut oil was also nice, but jojoba has become my favorite. By protein treatments, do you mean with gelatin or eggs or something else? Unfortunately, since so much damage had been done, much of my hair just had to break off. But it’s regrown soft and healthy since quitting baking soda! Hooray!

    87. I have very long hair and it becomes very diffcult to manage if it gets dry. Once per week, I use the Shielo intensive Hair Mask and it has not only repaired my damage hair (which use to always tangle) but has also give them a smooth silky shine. It appears as if there has been a coating of cream on your hair which is protective layer.

    88. I too do not cut my hair for the same reasons! And I say that I’d rather have the love of Jesus and the approval of Him than a hairdresser who wants to cut my glorious covering that Jesus gave me! I struggle with breakage and split ends but who doesn’t? I have been looking for a healthier way to wash my hair and that’s how I happened upon this, It’s so nice to know there is more ladies out there who support others on their religious beliefs, especially when it comes to not cut to g our hair 🙂 <3

      1. I hope you find a nice gentle way to wash your hair that works for you! I hope to post an update on what I’m using soon. I think I finally found the right solution for me! By the way, jojoba oil (aff link) has been a huge help to me as my hair has recovered from the damage. Might help you if you have breakage and split ends, too. 🙂 Just a few drops do wonders.

    89. Thank you for writing this. I saw this trend pop up years ago and it made me feel uneasy, because by that point I’d already seen so many reports that baking soda is way too harsh to use regularly as a toothpaste. “How could it possibly be good for hair?” I’ve come to realize a couple things in my own quest for more gentle haircare:

      1. People are generally terrible judges of when a new technique is actually improving them. Always, ALWAYS ask honest, impartial friends whether they think your hair actually looks as amazing as you are convinced it does. I know far more women who’ve really butchered some aspect of their beauty routine (over-tweezed eyebrows, fried hair, unflattering clothing) yet who are convinced they’ve “finally figured it out and everything is perfect now!”; and I’ve met far fewer women who are good at looking at themselves objectively and saying “Hmm… I don’t think this thing I’ve devoted so much time/money to is actually producing the results I want”. And I think this is because…

      2. People have a really hard time admitting (even to themselves) when something they have devoted time and/or money to is actually a flop – especially if it’s something they’ve blogged about, sworn by in front of all their skeptical friends and family, etc.. It’s true for me, and I believe it’s true for practically everyone.

      3. People have this really weird tendency to be far more easily swayed by a speech than by looking at the person in front of them. I’ve seen people drawn in to the fad diet touted by the obese guy in the office; I’ve seen people nodding in fascination and rushing to ditch their own products in order to pursue the skin care advice from the girl with cystic acne; And time and time again, I’ve seen people online hanging on to every word on haircare from the lady with fried dull hair. But it’s like we’re far more swayed by the fact that someone sounds very confident in what they’re saying, or “well, their argument really makes sense.” And we just completely turn off our brains to the image in front of us that completely invalidates the advice. I don’t want to sound mean, but… I’ve come across far too many women in blogs, comments, and Pinterest who adamantly assure their readers that “My hair has never looked better!!” And… well… whatever it looked like before, it looks pretty terrible now.

      1. Yes, we can all definitely have a hard time believing that something we once loved, or really wanted to love, isn’t as great as we thought it was. I definitely had a hard time believing at first that washing my hair with baking soda was the cause for all of the breakage at first, so I can completely relate to your second point!

    90. Hi everyone 🙂 I have dry hair (and skin). I found out the hard way after just one try how bad baking soda is for my hair – it made it incredibly dry and frizzy. But I really wanted to stop using commercial shampoo and conditioner, so i decided to do a little research. I found out that table salt dissolved in water has a PH of 7 – neutral. Aloe vera gel also has a PH of 7. Lemon juice has a PH of 2-3, but becomes less acidic when diluted of course. Plus lemon juice smells a whole lot better than vinegar! (I tried the apple vinegar, and i liked what it did for my hair, but if my hair got damp i smelled like a pickle jar 🙁 and i could see people wrinkling their noses when i walked by.) So….

      If you want all the cleansing and de-greasing properties, without the horrible drying effects of baking soda, use table salt. This has the added effect of killing most (but not all) bacteria. I simply dissolve 1 tablespoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water. For the lemon juice rinse I mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 12 ounces of water.

      First I pour the salt water mix over my hair and massage through to wet my hair, then i use the aloe vera gel just like i would shampoo, except of course it doesn’t lather. Then rinse thoroughly with water. Last pour the lemon juice mix over my hair and massage through, this I leave on for a minute or 2. Then rinse thoroughly. After towel drying i spritz with a little glycerin and rosewater as a ‘leave-in conditioner’. My hair has been soft and shiny and healthy and i have had no problems with it since i started doing this 3 months ago 🙂

      Just one caution- be sure to get aloe vera gel that does not contain alcohol.

    91. Oh my!! I am having a very large EUREKA moment here. I have been doing No Poo with BS and organic ACV for two years and I have merrily thought I was doing just fine and dandy . . . short grey hair, no big deal. However, reading through all of your wonderful insights and the replies here I have realised that my scalp is suffering from soreness that I have been attributing to ????!! . . anything but the BS. I feel like a such a dill as my mother always used the vinegar on us as kids, so it has to be the BS that is causing my sore scalp and painful little lesions. It is now “painfully” obvious to me that I need to go back to a mild shampoo bar. How wonderful that I stumbled onto your blog :))) Thank you for sharing your suffering even though I am very sad for your beautiful hair. I hope it is well on the way to health now that it is 12 months later. *BLESS*

      1. When I finally put together the breakage I had and what baking soda can do, especially long term, it was a major EUREKA moment for me, too! My hair is recovering nicely now after using much more gentle ways to wash. Thank you! I hope yours heals up quickly, too. 🙂 I think the diluted vinegar can make for a good hair rinse, still, especially for getting rid of product buildup.

      2. I did the same to my scalp with BS. I really reccomend putting aloe vera mask on your scalp. It hase same Ph as the scalp and it is great for healing wound, burns etc.

        1. Great option to consider, Dominika. Thanks for sharing! How long did it take for your scalp to feel back to normal?

            1. No, you wouldn’t need to mix the aloe with anything. Just squeeze the pulp out of the leaves like you would for a burn, but you’ll be using a lot more aloe! If you want it really smooth and uniform, you could run it through a mini chopper or whisk it with a hand blender. Otherwise you can just use a more “rustic” version. 😉

          1. I am not a hairdresser but I do know that some hair is very porous after being damaged and it may take a while to correct . I am working on getting mine less porous by using Pureology Mask. It seems to be working.

    92. Hi Kristen, I took tried the baking soda new poo method and experience severe hair breakage and damage. I completely fried my hair, I didnt use the ACV rinse after and my hair was destroyed. I have gotten several buzz cuts in the last few months and my hair continues to keep thinning. Its been 8 months and the thinning has gotten severe and very noticeable. My hair is completely different in texture and it seems like I must have done some permanent damage. Is there anything I can possibly do to stop this or any type of doctor I should see. I am desperate to reverse this problem. What type of doctor may be able to help with this!

      Any response is appreciated!

      1. Hi Jack! I think you posted a similar comment on another of the baking soda posts, right? I wanted to be sure to answer this one, too so that you can maybe get some ideas for help. I’m so sorry you’ve had so much trouble with your hair from this! I’m not sure why it continues to thin and break after even getting buzz cuts. I don’t know that baking soda could do permanent damage, as my hair improved in texture immediately after I stopped using it, though it did continue to break because it was so damaged.

        I have found jojoba oil to be very moisturizing for my scalp and hair. Just a few drops do wonders! I think seeing a doctor might be helpful, too. Perhaps a dermatologist could be of help in this case? I’m not entirely sure, but it would probably be a good idea to rule out any possible medical concerns.

        I hope you find some solutions soon! Best wishes to you.

    93. I have thin, oily, fine hair and tried this too. My hair turned very dry and tangled very easily. I tried many different combinations of dilution with both, but still was having trouble. Thanks for this article! I am relieved that I didn’t keep going!

    94. I too have tried the no-poo experiment. I lasted 5 weeks. I hated the ,non clean, dry,heavy feeling . I tried to tweak the BS and ACV but never found a good ratio. Just 2 nights ago, I used shampoo again and I can’t believe how bad BS dried out and ruined my hair. I also found hair, closer to the scalp that is broken off and about 3 inches long? My hair is mid back length. I really don’t know how this happened. I let my hair dry before combing with a large tooth comb. It can only be that my hair was so dry that when I clipped my hair up for 5 weeks, because it never looked clean , that the hair clip caused the breakage? I am glad that I learned this lesson quickly!

      1. So sorry you’ve had hair breakage like that, Karen! It could be that having the clip in the same spot caused your hair to break since it got brittle from the baking soda. For me, it broke so short because it was simply so terribly dry and brittle. It’s so shocking to see how quickly it can damage the hair! I hope yours is on the mend very quickly.

        As it is recovering, I do have to mention the Lilla Rose Flexi-Clips as being extremely gentle on your hair. I think they helped prevent mine from breaking more than it did.

    95. Thank you soo much for sharing! I was considering trying the no poo method and had some concerns, considering the fact I don’t cut my hair either, being Apostolic and my personal conviction on it, I wanted to find a method to keep it healthy as it grew. (I pray on it but at the same time, I feel that by trying healthier hair methods it could help keep it in that state of healthiness.) So thank you bunches! 🙂

      1. I’m glad you were able to learn what happened to me before trying it yourself, Aislinn! I hope you find a good wash routine that you love.

    96. Hey, there! I just started no-poo, but not until couple days ago did I begin my research! It’s been a week, and I was truly considering whether or not I should stick to it.
      I’m sorry for what BS did to your hair! My hair comes below my rump, so I can imagine how devastated you must have been when it started breaking! Thank you for the info on this post, very helpful and insightful! I shall keep that in mind as I rethink this whole thin through…:)

      -Jazzy (http://thetruthsofmyheart.wordpress.com)

      1. Hi Jazzy! I’m glad you found my story with no ‘poo before you experienced any damage. It’s definitely been a humbling experience for me to see my hair become so damaged. It’s on the mend, though! I hope you find a wash routine that works well for you. 🙂

    97. I’ve been doing no poo for a year now and at first I read people claiming their hair was “beautiful” and I kept waiting for that and eventually I guess I forgot about it and accepted my crappy dried up brittle hair. Today I think I’m ready to throw in the towel but the trick is to find something that makes my hair nice.

      Most shampoos I try are lovely at first then after a few weeks I feel like a grease ball and my hair is gross. I just got a hair cut and my hair is so nice and soft but it’s probably such toxic stuff they put on my hair 🙁

      1. I totally understand trying to find the right wash routine for your hair! I’m still playing with some other options to find what I really like. I’ve still been going about 4 days between washes, which I’m glad about. I definitely *don’t* miss baking soda, though! Depending on what your stylist used, the shampoo might have silicones in it that can coat your hair and make it feel really soft. I hope you find something you love soon!

    98. I’m so glad I found this article! I just barely started experimenting with baking soda and noticed immediately that my hair felt very “stripped.” That made me pretty nervous because I naturally have pretty fine hair.

      The cool thing is that I actually don’t really have to deal with greasy hair all that much *and* my hair is pretty short so the distance between scalp and tips is really short anyway. I already go at least 3 days between washes. Before I tried baking soda, I tried just washing with water for about a week (I know, that’s kind of backward, right? But I didn’t have any baking soda on hand!), and I had no problems with water only. After reading this I’m going to go back to water only for a while and see how things go. I’ve got a hair appointment coming up so hopefully my stylist can see the health of my hair a bit better.

      The one thing I struggle with is, as I mentioned, I have pretty short and textured hair and it’s really hard for me to go without styling product. I usually use waxy/pomade style product (this was my favorite: http://www.amazon.com/FX-Surf-extreme-texturizing-Paste/dp/B0013L7H06 but it appears that the formula may have changed…) but that DEFINITELY leaves buildup on the hair. Any ideas for non-gel styling alternatives??

      1. I think it’s awesome if you can do just a water wash! I’ve never been able to get my hair to adjust to that, but it would be my first preference. I actually don’t know of product alternatives for styling textured hair. Since mine is really straight and fine, I don’t ever use styling products but maybe once or twice a year. I hope you find something, though!

    99. Hi- I came across your article because I’m looking for a way to fix my hair after no ‘poo. Luckily, I noticed the drying after 2 months, but the damage has been done. I’m been referring to my hair as being “frizzled”, a lighter version of fried/frizzy. I’m not sure who this method works for, but I found that once I googled “no poo damage” or “no poo hair repair” many, many articles exist detailing the experience we’ve had. From the chemistry related articles, it appears that baking soda is too alkaline which is just as harmful as a substance being too acidic. Also, it appears that the baking soda affects the hair cuticle greatly, with an effect similar to how diatomaceous earth effects an insect’s exoskeleton.

      1. That’s a great comparison with baking soda and DE, Madeline! I’m glad you were able to notice the damage to your hair before it got too severe. Since writing this post I’ve heard from so many other ladies who have had terrible damage. I still get a handful of comments telling me I just did it wrong, but I agree, I’m not really sure who this is a good method for.

        Jojoba oil has been great for my hair, so if you haven’t tried that yet, it might help with yours, too. Best wishes!

    100. Thanks for sharing your story. I just started with another no poo method, washing the hair with conditioner only, but decided that I would test the baking soda/vinegar method a try, because it sounds so simple. However, it seemed kind of scary that it’s the same ingredients that together are used to make a drain cleanser… I tried this morning however, rinsing very carefully. Then later I found your blog post, and well, I won’t continue with the baking soda. I’ve found a silicone/paraben/sulphate free shampoo that I might try, if I don’t go on with the conditioner method.

      1. You’re welcome, Susanne. Like I said in my post, I loved using baking soda for a couple of years, but I had no idea how it worked or what it was actually doing to my hair. I think you’re wise to skip it. 😉 My hair is much healthier now that I use a gentle shampoo and conditioner, or sometimes do a conditioner wash.

    101. why not just wash your hair with water only and no baking soda? Have you tried that and if so what happened?

      1. Hi Brian. I have heard of some people who are able to wash only with water and have great results. I haven’t been able to make that happen, though. My hair type seems to do best with some wash every four or five days. I love the idea of water only washing, but it just doesn’t seem to work for me.

    102. Perhaps the way I do things is different based on the fact that I have naturally curly hair, but I use a conditioner without sulfates like you would shampoo every time I wash my hair (which really depends on how dirty/sweaty I’ve been). When I feel like there’s been a lot of product build up I use a vinegar rinse (I use white vinegar, and I’m not sure how much of a difference that makes from ACV on my hair, but it’s what I’ve always done) usually ever other week or so (more often in the summer). If my scalp starts looking oily I use dry shampoo (which there are a lot of DIY natural recipes for) on my roots.

      I know vinegar is supposed to condition, but it also cleanses pretty well on it’s own and reduces product/sweat/dirt/other gross buildup.

      Cutting shampoo out (or using a cleansing shampoo that doesn’t lather) is great for your hair, but I can see how baking soda and vinegar might not be a great idea.

      There are plenty of other viable no-poo ways!

      1. Hi Kate, Thanks for sharing what works well for your curly hair. I’ve done conditioner washing a few times, but I can only do it irregularly on my fine, straight hair. Right now I’m doing a little bit of conditioner washing in between shampoos, and it’s allowing me to go longer between regular washing. I also shared some other no-poo options that don’t use baking soda in this follow-up post that I wrote last year, in case you missed it. 🙂

    103. I have been “no poo” for about 4 years…. I am noticing some major breakage on the top of my head! I noticed it a while ago, but wanted this idea to work so bad that I told myself maybe I was using too much baking soda. Today I just couldn’t ignore it so I got online to do some research and I stumbled upon your blog. Your experience was pretty much word for word what I’m currently going through. Thank you for sharing!!!!

      1. Oh Sierra… yep, that sounds just like me when I first seeing such short pieces on the top of my head. I couldn’t believe it would be caused from baking soda when it was working so well at the beginning! I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing the same kind of breakage I did. I hope that you are able to find a washing solution that’s gentle and effective for you!

    104. I “washed” my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar for over a year and share your experience. I kick myself for not researching more and just believing what I read on the internet. Thank you for posting this and sharing your thoughts!

      1. Oh April, I totally relate to that regret! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I had taken more time to read about no ‘poo before I had used it. I hope your hair is recovering! What are you using now?

    105. I tried baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair for a little while, worked for a bit, but I didn’t like the texture and eventually it seemed to affect my hair color. I realized I preferred to try another method to clean rather than go back to chemicals and sulfates. I tend to only ‘clean’ my hair about 2 to maybe 3 times a week. I tend to use the conditioner wash method (use a very cheap, watery conditioner like suave or V05), wet my hair completely, use a gob (like full handful) of conditioner spread through my roots and nape of neck and scrub very well for a few minutes with my fingertips. I then use a slightly deeper conditioner through the midshaft and ends of my hair to conditioner, leave for a few minutes while washing my body, then rinse thoroughly (like use a wide toothed comb while rinsing. This has really helped with keeping my hair healthier. I couldn’t abandon my hair products with ‘cones’ in them, so I do have to use a sulfate free shampoo occasionally to remove product buildup. I then use a very small amount (like a pump or two) for my roots and nape of neck only and scrub with my fingertips. I then condition the same way. See link above for the sulfate free shampoo and conditioner I use. (Ed. Product seen here) My hairstylist has even mentioned that my hair is very healthy (whatever I am doing, she told me to continue), I have very little dry/breakage and very few to no split ends. Hope this helps!

      1. Hi Shantell! I’ve heard some people really love washing their hair with conditioner. In fact, I considered trying it again in the near future just to see how my hair would handle it. I’ll be sure to take a look at the shampoo and conditioner you like. Thanks for sharing!

    106. I don’t mean to be rude….but I’m a hairdresser. Your hair was destroyed because you didn’t cut it. When you have breakage it will continue to split and force its way up the shaft. Your only way of stopping it is by cutting it off. Also if your hair is down to your lower back its too long to begin with. If a typical persons hair grows 6″ a year, let’s say that’s 3-4′ of hair. That’s been on your head for 8 years, it will always be fine on the bottom because it’s been there the longest. This method didn’t work for you because you didn’t take care of your hair. I have many hairdresser friends who have been using this method and have had absolutely no problems.

      1. Hi Colleen,

        I think you need more information about how I treat my hair than what I’ve shared here to make the judgement call that I didn’t take care of it. You never saw the condition of my hair before I used baking soda and after. You never saw the breakage patterns. You also haven’t seen how drastically my hair improved after I stopped using baking soda. You got a limited view of it here in this post and I think that’s important to keep in mind.

        The number of women that I know who do not cut their hair is quite large, and the majority of them have beautiful, well-kept hair, though uncut. No one suddenly had sections break off to only 4″ long, but I have heard from multiple ladies who used baking soda for months or years and had that problem.

        Similarly, everyone who has commenting on this post and others saying that the same thing happened to them after using baking soda longterm cut their hair. Before you assume that my hair breakage had to do with me not cutting my hair, I’d really appreciate it if you’d read this follow up post on no ‘poo and why I’m certain that’s what led to the severe, sudden, and drastic breakage that I experienced. You’ll hear from a hairdresser there, too.

        I fully realize that the standard suggestion in cases like mine is to cut the hair. I also understand why that is. But just because that’s not something I am going to do doesn’t mean that I don’t take care of my hair.

      2. You need to do more research Colleen. My Mother in law never cut her hair for 50 years and had the prettiest and healthiest hair I have ever seen.

    107. Thanks for this post! I’ve been no poo/low poo for almost 2 years and noticed my hair is so uneven in the back! I’m not sure if it’s breakage because it’s not dry at all… My hair was beautiful before no poo and I’m just wondering what would happen if I go back to ‘normal’ shampoo after 2 years? Low poo weighs my hair down a bit. Thanks!

      1. Hi Maggie!

        I never really noticed mine feeling dry either. I just became so weak and brittle.

        Switching to a shampoo bar and still using the vinegar rinse made a big difference for me, but I have started using a bottled shampoo and conditioner now since my hair was so damaged. It doesn’t weigh down my hair, which I love, and I still only wash every 4-5 days or so. I was concerned that I might have to wash it more frequently, but I haven’t! I use this brand (affiliate link) right now.

    108. I bought 2 bottle of apple cider vineger and baking soda today. then I was looking for how to use it and I came across this page. I don’t think I am gonna use those anymore. It cost me much but at least my hair got spared.

      1. Good thing there are so many other uses for baking soda and apple cider vinegar! I do still like to use a diluted vinegar rinse from time to time, and when I used a shampoo bar, I always used it after washing. It’s the baking soda that can be so damaging. But it sure is great for cleaning the bathroom or making a deodorizing carpet powder! 🙂

    109. I realize this post is a few months old and I may not get a reply, but it’s worth a shot! I’ve been doing no ‘poo for 8-9 months and while I haven’t noticed any significant damage/thinning, things don’t seem quite right and I’ve been contemplating moving on from it. My hair is about 6 inches past my shoulders. I have personally felt convicted in the past to donate my hair for others, and probably will again. At this point, maybe my hair is shot and it wouldn’t be useful, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I do plan to cut it again eventually (last donation was July 2013.)

      Anyway, I am looking for advice on alternative methods that would give me the benefits I currently enjoy with baking soda/ACV – I only wash every 3-4 days, and it styles beautifully and holds without any products. As I’m sure you and others can relate, when it is very long you just don’t want to mess with washing and drying every single day. Most everything I’ve read from people that loved this method is that it eventually destroyed their hair, and I feel like I should make the switch before it happens. Just tonight I braided my hair into two braids for a walk outside with my winter hat on, and the pigtail-braids look a little thin. Hopefully I can still stop this!

      Any other methods or products that folks recommend?

      1. I can definitely relate to what you’re saying, Samantha! My hair held styles so well a few months into baking soda no ‘poo. I never would have imagined what it would do long-term.

        If you click through to the two follow up posts linked at the bottom of this one, you’ll read about some other options (side note… I tried the bentonite clay wash and it was a disaster! So drying. Really bad.). I was using a shampoo bar from Tropical Traditions, but recently switched to something a little more reparative since I had so much damage. I do think shampoo bars are an awesome alternative, though! A vinegar rinse works really well with them, too.

        This is the shampoo and conditioner I’m using now. It seems to be working well and my hair has stopped breaking. I don’t know how much of that has to do with the products or just the amount of time that has gone by since I stopped using baking soda. I still only wash it every 4 days or so, and it doesn’t feel weighted down from the products either.

        Hope that helps!

    110. I don’t want to be rude, but you haven’t post any scientific research on what exactly baking soda does on the hair besides what did do to your hair. But it’s like any other treatment, or when someone tries keratine but doesn’t work on her hair, like in my case keratine was never good for me but everyone says “it’s soooo good for your hair”. not everything works for everyone.

      1. Claudia, if you would continue reading the two follow-up posts linked in the last paragraph, you’ll find links to additional resources and information. My situation is not very unique among those that used baking soda for an extended period of time, as well. I also agree that different hair types will respond differently to various treatments, and I don’t think I wrote anything to the contrary.

      1. Hi Therese!

        Yes, I have heard some people say that deep conditioning while doing baking soda no ‘poo will eliminate the problems. I did not use any argan oil while I did baking soda for my washing, but I don’t even know if I was familiar with it at the time. Perhaps it would have made a difference.

        I would definitely encourage someone who still wanted to use baking soda to do some very frequent argan or jojoba oil treatments. I just have to question, though, if a washing routine requires frequent oil conditioning treatments, if it really is the best way to clean the hair? I’m just not sure that it’s worth the potential risk. For me, I know it isn’t, but others might feel differently.

        I also noticed that she mentioned the pH of baking soda, and how liquid castile soap has a similar pH, which is true. But that would lead me to believe that both baking soda and liquid castile soap could be problematic as a hair washing product, not that both can be used so long as certain precautions are taken.

        Those are my thoughts on the link! She seems really happy with her haircare routine and I hope it continues to work well for her. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

    111. 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.

      1. 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.

    112. 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!!

      1. 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!

      1. 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. 🙂

    113. 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!

      1. 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!

    114. 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

    115. 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.

      1. 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! 😉

    116. 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.

    117. 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. 🙂

      1. 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!

    118. 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.

      1. 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.

    119. 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.

      1. 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!

    120. 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?

      1. 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.

    121. 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.

      1. 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! 🙂

    122. 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.

        1. This is very late to the party . . . but, as I am in Australia, I can tell you that before I lost my mind and went NoPoo, I was using and LOVING a herbal shampoo bar from Platypus Dreams in Queensland, which I will be going back to after my epiphony (!) I found they lasted really well too – I cut mine into four pieces and kept it dry between uses. I have no affiliation with them at all, I just know they have lovely products and are super nice to deal with . . . . I hope this helps someone.
          Please, if you are NoPooing and your head gets sore . . . . I hope you are quicker on the uptake than I was ಥ_ಥ

    123. 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?

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

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

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

      2. <