No Poo (my shampoo-free results!)

This post was originally published in January 2011. It has been revised and republished. Check out the details on my routine here!
All right, folks. It’s time for the big reveal.
For a long time, I resisted having pictures of myself floating around the internet. I’m a lil’ bashful. But I’m extra excited about the results of my No ‘Poo experiment. (See my routine here.)
For the first few weeks of “No ‘Poo,” I looked like a brunette Doc Brown. I suppose that would mean I was Reverend Jim from Taxi.
Not a good look for me.
But a few weeks later, after mixing in the No ‘Poo method at least 75% of the time, my hair has adjusted perfectly. I need to wash it less (I’ll No Poo about 3x per week, saving the lathery goodness for special occasions) so the setup is ideal. And SO affordable!
Before you see this photo, here’s a disclaimer: I didn’t get the memo that when taking photos of oneself MySpace-Hooker style (I’m told they’re called “selfies,”) Angry Face is probably not the best look.

The point is, my hair looks pretty darn normal.

Moving on to the back:

Point is, I’m finally happy with my hair. And I’ve got lots of it.

Check out my routine here, and troubleshoot with why isn’t no Poo working for you.

If you’ve got in-depth body care concerns or want to heal and improve your skin and hair naturally, I recommend my Purely Primal Skincare Guide.

 Thanks for reading!

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    1. Thank you Kristen! Your photos are magical… 🙂
      If you try this, definitely be prepared for an adjustment and a few weeks of ponytails! After that, I’m sure you’ll love it!

  1. But the problem with us shorter-haired people is that it looks even WORSE when it’s oily and greasy. I haven’t washed my hair since yesterday since I’m getting my stitches out today and looking forward to showering and it’s like I dipped my head in oil. Sigh.

    1. That’s true…NOT an easy transition when you can’t ratchet the whole mess back into a home-facelift-style ponytail. I didn’t wear my hair down during the adjustment period…*double sigh! I’m glad you’re recovering nicely, though!

  2. I think you look incredible! I’m really impressed by all the things you’re doing and your commitment to seeing them through. Can I hang out with you and Layna?

    1. I miss you both. I would like to flash forward 10 years in our life when we all have unlimited funds, free time and gore hair so we could hang out more often.

  3. I agree, you’re hair looks great, but what about curly hair that needs some kind of frizz control. I can go ages without washing (dry,dry, curly hair) but definitely need something for the frizz. Ideas?

    1. Primalmami, my hair is strrraight as an arrow, fine and there’s lots of it! On top of that, it was always quite oily. I always envied the curly haired girls and still do, but I’ve definitely had the opposite issues. I’m clueless about curly hair, but I did just have a commenter on this post:
      That reader DOES have curly hair and uses No ‘Poo. I’m wondering if she’s had the same issues as you with dry/frizz? I have heard great things about cocoapink’s Glissade:
      But have never tried it myself, although I’m a huge fan of their products (If you order anything from them in January use the code Paleolove for 20% off!) Another reader, Mel, also commented on my No Poo post about using coconut oil to smooth the hair a bit, and I do use that to tame flyaways when I wear my hair up.

  4. Thanks CaveGirl! I’m definitely going to try our cocoapink’s glissade. I’ve actually tried shampooing less but still needed some other product, which would build up on my hair. This should work perfectly:) I hope…

    1. Do it and report back! That’s an order! (Actually, I’m beginning to think that if you can’t rock a ponytail for a few weeks, you may want to wait until you can hibernate for awhile. But if ponytails are a possibility, DO IT!) It’s so freeing to be liberated from the hair product world. Now my participation in the Herbal Essences Rat Race is voluntary, not compulsory. If I want to smell like a lavender scentgasm, I will…If not, I don’t have to!
      Whoa, looks like that last espresso wasn’t such a good idea 🙂

  5. Love that you posted pictures with the results, it looks good! I have thought about trying this several times but I have a LOT of hair so wasn’t sure how it would go. Recently I switched to using only silicone-free conditioner instead of shampoo and like it, but want to go even more natural. How often did you shampoo & condition during the transition?
    Also thanks for the Glissade rec & coupon code, have been looking for silicone free styling for my curly hair for a while & haven’t found anything I liked yet! I ordered it, so will see how it works 🙂

    1. I hope you love the CP stuff! I sure do.
      I have always felt like I needed to wash my hair daily, so as I transitioned into using No ‘Poo I washed my hair ALMOST daily and used Baking Soda & ACV 75% of the time and the silicone-free, paraben-free stuff from the Gluten-Free Savonnerie 25% of the time over the course of the 30-ish days. I have started washing every other day (approximately) in the last week or so, and I know I could cut down the washing even more, but for some reason (probably psychological!) I don’t feel ready for the day until I’m showered with my hair washed & dried!

  6. after reading about No Poo on this blog and on MDA, i started the regimen earlier this week. i was scared; i actually put up a “good luck!” post-it in the shower the night before. but for some reason, my hair has not been going through any transition period. i have done the regimen for about 5 days now, and my hair looks completely normal. no Doc Brown dopplegangers, no flyaways, no need for a ponytail. it feels like i am cheating, or at least doing something wrong. does everyone go through a transition period? i was not using any gluten-free or any special type of shampoo (unless Suave is somehow totally natural and i missed it). will keep trying and keep my fingers crossed that maybe i just won’t have a transition period? any thoughts?
    ps Liz, love your blog. started using OCM too, and jojoba and coconut oil for moisturizers, both of which i LOVE. i feel like i am living in a different decade (1967, perhaps?)

    1. Thank you for your comment Michele! That’s AWESOME that you transitioned so easily. My head felt like a crispy patch of burnt grass for a while there! All I can think is that after years of showering and heat styling daily I ruined my hair’s ability to maintain its own levels of moisture. You’re a more balanced person than I am! 😉 I’m so glad you like the blog and you’re having success! It’s AWESOME to hear about others’ experiences and to be in such great company. Isn’t jojoba the greatest thing? So light and absorbs perfectly. The only moisturizers I’ve ever used that don’t irritate my face in some way. My skin isn’t perfect, but when I think about what it used to be and how much I agonized about it, I know I won’t go back!

  7. Ok question for you. How the hell do you get rid of the crunchies? I don’t know if I’m not totally washing out the baking soda but the ends of my hair kinda get crunchy and stiff.. Did this happen to you? I’m dying! I have the same type of hair you described and it’s killing me feeling greasy!

    1. This is exactly what happened to me during the “adjustment period!” It will go away, but it may take a few weeks of perseverance. That first 30 days is a real crunch-fest! I washed about 2 out of 7 times per week during that adjustment period with a silicone-free, paraben-free, natural shampoo from Gluten Free Savonnerie and CocoaPink to give myself a break from the crunchies, but for the most part I just pulled it back into a bun while I waited it out! I know, it’s tough! (the 20% off code is good through January – Paleolove)

  8. just curious… did you stop using styling products or styling tools as well? how does this fare for using a straightening or curling iron? i kinda just let my hair air dry and go wild, but did use a bit of hair spray to hold back a stray piece in a ponytail the other day. wonder if coconut oil would work…

    1. Hi Michele! As far as styling products – I do still use non-aerosol hairspray on occasion (like to cement back severe bed-head when I’m in a hurry or when I want to keep some curl in my stick-straight hair for more than 5 minutes) and I do just fine with both my straightener and my curling iron, even on the highest heat settings. I have used coconut oil to smooth flyaways, but you have to be SUPER stringent with it because too much just creates an oil slick!

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  10. So if I’m reading the comments right, the crunchy texture will go away after the transition period. Once past the transition does it feel silky, sticky, just kind of there? My husband is worried about my switching to a BS/ACV routine because he loves running his hands through my hair. I need to be able to reassure him before I switch.

    1. I had a HORRIBLE crunch during the “transition.” I was ponytails and headbands for at least 2 weeks and almost gave up. Actually, I started up with this when my husband was out of town 🙂 I will say that I the first time I EVER forced my husband to sit down and run his fingers through my hair was when I felt my soft tresses after that adjustment period! I think you’ll be happy with the results.

  11. Found you through FB….thanks for all the info on your site. OMG. I just calculated that I can throw out $250 worth of hair products after trying the No-Poo method you posted. Now, I’ve only done it for 1 day…but like Michelle stated…no issues with a ‘transition’ period yet…. I mean, it felt weird in the shower, so I did a 2nd dose of the ACV rinse and my hair blow dried faster than before and not one ounce of product was needed! Soft and beautiful…thank you thank you thank you!!! I’m also battling adult acne (very much like your story…10+ yrs) and I just started the OCM, too. So grateful for your sharing this info <3

  12. I have shortish, SUPER FINE, hair. Styling my hair involves more stress, and more cajoling then a hostage negotiation. If I go no ‘poo, do you think I can still do my normal styling routine (blow dry with round brush, not one, but two styling products to get it to stay in place!)? I, too hate using chemical laden crap on my skin and have been a regular consumer of all kinds of hippy-dippy, break out into kum-by-yah, over priced and not always so effective, health food store bought beauty products. Currently I’m using some styling products by Giovanni that are the best compromise between price, effectiveness and least toxicity I can find. I’d like to try No Poo and OCM though because I’m attracted to cost savings (more money for grass fed beef!!!) and the DIY aspect. Why do cheap beauty products have to be filled with ingredients with more syllables then I have pairs of underwear? And yet the clean, “organic” stuff is so expensive sometimes, I have to promise my first born’s first born to pay for it. Since when does some big, for-profit company traded on the NYSE know what’s better for my body then me???

    1. You are hilarious. “Why do cheap beauty products have to be filled with ingredients with more syllables than I have pairs of underwear?” GENIUS!
      I definitely think you can do your normal styling routine – I do. I blow dry with a round brush as well. My hair is suddenly down to my mid-upper-back – I wonder if my regimen has made my hair grow faster? Seems like only yesterday it was shoulder-length. But I’m guessing that if someone with a fine (not super fine, but definitely fine) rat’s nest like me can maintain the normal blow-dry/style routine, you can too. Of course, it took a few weeks for my hair/scalp to adjust to the routine, but now that it has, there’s only a slight difference in texture which is neither here nor there. Just different – cleaner, maybe? Unfettered? – and my hair can still be cajoled into looking pretty with no more effort than it took before!

  13. I’m planning on trying this, and I was just wondering if you still use conditioner after this? Not sure I’ll be able to comb through my hair without it!

    1. The ACV is meant to condition/detangle, and it works well! I have very long hair, and although the texture is slightly different (less “slip”) it’s not anything unmanageable!

  14. Okay, I need some serious help. I’ve been doing the no ‘poo thing for almost a month now, and my hair still feels hellish. There have been some better days–I even wore it down once–but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better overall. It may actually be getting worse. This morning I blow-dried it and could barely even get my fingers through after it was dry. It’s not actually tangled, it’s more like the texture is just so strange (coarse, maybe? filmy?) that it won’t let anything through. And it holds it’s shape in a weird way, sort of like…troll hair. HELP ME. It’s not greasy or dirty, just really, really weird. The ends also feel really dry, frizzy and coarse. I’ve been doing the 1 tbsp baking soda plus a cup of water/scrub into scalp/rinse/rinse again with diluted ACV thing every other day or so. Is it possible it’s just taking a really, really long time to adjust? I’m ready to give up! ARGH. ALL CAPS.

    1. This is a tough one! I’m sorry you’re not having the success you hoped for 🙁
      There could be a few reasons…It MAY be an extended adjustment period, but I don’t know if I would have the patience to try beyond 30 days – I definitely commend you for that! I will do some digging for a “Troubleshooting” post…but what comes to mind initially is that your water may be causing the problem. NOT saying your water is “wrong” or “bad,” but I do know that some folks with more minerals in their water (can’t remember if it’s soft or hard water) might have some trouble. Have you tried the method while traveling? I found that it worked slightly differently when I went to visit family in another state, and I think the water was to blame. I will do some digging!
      Other than that, you could try checking out Bubble and Bee, Dr. Bronner’s, or the lye soap I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Let me know if you experiment and what you figure out, and I will get back to you soon. Try a coconut oil masque in the meantime for a little added nourishment – soak hair in coconut oil for a few hours (or overnight if you can) and rinse out using a good dose of the vinegar OR just use quality foaming shampoo. I won’t tell anyone 😉

  15. Just came across this post while doing some reading on the no ‘poo methods. I’m a recent convert and am in the transition period, but nearing normal-ness again. I’ve found that if I just wash with water (and do a few minutes of a scalp massage – no baking soda), then follow with the ACV rinse, I don’t get that weird crunchy texture. The only time I use the baking soda is if I get really sweaty and feel super dirty. Seems to be working for me!
    I have also ditched the old styling products for some natural homemade things. I use a little bit of coconut oil (itty bit, warm between my palms then spread through hair to control flyaways). I made a mixture to replace hair spray, too: sea salt dissolved in water with the juice of a lemon. I keep it in a plastic travel sized spray bottle and shake it up before using because the salt sometimes separates out. It can be drying, so I don’t use it every day but it gives me a nice “beachy” wave if I spray it on damp hair and let my hair air dry. I’ve switched to aluminum free deodorant and only wash my face with raw honey (plus a sprinkle of baking soda when I want more of a scrub).
    I feel so much better without all of those toxins hanging around!

  16. Thanks, Liz! Sorry this reply is so late in coming, but I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions above. I switched over to some paraben-free, gluten-free, whatever-else free shampoo for now (cheating, I know), but I’m hoping to experiment with the Bubble and Bee products once I feel ready for another transition phase, ha. I’m a little nervous because their site says the shampoos often don’t work well with hard water, so if my water is the issue it might screw those up too. We’ll see–I’ll report back if I end up trying them out!
    Thanks again 🙂 Congrats on the OK! mention!That’s huge.

  17. Ok I’ve been trying this no poo technique (baking soda and ACV for about 2 months)- so far so good.. I have short straight hair (bob style hair). I use Arm & Hammer baking soda and Heinz Apple cider vinegar (will get Braggs brand after I used up this)…one question hairstylist told me not to rub my scalp too much when washing hair as my hair falls out A LOT…and it’s true…when I try to wash off the build up around my scalp, my hair fell out a lot on the shower and she noticed how my hair starts to get thinner…
    Any solutions to this? Do you rub your scalp when washing your hair with baking soda mixture?
    The way I wash my hair is this: first I wet it, then pour the baking soda mixture on my head and try to coat as much as possible..leave it for about a minute then later I pour ACV mixture and then rinse off everything. Since acid+base = neutral, I don’t get that stinky ACV smell.

    1. Hm, I’m not sure Jos! I do massage my scalp a bit because it feels nice 🙂 But I don’t have an issue with too much hair falling out. The way you do it sounds good, because I’m guessing the ACV on top of the BS kind of creates a bit of a “rub” in its foaming action, no?
      Another option I’ve tried a few times – since I have LOTS of hair and it’s extremely long right now – is to add a little Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castille soap after pouring the baking soda over my hair. I was starting to “miss spots” and using SO much BS now that my hair is long, and a small dab (the size of a quarter) of castille soap stretches the baking soda a bit!

      1. Thanks for the tips. I try not rubbing my scalp too much (i know it feels nice just like you said) and seems like it helps my hair not to fall off too much..maybe I’m just getting old that my hair doesn’t grow as much as it used to be 😀

  18. So, you just do Baking Soda and ACV now when you do wash? I am curious to try this but the hair falling out has scared me…

    1. Actually, my hair has gotten SO long that it requires a ridiculous amount of baking soda to cleanse the whole length of it. Instead, I do a reasonable amount of baking soda with water (2-4 Tbs. baking soda dissolved in water), and add a squirt of pure castille soap to add just enough suds to work through the length of my hair without having to use a jar of baking soda every time. Then I do the standard ACV rinse. Never have had a problem with hair falling out!

  19. What do you think about using Baby Powder to hide greasy-ness during the transition period? Do you think it would mess up the hair trying to regulate it’s oil production? I regularly use baby powder to touch up my hair when I have no time to shower and it’s greasy but wondering if it will mess up the natural processes of my hair as I go No-Poo

    1. You know, I’m not a huge fan of talc (for babies, anyway) but I’m sure it’s fine for the in-between time! I can’t imagine it “strips” in the same way shampoo does. But then again, I just went with a ponytail and headband during my transition period, so I couldn’t say for sure! Let me know what you end up doing, and how it works!

      1. I haven’t used shampoo for almost a month now (it’s going great!) I only had about a week where my hair was noticeably bad and I did use baby powder when I was going out or had to see family (my mother wouldn’t stand for greasy hair) and it worked great and didn’t leave buildup or slow the process. I don’t need it very often anymore either which is fantastic but I find it super helpful in emergency situations!

  20. Hi! I’ve been using the no-poo method for over 3 months now, and my hair isn’t doing too well. I have long curly hair, and it feels really waxy all over. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, or how I can possibly get better results. I wear my hair in a ponytail all the time. Do you have any advice/recommendations? Thanks a bunch!!

    1. Hey Becky…Waxy huh? Not so sure! What I’ve noticed is that when I travel (like when I go home to Kansas City for a visit) my hair doesn’t respond the same way to the No Poo regimen. I think it has something to do with the amount of minerals in your water, perhaps? You could try adding a squirt of castille soap after you’ve poured the baking soda over your head (something like Dr. Bronner’s) to ensure the distribution of the cleansing. Also, the minute I pour the ACV mixture over my head I rinse it off. I find it it lingers too long it leaves my hair feeling strange. I will pose this question to the facebook page as well! Check in over there if you can 🙂

  21. I’m on my third week of no-poo. The first week was rough and stinky! Then I realized I was overdoing the ACV a little, so cut back and have had fabulous results. My hair is soft and full, my scalp doesn’t itch, and I can go longer between washings.
    I found that a final rinse with cool water helps the ACV smell go away (although that may just be my imagination). Blow drying seems to take out most of the remaining smell, and I smooth a few drops of jojoba oil mixed with some essential oils (peppermint, rosemary, lavender) through my hair after drying.
    Oh yeah — I have very thick hair, and blow drying used to take 30-40 minutes to get it completely dry. It was torture, so I would usually skip the hair dryer and thus hated washing my hair in the winter because I had to walk around with a wet head in the cold.
    Blow drying now takes about 10 minutes to get my hair totally dry!

  22. Hi Liz,
    I have oily scalp and I wash my hair everyday (since I cook everyday and I can’t stand my hair being oily). I started using ACV as hair rinse after using natural soaps from Sometimes, I still use natural liquid shampoos such as Everyday Coconut shampoo I bought from Whole Foods. But somehow I find my hair tends to get oily easily if I were to use natural soap + ACV rinse. Do you have any suggestions/recommendations? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jess! It may not necessarily be oil, but residue or texture changes – I find that when I leave the ACV rinse on for too long, my hair feels funny. That may not apply to you, but if that’s not the case, I just don’t have too many thoughts for you! Have you tried adding baking soda to the natural soap? I’ll pour the baking soda mix over my hair, then add a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap to the mix. It seems to work well. Then, quickly pour 2 Tbs ACV mixed with 1-1/2 cups water (my hair is LONG) over my head and immediately rinse.

  23. Stumbling upon this through a friend has been wonderful– and perfectly timed! I started the baking soda/vinegar three weeks ago, and was just about to give up in disgust and frustration (with the thought of trying again later when my hormones/hair/skin aren’t doing crazy things because I just had a baby).
    I have super long, super fine, mostly super straight, super oily hair. The baking soda part isn’t going soo horribly, once I stopped trying to use vinegar every day and instead use a little watered down conditioner on the length most days, but it isn’t nice and clean feeling/looking. I’ve been mixing about 2-3 Tbsp of baking soda with a couple drops of natural shampoo in an old shampoo bottle filled with water to make the transition a tad easier, but this morning I was so fed up with my oily bangs from my oily face (I can’t wait to try your OCM!) that I used a good 5 drops of shampoo with my baking soda. I immediately felt like a failure after using it and that now I’d have to start all over again, because I’d given in and used *gasp* a whole five drops … but reading that you used straight shampoo a couple times a week has rescued me from my guilt and given me what I need to keep with it. 🙂 Hopefully the OCM will help with my oily skin and make the whole no ‘Poo thing work a little better for me and my bangs.
    I started using baking soda on my kids a couple weeks ago too, including my now 6 week old– he’ll have been ‘Poo free from almost the very beginning. 🙂 The changes with my older two (daughter– just-turned-two, and son– almost 4) have been awesome. My daughter’s curls are more bouncy and full, and no matter how much she and my son run around and get all gross and sweaty, their heads smell nowhere near as “horse-ish” (my husband’s words, not mine) as they did when we were using shampoo on them. Added super-bonus: no more buying crazy expensive natural, organic, scary-stuff-free shampoos for a family of 5.
    P.S. Love, love LOVE your site!

  24. I tried the BC/Vinager no poo regimen for about a week (maybe two, can’t remember), and my hair came out okay, but I had a terrible skin reaction and I just couldn’t stick it out. My outer ears and to a lesser extent my scalp (esp in the back) and back of neck erupted in eczema/psoriasis (red, swollen, scaly, ITCHY skin). Oh god it was so bad on the ears. I have really really sensitive skin (everything gives me a rash), and I’ve had problems with psoriasis/seborrhoeic dermatitis on my scalp since puberty. The no poo experiment seemed to completely enrage my scalp and everything around it. It took me weeks to get rid of the rash, with a combo of this, this, my old prescription shampoo, and a topical prescription steroid cream. Now I’m just back to my regular shampoo/conditioner. I’ve been paleo for over a year, so it’s nothing clearly dietary related, but it’s hard to imagine that I’m allergic to AC vinegar or baking soda. Maybe it was just detoxing? If so, I just don’t think I can stick it out, the itching was too bad. I spent years on a regimen of alternating prescription anti-fungal shampoo with OTC anti psoriasis shampoos, and that partially kept it under control, though not entirely. Eventually I decided to experiment with an “all natural” psoriasis shampoo. Giovanni Cosmetics Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo and conditioner were on sale at Whole Foods, so I gave them a shot. Those alone worked better than all the other stuff combined, and I’ve been using them with almost no symptoms for years. With my current knowledge, I know that that brand isn’t even entirely “natural” or “organic”, but it’s the damndest thing-every time I try to switch to anything else, even if it’s way more gentle and natural and has tea tree oil, my scalp flares up again. Even skipping a day and not washing my hair more than once in a blue moon will cause a flare up to start. So I think I’m married to that brand-god help me if they ever go out of business.

    1. I’ve done no-poo before but somehow last year managed to start using conventional shampoo and conditioner again (I blame nursing school taking over). I had a weird problem with what I thought was the Dr. Bronner’s conditioning rinse (orange bottle) making my hair and straightener smell… awful. My hair has changed textures nd I don’t straighten much anymore but I do have to straighten my bangs. I tried using castile soap with coconut milk recently and got a hint of the same awful smell. Do you have this problem using castile soap? I’m going to go back to using the BS and ACV mix but will be really disappointed if I can’t use castile soap to get a better (occasional) clean until my bangs finish growing out.

    2. Thank god for this comment – I thought I was going crazy!
      I love the No ‘Poo method; it’s done wonders for my hair. But I too am having an eruption around my ears and hairline of these deep bumps that appear to be acne but can’t be popped. I’ve never had anything like this happen before. They’re red and upraised and embarrassing. Oh, and painful when pressed. Any ideas why this could be happening? I’m very attached to the No ‘Poo method and don’t want to give it up!

    3. Sara, so sorry I’m just seeing this comment! This is really a mystery to me. Did you do any spot-testing on and away from the scalp to gauge isolated sensitivities? Detox symptoms can be varied, unpredictable and unexpected, and I think all folks, Paleo or not, would benefit from an intensive gut healing protocol once in their lives, but other than that I just can’t shed any light on this! Bottom line – you can’t live in constant pain and discomfort, so I totally understand your decisions. Interestingly, I’ve spoken to folks with your same issues who experienced amazing improvements after going No ‘Poo, so the pendulum must swing both directions. I’m so sorry it was such a pain for you! Thanks for leaving your comment – very often the only place people find individuals with common experiences and suggestions is in the comments sections of websites like this! Thank you for sharing…and keep in touch.

  25. Hi there! I found your site accidentally, as this “No Poo” post was linked on a Runner’s forum somewhere out there.
    Anyway… I’m 32, mom of 2, fitness junkie. Long (at times SUPER long) brown, thick wavy hair. I have been no poo for 3 weeks now. Before that I only washed every 2 or 3 days, so for me there was literally no transition period.
    I cannot tell people enough about how wonderful this method really is. I’m trying to ‘cleanse’ my life of chemicals and carcinogens, and this is just one small step, with many more to come. The great thing is that my hair actually looks and feels incredible. The hair I had before, using commercial products, can’t hold a candle to what I have going on now! It’s amazing!
    Thanks for this post, you have beautiful hair and I love your site. Happy I found you here and FB. 🙂 Take care!

  26. question – do you think people need to be at a certain level of health before starting to use homemade all natural beauty products (such as no poo) w/ a certain level of success? i eat paleo compliant nearly 100% of the time and do an AI-protocol type paleo diet pretty much 95 – 100% of the time as well, and take fermented cod liver oil and probiotics and probiotic foods and etc etc etc.. buttttt im still struggling w/ a lot of symptoms of what i think is undiagnosed hashimotos thyroiditis (my mom has it and it seems like my symptoms are right in line with hers). anyway, it is causing all sorts of hormonal imbalances w/ my female hormones and such, and i’ve been diagnosed w/ PCOS as well.. i guess my point is a lot of these issues cause dry skin, acne, flaky skin, dry hair, etc.. all of which i have issues with. obviously im trying to work w/ doctors/natural health practitioners to address these issues, but in the mean time, i still seem to have a lot of dry/frizzy hair issues. my hair (naturally) is similar to your texture, but keeps getting drier and frizzier. i already use natural/gluten free type products that are the types of things sold at wholefoods, but i feel like even those don’t work very well. maybe because i’m just not healthy enough to get good results from the natural stuff? i want to obviously use the stuff that is natural as possible in order to help out my health as much as possible (i know all the chemicals in normal products make autoimmunity/hormonal problems worse), but after reading your disclaimer at the top of the page, im scared im going to be a smelly greasy dry frizzy haired monster!

    1. Don’t worry Kristin! I honestly think you just have to stick with what you feel works best. If you’re using generally “clean” products now, I really don’t believe you’re doing yourself a disservice simply because you’re not fully crunchifying as you might like to. Keep trucking along – you’re doing everything you can – and I have a hunch a lot of these things will resolve in time. My disclaimer was more for the fact that I was getting nonstop emails from folks who were angry that my “methods” didn’t “cure” their (acne, dandruff, etc) when they had absolutely no dietary awareness or understanding that what goes IN affects what happens on the surface. So that doesn’t apply to you 🙂
      As far as what you’re dealing with now, I have a few things in mind for you. You might like the tallow-based balm from Vintage Tradition (I’m an affiliate, but I actually truly use and love it!) Here is the link:
      The beauty balm from GreenPasture is great too overnight:
      Also, my good friend Hayley of The Food Lovers ( has had great success using a bit of castor oil on her hair as an overnight conditioner.
      Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks so much Liz 🙂 – I’m currently working on being fairly crunchy (using Hugo Naturals – which is gluten free- from whole foods) while being 100% crunchy w/ my diet and we’ll see if after a while I can transition to full on crunchified! I’ll definitely try the balms, i’ve heard great things about them from both you and from Food Lovers/Balanced Bites.

  27. I switched to the oil cleansing method about the same time I switched to paleo and use coconut oil for everything… but I haven’t had the balls to try the no-poo yet. My hair can be quite disasterous when not tamed with loads of conditioner (or a coconut oil deep conditioning once a week).
    Seeing that you have long hair gives me a little more hope that it might work out. Maybe I’ll attempt it. Maybe.
    I do want to get rid of the chemicals. I think shampoo/conditioner is all I have left. Sunscreen, deodorant, make up, face wash, body scrub/wash, and moisturizer have all been replaced. Well, there is the hair dye… Shhh. Don’t tell.

    1. You’re doing great! No ‘Poo doesn’t work for everyone – there ARE challenges like water hardness that can make it difficult! The transition period can be ugly too. You’re already a no-crap body care badass, so don’t be too hard on yourself 😉

  28. Hi, I just wanted to share my experience. I have long, thick naturally big hair.
    I am happy to report I had absolutly no adjustment period! and the vinegar smell only lasts a very short time after washing. If I can remember to use a spray or two of essential oil with water there is no vinegar smell at all! Gone are the days of NJ 80’s big hair. Thank you CaveGirlEats!

  29. Liz,
    Maybe you can help? I’ve been doign the No ‘Poo thing for around 4 months. My hair still feels pretty sticky after a “wash”. I’m dissolving 1 Tbs baking soda in 1 c water, and I have white vinegar mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with water, in a spray bottle. I’m not sure if I’m just not getting my hair clean enough with the soda, not getting enough of the soda out before “conditioning” with vinegar or if I’m using too much vinegar (or too little?) I still find that the day after the “wash” i have to use actual conditioner just to lift some of the scum off my hair. Any thoughts?

    1. Hmm, here’s what I think…
      If you have medium to short-length hair, that’s probably the right amount of BS.
      I tend to mix the same amount of BS as vinegar with water. As in, if I use 1 Tbs BS mixed with 1 cup of water, I’d use 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water. You may be using too much vinegar, or leaving it on too long. I rinse IMMEDIATELY after pouring the vinegar/water mixture over my head. If I don’t, my hair feels greasy afterward!
      I have very long hair, so I probably use closer to 4 Tbs. BS with 1-1/2 cups water. I work through my hair, sometimes adding a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s castille soap because I have so much darn hair – sometimes it’s hard to ensure the baking soda works its way through all of it. Once I rinse completely, I mix 4 Tbs. ACV with 1-1/2 cups water, pour over my head, and then rinse right away. Seems to work great for me!
      This method doesn’t work for everyone, though – I have come to believe that varying levels of water hardness can change the way it works for people. Hope this helps!

  30. No ‘Poo Day 1: COMPLETE!!
    My hair is wet and feels good, but its only day 1… bring on the adjustment period!! My question is regarding hair loss… I lose a lot of hair every time I wash my hair, and it seems that no matter how delicately I detangle it, I still lose a ton. So I did the No ‘Poo today and as expected, a lot of hair was left on my hair brush… what do you know about this?? My hairdresser had recommended I used Nioxin for my hair loss, and I started doing that about 4 weeks ago until I decided no more (sigh, the bottles are full!!).
    The point is, I don’t know what to do. I also have long fine and straight hair, but I’m afraid I’m going bald!!! What can I do??
    As always… thank you!!

    1. I used to use Nioxin, and it didn’t do much for me. Problems like this are generally internal, so if it were me, I’d look at the nutrient building blocks I was taking in (proteins, vitamin A, CoQ10…coincidentally, those are SOME of the ingredients in Nioxin!) and making sure I was digesting it well. I get in to this a ton in the Skintervention Guide! There is also ONE supplement I actually do like for nail & hair support, and it’s by Gaia…the name escapes me right now, but I know I listed it in the guide (which I THINK you bought, correct me if I’m wrong?) If not, and you’d like the name of the supp, I’d be glad to dig it up when I get home this evening 🙂
      Just remember to be gentle with your hair as you work the baking soda into it! You don’t need to do much. Also, Primal Life Organics has a CLAY-based shampoo called “Dirty Poo” that you can use much like No ‘Poo that might even help add more nutrition to your scalp. Keep in touch!

      1. Yes! I am the proud owner of your Skintervention Guide! How do people live without it! I’m working my way through it, and I clearly need to read more about my nutrient requirements and digestion. So far I’ve added FCLO/BO capsules, FOCM, sauerkraut every day, and the No ‘Poo method, as well as some stinky stinky products you recommended in your last post. I’m saving up for the hair brush you recommend, but might need to wait until Rx returns (husband is almost convinced that I NEED it ;))
        My hair is dry now and it looks just like it would have of I had used shampoo, which I’m pretty happy with! So now I’ll get on it and read about what to eat and how to improve my digestion. I really appreciate you following up and taking the time to take care of us!!
        Thank you so much, again!

  31. Loved going no poo! I can finally get a comb through my stringy fine hair and like you I have LOTS of it! I also read, “I fought the henna…” And I LOVE your hair color in the post no pop pictures. I was wondering if it was henna dyed or your natural color. Thanks! Love this blog!

    1. Oh, thanks for the kind words! The post no-poo pics were from before I switched to henna, unfortunately, so the pics from the henna posts are accurate for hair color! The pics of me within the Skintervention Guide are with my henna hair too!

  32. Okay thanks for the feedback! I’m hoping to ditch bleaching the crap out of my poor hair for something more natural one day. The henna post pictures are a gorgeous color but unfortunately my husband would have a fit if I dyed mine that dark lol. I’ve been looking at the henna for hair website and they have TONS of blends you can customize hopefully it won’t be a disaster as I’ve had many with one unfortunate experience where my hair turned bright neon orange (THATs when I gave up the box dye forever!) but it got me a lot of attention! Haha. Anyway love this site and the Skintervention guide. I’ve gone almost 100% natural and primal with my diet and beauty routine (maybe 90ish %) and my skin and hair love it! Thanks for providing us with all we need to get healthy and live it up like the true cave girls we are!

  33. I am a proud owner of the Skintervention guide. Holla.
    I started the OCM and ACV toner a few days ago. I actually hopped online to see if you had any recommendations for perfume oils, etc. I don’t regularly use perfume, but after being told by my three year old that “you smell stinky mommy” and my 6 year old “I’ll snuggle you anyway” (whilst plugging his nose, no less) I thought perhaps it was time to up my game. I was then sucked into the vortex that is this discussion of the “no-poo” method.
    I am now inspired to try the no-poo. I am a hairdresser so this is quiet a departure from my norm. Not only have I used just about every lab-created hair miracle out there, I love them. But I hate them. I’ve been modifying my diet for several years now and have been tweaking my personal paleo approach for the past year. After reading Skintervention, I feel that I’ve clearly sidestepped a crucial part of this process. Hello Elephant. I didn’t want to acknowledge you, but there you are.
    Wish me luck!
    Oh, a sidenote: for the people who are struggling with hair texture (sticky, porous, tangle-y, etc.) while using the no-poo method, I would suggest cutting back on the ACV – DILUTE it (5:1 or so) and rinse it completely out of your hair.

  34. Ok, seriously I need help! I decided to do the no ‘poo and thought it was getting better, but now I’m not so sure. I am on day 19 and yesterday was my wash day. After I dried my hair, it felt like I washed it with oil! I had one day last week where my hair truly felt “clean.” I feel like when I comb through my hair I get those awsome 80’s comb streaks that used to be cool. I’m almost ready to break down and wash my hair with……shampoo. Any suggestions?

    1. Hey Aimee! It doesn’t work for everyone! Biggest tweaks to try before you give up:
      Try boiling the baking soda and water (and letting it cool, of course) and using that. If it seems to help, it means the mineral content of your water isn’t compatible with regular baking soda. (Don’t ask me why, but it seems to be the case!)
      Make sure you’re diluting your ACV really well and rinsing it out immediately after you pour it over your head! When you leave it on to long, the hair feels oily.
      Try that, and report back!

      1. Just wanted to give you an update:
        I washed my hair last night after boiling the baking soda. I did not rinse afterward with the ACV. Today, my hair feels extremely dry, almost like straw, but not oily. I am wondering if it is my water and that my old hair color is washing out (not henna). I did just order the new dirty poo from PLO so I am hoping that it arrives soon before I give up. Thank you for your tips!

      2. Hey Liz! I just wanted to give you an update. I tried boiling the baking soda and that seemed to help a lot. I am also extremely careful on how much ACV i rinse with. My hair is a little dry on the ends, but for the most part easy to work with. I really think that is my mineral content. I also tried my Dirty Poo last week and love it! I have to ration it as I think I will go through it faster than I want to. For now I am using it about every 2-3 washes. I really do like how my hair lays now after not washing it so much. It always seemed too soft and unmanagable. Thanks so much for your advice!

  35. I tried no poo and could NOT get over the vinegar stench. I was doing good ignoring it for the first few days but I was sweating vinegar smell today at the gym and that’s just where I draw the line! 🙁 so disappointed! Is there anyway to do it without the vinegar?

    1. I just use shower water. No baking soda, no vinegar. But I do have to rinse my hair every day. It took about 6 weeks for the oil to fade away, and now my hair looks better than it has my entire life. Before it was always flat, and now I just have to “poof” it up a bit with my fingers and it stays that way.

  36. I’ve been no poo for 2 years now, and I have shorter hair. It is GREAT. I began the transition during a 2-week vacation, and I just wore a hat during that time. Then I just had to suck it up. It took about 6 weeks for it to get less greasy. Then the natural oils act like styling products! I dry my hair, fluff it up a little bit, and away I go.
    Anyone brave enough to take on no soap?
    I started that 5 months ago, and I am *not* smelly – and I think I have less body odor now. I’ve asked numerous people I trust and no one says that I’m smelly. It makes travel super easy, and I actually feel cleaner because I don’t have a soap film all over my body. I also dry off very easy. Again, I shower every day, I just use a washcloth to go over my skin. I stopped using shaving cream as well. It also feels completely unnecessary. The only thing I still use is deodorant. (I use natural brands)

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