DIY Extras – Baking Soda Hair Wash/ACV Rinse

The “no ‘poo” method has become a bit of a craze in the past year or so. And no, it has nothing to do with constipation – it’s short for “no shampoo” and encourages people to find alternative ways to wash their hair. There are many reasons to be shampoo-free; for example, you don’t have to buy bottles of shampoo regularly. This saves money AND packaging, if you’re interested in being green and all that. There are many other reasons, which are outlined here.

The one that really made me want to try it was the bit about hair health. I have pretty easy hair: it’s not really fine or thick, it’s mostly straight, and it has no special needs. It’s also pretty short at the moment, so I just get out of bed in the morning and head to work without doing anything. So when I decided to try out this method, I didn’t go into it expecting miracles, but I DID expect something to change.


The most popular version of shampoo-free is using baking soda instead of shampoo, and an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse in place of conditioner. For what it’s worth, I got the baking soda at Target, but this is one of those things you can really get ANYWHERE. I purchased the apple cider vinegar at Pathmark because I didn’t find it at Target – I don’t think you’ll be able to find ACV anywhere but a grocery store. Anyway, both are known for cleaning properties, so this made sense to me. In this post about shampoo-free (which I used as my main source of information; it really answered any questions I may have had), it says that the general rule is one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water; this can be kept in an old shampoo bottle. Now, since this means that the resulting mixture is a liquid, I couldn’t really imagine how I’d be able to use it. WELL, I have short hair, which means I just kind of made a paste in my hand with baking soda and water while I was in the shower and massaged that into my head. As for the ACV rinse, I used two tablespoons of ACV and one cup of water and put it in an old face wash container.

Now, I used this method over the course of…about four months, I would say. And I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed with the results. I didn’t see ANY changes to my hair. Maybe this is a good sign, as it means it wasn’t very icky to begin with, but I was expecting SOME sort of pay off for my troubles. (Not that there were many troubles, it was always just sort of annoying to bring the baking soda in the shower with me when there was shampoo already there.) Also, the ACV rinse smells, which I expected so it wasn’t really a turnoff, but it probably is worth mentioning.

So here it is months after I started on this venture; what have I done? I’ve gone back to regular shampoo. It’s conveniently already in the shower and my hair looks and feels exactly the same. I do still use the ACV rinse; partially because, you know, I made it so what else am I going to do with it, and partially because I do like how it makes my hair feel. Ultimately it is worth trying if you’re open to new things, but for me it just wasn’t worth it to keep doing it. Just make sure you don’t tell your friends you’re doing it: I know mine didn’t really listen to me and just thought that my not using shampoo was gross. Charming, open-minded people, my friends are.