Week Two Without Shampoo: Bright, Shiny, and Defying Science


Here’s how much my mother loves the idea of me going shampoo-free: she made sure she’d stocked up on baking soda and vinegar for me when I stayed in her house over the Thanksgiving weekend, which happened to fall in the middle of my eco-friendly beauty experiment.

It’s possible that my mom is into the no-shampoo movement because she’s pretty into going green–but it could also be because I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by the results. Wrapping up my second week of going without the chemical stuff, I’ve noticed a lot of positive changes in my hair. Chiefly–and I have no scientific backing for this whatsover–that it seems to be growing more quickly. Which could be down to a myriad of other factors, like diet or vitamin intake. But it’s definitely an improvement that I’m excited about.

Going off shampoo has also made my hair brighter, lighters, and has managed to help my strands avoid the winter dullness that plagues it every year around this time.

So far, I haven’t re-introduced conventional conditioner yet–though a lot of readers have recommended it later on down the line–and I haven’t branched out beyond the two ingredients I’ve been using. But this week, because I’m supposed to finally be able to wean myself off even those, I have a feeling I may be looking to introduce something new, like brown sugar (as suggested by a commenter).

I can’t say that I feel any healthier, or that I don’t miss the fragrance of my regular shampoo and conditioner. I’m also starting to get really curious about what would happen if I were to go back to conventional hair cleaning products.

One concern that Blisstree Editor Briana mentioned in the comments of last weeks’ post was the perception that scrubbing (with lathery shampoo) is required to get the scalp really clean. But I’ve found that the coarseness of the baking soda has done a pretty excellent job of leaving my hair and head super-refreshed and clean, even after a long, sweaty workout.

I haven’t reached a critical mass of grease yet, but I’m still not convinced it won’t hit one day, driving me back into the arms of shampoo and its chemicals and oil-stripping. But then, maybe it won’t, and I’ll never go back.

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    • d’ar

      soapwort plant. you wont be disappointed !

      • Aldana


        How would you apply the soapwort plant? I’m very interested…

    • Briana Rognlin

      OK, decided to try this today after going to the gym (…and skipping shampoo for a couple of days). My hair looks ok, but I’m pretty sure it smells like salad dressing now. The ACV smell didn’t go away despite lots of rinsing, and a spritz of lovely-smelling hair oil. Am I just bad at rinsing?

      • Hanna Brooks Olsen

        I think the ACV smell fades pretty quickly (or I have really polite friends who don’t mention it), but I think the brown sugar scrub at the end (again, rinse well or else you’ll be in a world of stickiness) helps get it out pretty well.

    • Lainey

      I am all over this but worried about the smell. I hate using chemicals everyday in my hair. Any additional advice/tips would be great!

      • Hanna Brooks Olsen

        Brown sugar after the vinegar (mixed with a little water) helps the smell. So does citrus zest (which you can kind of spray directly onto your hair), and a tiny (TINY!) bit of vanilla extract.

        Hope that helps!

    • jandon

      Hey, does this new “shampoo/conditioner” work on coloured hair too?

      • Hanna Brooks Olsen

        Jandon, I haven’t heard about its effect on colored hair yet. But…you should try it and let me know! Or ask your stylist, though they tend to be pretty pro-shampoo, so maybe just ask if vinegar or baking soda would harm it.

      • Nancy

        I have colored treated hair and tried this today. I also have oily hair which I wash everyday. I wanted a good test, so I waited into the third day to try. I mixed 1/2 cup baking soda and 2 cups water. I washed my hair with the mix and was so pleased with the results. My hair was not only clean, but appeared fuller when I blowed dried it. (I have very fine hair). It even appeared a bit lighter at the roots. Because I wash my hair so often I buy cheaper shampoo and use no other hair care products. I did not put conditioner on my hair today either. Even if I use this once a week in place of shampoo I think I will love the results. It was a fun experience for me. I highly recommend at least trying it. Does wonder for the hair.

    • Liz M

      I was hoping for an update on the no-poo experiment. Any new tips/tricks after 85+ days of being shampoo free?