Saturday, March 12, 2011

Simple Life Challenge :: No More Shampoo


Since my debut into the blogging world, I have slowly been discovering all the wonderful blogs out there from adorable people who seem to love to share!  I can't begin to tell you how much I am learning about sewing and knitting, photography, food and the internet in general (oh goodness, also learning the convenience and inexpense of internet shopping overseas!) and now I see a challenge!  Well, this is what Brave New Me is all about - meeting challenges head on. 

So for a few years now I have wondered if I can go self-sufficient - eco friendly if you will, to improve our savings account, our health and to educate my boys.  Now seems like the best time to start as there is an abundance of information and support networks to do it.  And being brave and new means, NO MORE EXCUSES!  So what that we rent, I can build a portable veg garden!  The "I can'ts" can turn into "So what, I can learn and make do!"

Ok, this first challenge of doing away with shampoo actually commenced about 3 weeks ago.  A friend of mine, Rahni announced on facebook that she washed her hair with bi-carb soda and conditioned with apple cider vinegar.  I had heard this to be a beauty secret of beauties from bygone eras and thought perhaps I should give it a go.  My hair has been severely damaged by over zealous hairdressers waving brushes of gooey chemicals, bleaching my hair within an inch of my life.  My hair was so brittle and falling out that I knew I had to do something.  So I did!  And the result?  ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!  I totally recommend it to everyone! 

I followed the information from Heidi&Seek but in a nutshell, this is what I do (which is virtually the same):

1. Mix about a tablespoon of bicarb with about 1/2 teaspoon of water to make a paste (I use a plastic cup). You can add more water if you don't want it pastey. Then I just part my hair and rub it in. I don't even wet my hair first (I do this before getting in shower in front of the vanity) as I like to see where I've put the bicarb.
Edit: Must use on wet hair, not dry!  see extract below from this excellent site.

How do I go shampoo free?
Use one tablespoon of baking soda per one cup of warm or hot water. You can double or triple the recipe if you have very, very long or thick hair. But do not use more baking soda, your hair will become hard, dry or feel brittle if you use too much. You can put this mix in a recycled shampoo bottle, and apply to your hair with warm water.
The mix should not feel gritty, and should be a liquid. If you have very short or thick hair, you may find it easier to make a paste with a tablespoon of baking soda (or less) and sprinkle it over very wet hair and massage in. Otherwise, spray or pour the mixture onto your hair and work it in. Let it sit about a minute, and then rinse. I personally find it easiest to make a liquidy paste in the palm of my hand with about half a tablespoon, and then sprinkle and massage into dripping wet hair. I have very short hair, so I use less. Experiment and see what works best for you, there are no official rules.

For a typical rinse, make up a solution of one to two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) per cup of water. Apply to wet hair, massage into scalp and rinse off with cold water. Please note, you don't always have to apply a rinse with every wash! I personally find I only need to do a rinse every 2-3 washes.

I start with the crown and part, then along the front hair line, particularly the temples and then around the back. Then I just do a random dab here and there.
2. Before jumping in the shower I pour about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into another cup and top it up with water and take it into the shower with me.
3. When in the shower, wet your hair and rub it all over. It will feel really funny and your hair will feel knotty and tangled and it will squeak! Yes, I reckon that is where the term squeaky clean came from!! Massage it in, you actually want to promote the natural oil production (your hair will not go oily from doing this!). Then rinse it out.
4. Finally, I grab the cup of vinegar and dip the ends of my hair straight into it! Works better for long hair I reckon. Then with the rest of the vinegar I pour it over the lengths. I actually bought a plastic sauce dispensar for this as it works like the squeezy tubes that hair dye come in. Then rinse the lot out. You may think at first that your hair is knotty but you will be surprised at how easily you will be able to run a comb through it!  The vinegar smell doesn't last long but if it bothers you, spritz your hair with rose water or perfume.

Even though I got good results straight up, some people say that it takes a few washes before your scalp is used to it and you could go oily a bit faster ie wash every day or second day but after about 2 weeks you'll be washing only twice a week! It worked straight away for me.

My hair is still showing signs of the damage caused by bleaching but to touch it, it is really soft now.  Brushing my hair twice a day has really helped too.
Yesterday, I checked back in with Hayley from Heidi&Seek as her post was back in 2009.  This is what she had to say:

Hi Fiona,

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

You asked whether I'm still using ACV and bicarb for my hair - the answer is yes! Although I've occasionally used a Lush shampoo bar instead of the bicarb, and I can't tell the difference between them in terms of how my hair feels afterwards.

I missed the foam of shampoo for a while after I started on the bicarb, but now I don't really notice too much.

How are you going with it?

If you have any questions about ethical/second-hand shopping or buying clothes that suit you, I'd be happy to answer them!


You can find Hayley's new blog here.

Have you made any changes for a more Simple Life?  What would you like to simplify and why?



  1. Your hair looks beautiful!! Love you xxx

  2. Oh I have been wanting to go shampoo free for a few years now but have never had the guts too...especially with curly hair. I have to use product to keep in tame and to prevent frizziness which it is prone too...I have both these in the pantry and am going to try it :)

  3. Thanks for the introduction to Hayley's awesome blog! I'm seeking to simplify the small and hope that removes the angst from the big, if that makes sense?

  4. Tammi, I too have curly/frizzy/thick/lots of hair, I started at the same time as Fi and I am never looking back!!!
    I used to leave my conditioner in and add more after while it was drying to prevent frizziness and I must have tried that many frizz free products over the years.
    So I thought what do I have to loose!!
    My hair is no longer frizzy, but nice and curly
    I highly recommend it!
    have a go :)


Hey thanks for popping by! I read all your comments and really try and get to your blog too. Despite my good intentions, I don't always reply to each message but I am very grateful for the time you take in sharing your thoughts with me. Word verification is back up because I am getting spammed big time. So thanks for taking that extra step in commenting. Blessings, Fi xxxxx

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