Hair Tales

I haven’t used commercial shampoo, body wash or any other beauty product in almost a year, and I feel very passionate about it, so I figure I’d better make a post about it. I don’t mean in anyway to convert you to my anti-capitalist beauty ideology so even if you use shampoo and other stuff you can still learn some really cheap beauty tips out of this! I recommend your try it if you’re interested because I recommend you try anything at least once if you’re interested.

This part will be all about hair. I’ll do a follow-up on skin and other uses of my favourite products later.

At first I was scared of the starter money I would need and didn’t have, and because I thought it would entail a lot of greasy hair days that would be unacceptable outdoors. but I was wrong on both sides! I did have greasy hair days, but it was only by choice. And if you somehow have to look presentable but a hair expirment failed, just throw some cornstarch in your hair as an alternative to dry shampoo, rub rub rub, comb, and you’re set with a luscious set of hair.

I love how liberating it feels to not be so dependent on products but let your own creativity loose in your kitchen cupboard for cheap DIY washes. I am never going to use any kind of (chemical) shampoo every again. My skin and hair feels better than ever, I don’t have to deal with a thousand different kinds of (chemical) smells, which I hate. My hair currently smells like hair, my skin like skin.

The idea behind this is that shampoo strips your hair of natural oils (which protect your hair) and so your natural oils keep coming back more vigourously so your hair essentially gets addicted to shampoo. It’s a nice capitalist tool. Other reasons for converting to this is how astoundingly cheap it is and, a huge reason for me, it’s a lot better for your skin. My skin used to feel itchy and painful every time I stepped out of the shower after having washed myself with body wash and/or shampoo but I feel none of that now. My skin feels smooth, soft and very kind to me.


Baking soda and apple cider vinegar method (as concocted by babyslime at livejournal)

• Step 1: A certain amount of BS diluted in a cup of water. I personally use one tablespoon and I’d recommend using this amount for the first time and then decide if you should use more or less (when your hair is suspiciously dry/straw-like use less, otherwise more). I boil my water because it gets rid of some of the hardness of city water and because the heat completely dilutes the baking soda particles, which is softer for your hair.
• Step 2: A certain amount of ACV diluted in a cup of water. I’d recommend starting out with one tablespoon again (if your hair is lank and greasy use less, otherwise more). I personally wing it every time and use two tablespoon to 1/3 of a cup now. I’ve also been too broke and lazy to buy a new bottle of ACV and have been using white vinegar instead which is five times as cheap so I’m a white vinegar convert now. Both keep my hair equally shiny, smooth and soft. You can also use lemon juice or tea. The idea behind ACV is that its ph levels are very close to your own scalp. Baking soda kinda ruins that (but cleans it!) so the acid rinse is totally essential. It also closes the cuticles of your hair that baking soda or the heat of your shower has opened. A cold rinse also boosts shine and softness.
• Step 3?: I occassionally soak semi-wet hair in about half of a tablespoon of coconut oil an hour or more before I wash it, or I add about one to two pea-size bits of it to the ends of my hair. I do the latter more obviously. I feel it protects my hair from breakage and keeps it smooth and supple, and not-dry.

I always make batches of this stuff which I store in large plastic water bottles because I am lazy. They lasts me about two weeks. A box of baking soda costs me about 1,50 euros and a bottle of white vinegar 50 cents and these last me several months. Can you believe how crazy cheap that is? Coconut oil is about 5 euros but such a godsent it’s worth every cent. I’ve had mine, that’s almost run out after countless experiments for about half a year now though so it’s still pretty cheap.


I’ve used this as a washing method, but it just doesn’t clean my hair thoroughly enough. Whenever I forgot to drink my tea I just pour it over my hair after the aforementioned baking soda and vinegar wash, without rinsing it and it leaves my hair feeling strong, shinier and leaves a pleasant but soft smell!

Camomile tea (preferably use the flowers instead of a prepackaged tea bag) is for dry hair and supposedly it also brings out blonde highlights.
Black tea is apparently great for hair loss. I use some with roses just because it makes me feel all fancy and stuff.
Hibiscus flowers made my hair crazily soft, but sadly left it also feeling greasy. It’s probably amazing for people with really dry hair, or whose hair hardly gets oily.


Other Washes
Let it be known that a couple of things are absolutely ridiculous but that I’ll include for the sake of posterity (also ridiculousness??)

Apple sauce: (Puree an apple with some water on your stove, let cool.) It has made my hair very soft and full though not very clean. I tried it both by putting it on like a shampoo during shower and let it sit and minute or five, which gave the best results, and also applied it to dry hair and let it sit for about twenty minutes which gave disappointing results.
Brown bread: (Let dry till rock hard then boil – used like a shampoo but let sit for about five minutes.) I just wanted to try this because it sounded crazy and it totally was because this was messy as hell. It did surprisingly somewhat clean my hair though! But the amount of time needed, plus the crazy mess made was not worth any of it.
Egg wash: (Mix one egg, some lemon juice and some honey, beat it thoroughly and just apply as a regular shampoo but rinse it with tepid water.) It gets rid of all the the greasy and dirt while it makes your hair feel very full and luscious! I regularly use this because it is amazing.
Shikakai (Mix with water till you get a mud-like consistency, and let it sit for a while. Add to hair as shampoo) This is a traditional Indian hair wash and I loved the results but it is very messy and takes a long time to prepare. It left my hair soft and strong.


Hair Masks

Yoghurt: (A mask of pure yoghurt, let sit for twenty minutes or so.) This left my hair beautifully soft and I’d seriously recommend this for people who use shampoo and have dry hair (or want to be fancy and give themselves a hair mask) but the dairy smell was impossible to get rid of without commercial shampoo for me.
Egg: Mix an egg with some amount of coconut oil, let it sit for at least 20 minutes, washe it off with tepid water, I then continued with a baking soda and apple cider vinegar wash and my hair was incredibly soft.
Avocado: Mash up an avocado and add to you hair and let it set for a while. Avocados are really expensive here but I found one in my fridge that had gone off and used it in my hair, this is supposedly even better because it has more oils. For me, the oil was impossible to get rid off with my usual baking soda and vinegar mix. This is probably great for coarse, dry hair and/or people who use shampoo!

What’s so great about all of this too is that if you bought something that didn’t work out for your hair you can actually just eat it, drink it or do you household with it!


Resources and other stuff

Indian herbs for hair washing is a pretty big deal but it takes up a lot of time. Still it is interesting: Herbs and their uses + Indian herbs for hair care.

There is also a thing called shampoo bars, but I haven’t used them. You can find them at Chagrin Valley, etsy and ebay. I’m honestly too lazy to properly research this and I also feel a little weird because this basically sells you anti-capitalism??? I’d totally try it out if it weren’t for a perpetual lack of money though.

Some really great resources are the long hair community, no-poo LJ community, a spreadsheet of herbs for your hair and especially for people with curly hair: Naturally Curly and Urban Bush Babes.

Basically, I have been really enjoying reading and researching about this so if anyone out there wants to try this but has some questions, don’t be afraid to ask anything! And totally come at me with your own experience and recipes, I will eat it up and spread our knowledge far and wide.


  • Nice list, baking soda sure is an all-around product!

    I’ve recently converted to using organic honey shampoo and honey & coconut conditioner from a local brand, because I believe that the sodium lauryl sulfate in most commercial shampoos gave me pimples and made my hair a lot drier than it is. I’ve abused my hair from dyeing so much and I thought I needed to start taking care of it now. My only gripe about natural shampoos is that they’re not as bubbly as commercial ones. But I’m starting to get used to it. 🙂

  • Hello! I just wanted to say I’ve tried BS/lemon juice and BS/tea and I never got the right ratio so I gave up after several months of experimenting (right about when I started swimming regularly so I needed shampoo-shampoo for the chlorine), but this is making me want to start fooling around with no-poo again. That egg wash sounds particularly promising. Also, I am very very very excited about the coming posts in this little series, so thank you for writing this.

    • If your problem was that your hair was too dry or both too dry and greasy you could try vinegar instead of lemon juice and tea. I’ve used all of these and I found vinegar works a lot better than tea and lemon juice for me personally.
      Yeah, the only non-lazy thing about all of this is that you have to experiment a long time sometimes!

      I don’t follow the livejournal community of no-poo any more but I remember there being several posts on no shampoo routine while swimming frequently. I found a tag for you

      Yay, I’m happy you’re excited 😀

  • I’ve used BS for months now, and love it :). ACV always leaves a slight film, so I quickly upgraded to BS. I’ve never tried them together though- maybe I’ll try it! I’m excited to read your skin post- I’m vegan, and sadly the best cleanser I’ve found is honey (which I really don’t want to buy, although it is tempting sometimes). I also don’t use any commercial products for anything, and am kind of hitting a wall with facial cleanser- any tips will help!

    • Seriously the best daily facial cleaner I’ve used? Apple cider vinegar! I guess it depends on how cleansing you need it but I’ve found two or more tablespoons per cup will feel really good! I rinse it off with plain water and it’s PERFECT. Coconut oil is really great, too. I currently use it as a make up remover! I’ll talk about more in my next post! 😀

  • Whoa you shouted out Naturally Curly AND Urban Bush Babes on here, when I was JUST about to recommend them to you! This is a great post and I’ve found so many natural alternatives over the past few years. I’m always glad to hear more! Curly Nikki ( ) and College Curlies ( ) are great for the Curly/Afro set who are looking for cheap alternatives as well 🙂

  • This is really interesting! I’m definitely going to try these. I’ve always been interested in these”kitchen” hair treatments, because there’s something that has always bothered me about the amount of chemicals in my shampoo.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.