March 5, 2012

the power of baking soda - going no 'poo

Last week I talked about how I use baking soda and white distilled vinegar for most all of my cleaning.  Probably not surprising is that baking soda is not only used for cleaning around my home.  It is also used in my homemade deodorant, which I hope to post about soon, but more importantly it is used for washing my hair.  That's right folks, I have gone no 'poo.

For a long time I have been concentrating on the food that we eat as a large portion of our green adventure.  But, I can't ignore that the beauty products we use have such a negative impact on our bodies.  Since I stopped working, I really don't wear a lot of makeup, or use a lot of hair products.  But, obviously I would still wash my hair with shampoo.  Realizing when I was first pregnant that some of these chemicals could have a negative impact on my unborn baby was a big wake up call.

So what is a person to do?  Well, obviously the first stop would be EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.  This is such a great tool to find out where your personal products are on the spectrum of safety.  Not that every single product is evaluated, and some that are may not be complete, but it is a good start.  As I went through this database testing all of the baby products I might possibly use (because baby products have to be safe, right!?), I found that I was completely uncomfortable with what I was seeing.  Both of my kids ended up with very sensitive skin, so we don't even use a lot of soap for their baths.  I find that water and a wash cloth seem to do quite a good job.  But we do also use California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo which is rated 1 or low risk.

I read about the no 'poo method of cleaning your hair and thought that I should try it.  My hair is wavy, and it tends to get greasy pretty fast, so I wasn't sure if this would work.  But what I continued to read was that the reason my hair was getting greasy was because I continued to strip the natural oils with commercial shampoo, so my head was over-compensating.

Most of the people that I have read about that use this method dissolve about 1 Tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water, and then squirt it on their heads, massage in, let sit a few minutes and then rinse well.  This is a great comprehensive fact sheet on the no 'poo method.  I tend to use a little more baking soda, although I have read that will make your hair brittle and dry, I don't find that to be the case.  In fact, my hair stays nice and clean for a few days, so I don't need to wash my hair everyday, just a quick rinse with water.  I don't use the vinegar rinse, although I have in the past.  I'm sure that at some point I might want to add it in, but I don't find a real need for it.  I brush my hair before I get in the shower, and it doesn't seem to be tangled when I get out.  Now, if I could just get my husband on board to try it...

Do you use the no 'poo method?  Do you like it?  Or have you tried it and decided it wasn't for you?

Linking up at the awesome Barn Hop again today :-) And also at Your Green Resource!


  1. I have never thought of going no poo. My hair, even at 46, is still as greasy as a teenager, so I hesitate to think what it could look like! I'm curious to hear how your no poo adventure goes.

  2. I read about the no poo method on another blog a couple months ago. I tried it and have been going strong for about 2 months now. All I can say is, Wow!!!

    I had switched to sulfate free shampoo & had liked the results but my hair started to get clumpy. Normal shampoo made my hair oily after a day, but also frizzy (go figure). I have wavy/curly hair and any commerical shampoo would tangle my hair so bad, if I combed my hair, all the curls would come out and my hair looked like poo!! :)

    I started using the baking soda, I just take a large cup (prolly a 24 - 32 oz cup) and put about 1/4 cup of baking soda in the bottom, fill it up with warm water. I do the same with the apple cider vinger. I dump the baking soda mix on my scalp slowly, letting my hair soak up the water. I massage it in, I usually do about 5 "dumps" on my head. The last time I dump it, I get the roots (blogs I read said not to do this, but I feel it helps my hair).. Then I wrap my hair up (My hair is past my waist) in a bun. I continue with the rest of my shower. When I am done bathing, I rinse my hair with water. Then I use the apple cider vinger. I mostly get the mid section/ends with this. In between each time I dump it on my hair, I use my fingers to "comb" through my hair. I do not rinse it out with water. I just put my hair up in a towel for a bit after my shower & then let my hair air dry.

    The result? My locks are nice and curly! My hair is now SUPER soft!! My head is not itchy or oily anymore. No more frizz & I actually enjoy leaving my hair down! Also, I feel that it has helped clear up my face & some acne I have had on my back. When I switch to the sulfate-free shampoo, it seemed to cause my face to break out.

  3. Love this post! I've gotten so behind in your posts I feel but you know I love anything about chemical exposures and especially personal care products. I'm not gonna lie---we haven't gone no 'poo but we did just switch to the Love Carrots brand and we both LOVE it way more than Burts Bees.

  4. The headline for this post scared me at first ;). Keep up the solid writing, it's great!

  5. I tryed the no-poo method but my hair looked like it hadn't even been washed! maybe I should try more baking soda. However I love the vinegar rinse.
    I just made my first batch of homemade deodorant this week and I'm amazed at how good it is!! baking soda, coconut oil and essential oil - I used lavender.
    I do all my cleaning now with baking soda and white vinegar, and have just recently discovered that it is possible to make washing 'powder' from ashes from the woodstove, but I haven't tried yet.
    I have very reactive skin and have found, after testing lots of products, that washing it with honey is the way to go!! I love it when ecologic is economic!!

    1. Water dripped through hardwood ashes is how you make homemade lye. Be careful. Lye needs to be cooked (as in hot process soap making) or aged (as in cold process soap making) or it can cause bad burns. Do your research and good luck. I'd like to hear of your results.

  6. @emma - i have never heard about using ashes for washing powder! i would love to hear more about it once you try it!

  7. My family has been no shampoo for about a year now. The exception has been that my sister sent my girls a small bottle of shampoo and conditioner for their birthday in November. I let them use it about once a month. There are 5 of us females in the house who have hair from mid-back to below the waist! We love our no 'poo and we also use a vinegar rinse that we leave in. My husband ans 2 year old son also use baking soda. I wouldn't go back to shampoo and we wouldn't have it now if it wasn't given to us.

  8. I use Bragg's ACV. Not sure if it makes a difference but they claim to be the best.

    I have a question. So some of us leaves a box of baking soda in the fridge and you are suppose to change it every month. I was wondering instead of throwing it away, can we use that? I don't put baking soda in the fridge so I am not sure how it is after a month in the fridge. Does it get hard or anything? If we could recycle and use the baking soda instead of throwing it away, that would be awesome. Someone please tell me what you think.

    1. We love Bragg's here as well! My husband swears by it when he starts getting a cold. As far as the baking soda in the fridge, I have never tried that. The only thing I would be concerned about would be the smell, since I believe the purpose of baking soda in the fridge is to absorb odor. Maybe this wouldn't be an issue, but that would be my only concern. If you do try it, you could mix a little together and then smell it, and then you would know. I am sure you won't wash your hair with something that smells like onions, or fish :-) Another idea would be to put some sort of scent into the baking soda mixture, maybe a stick of cinnamon, and that might take any gross smell away. Great idea on re-using though!


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