Eco-Friendly Living, Natural Living

Tough Love Thursdays

Guys, if you don’t know me in real life, you’ve at least seen pictures, right?

Here’s a refresher, I look like this:

and this:

and this:

I think we can agree that I’m not a greasy, filthy, hippie troll person, yes?

WAIT. I swear I’m not using my Internet Blog to fish for compliments (although now that you mention it, I just so happen to have a handy dandy comment feature and WOW! what a coincidence! There’s no limit to how much you can write!).

This lead up, and the pictures of me, are a necessary segue into me telling you that I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner in three years.


Hear me out.

Since I moved out and was forced to purchase my own shit, I’ve spent up to $40 at a time on shampoo and conditioner – everything from Pantene to Aveda and Pureology, every time getting suckered in by their promises of silky, sex-goddess hair.

And witrhout fail, every time I finished shampooing and drying and styling I was like, “Meh”.

Then when I got into making my own cleaning products and not using chemical cleaners anymore, I stumbled across this movement called “Un-Pooing”, which replaces store-bought shampoos and conditioners with baking soda and vinegar.

Believe me when I say that whatever you are thinking right now, I thought it too.


Guys, I am begging you, JUST TRY IT. The risk is so small – guaranteed you already have baking soda in your house and a small bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar costs like $5. What do you have to lose?

Here’s what you do:

Mix 1 cup warm water with 1 Tbsp baking soda, you can double or triple the recipe if you have insanely thick or long hair, but keep the proportions the same. This is your “shampoo” rinse. Pour it over your hair and massage it into your scalp with your fingertips, then rinse thoroughly.

Mix 1 cup warm water with 1-2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (1 if you have oily hair, 2 if you have dry hair) Pour it over your hair, massage it into your scalp and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out.

And you’re done. No shampoo bottles, no sodium laurel sulfate, no artificial fragrances giving you the big O in the shower. Boom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is this shit for real?

A: Yes! Guys, I swear I’m not messing with you.


Q: Does it work?

A: Yes, my hair is clean and healthy and my hairdresser always remarks on how little damage there is and how smooth my hair shafts are (that’s what …she..said?)


Q: Do you stink like vinegar?

A: Okay, here’s the thing. When you’re rinsing, yeah it smells like vinegar, it’s VINEGAR. But vinegar doesn’t smell when its dry, so no, I don’t stink. Not of vinegar anyway. I mean if you were pervily sniffing my hair after a gentle spring rainfall, you might be able to smell it, but otherwise, no.


Q: Do you have tangles?

A: NO. None. If I wanted to I could brush my hair straight through right after getting out of the shower (WOAH- come on guys. I know you’re not supposed to brush your hair when its wet, I said I COULD. You know. If I wanted to or whatever)

Q: Why are you being such a self-righteous enviro-nag?


Seriously I know it sounds weird, but its amazing, tons of people are doing it and it works. I don’t care why you do it, if you’d rather spend that shampoo-money on top shelf vodka, if you adore having less clutter in the shower, or if you do genuinely care about the harmful chemical compounds being lathered into your scalp and down the drain each morning.

Guys, JUST TRY IT. Read more about it here.

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  • Reply Karla November 19, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    If you don’t like the vinegar (like my husband) you can replace it with the same amount of lemon juice. Personally, I find the lemon juice works better and it smells nice afterwards. 🙂

    • Reply Karla November 19, 2013 at 3:13 AM

      Actually, I should have mentioned that I have really curly, frizzy hair and I haven’t used shampoo or needed to use a brush in…. wow.. I can’t actually remember… You also don’t need to wash your hair every day either. The oils in your hair will even out again and I sometimes go weeks on end without needing to wash my hair. 🙂

    • Reply sweetmadeleine November 19, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      Really?! I’ve never heard that! Just the stuff you buy in a bottle? I’m going to try this, thanks, Karla!

      Sent from my iPhone


      • Reply Karla November 19, 2013 at 8:15 PM

        I just squeeze 1 lemon and mix with 1 cup of water which is approximately 2Tbs of lemon juice. I’ve never used the juice out of the bottle for this but I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. 🙂

        • Reply sweetmadeleine November 19, 2013 at 9:08 PM

          I usually prefer fresh lemon juice (better for you and no plastic bottle!) but bottled is all I have on hand at the moment and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks so much 🙂

  • Reply Lindsay November 19, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    You are so hilarious!! I love this blog and I am definitely going to try this!! Thank you. I also might buy your book 🙂

    • Reply sweetmadeleine November 19, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      Thank you, Lindsay! Please let me know how you like it 🙂

  • Reply Kimmie November 25, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    YES!! I have being mulling over the un-pooing for sometime now and this is the final boot I need to go ahead and DO IT! Thank you : )

    • Reply sweetmadeleine November 25, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      Yay! Try it and please report back and let me know what you think 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone


      • Reply Kimmie November 27, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        ok, I did it!! And….I’m super impressed! I have very dry hair and was really concerned about turning it into one big giant haystack, BUT it’s clean, soft, beyond manageable, not a giant haystack and best of all no more yucky chemical crap (even though I bought as organic as possible)! Hooray!

        Thanks again : )

        • Reply sweetmadeleine November 27, 2013 at 2:06 PM

          Oh I’m so glad!

          Feel free to post a picture to the Sweet Madeleine Facebook page so we can recruit other no-poo-ers! I have to show people that I’m not the only crazy one 😉

          Sent from my iPhone


  • Reply Frankie November 26, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    I don’t know anything about any of this, so forgive if this is an ignorant question, but would this be ok for colour treated hair? (I have highlights….foils….I do a few times a year to give my mousy hair some life)… Thanks for info!

  • Reply Karis December 11, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    I just wanted to add that this method works best for those with soft water, those of us who unfortunately have hard water will have alot of difficulty making ‘no poo’ or un-pooing work due to the presence of too many minerals. I tried every variation i could find and still no go, glad you’re liking it though 🙂

  • Reply Hey Madeleine, what strange things have you used coconut oil on lately? | All You Need Is Less January 26, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    […] had a dilemma on my hands, because as you may or may not know, I haven’t used shampoo in approximately five years. And standing there with a head full of coconut oil, I wasn’t […]

  • Reply pengwen05 January 27, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    Nice……..what would you recommend for storing it pre-mixed in the bathroom for the offspring to use?

    • Reply sweetmadeleine January 27, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      I don’t know that I would premix it because it’s mostly water they would be pouring cold water on their heads and it probably wouldn’t be very pleasant. What you could do is either put a jar of baking soda and a bottle iof ACV in the bathroom along with a container with the 1 cup level marked, then show them how to meausure out 1 Tbsp of Baking soda and two Tbsp of ACV prior to showering, or you could add the ingredients for them prior to bathtime and they’d just have to fill the container with warm water to the 1 cup mark.

      Does that make sense?

  • Reply Cyndi February 8, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    I tried this a couple of years ago, and gradually, my hair got more and more static-y/flyaway, and also gradually more and more dandruffy. So I went back to shampoo. Did you ever have these problems?

  • Reply Two-ingredient shampoo & conditioner for healthy, shiny hair- and a book giveaway! | Sweet Madeleine March 24, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    […] posted this recipe years ago here, and way back in November a lovely soul named Karla commented that you could also use lemon juice […]

  • Reply Two-ingredient shampoo & conditioner for healthy, shiny hair – and a book giveaway! | All You Need Is Less March 24, 2014 at 2:07 AM

    […] posted this recipe years ago here, and way back in November a lovely soul named Karla commented that you could also use lemon juice […]

  • Reply Operation Frugality: Bath Products | March 27, 2014 at 5:03 AM

    […] but inside I still felt a yearning for better, simpler, less soapy times. Then last year I read this awesome post by Sweet Madeleine , who purported to be washing her hair with baking soda and vinegar alone. It was the no-poo […]

  • Reply An Update on Going Shampoo-Free With Hard Water | All You Need Is Less May 2, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    […] issue with the shampoo/conditioner recipe (found here) is, I think,  the way the minerals in the water react with the baking soda and apple cider […]

  • Reply themoosesmommy December 1, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    how is this for dandruff?

  • Reply sextreffen in hamburg December 2, 2014 at 2:45 AM

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