In the process of one day I could deal with more chemicals than I know how to sound out. From the morning of getting up and taking a shower, cleaning my hair, brushing my teeth to using the toilet and cleaning the bathroom. It is amazing the chemicals that are in our lives without really noticing.

One of the promises I made to myself was to increase the amount of homemade items I use in my house for two reasons:
1. Cut down on the price of groceries
2. Cut down on the chemicals that I have no clue about.

One of my steps towards that goal is to make my own shampoo and rinse instead of spending $4 per bottle of shampoo and conditioner. Plus I have been unhappy with the results from shampoos and conditioners, so instead of spending more money on something new I wanted something cheaper that I understood the ingredients.

Recently I came across a recipe for washing hair and put it in my project folder. However, a couple days later I came across Mary's Debt-Proof Living site which had an answer to a question about "shampoo intelligence" and that reminded me about the shampoo recipe I wanted to try.

Some of the chemicals listed in the DPL answer really made me wonder.
Water (or some fancy name for H2O) will always be the first ingredient, followed by the detergent. Examples that you might find:

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate - very harsh
Ammonium Laureth Sulfate – harsh
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - still harsh
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) - mild, great choice
TEA Lauryl Sulfate - gentle, good choice
TEA Laureth Sulfate - gentle, also a good choice

My current shampoo has listed as the 2nd and 3rd ingredients, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, which are the harshest of the two detergents.

So instead of going out and buying a shampoo with milder chemicals I decided to try a more natural shampoo and rinse with the total of 2-3 ingredients. I hope to save money with this shampoo and rinse as well as saving my scalp with the more natural ingredients.

My shampoo has 1 part (1/2c) baking soda and 3 parts water
My Rinse has 1 part (1/2c) regular vinegar and 4 parts water with a couple drops of pure vanilla to make the vinegar smell sweeter.

I tried it out for the first time yesterday and was happy with the results. Part of the steps for using the shampoo and rinse is that you have to leave it in your hair for a 1-3 minutes - so I made sure I started my hair first and then washed up, rinsed my hair and put in the vinegar rinse and then waited a bit longer and I was done.

One nice benefit to this shampoo is that I got some in my mouth and eyes and it wasn't the end of the world, I rinsed it out and my eyes weren't burning for the next 5 minutes. I will continue with this project and keep you posted.


  1. techwriter // Wednesday, August 26, 2009 11:53:00 AM  

    Interesting--just baking soda and water?? I've done the vinegar rinse before and it's great for hard water. You could add a little castile soap to the shampoo (buy it at the health food store, usually) if you miss the foam of shampoo.

  2. Dawn // Wednesday, August 26, 2009 2:08:00 PM  

    Thank you for the option - I'm enjoying not having the foam right now and I have found I also like the thinner shampoo

  3. Mama Coyote // Thursday, August 27, 2009 7:25:00 AM  

    The best and cheapest way I've ever cared for my hair was only washing it every other day (or longer), brushing it out thoroughly twice a day (to distribute the oils), and washing thoroughly with baking soda. Sometimes baking soda and vinegar.

    This doesn't work as well now that my hair is bleached and dyed (purple and blue) again. But when it wasn't being abused--it was perfect!

  4. Dawn // Thursday, August 27, 2009 9:40:00 AM  

    @Mama Coyote
    Ha! I hadn't thought of bleached hair.

  5. Katty // Friday, August 28, 2009 6:33:00 PM  

    Hi, Let me know what you do for the toothpaste! Have you heard about using olive oil for the hair?

  6. Dawn // Friday, August 28, 2009 7:00:00 PM  

    Toothpaste... I dunno, I like fluoride and I really don't have any complaints with it... yet. Have been looking at Tom's of Maine

    Yes! I have heard of olive oil for use with frizzy hair. Were you thinking of something else?

  7. SimplyForties // Monday, August 31, 2009 8:03:00 PM  

    I may have to give this a try I clean everything else with vinegar and baking soda, no reason it wouldn't work on my hair!

  8. Heather // Wednesday, September 23, 2009 7:04:00 PM  

    There IS one benefit of Sodium Laurel Sulfate, at least if you have children or teach keeps the head lice away. lol

  9. Dawn // Wednesday, September 23, 2009 7:09:00 PM  

    Ooo, thanks for that silver lining, you rock!

  10. Jill // Friday, October 16, 2009 5:48:00 PM  

    I've been doing the "no 'poo" baking soda and vinegar for over a year now with good results.
    It took about a month for my hair (very very dry) to settle into it and now it's great. I do use apple cider vinegar rather than regular, and only 2tablespoons in about a quart of water.

    I also find that a final rinse with very cold water is crucial to the process. When I don't do that my hair is harder to comb/brush and gets fuzzy sooner.

    I'm down to washing once a week or so, unless I specifically get dirty.
    Many people have complemented my hair as fuller, smoother, shinier and healthier.

    Good luck and stick with it! frugal item...when I wash my hair this way in the (stoppered) sink or in a large bowl or wash basin, I only use 2-3 gallons of water and only 1 of those needs to be hot. It saves about 10 minutes of showering. I don't leave it on for 2-3 minutes, but instead concentrate on scrubbing my scalp with the soda mix and my fingers.

  11. Homemade Shampoo // Thursday, October 29, 2009 10:29:00 AM  

    Interesting information. I heard that apple cider vinegar is particularly good for hair, especially if you are a regular swimmer.

  12. Meachie // Thursday, April 29, 2010 7:04:00 PM  

    @ Heather
    Tea Tree Oil (in shampoo) is the only thing I've found to successfully ward off head lice. Every doctor, health professional and pharmacist I've asked about it seems to agree that there is no scientific evidence of any cures or preventions for head lice!