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Living Without Shampoo

Heh. I run the risk of being labeled dirty, liberal, cheap, and insane for writing this post. All things I’ve been called before, of course, but only the last three are true!

"No ‘Poo" is what it’s called when someone elects to forgo the use of chemical-laden shampoos and conditioners. There are a lot of reasons a person might do this, but the basic premise is that modern shampoos have only been around since the beginning of the 20th century. If people before were able to achieve beautiful hair without it, why can’t we?

There’s a lot of health concerns with shampoo as well, but I’ve decided to forgo talking about it, because frankly there’s already a fantastic explanation of all the No ‘Poo details on a blog called Babyslime. So in the interest of not reinventing the wheel, I’m only going to get into the financial aspects of it.

I’ve been Low ‘Poo since high school, when I found out that the reason my curly locks were frizzing so much was partially due to over-shampooing! My hair is really, really dry, so I cut it down to the point were I was shampooing only once everything two weeks. I would still rinse and use conditioner every day.

Four months ago, I read more about the No ‘Poo movement and decided to give it a try. Personally, I’ve got three reasons to do it: Money, my hair’s health, and the environment. So… about the money…


No ‘Poo calls for replacing your shampoo with baking soda and your conditioner with apple cider vinegar. The great thing about this is that I already had both in my house! And so far, neither have run out!

Since my shampoo use was negligible before, I’m only going to compare the savings based on the cost of the conditioner I was buying before: Garnier Fructis (the kind made especially for curly hair). I’m using the prices from my local grocery store, Wegmans, but these are fairly standard prices as far as I’ve seen.

13 ounces Garnier Fructis (13 uses) = 2.99 = 23 cents per use

Days since I started: 111

Total savings so far: $25.53

Ok, eventually the baking soda and vinegar I have on hand with run out, and the savings won’t be as dramatic, right? Well, let’s see what these ingredients cost!

16 ounces of vinegar (32 tablespoons) = 99 cents = 3 cents per use

1 pound of baking soda (32 weeks) = 75 cents = 2 cents per week

That works out to less than 25 cents per week. The Fructis comes out to about $1.50 per week. 52 weeks in a year means long term savings of…

$65 per year

Wait! It gets better! Remember I said I have a gallon of vinegar on hand? Well, what if I continue to buy it by the gallon, instead of the 16 ounce bottle?

128 ounces of vinegar (gallon, 256 tablespoons) = 3.19 = 1 cent per use

9 cents per week works out to yearly savings of $73.32!

That’s not huge, but finding a few things you don’t mind changing that will save you $75 a year can add up to big money.

Other Questions About No ‘Poo

I can direct you to other No ‘Poo websites all I like, but I figure you still want hear some of this stuff from me!

Q: Does it work? Really?
A: You know that silky feeling you get from putting conditioner on your hair? It sounds like it would never work, but the vinegar truly does give it that feeling! And my hair does not get greasy or dirty – the baking soda really does clean it without stripping off natural oils like shampoo does (which is what makes you need conditioner!).

Q: Does it work as well as shampoo and conditioner?
A: Some people say their hair turns out better because of going No ‘Poo! I have long hair, so I haven’t noticed a dramatic change. It certainly doesn’t seem to have hurt it any. It may be psychological, but I seem to be having a greater frequency of good hair days!

Q: Do you smell like vinegar?
A: Only when I don’t rinse well! And even then, vinegar smell disappears with evaporation, so my dry hair never smells like vinegar. As soon they invent Smell-O-Vision for the Internet, I’ll prove it to you!

Q: What about styling products?
A: I’ll admit, I haven’t completely weaned myself off of mousse yet. The Babyslime blog has recipes for natural mousse, gel, and hairspray, but I am still using up old stuff I have leftover.

Q: You’re weird.
A: Yeah. I know.

The comments section is open for further questions!

15 responses to “Living Without Shampoo”

  1. Don

    I don’t dispute that shampoos are made of chemicals. But sodium bicarbonate is a chemical too. It just happens to be a chemical we eat, NaHCO3. Vinegar for that matter is a chemical and is packaged according to its chemical properties (i.e. 5% solutions, etc).

  2. Shell

    I still use shampoo, but I have used baking soda and the vinegar before I really like it. Thye always make my hair feel really clean. Nice post!

  3. joad

    You go girl. I don’t really know about the not shampooing thing but I am glad to see that you have $16.00 in retirement. While that isn’t a lot, it is a start and your head is on straight. I look forward to watching you progress!

  4. Lidiya

    Youre weird. 🙂

  5. michelle

    I’ve read about not using shampoo in the book, Curly Girl. I can’t do it though. I just love my shampoo.

    1. alex

      Indeed, it can replace natural products shampoo hair care and make it more shiny. I had problems with dandruff until my grandmother showed me some very effective recipe that I have been very helpful

  6. joey

    how about if i only use stolen shampoo from hotels?

  7. mfaorbust

    Ooohh–I’m definitely going to try out the apple cider vinegar. If I use regular conditioner more than once a week, my hair gets all gross and oily.

    I shampoo and body wash (and launder delicates and wash dishes and vegetables and fruits and…) with castile soap. You have to find a pH-balanced version so that it doesn’t dry out your hair, but it’s such a marvelous multitasker and only $2 a bottle at Trader Joe’s.

  8. Cindy

    It is lovely and different pots. I like your writing style. And enjoyed reading every part of your article. The facts are great. thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

  9. Weekly Roundup: Lights Still Out In Houston — Broke Grad Student

    […] Living Without Shampoo at Poorer Than You […]

  10. Iced

    AS you said, leaving without shampoo is really hectic. that too in a highly populated poluted city.. All shampoos are made of chemicals, which may damage the root hairs. So try to use shampoos as per doctors advice and use home made shampoos preferably..Your idea of using vinegar is very informative.. I will try it out soon.

  11. Ruri@Free article submission

    People of the past have beautiful hair maybe also help from something they put on hair. for example. in my country Aloevera is natural ingredient known useful for beautiful hair. If you guys don’t know what is aloevera, try to use search engine to find it.

  12. the best

    I’ve tried the baking soda and vinegar blend and couldn’t get past day 2. They say you have to give it a week. We DO use brands with less chemicals (Jasons) etc. but even those have some bad ingredients…

  13. Michael

    I do use high quality shampoos as my sister is a professional hairdresser. So I think that it’s good to use shampoo, a lot better than not to. 😉

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