It never fails to startle me just how long it takes for the shampoo residue (?) to eventually wash out of my hair if I use it while travelling. I’m basing this on smell alone so it makes me wonder how long the non smelling chemicals are actually lingering on my scalp and hair. There must be more than just the smell that is left, no?

In the past I used to make the effort to bring my own shampoo alternative and supplies but like other things in my life, I decided to “not sweat the small stuff” and use what was available wherever I was visiting.

I found it somewhat amusing that my divorced parents have the same brand of conventional shampoo plus conditioner or 2 in 1 in their showers today. Even with a dollop of shampoo the size of a dime, the nauseating smell still radiates off my head more than a week later, despite my having washed it a couple times since. I bet the reek will still be there in another week. We’ll see.

So why do it at all? I’ve never been a fan of washing my hair with water alone although I obviously can if I have to. I suppose just going with the flow instead of asking my parents for a cup with a bit of baking soda and a second certain sized cup with a tbsp of apple cider vinegar all the while getting a strange “why do you have to be so difficult/weird” looks to be the easier choice. It also saves on the alternative of having packed apple cider vinegar spill all over my clothes even though it’s bottle is always very carefully kept upright and wrapped tightly in at least one plastic bag. This usually results in having to wash my clothing with equally stinky conventional laundry soap, which could be a post on it’s own!

I’ve been “shampoo free” for about five years now. After reading about concerns over such ingredients as sodium lauryl sulphate and trying more natural shampoos with little success, I found a system that really works for me and was also affordable. I’ve considered doing a tutorial but the only pictures I have are pretty horrendous, to put it bluntly. So perhaps I’ll add better photos at a later date.

I find washing my hair like this gets my hair cleaner than with any shampoo I’ve ever used and I love not having tangles. At first I used more baking soda and apple cider vinegar and over time I used less and less and had to wash it less often as well.

I keep a bit of bs in a cup in the shower. I rewet it each time I have a shower. That way I can use as much or little as I need to. I add a little water and make a wet paste. I don’t like it to be too watery.

Shampoo Free

I rub small fingerfuls into my scalp focusing more where I might need it.

Rinse off with water.

I usually use a bit less than this of acv- dh got this for me.

Shampoo Free

Fill up the rest of the way with warm water.

Shampoo Free

Pour over all hair.

Rinse off with water.

It may not be a simple as rubbing a cream from a bottle through my hair but I find the extra effort worth it. Not to mention the savings on cost and synthetic smell and chemicals that come along with bought shampoo. In my mind keeping ingredients simple is always a sensible way to go.

Would love to hear if you have another way of not shampooing!

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17 Responses to Shampoo Stinks

  1. Lindsay says:

    I use this way, ever since I read a post of yours back in November I think with pictures of how you did it. I was really skeptical at first, but I don’t like most shampoos/conditioners either, and the ones I have liked are hard to find and/or very expensive. I have super greasy hair and had to wash it every day. I told Kris I’d use the bs/acv until I needed something more and then use shampoo for a bit. That was 9 months ago and the only time I’ve used shampoo is for traveling. And I don’t need to wash my hair as much either.

  2. Annie says:

    I really need to take up to date pictures where I haven’t just had a baby and am swollen and tired like the ones I posted before. :D

  3. dancing dragonfly says:

    I laugh everytime I think of this, as I listened to your instruction although I thought I had properly processed them. WELL I thought you said put 1/2 c of ACV into your hair. I smelt like acv all day and had fruit flies following me!!!

    Needless to say I have not tried it again and mainly stuck to my soap exchange shampoo! Next time I will listen carefully or write it down!

  4. Annie says:

    HA! It could have only been funnier if you had dumped 1/2 cup of acv on your head without rinsing the bs out first simulating a volcano eruption!!!

  5. hen says:

    Hi Annie! What a fantastic idea. I’m definately going to give this a go!!!

    Thanks for the tip!!


  6. Sophia Sunshine says:

    Too funny! I’m against all those fake smells too – this girl’s allergies just get too bad. I always take my own hair stuff on the road but I wish I could get in the habit of carrying my micro bottle of campsuds in my purse with me. I made the mistake of using “public” liquid soap the other day and it took many washings before I could stop sneezing. Just nasty, yet this is the kind of stuff I’ve heard some people say they like!

    I can’t wait to try your method again (I used bs when in school) but I should do some research into vinegar alternatives. And to think – I just bought shampoo last week! I found VADA shampoo for the mr – it was the only thing I could find that was free of ingredients that cause him problems.

    Aggghhhh. But thank you! Hope you’re enjoying a good weekend:)

  7. Annie says:

    Oh boy, liquid soap in public bathrooms creeps me right out. That smell just never goes away and the itching! Ick.

    You could do lemon juice instead of acv but I find it sticky and it really lightens you hair in the sun (more than vinegar). Plus I bet that could get pricey quick.

  8. Katherine says:

    I’ve never been able to make the bs/acv thing work for me. But I totally hear you about all the disgusting layers of smelly products all over people. When my father in law hugs me, I smell like him the rest of the day. And ugh, it gives me such a headache. He hugged me goodbye once, and then dh and I set out for a long hike. Long story short, we ended up fleeing a mountain lion, in heavy boots, down an icy slope. (Ok, we didn’t see the lion, but its tracks in the snow made it plain that it had seen us and fled. We felt it prudent to flee as well.) So here I go down the mountain as fast as I can, praying for some traction and possibly my life, thinking “Great, I’m going to die in the majestic wild Jemez Mountains and the last thing I ever smell on this earth will be this g-damn aftershave!”

    I wish no one wore deodorant. And laundry? Ugh, how do people stand themselves? : )

  9. Sophia Sunshine says:

    Thanks Annie, I tried the lemon juice and we have sun today so we’ll see what happens. My hair is certainly feels lighter (in weight)!

    I’ve been trying to get away from sodium laurel/lauryl sulphate and it’s so hard because it’s everywehere! I think I may be sticking with this for a while. Now for body washing – are you using that hand made bar soap or do you have another great tip?

    Can’t wait to get all the smells out… and I think I’ll be ordering my soap nuts very soon. I just need to use up the last bits of other “green” stuff that’s hanging around.

    With all these smells out, you never know, I may be ok with the acv. I’m hoping anyways.

  10. Annie says:

    Yes Katherine, you said it all right there! Deodorant, aftershave, shampoo, laundry soap, perfume, make up (am I the only one that can smell this?)… And people wonder what’s contributing to bad moods, allergies, cancer and all the rest with all the chemicals they wear.

  11. Annie says:

    SLS does seem to be everywhere.

    I have a lavender essential oil salt scrub that I use from time to time as a treat. It’s literally essential oil, sea salt and avocado oil. I have a friend in Cranbrook that was making them. Not sure if she still is. Other than that I use one of Tami’s soaps. Great soap because it doesn’t make me itch. Which is a miracle in itself!

  12. Lindsay says:

    You looked a bit tired in the other pictures, but otherwise I think you looked beautiful for having a new baby.

    I can’t stand the smells of all that stuff. Kris and I avoid perfume/makeup kiosks in department stores if we possibly can and I avoid people who stink like perfume the same way I avoid people who smoke. I don’t like the smell of make up. I have never worn it, even as a teen. The worst for me is cleaners. Lysol, Mr. Clean, Pine Sol, it all just makes me want to get outside where I don’t feel like I can’t breathe. We make our own cleaners and they all work just as well as anything else we’ve used.

    Since university when I learned about how bacteria (even so-called “bad” ones) works for and with our bodies and chemical cleaners work against them, this has been a personal “cause” of a sort for me. You’ve inspired me to write a (long) post about it on my blog: I hope you don’t mind. :)

  13. Annie says:

    Of course I don’t mind! I look forward to reading it!

  14. Katherine says:

    My husband just sent me this odd little love note:
    “I love you like a mountain lion loves to sneak!”

    which made me think of this conversation. Yesterday I needed some deodorant and was out. I patted a bit of baking soda under each arm, dusted each pit with a towel to knock off the excess, and had a 100% smell free day with no irritation. It worked amazingly well. Like, totally. : )

  15. Annie says:

    I just choked on the apple pancake I was eating! That’s hilarious and yet so… so… romantic? Can’t wait to tell my dh. :D

  16. sophia sunshine says:

    It’s been 2 weeks and my hair feels better than ever. It’s a little more highlighty too, thanks to the lemon juice and all the sun we’ve had. Thanks for all your help Annie!

  17. Gabriolan says:

    What a brilliant idea! I’m going to try this. Thanks!

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