All Natural Shampoos, No-Poo Techniques, & Chemicals to Avoid
Do you have overly dry or greasy hair? It wasn't even until the late 1930s since women started using shampoo. In fact, shampoo wasn't even invented. Cleaning your hair is not only unnecessary more than every few days to a week but modern shampoo’s strip your hair of necessary oils and most are toxic and unsafe.
The scalp is one of the areas in your body that absorb the easiest directly into your blood stream. There are tons of chemicals and toxins in shampoo and conditioner that can and should be avoided. Regular shampoo has harsh sulfates in it, which are synthetic detergents. These sulfates clean the hair by stripping it of everything including its natural oils, which causes your scalp to produce more oil than is actually needed. Many of the natural options such as Baking Soda doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils, but simply removes dirt from your hair. Hair should not be shampooed but every few days to once a week at most.
Transitional Period with Natural Products
In order to move to the more healthier option of not shampooing your hair but every few days you will have to give it a solid 3 weeks, applying this no poo protocol at least 3-5 times a week without shampooing. At first it is greasy because your hair has to go through a 2-4 week transition period as it adjusts how much oil it produces.
According to The Skintervention Guide: Purely Paleo Skincare, written by Liz Wolfe, the No ‘Poo method allows the scalp to rebalance itself. When you stop stripping the hair and scalp of its natural, protective oils with the many chemicals in conventional shampoo, the scalp won’t need to compensate by producing excessive amounts of oil. Issues such as itchiness, dryness, and greasiness will clear up, as long as you can get through the initial adjustment period, which, according to Wolfe, shouldn’t take more than two weeks. During that time, hair “may feel waxy, frizzy, or ‘off’,” but eventually it will become silky and soft.
Original No-Poo Technique
How does it work? According to The Skintervention Guide (available for purchase online for more detailed instructions and alternative options) but the cliff notes version is:
Depending on the length of your hair, combine 1-2 tbsp. baking soda with 1-2 cups warm water in a glass jar and pour over wet hair in the shower, gently massaging to distribute the baking soda evenly. Rinse both hair and jar thoroughly. Next, combine 1-2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar with 1-2 cups warm water in the glass jar and pour over your head. Rinse immediately.
This works because: the baking soda is alkaline, which requires the acidity of apple cider vinegar to neutralize it and balance the pH on your hair and scalp. Some people use regular vinegar mixed with a few drops of essen tial oil.
After the 3 week period you will notice:
More body, Less oily hair days, a lot less frizz even with curly-hair, shinier hair more natural feeling, and much less chemicals on scalp and skin.
I prefer the natural homemade versions at the bottom of the page, but if you don’t want to try one of those DIY options, there are many great natural products available now. You WILL find some that suit you, it just might take some trial and error to find the best one for you.
Here are a bunch of good holistic hair care products below and links on where to get them (Click photo or name for link) -
Commercial Shampoo Links with Low Toxicity:
John Masters Organics Lavender Rosemary Shampoo for Normal Hair 8 fl oz / 236 ml
Great for dry skin and hair.
John Masters Organics John Masters Organics Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner
This is great, makes your hair smell wonderful.
John Masters Organics Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner 7 fl oz / 207 ml
Amazing, workings like a charm and I love the smell!
John Masters Organics Citrus & Neroli Detangler 8 fl oz / 236 ml
Make the switch, stop using chemical laden Moroccan Oil. 100% pure Argan oil works just the same making your hair smooth, frizz free, shiny and dry faster.
Savanaahs Organic Argan Oil 4 Oz / 120 ML 100% Pure & Cold Pressed - Premium Grade - USDA Certified Organic - Large 4 Oz Glass Bottle - Excellent Natural Multi-Purpose Moisturizer for Skin, Hair & Nails - Non-Greasy and Fast Absorbing - Good Source of Vitamin E & Omegas - Rejuvenates Dry Skin - 100% Satisfaction Guarantee - Promotional Price for Limited Time Only
Great leave in conditioner. You can wash your hair at night, leave this in and not dry it at all and looks great with little to no effort in the morning. Giovanni also make an array of good styling products (link after that) like mousse and hair spray that is less toxic.
Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner, Weightless moisture conditioner 8.5 fl oz Bottle
Giovanni Hair Styling Products
Great products that are all safe! Try the “Tangle and Go” primrose hair spray, makes your hair smell like fresh roses! The volumizing shampoo and conditioner and the honeysuckle.
Aubre Organics Hair Styling Products
Avalon has good stuff as well, try the peppermint shampoo and conditioner, it’s great and rated a 2 on EWG.org.
Avalon Organics Strengthening Shampoo - Pepppermint - 11 oz
- For all natural shampoo bars click here - http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/products/for-the-hair/shampoo-bars/
- Organic Hair Crème - https://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/ORGANICHAIRCARE/SD0801.html
Homemade Shampoo and Conditioner Options:
1. Diluted Liquid Castile Soap – Good for All Hair Types
If you’d still like to try baking soda, this one is a great transition from shampoo, because it will make you feel very fresh and natural and it’s sulfate-free. Best part about this is that you can use on your hair and body. For dry and sensitive skin, I recommend to use the Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap in Baby Mild but see my blog on soap for more. (click photos for links)
How To Make
1 part liquid castile soap to 3 parts water. To make it even more moisturizing, add a teaspoon or two of your favorite oil (castor oil and Jojoba Oil are great for the hair). To add scent, add your favorite ess ential oil. I like lavender, rosemary, and carrot seed oils for hair (add 20-40 drops per 8oz mixture) (You can also add vegetable glycerin to add a little body to your shampoo.)
Essen tial Oils:
E.O.'s are added for scent but also have therapeutic use. Tea Tree (melaluka) for dandruff or scalp conditions, Rosemary is said to prevent thinning hair. Lavender may help a dry, itchy scalp. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how to use these oils and links to the highest grades available.
You can add a small bit of carrier oil for moisturizing into the shampoo. Here are some recommendations:
• Tamanu Oil great skin-healing properties & anti-microbial, making it ideal for those with dandruff or other scalp conditions.
• Avocado Oil
• Olive Oil
• Argan Oil
• Jojoba Oil
Notes on Castile Soap Shampoo:
– Don’t use straight castile soap on your hair, it’s too concentrated & strong for that.
– Don’t use castile soap on dyed hair. It’s too alkaline and will strip hair color. (You should be able to use shampoo bars okay.)
– Although you will see many recipes on the internet calling for it, don’t add vinegar directly to a recipe containing castile soap. One is an extreme acid and the other very alkaline – at best, the vinegar will react with the soap immediately and become uselessly inert or a curdled mess. You’ll still want to use vinegar, just AFTER washing with your homemade shampoo.
– Homemade shampoo made with castile soap looks watery but rubbing a small amount in your hand will show you how much lather it makes. A little bit, goes a long way.
– After washing, your hair will greatly benefit from a spritzing or rinsing 1:1 diluted ACV vinegar and water – Vinegar rebalances the pH of your hair, leaving it smoother and shinier. A rinse will also help remove any excess soap residue.
You can do this by putting the mixture in a spray bottle with water and spritz all over your towel dried hair. (Don’t worry, the vinegar smell disappears after a while!) (You don’t have to rinse it, but you can if you want to. Try not rinsing and see how you like it.)
2. Aloe Vera and Glycerine
– pH balanced shampoo, leave-in conditioner, and spritzer. This is a ph-balanced because aloe vera and glycerin both have a neutral pH of 7, so they will be the best option for the health of your hair. (Baking soda is a little bit basic, at about 9 pH). This is a great natural option. Glycerin acts as a cleaner because it bonds to dirt and oil and washes it out when you rinse and aloe smooths the cuticle and moisturizes the hair. Put in a spray bottle because, glass preferred. Especially don’t use a plastic bottle if you add essen tial oils to the recipe – they will make the plastic deteriorate. I get my glass bottles on Amazon here.(click pic on the right)
Here is the Recipe:
- 1/4 cup of pure aloe vera, If you don’t make it yourself (see my cutting aloe video here) (this one is pure, from Aubrey Organics)
- 1/2 cup water
- Ess ential oils for scent or to treat a problem if desired – Tea Tree and Lavender are great for psoriasis and dandruff, and carrot seed and rosemary are healing to the scalp and help promote hair growth. For E.O.s email email@example.com for info and links.
Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake. Shake before each use, then just squirt onto your scalp and scrub with the fingers to loosen the dirt. Rinse. It can be used in between washes as a leave-in conditioner and a spritzer to freshen up curls. It helps to tame the frizz as well.
- I use vegetable glycerine because it is derived from vegetables and not from animal fats like regular glycerine is.
- I use pure aloe vera gel that contains no added alcohols or fragrances, as those can be unnatural and drying to the hair. To use it from the plant you might have to blend it because it’s so thing, along with the other ingredients.
- This is best kept refrigerated .
3. Baking Soda Shampoo
(This is the Original No Poo Protocol People talk about)
- Filtered Water
- An empty container – (old shampoo bottle)
- Baking Soda
- Measuring Cup
- 1 Funnel
Approx. Ratio for the Recipe: 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 cup water OR make a paste with baking soda and a small amount of water. Just rinse thoroughly if you make a paste. The ratio for this recipe is flexible – there’s really no right or wrong way to do it. Add more baking soda if your hair is thick and long or oily, and less if it’s short and thin or dry.
- Make the recipe with cool to lukewarm water, but not warm or hot. Warm/hot water reacts with the baking soda and causes it to clump up.
- Put in a sealed bottle and shake. Rub into entire scalp of already wet hair in a circular motion all around – focusing on the scalp, not the rest of your hair.
- It’s important to rinse thoroughly or your hair will feel grainy and dry.
Note on Baking soda is that although it will keep your hair clean and fresh looking and is good for you it is also can be drying. You can use oils like coconut oil to replenish some moisture with it or try some of the other options. If you miss the suds, you can add a small amount of castile soap to the baking soda shampoo.
4. Coconut Milk Shampoo (2 options)
1. The beauty of coconut milk and aloe vera gel
The saturated fats help repair damaged hair among other things. And aloe vera is also great for keeping the cuticles of your hair closed and healthy.
But these two lovely ingredients also have a lower pH that’s under 7… much more aligned with your scalp’s natural pH.
Do I still need a conditioner?
Hair care is personal and tricky. If your hair is short, probably not, but if long you just might. The pH of apple cider vinegar is typically between 4.25 and 5 if undiluted, but you should always use it diluted when rinsing your hair. Depending on your scalp using an AVC rinse may be a good way to bring your scalp back to it’s natural pH. Experiment and see what works for you. Most people find that doing an ACV rinse is an important step following this pH balanced shampoo.
- 1 can of Coconut Milk
- 1 3/4 cups pure aloe vera gel (like this)
- Optional: Ess ential Oils
1. Mix both ingredients in a bowl using a wire whisk to fully incorporate.
2. Pour mixture into ice cube trays. (Should be two full trays.)
3. Put in freezer and wait a few hours until frozen completely. At this point you can transfer them to some sort of bag or container, or just keep them in the trays.
To use: Take one cube out before you want to use it (at least the night before) and keep it in a small container or bowl in the fridge until you are ready to shower. Use as you would normal shampoo (about a quarter size amount).
Work into the scalp and then move toward the ends of your hair. Let sit for 30 seconds or so and then rinse completely. This will not lather… so don’t keep adding more thinking it will get your hair “more clean.” A little goes a long way.
I would also HIGHLY recommend using an apple cider vinegar rinse, especially if you experience that ‘waxy’ feeling after using this.
One last note: If you have really dry hair you may want to add some Vitamin E oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil to the mixture before freezing.
2. Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo and Body Wash
Shampoo / Body Wash Base:
1/2 cup of Tropical Traditions organic virgin coconut oil liquid soap, unscented
1/3 cup homemade coconut milk
2 tsp. sweet almond oil
Mix all three ingredients together and place in a shower-safe pump bottle. (shake bottle before use) You need very little, like a teaspoon since it lathers up. Will last at least a week in the shower or longer refrigerated.
It might seem strange not to have a conditioner to follow your shampoo, but this is a true all in one the you will find your hair doesn’t need extra conditioner. Like the others you can use a few spritzes of (ACV 1:1 with water)
Tea Tree Shampoo
1 batch of the shampoo base
15-20 drops tea tree essen tial oil
10-12 drops chamomile ess oil
Herbal Blend Shampoo and Body Wash
1 batch of the shampoo base
10 drops rosemary ess oil
8 drops lavender ess oil
6 drops chamomile ess oil
4 drops peppermint or spearmint ess oil
For essen tial oils email firstname.lastname@example.org for links and how to use them.
5. Honey Shampoo
• Fight Dandruff - The pH of the scalp is between 4 and 7, and the pH of honey is about 4, so in balancing the scalp it can fight dandruff
• Raw honey is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, so honey washing can help treat a bacterial/fungal issues on the scalp
• Less oily - Honey won’t strip the scalp and hair of the protective oils. As a result, hair will be less oily over time because the scalp will stop over-compensating with oil production.
• Honey moisturizes the hair, so it will be softer with less frizz
• Raw honey (also called "unpasteurized" honey), I recommend this one
• Filtered water, I use and recommend this filter
• A few drops of ess ential oils, such as carrot seed oil, rosemary, lavender, optional
1. Make the shampoo on a single serving, or week basis to prevent spoilage. Basic ratio is: 1 Tbs. raw honey and 3 Tbs. filtered water. If necessary, slightly heat the mixture over very low heat to help dissolve the honey. Yes, this is really watery... that is how it is supposed to be.
2. If desired, add a few drops of ess ential oil. Two drops of lavender with two drops of carrot seed or Rosemary Oil. These add a light fragrance and help with any flaky scalp issues. The carrot seed oil is very nourishing to the hair, rosemary is said to encourage hair growth.
3. Wet hair, then massage a few tablespoons of the mixture on the scalp. Massage well to distribute over the scalp. Don't worry about getting the mixture on the ends of the hair, just the scalp area. Rinse well. No need to follow with any conditioner.
4. If desired, you can follow with a DIY apple cider vinegar rise, recipe and instructions found here.
How to store the honey shampoo
After researching, I learned that I learned that pure, raw honey will ferment when mixed with water and can foster mold growth. So perhaps making a weeks worth is the way to go.
To get through the transition period, for your scalp to normalize to the non-striping oil washing, you may need to wash everyday, then every other day and so on.
Like every other method mentioned here, this is not for everyone, if you are still having oily hair after 3 or 4 weeks perhaps this is not for you.
Other All Natural Beauty Care Links You Will Like:
- For healthy skin tips see my blog here on the 17 best tips for healthy skin
- For shaving see my blog here on all natural way to shave
- How to make an all natural deodorant that works great
- To remove make-up naturally see my post here
- For the Best All Natural Soaps click here