Do It Yourself: Make Your Own Shampoo

Nearly a year and a half ago I jumped on the ‘poo-free bandwagon. Going shampoo-free is a movement that is growing in popularity, although it is not a new idea. The theory behind living without shampoo is that the soap in shampoo dries out your scalp’s natural oils. When that happens, your scalp responds by creating excess oil, which then causes you to want to wash your hair more often, and so on.

I had two main motivations for giving up shampoo (and conditioner): (1) to save money, and (2) to switch to more natural products. The longer I live, the less excited I am about rubbing substances into my skin that I cannot pronounce. Something in me says, “Warning! Lay off the unidentifiable substances, please!”

For those of us who have dispensed with shampoo and conditioner, our new cleansers and conditioners are made from baking soda and vinegar. The baking soda mixture replaces shampoo and the apple cider vinegar mixture replaces conditioner. Baking soda and vinegar go together like ice cream and apple pie; I don’t recommend one without the other. Baking soda alone will make your hair feel like straw.

If you are ready to try it out, here are a few tips before you get started. First locate two squeeze-bottle containers. I saved two agave containers after the agave was used up. They are the perfect size and have the necessary squeeze-able top. Honey, ketchup, mustard — any of these squeeze-able plastic bottles would work. Next, prepare yourself: It’s going to take your scalp a week to adjust to the new system. Your hair is going to be as greasy as it has ever been for at least five days. For this reason, I made the switch while we were on vacation; no one from my normal life had to experience the transitional phase!


After you have found some containers, make up your mixtures. Ratios of baking soda and water will vary according to your hair type. If you have “normal” hair (not oily and not dry), start out by trying a ratio of two tablespoons of baking soda to one cup of water. Shake your bottle vigorously before each use. For your conditioner, try mixing ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water.

Perfect recipes are not necessary for this to work! I heard about the system but never read up on the details and ended up using equal parts baking soda, vinegar, and water for over a year—and my hair still looked and felt fine! Experiment widely until you find ratios that work for you.

I haven’t used shampoo for a year and a half and my hair looks as good as it ever did. If anything, I have experienced a little more body, and my natural curl is slightly more prominent now. I recommend giving it a try. You’ve got very little to lose and lots of money to save in the process.

Moms Living Thrifty Disclosure


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