Greener Alternatives: Shampoo & Conditioner

My first blog series Greener Alternatives will spotlight changes we can all make to become more informed consumers, and reduce our exposure to chemicals, our carbon footprints, and our overall contribution to landfill. Fortunately, simply made alternatives are not hard to find, or create at home.

My goal is to educate myself at the same time, researching subjects I have little knowledge in, but also discussing topics in my realm of experience. I’d like to kick off this series by talking about a conventional product I’ve already phased out of my life, shampoo and conditioner.

In February 2014, I read a post from August 2013 by blogger, Sarah G. that changed my outlook on hair care. The post, I’ll Never Shampoo My Hair Again, EVER. (Seriously!), appeared on my Facebook feed, shared by my aunt. Being the low-maintenance gal that I am, my interest piqued.

“The No Poo Method”, or “No Poo” is an umbrella term for many methods of cleaning hair without the use of shampoo or conditioner. Occasionally, I get a disgusted reaction when I tell someone about my hair regime, but that stems from not understanding the process. I still wash my hair.

Version 2

I use one of the more common methods, applying a diluted baking soda rinse to remove excess oil and dirt from my roots, and then conditioning my whole mane with a spray bottle filled with diluted apple cider vinegar. After a year and a half using this method to wash my hair, I’m completely satisfied. I have thick, wavy hair that tends to get out of control when I leave it down. Since I’ve switched to ACV conditioning rinses, my hair is a lot more tame, although I still have bad hair days.

Since I’ve started the “No Poo” method, I’ve read articles that claim baking soda is too alkaline, and dries out the hair. The only time I’ve experienced serious dryness from using baking soda is when I haven’t conditioned with the ACV afterward.

Everyone has a different hair care routine, and it’s mostly about trying new things to find out what works for you. There are several alternatives to baking soda, and many of them are listed on

Version 2

Another factor to consider is the price point. I’ve been conditioning my hair with the jug of ACV pictured above for over a year, which cost me less than five dollars. The two boxes of baking soda cost a dollar each, and will last me for the next couple of months.

Chemical Comparison

I checked out the back of a bottle of shampoo and conditioner that I used to use prior to starting baking soda/ACV, to see how they stacked up against my current routine.

Ingredients in the basic “No Poo” method: Water, Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda), and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Ingredients from a conventional shampoo: Water, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamide MEA, Dimethiconol, Ammonium Chloride, Silk Protein, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Fragrance, TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Glycol Stearate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Laureth-23, Cyclomethicone, Propylene Glycol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

Ingredient from a conventional conditioner (different brand): Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Zea Mays (Corn) Silk Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Silk, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Red 33.

Even with the negative aspects of using baking soda, it feels good to use products with simple ingredients. I encourage anyone interested in phasing out shampoo and conditioner to try the “No Poo” method. Even deep conditioning with ACV a few times a month can benefit your hair in ways you would never expect.

For more information on the “No Poo” method, check out these awesome links:

Natural No Poo Cleansers for Healthy Hair (No Baking Soda)

One Year Without Shampoo

This blog has a great table laying out toxicity ratings of shampoo products according to the Environmental Working Group

No Poo Alternatives to Baking Soda

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5 Responses to Greener Alternatives: Shampoo & Conditioner

  1. Diana Chabai says:

    Interesting idea! Have you tried other natural alternatives for soaps or shower gels?


    • Thank you! Not yet, but I plan to tackle soap/gels, plus other hygiene and beauty products throughout this series!
      I’m going to delve into those topics soon, but I’ll need time to see how effective they are, and find the best methods.


  2. joy b says:

    I had tried going no poo using baking soda and ACV for eight months last year. My outcome wasn’t great.
    My hair took 2 months to become non-oily which wasn’t a big deal, but my scalp suffered big time! It became dry and itchy four months in and only got worse until I stopped my no poo regime. My hair looked good and felt incredibly light after not using such chemical heavy products, its just unfortunate I couldn’t keep it up.

    I now switch between regular rinsing, regular shampoos and LUSH shampoo bars.
    I’m still looking for a better alternative.


    • Ah, that’s too bad. It’s strange, since I haven’t had any dandruff issues since making the switch. It’s an individual trial-and-error journey, I guess!
      LUSH is a great company. I’ve considered using their shampoo bars, but I prefer the no-lather approach and baking soda is less expensive. If I come across an interesting alternatives, I’ll be sure to make an update.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Review: Live Clean – Green Earth |

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