WHAT?! No Shampoo!! Why I Use Coconut Oil, Baking Soda, and Apple Cider Vinegar For Body Care…

My three favorite products for body care!

This is a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for awhile.  At the risk of sounding like a total hippie, here it goes…

Over the past year or so I have gradually moved away from using chemical laden health and beauty products in favor of more non-toxic, earth and people friendly products.  Through numerous (and expensive) trials with different deodorants, shampoos, and moisturizers, I came to find that my kitchen is stocked with the items that work the best and also happen to be the most cost effective.  These items are: coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda.

Here is what I do with them:

Shampoo and Conditioner Replacement

There’s been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about “no-poo”.  I had been really reluctant to give it a go as my hair is fine and looks greasy and stingy if it wasn’t washed every day.  After attending the Ancestral Health Symposium 2011 and reading Liz Wolfe’s article “The Best Things Come in Threes” from the July/August 2011 issue of Paleo Magazine, I decided I needed to give it a go.  During Richard Nikoley’s talk at AHS11, he mentioned that he no-poos and does not use soap.  A few women sitting behind me, who had beautiful, shiny, full hair, noted that they also no-poo.  I was amazed.  I had always felt guys could get away with this much easier then gals, but was now compelled to try it for myself.  After all, self-experimentation is the best way get honest answers for yourself (see Richard’s talk for more on this).

Liz suggested in her article to “shampoo” with baking soda and “condition” with apple cider vinegar.  After playing around with proportions, here’s what works for me.  My hair is fine, but somewhat full and about shoulder length.  To shampoo, I use 2 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with about 4 tablespoons of warm water.  This is not exact, I eyeball it and add the water in the shower (ratio of about 1:2).  I apply it to my scalp and massage it in, working my way down to the ends of the hair.  Rinse thoroughly with warm water.  To condition, I turn the shower to cool water (also a refreshing way to end a shower) and mix 3-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with about 1/4 cup of the cool water (again, eyeball it).  I slowly pour it over my hair and massage it through to the ends.  I rinse while running my hands through the hair for about a minute.  You may have a slight vinegar smell immediately after your shower, but it will fade away quickly.  Air dry or style as usual!

I have been using this method for about 2 months and am absolutely thrilled with the results!  My hair is shiny, healthy, and fuller.  And NOT at all greasy!  I have even been able to go 2-3 days with just a cold water rinse and not feel like I need to “shampoo”.

A few things to note:  I highly recommend shaving your legs after rinsing the vinegar out of your hair.  Otherwise, be prepared for a little burning sensation (a la Home Alone) on the freshly shaven skin!  Also, baking soda fizzes when mixed with vinegar (think middle school science lab).  Although not an unpleasant feeling on your scalp, I’m not sure if it’s a great thing for your skin.  Just rinse thoroughly after applying the baking soda and you’ll be fine!

Toothpaste Replacement

I haven’t bought toothpaste in over a year.  I searched high and low for a product that did not contain Fluoride or other questionable ingredients.  The closest I came was Trader Joe’s Antiplaque Toothpaste with Fennel, Propolis, & Myrrh.  It worked well enough, but was often out of stock when I needed a new tube.  Since I don’t plan ahead and buy extra, I was left without a good replacement.  Alex and I decided to try baking soda.  It’s added to a bunch of grocery store toothpastes, why not use it straight up?

Now plain, old baking soda doesn’t have the most pleasant flavor on it’s own, but I found that I got used to it quickly.  If you find the taste disagreeable, add a few drops of pure peppermint oil to the baking soda to mask the flavor and add an extra little freshness to your breath.  I keep a small covered dish with a few tablespoons of baking soda in my bathroom.  To brush, just wet your toothbrush and dip it into the baking soda.  A light coating on you brush is all you need.  Brush away!

I do use a Sonicare toothbrush two times a day (as I have for years) and I floss once a day.  At my last dental hygiene checkup, my hygienist noted that “There isn’t much for me to do here.”  I was in and out in 30 minutes.  Awesome!

Deodorant

Okay, here’s my big confession:  I don’t use deodorant.  I have tried a bunch of natural and aluminum free products and hated them all.  I think some of them actually made me sweat more.  Weird, I know.  For awhile, I was using a homemade concoction (recipe to follow), but finally decided to go without.  I will admit, there was about a month of adjustment time (some underarm wetness during the day), but now I will never go back.  I very rarely have any underarm wetness, unless I am working out heavily and even then it’s no where near what it was in the past.  I do not smell.  I’ve checked, Alex has checked, and no one has said a word to me about it.  I wasn’t totally sure why this was the case, but in a The Healthy Skeptic Podcast (released on 10/18/2011), Chris Kresser answers a question about body odor.  Apparently one of the reasons we sweat is to expel toxins from our bodies.  Obviously, eating better diets full of healthy, real foods significantly decreases the amount of toxins present in our systems.  The actual body odor comes from the consumption and processing of these toxins by colonies of microorganisms naturally present on the surface of our skin.  Fascinating!

If you find that you just cannot let go of slathering something on your armpits, here’s a pretty good homemade solution:

In a small saucepan, melt together 2 tablespoons of each of the following – shea butter, coconut oil, baking soda, and corn starch.  Once throughly combined, pour into a small jar and let it cool to room temperature before using.  A very small dab rubbed into each side is all you need.  If you like a little scent, add a few drops of essential oil to the mix.

Moisturizers, Lotions, and Lip Balm

Coconut oil can replace all of your regular creams, lotions, chapsticks, etc.  I love a thin layer applied to my face as a moisturizer.  I use it day and night and my skin actually looks smoother and more radiant.  I apply a light coat under makeup in the morning and a slightly thicker coat at night before bed.  I’m not prone to acne and neither is Alex, but when either of us gets a zit, it’s usually a honkin’ one.  A big dab of coconut oil right on the blemish makes fast work of healing.  Redness is lightened and the bump disappears faster.  Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that make it the perfect replacement for cabinet full of expensive sub-par lotions, balms, and creams.

Although I still carry a tube of lip balm in my purse, when I’m at home I apply a light layer of coconut oil.  It relieves dry, chapped lips and it also tastes and smells great!

For years, I have dealt with a condition know as Keratosis Pilaris (AKA “chicken skin”) on my upper arms.  It’s embarrassing and nothing worked on it for more than a few days.  I tried numerous expensive lotions and scrubs without improvements.  One day, I thought to my self “Why am I so concerned about what I am putting in my mouth, but not what I am putting on my skin?”  We hear it all the time – the skin is one of the largest organs of the body.  Without a doubt, what we put on our skin can easily be affecting the rest of our body.  On a whim, I rubbed on some coconut oil after my shower rather than my usual Aveeno lotion.  No kidding – by the next morning, the bumpy skin was significantly improved.  I thought it was a fluke, but the more I used, the better my skin looked.  Without mentioning a word of what I had discovered, a friend who also deals with this condition asked my what I was using to improve my skin!  She was skeptical, but was willing to give it a try.  She got the same results!

The one body care item that I haven’t made a clean break with is soap.  I still use it when I shower.  I love the “clean” feeling I get from soap.  Maybe one day I’ll come across a better option, but for now I’m sticking with it.  I use Whole Foods 365 brand of French Milled Unscented Soap.  It has 3 ingredients: Coconut oil, palm oil, and vegetable glycerin.  I can deal with that.

So there it is.  I don’t wash my hair or use deodorant and I regularly slather myself in coconut oil.  It might sound weird, but I feel great and my hair and skin look better then ever before.  Just like you may have had to talk yourself into deserting the Standard American Diet in favor of adapting an ancestral approach to food, all I can say is try it for 30 days.  You can always go back, but I betcha you won’t!

This blog post was shared at Food Renegade.

Related articles you may enjoy:

Oil Cleansing Method

81 Comments:

  1. You are actually right coconut oil is really good for skin and hair. I use it on myself and it does wonders. Good article…check me out at naturaltales.wordpress.com

  2. I just started the No shampoo diet about five months ago, and it has been so wonderful. I find that it’s so much easier to wash my hair. All I use is baking soda and apple-cider vinegar. It hasn’t really improved my hair that much yet, but I read somewhere that it can take up to six months for it to really show results. I just started a blog about going Natural, and was wondering if you would like to check it out. So here’s the link: http://beautifulinthe21st.blogspot.com/

  3. I use baking soda and coconut oil for the underarm and sometimes just coconut oil. Odors are definitely a detox thing…my poor son went through puberty and a heavy detox at the same time. Nothing worked, except working through the detox…now I don’t smell him at all…unless he doesn’t wash for a while….even with heavy labor.

  4. Up until the 20th century, it was very common for people to bathe once a week and wash their hair twice a year… yet, oddly, Jane Austin never mentions body odor. I’m just thinking that the need to wash hair daily is a relatively new one.

    • In reference to washing your hair daily being a new thing I completely agree with you.

      I think daily washing along with shampoos we use today actually strip the hair of our natural essential oils. Even a vet will tell you only to shampoo you dog every 3 months so you don’t strip them of necessary natural oils. We too need those oils for health scalp & hair. That may be why people didn’t have to wash so often back in the day. And they didn’t have P&G products back then. They likely used items from their kitchen too. Which I’m about to try after reading this article!! :)

      So when we shampoo daily our scalp works overtime to reproduce & replace those essential oils. Once our body gets accustomed to reproducing an excess of oils, our hair will become greasy if we do skip a shampoo.

      I never use to be able to go a day without washing my hair because I’d just feel grungy! Given time, patience & physical restrictions, I’ve been able to shampoo it every 3 days. On day 2, I simply restyle or wear an up-do; on day 3 a water rinse. Now my hair is much healthier. My hairstylist commented that my ends don’t split near as bad anymore. I’m certain the coconut oil helps too!

      By the way I’ve found Trader Joe’s to be THE BEST coconut oil. I have Fibromyalgia and use it on my joint inflammation and tight lower back muscles. It does wonders! It also has the best coconut scent of any!!

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  7. I used baking soda and apple cider vinegar for probably 8-10 months and I loved it. It made my hair less static-prone in the winter and kept my hair shiny and beautiful. I had to wash less often and it just felt great.

    Until one day it didn’t. The baking soda stopped removing the grime. The apple cider vinegar made my hair tangly. It’s as if my hair chemistry changed and no longer likes this simple homemade solution. My hair lost its luster and became dark, dingy, and unmanageable. Before I could run my fingers through my hair and gently untangle a few stray spots and it would be fine. After the transition it was impossible for me to comb my hair even carefully.

    As soon as I switched back to regular shampoo, my hair went back to its lovable, shiny self. That was a few months ago. I tried last week to switch back but after 2 or 3 days my hair started doing the same thing it was doing before.

    I’m not sure what went wrong. I was using baking soda fast enough that I’m sure it was still fresh (I use it for everything) and the applecider vinegar still seemed fine.

    If you have any thoughts about why my hair suddenly rebelled, I’d appreciate it. I’d rather avoid the chemical-laden crap, but right now the baking soda / vinegar thing just isn’t working out.

    • Wow Mary! Sorry to hear it isn’t working out for you. Maybe it’s too soon for me to tell, it’s only been since August that I started using baking soda and vinegar. Anyone with any ideas on this – please post!

      • I have found that the amount of baking soda and vinegar needed in the beginning is significantly less than what is needed now. I use baking soda water now and diluted vinegar. You might also check your urine and or saliva pH and see if there isn’t something going on there. I find that the amount of oil on my hands can also affect my hair at rinsing time….if my hands are detoxing, I might get a “film” on my hair from squeezing the excess water out of my hair with my hands. I find I need to wash my hands with the baking soda in between washing and rinsing my hair.

      • Thanks for the suggestions, Jenny. I will have to look into those. You mention testing my pH — how would I interpret the results? Suppose, I have basic saliva, would that mean I needed more acid (vinegar)? Or…? What is a normal range for it to be?

        As far as “concentration” I was using about 1 tbsp (sometimes more) for a little 8oz squirt bottle for both the baking soda and the vinegar. I tried different amounts when my hair first started going crazy but it didn’t seem to help much.

        I will also have to try and see if having super clean hands before applying the vinegar helps.

        Any other ideas?

        • Your saliva pH fluctuates through out the day, so the best time to take it is first thing in the AM, before eating. It should be neutral, 7.0 pH higher than that and taking ACV with meals would be beneficial. Lower than that and taking baking soda 15-20 minutes before meals and ACV with meals would be beneficial.

    • By any chance do you use a water softener, and might it have needed changing? That’s the only reason I can imagine a sudden difference. Did you get this resolved?

    • Are you changing out your baking soda? You are supposed to get a new box every 30 days. Not sure if thats the problem, but it couldn’t hurt.

    • Give yourself a coconut oil hair treatment: Put some coconut oil all over your hair, cover your whole head and hair with a shower cap and than on top of that a towel to keep the hair warm and leave it in for an hour or so and rinse with warm water than shampoo with the same stuff. Also, try adding some essential oils to your shampoo…it might be drying out your hair. (check out FarahDukai on youtube for how to make the shampoo)

      • How do you wash it out? In starting out a week into no poo and i dont wana mess what i have going so far with ahampoo again plus my shampoo has cones in it which im trying to get off of and I really need something to help my ends I even tried 2 tbs of ACV rinse (2 tbs and cup of water) and still had major tangly hair. But note I have dry damaged ends becuz of a high lift color I have a lot of split ends that have to grow cuz they are at the last layer of hair and broke off and spilt :(

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  9. I’ve been using coconut oil on my lips for years. You can buy a small case that people use for contact lenses at the store to store the oil in. This has a nice tight,rubber seal that keeps the oil from leaking out in the warm months! You have 2 sides to store oil in and it’s small and convenient to carry in your purse.

  10. I’ve been washing my hair with baking soda for about three months now, but I think it’s drying out my scalp – I get dandruff. Any ideas on how to deal with that? Thanks!

    • Timely question EB. I’ve been experiencing a similar problem lately. I’ve seen a few articles on coconut oil treatments. Once I experiment with that, I’ll post an update. Let me know if you find a solution!

      • I am pretty much dandruff free now! I was using jojoba oil but switched to coconut oil – I put a few drops onto the palm of my hand, rub them together and kind of massage it into my scalp and through my hair. It made a noticeable difference.

  11. I’ve been poo free for one month now and loving the results. if i wanted to do an hot oil treatment wrap using coconut oil and castor oil to promote hair growth, how do I wash out the oils without using any shampoo? will the baking soda do the job? and how much should i use? thanks.

  12. I used baking soda and ACV for about a month and loved it. My hair looked great. Unfortunately, my blood pressure rose about 15 points over the course of that month. I found out it was due to the baking soda. (If you tend to have high blood pressure, be careful.) I had to give up the no poo idea.

    • Interesting! Any idea what the mechanism is that causes this change? I’ll have to look into this.

    • I want to know more. During 6 weeks of bs/acv I realized I was occasionally having a bit of tachycardia (elevated heart rate) when going to sleep, a time when I would expect to be completely relaxed. Never had this before. Stopped the bs/acv last week and haven’t had tachycardia since, but I’m keeping a watch for it in case it’s unrelated. I don’t know if the bs caused the problem and if it might be related to higher blood pressure. I’ve always had low blood pressure (I’m 45 and in good health). Going to get this checked by a doc, and as soon as I can find it I’ll use my own blood pressure monitor (that I had for my massage office) to check my pressure daily for a while. In any case, I’m curious how you realized the bs led to your elevated blood pressure. A microbiologist friend of mine (professor) said one shouldn’t absorb enough bs through the scalp to make a difference, but I’m not entirely convinced she’s correct. As a massage therapist I’m aware that skin can absorb certain elements directly, I just don’t know about bs. Thanks!

    • Just thought I’d follow up. I stopped using bs/acv about the time of my comment above because of the tachycardia on top of not quite getting past the greasy and clumpy hair phase, even though I was six weeks in.

      I was away from bs/acv for a month, but then I discovered we have very hard water (called the water company and asked), so we installed a shower filter and I decided to try again. The shower filter completely changed how my hair behaved! I tried bs/acv again and my hair is just about perfect! Hard water can really cause problems with bs/acv. I’ve been back on bs/acv for the last two weeks and have had my blood pressure checked and it was 100/60, which is quite normal. I haven’t had any more tachycardia, though I’ll keep an eye out for it. I’m actually using more bs now, I used to add a teaspoon to 8 oz water and rinse/scrub my scalp. Now I’m making a paste with a tablespoon and a small dribble of water and using that to scrub. Doesn’t seem to be affecting my blood pressure or heart rate.

  13. this is so cool! i have been wanting to go super green cos i am so sick of chemically produced stuff with names we can’t read.. and cos i have eczema and i think i have KP now, cos it is bumpy and sandpaperish. i will hunt for coconut oil and slab it on! not sure if you use solid or liquid coconut oil? how about showering with coconut oil?

    • All coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Just scoop out a little and it will melt upon contact with your skin. A light to moderate layer is all you need. I haven’t tried the oil cleansing method yet, but plan to and will do a post one it once I’ve tried it for awhile. Best of luck!

      • You will love virgin coconut oil, I use it on my face and love it. I even used it as a hair treatment by melting some and rubbing it on my scalp and into the hair and putting a shower cap on for two hours and then washed it out and it makes your scalp and hair so soft, I also cook with now. Look up uses for virgin coconut oil on the Internet and you will find web sights that will tell you of all the uses for Coconut oil, there are over 300 uses! Have fun, Joyce

    • For eczema, psoriasis, and other skin problems…..start taking omega 3s, this will make it go away. Skin conditions are often an immune response and the omegas help. Coconut oil is also good to apply topically.

    • I love the vco but I started to take omega 3 and between the two the rash on my face is almost gone..

  14. Interesting post, I enjoyed the read. One thing, In response to the ending statement about the shampoo

    “…baking soda fizzes when mixed with vinegar (think middle school science lab). Although not an unpleasant feeling on your scalp, I’m not sure if it’s a great thing for your skin.”

    There is absolutely nothing to be concerned about with the product from the reaction of vinegar and baking soda. The chemical product is sodium acetate; a natural compound that is essential as innocuous as the baking soda itself, and less harmful to your skin than straight vinegar. As a little side note: sodium acetate is often used as a food additive for flavor and preservation (i.e. pickling), and is one of the very few food additives with no known adverse health effects. It essentially tastes like (you would never guess) salty vinegar. It is, after, the salt form of vinegar (the sodium salt of acetic acid).

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  16. hi, thanks for the great article! i was using coconut oil in place of store-bought lotion as well. i would slather on about a tbs after a shower. but then i started thinking about how coconut oil is often a key ingredient in the natural soaps i was using and how the alkalising effects of the soaps created the perfect environment for bacteria to flourish and produce odour, therefore creating a need to use deodorant as well…

    coconut oil has a very slightly acidic ph and is perfect for the skin. it’s amazing properties mean that on its own probably does a better job of cleansing skin compared to most soaps. i started mixing a tbs of raw sugar with my tbs of coconut oil and used it as a shower scrub in place of soap. by the time the warm water steams your skin and you towel dry, the skin is clean, soft and smooth and there is no need to moisturise. i dust on a tiny amount of baking soda as a deodorant but it’s possible i don’t really need it (winter is just ending here so summer will be the tester!).

    i have noticed that a skin infection i got about a year ago that has been stubborn in healing has since started fading. my skin always smells good. my skin around my elbows, feet and knees is the softest it has ever been and the occasional breakout i get on my back has gone away.

    so maybe you can get rid of your soap as well without having to search any further for a replacement!
    x

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  18. What about conditioner? I have started doing the baking soda and ACV but my hair still feels very tangly so I will sometimes still use conditioner. Is it as bad as shampoo?

    • I haven’t found this to be a problem for me, but I have fine, straight (although thicker) hair. I would try upping to ratio of vinegar to water – maybe a 1:1 or even more vinegar then water. Run your fingers or a wide tooth comb through your hair as you rinse (found that helps me). I try to avoid all commercial products when I can, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. So use a conditioner if you need it, just avoid the super nasty stuff like parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), or any other ingredient that you cannot pronounce :).

  19. Hi Marjorie, thanks for the article. Is your hair cleaning process still the same now? I’m curious as to how your hair is dealing with it after some time has passed?
    I’ve tried the baking soda plus acv rinse and it seemed to leave my hair very dry at the ends. I played with the baking soda quantity to no avail. For the past few months I’ve been rinsing only with water and/or acv, or just not rinsing it at all, to no avail! It’s frustrating me; I have the same hair type as you, by the sounds of things; I have a lot of fine hair which, when clean, has great body, but on the second day (when I was using normal shampoo) it would get greasy and flat. I just want it to be ‘normal’, non greasy, because then it has great body, but nothing is working so far!!

    • Hi Ciara,
      I have been using the above method of washing my hair since I wrote the article and have had good success. I usually cleanse once a day, especially if I have worked out and/or sweated a lot (I get the flat greasy look too).
      For the past few weeks however, I have had to abandon this method due to onset of dry scalp and dandruff (not unusual for me when the weather gets colder). I am experimenting with some natural methods to relieve this problem and will post if I get any good results.
      One thing I have found helpful is a coconut oil mask for the hair. Massage coconut oil from the scalp to the ends (or just the ends if you want) and throw it up in a ponytail. Leave it on for a few hours or overnight and then wash out. My hair is so silky and shiny after I do this.
      Hope this helps. Let me know if you find another method that works better for you!

  20. Woohoo!! Thank you for this! I’ve been trying to find some “tried and true” natural/organic methods for body care and between your post and then all the comments after I feel ready to try! I’m wicked excited to see the results. I’ve just started a Paleo diet which means coconut oil is a staple in my cabinet and every time I take it out I see the part of the label that says “For Body Care:…” and now I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to stock up on coconut oil!! (and baking soda and vinegar!) Thank you for a great post and I hope to report back with great results! :)

    • Thanks for the comments Kim! You are going to love natural body care. The results are amazing (although remember the break in period and be patient for a few weeks) and you will feel so much better knowing you are not loading you body up with nasty stuff. In response to the coconut oil in my hair, I have used the baking soda and ACV method as well as a mild soap like Dr. Bronner’s. Both seemed to work fine, so play around with it and let me know how it goes. Also, check out my recent post on the Oil Cleansing Method: http://thisissogood.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/oil-cleansing-method/. You might find some more goodies there ;)

  21. I’m so happy to have come across this post! Im trying one thing at at time wiTh all of this and I’m going to start with the deodorant. So you mentioned an adjustment period? I’m scared to try this. I try Aubrey organics one and within a few hours I was soo stinky! I feel like I have to stay at home for a week during this trial period so I don’t loose all my friends lol
    Anyways any tips or words of encouragement?

    • I’m not gonna lie – it does take a little time to adjust. If you do a workout, you’re going to be stinky. I didn’t have too much of a problem during normal daily activities, but if you are concerned you could try adding some pure essential oils to the homemade deodorant. At this point, I don’t wear anything and no stink! I do think it’s key to have a clean diet!! Good luck, you’ll feel better just knowing that you are not putting nasty chemicals all over your skin. Make sure you check out my post on the oil cleansing method too!

      http://thisissogood.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/oil-cleansing-method/

      • Ive beed doing the “real food challange” for almost a month now, i haven’t been perfect but still better than before. I honestly didn’t eat alot of processed food before but i did learn that some of the stuff i thought was good actually wasn’t (like cherrios and low fat yogurt) so that stuff is gone! I’ve also switched to coconut sugar (just a bit in my coffee) and coconut oil for cooking so i had some on hand. I took a shower last night and rubbed some coconut oil under my arms, when i work up this morning, no smell! Great right?! so i put some more on in the morning and headed out to work. Well it’s only been 1 1/2 or so into the day and i smell a little something :( I brought my dove deoderant in case (esp since i’m heading to the gym after work and dont want to clear the place out!) so unfortunely i’m going to have to use it waaaay before i wanted too! I’m pretty sad about this i;m not doing to lie. However i’m also not going to give up! I think i’ll try the baking soda but i am a litle worried abou thte rash peopel mentioned (my skin is very sensitive) and the essential oil might help too. I wanted to ask you about the science behind this. I’ve used deoderant everyday since i was 13 or so. Now that i’m cutting out the nasty store bought chemical brand this adjustement period you mention, is it normal? Is it that once you switch to something natural it takes a while to flush out the toxins? I heard that some people dont even need deoderant after a while and only use it on occasion. Any thoughts on this? Thanks so much for your advice and help! My eyes are finally open to all of this and it’s SHOCKING! but i’m heading in the right direction and trying to educate myself as much as possible :)

    • During the transition period, there is nothing wrong with wiping down your underarms as needed and reapplying the natural deodorant. That way you can address your natural odor while still avoiding the store bought stuff. Also, people do smell when they work out, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Clean up after, reapply and be patient about the adjustment period. It’s important that you DO NOT use essential oils “neat” or full strength on the skin, be sure to dilute them appropriately, 12-15 drops per ounce of carrier oil. You can dab the mixture on like perfume to mask odor during the transition. Also, use only pure essential oils, not fragrance oils (they aren’t suitable and are often adulterated or unnatural). Try to stick with it and good luck!

      • Thank you! I ended up using my dove detodorant halfway through the day but i think i’ll bring some wet cloths with me and use them to whip away and smell and reapply the coconut oil. Thanks for the tips about the essential oils as well because i’ve never used them! Today i used my “tom’s natural deodorant” so we’ll see how that goes (hopefully it doesn’t give up before the end of the day as this is the first time i’ve tried this one as well, but tomorrow i’m off and through the weekend as well so being at home i’ll feel more comfortable and not as paranoid. My husband is on board with this too but he’s leaving it up to me to figure out what works before he changes anything. He was asking if i was actually giving off a body odor scent or if i was sticking my nose right under my arm to try and smell something, and i have to admit it was the latter, lol. I was super parnoid and kept running to the bathroom to check, and to be honest it really wasn’t bad BO it was more like an earthy smell, but i was worried it would get worse and i’m new at this so i chickened out too quickly!
        Anyways thanks again for the help and i will stick with this and see how it goes!

    • Jamie, you might find this interesting:
      http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/pheromones-male-perspiration-reduce-womens-tension-alter-hormone-response-regulates-menstrual-c
      I wouldn’t be surprised if the reverse weren’t true. I personally like a little musk, and while this is pure speculation at the moment, I wonder if our society wouldn’t be a little more peaceful if our natural musk was socially acceptable.

      • Thanks, Ember, for you thoughts and for the feedback provided to Jamie. Great info!! And stick with it Jamie – you”ll be fine. Sometimes I think I smell after working out and when I ask my husband, he can’t detect a thing. I think just like elsewhere in our lives we are way more critical of ourselves then we need to be!!

  22. Oh my gosh we’re hippie twins! I do virtually the same things and the OCM. Crunchy Betty has saved me too. Do you use baking soda to clean your house too? I highly recommend it!

  23. Reblogged this on canyousaymomma and commented:
    I have a confession to make. 2 weeks ago I became a no-poo kind of girl! It was a very scary choice to make since my hair gets super greasy, but after a few days of greasiness my hair is figuring it out. I have been washing with apple cider vinegar, and after reading this blog I’m going to try the baking soda wash first. I’m also excited to try making my own deodorant!

  24. Read the label again on the Whole Foods 365 brand of French Milled. Its saponified coconut and/or palm oil. This means its made with lye. ALL soap must be made with lye or it will not harden properly. Liquid soap uses more chemicals to keep it flowing through the pump. I made natural soap for many years and used a non-animal form of lye. But this is more expensive so chances are the saponified soap you use is some form of animal fat, though the name is usually disguised or omitted. The law does not require soap makers to tell you the ingredients so what they list may not be inclusive.

  25. Wouw! Very interesting:)Thanks for sharing! I also use Coconut oil, and banished all products That contain: parabens, mineral oil and sulfates. I love natural products! And Coconut <3 I am Always looking for better hair products, so this sounds really wonderful
    I really like your article, i Will Give it a try:)
    Greetings from Holland;)
    Ayda

  26. Hello :-) I went from shampooing every day to using baking soda and ACV and had ‘ok’ results but still very finicky hair. I have since discovered something that works for me – I have 2 mixtures in my shower in glass jars. One is a mixture of baking soda, water and spearmint oil mixed to a paste and the other is baking soda and coconut oil mixed to a paste.
    I use the baking soda and water mixture when I’m a bit grubby to wash my hair, face and whole body.
    I use the baking soda and coconut oil mixture when I need a bit of moisture added back – again in my hair, on my face and my whole body.
    Also about once a month in the shower I use pure coconut oil on my whole body and then pat dry after my shower and go to bed – it’s amazing on my skin.
    There is no set timeframe when I use each item. i just play it by ear but I use each mixture about once a week and just wash with water in between. If my skin feels a little dry I moisturise with a tiny bit of coconut oil.
    Hope this is helpful :-)

    • Would you mind posting your ratio for the mixture of both of your hair washes. I would like to try them. Thanks!

      • Hi KB, i don’t have exact measurements. This is how I made them:
        Mixture 1: I put about 1/8 cup baking soda in a small bowl, mix in about 3 drops of spearmint & then drops of water until it made a smooth paste – take it slow :-)
        Mixture 2: same idea, put some baking soda in a bowl and mix a teaspoon of coconut oil in at a time to make a smooth paste.

        Sometimes in the shower my mixtures can settle, depending on what I have in them so I just mix it back around with my finger and then use that on my hair / face / body. The key is to have it in a shallow jar or container you can easily access (tall, narrow necked jars aren’t easy to work with).

        I have also played with my mixtures. Last time I made mixture one I swapped the water for some coconut oil & raw honey and added some poppy seeds as an exfoliant and it was awesome. Gave it a really earthy smell, made it a nice rich colour and the poppy seeds felt great on my scalp and face, like little exfoliating beads.

        None of these ratios or ingredients are set in stone, just play with them until you are happy (like more or less spearmint oil or another oil altogether). Just have fun and experiment and you might be surprised :-)

        My only word of warning – use essential oils sparingly because a little goes a long way and some people can be sensitive to their concentrated properties on their face and skin etc. Start small and build up so you know your skin is happy.

  27. Thank you for the article. I have not done a no shampoo thing yet, but do use coconut oil a lot. I use it on my kids and myself. I have very oily skin and was very sceptical at first to use OIL on my face, but my face actually looks so much yonger and the oil soaks right in and amaizingly enough it does not feel or look oily at all.

  28. Hey Marjorie, I started my no poo routine since last week (Only water wash nothing else.) And I stumbled upon your blog looking for tips! I am really inspired by it. I am now contemplating taking it a step ahead and ditching all the chemical products I use – One by One. I do not use soap much in the shower already. For the squeaky clean feel you get with the soap, you could use ‘gram flour’. Just mix gram flour with enough water to make it a paste (you could add a few drops of essential oils for the smell) and just apply/ rub it all over your body and wash it off. It leaves your skin feeling so soft. My mom used to do this for me when I was little but as I was growing up I thought I knew better and I switched to those chemical laden bath creams. But when I had chicken pox and could not use any of those ‘body washes’ I started using ‘gram flour’ and I have never switched back. BTW it works just fine for the hair too. (Usually with no poo, they say you cannot go for oil massages, as it would be difficult to get rid of the ‘grime’ with just water/ baking soda/ ACV rinses). You just dab your hair with the flour and let it soak up the oil, dust it out (repeat the process till you feel your hair is oil free) and wash your hair under the shower. Again, my mom used to do this to me when I was a little girl; its funny how I am going back to this routine after so many years!
    Great read. Thank you for the post.

  29. I’ve been using BS and ACV on my long chemically treated curly hair for over 2 months. I see many others talking about dry scalp with the no-poo routine. I just wanted to comment that I only no-poo 2 times per week at most. I think the overuse of the BS can lead to dry scalp. I just wet and restyle or brush on non “wash” days.

  30. Hippie Girl I love ya for sharing this information!!! I just wish should found it earlier.

    It’s funny how people look at you when you give them simplistic, cost effective and healthy ideas or remedies. It’s sad that people would rather put chemicals in & on theirs & their children’s bodies. But, to each his own.

    I believe these ideas you shared will be of great help to me with my Fibromyalgia. There are so many unknowns as to what aggravates it along with several suggestions. Because even doctors are stumped, being forced to be your own research advocate can drive you crazy trying to figure it out or just depressed you all together. Lol I feel the answer to some relief lies in getting back to the healthier and simplistic basics of what we put in and on our bodies.

    Again thank you so much honey! May God wonderfully bless you! And please keep sharing!! :)

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Rochelle! Best of luck to you as you work on healing your Fibromyalgia. I am a physical therapist who works with many FMS patients, and I wish more of them were open to making dietary and lifestyle changes to positively effect their health and put the disease that debilitates them into remission. Keep us updated on your journey!

  31. I’ve been using coconut oil on my face for several months and it looks amazing. Just tried your baking soda hair wash and my hair feels clean and soft. Thanks!

  32. I loved your article. I have been using Baking soda more and more. For years I’ve used it for heartburn. Never use drugs.
    My Mom used to do the same for toothpaste when we were still home and struggling financially. I now use OG toothpaste which is very safe. You can find it on http://www.coffee2sing4.organogold.com – look on a link coffeeconnisseur…
    I have been experimenting mixing Baking Soda with creams. I’m looking for a way to use it instead of store bought creams as I believe it’s antifungal and I’ve been battling with a fungus on my skin, coming from Africa and the heat there. So any advice here would help as I’ve seen no recipe for anything like that online. The creams I have made leave me feeling rather sticky. Maybe I should put it on an hour before my shower and then rinse off?

    • Thanks for the comment Lucy. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about mixing baking soda with creams. If you experiment and have good results, let me know!

    • I use a mixture of coconut oil, lavender essential oil and tea tree oil to treat diaper rash and yeast rash my daughter had. Fantastic results, maybe try something like that? I don’t know about baking soda mixed in though.

  33. Coconut oil is natures miracle! I use it as my only moisturizer, conditioner, and hair styling product. After about a week of using it, my acne completely cleared up….I battled acne for years and spent hundreds of dollars!!! My scars started to disappear as well as my fine lines and wrinkles caused from the harsh products that over dried my skin. I didn’t realize how dry my skin and hair really was until I started using coconut oil. I have naturally wavy/curly hair but I couldn’t ever wear it that way because it was frizzy and wouldn’t stay curly the whole day so I flat ironed it and used tons of products. Now I use coconut oil to wash and to condition. I use apple cider vinegar as we’ll and baking soda /water mix about twice a month. My hair has gotten fuller and my curls have never looked this great. I don’t do anything to it…I just scrunch and let it dry and it looks amazing and has more body than it ever did before and I don’t even have to do anything or spend a ton of money!! I also use it on my teeth…they got noticeably whiter within a couple weeks…more so than having them bleached or using store bought whitners. I also use it as my shaving cream when I shave my legs….I don’t have to buy that anymore either and it get a much smoother shave and my skin is so soft and shiny! I wish I would have found out about coconut oil years ago…I would have saved myself a fortune and had amazing skin and hair all that time and probably would not have battled with acne!

    • Hi Cynthia, my hair is thick and cury and I also have a problem with frizziness. I have tried putting little dab of coconut oil on my hair after washing but it doesnt seem to do much good. Please can you explain in depth how you use it.

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