Why buy shampoo when real poo is still free?

Or better yet, use the “No ‘Poo” method of washing your hair!

When I discovered this method, I had great difficulty finding instructions on how the bicarb and vinegar were supposed to be applied for maximum cleaning effect. Plenty of people were raving about how soft and clean it made their hair, but nothing about how to mix or what proportions to use. Given that bicarb soda and vinegar will cause a big mess to occur when they are mixed, I was pretty sure that they weren’t supposed to be applied at the same time.

I started using the No ‘Poo method because I’m basically a frugal kind of person and I like to know what’s in the things I’m putting on my body. Most shampoos contain parabens which are used as preservatives. They are also known hormone disruptors because they mimic the shape of hormones in the body (especially oestrogen) and can lock into the receptor sites on our cells and cause all sorts of metabolic issues.

Using bicarb soda and apple cider vinegar allows your scalp to return to it’s normal pH and moisture levels, which can assist with the control of dandruff and other scalp complaints. So here’s how it works:

No ‘Poo hair wash

1 tablespoon of bicarb soda

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (I used pasteurised vinegar as it’s cheaper than the real stuff but if you make your own, feel free to use unpasteurised, it will work just fine. You can also substitute white vinegar if you like, but I think ACV smells better.)

500ml boiling water

500ml tap water (or cooled, boiled water)

2 (or 3) jugs or other pouring containers

OPTIONAL: To make a gorgeous herbal rinse so that your hair smells divine, you will also need an extra cup of boiling water and an extra cup of cool water. For blonde through mid-brown natural shades or those who would like to lighten their natural shade, you’ll need the juice of one lemon. For those whose natural hair shade is mid-brown through black, add the crushed leaves of a sprig of rosemary or a tablespoon of dried, crushed leaves. Do not use the lemon rinse on dyed hair! I’m not sure what would happen but I expect the acidity would have dire consequences on your colour . . .


Add the bicarb soda to one jug and pour one cup (250ml) of boiling water over it to dissolve.

Do the same for the ACV in the second jug.

Add one cup of cool water to each jug and stir.

If using the lemon rinse, add the lemon juice to the third jug and pour one cup of boiling water over it, then add the cup of cooled water and stir.

If using the rosemary rinse, add the leave to a mug and pour one cup of boiling water over them to make a rosemary “tea” by steeping the crushed leaves in the boiling water for about 3-4 minutes. Strain into the third jug, then add the cooled water and stir.


To wash your hair, get it wet in the shower or over a sink. Pour the bicarb soda mixture onto your hair and massage your scalp with the pads of your fingers until it feels sufficiently clean. Be gentle as there’s no suds to lubricate the massage. Rinse out the bicarb soda mixture with plain water.

Rinse your hair with the vinegar mixture. Gently massage your scalp again to ensure that the vinegar is all through your hair. Rinse with plain water.

If you want your hair scented, rinse your hair with the lemon or rosemary mixture and then towel dry. Style as usual.

How to make Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Having found a functional, reasonably priced, glass vessel which allows for the easy dispensing of liquid that will look nice on my benchtop, I thought I’d try my hand at making apple cider vinegar.

Fortunately, organic, unpasteurised ACV is fairly common in Australia, you can buy it in the big chain supermarkets or just about any health food store. But I’m a cheapskate, and I’m experimenting, so I thought I’d make my own to use for salad dressings, drinking (diluted in water), making herbal tonics and washing my hair.

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