Eco Shampoo Part II – Natural Alternatives

Eco Shampoo, Natural Shampoo, or No Shampoo?


Previously I talked about what is in the popular commercial shampoos and how they can be harmful to your health.  I recommended the excellent website EWG Skin Deep to check out the brand of shampoo you’re currently using and see its chemical rating (you’re hoping for a green 0 result).

Once you’ve done that, you might want to consider some natural alternatives to shampoo if you find that the product you’re currently using isn’t eco shampoo.

Natural Shampoo Alternatives

There are many people who aren’t using shampoo any more.  (And no, they don’t have dirty hair!).   What are they using instead?  There are some interesting alternatives:

  1. Rinse your hair simply in warm water, with no shampoo or cleanser at all – the water does the washing for you without the chemicals. (Yes, I  know, it seems strange, we’re so “conditioned” now to think we need extra stuff for washing, but it might work for you).
  2. Use only conditioner – this may be necessary if your hair dehydrates and turns frizzy.  (Remember though that many conditioners also contain chemicals).
  3. Use baking soda – it’s very economical, and of course because it’s so useful as an eco-friendly alternative to chemicals all over your house, you’ll have it in stock anyway!  Mix about a teaspoonful of baking soda with a cup of water, and shake it well.  Then pour it onto your hair when you’re in the shower, massage it in and let it sit for a while, then rinse it out.  Be aware, there is no lather with this, so it feels strange the first few times.
  4. Some people report that their scalp turns dry from using baking soda – if this is the case, use a rinse of diluted apple cider vinegar to counteract the alkalinity of the baking soda.

What will happen?

Eco shampoo is good for mens hair too

Eco shampoo is good for mens hair too

These alternatives to shampoo are interesting.  Something that you’ll notice for a little while is that your hair will feel quite different.   This is probably because the scalp will take some time to ‘realise’ that shampoo is no longer stripping your hair of its natural oils, and so it must cut back its production.  It will take a couple of weeks to adjust – it depends on how big your oil glands are, and some of this is genetically based.

Should I ditch shampoo?

That’s your choice.  Manufacturers tell us that their products are safe to use.

Also, the shampoo doesn’t stay on us for a long time.    Which is one of the facts that the commercial manufacturers use to support their claims that their products are safe.

But shampooing daily or every other day for example, does expose us to a lot of chemicals which, particularly when combined with the other chemicals we use regularly (soaps, cosmetics, cleaning products) probably have a cumulative effect.

Because many people became aware of the harshness of chemical shampoos around 2008-2009, some manufacturers started producing reduced-chemical shampoos.  They didn’t sell well, because they didn’t lather.  So the manufacturers added back the lathering chemicals, added a few botanical ingredients and called them “natural”.  As we all know, “natural” isn’t regulated, it can be anything.  Lots of harmful things are “natural”.  Arsenic for example.

Does it work for everyone?  Not necessarily.

But people who ditch the shampoo report shinier, healthier hair with less frizz and more body.

But I want to use shampoo!

If you want to use shampoo when washing your hair, but avoid any harmful chemicals, no problem!

Next: my EcoExpert recommendations for chemical-free, eco-friendly shampoo.

You might also enjoy: Easy, Safe Hair Conditioners for Healthy, Glossy Hair

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  • Skin Toxins says:

    […] products – what’s wrong with most of the shampoos we buy, plus shampoo – home made recipes and my best product recommendations for eco friendly […]

  • Andrew Miner says:

    I use Baking Soda in the bath for my children. It does wonders with keeping their skin and hair soft. Thanks!


  • Online Dating Expert for women over Forty says:

    Hi Green Goddess,

    Great to open the topic of ecofriendly shampoo!

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell

  • John Moulder says:

    Never thought about using no shampoo Clare . Having a few days off , so will give it a go .

  • Cherie Miranda says:

    These are wonderful tips, Clare! I had no idea about baking soda.


    Cherie Miranda

  • Dennis Perry says:

    What would you recommend to someone with fairly mild dandruff controlled easily with shampoos such as Head and Shoulders? Will the dandruff worsen if only warm water or warm water with baking soda are used?


    • Clare Delaney says:

      Hi Dennis,
      Often, people find that using only baking soda clears up their dandruff. I cant guarantee that it’ll work for you, as everyone’s different. It does feel strange, no lather etc., and it’ll probably take a couple of weeks to start having an effect, before you’ll notice an improvement. In your case, I would definitely recommend a rinse of diluted apple cider vinegar after the baking soda. Your Head and Shoulders shampoo is rated 5 at EWG and contains all the nasty lathering chemicals as well as other nasties for the dandruff suppression. It’s not certified by PETA so the chances are high that it IS tested on animals. The product sells well because people see that it does suppress the dandruff, but at what cost to our health? The choice is yours, but if I could give you any advice, it would be to give a new method a chance over a couple of weeks, to see if it works for you.

  • Neil Dhawan says:

    Clare ~

    Thank you for the great information … I’m going to give baking soda and diluted apple cider vinegar a try! One of my thought was, what is happening when you use a chemically-laced shampoo and use hot water to “bake” the chemicals into the largest organ … the skin ….. we know that it is being absorbed.

    Stay Amazing and Do Great Things, Neil

    • Clare Delaney says:

      Absolutely Neil! There’s a lot of evidence that the chemicals are being absorbed, although often we’re told they’re not.
      Thanks for your comment!

  • Rob Malone says:

    Hi Clare,

    You are so right about all the chemicals we subject oursleves to and never really think about. Thanks for bringing these alternatives to my attention

  • Kevin Bettencourt says:

    I think if people commonly knw they were using chemical shampoo they might reduce their need. What I need you to do is find out how these guys made me lose my hair. Haha. Anyway, it may seem like a scare tactic but if people are using toxic chemicals to wash their hair is it really a tactic?

  • Eva Palmer says:

    Hi Clare!
    This was an excellent post about alternatives to shampoo.
    Both my grandmothers use to make soap for washing clothes ( and also very good for the skin) only with olive oil and baking soda. I migth try that!

  • Sonya Lenzo says:

    I have heard of using apple cider vinnegar as a rinse but not baking soda as a wash. I am going to try it!
    Sonya Lenzo

  • Michael D Walker says:

    I’d never heard of using baking soda or apple cider vinegar on your hair but it’s interesting to see that there are alternatives to the commercial shampoos.