Sounds a little funny, but it’s a great concept. There has been a lot of information going around about all the chemicals found in shampoo and conditioners. These can make hair care a self-sustaining downward spiral (chemicals dry hair, which produces more oils, so you have to use more chemicals to rid scalp of the oils…). They are also absorbed into the body through the skin & contribute to our chemical load, which is then passed on to our babies through breastmilk. Some of these chemicals are endocrine disruptors found to hasten development in girls and contribute to sterility in boys.
So, one choice would be to purchase organic shampoos & conditioners, but this will quickly get quite expensive and increases your carbon footprint by the creation, packaging, & shipping of these formulas. There is also the issue of the plastic packaging, which can still leach chemicals (phthalates, etc.) for you to absorb in addition to needing to be recycled.
A less impactful and much cheaper alternative is nopoo. Over the years, I have seen & tried a variety of “recipes” for this concoction and have come to the conclusion that the user just needs to experiment & discover what works best for him or herself.
Basically, nopoo is a mixture of baking soda & water. The 1st recipe I learned was – put 1/4 c of baking soda in a cup & add enough water to make a paste. A more recent version says to put one TBS of soda in a cup of water in a squirt bottle, shake & squirt. So, obviously, there is some variation. At this point, I don’t measure. I put “some” baking soda in a cup & fill with water. I find that this looser mix is easier to work with than a thick paste, particularly since I have longer hair. The important part is to make sure to rub it into the crown & part of your head. Another key area is around the hairline. The rest of the scalp is a good idea too, but your thoroughness can vary, depending on the frequency of washing. The paste recipe said once a week, the more liquid ones suggest every few days. I tend to wash my hair when I get a chance, which is usually once or twice a week if I’m lucky. Really, it’s not set in stone. Experiment.
As far as conditioner, or rinse, the usual accompaniment is apple cider vinegar in warm water. My 1st recipe was 3 TBS in 24 oz of water to give hair “that certain something” (shininess mostly). Other recipes have had a variety of different amounts, but I think that this rinse really should vary with your hair type. If your hair is dry, use more ACV and/or rinse more often. If your hair is oily, use less and/or rinse less often. I tend to pour a little ACV in the bottom of a mondo cup of water & dip the ends in. Occasionally I might decide to pour the mix over my head when I’m done, but I might just as well decide to use it to clean the shower or toilet.
This takes a little more thought & experimentation than “lather, rinse, repeat”, and there will be a breaking in period, where your hair is greasier than normal while it is still over-producing oils that it needed to cope with the drying effects of shampoo, but it is totally worth it – frugal, natural, & safe!