Alternatives to Shampoo

Washing your hair frequently has been recommended since the 1970’s. Frequent shampooing removes sebum, the oil produced by your scalp. One thing we’ve learned is that frequent hair washing actually stimulates production of scalp oil faster. As you acquire hair care products for your emergency supplies, consider some alternatives that will be equally effective and save money as well.

The ‘No Poo’ Movement – To be a part of an environmental movement or not, if your hair needs washing and you have no commercial shampoo, use back to basics shampoo. Here’s how to do it. Use 1 Tbs baking soda (yes, the same stuff you use to absorb odors in your refrigerator) dissolved in 1 cup of water. I also added 6 drops of lavender oil. Wet your hair and pour (I use a squeeze bottle) baking soda solution throughout your hair, rubbing as you go for at least 2 minutes. Rinse with warm water and repeat. 1

Follow this rinse with a conditioner to return the pH of your hair to neutral (Sodium bicarbonate is slightly alkaline). The back to basics conditioner is 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar diluted into 1 cup of water. Simply shake the bottle before each use and gently massage into the hair and scalp for two to five minutes and rinse with cool water. The vinegar conditioner will smooth the hair cuticle making more manageable hair. Blot dry with a towel or comb out with a wide toothed comb. You can benefit your hair-type by adding herbs or essential oils.

For greasy or oily hair/scalp, add 6-8 drops of an essential oil such as bergamot, lavender, lemon, rosemary, sandalwood, tea tree, or ylang ylang.

For dry scalp and dandruff, you can add 6-8 drops of essential oils like tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, sage, or rosemary.

Rosemary is a wonderful herb for all hair types. Infuse your vinegar by steeping several fresh rosemary sprigs in a few cups of apple cider vinegar for 1-2 weeks. Strain out the rosemary, and use the vinegar to make your conditioner, storing leftovers for future batches. The rosemary will impart a lovely smell along with all the benefits of this herb. If you have rosemary essential oil and don’t want to wait 1-2 weeks for an infused vinegar, just add 6-8 drops of rosemary essential oil to your conditioner and it’s ready for immediate use!2

Alternatives to Conditioners

There are lots of other options for conditioners using common household ingredients if you would like to experiment. 3, 4, 5

Conditioner Method 1

Mix 1/2 cup plain yogurt, mayonnaise, and one egg white together for a quick conditioner. While some people are little turned-off by the idea of using a condiment for conditioner, mayonnaise is a great way to add a healthy shine to your hair. The egg whites contain proteins that help damaged hair, and the vinegar helps restore a balanced pH to your scalp.[3] This little mixture spreads easily and can be used just like normal conditioner. Simply whisk them together in a bowl and apply like normal.

  • Do not use hot water to wash your hair or you risk cooking the egg whites on your head.
  • Substitute vanilla yogurt for plain for a light vanilla scent.

Conditioner Method 2

Know that apple cider vinegar is great at balancing the pH of your hair. This classic liquid is the basis of many home remedies and is an all-natural way to keep your hair clean and shiny. It is mixed with water, so don’t fret about your hair smelling vinegary. A quick rinse will get rid of any odor.

Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup vinegar and mix well. Simply combine the liquids and shake them until they are well mixed. Your basic conditioner is done. Shake the bottle before using it to make sure it is still well mixed.[3]

  • This simple mixture is a good base that will help customize your conditioner.
  • Add essential oils like lavender or bergamot if you have greasy hair. These oils will clean off your hair and return essential oils to hair follicles.

You may want to try some of these depending on your hair type and other conditions. Let us know what you tried and your results.

Alternatives to Deodorants

Deodorants and Antiperspirant products are some of the worst offenders when it comes to the addition of hazardous chemicals in beauty products. There have been recent reports of links between these products and much higher rates of breast cancer. Antiperspirants, by sealing in moisture, are the worst. Besides putting aluminum in your body, they prevent perspiration, which is the body’s natural way to eliminate toxins.6

Apocrine glands in the skin usually have an odor because the protein in sweat is broken down by surface bacteria and converted into certain acids.One important habit to reduce underarm odor is daily washing. In addition the back to basics deodorant of moist baking soda rubbed under your arms may be all you need. It can also be mixed with cornstarch and dusted on. You can fill a spray bottle with dilute vinegar or ethyl alcohol and spritz your arm pits. The vinegar smell goes away quickly.

You can make your own deodorant combining baking soda with shea butter, coconut oil, arrowroot and essential oils. 8, 9 

Coconut Oil Deodorant Ingredients

  • 6 T coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (4 T) baking soda
  • 1/4 cup (4 T) arrowroot or organic cornstarch
  • essential oils (optional)

Coconut Oil Deodorant Instructions

  1. Mix baking soda and arrowroot together in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Mash in coconut oil with a fork until well mixed.
  3. Add oils if desired.
  4. Store in small glass jar or old deodorant container for easy use.

Give these recipes a try and let us know what you think.


Billie Nicholson, editor
August 2016 



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