Natural No-Poo Cleansers for Healthy Hair

Natural No-Poo Cleansers for Healthy Hair – Hippy Natural Hair Care Series Part 2

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Last week, in my first Natural Hair Care post, I wrote to you about why I will not use baking soda on my own hair. We learned about ph and how it affects your hair and scalp, and that baking soda is WAY too alkaline for our hair.We now know that our hair prefers to keep a ph of 4.5, and when we cleanse our hair or use any other kinds of hair products, we want to make sure its ph is  within 4.5-7 to keep our scalp and hair ph balanced. Since I don’t use baking soda on my hair when I no-poo, you all were VERY curious as to what I actually DO use instead. Today I am going to give you several ph-balanced options to try so that you can find the right one for your hair, and at the end of this post, I will share my own personal ramped up the recipe that I have been using on MY hair.

What NOT to use on your hair!

What should you avoid cleansing your hair with?

Both baking soda (ph of 9.5) and castile soap (ph of 9.0) are just too alkaline to be used when cleansing our hair. These product’s high ph is what gives them the ability to open up our hair follicles, much like chemical hair dyes. After some time, your hair may start to become dry and brittle, and break off more frequently. Some hairdressers do suggest the use of baking soda, once a month for a clarifying wash.

What can you use to no-poo cleanse your hair?

With so many blog posts out there purporting the awesomeness of the baking soda no-poo method, it leads one to wonder if there are any other options, but BEHOLD! There are actually quite a few options that you can wash your hair with, no-poo style. I have made a point of trying all of them for the sake of doing my research for you guys. (I might have also forced my husband to be a guinea pig along with me. I am really thankful that the Hippy Hubby allows me to use him for testing purposes!)

  • Aloe Vera – with a ph of 4.5-5.5, aloe vera is a really great option to no-poo with. There is even a great aloe vera and coconut milk recipe out there that sounds pretty divine!
  • Honey – with a ph of around 4, honey is also very conditioning to the hair and can help reduce frizz too! Lauren@EmpoweredSustenance has a great honey shampoo recipe!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – With a ph of 3-3.5 ACV is a great choice when diluted. I like to dilute mine with aloe vera and water. Note that ACV is chosen over white vinegar because it has a higher ph than white vinegar.
  • Water – There are some people who simply just wash their hair with water. My own hair needs a lot more help than just water. I suspect this works on those who A) haven’t really damage their hair any before the change AND B) have clean water that isn’t too hard. Hard water can make a huge difference on how clean your hair gets, and it especially interacts with natural soaps like castile soap, leaving too much build up.
  • Herbal Infused Tea – There are so many hair healing herbs that you can use in some capacity in any natural no-poo method that you choose, but plain herbal tea can be used to cleanse and/or rinse your hair as well. See below for specific herbs to helps your hair type.
  • Clay – Both Bentonite and Rhassoul clay have wonderful healing benefits, no only for our faces, but also for our hair! Containing a plethora of minerals and awesome cleansing powers, clay should not be ignored when making your own no-poo shampoo. Clay has the power to both cleanse and condition while keeping your scalp and hair’s oil cycle in fact. (The ph of 1 Tbsp. Rhassoul clay and 8 oz. water can be a little high at 6, so it’s always best to either add lower ph ingredients such as ACV or aloe vera to the mix or rinse with an apple cider vinegar rinse after washing.)
  • Saponin Cleansing Herbs – Did you know that you can wash your hair with herbs that act like soap and get a little sudsy? If you have ever used soap nuts in your laundry to clean your clothes, then you have had a saponin cleansing herb all along! Saponins are plant-based versions of cleansing suds and can be used in place of soap to clean things including our hair! Saponin cleansing herbs include yucca root, soapnuts, and soapwort. One of my favorite soapnuts/soapwort shampoo is my recipe for my Herbal Goddess Soapnuts Shampoo. It’s one of my favorite recipes!!!

Hair healing herbs for health and growth

There are so many great herbs to use in your hair recipes! According to the MountainRose Blog whether you have dry hair, oily hair, thinning hair, or even want a color boost, you can use herbs to help you make your hair healthier and happier!

Normal hair: Basil, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail, Lavender, Linden flowers, Nettle, Parsley leaf, Rosemary, Sage, Watercress.

Dry hair and scalp: Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey leaf, Elder flowers, Horsetail, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Parsley leaf, Sage.

Oily hair and scalp: Bay leaf, Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Lemon peel, Lemongrass, Nettle, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme, Witch Hazel bark, Yarrow leaf and flower.

Scalp conditions (dandruff, sensitive skin, inflammation, itchiness, dermatitis): Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey leaf, Eucalyptus, Horsetail, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.

Hair loss/thinning: Basil, Nettle, Rosemary, Sage.

Golden highlights: Calendula, Chamomile, Lemon, Sunflower petals.

Dark highlights: Black Tea, Black Walnut hulls (crushed or chopped), Comfrey root, Nettle, Rosemary, Sage.

Red highlights: Calendula, Henna, Hibiscus flowers, Red Clover flowers, Rose hips, Red Rose petals.

Natural No-Poo Cleansers for Healthy Hair

The Hippy Homemaker’s Ultra Awesome Hair Cleansing and Conditioning Mud

If you would rather use more of a shampoo-like recipe, you can also try my Herbal Goddess Soapnuts Shampoo! I like to switch up using both so that my hair does not get used to either. When I am experiencing more oily hair I use this mud shampoo and when I am need more moisture I use the soapnuts shampoo! You might try both to find which works best for your hair! It should be noted though that, there is still a detox period using any natural method of no-pooing. You can learn more about the detox period here.


  • 3 cups distilled water (I personally use a hydrosol to get the added benefits of herbs. My current mud cleanser in the shower, contains lime hydrosol)
  • 2 Tbsp. marshmallow root (the slip that this provides really makes a difference in the end result. Though you can omit the “hair healing herbs” below, I would not omit the marshmallow root.)
  • 4-6 Tbsp. hair healing herbs of choice (I personally ALWAYS make mine with 1 Tbsp. each of horsetail, oatstraw, nettle, green tea, and for an extra little bit of a red boost I add hibiscus. If given a choice of herbs for all hair types that really make this recipe awesome, I would say don’t leave out the horsetail, oatstraw, and nettle. Horsetail and oatstraw contain high amounts of silica and this helps your hair feel much softer and grow much faster. Nettle contains a high amount of vitamins and minerals that are great for all hair types and helps to stimulate the scalp.)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup clay (You can use bentonite or rhassoul clay. I personally LOVE rhassoul clay and find that its high mineral content really makes a difference on my hair, but people with oily hair/scalp might find bentonite clay helps to keep the oils at bay.)
  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1 Tbsp. carrier oil of choice (optional – If your hair is really dry, add this into your shampoo! It will wash out, don’t worry!)
  • essential oils of choice


  1. This recipe is first a decoction. When using roots, especially mucilage giving roots like marshmallow root, it is better to release their healing properties by simmering the root in water (or hydrosol) for  15-20 minutes. Bring 3 cups water (or hydrosol) and marshmallow root to a boil and turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  2. After making the marshmallow root decoction, remove from heat and add hair healing herbs of your choice. Leave all of the herbs to steep until it’s cool. Strain herbs, taking extra care to squeeze out the herbs to get all the extra tea.
  3. Combine 1 cup of herbal infusion/decoction with apple cider vinegar, clay, aloe vera gel, and essential oils. Stir until completely mixed together. Store in an air-tight container for a week in your bath tub (or longer if you add a few drops of a natural preservative such as grapeseed extract, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary antioxidant, and/or colloidal silver. Refrigeration can also help keep your mud for several months.)
  4. TO USE: Wet hair as you would when shampooing, then pour mud into your palm and begin cleansing your hair with it, starting from your roots and massaging down to the tips. Let sit for 5 minutes (don’t let it dry) and then rinse clean. Follow with a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse (I use a 32 oz spray bottle and combine 1/4 cup ACV, 1/4 cup aloe vera gel, water to fill, and essential oils. I spray my hair until it’s soaked with the ACV rinse and then comb my hair through. You can either rinse clean or leave in to dry in your hair. It won’t smell of ACV when your hair dries.)

Miss part of this hair care series?

The Dirty Hippy Truth About No-Poo & Why I Won’t Use Baking Soda on My Hair – Hippy Natural Hair Care Series Part 1

Natural No-Poo Cleansers For Healthy Hair – Hippy Natural Hair Care Series Part 2

Natural Hair Conditioners & Herbal Detangling Spray – Hippy Natural Hair Care Series Part 3

Herbal Academy Affordable Courses Online

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All information on The Hippy Homemaker is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.

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  • you should totally try it out and tell me how it works for you. It may work well or it may be a little too much moisture for your hair! For a frizz smoothing agent before blow drying (which will be totally fine!) you can use just a drop or two of vegetable glycerin to smooth out your ends before blow drying

  • you might try my herbal goddess soapnuts shampoo recipe ( and add 1 tbsp. clay to that recipe! I like to switch between that recipe and the addition of the clay to it depending on where in my hair cycle i am (greasy or dry)

  • you might make up my mud cleanser, but don’t add any water type liquids (carrier oils for moisturizing and essential oils will be fine in the mix, but water brings bacteria and mold!). So it’ll be like a clay mask, then when you are ready to wash your hair, pour some of the powdered mixture into a cup and add a bit of water or tea to it until it’s a liquidy consistency that you can massage into your hair and then rinse! You can take an ACV rinse with you to follow up with as a conditioner as well! ( because that won’t go bad being that it’s a vinegar!

  • yes LOVE french green clay!!!

  • I use my infused usually if I have it on hand!!

  • if you are simply doing marshmallow root by itself in water, it does even better in a cold infusion than a hot! Combine 1/4 cup marshmallow root in a 16 oz mason jar and let sit overnight in the cool water!

  • yes i tend to use the clay shampoos during the part of the month that my hair is more oily and my soap nuts shampoo during the times of the month that my hair is more dry.

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  • Smilly

    I made this shampoo exactly as the recipe goes but every single time I try to rinse it out of my hair I’m always left with bits of clay that make it look like I’ve got bad dandruff. I rinsed today with a fine toothed comb for almost twenty minutes straight and it’s still left in my hair. What am I doing wrong?

    • I like to mix a small amount of the mud, in a mug that I keep in the shower, with a decent amount of water (say 1/4 mud and 3/4 water) to make a soupy mixture. I then pour this over my head, massage in and then rinse clean! When I do it this way, I have no issues!

  • marshmallow root is great for all hair types!

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  • i like to get all my herbs in the whole form rather than powder because with a cheap coffee grinder you can grind it as you need it! When you get the whole kind (like the dried flowers) you can easier add it into infusions (teas/oil infusions) too! In whole form you can use it for everything!

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  • Sarah

    Hey Christina, Could you tell me how many drops of essential oil to put into the cleansing mud as i’m not too sure? Thanks a million for sharing, can’t wait to try it! 🙂

    • I usually do 15 lavender and 15 grapefruit in mine!

      • Sarah

        Thanks Christina, i think maybe 2 drops of lavender was a little too cautious!! Absolutely loving it though. Went the ‘water only’ method about 4 months ago and was going great being in a soft water area. We travel alot and are now in a hard water area and had to give my hair a little extra, as the oil build up wasn’t shifting. Fantastic result and really enjoyed putting it all together. Herbal all the way. Peace and Love

  • ashley

    How necessary is the ACV rinse? My husband and I can’t stand the smell and I can still smell it after my hair has dried, unlike most people! Would lemon juice work as a replacement?

    • lemon juice is a lot more acidic, i like to water my ACV down so that it’s at the right pH for my hair, but more than that I usually rinse mine, I don’t leave it in and I have never smelled it on my hair afterwards! The ACV is a fantastic conditioner and even cleanser to your hair, I use it on my hair every day!!!

  • ashley

    Hey Hippy Homemaker! I started the transition to “no poo” about two weeks ago going all out with the detox and only using water. My hair is honestly disgusting but I am excited to start using your shampoo recipes! I have read so many bad things about baking soda that I am so happy to have found you. I do have one question about your ACV rinse at the end. I have tried this type of rinse before and neither I nor my husband could stand the smell. I was just wondering how important this step was… or even why it is necessary? If it is, could I use lemon juice to have the same effect? Thanks!!

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  • nettle leaves! I try to avoid things that are too basic too, and because of that take pH strips to my concoctions, i normally like to use rhassoul clay on my hair for daily use and bentoninte for clarifying once a month or so because it makes my own hair a bit dry compared to rhassoul clay!

  • Aubjwin

    Hello Christina, thank you for putting this together! I purchased all of the ingredients you suggested and this recipe works great. I can barely believe clay and herbs would clean my hair so well. I’ve tried other no poo recipes with horrible results and almost gave up but thought I’d give it one more shot. So glad I did!
    One question would be about the concern with clay going down the drain. Have you found this to clog your shower drain after continuous use?

    • I use clay a lot, but because of my coconut oil usage as well, I make a point to clean and refresh our pipes frequently. If you do it while there are no problems, then baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water will keep it going just fine!

  • these are recommendations for herbs, not essential oils!

  • Aleasha

    Ironically, I found this article a while back- previous to ditching the hard stuff. Yet, there I was, gleefully dissolving baby mild castille bar with water and eo. Went through the detox, and my hair was literally falling apart! I realized that you may actually know your stuff! I have washed with clay the past 2 washes, and it is like a complete 180! I have found the answer for my fine, blonde hair and sensitive scalp. Thank you for your knowledge, and your awesome recipe. I will remember to trust you next time!

  • Anna

    Do the cleanser and the ACV rinse need to be stored in a glass container and spray bottle or are plastic okay?

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  • Melissa

    SO excited to try this recipe! I box dye my hair approx every 3 months. Does this mean my hair will go through a detox process every time?

    If it wasn’t for my stubborn greys, I wouldn’t be dying it at all.


    • It is likely that you might go through a short detox, probably only a few days up to a week at most, after box dying your hair. It really depends on the box dye that is being used and what’s in the conditioning cream that comes with it! It’s likely the final conditioner that would do more than the dye itself. I find that dyeing your hair does more clarifying than anything else, but that conditioner that comes with it, as the final step in the process may have ingredients that will make your scalp want to detox again. If you find a great natural deep conditioner to use right after, maybe you will be able to avoid the repeated detox issue! If you do that, let me know how it goes! I henna my hair, so my box dye readers would love to hear how it goes! 🙂

    • Jami

      Melissa I have actually heard that in a lot of cases no poo(not baking soda, but the more natural methods) some of the no pooers have said that their gray hair actually grew back to their natural hair color once they went no poo!

  • Nara

    Thank you SO MUCH!! I’ve been using this delightful shampoo for 2 weeks now and I’m past the detox phase. Your articles are so informative and helpful, and gave me hope when my hair was a sticky, matted mess lol. I can’t believe how AMAZING my hair is now. I never thought it could look and feel this good. It is honestly the hair I’d always wished for. So excited to try your other recipes! I’ll never use crazy expensive salon shampoo again!

  • Erin

    hi! could i go half and half on the clay? like instead of 1 cup of one clay, do half a cup of bentonite and a half cup of rhassoul? will they mix together ok? fingers crossed for this! thanks!

  • Sierra

    I am so glad I found this blog! I have been doing a lot of research in some natural hair care and I was at first considering the BC/ACV method, but me being me, I had to do more research before I put my hair through anything. I have thin but very curly hair, but I cannot afford to lose any hair. When clumps of my hair fall out, I notice. I usually have to wash my hair every other day, and I really want to cut back down on it. I am visiting parents for 5 weeks, so I figure since I won’t be going out or doing much, this might be a good time to detox my hair and try washing less often, but I am still nervous because when I do not wash my hair within that one day, it gets so greasy. I did a little research and I am really trying to keep whatever products I use closets to the natural PH balance of my hair, and I guess my question is, since the bentonite clay is higher than the rhassoul clay(Ph wise), wouldn’t it jus be better to use the rhassoul clay despite how oily my hair gets? I figure since I have a good amount of time to detox from the oiliness, I might as well just use the rhassoul clay? Or does it really not make that much of a difference?

    Anyway, I am really glad I found this because I am excited to try this and I honestly think this will be the best option for my hair in the long run.

  • It’s really up to you if you would rather wash like normal and then taper down to 2-3 times a week, or you can choose to just go cold turkey and only wash 2-3 (or even just once a week). Depending on which option you choose can affect how long you end up going through a detox as well as how mild or intense the detox can be. Those that choose to go the tapering route tend to find the detox to be a little more mild, but also lasts longer, while those who go cold turkey can find their detox to be more intense but for a much shorter period of time!

  • Emily

    MRH is out of Rhassoul clay right now. Would Kaolin clay work? I don’t have overly oily hair so didn’t want to try the Bentonite clay. I read your blog on face cleaners and was going to get Kaolin for my face anyway so would it work for my hair too? Also I love your blog. I can’t wait to try this hair cleaner. I’ve looked everywhere and nothing works. Thanks for sharing!

  • I like hemp seed oil, it’s super nutritious and a drier oil so it doesn’t leave your hair nearly as greasy as some other heavier oils can!

  • amom

    Have you figured out the cost of this shampoo?? And how long it lasts?? Super excited to try it! thank you!

  • JT

    Would marshmallow root extract work or would it have to be the actual root? I’ve been using baking soda and I hate it, so I’m really excited to try your method! So happy to see something other than baking soda for a no-poo method!

    • if it is a water based extract and not an alcohol based extract, then yes that’s essentially what your doing with this recipe! The alcohol based extract (or tincture) would still be great in small portions to add the beneficial properties of the plant to the recipe! It’s usually more concentrated than a water extract so you would use less . I am so glad you are excited to try some of these options! I can’t wait to hear which one you like the best 🙂

      • JT

        Thank you for the quick reply! I will definitely be trying this very soon!

  • I like to use it in my conditioning hair rinse in the shower with some ACV or in a marshmallow root detangling spray! You’re hair loves it so you could add it to your ocean waves spray, homemade hair spray and more!

  • I prefer to buy my herbs in whole leaf form only because you can just grind them for the powdered needs or keep them whole for teas, but you can essential use them for the same purposes, it’s just harder to strain out a powder than it is a whole leaf! I use just a cheap coffee grinder (I think I paid $10 for it lol) and it’s dedicated to my herbs (because coffee will leave behind oils that can be hard to get out, so we use two separate ones!

  • Sandra

    I would love to try to make this shampoo with soapnuts in stead of clay (mostly because I currently have soapnuts but no clay) and raw honey, but do you know how long shelf life this would have? Could I possibly freeze the shampoo in ice cube trays or something? I really want to make a big batch of this!

    • I actually make a soapnuts shampoo, you can find the recipe here: ( You can however freeze either of the mixtures in ice cube trays if you want!

      • Sandra

        Thank you for answering so quick! I just discovered your blog today, and it’s simply fabulous! I’ve been on the natural wagon for several years now, but some home made recipies can always be improved with new knowledge, so this is blog is just everything I was looking for. Thank you!

  • Tara

    Has anyone used this on their kids hair? I would really like to use this for my daughter who is 4. She has very fine hair and it has taken forever for it to grow! She has never had her hair cut and it’s only to her shoulders! I was thinking with all the herbs it might help with her hair growth.

  • It’s not the bentonite clay that is causing you this issue, it’s likely you are experiencing a detox, as these are symptoms of detox in your hair/scalp! I wrote more about this topic here:

    • Angela Vullo

      Wow! Thanks for getting back to me so fast Christina! You are awesome! I would suspect a detox too but I’ve been using baking soda/ACV or just water on my hair for a few weeks. I also did the bentonite detox right before. Before that I used a sulfate-free shampoo periodically (Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle). A couple years ago I did the baking soda/ACV regime for over 5 months and it never got better so I gave up! lol. I only use henna to dye my hair. Do you think my hair didn’t detox with the baking soda? I will try this recipe a few more times and see what happens. I’ve been spending the last hour on your site. Such great info. I really want to try the soap nut shampoo too. Did I mention you are awesome?!

      • My detox from natural products took a little over two months, and using any foamy/bubble producing shampoos (natural or not) will interfere with that and cause you to continue to go through a detox or go through one again because the soap will wash away the oil cycle you have going on the scalp. You might try using my soapnuts Herbal Goddess shampoo (it’s nopoo also) instead, as I have seen a lot of people’s hair respond positively with that shampoo! I think you will find that one works better, especially if the clay one doesn’t. You can also alternate between the two depending on how oily/dry your hair is.

        • Angela Vullo

          Sounds good! I will try it for sure! 🙂

  • MrsMully

    I’ve been lookin for an alternative to baking soda and I love your recipe! Have you tested the pH of the product? I’m curious to see if it falls witting the ideal range. Thanks for sharing!!

    • yes the aloe vera and apple cider vinegar help to keep it in the slightly acidic range that our hair and scalp loves! Essential oils and hydrosols also have phs in the acidic range that our hair and scalp loves so with no alkaline ingredients, this and the soapnuts Herbal Goddess shampoo are both perfectly in range for our hairs ph!
      You can use that ph to see if the product is going bad too, if it starts going more alkaline, then it’s no longer good, though this won’t happen of course, if you use a preservative. I love to strip test all of my hydrosols to make sure they are within range (each one has a slightly different range and if they come too far away from it you know that they are no longer good!)

  • FalconTaymor

    Hi! So, I have recently made the decision to change my home over to a more natural and environmentally friendly environment. I actually made this decision by first using the no-poo method using baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I had such a good experience with it, that I decided to make my own of everything!!! It has been 5 months and my hair is still doing great! But after doing research on the importance of PH, I would like to do something a little more healthy for my hair, longterm.

    I am having a problem finding recipes that do not contain baking soda or castile soap, but that also don’t require that you refrigerate them.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  • Grow it yourself?

    Thanks for this post! I’m wondering where you get the herbs you talk about. Some I can pick up in the grocery store, but things like horsetail, oatstraw, and nettle are less common… Do you grow them yourself, or get them from a retailer? If you buy them, what kind of place should I be searching to find herbs like that?

    • If you click the link on many of the ingredients, you can find them all at Mountain Rose Herbs! I leave links within the post for it!

  • yes I totally henna while using the mud shampoo! It’s color safe!

  • your liquid oil to hard oil/butter is going to affect your hardness of butter. Also the cold afffects that as well. In the summertime your butter will be nice and soft, just like your coconut oil is melted during the warmer seasons as well. Cocoa butter is also a much harder butter than shea and mango butter are, plus it has a naturally chocolatey scent. I like to use a combo of unrefined shea and mango butter, as those two are roughly the same softness as each other and don’t really have any scent

  • Kristan

    Hi there, I just made this and have been doing some reading about how bentonite clay shouldn’t be used with metal. I stirred the mixture in a metal pot and am wondering if I now have to start from scratch.

  • Laken

    Hello everyone,
    I made this last night but left out the herbs/tea part & just used marshmallow root powder from the capsules. A gal from the vitamins section at Sprouts claimed its the same thing? Did I mess up? I only put maybe half a cup of water in this recipe. Anyways, my roots feel greasy and waxy 🙁 I used Bentonite clay because my hair gets oily. I did the Bragg ACV/Aloe as well with the same instructions. Any tips/suggestions would be appreciated! I want to master this!

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  • Amelia

    Are there any other preservatives I could include? I’m not sure about the safety of the colloidal silver, and the Rosemary extract is pretty pricey :/ Would it be possible to use vitamin E instead?

  • Hi I have been using the Heavenly Hippie Hair mask, the clay shampoo and the herbal detangling spray for about 6 weeks now. I love it! My hair feels great and my scalp no longer itches like crazy. I have a question though. I still get white hunk under my nails when I scratch my head. It runs I to my fingers really easily like an oil. Is this normal?

    • Christina

      this is totally normal! It will eventually go away but that white stuff is the plastic like materials that is in your old hair care products and shampoos, to give your hair that smooth conditioned feeling. It can take up to two months sometimes even three, for it all to shed from your hair and scalp. I wrote a bit about detox here. That clay hair mask in there might help a bit too. Bentonite clay is great for sucking out toxins!

  • Nadja

    Yay!!! I found your recipe by searching “no poo alternative to baking soda”!! Ugh! I’ve benn doing no poo for about 6 months & of course had similar experience… Okay at first, then hair falling out, oily yet dry & just unsatisfactory!!

    Tried your recipe tonight & my hair feels amazing!! I had most stuff on hand(thankfully marshmallow root!) but substituted the herbs you recommended with stuff I had; a breastfeeding tea (no longer breastfeeding) that had nettle, raspberry leaf, lemon balm (and some other herbs) plus added Rosemary & a white tea w/rose hips & peppermint… I also omitted the carrier oil… Looking forward to the horsetail & oatstraw once this batch is used! I’m thinking of getting a squeeze bottle for ease of use & keeping it in the fridge

  • swheatie23

    I’ve seen you mentioned Hydrosols quite a bit on your site and your provide a link to a peppermint hydrosol on Mountain Rose Herbs. Do you have any other source where you purchase Hydrosols? When I look at recipes that call for 2-3 cups of hydrosol (for example your shampoo recipes), but then the products are only lasting up to a month it seems super expensive. The Hydrosols are MRH are $16 just to get 2 cups.

    • Christina

      I make my own hydrosol! I should make a post on it here soon, because it’s very easy to do and will save you a lot more money in the long run!

      • swheatie23

        Really good to know! I was gulping thinking at the cost for my hair products. =) Would be very interested in a hydrosol post.

  • Jessica Hanson

    Hello! I can’t wait to try this recipe today, my 9 yr old red headed daughter and I are approaching it as a homeschooling project, in hopes of improving her fine red hair and my 3 yr old daughter’s natural platinum blonde corkscrew curls! I’m really wanting to add Raw honey to this. At what point during the process do you suggest I add honey, and how much? Thank you!

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  • Sarah

    This is going to seem like a silly question. Is one supposed to use all the different herbs listed in each hair type? I tend to have oilier hair, so do I use all those different herbs or just pick one and then add the horsetail, oatstraw and nettle? I know this mud doesn’t have a long shelf life, but can I freeze them into ice cubes and pull them out the night before I need to use it? I saw that on another blog. Looking forward to trying this out. I unfortunately already ordered the “expensive” morrocco method starter kit. I will try that and once that is done I would love to try this method and see how it works.

    • Christina

      nope you do not have to use all of the herbs, I just give lists of all of the ones that you CAN use, so that you can choose based off of allergies, what you have on hand, or what you can afford to use! I find that giving more options helps with creativity! You can in fact put them in ice cubes trays in the freezer to keep them longer! That’s a great idea! I personally use the same Morrocco Method set here at home and LOVE it! note that those MM shampoos are concentrated, so i keep a cup in the shower that I squirt about 1/2 – 1 Tbsp of the shampoo into and then fill the cup with 1/2 – 1 cup of water, then stir it around and use that on my head. This helps you to not over use the product and it really helps it to last a whole lot longer (especially for the price). Shampooing with them 2x a week, i have made that set last well over 2 months already and still have plenty left!

  • Rachele

    Could you tell me about how much does it cost to make a batch of your recipe? Also how often do you have to make it? Thank you! 🙂

    • April Lollar

      I went to rose mountain herbs and priced everything at about 36 dollars

      • Christina

        and that $36 worth will last for MONTHS of use!!! The best part lol

  • Why do i need to boil 3 cups of distilled water if i am only using i cup of the decoction?? Could i just boil one cup instead to save water?

    • Christina

      because as the decoction simmers down over the 20 minutes, it will evaporate a lot of the water during the process. Also lowering your water amount means lowering your herb amount as well.

  • OMG what a life saver! I started using the no-poo method a few months ago and it did help at first but lately my hair is breaking off and looks worse than ever! So I feel ya on the bun!

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  • Patty

    Thanks for the recipe! I made it about 3 weeks ago and I wash my hair twice a week and don’t need to use a lot. I find it starts to get mold, I wonder what can I do or add to prevent the mold develops?

    • Christina

      You can either combine citric acid and colloidal silver to help further the shelf life, add 20 drops grapefruit seed extract, or refrigerate it to last longer!

  • My hair is baby fine with 3A and 3b curls (doll curls I call them) and have had many problems with hair loss around my ears. My stylist assured me it wasn’t the dye, but my sides kept getting thinner and thinner. So I stopped dying my hair and used a ton of hair loss products, Nioxin being the biggest, most expensive. I added more iron in my diet and switched to herbal remedies for some other things I was taking birth control for. Hair stabilized, but I still had to add a bunch of serums, mousses, curl helpers, to get my curls back after a wash. I even considered getting a perm for my “naturally curly hair”.

    Then…and I still can’t remember how I found out about the no-poo thing – I discovered that people were getting great hair and their curls back(if they had them) by not shampooing and using alternative washes. So I jumped on that band wagon running and waving my hands hysterically, lol.

    There were some…hiccups. I used olive oil and banana once. ONCE. Never again. I almost had to use shampoo to get that crud out. Same with avocado. Gah. Horrible. BS and ACV never seemed to work, and then I found out why: I had hard water.

    So I tried Castile soap and that left my hair really frizzy and weird feeling. I tried boiling my water and mixing BS and that kinda worked, but again, hair really dry. I had to use a mix of honey and AV to get my curls back (but they were coming back without me putting a bunch of gunk…so that was good). I still had the issue of gray gunk returning every three days. It coated my brush and was pretty gross to look at. Waxiness was an issue too, and some mornings I couldn’t even put my fingers through my hair. Ew.

    Herbs/Rhassoul clay combo finally emerged the winner, but I got a little too zealous and ended up using it more than once a week…which ended up drying my hair out pretty bad. Still had to use Aloe Vera to condition, as oils weren’t an option. I settled with less Rhassoul, and more herbs, but I got lazy (because steeping is SO difficult) – and by then, my hair seemed fine with water only, so I went with that and citrus rinses a few times a week. Rhassoul clay mask around once every three or four weeks. Aloe vera leave in.

    Long story short. Marshmallow has been my hair saver.

    I’ve been using it consistently for a month now, and I have great hair. Still thinner than I would like on the sides, but I blame dye damage and diet. Curls are all over the place with no help now other than a leave-in recipe similar to yours (

    I add some hibiscus for color and catnip (which is supposed to be awesome for ends) to the infusion, and a 1/4 cup of a base of marshmallow. fenugreek seeds, and flaxseed. I boil that, add the other herbs (catnip can’t be boiled) and use that as a gel. It defines my curls without being sticky or waxy and leaves my hair really soft.

    I mixed that base to your mud recipe (cause I figured why not, and my hair really likes that flaxseed mucilage) and added a little less ACV (my hair is porous and seems to hold onto that ACV smell even when dry. Though, I did infuse the ACV with herbs rosemary,lavender and sage which cut down on the vinegar scent a bit), and had to shake the mason jar vigorously to combine. The thicker mucilage freaks out the clay, but it eventually learn to get along.

    Anyway, I used it to wash my hair today, and it’s like fairy hair, it’s so soft. I used Argan and Meadowfoam for the Tbsp of oil part. My leave in was the same and a little more since rhassoul clay – no matter what I put with it – tends to do its job a little too well with cleansing the excess oils from my hair.

    Oh, and I also bought a shower filter so my water isn’t so hard. That’s really helped with the overall issues of waxiness, but I wouldn’t give it all the credit. Either way, I love this hair mud and it will be a staple from now on. I still have thin sides, but even at the peak of my hair loss, it never was too noticeable. It might never recover, but at least now it has the optimal environment to grow. I have a few more grays now though, which I’m using blackstrap molasses to hopefully, make those go away.

    Wow, long comment. Sorry! Just want to say before I go thanks for sharing your recipes! I definitely bookmarked your blog 😀

  • Hello there,
    I am an avid swimmer and would like to stop using my commercial shampoo and conditioner – and begin to try the honey shampoo transition. But, I wonder if my hair/scalp will ever normalize since I am always getting into pool water and sometimes the ocean. It seems I would be just adding more chemicals that way and the honey shampooing might not have any results.


    • Christina

      This summer I was concerned that all of the swimming that I was going to do with Silas at the pool, was going to ruin my no-poo ways. I made a point to immediately rinse my hair and use my apple cider vinegar rinse afterwards to help seal in my hair cuticles. I have not noticed an issue with it messing with my hairs oil balance (once I was done detoxing of course). You can also wear a swimmers cap while swimming, which is what I did throughout swimteam when I was in high school. My hair is always dry when I wear a swimmers cap!

  • jennifer

    Hello there,

    I am a little confused by your direction to make henna mix. you say not to expose henna to a metal bowl, but then the next step is to heat it in a pan (with water). So does the pan have to be non -metal as well?

    • Christina

      I changed it. I origionally was told it would affect it, but since then have been told otherwise. I use stainless steel pans so either way it shouldn’t cause any problems.

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  • Tiffany

    Also, are the hair healing herbs in powder form or just cut/whole? Couldn’t find any green tea powder. Thanks!

  • Tiffany

    What essential oils do you recommend? I’ve never used them before and am ion unfamiliar territory. Thanks!

    • Christina

      lavender is a great oil to start with because it’s great for all hair types. Rosemary is also really awesome because it is known to help with hair growth and scalp stimulation! As for the hair healing herbs I buy them cut/whole and use a cheapo coffee grinder to grind my herbs when I need a powder. Buy whole/cut means more uses for the herbs whereas all the recipes don’t call for ground herbs!

  • Linda

    I have a question about the mud recipe.
    It calls for 3/4 clay. What measurement is
    it asking for, tsp, TBS, cup? Thanks.

    • Christina

      that was meant to say 3/4 cup! Thanks for pointing that out!!

  • kimberlyn gibson

    I have a question. If you no-poo can you still color your hair? I have been coloring my hair for years (I am very gray). I am not old enough to have this much gray hair lol. I just bought some natural hair color and am wanting to use natural shampoo. I am not sure where to start. Will the no-poo completely strip the old dye from my hair? If so, I may go gray lol. If not, then I need to continue to color my hair because of the drastic color difference. My hair is very long and dark brown.

    • Christina

      From what I have read people with color treated hair do not fair well from no pooing with baking soda because it can change the hair color (I know that when baking soda is mixed with my hibiscus (red or pink) lip stain that it turns the color blue from the chemical reaction, BUT if you are no-pooing with aloe/honey/clays/etc. As far as I know it should not interfere with your color. The best option is to start hennaing your hair. You can cover grays with it and it helps to further condition your hair and helps strengthen it too! This is my post on natural herbal hair coloring:

  • Sarah Tassi

    I LOVE your website! I recently decided to start using essential oils and had looked into Young Living. My mother was doing research and came across your site! Now because of your site, I have decided against that company and have been going to our local “Campbell Food Store” it’s like Whole Foods but a Des Moines (locally owned) store. 🙂 I am excited to try some of the no-poo ideas as well. For, I have had issues with losing my hair, as well! Nioxin is a joke – supposed to help in hair loss and it promotes it!! Keep all the goodness coming! I’m going to start passing your site along to friends! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

    New fan-
    Sarah Tassi

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  • Megan


    So, I was really excited to try out your recipe, and I would be thrilled if I could wash my hair less. I tried the baking soda / acv method, but found that it really dried out my hair and gave me dandruff.

    I made the shampoo this weekend, and while I had no troubles with that part, I do have a question about using it. I washed my hair with it this morning, but it did not clean my hair at all. It seemed to have cleaned the top part or layer of my hair alright, but underneath, it is all matted, greasy and gross.

    How much do you use? My hair is fairly fine, but more on the long side — reaches to probably my armpits. Do you have an approximate guess? Like, a palmful? Or rub some into your hairline then squeeze out some more for the back of your head (where it gets greasiest)? Maybe the proper question is: do you use more than you would for shampoo?

    I’m guessing (hopefully) that I just did not use enough. Also, I noted that you said the shampoo only lasts a week on the shelf (!!!) and that you’re only washing once a week … so how does that work?

    Thanks so much! Great post with lots of information.

    • Christina

      Hi there Megan! I am so glad you made the mud shampoo! If you have longer hair you may want to use more for sure. I end up using a palm full and making sure to get my whole scalp. It’s not like soap so it doesn’t suds up your whole head as easy as soap shampoo would. I do wash my hair once a week but I used some colloidal silver and grapefruit seed extract in mine to keep it fresh in the mason jar. Obviously refrigeration will also help to extend the life further too! There IS a detox period though, just as there would be for any other no poo options. I have found that color treated hair takes a MUCH longer time to detox from and if you have colored your hair in the last 1-3 months, that can affect how long it takes to get through the detox period as well. Hope that helps!

      • Megan

        Hi Christina!

        Thanks so much for replying! Blog writers who actually answer are the best.

        I have never coloured my hair, so hopefully the detox period won’t be so bad! I definitely went too much sparingly on the mud shampoo so hopefully tomorrow when I wash it and use more, it will clean a little better 🙂

        Thank you tons for your response and recipe … can’t wait to see the benefits of this for my hair and still super excited I found it!

      • Megan


        I washed my hair again this morning, and I’m really doubting if this stuff is actually CLEANING my hair. I’m honestly not getting the sense that it is. I knew the second I took my hair out of my towel and it wasn’t even remotely dry that it was going to dry heavy and greasy, and it is. For “detox” periods, does it mean your hair is clean after you get out of the shower but it gets greasier faster, or just doesn’t feel clean for a while? This is awful. I’m at work and all I want to do is go home and wash my hair with normal shampoo. My head feels disgusting! I was seriously hoping this was going to work, and don’t understand why it is so difficult 🙁

        • Christina

          Hi Megan!

          I suppose I should clarify, the detox period IS going to be two things:
          1) Your scalp will over produce oils as it is trying to readjust it’s natural oil cycle that shampoo destroys. Your hair WILL be greasy during this process. If you can make it through this detox period, then your hair will not be greasy any longer. It sucks during the detox period because I ended up wearing my hair up for nearly 2 months because I had such damaged hair it took that long for my hair to get through the detox period.
          2) Your hair shaft is shedding itself of all of the plasticizers and silicons from the conventional shampoos so brushing your hair daily for as long as you can manage, is vital to helping that process get along faster. It can be a trying process to get through the detox period as your hair and scalp adjusts to it’s natural oil cycle. Many people drop out of the no-poo method early on because of the detox period! I hope it works out for you! Let me know if you have any more questions because I will help the best that I can!

          • Megan

            Thanks, Christina! That gives me hope 🙂 I’ll stick with it! I have a good brush I can use, so I will definitely be brushing a lot more. Thanks so much!

          • Megan

            Hey Christina! I am extremely excited to report that my hair is slowly becoming less and less greasy every time I wash it! I am super excited! I was washing it every two days, and then I realized a couple days ago that at the two-day mark, my hair didn’t look so awful anymore. I waited another day and washed it, (so three days between washes) and when it dried, it barely looked greasy. SO happy I stuck with it! I can tell this is way better than the BS/ACV method.

            A few things though. I don’t think my hair is getting the moisture it needs, as my scalp is a little itchy and dandruff-y (not as bad as when I was using baking soda though) and my hair is a little staticky. I’m hoping that adding a few drops of rosemary oil in will help with that and not make it oily.

            Also, kind of a question: I noticed that my hair took FOREVER to dry (like: hours, I washed it before I came into work, and it was still damp until lunch at least), and I am not in a humid climate. Plus, I do not have thick hair. Does regular shampoo/conditioner have things in it to make your hair dry faster? I’m thinking I may just wash in in the evening instead and if it’s still damp in the morning, use a blowdryer on it before straightening or something.

            Anyway, thanks so much for this!

  • Barbra


    So, I made this recipe yesterday and tried it out. Mine turned out very watery – is this how it is supposed to be? Also my hair today feels kind of sticky…but I think that might be a ‘user error’ so I’ll continue to work with it. I was just very surprised at the consistency of it. Oh and the only difference to the recipe is that I used a bit of honey instead of Aloe Vera and Bentonite Clay. Thanks!

    • Christina

      Hi there Barbra! If it comes out too runny for your liking (I find it easier to apply if its runny enough), you can always add less water/hydrosol and/or more clay to the recipe. You’re hair may experience all kinds of wild things while it goes through the detox phase (that is unavoidable regardless of the no-poo method used) and if you were like me and colored your hair along with all kinds of other damage, it will take even longer. (When you dye your hair you basically turn it into swiss cheese with holes throughout the hair shaft) I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that I may have to cut 2 inches off the bottom of my hair because I did too much damage to it to repair. I hope your no-poo mud cleansing works out!

      • Barbra

        Thank you for the feedback! I realized this morning that the sticky feeling was actually the dye being stripped from my hair (the purple/blue/black fingers and comb were a big clue!). Since I’m not ready to stop dying my hair…I think I might be out of luck with this recipe. And so the search continues!

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  • Kristina

    Dear Christina, (love the name!! 🙂

    I can not tell you how thrilled I am that I found your site, and especially this new series about Healthy Hair. I have tried both baking soda and castille soap recipes, and was not overly impressed. Yes, I noticed some softness at first, but the Castille soap caused me to go in oil production overdrive, and the baking soda seemed to be causing an unusual amount of drain clogging hair ball nastiness 🙁 When I read your first Healthy Hair article, I was so excited, somebody else who has had similar results! I could not wait until you revealed your solution, thank you thank you thank you! I can not wait to give this recipe a go. I have had so much success with your other recipes across the site, that I have no doubt I will find similar success with this one. I do, however, want to clarify that for this recipe you use Marshmallow root in the bulk/raw state, not the powder, correct? My guess is everyone must be trying this, because MRH is sold out of Marshmallow root! LOL

    • Christina

      Hi Kristina (love your name too lol)!
      Thanks so much for being a fan!!! I am glad you found my little slice of the internet here!
      You can use the powder instead, but just know it is a little more work to strain. If you have a good cheese cloth or I actually use my fine mesh produce bags for the grocery store lol. If Mountain Rose is out, definitely check out Bulk Herb Store I get my herbs from there when MRH is out of what I am looking for. They’re a family run business and really really nice!

      • Kristina

        Thanks for the great suggestions! 🙂 Was curious to ask your opinion… I am currently on a food grade DE (diatomaceous earth), kick. Are you familiar with it? After doing quite a bit of research, I have been taking it internally for about a week, very slowly increasing my dosage, and have noticed some very positive effects! Knowing that DE is about 80 or more percent silica, I was thinking it could be used in conjunction with or possibly even replace the clay in your awesome mud recipe. Any thoughts? 🙂

        • Christina

          This is such a great idea, I have some DE and use it for all kinds of stuff, but you know I hadn’t thought about adding it to the mud recipe. You should definitely try it out and see how you like it! Please come back and tell us all about it! 🙂

  • Stephanie

    I just found your site yesterday and absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I’m tired of trying to find natural hair care products that won’t break the bank, so I’m definitely going to give this and the homemade pomade a try. I’m anxiously waiting for your post on conditioners!!

  • Stina

    I was wondering how many drops of essential oils you ended up putting in your mud cleanser?

    • Christina

      I think I dropped in my blend for my Wanderlust spray in the Etsy shoppe (it smells kinda like tropical punch so I thought it would smell good in my hair). How many drops you use really depends on which essential oil you use. If you’re using a spicy oil (clove, nutmeg, ginger, etc) or minty oils, or even some of the woodsy oils, you need to use less of them. Lavender, tea tree, chamomile, sweet orange, grapefruit, lime, vanilla, etc. you have more leeway with in the percentage you use. If I was just using grapefruit lavender I’d have probably tested 20-30 drops total in there, though you could get away with more if needed, because it’s a decent amount of mud in the recipe.

  • jen jablonski

    I looked for hydrosol and it was pretty expensive. Where do you buy your lime hydrosol? And do you use three cups of it or a mixture with distilled water?

    • Christina

      I buy all of my products from Mountain Rose Herbs. Hydrosols can be a bit exspensive depending on the herbs! You can just use distilled water rather than hydrosol or of course even a combination of the two. I just happen to have a lot of hydrosol around from my business, so I am able to make recipes with it. I figured, if people have it on hand, they would want to know they can substitute the water for hydrosol.

  • You ma’am, are awesome! Right now I use castile soap about 2 or 3 times a month, but I HAVE to use a conditioner in the shower when I do, otherwise it’s a complete mess! Thanks for the breakdown of why this is no good for the hair, and for the wonderful list of alternatives. Your mud shampoo recipe also looks very interesting – definitely looking forward to trying it out soon. Thanks again, I’m sharing this everywhere! 🙂

  • Thanks so much for all your research and info on different products. I was never successful with no poo so I think this will help.

  • Thank you for sharing your recipe with us. I went to cosmetology school years ago and we did learn about alkaline shampoo and its effects on hair. Good shampoo is expensive and hard to find. I will try your solution!

  • This is great! I’ve tried castile soap in the past and hated it. I’m definitely going to give these options a try!

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