Photo: Homemade hair care that works. Beautifully.

A simple homemade hare care routine yields gorgeous results. (Credit: gnackgnackgnack via Flickr)

It's no secret that many commercial shampoos and conditioners have more than one less-than-desirable ingredient. But the temptation to turn a blind eye is strong.

For years after learning about toxic ingredients, I continued to buy into the industry's promise that great hair is the result of some elusive combination of ingredients listed (or not listed) on the back of the shampoo bottle.

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It's not true! You just need a few common pantry items:

1. Baking soda
2. Apple cider vinegar
3. Your favourite essential oil (optional)

It doesn't sound sexy, but I promise, the results are fabulous!

DIY Shampoo

Combine two tablespoons baking soda with a few drops of water to make a paste. This is your "shampoo" — and why not? It cuts grease, deodorizes and lifts dirt! Work it into your hair, rinse and condition (see below). It doesn't lather — but you'll adapt.

DIY Conditioner

Rinse with one tablespoon apple cider vinegar mixed into a cup of warm water. This balances the pH of your hair and leaves your locks silky smooth. Once you've tried this system, you'll be hooked! Download this and other homemade hair care recipes or mix a larger batch for convenience.

DIY Mist

If you shop with your nose — popping open a new product for a smell before you buy — combine a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle full of water and mist yourself after toweling off.

You can DIY!

I could go on about the perils of bathing in the allergens, hormone disruptors and carcinogens in some 80 per cent of commercial beauty products in Canada — pointing out how those same toxic ingredients, when washed down the drain, go on to pollute our water.

But I won't. You know all that.

Instead, let's focus on what's really standing between you and a non-toxic, super-simple, ultimately effective hair care routine:

Fear not — it works! Doubtful — Try it! Change — can be beautiful!

Do you make your own cosmetics? Inspire others with your tales, tips and recipes and be entered to win a bottle of Lavender Heaven Concentrated Castile Soap courtesy of Mountain Sky Soaps !
Tovah Paglaro, Queen of Green

March 18, 2013

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Feb 04, 2016
4:47 AM

When I started doing this my colleagues thought I was going to the hairdresser. I had one woman in the elevator ask to touch my hair because it was so soft and shiny. Ill never go back! Plus I only wash once a week now because it stays clean longer.

Jun 12, 2015
2:26 AM

Thanks for these hair care tips. Not sure about baking soda though. But since these remedies worked for you, hope they will work for me too. Will definitely give it a try.

Treatment For Hair Loss

Apr 29, 2015
6:40 AM

How wonderful tips. I have beeing trying them for some time and I can vouch by them I have my own blog too — pls do visit me and let me know what you think thanks

Dec 05, 2014
10:37 PM

you can take hair treatment ingredients, and affordable, all-natural oil treatment for your silk hair. kinky straight virgin hair

Jul 28, 2014
12:03 AM

Baking Soda and apple vinegar is best for hair wash. Natural products are best for hairs. It gives good results early and have no any side effects. Split Ends Treatment USA

Jul 17, 2014
2:12 AM

I like your homemade hair care tips. Its really great for those who not afford expensive hair products. Great Job!!! Split Ends Treatment USA

Jul 11, 2014
11:15 PM

Thanks for published this homemade hair care article but i have question. how can i used baking soda in a day?

Apr 28, 2014
3:50 PM

How do we get an answer. I also asked about cleaning my kitchen walls, especially around the stove, been sick for 3 years and I usually wash walls about 3x per year. I have very long hair, it is NOT coloured. It is Gray/white/with some brunette. I am 59, and I don’t want to damage my hair so it has to be cut at this age, I have been growing it for 8 years my FEAR IS THE WHITE TURNING YELLOW. The sun and cigarette smoke can yellow white hair.

Jan 21, 2014
6:11 AM

I do this, but instead of making a paste with 2 tbs baking soda, I dissolve 1 tbs baking soda in about 2 cups of hot water. Pour it on, comb it through, rinse it out. I find it much easier to work with than the paste method.

Jul 06, 2013
9:36 AM

Thank you for sharing this article. I have been using olive oil alone on my hair and noticed a huge difference and the softness and shine. There are so many products from your kitchen that is very beneficial for your hair. Check out more combination mixes that you can use on your hair at:

Jun 16, 2013
1:42 PM

I have been using baking soda and apple cider vinegar for 6 months now. It keeps my hair very clean and I only need to wash it about two times per week. The only problem I have noticed, I now seem to have a dandruff problem. I am trying to treat it with essential oils. Will have to see if it works. I also have long hair, so I found it dried out afterwards, but I have started to use coconut oil or other hair masks every so often and they work great.

May 30, 2013
12:12 PM

Thanks for this info! Will have to try the baking soda shampoo. What about styling creams? I have curly hair and without an expensive styling cream or lotion (made from mysterious ingredients), my hair is a frizzy mess. I’d love to be able to make my own hair products, or at least buy something more environmental.

Also, what is baking soda and how is it made?

Apr 22, 2013
8:47 AM

Will using the vinegar rinse be harmful to coloured/tinted hair?

Apr 20, 2013
4:00 AM

I used to wash my hair every other day and it was clean but lifeless. I’ve cut back to twice a week and daily brush it with a natural bristle brush. Included is once a week coconut oil treatment — about two teaspoons melted in your hands and rubbed in your hair then eave it on for at least an hour. It takes a couple of washes to get it out but my hair is now very silky and shiny.

Mar 29, 2013
8:24 AM

Would love to try it!!!!!! One question as I know me and know I will ease into this slowly. I just dyed my hair (rare for me I be able to financially) so I’m not ready to pull the due out yet. Should I wait to try this or is it ok for the color.

Mar 26, 2013
4:53 PM

Its Baking SODA!

We started doing this about a week ago, and I am really loving the results. I did some research before starting and found that a lot of hair needs a few weeks to adjust to the change….meaning oil for some. Today (after a few days of not having awesome looking hair), my hair feels cleaner than ever before. And brushes through with no problem after a shower.

Also, I don’t make a paste, I mix 2 tbsp of baking soda in 2 cups of water and squirt it all over.

Mar 25, 2013
7:48 AM

Great Ideas used it befor there was cream rinse

Mar 20, 2013
6:54 PM

Hi there…thanks for the tip.. just tried it tonight and liked it…

had a question, can (or should) you pre mix a huge batch of this stuff or is it better to mix every time you use? and if you do pre mix large batched do you have exact proportions of simply go by feel?

and it is baking soda I presume and not baking powder correct?

thanks again

Mar 20, 2013
11:53 AM

I love the idea of the DIY shampoo and conditioner, but do you rinse out the apple cider rinse or leave it in and crave fish and chips all day?

Mar 19, 2013
9:05 PM

I have recently cleaned out my cupboard and started making all my own products. Shampoo is so easy to make. My favourite one so far is

Coconut Milk Shampoo.

1/4 cup coconut milk 1/3 liquid castile soap 1 tsp olive oil or almond oil 10-20 drops of your favourite essential oil Put into a bottle and shake. Lasts up to 1 month.

It’s super nourishing and every week or two I will give my hair a coconut oil treatment. Massage some coconut oil into your dry ends (I put it on my hair and not my scalp) at least 30min — 1 hour before showering, wrap hair in a towel or shower cap to generate heat. Shampoo twice. aahhhh….super soft hair. I don’t get that frizzy, dry hair look after blowdrying any more.

Mar 19, 2013
6:09 PM

Thank You Queen of Green!

I have been having horrid reactions to all of the chemical laden products on the market and this is just what the “doctor” ordered!


Mar 19, 2013
2:47 PM

Thank you for sharing this, I have been trying a variety of recipes to make my own shampoo and conditioner for about a year now! I feel like I am comfortable with the shampoo recipe I have (which I will share below), but I am still working on the conditioner. I just really want a thicker conditioner, the apple cider rinse just doesn’t do it for me and seems to leave my hair a bit tangled and oily in some spots.

Shoni’s Shampoo:

Make 2 litres brewed chamomile tea (3-4 tea bags) While hot add in 1/2 cup baking soda (it will fizz a bit) LET COOL Add in 3 tsp of Xanthan gum (found in the baking aisle) whisk thoroughly after each tsp to ensure it gets mixed in well and disolves. Now add in 1/4-1/2 cup castile soap. I like the lavender or the almond. Depending how soapy you like your shampoo, I would start with 1/4 cup of the castile soal and add from there if you need more. Add in about 15-20 drops of whichever essential oil you like. Tea tree, ylang ylang….smells delicious!

I keep it in a big bottle under the sink, and just refill the smaller bottle in our shower.

Thanks again! Shoni — Winnipeg

Mar 19, 2013
2:45 PM

I found this interesting. However, the original list says “baking powder”, but the shampoo recipe says “baking soda”. As I am interested in making some… Which one is correct? I assume baking soda… Thanks!

Mar 19, 2013
2:40 PM

I have tried the baking soda shampoo and acv rinse and it really didn’t do a lot for my hair at all. I tried to go no poo for about a week and ended up with a stringy mess. I do make my own face cleanser which is completely awesome. I mix cold pressed grape seed and olive oil with a bit of castor oil, a few drops of patchouli oil, a few drops of lavender oil and a few drops of tea tree oil. I have never had nicer looking skin. After years of acne and rosacea, I only have the occasional pimple and my rosacea has calmed down considerably.

Mar 19, 2013
2:28 PM

QUESTION: The list of ingredients says BAKING POWDER but the instructions call for BAKING SODA! Which is it??

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