Using shampoo isn’t the only way to keep your hair clean. While there is a big debate about how much you should wash your hair, we can all agree that we never want our hair to feel greasy. Remember, greasy hair equals greasy minds. Some advocate a less is more approach, like Connie Britton, who shampoos only twice a week and still has hair worthy of a Renaissance painting. If her award-winning locks aren’t a strong case for the “no ‘poo” campaign (yes, that’s the actual name), I don’t know what is.
I’m an in-sickness-and-in-health daily shampooer who’s skeptical about forgoing a day, but after hearing readers’ feedback, I did some research on different products that would keep my hair clean on the days I don’t feel lathering up. For great shampoo alternatives, go to your kitchen, not your bathroom cupboard. Yes, really. There are quite a few that you don’t even have to use water with, and some you probably should, unless you want to smell like the inside of a Mcdonald’s.
Here are the products that will have you feeling squeaky clean without shampoo:
1. Baby Powder
Sprinkle a bit on your roots, and it’ll absorb the excess oil. You will smell as fresh as a baby after a diaper change. Probably best to buy the unscented version then or invest in an adult-smelling perfume.
2. Rubbing Alcohol
If you’ve ever used this stuff on your face, you’ll know how fast it dries out your skin from sucking up every last bit of moisture, like a bloodsucking vampire. This is what makes it a brilliant choice for when your roots start getting a bit greasy. Put some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and blot away that oil.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar isn’t just for soaking your fries with (I’m not the only one who prefers vinegar and a pinch of salt over ketchup, am I?). There are entire books dedicated to alternative uses for vinegar, and making your hair shiny is one of them. Pour half of a cup of apple cider vinegar over your hair and rinse with water. You’ll be left with hair commercial shiny hair, and no, you won’t smell like a walking bottle of vinegar.
4. Baking Soda
Are you starting to see a trend here (see #1)? Don’t think that any white powder will make your hair clean. If you’re worried about your scalp getting smelly post-workout, baking soda will eliminate any odor. That’s why you keep a box in your fridge after all. Some people like to mix it with a bit of water until it forms a paste, but sometimes I just sprinkle it on my roots.
As a teenager, you probably tried putting lemon in your hair and sitting out in the sun in hopes that you would get highlights on the cheap. Besides sorta-not-really lightening locks, lemons work great as a rinse. If you’re feeling really lazy, squeeze a bit of juice on the greasy spots (watching you don’t get any juice in your eye!) and massage in. It’ll smell like a citrusy shampoo, but it’s actual citrus.
6. Dry Shampoo
Yes, there’s practically an entire shelf dedicated to this stuff at CVS, but it’s worth mentioning. Unlike the kitchen steals, you don’t have to buy extra to bake with (yes, you really can’t skip #4 when baking cupcakes). Plus, dry shampoos come in different colors, so those of us will dark hair don’t have to worry about our roots turning a weird shade of gray.
7. Aerosol Hairspray
Haven’t gone near a bottle of hairspray since dance recital days? Besides keeping crimped ponytails in place while you do a cartwheel, the alcohol in hairspray dries out your scalp, so you’ll get a fresh feeling. This is probably why your grandma claims she only needs to wash her hair once a week. Spray a bit on your roots and brush it, though, unless you’re going for a crispy-roots look.
It isn’t just great on oatmeal. Combine a teaspoon or two of honey with water and massage it into your scalp. You think it would be as sticky as getting gum in your hair, but it’s not. Promise.
9. Cocoa and cornstarch
Who really cares if it works or not, you get to walk around smelling like chocolate. Though that probably doesn’t help cravings (nothing will help those except a massive Dairy Milk bar). The cornstarch absorbs the oil while adding the cocoa camouflages the telltale I’m-too-lazy-to-actually-wash-my-hair white residue.
10. Coconut Milk
There are already coconut milk shampoos, so why not go directly to the source (or the can if you don’t live anywhere near where coconuts grow)? The coconut smell with transport you to remote islands with azure water while you’re really in your too cold shower at 6:30 AM in the city. Sorry for the reality check.
Now that you have the basic ingredients, you can play mad scientist and combine ingredients to come up with a formula that’s best for you.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.