Author Topic: Acid Rinses for Hair - The No 'Poo Way  (Read 19315 times)

Offline ebonearth

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Acid Rinses for Hair - The No 'Poo Way
« on: December 03, 2009, 12:33:10 AM »
How can I find out about this .....acid to wash hair? Interesting. What is it? Sounds interesting!

From Keratin.com

An introduction to rinses

There is a tendency to add things like lemon and lime juice or oil to shampoo or even beer and egg extracts. In shampoos these items do not actually do so much because the detergent in the shampoo makes sure that most of the additives are washed away along with the dirt and hair oils. However, as a separate rinse after shampooing these factors can have rather more effect.

From Inca times right up to today indigenous peoples of south America have used urine for washing and rinsing hair. Many indigenous people ferment their own urine and mix it with fireplace ashes to wash not only their hair, but also their clothes. Urine is rich in urea (uric acid) which is a common ingredient in most shampoos and skin creams (these days it is synthetic - it is not processed from urine). The urea helps remove dead skin and control dandruff and helps with cleaning oils from the hair. It is a mild antiseptic and might help with keeping the general skin flora and fauna (bacteria and fungi) under control. The urea also acts as an emollient and helps with keeping skin humidified.

With fermented mixtures of urine and ashes, the ashes are likely used for the carbon. Carbon is a good absorber and probably the oils adhere to the carbon so that they can be washed away. Carbon also gets rid of smells in a similar way, by absorbing the smell. Finally, the fermented mixture might be protein rich. That might have something to do with increasing the soap/cleaning properties of the mixture. The protein might also adhere to the hair shaft to increase volume and give the hair more body.

Organic acid rinses

Natural acids like lemon and lime juice or vinegar have been used for many years. In the 1920s these organic acid rinses were needed because the shampoos of the time were made from soaps rather than detergents. Soap shampoos of the 1920s were mostly made from coconut oil. The problem with soap as a shampoo is that over time it will leave a build up of scum on the hair. Acid cleans this away. So for someone in the 1920s using a soap shampoo in a hard water area (neutral or alkaline water) an acid rinse was vital for good looking hair. Today, shampoos from modern detergents are less likely to leave a scum build up on the hair, but from time to time an acid rinse can still be helpful, especially if you live in an environment with a lot of air pollution. Organic acid rinses also help tighten the cuticle on hair fiber making it look smoother and more shiny. Organic acids can also help people with dandruff. The juices or vinegar help loosen the flakes of dead skin for washing away. Pretty much any organic acid will do so long as it is not too concentrated. You should get the same result whether you use lemon or lime juice, or vinegar. A modern variant advocated by some is the use of soft drinks as rinses. Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola, and 7 Up are all used. The principle is the same. The soft drinks contain acids that help clean the hair and the sugar may give some body to the hair. However, given most soft drinks contain an awful lot of sugar I would expect the result to be a bit sticky. My suggestion then is to rinse with just the natural juices or vinegar and avoid the soft drinks.

Rain water and shampoo

Rain water is called "soft water", that means it has no contaminating minerals or salts dissolved in it. Depending on where you live, your water supply may be "hard water", that is water rich in minerals and salts. Mostly, this kind of water comes from bore holes and well sources while soft water supplies are those fed from rivers. In general, people in mountainous areas with high rainfall probably have a soft rain water supply while the rest of us have hard water. Minerals and salts in tap water can react with soap to leave a scum build up on the hair. Modern detergent shampoos react less with minerals and salts in water, but still there can be some build up that leaves hair looking dull and dry. Hard water also means you have to use more shampoo to get a proper cleaning effect compared to using the same shampoo with soft water. To get rid of scum build up you can use an acid rinse, but some people collect rain water to use with shampoo and avoid using their hard water for washing their hair. You can also use it as a rinse as rain water is slightly acidic. The most obvious answer though is to use a water filter to remove minerals and salts from your water supply.


For example, a Citric Acid Rinse – is frequently used in place of the lemon rinse. Dissolve one tablespoonful of citric acid crystals into a four ounce container of boiling water. Pour this into a pint container and fill to the top with warm water, stirring as you do. You should apply this just as you would the lemon rinse. Personally I only use shampoo once or twice a month, while I still need to collect rainwater for my hair washing I do acid rinse my hair using powdered citric acid. With how easy it is for long term storage, not to mention how awesome it works, it suits me. I use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 03:52:36 PM by ebonearth »
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Offline mamabear

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2009, 10:26:46 AM »
I know a gal that lives next door to me uses baking soda to wash her hair. I will ask her about it and post it here as well for another alternative to shampoo. I would assume (although we all know what that means) that the baking soda wash is along the same lines of an acid wash.

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Offline HelenWheels

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2009, 10:45:28 AM »
I can understand the whole not-washing-the-hair-everyday thing... but I don't think I could ever do that. My hair is very fine and thin. I keep it really short to "hide" the sparsity issue on the top of my head. Even so, after a night of sleeping, I look like someone has taken a hand-mixer to my hair - it's every which way. And no amount of brushing (dry or wet) makes it look presentable.

During the times when I don't wash my hair every day (sometimes over a weekend or during a vacation), my head will start itching on the 2nd day and, if I let it go into a 3rd day, it drives me crazy.

How did you break yourself of the daily shampoo habit without having your hair look all funky or having your head itch?
      

Offline mamabear

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2009, 11:16:09 AM »
Helen, if I remember correctly, the gal that lives next door said she had a week or so of hair adjustment where her scalp was used to producing the oil that the shampoo washed out daily. When her scalp adjusted to not using a shampoo, her hair was soft and shiny. I don't think that she waits days for her next wash either. I think she shampoos daily just as you would have with regular shampoo. I won't see her until next week to ask for sure, but I will definately get back with her answers.

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2009, 02:30:15 PM »
Not thinking I could use urine to rinse my hair - vinegar and lemon definitely, even beer makes a great rinse!!  BTW - I have made shampoo bars with the same process as making cold process soap - there are many great recipes out there.

Offline Ann

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2009, 03:26:40 PM »
I do not believe this would be considered an acid rinse, but I have a friend (who has georgeous LONG brown hair) who swears by a rosemary water rinse...

She says she boils the rosemary to release the oils and scent, lets the water cool, and uses it as a rinse.

I would think that this would be more like a pine bark type rinse, and the oils in it might be beneficial to an itchy scalp.  I could be wrong...

any thoughts?



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Offline ebonearth

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2009, 06:34:22 PM »
I can understand the whole not-washing-the-hair-everyday thing... but I don't think I could ever do that. My hair is very fine and thin. I keep it really short to "hide" the sparsity issue on the top of my head. Even so, after a night of sleeping, I look like someone has taken a hand-mixer to my hair - it's every which way. And no amount of brushing (dry or wet) makes it look presentable.

During the times when I don't wash my hair every day (sometimes over a weekend or during a vacation), my head will start itching on the 2nd day and, if I let it go into a 3rd day, it drives me crazy.

How did you break yourself of the daily shampoo habit without having your hair look all funky or having your head itch?

I have fine hair myself Helen and while there was a period of adjustment my hair has been so much healthier for it. It itched that first week a bit, I brushed a lot more than I did prior to the switch -- I have very curly hair so brushing it out makes a fine fluffy mess. So I kept it in either a bun or braids until I weathered it. After that first week I started the process of rinsing it out with conditioner or the acid rinse a few times a week. My suggestion is to give it a shot, particularly now that it is winter and your hair can use all the moisture it can get.
Man, despite his artistic pretension, his sophistication, and many accomplishments, owes the fact of his existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil -- and the fact that it rains. -- Anonymous

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2010, 08:41:19 AM »
Ebonearth... where do you buy the citric acid crystals?

Also, do you mix this mixture up each time before your shower when you plan to use the acid rinse, or do you make up a batch and keep in the shower?

When you are using conditioner, do you just wet your hair and apply conditioner, skipping the shampoo process? What type of conditioner do you use?

When you do shampoo, what type do you use? Do you make your own?

Curious about how this works practically, so had a few more questions... thanks for the info.

Offline ebonearth

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2010, 02:13:59 PM »
Ebonearth... where do you buy the citric acid crystals?
Mountain Rose Herbs have the best prices I have found and I get a discount from them so they remain my go to source for most of my beauty care needs.
Also, do you mix this mixture up each time before your shower when you plan to use the acid rinse, or do you make up a batch and keep in the shower?
I make it in small batches, no more than a pint at a time and I repurposed an old travel size baby powder dispenser. I don't keep it in the bath. I just shake out what I need and keep it in my linen closet out of humidity.
When you are using conditioner, do you just wet your hair and apply conditioner, skipping the shampoo process? What type of conditioner do you use?
I wet my hair, massage the scalp, then use conditioner, detangle (I know it's not ideal but I can't get out of the habit) and rinse. As for conditioner I have made my own in the past with mixed results so while at the moment I'm using Rusk Calm Guarana and Ginger, I found it in salon size cheap, I prefer Matrix Biolage Bodifying Conditioner.
When you do shampoo, what type do you use? Do you make your own?
I don't use it enough to warrant the expense anymore and making such small batches is counter productive. I pretty much stick to no 'poo save for when I travel. Then I'm not very picky, I've used Charles Worthington, Aveeno and most recently Green Natura that is if I even wash my hair beyond a rinse when I am away.
Curious about how this works practically, so had a few more questions... thanks for the info.
You're welcome. If you do go that route let me know. I am curious to see how other people take to the switch.
Man, despite his artistic pretension, his sophistication, and many accomplishments, owes the fact of his existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil -- and the fact that it rains. -- Anonymous

Offline Dainty

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2010, 01:58:36 PM »
Several years ago I gave up all standardized hair products as a necessity. My hair was shoulder length, and besides a few trims I've let it grow since then. Through trial and error (and a lot of research) I've become familiar with most alternative techniques along with their pros and cons.

The first method I tried was soap with acid rinse. Quite literally a bar of plain lye soap used on my hair, rinse it out thoroughly, and then pour a mixture of vinegar and water over it all to finish it off. I never measured the vinegar, just got a pitcher of water and poured some in. I experimented with washing out the vinegar vs. letting it dry in, and determined that leaving it in worked best for me. I washed my hair every week or so with this method. It took about a month for my hair to get used to this process, during which time it looked and felt like cotton candy. :-[ After that, it became fairly presentable, but I wasn't exactly happy with it.

Next I switched to the baking soda and vinegar method. Mix some baking soda with about a shampoo bottle's worth of water, pour through hair, rinse, and then apply vinegar rinse as before. Baking soda, I've found, is much easier than soap, because the harshness of the solution is very easily controlled: if you want to wash often, use a very diluted solution, if less often use a stronger solution. Also, there's no scrubbing the suds through your hair as with soap or shampoo; just pour it over your scalp and let it drain to the ends. My hair only improved switching to this method.

Note: to avoid a chilly predicament, I recommend putting the desired amount of baking soda in an empty container, taking it with you to the shower, and then filling it up with hot shower water right before you plan to wash your hair. Cold water works best for acid rinses but is not a requirement.

Then I began experimenting with various herbs. You boil them into a "tea", strain, and apply, generally in the acid rinse. While some of them did make my hair a bit shinier or softer, I concluded that (for me) they generally are not worth the effort.

I have tried soapnuts, and concluded that they work about the same as diluted baking soda but require a lot more work (boiling, straining, and the resulting solution cannot be stored long because it goes bad). In theory, any plant material high in saponins should work, such as soapwort, snowberry, or even English Ivy. I've been meaning to experiment more with various plants just because I'd like to know my options, but haven't got around to it yet.

Oils can go a long way towards making product-free hair shiny and smooth. After a lot of experimentation I've found that jojoba oil works best (I know, it's actually a wax) and I sometimes use coconut oil instead. For about two months I once went without washing my hair at all (partly out of necessity, partly an experiment) and found that my thirsty hair needed an unorthodox amount of oil in that time to stay nice. However, to my surprise it never began to look oily. My conclusion was that so long as I had a good comb or two, this method of haircare would be satisfactory for me. I stopped only because it made my hair slippery, and the slipperiness in my updos was annoying me. ::)

Many people with hair less thirsty than mine have found this no-water method works just fine without any additional oil. And no, your hair does not become smelly, but your scalp can get a little itchy from dead skin not being routinely removed, hence the need for a good comb.

Other methods are water only (just getting your hair wet) and vinegar rinse only. Lately water-only washing has been my method of choice for the ease and also for how well my updos stay when nothing slippery has been put in my hair. I should point out, this is my current method of choice even though I can now use hair conditioner again. :)

Note: if anyone wants to try any alternative methods of hair care they should first wash with a clarifying shampoo and not use conditioner afterwards. The modern shampoo-conditioner method relies on 'cones (any ingredient ending in -cone) in the conditioner to coat the hair and then sulfates (in the shampoo) to strip the 'cones off before more are applied, as if refinishing a piece of wood furniture. Sulfates are the only things that can remove 'cones, and if you try a natural method without first removing them it won't work because nothing can affect the hair through the 'cone seal.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 02:03:12 PM by Dainty »
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Offline LvsChant

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2010, 05:01:45 PM »
Very interesting, dainty... I have a couple of questions... First of all, what amount of baking soda to how much water would you suggest as a starting point?

Secondly, how do you apply the oil?

Thanks!

Offline Dainty

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2010, 11:55:45 PM »
Very interesting, dainty... I have a couple of questions... First of all, what amount of baking soda to how much water would you suggest as a starting point?

Secondly, how do you apply the oil?

Thanks!

As a starting point I would recommend roughly a teaspoon of baking soda to perhaps about 24 ounces of water.

I apply oil by rubbing it in my hands and then combing my hands through the areas of hair that need oil. It tends to soak in more if applied to damp hair, but I generally apply to dried hair.

You're welcome, let me know how it goes if you end up trying it!

If anyone is looking for a more comprehensive resource on alternative hair care methods, I'd recommend perusing the Long Hair Community forums and articles, where the members are experts on hair care methods, hair types, and maintaining hair quality. Many end up taking a more minimalist approach purely for the health of their hair, but of course that would make prepping easier too. ;D
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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2010, 07:52:49 AM »
I can understand the whole not-washing-the-hair-everyday thing... but I don't think I could ever do that. My hair is very fine and thin. I keep it really short to "hide" the sparsity issue on the top of my head. Even so, after a night of sleeping, I look like someone has taken a hand-mixer to my hair - it's every which way. And no amount of brushing (dry or wet) makes it look presentable.

During the times when I don't wash my hair every day (sometimes over a weekend or during a vacation), my head will start itching on the 2nd day and, if I let it go into a 3rd day, it drives me crazy.

How did you break yourself of the daily shampoo habit without having your hair look all funky or having your head itch?

Try just rinsing with warm water for a few days and rub some Teatree in for the itching. Tea can burn a little if too much is applied.

Offline sarakg

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2010, 09:14:56 PM »
I am a natural redhead, which means that my hair shows split ends and crud really easily.  It's also very fine, and I have fewer hairs than a blond or brunette would.  I hate having my hair cut, so I use a little bit of olive oil every week-honestly most friday nights I really am washing my hair!  I just heat it up a little bit-20 to 30 seconds in my microwave-and put it on the lower half of my hair (I also have fairly long hair though).  I will attest that nothing works better for my hair than a Guiness a week.  I suds up real good, use the ENTIRE thing to rinse out the shampoo, and then rinse really well until I can't smell the beer anymore.  You would not believe the body and shine this gets me.

I think in a real emergency though, a light baking soda wash should help bunches-it's one of the gentlest easily accessible bases, which would help strip anything acidic and pH balance your scalp, and maybe even a slightly acidic component would be good.  I'd reccommend citrus to anyone who wants to lighten up, but I'm thinking that back to back rinses of baking soda/cream of tartar may work well.  Rose hips are also slighty acidic, and could smell heavenly when processed properly.  I'm not sure if they would mess up any color though.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2010, 10:25:20 PM »
So by adding baking soda to your hair - are you in essence making a weak version of lye soap?

Offline Dainty

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2010, 02:19:11 PM »
So by adding baking soda to your hair - are you in essence making a weak version of lye soap?

Honestly, I'm not sure. The cleansing mechanism appears to be similar to regular soap, but natural soap contains glyceryn and also specifically works as an emulsifyer, while I've never heard of baking soda being referred to as such. My best guess is that it's not quite comparable to a diluted version of lye soap; I wonder if the difference might be that the "scum" of soap doesn't completely wash off?
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Offline Grasshopper2Ant

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2010, 03:00:16 PM »
I've been going "no poo" for a couple of months now and it's been great!  I put 1/2 TBS of baking soda in a cup (I use a sippy cup with holes poked into the spout) and a 1/2 TBS of apple cider vinegar in another sippy cup and take them into the shower and fill them half full (about 1/2 cup).  I pour the baking soda on my head first and use my finger nails to scrub my scalp and rinse.  Then I pour the vinegar on my head and rinse.  I then follow up with a cold water rinse at the end.  My hair has been great!  I got rid of all the yucky build up on my scalp the first time I did this.  Also, my hair is so light weight now, it has turned curly.  I wash every other day, like I was with shampoo.  I've also started using the same process on my face (except for the cold water) and seem to have less acne and what I have goes away quicker.

There's some great info at http://community.livejournal.com/no_poo on different methods.  Not all methods work for everyone. 

Offline elcoyote

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No poo?
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2010, 03:48:21 PM »
Hey everyone! I'm pretty new here, and I didn't find a thread about this, but that could be my lack of experiance with this forum style. So I apologize if this has already been done to death. :)

I have very thick, curly hair, and lately it seems like it's so dry and unmanagable. I have to spend loads of money on it to get it to be even near pretty, not to mention time. My response to this in the past has been to chop the dang stuff off my head, but my SO would pout and not look at me until it grows back (can't say much, I'm the same way with his hair).

I have found that in the past Dr. Brommer's Tea Tree oil soap has worked the best on it, but it's kind of pricey, and I can't find it nearby.

So I was wondering if any of you had done a no shampoo switch, and if so, what are your suggestions/tips. I have very dry hair at the ends, but VERY oily hair at the scalp, and dandruff.

Thanks!

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Offline ebonearth

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Re: No poo?
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2010, 03:51:41 PM »
There's a thread for Acid Rinses that I started awhile back but nothing strictly for No 'Poo so I think I'll rename and merge so that the depository of data remains all in one thread.
Man, despite his artistic pretension, his sophistication, and many accomplishments, owes the fact of his existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil -- and the fact that it rains. -- Anonymous

Offline elcoyote

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair - The No 'Poo Way
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2010, 04:08:46 PM »
Thank you!

-ki-
I'll eat when I am hungry and I'll drink when I am dry,
Get drunk whenever I'm ready, get sober by and by,
And if this river don't drown me, it's down I'll mean to roam,
For I'm a river driver and I'm far away from home
-"River Driver" Great Big Sea

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Offline mskoyote

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair - The No 'Poo Way
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2010, 05:09:11 PM »
I've been doing no-poo in various forms for about 5 years now (low-shampoo now - once every several weeks or so, because I hadn't been happy with my scalp). My hair isn't curly, though.

I know the Curly Girl method recommends using just cheap conditioner (the kind without ingredients ending in -cone, which can cause buildup) instead of shampoo, but they also recommend using lots of gel and stuff. They also say not to use a brush on curly hair. I know that there are curly-headed people who use the baking soda/vinegar method, as well.

You may find that your scalp stops producing quite so much oil if you switch to not using shampoo. Generally, the goal in no-poo is to distribute the oil more evenly throughout the hair, which would help with the dryness at the end problem. Usually, a boar's bristle brush is recommended for this, but I don't know what curly haired people do.

I second the livejournal community recommended a few posts back. It's a great source of information.

Offline CalGal

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2010, 11:02:51 PM »
I will attest that nothing works better for my hair than a Guiness a week.  I suds up real good, use the ENTIRE thing.


OK. That's it! I'm shaving my head! [and drinking the Guiness]
 
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 01:56:37 PM by ebonearth »

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair - The No 'Poo Way
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2011, 12:31:08 PM »
bump... interesting topic.

LC

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair - The No 'Poo Way
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2011, 12:52:26 PM »
been no-poo for a few years now.  I do the baking soda in water most of the time, but it is a pain with hard water.  it doesn't work so well unless I boil the water first, and even then, not so well.  I am going to try distilled water.
I wash my hair on Sunday morning before church.
I finally got around to making a cold-process shampoo bar that I have been using for 2 weeks.  My hair isn't as soft after.  planning to give it a bit longer.  also planning to turn it into liquid shampoo for my girls, who won't use my "alternative" solutions.  they are only 4 and 7, but they are stinky about it.  actually, I think they think my methods, especially the vinegar, are stinky....

I do the ACV rinse, with both the baking soda and the shampoo bar.

I am not the best person to be asking though... my hair care is as follows:
wake up, hair in a bun for the shower
brush scalp (I have psoriasis on my head and it itches, A LOT) until it stops itching
pull in a loose ponytail at the base of my neck
sometimes I brush again before bed and may or may not do another ponytail for bed.

rinse, repeat (pun intended  ;D)
"Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program" - Spencer W. Kimball
"Life isn't about trying to survive the storm; but about learning to dance in the rain" - unknown
Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity

Prepping makes even a hurricane just an inconvenience.

Offline krickie

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Re: Acid Rinses for Hair - The No 'Poo Way
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2011, 10:34:22 AM »
I've tried doing the no poo thing but I've found it actually seems to get my hair TOO clean?  My hair is long, very straight, and very fine, and when I've tried going no poo it just tangled up something awful :(

I'm an LJ user but I didn't know about the no_poo community.  I definitely want to keep trying some new things until I find something I can use.   Between the cost and the fact that a lot of shampoos make my scalp break out, I am totally ready to cut out shampoo.