How To Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo

If you are looking for a natural alternative to wash your hair without using shampoo then this is a must-read article for you.

It might be shocking to many of us that we can clean our hair without using shampoo. Not only can we clean them but also have much healthier, longer and shinier hair.

Well, shampoos did not exist until 1930’s, that means even before that person used to wash their hair and still had amazingly long and heavy hair and the secret behind that was natural remedies.

As the time has passed the definition of beautiful hair has changed from healthy and shiny to smoothening and silk therapy or let me put in other words chemicals.

Before the advent of shampoos, people didn’t need these smoothening therapies to keep their hair good looking. Not only this, the amount of money they spent on their hair was negligible as compared to what we do today.

Our hairs are like clothes in our wardrobe; the more we wash them with harsh chemicals, the duller they appear. What shampoos do is that they wash off the natural oil present over our scalp called sebum.

Now when this happens our glands tend to produce more oil and that is the reason why our hair appears oily day by day, and we need to wash them more often.

The basic fact is that the shampoos which were brought to ease our lives are now becoming a chemical swamp in which our hair health is drowning. So what is that we can do?

Well, the answer to this question is very simple, it’s time for the old reetha, amla, shikakai and what not to show their magic on hair. It’s time for a no-shampoo revolution to occur. Let’s go back to the golden era of hair and experience beautiful hair naturally.

Amazing Natural Ways Wash Your Hair

Below I have mentioned a few recipes that have worked amazingly for many people.

1. Soapnut (Reetha), Amla And Shikakai

I hope almost all of us have heard about at least one of these components from our mothers. These have been used by Indians as well as native Americans for hundreds of years.

Reetha which contains natural detergents called saponins is not only a good hair cleanser but can also be used for cleaning body and clothes.

Apart from being wonderful on hair, it is amazing on the skin as well. You might be amazed, but reetha is used for treating eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff in Ayurveda because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Restricting our discussion only up-to hair, reetha not only cleanses the hair but also helps to deal with dandruff and dead skin. It strengthens the hair from the roots leading to better hair growth.

While reetha acts as shampoo in this mix, Amla acts as a wonderful conditioner. It makes your hair unbelievably shiny and trusts me nobody would be able to guess that you are not using artificial conditioner. Shikakai, on the other hand, acts as a pH balancer. In other words, it balances the normal pH level of your scalp and brings bounce to your hair.

This trio of Amla, Reetha and Shikakai is a complete treat for hair.Some people also add other herbs for specific needs of hair such as Tulsi, Brahmi, hibiscus in place of amla but personally I recommend amla.

Good thing about Indian Goose Berry (Amla) is that it prevents premature graying of your hair.

How To Use?

Here is the recipe of the above trio.

  1. 5-7 Reetha berries
  2. ½ teaspoon amla (it may be powdered or whole)
  3. One tablespoon Shikakai powder (5-6 pods)

Take all the ingredients in a bowl and combine them with water. They should remain soaked in water for about 6 hours; it is best to leave them overnight.

Next morning take the mixture and heat it till it boils. After that reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20-40 minutes. The time duration depends on how many solutions do you need (more you will heat, more concentrated will be the solution and less will be its quantity).

Now after this cover the vessel and let the mixture cool down before it becomes ready for use. Cooling of the mixture makes it potent.

Now crush the berries left in the mixture to squeeze out all the goodness present inside the herbs. You can use your hands, or spoon, or fork for the same. Now strain the mixture and its ready for use.


Its usage is very simple.

  1. Pour water over your hair so that they become completely wet
  2. Now pour the mixture over your hair, little by little, massaging all through your scalp towards the length of your hair.
  3. Let it stay for 5 minutes and then rinse properly.

Some points to keep in mind while using this mixture:

  1. Don’t expect later while washing hair.
  2. It’s not necessary to use the whole mixture at a time.
  3. You will need to experiment how much mixture is good for you.
  4. This mixture works well even in hard water.
  5. If you apply oil before washing hair, then use this mixture without wetting your hair. It works more effectively on dry hair. Use in a similar way if you live in a region with hard water.
  6. This formula is pH balancing so it will not harm your scalp whatsoever.This means you can use this mix every time you wash your hair.

Apart from these ingredients there are other herbs also which can be added:

  • One tablespoon of licorice root or marshmallow root can be added. (They make hair more manageable and smoother, in other words, work as a serum)
  • 2-3 drops of chamomile or peppermint essential oil, this is just in case you want your hair to smell fantastic.
  • One teaspoon of almond or olive oil (use this only if you have arid hair otherwise your hair will appear oily).

If you are adding these oils, add them to the strained mixture produced and shake well before use. If you are adding any other herb, they are to be soaked overnight along with other things.


Another interesting fact about this cleanser is that you can store it for future use. If you store it in a fridge (in an airtight container) it can last for 7-12 days. On the other hand, if you freeze the mixture and store it in the form of ice preferably ice cubes, it can stay for about two months.

2. Baking Soda Shampoo

Baking Soda Shampoo
Baking Soda Shampoo

Difficult to believe this about soda, yes the common soda can be a replacement to your shampoo? Well, let me tell you a fact, bicarbonate soda, commonly called soda is an active component of soaps and detergents (all kinds be it harsh or soft).

Soda when combined with chemicals, tend to become harsh for hair and skin, but if you use it at home, it is gentle. Another fact about soda is that it is very inexpensive and eco-friendly.

There is nothing but the science behind soda cleaning your hair brilliantly. Soda is alkaline in nature, now what happens is dirt and grease which are in the form of fatty acids cling to soda (just like in soaps) which makes it water dissolvable.

So when the dirt is rinsed off, your hairs start looking beautiful naturally, without any harsh chemicals.

Soda was used in the golden times of hair but only when people wanted to save time and effort which was used in reetha, amla and shikakai trio. Also, people who cannot afford shampoo still use soda.

Yes now the secret has unraveled, how house maids who cannot afford shampoo have beautiful hair!!

Making a soda cleanser is much simpler than reetha, Amla and shikakai cleanser. All you need to do is given below.

How To Use?

  1. 1 spoon baking soda or bicarbonate soda
  2. 500 ml (2 cups approx.) hot water.

Mix both the ingredients and stir until they dissolve completely. Let it cool and its ready for use.


Its usage is same as that of reetha, amla and shikakai cleanser.

  1. Wet your hair completely.
  2. Pour the mixture slowly.
  3. Massage the scalp working your way down the length of the hair.
  4. Leave it for 3-4 minutes and rinse thoroughly.

When I say thoroughly, it means that no amount of soda should remain in your hair.

Remember some points when you use this cleanser for washing.

  1. Different hairs have different requirements, so you will need to experiment how much soda suits yours.
  2. If you have thicker hair, you might require more amount of soda while if you have thinner hair you might require less.
  3. Keep a gap of minimum 4 days before you wash your head again with soda.
  4. Soda may be harsh on dry or brittle hair, for people with such kind of hair I would suggest to use other recipes rather than this.
  5. Our scalp is acidic in nature while soda is alkaline, therefore it is often suggested to acid rinse your hair to normalize the pH vinegar and lemon rinse being most common, but it works fine even without it.
  6. Again if the water you are using is hard water or you have oiled your hair, use the mixture over dry hair or in the case of hard water you may boil the soda water again for 2-3 minutes.

Soda solution can also be used to clean kitchen tops, teeth or as a natural deodorant.

3. Mud

Mud Hair Pack For Hair Rinse
Mud Hair Pack For Hair Rinse

Before you develop any opinion about mud, let me tell you, this is not the mud which sticks to your shoes after rain. Here I am talking about bentonite clay, fullers earth (Multani Matti), etc.

Mud cleanser is very good for oily hair types or for people who want to get an oil treatment out of their head.

Mud or clay is not a new concept for the cleaning of hair. Along with hair, clay is used to clean body since ancient times. Like every other concept, there is science involved here too.

Clay is full of minerals as it is obtained from below the earth.These minerals rejuvenate your hair fulfilling all their requirements. Hairs thus become, shinier, stronger and healthier. Clay cleanser also helps to reduce hair fall.

As different hairs have different requirements, clay used will be according to those requirements.

Normal-Dry Hair: Kaolin clay or Fullers Earth (Multani Matti)

For Oily Hair: Green clay or bentonite clay

After you have selected your clay, the rest procedure is the same.

How To Use?

  1. ¼ cup clay
  2. Orange peel powder (1 tbsp.)
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil (preferably lavender)

Mix clay, orange peel, and water to make a paste (not very thick). At the end add oil and mix.


Usage is very simple, wet your hair and massage the clay mix from your scalp towards the tips of hair. Keep for 5 minutes and rinse thoroughly.

Do keep in mind that thicker hair will need more clay and thinner hair will need less clay.

Also washing hair with clay can be a bit difficult as the clay sticks to hair so that you will need some amount of effort. If you have oiled your hair, add less water to your mixture.

3. Herbal Infusions

Instead of water, some people use the herbal infusion as the final rinse to your hair wash while washing hair with mud. These are great alternatives to conditioners.

Using infusion makes your hair thicker and more manageable and in short healthy. Scalp issues like dryness, itching, tangled hair are resolved using herbal infusions.

You can choose the ingredients according to your hair requirements and enjoy nature’s goodness.

Light hair: Chamomile flowers, Mullein flowers, Shikakai.

Dark hair:  Hibiscus flowers, Rose petals, Tulsi leaf, Black tea, Amla, Shikakai

Oily Hair:  Peppermint leaf, Shikakai, Lemongrass, Lemon Peel, Lavender Flower, Green Tea, Reetha, Amla

Dry Hair/scalp: Shikakai, Marshmallow root, Calendula petals, Licorice, Lavender

Making the herbal infusion is very simple.  Take one cup of boiling water and add about 2 tbsp. of herbs you have selected to it. Allow it to settle for minimum 30 minutes; you can keep it overnight for best results.  Strain it, and its ready for use!

For using it, massage this mixture through your hair including the scalp, and leave for 5 minutes. You can either rinse it off or keep it.

Other Alternatives

1. Aloe-Vera

Aloe-Vera For Washing Hair
Aloe-Vera For Washing Hair

Some people use aloe-vera for cleaning their hair because of its antibacterial, antiseptic, emollient and moisturizing properties. Some researchers say that aloe vera enhances the cellular regeneration. This helps to get rid of split ends naturally.


Use aloe-vera gel, massage it throughout your scalp up to the tips. Leave it for 5 minutes and rinse it off.

2. Calendula

Calendula As Shampoo Alternative
Calendula As Shampoo Alternative

Calendula is a healing plant which has great skin effects. Along with skin, it has great hair effects as well.


To use calendula, take dried calendula flowers in a glass jar and cover it with unrefined avocado oil. Keep the jar closed for 2-3 weeks in a dark place. Shake the jar regularly on every first day of the week.

After three weeks strain the oil and use it as shampoo.

3. Conditioning Packs

Apart from just cleaning hair using natural products, another thing you can do is to apply conditioning packs. Just like the conditioners you buy from the market, these packs conditions your hair using herbs and natural products which mean, no harsh chemicals harming your hair.

You can make your pack according to your hair type

Dry Hair: Coconut oil, banana, avocado, mayonnaise

Normal Hair: Mayonnaise, egg, olive oil, unflavored yogurt

Oily hair: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice to the mix for normal hair

  1. To make the pack, mix an equal amount of the above ingredients and mash them properly.
  2. Apply it to clean and damp hair.
  3. Wrap your hair in a plastic bag; this would let the heat be trapped inside the bag
  4. Leave for 15 minutes and let the herbs perform their magic.
  5. Rinse properly using cool water

Now, that you know how to keep your hair clean and beautiful without shampoo, you should also know what can trouble you while you are going natural.

There are some other natural hair masks that give you a shiny and soft hair.

Tips And Tricks

  1. You will have to experiment a lot because different hairs have different requirements and different herbs will work differently for them.
  2. Another thing that you will need apart from all the ingredients is patience.
  3. Your first few washes may appear to be good but then your hair may start feeling greasy, and that is completely normal. If you can tolerate those few days without shifting back to shampoo, then there is no other obstacle to chemical free beautiful hair.
  4. Do not panic about your hair smelling bad, they will smell absolutely good.
  5. If oil appears too much in the initial days, best thing is to tie your hair.
  6. Don’t be conscious because no one is going to realize you are not using shampoo unless you tell them.

People who have gone shampoo free have experienced frizz free, manageable, smooth and shiny hair.Believe it or not, they absolutely love it.

So what I am recommending to you became fearless and go shampoo-less and do not forget to share your amazing results. Stay Beautiful! Stay Natural!