Foodless Fridays – Rosemary & Mint "No Poo" Hair Cleansing Rinse

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So in last Friday’s post I shared that I’m doing the “no-poo” experiment on my hair.  For those of you who don’t know, this doesn’t mean that you don’t cleanse your hair at all.  Just that you don’t use traditional shampoos, which have harsh chemicals that strip your hair of it’s natural oils.  They also leave residue behind that can be damaging to your hair.  Apparently, cleansing your hair with a baking soda and water rinse is enough to remove dirt and excess oil, leaving your hair clean, shiny, and healthier.  I was skeptical I’ll admit, especially because I’ve been using styling products, and I didn’t think this would be enough to remove them.  I was wrong!  It works like a charm.  Here’s the most exciting part.  It’s practically free to make.  I’ve been wasting hundreds of dollars (at least) per year on products that were supposed to give me better hair, when all along I could have been using this simple recipe for pennies a month!  Here’s where I get hung up though – I’m a sucker for a pretty bottle!  And delicious smelling products that just make you feel prettier when you use them!  So I went the extra mile and infused my cleanser with rosemary and mint, two herbs that are reported to be excellent for scalp health – which supposedly leads to stronger, faster growing hair.  Whether it makes your hair grow faster or not I couldn’t yet say, but at least it smells great!  To satisfy my desire for an attractive package, I used glass bottles that I already had, and made my own labels to stick on them.  It makes me all warm and fuzzy to look at them.  A glass bottle isn’t practical in the shower though, so I’ll store these on my bathroom shelf where they can be seen, and I’ll keep refilling a plastic squeeze bottle to use in the shower for now.

Cleansing Rinse Recipe:

2 cups water
2″ sprig fresh rosemary
2″ sprig fresh mint
2 Tbl baking soda

Bring water to a boil and remove from heat.  Add the rosemary and mint to the water and cover, let steep for 20 minutes.  Pour through a strainer and allow the liquid to completely cool.  Stir in baking soda until dissolved.  Store in a clean container.

To use:  Rinse hair thoroughly with warm water to soften up any dirt and product.  Pour a few tablespoons of the cleansing rinse (more if you have very long or thick hair) onto your hair at the roots and massage into your scalp for a minute or two to loosen any dirt and oils.  Work through to the ends, then rinse thoroughly.  Bear in mind that your hair won’t feel the same as it does when you shampoo it – don’t freak out.  Let it dry and see how it feels then.  Also, many people have reported that it takes up to a month for your scalp to adjust to not compensating for the harsh chemicals in regular shampoo, so you may find your hair seems oily in the first couple of weeks.  I didn’t really find this to be the case.  If it’s true for you though, remember that it will pass and it’s worth it – so hang in there if you can!

You can follow this cleansing rinse with a conditioning rinse made with either vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water.  I’ll share my recipe for Rosemary, Lavender & Mint Conditioning Rinse next Friday.  I know, such a tease!  Nyah, nyah!  ;)

Let me know if you guys try this no-poo experiment, and what you think!  Or if you’re already doing it, let us know how it’s going for you – I’m only at the end of my second week so far but I plan to stick with it!  Would love to hear from some people who’ve been doing it longer so please do share in the comments!

Oh yeah, lastly, if you’re going to make it and want a copy of the labels I made, shoot me an email at sevigm@yahoo.com and I’ll send you the file – you just might have to adjust the size for whatever labels you use.  I used a name badge sized label for these. 

Here’s a link to the Rosemary and Lavender Conditioning Rinse that came next!






  1. daiseyjayne
    daiseyjayne09-21-2012

    I’m a hairdresser and for years have had my clients use baking soda or vinegar (never together!) to clean and condition their hair. It also helps preserve the color I work hard to achieve for their locks. And when I have a new client they almost always have a build up of silicone (in almost every product including skin care)and have them do a vinegar treatment to remove the build up. For a great skin exfoliator use a bit of baking soda mixed with a cleansing cream, fabulous!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny09-21-2012

      Thanks for this Daisey because the number one question people seem to have is whether or not it will harm colored hair or make it fade faster! This is good to know! Do you recommend a certain type of vinegar for the rinse – I’ve heard apple cider vinegar is good but that white vinegar also works – if one works better than the other in your experience I’d love to know! I’m going to try your exfoliating trick too, thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Ouida
    Ouida09-21-2012

    I have been using the baking soda cleanser/vinegar rinse for about 6 months now, and I love it. Not so much at first, though! My problem was the rinse – I started out with apple cider vinegar and eventually replaced that with just plain old white vinegar (mixed with a lot of water), and that seems to work better for me. I do miss the girly-smells of conventional products, so I look forward to trying your recipes.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny09-21-2012

      I hope you like this Ouida! I love the smell of it! You can substitute vinegar for the lemon juice if that’s what works best for you. I use the lemon juice because I read somewhere that it’s better for light colored hair but I might try the vinegar next just to see if there is any difference…

  3. Pat Baker
    Pat Baker09-21-2012

    Can’t wait to try this BuT I have to use a conditioner due to hair color. I’ll wait til you unveil the conditioner

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny09-21-2012

      Check back next Friday Pat! Or you can just do the basic conditioning vinegar rinse of 1 Tbl vinegar per 1 cup of water if you want to get started right away!

  4. Chris Malloy
    Chris Malloy09-21-2012

    I stopped using poo for a few months now with great results. I’ve never heard of using baking soda or vinegar though, I’ll give it a try.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny09-21-2012

      So were you just rinsing with water Chris or were you using a different concoction? Let me know what you think of this!

    • Chris Malloy
      Chris Malloy09-22-2012

      Yep all I use is water. Now that I’m used to it I actually have to be careful not to towel dry my hair too much or it will loose too much oil. If I use really hot water and then dry my hair vigorously it has the same effect as putting in too much shampoo- drying out your hair.

      I find it really doesn’t matter what you do. As long as you are consistent your scalp will adapt.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny09-23-2012

      Wow, just water! I might try that just to see if it’s the no poo or if it would be the same result with just the water. Interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  5. LowCarbOneDay
    LowCarbOneDay09-21-2012

    Interesting! As I was reading your post I was thinking, “What about conditioner?” And now I have to wait until next week! LOL I’ve seen this a few times now and I might just give it a try. I love that you added herbs to it. Looks great!

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous09-23-2012

    I am actually making this today (or at least a version as I do not have the fresh herbs on hand). I am using dried herbs to see how well they work. I am looking forward to the conditioner post. I have pretty oily hair plus it is long as well. It will be interesting to see how this works out on my hair.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny09-23-2012

      I’m curious as to how it works with dried herbs! Let us know how it works for you!

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous10-02-2012

      I did use dried herbs and they worked out fine; although, I think fresh would have been better. Plus fresh are easier to remove than dried unless you have a good strainer (which I do not). I did like this recipe and was surprised at how well it worked with my oily hair. My only issue is tangles…..I get really bad tangles and with no conditioner I can’t even comb my hair. I will try your conditioner recipe soon.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny10-09-2012

      Glad you liked the cleansing rinse, I hope the conditioner worked on your tangles!

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous09-26-2012

    I tried No Poo earlier this year! It worked pretty well, but I did cheat 7 days in and do a shampoo ( just the scalp, I was suuuchhh a greaseball) and that got me over the hump – that second week my scalp’s oil production seemed to slow down to a manageable amount. But I stopped because my sister (a hairdresser) was really concerned about the effect of the baking soda “wash” and the apple cider vinegar “conditioner” rinse on my hair color. I’d like to hear more about if it affects your color. maybe I’ll go back to it!

    PS – After doing no poo for awhile, even when I fell off the wagon, my hair is not nearly as greasy as it used to get. I now regularly go 2-3 days between shampoos and I only use a sulfate free shampoo, strictly on the scalp.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny10-02-2012

      Thanks for sharing that! Some people say that the vinegar preserves the color, rather than stripping it, but who knows? I use the lemon juice since I have light hair and so far it’s working great for me. If I stop liking it then I’ll probably go back to a sulfate free shampoo as well – for now I’m still loving it!

  8. Nicole
    Nicole09-26-2012

    This was life changing for me:) I just want to let you know how much we are enjoying this change in our routine! Even my husband (who uses a ton of gel in his hair) loves this and was shocked at the results. My batch turned out to be a lovely bright greenish/yellow but strangely I noticed this morning (3 days after it was made) It’s now turned a deep brown?? Has this happened to anyone else?

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny10-02-2012

      I haven’t heard of it turning brown and mine didn’t change color at all. Maybe try a fresh batch and see if it happens again? Did it smell funny? Strange! So glad you guys are liking it though! Haven’t tried it on Mr. Hungry yet, I’ll wait until he runs out of his regular stuff and gets desperate! ha ha!

  9. Kate Plourde
    Kate Plourde09-26-2012

    I have a suggestion on the dried herbs … place them in a coffee filter and rubber band (or twist tie) it shut so it makes it easier to filter :-)

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny10-02-2012

      That IS a good idea Kate – did you make it with dried herbs? So far I’ve only used fresh in mine and I love the smell!

  10. Queen Elizabeth the Third
    Queen Elizabeth the Third10-02-2012

    I’m excited to try this! My only worry is using a vinegar conditioner rather than a buttery, creamy traditional conditioner. My hair is very dried/fried from bleaching and is ALWAYS tangled. I’m worried that a vinegar conditioner 1. Won’t adequately repair my fried hair and 2. Won’t get the tangles out enough so that I can get a brush through it! What do you think?

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny10-02-2012

      My hair is chemically lightened too but this works great for me. I haven’t had any problems getting my wide toothed comb through it and it has a great texture. It doesn’t coat the hair like regular conditioners so you don’t get that slippery feel but I prefer it that way. It seems thicker and healthier since I started this – except the very ends which are in desperate need of a trim so I don’t think any amount of conditioner would repair them!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny10-02-2012

      Hit publish before I was done! I meant to say it can’t hurt to try it and I hope you’ll let us know if you liked it or not! :)

  11. Emily
    Emily10-23-2012

    I’m working on brewing up this recipe right now! :) I don’t have fresh rosemary, but I figured rosemary leaves and spearmint (it’s what I have growing right now) should be delicious! Can’t wait to give this a try! I’ll let you know how this works in my hair. My hair is kind of funky right now anyway. I’m letting my haircolor grow out (it takes FOREVER) and embracing my natural grays for a bit. :) I’ll have to mix up your conditioner recipe too and see how it goes. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous10-30-2012

    I am experimenting too… Just with the castro/rosemary oil at night and then after I shampoo I rise with rosemary tea…

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny11-02-2012

      And has it been working well for you? Do you put the oil on on your hair like a mask? Thanks for sharing!

  13. Florence
    Florence03-08-2013

    Been doing this for about 3 weeks. I used dried rosemary and mint.
    I doubled the amount since I have very thick hair.
    Amazing results, my hair doesn’t get oily for up to 5 days. I used to have to wash every 2 days. I now just do a shower cap wash in between the days I don’t need to wash my hair. This is super useful since it’s still winter and spring is around the corner so blow-drying is a hassle specially since it takes about 30 minutes with my hair.
    Thanks for this recipe. Way better than the usual baking soda no-poo ones. As this gives its a nice fragrance.

  14. Navi
    Navi07-15-2013

    Hey I was wondering how long you continued to do this, and if you noticed a faster hair growth with this?

  15. helene
    helene03-10-2014

    I can NOT *imagine* using water and baking soda on my oily hair. I have the hair of a teenager. I have to shower daily. Has anyone used this with their teens at home? Ive tried using things like honey on my pimples too and it did NOTHING for my face. I am not pregnant nor lactating but i can not go without soap for cleansing me. I use (diluted by half) Dr. B’s on my face and body but its way too pricey to use as a shampoo and i think its not harsh enough anyway lol

  16. Hannah
    Hannah09-24-2014

    How well does this work for dandruff/dry scalp? I am currently using Selsun Blue but am looking to switch to something a more natural. My only worry is that my dandruff will increase. I have super thick and curly hair and would be able to go a week without washing my hair if it weren’t for how dry my scalp gets and the flaking.

  17. helene
    helene09-24-2014

    well a few wks ago i bit the bullet n started doing this. i slso quit deo at the same time. figured get the gross stuff over all at once!
    the pits were touch n go for close to a week. once i thot the light stink was pretty good i made up some baking soda EOs coconut oil deo. works wonderfully.
    my hair is amazing but i do have to admit i have lost alo t of body. and i miss that squeaky clean freshness when i first wash my hair. but the baking soda and vinegar rinse after rly is ok.
    btw always follow the alkaline baking soda with acidic vinegar. baking soda is a weak alkali but it needs the (weak) acid to neutralize it.
    also white vinegar is too acidic, stick to the weaker apple cider vinegar for hair health.
    i want to try lemon juice but way too pricey to use 1/2 a lemon on my hair daily. i need them to eat!

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