An Update on Going Shampoo-Free With Hard Water

DIY Shampoo and Conditioner
Jenn’s fabulous shampoo-free hair

Moving to Edmonton in April really turned my neat little eco-world upside down. Suddenly coconut oil simply wasn’t enough to keep my dry skin at bay, I physically could not drink enough water, and to top it all off my DIY shampoo and conditioner recipe suddenly stopped working.

I went from soft, light, tangle-free hair to a mess of limp, filmy nonsense virtually overnight. Of all the injustices that I have incurred as a result of this big shift in our life – waking up early, not being able to wear shorts already (it’s MAY! Come on, Edmonton, get it together!)- this was the worst.

I’ve been using baking soda and ACV to clean and condition my hair for years, and when it stopped working I literally panicked. I love this recipe. I love that my hair feels soft without feeling slippery. I love that my hair doesn’t smell perfume-y or artificial, and of course, I really love that I’m washing my hair with ingredients I can eat, using way less packaging, and virtually 100% less harmful toxic cocktails.

How could I possibly give all of that up?

Now before I get your hopes up, fellow hard-water sufferers, I have to admit that I am still searching for a permanent solution. But I thought I’d let you know what I am doing in the meantime.

Boiling water.

Yes. Like a damn pioneer woman.

The issue with the shampoo/conditioner recipe (found here) is, I think,  the way the minerals in the water react with the baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Boiling the water seems to eliminate this issue though, and the mix works again! I have my hair back!

The reason I say that this is a short-term solution is that although I am doing it, I can’t see it being realistically adoptable for many people. These days when I need to shower, I boil two cups of water 10-15 minutes ahead of time, let it cool a bit then mix in the baking soda and ACV. It’s simple, but adds a good 20 minutes of prep time to my shower routine.

I am totally dedicated to doing it because I vowed a long time ago to never go back to the bottle, but I really don’t feel good about recommending this as a long-term strategy- I think for many people this is simply too complicated and/or time consuming to be part of their daily routine.

As a possible alternative, I have read great things about this little water filter you can attach to your shower head – it removes those same hard water minerals and would be great for your skin, too, but I am having trouble finding it in Canada. Also, then you’re buying and throwing out all of those water filters which…I mean isn’t the whole point of this endeavour to reduce waste?

Long story short I am still trying to mess with the recipe to see if I can get the same effects without the boiling – I am going to try adding more baking soda or less ACV, having a High Priestess bless it, that sort of thing.

So! If you live in an area with hard water and you would like to see what the shampoo/conditioner situaton is supposed  to feel like, put on the kettle and give it a try. I’ve been hearing some amazing feedback, and I’m always game to hear more!

From an email send to me by lovely reader named Jenn:

My husband was cracking up at me tonight because I keep flipping my hair from side to side and running my fingers through it like I’m Rapunzel. It’s so soft! No tangles! Did I mention my scalp feels amaaaaaazing?! Definitely witchcraft! Hippy sorcery!

…I have crazy thick blonde hair and while I am mostly eco-natural-hippy-like in many aspects, I still shamelessly highlight/lowlight my hair every few months. I also let it air dry for the most part and then used my trusty round brush and blow dryer to smooth my frizzy/wavy hair. So ta-da! Purty!


DIY Shampoo/Conditioner, confounding husbands since 2007!

Let me know what you think!