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Frequently asked ShamPHree questions

These Q and A’s are a combination on questions asked to me through HTHG, and a thread that started with an HTHG guest post on Click the link and join the ShamPHree conversation!

Q. I work out 5 days a week and always work up a sweat. And by sweat, I mean I’m soaking wet by the end of my workout. How often would you recommend doing the baking soda cleanse in this case and what in between steps would you recommend to get sweaty hair clean and keep it from getting smelly?

A. Try using B.S. twice a week, followed by your ACV. In between and after workouts, do a dilluted ACV rinse and add some peppermint oil to give you a fresh, clean tingle! You can also massage a couple drops of your favorite essential oil into your scalp any time for a long lasting scent.


Q. I’m thinking about switching to no-poo. I was just wondering what would happen if you no-pooed but still used conditioner?

just wondering!

A.I think that it could totally work and you should try it out, BUT to get the full benefits of the ShamPHree method, you will probably have better results with ACV and coconut oil as your conditioner. You will be surprised at how well they work. The reason I say this is that conditioner leaves a build up on the hair that coats it, and the point of ShamPHree is that it removes the buildup and keeps you at a natural balance so that you don’t need it. But I am all for experimenting until you find what works for you!


Q. I have seborrheic dermatitis. Can I use this method?

A. My brother has seborrheic dermatitis on his scalp (very oily, itchy, redness/irritation), he’s tried dandruff shampoos and special prescription shampoos without much luck. He ended up using the baking soda/apple cider vinegar method and his scalp condition improved a lot.


Q. I am really excited to try this but I have a couple of questions. If my hair is thin, straight and greasy, should I really be going a week without cleansing it? Skipping just one day of normal shampoo leaves me looking like a greasy mess, and I don’t use conditioner so I know its not that.

A. I would start with doing ShamPHree 2 or 3 times a week and gradually ween yourself down to once or twice a week. My ideal ShamPHree vision is that there are no cut and dry rules, you just experiment with mixture and frequency till you find what works best for your own hair. It is definitely a journey.

Q. Hey, quick question.. do you feel the baking soda removes heavy products liike gel, hairsprays or mousse? I perm my hair and use product to define the curl but am very curious about the no-poo methods.

A. I think that if you are using the ShamPHree method, it works best if you don’t use products that coat the hair like gel, spray, and mousse. The cool thing about the method is that it really eliminates alot of your hair’s need for products because it keeps it in balance and much more manageable. Try using coconut oil to define your curl. Here is a recipe for a fabulous natural curl definer…..

 Q. I have curly hair. Can I ShamPHree?

A. The Curly Girl book first introduced the no-poo concept ( ShamPHree) because curls tend to be dry and need natural scalp oils to moisturize and protect them. So yes, ShamPHree is ideal for curls!

Q. I still feel very oily at my scalp after being ShamPHree for 3 weeks. What gives?

A. Make sure you are regularly brushing your hair with a paddle brush or boar bristle brush to help distribute those scalp oils into your ends where they can be easily absorbed. This will help even out your hair, as well as stimulate your scalp into balance. Also, be sure you are applying the BS at the roots and the ACV at the ends.

Q. Can I make a bottle and let it sit out, using it the next time, or do I have to mix it new every time?

A. You can pre-mix it and use it for weeks! just make sure you shake it up before you use it.

Q. If I Shamphree, is it ok to still use light styling hair like curl enhancers?

A. Yes it is! Just double the BS and ACV in your mixtures to remove extra buildup. Try and avoid silicone and dimethicone.

Q. Do I have to use vinegar?

A. If you don’t like the idea of using vinegar, try ShamPHree with lemon juice instead! it works well and leaves a nice fresh scent. The mix ration stays the same.

Q. Hi! I just started the shamPHree method and it’s about time to condition my dry ends. I’ve read a few things all over the internet that state that coconut oil will not fully wash out with the no-poo method and therefore should not be used if you are no-pooing. What are your thoughts on this? Fact? Myth?

A. Here is how I condition my ends with coconut oil without leaving an oily buildup. …..The night before doing my ShamPHree routine, I work coconut oil into my ends. I wrap my hair into a bun and secure with a scrunchie and go to sleep. In the morning, I mix up my ShamPHree with 2x BS and ACV (double the ACV and BS in the mixtures) And I use very warm water to rinse. At the very end, I do a cold rinse to seal up the cuticle.
This removes all of the oil from my ends, and leaves my hair silky, soft, and moisurized.
If your hair seems oily when it dries, wear your hair up for a couple hours. The oil is still absorbing, and will continue to penetrate the hair. When you take your hair down, the oiliness should be gone.
good luck!

Q. I am a diver/swimmer, and I am in the pool 3-5 days a week. Would the ShamPHree method work on my chlorine saturated hair?

A. Always wet your hair before swimming in chlorine ( you probably already know that) but in addition to wetting it, apply a quarter sized amount of coconut oil and brush it through before getting into the pool. This will fill your hair up with protective oil so that it cant absorb any pool chemicals. Then mix your ShamPHree with double amounts of BS/ACV to help remove the oil after you swim. Make sure you use as warm of water as you can to rinse out the BS, and follow up at the end of your ACV with a cold rinse.

Q. I have a problem with the brushing. My hair is curly but only if I don’t brush/comb it. If i brush it, it tends to go more towards wavy and I really like my curls. I have been no-pooing for about four years, only washing my hair with conditioner and that has really enhanced my curls. I recently started with your shamp-free method and I relly like the feeling in my scalp but when I brush the hair I lose the definition in my curls. Any tips on how to fix this because I really like the bakingsoda/acv wash otherwise.

A. If brushing isn’t working for you, try just giving your scalp a nice fingertip massage to help stimulate it and work the BS in without disturbing your curls. Are you brushing your wet hair in the shower? if so, try brushing it dry before you ShamPHree.

Q. I started ShamPHree-ing about 2 weeks ago, and I think I’m doing something wrong since every time I’ve shamPHreed, when it dries my hair feels very gunky and quite flat :/ do you have any tips to combat this? I really want this to work since shampoo really doesn’t like my hair, and I’ve run out of hair techniques to turn to! Please help!!!

A. Chances are, what you are feeling in your hair is the gunk that has built up making its way down the hair-shaft on its way out the ends. Many people can feel and see this process in their hair, and it can take up to a month or 8-15 ShamPHrees until the gunk has been fully removed. My advice to you now is to be patient! ShamPHree is a process. You could try adding a bit more BS and ACV to your mixes, to get a deeper cleasing. This should speed up the process. And, don’t forget to brush!!!

Q. Is it OK to dry your hair with a blow dryer? I’m a morning showerer and very often need to look presentable immediately meaning I don’t want to leave the house with wet hair.

A. Definitely! Put a little coconut oil in your wet hair first to help moisturize and protect from heat.

Q. What do you do for the days in between ShamPHree-ing?

A. I rinse in the shower, and sometimes I do just ACV with essential oil to freshen and add some shine.

Q. Could I still use the hair powder as a dry shampoo in between?

A. Absolutely. Check out this post!

Q. I am a Swiss girl who just started with the shamphree method and I am in my second week now. I always had
dandruff and used to buy a lot of special treatment products for it. Since I started with your method, I don’t have a
dry scalp anymore – incredible! My only problem is, that my hair is quite “waxy” on the roots, even if I just
shamphreed my hair. I don’t think it’s greasy but I don’t really like the look of it (is stringy the right word?!). Do
you know what the problem could be? Will this phase pass or should i change something in my routine (I now follow your
recommendation for very dry or irritated scalp). Thank you so much for your help and keep up the good work :).

A. I think that it will pass. Make sure you are brushing your hair thoroughly before each ShamPHree to help move the buildup down the hair shaft and out. For some people it takes a month or so to get the buildup out, and if you have been using treatment products for dandruff, you are sure to have some buildup in your hair. Be patient:) Make sure you are applying your BS at the roots and your ACV at the ends. Free your hair!

Q. Hey there! You have single-handedly convinced me to give shamphreeing a shot! I made my first attempt tonight. After buying a nice paddle brush, I thoroughly brushed my hair & removed all tangles. It was soft & could easily run my brush through it. I then mixed up my BS spray bottle and saturated my scalp. I grabbed my paddle brush, started to brush and it immediately stopped from a rats nest of knots! I carefully & slowly worked through the tangles and slowly tried another stroke. Again, my brush went a few inches before stopping from a nest of tangles!! I eventually decided to forgo the brushing and just massage the BS mixture in with my fingers. I followed with a rinse & then the ACV. after towel-drying, I added a small amount of coconut oil to my ends, but my hair was severely tangled!! Now, I have medium thickness, wavy hair, BUT it’s quite a bit longer than yours (about 5″ above my waist). Have you had this problem or had others complain of it? It felt like as soon as t
he BS mix was in it, it became unbrushable! Do you think it’s my length? Any ideas? Thanks in advance!!!

A. I think you did the right thing by just working the BS in with your fingers. Next time try this……..Brush your hair while dry, apply and work in BS. Rinse in the shower, apply ACV and brush through ( If you are prone to tangles, the ACV provides a bit of slip to the hair) Also, add a little warmed honey to your ACV and shake it up to give it even more detangling slip. (Make sure to refridgerate your ACV if you add honey.)

Q. Hello, I am about a month into Shamphree and been experimenting with honey and coconut oil and amounts of BS and ACV and my hair has gone very dry and coarse it feels awful and brittle like its breaking and I’m getting a little downhearted .. Is this common at all shall I keep going?

A. Try adding a tablespoon of honey to your ACV. Dilute your BS and switch out you coconut oil for a mixture of jojoba oil and melted Shea butter. See this recipe but use Jojoba instead of coconut oil. Use as a weekly end treatment.

Q. Hey there! I was looking to see if you had any suggestions for an alternative to coconut oil as a once-a-week leave in conditioning treatment. Every time I brush in coconut oil and sleep, the next day no amount of ShamPHree can get the oil out. I was wondering if you knew of something maybe a bit easier to rinse out. My ends are getting dry and I need something Thanks for all the ShamPHree help! Forever grateful!

A. First question….are you using hot water to ShamPHree out the oil? If not, try it.
If that is not working, how about trying fractionated coconut oil? it is the liquid form, all solids removed. it may just be the solids building up on your hair that makes it feel greasy.
also, jojoba or almond oil tend to be lightweight and super moisturizing. But first try the fractionated coconut oil. It is kind of a miracle:)

Q.   I was a long-time BS/ACV person, and my hair did OK, but was always really dry and frizzy. When I went to research this problem I saw a lot of stuff about the “shock” of huge pH swings from BS/ACV causing damage to the hair.  Any thoughts or rebuttal to that?  (Now I do a low-poo once a week, but I still can’t really use conditioner (or coconut oil) without getting a greasy mess.)

A. I actually experienced dry brittle ends when I started with ShamPHree…….A couple of things that I learned are that regular trims are important, brushing regularly to distribute scalp oil into dry ends is crucial, and if the PH swing seems too harsh for your hair type, you can try dilluting your formulas OR……..Add a tea-spoon of ACV to your BS and vise versa to neutralize a bit. This will leave you with a much milder formulation:) I like to oil my ends before I ShamPHree to protect them through the process.

Q. I’ve gone back and forth trying the “no poo” method, and what I’m not clear on what i should do is this: On days that I don’t “wash” my hair but yet need to do something to it because it’s sticking up weird/its natural wave is flat/whatever……normally I would have simply sprayed my hair wet/really damp with a spray bottle full of only water and then applied a small amount of a thick cream curl activator. I could do this routine for 2-3 days before needing to wash my hair with the traditional shampoo and conditioner. What do I do NOW trying the “no poo” method? In between washes? I really would like this to work…I love the idea of less chemicals, natural, and saving money. Thanks for your help!

A. You have some options, and experimentation is always the best way to determine what is best for your hair. In between ShamPHrees, you can wet your hair as much as you want in the shower or with a spray bottle. Using products is fine but it is important to consider the ingredients in the products you are using. Some ingredients build up gunk on the hair shaft and don’t work so well with the ShamPHree method.
IF your curl creme is silicone/dimethicone based, will build up on the hair shaft, sealing out moisture over time. The great thing about ShamPHree is that it really eliminates your hairs need for much product. IF you are ShamPHRee and you still feel like you need a styling product or two, consider using a natural oil like coconut or shea butter. Best of luck:)

Q. I’ve been using the ShamPHree method but what is the white, itchy buildup on my scalp?

A. Make sure that you are using aluminum-free baking soda! Aluminum can cause a buildup and even make you itch a bit. You can get aluminum free BS in your ShamPHree starter kit!

Q. I started ShamPHree 2 weeks ago and I my hair is really static-y. Help!

A. First thing, clean your brush! Use a comb or brush to brush out the hair and gunk stuck in your brush. Soak it in warm water with a squirt of castille soap I love Dr. Bronners. Let it dry. This will help a lot. Also, be sure that you are using a boar bristle or natural bristle brush. Plastic will make static worse. Use water or a light oil to smooth down fly-aways.



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  1. Caroline

    Hi….I am a diver/swimmer, and I am in the pool 3-5 days a week. Would the ShamPHree method work on my chlorine saturated hair?

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      Hmmmmm. Here is my advice. Always wet your hair before swimming in chlorine ( you probably already know that) but in addition to wetting it, apply a quarter sized amount of coconut oil and brush it through before getting into the pool. This will fill your hair up with protective oil so that it cant absorb any pool chemicals. Then mix your ShamPHree with double amounts of BS/ACV to help remove the oil after you swim. Make sure you use as warm of water as you can to rinse out the BS, and follow up at the end of your ACV with a cold rinse.
      Good luck!

      1. Caroline

        Great! Thanks so much! I love your site; my hair is the same length as yours so i can do all of the hairdos!

  2. Meg

    Hey, I have a question about dyed hair – can you use shamPHree when washing out a permanent hair dye? And is it a cumulative thing? As in, if I use shampoo to wash out hair dye, then will it take a few weeks to get the buildup out of my hair using nopoo, by which time I’ll have to dye it again?
    Finally (sorry! I have loads of questions) what’s the normal kind of routine with regard to how many times a week you wash your hair, and then how many times you use coconut oil? Coconut oil is mad expensive in the UK, boooo. But looks like you don’t have to use a lot at least.

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      I have experimented with this and I honestly think it is probably best to use a shampoo to remve color ( you need the suds) then follow with ShamPHree.

      1. Meg

        Cheers, I had a bit of a google around and I think that seems to be the consensus 🙂

  3. Meg

    I thought of another question! Sorry! I have had braided in double-ended dreads in my hair for a month and a half, and so haven’t washed it at all during this time. Is this a good thing in that I will have less build up, or do I need to shampoo it to get all the crap out that has been collecting in my hair? (It’s clean and non smelly and that, being braided keeps it tight and clean, honest).

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      I think you should be fine with a good ShamPHree with nice hot water and a brush:)

      1. Meg

        Thank you! Need to actually buy a brush, haha. Have been lazy lazy hair routine for years.

  4. renata

    Hi! I’m planning to start this method tonight, but i have a silly question… do i NEED spray bottles or can i just use regular bottles? Because i’d prefer recycling old bottles i already have and not buying plastic new ones, but maybe the sray thing is really important.

    Thank you so much!!!

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      By all means, use what you have! actually, I have grown out of using a spray bottle. I love my squeezy condiment bottles better.

  5. Pamela

    So I’ve just done my regular hair coloring and shampooed/conditioned my hair for the first time since I’d colored my hair last week. I must say, that I so miss how smooth and detangled my hair is after using s store-bought conditioner. (I hope my hair doesn’t get mad about that)

    I love how my hair has been improving since I’d started Shampree’ing, but it definitely still gets tangly. I do a coconut oil mask about once a week or once every other week.

    I have long (about to tuck into my pants) Asian hair that’s colored to a burgundy red, just to give you an idea. I rarely ever use product in my hair. Sometimes an India oil or coconut oil, but rarely hairspray or anything like it. Besides the coloring, I’m a wash and go kind of girl (with the blowdry when we’re in the cold weather).

    I’d just read the post where someone used the BS and ACV after getting coloring done and after rinsing out the chemicals. I may try that the next time I color my hair.

    Any recommendations to help with the tangly mess it can become or will it eventually pass? Thanks!

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      I recommend doing a pre-poo coconut oil/shea butter treatment on your dry ends before you shamphree. Also, make sure you are using BS at the roots, and ACV in the ends. You can also try adding more ACV to your mixture, and rinsing with cold water:)

  6. Samantha

    Do you have a recommendation for an alternate cleansing option? My skin is super sensitive and BS is a bit too harsh for it. I can’t use it as a deodorant without getting an itchy rash under my arms.

    My scalp was ok with the BS for a while, a few months maybe. I would notice that it would be itchy if I left it on for the full 5 minutes or if I made the full strength solution, so I made sure to make a mild solution and not let it sit very long. But it’s gotten to the point that my scalp is itchy all the time. I use aluminum free BS, so that isn’t the issue.

    Any ideas would be super helpful. Thanks.

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      Yep. I would recommend either Dr Bronners castille soap OR Allafia african black soap. Both are gentle, creamy, non-stripping, and inexpensive:)

  7. Saririse

    I’ve been shamphree for probably about 4 months and I feel I’m past the detox/gunky stage but now I’m getting an almost dusty feeling after I cleanse. I thought maybe I wasn’t rinsing the BS out well enough so I really concentrated on making sure it was all out before doing ACV, still dusty feeling. My second issue is that my boyfriend says my scalp smells even right after I wash it. Any suggestions? I use essential oils in both my BS and ACV and I use a lavender scented concoction of Liquid Gold almost daily (my hair sucks it up!)

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      Maybe try using even less BS in your mixture, and when you apply your ACV, don’t put it on your scalp. Just mid-ends.
      Try massaging a couple drops of your essential oils into your scalp before you ShamPHree, and make sure to brush regularly:)
      Let me know if that helps!

  8. Ani

    I used to be able to do no-poo when I lived in Oregon and we had the most magnificent soft water…but now that I am in Ohio with hard water, it simply doesn’t seem to work. I’ve moved around different ratios of ACV and BS but I haven’t got a knack for alchemy, I don’t think. I tried switching to natural shampoo bars and they were even worse with the hard water and I had to send them to my family in Oregon where they work perfectly (and they were made locally…you’d think they’d make them to work with the local water supply?) Anyway. I know you can purchase shower filters, but I’m really not keen on that idea. Any suggestions for no-pooing with hard water?

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      Honestly, I would recommend investing in a filter for your shower head so you can get back to your ShamPHree glory days. I have heard that Aquasana makes a good one that is reasonably priced as well:)

      1. Ani

        Sad. I simply can’t make myself pay to filter my shower water! If I knew I was going to stay here for a long time, maybe. But since I’m hoping to get placed back in a softer water situation in a year or so, it just doesn’t seem worth it to me 🙂 My hair does pretty nicely with only one low-sls shampoo every other week. It’s just not AS nice!

  9. Rae

    I’m a new convert – 2 weeks, and I already love my hair now that I’ve tossed all my old hair products to the back of the cupboard. However, I use lemon juice instead of vinegar, because I just couldn’t get past the idea of using vinegar, even ACV. The lemon juice works quite lovely with my hair. I have – used to have – hair that would get oily the day after a washing. Now? It’s perfect. 🙂 However, I find that if I use coconut oil, I have to do two extra BS cycles when I rinse it out, otherwise my hair is pre-shamphree oily/greasy! With the coconut oil and extra cycle my hair is really soft, with defined layers, so I don’t want to stop using it. Should I do extra ACV(lemon juice) cycles as well?

    1. roxie.hunt Author

      I think it may be worth experimenting with using considerably less coconut oil, and really just applying it into your ends before you shamphree. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to do the BS twice, and I don’t think it is necessary to do your lemon juice twice. I am SO glad to hear that your ShamPHree experience has been good!!!!!

  10. Dee

    I’ve heard some say that their hair has been falling out. Before I start this no washing lifestyle as I already hair hair loss problem will this help or make my loss worse?

  11. Dee

    Will this make my hair loss worst or help it? I would like to go the healthy route, and get rid of the chemicals. But don’t want to loose more hair.

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