problems with no-‘poo or low-‘poo? here’s the holy grail of natural shampoos…

crunchies. i think i’ve done it… i think i’ve created the magic hippie shampoo for all hair types. i don’t wanna get ahead of myself, but get excited.

i’m always trying to learn more and more about the crunchy lifestyle. i want to find 928374 ways to wash hair, wash dishes, clean bathtubs, etc. i want people to become educated in natural alternatives and empowered…and still  be able to make choices! this blog has taken a turn to be focused on all-natural hair care (as per my lovely readers), so anything hair-related especially peaks my interest.

aside from the comments of gratitude and support for the crunchy community, i still get a lot of comments saying that certain hair care routines didn’t work, and asking what to do next. those are the hardest comments to answer because it’s SO different for everyone. i’ve been wanting SO badly to find something that everyone can start with, no matter their hair type or current hair care routine.

and guys, i think i’ve done it!



–       all natural

–       not stripping

–       all hair types*


–       mix keeps a week at a time

–       can be tricky to travel with

jeez! okay alexraye, what’s in it?!

  • bentonite clay
  • apple cider vinegar
  • raw honey
  • filtered water
  • essential oils of your choice (optional)

yea, yea, so some of us have seen the honey shampoo… or the benny clay hair mask… or using the acv rinses… but it’s not always for everyone! honey can leave some people’s hair heavy; benny clay can be too drying; acv can either leave an oily feeling scalp or nothing at all. BUT, all of these together are pure CRUNCHY HAIR MAGIC!!!

i’ve always adored clay hair masks, as well as raw honey for a conditioner. i thought “why not combine them?!”

why those ingredients?

  • bentonite clay – benny clay draws out serious toxins; clarifies hair (stay tuned for more on this); defines curls (if you have them); cleans away extra hair grease without stripping it all away
  • apple cider vinegar – helps rebalance your scalp & hair’s pH; soothes dry scalp/dandruff; smoothes hair cuticle for less tangly and shinier hair
  • raw honey – acts as a humectant and locks in some serious moisture; soothes dry scalp and dandruff; antibacterial properties; leaves hair soft and shiny
  • filtered water – it needs to be filtered so your benny clay isn’t binding to any toxins in tap water. the water allows the mix to be runny enough to run over your hair without much effort. it also prevents the benny clay from being too drying.
  • *oils – feel free to add any of your favorite nourishing oils to the mix. argan oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil would be great!

how do i switch?

if you’re already no-poo/low-poo/’poo alternative, just switch over for your next wash. no steps needed to ease into it! if you’re currently using traditional store shampoos and will be using this to go all-natural, you’ll need to clarify first.

here’s where the cool part comes in… benny clay can act as a hair clarifier, without stripping hair or throwing off hair’s pH! just mix equal parts benny clay and water, and apply the paste, gently massaging, to hair from root to tip as a hair mask. leave on for up to 5 minutes and rinse with cool water. done!

how to:

  1. in a small glass cup (and using a non-metal spoon and in this exact order), mix 1 spoonful of benny clay, 1 1/2 spoonfuls of ACV, 1 1/2 spoonfuls of raw honey, and 5 spoonfuls of filtered water. it will bubble a bit from the acv, but that’s okay! it won’t burn you or harm you in any way! feel free to dilute the mix into more than 5 spoonfuls of water, too, but don’t go below 5. if you’re adding in oils, add 1/2 teaspoon and mix well.
  2. on dry hair, pour small amounts straight from the cup onto sections of  your scalp, rubbing in the mix as you go. it won’t hurt if it runs down the length of your hair.
  3. leave on for 5 minutes (do NOT let the mix dry on your scalp!! benny clay can be very drying to hair when left on longer than a few mins, but the honey will help prevent any extreme drying, as well as not letting it dry), and rinse thoroughly in the shower with cool/lukewarm water. read again: rinse thoroughly!
  4. done! seriously. if you find your hair needs some extra lovins in the conditioning dept, use some raw honey on your hair after you rinse the clay mix out. leave that on for a few minutes and rinse out well with cool water.

it was very runny, so don’t think you’re doing anything wrong! instead of trying to spoon it out or use my hands, i found it was easy to mix it in a small glass cup and just pour small amounts on different parts of my scalp and gently rub it. i only had a little bit run down my neck and shoulders that way.

and no, your hair won’t smell like vinegar after! i know some people are wary of that :)

after your wash, your hair should feel soft and clean, but not stripped. if your hair is feeling a little dry, use less benny clay next time and/or increase the amount of honey. also, you won’t necessarily need to condition after. if your hair does need it, you can use plain ol raw honey! score!

>> by the way, this same exact mix can be used as a detox-ing face mask! if you have any leftover from your “shampoo”, rub onto clean facial skin and let sit until dry (only takes a few minutes!). then wipe away gently with a warm washcloth. mmm happy skin!


where to get these ingredients:

  • bentonite clay – this one is also edible; this one is for external use only (you can find this clay in most organic stores. i’ve heard it’s at walmart, too!)
  • raw apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”) – any grocery store
  • RAW honey – just about any grocery store/health food store/organic store
  • filtered water – any grocery store

are y’all as excited as me?!

go try it and let everyone know how it goes!!


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232 thoughts on “problems with no-‘poo or low-‘poo? here’s the holy grail of natural shampoos…

  1. This sounds great, I have been no-poo for about 2,5 months and my hair was great to start with and then felt stiff like straw, its curly, BC does not work and I just started trying honey shampoo, this will be my next one. How often do you wash?


  2. Hey Alex,

    Have you ever tried Rhassoul in this mix or at all? Just curious. I have some at home and I think I’ll try it with this mix. :)

    Thanks for your crunchy tips, you’re making my no poo journey easier. xx


  3. Does one need to scritch and preen while using this shampoo? I’ve been ROM the last 1.5 years (and failed- boo) and I really like this mix. I find myself scritching and preening subconsciously. Also, I’ve never suffered dandruff before switching to ROM, and now it’s a constant thing. Any advice there?


  4. I was really excited to try this. I normally use Acure products.. But have wanted to go a more natural route. I tried this for the first time today and it brought my curls out but my hair feels disgusting.. Like there’s a layer of scum on it.. Plus its so difficult to comb (wide tooth) through.. My daughters was the same way.. Anyone else have this problem


    1. I started using a commercial clay shampoo a few months ago and had the same problem for about 2 weeks. My hair felt like it had a tacky coating on it. Supposedly it is the hair “detoxing” – all the chemicals from commercial shampoos (even natural ones) are coming out. Here is a link for more information I found that after about 2 weeks, my hair was done with the detox and responded really well to being cleaned with clay, so now I am making my own.


  5. Just wanted to say I tried this “shampoo” for the first time 3 weeks ago, after going no poo for several months starting with some Dr. Bronners here and there but mostly using baking soda/acv. I guess I could never get the right ratios. The Dr. Bronners seemed to have left a build up on my hair, and with the bs/acv my hair was always tangled and I hardly ever got the “silky soft” results I was hoping for. I stuck with it, hoping that eventually my hair would transition until I stumbled upon your website. The results of the first wash with this shampoo of yours was incredible and I have used it every week since! My hair is very soft and I can run my fingers through my hair with ease for the first time since starting no poo. The results last all week long. I don’t HAVE to use a brush anymore, my fingers are all I need. Thanks so much for posting this! First the first time I am proud of the results of my no pooing experience :) Now if I can just tackle my itchy scalp issues, we’ll be in business haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. try a diluted aloe juice rinse after this wash or even in between washing with theis. . it will help heal/calm your scalp & it’s good for your hair:)


    2. I’ve been fingering through her post and she said aloe is a good itchy scalp remedy. It also moisturizes and adds shine!


  6. I want to try this..
    Maybe it will finally calm down my stupid wavy hair..

    Last time I bought Sodium Bentonite, I was trying to help an old girlfriend in my home state stop her basement from flooding. (It worked…Bought a 50 pound bag at an old skydiving buddy’s Lumber store, pounded 3′ deep holes with a pipe ~3′ apart surrounding her house, and made it to my class reunion in time that night).. I wonder if you can mix the Honey with the water ahead of time, store it in a separate bottle, and maybe add water to the bentonite, store that in another bottle, and have a third bottle of the brown vinegar…Store them in your shower and mix as you use it..

    Also..the Chemist in me wants to know if you should target a pH of 7 in your final product…maybe get some Litmus paper online somewhere to check??

    Probably the only way I can get my teenage Son to try it without me having to tie him down first…


  7. I was wondering if you have and could give an opinion on Living Libations? Based on reviews, an investment in their Seabuckthorn Shampoo & Conditioner seems wise, but my wallet cries at the thought. Thank you and love your blog!


  8. Hi! I’ve been baking soda no-poo for 2 years now and have been trying to find an alternative to baking soda because I want to avoid long term damage from the ph levels. It always washed my hair and got it very clean. I’ve tried your no-poo mix now twice. It gets the front/ top layers of my hair clean but the back and lower layers are kind of sticky and greasy. I’m pouring it on different parts of my scalp, not just pour in the front and letting it drain back. Is there a method to apply this shampoo so that it cleans my whole scalp and not just the front/ am I doing it wrong?



  9. Hello! I am going to give you a quick hair history so maybe you can help me. I was no-poo (baking soda and vinegar) for 5 months. Recently I noticed BAD dandruff. I found your blog and thought I would try Co-washing. My hair is fairly curly by the way. So co- washing took care of the dandruff but I had to go back to washing every other day. I was looking greasy. I saw your “shampoo” for all hair types and tried that. I did do a clarifying treatment with the bentonite clay once. And have been using your recipe since but ai am having to wash every other day for greasy looking appearances. Am I doing something wrong? Should I clarify again or is there a transition period because I went to co-washing? Help! Thanks!


  10. used benny clay with equal parts water and left for 5 mins to clarify hair. My hair is great at the very ends but throughout the rest of my hair and scalp the clay seems to hair remained and has a dry gritty feel, what should I do to get in out?


  11. Wanted to say I’ve made this several times and do love it. However, I felt like I had to do baking soda and water in between the times I used it because it made me feel like I needed to shower everyday! So, I added baking soda to the mix along with tea tree oil and it fixed my problem!!! Beware, it sizzles when you mix it cause of the vinegar and baking soda, but it’s quick. :) thanks so much for sharing your recipe!!!


  12. Hey, thanks for the great tips. I went from low poo to honey-only (1:3 diluted raw honey, 3 drops rosemary EO) about 3 weeks ago, and my hair looks and feel great BUT for some reason my scalp is itchy and I’m getting some dandruff, which I never had before. Any advice?


  13. So…

    I have tried going no poo (and low poo) before, (6 mo), and my hair was greasy and like straw, and felt dirty. I’m trying again and I started off clarifying my hair with baking soda and acv, then conditioning with honey, and then doing this mud mask thing in my hair (acv and bentonite clay). Well, the clay dried out my hair and made it super tangled so I added warm olive oil all through my hair and kept it in for a few hours and washed it out with pantene (only soap available). Then I started using Dr. Bronner’s mixed with water from my shower and rinsing with acv and water. When my hair dried, it was like greasy and stiff and easily tangled and kind of gunky feeling. I was hoping my BBB would help but it didn’t. Should I go back to baking soda and acv or try this clay shampoo? It looks wonderful. Any tips would be helpful, I really want this no poo thing to work!


    1. I forgot to mention – the pantene did not wash all the oil out of my hair (only washed once), and I used Dr. Bronner’s in hopes that it would also get it out. Maybe that didn’t work and that’s why?


      1. Part of the problem is that you used Pantene after clarifying–high-end shampoos like that have silicone in them that coats your hair, which makes the clarifying you did moot. Alex has a page of no-poo friendly conditioners somewhere, both homemade and store-bought, for after you clarify. If you’re gonna do an oil mask Alex has found that egg yolks work, as well as cheap store-bought shampoo without silicone, a 50/50 mixture of water and Dr. Bronners (not recommended, it’s harsh on your hair) followed by diluted ACV, or a store-bought low-poo option. I thiiink all of this is in the resources tab so I won’t hunt down the links, but yeah, the problem is probably partly that you used Pantene!

        Also, if you have hard water, mixing the Dr. Bronners with shower water might not have helped. And did you clarify with a baking soda paste? A 1 tbsp per cup of water baking soda mixture wouldn’t be enough to clarify your hair. And after clarifying and conditioning with honey, leave your hair alone for a while! Clarifying is kind of a harsh process. The mud mask was just probably too much for it after the clarifying–bentonite clay just mixed with water in equal parts is used to clarify, so you double clarified and hella dried out your hair.

        That said, I do personally like this shampoo a lot, but the bs/acv might not be a problem for your hair either! Just make sure you’re using silicone-free shampoos or Alex-approved low-poo products when you do oil masks so that you aren’t reversing all your hard work. Depending on your hair type, though, the benny clay shampoo might be better (it IS for all hair types). I like it a lot because it makes my curls more defined! Couldn’t hurt to give it a try. I recently switched right over from bs/acv to this. The only problem I had was that my hair DID detox, as other people have experienced. It was really greasy for a while, so I did a benny clay clarifier on it like Alyx suggests earlier in this post and probably left it on too long because I could NOT get all the clay out and my hair was insanely dry, but eventually it got a lot better.


  14. i don’t want to count my chickens b4 they’ve hatched but I just got out of the shower after doing this and my hair feels so light and fluffy, hope it continues this way. If it does I may have found my favorite no poo method!!!!!😍😍


  15. I have been doing the baking soda wash and ACV rinse for a while now. I am use to it but don’t really care for the “build up” feel it leaves behind. I decide to try your recipe, but was out of honey. So…I tried blackstrap molasses (organic) as a substitute. My hair is soooo clean & soft!!! I am thrilled!!! Thank you for doing the experimenting and posting such an awesome alternative to no pooing! :)


  16. Best Low Poo product I have found is Healthy Skin for a Happy Life’s all natural shampoo. It smells great and it’s a lot easier than making my own.


  17. Ok, question…I got off salon shampoo about a month ago. I did a clarifying wash with the Dr Bronners and ACV. Then started on the Shea Moisture shampoo/conditioner you recommend (I’m a mom with 3 kids 4 years old and under, so anything that’s less work is awesome). It was working great until about a week ago…now my hair seems weighed down and limp and just kinda blah. I have unevenly wavy hair (I think it’s considers 2a hair?) that’s very fine but very thick… I don’t have any problems with dry hair. My hair has always been on th oily side, which has balanced out some since I switched to natural shampoo, but I think the Shea moisture is just too much for my fine hair. Is this shampoo a good alternative?? Has anyone else had the same issue as me with natural products?


  18. Hey Alex,

    I’ve decided to get into the all natural way of things. I’ve already started cleaning with natural mixes. Now I’m ready to start with my hair and face. You have a great blog and I’m so glad I found it. I wanted to ask about this natural shampoo vs the baking soda and avc shampoo. After clarifying my hair which do you suggest I start with? And how long should I clarify my hair? Is just one wash good or what?


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