Using Less of Everything – Hair Product Update

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A while ago I posted about trying to use less product to make our stored items last longer.  We can only store a limited amount of everyday items, due to our lack of space, so our challenge is to make each item lasts as long as possible, so we don’t have to keep using up and buying more.  At the same time, we can figure out inexpensive substitutes for commonly used items.


Shampoo is one item I use everyday.  We live in a hot and humid climate, so I have to wash my hair daily to keep it clean.  And I have allergies, so I need the daily shampoo to keep dust and pollen from sticking to my hair causing sneezing attacks.

First I tried using less and less shampoo.  I reduced the usage from half-dollar size, then to nickel size and even less to a dime size and the shampoo continued to work.  Wet hair thoroughly first. then lather up the dime size drop on your palm and rub on the scalp area.  Work the shampoo down to the ends and rinse.  There is no need to “Lather, rinse, repeat” as direction says on many shampoo bottles.  The hair comes out pretty clean with very little product.

The next day, I tried just washing the hair and not using shampoo at all.  Just wet the hair thoroughly, massage water into the scalp and that’s it.  Since the hair is washed daily, it is not that grimy to begin with.  After all. I don’t roll around in dirt or cobwebs,  I just need to rinse off the dust and allergens.   My hair still came out clean without shampooing!

The last thing I tried a few days later was baking soda.  I mixed a 50% solution of baking soda and water in an empty shampoo bottle.  I shook it up to mix it.  First I thoroughly wet my hair, then rubbed the baking soda and water mix into the scalp and hair.  I then rinsed it off thoroughly.   The result?   My hair felt clean and fresh.  Baking soda is actually known to remove build up of other hair products.  I have to admit, I missed the sudsing action of shampoo, and the hair is not as soft, but it was clean.   I had read that apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse to soften the hair.  I purchased apple cider vinegar and as I was about to try it.  But as I caught a whiff of the vinegar smell I decided against it.  Smelling salad dressing in the shower, even if it rinses off, just did not appeal to me.

I will stick to baking soda as my shampoo alternative.


I used to condition my hair every time I shampoo.  I used the “use less” principle and found that very little is needed to prevent static.  Now I only use about a dime sized portion and only apply it to the ends of the hair.  It rinses out quickly but  is enough to prevent tangles and static.

Another alternative is not to use conditioner at all, but mix water and conditioner in a spray bottle and spray on dry hair before blowdrying and brushing.

The next substitutes I will be testing will be for underarm deodorant, but I will wait until I am feeling bold enough and when I won’t be around a lot of people!

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  1. I think the Shampoo works because they make them so strong that there is probably still soap residue in the hair a day later…..

    I know that when we switched to a front loading washer the first time you wash with it you can literally not use soap and still produce a huge amount of suds from all the residue that is still in your clothes.

  2. The baking soda works as an underarm deodorant as well as a toothpaste and insect bite remedy! It has literally dozens of uses!

  3. We started taking our shampoo and dividing it into two bottles, then refilling the rest with water. Basically using a 50% solution, and it works just as well also. I’ll have to try the baking soda trick too. I’d heard that it worked very well but haven’t tried it yet.

  4. Baking soda alone will eventually fry your hair, because hair is supposed to have an acidic protective mantle. That’s partly what the vinegar rinse is for. I use plain cheap vinegar, about two TB in 8-10oz of water, and that’s probably more than you need. If the smell still offends you, lemon juice works, too, and lime juice, if you find it on sale. Once you pour it on, your hair will immediately feel less squeaky, as if you have just used and rinsed out a conditioner.

  5. I finally got everyone to use very little shampoo. If you use one teaspoon each day and wash your hair six days in a week, you will use one ounce in a week. That means a 32 ounce bottle of Suave, that costs one dollar, will last over 1/2 a year. Two bottles per person per year, so for 10 dollars you can have a five year supply.
    We use two ounces of conditioner into a quart spray bottle. We use this on either wet or dry hair. It works well, but I also have a bottle of 8 ounces conditioner into a quart spray bottle. This is used on dry hair when the hair needs extra “love”.

  6. i also use baking soda shampoo & follow with vinegar rinse. when my hair was long i did one tbl spoon to one cup water & that works well for me. i also add a little perfume oil just for a slight smell

  7. Have you checked into using deodorant stones/crystals? We got ours at Whole Foods and it lasted for *years*! There’s little to no packaging and (best of all!) it really works!

    1. I am glad you mentioned deodorant crystals; did not know anyone else who has used one! I actually bought one recently at Walgreens and was hesitant to try it. I am testing a few other substitutes and will post results soon. Thanks for the comment!

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