Misadventures in No ‘Poo

by Daisy


Ever since I stopped using shampoo, I’ve tried several different approaches to having presentable hair: apple cider vinegar rinses, brushing it out with a natural bristle brush, and essential oil-baking soda scrubs.

After giving up on baking soda after hearing it was too harsh for hair, I’ve relied on hot water and vinegar rinses almost exclusively. It does a pretty decent job; no itchy scalp or horrendous hair. The best was the time I washed my hair with an egg. Sure, I smelled faintly of egg, but, surprisingly, my hair felt more like it used to after shampoo than anything I’ve tried.

The other day, though, feeling like trying something a little different, I decided to wash my hair with mayonnaise.

I realize what that sounds like. I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise in general, and mayonnaise on hair? There is an ick factor. Why not, though? I thought. I’d already cracked a raw egg on my head. How bad could it be? After all, mayo is just egg yolk, oil, and vinegar, right? Lots of people clean their skin with oil–maybe I could clean my scalp with an oily, eggy condiment.

I did not google this, by the way. It was my own little brainstorm. Bear this in mind.

So I scooped out a bit of cold mayo, plopped it on the top of my wet head, and started squishing it in. Trying not to think about potato salad, I kept squishing and massaging it into my scalp. After what I figured was an acceptable amount of “washing,” I began to rinse it out.

At least I tried to rinse it out, but the mayo wasn’t going anywhere. The shower smelled like a club sandwich. My hair felt like salty, mayonnaise-y ropes. I made the water hotter, hoping to melt it out. Nope.

More washing, then a vinegar rinse. A little better? Another vinegar rinse. More rinsing. My hair seemed borderline okay. I towel-dried it and went to bed. Maybe it would be all right in the morning. I went to bed.

In the morning my first look in the mirror, never the best one of the day, was startling. I’d forgotten about the last night’s “treatment,” and what I saw looking back at me through bleary morning eyes was eye-opening. Arching out around the sides of my head were greasy locks of horror. My first thought was: ponytail, but I knew even a ponytail was no match for this ‘do. The thing would probably have stuck straight out the back of my head like the flame behind a rocket.

What could I do? I didn’t want to give up and pour on the shampoo. I also didn’t want to entertain my kids with my hair disaster. Cruel, I know, to deprive them of such prime fodder for future jokes at my expense. They’d already had too much fun with the fact that I’d requested the mayonnaise jar from the refrigerator the day before.

I did what I should have done in the first place; back to the egg. I stuck my head under the tub faucet, cracked one of our hen’s eggs on my head, scrubbed it around, and rinsed. The rinse water ran white. My hair began to feel like hair again. Hope. I toweled off my hair and hoped for the best.

Unbelievably, one egg took out the mayo, gave me clean hair, and saved the day.

Later, searching for mayonnaise hair washing, it turns out to be a treatment for dry, usually curly hair, and is followed by a good shampooing.

Moral: When going no ‘poo, hold the mayo.

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori Alexander May 5, 2015 at 1:20 pm

I tried the no-poo thing for several weeks and couldn’t stand it!!! I went back to my favorite products that I’ve been using for years and love them. They don’t have any junk in them from what I can tell and they do a great job at cleaning my hair and making it very presentable. Here is the link if you’re interested ~

Shannon May 5, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Funny story! Unfortunately for me, I went “No poo” for about a year and it absolutely destroyed my hair. It finally started coming out in clumps and breaking off all over while my scalp, which I never had a problem with before, turned greasy. I finally had enough and went back to shampoo. I gave it a valiant effort! For people with really short, wiry hair, it might be ok! My fine, thin hair is still recovering!

Kathy May 6, 2015 at 9:24 am

I am so glad you are sharing this with us. Thank you!

I have allergies…itchy scalp since childhood. I’m in my fifties now. I have been working through the “no poo” ideas for over a year now. I find that I have to use shampoo once in awhile, and alternate in other solutions on a rotation dictated by my hair/scalp. I am glad that I don’t have to shampoo every day now. My hair actually has body again after going limp and dull. I went though a lot of bad hair days before I found a workable solution pretty recently, but I still have an itchy scalp. I have avoided the egg shampoo until now. I am going to try it based on your post. Maybe that will be the final ingredient that I am missing!

Right now, I mainly alternate:
1) the baking soda/vinegar combo with just about a 1/2 tsp baking soda to 4 oz water, and I add a few drops of lavender oil and a drop of tea tree oil, work in to scalp and let sit a minute before rinsing off. Then put the vinegar on the middle and ends (only once in awhile on the scalp because it can get oily on me after too many times). Rinse well.
2) just warm water
3) just vinegar rinse followed by warm water
4) as small a bit of shampoo as I can get away with and usually avoid the scalp area (try to avoid the harsh ones) once in awhile with vinegar rinse.

My scalp still itches, (maybe not quite as bad), but I only have to wash my hair every 3 days or so. I do notice that my scalp itches more if I don’t take an allergy pill, but I have a dry, tight scalp and think it needs more than that.

lynette May 6, 2015 at 10:43 am

vinegar is only for once a month after shampooing to clean all the build up off. i did that until i got neutrogena shampoo and it was too expensive. so now i wash my hair in lemon joy. keeps the goo off. lasts forever. i have used for like 35 years and ask anyone they say my hair is soft and shiny. i use pantene volume conditioner. i went to beauty school and this is similar to the shampoo there.

Cat's Meow May 6, 2015 at 11:19 am

Thanks for sharing! I had heard of using mayonnaise, but it was for damaged ends and not the scalp. The instructions were to apply it to the ends, put a plastic cap/bag over your hair, and leave it in for however long. It is supposed to help repair damaged ends. I never tried it. Glad you got it all out.

I washed my hair for the last time on March 28, 2015. So far, everything is working well. I have been using the apple cider vinegar and that is keeping my hair squeaky clean. I am impressed. Last week I followed a tip about boar bristle brushes and bought one. It was well worth it. At first I was horrified with the results, but quickly realized that there was too much build up of natural oils on my scalp. It has been a week since I first used the brush and now my hair looks great, even the perm damaged ends. You can follow my Journey Without ‘Poo on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/436459916512473/

Beth V May 6, 2015 at 5:21 pm

I’ve been poo free for about 9 years now. I use a conditioner that has no waxes, alcohol, or silicones in it. I put it in my palm, work it through my hair to my scalp, scrub it around on my scalp- for a while, then coat the rest of my hair. I leave it in while I’m showering, then do a very quick rinse. Sometimes I put a dime sized dollop in my hand and work it into the ends while it’s still wet. My hair is curly and almost to my hips. People are shocked when I tell them I don’t use shampoo because my hair is soft and shiny, with well behaved curls

TerriSue May 6, 2015 at 7:56 pm

I went poo free for a year. Disastrous. My hair is still trying to recover. I only shampoo my hair twice a week now. You really don’t need to wash it every day. It’s washing it everyday that causes the damage.

Ronnica, Striving Stewardess May 7, 2015 at 1:55 am

Ha! Thanks for sharing. My misadventures have been *twice* accidentally using shampoo when I thought it was conditioner. Threw my hair into a tailspin both times.

I’m giving up conditioner this week to replace with vinegar. I’m glad to simply my routine even further!

Kim Garnett May 7, 2015 at 4:58 am

Very funny story!! I’ve been natural for two years now and I use my own homemade soap for my hair too. Works great with an occasional mayo treatment.

Sallie May 7, 2015 at 6:44 am

You are so brave!

Kathy May 7, 2015 at 6:25 pm

LOL! Years ago, when my girls came home from VBS with head lice the doctor said to use mayo. Coat the hair, cover with a shower cap and leave on all night (it suffocates the little beasties!), shampoo it out the next day. Their hair was so soft and shiny–but WHAT A MESS to clean out! (It worked on the lice, though AND made it easier to comb out the nits!
I’ve been mostly no shampoo for years. I usually just rinse my hair well with water–I do have short hair–though I do occasionally use a natural shampoo with no added chemicals maybe once a week or less.

flutterby9322 May 7, 2015 at 11:40 pm

I could have warned you. I did mayo several years ago. Didn’t think of an egg. It took almost two weeks to return my hair to normal. I’ll stick with ACV

kathy May 8, 2015 at 11:05 am

Lemon Joy. That is a new one for me! Thanks for sharing that Lynette. I will have to check that out!

Daisy May 8, 2015 at 7:13 pm

flutterby–Oh well. Live and learn. 🙂

Mattie May 10, 2015 at 6:12 am

I recall trying mayo for damaged ends and it worked but with my natural oils, I really didn’t need it, just a haircut.

Funny story: when I was a wee one back in the 70’s my Mom would let one of our neighbors babysit me while she was out. Well, since all my friends had braids, I thought I should to. So this lovely lady preceded to braid my hair. I was fine blond at the time and the babysitter had never braided a white person before. She used Crisco to braid it into tiny little braids just like my friends. I was so proud, but Mom FREAKED. Said it took a week to wash it all out. She still let the lady babysit me but with the condition that she never braid my hair ever again.

Wish I had a picture.

Daisy May 10, 2015 at 7:21 am

Mattie–I love that story! Wish you had a picture, too. I bet it was very cute!

Debbie May 11, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Thanks for your continued updates. I went “no poo” for 2015. My hair is super fine – we are talking baby butt hair. Only an inch or so long at any given time – haircut every 4 – 6 weeks. Without shampoo my hair is beginning to grow back and feels thicker – not laying flat like onion skin anymore. I’m not doing a thing but rinsing with water when I get up in the morning to get rid of “bed hair” look. Sure does save time and money!

Heather September 27, 2015 at 8:29 am

I haven’t used commercial shampoo in several years. I actually wash with a diy castile mixture that i use head to toe, then a thorough misting of diluted vinegar, and after it dries, i condition with a light oil & salt water spray that keeps it soft and fluffy…but I have the dry, coarse, curly hair that can take a lot of oil (just not olive, too heavy).

Daisy October 1, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Heather–Never heard of the salt water spray. Interesting.

Julie T November 12, 2015 at 10:55 pm

Interesting…I’m not the only one. I never thought of egg to get the mayo out! Prior to the mayo experiments I used to use an egg ‘poo’ and I no longer have the exact recipe nor have I been able to find it in for years. Don’t remember where I found it (80’s vintage recipe). It was something like this: separate 1 or 2 eggs and beat the whites, fold in the yolks and rinse with lemon juice (blonde-vinegar tends to darken my hair). I used this for over 6 months; no ‘poo’. The results were the most gorgeous thick wonderful hair I have had in my entire lifetime (60 years). I do like using the mayo on my ends prior to sauna (infared) so I’ll remember the egg to wash it out! I’ve looked into the egg storage debate (refrigerate or room temperature) and can’t see any reason why room temperature eggs would not work for ‘poo’ & I’m not sure that beating the whites added anything…humm much easier to not have to do that. Thanks for getting me thinking.

sandy spivey November 22, 2015 at 5:03 pm

I discovered this site as I have been looking for a better way to wash my curly salt & pepper hair (lots of salt these days, I am 71!) I have been using Grandma’s lye soap from Remwood and organic apple cider vinegar rinse. I use this soap on my body and even if I stray once in a while I come back. I am an old Hippie so I am into this stuff. Okay, just want to let everyone know this old trick that I learned a long time ago after a disaster with a hot oil treatment. I think it was a beautician that shared this with me and it works perfectly. Whenever you use something like the mayo or any other oil before you wet your hair you coat your hair with shampoo or liquid soap work it in and then wet you hair. Oil and water don’t mix, if you wet first you are in trouble.

Daisy November 24, 2015 at 6:29 pm

sandy spivey–That makes sense. I’ve been using the acv rinse every few days, and occasionally (once a week or so) both baking soda and vinegar water. I still think egg does the best job, but the hens aren’t laying much and I can’t bring myself to use one of their eggs on my hair!
Thanks for your tip and welcome to the blog!

Gracey September 20, 2016 at 12:33 am

OMG … too funny 🙂

I use a “shampoo”, but one I get from the National Nutrition which is (granted) expensive, but all natural plant-based with no harmful stuff and makes my old-girl hair feel thicker, silkier, and it looks healthy and shiny.

Eggs are expensive too … nearly $4 a dozen sometimes (local farm eggs), which make them more expensive than the natural shampoo for us.

… thanks to you, mayo will never be one I try

nancy November 7, 2016 at 12:59 pm

what’s wrong with shampoo????

Daisy November 7, 2016 at 6:57 pm

nancy–That’s a great question. For one thing, some people believe that shampooing removes the natural oils in the hair and that when they don’t use shampoo their hair looks and behaves nicer. There are many ways to get along without shampooing and yet still have clean hair. Not everybody has this experience. Another reason some choose not to shampoo is they believe there are toxins in shampoo that can be absorbed through the skin. Still another reason is environmental; shampoo is one more plastic bottle, one more source of potentially undesirable chemicals in the water. Expense is also a factor for some. Lastly, and this is how I began to investigate “no ‘poo,” when I’m pregnant I become hypersensitive to smells and using shampoo made me nauseated. There are no completely unscented shampoos, and most of them are very fragranced. Hope I answered your questions. Thanks for your comment.

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