A year of no-shampoo (and how much money I saved)

Hair status in this photo: no-shampoo for one year; dyed five weeks earlier; cleaned with an egg three weeks earlier; revived with water two days ago. Source: T Kendal.

A year ago I said goodbye to shampoo. Since then I’ve managed to avoid frying an egg on my head during the heatwave. I have discovered a love of headscarves, not just for carrying me through dodgy transition days, but also for what I (perhaps deludedly) hope are french chic vibes. I’ve also, it turns out, saved a fair amount of money. But more on that in a moment.

This book was invaluable for equipping me with knowledge and recipes for the transition to no-shampoo. At the time I also wanted to know what kind of routine I’d end up with post-transition, which is why I’m sharing mine with you now.

My no-shampoo routine: 

  • brush my hair every night, systematically redistributing the sebum.
  • wash my hair two to three times a month (I might do an extra wash if I go for a swim, using an egg to clear the chlorine). I tend to alternate between egg washes, and washing with bicarbonate of soda followed by apple cider vinegar for conditioner. I’m thinking about trying out bentonite clay, just for the fun of it.  
  • rinse with water between washes if it needs reviving a little.
  • add coconut or argan oil to the ends if they’re feeling dry, maybe a couple of times a week. As an added bonus, the coconut oil also helps rejuvenate the curls.
  • dye my hair with henna around once a month at home. I seem to alternate between just doing the roots, and refreshing my whole mane. 

And that’s it. It’s a mixture of very low hassle, with one slightly more involved evening a month covering the greys. 

Now. The money. I was organised enough to record exactly what I used this year, but not to make a note of how much I spent on my hair before quitting shampoo. So I’ve done some estimates.

When I used shampoo, I spent about £357 per year washing and dying my hair:

  • £16 per year on Faith in Nature shampoo (2 for £7 in our local Oxfam shop). This is based on washing every other day, and getting 40 washes out of a 400 ml bottle.
  • £16 per year on Faith in Nature conditioner (same use as the shampoo) 
  • £325 per year on getting my hair dyed every eight weeks at £50 per go. 

In my year of going no-shampoo, I spent £109 on:

  • £21.17 on a decent wooden hairbrush 
  • 89p on 1 bottle of bicarbonate of soda. I used it 22 times (1-1.5 teaspoons mixed in a cup of water per wash)
  • approximately 25p on homemade apple cider vinegar (a guesstimate of the amount spent on the honey needed for the vinegar. I use leftover apple cores, so count that as free). I used it 23 times (1 tablespoon mixed in a cup of water per wash).
  • £4 on 24 free range eggs 
  • approximately 54p on 50 ml of coconut oil (a generous guess on how much I’ve used, based the costs of buying 750ml pots of organic coconut oil for £7.99 – it’s versatile stuff as it’s also a great moisturiser, make up remover and can work as a mild deodorant) 
  • £2.50 on argan oil (at £10 a bottle)
  • £23.90 on henna (2 blocks at £11.95 each). 
  • £5.75 on half a pot of Ultra-balm, which I use around my forehead and ears to prevent them being dyed the same colour as my hair 
  • £50 on getting my hair dyed at the hairdressers once, a couple of weeks into stopping shampoo. I wrote about the whole comedy of a trip here.

So that saving is big – over two thirds of what I used to spend (and will be more going forwards, given almost half of the £109 was in a trip to the hairdressers, which I no longer do). But, and this is key, the savings are big if you dye your hair. And I have to be honest here, that is also the time-consuming part. I have gotten quicker at it, but an evening of hair dying still involves: half an hour to an hour of prepping and applying the henna; a two-three hour wait; half an hour of rinsing the hair until the water runs clear(-ish)* and washing it with an egg. It is a faff, and it can be messy. 

But to me, it’s worth it. It means that I can control what goes on my hair. I now tend to cover up the greys more frequently (I went to the hairdreser every eight weeks, when every six would really have been advised…). And there’s that money saved too. 

Now that I’ve bought the hairbrush and been through the transition, I estimate that I’ll spend £39.52 a year (based on three washes a month, which is actually slightly high):

  • 73p on 18 washes with bicarbonate of soda (bicarb is important for the transition to remove lingering shampoo, but shouldn’t be used too often subsequently as it can be harsh on your hair)
  • 16p on homemade apple cider vinegar
  • £3 on 18 eggs 
  • £29.88 on 2.5 blocks of henna 
  • £5.75 on half a pot of Ultra-balm

That’s a tenth of the cost of what I used to spend. And given the money wasn’t my motivation for quitting shampoo, that’s not too shabby indeed.


* has the water ever run totally clear for anyone ever when dying their hair?! If it, has please tell me the secret of your hair wizardry. 

Incidentally, I’ve actually started to cut my own hair as well, which probably saves £195 per year. I didn’t initially intend to stop going to the hairdressers, but after my usual place shut, it seemed easier. And I’ve discovered that I actually quite enjoy taking scissors to my fringe and hoping for the best. No disasters so far…

One thought on “A year of no-shampoo (and how much money I saved)

  1. I don’t wash my hair at all, haven’t for about three years now. I pleat it and brush it once a week. I’ve shaved it off a couple of times. When I was young I lavished care and attention to it. Dyed it, learned it, bleached it, curled it and even dreadlocks. Now I am old my long hair down gives me a hag like quality. So I ignore it. It is no longer the crowning glory it was.


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