Friday, December 5, 2008

Cost Analysis of 'No-Poo' Baking Soda Shampoo

Looking for the monster hoodie giveaway? It's here.

Using baking soda instead of shampoo ( no-'poo) seems to be an internet rage right now. I've read about it several places, and even given it a bit of a try. Like others, I found my hair was definitely greasier than usual at first, but I think I could make it work. Unlike most others, I get my shampoo free from the local food bank, so using baking soda (which I don't get free) is actually more expensive.

So I decided to figure out how the costs compare.

The 16 oz box of baking soda in my cupboard cost 54 cents. I measured 30 Tablespoons in the box.

My most recent bottle of Aussie Shampoo from the local food bank is 16 fluid ounces. That's 32 tablespoons.

For one shampooing, the site above recommends using 1 Tbsp. baking soda. So one box has 30 shampooings. In my couple of weeks trying it, I acually use a bit more than this, but I'm leaving the calculation at 30 Tablespoons.

When I use normal shampoo, I use about 1/2 Tbsp regular shampoo for my chin-length hair (That's shampooing twice in the shower). You may use more or less than this. But this makes my calculations easy. That means that I'm getting 64 shampoos from a bottle of shampoo. I'll call it 60, just to be lazy.

If my bottle of shampoo costs less than double the price of a box of baking soda, it's cheaper to use shampoo. I know that not too many 16 oz bottles of shampoo are actually one dollar or less, but I've definitely seen those prices on sale. I also realize that it's probably healthier to use the baking soda even when it's more expensive. In the past, though, I've bought shampoo for $5 a gallon at Sally Beauty Supply (on sale) before. That's equivalent to 8 - 16 ounce bottles of shampoo at about 63 cents each. My baking soda would have to be cheaper than 32 cents a (16 oz) box to beat that price. (And it might be in large boxes or with a coupon). Have you found baking soda cheaper than 2 cents an ounce?

Conclusion: "No-poo" may be healthier than shampoo, and probably is better for your hair than the cheapest shampoos. For most people -- those who buy something more expensive than the absolute cheapest shampoo, it's probably cost effective to switch to baking soda. But not for everyone.

Another note: My hair does not usually need conditioning. If you use conditioner, the cost of washing your hair approximately doubles. But you'll probably need some apple cider vinegar with your baking soda too.

I've been trying baking soda shampoo for about 2 1/2 weeks so far. It's okay, but I'm not totally sold yet. My hair still feels more oily than I like, but it looks clean and fine (actually it looks better than before). I had the kids switch to baking soda, since it's much gentler on the eyes than regular shampoo and we finally (after nearly 3 years) ran out of the last of the baby shampoos that we were given in baby showers.

In any case, using baking soda for shampoo is a terrific "in a pinch" tip to remember.


  1. the baking soda idea sounds interesting. i'll check that out. i have been going "no-poo" for a while and i love it!

  2. You're going "no-poo" without baking soda? What are you using to clean your hair/scalp? I'm new to all of this...

  3. I have had phases of using nothing at all, just plain old water, to wash my hair. I go through a greasy period. Headscarves and the like help me get through this period. But I find, that the ends of my hair look much better.