How I Got the Gunk Out of My Hair From My Natural Shampoo

I’ve had a pretty easy time adjusting to most natural ways of doing things. Washing my hair, unfortunately does not fall in that category. For three years I’ve felt like my scalp always has gunk in it, no matter how well I washed it.

True story: When I first switched to a natural shampoo and conditioner, all was well for the first week. It was about two days into the second week of using natural shampoo and conditioner that I started feeling the repercussions of it.  I got out of the shower, dried my hair (with a towel), and went about my business. About 45 minutes after I dried my hair, I found that the hair on my scalp was very heavy and still very, very wet.

When I touched my scalp and ran my fingers down my hair, I literally got buildup in my fingernails. Borderline freaking out, I scrounged for my old Pantene Pro-V shampoo, hopped back in the shower, and scrubbed the crap out of my hair. When I got out, my hair was no longer filled with gunk (aka residue build up).

I’ve always wanted to dread my hair and that seriously would have been the perfect moment to do so if it weren’t for the fact that I was horrified of how my hair felt.

I switched natural shampoos immediately and have never been happy since. 

It seems like no matter what natural shampoo I pick, I still feel like my hair gets oily and nasty within a day. No matter how much I scrub, it’s still not the hair I used to have.

I had considered doing the no-poo method but quickly realized it was NOT for me. My hair is too thick, too curly, and too wild for me to experiment with that. I also don’t wash my hair very often so it’s not like I am stripping the natural oils from my hair daily.

Actually, it’s a running joke in my house between Scott and I that I hardly shower. Which, let’s get the record straight — I do shower but I don’t feel the need to shower twice a day like he does. To me, showering that many times in a day, every day seems tiring and a waste of my precious time. 🙂 Two to three times a week sounds better for me.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I finally got to the point where I was SICK of my scalp feeling gunky, itchy, dandruff-ey, and just plain out disgusting.

So I reached into my cabinet, brought out the raw apple cider vinegar, and rinsed my hair with it. THIS simple apple cider vinegar rinse is how I got the gunk out of my hair from my natural shampoo.

You guys.


I can’t remember the last time my hair has felt 1) so soft, 2) gunk-free, and 3) so amazing.

Not only that, my itchy-ness drastically improved. I literally could become a sales advocate for apple cider vinegar because of how happy I am with the results. I became a brand new woman.

I’m not saying this is going to work for everyone but if you’re dealing with the same issues I have been (or naturally have oily hair), I highly recommend you trying it.

Yes, your hair sorta smells like apple cider vinegar for a few minutes but I promise it goes away and you’ll be so satisfied with how your hair feels, you won’t mind the short lived vinegary smell.

All you have to do is: wash your hair how you normally do and right before you get out of the shower, turn the water to cool, pour about 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar on your hair, massage it, and rinse.

That’s it! Look at my pretty, shiny, non-frizzy hair (well, as non-frizzy as mine gets)! And please excuse my awesome photo taking facial expression.

Have you ever tried this? Did you get miraculous results like I did? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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  1. Growing up in Romania, we always used vinegar to rinse our hair (used a baby tub though, with water and poured as much vinegar in there as we wanted–not too much). Came here and was in love with all the pretty-smelling shampoos and conditioners, only to now go back to rinsing with vinegar because I had the same gunky feeling on the back of my head. It was like it never could get rinsed out! Vinegar did the trick!

  2. Yep…definitely going to have to try this!! I’ve been using natural shampoo/conditioner for a while but I feel like there has to be something better to do. I’m not sure I’m brave enough for no-poo, though. I work outside the house and couldn’t handle being in public through the greasy stage. No thanks! Maybe one day I could try but not right now. How’s the rosemary oil mask going for your hair? (I’m going to find that post now 🙂 )

  3. What other sorts of products are you using, if you don’t mind me asking? It’s odd to hear of oil build up in curly hair, so I wonder if your natural shampoo wasn’t getting the product out. That would explain why the apple cider vinegar works so well!

    Of course, you could have an oily scalp and dry hair. That’s always a “fun” combination.

    1. Nicole, I don’t use any other products on my hair! Just shampoo and conditioner, let my hair air dry, and that’s it. I’m pretty sure it’s the “fun” combination of oily scalp and dry hair. Awesome!

      1. I have the same combo with long, thick wavy hair! It is so hard to deal with the hair, and depending on hormones, I get more or less curl. Anyways, I was thinking of washing with honey. My hubby is a beekeeper, so we have a bunch around, but I am a little afraid. And then I was going to follow it up with the ACV. Anyone tried this?

        I used to use Pantene and other typical brands, but always get the build up and I am just sick of it. I think I might try honey and then if that doesn’t work just go with no-poo. Not sure what else to try and this point!

        1. I have naturally curly hair and have found honey works well. I mix a Tablespoon of raw honey with about two Tablespoons of warm (not hot!) water and shake it up. I wash with that and then rinse with ACV & water. If I use this too often my hair gets too dry. I live in a dry climate though! I found a shampoo recipe that uses coconut milk and aloe vera that I like quite a bit. It was leaving my hair way too greasy until I started mixing it with water and a tiny bit of honey and then it gave my hair the right amount of moisture without being greasy. I also do the ACV rinse after that one. I know everyone’s hair is different but I hope this helps.

  4. When you say to wash your hair how you normally do…do you mean just using the same shampoo I use when I DO wash my hair (I am like you, maybe 2 to 3 times a week, but my hair is pin straight and thick), and just use the ACV rinse instead of conditioner?

  5. If you put one tablespoon of ACV (Braggs) in a half cup of water, it will suffice. I put it in a spray bottle and spray over my hair then rinse. I do have short hair but hated how most the vinegar/water would run off so now I spray it on and get just what I need to rid my hair of the gunkies after using my homemade shampoo.

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