A Definitive Guide to Washing Your Hair With Dr. Bronner’s

Washing your hair with Dr. Bronner’s can work really well, but the truth is that it often involves a bit of tinkering to get it right. (Your hair type and water quality alone can greatly affect the results!)

Here,  we try to cover all the basic concepts and offer some troubleshooting tips as well. Much of the information presented here was compiled from customers who commented on Lisa Bronner’s original hair-washing post, and a handful of excellent natural beauty bloggers—most notably, Almost Exactly’s thorough post on the topic.

We’d love to hear about your own personal experiences and help you along your hair journey, so be sure to leave your questions or feedback in a comment below!

The Basics

If there’s one important thing to remember about washing your hair with Dr. Bronner’s, it’s that you need to follow up with an acidic conditioning rinse. We recommend our Organic Conditioning Rinse, which is specially formulated for this purpose and uses a base of organic lemon juice—but you can also use diluted apple cider vinegar in a pinch.

Dr. Bronner’s soaps clean your hair and scalp amazingly well, but they can also leave your hair feeling tangly and matted. This is because the outside of your hair is made up of cuticles: layers of cells that lay over each other like roof shingles. Washing with our soaps disturbs these cuticles but an acidic conditioning rinse will fix the problem beautifully: it tamps these cuticles back down and gives your hair a soft, silky feel.

While this rule generally holds, it’s not universally true. Some folks find that their hair feels fine washing with just soap, and they don’t need an acidic rinse. Others found success after combining our  soap with some coconut milk, and shampooing with that, so that they don’t require a rinse either. If the basic routine doesn’t seem to work for your hair, see our troubleshooting guide below to figure out how best to tweak it.

Photo credit: Instagram @litaisraw (Lita is raw)

The Transition

Conventional shampoos and conditioners (which is nearly all of them… even the ones that claim to be natural, botanical, etc.) usually contain silicones and waxes that coat your hair and give it that smooth feeling.

So if you stop using these products and switch to washing your hair with Dr. Bronner’s it will very likely take your hair some time to adjust. Most transitions last between 2 and 4 weeks. Initially, your hair may feel greasier than normal. After a couple of weeks, your hair may even start to feel drier than normal. Some hair takes to the Dr. Bronner’s routine right away with no transition, which is great! But if you are like most, you may need to withstand a few weeks of bad hair in order to reach the promised land. The reward is a completely natural hair routine, and for many, the softest, silkiest hair they have ever experienced.

Which Dr. Bronner’s Soap Should I Use to Wash Hair?

Our classic liquid Pure-Castile Soaps work great for many folks. However, some of our other soaps may offer specific advantages for your particular hair type or water condition. Here’s a list of the soaps we currently make, along with their unique benefits:

18-in-1 Pure-Castile Soaps (Liquid)

Our original liquid soaps are the go-to for many folks. One advantage is that this is probably the soap you currently have in your house and is the most readily available. Which scent should you use? Your choice! For hair washing, the various scents will function pretty much the same—although Baby Unscented does contain double the amount of olive oil.

Pure-Castile Bar Soaps

Bar soaps offer a few advantages for hair washing. For one, hemp & jojoba oil are added after the coconut, palm, and olive oils have been saponified. This means that hemp oil and jojoba oil remain as oils in the bar instead of being turned into soap, which makes our bar soaps slightly more moisturizing than our liquid soaps. This can be good for thicker or dryer hair types.

Bar soaps also seem to help in hard water conditions. Hard water is very tough on our soaps, as the minerals in the water can break down our soaps and can sometimes lead to buildup or residue on the hair. We’re not exactly sure why bar soaps help with the buildup/residue issue, but have heard from many customers that they’re effective in preventing residue from occurring. We think it may have to do with the added salt that’s in the bar soap formulation.

Organic Sugar Soap

Our Organic Sugar Soaps (formerly called Organic Pump Soaps) are terrific for washing hair. While these soaps begin with our pure-castile liquid soap base, we add a good deal of organic sucrose and organic grape juice. The sugar acts as a natural humectant, helping skin and hair retain moisture. We’ve found this to be good for all hair types, but can be especially beneficial for thick or dry hair.

Organic Shaving Soap

Even more sugar than our Organic Sugar Soaps! For the most moisturizing soap of the bunch try the Organic Shaving Soap. It’s super deluxe.

How Much Soap Should I Use?

While the exact amount you need will depend on your hair type, here are some basic dilutions to get you started. Keep in mind that diluting the soap can help distribute the product evenly throughout your scalp—a little water can go a long way!

Pure-Castile Liquid Soap: You can either apply ½ Tbsp. of soap directly to your scalp or dilute ½ Tbsp. of soap in ½ a cup of water for a thinner consistency

Pure-Castile Bar Soap: Work up a lather in hands and apply directly to scalp

Organic Sugar Soap: One pump, applied directly to scalp

Organic Shaving Soap: Start with a nickel-sized amount in your palm, and apply directly to scalp

Deep Conditioning

For many—particularly those with dry, curly or kinky hair—a regular deep conditioning routine is key to healthy hair. The basis of a deep conditioning routine is to mix a combination of moisturizing ingredients (ex. coconut oil, olive oil, aloe, honey, avocado, banana, apple cider vinegar), apply this concoction to your hair for 15 to 20 minutes, then wash/rinse your hair as you normally would. How often you deep condition really depends on your hair’s needs and your routine, but between once a week and once a month is a good ballpark. For specific deep conditioning recipes, check here.


Water hardness/softness, as well as the exact composition of trace minerals in your water, can greatly affect both your hair and the effectiveness of the products you use to wash and rinse your hair. In particular, hard water seems to present issues for any hair care routine that includes our soaps, as the minerals in hard water can react with our soap in ways that ultimately make it less effective for washing hair.

Water softening is a good solution. Even if you aren’t able to buy a water softening system for the entire house, there are water-softening shower heads available that can yield good results. You can also keep some distilled water around specifically for diluting your soap or acidic conditioning rinse.

Troubleshooting: Oily/Greasy Hair

If you’re in the transition period, we urge you to stick with it, as your hair should eventually reach its natural balance. If you’re several weeks into your routine and still experiencing oily or greasy hair, here are a few things to try:

    • Use less conditioning rinse, or rinse less frequently
    • Use diluted apple cider vinegar instead of Dr. Bronner’s Organic Conditioning Rinse
    • Mix in some baking soda with the soap when you shampoo
    • Massage your scalp firmly, but not vigorously, in the shower while shampooing

Troubleshooting: Waxy Hair or Build-Up

If you’re still in the transition period, this might be product build-up. To help with this, try using a natural bristle brush.

If you have hard water, it could be that the soap is reacting with minerals in your water and leaving a waxy film on your hair. In this case, you can use a water softening shower head or switch to using our bar soap, which seems to perform better in hard water conditions.

A couple other things to try:

    • Use the conditioning rinse more often. Alternate between using the soap and rinse together, and using just a rinse
    • Try clarifying your hair with a baking soda paste, followed by an acidic conditioning rinse

Troubleshooting: Dry/Brittle Hair

If you experience dry hair when washing with our soap and rinsing with an acidic conditioning rinse, you may need to increase the frequency of your deep conditioning routine. If you’re still experiencing dry hair on a regular basis, try changing the balance of your soap and rinse. As a general guideline, think of the soap as a drying agent and the conditioning rinse as a moisturizing agent.

Things to try:

    • Use less soap, or cut out the soap entirely from your routine and just wash with a conditioning rinse. Remember that vinegar or lemon juice still have excellent cleansing properties and will effectively clean your hair on their own!
    • Wash less often, or alternate with washing with just water
    • Add some coconut milk to the soap to give it some extra moisture. Wellness Mama has a good recipe here.
    • Use a small amount of Organic Coconut Oil on your hair after it has dried

Troubleshooting: Dry/Itchy Scalp

Itchy scalp can have several different causes and, depending on the underlying issue, may require a different approach. If your itchy scalp is associated with dry hair (and not oily hair or dandruff), then focus on making sure your scalp is moisturized enough. Deep conditioning will likely help, along with some of these techniques:

    • Dilute the soap and the conditioning rinse: it could be that full-strength is too strong for your scalp
    • Use organic aloe vera directly on your scalp: leave in for about 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water. This will moisturize your hair and help cut down on itchiness
    • Rinse with water in between wash days

If you haven’t purchased your Dr. Bronner’s soap yet, we invite you to do so at our online store.

Author Profile
Rafi Loiederman

Rafi Loiederman is Content Editor at Dr. Bronner's, and has been using the company's products for over 20 years. He enjoys recording and performing music, is an avid hiker and naturalist, and an erstwhile linguist.

See all stories by Rafi Loiederman
  • WiseOldCelticHippie

    I have been making my own shampoo using Dr. Bronner’s peppermint liquid soup, green tea, honey and olive oil. It works well, but I don’t over due it.

    Example- Monday wash with shampoo mixture, Tuesday no wash, Wednesday wash with baking soda/water mixture and rinse with Apple Cider Vinager/water/rosemary mixture, Thursday no wash, Friday wash with shampoo, Saturday no wash, Sunday wash with baking soda/water rinse with ACV mixture.

    It has been working for me for the past 4 years. The baking soda/water mixture exfoliates so no dandruff. The key is to REALLY rinse hair so you don’t leave any baking soda on your scalp.

    Recipe for shampoo:
    1 cup of green tea steeped for 30 minutes
    1 teaspoon honey mixed into tea while it is hot
    1 teaspoon olive oil mixed in tea after it has cooled
    1/2 cup Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (we love the peppermint. It tingles!) added to cooled mixture
    Stir well and pour into container. Shake shampoo before each use.

    But in a pinch, or when camping, a bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap works great too!

    ALL-ONE!!! Thank you!!!!

    • Sabienne

      Thank you for sharing your recipe. I will try it.

    • Ferlee

      can you share your Apple Cider vinegar recipe too?

      • WiseOldCelticHippie

        Of course! I boil 1 1/2 cup water (in all my recipes I use filtered water) and remove from heat. Then I add 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and let that cool. I remove the rosemary and add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Than I put the mixture in a container to use. Always shake before using. I use it after the baking soda wash.

        By the way, using raw apple cider vinegar that has the “mother” can be tricky. Nothing says wake-up like a blog of “mother” landing on your head or clogging up your container’s pour spout! You might want to strain the A.C.V. before adding.

        Here’s a trick I picked up: Focus baking soda mixture on the scalp, leave on for a minute and rinse well. Then apply the apple cider vinegar on mainly the ending of my hair and leave on for about 5 minutes, rinse with cool water.

        You can use dried rosemary, but unless you put it in a reusable tea bag, you have to strain out the bits of rosemary.

        I hope that helps! Peace and ALL-ONE!!

    • Lola Marr

      Can you share your baking soda wash please and do you use the apple cider wash as soon as you wash off the baking soda?

      • WiseOldCelticHippie

        Of course I’ll share! It’s real simple: 3 tablespoons baking soda to 2 cups of water and then shake. I use one of those squeeze bottles with a pointed application tip for all of my mixtures.

        Yes, I use the apple cider mixture right after I rinse out the baking soda wash. In fact, yesterday was my day for using the baking soda wash and apple cider rinse and my hair is shiny and soft. Today is a no wash day, so I put my hair up in a bun while I shower so it stays pretty much dry.

        Peace and ALL-ONE!!

      • janvier25

        I found that white vinegar works better for me than ACV, so if ACV doesn’t work for you, try that.

        • It also doesn’t leave an odor behind if you rinse well.

    • Tiba Sardi

      WiseOldCelticHippie, thank you so much for sharing your recipes!!!! I was about to give up on Dr. Bronner’s shampoo until I found this article AND your comments. I have been doing it for a little over 2 weeks and my hair looks already amazing 🙂 and for the first time ever I don’t have to wash it every single day!!!

      • Brandie Sterrett

        What’s your specific process?

    • Cassandra Tester

      I hope you get this, because I’m at a loss. I did your “shampoo” recipe but with a few minor tweaks.
      I did avacado oil instead of olive, lemon & ginger green tea, and the castille soap I used was an off brand of bronner’s cuz it’s what I had.

      I washed my hair with it at 4pm followed by a single acv rinse. By 7pm my hair still felt kinda wet. Upon touching and brushing it, the best I can describe my hair was waxy.

      I have fine but thick hair. Myself and a friend of mine are at a complete loss as to what happened.

      • WiseOldCelticHippie

        First off, I’m sorry you didn’t get the same results as I have enjoyed. I don’t know about the substituting that many ingredients. My daughter has thin hair and she uses my recipe, but she uses Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree liquid soap and she loves it. I have such good results with the olive oil and green tea.

        Also, I wouldn’t do the ACV rinse with the shampoo. Only with the baking soda wash. And allow plenty of rinsing with cool water.

        I’ve seen lot of different ways to make home made shampoo, you just have to find what works for you.

        Remember, the transition from chemical based shampoo to natural take time for your hair/scalp to adjust.


        • Cassandra Tester

          Yeah, I’m thinking it may be the castille soap I used in place of Dr. Bronner’s. Thank you very much for the reply!

      • Hi Cassandra, also be aware that if you use a different brand Castile Soap, the proportions could be different, as our soap is more concentrated than any other ones on the market. The soaps may appear similar, and have a similar set of ingredients, but our soapmaking process is different in some crucial ways that leads to more concentrated soap. You can test this by leaving a teaspoon of our soap and a teaspoon of a competitor’s soap out to dry. You will find that you end up with more Dr. Bronner’s soap once the two have evaporated. In any case, I hope you find a recipe that works for you!

        • Cassandra Tester

          I’ll have to try that, thank you!

  • Sabienne

    What works best for me is to use the organic conditioning rinse FIRST. Then use a large-tooth comb to smooth out any tangles. Rinse it off. After that, wash using whatever kind of Dr. Bronner’s soap you prefer. Finish by using the organic conditioning rinse again. Gorgeous!

  • Deborah Thelen

    Hello, I have been using Dr Bronners 18 to 1 Castile Soap for a couple of years, at least, and just recently noticed greasiness, I have seen the vinegar solution in another blog and was going to try it and see if it helps.

  • Erika

    I have seborrheic dermatitis on my scalp and wanted to know if the liquid soap is good to use as a shampoo?

    • Sabienne

      Erika, use either the tea tree castile soap or the tea tree sugar soap. Also, if you’re not already taking a good probiotic, I would encourage you to start. A compromised immune system can contribute to seborrheic dermatitis. Eating organic food will be helpful as well.

  • Bizmark

    I mix Dr Bronner soap (any kind) half and half with distilled water and add a little jojoba oil and glycerine since I have dry hair. Wash. Then I spray all over with acv and distilled water (in a spray bottle) and work it into my hair till tangles are all gone. Comb hair. ACV is the best conditioner ever.

    • Tracy Rue

      What is your ACV to water ratio for the spray bottle please? Thanks!

  • Gemma Seymour

    Right now, I have gone back to a specific hair shampoo and conditioner, because it just makes my hair so wonderful, but I also use Dr. Bronner’s soap on my hair occasionally, especially when my scalp gets a little oily, because nothing cuts through half a week’s worth of crud in my hair like Dr. Bronner’s, without making my hair feel as if it’s been fried. My hair is usually OK just using the liquid soap, and I have found the conditioning rinse too heavy for my hair, because I have very fine Southeast Asian hair, so I use a very dilute lemon juice rinse, since I dislike the smell of acetic acid in my hair.

    I have tried the Shikikai soaps, as well, but I never thought to try the shaving soaps. I’ll try that when I get a chance.

  • Paige Plucker

    If you use the citrus liquid soap, is it as important to use the citrus rinse?

    • Rafi Loiederman

      Yes, no matter which soap you are using, it is always a good idea to use either our Citrus Rinse or diluted apple cider vinegar after washing.

    • Yes, it is still important to use the citrus rinse or apple cider vinegar. The citrus soap only has citrus essential oils, which are not acidic enough to have the desired effect.

  • Heather

    I am a fairly new player to using Dr Bronner’s soap and so far loving it. I am starting to make some of my own household cleaners including laundry powders, spray cleaners, etc. Some recipes call for Dr Bronner’s liquid soap. I would like to use an unscented liquid soap and add my own essential oil for the fragrance option. Can you please advise whether baby unscented liquid soap is just as effective for cleaning as the scented liquid soap. I am wondering whether because it is for sensitive purposes it is not as strong for household cleaning.
    Many thanks, Heather

    • Yes baby soap is just as effective! The only difference between the soaps is the essential oil (baby soap also has a little more olive oil in it to make up the difference, but this does not effect its ability to clean).

  • Michelina Matarrese

    I have bright pink hair and I would love to know if any other rainbow heads have used Dr. Bronners to wash their hair. I would imagine it would strip color quickly, but if there is a hack for that, I’d love to know. I currently just use a conditioner most days and a low-suds shampoo once a week.

    • Scarlet

      Hey! So my hair is purple and I use Dr. Bronners. I wash with a homemade shampoo: 1/2 part Bronnners, 1/4 honey, 1/8 oil blend (coconut and olive) and 1/8 aloe gel, with a splash of Vitamin E and Essential oils. This does NOT fade my hair, but I only shampoo once a week. I typically pin my hair back for my daily shower, and when it must get wet, I spritz it with my ACV blend and skip the ‘poo.

      • Amber Diamond

        Acv blend? I have my hair dyed blue (demi) and I miss using Dr bronners. My scalp itches so much more with the dye friendly shampoo and my hair feels dirty quicker. I would love any tricks or tips you might have. Thanks.

    • In our experience, it really depends on the type of coloring used. Some products do just fine and do not fade when washed with the soap, while others don’t fare as well.

  • Christina

    Hi there!

    I have thick, wavy-curly hair and am hoping to transition to an all natural routine. Like many curly-headed peeps though, my hair is not dry/brittle. wondering if there are any other ladies with similar hair/texture that have any tips/pointers or can vouch for these products! As far as my curls go, I am most concerned about losing my curl definition or increasing in the frizz department. Am open to any/all suggestions and willing to try anything. I realize this transition will take a lot of fine tuning an am willing to put in the time and trudge through weeks of unruliness to get there. As of now, I wash/condition my hair pretty much everyday and use all conventional drug-store products. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE! xo

    • Charlie

      Yes! I am a month in and it is a process! I use the 18 in 1 Castile soap in a foam pump bottle. I like my soap more concentrated so i do 1/2cup castile to 2 cups of water. Wash hair in the shower, use a ACV rinse to get what will feel like residue out. After wash i brush hair and apply coconut oil generously. I wash once a week. I hope this helps I had no idea about the acid rince at first so my hair was looking like carpet lol…

  • Kira

    Hi people new to this as well. Just wondering is the deep conditionar the acidic rinse as well? Its says to do the deep conditioning anf then wash/rinse as normal. Does this mean you use the deep conditionar then wash with the castile soap and then a vinagat rinse? I never saw a section saying acidic rinse so what the dilution. I was thinking wash with castile soap then rinse with acidic rinse (not sure of acv dilution) for every day and then once a week do i do the deep conditionar then the castile soap then a acidic rinse? Thanks sorry a bit confused.

    • Hi Kira, the deep conditioning is not the same as the acidic rinse. So yes, the order is (1) deep conditioning, before the shower, (2) soap (in the shower), and (3) rinse (in the shower). As for the ACV dilution, you can try about a 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of ACV in a cup of water. Basically, you want to dilute it enough so that you can easily cover your hair with it and so that it doesn’t sting your scalp. Your frequency of conditioning, washing and rinse sounds fine, although many people find that they don’t have to wash as frequently… maybe every other day or every few days. But this is really a matter of personal preference and hair type. Hope this helps!

      • Kira

        Thank you very much!

      • BC

        Hello, But are you recommending that you rinse with the ACV +water rinse, then that’s it? Or do you rinse with plain water after the ACV+water rinse? 🙂 Thx!

        • I rinse with plain water after doing the ACV rinse, in order to get any excess vinegar our of my hair.

          • BC

            Thx Rafi! 😉

  • Shaylene McPhee

    But what if my itchy scalp is associated with oily hair or dandruff? What troubleshooting methods then?

    My scalp remains itchy whether it’s oily or not. It doesn’t go away until I use chemical shampoo for a couple weeks and then I have to go through the transition phase all over again!

    • Sounds really troublesome! I’m wondering if you’ve tried Aloe Vera? I’ve read that Aloe Vera can help with both controlling dandruff and with reducing the associated itchiness. You can apply aloe vera gel to hair and scalp before shampooing with the soap.

  • Destiny

    Does anyone know if Dr. Bronner’s 18 in 1 liquid Unscented Baby soap is safe for colored hair? I plan on dyeing my hair silver and would really love to stick to using Dr. Bronner’s on my hair

    • It seems to really depend on the coloring. Some people with dyed hair report no problems using our soap to wash hair, while others have reported that it does remove some of the color. We usually recommend washing a small area to see if the soap removes the specific dye you are using or not.

  • alexraye

    hi dr bronner’s team! alexraye from the Almost Exactly Blog here. THANK YOU for sharing my content. i’ve used your products for years, be it in the shower to in the kitchen. thank you for being such a great and trustworthy company! much love!

    • Hi Alex!

      We really appreciate your blog 🙂 Please email me at rafi (at) drbronner.com as we would love to send you a thank you gift.

  • judith

    I am 82 years old. My hair is very fine and thinning along the side and the front hairline. (It’s quite thick at the back). I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s soap as shampoo for the last 6-8 weeks. After I wash, my hair feels stripped, and my scalp is frequently very itchy. When I brush, a lot of tiny flakes come out (which I didn’t have before.) and when I scratch my head, even just after washing, a residue of something builds up under my fingernails. I only just found out about diluting it–the label is very hard to read. What else should I do?

    • Hayaat Sk

      Hi Judith, it sounds like your scalp might just be dried out from not diluting! While this article recommends diluting “½ Tbsp. of soap in ½ a cup of water for a thinner consistency”, I would suggest that you might use less soap to water? Also though, are you using the liquid soap or the bar soap? I find the bar soap, just lathered into my hands and then used like a normal shampoo, keeps build up, like flakes and residue away! BUT afterwards, I always rinse my hair with a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar ( I mix about half a cup of water with around a table spoon of the stuff in a little bottle, and then slowly poor it over my head in the shower. I let it sit for a minute or two, then rinse it, and finally brush my hair in the shower). If you have already bought the liquid soap then you probably don’t want to just go out and buy the bar, but I would at least for sure try out the apple cider! It is really helpful in smoothing my hair and making it feel nourished! Good luck!!

      • judith

        Hi Hayaat,

        Your comments are very helpful. I’m using the liquid soap. I also found on Dr.Bronner’s web site a suggestion about rubbing my scalp with straight aloe vera gel, leaving it for 10 minutes and then rinsing with cider vinegar. Result: no more itch, and I now have soft, silky hair. I will dilute both the soap and vinegar as you suggest. Many, many thanks. I’ve had an itchy scalp for years. I can’t begin to list all the shampoos and conditioners I’ve tried. This is the first time anything has actually worked.

        • Hayaat Sk

          Glad your scalp is feeling less itchy!!

      • Great recommendations Hayaat!

  • Madison Stennett

    I would like to make prediluted shampoo, but will I need a preservative because I’m mixing it with water?

    • It really depends on how much you are diluting it and how long you plan to keep it around. If you are diluting by half or less and plan to use within a few months then there is probably no need for a preservative.

  • Karen

    When you use Aloe Vera on your scalp, do you use fresh from a plant or store bought stuff in a bottle?

    • I generally use the store-bought stuff, as I find it is hard for me to collect enough Aloe from a plant fresh, but if you have an especially large plant, this may not be an issue!

  • Karen Gardner Williams

    I’d love to begin using this method of shampooing, but can’t quite figure out where to start. I’d like advice from those who gave lots of experience. I have mostly gray hair. Just below my shoulders. Very thick, course, and wavy. I know I need tons of moisture. I wash my hair in the shower. I don’t like spending much time on styling. Don’t like styling products. I occasionally flat iron. Ready, set, go!

    • Hi Karen,

      It sounds like your hair is similar to mine… wavy and thick! I think you are right about the moisture, as I need a lot of it. I find the deep conditioning regimens to be particularly helpful—20 minutes of deep conditioning before showering and washing. Plenty of acidic rinse is also key. I often skip the soap altogether and just wash with an acidic rinse. Hope this helps!

      • Karen Gardner Williams

        Thanks for the response. It absolutely helps! What soap do you normally use? I was able to find a few different bottles in a local store. I purchased a peppermint and a lavender. There was also baby, but I didn’t want a huge bottle. What is your recipe for the acidic rinse?

        • I usually use either the Organic Sugar Soap or the Bar Soap as I find them to be a bit more moisturizing, but the Pure-Castile Soap works well also. The scent doesn’t really make a difference. For the acidic rinse I would just dilute apple cider vinegar or white vinegar with about twice as much water as vinegar. Careful, as it may sting your scalp, so dilute more if you find that it stings too much.

  • LizBix

    I have been using diluted Dr. Bronner’s on my baby to wash her body and scalp for a few months now. I recently started using it on my own hair as well and quickly learned I needed to follow with a rise. Do I need to do this on my baby’s hair as well? I haven’t found anyone who suggests this; she is still fairly bald but I would hate to get her hair off to a bad start.

    • Christie

      I wash both my daughters hair with the baby soap as well. My eldest is 2 now. She has the most stunning hair. It is so healthy and shinny. I have never had to follow with a rinse. After a sleepover at her grandparents her hair was so greasy and limp. (They washed it using herbal essence) washed it once with the baby soap and it was back to normal.

  • janey

    I just want to say that after discovering your sugar soap it has become my best product. I have acne prone skin and the castile soap was giving me breakouts in my hairline. Switching to sugar soap has cleared up my skin and I love using it as a shampoo also but with your Citric Rinse. Occasionally I use your hair creme as a conditioner but my hair is always soft and my scalp has never been so itch free as it has since I switched to Dr Bronner’s for my hair. Thanks.

  • J C

    Hey! I’ve been a bit curious about the acidic rinse.
    When you say we should use the acidic rinse after shampooing, does this mean use it *immediately* after using the soap to shampoo? As in, this rinse is supposed to remove the castile soap itself (and maybe some water will help with this after when when we’re rinsing the rinse out?)
    Or do you mean we should get the castile soap out with water first, then use the acidic rinse to tamp down the cuticles and make everything smooth again?

    I assumed it was the latter, since I figured their direct contact would neutralize each other, but I thought I’d ask anyway

    • Yes, the latter 🙂 Rinse the soap thoroughly with water, then apply the acidic rinse to your hair.

      As for where to apply the castile soap, I apply it from root to tips, not just the scalp.

      • Am Lee

        I have been using the shampoo bar to wash my hair and work up a pretty good lather, but once the water hits that lather, my hair sticks together and I can’t even run my fingers though it to rinse it out. It’s bad to point where I feel I am b damaging my hair just trying to pull it apart during the rinse. The only thing that helps is the acidic rinse but how can I cleanse properly if I can’t get all soap out before the ACV rinse?

  • Sandra

    i started using the Sugar Soap as a shampoo now, but somehow I have the feeling one pump is not enough for my whole scalp/hair, it feels like it is just not distributing over my whole head..is this just my feeling or do I have to use more?

    • It’s hard to say without knowing your hair length and hair type. I often do “two” washes. That is, I wet my hair, do a pump of soap, wash and rinse. Then I repeat. The second time I tend to get a much bigger lather.

  • Russell Barnett

    I am try to make a regrowth promoting recipe and wanted input on it, my research has found that caffeine stimulates the hair follicle. I mix equal parts peppermint Dr bronners to extremely potently brewed blonde roast (more caffeinated and acidic), so far the results look good. However I was wondering if I am removing any benefits by changing the pH. Is the recipe fine or should I try rinsing with the coffee afterwards and not mix it in?

  • Stepha

    So I just bought the peppermint Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap and did a diluted ACV rinse after shampooing today. Do you just squirt the liquid on your hand then use the water from the shower to dilute it or do you use a separate bottle to dilute the 1/2 tbsp of Dr. B’s first and then apply it on your scalp?
    Also I have a fairly itchy scalp that gets oily very quickly, which is why I started using Dr. B’s, literally today. My hair is fine but I have a lot of it and it’s to my mid back. Would you recommend using about a whole tbsp if you’re washing from scalp to tip?

    • I don’t usually predilute the soap, but I know some people do. I DO predilute the ACV, because I find that it can sting the scalp.

      As far as how much soap to use, I think it really depends on your hair and you can go by how it feels. I tend to use as much soap as I need in order to get a good suds. Sometimes this means doing a pre-wash, rinse, and then a second wash—but then again my hair is very thick, so you may need less soap than me.

  • Claire

    I have been using the pure Liquid Castile Soap with coconut milk and it has been fantastic for my hair. However, my spouse told me that my hair had a faint but persistent smell like something was rotting and when I smelled the soap in the bottle I smelled it too. Is this normal? How can I cover up the smell? I don’t notice it when it’s combined with the coconut milk and essential oils but my spouse HATES it. 🙁

    • Hi Claire, there shouldn’t be a rotting smell associated with the soap. Please email me (rafi “at” drbronner.com) and I can try to get to the bottom of the issue. Thanks!

  • So many words on the bottles. Makes me want to read all the information.

  • Ariadne De La Torre Daw

    I recently started using the soap for my hair and love it. My kids are running out of “all in one” wash and want to switch them over too. Do they need to have a rinse also? If so, how do you ratio it? My eldest is 3 and youngest is 5 mo. We have hard water, if that needs to be taken into consideration… thank you!

    • It really depends on how their hair responds to the soap. If it feels “tangly” after washing with the soap, then they need the rinse. I would dilute apple cider vinegar about ration of 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar—this should make it less stingy for the kids, but still soften the hair.

  • Beca YT

    I’m trying to fade out semi-permanent green hair dye and I was wondering if the liquid soap would be good for that? I’ve tried many methods so far and this is the next one. I’ve seen people use dish soap but I would much rather use Dr. Bronner’s for this if it’d help. If so, which one would be the best for that? I have the unscented one but that is gentler than the other ones, yes?

    • All the scents are about the same. Yes the unscented is a little gentler, but mostly all the soaps function the same way, as the essential oils make up only a small part.

  • DavidAlegria

    I shampoo with ONLY a mixture of 1 part Dr. Bronner’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and about 7 parts water.

    I get my hair wet and then squirt a reasonable amount of the mix on my hair, beard, underarms, groin and feet. I do not use any other soap, body wash, etc. Unless I am unusually dirty, greasy, etc.

    It took about 30 yrs for my hair to disappear. But, within a couple of months I had fuzz in the bald area. After 2.5 yrs, there is a lot of hair there. But, it is not yet thick. It is also not quite as grey/gray. It was a double blind experiment. I had no idea that it could do that.

    • Jeff Kugler

      Thanks for sharing this DavidAlegria! I’m trying to make the switch to Dr. Bronners soap and vinegar hair treatment, but only after a couple days my scalp is getting itchy and reacting in a bad way, so I definitely need to tweak my approach. I’ve also been balding for the last 12 plus years and so your comment really jumped out at me. If I could reverse some of the balding it would be amazing, while having a healthier scalp at the same time. Just to clarify, you are using 1 part Dr. Bronners, 1 part ACV, and seven parts water?
      So far I’ve been shampooing with a small amount of Dr. Bronners liquid soap, followed by a 1part water/ 1 part ACV rinse mixture.
      Thanks in advance for any advice you can share!

  • Heather Allen

    I have been using the Peppermint scented liquid Castile soap and the citrus rinse since May 1st and I have a couple questions.

    I should preface by stating that I have hard water, but I do have a hard water filter on my shower head.

    My hair has been on a rollercoaster since I started using the liquid soap. It started off feeling really nasty, like it had a film on it, even after the rinse. It was hard to brush and gross to touch, and I was totally discouraged but I did not give up. After a couple weeks it started to be super soft and silky and I was really loving how it looked. It was noticeably thicker and stronger than before. However very soon after that my roots became exceedingly greasy. I had been diluting the soap, washing twice, and then using the rinse (sometimes I repeated the rinse), but today I did not dilute the soap, washed twice then used the rinse, and my roots feel better but the ends of my hair are gross. They feel brittle, like there is a film on them, and they look really dull. There is no shine at all. I applied the lavender styling cream and it still feels weird.

    I cannot seem to figure out what the sweet spot is. Should I only wash one time? Is this happening because I am still “transitioning?” Is it possible to over-rinse the citrus rinse out of my hair? Also, have you heard of anyone else who washes with the soap and ends up with a greasy scalp, but dry ends? It seems like such an oxymoron.

    I was reading your article and I am curious to try the car soap to see if that helps with the waxy/build-up feeling on the ends of my hair.

    Any advice or insight you could offer would be greatly appreciated!


    • Hi Heather,

      Yes my first impulse would be try to the bar soap, as it often eliminates any residue and hard water issues. The greasy scalp/dry ends makes sense to me, as the oils are generated by the scalp, and it takes some time for them to work their way down the hair shaft.

      I don’t think it’s possible to over-rinse the hair, and the rinse is not supposed to stay in your hair, so I don’t imagine that is the issue.

      It’s definitely possible that you’re still transitioning and for some it can take a couple of months.

      I have a couple of questions as well 🙂

      How often are you washing/rinsing?
      When you apply the hair creme are you applying it just to the ends, or to all of your hair?

      • Heather Allen

        Hi Rafi,

        Thank you so much for getting back with me!

        I have been trying to wash my hair every other day, but sometimes it is so greasy that I have to wash it everyday, or use a dry shampoo, which I am not fan of.

        I actually just switched to the bar soap after I posted my initial comment, and that works better than the liquid, but it hasn’t been consistent. I just moved as well, and the water is different so I am hoping that helps!

        As far as the hair creme my application varies. I don’t use it all the time. When I do use it, I apply it to my ends first and work my way up. I never apply it to my scalp or roots. I have tried to apply it wet and dry, I’m not sure which way is better.

        Thank you for your help,

  • Elle Spacek

    So if I mix with coconut milk should I not do an acidic rinse?

    • It depends, if you find that the coconut milk addition leaves your hair soft without the rinse, then no need for the rinse. If your hair still feels tangly, then I would still use an acidic rinse.

  • Ludovic.wo

    Hi there!
    I am from france and live in Berlin and I absolutely love Dr. Bronner product. It’s now since 8 weeks I have been doing the change and I don’t regret anything. I think I am finally finishing my transition phase… it was a hard challenge…

    I was just wondering : after deep conditioning with egg and coconut oil. Do I need to wash with Dr. Bronner and then an organic rinse ? Or could I just rinse the deep-conditioner with water and Dr. Bronner only?

    How many wash should I do to clear a deep conditioning? 2 times?
    I just did one and I feel that my hair are still egg-y 🙁
    I’d love to wash them again. But I am scared to do once again a shampoo and organic rinse. Would it be bad?

    Thank you so much!

    • If you still feel like you need another wash, then I would do another wash. There isn’t any danger in washing your hair repeatedly, although once you get to a good place, then you shouldn’t have to wash too often. Some people wash once or twice a week once their routine has been established.

      As for how to wash after deep conditioning, I do the whole routine: deep conditioning –> soap –> acidic rinse. It’s a lot of hair time, but I find it’s definitely worth it once I’ve finished the routine. And I only do the deep conditioning every few months or when my hair is feeling dry.

      • Ludovic.wo

        First of all thank you for writing this article as it really helped me.
        Also thank you for this prompt reply.

        I purchased now the organic hair rinse and I feel that I am getting there. I mixed half a cap with a full cup (250ml) in a squirt bottle and spray bottle. I am using the squirt for the root and the spray for the hair.
        Is it possible that I am using too much of the acidic rinse and that’s why my hair are so tangly? Because at first under the shower they’re soft but then once it dries, I can’t run my hand through my hair. Even if I combed them after shower.

        I was also doing deep conditioning > soap (1 to 2 times) > water rinse > acidic rinse > water rinse.
        The water is very hard in Berlin. Is it possible that I am rinsing with water too much?

        Thank you so much. I am still learning slowly. But one big thing is that since I switch to Dr. Bronner. My neurodermitis and psoriasis are completely gone. I am so relived.

  • Sara Winston

    I have dry damaged hair from bleaching and dying. I wanted to try this soap to get rid of build up, but I will need a deep condition afterwards. Is it ok to do the soap, ACV, then deep condition?

  • Seems good.

  • swampwolf

    Hello! Is there a way to thicken, either Dr. Bronner’s itself, or one of the recipes? All the mixtures I’ve tried seems to be a bit too watery for me.

    • I’ve heard that you can add a little bit of salt to thicken the liquid soap, but to be honest, I haven’t tried it myself. Add a little a time, because apparently it can become too thick pretty easily.

      • swampwolf

        Thx! I’ll give it a shot.

  • Arlene Garcia

    Hi! I have been using Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile soap along with Dr. Bronner’s citrus rinse for over two weeks. My hair is super ‘waxy,’ and sticky to the touch. When I brush my hair, fluff and some sticky substance accumulates on my brush and it’s very sticky. Our water is hard, but I don’t feel hard enough to merit this much build-up! My hair is also oily. I use about a tablespoon of soap, rinse with water, then apply half a cap of conditioning rinse in 1 cup water, then rinse with water. Is this part of the transition period or am I doing something wrong? Thanks!

    • Hard water can definitely cause these sorts of problems, so I wouldn’t rule it out. I also would not rule out that you are still in transition.

      That said, my first suggestion would be to try the bar soap instead of the liquid, as this seems to solve the residue problem for many folks.

      My next suggestion, given your oily hair, would be to try adding some baking soda to the soap mixture.

      Have you tried leaving off the conditioning rinse from the routine? What results do you get then?

  • Really good information.

  • Hannah Bryant

    I have been using a diy shampoo (that contains the 18-1 lavender Castile soap).
    It has been almost a month and my hair still is really gross. It looks greasy and feels waxy and gross. When I brush my hair there is a gross residue that is left behind on the brush. I use a spray bottle with diluted ACV as conditioner. I have to use a lot of both because I have very thick hair. I try to make sure I rinse it out well.

    I don’t know if I am just having a really long and difficult transition period or if I am doing something wrong. I have naturally really thick and straight hair but I have had to wear it up in a bun every day for a month because of how gross my hair is right now.

    Any thoughts?

    • Hi Hannah, sorry to hear you’re having a tough time with your hair care regimen! The fact that you’re seeing a residue on the brush suggests that you have hard water. In our experience switching to bar soap instead of using the liquid can help significantly with reducing this residue. This is because the bar soaps work better in hard water conditions. It would be helpful for me to know what other ingredients are in your shampoo recipe.

      • Hannah Bryant

        Thank you so much for your response! I apologize in advance for the length of my post here.
        The recipe that I was using is:
        1/2 cup of lavender castille soap
        1 1/2 cups distilled water
        3 tsp. virgin coconut oil
        1-3 drops lavender essential oil
        1-3 drops rosemary essential oil.

        Conditioner is:
        1 tbsp ACV
        1 cup water

        After trying this recipe for what I thought was plenty of time (probably around 2 months), I did switch to a shampoo bar that I purchased from a vendor at an arts and crafts fair in St. Simons, Ga. I do not know what ingredients are in it but it is supposed to be all natural. There has been no improvement. In addition to a gross, sticky shower floor, my hair is still gross. I naturally have thick, silky, straight hair. But now it is dirty looking, sticky, tangled (even with a DIY hair detangler), and leaves a TON of residue on my brush and hand when I touch it. I let my hair air dry and it is taking a lot longer to dry than normal. I shower at night and it still feels damp well into the next day.

        I am a college student and do not know about the water on campus. However, I started this regimine at home over the summer. We are on a well and have “softer” water. It wasn’t AS MUCH of an issue but my hair was still really gross.

        I don’t know if I should just try different recipes? I am really tired of having my hair up every day. I am close to giving up and going back to store bought shampoos and conditioners, even though I really don’t want to do that.

        Again, so sorry for this lengthy post! But I would really appreciate input. Thank you!

        • Hi Hannah,

          Thanks again for all the details, and sorry again that you’re having a tough time sorting out a natural hair care regime.

          I don’t have a surefire solution for you, but there are a couple things I would try, and a few thoughts on the recipe you posted.

          1. I wouldn’t add coconut oil to the the shampoo recipe. The oil and the soap can react, and both would become less effective. The coconut oil I would only use as an occasional deep conditioning pre-treatment. In other words, you can apply coconut oil to your hair and leave it in for 20 minutes before showering. Then you do the soap and ACV treatment to wash it off.

          2. I would maybe try washing with just a diluted ACV for a while. It is worth noting that vinegar has excellent cleansing properties. I am curious to know what would happen if you washed just with ACV.

          3. I’m also curious if you’ve tried washing just with soap and not done the ACV rinse after. This works for some hair types (in particular, this would work for very oily hair). I’m not sure from your description if you have oily hair or not, but this might be another thing to try.

          4. Curious to know what’s in the bar you tried, I would still maybe try a Dr. Bronner’s bar.

          Keep me posted!

  • tannerrags

    Will the liquid Sugar Tea Tree soap strip my hair color?

    • From what we hear, it really depends on the particular coloring that’s used. Some coloring is stripped away by our soaps, and some suffers hardly at all. If you want to test a small patch, that might give you the answer.

  • Jill Smith

    I already use various scents of Dr. Bronner’s as my body and face wash, so I was super excited to start using it in my hair. However, I’ve had a lot of trouble with the transition, and it’s been over two months! I started with the standard castile soap, which left my hair greasy. Once I started using the hair rinse as well, it was all good – my hair felt strong, silky, and light! However, quickly after that, I started to get the waxy build up in my hair. I did the baking soda and acv rinse multiple days, and nothing helped. I did another home remedy and washed my hair with dish soap, taking all the wax away. Since we have hard water, I recently switched to the bar soap and hair rinse method, but I’m still always either greasy or waxy. Please help!

  • Etasha Mehra

    Hi .. I recently shifted to Castile soap hair wash and acv rinse. But my dandruff has triggered. What am I doing wrong. I have dry hair and a little dandruff had always been there.

    • Dandruff (if it is really dandruff and not dry scalp) is usually a sign of oily hair. I would try reducing the amount of ACV rinse and adding a little bit of baking soda to the castile soap when you wash your hair.

  • Beth Yotunhamen

    The green one is terrible as a shampoo. It made my hair dirty and heavy. I strongly do not recommend buying this product for hair! Why writing it to be a shampoo idk. It is such a disappointment.

  • Amy Marcitta Rood

    I’m on week 2 or 3 with using diluted Dr. Bronners Castile soap on my hair and an ACV diluted rinse as a conditioner. The problem I’m still having though is that it just makes my hair flat as all get out. Not so much greasy, not so much dry, just flat. No volume whatsoever. Before switching over, my hair was famous for its volume and bounce. It feels clean after I do my wash and rinse, but I feel like all volume is lost. I’m wondering if it has something to do with the high oil content, as oil and volume dont really go together(?), and castille soap is very oil based. I’ve tried everything from altering the ratios of Castile soap to water, and ACV to water, and that usually affects the greasy or dryness, but doesn’t help with volume. Any advice? I’m willing to try anything. My scalp cannot take conventional shampoo chemicals anymore. 🙁

    • I would try some of the deep conditioning solutions linked to above. Coconut oil is another deep conditioning remedy that seems to help with hair volume and thickenss. Apply coconut oil to your hear for twenty minutes, then shampoo and rinse as you normally would.

      Just a note on the oils in the soap: the soap is made from oils, but these oils are saponified as part of the soapmaking process, so they are not actually in oil form when you are using the soap.

  • Becky Macias

    Can hair complex herbs such as nettle/coltsfoot/horsetail; cysteine/ dPanthenal/Inositol be added into the Pure Castille Liquid soap? I am having hair fallout and these ingredients help slow down the shed.

    • I’m not sure I know the answer to that. I don’t feel like that should be a problem, but certain ingredients (especially acidic ones) can react with the soap, making it less effective overall. One thing you could try is adding those ingredients to a pre-treatment (maybe suspended in honey or coconut oil), then washing with the soap.

  • Cheryl Eichberger-Sandrone

    After I use the shampoo can I use a blow dryer to dry my hair or just let it dry naturally?
    I have just started using Dr. Bronner’s peppermint liq. soap & I really like how my hair feels. Now if it will just help with my hair loss & regrowth.

  • semiorgmom

    I have extremely annoying Sebo. I’ve tried all the chemical routines from my doctor and dermatologist, and they all make my scalp worse. I’ve tried professional scalp treatments with Nioxin. It helps for a couple days, then things get worse. I do coconut oil hair masks a couple times a month, but I daily put drops of CO & tea tree oil on my scalp after I’ve styled it…just to try and get some relief. I’m miserable. I did some research last night and hubby went out to buy the right ACV (haven’t used it yet). Then I found a YouTube video about someone using Dr. Bronner’s soap as shampoo. My hair is wavy, thick, colored, and healthy. My scalp is horribly itchy, flaky (thick flakes), and I often get sores from scratching. We do have hard water, but I don’t think it’s bad. What do I need to get some relief? Which soap should I buy? Do I need Aloe? Help!

  • Amanda Del Valle

    I am at a loss help PLEASE! I LOVE dr Bronner a I use it for everything in my home to cleaning , washing everything ! I couldn’t live without it ! But I’ve made the switch to no chemicals & I’m exactly 3 weeks in I started using your lavender Castile soap (liquid) & your citrus hair rinse & I have noticed for 3 weeks my hair has been oily/greasy/waxy so much to where I can’t wear it down then about a week ago i switched to using the diluted ACV rinse and I still have the same problem & I want to stick it through but am in dire need of help! Thank you in advance ! 😭

    • Hi! Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with the routine. Please look at the complete list above for troubleshooting oily and waxy hair, but a few things I would suggest are: adding baking soda to the soap, reducing the amount of rinse, softening your water if it’s hard water.

  • Ελένη Λεκάκη

    I have been really careful even from the first use in order to avoid any residue on my hair. Following your advice I do rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar and I have to say I am absolutely amazed and ecstatic because I wanted this to work so much!
    I only have one question though. Could I replace vinegar with food grade citric acid to avoid the smell? Since the rinse you offer is not available in my country I am really struggling with alternatives here.

    • I have not tried citric acid, but it seems like it would work fine. The main thing is for the rinse to be acidic, so citric acid should work as long as it’s acidic enough.

  • Katie

    I’ve been shampooing with the peppermint bar soap for a week and a half. At first my hair seemed to have a lot of build up so I tried using a baking soda paste every few days followed by rinsing with a water/lemon juice mixture. I have also just used the lemon juice rinse some days without shampooing at all. Now my scalp seems to have some oily/itchy dead skin build up. Any suggestions? Because this post lists pretty different troubleshooting methods for waxy hair than it does for oily/greasy hair, I’m not sure which troubleshooting method to try. Maybe the difference should be more obvious to me, but I can’t tell. Please help!

    • Katie, I’m not sure if I can figure out whether you have waxy or oily hair, but here are my thoughts. Usually when I see someone use the word “build up” I immediately wonder if hard water is part of the issue. The issue is less with your hair and more with the way our soap reacts with hard water to create residue or build up. This type of buildup usually has a white look to it, from the mineral content of the hard water. If you do have hard water, then the best solution is try to soften it somehow, like with a water softening showerhead. Also if the hard water issue is part of the problem, that would explain why changing to more baking soda paste and lemon juice routine wouldn’t necessarily improve things.

      The fact that just using lemon juice without shampooing results in oily/itchy condition suggests that you have oily hair and that you actually need the soap to counteract that. Based on what you’ve told me I would try going back to bar soap shampoo + lemon juice rinse routine… but using soft water if it all possible.

      • Katie

        Thank you very much for all of this information and insight. I do have very hard water, and would like to find a solution for that but currently don’t have the financial capacity to do so. However, I have thought about experimenting by filing up a large jug of filtered water from my kitchen Pur pitcher and using only that water on my hair in the shower to see if it makes a difference before I invest in a softener. Also, I am wondering if there is a recommended ratio for lemon juice to water for the acidic rinse? I’ve been guessing and not actually measuring the amounts and have wondered if it makes a difference?

        • Yes I think using some kind of purified, filtered or distilled water would help with the hard water issue, definitely worth a shot. I usually do about 1 part lemon juice to 3 or 4 parts water for the rinse… or even more dilute if that stings the scalp.

          • Katie

            Great, thank you! I will try using filtered water and thatratio for the acidic rinse.

  • This is really helpful information.

  • xvelvetwingsx

    I use nothing but baby unscented and have never needed to use an acidic rinse.
    I do leave the soap in for the duration of my shower and I think that helps condition it:
    Wet hair, apply soap, wash body, then rinse hair. I only have to wash my hair 1-2 times per week now. If I’m feeling lazy, I use cornstarch before bed as a dry shampoo then brush it out with a wet brush in the morning.
    My hair color lasts so much longer than when I was using traditional products too!

  • Liz

    I have switched to shampoo bars about 2 months ago. After 1 month of horrible hair I switched to Dr. Bronner’s Bar soap and it’s so much better. But still, I end up with waxy hair at the back of my head. I have a water softner so it’s not hard water; and I rinse for up to 5 minutes. I have tried ACV and citric acid rinses but they seem to make my hair more waxy and unpleasant.
    Am I doing something wrong or should I decide that shampoo bars are just not for me? I have quite fine mid length curly hair which is less frizzy thanks to Dr. Bronners, so at least that’s something!
    I really want to make this work so tips and advice are very welcome!!

  • Kirstin Miller

    This article is about 2 years old, that’s how long I’ve been working towards Dr. Bronner’s as my shampoo, finally success. My hair feels like it did in 1979, I’m that old. What worked for me: Tea Tree Bar Soap and a diluted lemon juice rinse every week or so. What didn’t work so well: apple cider vinegar, baking soda, Cherry Blossom and Rose Soap Bars, Organic Shikaki Citrus Rinse. My hair is straight and oily, poufs up in humidity, I love that there is not a one size fits all solution but each head of hair has it’s own ‘path’. Thank you Dr. Bronner’s!

    • Kirstin, thanks for sharing what worked for you! Glad to hear you’ve found a successful routine 🙂

  • kiley feld

    After reading this article, i changed a couple of things about my hair care routine and it has made all the difference! I switched to using dr. Bronners sugar soap on my hair 2 months ago, but constantly had a greasy film on my hair no matter what i did. Up until a couple weeks ago, i thought i was just having an exceptionally long transition period. After reading this post, i realized that the hard water available in my apartment was the culprit. I switched to dr. Bronners bar soap and started rinsing with ACV and now my hair is even nicer than when i was using regular shampoo and conditioner. My hair finally feels clean and soft, and I can finally wear it down again without worrying that i look like a grease pod. Thank you!!!

  • Darsey Landoe

    I’ve used the Bronner’s liquid soap and Citrus rinse for a while now and I really like it, but lately my rinse has started…molding? I typically put the rinse into a clean bottle, then dilute with water, to apply to my hair. It’s begun growing black bits in the bottle and I can’t seem to make it stop—I’ve washed my bottle multiple times and even bought a new one to be sure. Is there something in the rinse that would cause it to mold?

    Am I gross?


    • Darsey, I’m not sure what is causing the mold. One thing I’m unclear on is if you are prediluting the product for multiple uses or if you are only diluting for a single use. Can you clarify?

      p.s. you’re not gross 😉

      • Darsey Landoe

        haha thanks Rafi!

        Yes—I predilute for multiple rinses, just to reduce per-shower tasks. I wonder if diluting and then letting it sit in the bottle for days/weeks causes it? Not sure if it’s that, or if the product is already going bad in the original Bronners bottle.

        • Yes, unfortunately prediluting the rinse takes away it’s self-preserving qualities. Since we don’t use synthetic preservatives, the natural preservatives just won’t work well once you dilute the rinse. Although I realize it’s more of a hassle, I would dilute as much as you need for a single use. Hopefully this makes the mold issue go away.

          • Darsey Landoe

            That is fascinating. Okay! I’ll switch up my routine and see if that helps. Thanks Rafi!

  • Marlene Steele

    I have hard water and coloured hair. I want to use your product but don’t know where to start. – Thanks Marlie.

    • Marlene Steele

      Also I want to know what to use as a conditioner so I don’t lose/strip the colour. I have fine hair but it is thick.

      • I’m not sure what to recommend, as both our soaps and especially the acidic rinse will probably strip the color from your hair.

  • Rachelle

    Thanks for this great article! I live in The Netherlands and I just got in touch with these soaps – even when it is not that easy to buy here. I had the liquid soap in my house for a year, but I did not use it that many times since it made my hair very oily after the second time using, so I run back to my old biologic shampoos. Anyway, after reading the article it seems I have not give it a fair try, but for me to enjoy the best results of these soaps, I have some questions.
    First of all, is the rinse required to use? I have really thin hair from myself and I wouldn’t want to have it too soft and silky. I don’t mind having a little dryer hair with the benefit of more volume. But I don’t want to use this products wrong, so is it better to use the rinse (or a AVC) or doesn’t it really matter? I don’t want any buildup or problems long term. Besides that, I also have a quite busy study-life and therefore not that much time to prepare rinses every time I want to take a quick shower.
    Second, how do I use the soaps? It wasn’t clear for me if I should mix the soap with water or if I could use it directly from the bottle.
    Last, for my thin – very thin with no real volume – hair, is it better to use the standard liquid version or the sugar version?

    • HI Rachelle,

      Not everybody finds that they need the acidic rinse, but most people find that the soap doesn’t work as shampoo without it. Before the rinse, the soap leaves most people’s hair feeling matted and tangled. The rinse softens your hair up. I tend to not dilute the soap and put it directly on my scalp, but many people do like to pre-dilute the soaps when using them as shampoo.

  • Tahira Akhtar

    If I use the soap bar would i need to do a rinse as well. I live in an area with hard water. i had tried to go sulphate free before it did not work, and also used baking soda to clarify my hair but felt that it made my hair fall out and become dry.

    • Yes, the bar soap also generally requires an acidic rinse.

    • Yes, the bar soap also generally requires an acidic rinse.

  • Katie Argila

    Dr Bonner’s is amazing. My daughter is in 1st grade and ended up with lice. I soaked her head in Dr Bonner’s shampoo for 2 hours and all the bugs were dead. We use apple vinager and a comb to remove the nits . Repeating this process in 7-10 days just in case we didn’t get all nits. Highly recommend this

  • Vera Mendao

    Thank you for this guide!
    I am planning to move from conventional shampoos to Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille all-in-one bar soap.
    I use body soap for a few years now so not worried about that.

    I worry about the hair – mine tends to be oily in the scalp but the ends get rather frizzy and kind of dry.
    Do you recomend any specific bar soap, of the various available?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Any of the bar soaps will work equally well… the only difference is the essential oil that is added for scent.

  • Jack Duff

    This is really useful as you can use herbal shampoo to reduce the hair fall as it is better as compared to the other shampoo which contains the harmful chemicals in it and reduce the hair fall and makes the hair healthier and longer.Visit us at https://www.thesoapshackbaby.com/

  • Marijka Walker

    PLEASE don’t use a photo of someone washing their hair in a waterfall! Leave No Trace principals include using any soap, including yours, at least 200 feet from the water source.

  • I never tried any of your products, just heard about you, but I have tried botanical conditioners, yet couldn’t continue using them because they did nothing to get knots out of my long curly hair (couldn’t run my fingers through). Does anyone know, what’s in conditioner, like Pantene, that’s not in the natural conditioners, which lets one easily run the fingers through to get knots out? I don’t brush my hair, cause it would just frow out, but I also don’t want to end up with dreads, so I have to wash as such, twice a week.

  • Nina Chea

    Anyone know what the EWG rating is for the organic sugar soaps?

  • D. Garbato

    I have a problem in that I get a few scabby, itchy patches on my hair every winter. Is there a haircare routine you can suggest for this? There’s no flaking or anything.

    • Hi, I would get it checked out and make sure that you don’t have scalp psoriasis. Otherwise, it sounds like dry scalp brought on by winter conditions, and I would use the guidelines above suggested for dry/itchy scalp.

  • matti

    I tried using the mint bar soap as shampoo and body soap, and it left my hair with a waxy buildup — even when I rinsed with ACV and baking soda. It also didn’t leave me feeling “clean”; there was a waxy residue on my skin as well as soon as I tried to rinse under the water. My hand wouldn’t go across my skin smoothly; it just felt sticky. Am I doing something wrong?

    • My first suggestion would be to not rinse using baking soda. Baking soda and ACV will react with one another and in effect neutralize one another. Rinse using only diluted ACV.

      My other guess is that you may have hard water conditions, which can lead to the waxy build-up on both hair and skin. This is because the mineral in the hard water react with the soap and cause it to break down into its component oils. The best thing in this situation is to find a way to soften your water (you can find showerheads that have water-softening features).

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    hospital, they keep on giving me orientations about drugs that can extend
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  • Sabrina

    Hello I have a question, after washing your hair with
    the Dr. Bronners soap and then the acv rinse, what should I put on my scalp to keep it from drying up and causing flakes. I’ve been dealing with flakes almost my whole life and I just want a solution.

  • ResaMarie

    How can I determine if my hair is feeling greasy or waxy?
    I started this process yesterday and my hair has a film but I can’t determine the difference. I have a shower head filter but not sure if it’s actually filtering out the hard water minerals, filter was installed yesterday as well. I’m using the rose liquid 18-1 straight on my scalp followed by a good water rinse and a lemon juice rinse. Am prepared to try ACV, baking soda or whatever I need to do to make this work. My scalp has been angry for about 6 months now and after one use I’m already feeling relief with about 75% less hair in the drain. The hair in the drain did have a white residue. Also if it is due to hard water would adding salt to my soap help? Maybe rinsing with a salt, ACV mix?

    • The film and residue certainly suggest that it is a hard water issue. I would give the bar soap a try, as that already has some salt added. ACV might also be worth a try, as it could be more strongly acidic then the lemon juice and therefore prevent build up and residue.

      Remember also that as you just started this process, this may be part of the transition period. Try to give yourself a couple of weeks, as your hair might need some time to adjust to the new routine.

      • ResaMarie

        I tried an ACV herbal tea rinse yesterday which took a little of the residue away but not much. Today I just had to wash my hair because it felt so greasy I couldn’t stand it.

        After reading the guide above and doing a bit of research I decided to try adding a bit of salt to the soap to see what would happen. When I added the TBS of salt it hardened as soon as it hit the soap and wouldn’t mix in. I took a chunk of the salt and rubbed it in between my hands and it lathered up. Upon rinsing there was no greasy film on my hands so I went ahead and washed my hair with it. I lathered it in my hands and spread it through my hair, rinsed and did a ACV herbal tea rinse. My hair feels great!! A bit dry but feels more like it does after a clarifying shampoo and nothing a little coconut oil wouldn’t fix.

        Now if I can figure out a way to get the soap and salt to cream together I’d be a happy camper. I came to method by knowing that water softener is essentially salt and the guide saying the bar soap works better because of the added salt.

        As I mentioned before my scalp has been angry for months now. No dandruff but just burning all over. I’ve tried sulfate free products and they make my hair fall out!! I hope this continues to work for me. Thank you for the guide above and your response 💚

        • Glad to hear you’re seeing some improvement! Yes, salt will thicken up the soap, which is why we add it to our bar soaps. I have’t tried this myself, but you could try diluting the soap with water before adding the salt, and see if that gets you the consistency you’re looking for.

  • Sara T

    Hello! Been using soap bar mostly to wash my hair. Did the hair rinse with ACV and lemon juice. Thing is, I found out, by chance, that my hair stays cleaner if I don’t do the final acid rinse… Can you tell me if my hair will suffer from dryness or other problems?

    • Some people are able to use just the soap and it works fine. It really depends on your specific hair type.

      • Sara T

        Great to know! My hair is quite greasy at the roots so I think I will keep just using the soap with no rinse! Once in a while I’ll be pampering it with coconut or jojoba oil 😉 but, away from the roots!! Let me say, it’s the best swap I made since going more sustainable! I wish I had known this soap for years!!!

  • Nicole Kliebert

    I’m on week 5 of using Dr. B’s on my hair. The first couple washes I didn’t use a vinegar rinse and I had greasy yet dry hair. Vinegar rinse makes a massive difference. I will try the acidic rinse once I find some.

    A couple days ago I noticed plenty white waxy buildup on my brush and upon closer inspection I could see it near my roots. I ran the the store as fast as I can and bought the bar soap. Wow! Amazing stuff. It’s so soft on your skin.

    I did three rounds of washing tonight, deep conditioning (my hair was feeing really dried if you could get passed the buildup), and vinegar rinse. It’s the best my hair has felt in a looong time. I let my hair air dry and it’s very humid so I don’t know the final outcome yet. Do you know about how many washes with the bar soap before the residue disappears?

  • Marneil G

    Hi! I’ve been experiencing hair fall for the past few months now and I would rate it as severe case because even combing my hair using my fingers I’ll notice that there’s a lot goes with it. My hair also feels somewhat dry/britelle . Today, I started using the Dr. Bronners 4in1 sugar soap baby unscented and would like to ask how often do I need to do the citric hair rinse? And can I use the soap Everyday ? I also notice that my hair is greasy after using it. Is it normal for first time use?

  • Maggie Cameron

    I have been using Lavender pure castille liquid soap and citrus rinse for a few years now. My hair has never been better. However I have started to swim in the sea and my longish thick hair is not dong well on my normal routine. I am getting a residue on my comb which looks almost dirty. My hairdresser said i had a build up of residue and should use a clarifying shampoo. I didn’t like the sound of this and wanted to ask here first. I expect I am asking a lot to expose my hair to salt water! Yesterday I went snorkeling and got my hair soaked in sea water. I washed it with extra washes and extra rinsing with cirtus rinse. Today it is frizzy but does feel cleaner. Any thought please and is it worth using a product as a barrier before swimming. many thanks

    • If I had to hazard a guess it would be that the minerals in the sea water are reacting with the soap and creating a residue. I certainly can see how a barrier might help, and something like our lotion or hair creme might work as a barrier (at least worth trying). You could also try getting the sea water out with the vinegar first, then doing a soap wash, then finishing out with the vinegar again. Would love to know if any of these ideas work!

      • Maggie

        Thanks, I will let you know how I get on.

  • Newbie

    Hi there! Not sure if this page I’d still being monitored, but I’ve recently started using Dr. Bronner’s for Literally Everything, and have been trying to use it as a shampoo for the past month or so. My hair seems to be quite greasy, and I seem to have some build-up (I do not have hard water that I know of). I have a few questions regarding tweaks I could make:

    1) About how much baking soda should I add to the shampoo mixture? (Assuming a couple teaspoons of soap in about 500 ml of distilled water)?

    2) Your ACV rinse is not available in my country, so I’m making my own – and maybe I’m dumb, but I’m having a hard time figuring out if it’s evenly distributing in my hair or not. My hair is straight and fine, but thick in the back, and I feel like I’m not getting it everywhere. Does adding a tablespoon or two of aloe gel help with this?

    Dr. Bronner’s tea tree soap is working so well for my acne, and for general cleaning, that I’d love to make this work too. Luckily I’m attempting this during Pandemic Time, so it’s easier to live with the bad hair right now. There are just so many possible tweaks to make, so hopefully I figure out something that works!

    • I would start with a teaspoon or two of baking soda, and see if that helps.

      Adding aloe gel to the vinegar seems like it could work, though we haven’t tried it ourselves.