For those of you who are a little more "main stream" in your way of doing things, this might push me over the edge of the "crunchy" cliff, for those of you who baby wear, home-birth, make everything from scratch, etc. this may seem common sense to you. Either way, however, I would encourage you to try this...
I "no-poo" - no, I'm not having digestive issues, thanks. I'm talking about hair and for this, I'm bring up my two favorite household staples - baking soda and vinegar. You will need a separate container for each mixture. Two old tilt top shampoo containers will do... or an old water bottle w/ a pull-out nozzle or whatever. You will also need a spouted measuring cup (or cream pitcher...), if available.
For a standard size shampoo bottle, dump about 1/4-1/3cup baking soda into the measuring cup Add just enough warm water to the measuring cup so the baking soda begins to evenly dissolve. Pour into the shampoo bottle. If there is a lot of baking soda left in the bottom of the measuring cup after you've dumped it into the bottle, add more warm water to the measuring cup and pour it into the shampoo bottle. Top the shampoo bottle off with warm water.
Using a similar size shampoo bottle, pour vinegar - I typically use white, but have also used apple cider - into the bottle. I don't really measure, but for those of you who like exact measurements, use a ratio similar to the baking soda combination. Top off this bottle with warm water as well.
To use: The baking soda "no-poo" doesn't come anywhere near sudsing, but it will leave your hair very clean... just start at the hairline and slowly pour it over your scalp and run the mix through your hair with your fingers. Leave this mixture on your hair about as long as you would regular shampoo. Rinse well. Like regular shampoo, any excess left behind will leave your hair looking and feeling dirty. Once you have rinsed out the baking soda mixture, repeat the process, this time, using the vinegar mixture. Let sit for a minute or two. (Yes, it does smell a bit like vinegar while it is on your hair, but once you have rinsed it out, you shouldn't really be able to smell it. You might get a trace scent every now and again for a little while after, but no one else should be able to smell it.) Rinse. This leaves your hair very silky and shiny.
Why I love this method - it is easy and it really works. It will also keep your hair clean for several days without needing to repeat the process. Just before Erin was born, I started no-pooing... I was sold before she was born, but it was a life-saver with a newborn. I was tired and I really didn't want to take forever in the shower. But, because I have thick, longish hair, washing it does not help speed up the showering process (did I mention how long it takes to dry my hair?!). Yet, I didn't want to look as though I'd been annointing myself with oil. No-pooing allowed me those five-minute showers without adding anything else to the process. Of couse, I no-pooed when necessary, but it meant I could usually go every other shower without washing my hair and it was still genuinely clean.
Anyway, there are a few variations on these recipes, but the above mixtures work just fine for me. I had gotten out of the habit of no-pooing because we had some shampoo to use up, but I just recently started again and there really is no comparison. No-pooing works waaayyyyyy better. If you try it, give it a week before you evaluate its effectiveness- this should be long enough to get out any kind of build-up from your current shampoo and conditioner and then you will see the true results. But, you should see some benefit after the first wash. :)