I Swapped My Shampoo For Applesauce—Here's What Happened

One natural beauty blogger swears by it. But will it really yield lustrous locks, or just a greasy mess?

November 10, 2017

It’s practically guaranteed that if you pick up a random bottle of shampoo, you’ll find yourself reading a laundry list of ingredients—half of which you’ve never heard of or can’t pronounce. Which has made me start thinking about changing my shower routine. Since I’ve adopted the motto “if I don’t recognize it, I shouldn’t buy it” when it comes to food, why shouldn’t the same rules apply to my hair products? So, when I recently started searching for natural, chemical-free shampoo alternatives that wouldn’t make my hair greasy, blogger Crunchy Betty’s applesauce no’poo intrigued me.

Related: 9 Organic And Natural Shampoos That Work Just As Well As The Stuff With Chemicals

Now, I have my reservations when it comes to natural hair care, mostly because my strands tend to get oily within two days of shampooing. I’ve tried everything from seemingly “clean” formulas to “oil training” my follicles, or going days at a time without a proper wash so my strands would grow accustomed to less product. These tactics had a so-so effect on how long I could last between washes, but I can’t deny that at the end of each round, a dollop of shampoo and a long rinse feels like a sigh of relief.

So, why try apple? According to celebrity stylist Larry Sims, the fruit not only feeds your tresses some vital minerals and nutrients, but it also does wonders aesthetically. Sims says, “Applesauce can be a great mask or a great shampoo for hair. Because it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, it leaves hair super glossy, soft and can even remove excess build up. It's great for both dry and oily hair [because] vitamins C and B are vital for all hair types.”

Related: I Tried Washing My Hair With 4 Different Homemade Shampoos—Here’s What Happened

Crunchy Betty’s recipe calls for ½ cup of applesauce, which, according to the experimental blogger, she uses as her sole hair washing and conditioning method, and just once a week. Just once!

My goal: to see how long this applesauce method would allow me to go between washes and if it was the miracle shampoo substitute I’d been looking for. So, come Tuesday morning I ran my hair under the showerhead to get it damp before slathering applesauce over my head with my fingers. Massaging it into my hair and around the scalp, I let it set for 10 minutes as instructed before a very thorough rinse.

Here’s what happened to my hair over the next few days…

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applesauce hair
Julia Guerra
Day 1: Whooo! My Hair Looks Great!

Stepping out of the shower, I blotted my hair with a cotton towel, and ran my fingers through it. I was impressed by how incredibly soft my hair felt, even while damp. As I began to blow dry and style my hair, I definitely took notice of how much body my strands had, and how they easily adhered to the direction of the brush. Normally my strands are wild and do their own thing regardless of which way I direct them, but my hair as a whole was very easy to work with.

As you can see from the photo, my hair looked clean. I’d even go as far as to say that the color of my hair looked richer than usual. And, bonus, it smelled amazing.

Check out this awesome all-natural DIY sugar scrub with skin brightening olive oil and lemon:

applesauce hair
Julia Guerra
Day 2: What's Happening?

Unfortunately, the experiment took a turn for the worse not even two days in. I woke up the following morning to find that my hair had gone from the most well-behaved, natural style ever to a frenzy of flipped ends swooping every which way with zero body.

After giving my new ‘do a once-over in the mirror, I gently bunched a few fistfuls in my palm to examine the texture of my tresses. The satisfyingly bouncy, soft structure I’d been so thrilled about only hours before had been completely stripped away overnight, and what was left was coarse and limp. The more I touched it, the more I felt like I had some sort of residue on my hands. Even my husband noticed my hair had gotten greasy.

Basically, it was gross. But I decided for the sake of the experiment to see what day number three would bring. Spoiler: Nothing good.

Related: 8 Natural Ways To Help Your Hair Grow Faster

applesauce hair
Julia Guerra
Day 3: Ugh

Patches that had just looked greasy the night before now felt like it, too. Each strand was so stiff and grimy that I wasted no time throwing it all up in a ponytail so that I could tolerate it through a workout.

I had originally planned to do a second round of no ‘poo, maybe even going a full week, but after witnessing how poorly my hair took to the applesauce treatment, I decided against it.

So, if apple is supposedly so great for hair, why did this method backfire on me? My theory is that results are going to be highly dependent on your hair type, and for me, it works better as a once-in-a-while nourishing hair mask, and not as a regular shampoo substitute.

Related: 8 Things That Happen When You Stop Washing Your Hair Every Day

Bottom line

If your hair lacks luster, it might be worth experimenting with it as a weekly mask (while continuing to wash your hair with your method of choice), but if your strands are generally healthy, stick to using applesauce in the kitchen—not the shower.