When following the No Poo method there is a great deal of information about not using traditional shampoos that contain sulphates, parabens, and silicon.
But, can you use conditioner with No Poo?
With the No Poo approach to hair care, products with silicons, parabens, and sulphates are shunned in preference of natural ingredients. This applies equally to shampoos and conditioners. DIY recipes can be followed, but as the market for these products increases, so will the number of ready-made commercial products that are No Poo.
During my No Poo journey, I found very little information relating to the use of traditional conditioners. Therefore, I thought I’d investigate a little further and see if traditional conditioners are just as unhealthy for your hair as traditional shampoos.
Whilst the focus of No Poo is mainly on what natural products can be used to cleanse hair and keep it in good condition, traditional conditioners are often overlooked.
I was intrigued by this fact, so decided to research further. Is it simply that the natural products also condition as well as cleanse?
Or, without traditional shampoos that strip the natural oils are conditioners not necessary?
To save you time, I trawled the available evidence and my findings make for interesting reading!
Can You Use Conditioner With No Poo?
The No Poo movement has been growing in popularity for many years.
At the heart of the movement is the idea that traditional shampoos are harmful to our hair.
They contain many chemicals such as sulphates that strip the natural oils from our hair, stopping our scalps from naturally regulating sebum levels.
Sebum is the oil that is naturally produced and nourishes our hair leaving it healthy and moisturized without the need for man-made shampoos and conditioners.
No Poo harnesses the power of natural products to clean hair without the need for harsh chemicals.
Each person’s hair is different and requires individual management to keep it in tip-top condition.
Sometimes, even when the optimum sebum levels have been attained, our hair needs a little help to stay moisturized.
There are many factors that could cause your hair to be dry, and this may lead you to seek the use of a conditioner to keep your hair strands in good health.
If you are following the No Poo method and want to use a conditioner then bear the following in mind:
- Sulfates: These are a definite no-no when following No Poo. Try to avoid any conditioners with these in.
- Silicons: These are not water soluble and stop moisture penetrating the hair, so look out for products that do not contain these.
There are many natural products such as coconut oil and avocado that can be used great conditioners and are readily available.
The wonderful thing about these products is that you often have natural moisturizers in your kitchen anyway, so you don’t need to make a special purchase.
They don’t tend to be as expensive as traditional conditioners, and there is normally less packaging, so you are benefiting the environment too.
As the number of people turning towards a No Poo lifestyle grows, so do the No Poo shampoos and conditioners available commercially.
If making your own shampoo and conditioners is not for you, and you’d rather have the convenience of a bottled product, then this is now a possibility.
Why Conditioner Is Used In No Poo
Below are some key reasons why No Poo’ers opt to condition their hair:
1. Baking Soda
This is a popular method of cleaning hair when following No Poo.
Baking soda can be incredibly harsh though and should always be used with caution, as it can damage the hair shaft.
If you have been a little enthusiastic about using baking soda on your hair recently, you may want to use conditioner to help your hair self-repair.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple Cider Vinegar works as a wonderful rinse, especially after using baking soda to cleanse your hair.
ACV should be used diluted as its pH level is very acidic.
ACV used without diluting suitably on a regular basis can lead to your hair becoming brittle and dry.
Conditioner in this instance would be necessary to restore your hair to health.
Chlorine in pool water can make your hair cry out for a good conditioning treatment.
Thorough rinsing after using the pool is recommended, but over time the chemicals in the water can dry out your hair making conditioning the sensible option.
4. Low Porosity Hair
This type of hair does not take up moisture readily and may need a little more help.
Deep conditioning treatments may be needed now and again as low porous hair, with close-set cuticles, needs a little more time to let the conditioning agent in.
5. Heated Styling Aids
Using hairdryers and straighteners can cause havoc with the moisture levels in your hair, leaving it dry and damaged.
Reducing reliance on these tools will benefit your hair in the long term, but a moisturizing treatment can help as a short-term fix (source 1).
6. Medical Reasons
You may have a medical problem or a diet lacking in essential minerals which means your hair does not grow as well and as healthily as you’d like.
A conditioner can help to boost the hair’s moisture whilst you find and resolve the underlying cause (source 2).
Co-washing is well known and respected within No Poo circles and involves washing your hair only with conditioner.
The conditioner needs to be sulphate, and silicon-free etc.
Using conditioner when being No Poo is perfectly possible and accepted.
What Is The No Poo Method?
People who do not want to use traditional shampoos containing sulphates and silicons use natural products such as baking soda to cleanse their hair.
These people follow the No Poo method.
No Poo is not a ‘one-way’ method but allows any natural product to be used.
There are many ways that fit under the No Poo umbrella:
|No Poo |
|No Poo||Natural Products such as baking |
soda and apple cider vinegar are
|Water is the only product used |
on hair and scalp to keep it clean.
Scritching, preening, and
brushing are important to keep
|Hair is kept clean and healthy |
using just the naturally produced
sebum from your scalp
|Low Poo||Although not entirely No Poo, |
Low Poo methods still attempt
to reduce the frequency of
washing and using products
that are sulfate and silicone-free
|Co-Washing||Washing hair with conditioner|
How To Moisturize Hair Naturally
Healthy hair is moisturized hair.
When following No Poo successfully, you should find that your natural sebum is the only moisturizer you need to keep your hair well-nourished.
Sometimes though, through environmental factors such as hard water, or lifestyle choices like swimming and using heated styling tools, our hair needs a little extra help.
Moisturizing No Poo products are often readily available in your pantry or local supermarket.
Below is a list of the most popular natural No Poo hair conditioners.
As you will see, there are so many ways and products that you can use to moisturize your hair that you really are spoilt for choice!
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
This is often used as a rinse after using baking soda to clean your hair.
ACV should be diluted to at least 50% before use.
Be careful, if you use ACV neat then you are likely to damage your hair.
For best results, I would advise keeping a spray bottle of diluted ACV in the shower, ready for use.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is wonderful for adding moisture to your hair, with the added benefit of being calming on a sensitive scalp.
Aloe vera gel can be bought in all good health food stores or can be used from fresh.
If using fresh then blitz some in a food processor until there are no chunks, then wet your hair (or shower, it’s up to you) and apply the aloe vera to your hair.
Let the moistuizer sit on your hair for a few minutes, then wash it out. This will leave your hair fabulously healthy.
If using fresh aloe vera, make just before needed and do not keep.
Like aloe vera, honey is a natural moisturizer, and readily available.
The great thing about honey is that it will leave your hair smelling amazing, and can be stored in your pantry and used whenever needed.
You can even combine honey with aloe vera to give your hair a really thorough deep conditioning treatment (source 1).
This is especially useful for smoothing and strengthening your hair, whilst also making use of that glut of overripe bananas in your fruit bowl.
If you fancy moisturizing your hair with bananas, just mash them up and smooth the paste over your hair. Leave the mixture on your hair for 15 minutes.
Then, shampoo and rinse as normal.
Do not keep leftover bananas, make fresh mixture every time it is needed.
Egg, avocado, olive oil or coconut oil can be blended with banana to add strength, soften, and or moisturize your hair.
5. Olive Oil Or Coconut Oil
The great thing about oils is that they can be stored and used whenever it is convenient.
To try this method out, dampen your hair and then spread the oil over your hair liberally.
If you fancy a deep conditioning treatment, leave olive oil in your hair overnight for a very very deep conditioning treatment.
If you do this, I recommend putting a shower cap on your hair and laying your head on an old towel. After the oil has been left on for the desired time, shampoo and rinse as usual.
6. Clay Hair Mask
It may sound odd, but clay can be very moisturizing. Clay is also known to have antibacterial properties.
When using clay, always stay clear of metal bowls and utensils as these reduce the effectiveness of the clay.
7. Goats Milk Soap
Try using this moisturizing wash with anti-aging properties, and a mild exfoliator.
Best No Poo Conditioner
There are so many hair products on the market that the choice can actually cause anxiety!
I’ve looked at some of the most popular and available No Poo conditioners though, and Amika 3D came out tops.
The great thing about Amika 3D conditioner is that it is free of sulphates, parabens, phthalates, and many other undesirable contents.
Of course, not every product works for everyone, but this is a conditioner that really does seem to do what it claims to on the packet since Amika adds more volume to your hair and is light enough to use on even the finest of hair.
Not many No Poo conditioners are going to be able to beat this.
Amika takes hair health without chemicals seriously and provides a whole range of products to suit all hair types.
Best No Poo Conditioner For Curly Hair
If your hair is dry and brittle, or even if it’s not, then you won’t go wrong trying argan oil to return the shine and health to your hair.
Argan oil on its own is well known to restore vitality, and combined with the other ingredients in the Purenature Argon oil conditioner, this is sure to wow you.
It’s not only organic, but sulphate, paraben, and gluten-free. It’s also for all hair types, so no matter if you have fine hair or thick, frizzy, dry, or fine, it’ll work for you.
No Poo Conditioner Bar
Before No Poo I didn’t know that shampoo and conditioner bars even existed. Now they’re everywhere, and all claiming to be the very best for your hair!
Reducing the environmental impact by lessening packaging can only be a good thing; that’s one less plastic bottle that doesn’t end up at landfills or floating around in our plastic-burdened seas.
This is a growing market where everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon and producing their own version of conditioner bars, healthy for the environment and healthy for our hair.
So, how do you tell which conditioner bar will work for you since they all claim to work for far longer than traditional conditioners, but often have a price tag to match!
Understandably you want to get it right the first time.
The brand I really like is HiBar as it has several different types of bars to choose from, and does a shampoo bar to compliment the conditioner.
It’s a great shape to hold in the shower, although if you’re new to bars it can take a while to feel comfortable using it.
The same is true of any bar though, so make sure you persevere.
The HiBar range in No Poo is sulphate, paraben, and gluten-free, and has environmentally friendly packaging.
Definitely worth a try in my opinion, if you’re looking to move over to conditioning bars.
No Poo Conditioner Only Method
Traditional shampoos which contain manufactured chemicals strip hair of its natural protection and can leave it dry, tangled, and prone to frizz.
That’s why most people have got used to using conditioners after shampooing, to replace the moisture that shampoo has stripped away.
This process just doesn’t make sense to me though – why use something that removes moisture if you’re having to replace that moisture straight afterwards?
With this in mind, I decided to look into No Poo co-washing.
My first question was, can you just wash your hair with a conditioner?
Here’s what I discovered …
Co-washing is part of the No Poo family; it is a method of cleansing hair by removing shampoo and only using conditioners.
These conditioners do of course need to be sulphate and silicon free.
No Poo conditioners can be used to wash hair without the need for shampoos.
Co-washing is not the same as conditioning your hair at the end of a No Poo wash.
When using conditioner as a wash remember that you need to massage your scalp, not just apply the conditioner to the ends of your hair as normal.
In time you may find that you have a conditioner build-up, but this can easily be remedied by a No Poo clarifying shampoo if this ever becomes a problem (source 6).
No Poo Method Water Only
The No Poo water only method uses water to cleanse your hair. An individual’s natural sebum helps to keep your hair moisturized and healthy.
The water only method is considered the ultimate No Poo wash method for many people since you are washing your hair without any form of chemicals, just how nature intended.
Every individual’s hair is different, as is the water they use and the environment in which they live.
As such, what works for some, won’t work for others.
WO works best for those with coarse, curly, that is often dry.
This is because the sebum that is naturally produced will provide optimum nourishment for the hair when traditional shampoos that dry the hair are removed.
No further conditioning should be required with the water only method.
However, if you live in a hot and/or dry environment (for example, if you are often in air conditioned buildings), then you may find that your hair needs a little extra help to remain healthy.
No Poo Science
There is a great deal of science behind the No Poo movement, showing the damage to our hair and environment that can be caused by sulphates, silicons, and other chemicals contained in shampoos.
The link between parabens and ill-health has not been fully explored yet, but many No Poo followers, and indeed No Poo manufacturers, have removed parabens just in case.
No Poo is a movement that shuns the use of traditional shampoos and conditioners.
Can you use Conditioner with No Poo?
The answer for many is a resounding yes, you can, and very successfully too.
Best No Poo Shampoo For Fine Hair
The best No Poo shampoo for fine hair is one that is light and won’t weigh down your hair. You could try Verb Ghost Shampoo which is No Poo and specifically designed for fine hair.
No Poo Shampoo Reviews
Dry, greasy, porous or not; what works wonders for others may leave you with a knotted frizzy mess. Read reviews, but make your own choice based upon your knowledge of your hair.