Does the No Poo Method Work?

Does the No Poo method work for everyone?

This article looks at whether joining the growing number of people who refuse to use traditional shampoos is the best choice for you and your hair.

No Poo followers use only natural products to keep their hair healthy and shining. Products used do not contain sulfates, silicones, parabens, or any other synthetic chemicals. One of the most popular methods for hair cleansing is using baking soda followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse.

Following the No Poo method is supposed to improve the health of your hair, and be good for the environment.

Read on to find out whether this is always the case.

Does The No Poo Method Work?

Traditional shampoos were introduced in the 1930’s, since then we have been washing and conditioning our hair with these products regularly.

In the 1960s though, the No Poo movement really started to take off as people began to wonder if the ingredients used in traditional shampoos were doing more harm than good to our hair.

No Poo followers only use natural ingredients, often easily found in your kitchen, pantry, or garden.

When going No Poo the following ingredients are prohibited:

  • Sulphates
  • Silicones
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates

No Poo is also used as an umbrella term for several other similar, yet discrete hair cleansing methods.

These methods include:

  • No Poo: Usually DIY homemade recipes using natural ingredients.
  • Low Poo: Commercially available products, but rejecting the same chemicals as full No Poo followers.
  • Co-Washing: Washing your hair by using chemical-free conditioners only.
  • Water Only: Followers use only water to keep their hair healthy.
  • Sebum Only: The most extreme of the No Poo methods. Your hair is kept clean only by the natural oils produced by your scalp.

Most hair types will find No Poo, Low Poo, and Co-Washing suitable for their hair.

However, Co-Washing is particularly suited to those with thick curly hair, rather than those with fine hair since this method can leave fine hair looking limp.

Water only and sebum only are the most challenging hair care routines to manage.

Those who live in a hard water area may find that water only, is impossible. This is due to the minerals in hard water that can weigh down the hair and leave build-up, making hair look dull and feel unclean.

There are many No Poo cleaning methods.

Below are some of the most popular:

  • Baking Soda and ACV rinse: Baking soda is used to clean hair whilst ACV rinse is used to balance your hair’s pH.
  • Egg Wash: This is brilliant for adding strength and protein to your hair.
  • Aloe Vera and Honey: Moisturising and soothing on your scalp. Good for dry hair.
  • Soapnuts: Beneficial to all hair types, especially for those with curly hair.
  • Clay: Both rhassoul and bentonite clay are popular with all hair types.
  • Rinses: Tea and herbal infusions are commonly used to clean and rinse hair after washing it.

There are many other recipes and other ingredients that can be used to keep your hair looking healthy and feeling wonderful.

The No Poo method can work for almost everyone. The trick is to have the motivation to get through the transition period, and the willingness to try different recipes so as to find the one that works best for your hair and lifestyle.

A common complaint from newbie No Poo followers is that hair becomes dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. This is often experienced by people who have been using baking soda and ACV to clean their hair.

Below are the reasons this happens:

  • If too much baking soda is used
  • If you do not dilute the ACV sufficiently.

What you could try:

  • Reduce the amount of baking soda used.
  • Increasing the ACV dilution.
  • Wash hair less frequently.

Any and all of these tips should allow your hair to recover and thrive.

Sometimes it is very much trial and error though, as what works for one person may not work as well (or not at all) for another. 

Thin hair can easily be weighed down, and thick hair can often be dry.

Whilst water-only hair washing for fine hair and rinses work well for thin and fine hair, oils and moisture recipes work well for thick and especially curly hair.

The No Poo method for oily hair can be a little trying at first. Your already oily hair will be even more of an oily mess when first going through the No Poo transition period. This can understandably be quite upsetting!

However, once your scalp has reached the optimum sebum production level you may notice that your hair is much less oily than when using traditional shampoos.

Benefits Of No Poo Method

There are so many benefits of going No Poo that an exhaustive list is not possible.

These are the main benefits of giving up traditional shampoo and embracing a No Poo routine:

  • No More Chemicals: No sulfates to strip and dry out your hair. No silicones to cover up the damage, and no more chemicals that are potentially damaging to your health.
  • Hair Health: After the transition period your hair should look and feel much healthier.
  • Choice: Each natural ingredient provides a different service to your hair. Going No Poo means that you can swap ingredients in and out to suit how your hair looks and feels at the time. Reacting more quickly to changes can only be good for your hair.
  • Environment: There are also environmental benefits to No Poo.
  • Extra Time: You may find that you have more time as washing with No Poo is not a daily event as traditional shampoos are. Instead, washing your hair every 10 days would not be unusual.

Disadvantages Of No Poo Method

Whilst the vast majority of people find that their hair improves greatly when moving across to the No Poo method, others find it problematic.

This is especially true of those who try the water only or sebum only method, to begin with.

These are traditionally the hardest No Poo wash methods to move to, especially if you are trying to go water only in a hard water area.

The main disadvantages of No Poo are:

  • Transition Period: Between stopping using traditional shampoos and your scalp adjusting, the transition period can be a time of incredibly greasy and unmanageable hair.
  • Hair Breakage and Loss: Over-washing with No Poo, especially baking soda and ACV, can cause hair loss and dry hair that is prone to breakage.
  • Travel Concerns: Most No-Poo recipes are DIY at home. The majority also do not store for more than a few days, and often need to be kept in the fridge. This can make travel difficult, especially if going overseas where your normal ingredients can be harder to find

For most people the pros of going No Poo more than outweigh these disadvantages.

How Often To Wash Hair With The No Poo Method

The frequency of washes will vary from person to person, and wash method to method.

Following No Poo means that you can stretch out the time between washes to almost 2 weeks once you have passed the transition phase.

How often you will need to wash your hair is dependent upon the following factors:


If you are in the transition period you may find that you need to wash your hair more frequently than you will when you have fully transitioned to No Poo.

This is because your scalp will initially over-produce sebum as it is used to having to produce more to combat the stripping nature of traditional shampoos.

Condition Of Your Hair

If your hair is dry or excessively greasy you may find you need to treat it more often.

Finding the right No Poo method and a recipe for your hair and lifestyle will have your hair looking great in no time.

The scalp’s natural oils moisturize and nourish your hair, meaning that wash frequency can be reduced.

Hair Type

Fine hair is weighed down by natural sebum, whereas coarse, curly hair can look great even when the sebum load is high.

If your hair is porous you will usually be able to go longer between washes than someone whose hair is non-porous. This is because with non-porous hair the oils simply sit on top rather than being easily absorbed by the hair strands.


If you often go to the gym, swim, or frequent somewhere that is dusty, you may find that you have to wash your hair more frequently than others.

Using rinses between washes may help to extend wash times.

Wash Method

Some No Poo methods will allow you to really stretch out the time between washes, but ultimately your hair, lifestyle, and choice will rule how often you wash your hair.


It is really up to you how often you wash your hair.

If you are happy to braid your hair, wear a stylish scarf, or otherwise disguise the fact that your hair is not freshly cleaned, or even be happy with it looking a little over-oiled, that is your choice.

How Long Does The No Poo Method Take?

The time it takes to No Poo depends upon the method you choose.

For example, some recipes are complicated and take time to make before use, whereas others can be used as quickly as traditional shampoos.

Because you can stretch the time between washes though, No-Poo overall is considerably quicker than using traditional shampoos.

The length of time of the transition period varies between individuals. For some people this phase lasts only a month, whereas others can still be struggling after a year.

Does No Poo Make Hair Thicker?

Unfortunately there is no evidence that No Poo will make your hair thicker.

Our hair thickness (or lack of it) is down to:

  • Hormones
  • Age
  • Individual Genetics

What No-Poo will do is improve the health of your scalp and hair allowing both to work to their best levels.

This may mean that you notice more hair growing and hair shedding and breaking less.

Both of these will make your hair appear thicker.

Best Low Poo For Fine Hair

Fine hair is the bane of many people’s lives.

This is because fine hair can easily become limp and dull, weighed down by products, and shampoo build-up.

The good news, however, is that there are several Low Poo washes now commercially available that can help tame your locks and restore their natural shine without losing the volume thin hair can desperately lack.

Below are the top three products that can benefit fine hair the most:

1. Fine Shampoo

This shampoo (link to Amazon) by Ouai is sulfate-free and contains biotin which is proven to help strengthen and improve hair.

2. Verb Ghost

This shampoo (link to Amazon) is ideal for individuals with fine hair, whilst also being suitable for Vegans and light enough to not weigh hair down.

3. Garnier Shampoo Bar

Here’s something new for you to try, a shampoo bar!

If you are looking for a bar, this Garnier bar sold on Amazon could be the one for you.

These products are all low poo and do not contain:

  • Sulfates
  • Silicones
  • Phthalates
  • Parabens

These low poo shampoos are not tested on animals. This is important, as it means you can keep your hair clean, healthy, and looking fantastic whilst also doing your bit to help the environment.

Additionally, you are keeping potentially dangerous chemicals far away from your body.

No Poo Not Working

The great thing about No Poo is that there are so many different recipes to try, from baking soda to soapnuts, bananas to clay. Each has its own benefits for your hair.

With a little trial and error along the way you are bound to find the ingredients that are right for you and your hair.

It can take time to transition from traditional shampoos to a No Poo approach to hair care. You might even start thinking in the beginning that No Poo is not working for you.

However, keep in mind that whilst No Poo is not suitable for some individuals the vast majority of people notice positive benefits when moving across to a more natural system of haircare.

Below are the most common reasons for people thinking that their No Poo journey has stalled before it has started:


If your hair is permanently oily and weighed down by grease it may be a side effect of moving away from traditional shampoos. This is called the transition phase.

Traditional shampoos strip away the body’s natural oils so your scalp has always produced far more sebum than necessary.

Now you are no longer stripping out the oils, those excess oils remain in your hair, making it look greasy. Rest assured this is a temporary phase, as your scalp figures out what levels are right for your hair.

However, it is important to appreciate that this phase can last for many months for some people, whereas others only experience extra oil for several weeks.

Non-Transition Oily

If you have already been through the transition phase but your hair has suddenly started to become oily again there may be underlying issues.

Look at any changes you have recently made to your diet or lifestyle to see if this could be a factor.

Alternatively, try washing more frequently, ensuring your brush is kept clean or changing your wash method.

Finally, as we age our bodies and their needs change. What is right for us in our twenties is unlikely to be the same in our forties.

Hair Fall

You may believe that No Poo is not working for you as you seem to be losing more hair than normal.

If you have noticed this, try to remember that when you used traditional shampoo there would always be hair loss, and this hair loss was every other day or even every day.

Therefore, when you move across to No Poo you are likely to wash your hair only once a week, or perhaps only once a fortnight. Therefore, when you No-Poo wash all your ‘normal’ hair loss has been effectively saved up and looks much more than before.

In reality, you would probably find that No Poo makes you lose fewer hairs.


If you notice that your hair is becoming dry and brittle it may be that you are washing too frequently, or using too much wash product.

This is quite often the case if you use the baking soda and ACV rinse method.

Whilst baking soda is fantastic at cleaning your hair, it can be very harsh.

Why not try to reduce the amount you wash your hair with baking soda, and the frequency. Additionally, make sure that you are diluting the ACV enough and try using a moisturizing aloe or honey mask to put the moisture back into your hair.

Scalp Problems

All of the ingredients used in No Poo are naturally kind to the skin and scalp. However, some individuals are affected by one product whilst others are not.

Always do a patch test before starting with a new ingredient.

Try swapping your wash method to one containing tea tree or aloe as these are both soothing to your scalp.

No Poo Method And Working Out

Working out can be hard on your hair, especially if you swim frequently.

However, exercise does not mean you cannot successfully No Poo. It simply means you have to tailor your hair care routine around your exercise plans.

If you swim, fully soak your hair with water first so it absorbs as few chemicals as possible, then rinse well afterward.

If you only swim once a week, make this your wash day.

For those of you worried about sweating during a workout, but do not want to wash your hair, simply rinse your hair to remove the sweat. Alternatively, add a little rye flour into dry hair that you can then brush out later.


It is not a case of does the No Poo method work, but more a case of does it work for you?

Most people who have given up traditional shampoos for No Poo would never consider going back. However, there are always exceptions.

Normally though, any problems can be overcome by a change in approach or ingredient.

Related Questions

No Poo Fine Hair Reddit

This site is a question and answer forum where you can find out people’s personal hair care experiences or ask a question of your own.

Katrina Stewardson

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I've been obsessed for almost ever with discovering the best natural hair methods for my own hair. For years I longed for one website to tell me everything I needed to know about the amazing No Poo Method movement. I just couldn't find one though, so I decided to create it myself! I dearly hope this website will save all you lovely ladies (and gents!) from wasting hours scrolling the internet looking for natural hair-related information like I did.

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