Hair Washing Without Commercial Shampoo

Hair washing without commercial shampoo has gained a huge following over the last few years.

Using natural products to keep hair clean is not only possible, it is also better for our hair. Keep reading to find out why!

Natural products are better for our hair. Commercial shampoo contains many chemicals that strip our hair of its natural oils and leave it dry and damaged. No Poo shampoos keep our hair clean and healthy without using damaging chemicals. Chemical free shampoos are better for us, and the environment.

Keep reading to find out how moving away from commercial shampoo will benefit your hair and your health.

Hair Washing Without Commercial Shampoo

Many of us have grown up using commercial shampoos and have never given it a second thought.

When you start questioning why we use commercial preparations though, a number of downsides become apparent:

1. Drying

The chemicals used in shampoos cause our hair to become dry and brittle.

2. Sebum

Commercial shampoos remove the natural oils that protect our hair from damage.

3. Oily

To make up for our natural oils being stripped by commercial shampoos our scalp produces oil to excess, meaning we wash more often in a vicious cycle.

4. Chemicals

All traditional commercial shampoos contain synthetic chemicals which can be harmful to the environment.

Advantages Of Washing Hair Without Shampoo

Washing your hair using only natural ingredients is commonly referred to as No Poo. This simply means washing your hair without traditional commercial shampoo.

The movement has been around for many decades and is growing in popularity as we realize how much damage we are causing using chemicals to keep our hair clean.

You may wonder why wash your hair without shampoo, but the list of positives is clear:


Natural shampoos are less likely to aggravate or bring about skin reactions.


Many natural shampoos are more effective against dandruff than their commercial counterparts.


The No Poo Method of not using traditional commercial shampoos helps your scalp to produce the correct amount of sebum to protect your hair and make it look super shiny and healthy.


Using fewer plastics and chemicals is better for the environment.


No Poo philosophy suggests washing your hair less frequently than you would using commercial shampoos. Therefore it takes less time to keep your hair looking shiny and healthy!

How To Wash Hair Without Shampoo

Going No Poo does not mean that you have to follow one set of strict rules. Instead, you can choose the method that suits your hair and lifestyle the best.

If you are wondering what to use to wash hair if you don’t have shampoo, keep reading as there are many different ways to go No Poo.

Below are some ways to wash your hair without shampoo:

Water Only

Washing hair without shampoo just water to keep your hair clean is one of the most difficult to achieve, especially if you live in an area with hard water.

Learn more about the water-only hair cleaning method, in this article.

Sebum Only

Sebum only hair washing is the most extreme version of No Poo, although many people have achieved great success.

As it sounds, your hair is kept shiny and clean by only using the sebum (oil) produced naturally by your scalp.

Learn more about the sebum-only method in this article.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is often used as an abrasive to keep hair clean. It is regularly teamed with an acid rinse to keep hair soft and shiny.

Here is a great guide to using baking soda to clean your hair.

Soap Nuts

Soap nuts can be used in a variety of ways and contain a natural surfactant to produce a ‘lather’ when washing your hair.

For more information on how to use soap nuts to keep your hair clean, read this guide.

Conditioner Only

Cleaning hair using conditioner only is often considered to be a transition method before going fully No Poo.

This hair-cleaning method involves only using conditioner to keep your hair clean, not shampoo.

Soap Bars

Washing hair with soap bars instead of shampoo is becoming increasingly popular and they are commercially available in many supermarkets and online.

Soap bars are superb for those looking to stay shampoo free but who travel regularly or simply do not like clutter in the bathroom.


The white and the yolk have different effects on your hair.

The yolk is full of natural oils and minerals, whereas the whites contain protein that can aid damaged hair to recover.

If you look at the above list then how to wash hair without shampoo naturally, becomes the easy option.

You may well ask what can I use instead of shampoo to wash my hair, but the truth is that the list is almost endless!

For some more ideas try reading our article What Is The No Poo Shampoo Method?

How To Clean Scalp Without Washing Hair

For someone who has only ever used commercial shampoo, the idea of being able to wash hair without shampoo, just water, seems crazy.

Each hair type is different, but there are so many options when going No Poo that you are bound to find something that suits your hair and lifestyle.

There are many people though that have fantastic looking and healthy hair, yet only use water to keep it clean and in good condition!

If you are wondering how to keep your scalp clean and free from build-up, the following methods are often used:

Scritch And Preen

When you scritch and preen, you keep your scalp clean without needing to wash your hair.

Scritching means rubbing or massaging your scalp in small movements to loosen loose follicles and move sebum off the scalp and onto each hair strand.

Preening brings oil down the hair shaft to condition each hair strand and protect it from external damage.

For more information, read our hair guide How To Scritch And Preen Your Hair.

Head Massage Brushes

Not only will using a head massage brush make your scalp tingle with joy, it will also remove dirt from the surface of your scalp making it healthier too.

Sebum Only

This is the No Poo method that only uses naturally occurring scalp oil to keep your hair and scalp in top-notch condition. Scritching and preening are a large part of this.

Boar Bristle Brush

A boar bristle brush (BBB) is one of the best brushes you can buy for moving the sebum from your scalp down to the very ends of your hair.

Using a BBB can stimulate your scalp and loosen and remove dirt and debris that would otherwise cause scalp problems in time.

These are my favorite boar bristle brushes.

Vinegar Rinse

If you do not want to wash your hair but still want a healthy scalp then using a vinegar rinse is one of the ways to achieve this.

Apple Cider Vinegar, for instance, is well known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Make sure you read our complete guide to Apple Cider Vinegar for hair, before using it!

Oatmeal Scrub

Using an oatmeal or baking soda scrub on your scalp will lift up any dirt and debris and allow the healthy condition of your hair to shine through.

How To Get Rid Of Greasy Hair Without Washing It

The first way to get rid of greasy hair is to stop washing it with traditional commercial shampoo.

This is effective since the sulfates that are contained in most commercial shampoos strip your hair of all of its protective oil and moisture.

Your scalp then produces more grease to counteract the loss and your hair looks greasier faster.

Known as the ‘transition phase’ the step between ending the use of commercial shampoos and having healthy, good-looking No Poo hair, can be a difficult period of constantly greasy hair.

This is because the previous regular use of commercial shampoo has overstimulated your scalp’s production of oil.

Over time, however, your scalp will reduce its sebum production and only produce the necessary amount to keep your hair healthy and shiny. It can however be a difficult period to cope with though.

Know the facts before starting, by reading this guide about the most likely No Poo Transition timescales.

If your hair suddenly looks greasy when going No Poo, try using an acid rinse or using No Poo dry shampoo such as corn flour to soak up some of the oil.

Try adding a spoonful of cocoa powder if you have dark hair and are worried about white flakes in your hair.

How To Wash Hair With Just Water

Water-only hair washing is possible but will work better if your water supply is soft or you are able to fit a water softener system to your water intake.

This is because hard water contains minerals that reduce the hair’s ability to take in moisture. Our hair needs this moisture to remain elastic. Otherwise, it becomes dry and prone to breakage.

If you are wondering how to wash your hair with only water see below for the steps:

  • 1. Detangle: On dry hair remove knots with fingers.
  • 2. Scritch: With small circular movements massage your scalp to loosen dead skin cells and dirt.
  • 3. Preen: Take a small portion of hair between the thumb and forefinger and draw down the natural oils to the full extent of the hair shaft.
  • 5. Wash: Wash your hair as you would when using commercial shampoo using small movements to make sure that the water can flow over every hair to wash away dirt and loose cells. Only warm water must be used. If the water is too hot it will stimulate more oil production whilst too cold during the wash phase will not wash away enough excess oil and dirt.
  • Rinse: Rinse your hair with cold water to close the cuticles and give your hair a super shiny look.
  • Dry: Pat your hair dry with a T-shirt or microfibre cloth. Never rub your hair as this will break the hair. Let hair dry fully, naturally.

Each person will have their own slight variation on this method.

As with most No Poo systems, there is no wrong way, just the way that is most suited to you and your hair.


Hair washing without commercial shampoo is becoming more popular as we understand more about the damage that commercial shampoo does not only to our hair, but also to the environment.

There are plenty of natural alternatives to commercial shampoo, and with No Poo growing in popularity, the number of tried and tested homemade recipes just keeps expanding.

Related Questions

Can You Use Hair Shampoo To Wash Clothes?

The short answer is yes. However, as laundry washing powder is specifically designed for clothes you may find that hair shampoo is less effective.

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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