The No Poo movement has been gaining in popularity, especially over the last few years, but is the No Poo method good for curly hair?
The No Poo Method is beneficial to curly hair as the natural oils are allowed to penetrate the porous hair and can lead to more silky and less frizzy hair. Curly and coarse hair needs more nourishment to remain healthy. No Poo method recommends using aloe vera and honey to deeply condition curls.
There are many alternatives to using traditional shampoos, but not all products work with all hair types.
Curly hair especially tends to need more moisture to nourish the curls and stop them from becoming dry and brittle.
I was interested in learning which No Poo products would be best for keeping my wavy and curly hair looking fabulous and healthy.
This is what I discovered…
Is The No Poo Method Good For Curly Hair?
The No Poo Movement is a controversial haircare method that has gained popularity over the last few decades.
This natural hair care method uses natural products such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar to clean hair.
Traditional conditioners are also replaced with products like coconut or honey, which many individuals consider to be effective moisturizing alternatives.
a. Taming Frizzy Hair
The No Poo method can be used by people with all hair types, however, it is particularly helpful for those with curly hair since curly hair is generally more porous than other types of hair.
It, therefore, absorbs everything in the air around it, including moisture, which can lead to frizzy hair.
Nobody wants frizzy, dry unmanageable curls. Consequently, the haircare market for people with curls and waves is awash with products manufactured to tame frizzy, curly locks.
Before you rush down the commercial haircare route though, keep in mind that this may not be the best way to show off your curls to their fullest.
Instead, the No Poo method might be better for your curly hair.
The reason behind this thinking, is that the No Poo method was devised by individuals with dry, brittle curly hair.
These curly haired gals realized that the chemicals in traditional shampoos and conditioners were actually harming their hair and damaging their curls.
They found that the best way to repair the damage was to find a way of cleaning curly hair that relied only upon natural ingredients.
b. Preening / Brushing / Drying
The No Poo method of preening, brushing, and drying with a cotton material is effective for curly hair, since it moves your bodies natural sebum oils down to the ends of the hair.
This reduces breakage and leaves each curl moisturized and manageable.
A wide-toothed comb rather than a boar bristle brush is probably the best option for curly and wavy hair.
c. High PH / High Acidity
Using products with a high pH (alkaline pH >7) or with too high acidity (pH <7) will lead to damage to both skin and hair.
Curly hair is more porous than other types of hair and will suck up anything around it.
As such, some tweaks to the No Poo process are needed to keep curls bouncy and full of life.
The No Poo method was originally designed for curly, dry hair, but some often used products should be used sparingly by those with curly hair.
What Is The No Poo Method?
Hair washing without traditional shampoo is referred to as the No Poo method.
Dependent upon hair type and the alternative products used, the No Poo method can lead to a healthier scalp and glossier, more manageable hair.
Traditional shampoos are unlike the No Poo method of haircare since they contain sulfates and silicones that create foam and leave hair clean and glossy.
One of the best-kept secrets of the commercial haircare world, however, is that these chemicals are potentially responsible for drying out the user’s hair!
Continued washing with traditional shampoo consequently results in the user having to apply additional products to restore the moisture that the traditional shampoo has removed. This creates a vicious cycle!
The aim of all of the No Poo systems/recipes is to allow the scalp to self regulate its oil production.
It also allows hair to be both clean and healthier owing to the body’s healthy oils, rather than using harsh chemicals to strip the hair shaft clean and then attempting to replenish the lost nutrients by dousing the hair in environmentally unfriendly conditioners.
Even natural products can drag down curls if not used sparingly.
With curly hair, less is most definitely more.
Benefits Of No Poo For Curly Hair
There are pros and cons of using No Poo for curly hair.
Here are the pros:
1. Better Curls
No Poo can increase the moisture levels in your hair. This will lead to bouncier, silkier, and more manageable curls.
Because the curls are already moisture-rich there is less chance that they will frizz in high humidity.
If a user only users traditional shampoo, rather than a No Poo method, their hair is also at risk of a build-up of product that can weigh down the hair and leave curls limp and sad-looking.
2. Less Hair Breakage
No Poo methods are not thought to cause hair breakage.
The continued use of traditional shampoo/conditioner products will eventually leave hair, and especially curly hair, prone to breakage.
3. Reduction Of Chemicals
Moving from traditional shampoos to No Poo means that you are reducing your carbon footprint, reducing the amount of plastic waste, and allowing your scalp, hair, and skin to be healthier in the long run.
With No Poo you are completely in control of everything that does and does not go into keeping your hair and scalp in top-notch condition.
Concerns about parabens (other harmful chemicals) are also a reason for looking for a more natural way to clean our hair.
The natural methods of hair care, such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar washes can effectively clean hair leaving it shinier and with more volume.
Caution with baking soda is necessary though as it can be very drying to curls.
4. Reduction Of Waste
A No Poo lifestyle removes all traditional shampoo bottles from your life, thereby reducing waste to landfills and reducing the carbon footprint from transportation.
5. New Products
The advantage of No Poo is that there are many different natural products that can be used to keep your hair clean and healthy-looking, and most of these are already in your kitchen.
This means that it’s easier to change to other options as required, without having to store a huge number of different products in the bathroom, taking up space and reducing your bank balance!
When transitioning from traditional shampoos to a No Poo method the likelihood is that you will go from washing your hair every day to washing only once a week, sometimes even less frequently depending on your hair type.
This saves time every day that can be put to better use and adds up over the course of a year.
With curly hair, any oiliness is less obvious and as a result, the transition phase should be less difficult than for those with fine or straight hair.
Downsides Of No Poo For Curly Hair
There are a few disadvantages to using No Poo for curly hair, although these can normally be resolved by making slight alterations to the normal method:
1. Water Strength
Those who like strong jets of water whilst showering may have to reduce the strength slightly so that the strong water does not disrupt the hair’s natural curl shape.
A workaround could simply be to lower the shower head so that the waterfalls only on your body until you’re ready to wash your hair (source 1).
2. Baking Soda Problems
Baking soda is used a great deal in the No Poo method to cleanse the hair.
For curly hair though baking soda with its high pH can strip too much moisture from the scalp which means that there is not enough sebum to travel down each curl to nourish it effectively.
Limiting the amount and time that baking soda is used can still mean that curly-haired No Pooers can use this natural product to cleanse their hair (source 1).
Those with curly hair may need to experiment a little more to find the perfect combination of products to leave their hair in perfect condition.
No Poo Hair Wash Methods
The No Poo method rejects traditional shampoos in favor of using natural products that are often found in our kitchens.
The table below is just a small number of products that can be used to keep hair clean and healthy without using traditional shampoos.
There are many more options and all have pros and cons, where certain products are more beneficial. to certain hair types, than others.
It is a personal choice which method you use, and please remember that results will vary!
Unless you hit upon the right combination the first time (which is rare), it is worth experimenting to see how amazing your hair can look and feel using different products and techniques.
Alternative products for clean and healthy hair include:
|No Poo |
|Baking Soda||This has a high pH and is |
used to cleanse the hair
|Apple Cider |
|This is used as a rinse, |
usually after a baking
soda clean. ACV has a
low pH and is useful as
a conditioning tool
|This is using conditioner |
to clean hair, but DIY
conditioners can be made
to keep to a No Poo
|Water Only||Using only water to clean |
hair sounds simple, but
actually one of the most
difficult to achieve the
No Poo movement
|Egg Wash||Use all of the eggs if your |
hair is ‘normal’, the whites
help for overly oily hair,
whilst the yolks provide
nutrients for ‘dry’ hair and
are therefore great for
|Clay Wash||Clay masks can both |
cleanse and nourish.
They are brilliant for curly
hair, especially to
encourage curls to form
a more defined shape.
Benefits Of No Poo For Hair
There are many benefits of No Poo, ranging from savings in time and cost, to positive environmental impacts.
No Poo can also leave your curly hair with more nourished, defined, and manageable curls.
The table below looks at the benefits of No Poo for hair:
|Nourishing||Naturally produced sebum coats the |
individual hair strands adding moisture
and reducing the chance of curls frizzing
|Natural||The No Poo method only uses natural |
products. Without stripping the hairs
natural protection using chemicals, the
scalp has a chance to repair previous
damage and may lead to healthier curls
that hold their shape without needing
|Time||Using the No Poo method, curly hair |
may only need to be washed weekly,
and sometimes even less frequently.
This saves you time every day and
lessens the chance of curl breakage
due to over management
|Cost||This is where curly hair is beneficial. |
As curly hair also tends to be coarse
and porous it is easy to manage
using the No Poo method. Once you
have passed through the transition
period you may find that you no longer
need to spend extra money on styling
products as your curls will naturally
be healthy and bouncy
How To Do No Poo For Curly Hair
No Poo for curly hair is similar to No Poo for other hair types.
To get the best from your new No Poo regime you need to know your hair type.
Once you know this, tailoring No Poo to the needs of your hair will be easy.
How healthy is your curl?
- Take hold of a curl so that you can see it.
- Pull down your curl until it is straight, and let go!
- If your curl springs back immediately to its original shape then your curls are in good condition.
- If your curl looses its shape or takes a while to return to how it was, then your curls need extra help.
Although curly hair is often porous it is always a good idea to check the porosity levels so that you can choose the best natural products for your individual hair.
Remember that whilst one method may work wonders for one person, this doesn’t automatically mean that it will work for everyone.
3. Baking Soda With Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Here we’ll focus on the most popular method for curly-haired gals i.e. the baking soda with an apple cider vinegar rinse.
Try this method to understand the porosity of your hair (source 1):
- Wash hair with a non-sulphate shampoo and do not condition.
- Take a small bowl full of water.
- Place a few hairs into the bowl and gently push them under the water.
- Wait for approx. 4 minutes.
- Check the bowl and see if the hair floats/sinks/stay mid-way.
- Low porosity hair will remain on top, medium will stay half way, high porosity hair will sink.
4. How To Apply Baking Soda Hair Wash
- Natural Products: Choose your natural products; the higher your hairs porosity, the lower amount of baking soda you should use.
- Make A Paste: Mix a teaspoon of baking soda into a paste with water and wet your hair with lukewarm water. Do not use water that is too hot as this will stimulate overproduction of sebum which may make your hair greasy.
- Apply Paste: Apply the baking soda paste to your scalp and massage in. Make sure that you aim to only apply the paste to your scalp and not to your curls. Whilst it is a wonderful product for cleaning your scalp, baking soda has a high pH which will dry out your curls if used too much. If your hair is highly porous then warming some coconut oil and running it through your curls before washing can help stop the baking soda drying your hair (source 1).
- Wash Thoroughly: Wash out the baking soda thoroughly.
- Spray With Apple Cider Vinegar: Spray your scalp and hair with 1 part ACV to 5 parts water and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Wash out the ACV with cool water. Cold water will close the hairs cuticles and lessen frizz, leaving your hair looking shiny and healthy.
- Dry Hair: Dry your hair with a cotton t-shirt or similar in a dabbing motion. Do not scrub hair dry as this will make it frizzy and lose the definition of your curls.
- Wide-Toothed Comb: Use a wide-toothed comb to style hair. Do not use a boar bristle brush as this will damage your curls (source 1).
The environment in which you live will have an effect on the success of your No Poo journey.
If you live in the center of a city, with high pollution and hard water you may wish to use a pre-wash rinse to rid your hair of the contaminants that your hair has picked up during the day.
However, if you live in the remote countryside and use spring water, you may find that you only need water to keep your hair looking amazing.
Most people however will fall in the middle ground and trial and error of products is the best option.
6. Scritch And Preen Your Hair
Do this all over your scalp, just taking a few strands of hair at a time.
Here’s how to scritch and preen your hair correctly:
- De-tangle dry hair with your fingers.
- Massage all over your scalp using your fingers, just as you would if you were using shampoo.
- Try using small circular movements to make sure you reach all of the follicles.
- Take a few strands of hair at a time, then pinch your hair at the root and drag your fingers down the hair.
Should I Stop Shampooing My Curly Hair?
Traditional shampoos contain sulfates and chemicals that with regular traditional shampooing can leave curly hair dry and brittle.
Using a No Poo approach can result in your hair becoming healthier and more nourished, keeping your curls in good condition and less prone to frizz.
Does No Poo Make Your Hair Curly?
No Poo does not make your hair curly.
Using the No Poo method will not change your hair type.
What it will do is enhance the hair that you have and leave it more manageable, healthier-looking, and silky smooth.
If your hair is wavy or curly then the No Poo method will keep your curls in great shape and provide naturally moisture-rich tresses with curls and waves that frizz less and are easier to keep looking wonderful.
No Poo Water Only Curly Hair
Water-only washing uses only water to keep hair healthy and clean.
Water-only washing works for all hair types but those whose hair is dry, coarse, and curly may find that they achieve the best results.
Warm/cool water should be used rather than hot water as this will overstimulate sebum production and leave hair greasier more quickly.
If you are following the water-only No Poo method haircare route, make sure that you always scritch and preen your hair before washing it in water.
This is important as it helps spread the sebum down the whole hair shaft to completely nourish your curls and keep them from dropping out into a tangled, wiry mess.
For a more in-depth look at the No Poo water only route, make sure you read my article ‘Does Water Only Hair Washing Work?‘.
What To Use Instead Of Shampoo For Curly Hair
There are many natural products available when using a No Poo approach.
Some methods are more useful for curly-haired individuals than others.
Many curly-haired gals swear by the following No Poo wash methods:
1. Egg Wash
Egg works wonders on curly hair, providing it with extra nourishment and protein to keep strength in the curls.
The protein in the egg will help repair any damage that has happened to the curls.
Always use cool or cold water for egg washing.
Please keep in mind though, that if your hair has low porosity then too much egg may leave it stiff.
If this issue sounds familiar you will need to reduce the number of egg washes used and apply a deep conditioning treatment to restore your locks.
2. Clay Mask
Clay masks both cleanse your hair and are moisture-rich, leaving your curls with wonderful definition and easy to manage.
3. No Poo Shampoos
No Poo shampoos are commercially available pre-formulated shampoos that do not contain sulfates or silicones.
They come in various types. Some No Poo shampoos have been specifically designed for curly hair.
4. Filtered Water
Not all water is the same.
Water in hard water areas is full of chemicals that can leave your hair looking dull and lifeless, weighing down your curls.
To improve your hair, filtered water could be the answer. This will make sure that your hair is chemical-free, and will allow your hair to shine again.
Either boil it before using, fit a water purifier, or use bottled water for your last rinse.
This No Poo wash method is often used by those with curly hair because their hair type requires more nourishment to keep it in good condition.
As the number of people using a Low Poo approach increases, so does the number of products on the market that cater to differing hair types.
Dry and curly hair individuals can now easily purchase Low Poo shampoos made specifically for them, including honey and coconut to help curly hair be more silky and manageable without weighing it down.
DIY No Poo Shampoo For Curly Hair
Using a No Poo approach has been an eye-opener for the uses of products we normally have in the kitchen.
Some of these handy kitchen products are incredibly useful for curly hair to make sure that it’s always in amazing condition.
|Banana||Bananas contain naturally occurring |
silica and have been shown to help
those with dry and sensitive scalps
|Aloe vera has antibacterial properties |
and leaves hair smooth and
|Honey||Brilliantly moisture-rich for bouncy |
|These oils have been used to improve |
health for hundreds of years. Each oil
has its own property that can be used
with a carrier oil, or added to a rinse,
to improve the health of your scalp
and hair and improve the quality of
|Packed full of vitamin E and |
beneficial oil to moisturize and
improve shine and help keep
What Is The Curly Girl Method?
The Curly Girl method (CG) is very similar to No Poo.
However, the CG approach has more ‘rules’ to follow (source 1,2):
- No Heated Stying Tools: CG does not permit the use of heated styling tools such as hairdryers and straighteners.
- No Chemical Straighteners: Nor are chemical straighteners allowed.
- No Brushing: Brushing dry hair is out, along with towel drying.
Like No Poo though, the use of sulfate shampoos is forbidden, although conditioners are permitted as long as they are sulfate-free.
However, the CG method creator does state that people who suffer particularly oily hair may still need to use traditional shampoos to keep on top of the oil.
The amount of shampoo recommended though, is half a teaspoon, which is far less than normal usage.
No Poo Vs Curly Girl Method
The No Poo method provides a lot of freedom to the individual that isn’t available to those attempting to follow the Curly Girl method.
If you need strict guidelines and rules to follow to make sure your journey is successful then the curly girl method may be the one for you.
However, if you prefer a more relaxed approach with a little more freedom, No Poo could be the best path for you to follow.
The tables below compare the No Poo method Vs Curly Girl Method.
Take a look to see how these two methods differ:
1. Non-Sulphate Shampoo
|No Poo||Curly Girl |
|Not necessary once the |
transition period has
|CG permits |
2. Heated Styling Products
|No Poo||Curly Girl |
|Although not in favor, does |
allow their use, as long as
no additional styling products
|No heated styling |
3. Boar Bristle Brush (BBB)
|No Poo||Curly Girl |
|No Poo considers the |
use of a BBB a
|No brushes should be |
used whilst drying hair
4. Who Is Method Aimed At?
|No Poo||Curly Girl |
|No Poo is for everyone |
regardless of their hair
|CG focuses on curly hair |
with a sideline for wavy
5. Conditioner / Clarifying Shampoo
|No Poo||Curly Girl Method|
|No Poo is entirely |
|CG allows washing with |
The No Poo method is based upon using natural products to give us healthy and good-looking hair.
But is the No Poo method good for curly hair?
There are very many benefits of using a No Poo approach for curly hair.
In fact, the No Poo approach could be said to work best for those who have coarse and curly hair.
It’s useful to know what type of curl you have so that the most appropriate natural products can be chosen.
After rejecting traditional shampoos that strip our hair of natural moisture, No Poo allows optimum sebum to be produced and brought down the hair shaft, to create perfect, frizz-free curls.
No Poo Products
There are many No Poo products available, making it easy to No Poo, no hassle. However, with so many recipes available, take a look and make your own. A banana mask is a great one ingredient start.