When I first joined the No Poo Movement I couldn’t figure out the No Poo lingo!
I felt baffled by all the acronyms and had to spend far too much time deciphering what each sentence meant. It was so bad that I pondered whether continuing along the No Poo Movement was worth it. Thankfully I kept going.
Washing your hair without using traditional shampoos is known as No Poo. There are many abbreviations within the No Poo world that can be confusing to those who are just starting out. The No Poo Dictionary can help demystify the topic and help you achieve your No Poo aims more quickly.
I understood that all topics have their own language and can appear impenetrable to those starting with the subject.
No Poo was no different from the rest, as even the name No Poo is an abbreviation that needs to be explained to beginners!
Learning the lingo was a challenge, so I decided to create a No Poo method dictionary that other newbies to the movement would find useful. And here it is!
Hopefully, you will find my No Poo method abbreviations list below useful, particularly newcomers who I wish to feel at ease with the subject and able to get the most from their journey right from the get-go.
As the No Poo methods of cleaning hair without shampoo evolve and change, more new words and abbreviations will inevitably creep into this natural hair care world.
Therefore, if you are a newbie and find the No Poo terminology confusing, don’t stress! Instead, check out my updated No Poo method dictionary below.
No Poo Method Abbreviations List
In an attempt to make their hair healthier, and help the environment by reducing the number of chemicals being used, a growing number of people have turned to the No Poo method.
This natural method of hair cleansing uses natural products to keep hair clean and healthy whilst reducing the amounts of packaging ending up in landfills.
As the No Poo movement has grown there has been an ever-increasing amount of No Poo terminology and natural hair terms that many people outside the movement cannot understand.
Acronyms and shorthand versions of concepts are everywhere and can be at best confusing for newcomers, and at worst, can put them off their No Poo journey before they’ve even started.
This Natural hair dictionary should help you to navigate through the No Poo world with much more ease.
No Poo Dictionary
After scratching my head (metaphorically) on numerous occasions I thought that it would be a good idea to write a comprehensive list to help out anyone who needs it.
Below are some of the commonly used No Poo terms:
This stands for ‘Apple Cider Vinegar’ which is often used diluted as a hair rinse, especially after cleansing hair with baking soda.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) can be bought from most supermarkets.
If you plan on using ACV, make sure that you dilute the apple cider vinegar before applying it to your hair, or you may find that your hair becomes very dry and brittle over time.
BS is also known as baking soda.
Baking Soda is used in No Poo to clean hair.
This haircare wash method is considered to be a rather harsh wash method that can be damaging for many users. So be careful!
It is regularly partnered with a ACV rinse to balance the pH and act as a moisturizer.
The famous Boar Bristle Brush (BBB).
This is a hair brush made with natural boar hair that is gentle on the hair and leaves it shiny and manageable, with less frizz.
Many people who use these brushes say that they can reduce the amount of conditioner they use, and even wash their hair less frequently because the brush draws down the natural sebum so effectively that their hair is conditioned to the max.
Most easily available from an online shop.
CGM stands for the ‘Curly Girl Method’.
CGM is not unlike the No Poo method.
The Curly Girl Method is a way to look after your hair more naturally. It was developed with curly-haired people in mind.
Traditional shampoo and heated styling methods are not permitted, nor are brushes or combs (source 1,2).
Washing with conditioner only is also known as ‘Co-Washing’.
The crunch is the resulting effect of putting products in your hair (especially curly hair), that once dry leave a type of mask over your hair.
If you hear someone talking about DC, they are simply referring to ‘Deep Condition’.
Deep conditioning can be done before or after washing, and as often as your hair needs the extra moisture to keep it in top shape.
Flax seed gel or honey are just two of the many natural hair conditioning agents available for No Poo’ers (source 1,2).
This is basically a way of describing how much hair you have.
High-density hair is thick hair, whilst low-density hair is thin.
This knowledge allows you to choose products more wisely, since heavier products may weigh down low-density hair, etc (source 1).
Also known as ‘essential oil’.
Essential oils are oils distilled from any number of plants, (source 1) that are used in No Poo to benefit the hair.
Example 1: A mixture of cedarwood, lavender, and sandalwood in a carrier oil can combat a dry scalp (source 1).
Example 2: Tea tree oil can be used as a spritz after rinsing. It leaves your hair smelling wonderful and its natural antibacterial properties can aid your scalp.
Essential oils, however unusual they are, can be purchased from health shops and online retailers.
FRW means ‘Fermented Rice Wash’.
Fermented rice washes are thought to add protein to hair, and be good for dandruff.
The smell of FRW can be overpowering (source 1).
If you hear someone say FSG, they are talking about ‘Flax Seed Gel’.
Mostly used by those with curly hair to hold curls in place.
Flax seed gel is easy to make at home, and flax seeds are readily available online and from most health food stores (source 1).
Using shampoo without sulfates or silicones in, is a Low Poo method of hair washing which is often used whilst transitioning to No Poo.
Low Poo has significant benefits over traditional shampoos, and for some people, it fits in better with their lifestyle than a fully No Poo existence.
Low Poo products are becoming increasingly available in local supermarkets, though a wider range are available online and from dedicated health stores.
No Poo is the method of cleaning your hair without using traditional shampoos.
No Poo recipes do not contain sulfates, parabens, or silicons, all of which are considered to be damaging not only to your hair and scalp, but also to the environment.
The basis of the No Poo Movement, is that the chemicals in traditional shampoos will strip your hair of its natural oils, leading to an unhealthy scalp with dry, unmanageable hair.
No Poo’ers consider traditional shampoo to cause a vicious circle, whereby you need to use a series of more manufactured products to try to restore your hair to its natural state.
People who follow the No Poo method.
Every product has a pH level.
A lower value corresponds to a higher acidity level, whereas a higher value means that the product is more alkaline.
The pH value of hair is around 4.5 – 5 so anything too high or low could harm your hair in the long term (source 1).
Plopping involves wrapping wet hair in a t-shirt or a microfibre cloth.
The aim is to stop wet hair dripping where it shouldn’t and to help the hair dry quickly so that it is ready for brushing and styling.
This is how much moisture your hair takes in from the environment around it.
Porous hair takes in more moisture than non-porous hair, and as such it retains more of the sebum brought down by a BBB.
This is the process of moving the natural oil down from your scalp, to the ends of your hair using your fingertips.
If you want to preen your hair, make sure that you take small sections of hair at a time to preen or you won’t be able to cover each individual hair effectively.
This refers to pre-shampoo treatments.
Pre-poo often involves using oils or conditioning products such as honey, to moisturize the hair before washing.
Scritching is the process of massaging your scalp to loosen sebum, dead cells, and dirt as part of the water only approach.
The best way to scritch, is to use small circular movements to make sure you reach all of the hair follicles.
SO stands for Sebum Only.
Sebum only is a No Poo method whereby no washing is involved. Instead, the individual cleans their hair by combing their hair.
Combing is effective at removing dust and dirt from hair, whilst also pulling oils down to the end of your hair.
The ability for your fingers to ‘slip’ through the hair, because it is clean.
SN stands for Soap Nuts.
Soap Nuts are mixed with water to make a wash.
Soap Nuts can be bought online or can be made at home quite simply (source 1).
Scrunch Out The Crunch!
SOTC is scrunching your hair – usually curls – to break up the thin layer of product left on the hair once dried.
This is the time it takes for your hair to become healthy and not too oily once you have rejected traditional shampoos and conditioners.
The transition phase varies from person to person.
For some, two weeks is plenty for their scalp to produce the optimum amount of sebum. For others, it can take six months or even more.
If you hear someone say TR, they are referring to a ‘Tea Rinse’.
Tea rinses are made with any type of tea, each having its own restorative property.
WCM is an acronym for ‘Wash Cloth Method’.
The washcloth method is normally used when doing water-only hair washing.
Once washed using warm water, a cloth is used down the hair 100 times on each side to bring the sebum to the ends of the hair.
WO stands for ‘Water Only’.
No shampoo or other ingredients are involved in WO, since WO involves just washing the hair using water.
Warm water helps to loosen sebum.
Cold water is used at the end of the wash process. It is effective at closing the hair follicle to aid shine.
Scritching and preening is an important part of the WO method.
I hope that you have found this No Poo method abbreviations list useful, as I appreciate learning all the No Poo terminology can be challenging!
I really wish that something like this No Poo Method Abbreviations List had been available when I was starting out.
As the No Poo movement grow