No Poo Not Working: 20 Quick Fixes

Why is No Poo not working for me? I’ve literally lost count of the times this concern has been aired by individuals who have only recently moved across from traditional shampoo to a No Poo haircare regime.

The simple fact is that the transition period can be difficult to get through, often demotivating, and at times plain hard work! We all have to go through it though, one way or another, so I really do sympathize with how No Poo newbies feel.

The great thing about going No Poo is that there is a No Poo recipe out there that will leave your hair clean, healthy, and wonderfully nourished. Finding that recipe, and going through the transition phase can be difficult though, and this is why some people think that their No Poo regime is not working.

There are many reasons why you might think that No Poo is not working for you. Maybe your hair looks oily, dry, or feels brittle. Or does your hair just not feel like you want it to?

All of these problems can be put right by tweaking your chosennNo Poo method. Read on to find out how.

No Poo Not Working

Keeping your hair clean using No Poo means washing your hair, but not using traditional shampoos.

No Poo can work almost instantly, or it can take many months for your hair to get to where you want it too. How long does it take for No Poo to work is therefore a difficult question to answer as the results often vary.

The table below shows the key No Poo methods that No Poo’ers follow:

No Poo MethodsDescription
Water OnlyUsing only water to clean your hair
Sebum OnlyCleaning your hair with natural sebum and no additives
Conditioner OnlyOnly conditioner is used to clean hair.
Conditioners must be silicon, sulfate, and paraben-free
No Poo TraditionalNatural ingredients without silicons, sulfates, and parabens
Curly Girl MethodVery similar to No Poo but heated styling items not allowed.
CO-washing preferrable.
No Poo Not Working

Does No Poo work for everyone is equally difficult to answer?

Whilst there might be a No Poo recipe for everyone, it can take some people longer to find their perfect method, than others. Sadly, many people give up trying before even finding their ideal No Poo haircare method. This is why you hear lots of people claiming that No Poo didn’t work for them.

Curly and coarse hair is normally considered the easiest type of hair to have when going No Poo.

Individuals with fine or straight hair however will find the swap to No Poo more problematic. It can be done though, so hang in there.

20 Reasons Why No Poo Isn’t Working

Lets move onto some No Poo troubleshooting, to help you fix your No Poo issues as soon as possible.

Below are 20 reasons why No Poo might not be working for you:

1. Hard Water

Hard water contains chemicals that may damage your hair, or at the very least lead to build-up that weighs your hair down.

Fitting a water softener or using bottled water for your final rinse may help.

2. Wrong Method

It can take a bit of trial and error to find the best method for your hair.

Perseverance is the key.

3. Hair Loss

We all lose around 50-100 hairs per day. These hairs are normally visible when washing your hair.

With No Poo your hair is not washed daily, therefore it might seem like you loose a lot of hair each time you wash your hair.

In reality, you might actually be loosing less hair!

4. Silicone Build Up

Silicone build up is a problem when you start No Poo. Your hair cannot recover until the silicone is removed.

Either use a clarifying shampoo before starting your No Poo journey, or just No Poo knowing that it may take a little longer for your hair to be in pristine condition, since the silicones will only disappear gradually.

An egg wash can be used instead of a clarifying wash if desired.

5. No Poo Scalp Build Up

Build up can happen when you No Poo if you don’t rinse properly.

Try increasing how much you rinse, or add a vinegar rinse if you are not already.

6. Hair Porosity

The porosity of your hair will affect which methods are right for you.

Low porosity hair will need more looking after than high porosity hair.

Check your hairs porosity and look at the guide on for recipes suitable for each type fo hair.

7. Dry Hair

If you are experiencing dry hair then try a honey or aloe vera mask.

For those of you regularly using baking soda and ACV, try reducing the amount of baking soda used, or its frequency. You should also try diluting the ACV to try and balance the pH better.

8. Greasy Hair – Oil Slick

Greasy hair is common during the transition phase, when your scalp is finding its optimum level of sebum production.

If you suspect that the transition stage is the reason for your greasy hair, then try to keep going. Use braids or a hat during the worst period.

The transition period will not last for ever and the end results will be worth it.

9. Greasy Hair After No Poo Wash

If you have passed through the transition phase but still find that your hair gets greasy after a No Poo wash, then try dry shampoo or talc/rye flour between washes.

Make sure that when you rinse your hair, the water is not too hot, that it stimulates more sebum production.

10. Waxy Hair

This can be the result of hard water, so fitting a water softener or using distilled water may help.

Also, using a boar bristle brush (and cleaning your brush regularly) will help.

11. Smelly Hair

At the beginning of your No Poo journey you might find that your hair has a different scent to usual. This will normally go away itself.

If you find that you would like a scent, then using a few drops of essential oil in your No Poo shampoo or rinse will help.

12. Dandruff

When you go No Poo, especially if you use baking soda and ACV as a rinse, make sure that you rinse all of the baking soda away. Otherwise, when your hair dries you may find white flakes which look very much like dandruff.

If your scalp is dry, flaky, and itchy, then try using an aloe vera shampoo or mask, or alternatively add some rosemary or tea tree oil to your routine. Both of these methods are well respected for adding moisture to your scalp, and soothing any irritation.

13. Contact Dermatitis

Sometimes we’re just highly sensitive and although most people don’t react to a certain product, you may.

If you’re intending to start using new ingredients always do a patch test first to check that your skin is happy.

14. Hair Breakage

Here are two reasons why you may notice your hair is breaking:

  • Silicons: If you have just transitioned to No Poo, you might have washed all the silicone from your hair, and now be able to see how these chemicals were damaging your hair with their false covering.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is a brilliant method for cleaning your hair. However, it is very abrasive. If you use it too much it may leave your hair brittle and prone to breakage. Try lowering the amount of baking soda that you use, and/or increase the time between washes.

15. Hair Lightening / Color Stripping

Some No Poo methods are too harsh to use on colored hair, and may even remove some of the color from your natural hair.

If you find this happening then move to a more gentle cleansing agent.

For example, clay washes will often mean you can have healthy hair that is also clean. Clay brings out your natural color rather than smothering it.

16. Greasy Roots And Dry Ends

If you are going water only then this can be a particular problem.

Make sure that you preen correctly and use a boar bristle brush every day to draw down the sebum from your hairs roots, to the tips.

Cleaning your BBB is a must after every use.

17. Frizzy Hair

No Poo followers regularly say that going No Poo actually cured their frizzy hair.

If you find yourself having frizzy hair, then make sure your hair is thoroughly moisturized.

Also, use a t-shirt to pat dry your hair and do not rub dry it. Rubbing your hair dry will open up your hair cuticles and allow more moisture to penetrate that could lead to frizzy hair.

18. Itchy Scalp

This could be caused by many different things, but, thorough rinsing, tea tree oil and aloe vera, and correct scritching will often solve your problems of an itchy scalp.

19. Tangling

If you are still experimenting with your No Poo method you might find that your hair is more knotty than usual.

Try an olive oil mask which will also provide moisture and help you tease out the knots in your tresses.

Some people also find that an egg wash helps to keep their hair tangle-free.

20. Pre-Poo Or Not?

If you have non-porous hair then pre-pooing (moisturising before washing) should stop your hair from becoming dry.

A weekly hair mask with your hair wrapped in a warm towel will also open your hair to receive the moisturizing product and help it stay healthy.


The reasons for No Poo not working are as varied as the number of ways you can No Poo to keep your hair clean.

With just a little perseverance and maybe a few alterations to your No Poo regime you can keep No Poo’ing and enjoy the benefits of healthy-looking, shiny, and nourished hair.

Very occasionally those who have No Poo’d for a while may also find that their hair is not responding as it used to and need to find new recipes to revitalize their hair. So, this goes to show that it is not just newbies who experience No Poo issues from time to time.

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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