5 Ways To Keep Hair Clean In Between Washes

A key theme of the No Poo Movement is that followers are encouraged not to wash their hair as frequently, thereby encouraging the scalp’s natural sebum to coat, protect and moisturize each hair strand.

If following a No Poo lifestyle is your goal, keep reading to discover five of the most effective ways to keep hair clean in between washes.

Going No Poo enables your hair to be nourished by your scalp’s natural oils, known as sebum. The following five methods will keep your hair clean in-between washes:

  • Rinsing
  • Scritching and Preening
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Up Do’s and Braiding
  • Spritzing Hair With Water Mixed With Essential Oil

Washing your hair less frequently does not mean that your hair needs to be less clean than when you were using traditional shampoos.

Since washing hair strips your hair of its natural oils, the methods detailed below are a great way of extending the gap between hair washing days. This will help prevent your hair from becoming dry and prone to breakage.

Read on to discover 5 top tips for keeping your hair clean in-between washes.

5 Ways To Keep Hair Clean In Between Washes

Some people consider co-washing between ‘official’ washes to be a way to keep hair clean.

However, it is important to note that washing hair with conditioner may be gentler on your hair, but it is still a wash and should be kept to a minimum.

If you want to know how to keep hair clean in between washes then make sure you read on!

Here are the top 5 ways for keeping hair clean, smelling great, and looking fab in-between washes:

1. Rinse

Can I rinse my hair between washes, is a legitimate query that many individuals thinking about joining the No Poo bandwagon ask.

If you feel that your hair is dirty but it is not yet time for a wash, then you can rinse out the dirt and debris from your hair.

Use cool water as this will shift the dirt but will not strip out the scalp’s natural oils, as using warm or hot water on your hair would.

Rinsing is a useful option to feel ‘fresh’ if you have been to the gym or work in a dusty or dirty environment.

2. Scritch, Preen, And Brush

If your hair is looking oily, it may feel dirty too.

Try using the scritch, preen, and brushing method as described in my fact-filled articles below:

Scritching, preening, and brushing are effective methods to help keep hair clean in between washes since they assist in moving the scalp’s natural oil down the individual hair strands.

Your hair is then able to soak up its natural oils.

This method is particularly beneficial for No Poo’ers since it does not unbalance your scalp’s sebum production levels.

For best results, make sure you use a boar bristle brush (or a vegan alternative).

3. No Poo Dry Shampoo

Have you been wondering how to freshen up your hair without dry shampoo? Well, here is the solution you have been waiting for, a No Poo-approved dry shampoo!

Whilst this is commonly referred to as a dry shampoo, in reality, it is not. This is because the flour will not clean your hair but will hide the greasiness effectively.

Here is how to use No Poo dry shampoo correctly:

  1. Make your own dry shampoo at home using cornflour or rye flour.
  2. Simply brush or tease cornflour or rye flour through your hair.
  3. The easiest way to do this is by holding your head upside down and working the flour through your hair over an easily cleanable surface.
  4. Try not to put too much flour on your scalp though as it may stimulate your scalp to produce more sebum.
  5. If you have dark hair, then a spoonful of cocoa mixed in to the flour can keep it hidden in your hair.

4. Up-Do Or Braiding

Although not a way to clean your hair between washes, you can successfully extend the time between having to wash your hair by simply experimenting with new hairstyles.

For example, if you braid your hair or wear it in a bun then you can get another day or two grace before absolutely having to wash it.

5. Odour

Have you been worried about how to freshen hair without washing?

Are you concerned that your hair might start to smell, and everyone around you will notice?

If you are worried that your hair is smelling less than wonderfully fresh, then consider using a spritz of essential oil mixed with water.

This is a great way to mask any potential hair smells that you might be experiencing during the No Poo transition phase, and helps to keep your hair ‘acceptable’ until you are ready to wash it.

If you are only just starting out on your No Poo journey you may find that over time your hair naturally needs washing less as your scalp reaches its optimum sebum production level.

Finding the right No Poo wash regime will also help lengthen the time between washes as your hair becomes stronger and more readily able to accept the nourishment provided by your natural oils (source 1).

What Is The No Poo Method?

Many individuals who are keen to improve the health of their hair and reduce their reliance on man-made chemicals, look at going No Poo.

Your hair can get dirty for a number of reasons, including:

  • Environmental Pollution
  • Sweat During Exercise
  • Excess Natural Oils Which Attract Dirt
  • Work Environment e.g. Factories
  • Swimming (Pool or Ocean)

Rather than using traditional shampoos and conditioners to clean their hair, No Poo followers use their scalp’s own oils (known as sebum) alongside other various natural products to wash and keep their hair clean.

No Poo’ers reject traditional shampoos as they believe the sulfates normally found in traditional shampoos strip the natural oils from their hair, in addition to stripping the dirt.

The sulfates contained within traditional shampoos are also thought to remove your hair’s natural protection and ‘weatherproofing’, leaving hair prone to becoming dry and damaged.

No Poo’ers argue that the silicons in traditional shampoo and conditioner are purely there to cover up the damage caused by the sulfates.

They also state that these silicons further compound the issue by also making it impossible for your hair to absorb the natural oils generated by your scalp.

Furthermore, washing your hair stimulates your scalp to produce even more sebum.

Therefore, since the hair strands are unable to absorb these natural oils due to the presence of silicone on each hair strand, natural oils then sit on top of your hair shaft and make your hair look greasy, cue shampooing again!

This is the vicious circle that going No Poo intends to stop.

One of the strategies of No Poo followers is to extend the length of time between washing their hair. Let me explain this in a little bit more detail …

Basically, when using traditional shampoo it is normal to wash your hair either every day or every other day.

However, when following No Poo protocols, washing hair once a week is considered the new “normal”, and many people try to stretch out the time between washes even further than this!

The reason No Poo’ers try to stretch out the gap between hair washes is to allow their scalps time to reach an optimum sebum level, which in turn leaves their hair and scalp fully nourished and moisturized without the use of conventional shampoo and conditioner.

Whilst this is ideal, for some individuals the process of transitioning to No Poo will not be quite as simple as this.

Instead, an individual’s hair type will also play a key part in determining how often you have to wash your hair to keep it in good condition. Simply speaking, how often you wash your hair is as individual as your hair is.

Take a look at the list below to see how different hair types react in totally different ways to each other when transitioning to a No Poo lifestyle:

Fine Straight Hair

If this is your hair type then you may find that the oils sit on your hair and weigh it down.

It may not be possible for individuals with fine straight hair to leave too much time between washes.

The best approach for individuals with this hair type is to reduce the amount of Low Poo shampoo that they use or try using very gentle No Poo cleansers.

Curly Hair

Curly hair is often dry and in need of extra moisture.

This type of hair can go the longest between washes as with the correct routine the oil (sebum) can be moved down the hair shaft to nourish every part of every hair strand.

The scalp’s natural oils will penetrate the hair shaft of curly hair, rather than sitting on top and therefore it takes longer for your hair to look greasy and in need of a wash.

High Porosity Hair

Highly porous hair takes in moisture readily.

Unfortunately, on the flip side, it also loses moisture just as quickly!

Less frequent washing is beneficial for individuals with this hair type since it reduces the likelihood of hygral fatigue.

The scalp’s natural sebum will be absorbed readily by your hair and lessen the chances of frizz.

Low Porosity Hair

This type of hair has tightly closed cuticles that make it difficult for the scalp’s natural sebum to penetrate.

It may be necessary to wash hair with a milder product more frequently than you perhaps like, or use a dry shampoo between washes to keep excess oil at bay.

How To Keep Hair Smelling Good Between Washes

Below is a list of how to freshen hair between washes:

  • Essential Oil Spritz: Fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of your chosen essential oil. Spray onto your hair for a lovely lingering scent.
  • Talc: Running talc through the mid sections of your hair will remove the ‘dirty’ smell. Make sure though that your talc does not contain fragrance that would render it not No Poo.
  • Flour: Follow the same method as advised for talc.
  • Cinnamon: Use with or without flour.
  • Rosewater: Spray rosewater onto your hair.
  • Lemon: Place a slice of lemon in some water and leave for 10 minutes. Stir and remove the lemon. Spray your lemon water lightly over your hair. Make sure that you do not leave the lemon in the water for too long though as you may experience a sticky residue in your hair.


Working out how to keep hair clean in between washes can be a challenge, particularly when you are first starting out on a No Poo lifestyle path.

Rinsing out dirt whilst not stripping out the natural oils is an option, as is the use of a No Poo dry shampoo.

No Poo’ers can also use a water spray containing essential oils, lemon, or simply brushing cinnamon through dark hair to keep their hair smelling fresh.

Braiding hair or wearing a bun can extend the time between washes without compromising on style.

Related Questions

Hair Gets Dry Between Washes

Fully healthy and nourished hair should not feel dry between washes. Try adding argan oil to your hair overnight and pre-pooing before your usual wash. You could also try using a less harsh wash.

How To Revive Flat Hair Without Washing

If your hair is flat but it is not washing day, then using a heated styling aid may be the answer. Alternatively, put your hair up before sleeping to encourage your hair to have more volume the next day.

Hair Oil Between Washes

Putting small amounts of oil in your hair between washes can help dry hair, and keep curls and waves defined. Too much oil can weigh down your hair and make it greasy looking. With oil, less is always more.

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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