What Does No Poo Mean?

Hundreds of articles can be found on the internet, all about No Poo methods, and how to No Poo, but what does No Poo mean?

This article tries to shine a light on No Poo and make your hair care life easier.

No Poo means forgoing traditional shampoos and using natural products to keep your hair healthy and nourished. Sulphates, silicons, parabens and other man-made chemicals are prohibited. Baking soda with an ACV rinse is popular, as are washes made from soap nuts. The No Poo method has been growing in popularity and caters for all hair types.

No Poo is an umbrella term that includes many different ways of caring for your har naturally, from water only washing, to co-washing.

Read on to find out more about No Poo, and how it can transform your hair.

What Does No Poo Mean?

The premise of the No Poo Movement is that you cease using traditional shampoos.

This means that you stop using all your conventional hair cleaning shampoos and conditioners and swap them with natural ingredients to help keep your hair clean instead.

What Is No Poo?

This question can be difficult to answe20:

  • Water Only
  • Sebum Only
  • Conditioner Only
  • No Poo DIY recipes
  • Commercial shampoos that do not contain the prohibited ingredients

No Poo has many branches, but all methods share one thing in common.

They all reject sulphates, silicons, and other man-made chemicals when keeping hair clean and healthy.

No Poo’ers do not regard chemicals as a good (nor healthy) way to clean your hair.

Where Did The No Poo Movement Originate?

No Poo has its foundations in the Curly Girl Method but embraces all hair types, rather than only being appropriate for those with curls.

There is no definitive record as to where No Poo originated, it simply evolved as more people wanted to embrace a natural existence.

How Does No Poo Work?

No Poo advocates explain that traditional shampoos strip your hair of natural moisture.

By comparison, the No Poo method seeks to embrace the natural oils made by our bodies since these oils help to nourish and moisturize our hair when the scalp is left to optimize its sebum production.

No Poo recipes only use natural ingredients that have cleansing properties that work with our skin and hair. These leave our hair:

  • Soft
  • Strong
  • Healthy

No Poo Hair Washing Methods

No Poo has so many different methods and ways to keep hair clean, that regardless of your hair type or lifestyle there is likely to be a No Poo method that works brilliantly for your hair.

There are several different methods of hair care that fall under the No Poo banner.

Read on to find out what these are:

1. No Poo Sebum Only Method

Sebum, your scalps naturally produced oil, is used to its full extent to keep hair nourished and moisturized.

Once the transition period has passed, your scalp will learn to produce the right amount of sebum so your hair remains in wonderful condition.

This is one of the most difficult of the No Poo methods to succeed with, especially if you have fine hair.

To learn more about this fascinating hair care method, click here.

2. No Poo Water Only Method

If you are thinking about following the No Poo water only method, then you might be interested to discover that this method doesn’t involve many products.

Instead, only water is used to keep your hair clean and healthy!

To get the best benefit from this No Poo wash, No Poo’ers recommend using warm water to wash your hair.

Then, cold water should be used at the end of the wash process to close and smooth down the hairs cuticles.

The journey to succeeding in the No Poo water only method does not always run smoothly. This is particularly true if you live in a hard water area.

To resolve this issue, consider installing a water softener or using distilled water for your rinses.

3. No Poo DIY

In this method, followers use natural products commonly found within the pantry to keep their hair clean and healthy.

Baking Soda with an ACV rinse is popular, as is using:

  • Herbal Rinses
  • Clays
  • Shikakai
  • Other natural and available ingredients

4. Co-Washing

Individuals following this No Poo method only use conditioner to wash their hair, since it has a gentle cleansing action.

5. Low Poo

Commercially available low poo shampoos are now becoming increasingly available as more people opt to go No Poo.

Using commercial shampoos, provided they are sulphate, silicone, and paraben-free is considered acceptable by No Poo advocates.

Is No Poo Worth It?

Traditional shampoos contain many chemicals that can irritate and damage our scalp and hair over time.

For starters, sulphates are very drying and strip the natural oils from our hair.

Stripping these oils is counterintuitive as it encourages the scalp to make more oil which then causes your hair to look greasier more quickly.

To overcome this, the silicons found in many traditional shampoo products then cover up the damage and make us think that our hair is silky and soft.

Whereas in reality, silicon is merely hiding the damage caused by sulfates in the first place!

Silicon can also build up on your hair, weighing it down and making it look dull and lifeless. In addition, silicon also stops beneficial moisture from entering our hair.

Going No Poo removes the silicon from your hair care regime, and allows your hair to regain its natural health.

Choosing natural methods and natural ingredients to clean hair must surely be better than dousing it daily in chemicals?

So is the No Poo method worth it?

The best thing about No Poo is the different options available, and the ability to tailor any of them to suit you and your hair.

If you are looking for a long term change that will be better for your hair, your pocket, and the environment, then going No Poo is the obvious choice.

Whilst No Poo will improve your hair health in the long term, it does take time to repair the damage caused by traditional shampoos.

Thus, if you are simply looking for a quick fix, you will likely be left feeling disappointed.

All No Poo’ers have had to navigate through what’s known as the ‘transition phase’ where silicons are removed from an individual hair care regime, and replaced with natural products.

There’s no denying it, this stage of the process can be hard. Patience and commitment are key, as it might take you a few months to successfully transition into the No Poo world of great hair.

If this thought makes you feel uncertain, make sure you read my article how long is the No Poo transition phase.

If you are thinking of making the leap, always remember, those who have moved away from traditional shampoos rarely look back, and many would never consider being anything other than No Poo.

To discover some additional viewpoints as to whether No Poo is worth it, or not, make sure you read my article Pros & Cons Of No Poo.

This guide provides a full look into the benefits and drawbacks of going No Poo.

You should also review this guide: Is No Poo good for your hair? to learn more about this method of natural hair care.

Depending upon your lifestyle, your chosen No Poo method, and your hair type, you may find your No Poo method results less than you would like in the early days.

We are all individuals, and our hair is the same. What works for one person and their lifestyle may not achieve the same results for someone else.

No Poo Recipes

There are so many recipes for No Poo that it is impossible to list them all here.

However, here are some popular No Poo DIY recipes that can be used as a No Poo wash:

1. Soapnut Wash


  • 6 soap nut hulls
  • Saucepan
  • 2 cups of water
  • Tea strainer
  • Funnel
  • Bottle
  • Mug


  1. Place soap nut hulls in a saucepan with the water.
  2. Bring to the boil.
  3. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Let the liquid cool for ten minutes.
  5. Pour liquid through a tea strainer (sat in a funnel) into a bottle.

2. Water-Only Wash

You will need the following ingredients:

  • Distilled water


  1. Scritch to loosen the dirt and dead skin cells from your scalp.
  2. Detangle your hair using your fingertips.
  3. Preen your hair to move the oils from your scalp to the ends of your hair.
  4. Use warm water to rinse the dirt and excess oil out.
  5. Use cool water to close the cuticles.
  6. Dab or scrunch your hair carefully with a cotton cloth to remove most of the moisture and leave to air dry.

With any of the No Poo methods, using a boar bristle brush is recommended. Remember that it is always best to brush your hair once it is dry hair.

Avoid brushing your hair if it is wet, as this can lead to breakage.

Detangling can be done in the shower, but brushing to move the sebum down the hair shaft without increasing the risk of breakage, should always be on dry hair.

Pros And Cons Of Not Using Shampoo

As with any method, there are always pros and cons. Therefore, individuals need to make up their own minds as to which method is best for them and their hair.

Pros of not using traditional shampoo:

  • Healthier Hair: Your scalps natural oils are encouraged to nourish each hair strand.
  • More Natural: Man made chemicals are avoided.
  • Choice: There is an abundance of No Poo recipes suited to every hair issue and type.
  • No Poo Hair Growth: Whilst No Poo’ing does not directly encourage hair growth, it can improve the health of your scalp which then leads to less inhibited hair growth.

Cons of not using traditional shampoo:

  • Lather: No Poo washes do not create the pleasant lather associated with traditional shampoos.
  • Transition: The transition period of oiliness can have you reaching for your old shampoo. Just remember to be patient.
  • Time: Making your own shampoo can be more time consuming.

Not all the pros will be pros for some people, just as not all the cons will put other people off.

Finding a balance between your hair needs and your lifestyle and environment can be a challenge, but ultimately, your hair will thank you in the long run for removing the daily chemicals.


So what does No Poo mean?

This can be a challenging question to answer since No Poo is not simply one method. Instead, it is a collection of methods that all have the same central belief.

No Poo means to clean your hair without using sulphates, silicons, and other man-made chemicals.

Related Questions

No Poo Movement Before And After Pictures

Before you start your No Poo journey, take weekly photos of your hair. Seeing how much healthier your hair is becoming will motivate you to continue even during the transitioning period.

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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