What Is The No Poo Method?

When I first heard the phrase, I immediately asked myself, “What is the No Poo Method?

The no poo hair care method seems to be taking the internet by storm.

For the longest time, I didn’t put too much thought into using shampoo. After all, most people consider it to be an essential part of their hair care routine. But after a bit of research, I realized there was so much more to learn about my hair through the no-poo method!

The No Poo Method is a hair washing method that involves removing shampoo from your hair care routine. Many people use this method to prevent the removal of their hair’s natural oils, avoid the use of harmful chemicals, and to improve the quality of their hair. The no poo method is also well suited to people who are environmentally conscious.

Everybody’s hair is different, and the beautiful thing about the no poo method is that you can customize your routine to fit your unique hair type!

If you’ve been feeling like your hair routine needs a change, then I’ll show you a whole new way to care for your hair.

What Is the No Poo Movement?

The No Poo movement was first begun by people with curly-hair, who are more likely than others to have dry, fragile hair.

Curly haired ladies suffer from dry fragile hair more often than straight haired ladies.

This is because the natural oils produced by your scalp, known as sebum, do not travel down the curly hair shaft as easily as on straight hair.

Sebum helps to moisturises each individual hair strand, however, in the case of curly hair these natural oils do not travel down curly hair as easily, meaning it is often lacking in moisture, making it more prone to breakage.

Shampoo strips away your hair’s natural oils in order to clean it, but the removal of those moisturizing oils can cause hair to become dry and damaged. Over the past few years, many bloggers have introduced the no poo movement to their followers, and it’s since grown in popularity.

Instead of using shampoo to clean their hair, people who use the no poo method will often use gentler substitutes. There are a variety of methods you can use to personalize your no poo experience.

Before you continue, make sure you review our No Poo Abbreviation List so that you can understand the No Poo movement more easily.

No Poo Hair Hair Washing Methods

It can be a little overwhelming when you first start researching the No Poo Method, since there are so many different methods and wash types.

To make your life more simple, I’ve summarizes the most common No Poo wash methods that you are likely to encounter when you first enter the world of natural No Poo hair:

No Poo Wash
Baking SodaMix one part baking soda to 3
parts water into a paste, then apply
to hair
Baking Soda
With Apple
Cider Vinegar
As above, but mix one part apple
cider vinegar (ACV) with four parts
water. Rinse through hair
Sebum OnlyDo not use anything on your hair
Water OnlyWash hair with water only. You
may opt to use a separate
conditioner for the ends of your
hair if they become dry
Wash hair with conditioner only
Mix herbal powders in water,
forming a paste. Apply to hair
Common No Poo Hair Washing Methods

Baking Soda Method

People have been using baking soda as a cleansing agent for ages, and many women have begun using it to clean their hair.

How To Do It

  1. To wash your hair with baking soda, you should mix one part baking soda to 3 parts room temperature water. Then, mix it into a paste.
  2. Soak your hair in water whilst in the shower
  3. Apply the paste to your wet hair. The paste will likely feel unusual at first, maybe even ‘gritty’ if the baking soda has not fully dissolved. Don’t stress about this though.
  4. Rub the paste into your scalp like you would normal shampoo. Yes, you won’t see any luscious foaming and that’s also going to feel a touch weird. You will get used to this though.

Baking Soda With Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

Many no poo women also add an apple cider vinegar rinse into their baking soda routine, as this is thought to act like a conditioner, moisturizing each individual hair strand.

Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful way to keep your hair soft, and it also has anti-fungal properties. An added bonus of this method is that both ingredients are cheap and easy to find.

However, the combination of baking soda and apple cider vinegar can sometimes be too harsh on some hair types.

For me personally, this wasn’t a No Poo Method I liked, as it left my hair feeling dry, brittle, and straw-like. So watch out ladies, as baking soda can be harmful to your hair if you don’t have strong hair.

Apple cider vinegar is rather acidic, while baking soda is very alkaline.

These extreme pH differences can cause irritation in your scalp and may weaken your hair.

While the baking soda method was originally popular for no-poo users, many have since realized that the harsh substances are more damaging to their hair, and it is no longer a recommended technique.

How To Do It

  1. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with four parts water
  2. Make sure the baking soda paste is fully wash out of your hair.
  3. Rinse the Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) mixture through your hair

Sebum Only Method

The sebum only method is perhaps the most extreme No Poo Method of hair washing.

In this No Poo Method, you don’t use anything to wash your hair – not even water!

With this method, you let your body’s naturally produced sebum do its job. Sebum is the natural oil produced by our scalps, which keeps our hair moist and protected.

While this is the least time consuming method, requiring only for you to brush your hair once every day I can fully appreciate that the idea of not washing your hair with anything can sound quite frightening!

I’ve personally tried the sebum only No Poo Method and absolutely love it.

Having seen great improvement in my hair to date after only 9 weeks of not washing my hair, I definitely think it’s worth a try.

If you’re interested in following my sebum-only No Poo transition journey, follow my Youtube ‘No Poo Guide’ channel!

Watch my No Poo transition – Sebum only week 6 update! Click here to view it on Youtube.

How To Do It

  1. Purchase a natural brush, ideally a boar bristle brush.
  2. I would also recommend you use a head massage brush.

Water Only Hair Washing

Some people choose to only wash their hair with water, since our scalp provide natural oils know as sebum that protect our hair. Water only hair washing is also environmentally friendly.

To use the water only method, all you need is a brush with natural bristles, ideally a boar bristle brush.

However, one con is that the water only method can lead to dry ends if your hair is medium to long. As a result, many people end up supplementing this method with apple cider vinegar or conditioner on the ends of their hair. If you only have hard water available to you, sadly, it may not be the best option.

How To Do It

  1. Soak your hair with water in the shower.
  2. Rub your hair and scalp with your fingertips, as if you were using shampoo.
  3. Be careful not to pull on your hair strands too much whilst they are wet, as this can cause breakage.
  4. Complete this step every evening during the No Poo Transition stage …. When your hair is dry, make sure to brush your hair thoroughly, ensuring that you brush from your roots to the tips. This will help distribute your bodies natural oils through you hair, moisturising it. This stage of the process is best done at night, before you go to bed, since it may initially make your hair look MORE greasy. Don’t worry though as your hair will absorb the excess grease in your hair overnight, whilst you sleep.

Conditioner Only Method

Conditioner is far less harsh on hair than shampoo, because rather than stripping the oil from your hair, it actually adds moisture.

Many people opt to remove shampoo from their routine, and instead only use conditioner. This natural hair cleaning method can leave your hair feeling moisturized and soft.

However, conditioner can still contain harsh chemicals that might be bad for your hair, as well as for the environment.

Furthermore, conditioner can be too heavy on some hair types (mine included), which often then results in lank and greasy looking hair.

How To Do It

  1. Wet your hair with water in the shower
  2. Wash your hair with conditioner only, not shampoo
  3. Rinse conditioner out thoroughly

Herbal Powders

Another No Poo Method is to make your own herbal mixes.

There are so many different herbal combinations to choose from, so make sure you research this method thoroughly.

Whilst one herbal mixture might not be right for you, definitely do not discount the process entirely as certain herbal powders are known to act as stronger cleaning agents than others.

You can experiment with different herbs for different cleansing effects and scents. This is a natural method that smells wonderful, and some herbs can even add color to your hair!

However, it can be time consuming and difficult to find the ingredients you want.

How To Do It

Here is one such herbal powder wash method example:

  1. Use 1 tablespoon of herbal powders such as yucca root, gooseberry powder, or fenugreek seed powder.
  2. Gradually add hot water while stirring until it makes a paste
  3. Wet hair in the shower
  4. Mix the paste into your hair while showering.
  5. Let the paste sit for about five minutes
  6. Rinse hair thoroughly

Does the No Poo Method Work?

Hair is something unique to every person, which means that the No Poo Method isn’t guaranteed to work for everyone. However, countless women have reported that their hair has changed for the better after starting the no poo method.

Many individuals turn to the No Poo Movement since shampoo contains detergents that strip away the natural oils of your hair.

While this does clean your hair, it also removes your body’s natural protection, often leaving hair dry, frizzy, and even broken.

Furthermore, many shampoos contain silicone, which builds up on individual hair strands, making your hair look dull and displeasing.

The No Poo Method is a great option for people whose hair is suffering from the harsh chemicals that are used in shampoo.

By cutting out shampoo, your hair will likely become softer and more voluminous. Many women have also noticed a drastic reduction in frizz after using the No Poo Method.

Even more amazing is that some women have been able to find their hair’s natural texture. For example, many women who thought their hair was straight found out that it was actually wavy or curly after transitioning to the No Poo Method!

The No Poo Method might not work for everyone though, and is sometimes more helpful for certain hair types than others.

For example, curly hair is more prone to dryness and breakage, so people with curly hair may benefit more from this method of No Poo Hair Care.

Another factor that can change the impact of the No Poo Method is hair porosity. Hair porosity refers to how well hair absorbs and retains moisture. Your hair’s porosity can be either high, medium, or low.

  1. Low porosity hair has a difficult time absorbing moisture, but is also better at retaining moisture. This hair type usually has an easier time during the no poo transition.
  2. High porosity hair, however, loses moisture more easily, meaning it is more susceptible to frizz and dryness.

Regardless of what kind of hair you have, though, it’s definitely worth trying the No Poo Method for a little while, at least to see if your hair can benefit from this popular method (source 1)

How Long Does the No Poo Method Take?

The No Poo transition is often the hardest part of the No Poo Method.

In order for the No Poo Method to actually make a difference to your hair, it’s going to take a lot of patience.

Please keep in mind that going from shampoo to No poo is a huge transition, both physically and mentally, and it can take some getting used to.

The first step in the No Poo Method process is the most painful, since your hair will quickly become massively greasy. It will look and feel gross! You will be tempted to give up, but PLEASE DON’T!

My best tip to survive the first week is to tie your hair back and plait it.

You are going to have to ride this hair storm, so start looking for cool ways to put your hair up, as your hair is going to be incredibly greasy. It has to get worse before it gets better!

Why Is The No Poo Transition So Hard?

Think of it this way ….

You’ve been washing your hair everyday for years, and by doing so the shampoo has stripped your scalp of all of its natural oils regularly.

Each time this has sent your body into overdrive, and your scalp has produced extra natural oils to replace the ones that you stripped away by shampoo.

But now you’ve changed things, and stopped washing your hair everyday.

Yet, your scalp clearly didn’t get the memo that you were going No Poo so is continuing to do its usual job of over producing its natural oils. Queue oily greasy hair … YUCK!!

Get used to it, as this road to natural hair care might be rocky!

After suddenly stopping your use of shampoo, your scalp will still be producing that same amount of oil for a while, meaning your hair will be extra greasy.

You’ll probably be tempted to quit at first, but it’s important to keep in mind that it will eventually level out!

To help get through this tough period, you can tie your hair up in a braid or ponytail, so that the greasiness is less visible.

With plenty of patience, however, the greasiness will eventually subside.

While it varies from person to person, most users of the No Poo Method agree that in about six weeks, their hair usually goes back to a normal level of oil production.

This is when your patience has finally paid off!

Does No Poo Help Hair Grow?

While there are supposed remedies all over the internet for improving hair growth, there’s actually no method that is scientifically proven to help hair grow faster.

However, one of the reasons hair is often shorter than it could be is due to premature breakage. If your hair is dry, it is more prone to breakage.

The No Poo Method protects, strengthens, and moisturizes hair. By removing shampoo from your hair care routine, your hair’s natural oils will be able to distribute throughout your hair, moisturizing it and protecting it from breakage.

So while the No Poo Method doesn’t actually help your hair grow any faster, it does produce healthier hair that is less prone to breakage.

Does No Poo Cause Hair Loss?

Some people who use the No Poo Method have reported excess hair loss while in the shower. However, this can actually be misleading.

Showering and brushing your hair pulls out dead hair. If you notice that you’re losing more strands of hair while in the shower than usual, don’t worry! The No Poo Method probably isn’t causing you to lose anymore hair than is natural.

Generally speaking, the average person loses between 50 and 100 strands of hair each day (source).

If you do suspect that your hair loss isn’t natural, then it’s probably due to the usage of harsher substances.

Baking soda is a common ingredient in the No Poo Method, but its alkaline pH can be harsh on your hair. If your No Poo Method includes baking soda, it may be causing some breakage and hair loss.

If you notice this is a problem, then it’s probably best to try out a gentler no poo method.

Does No Poo Get Rid of Dandruff?

Dandruff is caused by a dehydrated and flaky scalp, so the no poo method is actually a wonderful way to get rid of dandruff.

By using gentler methods on your hair and scalp, you’ll be removing less of the natural oils from your hair, leading to more hydrated skin, and thus preventing dandruff (source).

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair With the No Poo Method?

How frequently you should wash your hair on the No Poo method depends on the kind of hair you have. Again, we all have unique hair and skin, so there is no single method that works for everyone!

a) Naturally Oily / Fine Hair

If your hair is naturally oily or fine, you should be washing your hair more frequently, at least once or twice a week.

Straight hair is more quickly coated by oil, so you may want to rinse your hair with water more often. However, you should not be using products more frequently than people with other hair types.

b) Thick / Textured / Curly Hair

Thick, textured, or curly hair does not need to be washed as frequently.

If your hair is very curly, then you shouldn’t wash your hair more frequently than once every week or two.

c) Lifestyle

How frequently you should wash your hair also depends on your lifestyle.

If you are more physically active, or spend a lot of time outdoors or sweating, then you should wash your hair more frequently to cleanse it of dirt and other buildup.

Is No Poo Bad for Your Hair?

Some people have reported that certain No Poo Methods can cause damage to their hair.

The baking soda and apple cider vinegar method in particular seems to be the biggest culprit of damaged hair, because these two substances have extremely acidic and basic pHs.

However, using substances like coconut oil, herbal powders, or washing with water only will not cause any damage to your hair.

While your hair may become more oily than normal in the first weeks of using the No Poo Method, this isn’t actually bad for your hair.

Even though greasy hair is considered undesirable, and can be dirty, it doesn’t damage your hair in any way.

Furthermore, after about six weeks, the grease will subside, and will likely be less greasy than when you used shampoo!

In fact, in most cases, people have reported that the no poo method actually makes their hair stronger, more moisturized and, overall, healthier.

How to Start No Poo

Here is a simplified step by step process for beginning your no poo experience.

  • Switch to a Sulfate Free Shampoo: Your first step in beginning the no poo method is to switch to a shampoo that is free of sulfates, as well as other damaging substances like parabens, synthetic dyes, and alcohol.
  • Research: Next, you should research different no poo methods, as well as your hair type. Choose one method that you think will work best for the kind of hair you have.
  • Begin the Transition: If you’re like most people, you’ve been using shampoo nearly all your life. It can be a shock to stop using it all at once, although the cold turkey method works well for those brave enough to try it. While you may be tempted to wean yourself gradually, you should wait as long as possible before washing your hair again. While your hair will be very greasy at first, the longer you can wait before washing it, the faster your transition will be. A good way to make the greasiness more bearable is to tie your hair up in a ponytail or braid, which will make the effects of the greasiness less apparent.
  • Preening, Scritching, and Brushing: To “scritch,” massage your scalp with your fingers for five to ten minutes to encourage sebum production. Then, use a boar bristle brush to preen. Simply brush from the top of your head down, to distribute the oils from your scalp throughout your hair.
  • Make Changes as Needed: While the internet is full of great advice, at the end of the day, you know your hair the best. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods, or make small adjustments that best fit your lifestyle and hair type!

No Poo Method for Oily Hair

The no poo method usually leads to an increase in hair oils at first, which can be a huge pain for people with naturally oily hair. If your hair is naturally greasy, you might even be too afraid to try the no poo method in the first place. However, it is possible to try a no poo method for oily hair.

If you want to use the no poo method, avoid using oily products like coconut oil. Instead, the baking soda and apple cider vinegar might be the way to go. This route might be a bit harsh for people with naturally brittle or dry hair, but if your hair is naturally oily, then it will likely help to cut down on grease.

Keep in mind that, in the beginning, your hair will inevitably get much greasier.

Over time (typically within four to six weeks), however, most people notice a change.

After adopting the no poo method into your hair routine, your scalp should produce a more balanced amount of oil, leading to softer, more voluminous hair, without all of the excess grease!

No Poo Method for Fine Hair

Fine hair is often more likely to become greasy, but it is also more prone to breakage.

Furthermore, the oil from your scalp can be distributed among fine hair much more easily than with thicker hair, meaning that many fine-haired people may have more difficulty starting the no poo method than people with different hair types.

If you have fine hair, but would like to try the no poo method, you might need a bit more patience than others!

While your hair will likely be quite greasy for a while, keep in mind that the sebum production will eventually subside to a normal amount!

One way to make the no poo method more bearable is to wash your hair with water only more frequently, to remove some of the excess greases.

You can also tie your hair up in a ponytail or braid, to reduce the visual signs of greasiness.

After about a month and a half to two months, the greasiness should subside, and your hair will likely be more voluminous than ever! (sources 1,2)

No Poo Method Curly Hair

The no poo method is often best suited to curly hair. In fact, the movement was actually founded by people with curly hair!

People with curly hair often have thinner, more fragile, and dryer hair that is more prone to breakage.

All of these things are then exacerbated by the use of shampoo.

Because curly hair is more textured, your hair’s natural sebum has a difficult time distributing to the lower parts of your hair strands, leaving it dry and fragile.

The no poo method allows those natural oils to extend throughout your hair, making it healthier and more moisturized.

No Poo Before and After

Many people who use the no poo method have described drastic results.

Before using the no poo method, a lot of people have dry, damaged hair from the harsh chemicals in their shampoo.

People with curly hair especially have reported having fragile and excessively dry hair before going no poo.

Unfortunately, many people give up after just a few weeks.

The transition stage from shampoo to no poo is incredibly difficult because your hair will become quite greasy for a while.

Ultimately, pushing through is all about patience and willpower!

After going no poo, there are a variety of possible results.

Some people have reported that the method simply isn’t for them, as the results are either negative (such as overly greasy), or there simply was very little change at all.

Others, however, have been amazed by a huge shift in their hair.

Some possible positive results of going no poo include more voluminous hair, better texture, more manageable hair that requires less styling, and overall, healthier, stronger, and softer hair.

No Poo Dry Scalp Remedy

If you’re using the no poo method in order to prevent a dry, itchy scalp, there are a few methods you can use.

For some, simply removing shampoo with harmful chemicals like sulfates from their routine is enough to remedy a dry scalp.

But if you’ve found that not using shampoo still doesn’t relieve your dry scalp, you may want to try using specific products.

One option is using apple cider vinegar.

Combine one part apple cider vinegar with four parts lukewarm water in a spray bottle. Simply spray the solution onto your scalp and let it sit for about fifteen minutes before rinsing.

If your dry scalp is caused by an imbalance in pH, then apple cider vinegar is the perfect way to restore that balance.

Coconut oil is another wonderful way to relieve a dry scalp. Coconut oil helps trap and retain moisture, so you should lather it into your scalp, let it sit for about five minutes, and then rinse.

Finally, you can also use tea tree oil as a remedy. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with water and apply to your hair. Again, let it sit for about five minutes before rinsing.

Some studies have suggested that tea tree oil can not only help a dry scalp but may even prevent dandruff! (sources 1,2)

Does No Poo Hair Stink?

One of the biggest worries many people have before starting the no poo method is whether or not it will make their hair smell bad.

In most cases, users of the no poo method insist that they never noticed a bad smell.

However, after using fragranced products all your life, it can certainly be a shock to go without shampoo that smells like flowers or fruit.

While rare, some women have also noticed a bad smell at first, which is likely caused from excess oil being produced.

Over time, however, your scalp will produce normal amounts of oil again, and the smell will go away.

To reduce any bad smells, be sure to brush your hair frequently, which will help remove dirty and buildup on your scalp.

You can also tie your hair up to better manage any smell at first.


If you’ve noticed the new craze storming the Internet and wondering “What is the no poo method?” you’ll probably be surprised to learn just how in depth and variable this hair care method truly is.

The no poo method is a popular movement that strives for more natural products rather than the use of shampoo, which often contains irritating and even harmful chemicals.

While the no poo method doesn’t work for everyone, many users have been amazed by the change it produces in their hair!

If you think it’s time for a change in your hair care routine, then the no poo method just might be worth trying out.

Related Questions

No Poo Gives Me Dandruff

The No Poo method can cause dandruff if your product doesn’t remove dead skin cells and other build up. To prevent this, you can add a small amount of tea tree oil to your product (source).

No Poo Itchy Scalp

An itchy scalp while using the No Poo Method can be caused by a buildup of oils and dead skin cells. Be sure to massage your scalp while washing to prevent itchiness.

Low Poo Method

If you don’t want to stop using shampoo, you can use the low poo method instead. This method uses shampoos without sulfates or petroleum derivatives (source).

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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