What Is The No Poo Shampoo Method?


We all know that too many chemicals are bad for our health, so what is the No Poo shampoo method and can it help remove some of the harmful chemicals from our lives?

As a No Poo advocate for many years, I have always been fascinated to discover more about the No Poo Movement’s concept, so decided to investigate this particular subject further.

No Poo shampoo methods have evolved and gained popularity over the last few years. There is now no need to use traditional shampoos since your hair can be clean and healthy just by using ingredients found within your kitchen. Washing with baking soda and using an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse is one of the most recognized No Poo recipes.

The way we wash our hair has changed significantly over the last century. In recent decades we have seen natural products previously used to keep our hair clean being replaced by commercial shampoos.

Now though, many people want to go back to using natural ingredients and reduce the chemicals that they use on their hair and body. Keep reading to learn how you can do this too …

What Is The No Poo Shampoo Method?

No Poo is a haircare movement that has been growing over the last few decades.

The No Poo movement is focused on using only natural ingredients to keep our hair healthy, shiny, and manageable.

The No Poo method mainly uses readily available ingredients that you can find in your pantry. So stop wasting your money on expensive commercially produced shampoos and conditioners!

As the No Poo shampoo methods popularity has increased, so has the wealth of recipes available on the internet. You will now find recipes for cleaning your hair, literally using everything from baking soda or aloe vera, to reetha (soap nuts).

Whilst some of the recipes are simple, others more involved; this means that there is a No Poo method and a recipe for you and your hair.

Some people who follow No Poo use water only to wash their hair though, which many consider to be the ‘holy grail’ of all the No Poo wash methods. Your level of success following this method will ultimately depend upon the water type in your area (i.e. is it hard or soft?).

If you plan on attempting to follow a water-only No Poo method, it will be easier to transition if you live in a soft water area, but more difficult in hard water areas.

To get around the hard water issue, some water-only No Poo’ers tend to harvest rainwater or use distilled water to achieve a healthy scalp and hair.

Reducing our reliance on chemicals is only one reason that people turn to a No Poo life though. Here are some other key benefits of following a No Poo shampoo method:

Healthier Hair

Many people find that moving over to No Poo lifestyle transforms their hair in the following ways:

  • Healthier hair
  • Shinier
  • More body
  • Less frizz, than when using traditional shampoos.

Cost

No Poo is probably one of the cheapest ways to have healthy hair.

Time

Fewer washes are necessary, so time is saved each and every day.

Environment

Another benefit of following No Poo shampoo methods is that the traditional shampoo bottles are no longer filling our landfills.

Less plastic will also find its way to our oceans.

Without chemical run-off from rinsing out traditional shampoos, our immediate environment is healthier too.

The No Poo concept is not just one way to wash hair though. Instead, it covers many different ways of keeping your hair healthy without using traditional shampoos.

The table below shows the most common No Poo methods:

No Poo MethodDescription
Water OnlyWashing hair using only water
Sebum OnlyUsing the scalps own sebum
to keep hair clean
Rinse, Wash,
Mask
Natural ingredient washes, rinses,
& masks e.g. baking soda, clay,
herbal powders
Conditioner OnlyWashing with conditioner only
Low PooCommercial shampoos without
sulfates or silicons
No Poo Shampoo Methods

Although the final two methods listed in the table are not all considered to be completely No Poo, they offer a way to reduce and/or remove the silicons and sulfates that No Poo is against.

No Poo Method Step By Step

There are so many different ways to No Poo that it can be a little overwhelming at first.

Below are the key questions that you should think about before selecting a No Poo hair wash method to start your No Poo journey with:

1. Current Hair

Is your hair currently dry/greasy/frizzy etc?

2. Porosity Levels

Do you have porous or non-porous hair?

To determine your hair’s porosity level, take a single strand of hair from your head and place it in a glass of water. If it floats your hair is non-porous, if it sinks your hair is porous.

3. Type

Is your hair curly or straight?

4. Lifestyle

There is normally a transition period when going No Poo. This can lead to greasy hair whilst your scalp adjusts.

Make sure that you think long and hard about your current lifestyle, and whether you are prepared to go cold turkey, or not?

Alternatively, would you prefer a less obvious transition period, but one that might last longer?

5. Involvement

Are you interested in making your own No Poo shampoo?

Selecting A No Poo Hair Wash Method

Once you have answered all the questions above you will be one step closer to knowing which No Poo wash method is likely to work for you.

a. Frizzy / Dry, Porous Or Curly Hair

If you have one of the following hair types, then a water-only or sebum-only hair wash regime might be best for you. Alternatively, you could purchase a ready-made No Poo shampoo:

  • Frizzy, dry hair
  • Porous
  • Curly

If you find that one No Poo Method doesn’t work as well as you had hoped, this doesn’t mean that you cannot use another No Poo recipe. In fact, quite the opposite is true since you can swap between No Poo methods whenever you like.

b. Curly Hair

There are many No Poo recipes for curly hair that work wonders, but they often involve making your own treatment.

Make sure you review my article ‘How To No Poo Curly Hair‘ and ‘How To Scritch & Preen Your Hair‘ for more information.

c. DIY Shampoo

For those of you that are interested in making your own shampoo, soap nuts or No Poo shampoos with essential oils can leave your hair looking and feeling better than it ever has before.

The basic steps to having beautiful No Poo hair are below:

  • Step 1: Choose your No Poo method.
  • Step 2: Choose how you wish to transition.
  • Step 3: Check your kitchen for ingredients/Purchase ingredients or a BBB.
  • Step 4: Use a clarifying No Poo wash to remove remaining sulfates and silicons from your hair.
  • Step 5: Start your No Poo journey.
  • Step 6: Begin the transition phase, and experiment with braiding or scarves as required.
  • Step 7: Start to see how your hair is becoming healthier, stronger, and shinier.
  • Step 8: Experiment with new No Poo recipes or continue to see how amazing No Poo has made your hair.

No Poo Shampoo Recipe

No matter what type of hair you have, there will always be a No Poo haircare method for you. 

Here are some no shampoo hair wash options:

1. Herbal No Poo

Here is a useful herbal No Poo recipe you could try:

Ingredients

  • Yucca Root Powder
  • Amla Berry Powder
  • Fenugreek Seed Powder

Method

  • Mix equal parts of each powder with hot water
  • Stir to create a paste that is thick enough to easily coat hair
  • Allow to cool before using in the shower as you would a traditional shampoo
  • Leave in hair for 5 minutes and rinse out

Any remaining mixture can be left in the fridge for a week (source 1).

2. Baking Soda & Apple Cider Vinegar

Baking soda and ACV are best for those with naturally greasy hair.

Below is a baking soda and apple cider vinegar recipe:

Ingredients

  • Baking Soda
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Method

  • Mix baking soda with warm water to create a paste
  • Wet hair and massage into hair and scalp for several minutes
  • Rinse out thoroughly so that all the baking soda is removed
  • Dilute 2tbsp ACV with double the amount of water and pour through your hair

The amount of ACV and water will vary depending upon your hair type.

3. Soapnut Shampoo

Here is a soapnut recipe you can try:

Ingredients

  • 5 soapnuts
  • 2 cups water
  • Method

Method

  • Place soapnuts and water in a pan and bring to the boil
  • Simmer for 20 minutes
  • Let cool overnight
  • Strain out soapnuts for further use
  • Use liquid as you would a traditional shampoo

As there are no chemicals the shampoo liquid will not froth up as much as usual, but your hair will be left clean, soft, and easily managed.

4. No Poo Clay Wash

Have you ever tried a No Poo clay wash before?

If not, take a look at this recipe below:

Ingredients

  • ½ cup distilled water
  • 1tbsp bentonite clay
  • 1tsp coconut oil

Method

  • Mix together in a non-metallic bowl using enough of the water to make a thick paste.
  • Massage through hair and scalp for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse out.

You can make batches of this shampoo and store it for use during the week.

It is not only No Poo shampoos that you can make at home. In fact, you can also make these things too:

  • Conditioning Masks
  • Shampoo liquids
  • Shampoo bars
  • Herbal rinses
  • Essential oil cleansing washes

There are almost infinite ways to create herbal and essential oil washes since the different herbs and oils available can be combined in so many different ways, to achieve the results you want for your hair.

Each herb and oil has its own beneficial property that can be harnessed to improve the health and condition of your hair.

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

How often to wash hair with No Poo method is up to you, and your hair. It also depends upon your hair type and the lifestyle you lead.

For example, if you are a regular swimmer, rinsing your hair after each swim is a necessity, and more frequent washing may be required to keep your hair in good condition.

Baking Soda

With the baking soda and ACV rinse, washing once a week is normally advisable as the baking soda can have quite a drying effect on your hair.

Water Only / Sebum Only

If you No Poo using sebum only, then daily scritching and preening take the place of washing.

For those of you following a water-only method of No Poo, warm water can be used to rinse out any sebum build-up or dirt that has accumulated in your hair.

For both these No Poo methods, a boar bristle brush is highly useful to move the sebum down the hair shaft to keep the whole length of your hair nourished and healthy.

The benefit of going No Poo is that you can change which No Poo recipe you use to suit how your hair is feeling. During the winter, you may want to increase or change the essential oils to combat the drying nature of central heating.

Alternatively, you may just fancy a change. If you’re No Poo’ing any change is easy and you won’t have half-empty bottles in your bathroom as you would if you used traditional shampoos and wanted a change.

How Long Does It Take To Adjust To No Shampoo?

The length of time it takes to transition is different for each individual and is impacted by the journey you select.

Many people find that within a month or two their hair is noticeably improved, whereas others experience a transition phase that lasts 6 months or more.

There is no right or wrong way to transition to No Poo, only the right way for you and your hair to achieve its natural health and beauty.

Here are a few factors that will impact the length of your transition period:

1. Going No Poo Immediately

If you stop using traditional shampoo immediately, then your transition phase may be quicker, but you may find that your scalp overproduces sebum in the short term. You’re going to look greasy!

Braiding and scarves may help disguise this phase.

2. Gradual

If you choose to gradually reduce the amount of traditional shampoo you use, and the frequency, the transition phase may take longer, but will possibly be less obvious to the casual observer.

The type of hair you have may also alter the length of your transition period:

  • Curly and Porous: If you have curly porous hair then your transition phase may be quicker than for someone with fine non-porous hair. This is because the hairs porosity will quickly take up the natural oils and become strong and healthy.
  • Fine hair: Those with fine, non porous hair may find that the sebum takes longer to thoroughly sink into the hair, instead sitting on top of your hair making it look greasy very quickly

3. No Poo Wash Method

The No Poo method you select to use will also change the transition phase length:

Water Only (WO)

Using water only can lengthen the transition phase as your scalp and hair have more to get used to.

Here are a few great water-only transition tips to help you get you through this phase more quickly:

  • Boar Bristle Brush: Scritching, preening, and using a boar bristle brush regularly will help make the transition easier
  • Water Softener: Try using a water softener or distilled water for your first and final rinse.
  • Rainwater: Many No Poo followers use rainwater, but if you live in a heavily populated or industrialised area, this water may contain pollutants that are harmful to your hair.

Herbal Washes

You can alter the herbs that you use depending upon how your hair is reacting. This may make the transition period feel more manageable.

Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar

Altering the frequency of washes, and the strength of the baking soda and ACV rinse can help to combat the greasy hair stage.

Be careful not to use too strong a recipe though or you may find that your hair becomes overly dry.

No Poo Method Before And After

There are many places to find No Poo method before and after pictures on the internet, but the very best pictures are the ones you take of yourself along your own No Poo journey.

Looking back at your progress can act as motivation to continue, and fill you with joy as you see your hair become healthier, stronger, and shinier over time.

Is No Poo Bad For Your Hair?

Removing chemicals from your scalp and hair can leave your hair in great condition.

As with any shampoo, traditional or No Poo, there are some that will be suited to your hair and some that will not be.

With No Poo there will always be a recipe out there for you, and as No Poo is so versatile and inexpensive, it won’t take you too much time or money to find the best method for you.

Here are two common problems with No Poo, that you should consider:

Real Hair Health

Certain hair problems may only show once you start your No Poo journey.

When you stop hiding the damage caused by traditional shampoos, the truth is there for all to see.

This is because the silicons in traditional shampoos cover up this damage, so it is only when you remove the silicones that you see the ‘real’ health of your hair.

Just remember that perseverance with No Poo at this stage will only boost your hair’s health.

Baking Soda Problems

A regular problem with No Poo is when followers overdo the amount of baking soda and don’t sufficiently dilute the Apple Cider Vinegar.

Remember that baking soda is wonderful as a cleansing agent, but that it can be harmful if you use it too much, or too frequently.

Undiluted ACV will also harm your hair.

Less is more, so try to extend the time between washes and use as little of this mixture as you can when you do wash your hair.

No Poo Method Conditioner

Most of the No Poo methods have moisturizing ingredients within the recipes so an additional conditioner is not required.

If your hair is dry, then one of the No Poo masks can be used, or you can add either honey or aloe vera to help your hair retain its natural moisture.

When using a mask, wrap a warm towel around your head. This not only stops you from accidentally leaving mask marks around your home, but helps the moisturizing products completely enter the hair shaft.

Conclusion

There are so many No Poo methods and recipes that it is impossible to include them all in this article.

Whatever your specific knowledge need is you will find the information on this site, just use the search button at the top of the page.

From water only to soapnut (reetha) washes, No Poo methods are easy, inexpensive, and free from man-made chemicals which are unhealthy for us and the planet.

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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