How To Do The "No Shampoo" or "No-Poo" Method

It’s something I heard about a long time ago, actually, on a message board with a thread title of “no-poo support group.” And my thought was: how does someone NOT poop? That can’t be healthy! Little did I realize that it actually meant I don’t use commercial shampoo. And then after that, it took me a little while longer to realize that not using shampoo doesn’t equavalate to saying my hair is dirty. In fact, according to all of my research, for all of these people (who aren’t generally hippies, by the way), they actually have not only clean hair, but it’s soft, shiny, and really healthy looking.

And then…I discovered that two of my former piano students who moved away years ago have now gone shampoo-free (I still can’t call it “no poo”)! Their hair, one of them mentioned, has been much curlier and healthier since the transition. Then, a coworker mentioned that she has been shampoo-free for two months and is loving it–and loving her hair!

What to do?! More research. So here’s the scoop:

No-shampoo doesn’t always mean “I’m not using anything to clean my hair with.” In fact, you will almost always see using Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) to clean the scalp and Apple Cider Vinegar to rinse the mid/end of the hair (BS/ACV) references for a cleansing regime. Most people seem to use this to just transition from shampoo to only water, and then just use the BS/ACV method periodically if they think their hair needs an extra push.

There are other things commonly used, too, like lemon juice for the rinse, egg yolks for a moisturizing mask, and brown sugar for exfoliating properties. The main thing about this idea is that we’re not using the chemicals that are KNOWN to be harmful and that are LEGALLY in our shampoo and conditioner products (and a host of other products!). We’re saving money, resources, and giving our body a chance to actually regulate itself like it’s designed to do. Many people report that going No-Shampoo has relieved their dandruff, oily hair problems, and frizziness.

Here is how you do it, in a nutshell: (and I’m copying this directly from Kitchen Stewardship)

  • Use 1 Tbs baking soda to a cup of water – you can mix in an old shampoo bottle
  • Shake the bottle to combine, then sprinkle evenly on your scalp
  • Allow to sit a minute, then scrub your scalp in circles with your fingernails, working the baking soda through evenly, especially on the top
  • Rinse with warm water while scrubbing
  • Use 1-2 Tbs apple cider vinegar per cup of water – I mix this in a spray bottle, but others just use a cup and dip their hair
  • Apply as needed to detangle and clarify
  • Rinse well, preferably in cold water on the scalp at the end to close the pores back up. This one I just can’t handle in the winter sometimes, but it is easier if you have a hand-held shower head so your whole body doesn’t have to frigidify just to get your scalp cold!
  • I’ve also read that a lot of people just make a paste in their hand with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and massage it into their wet scalp instead of making a mixed bottle solution. The biggest thing, from my understanding, is that you will have a “transition period” when your scalp is still over-producing oil (from years of compensating for our shampoo stripping our hair of the oil). Apparently, your hair looks kinda gross and it may also feel rather gross while your body figures out how to regulate everything back to its normal state.

    If you’re having any problems, a great article that troubleshoots the specific things can be found here:

    And that’s it! Who is up to the challenge?

    5 thoughts on “How To Do The "No Shampoo" or "No-Poo" Method

    Add yours

    1. I went “poo-free” in college when I had dreads. I really enjoyed them and felt kind of liberated by not “needing” to shampoo every day.
      Last winter I found myself missing them. I promised myself that if I still missed them this Jan. I would give 'em another try. My hair is nearly to my waist now. (I haven't cut it in over a year and a half.) If I decide to re-dread, I'll be poo-free once again. (I know this isn't exactly what you mean but thought I'd share anyway…)


    2. I tried dreading my hair once, my first year of college. I lasted two weeks. It was so much maintenance to tease/twist little strands twice a day! LOL. I still drool when I see well kept, pretty dreads on a girl. Kinda like my ear stretching. 🙂 No, I haven't heard of the “oil cleansing method”. Any links on that?


    3. I have actually never used shampoo on my daughters hair and I have to say that her hair is never greasy and always looks shiny and has a nice curl to it. I always assumed at some point I would start shampooing her hair, but I haven't found the need to yet.


    4. This sounds very interesting and I really think I'd like to take a stab at it. I've always had a sensitive scalp, too oily, too dry, itchy, on and on and NO shampoo has ever fully resolved any issue without causing another. My husband will probably shake his head, shrug and say 'whatever' but it might be the solution for his scalp issues, too. Thanks for posting about this!


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