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No poo - How to stop using shampoo forever

By Edited Aug 20, 2016 6 16

No Poo? No What?

Are you not getting the results you want with your current shampoo?  Do you want to save money on hair products, and stop exposing your hair to all those harsh chemicals?  Then No Poo might be a good method for you to use.

"No-Poo" refers to a method of "shampooing" that uses absolutely no shampoo, soap, or conditioner.  For many people, it restores hair to its natural beauty.  This method is suitable for all hair types and ethnicities.  I first heard about it on a natural parenting blog.  You know the kind-- all organic, home-birth, and so on.  But I was intrigued. 

I had been unhappy for years with the way my hair responded to any kind of shampoo, no matter how expensive (or not.)  The result was always a frizzy mess that needed  a lot of product to tame it back down, a lot of heat styling tools, and then rinse and repeat, as they say.  All of that adds up to unhealthy strands, and a lot of time and effort.

The No-poo method uses just 2 things to keep your hair in top shape: Baking soda, and Vinegar!  I keep my baking soda in a little tupperware container on the shower shelf, and the vinegar/water in a little spray bottle.

No Poo
Credit: 1950s Unlimited on Flickr
Heinz Distilled White Vinegar
Amazon Price: $3.99 $2.50 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 20, 2016)

The Basic No-Poo Supplies

There are many ways to "no-poo".  Here is the basic, all-purpose method:


-Vinegar (Either plain or apple cider, either is fine)

-Baking Soda (regular, grocery store variety)

-a small waterproof container to keep your baking soda in the shower

-a small spray bottle to keep your vinegar/water solution in


Tolco Empty Spray Bottle, Frosted Assorted Colors
Amazon Price: $4.47 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 20, 2016)

No-Poo Steps

Step 1-When you get into the shower, wet your hair thouroughly.  Then, take about 1 Tablespoon of the baking soda in your wet hands and rub it to make a paste. 

Step 2-Rub this paste into your hair and scalp, focusing on your roots or wherever you may have the most oil or product build up.  Let this sit on your hair for a couple of minutes.

Step 3-Spray your hair with the vinegar/water mixture in your bottle (1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup of water).  Let it sit for about a minute, then rinse thoroughly. 


That's it!  No, your hair will not smell like vinegar, or have any weird texture.  There will be a couple weeks of a "breaking in" period where you may see some oiliness if you have naturally oily hair.  But for me, I have naturally dry hair, so mine improved immediately. 




No-Poo FAQ's

Hy hair is so greasy.  Will this method work for me? This method works for all textures, ethnicities, styles, lengths, and so on.  If you have oily hair, then your "break in" period may be a more difficult period of adjustment for you.  You may not want to quit shampooing cold turkey.  Try weaning yourself off of shampoo.  Say you wash 5 times a week....try subsituting 2 of those washes the first week with a no-poo routine.  Then swap out one shampoo a week for a few weeks until you have cut out all of that harsh shampoo. 

Which should I use, regular vinegar, or apple cider vinegar? You can really use either.  I switch back and forth, depending on my mood and what I remembered to pick up at the store.  Some people swear by the apple cider vinegar, claiming that it makes their hair super shiny.

I am allergic to vinegar or baking soda- are there any subsitutes for these? 
I don't know any subsitutes for these products to do the No-Poo method, but there are several different more natural shampoo and conditioning hair care systems (such as WEN) if your main reason for wanting to go no-poo is to avoid all of the harsh chemicals and sulfates present in most mainstream shampoos. 

WEN Cleansing Conditioner

- a natural alternative to the No-Poo method

One of the biggest objections most people have to regular mainstream shampoos is all the harsh chemicals that strip all the natural, moisturizing oils that your scalp naturally produces in the hair follicle to keep your hair healthy.  Made with naturally derived oils and herbs, this conditioning cream can be used instead of your regular shampoo and conditioners.  It adds to your hair, instead of stripping away.  This product is a favorite of many celebrities like Ellen Degeneres and Christina Applegate.

DermOrganic Argan Oil Sulfate Free Shampoo

DermOrganic Argan Oil Sulfate-Free Shampoo 12 oz.
Amazon Price: $10.92 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 20, 2016)

DermOrganic Sulfate free shampoo is another great, more natural alternative for those who want to have healthier hair, but are not quite ready for the no-poo method.  It would also be a great shampoo to use during the break in period where you shampoo less and less frequently.  Because it contains no sulfates, it will make the transition easier on your hair. 

Why do I want to avoid sulfate in my shampoo anyways?

Sulfates have been linked to many health-related woes.  Really, everything from blindness in children to cancer in adults has been traced back to this seemingly innocuous and totally pervasive ingredient.  [1]

The FDA continues to assert that it can find no statistically signifigant evidence to that effect, and allows this product to be used in most soaps and shampoos commericially produced worldwide. 

But even if this ingredient doesn't cause cancer or blindess, it is still worth avoiding.  It is a harsh chemical that strips the hair and follicle of it's natural oils. 

Give the no-poo method a try for six weeks, and let me know how it works for you.  I know it has improved the health of my hair many times over.



Mar 13, 2013 9:27pm
It's very interesting! Do you know if the "No- Poo" method works in extremely hard water? olive oil soap etc doesn't work in the country I live in... Makes the hair dry as dry, so that it sticks out everywhere.The water is not treated well enough to drink without boiling and is very hard and harsh on hair and skin.
Mar 18, 2013 10:41am
Hi- I would think it would work, as the baking soda and vinegar kinda creates it's own chemical cleaning reaction. Try it out and let me know what you think!
Mar 18, 2013 10:44am
Love your article title. Caught my eye. Very interesting tips. Like the above commenter, my water is crazy hard. It actually ruined my hair before I figured it out. I use olive oil products (and had a water softener installed) which works for me. I think I will experiment with this method when I am on vacation. Thanks!
Mar 26, 2013 8:40am
Let me know how it goes! It works well for our family.
Apr 10, 2013 6:21am
i really like the natural method of using cleaner products. they are not only great for us, but also for our water supply. thanks for wonderful info
Apr 10, 2013 8:39am
Yea, thanks for reading! Baking soda and vinegar have so many uses, it's crazy!
Apr 10, 2013 5:36pm
JengoJengo, I had never heard of "No-Poo." This is such an informative and enlightening article. You did a great job of giving step-by-step instructions. The FAQ section is terrific. You just need baking soda and vinegar? Wow! Outstanding article!
Apr 11, 2013 4:50am
Thanks so much! I started learning about all kinds of interesting natural health things when I first got in to cloth diapering.
Apr 10, 2013 8:14pm
You got my thumbs up, this was very interesting!
Apr 11, 2013 4:51am
Thank you!
Apr 12, 2013 10:49am
Wow. I'd heard of going conditioner-only (particularly for ladies with curly or dry hair) but hadn't heard of this approach. My aging hair is very dry and brittle -- I may give this a try!
Apr 16, 2013 4:17am
Yea, it is a great thing for dry hair- it can restore your natural oils.
Apr 15, 2013 9:19pm
Nice feature - great info, I will definitely try it!
Apr 16, 2013 4:17am
Best of luck, and thanks for reading.
Apr 18, 2013 1:17am
This caught my attention too. I've been looking for the perfect substitute to commercial shampoo for as long as I can remember but nothing ever worked. My scalp always ended up feeling unclean and itchy. I will definitely try this baking soda and vinegar tandem.
Jul 16, 2013 8:24am
I've heard of no shampoo but usually conditioner replaces it and that process is called "cowashing". This is different but worth a try. Great article!
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  1. "Dangers of Sulfates." Natures Paradise Organics. 13/03/2013 <Web >

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