Going no- ’poo?

Nope, it’s not a post about diapering! I stumbled upon a brilliant suggestion last week that I sure hope it is going to work for me, and just had to pass it on to you.

Here it is: Stop using shampoo and conditioner.

What? you say. Why on earth would I want to do that?

Here is a link to a post just full of information and reasons why one might come to a decision such as this. The motivation for me (as I already use all natural products and have found them for a price I'm willing to pay) came as I read this paragraph near the end:

Going "poo-free" may not initially sound like your cup of tea, but don't be fooled into thinking shampoo is a necessary or healthy part of your body care routine. On top of being excessively harsh, your shampoo may contain ingredients you're not comfortable having on your body or your hair. To really reap the benefits of healthy hair you'll want to return it to it's natural state, and going poo-free is the best way to do it. Try it for a month, and be faithful… see how much you love your new hair . You'll surprise yourself at how soft, vibrant and clean it will feel.

I've been 'poo-free' for a few months now and am enjoying volume, shininess and bounce that I've never experienced before but have spent years trying to attain. I've tried every volumizer on the block. Shampoos, spritzers, hairsprays, mousse and special haircuts to give the 'illusion' of volume… nothing worked. Who knew all I had to do was stop weighing my hair down with shampoos and conditioners? My hair has never been easier to manage, and it feels great.


I have fairly fine hair without much body, that gets greasy if I don't wash it every day. I've also tried volumizers, mousse, blow drying upside down, etc. to no avail. Could it be that all I needed to do was let my hair take care of itself, without all of the add-ons?

So far I have been trying this out for about a week, and it is going well. The post explains that there is somewhat of a transition period, and I've had quite a few greasy hair days when it goes straight up in a ponytail. I'm hoping it will be over soon, but generally when I wash it with the baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse, it looks and feels good (and smell fine), and I anticipate that it will get better in the next week or two and that remaining greasiness will be gone.

Has anyone else tried this? I'd love to hear about your experience!

Edit: This week, I tried skipping the apple cider vinegar rinse and just using baking soda, as my hair adapts and works through this (hopefully short!) season of greasiness. It really worked! When I did it on Wednesday, my hair looked and felt almost as good as when I use shampoo, and when I did it again today (Friday) again it is not nearly as greasy as it was last week. I'm continuing to try washing only every second day, and I have a feeling there is light at the end of the tunnel!

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  1. Interesting! I’ve never tried this, but my hair is similar to what you described, except that mine is definitely find and thin.
    It also gets greasy if not washed daily. I use mousse for a little more volume, but never blow dry.

  2. What an interesting idea!

    What about hair products like hairspray and gels? Can you still use those and still go ‘poo free? What about short hair?

    Maybe I’ll click on the link and check it out…

  3. I only wash my hair every third day. I work around a lot of fiberglass insulation so I’m not up for going without shampoo at this juncture in my life but eventually I may make that leap. I hadn’t really thought about it until this post. Thanks!!!!

  4. I have been thinking about doing this too as I am trying to get rid of as much of the unhealthy things in our life as possible. I also try to live very economically and this method certianly is that. Also just last night I was reading about how fragrances have things in them that are harmful for boys (and possibly men, I can’t remember) and since all our shampoos have fragrance in them I think it would probably be a very good idea to use the no’poo method with my boys.

  5. I am SO intrigued by this! Seriously. My hair is thick and coarse and wavy and gets very greasy after one day of no shampooing. Hmmmmmm, need to think and read some more . . . Thanks for the link!

  6. I once went 3 weeks with NO hair washing of any kind, other than daily swims. I was on a camping trip out in the bush. The first week my hair was so greasy, then after that, it went normal. I really felt like I didn’t need to wash it at the end of the 3 weeks.

    Sounds interesting.

  7. My girlfriend’s father has thick, healthy, dark (very little grey) hair in his seventies and I don’t believe he’s EVER washed it with shampoo… my hairdresser encouraged me not to use it with the kids and I rarely do – no problems, especially since their oil glands don’t start producing until the teen years.

  8. I’ve been doing this for over a month now and really like it. I use hairspray occasionally – Alba has a great, natural hairspray – without any problems. I put a couple tablespoons of baking soda in the bottom of an old squirt bottle, fill it up with warm water and use that to wash my scalp with. Then I follow it with 1/2 and 1/2 apple cider vinegar and water as a rinse over my hair. I do the rinse twice as I have super long hair. I really love how this works. I put a bunch of dried lavender in my bottle of cider vinegar and it helps combat the smell. I’m very happy with this! 🙂 I wash my hair about 2x a week.

  9. Hi Stephanie!
    I’m not ready to go “poo-free” but I can say that a couple years ago I started just washing every second day. Then as time went on I found I could go three days between washes. So there may be somthing to it! Your hair looked great Sunday!

  10. I have to wash mine daily or it looks so greasy. It’s also fine. I’ll have to check out the link and see if this would work or not. Maybe I’ll try it on my kids first. hehehehehe Thanks for the tip. 🙂

  11. We’ve been shampoo free for months. We use coconut oil soap and other natural soap which we will sometimes put a little on our hair. I LOVE how clean my hair feels and my husband is totally sold! Even his naturally curly hair is nice with the natural soaps. My kids love not getting soap in their eyes, and I love knowing that I’m not putting toxic chemicals on my babies!

  12. I have extremely thin, long, hair that is typically limp and greasy. I tried switching to baking soda/vinegar for two months and it was just okay. Not good though, so I switched back. Eventually I came across a site, the herbwife’s kitchen that had this post Feb. 1, 2008:

    “Every day, use a little less shampoo. After a while, switch to a soap-based (rather than detergent-based) shampoo. Then use less and less of that soap-based shampoo. Try washing every other day, then every third day. Now switch from your soap-based shampoo to baking soda water (1/2 tsp in a pint of water) and a vinegar rinse (1 tablespoon in a pint of water). If you brush thoroughly, you can probably stop using the baking soda eventually.
    “The whole process needs to be done carefully, paying attention to how your scalp is adjusting. I’d say it should take 3-6 months for most people. If you go cold turkey on hardcore industrial detergent-based shampoo, well, don’t blame me if your hair gets greasy and icky!”

    I’m around the third month and doing mainly good homemade soap and my hair is doing much much better. I truly think the SLOW transition is the key to this.

  13. I’m intrigued! I’ll have to look at the info on the other site! My hair is coarse and wavy to curly. I wash my hair every other or every two days but I can usually tell by the second day that I need to wash it. I’d be interested to see if this method could result in less frizz for my hair (along with the natural benefits).

  14. Hi Stephanie,

    I have tried this and you have encouraged me to give it another try.

    My hair is similar to what you have to described. The first few times, it was fine. But after a while my hair got really greasy (and the ends were quite dry). I wonder how long the transition time is. I’d like to try it for a good amount of time – the problem is that people have to see me 🙂

    There is a good thread about this on welltellme.com. Many on there have tried it and posted their experiences.

    I’m interested to read about how it works out for you.


  15. Llama Mama, the post I linked to addresses the use of other products!

    Blue Castle, glad to hear this is working well- thanks for sharing what you’re doing!

    Aww, thanks Melanie- I’m glad to hear you couldn’t tell! That’s great that you’ve been able to get down to every 3 days. That would be my ideal.

    Hester, so interesting that your hairdresser encouraged you not to! I don’t use shampoo on our kids hair (never have), and Abbie’s hair can do days without being washed and it’s perfectly fine.

    Shirley, thanks for the comment- another success story!

    Stacy, I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going, so maybe you’ll be encouraged to try again!

    Lindsey, thanks for that quote. That is probably a very good way to make the transition. I imagine that by doing it cold turkey I am making the process a little harder than it needs to be. Personally, I’m not coming from a conventional shampoo, but a very mild and gentle natural shampoo, but nonetheless, I used it every day pretty much. I think this gradual transition would be a great way for people to ease into it, and I would very much consider it if the greasiness doesn’t go away within a couple of weeks. Thanks!

  16. I am curious…why is this the only site (the no-poo link that you provided) that is talking about this? I have heard this before, and have been a little skeptical because it just comes from one blog (who doesn’t appear to have any credentials). Have you done any further research? I have nothing against the idea, but if shampoo and conditioner were that bad, I would think there would be more people talking about it, more solid evidence. Just a thought to consider. I would love to hear some more on this.

    I tried it for a week or two, but my hubby was turned off by the ACV smell! Couldn’t handle me using it in the shower, the smell was overpowering the bathroom! 😉

  17. I did this w/ the same hair, it worked great. I stopped b/c DH likes it straight. I hope you get over the hump and have sucess w/ it.

  18. Stephanie,

    I love this idea! I’ve read about it before, but your WFMW post convinced me to try it. I’ve been reading up on it and have been going for about a week. I think that Lindsey is right about a slow transition; I’ve been trying the BS/ACV and it hasn’t been working (then again, I’ve started with really diluted amounts and building up). My hair is greasy at the top and really dry at the tips, and static-y to boot. I’ll probably go back to the beginnning and slowly wean myself off shampoo to CO (conditioner only) as some sites suggest, and then try the BS/ACV again. I’d love to hear about any other advice you have. Thanks for such a great post!

  19. Stephanie,
    I’ve been doing this for two weeks now because of your blog post, and I LOVE it! My hair is doing so well. I must admit that I use the baking soda mix and the ACV rinse almost every day (I try to skip a day every once in a while), but so far so good. My hair looks amazing–lots of body, shiny, and smooth. (I have fine hair and an oily scalp, and I also live in a very humid climate.) Anyway, thanks so much for the idea. I have found some other people on the web talking about this, and I just wrote a blog post on the topic (linking back to this post). Thanks again! I’m learning so much from you. 🙂

  20. I´ve been on no-poo for 2.5 month now and I looove it!! This is the 2. time i try it. The first time I used aloe vera and clay to get rid of the grease, but it wasn´t enough, and I had to wash it before going to a party 🙁 But now I´m on it again, and this time it´s forever!! My trick is “washing” my hair with yolk of egg. I mix it, put it in my hair, keep it for as long as I got time – maybe sleep with it. When I then rinse it, it´s totaly clean form grease and SHINY!!
    I only have to do it like twice a month to keep it grease-free 🙂 Try it!!!

  21. Lindsey, just do a google search for “no poo” and you’ll see that LOTS of people are talking about no poo.

  22. I’m surprised how many people are doing this! And I’m surprised it took me so long to try. In my third week now (thanks for following my progress at dkMommy Spot) and so far it’s much, much better than I would have expected. Yes, some “off” days. But it hasn’t been too bad of a transition for me since I’ve been steering clear of chemical-laden shampoos for awhile now. And oh my GOSH my hair is so much curlier! In a good way. No frizz, thank you very much.

  23. i found this post through simplemom’s post. Because of her post i have been no ‘poo for about 2 weeks? I’m so enjoying it! I have never liked my hair, it’s thick, wavy/curly and coarse. when i used shampoo it was also very dry, and i would always buy moisturizing and use lots of conditioner. This is the first time in my life my hair is not dry! now some days it feels too greasy, and after reading this i might cut back on the amounts of acv i’m useing.

    anyway. I just feel like i finally “get” my hair. i always felt before that if i could just find the right product or the right things to do then i would figure out how to get my hair to cooperate. now i think that all that product is what was making my hair so uncooperative in the first place!

  24. I’ve been poo free for almost a year. I do use condish, that’s what I wash with in fact. I have very curly hair and if I don’t add some moisture it’s not a good thing.

    Also drying your hair with an old t-shirt can help a lot too. The terry cloth towels are very heavy and tend to make your hair break more.

    I won’t every use shampoo again!

  25. I was wondering if there are any brushing instructions to go with no poo. Do I want to brush less and do I need a special brush with boar bristles? Any information would be great. My daughter and I want to do this together and I am trying to arm myself with as much info as possible. Also, we wil still be blow-drying and styling with heat instruments occasionally. I am assuming that is just normal. Any suggestions in that area? Thanks so much.

    1. @kristi, I personally don’t do anything different. I still blow-dry my hair about 3 times per week. I do use a natural mousse (from Lavera) sometimes. I probably brush the same amount, with the same kind of brush. I did cut down how often I washed my hair (from daily, to every 2nd day) while doing this and that works well for me.

  26. I have been ‘poo free for a couple of years, now. I started by only washing my hair when it was 1 day past greasy, and now I wash it maybe once every couple months (less in winter, more in summer). Rinsing it in hot water (whenever I feel it needs it) keeps the ends moisturized, and brushing well every day is all my hair seems to need. It’s very fly-away the day I wash it, and in between, my husband likes the texture and softness 🙂 I don’t use any other products, mostly because I cover my head every day, so, the sprays and gels are unnecessary; my cover keeps everything in place! 🙂

  27. Haven’t heard of anyone before suggesting that we should ceased from using shampoo and conditioner. I was really on that kind of behavior as you had set above but when I get to read the whole post and totally get your point about it I was too get encouraged to give it a try . You were probably right about it. Well, see about it and I’ll give you an update about it.

  28. I’ve been no poo for about 4 months now. My hair has a little wave to it and rests on my shoulders. The first two to three weeks the oil came ruthlessly. After about my second month, it had become clear that shampoo was the cause of everything that I didn’t like about my hair. Now it is wavier, curlier, more voluminous, and bouncier than ever. I am a guy but it looks like I’m wearing a female’s wig. It’s really that beautiful. I have tried the baking soda, and ACV mixtures but I will probably stop those as well. Combing and brushing my hair more often has become a necessity due to an outbreak of dandruff. Perhaps the religious use of head and shoulders shampoo has somewhat weakened my scalp. The dandruff has gotten less and less over the past month. Other than that, I condone the method. Dermatitis might not be a problem for everyone.

  29. Hi all..

    Has anyone tried Dr Bronner’s as a shampoo. I have heard great thigns about it and that it really helps hair and scalp health and is zero chemicals!. Hope to hear some suggestion on the same..

  30. I have very thick, coarse, long dark brown almost black hair. After washing, my hair is poofy. I normally have to sleep on it and it gets a little better the next day. My scalp itched and felt dry.

    After trying the no poo for the first time, I did a blow dry and my hair was very soft, super shiny and not very poofy. We have hard water and I used this with the first wash. I was able to go 4 days between washes and the next time I used distilled water for the wash and condition. I did noticed that this time around, my hair was frizzier. The next time I washed, I used the regular house water and my hair wasn’t as poofy, more like the first time. I also do the final rinse with COLD water. I’ve read somewhere that this also helps to make your hair shiny.

    Another plus, was that my scalp doesn’t itch anymore! All the chemicals in any of the shampoos/conditioners I used were super harsh on my hair/scalp. It wasn’t dry and it feels great! I don’t even have to use my frizz taming/hair shine serum anymore!

    I use Dr. Bronner (peppermint) for my body and did try it on my hair once. ONCE. It felt like it stripped my hair of any dirt or oil. It was squeaky when I rinsed.

    I searched and tried so many products for my hair. Little did I know that the answer to all of my hair problems was in my kitchen cabinet all along!

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