A Girlfriend’s Guide to No ‘Poo….As In No Shampoo {Weird Things I’ve Been Googling}

This post is dedicated to wing night and mom friends who still socialize with me after I tell them I’m trying to wean off shampoo and may or may not use conventional deodorant.

Weaning you hair off shampoo and conditioners

The Greaseball Cycle (based on my
own unofficial, unscientific research)

Washing you hair with shampoo everyday strips the hair’s natural oils (sebum) which lubricate and protect the scalp and hair.  But your scalp wants a baseline amount for hair health so when you wash it all away your scalp is all like, ‘hey we need more oil up in hairrrrr’ and your body produces more to make up for the loss. Thus the cycle of you washing your hair daily begins – so you don’t look like a grease ball.


When you brush these oils through your hair strands they coat the strands and protect them. But since you washed them away now you need to protect your hair with conditioner, which may contain waxes or silicones to coat the hair strand. Result, hair looks shiny and feels soft and you are riding full time on the conditioner train.

– Save money on hair products
– Fewer chemicals applied to your body and the environment

– Your hair will require less washing as it normalizes the oil production. Some report only needing to wash their hair every 4 to 5 days (but may rinse with water after exercising)
– You feel it goes hand in hand with your new hippie lifestyle of juicing and yoga
– Touted as a plus for curly hair as most shampoos contain foaming agents which cause frizz
– You wanna stick it to pop culture for convincing us we are dirty and need to use all these products every day to be an attractive and likeable woman.

There are varying degrees of the ‘no poo’ method, everything from being a purist and using literally nothing, to using cleansing all natural shampoos (aka Lo ‘Poo). The idea is that any product you use should be natural and clean your hair without stripping it.
Shampoo Options
Hot water
Some people can wash away their dirt and grease with hot water (which helps to dissolve the oil). Hardcore, I say. 
Baking soda
This is the most common alternative. It is alkaline and so a vinegar rinse is usually needed to balance the pH of the hair.  General recommendation is 1 tbsp bs per cup of water. You need to find the mixture that is right for you so you will have to play with ratios to find best for you hair. If your hair gets frizzy from using a baking soda mixture, rinse it out sooner and don’t let it sit in hair
Baking Soda & Castile Soap
Add a bit of castile soap to your bs mixture – gives it more of a sud
Castile Soap
Many recommend dr. Bonners brand.
Honey and water
Aloe Vera & Glycerine
Can be used as a two in one, shampoo and conditioner alternative. Perferred by some as it has a lower pH than baking soda and castile soap. See recipe from My Merry Messy Life
Aloe Vera & Coconut Milk
Another two in one with a lower pH, see recipe from Thank Your Body
And you still condition it, whether through occasional treatments (e.g. avocado), or a vinegar rinse with each wash. 
Conditioner Options
Apple Cider Vinegar or Distilled Vinegar
Said to really up the shine in your hair. Suggested mixture is 1 to 2 tbsp acv to 1 cup water. Some people put it in a spray bottle and apply to hair and not the scalp; it will lead to greasier hair if you apply to the scalp

Coconut, jojoba, castor, etc. can be used as leave in conditioner. Look for cold-pressed oils.

Honey, Aloe, Yogurt, Avocado, Egg
Check out tips and recipes for these options from Almost Exactly

If you aren’t ready to bring your kitchen into your shower stall try out some natural shampoo and conditioners. Recommendations found at Almost Exactly, Maskcara uses Wen (check her out she’s incredible). This is the option I’m starting with. I have pushed my hair washing schedule from daily to every 3 days (which was kind of a must with two under two). I also just got myself a LushShampoo and Condition Bar that I just started using and I totally dig it. 

– You can scent any of the mixtures with essential oils. If you do, it is recommended you store the solution in a glass container.
– Stick it out and try different mixtures. There are many reports of people starting and saying their hair was too greasy, yet the people I’ve read who have stuck it out and played around with products and ratios swear that they will never go back. 
– You can still go ‘no poo if you have dandruff, dry itchy scalp, etc. It is recommended you stick with options that are lower pH, as your sebum prefers a pH of 4-7.
– If your scalp itches, Earth Mama’s World recommends adding essential oils: lavender, tea tree or rosemary.
– Some report that hard water hinders the no ‘poo benefits and recommend a showerhead filter.
– If you are mixing no poo solutions and have hard or chlorinated water you may wish to run it through a Brita or boil (and cool) it first.

1. (Take a before picture) Clean the product residue from your hair with a CLARIFYING SHAMPOO
2. When you have to wash your hair start using your alternative (list of suggestions above)
3. Roll with the transition period. It may take 3-6 weeks of transition  You will be looking a little greasier than normal while you body readjusts the oil production and reaches a balance.  Time to have your BFF, headband, and her buddy, dry shampoo, over for coffee.  
4. Flaunt your luscious locks and tell everyone how much money you are saving and convince them that you still use deodorant 
5. Take an adorable selfie of your no poo do. Send me your before and after pics and I will add them to this post.

Amanda from Living in Another Language, shown here being ‘poo free for 4 months.

 Andrea from a.steed’s.life tried the ‘curly girl method’ of going ‘poo free

Genevieve from Uniquely Normal Mom in her 2 Years of No Poo post 

ashers_mommy99 from the CafeMom forum

Erica Z from Piece of Chic talks about post-gym hair and the Lo ‘Poo method

Some Additional Tips for Going Poo Free {Becoming Peculiar}

Welcome to no-poo hair care {great post on how to start and troubleshooting, by Love Yourself Naturally}

All images were used with permission by the image owner. Thanks Ladies!

2 thoughts on “A Girlfriend’s Guide to No ‘Poo….As In No Shampoo {Weird Things I’ve Been Googling}”

  1. WOW! I really want to try this now. I do a cocoanut oil hair mask every 2 weeks and it is AMAZING!!! I’ve been using it as a moisturizer too. I smell like a macaroon! My husband hates it. Win for me!


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