Wednesday, April 20, 2011


How to Quit Shampoo Without Becoming Disgusting

Are you cheap? Lazy? Vaguely and perhaps unjustifiably paranoid about slathering your body with chemicals on a daily basis? Then perhaps you'd like to join the “no-poo movement”? It is more than just a hair-care revolution—it’s also the perfect way to trick others into using the term “poo”! But from here on out I’m just going to call it quitting shampoo, because it doesn’t actually involve laxatives, and it’s less a “movement” than a “beauty tip.”

Why would you want to quit shampoo? Well, there are plenty of people who will tell you that the chemicals in shampoo like methylisothiazolinone and diethanolamine can give you terrifying health problems like nerve damage and Alzheimer’s disease. But those people are probably not correct; while it might not be good to literally bathe in that stuff, the small amounts in shampoo likely will not hurt you. What is true is that certain chemicals in shampoo, especially foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS, for short), can irritate your scalp and hair, as well as the skin that your hair touches, meaning you and your hair don’t look as healthy as you could.

So, let’s review: quitting shampoo will clear up your complexion and make your hair look awesome, plus it will save you time and money. Also it’s better for the environment to use fewer plastic bottles and wash less poison down the drain. And there’s I guess a tiny chance it will also save you from some combination of cancer and let’s go with...epilepsy. Ready to give it a try?

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Switch from shampoo to baking soda and vinegar

-To make your new “shampoo,” slowly add water to baking soda until it’s just slightly gooey. You can make as much or as little as you like to start. The exact proportions aren’t really that important, but it’s best to err on the side of adding too little water. Once you’ve got it to a consistency you like, store it one of those little travel bottles or a jar and keep it handy in your shower.

-Next, make the “conditioner.” Add 1–2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar—NOT white vinegar—to about a cup of water. Again, the measurements don’t have to be precise, but in this case, it’s better to have to little vinegar than too much. Store this in your shower as well.

-Now it’s time to implement your new hair-washing routine. First, rub the baking soda all over your wet hair, particularly into the roots. Scrub it in there the best you can, let it sit for one minute, and then rinse your hair thoroughly. Next, pour the vinegar conditioner on your hair, rub it in, this time paying more attention to the ends of your hair than the roots, and then rinse.

-Use the baking soda and vinegar in place of shampoo and conditioner for at least two weeks. I promise, your head will not become a science-fair volcano. (Note: I’ve heard from no less authoritative a source than The Internet that if your hair ends up too frizzy, you should use less baking soda, and if it’s too greasy, cut down on vinegar. This has never been a problem for me, so I don’t know for certain, but I’m sure you can trust The Internet.)

Step 2: Switch from baking soda and vinegar to just water

At this point, all you need do is massage your scalp under running water in the shower. You can gradually taper off the baking soda or just go cold turkey.

Your hair will become quite greasy, but only for a little while. For me, Peak Grease was reached on Day 4. On that day, I was obliged to go to my boyfriend’s band’s performance at a gallery show featuring paintings of naked men. I wore a hat. But so okay: shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils, which makes your scalp overproduce more oil to compensate. After you stop shampooing, it takes some time for your scalp to recalibrate and reduce oil production. But don’t worry, after about a week without shampoo, your hair will get closer to reaching its natural balance, and you’ll no longer look like you’re in the throes of puberty.

After the first week, you'll still have a little more waiting it out to do. Your hair will continue to be greasier than usual for four or five weeks. If you have bangs, ask yourself this: is it a cute, sassy style to have grease all over your forehead for a month and get a bad breakout and have sticky little shreds of hair instead of bangs? If your answer is no, then pin your bangs back for the time being. Aside from that, your hair might look a little dirty, but probably no one else will notice.

One of the biggest sacrifices you’ll have to make during this whole process is that you can’t use any mousse, gel, or other styling product during this stage, because they’ll mess up the whole “hair finding its natural balance of oils” deal. If you’re hella stressing, you can put a tiny bit of baking soda along your part and comb it into your hair to absorb excess grease, but seriously, after the first week, no one will think you look weird unless you’re just a weird-looking person generally.

The main thing you want to do is brush brush brush your hair—it’ll scrape some of the grease out from your roots. I assume this is why old-style ladies of yore did the “brush your hair 100 strokes” thing; it was probably the easiest way to keep your hair clean before bathing was invented. Don’t actually brush your hair 100 strokes, though. You’ll give yourself split ends and look mildly to moderately OCD. (Note: Do clean clean clean your brush. Sorry if you look OCD on this one, but it’s mandatory to get rid of all the grease. Maybe do it in private? I don’t know. I believe in you.)

Step 3: Add the baking soda and vinegar back in, once a week

After you’ve gotten through the waiting game, you’ll be looking lovely and your hair will be perfect and soft. Now all you need to maintain that healthy glow is to wash once a week with baking soda and vinegar. That should be enough to keep your hair clean now that it isn’t constantly overcompensating. Depending on your hair, you might want to bump it up to twice a week or down to once every ten days.

If you still need styling products, go for SLS-free stuff from brands like Aubrey Organics or Suncoat. No commercial products are going to be completely “natural” (whatever that even means), but the fewer polysyllabic chemical names on the label, the better. For hippie bonus points, make your own hair products at home from ingredients like flaxseed and lemon juice. (Google has plenty of recipes.) There’s a good chance you won’t even need any product at all, though. The only thing I use is a dryer with a finger diffuser, and my hair usually stays curly or at least wavy until I get in the shower again.

See it doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Just think how good you’ll feel about all the money you’ve saved, all the chemicals you’ve avoided — not to mention how you single-handedly rescued Mother Nature. So go on and get rid of poo, in your hair and in your life!

See also: What I've Learned From Three Years Without Shampoo

Lauren O'Neal grew up near Berkeley, California, but didn't become a dirty hippie until after moving to Texas.

212 Comments / Post A Comment


I do this! For me, it's great that it helps the environment, and I'm glad to get rid of the chemicals, but the main thing is my vanity. My hair looks so much softer, healthier, and prettier now. I really, really hate the name for it though.


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Anne Helen Petersen

I am fairly confident that this will simply not work for blondish/brown hair. Or at least not work without looking really, really disgusting.

rien à dire

@sassafras I am a dark blonde no-pooer--with fine hair, to boot--and I think my hair looks better than it ever has. My secret weapon is a little bit of cornstarch applied at the roots and brushed through to absorb any greasies. Dark-headed lasses may want a dry shampoo that is colored like their own hair.

I actually use the baking soda rinse about once every 2-3 days and throw my hair up in a shower cap when I shower on my off days. I used to wash just with hot water on the off days, but my method now gets decent results and is more time-efficient.

Also, IMHO the baking soda recipe here is quite strong (it's what I did during my hair detox period and was super paranoid about having ugly hair). Most people recommend 1 tablespoon of baking soda per 8 ounces of water, so you have a rinse rather than a paste.


@sassafras Question from a black girl:

I'm pretty sure it won't work with my hair, either. I generally only wash my hair once a week, anyway, and only style with hippie-ish, v. oily natural moisturizers, etc, so I love the no shampoo idea. But it seems like it's designed for hair that's wavy, at most. For example, my curly/frizzy/nappy texturized hair is kind of impossible to brush without condemning my hair to a poufy mess with tons of tangles and breakage. I only ever comb it wet, with heaps of conditioner in (and since conditioner seems to be off-limits for this regimen, too, I'm dubious).



@meg_r it works for curly girls, trust me!! Check out naturallycurly.com! I have very curly, frizzy, thick hair and I quit shampoo about 10 months ago. My hair is much healthier and my curls look better! I don't use the baking soda and vinegar method though, I just use a cleansing conditioner about once a week with no SLS. You can still use styling products as long as they don't contain silicones or parabens - they coat your hair and without using a harsh detergent to break them down, they will start to build up on your scalp.


@meg_r I'm not black but I do have that regulation Jewish curly/frizzy hair, and have been shampoo-free for like 15 years now? I don't go full hippie, since I'm not doing this for environmental reasons--I use a natural-ish conditioner (Devacurl One Condition) and comb my hair out when I have conditioner in, and not otherwise. Ignore EVERYTHING about brushing; that is for straight-haired people and your instincts are correct. I also use a little conditioner or the Devacurl gel which breaks down pretty easily to style.


@Anne Helen Petersen I have curly hair- much more than waves!! and it was previously wild and frizzy on a frequent basis. At one point I was spending tons on gels and other "wonderful potions". I've been shampoo free for well over a year. I can shower and go!! If I brush now, after it's dried- it still looks good. It used to be I could Only comb my hair when it was wet- period. My style had to be set wet and then I was stuck with it. I haven't used anything but baking soda and (usually lemon juice)- though sometimes vinegar. The first month was the worst- your scalp really does transition. And curly hair seems to take longer to do that. I have several other friends with all different hair types (curly, wavy, straight, dry, oily, etc) who all like no shampoo better- but all went through that transition phase.



My hair is coarse, thick, curly and frizz-prone. I've been without shampoo/conditioner for over year and a half now and my touchstone is Dawn Michelle of Minimalist Beauty (http://www.minimalistbeauty.com/tag/hair-care-2/) She does the goddess' work, providing heaps of information and recipes for non-soap/chemical hair washes, rinses and routines that make baking soda and apple cider vinegar look like the dark ages. No offense to the author of this piece, it's where I started too! However, there are LOTS of options out there, especially for the curly women, including bentonite clay and henna conditioning (makes curls sproing-y and amazing), herbal detangling rinses, oil cleansing, wrapping/twisting/pin curling for style, etc. Check out Minimalist Beauty -- most of her ingredients can be found in the grocery store (check the bulk section if you have one for best prices.)


I went to a no - shampoo habit over a year ago. But, I just use a cheap conditioner with no dimethicone. Garnier has a "natural" one I like. I have curly hair that got curlier and looks/feels much better now.

Amanda Gilbert

I did this too. Just replaced shampooing with clean-rinsing daily conditioning. Water by itself, particularly hot water, particularly hot chlorinated municipal water, dries out my hair and scalp. @sassafras I have very fine light brown hair. It actually looks prettier and is much nicer to the touch as a result of all the conditioning. But... I don't use any styling products or blow-dry it (not much of a point, given that I have an Emma Watson haircut).

Anne Helen Petersen

@Amanda Gilbert I'm still dubious? I have very thin and fine hair that's down to my shoulders, plus I do hot (read: SWEAT ALL OVER HAIR) yoga everyday. I have to use the very smallest amount of conditioner because anything more will weigh it down tremendously. I'm sure this could be good in the long run, but I don't know if I have five weeks of ugly grossness time to give.....

simone eastbro

@sassafras oh god i don't think you could do bikram and do this. there's no way. i had a daily bikram practice. i wouldn't be able to stand five weeks with constant bikram hair.


@sassafras When I did bikram, before I went into the room I dampened my hair and finger-combed a clean-rinsing conditioner through it, then tied it into a bun. After practice, I rinsed it all out. You could rinse with the cider vinegar recipe at this point if you wanted to. (I find cider vinegar to have a more cleansing/clarifying effect than a conditioning one.)

simone eastbro

@Elevensies that is a hot tip, girl. FANX.


you should use less baking soda, and if it’s too greasy, cut down on vinegar.
seo service


what about us ladies that go to the gym or run most days? i've got thin, long, dirty dishwater hair...i fear things will get a lil dirty! and definitely greasy!

rien à dire

@foxinthesnow With the hot water rinse, you are supposed to scrub your scalp with your fingernails, and that should get rid of sweat and grime. Following with the apple cider vinegar rinse with help tone down any smell (and the vinegar scent will fade as your hair dries, I promise). If you have any greasy patches when your hair is dry, you can use cornstarch or a sulfate-free dry shampoo to absorb those.


@foxinthesnow I am a daily runner/gym-goer with long hair to the middle of my back and I haven't used shampoo in like 12 years. I never knew about all these insane natural remedies, I just scrub sans product under hot water, sometimes using just a dime size amount of conditioner or sulfate-free shampoo just at the very roots to sort of lubricate my fingers (I flip my head upside down and scrub under the water to make sure I get everywhere) and then condition it normally with a natural conditioner-type product. Once your hair has adjusted, it's producing less oil, and if you're doing this every day it doesn't have time to build up.

Jaime Green

I do this! I actually skipped the baking soda tranisition, thusly:

-I weaned my hair off shampoo until I was rinsing daily (with conditioner after) and shampooing just once a week.
-Then I transitioned to just rinsing & conditioning.
-Then, no shampoo! Just a vigorous scalp massage/rinse daily, and an apple cider vinegar rinse once a week or so for smoothing and such. (It's kind of amazing how well vinegar works for that.)

The hardest part of the transition was getting used to no hair product. On humid days I miss it. The first couple of weeks with no conditioner were a leeeetle bit iffy for me, greasiness-wise, but never embarassingly so, and the vinegar rinse cuts down on the greasiness well. It's been a little over a month for me now, and I'm really happy with this. Lazy and cheap!

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

I'm in! Seven months of having quit shampoo (what an elegant solution; thank you--"no 'poo" just doesn't work for me). It gets easier the longer you go. And I could NOT have done it without hair powder, the grace of the dirty girl.


Does this also work in humid climates (i.e. Florida)? and if one were to say have an hair emergency when traveling and use hotel shampoo one day would one have to start this whole process over?


@lemonyfreshk i stayed off the shampoo through a long humid japanese summer and it was totally okay - sometimes I'd rinse my hair out in cold water, sometimes i wouldn't (usually depending on how sweaty i felt, whether it was my second shower of the day, etc).

and, nah, the occasional shampoo wash won't make your hair relapse! though maybe a sustained shampoo binge would.


@lemonyfreshk I'm in New Orleans and have been no-poo for like 9 months now or more? Since August I think. It's definitely possible, and my hair has finally become curly instead of strangely wavey because of the combination of healthy, moisturized hair and copious humidity.

And during traveling, I usually don't use the shampoo and wash with water only. If it's an extended stay, either I'll pick up some cheapass baking soda and vinegar or break down and use 'real' shampoo. You won't undo all your hard work--since it takes weeks for your scalp to produce lesser amounts of oil, the same goes for the opposite.

simone eastbro

@redkite hollerrrrrr NOLAAA. if you made it through august on this, the month when the entire city feels like the inside of someone's mouth, then it's solid.


@lemonyfreshk I don't do "no-poo" but I have cut back on shampoo drastically. I wash my hair about every 2 weeks with no ill effects, and I have waste length hair, I live in Tampa, and I jog most days.

I tried going "all the way", but I lasted about a month before giving in.


@cee @redkite thanks, I think I'm going to try it!

@stalkingcat I live in Tampa too! Wish I could say I jogged, but so far I've only succeeded in purchasing a pair of expensive running shoes.


Doesn't the smell of the Apple Cider Vinegar bother any of you? I've used it a few times as a natural treatment for dandruff and the smell was just too strong and unpleasant for my liking.

I do enjoy a good baking soda wash as a clarifier now & then. I use sulfate-free shampoo which is great but can lead to buildup so the baking soda does wonders for that.

Also - does this really work for people with long hair? The main reason I use conditioner is to detangle. My hair goes to my boobs and is a rats nest every morning, especially mornings where sexytime took place.


@fancypants which sulfate-free shampoo are you using? Have you tried Earth Science? I've been using theirs for 6 months now with no buildup (and my hair is light, extra-fine, and long, so if it's not squeaky-clean it really shows). I think it's definitely worth a try, might save you some time and trouble with the baking soda.


But then how do I get my hair to smell like a tropical rain forest?!??! Just kidding. Maybe.


I would love to try this, but not sure I'll ever have five weeks in a row where I can risk my hair being disgusting. I have enough trouble looking put together without messing with the one thing I can usually get right.

Jaime Green

@Cossette729 I know it's different for everyone, but for me, my hair never got disgusting. At worst it was like when you go one day too long without shampooing - a little flat, a little greasy to my eyes, but not really noticeable to anyone else.


How does your hair smell during/after this process? I like the shampooey smell, but hate the negative affects of shampoo & conditioner, and the amount of time it takes every two days or so.


@firecracker yes! i have thought about going sans shampoo, but i like smelling nice. i don't want to smell like a dirty hippy! there. i said it.



I do this, and I initially noticed that my hair smelled really vinegar-y, which was gross. I've solved this problem 2 ways: 1. I rinse very, very thoroughly and 2. I keep a little dish of baking soda mixed with essential oil as an all-purpose dry perfume, and if my hair still smells I just sprinkle some on and I smell like lavender for the rest of the day. elysian fields - this is also a good way to fight dirty hair smell! Baking soda neutralizes odor and lavender masks it. You just need a tiny bit - too much and your hair gets a weird chalky sheen to it.

Ella Quint

@roadtrips I'm sorry, but I just can't get my head around the idea of sprinkling something that looks like dandruff into my hair to "clean" it. The reason yer head stinks? Bacteria are thriving and multiplying on yer noggin - REGARDLESS of the cleaning method you apply.


@Ella Quint But the point is the bacteria are supposed to be there. Also, it doesn't sound like she smells like a human being (gross, I know) but that she smells like apple cider vinegar. I use baking soda and vinegar wash twice a week, and I pretty much just smell like nothing.

elysian fields

I'm sorry but ... wouldn't your hair smell really, really bad after a while? How on earth can nothing but baking soda and vinegar take away the dreaded "dirty hair smell"?


It doesn't!

Lorin DeForest@facebook

@elysian fields I tried this yesterday, and until my hair dried, it had a slight vinegar-y smell, but once it was dry, it just smelled like normal hair (whatever random smells it absorbed and whatnot).

Katie Walsh

Sooo can you guys convince me why I should do this aside from avoiding chemicals and saving money? Will it make my hair life changingly more awesome? Cause this sounds too complicated to save ~$5 a month and minimal chemical exposure.


@Katie Walsh people say it makes your hair softer? i dunno though, i basically only do it because i hate the smell of shampoo. (and i'm cheap)


@Katie Walsh My hair is so much softer and healthier! And I don't find it much more complicated than opening/closing shampoo and conditioner bottles, TBH.

rien à dire

@Katie Walsh I quit shampoo because my hair is really grease-prone and I would have only about a 20 hour limit on it before it got nasty. Basically, sulfates strip your hair's natural oils so your scalp produces more of them to compensate, and you get a vicious cycle: the more often you wash your hair, the more often you will have to wash it.

If you're already someone who can skip a day or two of washing and still look human, then going no poo would mostly be for the reasons you mentioned.

Roxanne Waller Tucker@facebook

@Katie Walsh
I'm with you Katie. I've got 6 kids too so no time for complicated things. Plus, my hair is so greasy just after 1 day.


you people are crazy town.....


I am a little skeptical that the no product + brushing regime will make my curly curly hair look anything but completely terrible...I already look pretty fuzzy on any day it is even remotely humid. However, as an alternative, I have been using the Living Proof line of shampoo/conditioners. They are the exact opposite of inexpensive, but have been a godsend. Sulfate-free, silicone-free, and made by a bunch of smarty-pants chemists :)

rien à dire

@FMoss3 I can't speak from experience, but there is apparently a no poo regime for those with curly hair: http://www.wikihow.com/Follow-the-Curly-Girl-Method-for-Curly-Hair I guess you use conditioner AS shampoo?


@FMoss3 - Yes, yes to Living Proof! Expensive, but totally worth it!


@FMoss3 : totally curly now, with soft curls instead of the frizzled uneven mess I had when I used to use shampoo. Seriously just massaging the conditioner into my scalp and the combing it through my hair is enough. No stinky hair (and I bike outside in Florida) and no frizz.


5 weeks of gross hair, just when it's getting warm enough outside to get sweaty? this perhaps may have been better posted in the fall/winter. Or maybe I'm the only one that works in an office with people who would be less-than-amused at my path. Also: Suave-$4 for both shampoo and conditioner, and they last like three months. I'm not feeling this, unless it's to avoid the chemicals, and then I think "I live in a city. My shampoo is the least of my chemical worries"

simone eastbro

@hotdog well, SLS in shampoos and soaps are often responsible for comedone (whitehead) breakouts. if you have comedones by your mouth, knock off SLS toothpastes and see what happens. if you get them by your hairline, knock off SLS shampoos.


@simone eastbro I so did not know this, and those are the only kinds of breakouts that I get (and generally only on my forehead, and I have bangs, so). Really good to know.

simone eastbro

@thebestjasmine YES IT IS SLS. Switch to an SLS-free shampoo. DevaCurl is one brand--salon and pricey but good. The thing you have to get used to is no foam--SLS is what makes soaps foamy.


@simone eastbro Seriously, this is so helpful: I just got a facial this weekend and the aesthetician talked about these on my forehead and how hard they are to get rid of.

simone eastbro


Jane Feltes

@simone eastbro well, seeing as how i'm not "...cheap? Lazy? Vaguely and perhaps unjustifiably paranoid about slathering your body with chemicals on a daily basis?" i'd have to say nope! and y'all know how much i love my hairspray and dry shampoo. but, i AM 100% in support of at-home science experiments so i'm excited to hear how this goes for others :) (oh and ps- i dye my greys so i think i'm not a good candidate.)

simone eastbro

@Jane Feltes POINT, just always tryin' 2 integrate "bein' a girl" with "being a lazy hippie," feel like I needed to know your take.


I'm sorry, but the people who came up with the term "no poo" just can't be related to. They ruined this for everyone, forever.


Protip RE: brushing. Use a real boar's hair brush. It is the best for moving oils from your scalp down to the ends of your hair, making your head look less gross and conditioning all yr hairs.


@redkite This totally reminds me of all those books and period movies with women brushing their hair 100 strokes before bed.

Roxanne Waller Tucker@facebook

My hair is so greasy after just one day it looks gross no matter how much I comb the oil down. And incredibly stinky after just one day.


@Roxanne Waller Tucker@facebook The first month is really just an exercise in letting go. Letting go of needing to put so much crap in your hair, and accepting that the first month is just a crapshoot. I have been doing no-poo for almost a year now AND I WOULD NEVER EVER GO BACK.


Semi-o/t but what dry shampoo brand would y'all recommend for a brunette?


@charmcity I use Klorane and it doesn't leave any white residue!


@charmcity Check out our girl Jane's advice here.


@charmcity I really love that John Freida Blonde stuff, i'm an in-between and it sort of brings out the red - try the brunette stuff!


@DorothyMantooth How is the Hairpin so great and perfect?! Thank you!


If you try this, be warned that that hard water will never be your friend. I eventually had to resort to using jugs of filtered water in the shower and a month of that was a little too much like Little House on the Prairie so I had to relent and go back to shampoo. My hair always felt like wet cardboard and the tiniest bit of humidity (including perspiration) made it whiff of vinegar. Quite unfortunate as I really liked the idea.


What does the baking soda/vinegar combo do if you've got colored hair?

I only wash mine about once a week for a variety of reasons, so I'd be really interested in trying this, but I love my bottle-red hair.

Ella Quint

@cherrispryte - Hun, I can only imagine!! Vinegar will strip stains/paint/practically BLEACHES surfaces! Haven't tried this no shampoo thing, but I'm guessing that the assumption is that if you are quitting the poo for chemical reasons then of COURSE you wouldn't be coloring yer hair cause the chemicals in hair dye and legion in comparison.


And take plenty of before and after pics pls, if yer gonna go ahead and guinea pig the process.


Yeah, I wonder about that too. And will I get the texture benefit if I'm already thrashing my hair with dye?

Emily Kaye

What about in the summer if you go swimming? Chlorine from a pool or salt from the ocean? How does a non-shampooer deal with that?


@Emily Kaye I'm not exactly a non shampooer, but I do use shampoo more or less once a week, and less during the summer when I'm doing my hair curly. I also swim a lot, and what I do is wet my hair before the pool, put a ton of conditioner in it (I use cheap conditioner for that) which makes less chlorine actually get into your hair, and then rinse afterwards, and "wash" with conditioner.


I use Dr. Bronner's, which is also sulfate-free. Water it down ferociously, then do a vinegar rinse. It leaves my hair wicked soft, but doesn't overdry it (the acidic vinegar neutralizes the alkaline castille soap).

Roxanne Waller Tucker@facebook

I find that it leaves my hair still dirty, greasy and stinky. Any tips. I use the teatree, the almond and the baby kind.


Has anyone tried Dr. Bronner's or other SLS-free "soaps"? I'm thinking maybe they would help with the transition?


@km1312 It's the best! It cleans your hair but doesn't strip oils. You do need to do the vinegar rinse (see my above comment) but you can't smell the vinegar when your hair dries. I also use it to wash my face and body, so I'm not constantly buying lots of different products.


@AnnaHowardShaw ah I must have posted just after you; now I feel dumb. Thanks! How much do you water it down?


@km1312 Honestly, I basically put a squirt in my palm then cup my hands under the shower stream, then throw it into my hair. It doesn't lather well at all, but just work it through and believe in your heart that you've gotten it all over your head. After a couple weeks, I just started throwing it onto the crown of my head and kind of messing it around a bit. It really does work through your hair even if it doesn't feel like it is.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@km1312 Be careful if you have dry skin. I found the castile soap too harsh and had to stop using it after having an all-body itchfest (bummer, because I loved the smell.)


I would be interested in trying this if it would make my thin hair stop breaking off, but the things that really deter me are 1. The absence of the clean hair smell, and 2. The fact that my hair is curly and I can't brush/comb it unless it is wet, meaning that my hair would look perpetually greasy/gross. Hmmm... I don't think it's for me.


Would anybody like to speculate on what this would do if you have seborrheic dermatitis? If excess oil is part of that condition, then you'd think it would help... but then again maybe not... and the waiting period could be pretty brutal. I am torn.


@katerrific I'm going to try it. I have the same problem and I would really love to give up my rx shampoo. I hate the idea of more prescription drugs. I'm betting the rebalancing process would help the sd. I know the oily phase is when I itch the most, but I'm going to give it 5 weeks and see what happens. I'm also hoping no-poo will give my fine hair a little lift as I've read many ppl saying it does.


@ScazzaSofija Oh hi! Update: I've been no-poo for about a month and no negative effects on the SD! I still use corticosteroid drops on my scalp every 2-3 days, but I feel like I see fewer flakes and redness along my hairline with no poo. I think the salicylic acid shampoo I was using was actually aggravating things.

I do the baking soda and vinegar once a week and just wash with water only on other days. And I haven't had a greasy phase! I do still use mousse to style, because I just wasn't going to give that up. I have fine hair too and I feel like maybe no-poo has made a little difference.

Basically, I feel like a dope for using super-medicated shampoos all these years. Hope your luck is the same!


@katerrific What kind of drops do you use? Ever since you mentioned it I kept thinking about it. I was prescribed an ointment (triamcinolone) and a shampoo (ketoconozole). I'm on my first real day of no-poo, the day I really wanted to wash my hair and do my sd shampoo.

During these first few weeks we can use baking soda/vinegar freely? Does it speed up the process to just use water for the first weeks?


@katerrific The drops are clobetasol propionate. It's the only thing I've ever been prescribed, so I don't know how it compares to other options. I don't know what water only would do; my logic for doing the baking soda/vinegar once a week is that since I'm still using mousse it's probably a good idea to remove any product buildup periodically. I also use a much lower concentration of baking soda than described in this article- about 1 Tbsp to a cup of water, which was recommended in this LJ community: http://no-poo.livejournal.com


@katerrific Thanks for the info.

Captain DuClark

To all the single ladies who do this: your hair smells bad. You know how when you go over to a dude's place and his room smells and you wonder why it doesn't bother him. It's because he's around it all the time so he doesn't notice the smell. It's the same thing with your dirty hair. It smells. Please wash it.


So the married/coupled ladies who do this, how do they smell?

Ella Quint

@Captain DuClark - Dude, I'm SOOOO with you on this one! Been just a few too many mentions of vinegar stank from the post-ers who said they'd given this a whirl.

Let's think about this for a sec; would anybody here ever give up washing thier hands with soap? And what do you think most health care professionals wiould say about that? Or your moms? Or your friends? "Oh, you don't use soap anymore, huh? Just water? Uhhh, can you please put on these rubber gloves while you are in my house?"

While I think there are potential benefits to be had in cutting down on the AMOUNT (dime to quarter sized blob) of shampoo used, the FREQUENCY (if you can get away with twice a week giv'er), and the TYPE (SLS free), I'd never stop washing my hair with shampoo. Sorry, I use baking soda and vinegar to clean my toilet. Don't really want that on my noggin.


@Ella Quint - I really don't think washing your hair is comparable to washing your hands. Your hands are in constant contact with the world and the rest of your body (and therefore with bacteria which can get transferred to your mouth/food), and your hair is not... Unless you open door knobs and type on a keyboard with your head/hair, in which case none of the above applies, and you should be congratulated.
The point I'm trying to make is that I don't think "no pooing" is a health concern (although personally I'm skeptical about the smell. And I already look like a hippie when I wash my hair regularly).


@Captain DuClark I agree with this. I used to have a roommate who did the vinegar rinse and she always had a faint whiff of "salad dressing" about her, even in cold, dry weather. Maybe she was using too much or doing the vinegar rinse too often or her hair was too long (middle of her back) but in my opinion and experience, that vinegar scent DOES linger. If you can't smell it, it is possible others around you can. If you are fine with that, no worries then.

Ella Quint

@tee Point I was making is that soap/shampoo isn't the enemy. Agreed no-poo'ing isn't a health risk in the same manner.


I'd never quit shampoo (agreed, so much better than "no poo!") because I have fine, generally pretty controllable hair, but I've heard it's worked miracles for people with different hair types.

But I DO have the dumbest question ever. Due to hair type/style, I wash it every time I shower. Have since I was 12. Dry shampooo days are also no-shower days. But I know people who only wash their hair, like, once a week. If you do this, do you shower? Do you put your hair in a shower cap? Do you just get it wet without washing it? Inquiring mind wants to know.


@lfish That is me, and yes, I use a shower cap. Sometimes I get my hair wet without washing it, but only on days when I'm doing a curly hair day and letting my hair dry naturally (other days I blow dry, and it is way too much of a pain to blow dry my thick hair when I don't have to).


@lfish I've tried different methods and I've found the best thing to do when skipping a day of shampoo is to get your hair totally wet and sort of "wash it" (like go through the scrubbing motions) just with water, to sort of spread the oil out from the scalp. You get super soft hair for about a day.

Jane Feltes

@lfish i shower daily but wash my hair maybe twice a week? the other days i put the long parts in a bun and just wash my bangs if they're looking greasy.


@lfish it depends - if it's looking really cute I put it in a ponytail and pin my bangs back and avoid wetting it. But otherwise I rinse it out and dab a little conditioner on it.


@lfish I use a shower cap or put it up.


Shower caps are probably a better choice if your hair isn't ruined by humidity.


@lfish I put my hair up in a bun and just kind of avoid getting it wet. I do wash my bangs every day (they get greasy if I don't), but I don't stress if the rest of my hair gets wet. I do wear my hair up on no-wash days, though, so I'm not stressed about what happens if it gets frizzy.


I have highlighted curly hair, and actually use a cone iron (the exact same as in Jane's video) on the front bits to straighten them out a little (oh yes, I am insane). Needless to say, I NEED rich conditioner and leave-in product.

I've just switched to Johnson's baby shampoo to be kinder to my scalp, while still getting at least the placebo-clean of shampooing every day.

Has anyone else tried baby shampoo?


I don't think this no-shampoo thing is as crazy as people are making it out to be.

I still use shampoo, but I've been trying to not wash everyday and I have used apple cider vinegar in the past as a clarfier and I've noticed on "no wash" days my hair isn't as greasy as it used to be.

When your hair is constantly stripped of its natural oils from shampoo, it tends to over compensate and make your hair greasier. Easing off the shampoo makes second-day hair be less greasy.


I tried this for a while (no baking soda tricks, just started washing with conditioner) and I had really nice curls for a bit but apart from that, there was no point.

Also, your hair doesn't look greasy after a while because YOU'RE USED TO IT always being a bit oily, not because it completely adjusts... I thought my hair looked totally fine but then when I did use shampoo, once a month or so, I realized how not-clean my hair had been. In conclusion, just use shampoo like a normal person.


@katiechasm Yeah, this was my experience too. There are tons of shampoos out there that are free of SLS and parabens and all that junk but still clean your hair. Compromise!

Quick Brown Fox

I tried this a while ago and my hair was sooooo greasy. I have very fine, straight hair and I just couldn't handle it. I'd try again, but now I have blunt, straight-across-my-forehead bangs so I can't. Plus I'm a single lady who's dating and I can't handle worrying about my hair.


I was *just* (an hour ago!) thinking about emailing in a question re: gentle hair cleansing since I work out a lot and have to wash my after. This mind reading is witchcraft!...lovely, lovely witchcraft.

(Thank you!)


okay, BUT - here is my issue with it. I get hella gray hair, and need to color my hair every 4-6 weeks to keep from looking like grandma. So this pretty much fucks up the entire concept, right?


tried this once. made my head smell like a salad :( maybe I was doing it wrong.


Ok, ladies who do no-poo: If you use dry shampoo during the 5 weeks it takes to re-balance, does that muck up the whole thing? Right now I am using a mostly-cornstarch dry shampoo from Blow (which is the best dry shampoo ever) like 2 or 3 times a week. I cannot stand greasy hair, but I also feel like regular shampoo makes my hair brittle and sad.


@dinos AH! This is exactly me. I love love love Blow, and I was totally wondering if using it would screw up the process. I have bangs, and I cannot STAND it when they get stringy. Will our beloved dry shampoo mess things up? Can someone please answer this question?!

:Cinnamon Girl:

@othatdanielle My guess is it just absorbs but does anyone have a real answer. CAPS LOCK EMPHASIS.


But wait! Does quitting shampoo mean quitting conditioner? I cannot do without conditioner.


@littlewren No. Some people do something called "co-washing."

Clare Boyle@facebook

Has anyone used Wen successfully? It's an SLS-free shampoo, but I never trust anything sold via infomercial. Thoughts?


@Clare Boyle@facebook I HATED Wen. I've used Devacurl for years and figured it would be comparable, but it sucked and made my (curly, dry, long) hair heavy and sticky and gross-feeling, like it was coated.


You can pry my shampoo out of my cold, dead hands.

I've got very fine, straight dishwater blonde hair that I get highlighted and I tried organic highlights and even that was just not enough chemicals for my taste. The chemicals may kill me but I'll have pretty, bouncy, shiny golden blonde locks.


Does anyone know why you are supposed to use red wine vinegar instead of white? I've always used white in the past, and it works, though the stinky vinegar smell is an undeniable side effect (I use straight undiluted white vinegar though, and then follow up with a shampoo to tone down the smell. And I only do it once a month or so.). Maybe I've been doing it wrong all this time?


To all y'all saying that you use dry shampoo sometimes to compensate for no "real" shampoo... Isn't dry shampoo just as bad for your hair/skin as the real kind? I mean, you don't even wash it out, it just sits there...


Someone else mentioned DevaCurl somewhere, but they actually have a "no-poo" product. Yes, its expensive but it smells wonderful! They are sulfate and paraben free blah blah blah probably has something that causes cancer in it blah blah, but definitely better than most. I use the "no-poo" only about twice per week but I have to use their conditioner because my hair tangles itself into a giant knot in the back of my head that a baking soda and vinegar regiment would not help eradicate! so curly hair people, deva curl!


@alexis oh great, I was wondering when the deva curl fanatics would show up...


@nice_belt well i wouldn't say i'm a fanatic but.....okay, it totally change my hair life.


I have been doing this for almost a year with good results. It is better for you and for the environment! All of those chemicals that get washed down the drain end up in our waterways and then in the water we drink and the fish we eat (also, antibacterial hand soaps and other products are creating antibiotic resistant super-bacteria). To those who are concerned that your hair will smell: add essential oils to your vinegar. Or use lemon juice in place of/in addition to vinegar. We have been trained to think that scented shampoos smell good/clean but now that I've been using this method, I can't handle the fake chemical smell of regular shampoos and I think my hair smells good from the essential oils I use.


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Umm ok I did this in HS, sort of? I shaved my hair to 1", then didn't wash or cut it for ~9 months, but I'd rinse the shit out of it at least once a day. No baking soda or vinegar, though. Anyway, I vouch.


What is with people saying "chemicals" are bad? You folks are aware that water is a chemical, right?


i live in new orleans too, and i've been doing the "condition-only" method for years. i color my thick, wavy hair, and the color fades less this way, and i was finally able to coax my waves into pretty curls, rather than lumpy, vaguely frizzy, not-quite-straight hair. initally, it took a few weeks to get used to, but my hair is clean and does not smell. with the CO method, i use about 3 big handfuls of 'cone-free conditioner, and place little blobs of it all over my hairline and evenly all over the scalp. the method of cleansing is friction (via your fingertips), instead of a lathering agent, like SLS. i like suave naturals conditioners. the whole foods lavender cond is also 'cone-free.

re: wen. i know 2 curly hair ladies who like wen but find it too $$. sally beauty has a knock-off. i've never tried it but i have had really good luck with everything i've tried there.

and PS. i do use styling products, i just try to avoid the heavy 'cone ones, since you need a harsh cleansing agent to remove 'cones.

simone eastbro

@roaringkitten the next time i come to new orleans can we have a hairpin ladies' night at the carousel?


@roaringkitten oooh. Any suggestions for good 'cone-free styling products? (My hair similarly is colored and wavers between good curls and frizzy lumps.) I've been to a bunch of curly-girl websites but am kind of insanely overwhelmed by the amount of information?


@cherrispryte i use coloresse color cream from sally, but sadly, it's being discontinued. last week there was still marked-down stock still in the store. i bought 10 tubes... i believe sally has another curl cream in the ION line for colored hair. i'm going to try that next.


@simone eastbro yes!!!


@roaringkitten @simone eastbro I will totally do a Hairpin NOLA meetup! Please!!! I'll let y'all smell my hair and everything.


@roaringkitten I've been using Sally's version of Wen (Hair One) for about a year now and I love it. Went through a greaseball period for about a month, but now I wash my hair every 3rd day. It's done wonders for my hair. It's wavier now and softer with less split ends. Unfortunately, I have to stop using it because it contains wheat protein and is making my scalp burn. So now I'm researching alternative shampoos that don't contain wheat or sulfates and I stumbled on this site. I think on Monday I'm going to try BS and ACV and see what happens.


I have been trying this for a few weeks, but my hair is shoulder-length, extremely fine, and very naturally oily (to the point that conditioner HAS to stay away from my roots, like 3-4 inches away). It just is not working out for me, and there are only so many days I can put my hair up in a ponytail before it looks gross too. So, I can't do this, but kudos to all of you that it's working out for!


I did thr ACV rinse in high school in the late 80's. I still used shampoo and conditioner, but would rinse with a mixture of vinegar and water after. My hair never smelled like vinegar, and it was incredibly shiny and smooth. Straight and shiny, down to my waist. Oh, how I miss my long, virgin hair! I have mad grays now, and have to color religiously. I'm scared that ACV rinse would strip my color, so I settle out of court by only washing maybe twice a week, and using SLS free shampoo and conditioner. The no shampoo thing is interesting, but I'm too chicken to try it.


I was thinking seriously about whether this might actually work for me until the author mentioned at the very end of the article that her hair is curly. My hair is thin, fine, and pin straight. I can definitely see how someone with curly hair that naturally springs away from the scalp (and I believe most people with curly hair have dry not oily hair) could implement this more or less successfully. Unfortunately I don't think this would work for me. Also, let's face it - you will probably smell awful if you douse your head in vinegar. yuck.


@nomorecheese Here are some comments from the fine straight crowd: "After quitting shampoo in favor of occasional baking-soda-on-the-roots scrubs four months ago, my hair looks thick and shiny, and it has a little wave instead of looking stick-straight," "I usually have oily flat fine hair. THIS WORKED. And my hair had volume," " I have dark, very fine, very straight hair that's usually limp and, with regular shampoo, used to look greasy after 2 days of not washing. Now my hair has a bit of body and looks shiny and healthy," and "The first two weeks were a nightmare (really, really greasy as my scalp kept producing all that oil) and then blam, suddenly I had great hair after a lifetime of hating how thin and lank it looked" (from http://www.refinery29.com/we-ve-finally-been-convinced-to-give-up-our-shampoo). So I'm going to give it a try.


I haven't used shampoo for about 5 months now, and it works great for me, but it's definitely a person-to-person thing. Some people never get through the greasy phase. I eased off shampoo by just using conditioner. I tried baking soda once and hated it, and I don't like the smell of vinegar so I don't use that either. I just scrub my scalp and hair really well under hot water every morning--it doesn't get greasy at all. I like it because now I actually have thick, wavy hair, whereas before it was more fine and dead straight. And I swear I have less gray hair now. Weird, huh? But I don't think it's so great environmentally because I use more water than I did with shampoo. Anyway, truly, my hair does not have that rancid-hair-grease smell. I know because I asked two people I trust and they would definitely have told me if it did. And also, I sweat a lot (martial arts) every day; I rinse off afterward and it's really not a problem for me...but YMMV.

Molly Brewer@twitter

I was SO EXCITED to read this article, because I haven't used shampoo in THREE YEARS. (First heard about it because of Lorraine Massey's Curly Girl book/ the website naturallycurly.com. Massey is the creator of the DevaCurl line mentioned above.) I use the baking soda method 2-3 times a week, supplement with a silicone-free conditioner, (Suave Naturals- CHEAP!) and I couldn't be happier. My hair is soft, it smells and feels CLEAN, it's shiny and bouncy, I love it. :)

dracula's ghost

Hi guys! First-time poster! Moved to post by my joy in finding like-minded sans-pooers. I haven't washed my hair in over a year (also zero conditioner), and seriously, my hair has NEVER looked better. I have very thin, boring, straight, blonde hair, and I've always had to slather it with various waxes and pastes to get it to have any body whatsoever, and it would get horribly oily after like one day of not washing. Since switching to baking soda, I use NO PRODUCTS, and my hair is NEVER OILY. Now my hair is automatically thick, thicker than ever before, has weird cool textures in it, and needs no wax/paste. Also, about 3 months in, my hair-cutting-lady said, "what shampoo are you using? I've never seen your hair look so healthy." EXPERT OPINION! It has really changed my life and made me feel prettier and healthier. My stats, for the record: I keep a margarine tub full of baking soda in the shower, and maybe once a week I scrub a small handful through my hair. I very rarely do the vinegar. The rest of the days I just give my head a good massage under the water and that's it. I really think everyone should at least give this a shot! At first it feels sad because you miss the flowery smell of shampoo but after awhile you get over it. And it's one more tiny thing you can do to feel like less of an asshole w/r/t "The Environment." Oh another thing: no more static frizz!

You wash out the vinegar, so there is no smell. But also you can try no-vinegar, like me. If you think you can't do this because you have fine straight hair, THINK NO MORE, because that is ME, and ladies this shit really works. It is so great to spend zero dollars on any hair products whatsoever. And I like washing my hair with the same thing I use to scrub out my sink. Buy a 20 pound sack of arm-n-hammer for 12 bucks on amazon and you're good for like 5 years

Anne Canter@facebook

Also a first time poster and baking soda adherent. I stopped using shampoo in August & haven't gone back. I have mid-length, mostly straight, dark brown hair and it has been fine. I use a little baking soda followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse on my hair once or twice a week now. There is no vinegary smell (especially if you are rinsing it out well) because the vinegar smell goes away when it dries. My roommate didn't notice anything different about my hair's cleanliness/smell/texture/greasiness/quality for over three months until she asked if I was using her shampoo & I told her I'd stopped using shampoo entirely. Before I switched, I lived with a couple of girls who did the no shampoo method and I had no idea until I saw one of them walking upstairs with a bottle vinegar. It is cheaper & I think it is better for the environment, but the real reason I do it is because it is simpler--my hair doesn't need the chemicals or the products, so why use them? If you like shampoo, no judgment, because let's be real: it's hair. It's not that big a deal what strangers on the internet are using.


I have short, fine hair and am older (57). I'm thinking of doing this, but what do you say when you go to the hairdresser and they want to shampoo you before they cut? I have short hair but am growing it out a bit.


@tartofdarkness (Original poster here.) Whenever I'm going to get my hair cut, I plan it out so that my once-a-week baking soda/vinegar wash falls on that same day. Then I just tell them, "It's already washed, it just needs to be wet."

I did that even when I used shampoo, just to save a few bucks. In fact, the whole reason I stopped using shampoo in the first place was because I told a hairdresser my hair was already washed, and she was like, "Whatever you're using is too harsh. Have you considered 'no-poo'?" Then she said that was the first time she had said "no-poo" out loud because it was such a stupid name for it.


@Lauren_O'Neal Help? I have a couple of questions I hope you'd be kind enough to help me with. I have been doing this for 2 weeks now, I don't know that I can get through the 5 weeks I said I'd try this. I look disgusting, I miss clean, yummy smelling hair, I don't want anyone near me bc I feel so disgusting. I just went cold turkey, though did wash my hair once with BS which worked great. I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into:

1. How does BS/vinegar work any different from organic, chemical free, fragrance free shampoo? Aren't you still taking the oils away? How does your hair know to stop producing so much if you wash it all out?
2. I may have an important business meeting on Friday and I just... get a scarf? Or wait until then to do my BS wash? Is there always this kind of timing issues involved or just this first 5 weeks?
3. This system seems to require some thought, I now have to brush my hair all the time which I'm not a fan of, and then I have to clean the brush. It's feeling like more work than shampooing, am I right? So the reason most people do it is because of the chemicals? since it doesn't seem easier so far.
4. So can your hair be tousled or is it always brushed?

Thank you so so much for your heeelp.


If anyone is hesitant to make the leap to no-poo, I recommend switching to a shampoo/conditioner without SLS. I use Giovanni brand products and noticed a HUGE difference in my hair after a few weeks of use. It doesn't get dirty/greasy as often and it feels healthier.


You guys, I have a question. I have some mild dandruff. Do you think the no 'poo' will help? I don't really shampoo very much right now. Maybe once or twice a week and only condition the ends, but I've been using dry shampoo in between and I find that it irritates my scalp and causes dandruff. also I dye my hair super blonde (sorry yall i'm addicted) Thoughts?


@kristiyamaguchi I'm curious about this too. I recently tried John Freida's new dry shampoo and it gave me dandruff, which it seems I am now stuck with. Anyone with dandruff tried this? Did it help or make it worse?

Claire Lang@facebook

@kristiyamaguchi I suggest using the apple cider vinegar to help battle the dandruff. It does wonders. In fact my daughter was having trouble with dandruff ( hitting that age where she's growing) and the only thing that got rid of it was apple cider vinegar. I used it as a daily rinse and let it sit on her scalp for about 15 minutes before rinsing it out with cool water.


@kristiyamaguchi The no shampoo method gave me massive dandruff. Now I do Baking Soda and ACV. If I accidentally use too much baking soda, my scalp gets dry and I get dandruff. ACV is the only thing that helps since I stopped using conditioner.


@kristiyamaguchi I only wash my hair once a week and I use a shampoo with tea tree oil in it. I also, despite being curly-haired, brush my hair a couple times a week (bun day at the office). Seems to work pretty well.


I tried this for a few weeks and followed the instructions very diligently. I thought my hair was great. It had just enough oils. Shiny & delicious.

Until two separate people--two!--my boyfriend and my brother, no less--told me that my hair sort of smelled like old man balls. I swear they did not communicate about this. Also I'm not sure how both of them knew what old man balls smell like, but that is beside the point. I experimented with adding "essential oils" to the mixture to give it a fragrance but was told it did not work.

Springtime for Voldemort

I have a friend that does this. I don't have the heart to tell her that for the year she's been doing it, her hair looks less healthy, greasier, and generally looks and smells disgusting.


@papayalily Don't tell her. I went no shampoo for about 7 months, and when one of my friends told me she thought I was gross, it ended our friendship. Not because we fought or anything. I cried and told her I thought it was brave of her to tell me, but we just drifted away after that. I literally have not been back to her house since that day. We resented each other, I think, for what the other was doing. If you're really her friend, just be her friend, not her hygiene consultant. (PS it worked; I started using a baking soda and vinegar wash instead, and my hair looks much less greasy, but I'd rather have my friend)

Arin Flinn@facebook

@Springtime for Voldemort. Baking soda and vinegar is not the only option. Tell your friend that you came across this website:

It will do wonders for your friend. No more bs and acv all the time!

Lauren Bishop@facebook

Just did BS and ACV wash for the first time and it doesn't smell bad at all, even when my hair is wet. (I rinsed a lot so perhaps that helped?)


I'm on day 11 and I don't know that I can get through the 5 weeks I said I'd try this. I look disgusting, I miss clean, yummy smelling hair, I don't want anyone near me bc I feel so disgusting. I still don't get how baking soda is any better in this process than organic chemical free shampoo. I've been doing just a water rinse bc it seems like BS strips my hair about as much as much as my old organic shampoo did. Right now I think I gotta get me some more baking soda, stat.

Kaylen Peterson@twitter

@ScazzaSofija Try less BS. Most people use 1 tbsp to a cup of water at the most, and a lot of people use a weaker solution, 1 or 2 teaspoons. You get your hair wet and pour or squirt from a bottle onto your roots and scrub. Then a rinse, although there are many. And if you miss the smell, try essential oils in water as a spray or leave in rinse. Or maybe a body spray/perfume if you like them.
You can also try going conditioner only. I'm not sure about organic non-sulfate shampoo and oils. Going as long as you can between shampoos helps.


@ScazzaSofija Hey there. I'm almost to week 4 now. I had actually quit cold turkey before, wasn't even using BS, so I switched to just using BS/ACV when my hair gets dirty (and I'm using a lot too, like 4 tsp). Using that as a transition period is what I'm doing now. My hair looks great right after I wash it, but it gets greasier faster than with my old organic sulfate-free shampoo about every other day it's greasy (I could go a week without washing with my old shampoo but it stripped my hair more). It's also flatter. Shiny though and feels clean. There's definitely no doubt that BS/ACV is a great cleaner for those doubters. I'm waiting for when my hair stops being so oily to extend the time between washings, but it's not really happening. I may just be BS/ACV for awhile. Or I'm travelling soon and if BS/ACV doesn't work in a hot humid climate I'll just go back to shampoo. I'm listening to my hair and whenever it want to produce less oils I can extend days between shampoos.

Lauren Bishop@facebook

Just to clarify, there is a real transition period where your hair is pretty yucky, yes? I'm on day 8. It's not intolerable, and I'm fine sticking it out, assuming I will not be a gross person forever. THOUGHTS?


@Lauren Bishop@facebook
You won't be gross forever! I'm a month into this and am very happy with the results!!

:Cinnamon Girl:

@tuf Did you use the BS and ACV rince? Or just go cold turkey?


If I quit shampooing, will it mess up my hair to dye it? I use Revlon ColorSilk or Raw (Raw is just a temp, 3-6 weeks, and has no ammonia or alcohol in it - way healthier) when I dye it.


Every time I read articles about the no shampoo movement I get a little frustrated. I tried it awhile ago and gave up after 2 weeks. It's just unbearable. The problem is that everyone that does the no shampoo thing encourages you to quit cold turkey. I don't think that's the way you should do it. I think you should do things in phases. You need to train your hair to go an extra day in between washes. Then once you can do that without looking like a grease ball you can add an extra day in between washes. You should gradually get to the point where you aren't so reliant on frequent washes before you cut shampoo out completely.
Another thing that is helping me in my transition is that I quit blow drying my hair. It's done wonders. I started using some no heat curling methods that I found on youtube (My favorite is rolling my hair into a sock bun and leaving it over night). This way my hair looks styled and pretty but without blasting heat on to my scalp. After all of this, my hair started appearing less greasy in between washes.
I just think it's bad advice to tell women to quit cold turkey. I think you should train your hair for awhile until you can wash it once or twice a week, then maybe replace one of the washes with the baking soda/vinegar treatment. And then maybe go down to shampoo once every other week. And then cut it out completely if you are able to train your scalp to handle that.


@lolobishop : I did baking soda and the apple cider vinegar rinse for two weeks. Probably most days, but occasionally not when I didn't feel the need to wash my hair. After the two weeks I went cold turkey for ...about two weeks. Maybe more? I cannot remember. I honestly was liking the results enough that I tried to go as long as I could stand to without the baking soda and apple cider vinegar and may have even made three weeks. I think two weeks would be more than enough though. Then back to washing about once a week as Lauren suggested. Sometimes I do it a bit more, or less, depending on how my hair feels.

@hurricanesfan : I don't think you necessarily need to go cold turkey. I did it gradually as I've read, where I washed with baking soda and apple cider vinegar whenever I felt like I needed to for about two weeks, then went cold turkey. I was on vacation so it seemed a bit weird but was actually really great and refreshing. I had a couple days of ice but for the most part, was really happy with my hair, even when it was at the height of cold turkey/greasiness. I've been doing this since in the beginning of May, so for sure it hasn't been long, but I do not see any reasons that I would go back to using shampoo. Rather, I would prefer to spend the money that previously went towards such products, and put it towards essential oils and other products for making homemade products. It's very gratifying to be in tune with your body enough that you can make your own products for your needs. Thank you Lauren, for your encouragement and suggestions! Very helpful and I'm happy to keep this up. I have heard about using aloe vera as a conditioner sometimes and am considering trying that out sometime.

Overall, super pleased with quitting shampoo. Beautiful and soft hair! And I feel confident that anyone with any hair type can accomplish this, it just requires some willingness to get to know your hair and some trial and error.


Hey y'all just updating that the past months have been a struggle with no-poo but I finally got the hang of it. Turns out I didn't realize the absolute necessity of following bs with acv on the scalp to get it to stop producing oils. Turns out sebum is acidic so you have to give your scalp some acid or it will try to compensate with sebum/grease. Found this out over at the no-poo.livejournal.com forum. Very helpful ladiess over there. Today? 5 days after I did my bs/acv and no sign of grease (I'm not even brushing, doing dry shampoo or corn starch).

Roxanne Michie@facebook

hihi, im really interested to try this NO-POO method. but im just wondering if i could use styling products and curling iron if i used this method? (cuz i really love glam hair styles that curling iron does)

Chloe 'Pidge' Spirals@facebook

I stopped washing my hair about a week ago and just conditioning it and rinsing it. It's made a MASSIVE difference to my normally frizzy, thick hair (looking at my facebook profile photo you can actually see how frizzy it was a week ago, ugh). I do have to note, my hair is very dry and doesn't need much washing anyway so it's probably best for my hair type. Suddenly I've got silky, manageable, non-frizzy hair. Let's see how this goes over the long term!

What I really want to know is if using straighteners is still going to work or will I just end up frying my hair from the oil? My hair's naturally wavy and a bit random so I'd prefer to still straighten it for special occasions.


@Chloe 'Pidge' Spirals@facebook

What kind of straighteners? I don't know about chemical straighteners, but the styling product ones you apply before blow drying still work fine in my hair. I just wash my hair with conditioner now too... I actually colored and blew my hair dry tonight and it's fine. My wave is between a 2a and 2b, but tends to frizz out quite a bit when it's too dry if that tells you what it's like.


A couple of years ago, I switched to Hair One from Sally's. It's a WEN knock off. Anyway, it's pretty much just a conditioner. So I went through that whole detox phase too. My hair was kind of greasy for a few weeks, but I brushed it a lot and wore it in a ponytail. I didn't know what was going on and while I thought my hair was getting kind of gross, I could tell my hair was getting better. I figured maybe I just wasn't rinsing well enough or something, so I really focused on rinsing and scrubbing my scalp with my fingers. Who knew I was learning to go no-poo? :)

After the detox phase though, my hair turned out great. It's not dry anymore and it feels amazing. My natural wave even started taking shape. It never really would before. I ended up having to stop using Hair One because I'm allergic to wheat protein. Now I just use DevaCare One Conditioner. Works great. No shampoo, no wheat protein, but wonderfully clean hair!

Caitlin Bentley Rush@facebook

Hey, First of all, I'm about three days into step two and my hair is literally sticking straight up on one side. Second of all, I was wondering if anyone had any input for what I should do when I need a haircut in a few weeks. Usually my hairdresser washes my hair beforehand, and I'm not opposed to the idea, but I wouldn't want to mess up my progress. Will one shampooing hurt?


Hi, I have dark, very fine shoulder lenght hair and I have been using No Poo for 6 weeks. But my hair is SO oily, I can't even let it down...Am I doing something wrong?? I use 1tbs of BS and 1tbs of ACV..HELP!! I am very close to going back to Shampoo!

Rebecca Oyler@facebook

I've been doing this for about 2 months now and I'm loving it! At this point I'm using BS/ACV about twice a week when I shower, otherwise it's just a hot water rinse. I started going through the greasy transition phase about a week and a half ago but I think my hair is balancing out now. I've always had naturally thick, wavy-ish hair but it never dried naturally into a real style, I always did something with it. Now my hair dries naturally into awesome waves, and they're even curlier if I decide to plop/plunk when I get out of the shower.


@Rebecca Oyler@facebook KEY: make sure you're putting the ACV rinse on your scalp my dear. That's the key to discouraging oils.

Laura Woolridge@facebook

Another good tip to try out for myself and my readers at westernwoman.wordpress.com
I am always looking for another word that needs to be spread! I'm excited about this one!


I think this is a swell idea BUT I have a few reservations.. I'm a huge fan of getting Ayurvedic head massages that use a lot of oil, so I'm wondering would baking soda clean it out?


@JadeX As long as its natural oil (nothing silicone in it) there's kind of...no reason to get it all out? I basically use argan oil as a conditioner sometimes, so it's not incompatible with this. I know it's kind of gross right after you get them, but once your scalp has adjusted its own oil production, this should actually be fine.

Anna Johnson@twitter

I stopped using shampoo about 6-7 months ago and I will never go back to using it! I even made a video about it. You can watch it here if you like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpMDNjjC8LE


So I've been trying this for for almost 3 weeks now, and at first I was really digging it. But even after a baking soda wash my hair has this awful sticky feeling to it for at least a day. Its not a greasy root look, but even the ends feel sticky, thats the best way I can describe it. It seems to be less noticeable a couple days after the wash, but I'm usually so grossed out by it I have to throw it up in a bun until the next wash.

Does anyone know what I could be doing wrong? I'm going to try the acv today to see if that helps, but if something doesn't give soon I might have to give up. I can only rock a bun for so long!

Anna Harms@facebook

I was on holiday and didn't wash my hair for a week as I didn't see the point when I was only going to go in the sea and mess it up. I got home from holiday and went straight to a friends house, I told her how gross I'd been and she got all excited and told me I should just not bother washing it and she found this site. I thought she was insane but despite my love for hair that smells incredible and my Hatred for wearing my hair up, I thought I might as well give it a go! I haven't washed my hair for two weeks now, like literally nothing, I've rinsed it twice but not really sure what that's meant to do. My scalp has seriously dried out and started flaking which is gross, I have to sing on a stage tomorrow and I would rather not look all crusty... Am I allowed to do the BS and ACV rinse before my 5 week ban is up? Will this ruin it all? Help! I really want this to work because I think it's cool. :) Anna in England.

Ps: girl above, I think we should stick at it, why not?! X


@ghostinharrenhal I am experiencing the same thing so if you figure something out please let me know. I started the process the beginning of September, about 4 weeks now, and haven't followed it completely to a "T" I have blonde hair that is straight but wavy in some spots and hits just above the shoulders as I am growing out a stacked hair cut. This means I can't pull up and I have to blow dry it everyday. I work in an office with the public so maintaining my appearance is important. I am in phase 2 but as I started to experience the heavy sticky hair I cheated and used BS and AVC a couple days before a wedding. Does my hair look like a horrible greasy mess? No. Does it blow in the wind, no. Does it look/feel plastered to my head, I think so. I want to follow through with this and plan to but is it ok to "cheat" during phase 2 or is there something I can do different to make it through this phase as I anxiously await for the soft and silky feel again?


I've been shampoo free for a Long time. Very recently, and I'm not sure why- it's been kind of greasy. This is odd because I had really dry hair, and my hair has been growing really fast lately. For nearly two years it's looked gorgeous- so I don't want to go back- any shampoo free suggestions?


I really want to try this, but I dye my hair, and that's something that's not going to change. Do you think this would still work even though I would continue to lighten my hair with dye?

Syed Nouman@facebook

this is great tips for smoth and designer hair ,Celebrity Hairstyle

Syed Nouman@facebook


Leah Dossey@facebook

So excited that No Poo is getting POSITIVE national attention - did you see the spot on Inside Edition? http://coderedhat.com/no-poo-movement-video/

Bonnie Hildebrand@facebook

I've been nopooing for about two years. Love it. BUT, I think it's terrible to make the claim that switching to nopoo will clear up your complexion. It *might* for *some* people, not everyone. Hormones and diet are the largest contributor to breakouts or lack of them, and everyone is different on that front.

Jenny Scott@facebook

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Hey guys,
I need some advice, and if it can be found in the comments, please point me in the right direction! I've been no-poo for two years now, but in the last few months, suddenly my hair is SUPER greasy! Before I could go 4-5 days without washing, now I can barely go 2. I haven't changed anything about my lifestyle or washing routine..
Anyone else have this problem? Any advice would be appreciated!


Help! I'm in my 5th week of no-pooing and getting really sick of the grease. I've been washing my hair once/week with baking soda and an ACV rinse--it looks great afterwards, good on the 2nd day, but it's way downhill from then on. I just re-read the instructions here and saw that it was recommended to not use any baking soda/ACV after the 2nd week. Is that really necessary?? I don't look or feel great in the scarves/bandanas and hats I've been wearing, and sometimes I just want to look normal for an appointment or event. I've gone this far, I don't want to quit, but I'm getting sick of this. Any advice? How much longer will this take? (I have fine, straight hair fwiw.)


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I must be weird but that's normal for me :). I adjusted super-easily to the baking soda/infrequent washing part, amazingly easy but not surprising in retrospect as I have long, naturally wavy, full but fine hair, the kind that is damaged super-easily, etc. etc. I never made a commitment to the no-shampoo thing, I just said hmmm guess I should try this b/c my hair is SO ridiculously fragile and I have nothing better to do. Months went by with no adjustment period, probably b/c I had already learned it was NOT good to lather up every day when you have long, fine, full, naturally wavy hair (go ahead and hate me, but know that I'm halfway to dead and have had no boyfriends whatsoever). Point is: many months in my hair looks better than it has ever looked, with baking soda/lotsa water/ACV as needed/whatever...AND my 20 years of Seborrheic dermatitis are, well, not completely done but approximately a million times improved...but after more than 3 happy months of happy looking in the mirror admiring how great my hair LOOKS...it's starting to get a bit not-so-fresh-seeming.

So to get to the point: are there non-soap, not-perfume ways to get the damp dreary oily smell off my head w/o resorting to soap-type things that will re-ruin my fragile curly hair??


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Once you’ve got it to a consistency you like, store it one of those little travel bottles or a jar and keep it handy in your shower.
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What is true is that certain chemicals in shampoo, especially foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS, for short), can irritate your scalp and hair, as well as the skin that your hair touches, meaning you and your hair don’t look as healthy as you could.
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Nayab Atif@facebook

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Laura Young@facebook

So you use a baking soda wash with a ACV rinse for one week and then nothing for a month? I'm doing no poo. I haven't washed my hair is 4 days. But according to this article I should be washing with BS and ACV for the first week, then nothing but water for a month and then back to BS and ACV once a week? So technically it takes just over a month to get your scalp back to normal?


Hey! So this is great and I have been trying it and am somewhere in step 2...it occurred to me though...when does step 2 end? (This is the stage I understand that I just wash with water)...My hair got SUPER greasy like 2 days ago but it seems to have calmed down after I have brushed it an insane amount...Am I supposed to wait weeks/up to a month until I go back to using baking soda and vinegar? I was just curious when one knows he/she is ready to proceed to step 3...I saw a lot of conflicting advice on the internet concerning this. Thanks for your help! So far this was the best advice I found on it!

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