No Poo Method - Healthy Clean Hair Alternatives

no poo method, girl with beautiful long curly hair
Photo by Houcine Ncib

Our scalps produce natural oils called sebum which naturally keep our hair soft and healthy. However, in modern day life, we’ve always been taught to wash our hair with shampoo - some do it daily, others every other day and some wait a few days to weekly - depends on the person and their scalp.

By using shampoo, you are applying harsh chemicals to your scalp and stripping away the natural oils. Therefore the No-Poo Method was born to skip the poo and go natural.

Some go super natural and just rinse their hair with water - what is the right method for you? What is the no poo method? What would you try or not try? Is it healthy to do this long term? Does the no poo method work? What are the pros and cons? Are there any other alternatives? All these questions are answered below.

What is the No Poo Method

Your complete guide.

Going no poo means literally skipping store-bought shampoos. We are constantly shown advertisements for different shampoos and what they can do for your hair and how beautiful you can be after washing your hair with this or that shampoo. Is this really how it's supposed to be? Humans didn't always have shampoo, right - so is this just a marketing ploy to get you to buy their product? Could be. Lucky for us, there are alternatives to the standard shampoos you can get at the store.

girl with beautiful healthy long curly hair, no poo method
Photo by Houcine Ncib

Pros of Doing the No Poo Method

It’s gentler on your hair and scalp - this is especially beneficial to those who have sensitive skin and have a tough time with finding a good shampoo. Shampoo usually contains parabens and sulfates which are harsh chemicals and truly not very good for us.

It’s also allowing your scalp and hair to live in its natural state with the natural oils (sebum) your scalp produces. Shampoo (with all its chemicals) can strip away the natural oils which is healthy for your scalp and hair. Ultimately, your hair will look less frizzy, healthier and it will strengthen your hair so it’s less likely to break.

The no shampoo method is more environmentally friendly - less plastic waste from all those shampoo bottles and also less chemicals.

If you dye your hair, it will likely last longer with the no poo method.

Cons of the No Poo Method

While the idea of trying the no poo method might sound like something you want to do, keep in mind that it’s honestly not for everyone. Whether you have a biological reason or you use a lot of products on your hair - read on below for reasons why the no poo method could be a no go for each and every person.

The Transition Stage: When you first try out the no poo method, take note that there is an adjustment period to where your hair might not feel the way you’re used to when using shampoo. In other words, it might not feel as “clean” - almost gross at times - and might even feel dry or itchy at first or oily if you happen to have a naturally oily scalp. Everyones adjustment period may vary.

MY EXPERIENCE: When I did the no poo method, it took about 20ish days until I felt like I had won the shampoo-less lottery! It felt amazing to not have to use shampoo and my hair felt wonderful! Luckily for me I worked from home so I didn’t have to go out in public much for fears that my hair didn’t look “clean” or smell nice during that time period.

If you use a lot of styling products... like hair spray, dry shampoos, mousse, gel or other similar items that might cause product build-up in your hair - then you might have a harder time transitioning to the no poo method.

If you have an underlying skin condition... (specifically on your scalp), then maybe the no poo method is not a good choice for you. Examples include: scalp psoriasis, any fungal or bacterial infections on your scalp, or seborrheic dermatitis. Take with your dermatologist if you’re concerned or have questions about this.

The different ways of doing the No Poo Method

If you're looking for a nopoo method recipe - look no further. We've got you covered with the different options for going without shampoo.

glass jar with baking soda with wooden spoon, baking soda no poo method
photo by Jess Bailey
  1. Baking soda + Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse method:
  • Create a paste with 3 parts baking soda and 2 parts water. I recommend making enough for multiple washings and store in a pint mason jar.
  • When you’re ready to do this method, wet your hair thoroughly and then apply about a TBSP of the paste to the scalp and gently scrub near the scalp.
  • If you have long hair, don’t worry about covering all of your hair.
  • NOTE: It will NOT lather, because there is no bubbly soap like shampoo has, so don’t expect a lather.
  • Once you’re done, wash out the baking soda paste from your hair with water.
  • Next you want to do an ACV rinse: Take another pint jar and fill about 1/4 of it with apple cider vinegar, then fill the rest with water.
  • Pour this onto the top of your head, gently massage your scalp a bit, then rinse with water.

Amazingly your hair will feel soft after doing this. I never thought ACV and baking soda would cause my hair to feel this soft, but it really worked that way in my experience.  The ACV will also help neutralize the pH levels.

2. Water rinse method: This method is basically what you think it is - you rinse your hair with water only. This is a basic way of cleaning your hair that costs nothing really and is the most natural way to go. If you happen to have dry or oily hair, then this might take some adjustment, but slowly work up to it if you can. You can also just do this most days and then one day a week or once a month you could do the Baking Soda and ACV rinse method.

3. Just Apple Cider Vinegar: make a mixture of ACV and water, pour onto your hair and massage in a bit, then rinse.

4. Conditioner “wash”: This is the no poo method without baking soda. Just use conditioner to wash your hair, rinse and go. This can be done weekly or however often you’d like, maybe switch it up with just water rinse or the baking soda/ACV method. Make sure to get a healthy & more natural conditioner for best results. You could also use olive oil or coconut oil as a leave in conditioner. Use very little and brush through your hair to moisturize it.

No Poo Method Alternatives

Does the no shampoo method work? Really? All of this said and done - I have to be honest with you - the no poo method isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Over long periods of time doing this method, your hair might become damaged and brittle and this is due to the pH levels of baking soda and vinegar not being good for our hair and scalp. Our hair is already acidic and adding a high alkaline solution to our hair you’re messing with nature!

Good news is there are alternatives if you still want to stay away from commercial shampoos that are filled with chemicals and such.

At a bare minimum, one things you could do, is just not do it daily. I saw a post by Christine Elise over at Barefoot Budget about how she does the baking soda and ACV method only once a month, then rinses with water daily. She also does just an ACV rinse every other Friday.

That said, this is HER no poo method and that doesn’t mean it has to be YOUR method.

Everyones hair is different. Find what works for you and stick to that. If you notice your hair has become more brittle and frizzy over time, then maybe you should stop and instead try one of these methods below.

shampoo bar - healthy alternative to regular shampoo
Photo by FitNish Media

Other options include:

1. Shampoo bars - you could make your own or find homemade ones on Etsy or Amazon (Zero bar shown in the pic above). Shampoo bars don't contain the harsh sulfates and parabens that shampoo has, so they are gentler on your hair and scalp.

2. Clay-based shampoo - An example is Live Clean Shampoo, with Rebalancing Mineral Clay. Perfect for oily hair. Contains clay to absorb oil while also keeping your hair hydrated.


After reading this article how do you feel about the no shampoo method? Is it right for you? This article gave you all the tips, cons, pros, no poo method recipes and no poo alternatives so you can make the right decision for you and your hair. Even if you do it for a short amount of time just to try it out, it won't hurt. It's good to be in-the-know about what goes into your beauty products and that there are alternatives and healthy options out there other than what is advertised to us on the daily. Stay aware for your best health.