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The ‘No Poo’ method: Benefits & FAQs

‘No Poo’ method
The 'No Poo' method involves washing your hair with a gentle alternative to shampoo. Find out how it works, all the benefits and if it's for you in our article.

Have you heard of the ‘No Poo’ method?

It’s a haircare method for people who want to transition to a more natural haircare routine.

Now we’re not advocating it or rejecting it, we just want to help you explore it.

The main goal for most people following the method is to completely cut out chemical-laden shampoos, with some ditching all shampoo for good.

But why? Good question! Find the answer below along with other ‘No Poo’ method FAQs.

Skip to:

What is the No Poo method?

Firstly, let’s delve into the details of what the No Poo method actually is.

We’ve touched upon it briefly but stripping it back to basics, No Poo literally means no shampoo – not the other kind.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that people who are trying this don’t wash their hair at all, it’s just done with natural ingredients or even just with water.

When did the No Poo movement start?

So, when did the No Poo movement start?

Well, there’s actually no clear start, but shampoo, as we know it today, was commercialised in the 1930s with the invention of Drene – the first ever synthetic product for washing hair.1

After it became a staple in modern life years later, people who prefer to use more natural products on their bodies decided to stop using it and opted for gentler methods of cleaning instead.

Does the No poo method help with dandruff?

The first port of call when you realise you have dandruff is probably off to the shops to get some anti-dandruff shampoo.

But this isn’t necessarily the best course of action.

There are natural ingredients you can use as a part of the No Poo method instead. Namely, baking soda.

This may be helpful as a gentle exfoliant for getting rid of flakes but has also been said to have anti-fungal properties2.

This could help with dandruff caused by a type of fungus called Malassezia.3

Can you wash your hair with just water?

Thinking of giving it a go?

Many people have swapped shampoo for plain old water, mainly without issue too.

Just make sure to give your scalp a gentle massage and a rinse in order to get rid of any dirt build-up.

Susan Elkin is an advocate for the movement and says that the key to getting through that initial greasy period is to brush with a soft-bristled brush in order to distribute the natural oils throughout the lengths.4

8 benefits of not washing your hair with shampoo

  1. Less dry scalp

Sometimes the ingredients in shampoo can strip away the natural oils that our scalp produces.

Therefore not washing your hair with shampoo may allow your locks to get back to their natural conditioned state.5

  1. Balanced oil regulation

Otherwise known as ‘scalp training’ reducing the number of times you use shampoo (or eventually not using it at all) can help to regulate the oils produced so they’re more in line with your natural hair needs.6

  1. Strengthening of damaged or coloured hair

Do you dye your hair a certain colour?

Some shampoos can affect the look of your hair colour – thanks to the use of ingredients like SLEs and other strong cleansing agents.

The No Poo method suggests much gentler ways of washing your hair and therefore has a lesser impact on hair colour.7

  1. Easier to maintain curls

As curly hair is often more porous than straight hair, this means that thoroughly rinsing out the ingredients in shampoo is harder – leading to frizz.

Going No Poo or using the co-washing method (conditioner only) may help to rejuvenate your curls and give them a boost of natural moisture.8

  1. Reduced plastic consumption

This is an obvious one, but it’s still worth mentioning.

Making your own shampoo without the harsh ingredients will help to reduce the amount of plastic we’re using in our day to day lives.

  1. Ingredient-free hair

As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, shampoos are typically made using a lot of chemical ingredients – some of which can be pretty harsh on our hair.

So not using shampoo will help you on the way to having ingredient-free hair.

  1. Save on spends

Fed up of having to stock up on bottle after bottle of shampoo?

With the No Poo method, you won’t have to worry as much. Whether you’re making your own natural shampoo or you’re going water only, the amount of money spent on shampoo will be reduced.

  1. Save time

And finally, not washing your hair with shampoo will help you to shave off some time from your morning routine!

Summary

  • There are plenty of benefits to using the No Poo method, from saving on money and time to allowing your hair to get back to its natural state.

How to wash hair without shampoo - step by step guide

Interested in getting involved in the No Poo movement?

You might be wondering about how to get started, which is why we’ve included step-by-step information on how to wash your hair without shampoo (just using water instead):

1

If you’re just going to be using water, you will need to put in a little bit of effort. First, wet your hair as normal.

2

Gently massage your scalp, paying particular attention to the top of your head, working down to the back of the crown.

3

Once you’ve finished massaging your scalp to get rid of any dirt or oil build-up, simply rinse with some more warm water and you’re good to go.

How to stop using shampoo

The process of moving from using shampoo to not using shampoo can be an interesting one.

You’ll have to prepare yourself for getting used to your locks without the chemicals.

And after a long period of time, our hair gets used to the chemicals and therefore is quicker to produce natural oils.

So remember to keep brushing to distribute these oils and within a few weeks, your hair should start to adapt to the No Poo way of life.

How long does the No Poo method take?

When starting the No Poo method you may be a bit worried about how long it takes for your hair to get used to your new way of life.

And as a rule of thumb, it may take around six weeks for your hair to fully transition, however it could be faster than this if you have shorter hair.

How often should you wash your hair with the No poo method?

This is down to personal preference, but most newbie ‘No Pooers’ usually leave it every ten to fourteen days before washing it9 – sans shampoo of course.

But if you’re not as keen on going water-only, don’t worry.

Check out our blog on how to make your own shampoo without using any harsh chemicals.

Does the No poo method help hair grow?

There’s not enough research to say whether or not the No Poo method helps hair to grow.

However, the ingredients we’ve mentioned in this article may impact hair growth.

Do people using the No Poo method wash their hair?

Yes, they do, just in a different way to most of us.

Instead of regular shampoo, they turn to natural ingredients to keep their hair clean and healthy.

Some of these include baking soda, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, soap nuts and rye flour, or even just plain water. Read about how to make some No Poo-friendly shampoo here.

Another thing people do while using the No Poo method is cleansing their hair.

You can do this by detangling your hair with a comb or your fingers, then massaging the roots with your (clean) fingertips for 5-10 minutes and finally brushing the oil through to the ends.

This helps to distribute the natural oils on your scalp down to the rest of your hair.

But won't my hair be smelly and greasy?

You should still be washing your hair, but with natural products as we explained above, so your hair shouldn’t be greasy.

If you transition to just water straight away then yes it might do in the beginning, so a gradual transition may be better.

You might not get the fancy smells of your favourite shampoo from the likes of baking soda, etc. but you can compromise.

Try adding natural scents like essential oils to your No Poo shampoos, it can be fun trying out different combinations, like your own little shampoo lab! Here are some examples:

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Ylang ylang
  • Thyme
  • Cedarwood
  • Rosemary
  • Lemongrass

Summary:

  • It can take up to six weeks of not using shampoo to see the main benefits of the movement.
  • Your hair may be greasy, to begin with, but this should settle down after some time.
  • Your hair may not smell as fancy as it used to, but it will still be clean.

Who can do the No Poo method? Common FAQs

Wondering whether the No Poo method is right for you?

Below are some of our FAQs to consider depending on your lifestyle and current haircare routine. 

I exercise a lot, can I No Poo?

Yep! Instead of using shampoo on the daily after you’ve got all sweaty, simply use the water-only method and then use an alternative shampoo once or twice a week.

Your hair will be relieved after being used to all that washing with conventional shampoo.

How about if I go swimming in a pool or in the sea?

Chlorine is a bit of an issue, as your hair likes to soak it up while you’re swimming which can lead to dryness,10 making it very important to get it out after your swim-sesh.

If you don’t fancy using a swimming cap, simply wet your hair with regular water before you get in the pool and use any No Poo shampoo alternative except ones with baking soda in.

The same thing goes for saltwater – rinse your hair with non-salty water before you get into seawater – it’s can actually be quite beneficial for your hair.

Then make sure you rinse with normal water after your swim.

If it’s a bit dry, use a conditioning treatment like a DIY avocado hair mask to revive it back to its beautiful best.

Can I No Poo if I have curly hair?

If you have curly hair, you already know it takes a little more looking after than straight hair, so is the No Poo method suitable?

Yes, in fact curly hair thrives when you wash it less, there’s just a few alterations you will have to make.

  • Avoid baking soda – they’re far too harsh for curly hair as they affect the pH balance and can even loosen the curl pattern11
  • Use a deep conditioner regularly
  • De-tangle your hair and pull the oil through to the ends using a wide-toothed comb instead of a brush

Can I use dry shampoo?

Yes, dry shampoo can be very useful for the No Poo process to help soak up grease in the transitioning period.

Try making your own dry shampoo, though, so you can keep it consistent with your No Poo method by sticking to natural ingredients.

Not quite sold on the ‘No Poo’ method? Why not compromise and use a shampoo from our range?

Our carefully curated range of shampoo here at H&B is formulated without harsh, oil-stripping ingredients and are full of natural goodness.

We choose to stock these because we believe they are better for your hair – pure and simple.

Some of our favourite ranges are:

  1. Dr Organic: plant goodness at its best for your hair

Sporty Mum - 5/5 stars - “I have coloured dark shoulder length hair and the shampoo and conditioner combination leave my hair feeling soft and smelling lovely.”

  1. Faith In Nature: good for your hair

Foxybadger - 5/5 stars - “Lovely fruity scent, a great natural product and decent quantity. This shampoo comes in a nice big bottle, has a divine blueberry fragrance and makes my hair shiny clean and sweet-smelling.”

  1. Ethique: a vegan and hair-loving range of shampoo bars

Jo Hend - 5/5 stars - “It foams up nicely and quickly, lovely smell too! Makes me feel good that I’m reducing how much plastic I’m using” 

The final say

Fancy getting involved with the No Poo movement?

Whatever your reasons are, we hope you’re feeling prepped and ready to get started after reading our guide – and soon you’ll reap the benefits.

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 25 April 2022

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