Going No ‘Poo: Yea Or Nay?

No ‘Poo. It’s a term I’ve heard quite a bit on the internet — and one that’s always intrigued me, although I’ve never mustered up the courage to try it myself… until now. Maybe.

For those who are new to the term, “no ‘poo” refers to different methods of washing hair without any commercial products whatsoever. Now, I’ve tried things like apple cider vinegar rinses and homemade coconut shampoo and conditioner, but I’ve never actually given up store-bought shampoos and conditioners. With the new year already here, I’m all about trying new things, so I must ask you: Should I go no ‘poo? I’d love to hear any thoughts, tips, and experiences from those of you who have done it! I want to hear everything – whether good or bad!

But first…

Why I want to go no ‘poo:

Why? First and foremost, no more chemicals! As much as I try using products that are as natural as possible, I haven’t been able to find any that are truly made of purely healthy ingredients – let alone ones that work for my hair. With the no ‘poo method, I’ll likely be using just baking soda and apple cider vinegar on my hair. That’s all.

Secondly, the hair benefits! From the research I’ve conducted thus far, it appears that those living the no ‘poo lifestyle are graced with quickly-growing, frizz-free, shiny hair that feels healthier than ever – and only has to be washed about once a week.

Thirdly, the cost! I have a lot of hair… it’s dry and gets tangled very easily. Because of this, I go through lots and lots of shampoo and conditioner. With the no ‘poo method, I’ll be washing my hair a lot less frequently, and I’ll be using supplies that are relatively very inexpensive. I mean, I’m all about splurging on products that make me feel good, but putting chemical-laden products directly onto my head just does not bring about good feelings to me!

No 'poo shampoo and conditioner

(The typical no ‘poo routine uses baking soda for shampoo and apple cider vinegar for conditioner, both mixed with water.)

What’s holding me back:

Two things. First of all, I’ve heard all about the dreaded adjustment period. This is the period of time when your hair is getting used to these new methods and kind of, for lack of a better phrase, goes buck wild. Your hair is no longer being stripped of its natural oils, but it takes a bit of time for your scalp to adjust to this. So for a time that could last anywhere from a few days to a few months, you’ll be dealing with hair that’s pretty darn oily. So oily, in fact, that many people give up during this phase because they just can’t take it.

Secondly, I’ve also read accounts from people who have gotten past the adjustment period, found themselves loving being no ‘poo for a few months, and then – BAM — the scalp gets itchy and flaky, the hair becomes dry and brittle… it’s as if the hair has done a  complete 180. Supposedly, the baking soda may be what’s to blame for this adverse reaction. This frightens me.

Red hair, dried flowers

So, that’s why I’m coming to you all for advice! If you’ve tried the no ‘poo method, please share your experience below! Let us know the type of hair you have… how long it took you to adjust (if you made it that far)… how long you’ve been living the no ‘poo life… or what made you stop. Please, spill it all. Discuss!

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Hmmm…very interesting. I have actually never heard of this. Not sure I could give up my pretty smelling shampoo…



I have never tried it but the no-chemical route intrigues me. I have the same things holding me back too…I don’t know if I could get thru a period of time with oily hair. Once I switched to a sulfate-free shampoo I saw a totally new side of my hair and I think thats the route I’m going to go. I use Davines products, that I discovered through my BirchBox. Right now I am using the Love Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner. Although I totally fell in love with the product for the way it makes my hair feel…I truly love… Read more »


I’ve never heard of using baking soda and I’m a little weary of the vinegar! But! I have a friend who makes her own shampoo that I haven’t yet tried but would love to. She used castille soap, and “essential oils” (whatever that means) including jojoba oil for conditioning!
Happy no-pooing!

I’ve never tried this, but hey why not! You can always switch back. I only shampoo once a week, but I condition every other day. You should definitely give the no ‘poo method a try, why not! If your hair gets dry, just moisturize with coconut oil! If it’s oily, use white rice powder to absorb it during the day!

xo, Juliette Laura

i love the idea of going ‘no poo”….and actually did this for a little while. i switched back to “healthy” products simply for the convenience factor and go back and forth. my reason for switching was to cut down on my plastic use…..after seeing beth terry (author of PLASTIC FREE), at a presentation at UNCW, i realized i needed to make some changes in my plastic footprint. there are other recipes for shampoo that you can make yourself and also shampoo bars….i would look into all the options before settling on baking soda and vinegar, although those two did work… Read more »

I have been no ‘poo for 7 months now, and I love it. I’ve saved money and helped my hair become naturally healthy- and thicker! My adjustment period wasn’t too long, but I had trained it for a while to only need washing 2-3x a week. Looking up dry shampoo recipes and adding essential oils on off days help add texture and smell- also, not your mamas dry shampoo is my favorite for a quick fix!


I tried to go no poo and could not make it through the adjustment period! My hair became so greasy it looked like it was wet.. all the time. I only used baking soda and ACV. I couldn’t take it after about two weeks. I would try it again if I had a better method!


I did the no poo thing for about 9 months, and it wasn’t the best experience. I washed with baking soda, and rinsed with apple cider vinegar. It completely dried out my hair and especially dried my scalp. Plus, I smelled like vinegar after each time using it. It was also a big hassel for me to mix the ingredients every time I wanted to wash my hair. Some people have good experiences with it, but mine, not so much. I love the idea of using safe ingredients in body care products, but I now I use “Kiss My Face”… Read more »


I tried no-poo for a while using only baking soda and apple cider vinegar, then i switched to something called co-washing. It is only washing your hair with conditioner, and I’ve been doing it for about 2 years now. It is especially popular for people with curly or thick hair like myself. Depending on what conditioner you use, it can cost you sinificantly less money as well. The conditioner I use (V05 Tea Therapy in Vanilla Mint) I buy for about 69 cents in a local store. The problem with co-washing is that you have to find a conditioner with… Read more »

Yay for no chemicals! I’ve worked at Aveda for 6 years. Not only do we organically source from soil to bottle but the surfactants, alcohols and all ingredients are plant derived. Usually coconut or almond. Our aromas are pure flower essence. Each community around the world we partner with has been made sustainable! Give it a try! Pick up a free sample at a local store or salon. :)

I spend too much time at the ballet studio, so no poo did not work for me. At. All. I couldn’t do the transition, so now I use the Say Yes To brands and have gotten down to only washing 2-3/week.


About two months ago I decided to go no poo with my hair because I am trying to grow out a pixie cut and read that not using products with any sulfates or lots of chemicals in them could make your hair grow faster. I use to wash my hair every day with normal chemical shampoo, and now I wash it every two or three days. The only thing I use in it is diluted baking soda to substitute the shampoo. My hair never gets greasy or oily, it just gets slightly grimy sometimes. I’ve also noticed that it curls… Read more »


I use baking soda mixed with liquid Dr Bronners soap (tea tree in the winter, rose or lavender in the summer). I love it and it doesn’t dry out my scalp. Plus you just have to us a few drops of the soap so it’s still super cheap.

I have been no poo since March 2013, and it was the best decision I could have made… I have long, blonde wavy hair. I have experienced so many advantages, with only a couple disadvantages. My hair grows extremely fast now, I can go 5 days without washing it, and the longer I go without washing my hair the better it looks. The only major disadvantage I have noticed is that my hair gets tangled very fast…. this could also be happening because my hair is now down to my butt though. My hair is much healthier now, I have… Read more »


I have been no poo for 3 years.
Another reason it is important to me, for environmental reasons, is all the plastic bottles that I’m not using then throwing out.
My adjustment period lasted 2 weeks. I decided to start when my university teachers were on strike and I wasn’t leaving the house much.
I do notice the tips of my hair get dry at times, especially in the winter but I just do natural hair masks or use oils on the tips. Then it’s healthy again!


I have been “no poo” for about a year now, and I love it! I have fine, very curly hair that dries out easily. However, I have very oily skin. The hair at my scalp gets oily fast, but the rest of my hair dries out. Yet, I did not have an adjustment period, oddly enough. I use baking soda to wash, apple cider vinegar to condition, and my hair seems to love it. I have struggled with hair products for curly hair for a long time, because they are mostly made for coarse hair. With “no poo”, my hair… Read more »


I went “no poo” for about two years. You really need to play around with the baking soda and ACV amounts to suit your unique hair type. If you find it’s too dry after use, use less baking soda next wash, if you find it’s too oily, then use more. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for long term hair health. Apparently, using this method changes your hairs natural ph balance by using a base (baking soda) followed by an acid (ACV). What this means is that in the long run you are damaging your hair and actually inhibiting all of… Read more »


I have average thickness, poker straight hair about bust length, i used to wash every day to every other day until i decided this was not the way to get my hair growing healthy and producing less oil, also the use of expensive shampoo, chemical laden products and time consumed made me want to try no-poo. I started playing with different no-poo methods early last year, firstly the BS & ACV method, for about two weeks my hair was so weighed down at the roots and thick with oil i was driven back to normal shampoo, but more aware of… Read more »


I tried no poo for about 3 months. My hair is medium thickness, past my shoulder in length. For me my hair never seemed to adjust to the new cycle and was constantly oily. It got dried out, thinned, and brittle. I switched back to regular shampoos and conditioners because of this and my hair hasn’t been the same since. I use a brand called desert essence for my products. I had a very hard time with no poo and am still recovering from damage done, but I do love the idea of it still. I’ve read recently that honey… Read more »


I went no-conditioner for a few days with ACV. I was still using commercial shampoo. I found that when dry, my hair was way silkier with the ACV replacement. However, it SMELLS horrible while wet, stings if it gets in my eyes, and it is hard to tell what amount is best for conditioning since it is so liquid that it disperses easily from my hair. It did NOT feel like it was conditioning my hair while in the shower. my hair felt limp and stripped while treated with ACV in the shower. In all, I did like the results,… Read more »

I’ve heard so much about the no-shampoo method but I too am scared! I’ve switched to organic shampoo and that seems to work and it has as little chemicals as possible, I believe. I recommend Original Sprout and Avalon Organics if anyone would like to check it out. :)

x Renee


i think it can depend heavily on your life style. I have naturally curly/wavy hair, and spend too much time being active (running, hot yoga, living in warm climate) and hence i sweat a great deal on my scalp – too much to try to manage with baking soda. in addition, as the temperature drop quite a bit, the oil production of your scalp may change. you can try going low-poo (or going with a light baby shampoo) or co-wash as a start or a step in the right direction, which is what i am doing currently. If that goes… Read more »

Like you and a lot of the readers, I’ve not gone completely commercial free, but I have cut back. Maybe this will be one of my resolutions for 2014!


I have found a wonderful middle ground that has worked for my hair for 1.5 years now. I buy all natural bar shampoo from Etsy shops. I’m sure you can also do it yourself if you are savvy with soap making. I wash my hair with this every day just as you would with commercial shampoo, you can rub it directly into your hair for a nice lather. I need no conditioner because the natural ingredients in the shampoo bar don’t strip the hair of it’s natural oils. My hair is so much healthier after switching to this method. Before… Read more »


I’ve only been washing my hair once a week with baking soda and apple cider vinegar since August 2013 and it’s been going great so far. I have mid-back length thick, wavy hair and it’s never been so manageable in my life. It has an unwashed, piece-y (but not dirty or greasy) texture all the time now, which I love – I never liked the feeling or look of my hair being clean. The adjustment period went for maybe a month and while the smell and look of my hair wasn’t pleasant, just knowing that I was doing something good… Read more »