How to Not Wash Your Hair


I have read about the “No Shampoo”, or “no poo” method as it often called, for a few years. Two years ago I tried it, and lasted for about four days. Reading about the “transitional phase” is a different thing than going through the “transitional phase” and I didn’t have a job where I could wear a hat to work.

Moving halfway across the world brought about a lot of changes (obviously) but one I didn’t expect to be so affected was my hair. Six months in Spain and my lovely, soft hair had turned into straw. The exact reason why I’m not sure. Different continent = different chemical composition in the water = different hair. After conditioning with everything I could think of, switching to organic shampoo, brushing religiously with a boar bristle brush and going for trims far more often than I would like, I finally decided to give the “no poo” method another shot.

The initial phase was a little tough. Your hair will overproduce its own natural oils when you take away the chemical laden shampoo that’s been stripping them away. I experienced this for the first month. I am fortunate that I did this at a time that I didn’t have to be face to face with a lot of people for work, and during other moments I simply pulled it up. Less than looking greasy, what was hard for me was feeling greasy.  The urge to wash was strong. You can resist, and I did. Some blogs say you can begin by simply cutting down on washings until you reach one a week. I went cold turkey and pushed straight through that first week, and I’ve been able to maintain that schedule since.

At three months in, I’m content with my hair although I have to say that I haven’t finished experimenting, nor half I found the perfect balance of what to use and when. I swim five days a week, so that’s added it’s own layer of effort. One great thing is that I’m either in a partial salt-water pool or in the sea so the chemicals I encounter are far less. I will say my hair is much, much healthier, softer and shinier. I can see that my own oils are beginning to balance out and I will definitely follow this method moving forward, with tweaks along the way. My end goal is no “products” at all – only natural items.

For the moment I’m doing the following:

  1. Once a week I wash with baking soda. I follow it with organic shampoo and sometimes an apple cider vinegar rinse. (Yes, there are those who say they don’t smell like a salad after this, but I’m not one of those people so I don’t do it if I’m going to be hugging anyone in the next day or two).
  2. Twice a month I add a dollop of Acure Organics shampoo to the baking soda. I like having some sense of lathering my hair and with the baking soda it’s great. The ingredients are amongst the best I’ve found.
  3. Once a week I do a deep conditioning with coconut oil. I put it on before I go to bed, wrap my hair up in a bun and sleep with it in. The following day is when I’ll do my wash. (I suggest you put a towel down over your pillow and an old pillowcase on).
  4. Twice a week I do use a commercial conditioner (Pantene Hydrating). As I swim every day I have found that I need this from time to time. I’ll wet my hair and put it on before I get in the water, then cover it with a cap. The other days I do the same, though with a natural conditioner. I’m currently looking for one here that I like.
  5. After showering I’ll put in a few drops of Moroccan Oil or Argan Oil. Argan I’ve found sits a little heavier (but I have very fine hair).
  6. I still use a boar bristle brush and at least once a week I’ll brush my hair in sections from root to end and work the natural oils down as I go.
  7. For the moment I’ve ceased using all heat products (dryer, curling iron, straightener). As it’s summer and I can run around with beach hair or a ponytail this is cool. When fall comes and I’m back in the school room teaching, I’ll let you know how that’s going.

If you’re just starting the transition and need tips or ideas, let me know. And, if you’ve been on the “No Poo” journey for some time now I’d love to hear what’s ended up working best for you.




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