When someone first mentioned the ‘no-poo’ method to me, I did a double take.
‘Wait, what did you just say?’
If your first thoughts turned to *ahem* toilet vibes, like mine did, it’s good to know that the poo in question is actually SHAMpoo.
OK, now we’ve got that out of the way, are you intrigued?
Most of us are attached to our shampoo and to ensuring that our hair is clean. Imagining a world without suds seems impossible.
Let’s dive into this trend and find out what it’s actually about.
What does no poo mean?
Interestingly, shampoo was invented less than 100 years ago. Before then, people mostly used soap to clean themselves from head to toe.
When shampoo became available, women washed their hair only about once a week with the detergent concoction. It wasn't until the 1970s that shampoo became a daily essential.
The no poo method goes back to basics and means ‘no shampoo’.
Yep, it’s asking us to break up with our shampoo bottle. But no poo is neither a product nor a specific rule.
There are a lot of hair-cleaning options with this method. Some people use no poo alternatives, and some use the no poo method with water only.
Why would you want to ditch the shampoo? Hair experts insist that most people wash their hair way too often, which can dry out your locks by stripping the hair’s natural oils.
Plus, if you’re using a harsh shampoo, the no poo method could be a great way to cull chemicals from your haircare routine.
Who is the no poo method for?
To shampoo or no shampoo? That is the question. First, it’s important to understand your own body. Your scalp’s (and all of your skin’s) natural oil production is mostly based on genetics, hormones, and diet.
Shampoo isn’t going to change this process—although frequent washes with harsh products can actually stimulate sebum, or oil, production.
Your bestie might be able to shampoo her strands once a week, whereas you may need to lather up every single day.
If you have virgin hair or reasonably healthy processed hair, it could be resilient enough to handle frequent shampooing.
If your hair is highly processed or damaged, you need to keep every bit of your scalp’s natural oil in those strands.
In this situation, it's best to stretch out the time between washes, and no poo hair could be an option for you.
What about curly hair? No poo curly hair is an option, as curls are generally more sensitive to shampoo.
If you do want to try, we suggest trying only conditioning hair with no shampoo and using an alternative no poo option below when needed.
One myth we’d like to bust is that there's no such thing as a transition period with the no poo method. Waiting longer between shampoos allows your hair to accrue a natural build-up of oil (which is great for dry hair!). But shampooing less often won’t change anything fundamental about your body’s natural processes.
So, how do you wash your hair with the no poo method?
The no poo method doesn’t mean you go completely rogue and rock dirty hair for the rest of your life. It just means you swap your traditional hair wash out for some shampoo alternatives.
What is a no poo shampoo? Some people use completely natural options, such as a combo of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. WARNING: the smell can be, er, interesting. Unless your hair is very thick and strong, we advise against this option.
Baking soda is far more alkaline than commercial shampoos. If you have delicate strands or a sensitive scalp, you'll want to go for the mildest cleanser you can get your hands on.
Shampooing is meant to clean your scalp rather than your hair.
We've picked out some of our favourite shampoo alternatives for you to try the no poo method yourself...
Using a scrub as an alternative to shampoo can give you that clean feeling without drying out your locks. Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub helps restore balance to sensitive or oily scalps. For those of you who’re still washing your hair, this is a great option to use pre shampoo. If you’re following the no poo method, apply about a tablespoon of the scrub to damp hair and gently massage your scalp (it feels nearly as good as a salon scalp massage!). Rinse and then add your conditioner of choice to hair ends.
If your strands really need a good cleaning, rinses are great no poo shampoo alternatives. R+Co ACID WASH Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse cleanses gently while maintaining the pH balance of the hair. Formulated with Tamanu Seed Oil, this no poo shampoo is packed with essential fatty acids and nutrients to strengthen and brighten hair as it locks in moisture. Delightfully fragranced with Sicilian Lemon, Tangerine, Eucalyptus, Green Tea, Tree Moss, and Crisp Amber, this rinse is also vegan and free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, and petrolatum.
Aveda rinseless refresh micellar hair & scalp refresher 200ml is a no poo treatment that naturally revives hair texture to correct bed head and let you restyle (a great no poo method for curly hair). Jasmine and certified organic Mandarin, Lemon, Ylang-Ylang and other pure flower and plant essences smell as great as they work, Spray on dampened hair from roots to ends to revitalise your locks. Team the spritz with the best boar bristle brush for no poo hair, like the evo Conrad Boar Bristle Paddle Brush. This shampoo alternative for curly hair is cruelty-free, vegan, artificial fragrance-free, and sulphate-free.
For a fast way to freshen up your hair between washes, go for a gentle dry shampoo like Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk Tinted. Created with organically harvested Oat Milk, this dry shampoo soothes and protects the hair and scalp without drying. The formula quickly restores freshness and lightness, and the invisible finish is undetectable in your hair. Spray roots and leave for 2 minutes before brushing. Pop the spray into your bag so you have it whenever you need volume.