Introduction: How to Go No Poo

Picture of How to Go No Poo

To go No Poo is to stop using shampoo. Why would you want to do this?

1. Shampoo is expensive.
2. Chemicals* in shampoo can irritate and dry out your scalp and hair.
3. Chemicals* in shampoo can be hazardous to your health.
4. Your body produces oil to naturally condition your hair and keep it healthy. Using shampoo daily upsets the natural balance and causes you to produce more oil than necessary to compensate.

When you stop using shampoo, you will probably experience a transitional period while your body gradually adjusts to produce just enough oil to keep your hair healthy. During this time, which can range from a few days to a few months, you'll probably have some extra oil and grease that you may want to take care of to look presentable. The cheapest and most effective way to handle this is to use baking soda. The method I use involves a plastic cup, some baking soda, and a shower. You may also want to condition your hair after using the baking soda mixture, as sometimes it can leave your hair a bit dry. There are lots of different ways to do this; I use apple cider vinegar.

* In this context I'm referring to certain synthetic chemicals which have proven harmful in specific circumstances. I'll let you look up each one in the ingredients on your shampoo on your own. Your shampoo might not have anything you don't like in it after all, although the other benefits of going no poo still apply. Please keep in mind that literally every substance can be referred to as a chemical and many are not generally harmful (water, for instance).

Step 1: Cleaning

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Put 1-2 tbsp of baking soda into a 16oz cup (or close). The ideal ratio is about 1 tbsp of baking soda per 1 cup of water. When you get in the shower, fill the rest of the cup with water and stir until the baking soda is dissolved. You should have some cloudy water at this point. If the mixture feels gritty or pasty, either add more water or use less baking soda. Now apply the mixture to your hair. Ideally, you should aim to get most of it around your roots and work it in with your fingers, gradually distributing it throughout the rest of your hair. It won't lather like shampoo, but it does give your hair a distinct "smooth" feeling when it's properly distributed. Once you've rubbed it around a bit, you should be ready to rinse. When you are completely rinsed you are ready to condition.

Step 2: Conditioning

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The simplest way to condition is to use apple cider vinegar, in about the same way as you used baking soda: 1 tbsp of the vinegar per 1 cup of water. If you like you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, some honey, or some lemon juice. When you've mixed up your conditioner, pour it on and work it in just like you did the baking soda. When you're satisfied, rinse thoroughly.

Step 3: Closing Thoughts and Advice

I hate the smell of vinegar. However, apple cider vinegar isn't as harsh as white vinegar, and after you rinse and dry your hair, the smell is completely gone. Your hair will smell like hair, or maybe whatever you added to your conditioner.
The eventual aim of this process is to let your natural oils care for your hair, so you should use the baking soda and vinegar only as much as you need it, hopefully reducing your usage to zero eventually. Good luck, and don't give up!


cdwrites24 (author)2017-03-10

Is this method ok to use with henna colored hair? I just use very natural mixture of henna and indigo. I don't want it to get stripped of color. Thank you!

s0236 (author)2017-02-10

i like to go an eat poo so don't deniy it!!

MaryH57 (author)2015-09-24

I had my hair colored last week, and I tried this no poo method today, carefully following instructions. It stripped most of the new color from my hair.

HeatherAnnB (author)MaryH572016-09-15

If you are coloring your hair, why are you no poking? Just curious it seems counter productive.

kliu8 (author)2013-11-26

Also, about no soap thing, how do you clean your private parts with just water? Would just pouring water there make it more habitable for bacteria? What do you do if you got paint, ink, glue, or motor oil on your skin? The purpose of soap is not to moisturize but to remove lipid-based impurities such as bacteria, excess oil, grease, paints, resins, wax, etc that cannot be washed away from water alone. Yes it can strip the skin but in some cases it's necessary harm especially if you don't want something like printer ink sitting on your skin for a long time. Thankfully my skin and hair is very tough and hardy. One time I got a build up of castile soap in my hair due to using Dr. Bronner's for too long and I washed it with a natural, non-toxic all purpose cleaner, and my hair came out silky smooth and bouncy, I have also washed my hair with vinegar, dish soap, make-up removing face wash, hand soap, etc. To be fair though, I only take showers when I feel I need it which is about 1-2 times a week but once I went camping with someone and even though I had only gone two days without showering they said I stank too much and had to sleep away from them. But even with soap my skin's oils rejuvenate well on the drier spots. That's just me though hygiene is a huuuge concern for me and how it can effect others health.

lea05 (author)kliu82014-09-20

You should never wash your private parts with soap, that's how you get thrush and bacterial vaginosis.

kliu8 (author)lea052014-09-20

From the link you just gave me:

"Use plain, unperfumed soaps to wash the area around the vagina (the vulva) gently every day. The vagina will clean itself inside your body with natural vaginal secretions (discharge). “During your period, washing more than once a day may be helpful,” says Dr Elneil, who points out that keeping the perineal area (between the vagina and anus) clean is important too. “Good perineal hygiene is necessary, by washing that area at least once a day using your normal bathing routines.”"

HeatherAnnB (author)kliu82016-09-15

Lea just said what you confirmed. Yes we wash outside but not inside and with out perfumed soaps

Dilan CasedieB (author)kliu82014-12-02

You could use Dr. Bronner's though. It's very safe and healthy. I bought a BIG bottle last year and still have it. Only 3 drops with lather up in your hands! :) LOVE the almond oil sent.

I've used Dr.Bronner's for a few months long ago and all I got was a build up of soap scum on my skin and hair.

Johnctee (author)2016-01-16

Let me get this right. You want to stop putting chemicals in your hair but you are worried about taking the color out of your hair that is chemicals.

HeatherAnnB (author)Johnctee2016-09-15

No this is where education comes in. For most of us, not all we are referring to natural colorants. Black walnut powder, beetroot, henna though I don't use that. Madder root etc. It takes a while to build up the color without chemicals! So yes we are concerned.

AlyssaEspiritu (author)2015-05-13

WHAT IF YOU COLOR YOUR HAIR? Someone answer me please! Because i'm about to do this method but i realized that i dye me hair every once in a while. So someone please tell me what to do!! Thank you!

Alyssa if you use chemical coloring from stores, or salons, it will be fine. If you use natural colorants it will strip it.

MaryH57 (author)AlyssaEspiritu2015-09-24

this stripped most of the color from my 1 week old color. Do not use.

Annie at Home (author)MaryH572016-01-19

It never damaged my color at all.

mcovin52 (author)MaryH572015-09-25

thank you!

nrsmere (author)AlyssaEspiritu2016-01-05

I color my hair red (garnier nutrisse) from home. I have only used baking soda & vinegar & have had ZERO problems. We are all different & will have different reactions. The same train of thought applies to everything. Why am I allergic to one medication, but my children are not. I suggest giving it a whirl maybe on an underneath section before writing it completely off. Good luck!

silverchic777 (author)2016-01-30

Hello! Please please forgive me if this was already mentioned (I read the comments and just didn't see anything about this), do you still shampoo? I will make my own all natural shampoo, but, do you do strictly this baking soda cleansing and no shampoo?

Yes the "No Poo" Method replaces shampoo andrelys on natural hair oils balancing themselves. Shampooing is said to.disturb the natural balance by striping these oils from the hairs mantle.

nuearth (author)2016-08-24

I have been no poo for 3 months now. No problems, takes a few weeks to
get used to not using shampoo anymore. I use the apple cyder vinegar
with the mother still in it. You can get it at GNC or other heath food
stores. Shake it up and I use 1 part vinegar to 3 or 4 parts water.
Make up the baking soda mixture each time you shower, 1 tsp. per cup.
Apple cyder vinegar mixture, I make up 24 oz and it lasts for a month. Try not to get any of these in your eyes, it will irritate them. I also wash my body with the same. Works great.

Andrew648 (author)2014-10-21

Is it okay to use this formula once a day? If not how often should I use it?

nuearth (author)Andrew6482016-08-24

I use it every 3 days. Hair has started to grow back in places where it was receding. This method really works.

Annie at Home (author)Andrew6482016-01-19

I did it every day for a year, and it dried out my hair. Been using homemade shampoo bars and natural conditioner since then, for about a year and a half, and only a couple of times a week. I'm thinking I may go back to using the baking soda on occasion. My hair felt so clean when I used it!

veronica pencil (author)2016-07-10

I am not completely there but have cut down shampoo days by half or more. Two little cheats to get you through a bad day when you need to look great. When your hair is dry but showing some grease sprinkle a teensy bit of natural talc or cornflour along your part and hairline. Rub it in then brush it, along with the oil it just absorbed, out with boar bristle brush. Also, you could take a drop of shampoo and cleanse just the tiny spot where grease shows - likely along the part and the front hairline.

Carlee1 (author)2016-02-22

I've been no poo for 6 months just using baking soda and apple cider vinegar and I'm really happy with the results. I want to get back to swimming a few times a week though. I know the idea is to wash less frequently, which I am successfully doing but I don't know what I'll do post pool? Wash very time with baking soda/vinegar method? Has anyone does this that is a swimmer?

MadelineM13 (author)Carlee12016-05-24

I'm in the same position. Did you find something that works?

NickC146 (author)Carlee12016-05-22

When I was swimming every day, I would pour club soda (neutralizes chlorine) over my hair and then do an apple cider vinegar rinse, and rinse well with water. The baking soda is too harsh to do more than once a week, but the club soda/vinegar will keep it soft and de-tangled. Then I'd work a little aloe gel/glycerin into the ends and leave it in.

LynneB19 (author)2016-05-11

I have been only using natural skin care products after my cancer. I use vegetable based colour to get my red hair. I have done this myself and it worked great. I have other recipes check them out!

sameeraj3 (author)LynneB192016-05-13


Can you please suggest some organic hair colors. I'm suffering from premature greying and I am looking for some natural alternatives.

PrajaktaD2 (author)2016-02-05

To see such amazing hacks to care good care of hair by replacing those annoyingly expensive and still harsh shampoos is mind blowing!

shuklashraddha (author)2015-04-03

Hi, I'm really tempted to try this after reading what you all have to say but I'm afraid because I have dandruff and hairfall issues. My hair starts falling if I don't wash it every alternate day.

I believe it helps prevent dandruff.

mcovin52 (author)2015-09-24

Can you used this on regular color treated hair?

Annie at Home (author)mcovin522016-01-19

I did it for a year. Color looked the same to me.

MaryH57 (author)mcovin522015-09-24


empiarti (author)2015-10-15

can you prepare the baking soda shampoo in advance and keep it in the bottle prepared for a few days?

Annie at Home (author)empiarti2016-01-19

It would be cold. You need to use warm water. What I did when I did this for a year is fill a small jar with baking soda and put a spoonful of it into a squirt bottle before my shower, and then add the water in the shower and shake it up before applying.

berislavcuric (author)2016-01-16

But my head ITCHES after merely few days of not washing it! Itching is so bad that it wakes me up in the night. Not to mention severe dandruff problem...
I'm 35, m. Any suggestions?

PollenO (author)berislavcuric2016-01-19

Honestly, it is from over washing. You're head is going crazy trying to grease it all up again. You have to go through the nasty process of itchy head and greasy hair for a while eventually it subsides especially if you are maintaining the no poo baking soda cleanings etc.

RehmanB1 (author)2015-12-07

I am excited to ditch shampoo and all of the unnatural chemicals I've been putting in my hair. A little confused though- so you use the whole solution of baking soda, and then the whole solution of ACV? Do you just dump it all on your head and then start mixing it with your hair; I've read about using spray bottles elsewhere and was wondering if that is necessary? How many times a week should I be doing this? And the eventual goal is to stop using anything in your hair altogether?

nrsmere (author)RehmanB12016-01-05

I pour a little at a time on different parts of my hair so I can really work it into my scalp. Ive been doing since July & still have to do it every 3 or 4 days. I also still use product for styling. Also Ive read you are supposed to be brushing with a fine comb/brush to evenly distribute the oils in your hair. Good luck!

nrsmere (author)2016-01-05

Since I have gone "no-poo" back in July 2015, the frizziness of my hair has really decreased. That is a big deal when you live in Virginia & the humidity level is always high.

Marieste (author)2015-11-02

I will never go back to shampoo and conditioner! My main reason is that my hair - the first time in my life - grows! When using shampoo/conditioner -even the organic and/or expensive kinds- I would experience so much breakage, damage, split ends. I tried everything- stopped coloring it, got regular trims and put away heated styling tools/the blow dryer. Nothing worked! It grew so slow and didn't look healthy. I thought I just had bad genes. BUT I tried this and have been using baking soda/vinegar wash for about 2 months now and my hair has grown at least an inch. That used to take an entire year! I'm just coming out of the "greasy/transition phase". I was getting discouraged a month in because my hair was looking oily after one day. So be patient if this occurs! After 2 months now it's not oily at all! I read a few suggestions on this and made some adjustments (frequency, proportions, apple cider vs. white vinegar) which may be necessary because everyone will be different on how greasy or dry their scalp is. I love that I don't have to deal with harsh chemicals anymore or worrying about testing on animals. This way just feels more natural. I can truly see the change in my hairs health! Not to mention this way is soo cheap! It's a win-win-win. So glad I discovered this and gave it a try. I tell everyone they don't know what they're missing out on! *Keep in mind beauty industry is a billion dollar industry! They will tell you what you "need" for your hair/skin and they do so with chemicals. Of course this won't work because people shouldn't dump chemicals on themselves...and then you'll buy more products to fix the new problem, while they make money on the never ending cycle of desperate product purchasing! Natural is ALWAYS best and baking soda/vinegar proves to be true. Looking at all the products I used to use and how many chemicals they contained makes me sick. It's no wonder people get illnesses that cannot be diagnosed or cured. All of the chemicals you put on your body gets absorbed into your bloodstream...remember that!

jenniewhite (author)2015-09-24

If you smell, if you're greasy, if you feel nasty...WHY are you doing this? It obviously isn't working. Yikes!

JN8 (author)jenniewhite2015-09-24

It takes a while for the oil production in your sebaceous glands to even out, as a result of shampoo use screwing it up.

ShaynaF (author)2015-06-14

Just thought I would point out that everyone has dead hair.. Hair is made of dead cells that's why hair will continue to grow for a short period of time after a person dies. But we can still damage our hair

brentl6 (author)ShaynaF2015-09-24


This disturbing, gruesome image is pure "moonshine" according to forensic anthropologist William Maples, who was quoted in the BMJ study. However, he explained that dehydration of the body after death can cause retraction of the skin around hair and nails, giving the illusion that they have grown. All tissues require energy to sustain their functions, and no such thing is possible once the mechanism that promotes normal growth shuts down at death.

VernaH1 (author)2015-09-20

You use dry baking soda to swish in your hair, then rinse in shower. Then use vinegar as conditioner ! correct ?

SoniaB6 (author)2015-08-26

Hi... The city that I live in is very hot and polluted.
There is dust and dirt everywhere. And on top of that I ride on a scooter for
what I need to use a helmet. In such a condition my hair keeps on getting dirty
very frequently (I shampoo at least 3 times a week) and for the helmet my head
sweats a lot too. In such situation, can I use the soda solution more than once
a week to keep my hair clean? How long should I continue using this and how do I
clean my hair after stop using this?

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