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Why I Stopped the No Poo Method

Recently I have tried the no poo method of hair washing. And, well, I have an opinion about it. However, the reason I am writing this isn’t to knock anyone who is doing it or to say a certain way is the only way. I just want to share the information I found with you all and leave you to make your own choices, judgment free! From me, at least.

Why I didn’t like the no poo method of hair care

why the no-poo method didn't work for me

First of all, can I start by saying, without sounding completely vain, I really like my hair. It’s thick and long and it grows fast and is generally pretty healthy. I haven’t done anything particularly special to have this head of hair, so I will count it a blessing and do my best to take care of it.

Which leads me to why I started the no poo method in the first place. I am trying to be aware of all of the chemicals we bring into our lives daily. When you talk about just beauty products for women, that can add up quite quickly! I will never be a completely natural girl, but I want to do my best to be aware of what I’m putting on & in my body and that includes hair care.

Confession – I didn’t do too much research before starting. I glanced around from site to site and of course there is always the good and bad. There was the “it’s so wonderful, my hair is so great & clean, I’ve been no poo for years!” Then there was the “no way, this is horrible, it’s not healthy, my hair is disgusting!”

I really wanted to believe the first group. That I could have beautiful healthy hair by just washing with baking soda & rinsing with vinegar. I mean, how wonderful would that be? You know exactly what you’re putting on your hair, it’s simple, & cheap and it’s still getting clean! Win!

That wasn’t the case for me.

I feel like I should take a second and describe what the no poo method is for those of you that don’t know. It is when you wash your hair with a baking soda/water mixture and rinse with vinegar & water. It is supposed to clean your hair and help it be healthy. There is even a website dedicated to it!

Let me also start by talking about my hair routine before starting this. On the no poo method website it talks about how it is bad to wash your hair every day and that this method will help you go longer in between washes. Well, I have never washed my hair every day. No way. Who has time for that? I wash my hair twice a week. I try to use sulfate-free shampoos & conditioners (just ordered my Madison Reed products!!). I use product, but not every time I wash my hair. So I don’t know if I was a great candidate to try this.

My results

It started off not so bad. The first day I thought “hmm… okay, I could do this!” My hair was very dry & frizzy, but it was clean. It got greasy faster than normal, but I still let myself go 3 or 4 days in between.

Second wash – not so clean anymore. My roots still had a greasy feeling and the rest of my hair was a little greasy, but not so bad. I just thought “okay, I’m just adjusting. I’m gonna stick with it!” I also thought I had done the ratios wrong with the baking soda and vinegar. I decided to use less of each next time & more water.

Third & fourth wash.ย You guys, I wish I would have taken pictures. It. Was. Nasty. Like there was this nasty film all over my hair, not just my roots. I couldn’t touch it without my hands getting greasy. I tried. I tried to curl it. No such luck. It was also still very dry & brittle even with being greasy too! Not my favorite.

So I posted to Facebook. You guys are always a wealth of information and it was quite the convo! Some shared their success stories and encouraged me to keep going. And then there were quite a few who advised that I stop immediately and that I was ruining my hair. There were also some stories of ladies who have done it and how it has damaged their hair. Quite the spectrum of responses.

One reader shared this site with me. The author talks about her journey with the no poo method of hair washing and how it killed her hair. She had done it for 3 years and thought her hair was healthy. She then goes on to explain the Ph levels in baking soda and vinegar and how they aren’t at the right level etc. etc. I will leave it to you to read it if you’re interested.

After reading that post and the testimonies of the any ladies it did not work for, I decided to stop. I know most no poo advocates are going to say that I didn’t give it enough time. It was about two weeks I gave it. To that I say, you didn’t see my hair. It was so disgusting, I can’t even tell you. I don’t know how people live like that. And two, if there is a chance the article is right, and I am ruining my hair, why keep going? For the sake of trying to prove the no poo method works? I’m okay with chickening out on this one.

Nope. Not for me. I like my hair beautiful and healthy and it was not that at all not at one point during this process. I could have continued to see if it would have cleared up, but I would also risk damaging my hair more and I just didn’t want to.

I do still think it’s important to try to continue to search for a better way to wash my hair. I’ve seen some recipes out there that are different than this particular no poo method of hair washing and I might give those a try. In the meantime, I am going to try to purchase products healthier for my hair and just stick with that.

All that to say, if you use this method, read that article and still want to continue – more power to ya! I don’t particularly care what kind of method people use to wash their hair! If it works for you, get it girl. So why did I write this article? Because I wanted to present my side. I wanted to talk about how it didn’t work, how you could potentially be damaging your hair and share the information that I found in the process. This way you can make an educated decision yourself as to whether or not you want to try it or continue it or stop it.

So what’s your take? Are you a no pooer or are you a regular shampooing gal? If you have any tips or recipes, I’d love to hear them! Share them in the comments!

37 Responses to Why I Stopped the No Poo Method

  1. Rebecca N January 16, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    HI there,

    First time to comment but have been reading for a few months. I did the “no poo” in 2012 for 3 months. I had always washed my hair 2-3 times a week before then. I found with no poo as long as I washed it every day it looked fine, but like you said, “nobody has time for that”! So for the most part I washed it 3-4 times a week and it looked gross for 3 months! Now I have gone back to washing it 2 times a week, but every other week or so one of those washes will be with baking soda followed by my normal conditioner. I found baking soda is great a taking the build up out of my hair left from styling products. My hair is the healthiest it has ever been now! Just my two cents! I really like your blog! Blessing to you!

    • Natalia January 19, 2015 at 3:20 am #

      That’s a great point! I have added baking soda to my shampoo to get that extra build up out. I’ll keep that in mind moving forward, thanks for adding your tips! And thanks for your comments, I always love hearing from readers!! I appreciate you!

  2. Robin January 16, 2015 at 7:23 am #

    I’m so glad you found the article I shared to help you in your decision. I too, was not impressed. Is it because our hair is thick? Is it because we are picky? I don’t know… but it simply didn’t work for me either with many of the same things happening to my hair. Gross. There are many options starting to creep up on the market that are free of sulfates, phalates and so on… just keep looking. I sell Pangea Organics and although we don’t have one out yet, we are working on an organic, non-toxic shampoo and conditioner. Until then, do what works for you. Glad to hear someone else’s perspective on how it didn’t work for them either.
    Robin

    • Natalia January 19, 2015 at 3:18 am #

      Thank you for sharing! I will definitely keep an eye out for that for sure! I’d like to be more natural, always on the look out!

  3. Carrie January 16, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    There is a no-poo method from the book Curly Girl, where you use only conditioner (and special kinds of conditioner at that), and you also do a brown sugar scrub of your scalp periodically. I tried it for 4 months….hated it. Poo for me too! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Natalia January 19, 2015 at 3:18 am #

      Totally understand! It’s also quite a bit more work. Or at least for me it was!

  4. Krista January 16, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    I have long, very thick, straight hair (with a slight wave underneath) and I also tried the no poo method about 7 years ago. I had the same results as you. It just did not work for me whatsoever. My hair looked and felt awful. I do shampoo way more frequently than I probably should, but I’m down to every other day instead of daily like I had been doing for 41 years. I find that dry shampoo leaves a weird film on my hair that I can’t stand, so going more than a day in between washings doesn’t work for me, either.

    • Natalia January 19, 2015 at 3:17 am #

      I completely understand! There is something about having dirty hair that just kinda makes you feel dirty all over, ya know? I’m much happier with healthy looking hair! Have you tried making your own dry shampoo? I haven’t yet either, but I wonder if it would leave a film on your hair because it’s more natural. Just a thought!

  5. Kimmy January 16, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    Thank you for this. I had considered trying it but wasn’t entirely convinced either. I don’t think I could deal with it, frankly, and will just stick to what I’m doing and try to use good products. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Natalia January 19, 2015 at 3:16 am #

      That is what I’m thinking. I try to be aware of the products I’m using and use the best without extra additives and all that jazz. We all do what works for us!

  6. Harmony January 16, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

    I think it depends on what type of hair you have! It works beautifully for my mom, who had very dry, course, thick hair and then not at all for my friend, whose hair is fine and on the oily side. Me personally? I tried it for quite awhile. Almost a year- but it just wasn’t for me…my hair felt heavy and waxy and I missed the *smell* of my shampoo! Haha;)

    • Natalia January 19, 2015 at 3:15 am #

      I completely agree. I wanted it to work for me, I really did. Beautiful hair with baking soda & vinegar?! Yes please! But it just wasn’t beautiful. I’m okay with that. On to search out other options!

  7. Adriana January 19, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    I just read this. I have naturally curly hair that is on the dry side and i color it also. I only wash 2 or 3 times per week, which has helped. I read about the no poo method but the idea of the vinegar smell scared me before I tried. I have instead searched for products that have less “poo” in them. I just started to use Honest products and love them! Hair and body shampoo and conditioner feel wonderful

    • Natalia January 21, 2015 at 8:05 am #

      Oh the honest products, I didn’t think of those! I might look into that, thanks for sharing! The vinegar didn’t make my hair smell bad, but it didn’t smell good either. I know some said you can use essential oils, but I didn’t even get to that. Regular poo for me!

  8. Dovalyn January 20, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    I am a white girl with thick, course, curly hair – ringlets about the size of sidewalk chalk. I’ve never done the baking soda and vinegar thing, but I don’t use shampoo anymore. About three years ago I heard about the curly girl method and I now only condition my hair 2-3 times a week with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut – not the professionals line – the $1.50/bottle on the bottom shelf at Walmart. I also use a small amount as a leave-in conditioner. When it’s humid, I add spray gel from Kinky Curly when the hair is wet to keep it from getting frizzy. Every 5 weeks I get my hair trimmed and colored. When I sleep and workout, my hair is piled into a loose bun on top of my head to keep the curls from seperating and frizzing between “washes.” Since I’ve started this routine, my hair looks, feels, and smells amazing – no fizzyness or split ends – and it’s not killing my bank account. ๐Ÿ™‚
    It won’t work for everyoneโ€ฆ.but it works for me. I love it!

    • Natalia January 21, 2015 at 8:04 am #

      I am so glad you shared because it’s so different for curly haired girls! I have heard that it isn’t as good to wash so often, and you’re proof! I am sure some will read this and give it a try, hope so! I have heard that typical shampoo isn’t so great for curly hair girls. Anyway, thanks for sharing! Glad what you’re doing is working, keep it up!

  9. Julia January 22, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    I used the no poo method for months, washing my hair about once a week, and while it worked fine for me, I always had to use a lot of baking soda and water mixture to actually get my hair to not look greasy and ended up having to make a new batch before every hair wash and spend a lot of time scrubbing my hair with it. It wasn’t that much extra work, but for how lazy I am it was way too much work. I still liked the no poo idea, so I started looking around for other options. I found DevaCurl’s (http://www.mydevacurl.com/) No Poo shampoo and I am absolutely in love! It’s like a regular shampoo but without the poo! It doesn’t lather like other shampoos do, but that’s not an issue for me. And bonus points, my naturally straight hair has gotten some wave back into it after using their shampoo and conditioner! It’s even almost curly sometimes! The only problem I have is that sometimes it makes my hair a little drier than I would like, but a little bit of coconut oil mixed in with the conditioner fixes that problem. I am a DevaCurl believer and I have loved every one of their products I’ve tried. I highly recommend it.

    • Natalia January 23, 2015 at 12:08 am #

      Wow, thank you for your recommendations! I will definitely check out this product! I have wavy hair – it used to be more curly – and would love to put some wave back in it. Thanks for sharing, I am sure other readers will find this helpful as well!

  10. Vivian April 1, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

    I tried no poo since last year Sept (2014), however I did not try the BS/V method. Read the PH Balance issue and probably pretty lucky to have found that before I started. So I opt for the Honey method which is just washing your hair with honey. But oh well, it sucks so bad at then. Greasy, brittle, dry, itchy etc etc. After that I just went back to shampoo. Until Jan this year I decided to purchase a shower filter cause I was thinking regardless whether do I use shampoo, chlorine is definitely bad for my hair. After the purchase I was thinking to go back to no poo but during that time I ran out of honey and went cold turkey the WO method and it works amazingly till now! (:

    • Natalia April 3, 2015 at 4:46 am #

      Sounds like you’ve found what is working for you, that’s great! I haven’t done that method yet and I’m really not sure if I want to yet, my hair gets pretty dirty & I use products! We’ll see…

  11. su May 17, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    Hi, try shampoo bars,there are amanzing! but you need have a sure that is NATURA, like those ones http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/. It need to be done by saponification process.I have been using it more than 1 years and my hairare so much healthy! Even before i know about low/no poo thing. That video here a girl talk aboutit a little bit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAmenG5iq0w. she use the vinegar to close the hair cuticle, what is the conditioner’s paper. Give it a try!

    • Natalia May 18, 2015 at 1:18 am #

      I’ll look into that, thanks for letting me know!

  12. su May 18, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

    Don’t forget to stop using products with some ingredients that the shampoo (or baking soda) is not able to do away ; )

    • Natalia May 21, 2015 at 3:23 am #

      this is true! Thanks for the tip!

  13. Amber August 26, 2015 at 12:03 am #

    Im pretty biased with this… I have medium thick wavy/Curly hair and I’ve used an actual ‘no poo’ shampoo and I had the same issue my hair was still frizzy and dry (the same as with regular shampoo) so I stopped using all together. However I was recently reading an article about growing curly hair (since my hair grows as fast as a sloth moves) and it said to just completely cut shampoo out all together and just use conditioner to wash your scalp! I’ve been doing it for a month and im completely in love! My hair is noticeabley not as frizzy and dry and feels so much better! I don’t regret my decision at all! I’m sad to hear it hasn’t worked as well for others ๐Ÿ™

    • Natalia August 30, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

      I think this is more for curly hair because a lot of conventional shampoos have sulfates in them which can dry out the hair and curly hair really needs more moisture. So that would definitely be better. The way I was using though wasn’t the same and I’m referring mostly to the baking soda way. That one really did’t work for me! Glad to know you’ve found a method you like!

  14. Kayleigh September 16, 2015 at 2:26 am #

    I have long, thick but oily hair, and I’ve found that learning more about your hair type and keeping track of how your hair reacts to different methods really helps with going no ‘poo (BS and ACV isn’t the only way to go!). I’ve been doing it for the last 6 months now and even though I love it I’m still having to change ingredients now and then to suit my hair’s changing needs!
    I only tried baking soda once (was rubbish haha) before I read more about it and decided to try other methods – I ended up using egg to shift the waxy feeling in the early days, but I have low porosity hair that ODs on protein easily so had to move on. I used rhassoul clay for nearly 3 months before it started to dry my hair out more than I was comfortable with, but it was great for shifting sebum and I was sad to stop using it!
    Now I’ve had to start my research all over again in the search for natural shampoos and I bought a Ton of shampoo and conditioner samples from an organic online retailer which are fun to try out and doing the job nicely – I just refuse to believe that SLS shampoos are the only option lol!

  15. jack December 1, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    I was wondering if you knew if it could cause permanent damage to your hair. I also forgot to use the ACV rinse after and my hair has been thinning for 9 months since the incident. It has gotten worse and shown no signs of stopping. Ive gotten frequent buzz cuts and the damage just keeps getting worse. Especially the thinning, its frightening.

    • Natalia December 3, 2015 at 10:21 am #

      I didn’t know before I started but I definitely didn’t see improvements. It took it growing out and me just cutting off the ends before I saw any real improvement. You could see about taking vitamins or maybe even seeing a doctor if it’s serious! Good luck!

  16. Queenshaboo December 11, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    I had gone no-poo for 3 years, using baking soda, and at first my hair was awesome, however it eventually ruined my hair. My hair became super brittle and SUPER dry and tangly, even putting coconut oil in it every day didn’t help. So then I just used a tiny (1 tsp) ACV in a full spray bottle of water rinse method but it didn’t help so finally I went no-water/wash at all and my hair is still so badly damaged that I broke down and just bought a sulphate free shampoo and conditioner today. I do have curly hair that always tended to dryness but even at it’s worst, my hair was never in as bad shape as it is now. I feel that I just can’t justify natural hair care when it takes so much more work than just using shampoo and conditioner! Also, I never had that much hair to begin with and can’t afford to lose any more, not to mention my horribly unhealthy hair is getting me down. It’s a pity though because the things that usually put people off natural hair care, such as greasiness and smell, weren’t a concern for me. My hair did get a bit greasy but I just used a diy cornstarch dry shampoo and the ACV rinse took care of the smell, it’s just the damage that put me off. I still wholeheartedly support the no poo/water hair care movement though and only wish it worked for me!

    • Natalia January 4, 2016 at 10:50 am #

      I completely understand! I wanted it to work so bad for me as well. I mean, imagine, healthy hair without buying shampoo?? But alas, I had the same results as you. My hair was damaged, frail and brittle and i finally ended up cutting it. It took two pretty decent cuts to have it healthier again, but my hair is still short, so we’ll see how it turns out as it grows. I am glad I didn’t try it too long though, I imagine the damage would be great!

  17. Jenn March 27, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

    I’ve begun to notice more and more blogs where the writers talk in-depth about their struggles between no-poo, low-poo, and commercial methods. Anyway, here’s my story… I have fine, short curly hair. It’s always been on the unruly and frizzy side (my pictures from a couple years ago are proof). A year ago I started cutting down my washes per week (I was using a sulfate and paraben free formula for curly hair). Once my shampoo ran out, I started with the baking soda and ACV. It seemed to work really well for about 3 months, and my hair definitely felt clean only washing about once a week. But I started to notice that my hair was falling flat and not curling more often than not, and it was getting greasy in less and less time. I decided it was time for a change, so I tried honey diluted in water. It was curling and looking great for about 2 days, but once again it was getting greasy quicker than it used to. After a couple weeks of washing with honey, my hair seemed too moisturized and almost waxy. So I went back to the drawing board. I found an article about ayurvedic hair powder, and tried that. I’ve been using it for about a month with vinegar rinses in between to extend my wash time, and I LOVE IT! I can let my hair air dry with no products, and I only have to use my hair powder mixture about once every 2 weeks! If anyone is looking for a gentle but effective cleansing method that doesn’t break the bank or destroy your hair, I highly recommend it!

    • Natalia May 23, 2016 at 10:07 am #

      I’ll have to try that out because the other versions didn’t work for me! Thanks for the tip!

  18. Cynthia May 7, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    I haven’t used soap on my skin when I shower for over a year, and I think it has worked out for me really well. The shampoo, or lack there of, situation…. not so much. I always had really oily, thick, wavy hair.

    As a teenager, I washed it everyday because my roots would be oily the next morning. In college, I trained my scalp to go without a wash every other day, and I started using all natural products. Those were the great days with my hair.

    After college I tried the water wash only method. I wanted it to work so badly. I managed to go through my whole 30 day trial and had to give up. My hair got really heavy with oil and I started to develop dandruff, which I never had before. My scalp never recalibrated the way I was promised by other testimonies I read online.

    Finally, I am now washing every Friday and Tuesday with a new all natural shampoo. My hair is much better but I still get dandruff the day before I wash, and I wear my hair up to disguise the shine that develops. Based on recent research, I now think the dandruff is only because I let the oil on my scalp build up too much before a wash.

    No poo isn’t for everyone. I don’t know why my scalp needs the wash when the rest of my skin does not.

    • Natalia May 23, 2016 at 9:40 am #

      I completely agree. For those who have had it work and still have healthy hair, then more power to ya! I wished it could work for me too, but alas, no go! I’m still searching for the perfect shampoo and conditioner that is more natural, but for now my hair is healthy and feeling good, so I’ll take it!

  19. Kaylee June 16, 2016 at 7:57 am #

    I’m not saying that you’re wrong for stopping the no poo thing I think you should do what feels best for you! I decided to go no poo about a month ago but I don’t use the baking soda and vinegar washes because I feel like they would be too abrasive for my hair. I opted in to water only washing and using a natural hair mask every other weekish. My hair feels great and the oiliness has subsided. Just thought I’d share my experience!

    • Natalia June 24, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

      I completely agree! If this is what works for you, then do it! Glad you found something, and I kinda wish I could do that, seeing as it’s probably much cheaper! ๐Ÿ™‚

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