2 weeks without shampoo…

The last time I washed my hair with regular shampoo and conditioner was December 30. I did so with great reluctance, relishing what I thought would be the last sensation of clean hair for a long time. Then, thanks to my editors at TreeHugger, I embarked on a shampoo-free experiment, known popularly as the “No ‘Poo Method.”

I never would have done it on my own. Despite being on a constant quest to ‘green’ my life and reduce waste and my carbon footprint, I’m still the kind of person who enjoys the presence of beauty products in my life — always chemical-free, of course. I like shampoo, which is why I was never interested in giving it up, even after receiving glowing reports from staunch no-poo believers. But when a post I wrote for TreeHugger called “Would you ever stop using shampoo?” generated a lot of interest, my editors asked if I’d try it and write about it further in February. Since then, much to my delight, a number of friends and one editor have joined the challenge.


It’s going far better than I ever dreamed. So far, there’s been almost no adjustment period. I’d expected a very greasy month, but that’s not the case. I continue to wash on my regular schedule (every four days) with a baking soda rinse (2 tbsp dissolved in a 500 mL jar of warm water) , followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse (2 tbsp in 500 mL water). The baking soda does an incredible job at cleaning the hair, which feels light, minus the frizz. The vinegar is a conditioner, and leaves my hair even softer than regular conditioner would. Then I soften a bit of coconut oil in my hands and apply it to the ends of my hair.

When I used to wash with shampoo, I never liked how my hair felt immediately after; it was always very dry and frizzy. By the second day, it was more manageable and could be styled, probably because some of my head’s natural oil had returned. With the no ‘poo method, my hair immediately feels like it did on that second day after washing. The oil hasn’t been stripped, just cleaned.

I’m interested to hear from some of you other guinea pigs about how the experiment is going. My hair is very thick and wavy, so I’m sure everyone has different experiences based on hair type and the kind of water you’ve got. If you have any questions, a friend found this excellent and helpful source at East Central Love, a.k.a. No Poo Gal.

You might also like:
Get Shopping: Top All-Natural Beauty Products to Buy
Detoxifying the Beauty Routine
7 ways to use oil in your natural beauty routine


11 thoughts on “2 weeks without shampoo…

  1. I’ve been no ‘poo since June last year and I love it. I started with the BS/ACV method and though I liked it, I wanted something that felt more natural so now I use soapnut liquid followed by an ACV rinse. It’s the best no ‘poo method I’ve tried; it feels clean, it’s soft and shiny and I only have to do it once a week, (I rinse with water through the week).
    If you hit any bumps in your no ‘poo journey try this FB group, it’s fantastic for no ‘poo tips and support 🙂


  2. I’ve been no-poo since Dec 31st. It’s going well. I wash my hair every three or four days with about half as much rinse as you, but in the same proportions. I have a lot of ultra-straight, fine hair, and it’s getting pretty long. My hair is usually very well behaved, but it was feeling a bit limp and thin after the post-baby-massive-shed. The only change I’ve noticed on no-poo is that my hair feels thicker – I’ll take it!

  3. Interesting stuff. It seems to work best for people with fairly thick/curly hair.

    Not for me. I wash my hair daily which means I shower daily. Even at 54, I still have reasonable amount of natural hair oil..which of course gives a lovely natural shine for black hair. Hair is straight and lots of fine hair.

    I forgot to add: I’m a car-free cyclist….so some daily hygiene is necessary for me since I also bike to work.

    1. The thing is, though, that washing daily can increase oil production. I used to think I had to wash every other day, but over the years I’ve weaned myself off that regular washing cycle. Now I’m up to every 4 days, which would have been impossible. I bet you could start going longer if you washed less — that is, if it even interests you! Even with my intense CrossFit workouts, I find it doesn’t make my hair that greasy, and I usually don’t wash my hair in the shower afterwards, unless it’s the 4th day.

      1. I probably can’t…. until I stop working full-time. I have a job which I attend meetings and also provide training support which means sitting close to people at their computer in the office.

        By the way, I have never showered at my workplace…which is amazing to other cyclists…because I used to cycle for 14 years daily in Toronto for a daily 30 km. round trip by bike…even at the height of high humid, hot summer days. 🙂

      2. That’s awesome. Aw, I miss my Toronto rides. I used to ride from Ossington/College area to Queen/Kingston Rd every day for work, and that was at least 20 km round trip. I loved having a reason to go that far on my bike.

      3. I lived near the Victoria Park subway station (before I lived near Dufferin-Bloor area). So I chose to cycle the option either going into Taylor Creek Park entrance or go south directly into Beaches area to get into the downtown financial district where I worked.

  4. The effectiveness of the ‘no poo’ method really depends on your hair type and the type of products you use. Products with non-water soluble silicones, mineral oil, etc. may be difficult to remove without a sulfate (or soap-based) shampoo. I used baking soda as a cleanser once , it took weeks to get my hair back to normal. I am a big fan of ACV rinses, while it isn’t necessarily a conditioner it does balance the pH of your hair and seals the cuticles, I suggest using raw, unfiltered ACV for best results. You can also look into using conditioner to ‘wash’ (co-wash), it removes dirt and some build-up without stripping your hair.

    Nature’s Pulchritude

  5. Hello Katherine. I love this idea of not washing your hair with shampoo, and instead with natural products. I only have a concern. Do you think it will still work for dandruff type of hair. Mine is oily on top, and drier at bottom. I use tea tree shampoo the one from Trader Joe’s. If I don’t wash it after two days, I start getting itchy. I appreciate if you, or any of your readers can send me feedback about this. I would love to try it. Thank you!!!

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