Is a No-Poo Lifestyle Good for Your Hair?

Written by Kasey M. Fuqua

Looking for voluminous, shiny, bouncy hair? According to people who practice the No-Poo method, you can have it: All you have to do is stop using shampoo.

The No-Poo method relies on the theory that using more gentle, natural cleaning agents like apple cider vinegar or even just rinsing with water helps your hair maintain healthy oils. Shampoos remove these oils, they say, leaving your hair and scalp drier.

In response to dryness, No-Poo practitioners say, your scalp increases sebum (oil) production, which makes your hair look greasy. So you shampoo your hair to get rid of the grease and just end up drying out your hair even more. Followers of the No-Poo movement want to break this cycle by avoiding shampoo altogether.

But is there really a cycle of dryness and oiliness? Is giving up shampoo the key to better hair?

The Facts About Shampoo

Shampoo hasn’t been around long—it became prominent less than 100 years ago. Americans tend to use it more than other countries, washing their hair four to five times per week on average. But does all this lathering up do damage?

Many dermatologists and hair stylists say no. A healthy head of untreated hair is healthy no matter what.

They also say that shampooing doesn’t increase oil production. Oil production can be affected by your hormones, what you eat and even your genetics. Shampoo does take oil away, but it has no effect on the cells producing the oil.

Still, changing up your shampooing habits just might benefit your hair.

Who Can Benefit from a No-Poo Lifestyle?

Many people can benefit from shampooing less, including:

  • People with dry scalps. If your hair and scalp are naturally dry, not shampooing every day can improve the appearance of your hair. In between shampoos, your scalp will build up more oil, which can help your hair look shiny and healthier.
  • People who color, relax or perm their hair. These salon treatments leave your hair more porous and dry. Shampoo can have a greater effect on treated hair and can cause damage, especially if not rinsed out properly.
  • People with curly hair. Curly hair hides oil better than straight hair. If your hair is especially curly, it may look less wild a day or two after washing.

What Should I Use to Shampoo My Hair and When?

Most experts will tell you that while shampoo is gentle enough to care for your hair, you might try shampooing every other day or less often. If you do want a more natural shampoo, apple cider vinegar also works to remove oil and leave hair looking fresh.

You might want to steer clear of baking soda, which could dry out treated hair. Remember, baking soda is also used to remove tarnish from metal products. It may be too strong of a solution for your scalp and hair.

You can also try shampoos that are sulfate-free or siliconefree. These shampoos might leave your hair feeling lighter and have positive effects on the scalp. Just keep in mind that they won’t form as many suds as other shampoos.

What Are the Best Shampoo Techniques?

Try varying your shampooing technique to improve your hair’s shine and smoothness. Use less shampoo and only apply it to your roots, where oil builds up. Use conditioner for the rest of your hair, but don’t apply conditioner to the roots.

How Can I Go Longer without Shampooing ?

If you want to space out your shampoos without looking greasy, dry shampoo powders or baby powder can give your roots some lift. You can also pay attention to how you style your hair. Blow-drying your hair after a wash can help hair look better the next day, too. Certain hairstyles, like braids or updos, can also minimize the appearance of oils when you haven’t shampooed for a day or so.

Though No-Poo practitioners may not be factually correct, they are right that changing up your shampoo habits could improve the appearance of your hair. By trying new shampoos, spacing out washes and styling your hair in different ways, you may find you have better-looking locks.

About the author

Kasey M. Fuqua

Kasey Fuqua has been writing for hospitals and healthcare publications for over five years. Her writing often inspires her to explore new habits at home, from baking healthier to trying different workout routines. She’s a firm believer in lifting heavy weights, enjoying the food you eat and getting eight hours of sleep.