what you should know before you go no-‘poo

what you should know before you go all natural with your hair care routine


>UPDATE 3/20/2019 – This post from 2012 is getting a ton of traffic lately, so it’s important I disclose that I DO NOT RECOMMEND BAKING SODA & VINEGAR as a haircare routine anymore. if you’re looking for a “cleaner” shampoo, you can choose anything on the “green” scale from Shea Moisture to Josh Rosebrook, to my personal favorite – CALIA! Find me on ig @alexraye_ae if you have any questions!

because of all the great questions i’ve been asked (by the way, THANK YOU) by my readers, i’ve decided to do a follow-up post on going no-‘poo. warning, it’s a wordy post, but hopefully i’ll address some concerns 🙂 and i’m gonna be completely honest with you guys. i have no reason not to!


ONE.  it’s not for everyone. let me explain a little more and i’ll get back to that point… some might need to use a different no-poo method aside from the baking soda/vinegar routine. this can be done with clays or any of these natural ingredients. you can even go water-only! if your hair is damaged, you should go low-poo. this is because for those of you with already dry or damaged hair (i’m lookin at you, blow dryers and dyes), the no-‘poo method can make it seem as though your hair becomes even drier after transitioning.

but it’s not the no-‘poo.

it’s your hair.

many store bought shampoos and conditioners contain silicones and waxes that essentially coat your hair in a shiny, smooth layer. THAT is why your hair feels amaaaaazing with that shampoo and conditioner you just dropped $40 on. very rarely will it truly HELP your hair. going no-‘poo strips the waxes off and leaves your hair bare. you gotta help it out! keep reading…

TWO.  it takes time. it takes time. it takes time. and it will not be pretty when you first transition. honestly, it won’t. your roots will look like an oil slick. buuut, IT GETS BETTER. amazingly better. also, you can do all the research you want, but you will have to learn what YOUR hair needs. it WILL be different for everyone and it WILL change the longer you go without store bought products. for example, i started with the baking soda and vinegar routine and my entire transition lasted about 2 weeks. then my hair “normal-ed” out (?), and thennnn it got dry. and tangly. why? because i hadn’t conditioned like i should have. but it’s a learning process and that’s what i’m trying to help you guys with 🙂 9 months later, i have the best hair of my life. seriously. i’ve never had anyone compliment me on my hair as much as they do now until i went no-‘poo.

20130430_144845(about halfway through my transition. see?! NOT pretty. but worth it!!)

give it three weeks before you judge it. rack my brain for advice, ask other people, and do your research along the way. then after a couple months, reassess what your hair needs. for me now, i only need the coconut oil every week-ish, but it still changes. as the months have passed, my hair continually gets healthier, softer and shinier. yours will too! give it time!

THREE.  you. need. to. deep. condition. your. hair. often. (naturally).

no matter if you choose to be no-‘poo or sorta-‘poo, your hair will need a nice drink. depending on what you’ve done to your hair previously, i might be talkin like every time you wash or maybe every few times.

when you switch to baking soda and vinegar, the baking soda acts as a clarifier and will strip your hair bare-nakey. yep, i just said that, haha. you NEED to condition it after that. the vinegar rinse will help seal the cuticle after the baking soda, but you still need to condition to put back into your hair what you’ve taken out. the tangly/dry feeling your hair gets after you drop store bought shampoos and conditioners is just your real hair, minus the chemical and wax coating, due to heat, dyes, and other store products you’ve subjected it to.

you can do this with coconut oil and argan oil, but if you’re using the baking soda/acv route, the coconut oil will NOT come out of your hair. check out these ways to deep condition your hair that only requires water and a bit of elbow grease to remove.

dr. bronner’s also has an organic and fair trade line of conditioners that you can check out here. i have one, but rarely use it. it’s too much for my hair. BUT it’d be great for you transitioners and curlies 🙂

i quickly invested in copious amounts of argan oil (as one reader put it perfectly – sent from the gods!!) and coconut oil so my hair would be moisturized and happy. and boy, is it! again, your hair’s needs will change the longer you’re on the natural route. i’ve found that my hair doesn’t need to be washed or conditioned nearly as much as when i started.

here’s a quick conditioner for those of you that are experiencing dry hair: mix 1/3 cup warm, distilled water with 1/2 teaspoon melted organic unrefined coconut oil. you can use this in the shower after you wash; every time if you want. the coconut oil shouldn’t leave your hair greasy because of the small amount and the fact that your hair will already be wet (already have absorbed water). if it does, reduce the amount.

FOUR.  your success with this will entirely depend on what else you do with your hair. if you’re still blow drying it and, god forbid, attacking it with a curling iron, a straightener, or hair dyes, this method will most likely not be the best experience for your hair. i dropped all “chemicals”, store products and heat. it gave my hair the best chance at being healthier and growing stronger. it seems like a big leap, but if you’re already going no-‘poo, it’s really not. please trust me when i say it’s incredibly worth it.

FIVE.  please don’t overuse the baking soda and don’t use a baking soda paste. the ph level in baking soda is different from your hair’s and will open the cuticle, causing it to absorb more water than it’s supposed to and WILL lead to it being drier and breaking off. only this time, it’ll break at your scalp instead of the ends. you might not have any problems for awhile, especially if you’re still using other conditioning products, but your hair won’t be happy. (ladies – think of it this way… you know how we’re advised to drink a little cranberry juice every day to help our ph level down there? well what happens when the ph level isn’t quite right? UTI’s, right? your hair needs the correct ph level, too. and i’m sorry i took it there. it just really concerns me when i see people use a baking soda paste).

SIX. use a clarifying shampoo before you switch to no-‘poo. your hair NEEDS to be stripped of the silicones in store products. otherwise you’ll get this weird, globby, slick-ish feeling hair when you switch.

you NEED to deep condition after! 

here’s a post to help you get started with your routine and how to clarify your hair.


SEVEN. hard water will become your worst enemy. the sediment and minerals can cause your hair to feel “heavy” or just not clean. invest in a shower head filter. mine works wonders! and now i only use water to wash my hair! check these out:  aquasana & heaven fresh (fixed head & hand held)


whew, i hope this helps! i really, really do. i personally have had an amazing experience being a no-‘poo-er, but it’s different for everyone.

feel free to ask questions and post comments. i LOOOOVE hearing from you guys!


NEED SOME NO-‘POO HELP? see this post

and there’s always the no-‘poo resource page! 🙂

hippie stamp Sig


624 thoughts on “what you should know before you go no-‘poo

  1. So do you use essential oils or something, if you only use water, because even if your hair isn’t oily, it smells like hair oil right? That’s my main concern with the “water only” method. Perhaps some people don’t care, but I do.

  2. Hi, i have been doing the BS/ACV no poo for a week and a half now, but didn’t know i was supposed to clarify! Do i need to start over?

  3. Ahhhhh! I have been no poo for a little over a year now. Baking soda and acv rinse… I had gotten to where I could go 2 weeks without washing, I had not been deep conditioning though. I tried a co mask a while ago and did the egg thing to get it out and it was fairly easy to get out. Tried one again the other day and it would not come out….. My hair was greasy and crunchy,so weird…… I ended up having to use shampoo and conditioner…. Used OGX coconut… The conditioner was what finally got it out. Full of all the crud I don’t want in my hair. What do I do now? Am I screwed and need to start completely over? Sad day….. Lol

  4. What did you do with your hair on super greasy transition days? Besides dry shampoo, is there a way to style hair that maybe hides the greasiness? I’m currently using Shea moisture and my hair is sometimes still greasy. I would love to use shampoo less often than every day! But don’t know how to embrace/hide the grease haha!
    Btw your hair is soooo gorgeous and I want mine to be that long and healthy too!

  5. I’ve been shampoo free for about 8 weeks and it’s been getting worse and worse. I decided to start on a whim, and I’ve been very positive but after doing more research I’ve realized that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Going shampoo free is a lot more complicated than I originally thought… I don’t know what hair type I have either. I saw this blog that described a lady trying to only use water and I tried it. First, my hair became incredibly sticky in the first few weeks. It was grease, but a weird sticky grease. Then, after five weeks, my hair became oily, losing its stickiness that made it so painful to wash my hair. I was relieved and thought that it would become less greasy. Instead, even after washing it, three weeks later the grease accumulated and my scalp began to itch all the time. I finally tried to wash my hair with half a teaspoon of baking soda and a drop of tea tree oil, but that only made my hair less greasy. It still was, just less, and my scalp still itches. I don’t know what to do. Please help!

    1. Madison, I have the same problem you have. I have been washing my hair with water only for four months and my hair is HORRIBLE. I believe my mistake is ignoring the fact that I have extremely hard water. I have tried rinsing with acv and distilled vinager and it removed some of the gunk on my hair but not all of it. My hair is worse right after showering. This past week I switched to distilled water but I think the gunk is buildup and wont get removed by itself, so I bought a clarifying shampoo and will give it a try because four months seems like a very long transition to me. My 3 year old did not have one single day of transition and her hair handles hard water very well. I’m glad for her.

  6. I’ve been no-poo’ing for a week now and I’m enjoying the results thus far. I’m kind of a bad no-poo’er, because I still blow dry and flat iron/curling iron my hair. When my hair air dries, it looks like hell. It’s frizzy, half of it gets ridiculously curly, the other half lays flat, it’s just a mess and with working a full time job that I need to look at least half presentable at everyday, the curl-frizz-fused mess that is my air-dried locks is not going to cut it.

    I haven’t colored my hair in 2+ years. After a bout of hyperthyroidism in 2013 where I lost half the mass of my hair, I didn’t want any harsh chemicals from color/bleach anywhere near my fragile hair. My hair is shoulder length and is finally almost all grown back in, so I want to take care of it. I have always struggled with dry hair, brittle, almost “crunchy” hair and crazy split ends. I know much of this comes from heat styling. I would shampoo/condition my hair every other day and in between I would use dry shampoo and throw some curls in it for volume. This seemed to lessen the damage since I wasn’t shampooing it as much. Finally, I had enough. Every time I shampooed my hair would just look so dull and dry so I decided I was going to ease my way into not washing it anymore.

    A week ago, I started using the BS/ACV method. I put 1tbsp BS/1 cup filtered water in a spray bottle and 1tbsp ACV/1 cup filtered water in another spray bottle and I keep them in the shower. I sprayed the BS mix on my roots and scrubbed my scalp all over for a minute or two, then rinsed thoroughly. Then I sprayed the ACV mix all over my hair, mid shaft down to ends, and then combed through with a wide tooth comb, and threw my hair up in a clip and finished my shower before rinsing thoroughly. I like HOT showers, so I would rinse my hair in hot water, and then in a blast of cold water at the end.

    Here is where I’m a bad no-poo’er. After I get out of the shower, i spray It’s a 10 miracle leave-in treatment all over my head, comb through my hair, then wrap it up in a t-shirt while I put on makeup. After that, I massage Moroccan oil into my ends, then I blow dry with a paddle brush. After THAT I use CHI silk infusion serum as a thermal protectant before I flat iron. I PROMISE I WILL WORK MY WAY UP TO NO HEAT STYLING and try to cut back on product! 🙂 Anyway, after all that, my hair was soft, it was shiny, it was bouncy and beautiful. The next day I didn’t get it wet in the shower. I did my usual dry shampoo on the roots then curled and teased, and put a little Moroccan oil on my ends. It looked great. I did the same method in the shower the following day, then skipped another day of getting it wet, and today I was kind of craving the “just shampooed” feeling, so I used a little Dr Bronner’s Castille Oil soap, peppermint scent. This stuff is highly concentrated, so a tiny tiny tiny tiny TINY bit is all you need. I put less than a pea sized about in my hands, added a little water to dilute and worked into a lather. I then massaged into my scalp for a minute or two until my head felt clean. Rinsed well, sprayed the ACV mix all over and so on and so forth. After blow drying & flat ironing, my hair is so soft still and the castille soap gave me a little more volume than I’ve had using just the BS mix.

    I will definitely keep trying different things as I move on in the process. I would like to eliminate all heat styling and all product all together.. but that is going to take me awhile! I’m a slave to the irons! I just can’t believe how soft my hair is after one week. There’s no crunch, no dullness, it just looks soft and healthy. I do have a tub of It’s a 10 Miracle hair mask that I love as a deep conditioner. It is not super natural and chemical free, but it has always given me good results, so I plan on giving myself a deep conditioning treatment soon and easing my way into making my own deep conditioner.

    I’m all in for this, I love it! No more spending hundreds of dollars on salon shampoos and conditioners! I like to check in on all the no-poo blogs to see how everyone is liking it and what different methods they are using to see if I can amp up my routine or make little substitutions here and there. I think it’s a lot of fun and whenever I “no-poo” my hair, I get so excited to see the results. Almost makes me excited to wake up every morning and get going!! Almost.

leave your comments and questions below -

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s