no-‘poo/low-‘poo routines for various hair types

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

with all the no-‘poo info here, i still get a LOT of questions on a specific routine to follow. i’m so so so glad you guys are reaching out for help & asking questions!

starter routines for various hair types to help with starting no-'poo or low-'poo

to make life a little easier and to help more than 1 person at a time, i’ve come up with these cookie-cutter starter routines for those wanting a little more guidance. as i always say, it’s very different for everyone, AND it’s going to be very different a year down the road compared to when you started.

for example, here was my routine when i started:

day 1- wash hair with 1:9 ratio of organic liquid castile soap and water. then rinse with diluted acv. after washing, i wait till it’s a bit damp and run about a pump or argan oil through the ends of my hair, and what’s left over on my hands, i wipe on my hair (like grab it into a ponytail with my hands, and just wipe down…if that makes sense lol). let air dry.
days 2, 3, 4: use tiny bits of coconut oil or argan oil to tame fly aways and moisturize the ends of my hair. no washings!
day 5 or 6: do the coconut oil mask and let it sit alllll day (two hours is my minimum). wash hair with the diluted liquid castile soap a few times (to get all the coconut oil out).
days (6,) 7, 8, 9: argan oil & coconut oil for moisture & fly aways, but no washings!
day (9) 10: wash hair with the diluted soap, rinse with diluted acv and use the argan oil once my hair is damp again & let air dry.
days (10,) 11, 12, 13: use argan oil or coconut oil for fly aways and a little extra moisture. no washings!
day (13) 14: wash with the diluted soap and rinse with acv

aaaand here’s my routine now::

day 1 : wash with water only. air dry.
days 2-8 (no set days anymore): nothing… not even getting it wet.

so when i say it’s different for everyone, it REALLY is. it’s even different for a single person as time goes on. heck, i don’t even have the same routine that i started with almost 2 years ago or even had 6 months ago.

so here’s what i can advise as a routine, depending on your hair type:

dry/breaking hair:

  • clarify using a cheap, detergent-like shampoo. this can be the $1 suave shampoos and the like (but NOT the clarifying version. make sure none of the ingredients are silicones: -xane. -zane, -cone, or -conol). if you have heavy product build-up, add a couple pinches of baking soda to the shampoo in the palm of your hand and wash with that mix.
  • right after you clarify (same shower), deep condition. rinse very well with water and let your hair air dry. the best deep conditioners for dry/breaking hair are egg yolks and/or raw honey.
  • anywhere from 2 to 7 days (or longer) after you clarify, you can begin your LOW-‘poo routine. no-‘poo will be too harsh on your already dry/breaking hair. for some low-poo options, check here. you can also go water-only! it’s the most gentle and nourishing thing possible for your hair.
  • wash every 2-3 days or longer. try going as long as possible between washing. your transition time will be reduced, but you will be greasier in the short term.
  • you can wash your hair with water-only between “washes”
  • deep condition your hair as often as it needs it. if it’s dry, do it! if it’s okay, hold off till you need it. since you’re going low-poo, you can use the coconut oil mask. doing this at least weekly till your hair is nourished back to health will work Wonders!
  • try some leave-in conditioners. they’ll keep your hair moisturized between washes and deep conditionings.
  • be sure to use a boar bristle brush to pull the oils from your scalp down to the ends of your hair. your own scalp oils is the best conditioner for your hair in the world!

oily hair:

  • clarify using either a baking soda paste (if you have heavy product build up), OR a strong castile soap mix (1 part soap to 4 parts distilled water. avoid if you have hard water. and if you use this, rinse with apple cider vinegar after.), OR a cheap $1 shampoo with no silicones (no -xane. -zane, -cone, or -conol) and add a couple pinches of baking soda to the shampoo in the palm of your hand.
  • after your clarify (same shower), deep condition. for oily hair, the best deep conditioners would be acv, aloe, &/or raw honey. rinse very well with water and let your hair air dry.
  • wash every 2-3 days or longer. try going as long as possible between washing. your transition time will be reduced, but you will be greasier in the short term. you’ll also find your hair will be less greasy as time goes on. you can use the true no-poo method, a castile soap mix, any no-poo alternatives, or go low-poo to wash your hair. choose whichever one sounds best, and don’t be afraid to switch! you won’t need to re-clarify if you’re switching methods.
  • you can wash your hair with water-only between “washes”
  • deep condition your hair as often as it needs it. if it’s dry, do it! if it’s okay, hold off till you need it.
  • be sure to use a boar bristle brush to pull the oils from your scalp down to the ends of your hair. your own scalp oils is the best conditioner for your hair in the world!
  • use dry shampoo as needed, but steer clear of it for the transition period as much as possible. you want your scalp to adjust on its own as quickly as possible!
  • if your hair is still super oily, wash your hair with egg yolks at the roots. that should do the trick!

normal hair:

  • clarify using either a baking soda paste (if you have heavy product build up), a strong castile soap mix (1 part soap to 4 parts distilled water. avoid if you have hard water. and if you use this, rinse with apple cider vinegar after.), or a cheap $1 shampoo with no silicones (no -xane. -zane, -cone, or -conol) and add a couple pinches of baking soda to the shampoo in the palm of your hand.
  • after your clarify, deep condition. rinse very well with water and let your hair air dry. you can use any of the deep conditioners listed. raw honey is my favorite!
  • wash every 2-3 days or longer. try going as long as possible between washing. your transition time will be reduced, but you will be greasier in the short term. you can use the true no-poo method, a castile soap mix, any no-poo alternatives, or go low-poo to wash your hair. choose whichever one sounds best, and don’t be afraid to switch! you won’t need to re-clarify if you’re switching methods.
  • you can wash your hair with water-only between “washes”
  • deep condition your hair as often as it needs it. if it’s dry, do it! if it’s okay, hold off till you need it.
  • be sure to use a boar bristle brush to pull the oils from your scalp down to the ends of your hair. your own scalp oils is the best conditioner for your hair in the world!

dyed hair:

curly hair:

all hair types:

  • once you clarify and deep condition, you can do the ROM (rinse only method..aka, water-only!). that’s what i’m currently doing. and lemme tell ya.. the transition can be a pain, but not having to pack ANY hair products (or not having to buy them for that matter) is FANTASTIC. at least check it out and see what you think!
  • once you clarify and deep condition, the next time you wash you can use THIS “shampoo.” it’s a clay and honey shampoo, and i think you’ll quickly fall in love. it’ll leave your scalp/hair nice and clean!

still have questions? check HERE for trouble-shooting help and Common questions! also, check THIS page for a whole slew of things no-‘poo!

*these sample routines are just to get y’all started. YOU know your hair better than anyone 🙂 don’t be afraid to switch methods, switch deep conditioners, etc. if you switch methods, you do NOT need to re-clarify!

i really hope this helps you little crunchies!! much love!

AND DON’T FORGET!!! >> the Lemongrass Spa Give-away is ending VERY SOON!!! ENTER HERE for your chance to win!!! (& here’s the original post)

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105 thoughts on “no-‘poo/low-‘poo routines for various hair types

  1. Hey Alex! I’m from South Africa and no matter where I look, I simply cannot find baking soda. Would bicarbonate of soda be alright to use? Do you even have that in America?

    P.S. I am SO grateful for your blog! We don’t really have things like this down here, I don’t think enough people know of the crunchy lifestyle. Therefore I sincerely thank you for your blog and awesomeness 🙂

    1. Bicarbonate and baking soda are the same thing. If you feel unsure,read ingredient label on box, or call your local poison control number toll free, they can help. Bicarbonate is a single leavener, an alkaline substance that interacts with acids such as buttermilk when you bake, creating gas bubbles that cause lift. It also deodorizes and can be used sparingly on teeth because it is abrasive. Baking powder is baking soda plus a second leavener, and it acts in two ways. Originally women used ash or naturally occurring bacteria on the flour to rise dough, then standardized soda was sold later. You can put a box of soda in the fridge to control odors. If all else fails maybe you could order Arm and Hammer baking soda online, it is a standard in the US. But surely, you have home bakers where you live? If you do, then you do have baking soda there, too… It’s pretty basic to making quick breads. BTW, you can also use it to wash the sink and tub, and to soften laundry because it removes scum from clothing, which is what makes clothing scratchy. In the process it also helps your washing machine last longer because it removes the scum from the machine, too, as well as deodorizing both clothing and machine.

  2. i just found your blog and im so thankfull for all the information you have on here, i have tried the no-poo a few times with no luck but after reading every one of your posts i feel ready to give it another try, i just have a small question …. i live in mexico , very close to the beach and my house has salt water , its filtered but still has half as much salt as sea water so i was wondering if i should change anything from the method??
    i would apreciate any tips
    thank you so much

  3. Hi Alex! We’re you able to read my comment about no poo for my daughter? And should I use a bristle brush for her hair too?

    Also, is it considered clarifying when you shampoo for the last time?

  4. Hi Alex. Sorry to keep bothering you! I read somewhere ( Forgot exactly where on your postings) That you said if you had kids you would just rinse there hair with water. Is it too late to do that for my little girl? She is 3. After what I been going through with no poo I wouldn’t want her going through that. Right now we use California Baby sensitive but switching to Shea Moisture Fragrance Free. Also what can I put to soften/detangle her hair? Its a little crazy in the morning lol

    Thanks for taking the time to respond when you can!

    ***Also if anyone else can share experience with their little ones it would be helpful 🙂

  5. Hi! I been doing no poo for about 6wks now. First couple of weeks it was going welk and now I have horrible dry scalp/dandruff. Thanks to your post I know that I have been over doing the BS and ACV. I should measue more often. But also my hair has been shedding alot more since I started and I’m kind of worried. I have thick/curly hair and I know it’s normal to lose hair but I feel I’m losing so much now 😦 When I brush I pull alot of hair. Should I just avoid brushing? Please help!

    1. hey kc! if you’re experiencing shedding like that, it’s best to discontinue the bs/acv routine and look into something gentle. have you tried a honey/aloe vera/acv shampoo? it’ll be nourishing and you shouldn’t need a conditioner after. hope this helps 🙂

      1. Thanks so much for your quick response! It might be just that. And I do it every other day so not helpful. Can I have the recepie for the Honey/Aloe/ACV? Since that will help with the shedding. Will that help with my dandruff aswell? Since I won’t be using BS.

        Thanks again!

  6. Hi there!

    I recently became interested in going no-poo, but before I start I want to make sure I have everything sorted out. The part I’m most concerned about is the transition phase. I’m nervous about how greasy my hair will get (it normally does when I go between washes, but that may be from the shampoo. I’m not really sure). I saw in one of your posts (this or another, I’m not sure) that said try to avoid dry shampoo so that your scalp can adjust. Would it be ok to use a more natural way to absorb the grease, like cocoa powder? What if I just used it on my bangs, because that’s what I’m the most nervous about?

    Thanks!

  7. Hey there, I have a couple of questions. For oily hair, when clarifying, do you apply the method of choice to just the scalp? Do you rub or massage in? And when deep conditioning with acv how exactly do you apply it? Or the aloe/honey mix? Do you need to clarify more than once before choosing a low or no poo method? Sorry, just a little confused as to how to actually apply these methods.

  8. I am using a raw honey method for severe scalp issues. Just a slightly diluted bottle of raw honey rubbed into my scalp and left on for 3 or so hours then rinsed. I’ve been doing it for about 10 days (honey every other day and water rinses in between) and my hair feels waxy and my scalp also has a build up on top of the usual flakey mess…what do you recommend? The honey is supposed to be clearing up my scalp problem…and getting me to the no poo stage but I didn’t clarify before starting (your blog is the first I’ve seen that says to do that!!) please help!!!

  9. Hi Alex… I’m a little confused. I just started the natural shampoo method with benny clay, ACV and raw honey but I haven’t seen anything in your blog where you talk about using it or recommend it.. Should I be trying a different method?

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