One Year Without Shampoo – The No Poo Method

DISCLOSURE: Please note these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. I am not a doctor. I am simply sharing my experiences.

One year without shampoo - thecrunchymoose.com

I stopped using shampoo in February, 2013. It is now March, 2014. I have not used shampoo at all over this last year. Read more about no poo (as in no shamPOO) here. Here is an update for my one year anniversary.

One year without shampoo - thecrunchymoose.com

The No Poo Method

I use the no poo method. I shampoo my hair with baking soda (you want a good quality one, find out what to look for here) condition with apple cider vinegar (raw & unfiltered, find out more here). I do that every 3-5 days. Over the last year, it has become more manageable, less frizzy, grows MUCH faster, is shinier, and very healthy. Here’s everything I use for my hair:

  • Baking soda (as shampoo) – I use about 1-2 tablespoons per wash. I rub the baking soda on my wet scalp, then rinse.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (as conditioner) – I dilute about 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle. I spray a handful of times on my hair (root to end) and let it sit for a couple minutes, then rinse.
  • Argan Oil – Find out more about argan oil here. I use this as a hair serum for shine and anti-frizz. I drop 2-3 drops in my hands, rub my hands together, then rub through my hair. I usually do this just once in between washes on the day that I wash my hair. I normally don’t need it again after the first day.
  • Hair Spray – I normally only use hair spray when I have my hair up. When I use it, I use this one.
  • Blow Dryer – I blow dry my hair about half the time after I wash it. The other half of the time I let it air dry.
  • Curling Iron – When I curl my hair, I use this AMAZING curling iron. I LOVE it.
  • When I pin big chunks of hair back (like in a low pinned back ponytail) or when I have it in a messy bun, I use these amazing hair pins.

Why No Poo?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a database rating the toxicity of over 71,000 personal care products. A rating of 0 is nontoxic. A rating of 10 is very toxic. Here’s a peek at a few popular shampoo brands:

All of the above have the following concerns:

  • Skin, lung, or eye irritation
  • Cancer (This is under low risk for all of them. But I’d rather have NO RISK than a low risk of cancer.)
  • Organ system toxicity

And here are the ratings for baking soda and vinegar:

Check out my no poo website!

Start here - TheNoPooMethod.com

No Poo Pictures

Here’s a peek at what I look like after one year of no shampoo. Each round starts after I wash my hair (i.e. for round 1, I went 4 days before washing again; round 2 was 3 days, etc.).

One year without shampoo - thecrunchymoose.com One year without shampoo - thecrunchymoose.com One year without shampoo - thecrunchymoose.com One year without shampoo - thecrunchymoose.com One year without shampoo - thecrunchymoose.com

One year without shampoo - thecrunchymoose.com

Read more about the no poo method here:

One year without shampoo - thecrunchymoose.com

 

 
My Favorite Things DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I occasionally may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I only recommend products or services I have personally used myself and trust.
Ashlee, MBA, is a stay at home mom who is passionate about whole food and the local environment. She started her natural journey several years ago after 3 years of back surgeries. Making some simple changes in her life stopped the seemingly endless back surgery cycle immediately and she is now stronger and healthier than the doctors said was possible. She recently sold her retail store to spend time with her growing family. Her son was adopted in 2012. She also volunteers at a local, organic farm. She grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and now lives with her husband & son in the suburbs of Dallas.

Comments

      • Karen says

        Hi! Sorry to take over her PP comment. I couldn’t find a comment button. Please help! I been doing no poo for almost 6 weeks and sadly not much progress :( My hair is so dry and my scalp is horrible! I can’t get the danddruff to go away and when I straight my hair it looks oily :( I will admit I wash frequent with ACV and baking soda but now I will try to take breaks. But how can I get rid of the dandruff? It’s driving me insane and makes me feel so insecure.

        • The Crunchy Moose says

          Oh no! The transition is very tough. Yes, too much baking soda can be damaging. You want to wait at least 3 days between washing (5-7 is better, but you’ll work up to that during transition). You can use a dry shampoo in between washes. http://thecrunchymoose.com/dry-shampoo/ My hair was very very oily for the 1st month. You can do a deep conditioner for dry hair (I like coconut oil: http://thecrunchymoose.com/coconut-oil-hair-mask-get-hair/ honey, yogurt, aloe, and egg also work)

          As for the dandruff: Sometimes it’s not dandruff. Make sure to rinse very well. If baking soda is left in your hair, it will dry out your scalp and/or leave grainy residue that might be mistaken for dandruff. It could also be your hair detoxing. Sometimes the detox during transition results in physical products & buildup being released. If it is dandruff, you can use essential oils (lemon, lavender, peppermint, or rosemary), honey, or apple cider vinegar. Those are all anti-fungal. You can make a hair mask with any or all of those. Good luck!

  1. Whitney Bacon says

    Is it bad if you use this method daily? I am in a walking group and get sweaty daily. I don’t think I would want to skip a day of washing my hair.

  2. Audrey says

    I tried “no poo” for a while, but I was mixing the baking soda with water in a bottle for my “shampoo.” It got irritating when I went on vacation, because the watery mixture leaked out of the bottle. That’s when I went back to my natural shampoo bar. Maybe I should have tried it the way you do it. But there’s still the question of traveling with the apple cider vinegar. Do you bring a bottle and mix it at your destination, or have you discovered a way to travel without it leaking? Thanks for any tips.

    • The Crunchy Moose says

      I pre-mix the vinegar and water. I put it in a travel bottle, similar to something like this http://amzn.to/1nlpphW and don’t have any problems with leaks. You can find little bottles like that at any drug store or save & reuse bottles from store bought products.

  3. Jahana says

    I tried Dr. Bronner’s with a white vinegar and water rinse a couple of years ago. I have frizzy curly hair, and it made the frizz so much worse. Also, I could not get the smell of vinegar out of my hair and it drove me nutty! Any suggestions on the smell? I’d love to get off shampoo again….I’ll definitely have to try the Argon oil for frizz.

    • The Crunchy Moose says

      Maybe try apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar? I’ve never had a problem with the smell, it’s gone after I rinse. I have also heard (but never tried) that an alcohol-free witch hazel diluted with water works well, too.

    • Susan says

      Dr. Bronner’s is harsh. I tried it for 6 weeks (because of the adjustment period) and really wanted to like it, but it was awful for my hair. I used ACV rinse and a little leave in conditioner. I would never recommend Dr. Bronners.

  4. Lilly says

    Very interesting article! I have never heard about this method. I do have a question: when you shower in between days of using the baking soda and apple cider vinegar, do you wear a shower cap or do you still rinse your hair and get it wet?

    • The Crunchy Moose says

      I don’t get it wet. I just pull it back in a bun and keep my hair out of the water (still wash my face, just keep my hair out of the way).

      • Amy says

        Hi Ashlee. One of my friends posted your no poo method on Facebook and I thought it would be kinda neat to try. I’m on day 5 and my hair is disgusting!! It’s oily and feels like straw. Kinda feels like my dogs fur lol!! Also, not sure if this is coincidence or not but I’ve had a huge headache the last two nights. How long does this yuch stage last? It’s getting a little embarrassing at work. I’m nervous to use the Argan oil because my hair is already super oily. Is there anything I can do in between baking soda washes to make it look cleaner?

        • The Crunchy Moose says

          I’m so sorry! But yes, this all sounds like you are right on track. The transition is very HARD! My hair took about 3 months to transition. The 1st month it was very oily. The 2nd month it had a lot of static. The 3rd month was better, but still not great. I really wish I had pictures to share, but I didn’t have this website then & I stayed away from the camera. You can use a dry shampoo in between washes. I used talc free baby powder (like this Burt’s Bee http://amzn.to/1nd08Jx). If you have dark hair, just be sure to use it sparingly. I sprinkle a little in my hands, rub my hands together, then run my fingers through my hair & repeat a few times (I actually still use this trick when I’m traveling to make my wash last an extra day or 2). It helps get rid of the greasiness. I’ve read great reviews about mixing corn starch & baking soda (50/50 mix) and doing the same thing (I’ve never tried that). I hope you can stick it out through this tough time!! I know it’s so hard. I’m sooooo glad I stuck it out. Let me know if you have more questions.

          • Elizabeth says

            I use hot coco powder from Whole Foods as my dry shampoo. I have darker hair so corn starch or baby powder shows up too much. Coco powder works just as well but blends in better. Plus I smell like chocolate which is nice.

  5. says

    This is great information. I have always wanted to try this, and you have answered all of my questions. I will definitely be sharing this on my Facebook page and Pinterest. People really need to know that there are less toxic solutions. Thanks.

  6. says

    Hi,
    I have been “dabbling” with no poo for the last few months. I did like how soft my hair was. But I have read and heard the baking soda will eventually damage my hair. So, I stopped. I have had hair that was badly damaged and broken before. I don’t want to go back there again.
    I usually use the baking soda wash/apple cider vinegar rinse twice a week. Your hair looks amazing! How often did you ‘wash’ your hair? And you didn’t find your hair breaking at all with this method?
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • The Crunchy Moose says

      Hi Danielle! Thank you! No, I have not had any problems at all with my hair breaking. I actually go a lot longer in between cutting / trimming my hair and have less split ends. I now trim it every 4-6 months (pre-no poo I cut it every 2-3 months). I no poo / wash my hair every 3-5 days. The most important things to remember when using this method (baking soda & apple cider vinegar) is to wash infrequently, use less baking soda (most people dilute the baking soda with water, I do not. I massage about 1 tablespoon dry onto my scalp), and the acid (vinegar) is necessary to balance your pH levels after the baking soda. Here is a great article on this http://almostexactlyblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/to-those-who-claim-no-poo-is-damaging-to-hair/

  7. Leah says

    Just curious if this is okay to use with highlighted hair? Will it take the color out or make it fade more quickly or not affect it at all? Thanks!

    • The Crunchy Moose says

      Hi Leah! I do not color my hair. So I can only tell you second hand info. I have heard from several people & have read reviews that no poo is safe for highlighted & color treated hair. BUT the color will likely fade quicker (mostly from the vinegar from what I understand) and your hair will take coloring easier next time you dye or highlight it (meaning take less time for the dye to set in / work because there is less build up on the hair).

  8. maria says

    i had started with no poo a week ago and my hair was greasy but ok, but today i clean it (baking soda and vinegar) and it looks awful, more greasy, i dont know if im getting worse or what D: do you have days and days with no poo? or is always getting better?

    • The Crunchy Moose says

      So sorry to hear this! But it sounds like you are right on track. My hair was VERY greasy for about a month. Then it had a lot of static for about a month. When it was super greasy, I would rub a little bit of talc free baby powder on my scalp. It helps soak up the grease.

      • maria says

        I will give it a month more less and i hope things change! ^^ just one more question if you cant wait 3 o 4 days between washes the tecnhique doesnt produce any effect?

        • The Crunchy Moose says

          It’s ideal to wait at least 3 days (4-5 days is even better) between washes using this method. Too much baking soda can be damaging for your hair. But I know that’s very tough while your hair is transitioning. Or at least it was for me. I used talc free baby powder in between washes (or a dry shampoo). For short term, you would be fine using baking soda more often, but you wouldn’t want to continue for longer than a month or 2.

          • María says

            ohh i see. Well thanks for your help! i hope this work but to know it i have to keep waiting a little longer :D thank you again,

            Best wishes

  9. Madi says

    Hello!
    I am thinking of starting this tomorrow, I have really bad eczema and have had trouble with most shampoos in the past irritating my skin and leaving huge welts from scratching… I currently use Nixon (the name just sounds all chemically) and will be using Suave daily clarifying shampoo for the next few days since it doesn’t contain any silicon (YAY) I usually wash my hair everyday, should I start going every other day with the Suave till Monday (I start work on Sunday) then go with the no poo every other day for a week, then not wash for 2 days for a week, and just slowly get to 3? And should I use the arrowroot powder for a dry shampoo on days that I have to work? I don’t want to look all greasy.. Oh and I have very fine, thin, naturally blonde hair! Please let me know what you think!
    Thank!!

    • The Crunchy Moose says

      Your irritations sound painful! I hope (& think) that removing chemicals from your shampoo will help. Your transition plan is spot on! That’s basically what I did. Slowly increased the number of days between washing. And, yes, the arrowroot is perfect! Arrowroot, baking soda, or talc free baby powder all work. I haven’t dealt with eczema, but I have heard that an aloe gel mask works great to help heal. Use a natural aloe gel, mix with water to desired texture (if needed) and let sit on your skin and scalp for 10-20 minutes. Rinse & wash. Depending on the severity of your welts, I would do the aloe mask a few times so the baking soda doesn’t irritate the welts. But if they aren’t bad, then go ahead and start your transition. Good luck!

  10. Carly says

    Ashlee! I am about 2 weeks into the no poo movement. It certainly is a big greasy mess! Haha! My hair is really fine and straight so grease and dandruff are not hidden easily. I’m prepared to wait as long as you did which was about 3 months right? Anyways, the real reason I’m trying to contact you is that I still want to keep getting highlights. I really love being bright blonde and my natural is more of a dark blonde/light brown. If I am successful adjusting my hair to no shampoo ever again then am I still able to get highlights?? What are your thoughts? Do you think its a bad idea?

  11. Carly says

    Ashlee! I am two weeks into the no poo movement! My hair is just as greasy as you said it would be! Haha! I am prepared to wait it though! I wanted to ask what you thought of continuing to get highlights? I love having bright blonde hair rather than my dark blonde. Once you adjust your hair to the no poo method is it a bad idea to continue with highlights? What are your thoughts?
    Also, I tried to send a comment earlier but I can’t find it so you may see another message from me that is very similar to this. Oops.
    Thanks!

    • The Crunchy Moose says

      Hi Carly! Everyone’s transition time is different. But, yes mine was about 3 months. Greasy for a month, then full of static for a month, then a little dull for about a month. I do not dye my hair. so I can’t tell you from personal experience, just what I’ve heard and reviews I’ve read. It can be done & it is safe. But the dye does not last as long with the baking soda wash. And your hair might need some extra moisturizing & conditioning (i like coconut oil masks [coat hair with coconut oil and let sit for 15-20 minutes then wash out] or egg wash [beat one egg, coat on hair, let sit for about 15 minutes, rinse with cold water so you don’t bake the egg, use vinegar rinse afterwards, air dry – no hair dryer in case there is egg residue left]). And it would not be a big deal if you used regular shampoo at the salon when you got your hair done. Here’s a couple links I found about dyed hair and no poo since I can’t give you a personal testimony http://almostexactlyblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/no-poolow-poo-for-dyed-hair/ http://www.conscientiousconfusion.com/2012/01/no-poo-color-treated-hair-and-hair-cuts.html Good luck!

  12. says

    Great post. Love that shine. 5 years ago I stopped using shampoo. I did that for 2 years then started using an organic more natural shampoo.

    It’s amazing. I went from washing my hair with shampoo and conditioner every, single, day using tons of conditioner to washing my hair every 4 days AND I no longer use conditioner.

    My hair is curly, semi-thick, and frizzy or should I say was frizzy. I still have some frizz.

    Two months ago I started brushing using a boar brush from Morrocco Method. I also have used their Henna conditioner and my hair feels so silky soft and the curls are at their best ever. I love their stuff.

    I’m still amazed at how little shampoo/conditioner I use now. Sometimes I wash my hair with watered down raw honey too.

  13. Samy says

    hey!! Can i use filtered apple cider vinegar instead of raw one??
    Raw apple cider vinegar isn’t available here :(

  14. savanah says

    Not to be rude,but your hair looked greasy throughout all the pictures,is that the ACV and BS? or was your hair naturally oily before hand? I am starting the “no poo” method this week and am really nervous…..

    • The Crunchy Moose says

      I prefer shiny ;-) I use argan oil on my hair. So that’s probably what is giving it the “greasy” look. My hair was dry before. Now it is much healthier.

  15. Lauren says

    I really wanted to love the no poo method I hate thinking about all the gross chemicals that are in shampoo but I’m having difficulties and need some advice. I bleached my hair awhile back (I know a big no no) and I messed it up so I went to the salon and to “fix” it they bleached it some more… well my hair has started falling out. I thought the no poo method would help. I’m 2 weeks in and ready to give up. The 1st time I used baking soda and apple cider vinegar my hair felt amazing the same goes for the 2nd time, but the third time it was horrible. My hair was stuck together and more dry then I’ve ever felt it also I lost a lot of hair. Has any one experienced this and is it part of the transition period and does it get better?

  16. megan says

    I accidentally stumbled across your blog yesterday, left work to purchase a few things I didn’t have on hand, and woke up this morning to try 3 of your methods! I am officially a “no poo” girl, an oil puller, and a lemon detox drinker! I have very oily hair down to my waist and was skeptical about the no poo recipe leaving my hair feeling not clean or too oily….but I must say I was pleasantly surprised!!! It is soft and shiny and no oil!! The oil pulling….gonna take some time to get used to for sure! But definitely something I am gonna work at! And the detox morning drink…I actually liked that too! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and information! I am glad I stumbled upon it!

  17. Lori says

    I’ve got a question before I try this out, there are times (allergy season) when I must at least rinse my hair at night, to get the pollen out. Should I just rinse with plain water or acv, or do you suggest something else.

  18. says

    I appreciate how much you simplified everything, there is so much information out there on No Poo and it’s so mixed in the results, etc. I’m on day 17 I think and I’m going to keep this going as my hair is thick like it’s never been and my hair doesn’t fall out as much anymore (it used to fall out a lot over the last 10 years). The transition is tough and all the information can drive you crazy, like how some say it will destroy your hair. My husband is very science-y so he’s going to follow along and keep an eye on my hair. Right now my hair is kind of dry and waxy/oily but I just have it in a bun. Trying to only wash it with BS/ACV every 4 days or put it off even more if I can. Loving the process so far, even the oiliness is worth the thick hair.

  19. Bash says

    Hi
    Such a useful article you had explain everything very well. I have short hairs because i am a boy :) would you like to tell me hows i can use vinegar because its easy for long hairs but whats about short hairs… about one year ago my hairs was amazing and suddenly its getting worst and worst i tried many shampoos and oils and i also visit 2 ..3 doctors but nothings gonna work so i am near to give up and last week i read your article i was shocked to heard of it to use Baking soda but i know about that shiny and good looking products its only have big impact on my pocket not on my hairs… i am near to give up but i like your solution so why not i give a chance to BS and ACV i will definitely try it….your hairs are amazing

  20. Amanda says

    I’ve tried the no poo method and have had three washes so far. Here’s my question, my hair looks and feels VERY oily. Even right after washing and blow drying, the roots are gross. Am I missing something? I’m using the baking soda water mixture each wash and the vinegar rinse I’ve only used once. Is this how it is when your hair is still adjusting, or am I doing something wrong? Thanks!

    • The Crunchy Moose says

      No you aren’t missing anything. Your hair is going through transition. My hair was VERY oily for 1 month. Then it had a lot of static for a month. It took 3 months for my hair to go through transition. It’s not easy but I am very glad I waited it out. Good luck!

  21. Leslie says

    No Poo is hard, low-poo is awesome. I’ve been using Healthy Skin for a Happy Life’s all-natural low-poo shampoo, conditioner and body was since last February and LOVE what it has done to my skin and hair! No parabens, sulfates, fragrances, dyes, pthalates, toxins, or artificial funky/creepy. The shampoo has a mild soap made from coconut and cornstarch, so it really does a good job of getting my hair clean without penetrating the hair shaft; I find it very nourishing and healthful and my hair has been growing like crazy. I use the conditioner as a leave-in on my damaged ends and the body wash smells and feels yummy. Just wanted to share the goodness of HSHL with you all
    http://www.healthyskinhappylife.com/ingredients/

  22. Banu says

    Your hair looks gorgeous! And changes are so visible. I am tempted to try but I have very little hair and am so used to shampooing everyday. Will be a hard adjustment… Thx for the tips!

Trackbacks

  1. […] no hair to hide it. Being an all natural kind of gal, I have tried various DIY shampoos, even the no-poo method, but my scalp ends up flaky and miserable. I finally went back to using an organic shampoo, […]

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