I’ve been living this No Shampoo life for almost FIVE YEARS. Holy Moly. I was once told by an eco guru that I wouldn’t last six months. Well, HA, here I am! Stubborn much? Truly though, it wasn’t sheer will that got me this far. I actually discovered I like my no shampoo hair WAY more than my shampooed hair. For real.
To celebrate my half decade shampoo free I a doing an almighty FAQ. Honesty only here folks. Also, if you don’t find yourself convinced by my hair take a look at all the photos in this no poo hair post!
- Does this no shampoo thing make your hair smell?
Not as you would think! However it doesn’t smell like that squeaky, chemical-y goop you squeeze from a bottle. if you press your face into my scalp you will smell human. It is a great, earthy smell that has served our kind well for millennia. Sometimes I worry that we are missing out on all sorts of instinctive feelings about people because their human smell and pheromones are all covered up by lab-made chemicals.
Quick tip though – if you REALLY don’t want someone smelling your Human when they put their nose in your hair use a beautiful essential oil like lavender or rose to disguise it.
- What are your top three hair ingredients for the no shampoo life?
1- A boar bristle brush. I don’t think you can go no shampoo without it. Even if you have curly hair. Brushing at night a few times a week distributes your sebum and helps keep hair clean.
2- Something from your kitchen – either eggs or baking soda or rye flour. You will need to experiment with shampoo alternatives to find which thing cleans your hair the best.
3- A support team. Find some people online (like me on Instagram!) or tell a friend about what you are doing and why (“I hate my hair and want better hair” or “I hate putting toxins on my body and into the earth” or “I want to smell like a human”) and ask that they be a cheerleader for you. The going might get tough and you need a hand holder.
Is easier to go no shampoo with short hair compared to long hair?
HECK YES! No bones about it. Short hair (a bob or shorter) transitions so much easier. You don’t need to worry about distributing the sebum, or making sure your ends don’t go dry. The day I got a pixie cut heralded 2 lovely years that required ZERO thoughts about hair. These days my hair is long and I have to brush it and add oil to it and things. No dramas at all as I am loving my long hair, but it takes more thought. Transitioning with short hair is also a completely breeze.
Are certain hair types easier to go no shampoo with?
Yep. The coarser and thicker the hair, the easier it is. The finer the hair the harder. It can be done. (I am a fine headed person myself) but it takes more gumption.
I also beleive that diet, as much as anything, impacts the ease of going no shampoo. it would be easier not to beleive this, but the food we eat can help or hinder the state of our hair. Here are some ideas for Best Food For Healthy Hair.
What is the hardest thing about no shampoo?
That initial stage the “transition” between shampoo and no shampoo. It can be a real challenge but in my opinion it is so worth it.
What is the best thing about no shampoo?
Ah, freedom from hair washing! For me, anyway. I used to be locked into a every-other-day-habit. I had to use an array of products to get it to look how I wanted it. These days I feel really relaxed about my hair and don’t think about it much at all. Well, apart from when writing an entire website about it! HA!
Other people have other best things though. Curing skin and scalp problems- some as serious as eczema. Discovering GREAT natural hair. Saving money.
How long does it take for your hair to stop being greasy?
This is the billion dollar no shampoo question! If only I could look at your hair and give you an answer. Actually, I possibly could! The transition from shampoo to no shampoo can take one week or six months.
For me it went in stages. It seemed to get less greasy at about 4 months, but for every months after that my hair got better and better. About 18 months in I felt like my hair was a different head of hair than I had begun with. It was fuller and healthier and shinier.
If you go cold turkey (using nothing but brushing) transitioning takes less time but is REALLY full on. On the other end of the spectrum you can use all the healthy shampoo alternatives out there every other day and your hair will probably look marvellous the whole time but it will stretch out your transition to a few months.
It truly depends on what kind of hair you have and how hardcore you want to go.
It feels like there is too much sebum on my hair – do I just keep trying different washes?
Yeah. A common part of transition is sebum overload. Such a bummer. Your hair just keeps producing that stuff- give it a break, you’ve been confusing it for 2 decades by stripping the sebum off every day! Haha.
Different washes can get rid of sebum to differing degrees. Baking soda gets rid of it well. Rye flour also.
If it is feeling heavy and waxy it might also be a product of your water supply. Please read Washing Hair With Water Only to learn about hard water wax and how to sort it out!
Can I put sugar and random ingredients on my hair?
The name of the No Shampoo game is EXPERIMENTATION! Sugar is one way of getting rid of build up so good work for figuring that out! Honestly, I put stuff on my hair all the time to see what it will do. If you can eat it – stick it on your hair and tell me what happens!
What are the best tips for tangles?
I think preventative is the best way! I slick on a bit of argan oil or jojoba oil every couple of days. For children you might want to do this everyday, if they are up for it. It simply stops tangles getting hold.
Tangles often occur when the shingles on your hair shaft are not laying flat because you have used something alkaline on them (say, your water or baking soda) – ACV is a really important step for the baking soda routine as it smooths out your shingles! Make sure you are using shampoo alternatives that are either ph balanced or have a ph balancing step to them.
For major knots I use egg yolk mixed with one table spoon of acv and one teaspoon of maple syrup and one teaspoon of olive oil. I leave it on and pull a comb through it. You might need another egg yolk to sit on the mixture to make sure you get all the oil out after.
If hair is constantly knotty consider doing a fortnightly oil treatment.
How do hairdressers respond to No Shampoo Hair?
This completely depends on your hairdresser, however I recommend the following:
- Call ahead and tell them about your routine. Gauge their reaction at that stage and cancel if they are too freaked out.
- Give your hair a super squeaky wash that morning using your best method.I have only ever had good experiences- the hair dresser saying all the evidence points to No Shampoo being best for hair etc. However I have heard some horrible stories of hairdressers making people feel bad. Give them ample warning and only the least professional of them will make a big deal of it.
What is a good hair recipe for dandruff?
I once got a message from someone who swore using my rye flour recipe cured their life long dandruff. So I have to recommend that!
Any other tips for dandruff?
Make sure it is definitely dandruff.
It could be build up (very common if not washing baking soda out well, or in the first stage of No Poo. Your hair collects everything. Completely normal.) in which case soaking the hair in apple sauce for 20 minutes and then washing and brushing out well, will get rid of it.
it could also be a dry scalp (all feels dry, white flakey bits) which is VERY COMMON for no shampoo people occasionally. I beleive it is because our hair is sensitve to mall changes in our environment; diet, seasons, water source, and we are not using products that coat our acid mantle and hair shaft with silicones to disguise the dryness. Add something moisturising to your routine – aloe versa scalp rubs or honey or yoghurt scalp soaks.
If it is dandruff – more yellowish flakes amongst greasy roots, you will need to apply apple cider vinegar to it. Mix one table spoon with one table spoon of water and use a spray bottle to spritz your scalp several times a week. Within 6 weeks your dandruff should be sorted.
if your scalp is sore make up a rosemary tea (one 5 inch branch of fresh rosemary steeped in one cup of hot water -far less harsh than acv) and spritz your scalp once a day for six weeks.
What is a good recipe for greasy hair?
If you have greasy hair and don’t want to hack any no shampoo greasiness I suggest getting into a routine with soapnuts. You can use them as regularly as you like and they will get your hair squeaky clean. They are kind and ph balanced enough to keep hair super healthy and soft.
Take 10 soap nuts. Simmer them on the stove in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes.
Take a potato masher and beat them up! Strain liquid out and add essential oils of your choice. A few drops of tea tree deals with dermatitis, a few drops of lavender promotes a healthy scalp.
Pour into ice cube molds and pop one or two out (depending on how much hair you have) to replace a dollop of shampoo.
Can you colour your hair?
I use henna once every six weeks and love it. it is organic and totally natural and I love it! I wouldn’t use harsher things on my hair these days because I am all about trying to have the healthiest hair possible BUT other no shampoo peeps do! My no shampoo buddy bleached her hair last year and said it took six weeks to get back to feeling okay, although she does add in more nourishing extra to make it feel soft.
Does the colour of your hair make a difference to how easy no shampoo is?
It is the texture and thickness of your hair that impacts this more than anything. however, I reckon anything that gives you roots will make your hair look far greasier! So bleach your hair if you want but reckon on your dark roots making your hair look a bit greaseballs!
Can I add essential oils to your homemade hair gel recipe?
Ah yes, this homemade hair gel. Such a winner! I often a splash of lavender oil to make it smell nicer. Go for it!
How do you get rid of chlorine smells from no shampoo hair if you swim in a pool?
Firstly, always wet your hair in the shower before jumping in. This way there is less room in your hair shaft for the chlorinated water to sit. Then wear a cap. Then use essential oils to disguise remnant smells. And use the most nourishing alternative shampoos there are and consider adding in some homemade conditioner in to your regime.
You suggest avoiding water – what about if I go swimming at the beach a lot?
I tend to keep my hair up. I think I will also look for a funky bathing hat this summer too! Salt water can be really damaging so make sure you add lots of oils and homemade conditioner to your hair.
Does being pregnant effect no shampoo hair?
HECK YES! Any hormonal changes will effect your hair. For me being no shampoo while pregnant was a breeze. My hair was glorious! Be prepared that no shampoo might get harder once you get back to normal, hormonally. Hair is funny during pregnancy whether you are shampoo or no shampoo. It gets thick, falls out, goes greasy or shiny. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it!
What’s the difference between sebum only and water only?
Washing hair with water only involves using water and nothing else. Sebum only involves using nothing at all! Simply brushing your hair to distribute sebum and then staying far away from all else! It sounds extreme but I have been enjoying this lately, I feel like it messes far less with my hair’s natural equilibrium. I do occasionally sprinkle a little cinnamon on my roots – see my guide to How to Wash Your Hair Without Shampoo for extra little tips like that.
Any no shampoo tips for children?
Children REALLY don’t need products. I believe that many shampoos and bath washes can really mess with a child’s awesomely balanced acid mantle!
Water can get rid of most grubbiness, and a boar bristle brush will get rid of anything more stubborn. If you feel the need, whip up some natural shampoos. See these three no poo shampoo recipes here. Me and my kids often grab things from the kitchen and herbs from the garden to make our own potions. They absolutely love it!