Troubleshooting the No-Poo Method – How To Make It Work for Any Hair

Troubleshooting the No-Poo Method

The first blog post I ever wrote and my first video on YouTube were about the no-poo method. I chose this topic because it was one of the most life-changing discoveries for me. I went from having hair loss, itchy scalp and unruly hair to tangle-free and healthy hair in a couple of weeks. I was also able to start braiding my hair and try out a lot of different styles because my hair was finally manageable.

It’s been almost a year now since I started my experiment with the no-poo method. I’m happier than ever, and my hair is still getting healthier and prettier every day. I’ve also received an overwhelming amount of emails from you with your own happy stories about the no-poo method. I’m so glad you like it as much as I do!

But there have been a few that have struggled with it, so I believe it’s the perfect time to share my best tips with you on how to make the no-poo method work for any hair. And yes, that includes yours!

If you prefer to watch me talking instead, just click on Play here:

Question 1. Can I use just baking soda and skip the apple cider vinegar rinse?

Absolutely not! Baking soda is highly alkaline. Our hair andΒ  scalp are naturally acidic. If you don’t neutralize the alkalinity of baking soda with the vinegar, you’ll end up with hair that’s super rough and dry. Your scalp will probably be pretty itchy as well. Vinegar brings everything back to balance and is an amazing natural conditioner. Your hair will feel so soft and clean once it’s dry.

Question 2. What if water is really hard where I live?

Hard water can definitely contribute to drying out of the hair and scalp. So it’s worth investing in a shower filter. They are very affordable, and, in addition to softening water, will also remove the harmful chlorine from it.

I used to have one similar to this (you can get it from Amazon) when I used to live in an area with super hard water. It was brilliant!

Question 3. How often should I wash my hair using the no-poo method? What if I’m used to washing my hair every day or every other day?

Ideally, the no-poo method should be used every 5-7 days. Otherwise, it might be drying for your hair. If you’re used to washing your hair often, try the gradual approach. Try to increase the time between washes gradually. Rinse the hair with water only or use cornstarch as a dry shampoo in between the washes. If you really struggle with oiliness, try to combine the no-poo method with a natural shampoo at the beginning, and gradually increase the time between washes.

So, for example, you could do something like this:

Day 1: wash with baking soda and vinegar
Day 2: wash with water only
Day 3: wash with a natural shampoo or shampoo bar
Day 4: wash with water only
Day 5: wash with a natural shampoo or shampoo bar
Day 6: wash with water only
Day 7: baking soda and apple cider vinegar again
And then it starts all over again…

The point is to lengthen the time between washes by washing just with water. You’ll have to use a regular shampoo during the transition period until you can go at least 5 days between washes.

The less you wash your hair, the less dry your scalp will become, and it will gradually stop producing excess oil. I’ve seen it time and time again among my friends and family members.

It’s a vicious circle, and you need to get out of it!

Question 4. My hair doesn’t feel silky and soft as soon as I wash it with the no-poo method like it used to be with the shampoo. Why?

Don’t worry, that’s because there aren’t silicones, silk proteins and other chemicals coating your hair shaft anymore.

OK, this might sound weird, but have you ever touched a wet cat’s hair? It doesn’t feel silky at all! In fact, it feels kind of sticky. But when it dries, it’s incredibly soft! That’s what happens with your hair, too.

Just comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb when it’s nearly dry, and you’ll be surprised how soft, silky and tangle-free your hair will be once it’s fully dry.

Applying a couple drops of jojoba oil (or your favourite oil) to the ends also works really well at softening the hair. I usually apply it every other day, and my hair feels super happy.

This jojoba oil is the one I highly recommend.

Question 5. Can I use the no-poo method if I dye my hair?

Yes! One of my readers, a lovely lady called Helen, told her hairdresser about it, and he was completely supportive. He said some of his clients had been doing it for years. She also mentioned that much less colour was lost during the first wash, too! So that’s definitely a great thing as it should make the dye last longer.

By the way, she also mentioned no-poo was great for dogs – she washed hers! πŸ™‚

Question 6. I struggle to wash off all the oil after doing the pre-wash oil mask. Help!

For most hair types, it might require a bit of extra work to wash it off. I’d recommend repeating the baking soda wash twice (just like you would do with a normal shampoo) – that should take off all the excess grease.

If your hair still feels greasy, it might be necessary to use some kind of soap, such as a pure olive oil soap or castile soap, such as Dr. Bronners.

Alternatively, try to use less oil – you honestly don’t need to slather lots of oil on your scalp. If you use a bit less, it will still have a wonderful effect but will be easier to wash it off.

Even though it can be a bit of a hassle, the oil mask does such a great job at nourishing the scalp, and it makes the hair grow so much faster, so it’s totally worth it. Plus, you don’t even need to do it that often – once a month will be perfect.

If after trying all of the above tips your hair still feels greasy, try skipping the oil masks. Try applying 2-3 drops of your favourite oil to the ends every day or every other day instead. You might have to reduce the baking soda ratio a bit if you feel that your hair is a little dry.

Question 7. My hair gets greasy again a few hours after washing with the no-poo method. What am I doing wrong?

There are a few things that could be the reason:

  1. Don’t skip the apple cider vinegar rinse – it’s a vital step (see my answer to Question 1).
  2. Are you using the no-poo method too often? Your scalp might be over-compensating.
  3. Do you use an oil mask before washing with no-poo? Then see my answer to Question 6.

Question 8. Will my hair smell bad after washing with the no-poo method?

I personally love the smell of apple cider vinegar – I guess it’s an acquired taste. ☺ But don’t worry, you don’t have to love it as much as I do. Once your hair dries, you won’t be able to smell it. Your hair will simply smell fresh.

You can also add 2-3 drops of lavender oil to the vinegar rinse to mask the vinegar smell. I love this lavender oil because it’s therapeutic organic grade but still is very affordable.

Now all you have to do is go and make it work for your hair. It’s so easy!

Where to find things if you’re in Europe

As I get a lot of questions from those of you living in Europe, I’ve decided to include links to all the things mentioned above. I know it’s often impossible to find things (especially when you live in the middle of nowhere like me), so getting them online is often the only choice. Luckily, it’s the cheapest choice as well!

Have you tried the no-poo method already? Do you love it? Hate it? On the fence about it? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. My man has been complaining of an itchy scalp and dandruff..will see if I can get him to try this and see how the results are.

  2. Wow! I have never heard of this and my daughters and I have the longest, thickest hair so we have a lot of struggles. We will try this and check back in with you…thanks!

  3. I love the tip about the shower filter. I put one in a few years ago and it made such a big difference. I haven’t tried the no poo method, but I’ve been very curious. Your article has given me a lot to think about.

  4. I have never considered even trying this but have heard it works wonders. I love how you have broken it down step-by-step.

  5. I’ve never tried this. I dye my hair. I also want to cut costs, live more naturally, & have softer, longer, more manageable hair. I just ordered some essential oils…going to try using them. I really like argan oil – it seems to help my hair like nothing else I’ve ever tried…would you recommend using that oil?

    • Hi Rebecca, argan oil is great for the hair! Once you get rid of all the chemicals coating your hair you’ll see that growing it long and healthy isn’t difficult at all. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Loved your video! I dye my hair & want to have softer, longer, more manageable hair. I also want to use more natural products for myself and my family. I like argan oil, would you recommend using it?

  7. What a fascinating article! I had no idea that such a programme could be so effective. There are so many things we put on our skin and hair that can’t be healthy! I love the questions you answer too, all the things people are ALWAYS going to ask! I don’t like the pop up though.

    • Hi Marjorie! Yes, we definitely put a lot of chemicals on our skin and hair without even thinking about it, and they cost so much money as well! This method is brilliant. I highly recommend it for everyone. Thanks for the feedback about the pop-up. To be honest, I’ve never liked it either but it’s very effective, so I guess that’s why a lot of bloggers use them. I’ve been thinking of removing it for a few days now, and your comment was just what I needed to make up my mind. It’s gone! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  8. I have wanted to try this but have always been a little fearful since my hair gets so oily. Many of my fears are addressed in your answers….. Now I just have to take the plunge!

  9. My mother, a hair dresser, has always been very annoyed by the amount of hair washing people feel is necessary. She would tell her customers repeatedly that the more they wash it, the more their scalp will overcompensate by producing oil (as you said). Her ex husband never used shampoo. He only rinsed his hair very well and he had beautiful, long, shiny hair. This post is laid out so well. Loving the FAQ format. I have to try this!

    • Hi Vanessa, thanks for sharing! That’s really interesting. Washing with water only is fascinating for me. I tried it in the past and failed but I want to try in the future again. Just more gradually this time. It’s obvious that jumping straight into it is quite a harsh transition, so no wonder I failed. My husband has been using water only for the last 3 years, and he’s loving it!

  10. Very informative post. I have never tried not shampooing, and I am a little intimidated by it to be honest. I would love to try it though, this might just push me to actually do it πŸ™‚

  11. I’ve been doing this almost as long as you and I love it!! I’m concerned, though, because we are moving from the country (with well water) and are moving into town (city water, chlorine and other nasties). We are buying a filter for our sink and thankfully our fridge filters the water we drink (it has a handy water and ice outlet) but hubby thinks a whole-house filteration system is too much $$ so I’m going to check out what you use!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Patty! Wow, moving from the countryside to the city must be quite a change. Your hubby is right, the whole-house filtration systems cost a fortune. But those shower filters are great and don’t cost a lot. If you use no-poo with hard water, it’s very likely you’re going to be disappointed, so I think it’s a great to idea to get one.

      • Hi Vita. I’m very excited about starting the no-poo method but haven’t purchased a shower filter yet. We have very hard water where we live. Do you think it would be a definite failure without a filter? Thanks for all the tips!

        • Hi JUliana, it depends. If your water is hard, it probably won’t work. I know it from experience because our water is soft, but I tried the water at my parents’ place (pretty hard) and it was awful. Give it a try, but keep in mind that if your hair feels kind of sticky and stiff, a shower filter will make things much better. xx

  12. This is a great tutorial on how to apply the process of keeping our hair and scalp healthy. My beautician was just telling me to use Apple Cider Vinegar to clean my hair, so the tips are timely. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I rarely use shampoo and mainly co wash (wash with a conditioner) It has worked wonders for me. I have afro hair though and used to used lots of chemicals and relaxers to make it manageable but it damaged my hair. Being natural and treating it with natural ingredients has been the best decision.

  14. I wash my hair once or twice a week with regular shampoo but it still has it’s itchy moments. I’ve never thought about using any other method but I’m intrigued by this one. Seems simple to implement as I already have most of the items in my home.

  15. My sister will die for this! I’ve got to share this with her! She has so many problems with her hair, and she hates buying store bought shampoos. She believes they do more damage than good. Her hair is a mix of wavy and straight and very fine. Jojoba oil is also her favorite that she uses on her nails.

  16. I have never heard of this before but I am so excited to try it!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  17. I have low porosity hair so my hair doesn’t do well with acv or baking soda. Tried both but it’s a no go. I tried the no-poo thing but my hair needs the shampoo to remove buildup. I love co-cleansing (conditioner cleansing).

  18. I never heard of this method. I have tried all kinds of stuff, including the conditioning only method. I might have to try this, it would save me a bunch of money! My only question, is living in Texas it gets hot! I can’t stand for my hair to feel sweaty, how can I go 5 days, if I work out or just get hot?

    • Hi Liz, you can simply rinse with water only or with the vinegar rinse in between. Corn starch is a great “dry shampoo”, so it can help you stay fresh for longer.

      • I tried it! My hair felt a little like straw because it tends to be dry but my scalp does feel better. I did learn not to use water from my refrigrator door because it is a little cold! LOL I didnt think that through too well. I put a little coconut oil on my ends. So far so good. I should be able to make it 3-4 days.

        • Hahaha, I make the same mistake every time. I make my baking soda mixture and then leave it for an hour or so. By the time I go to wash my hair, it’s completely cold! πŸ™‚ If your hair feels a little dry, just reduce your baking soda ratio. Glad you like it so far!

  19. Hi Vita, awesome post, love your site! I had tried the no poo method, it was good at first, but then my hair was getting greasy and I wasn’t sure how to take care of the oil. I have very fine straight hair, so a little oil makes my hair look like a mess. You’ve given me some new ideas to try it out again! Thanks!

  20. I never would have dreamed of trying this, but I think it might work for me. I only use shampoo about once a week and I’m going to go for less. Thanks!

  21. This is very interesting. I am glad that you have found something that works for you.

  22. I have never heard of this method before. I am one who has to condition her hair daily to be able to pull a brush through it and it’s a pain. I have started trying to wash my hair every other day to give it a bit of a break, and it seems it’s a hit or miss. Maybe I”ll try and give this a go to see if it will help. Thanks for the idea!

  23. I really like this post. It’s nice and pretty extensive! I might just try this. I’ve been looking in to the no poo method before but there have just been too many questions unanswered for me to wanna try it. question though…what’s natural shampoo? I’m guessing it’s not what I find in the grocery store?

    • Hi Anna, glad you like my post! By natural shampoo I meant something without SLS and silicones. I don’t think they sell that kind of stuff in grocery stores, unless it’s Wholefoods or Trader Joes. πŸ™‚

  24. I just started with this method πŸ™‚ This was a very informative post… thanks!

  25. Hmm. This is an interesting approach. I’ll have to do more research on this one. Thanks for the idea!

  26. Great idea (& I love the sample schedule that you gave). I normally go 3 days in between washes. My hair dresser told me this when I was 12 and I have done it every since. πŸ™‚

  27. I have to be honest, I was giggling when I saw the title bar saying troubleshooting no poo method. πŸ™‚ I wasn’t sure what I was going to be reading! This is interesting! I’ve never tried it before but I’m seriously considering it! I’m always up for an experiment! Thank you for the information!

    • Hahaha Jenny, you just made me laugh like a mad woman! Because I’ve always known what no-poo is, I never thought of it like that. But you’re right! For someone who has no clue what it is, it’s hilarious!

  28. I have been cowashing my hair for a few months and have had a great result. I think I will try your apple cider vinegar method to give my scalp some TLC. Thanks for the informative post.

  29. I have heard about this before but have never tried it. I am so used to washing my hair everyday that I am not sure about the 5-7 days. I might give the gradual approach a try.

  30. I’ve actually been thinking about trying this so thanks for the timely post! We have very hard water and I’d love to stretch my health & beauty budget even further so I’ll be sure to try the no-poo method and a shower filter soon and will check back to let you know how it goes!

  31. I’m a hair and beauty blogger. I LOVE THIS POST! I’m so glad you’re sharing tips with us. Many don’t believe me when I say you don’t NEED to shampoo your hair. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Mo, I also can’t believe how many people insist that we need a shampoo. Baking soda and vinegar might not be for everyone, but there are so many other things: Indian herbs, soapnuts, honey, etc. No excuse to use chemicals anymore! πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by, Mo!

  32. Two questions – 1. Where do you find (or where is the best place) to find natural shampoo? 2. Does it make your hair staticy? I really worry about that. Oh, and another question – is it okay to do on kids? I have an 8 year old, 5 year old and 1 year old.

    • Hi Leila, not too sure where you would get it in the US storewise. But I’ve heard a lot of great things about Chagrin Valley natural shampoo bars. No-poo doesn’t make my hair static, and I used to have a massive problem with that when I used to use regular shampoos. If you have any probs with that at all, just reduce the baking soda ratio. It works well for kids, but, as their scalp isn’t producing a lot of oil yet (it starts with puberty), apple cider vinegar rinse alone should clean their hair perfectly well. Let me know how it goes if you try it! xx

  33. Thanks for posting. This is a great idea and my family is excited to try it. My daughter is always complaining to me about the sulfate in shampoo. Great solution that I didn’t even know of.

  34. Okay, first up – I love your blog! I feel in love with your blog after you commented on my blog and I stopped over to check you out. Your blog topics are something that I am truly interested in, so I plan on checking in frequently!!

    Secondly – I always think about doing something like this, but two things; one I have short hair and don’t know whether I’d still get as much benefit from it. Two, when you’re going through the transitional period, does your hair look like a greasy mess? I work full-time in a management position, so looking like doo-doo doesn’t really work, plus since I have short hair, will it just be one greasy football helmet?

    I’d love to hear your feedback on these questions!! Thanks for writing such a fantastic post Vita!

    • So glad you like my blog, Jillian! I love yours, too! Especially those tips for moving with a toddler (or with pets in my case). πŸ™‚ I think if you alternate this method with your regular shampoo for the transition period, it shouldn’t be too bad. I honestly never had a greasy period with my hair at all, but I was super greasy with natural shampoo bars and some shampoos. We’re all different, but it’s definitely worth trying! Thanks for stopping by! xx

  35. I have heard of the no poo method. I have always been scared to try it. My hair is pretty damaged and dry. I have to pet product in it for it to look good at all. So I am not sure if this would be a good fit for me. But I know it may help make my hair healthy.

    • Hi Desiree, if your hair is really damaged, you could try baking soda and vinegar as a clarifying cleanse from time to time. Apple cider vinegar rinse alone is also a great treatment for hair that makes scalp healthier and hair shinier. I’ve also been researching about Indian herbs lately, and they are awesome for restoring the health of hair. xx

  36. I’ve heard of this method, but I’ve never tried it. I definitely like that it’s super natural to do! I’ll be bookmarking your post in case I want to try this in the future. Thanks for the great information!

  37. I love all the troubleshooting. I have contemplated going this route. There have been questions that keep bouncing around in my head. This post answered many of them. I just might have to give this method a try now!

  38. This is fascinating, especially the part about losing less hair colour. I dye my hair red and normally after washing the bath looks like there was a shark attack. My towels get ruined as well. I shall have to consider giving this a go.

  39. I must have been hiding under a rock all of these years because I have never heard of the no-poo method! And it totally makes sense! I am a little nervous about the chemistry part of it (as I am known to be a clumsy with ingredients) – but i definitely want to give this a try! Thanks for the post!

  40. Hi Vita! At first I’d like to say, that I envy you your natural lifestyle – that’s m dream to live like that and I’m looking forward to do this πŸ™‚ But now I need your advice in no poo method, I read your blog and watched youtube movie but still have doubts. So:
    My hair are oily and thin and I’m loosing lot of them, so I tried your method and I have to say I was shocked how good my hair looked like. That was yesterday morning. Today morning I was foreced to use cornstach before I left home, and now I don’t know what to do. I definitely should wash my hair beacuse they’re greasy. I don’t have any natural shampoo, and I’m afraid to wash them only with water, I can’t belive that will change anything, and I don’t wan’t use baking soda too soon. Please help. (and sorry for my english, I’m still learnig..)

    • Hi Aleksandra, soon you’ll have the same natural lifestyle. All you have to do is follow my videos. πŸ™‚ Just kidding! But seriously, if you want it, you’ll get there. Just give it a bit of time. Now let’s see what we can do about your hair. Do you have any natural olive oil soap? That is a great natural shampoo alternative. You could also try to wash with water only by massaging your scalp really well and then rinsing with the apple cider vinegar solution. It should remove quite a bit of the oils. Or you could try to dilute your baking soda solution to weaken it and then wash it. You could also try to wash your hair with honey. Or soapnuts if you have any? There are tons of ways to wash hair naturally. πŸ™‚ Keep me posted! xx

      • OMG you answered so quick! Thank you Vita! I think I’ll go with diluted soda and vinegar. I have olive oil soap, but I don’t think it’s natural.. I haven’t done my “new style” shopping yet, but I was so impatient to try it, and so I have a problem now πŸ™‚ I noticed also that my hair get staticy, when I brush them. I think they’re just really shocked after all these years of SLSes πŸ™‚

        • I was about to go to bed, and then I noticed your comment. I thought you might need an answer before you go to sleep too, so I tried to be quick. πŸ™‚ Anyway, your hair is probably getting used to it right now. Try to apply a drop or two of a light oil on the ends. That should help with the static issue. Good luck!

          • Hey Vita! You were right, I needed answer almist immediately πŸ™‚ So, I washed my hair by deluted BS and massage massage massage and rinse it with the ACV and few drops of olive oil solution and.. well… They look better than yesterday but still greasy and staticy… That will do for today, but I think I’ll buy some natural soap and use it after I’ll back from work.. Also I thin I’ve made mistake with adding olive oil to the solution, I think that’s too heavy. I’ll buy lavender oil and then we’ll see πŸ™‚ Thank you for your support and inspiration you gave me πŸ™‚ Have a nice day πŸ™‚

          • Hi Aleksandra, how is it going now? Any better? yes, you’re right, olive oil is way too heavy. I can’t use it either. I’m experimenting with another way of washing hair now, and I think I like it even more. Can’t wait to share it with everyone! πŸ™‚

  41. Aleksandra says

    Hi Vita, thanks for asking πŸ™‚ I survived πŸ™‚ I haven’t washed my hair since Friday morning – I don’t have to go out anywhere so I’m sitting home with extremely greasy hair πŸ™‚ But I already bought alep soap and natural lavender oil and I’m going to use that today (with ACV of course), and then BS and ACV and lavender on Wednesday. And then we’ll see πŸ™‚ Hopefully, everything will be great and my hair become long, shiny and strong πŸ™‚ Also I’ll start OCM as soon as I get all of oils I would like to use πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to see how that’ll work for me πŸ™‚ xoxo

    • Gald you’re surviving. πŸ™‚ Those weekends when you don’t have to go anywhere are great for experiments. Keep me posted! xx

      • Aleksandra says

        Hello Vita! I just want to say, that alep soap is as good as BS and my hair looks nice. I wonder how long they would look like this, I hope that my next wash will be at Wednesday Also I think, that my hair aren’t so staticy anymore. Not so much, anyway πŸ™‚ I ordered few oils for OTC today πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to see how will work πŸ™‚ xoxo

  42. Great post, I am a fan of the no poo method also. I do need to invest in a shower filter though.

    • Thanks, Mercedes! Yes, a shower filter is a great addition. I should get one myself. Even though water is really soft here, it would be great to remove the chlorine.

  43. I just used the no-poo method today, and put some oils in my husband had bought for me while in Saudi Arabia, and my head is not itching anymore as when I use regular shampoo, and my hair was very soft. My only problem is I have very thick hair and I cannot keep from blow drying my hair and adding a little hairspray because my hair will flop in my face which bugs me if I do not use something to keep it from flying forward and I do not like using berets; any ideas?

    • hi Debs, so glad you liked the no-poo method? How about trying a natural styling gel or a natural hair spray instead of a regular one? I’m trying out this one now and I love it. Also wanted to let you know that I’ve received your email, and I’ll reply to you a little later. xx

      • Vita,
        Thank you for replying to my email. I am really at my wits end as you can see. I will give it a try! Thank you!

  44. So I’ve been using the no-poo method for a little over two months now and have been having some trouble. I really believe it can work if I just figure out what the problem is. I have long, straight hair, i suppose normal thickness. I have been using pretty much the same mixture (1 TBsp BS to one cup of water and I-2 TBsp of ACV to a cup of water). I’ve gotten past the transition period where my hair was super oily; I wash it maybe every five days. Despite the time, my hair feels like there is a residue left in it, heavy, and pretty unmanageable and hard to brush. It has been very frustrating and I’m about to give up. I really want it to work for me too. My hair just doesn’t feel soft and silky and manageable like it used to.

    Does a shower filter make all the difference? (I don’t have one) Should I try changing up/playing with proportions of ingredients? Does it really matter if I use filtered water to mix the ingredients? The other days of the week you aren’t washing your hair are you keeping it dry in a cap or just getting it wet with water without using the BS/ACV?

    I plan on getting a shower filter for a host of other reasons, but I wouldn’t think my hair would be this bad using this method just because I didn’t have a filter.

    Please reply. Thank you.

  45. On top of using less Shampoo you could probably save some money. I love that aspect. I am all about frugal ways. Great article. Loved your video by the way πŸ™‚

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