The No Poo Method Doesn’t Stink!


In the ’90s we rocked some horrendous bobs.

Anyone who knows me—or just knows this website—is well aware that I almost never claim that natural, healthy stuff works as well as conventional stuff. I bemoan the loss of Tide in my life, surreptitiously takes whiffs of Herbal Essence in Duane Reade, and fantasize about an alternate reality where I slip my hands into a big sink of foaming Dawn to wash dishes.

Thus it was unsurprising that while testing safe shampoos for an upcoming section of this site (to be posted next week), I was less than thrilled with the condition of my hair, which has basically looked bad since I gave up my Frederic Fekkai Glossing Shampoo about two years ago. Update: I’ve since discovered Acure Organics’ shampoos–these do actually work and are safe.

I have read about the “no poo method” everywhere from The New York Times to, so I decided to try it for the sake of research. (I’m assuming you all know that the employing the no poo method means skipping shampoo, not holding your bowels indefinitely.)

I was quite confident that I’d soon be blogging that the no poo method left my hair that stunning combination of greasy, heavy roots and crunchy, crispy ends, with plenty of fly-aways in between.

The No Poo Method in Action

For the past month, my mom and I have been “washing” our hair twice a week, and that’s with baking powder and apple cider vinegar (see text box below for the no poo method we’re employing).  Believe it or not, our hair looks great! Two caveats:

  • Neither of us has particularly nice hair to begin with, so “great” is a relative term.
  • We’ve been using natural shampoos for so long that our standards might be a little skewed.

But seriously, both of our hair looks better employing the no poo method than it did using natural shampoos. And weirdly enough, it doesn’t smell gross. It doesn’t smell sweet and nearly edible like it did with certain shampoos in our pasts, but it doesn’t have that gross scent of a teenage boy’s baseball hat, either.


Even with our hair professionally blown out, neither Mom nor I is blessed with gorgeous tresses.

Basic No Poo Method

 Just google “no poo method” for a wealth of resources on washing your hair without shampoo.

Below is what my mom and I have been doing:

  1. Stir one tablespoon of baking soda into one cup of warm water (increase the amount of each if you have very long hair).
  2. Pour over your scalp and massage thoroughly (this is important).
  3. Let sit in hair for at least one minute.
  4. Rinse thoroughly.
  5. Stir one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into one cup of warm water (increase the amount of each if you have very long hair).
  6. Pour this over all of your hair, and especially the ends, and allow it to soak in for at least one minute.
  7. Rinse thoroughly.

If the no poo method leaves your scalp dry or you develop dandruff, use less baking soda. If your hair seems greasy right after washing, use a little less apple cider vinegar.


Yikes. Getting bangs in 2007 was a horrible idea.

To minimize the time that your hair needs to “detox,” (read: be incredibly greasy), people recommend that you do the above routine as much as necessary (maybe every other day) and slowly wean yourself off of it all together, until your hair stops producing so much oil. I don’t see myself ever getting to that point, but I’ll obviously report back if it happens.  Neither my mom nor I noticed increased greasiness when starting the no poo method—quite the opposite, in fact—but I’ve heard of enough people experiencing this “detox” to believe it happens to some.

A good place to learn more about the no poo method is on Nature Mom’s blog.

Have any of you tried the no poo method? If so, do you care to share tips or disaster stories?



  1. Teth says

    I love the no ‘poo method, I have eczema so I have a very dry scalp, but my scalp is less itchy since starting about a month ago. I run about a dime size amount of apricot-kernel oil through my hands and then run my hands through my hair after I shower to add a bit more of a conditioner. I have also heard honey is a good conditioner. I have yet to try that though.

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