Going Without Shampoo: How Do You Feel?

I guess it’s not enough for people who forgo washing their hair to just sit there and do it quietly: they, like everyone else, need a movement.

The Huffington Post reports that the movement is called “no ‘poo,” and the idea is that not washing your hair is better for it. Your scalp makes oils necessary for hair and scalp health which washing strips away, leaving both hair and scalp dry. Your scalp then overproduces oil to compensate, and ends are dry due to overwashing, so you wash again and also condition.

In the no ‘poo movement, as you may have gathered, devotees don’t wash for up to months at a time. They do rinse and get their hair wet, and that is how they avoid looking like the VW van left them behind in the parking lot after a particularly intense, drug-fueled Phish concert.

This basic idea that fewer washes are good for hair is something that we’ve all heard already from innumerable glossy magazines, yes? But I was always to understand that washing every other day or so was the answer, not washing every six weeks.

‘Poo-less celebrities include Jessica Simpson, Shirley Cook of Proenza Schouler and Robert Pattinson (which…well, is anyone really surprised? And is it really because he’s so concerned with the potential for split ends? Really?).

What about you? How often do you wash? Would you consider going ‘poo-less?


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    • Brittany

      I have really curly hair, and I wash it maybe once a week. If I wash it more often, it gets frizzy and loses its curl.

    • Carolyn

      I have always washed my hair everyday. It starts to smell weird if I don’t and look visibly greasy. It doesn’t feel like an option.

    • Eileen

      First of all, I have “white hair,” which I think makes a difference? My black friends wash their hair a lot less than I do, which is every couple of days – as frequently as every day if I’ve been to the gym or been swimming, and as rarely as every four days if I’ve been lazy exercise-wise.

    • K

      I’ll be no-poo for two years in June. I wash with a baking soda solution and condition with an apple cider vinegar solution. Baking soda is the first thing I’ve found that actually controls my dandruff. The fact that it’s cheaper and has significantly less environmental and social impact is just an added side bonus.

    • sophia

      i have dark italian curly hair… i went through a no-poo phase in college, but just couldn’t get the hang of the right conditioner and styling products… i stick to the sulphate-free shampoos and haven’t looked back. i’m just so glad they’ve become so common (big fan of shea moisture’s products and giovanni’s hair products)…

      it keeps my hair from being greasy, but keeps it moisturized and me feeling less guilty about the environment…

    • Jamie B

      On times when I take a shower and get my hair wet and don’t use shampoo (like when I have a headache – the hot water helps a lot), my scalp gets really really REALLY itchy. I will also admit that I am gross and sometimes go a day or two without showering, either because I’m sick or busy or moving 2000 miles – my hair is not in any presentable condition. It NEEDS to be washed at least every other day. This is fine for hippies with manageable hair, but I’m not in that category. More power to them, I guess.

    • Sara

      I have fairly thick, curly hair and typically shower every other day and shampoo and conditioned then. But my guy friend who has wavy hair swears by only shampooing every 2 weeks and conditioning every day. The past couple of weeks I’ve just been shampooing once a week and only conditioning, and I’m surprised: I def thought my roots were going to be greasy, but they’re not. I’m getting my hair done tomorrow, and am going to ask my stylist then what’s best.

    • matbo

      I wash my hair twice a week. These are also the only times I shower – so I’m really good for the environment…
      I have white hair. Blond, thin and pretty managable, but I always go a day with greasy hair before I wash it…my ultimate goal is going completely without shampoo and only rinse it…I just need a long world round trip where I can avoid showering long enough for my scalp to restabilize..

    • Ashlee

      I wash my hair everyday, and only skip if it’s a lazy weekend where I don’t leave the house. I can’t not wash it because it gets so greasy so fast; I wash it in the morning and by night time it already starts to look kind of gross. I’ve tried to get into the habit of only washing every other day to see if that helps, but it just gets so greasy!

    • porkchop

      Every three days (despite my abiding love for the chemical/perfume smell of shampoo!).

    • Jessica

      I have really long curly hair and for years now I’ve almost never washed more than once a week. Often I only wash every two weeks. I also don’t use any products in my hair, but rather just comb normal (ie. not leave in) conditioner through my hair when I get out of the shower. It helps to tame any frizz and keeps my hair really well moisturized. Hairdressers are always blown away by healthy my hair is.

    • G

      Wash it everyday unless I dont have to leave the house for something other than groceries, etc. I understand about the oil production so that’s why I skip it on day I can afford to. However, most days I just can’t afford to look like a grease monkey.

      • Angela Berghorst

        Thats exactly you have greasy hair, your scalp and hair is used to all the chemicals, but i dont condone using baking soda either it is bad for hair, i use J.R. Liggets shampoo soap . It only has six ingredients and all are essential oils. Iherb.com has it. I will never use traditional shampoo ever again

    • Jamie Peck

      You forgot to mention something key: there’s a period in which your hair looks super greasy, and then your oil glands calm down and it falls off, like a scab (ew). Then you are left with natural, wonderful hair. I’ve always wanted to try this, as my hair gets super greasy and gross looking after just one day, but I just don’t feel like I could get though having disgusting hair for a week or however long it takes. I like leaving my house!

    • Rachel

      I’ve tried to go for the every-other-day wash, but my hair just looks to greasy and is unmanageable after being slept on overnight. I have SUPER fine hair, which means it shows any dirt or grease immediately, so like others have said in their comments, I wash in the morning, and it already looks greasy by bedtime.

      I have to wash it everyday. Sometimes I will shower at night and wash it then, and then only wet it in the shower in the morning.

    • Kelly

      I try and wash everyother day to improve the health of my hair. On days I skip washing I use a dry shampoo. My hair does get super greasy, but I am willing to wear it up and use dry shampoo to try and improve the quality of my hair. I think that sacrafice is worth it! I always has really beautiful amazing shiny hair until about 3 years ago. Now, the ends are dry and breaking and the roots are greasy and my color fades after one wash etc… I don’t know what went wrong, but I want my hair back! :**(

      • macalny

        I shampoo – only with sulfate-free shampoo – twice a week. I get my hair wet at least once a day (twice on days I go to the gym) and every time I get my hair wet I condition (also sulfate free), but I only ever condition the ends, NEVER the roots. Also, the more you stop robbing your scalp of the natural oil, the sooner it can stop overproducing it and the sooner you will find you’re not such a grease monkey. The oil production calms down when you allow it to. Granted, I do not own a blow dryer and only use some gel in my hair (and plain old body lotion when I’m at the gym – again only on the ends!) so it’s not like I’m styling the hell out of my hair (I have very fine, curly hair that gets hella frizzy if I’m not careful), but I don’t get noticeable split ends. I get my hair cut 2 to 3 times a year and my hairdresser always tells me it looks great. (Once, when I waited a year between cuts, did he say the ends were rough-looking.) Be kind to your hair and it will love you back!

    • curlysarah29

      I wash my hair maybe twice a week, brush it once a week – I have curly hair, so the no-brushing thing isn’t a big deal… I find it adds more texture. I wonder about not washing it for the long when you work out and sweat a lot? I know you’re rinsing it, but seriously – it doesn’t start to smell like dirty hair? I gag at the smell of dirty hair – but what if I couldn’t smell it on myself? Ick.

    • M

      I have thick Asian hair, though weirdly it’s also wavy. When I was really young I had super fine thin flimsy hair but it started to thicken up as I got older. I used to wash my hair usually every night [sometimes every other], and I would condition the bejeebers out of it with all kinds of product, and while my hair was thick the ends would still get super dry and splitty. When I started washing it less it got much, much healthier overall [less splitty and less flyaways]. I wash my hair about once every week, sometimes week and a half depending on the weather or what I’ve been doing. If it starts to smell I wash it right away [or at least dry shampoo if I'm really busy and need the sleep more than I need the fresh hair and then wash it for real at the next opportunity], and usually don’t let it get greasy for more than a day before washing either. If the roots are a little too icky, I’ll wear a hat. As a result, my hair is healthy enough that since I only get it cut when the split ends start getting out of control, I usually go six months to a year between trims. Right now it’s been since January which isn’t very long and my hair is still pretty healthy, but it’s getting so long that I’ll probably do it again soon.

    • trisarahtops

      I have really really thick, wavy/curly hair that I wash twice a week, maximum. Depending on the weather/how much I exercise/if I’m attending a special event or something, I”ll wash it around every 4-6 days. It doesn’t get greasy until about the 4th or 5th day, but it’s easy to hide because of my texture.
      I don’t use sulphate-free shampoo/conditioner, but does anyone know of any good brands I could use? I use Organics mint-tea shampoo and conditioner, and I just comb my hair after rinsing the conditioner out. I don’t use any leave-ins or anything. I tried to go no-’poo last summer by using baking soda and apple-cider vinegar, but it made it virtually impossible to comb my hair and by the end of July my hair looked and felt like a haystack. Are there any other ways to go no ‘poo without baking soda/apple cider vinegar?

    • ariel

      when people dont wash their hair properly, everyone can tell. scalp smells bad. i wash mine everyday.

    • Stranger

      I follow the no-poo and trust my hair does not smell. I have extremely dry scalp and hair so my hair does not get oily at all unless I add oil to it. I also have acne prone skin so I have to use conditioner or something to get rid of the debris or else it is breakout city. I do use a sulfate-free shampoo about every other week or so. The stylist I visit for an occasional trim states that I have the healthiest scalp that she has seen in a long time.

      I will admit that this method is not for everyone. If you have fine, oily, stringy hair, you might need to stick to shampooing.

    • s

      1.5 tablespoons baking soda and raw honey mixed with warm water. Make into paste and apply to hair (and since I have psoriasis, I rub gently into the scalp). Leave for a couple of minutes, rinse in warm water. Follow up with one cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water and a few drops of essential oils. Let sit a few minutes and rinse in the coolest water you can tolerate. My hair is cleaner and better than ever. No psoriasis, so no steroids. I only need to wash once a week. I also air dry my hair and I’ve got less frizz, so I only flat iron once a week.