How To Get Your Hair Clean When You're Doing The No-Poo Trend

The thought of removing shampoo from your haircare routine is enough to make many people cringe. But while most of us consider the product a necessity, shampoo as we know it is a relatively modern invention. The first commercial shampoo was invented by Kasey Herbert in 1914, and a few years later, Berlin-based chemist Hans Schwarzkopf launched his first liquid shampoo in 1927 (via Hairstory). Before the widespread use of shampoo, Castile soap was the ingredient of choice, and it was customary for Americans to wash their hair with the soap once every four to six weeks. As we become more aware of the harsh effects that modern shampoo can have on our hair, body, and environment, some are reverting back to more traditional haircare routines via the no-poo trend.

Those behind the no-poo movement assert that by completely stopping the use of shampoo, you can avoid stripping your hair of its natural oils and spending unnecessary money on hygiene (via Healthline). The proposed benefits include a healthier scalp and hair, less need for styling products due to improved hair texture, and less exposure to irritating chemicals. However, those who have tried the trend know that the major downside is the hair can feel incredibly oily. Surprisingly, there are proven ways to get your hair feeling clean again without introducing shampoo back into your routine.

How to combat oily hair on the no-poo trend

Keep in mind that the no-poo trend only means you don't use shampoo; it doesn't mean that you don't clean your hair via other means. People following the trend might clean their hair with water only, and they generally do this once every 10 to 14 days. Others create their own cleansers using natural ingredients. The most common alternatives to shampoo are baking soda and apple cider vinegar (via Healthy Life). The baking soda is dissolved in water and applied to the hair, which cleanses the build-up of oil. Apple cider vinegar is then diluted and used in the place of a conditioner to add hydration back to your locks. You can purchase baking soda and apple cider vinegar products or you can make them yourself. However, it's important to note that different hair types will require different amounts of each ingredient, so a little trial and error may be involved.

An alternative to baking soda and apple cider vinegar is rye flour (via Holland & Barrett). Rye flour is packed with minerals that your hair will love and is most suitable for a shampoo alternative when it's finely ground. Mix equal parts rye flour and water, stir the lumps out, then massage into wet hair and let sit for 10 minutes before rinsing out. You can also make your own "dry shampoo" to clean your hair between washes on the no-poo trend using a sprinkle of arrowroot or tapioca powder, which you can color with cocoa powder for dark hair (via Honestly Natural).

The low-poo alternative

Despite the proposed benefits of the no-poo trend, critics have outlined potential negative consequences of using baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Beauty brand Bright Body argues that the pH level of baking soda, even when diluted, can harm your skin and hair, resulting in brittle and dry strands. Though those behind the movement posit that apple cider vinegar can restore hydration, this ingredient is still more acidic than human hair and may cause damage. If these risks are concerning, the low-poo trend may be a safer alternative.

The most common interpretation of going low-poo is using a specially formulated shampoo that doesn't contain surfactants and won't strip your hair of its oils (via My World Apart). Low-poo shampoos can be used semi-regularly, but if you find this method is too drying for your hair, it might be best to reduce the frequency of washes. Whether you're doing no-poo or low-poo, you can reduce oiliness in your hair by distributing excess oil with a wooden hairbrush (via Biome). A filter that fits over your shower head may also keep chlorine from coming into contact with your hair and keep your hair as healthy as possible while you avoid shampooing. Modern commercial shampoo may be off the cards for those following the no-poo trend, but there are still alternatives that will leave you with clean hair without stripping away its oils.