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The 9 Pros and Cons of the “No-Poo” Method

min read

By Catherine Roberts

For years now, there has been a growing interest in natural health and beauty and many people are looking for ways to reduce the amount of chemicals and artificial ingredients in their lives. Instead, they are turning to natural alternatives to replace everything from face wash, to toothpaste and even shampoo.

One such method that replaces traditional shampoo is called the “No-Poo” (or  no shampoo) method, and it has been growing in popularity and attracting attention from beauty experts everywhere. The “No-Poo” method involves decreased hair washing frequency and using natural solutions of baking soda and apple cider vinegar to clean and condition the hair and scalp. Many advocates of the practice love the results they see in their hair, but others have decided it’s not for them. As with any beauty routine there are always both pros and cons, so let’s take a look at the nine pros and cons of No-Poo…


1. Pro: Environmental Impacts

Traditional shampoos contain Sulfate and Paraben, two chemical substances with alleged negative impacts on the environment, as well as many other chemical ingredients, which ultimately end up going down the drain and into our water supply.

While there are many shampoos out there which are gentler and have less harmful chemical ingredients, commercial shampoos will always have some form of chemicals. Many people have made the switch to the No-Poo method just for the environmental impacts alone, and their conscience can rest easy knowing every time they shower, it’s only natural stuff going down the drain.

Review Your Shampoo

2. Con: Adjustment Period

One of the biggest deterrents to people looking to make the switch no No-Poo is the adjustment period. During this time many people actually have greasier hair as their oil production glands are rebalancing and becoming accustomed to a new routine.

It’s during this time that most people decide to give up the No-Poo method, usually because they don’t want to go out in public with dirty hair or say that they can’t stand the feeling of unwashed hair. It’s understandable, as breaking old habits can be pretty hard and when you’re used to the feeling if your hair being stripped of all it’s natural oils, any amount of grease can be enough to make you feel grossed out.

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3. Pro: Health Impacts

Just as the chemical ingredients in traditional shampoos can have negative impacts on the environment, they can also have negative impacts on our own health and well being. Using the No-Poo method eliminates these chemicals from our shower time routines. Paraben and sulfate are two popular chemical ingredients in traditional shampoos. Parabens are chemical preservatives and are used to prevent bacteria and fungus growth in shampoo. Sulphate, or more accurately sodium laurel sulphate, is the chemical responsible for producing that rich lather that many people love to see in shampoos.

The health effects of both these substances are controversial and researchers have reported that Parabens are linked to allergic reactions and can worsen some skin conditions. They’ve also been linked to increased estrogen levels in the body which can contribute to a greater risk of breast cancer. Sulfates are no treat either and have been known to cause eye damage and even blindness in young children. Aside from this, studies have shown it to be toxic and even carcinogenic.

man shower

4. Con: Dryness

The first step in the No-Poo method is cleansing with a solution of baking soda and water. Some people who try the method report their hair and scalp becoming dry and even itchy after extended use.

There may be a couple of reasons for this, the first being the strength of the baking soda mixture. If this solution is too strong, the baking soda can cause dryness of the hair and scalp. The second reason could be related to washing frequency. The goal of the No-Poo method is to go as long as possible between washing so using the No-Poo method as a daily routine could result in dryness.

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5. Pro: Cost Savings

If you’ve bought shampoo or conditioner recently you know that it can be expensive, especially if you’re buying a “high quality” salon brand, it’s not difficult to spend upwards of $20 on one bottle.

The cost savings of using the No-Poo method are definitely a big pro for the natural beauty regimen as a small box of baking soda usually costs around $1 (or sometimes even less.) Apple cider vinegar can be a little more costly, especially if you buy an organic brand but the vinegar goes a long way.

Apple Cider Vinegar

6. Con: Travel is Tricky

One of the more difficult things about the No-Poo method and a definite con, is continuing using the method whilst traveling. It’s not quite as simple as throwing a couple of travel sized bottles in your luggage like you can with shampoo and conditioner.

If traveling by car, mixing up a travel batch is not really a problem but if flying with carry-on luggage only, you’re subject to liquid restrictions, not to mention the suspicion you may arise if you have a container of unlabelled white powder in your suitcase. Being of low viscosity, there’s also a greater chance of your solutions leaking if placed in your checked luggage while flying.


7. Pro: Saves Time and Water

This is really another pro for the environmental impacts category but it’s also a pro for your schedule. The No-Poo method takes far less time than using traditional shampoo and conditioner.

You won’t have to spend time working up a lather and making sure you’ve rinsed all the shampoo and conditioner out of your hair (because we all know how gross it feels when you don’t get all the conditioner out), so not only will you get to spend less time in the shower (which shortens your morning routine) but you’ll also use less water. Something that is always a plus for the planet.


8. Con: It’s Controversial

Many beauty experts have taken a hard stance one way or another when it comes to the No-Poo method and opinions vary depending on where you look. Some love it, while others strongly advocate against it, making it a pretty controversial practice.

An internet search on No-Poo will return all sorts of results ranging from those who say it left their hair greasier than before to people reporting that the baking soda weakened their hair to the point of significant breakage. Baking soda as a hair cleanser is a controversial topic, mostly due to its PH level and a wide range of results from its use.

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9. Pro: New Life

Just as there are negative reports of experiences using the No-Poo method of hair washing, there are also many positive reports and those who say they will never go back to using traditional shampoo and conditioner.

Many have said the routine gives their hair new life with more fullness, bounce and shine. There have also been reports of those with previously straight hair finding they eventually obtain a natural wave or even some curls. All claims and controversy aside, the only way to really find out if the No-Poo method will work for you is to give it a try and see for yourself.


Catherine Roberts


Catherine is our go-to writer for women’s health news, diet trends and more. She’s dedicated to providing Activebeat readers with the information they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle every day.

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