The No Poo Method How-To | Curly Girl Guide

The no poo method is a moisturizing hair care routine for dry curls. Learn more about how the method works and whether or not the method is right for you. Before you give up shampoo, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.

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no poo method

The No Poo Method For Curly Hair

The shampoo-free strategy is designed to keep the hair cuticle hydrated on wash day because it requires cleansing the hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Curly hair is drier than other hair types due to the structure of the hair cuticle, and curls need a balance of protein and moisture to maintain definition.

Incorporating more conditioner into your routine will make a noticeable difference. However, it may take some time for your scalp to adjust to your new routine, and this routine doesn’t work for everyone.

The Curly Girl Method

The no poo method became popular after The Curly Girl Method by Michele Bender and Lorraine Massey was published. According to Massey and Bender, curly hair doesn’t require strong cleansers and the no poo method is ideal for keeping curly hair healthy.

the curly girl method

The no poo method, while touted as the ideal method to lock in moisture on wash day, may affect the scalp if the method is not done carefully. In an interview with Cosmopolitan reporter Brigdet March, dermatologist Dennis Gross did not recommend giving up shampoo long term. While some curly-haired individuals prefer giving up shampoo, others do not have as much success.

If implementing the no poo method, it is important to maintain scalp care. According to March’s interview with Gross, long term lack of shampoo can result in yeast growth and hair loss. Bender and Massey’s method does include a scalp cleansing routine in The Curly Girl Method.

If you are following the curly girl method, you can rest assured that many curly girls have used the no poo method successfully by following the scalp cleansing routine Massey described in The Curly Girl Method. According to Massey the lack of shampoo is hygienic because there are still ways to cleanse the scalp. Her book contains specific recipes and hair tips where she addresses common no poo method misconceptions, scalp care, product buildup, and hygiene.

The no poo method does not need to become a permanent part of your routine. You could use this method before swimming, hiking or traveling to prepare your hair for activities that could dry it out.

There are also many options such as mild “low poo” products for cleansing the hair without stripping it of moisture if you decide you want to keep using shampoo.

Curly Hair Checklist

You’ve tried a million products and you still can’t get the curl definition you want. This simple checklist will help you build a routine that actually works even if you have no idea where to start.

No Poo Method Benefits

Benefits of the no poo method include curl definition from increased moisture and resiliency to elements such as humidity. Dry hair responds to moisture in the air on humid days. Moisturizing your hair properly is one of the easiest ways to combat frizz.

However, you will need to maintain your protein moisture balance. If you are using products without protein, your hair could loose structure and the curls may become difficult to define.

{Related Post: Protein Moisture Balance: A Complete Curly Girl Guide}

No Poo Hair Growth

Giving up shampoo will not necessarily help your hair grow. There is some evidence that scalp massages can aide hair growth efforts. However, hair growth is affected by genetics, diet, and other personal factors. Although there are many DIY hair growth strategies that influencers have been successful with, hair growth is very personal.

If you are using the no poo method to grow your hair, you’ll also need to consider how you style your hair, how you sleep on your hair, the ingredients in your styling products, and your diet.

If you have decided to give up shampoo, below are some tips for starting the no poo method and products to help you get started.

How To Start the No Poo Method

If you’re wondering how long the no poo method takes, it is very simple to implement. This is a minimalistic approach to hair care because you’re eliminating a step.

To start the no poo method, you can replace your shampoo with conditioner. After you do this, you can experiment with your wash routine to determine how often you should wash your hair.

You will need to massage the scalp with shampoo or a homemade scalp cleanser as described in the Curly Girl Method. According to Massey and Bender, replacing shampoo with conditioner is sufficient for washing the scalp.

No-Poo Method Products

Your no poo hair care routine can consist of any conditioner you use on a daily basis. Below are a few suggestions if you are looking to switch to a different brand or are interested in clean beauty options.


If you are looking for an organic, botanical brand, Innersense is a blue beauty brand. The ocean-friendly products are EU Certified Organic. You can read more about the ingredient standards for the brand here.

Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner

This conditioner contains essential oils and has a very light smell of sage and vanilla. The conditioner does not leave the scent on your hair all day, and is very light.

**You might be surprised to see benzyl alcohol at the very bottom of the ingredient list. Benzyl alcohol is a preservative used to replace parabens. If you have concerns about this, has a fantastic guide about alcohol in hair to help you understand which alcohols are safe to use: Alcohols in Your Hair: What You Should Know.

Innersense Hydrating Cream Hairbath

If you’re not ready to give up shampoo yet, but you want to transition to no poo, you could try the Hydrating Cream Hairbath. This mild cleanser for the hair contains several moisturizing oils for the hair to moisturize the cuticle. This also has a light sage and vanilla smell.

Adjusting to a New Routine

Transitioning to the no poo method can be a challenge at first because your scalp has to adjust to the lack of shampoo. Your scalp may be oily in the beginning, and you will need to see how your hair responds to determine how often to wash your curls.

If you find that your hair needs more moisture, washing your hair more often with conditioner may be ideal. If you find your curls are long-lasting and maintain moisture well, you may need to wash your hair less often. This will depend on the porosity of your hair.

Scalp Care

Common myths about the no poo method are that you can’t clean your hair properly and you’ll be overrun by product build up. There are other ways to clean your scalp, without using such a strong cleanser.

According to Massey’s curly girl method, the scalp can be cleansed in the shower with a scalp massage to remove product build up and oils. 

How you approach the no poo method will be up to you. You can rinse your hair with water if you would like, or you can use conditioner. Some choose to only use water and to experiment with the way their hair responds without product. 

No Poo Method Tips

When using the no poo method, it is easiest to finger detangle in the shower. Remember to squeeze the excess water out of your hair before stepping out of the shower to ensure your hair is saturated with conditioner, not water.

If your hair feels frizzy and you feel you need a protein product, try rinsing your hair and applying the protein treatment before coating your hair with conditioner.

No Poo Method: Water Only

The no poo method requires cleansing the scalp. If you choose to use water only, and no natural scalp scrub or spray, you may want to review the interview with Gross mentioned earlier about dermatologist-recommended scalp care.

Please remember that just because you are giving up shampoo, doesn’t mean you are giving up cleaning your scalp with the no poo method.

The No Poo Method Results: Before and After

If you choose to use the no poo method, you will find that your hair is more moisturized. You will likely not experience as much frizz. Your scalp may also feel oilier for the first few weeks of giving up shampoo (this was true in my case). This gets better but I find I prefer to use a mild clarifying shampoo to remove product buildup.

In the summer and winter months when weather is most extreme, you will likely wear different hair styles and apply different products to keep your hair healthy. The weather and how you adjust your hair care routine for the change of seasons, could affect how well the method works for you. It did in my case.


The no poo method has evolved to include light cleansers for those who do not wish to give up shampoo. We’ll cover some of these below.


Low poo method products are shampoos that contain a reduced amount of cleanser in them. These are designed to be lighter and less abrasive on the hair cuticle. They do not strip the hair of its oil or moisture either.

No poo shampoo

There are no poo shampoos on the market that you can try if you choose to. If you decide you would rather buy no poo shampoo, please double check the ingredient labels for preservatives. Before buying from a clean brand, please remember to examine how the brand’s definition of clean or organic beauty differs from other brands.

Although DevaCurl is on many curly girl approved lists, some of their products contain ingredients such as fragrance. It is important to be aware of ingredients if you are sensitive to fragrances and preservatives. Database safety scores are a good guide that provide insight.

Subcategory: No Poo Method Recipes

Massey goes further into homemade recipes and standards for botanical products in her book, the Curly Girl Method. Before you begin any new routine, you need to know your hair type. I highly recommend taking the Texture Quiz from Naturally Curly if you haven’t already.

Recap: The No Poo Method for Curly Hair

no poo method conditioner only

The no poo method is a simple way to add extra moisture to your curls by replacing your shampoo with conditioner. However, you will need to take steps to maintain proper scalp hygiene. Your wash day routine, and wash day frequency will depend on your hair porosity.

Before you try the no poo method, it’s best to know your hair type and porosity so that you can balance the protein and moisture in your hair. After you try the method a few times, you’ll have a better idea of how your hair responds and how often you should wash your hair. When your scalp gets used to the method, you will have an easier time with less shampoo.

no poo method

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