How To Get Squeaky Clean Hair, Without Regular Shampoo

The 'No-Poo' Movement is here... Photographed by Trey Wright


by Chemmie Squier |

I really hate washing my hair. Like, really really hate it. In fact, I hate it so much that I do it about once a week if I can get away with it – and my reocurring underhair-dreadlock is disgusting proof. But it’s as if the beauty world has heard my plight and not shampooing has become a thing. It’s even got a name, the ‘No-Poo’ Movement has been born.

You see, it’s based around the idea that most traditional shampoos contain sulfates which strip out the good stuff from our hair, often leaving it dry and frizzy which, let’s be honest, no one wants. So we had a scour round for shampoo alternatives, for hair washing without actually using shampoo. Be warned some of it is, er, kind of weird.

Forget Boots, Take A Look In Your Kitchen Cupboard


We all know that when it comes to beauty, our kitchen cupboards are pretty much an Aladdin’s cave of products, they just need a bit of imagination. That doesn’t mean you should start smearing baked bean juice on yourself in place of moisturiser. We’re talking about a specific few, like replacing shampoo with rye flour.

Sorry, what? Washing with flour? I know, stick with me... Just mix it with water to form a paste, work it into the hair and rinse. My brother’s girlfriend, Fiona, is a dedicated rye flour follower and it turns out there’s loads of others who swear by it too, so I asked her why?

‘My hair feels healthier, less brittle and thicker when I don’t use shampoo and it’s especially good if you’ve used a lot of dye on your hair and need to give your poor head a break,’ she said.

It works because it has a pH value that’s pretty close to our own hair (slightly acidic) which helps keep hair balanced and healthy, rather than stripping its natural oils. And the fact it’s packed full of vitamins too is a definite plus. It’s also super cheap – you can buy 1kg of it for under two quid – so even if you don’t fancy doing this on the reg, keep it in mind for when end-of-month poverty hits.

Another good’un is apple cider vinegar (or white wine, if you haven’t drunk it all) because, like the flour, the acidic pH levels mean it’s kinder to our locks. Just mix it with water to dilute (you can test out strengths to find which one suits you, but a good rule of thumb is one part water, one part vinegar) and apply it to hair as a rinse after the rye flour, or by itself.

It’s awesome for detangling hair and leaves it smooth and shiny, which is a pretty good pay off for smelling like you’ve been pickled.


Read More: Calling Bullshit On Wearing No Makeup

It’s All About Conditioner

To me the idea of washing my hair without shampoo is like going on a night out and not drinking; there’s something missing and, it’s probably less fun. But co-washing (only washing with a conditioner) is just that. Conditioners are the new ballers of the hair-washing world because they don’t contain the same, sometimes harsh, detergents that most shampoos have.

Rebecca Counsel, Art Director & Colour Expert at HARE&BONE says: ‘Co-washing is a great idea to give your hair a rest in-between washes to really fight fade.’

Try using one that’s been especially created for co-washing like Palmer’s Olive Oil Formula Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner, £5.99 or Ojon Rare Blend Moisture Rich Cleansing Conditioner, £18.50 – both clean your hair without stripping it or adding build up.

But beware of co-wash containing silicones (they will nearly always end in ‘cone’ on the label if you want to check) because they can easily build up in your hair, making it flat and lifeless, especially if you’ve got straight or fine hair already.


Lathering Is Over

Try swapping a sulfate-free shampoo in place of your standard one, if you want to avoid drying out your hair. (It’s worth bearing in mind that these won’t lather so, with a heavy heart, you’ll have to forgo recreating those Herbal Essences shower scenes.) There are so many around now that you can incorporate them into your routine without bankrupting yourself.

Try Leo Bancroft Gentle Care Sulphate Free Shampoo, £2; OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo, £4.66; or Pureology SuperSmooth Shampoo, £11.10. If, after eschewing ‘normal’ shampoo, you feel like you need a good deep clean now and again, try something like TRESemme Vitamin C Deep Cleansing Shampoo, £3.89.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in...

Coffee As Hair Thickener And Sugar Body Scrubs: Foods We Thought Were Bad For Us, Can Actually Be Very Good

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Six Things You Only Know If You Have Curly Hair

Photographed by Trey Wright

Follow Chemmie on Twitter @chemsquier

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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