By Terez Howard

What does no poo mean?

No poo is short for “no shampoo.” It means that you do not use shampoo to clean your natural hair. You, instead, use other products, such as conditioners and home hair remedies to eliminate build-up, debris, dirt and excess oil.

Why should someone with natural hair do a no poo routine?

The ingredients found in the majority of commercial shampoos are very damaging to naturals. Although it thoroughly cleans the scalp and hair, shampoo also strips natural hair of its moisture. Sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and various alcohols are just a few of the ingredients you will find in most shampoos. These ingredients harm natural hair, making it dry, brittle and breakable.

These moisture-robbing ingredients also tend to get stuck in a natural’s porous strands. That means a natural will not be able to totally rinse away shampoo, and this will create frizz.

So a no poo girl never has those soapy, sudsy bubbles in her head during a wash. But just because you do a no poo routine does not mean that you cannot have clean hair.

How does a no poo natural keep her hair clean?

Conditioner! That’s right. Conditioners contain some mild surfactants (a surface active agent designed to remove dirt from surfaces) that can lift away residue and build-up on the scalp and in the hair.

A Naturally Curly article recommends what ingredients your conditioner should have. You want your no poo conditioner to include the following:

  • Emollients. This is another word for softeners. Emollients make hair softer and may include nut butters, like shea butter, or vegetable oils, such as olive oil. Some technical terms for emollients you might find on the back of a conditioner bottle’s ingredient list are liposomes and glycerides.
  • Proteins. Hair is made up of protein. When you clean your hair with ingredients that are rich in protein, you are strengthening and protecting your natural hair. Some proteins include wheat, soy and keratin.
  • Humectants. These are moisture-holders. Natural hair needs humectants to help, not only get moisture, but retain it. A few humectants are panthenol, vegetable glycerin and honey.

How do you do a conditioner wash?

  1. Part your natural hair into 8 to 12 sections. Twist and tuck the sections loosely. (You will want to part your hair when damp or wet since this will reduce breakage).
  2. Unravel a section. Place a dime-sized amount of conditioner in your hand, more for longer hair and less for shorter.
  3. On your dampened hair, massage your scalp and thoroughly work the conditioner through your hair, from root to tip.
  4. Detangle at this time from tip to root.
  5. Rinse the section with cool water.
  6. Twist and tuck the section.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 until you have completed your entire head.
  8. Unravel all of the sections, if necessary, to rinse again with cool water.
  9. Squeeze your hair to remove excess water and blot or wrap hair with an absorbent towel. Never ever rub a towel on natural hair.

How can a no poo natural use home hair remedies?

I recommend starting with a natural hair cleanser and finishing with an apple cider vinegar rinse. You can use a natural hair conditioner in between the cleanser and rinse or prior to the cleanser.

For the natural hair cleanser, use baking soda. This clarifier leaves your natural hair feeling squeaky clean. You don’t want to use baking soda too frequently, however, because it can dry your hair out, especially if you do not follow up by using a conditioner. I would recommend using this natural hair cleanser no more than once per week.

To make a baking soda natural hair cleanser, combine:

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup warm water (to dissolve the baking soda)
  1. Thoroughly dissolve the baking soda in the water.
  2. Pour the mixture over your hair.
  3. Massage into the scalp for one minute.
  4. Rinse thoroughly.

According to, an apple cider vinegar rinse will close cuticle scales that protect and cover the hair shaft’s surface. A smoother cuticle surface helps your hair to look shinier and smoother.

You can make an apple cider vinegar rinse by combining:

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  1. Pour the mixture over your hair after you co-wash. The strong vinegar smell will dissipate in a few minutes.

Tip: If you would like, you can add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice (like rosemary oil) for its moisturizing effects.

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