The Poo-Free Method : Troubleshooting

beth April 19, 2013
979734113_f4f3c239cb_zImage by theritters

By April Emery, Contributing Writer

The Poo-Free Method is a great way to clean your hair and scalp naturally without synthetic ingredients. Because it balances the scalp’s pH and regulates healthy oil production, many people find that the Poo-Free Method solves long-time hair/scalp issues (excessive oil, dryness, dandruff, etc). But going poo-free doesn’t necessarily mean it will magically solve all your hair problems. Sometimes the scalp and hair need a little extra help.

Here are some solutions to common hair/scalp problems (they are to be used with the poo-free method):

Dandruff / Dry Scalp

Sometimes poo-free users get dry scalp from washing the hair too often. You should wash your hair with the baking soda/water solution 2-3 times a week at most. Otherwise the baking soda could dry your hair and scalp, making it tight, itchy and flaky. Too much baking soda in your mix can also cause a white build-up on the scalp, which makes the scalp itchy as well.

A pre-rinse of equal parts water and white vinegar helps dissolve residues and build up on the scalp, which can contribute to a dry, itchy, flaky scalp. Use this rinse on dry hair before using the poo-free solution. Make sure you rinse this out before your “ shampoo” your hair.

Another option would be to rub a small amount of coconut oil in between your fingers and apply to the troublesome areas of the scalp lightly. It does not take much at all.

Dry Hair / Frizzy Hair

Frizz can be caused my washing too often, or from adding too much baking soda to your poo-free mix. You can also use an apple cider vinegar rinse after washing your hair to combat dryness and tangles. Add 1 tablespoon of ACV to one cup of water. Apply to hair after washing. If this doesn’t help you can run a very thin layer of coconut oil over damp hair.

Limp / Flat Hair

Limp hair is often caused by over conditioning. Cut back on how often you condition. If you must condition with each washing decrease the amount you use. If you use an ACV rinse, decrease the amount of 1 teaspoon instead of 1 tablespoon.

How do you tackle hair and scalp issues when using the poo-free method?

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  1. How about oily hair? With regular shampoo mine was not oily. Now with the no-poo it is, just like it was before I washed it.


    • I had the same problem, even with shampoo bars.


    • There are a few ways to tackle this
      1) Make sure you are using 1 tablespoon (not teaspoon) of baking soda per 8 ounces of water.
      2) If you are using that ratio try a pre-wash rinse with 4 ounces distilled white vinegar and 4 ounces water. Mix the two together and apply to scalp and hair. Give a good rinse and then was with poo-free wash as usual. Make sure you rinse well after the wash, too.
      3) If you are using an apple cider vinegar conditioning rinse (1 tsp of ACV per 8 ounces of water), stop using it for a few washes and see if you notice a difference. Some people don’t need a conditioning rinse.
      4) If you have tried all of these and still are dealing with oil, try increasing the amount of baking soda by 1/2 tablespoon (not teaspoon) per 8 ounces of water and see if this does the trick.

      Let me know if you have any more questions!


  2. What about extreme static electricity in hair? I’ve been no-poo for about 9 months and I also use an acv rinse and my hair feels very soft and nice, but super super staticky.


    • I would suggest using the ACV only if you need it every wash. A pre-wash rinse of 4 ounces distilled white vinegar and 4 ounces water can help with static. Just pour it over the scalp and hair, give a good rinse and then wash with your poo-free wash. If you still battle static you can rub some lotion onto your hands and then lightly rub it on your hair when it’s dry. Make sure you rub a very thin layer to prevent a greasy look. For me, I rarely have static problems with my hair and I just use the vinegar pre-rinse. On occasion I have static … I rub a dryer sheet over my hair thoroughly and it seems to do the trick.


  3. I’ve been doing BS/ACV wash and rinse for several years. I highly recommend adding a few drops each of peppermint and rosemary EO to the baking soda wash, stirring in well just prior to use. Both are great for hair and scalp, and it really helps keep the scalp clear and give body to hair. 🙂


  4. I had been no poo for over a year, washing my hair with baking soda no more than three times a week, rinsing with vinegar once a week. I used about a tsp of Baking soda per cup of water, any more and my hair would be really dry. I started noticing dandruff and my hair being a little “smelly”. I’m not sure how to describe the smell, like my hair was dry, but my scalp was moist? I started using Head and Shoulders shampoo, and that helped, but I would like to go back to no poo. Every time I try, my scalp does the smelly thing again. Any ideas to help?


    • Do you have thick hair? It could be that the thickness of your hair is preventing the scalp from drying properly, creating a rancid smell. I notice this happens easier to me in summer months. The dandruff could actually be the result of not rinsing the scalp well enough. Once you have applied the poo-free mixture make sure that your scalp gets rinsed thoroughly (you may want to scrub your scalp as your rinse). Again, my experience has been that those with thicker hair tend to have this issue. If you increase the amount of baking soda make sure you use an apple-cider vinegar or other conditioning method on your hair to prevent them from feeling to dry.


  5. I have tried no-poo on and off for a long time and always have the same problems. 1) I cannot get my hair clean enough with no-poo. I have tried one 300ml (largish) glass with 2 tbsp of baking soda AND about 1 tbsp of salt in it, and some drops of tea tree oil. I put the mixture into my hair when the hair is dry, rub it in, comb through, let it sit for 15 mins or so, wash out – and the hair still feels oily and not clean enough! This is a hugely strong concentration of baking soda – and I have no such problems at all with regular shampoo. My hair generally tends to be more frizzy than oily.

    I use no chemical products, but do live in a big city where the air is filthy. That really affects the hair. Do you have any advice? Thanks!


    • I would suggest that you decrease the baking soda amount. It is common to think that if your hair is not feeling clean enough that you need more baking soda, but sometimes more can actually worsen the problem. If you feel like your hair is not clean try using a pre-rinse before the poo-free mixture. Apply a mixture of equal parts distilled white vinegar and water to your scalp and hair. This is a clarifying rinse and can remove build up on the scalp and hair. Rinse very thoroughly and then apply your poo-free mixture and rinse as usually. Make sure that you are rinsing your hair and scalp thoroughly, otherwise residues from the baking soda can stick to your hair and scalp and either creates what looks to be dandruff (which is actually just leftover baking soda) or a grimy feeling on the hair. Pollution in your cities air could definitely play a part in how your hair looks and feels, so all you may need to do is do more on the clarifying end before you actually wash your hair.

      I would also try to just use baking soda and water in your poo-free mixture. The salt could be contributing the to grimy feeling in your hair. My hair usually feels that way after swimming in the ocean, which has a high salt content.

      I think if you try to suggestions for a week or so that you will notice an improvement.


  6. I have looked all over the internet on this topic. I know that every person’s hair is different, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions.
    For the first 2 months of no-pooing, things were great. I used the BS/ACV method. I then started realizing that the baking soda was making my head, neck, chest, and shoulders break out. So, I tried just using the water method and once a week I would use BS. During that time, we also moved and the water feels a lot different. Now, my hair is super “waxy” feeling and looks greasy at the scalp. I’ve tried varying amounts of BS and ACV, and finally had to wash it with Dr. Bronner’s soap last night which helped with the grease/wax factor, but not completely. Help!


    • Hey–is your water hard at your new place??? That was the problem for me–my water was too hard, causing a waxy build-up on my hair that no amount of washing would remove. I have to boil the water (with a shake or two of salt) that I use for my mixtures to keep the minerals in the hard water from reacting with the B.S.

      The Dr. Bronner’s will probably make it worse for a while, you may have to regain some ground, but try boiling the water for a few times and see if it makes a difference. Because I’m anal, I also used boiled water to rinse the B.S. out of my hair…I end up boiling quite a bit of water now that I think about it. Ha! The water/B.S. mixture should feel slippery and bubble up just a tiny bit when you rub it on your scalp–if not, then it’s possible your water is hard.

      Good luck!


  7. I have been doing poo free for a couple months and it was rocky at the beginning but I got over the hump. I used a chamomile tea rinse about a month in a half ago I used a chamomile tea rinse and my chest started breaking out. I stopped the rinse and went back to my ACV rinse figuring it was a negative reaction. It’s been about 4-6 weeks and I still can’t get the pimples to go away and they are also around my hairline on my forehead. I’m wondering if it may be from the BS wash. Any ideas? My hair overall has been good – just pimples that are a nuisance sightly and I pick at the ones on my forehand.


  8. […] (read more at Modern Alternative Health where I am sharing simple solutions for stubborn hair/scalp issues when using the Poo-Free Method) […]


  9. I’m also dealing with what I think is a buildup of some sort that makes my hair tangle easily, no matter what deep conditioning treatment I use after the no-poo stuff. Looking forward to trying the clarifying rinse to see if it helps.

    BTW do you know that a German casino ad somehow is posted within the text of this article? Look under the Dandruff/Dry Scalp section.


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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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