Quitting Shampoo Won’t Make Your Hair Less Greasy

Thinking of ditching shampoo? It’s probably better to wash your hair occasionally than to suds up every day, but if you’re afraid of going “no-poo” because you don’t want greasy hair — well, you’re right. As this video from the American Chemical Society explains, there’s no way for oil glands in your scalp to magically know how much oil is in the rest of your hair. So even if you stop shampooing, you’ll still have oil to deal with. They suggest using starch or clay to help absorb the oil — in other words, dry shampoo, DIY or otherwise.

I tried the no-poo thing twice. Once was an active, sweaty summer where my hair ended up full of grease and grossness. The other was after surgery — I’d been told not to get the incision wet, and was perfectly content to lie on the couch zoned out on painkillers. I didn’t care if my hair was greasy. Without sweat and dirt in the equation, my hair looked mostly fine — but it’s not like my oil glands suddenly gained telepathy.

What are your alternatives? The ACS gives conditioner-only washing a qualified thumbs up: it removes some of the dirt and oil, but not as effectively as shampoo. Nothing wrong with that, if you like the results. Where they draw the line is the much-lauded apple cider vinegar and bicarb soda combo, which they say can damage your hair. Check out the full video for more on what happens when you quit shampoo.

What Happens If You Stop Using Shampoo? [ACS Reactions]


  • I was shampooing my hair once a month for a while, but I haven’t used shampoo in about four months now. My scalp is healthier and less irritated, my hair looks and feels better, screw shampoo. I got a head comb similar to those plastic dog brushes, and give it a good scrub under water in the shower, that’s it.

    No idea how you’d manage it with longer hair though where you couldn’t physically scrub it without giving yourself a knotted mess.

    • I’m with you. I used to have heavy dandruff and itchy scalp and heard about the ‘no shampoo’ theory, so I tried it. That was 4 years ago, and since then I just wash my hair in warm (not hot) water while showering and rub scalp gently with a wet face washer. Result…no more dandruff and healthy scalp. It took a few months to settle down in the beginning, but it’s been worth it. I recommend anyone concerned about their hair and scalp to try ‘no shampoo’ for a few months.

      • I had a serious psoriasis problem on my head and have found that limited washing has actually reduced it.
        I was actually talking about this with my daughter this morning because I’ve found that washing my hair with shampoo less has made it feel and look a hell of a lot better. One of her friends is trying the same thing. Still can’t convince her to try it though.

  • I had greasy hair, and after giving up shampoo it stopped being greasy. Took a while, maybe 3-4 months. It’s been a couple of years now. I use baking soda in water to wash it. After the baking soda has steeped in water for a couple of weeks I actually get a lather as I wash it. Not sure if this means it has become super concentrated. I do like that lather. I rinse it with diluted cider vinegar. If you have greasy hair I suggest give yourself a couple of months without shampoo.

  • I haven’t shampooed my hair for about 15 years now. It was pretty greasy for the first 3 months or so, but after that it was fine and definitely no intention to start shampooing again…!

  • I haven’t used shampoo for at least 10 years either – just water, and I only wash it about once a week. It’s not like I’m getting filthy every day, just normal clean sweat. It’s never greasy, always bouncy ( have curly/wavy hair) and I’ve been told, by those I care to hear it from, that it’s nice to run ones fingers through it 🙂 I do however keep it short, so I can imagine it might be a bit more difficult for someone with long hair. And I save a heck of a lot of money not buying shampoo or conditioner, and if I end up somewhere where they’re not available, no hassle for me.

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