[No-Poo Makes Your Hair Healthier] Improve self-healing power to make healthy skin and hair!

eyecatch No-PooLife/Health
  • I want to wash my hair without using shampoo, but I think it will make my hair sticky and smelly.
  • How can I overcome it?
  • How can I succeed with a no-shampoo method?

Some of you may have such concerns or questions.

The “No-Poo” method, where you wash your hair only with water, has been gaining attention recently, with many minimalists and health-conscious people adopting this approach around the world. Some people may suffer from allergy or atopic dermatitis and want to improve their skin condition by not using shampoo since shampoo uses various petrochemicals and synthetic additives.

ミッキー
Mickey

It’s been about 10 years since I started adopting the No-Poo method and also washing my face without using any soap.

It all started when I was suffering from atopic dermatitis, which made my face and body red and itchy no matter what I used.

But when I started washing my face and body without soap, my skin condition improved dramatically, and I no longer had redness or rashes on my face or body. After that, I started reading books and seriously researching and practicing so-called skin fasting (no-soap and no-cosmetics). And, I naturally learned about the “No-Poo” method as well.

I have to admit that there were many twists and turns before succeeding in the no-shampoo process, with some failures where I started using shampoo again.

As a result of trying various methods, I have now settled down to combining the No-Poo and occasional shampoo for my hair and so-called skin fasting by washing my face with just water.

In this article, I will explain the benefits of washing hair with the No Shampoo method, the correct way to do it, and some frequently asked questions divided into 3 sections: “Hair,” “Body,” and “Face.”

Of course, for those who are thinking, “I can’t continue the no-shampoo approach because it will surely smell bad and gets sticky, I also explain the petite no-shampoo method that we occasionally apply at home to avoid any frustration.

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The effects of No-Poo on the hair and how to do it

Image of a woman with glossy hair.

In Japan, washing one’s hair without shampoo is called “Yu-Shan,” where “Yu” stands for hot water and “Shan” stands for shampoo, but it seems “No-Poo” is a popular name in English.

First of all, let me introduce you to the positive effects of the “No-Poo” method. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits.

What are the Benefits of No-Poo?

Your hair condition gets better and better

As you get older, your hair may gradually lose its texture. Still, by washing your hair with just lukewarm water instead of using shampoo, your hair will absorb nutrients, which will gradually change the quality of your hair.

The detergency of shampoo is actually as strong as that of cloth detergent. So if you wash your hair with shampoo that contains surfactants with a strong cleaning effect, all the sebum on your head will be washed away, and you will end up lacking sebum.

This would cause the sebaceous glands to develop to compensate for the lack of sebum. If the sebaceous glands develop too much, the nutrients that should have gone to the hair are taken by the sebaceous glands, resulting in undernourished hair.

The No-Poo can keep the sebaceous glands from developing too much and allows nutrients to reach the hair, resulting in strong and healthy hair. Also, I would inevitably get shampoo on my face if I shampooed my hair when I wash it off, which made my face and body dry, which is not preferable for atopic dermatitis skin.

There are many benefits not to use shampoos, not only for your hair but also for your face and skin. In particular, if you are worried that your hair lacks volume or that it is thinning lately, you should definitely give it a try.

The No-Poo Makes Your Scalp Healthy and Clean

The No-Poo will gradually improve the health of your scalp as well as the quality of your hair.

The surface of the human skin has a “barrier” function that prevents moisture from evaporating and prevents foreign substances from entering the skin from the outside.

The No-Poo does not destroy this “barrier” on the skin surface, and as a result, the scalp is moisturized with adequate moisture, allowing the hair to grow deep roots. Still, shampooing with a strong detergent surfactant will destroy the “barrier.”

ミッキー
Mickey

I am around 50 years old, but thankfully I don’t have any gray (silver) hair yet. I think it is partially because of not using shampoo for washing my hair.

Now, do you know what paraben is? If you are sensitive to additives in cosmetics, you may be familiar with paraben, which are preservatives that have a strong bactericidal effect.

Many cosmetics and shampoos contain paraben to keep them from tarnishing. However, paraben also kills the indigenous bacteria on the scalp.

You might think that it is better not to have indigenous bacteria because it is a fungus. However, indigenous bacteria play an essential role in preventing mold and mildew into your skin. Therefore, when commensal bacteria is low, skin inflammation, itching, and dandruff will occur.

Without using shampoo, you can keep your hair healthy and clean without sterilizing such indigenous bacteria.

The No-Poo Makes Your Hair Less Oily

There were many times when I almost gave up on the idea of trying the No-Poo method, but as I started shampooing every day again, my hair gradually became more oily, and I had to wash it thoroughly every day to keep it smooth.

On the other hand, my hair is refreshed, not oily, and healthier while adopting the No-Poo method.

The Right Steps for the No-Poo method

Brush image

The key to a successful No-Poo transition is to brush your hair before washing

The key to a successful No-Poo transition is to brush your hair at least 100 times every day before washing.

If you don’t brush your hair properly before washing it, there is a big chance that you will fail. Be sure to brush your hair carefully just before washing it to remove excess sebum from your scalp, which can cause stickiness, odor, and itching.

At first, brush your scalp more than 100 times from various directions. Especially when you are just starting the No-Poo, it is recommended to brush your hair before washing and several times during the day to reduce stickiness.

Plastic hairbrushes are fine to use. But both Dr. Utsugi, the founder of the Kitasato Institute Hospital Center for Aesthetic Medicine, and Dr. Asako Yamaguchi, a dermatologist, explain in their books that it is better to use a hairbrush with animal hair, such as boar bristle. It is because a bristle brush is easier to remove dirt and excessive oil.

They both recommended a British hairbrush called “Mason Pearson.” This brush is expensive, but the bristles are soft, so it doesn’t hurt your hair or scalp, and just brushing it makes your hair shine.

Even if you are not trying No-Poo, Mason Pearson is very popular among models, actresses, and stylists, so if you’re interested, click here.

Mason Pearson brushes are expensive, but a boar bristle/plastic mix and a small portable type are cheaper than boar bristle brushes.

Of course, you can also find pig-hair hairbrushes other than Mason Pearson, so you can use the brush that suits you best.

We had to buy two brushes for myself and my husband Ken, and Mason Pearson was beyond our budget, so we googled and decided to go with the more affordable and popular “AVEDA paddle brush.”

I like this brush because it is suitable for massaging my scalp. If it gets dirty, just soak it in soap solution and let it dry overnight. However, I would still wish to use the Mason Pearson brush sometime in the future.

By the way, Dr. Yamaguchi worked with Dr. Utsugi at the Kitasato Institute Hospital Center for Aesthetic Medicine before opening her clinic in Shirokane in Tokyo.

She advocates simple skincare in her book, “How to Create Skin Beauty without Relying on Cosmetics,” and lives a life without foundation, lotion, or cream. The book is also full of helpful information for women.

I’ve read this book dozens of times, and I’ve learned a lot from reading it repeatedly.

[How to make your skin beautiful without relying on cosmetics]
*This book is written in Japanese.

Use lukewarm water, and not too hot (about 38 degrees Celsius) when you wash your hair.

In the winter, it’s difficult to wash your hair at 38 degC because it’s a bit cold for washing hair, but if possible, 38 degC is the best temperature.

This is because 38 degC is the right temperature to wash away excess sebum, and if the temperature is higher than that, it will wash away the necessary sebum on your skin, and then excess sebum will be produced.

The sebum protects your hair by coating it, but excess sebum can also cause odor. Therefore, when washing hair without shampoo, one must be careful not to produce too much sebum.

When washing your hair with the No-Poo, be mindful of how to use your fingers.

Wash your scalp by gently stroking it with your fingers. When washing your hair with the No-Poo, be careful not to use your nails. It is good to wash your scalp as if you were smoothing tofu bean curd.

However, make sure to wash all parts of the scalp slowly and evenly so that no residue remains. Be careful not to damage your scalp.

After washing your hair, use a clean, dry towel to remove the water from your hair gently.

image of math items

Do not scrub your hair with a towel!

This can be also said not only for the No-Poo but for regular shampooing. If you scrub your hair, the cuticles of hair will peel off.

Don’t let your hair dry naturally, but dry it properly with a hairdryer.

Use a hairdryer to dry your hair properly instead of drying it naturally.

Image of a hair dryer

Dr. Utsugi indeed recommends drying hair naturally, not with a hairdryer.

But if you do that, I think you might catch a cold. That is why I use a hairdryer to dry my hair, even when I wash my hair without shampoo.

However, be careful about the temperature of the hairdryer, and when using hot air, keep it away from the hair and do not concentrate it in one place.

Then, dry slowly, alternating hot and cold air. It is recommended that you dry your hair from the roots first so that it dries faster.

Frequently asked questions about the No-Poo

Image of QA

There are times when you get frustrated with facing various problems when washing your hair with the No-Poo method.

Here, we will cover some of the common issues and questions.

Q&A: I have dandruff when I wash my hair with the No-Poo, and I’m worried about what other people might think of me.

Some people may experience fine dandruff at the beginning when they start washing their hair without shampoo. However, it seems how fast your hair returns to its normal state would depend on how strong cleaning shampoo you have used before.

But actually, dandruff is a sign that the condition of your scalp is getting better. As the condition of your scalp improves and your metabolism increases, dead skin cells start to peel off and become dandruff. However, in most cases, dandruff will diminish after a while and eventually disappear almost completely.

According to Dr. Utsugi’s book, if you are worried about dandruff, you can put a very thin layer of Vaseline on your scalp to make it go away.

Perhaps because I have atopic dermatitis and dry skin, I had some dandruff at first, but it soon subsided. It may be that different people have different points of concern.

Q&A: I can’t stand the stickiness of my scalp when while applying the No-Poo

Picture of a man checking his hair.

I think this is something that all people who have started using the No-Poo method would go through. Your sebaceous line is not functioning properly because of all the strong shampoos you’ve been using, and the sebaceous glands are trying to normalize and produce too much sebum.

However, once the sebaceous glands normalize, the stickiness of your scalp will disappear, and the scalp will become smooth, so you just have to be patient for a while. After about three weeks, the amount of sebum produced will start to decrease.

Brushing your hair not only right before washing your hair but also regularly will help prevent stickiness, odor, and itchiness, as well as make your hair shinier.

If the function of the sebaceous glands is fragile, the oil may harden at the roots of the hair and make it look terrible. Also, the stronger the shampoo you use, the stickier it may become at first.

When we first started the No-Poo, we thought, “What the heck, there’s no problem,” but after about five days, we suddenly felt our hair harden due to sebum production. This is the point where I completely failed at first (laughs).

However, since I am atopic and only able to use gentle shampoos, since Ken also used the same shampoo, the sebum did not harden that badly for us.

If you start the method during a vacation period when you don’t have to go out, you can manage to succeed without failing.

If you have no other way but to go out during that time, you can tie your hair up to cover it up if you are a woman, or if you are a man, you can put on a little wax to make any stickiness looks like the wax.

Also, if you can’t really stand it, I recommend using the petite No-Poo method to mix the No-Poo and shampooing that we sometimes do at home, although it slows down the normalization of sebum.

Q&A: I’m worried about the smell when I use the No-Poo!

This is the biggest problem when we use the method. We sometimes use petite No-Poo in our house because we are worried about the smell of our hair. It’s not so bad in the winter, but I’m worried that I would smell bad if I use No-Poo all the time…

Actually, it doesn’t smell that much when we smell each other, and theoretically, according to Dr. Utsugi, the dirt is removed by the No-Poo just the same as when you shampoo.

If you don’t need to go out much, such as telecommuting, I recommend that you apply a full No-Poo to normalize the sebaceous glands.

But I just can’t stand the smell!

If that’s the case, instead of getting frustrated, please use the petite No-Poo by mixing the No-Poo and shampooing.

This is gentler on your scalp than going back to shampooing altogether. In any case, after four to five months of not shampooing, the amount of sebum will decrease, the sebaceous glands will become smaller, and the smell will not be so bothersome.

I will explain the petite No-Poo method in detail later on.

Q&A: My scalp becomes itchy when washing hair with the No-Poo

Picture of a man with an itchy head

Itching has never occurred in my family, but it seems itchiness occurs either because a lot of sebum is secreted at first or because the sebum in the scalp is not appropriately excreted.

When a lot of sebum is produced and exposed to the air, it oxidizes into lipid peroxide, irritating the scalp, causing inflammation and itching.

Itching can also occur if you do not gently rub your scalp enough when washing your hair with the No-Poo. In such cases, brushing your scalp carefully and gently every day to ensure that the sebum is adequately excreted will help.

Also, it seems the itchiness will subside after about a month.

Q&A: How often should I wash my hair with the No-Poo?

If you don’t need to go out much, such as telecommuting, I recommend that you apply a full No-Poo to normalize the sebaceous glands. Since sebum is produced every day, it is better to wash your hair every day to keep your scalp clean, especially at first.

As I explained in the section on itching above, if you don’t wash your hair every day, the sebum on your scalp will not be adequately excreted, and the sebum produced in large quantities will oxidize when exposed to air.

So, I would definitely recommend that you wash your hair with the No-Poo every day, especially in the beginning.

Q&A: How does the No-Poo help for thinner hair?

I mentioned earlier that shampoo has a cleaning power comparable to bathroom detergent. If you wash your hair every day with such a strong detergent, your hair will usually start thinning.

Therefore, many people say that their thinned-out hair has grown more when the No-Poo is applied.

However, in my family, we both naturally have a lot of hair, so I am not sure about the No-Poo effect for that purpose.

Q&A: I sometimes hear that washing your hair without shampoo can cause baldness.

However, as I explained earlier in the section on thinning hair, the opposite is true, and the No-Poo is more like to mitigate baldness.

Q&A: Is it true that No-Poo increases hair loss?

This is not true and opposite as well. The No-Poo does not make your hair fall out more easily, but less.

When you stop shampooing, your sebaceous glands and hair root cells will all return to their original healthy state, and your hair will become thicker and stronger, making it harder to shed.

Q&A: Is it true that the No-Poo can reduce gray (white) hair?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m around 50 years old, but I don’t have any gray hair yet. So I would assume it is costly and unsuitable for your scalp to keep on dying your gray hair.

My husband started the No-Poo later than I did, and he comes from a family of gray hair, so he has gray hair, but his hair is still full.

Q&A: Can I use styling products (waxes, etc.) while No-Pooing?

Image of a woman applying a treatment to her hair.

Foam and liquid styling products can be removed by just washing with hot water, but hard waxes are difficult to remove.

So, to be honest, the No-Poo method and wax do not go well together. If you can, I recommend changing to a styling product that can be easily washed off with the No-Poo.

We have tried various Japan-made products, but we did not like styling products that leave ingredients on our hands, so we now use John Masters Organics styling products made in the U.S. and are well known for organic products.

I recommend this product because it comes off easily even with the No-Poo and is gentle on the skin since it uses natural herbs and ingredients. I think I have already used more than five bottles and will continue to use this product for a long time to come.

Its price is a bit high, but it lasts for a long time even if two people use it, so I think the cost is not different from ordinary styling products.

You can buy it from Amazon, Rakuten Ichiba, or via John Masters Organics’ official page.

Q&A: I have straightened my hair, and can I still wash with the No-Poo?

Image of a woman with curly hair

I have curly hair, which curls especially when raining, so I have been straightening my hair. However, I don’t have any particular problem with washing my hair without shampoo, so I think it’s okay.

According to Dr. Utsugi’s and Dr. Yamaguchi’s books, you can reduce frizzy hair if you don’t straighten your hair and just applying the No-Poo all the time.

However, in my case, I got frustrated during the rainy season and ended up straightening my hair before I could feel the effectiveness of the No-Poo… But this year, I am trying my best to achieve this goal.

How to do the petite No-Poo combined with shampooing

Image of a woman shampooing her hair

The petite No-Poo is a method to combine washing by shampoo and no shampoo so that your hair condition will not return to the original state before the No-Pooing.

This is how we apply it in our house.

  • Summer: shampoo once every two or three days or less, and the No-Poo in between.
  • Winter: shampoo once a week or less, and the No-Poo in between.

You can just wash by the No-Poo without using shampoo in the winter because it’s a dry season where you do not sweat much, but you may worry about the summer season.

In such a case, I think it is better to switch shampooing and no shampooing a day at a time according to the condition of your scalp.

This way, you won’t be bothered by the smell, and you can reduce the stickiness and the number of times you have to shampoo.

Which shampoo to use while doing the petite No-Poo

Image of shower

pure soap

Dr. Utsugi recommends using “pure soap” and “citric acid rinse” when you can’t stand it.

However, washing my hair with pure soap did not really suit my hair texture, so I use organic shampoo instead.

I have tried many shampoos, but in the end, I think it is best to use a shampoo and conditioner from an organic cosmetics company called “Weleda,” which we have been using for a long time at home.

Weleda is a pioneer organic cosmetics manufacturer from Switzerland and is also known as a natural medical products manufacturer in Europe. The products are of the highest quality, very gentle on the skin, and we both like them very much.

Even though I have always been atopic, for some reason this product does not give me a rash when I wash my skin, and I recommend it because the natural herbal scent that wafts through the air is soothing and relaxing to both bodies and minds.

No-Soap on the body as well

image of bath

The skin on your body has the same basic structure as your scalp, so you should stop using soap with strong surfactants for your body, and basically better not to use soap at all.

By rinsing your body just with warm water, your whole body skin will become healthier even if you don’t apply anything such as lotions or moisturizers.

Benefits of using no soap for your body

The skin on your body has the same basic structure as your scalp, so you should stop using soap with strong surfactants for your body, and basically better not to use soap at all.

By rinsing your body just with warm water, your whole body skin will become healthier even if you don’t apply anything such as lotions or moisturizers.

There are 3 effects of skin fasting (no-soap and no-cosmetics)

  • It prevents skin from drying out
  • Reduces sebum production
  • Smoothes the skin

Decreases sebum production, which in turn reduces body odor

If you wash your body with soap to remove sebum, your body will compensate for the sebum, and sebum secretion will increase, resulting in body odor.

How to take a shower while skin fasting

Picture of a man who looks happy to take a shower.

If you get into the habit of warming up your body before taking a shower by bathing in 38 to 40degC water for 5 to 10 minutes, most of the dirt on the surface of your body will naturally come off.

However, it is not easy to take a lukewarm bath every day. So instead, you can take a lukewarm shower slowly until your body is warm.

Be sure to wash your body directly with your hands, not with a hand towel, and rinse gently with a lukewarm shower. Don’t rub your body with a towel or take too much hot water shower. Too much hot water will wash away the sebum from your body.

In fact, it is recommended to wash everything without soap, but that is not possible, so I wash only sensitive body parts with pure soap.

At least, it is better to use pure soap or Weleda’s organic body shampoo instead of commercial body shampoo full of surfactants.

Wash your face with only lukewarm water

Image of a woman washing her face

I don’t use any soap on my face either and just wash it with lukewarm water.

As I explained, I used to suffer from atopic dermatitis. Still, since I started washing my face with lukewarm water and no soap, I don’t have any dermatitis symptoms anymore.

As for makeup, I only use eye makeup and lipstick now, so I just wash my face lightly with lukewarm water in the morning and evening without using soap or cleanser, which can cause dryness.

I bought a type of eye makeup that comes off with just lukewarm water. I don’t use any lotion or creams either.

The so-called Utsugi method of skincare (skin fasting) has improved my atopic and sensitive skin since I started about 10 years.

I have been fasting for nearly 10 years, and my atopic skin is now completely healthy. Here, I will explain in detail the Utsugi method of skincare or skin fasting.

How to apply skin fasting

When you wash your face, make a cup-like shape with both hands and fill it with lukewarm water. Make sure the water is lukewarm and not too hot, then slowly bring your palms close to your face and place them on the skin.

Then, move your hand away from your face. Repeat the process of bringing your palm filled with lukewarm water close to your face and releasing it three to four times.

Continuously repeat the method on each part of your face, such as the nose, right cheek, left cheek, forehead, right eye, left eye, mouth, and chin. Don’t scrub your face too hard! Be gentle and slow.

When you have finished washing, press the towel lightly against your face to remove the water. Again, be careful not to rub your face too hard.

Summary of No-Poo Makes Your Hair Healthier

Summary of Washing with the No-Poo eye-catching image

In this article, I explained that the No-Poo method could make your hair in a better shape, and you can make your scalp and hair strong and healthy.

The critical point is to brush your hair correctly with a hairbrush at least 100 times a day.

> [Traditional British luxury hairbrush Mason Pearson] 

Also, your chance of successfully adopting the No-Poo method may increase, especially at first, by combining it with shampooing if you have various issues. Washing your body and face without soap also makes them in better condition.

Finally, I would like to introduce two books written in Japanese that I have and read many times: “Stop Shampooing, and Your Hair Will Grow” by Dr. Utsugi and “Skin Fasting: I Quit Skincare” by Sirko Hirano, a German translator.

Dr. Utsugi’s book is very informative as an expert writes it, so if you are interested in lukewarm water shampooing and skin fasting, I suggest that you read it.

Stop shampooing, and your hair will grow! Hair loss, thinning hair, and dry hair are caused by over-washing! (Non-fiction book)

[When You Stop Using Shampoo]
*This book is written in Japanese

Sirko Hirano’s book is quite fascinating. The book explains how she tackled skin fasting and without using shampoo as if it were an experiment, and her point of view is interesting and fun to read. I really recommend it.

[Skin fasting — I stopped taking care of my skin]
*This book is written in Japanese

ケン
ケン

Although it is difficult to continue not shampooing, I would like to incorporate it into my life to achieve better hair conditions.



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