Conditioner Only Washing (No Shampoo) | Crunchy Beauty Tips

Facebook fans: You spoke and I listened! Here is the first in our series of crunchy (read: natural or low-effort) beauty tips. I don’t pretend to be a beauty expert, but I know what makes me feel good. And if it makes ME feel good, maybe it’ll make some of you feel good, too! If you don’t like this series you should probably become a Facebook fan so you can shout me down when I float these hair-brained (HAIR BRAINED, GET IT?) schemes of mine. xo Rebecca

How I gave up shampoo and made my hair better!

What’s blogging without a giant confession, right? I have one. But first, I have to say, I can’t even believe I’m doing a Beauty Tips post. I’m no Audrey Hepburn or Audrey Tatou or any other Audrey for that matter. I’m a stay-at-home mom of five boys. BOYS. I ask them to brush their hair and they run screaming from me like I’m brandishing a hot poker at them instead of a hairbrush. I grab for a warm washcloth to fix a pudding smeared face and the screams might make you think I’m wiping them down with acid. I suggest that perhaps they might want to change the shirt they’ve been wearing for a week solid and it’s greeted with a befuddled look, shrugged shoulders and a “NothankyoumomI’mcomfy.”

In short? I’m pretty much on my own here. I don’t even have a frame of reference for what is trendy or hip or even socially acceptable any more, so honestly, I don’t know how many people are going to get squeamish over what I’m about to say.

…Which is this…

I haven’t used shampoo in two and a half years. Yes. That is my beauty tip. No shampoo. (I can hear you now, “…And you’re surprised your boys are gross?”)  Obviously there’s a bit more to it or everybody would be doin’ it, right?

Here’s a little history. After I had my youngest son a little over nine years ago, I felt perpetually rumpled. I had just given birth to my fifth child in eight years. Translation: I was lumpy and hormonal. Translation of the translation: out of shape, shedding hair like mad and had spotty skin. The hair that remained attached to my head was scarcely behaving better than the stuff that fell out in handfuls in the shower/on my pillow/standing still. It was cottony looking, dry and my scalp itched like mad. (Boy, do I sound like I was a looker or WHAT?!?)

I embarked on a path that seemed like a good idea to clear up my lumpybumpy body, skin and hair problems. I started buying expensive creams and shampoos from the salon. And that? Well, it didn’t work and it left me with bottles and pots and jars and squeeze tubes of things that were disgustingly expensive and useless. Then I tried all-natural shampoos/conditioners/beauty products. That didn’t work at all either. And the blue aloe mud bug organic herbal tinctures and shampoos and salves and whatnot were even more expensive than the professional products.

About five and a half years ago, my bathroom closet was overflowing with what amounted to more than a car payment’s worth of things I’d never use again. As a last ditch effort, I turned to the internet and googled a string of keywords that sounded like the punchline in a fairy tale:

“Straw, Hair, Pimples, Balding, Magic Shampoo, Smooth, HELP”

Rumpelstiltskin didn’t show up, but I got a list of websites that said, “No Poo”. “But I’m not constipated, my hair just looks like cotton balls!” thought I, until I read a little further. These blogs were all talking about giving up shampoo and solving their hair problems. “Er, okay. Whatever.” But I was desperate enough at that point to keep reading.

Over the next couple of weeks, I tried the baking soda/vinegar solution that many no-poo-ers recommended. That worked for a while, but left my hair feeling sticky. My husband had sniffed my hair when I got out of the shower and told me I smelled like a pickle. (From him, that’s a compliment. Hubby loves pickles.) I, on the other hand, missed the pretty smells of shampoo.

I tried Wen by Chaz Dean because I saw the commercial on television and any guy who can toss his hair like the Breck girl seems like a pretty solid authority on silky hair. The problem there was that it was insanely expensive and I had long hair. I knew it wasn’t a tenable long term solution and I was only feeling so-so about the results so it was tough to justify the cost.

I turned back to the omniscient interwebs for help and discovered yet another no-shampoo group who was less intestinally know as the co-only (short for conditioner only) crowd. The long and short of co-only is that you only wash your hair with conditioner. Again, there’s a little more to it. You can’t just pick any old conditioner; it must be a silicone-free conditioner to keep from weighing your hair down. There’s good news, though. ANYTHING in the Suave Naturals line is silicone free. In other words, one of the cheapest conditioners out there is perfect for the job, and it’s a good thing, too, because co-only washing consists of massaging palms-ful of conditioner in your hair and scalp and letting it stay there (preferably under a shower cap) while you complete the rest of your shower then rinsing it out.

In October of 2010, I tried it. I didn’t really have any great expectations. I figured I’d get out of the shower and find my hair lank and greasy and my scalp itchy. “This is it,” I told myself, “If this doesn’t work, I’ll just cut my hair short and go back to using shampoo.” I was shocked to find it was the opposite. My hair felt as smooth as silk and not weighed down in the least bit. For the first time in almost a decade, my scalp didn’t itch to the point where I felt like clawing it off. And ladies? When I tell you my hair looked good, I mean it looked goooooooooooood. As in it behaved and did what I wanted it to when I wanted it to do it with little effort and almost no product and smelled pretty to boot.

The next time I went to my hairdresser, I screwed my courage to the sticking point and confessed what I was doing. She said, “Wow! Are you kidding? Your hair looks great. I’ll have to tell some of my other clients about this.” I haven’t looked back from that point on and I’ve been conditioner only washing for four and a half years now. IMPORTANT UPDATE: My hairdresser has gone on to recommend this to many of her clients and they have reported back with great results.

How I gave up shampoo and made my hair better!

I wouldn’t yank your leg on this, folks. It truly has been the holy grail for me. When I gave up shampoo, it didn’t just clear up my hair problems, it eliminated my skin problems completely. The pimples and acne that I had been blaming on my poor choice in beauty products and/or hormones went away almost overnight.

What I learned AFTER finding what worked for me was that shampoo was stripping the natural, protective oils from my hair and scalp and face (by virtue of its proximity to my hair- thank heavens). In order to make my skin and hair behave after doing that, I had to replace what I could with conditioner in my hair and lotions on my face. For whatever reasons, my fish-belly pale skin was too sensitive for this routine. Eliminating the shampoo/conditioner cycle did the job for me.

Is this a solution for everyone? Maybe, maybe not. Some people have reported an adjustment period where their hair  and skin acted like a petulant, oily child for a week or a month or so before becoming bouncin’ and behavin’. I had zero funky down time with my hair when I switched to conditioner only. In the interest of full disclosure, I have never in life been a wash-my-hair-every-day kind of girl. The only time I’ve washed my hair two days in a row is after exceptionally sweaty gardening excursions or after a child threw up in it or used my hair as a napkin or -worse- a hanky. Oh, come on… you KNOW it’s bound to happen with five kids, right?

How I gave up shampoo and made my hair better!

Here’s my point. It’s worth a try if you’re frustrated with how your hair is treating you or horrified by the amount of money you have to spend to make your hair do what you want it to do. Let me break down the specifics on how I conditioner only wash my hair.

How to Conditioner-Only Wash Hair:

  1. Wet your hair thoroughly in the shower, massaging your scalp.
  2. Squirt a palmful of silicone-free conditioner into your hand and massage it into your scalp and the hair near it.
  3. Squirt another palmful of silicone-free conditioner into your hand and massage it into the rest of your hair. Repeat this until all of your hair is saturated with the conditioner. If your hair is thick and lower-mid back length like mine, you’ll need about 4 palms-ful to coat your hair and scalp.
  4. Pile your hair on your head to keep it out of the shower stream. If you have one, put a cheap-o shower cap on to keep the conditioner from rinsing away.
  5. Complete whatever else you need to in the shower; wash your bod, shave, whatever.
  6. Add a splash of water to your hair and scrub your scalp again, then rinse your hair fully.
  7. Dry/Style/Whatever your hair as usual. For me, most often this means blow-drying my bangs so they don’t lay funny and letting the rest of my hair do whatever it wants. This is what works best for me!
  8. Do this two to three times a week. Unless you’re working out HARD daily or having someone wipe boogers in your hair, this should be sufficient.


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How I gave up shampoo and made my hair better!

I’m feeling a little sheepish about even bringing this up here, so help a gal out. What do you think? Am I nuts? Would you ever try it? Do you want to sniff my hair to verify I don’t smell like a fryolator before giving it a shot or is this just completely off the table for you? Talk to me!

How I gave up shampoo and made my hair better!

Connect with Foodie with Family

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Update: This post was originally published February 15th, 2013. Because it has been more than two years since publication and because I am still going co-washing strong, I wanted to bring it back to the front for the benefit of those who may not have seen it yet. The number of people for whom this has made a huge difference -as evidenced by the comments below- is pretty awesome.


  1. Cherryl Gibson says

    Thank you for this information, Rebecca, and thank you for making me laugh. I was looking for information about using conditioner to cleanse hair. I enjoyed reading this very much. XXXXX

    • Michael Gast says

      Hey, Rebecca! Just stumbled upon this advice. I live in the high desert in NM and, trust me, it’s dry as a bone here. My hair looked like a slab of unbuttered, three-day old toast roosting on my head. Then I tried your conditioner technique and I’m here to tell you my hair after one treatment makes Little Richard’s hair look like a dried-out mop! It WORKS! I am forever in your debt, dear lady!

  2. Lyndsay says

    I just started the conditioner-only routine for my pixie cut, and I already love it! I have suffered from an itchy, flaky scalp for as long as I can remember. I also have thick wavy-to-straight hair that poofs after I shower, no matter if I blow-dry or air-dry. Since cutting my once-long hair off, I’ve noticed that I always like my hairstyle so much better the day after shampooing, so I’m mostly an every-other-day washer. Back when I had long hair, the weight of my hair pulled the hair flat to the crown of my head and it looked dirty and greasy the second day, but not with the pixie cut – it just looks shiny and healthy on the second day, BUT I would get whiffs of that dirty-hair smell – ugh. I stumbled upon this conditioner-only trend, and I started with Avalon’s Tea Tree scalp treatment conditioner. Without any heat styling or creams, my hair smells clean, is soft and shiny without my usual post-shower poofiness, and my scalp feels great. I think I’m going to like this new routine!

  3. jasi says

    i’m so trying this! i hope it works. literally every product in my hair makes me break out on my scalp and on my hairline and jaw. if i tie up my long hair right after the shower it’s only my scalp so obviously.. i need to try something else.

    • says

      Hi there,
      Have just LITERALLY stumbled across this site (went to use the ladies after we’d been WHOMPED (as my grandmother would always say when a big snowstorm hit & this was not just a snowstorm but an actual blizzard with 30mph winds & a temperature in the single digits! Again, my grandmother had a better name for this type of wind, she called it a lazy wind because it was too lazy to go around you so it went right through you!) by almost 18″ of snow! Nobody told me the bathrooms were gonna have a sportsman theme but it did ’cause I walked in the door & immediately went sailing! So, I’m sitting here reading this wonderfully honest & very well written blog post(?) which my Galaxy decided to go to when it hit the wall a fraction of a second before I did!! Well only my pride was injured, I walked out of that bathroom, head held high, just like our cats do when they’re running so fast chasing nothing or each other but don’t see the wall till it’s too late! If you’ve cats you know how that goes they get up , give you a dirty look if you laughed, compose themselves & wall away lookimg at you in a way that if they spoke English they’d say “I meant to do that, it went off as intended do get over it all given with Tyne shake off a back leg as they walk away from you which means ‘shag-off’
      Now, yup I’m finally there, tictac, have you seen a dermatologist? Off not I would like to suggest you not do anything else before you do as there are medications which can actually clear this up & clear it up FAST! I would not have thought there’d been so many advanced cases just clear like magic! My husband suffered an advanced case of staph for over three years which hot so bad her was losing his hair & nothing I suggested he try so he finally relented to seeing a dermatologist (when your wife’s a doctor & you’re.middle age & generally used to dealing with doctor mom for minor things you come top expect mom to be able to treat everything our just about & matter

      • says

        I didn’t see a dermatologist mainly because I’m lazy and it’s a heckuva drive, and since the conditioner only washing worked like a treat, I didn’t have to try anything else :) I’m glad you stumbled upon me, though! Welcome!

  4. tictac says

    I am going to try this, my hair is coming out by the handful when I wash it, I am beginning to see my scalp, always had thick hair, and am very depressed over this hair lost, and all that I have done to try and stop it

    • Mandy says

      Are there sulfates in your shampoo/conditioner? I was having mass fall out and learned that sulfates can be a big cause for it. I have been doing the no poo (baking soda/water and ACV/water) for 11 months now and my hair does not fall out nearly as bad as it used to. Switching to all natural has made a world of difference.

    • Miss K says

      Get your thyroid checked. I had the same thing happen and it turned out I had an extremely overactive thyroid…..seems hair loss is a symptom.

  5. Mary says

    This is great! I’ve been looking for ways to make my hair look healthy and gorgeous and none of the shampoos were working. But after seeing this, I’m definitely going to try it out!

  6. Stephanie says

    Okie, So I am at a bit over two months of doing thing. I ended up cutting 5 inches of dried out hair. Ok well it was 2 inches because 5 at a whack really freaked me out. Then another 3 inches earlier this week. Pretty happy with my hair as far as how healthy it looks and feels. My skin has cleared up by at least 80%. But, here is my issues, Sauve really does not cut it when it comes to my happy place. I like to smell my hair when I am relaxing or having a good time. It might seem odd who knows. But Sauve smell does not last, like Aussie does. So any one know of something besides Sauve, Vo5, White rain that is sold in Wal-mart, rite-aid, or Walgreens? I ran across a site that gave a huge list of water soluble cones conditioner but I can not find a single one of them besides the three listed above.

  7. momof2 says

    THANK YOU for this post! I have heard of co washing several times before, and as I was reading your post, I found myself having tried all the same things you have before, all without success. I was meant to go cut my hair this morning as I had reached my wits end. I thought what the heck do I have to lose, I decided to wash up this morning with a tonne of conditioner and a cap, and see what happened. my hair is full of bounce, wave and is seriously gorgeous. cant thank you enough for sharing and your instructions!! x

  8. E. Rochelle says

    I wear a natural and I can relate to the entire article. I ran into a lady just passing in traffic about a month ago. She complimented my hair and she also mentioned that African Americans don’t need shampoo,just condition your hair. I tried it and loved it. I’m glad someone else is using this technique. My scalp is better and I don’t have to worry about the harshness of shampoo on my scalp or skin as well. Suave is what I use also and you can get it for only $1 in most stores.

    • says

      My answer is kind of a non-answer in that it works a little differently for everyone. I suggest giving it a try because there really isn’t much to lose and there’s so much potential gain. There’s no real *investment* other than a $2 bottle of conditioner and a little leap of faith. Worst case scenario? You rewash your hair with what you usually use! You may be like me and find that it is the answer your hair was looking for, or you may be like the folks who didn’t really care for the effects.

    • Anastasia says

      I have thin curly hair that I bleach every couple months and dye stop sign red. Needless to say the bleach does some damage and I straighten every day which does more, so shampoo wasn’t helping and red hair is so hard to keep. After every shampoo my bathtub looked like a murder scene. So one day I decided to mix a tiny bit of shampoo with a ton of conditioner instead of just shampoo, followed by another deep condition as usual. Noticed a tremendous difference in the dye that came out so I started taking out shampoo completely and just conditioning twice. I use volumizing conditioner as I did before and deep condition regularly, and really rub it into my scalp, and my hair has never looked better without requiring product. There’s almost no breakage anymore, it’s thicker, and softer. I rarely even have frizz. And the best part aside from helping the damage is I went from needing to dye my hair once a week to once about every six weeks. I highly recommend it, ESPECIALLY for thin and colored hair.

    • Michelle Van Epps says

      I have thin hair with a full head of blonde highlights. My hair gets greasy if I don’t wash it everyday, but yet was getting straw like on the ends due to the highlighting. I was skeptical but used some Organix Coconut water conditioner (that was all I had) to wash my hair after reading about cowashing. It worked great! I have been using it for two weeks now and only used shampoo twice since starting I scrub my scalp really good with it and make sure to rinse super good. No greasy or weighed down hair. I am hooked now!

  9. Joan says

    I have been doing this for about a month and it’s a miracle ….my hair has never felt so clean and soft!!! I have been using Aussie brand..but I will use Suave to compare the difference

  10. Diana DeBarr says

    I am a chef in a kitchen tho, so do u think this would be a good idea for me considering a deep fryer is involved in my everyday life??? =\ Curious on ur reply? Thank u

    • says

      I honestly couldn’t say because I’m not you! I used to have your job (deep fryer and all!) and I really don’t know if it would’ve worked on me when I was working pub-grub every Friday/Saturday night. The best way to find out is just to try it!

    • Sarah says

      Just put a few drops of shampoo in with the conditioner and by few I mean 2 to 3 drops scrub your scalp really well rince and repeat with the same mix rinse well and then just conditon the ends with a very small amount of container about the size of a dime my hair feels amazing. I don’t work in fast food but I have a tendency to get really greasy hair.

  11. Teri says

    I have fine, thin, colored hair with some natural curl. I have been using this method for a month and love it! Just make sure you rinse well, it’s best to use cold water to rinse.

  12. Annabelle says

    I’ve actually had amazing results using Garnier Fructis Fall fight for my scalp and Pantene Ice Shine on the length. The silicones in those two products are build up resistant and I have body in my baby fine hair. Suave, White Rain and VO5 were all not conditioning enough for my hair.

  13. Meredith says

    Do you think I can try this with homemade conditioner? I just made a bunch today and I want to try it, but then I wanted to try making homemade shampoo and I came across your website. Now I’m interested in going co-only because my hair gets dry, frizzy and it breaks very easily. My skin also gets irritated and dry really easily so this sounds like a really good idea. But I still want to use the conditioner I made. (assuming the conditioner works, that is!)

  14. Meredith says

    So I just tried my homemade conditioner last Friday, and I couldn’t spread it through my hair! I was left with a greasy-looking area on the crown of my head where I poured it. However, it didn’t FEEL greasy – it was actually really soft, and so was my skin. I also used a lot and it left bits of avocado and green tea leaves all over the shower (plus in my hair and towel), which was difficult to clean.

    I’ve decided to buy regular Suave conditioner with no parabens or silicone, and use the homemade conditioner on occasion. I think it would be okay to use without shampoo, as long as it isn’t frequent. Next time I use it, I’ll also dip my hair into the jar, instead of dumping it on my head. Also, I haven’t put on any more than a dot of tea tree shampoo since Thursday. My hair seems to like it so far!

    Also, I know it could be different for me, but do you condition it every day or just a few times a week?

    • Gabrielle says

      Hi Meredith! I just wanted to caution you against using Suave. It still has many harmful detergents and chemicals in it that will strip your hair and coat your scalp. I found 3 brands that I LOVE: Acure, beautiful Curls, and For Goodness Sake. All can be found at Whole Foods or any local Health Food store. As for your homemade recipe (which sounds wonderful!) just might need some more trials. I heard that avocado might be a better occasional hair mask as opposed to a routine system. However, avocado oil, neem oil, argan oil, coconut oil, and melted shea butter are recurring motifs in some of my favorite hair care recipes!

      Good luck with your no-poo transition. Check out ‘EWG – skindeep’ on google. Great website. You can type in any cosmetic product and it will show you the toxicity level and which ingredients are harmful. It’s a fantastic go-to resource for me :)

  15. Almmi says

    I am definitely going to try this as soon as I can get my hands on a silicon free conditioner. What brought me here though isn’t that I got problems with my hair but I have had it colored blue for a while now (a bit on and of though) and shampoo takes the color out of my hair in just a few washes which makes it really expensive and tiring to entertain. I’m hoping that this method might be kinder to the color so that I don’t have to re-color it every other week and spend a shitload of money on my hair every month. (and I can actually mix conditioner and hair color to make it look good even longer, yay) :)

  16. Anne says

    I used to suffer from exzema on my scalp. I had flakes and really gross looking rashes on my scalp. I used to have to put heavy duty steriods on my scalp for the flare ups. A couple years ago I switched to a cleansing conditioner and it worked wonders. After using that I decided to just use my regular conditioner like you described and it was amazing. Saved money by only using a store bought conditioner rather than a “cleansing conditioner” and regular conditioner. No more steriods, flakes or rashes. When I get my hair cut the lady that washes my hair always comments how healthy my scalp is. : ) Salon visits are no longer humiliating!

  17. Regina says

    Hi, just wanted to send you a huge thanks for posting this! My hair has become frizzy & just plain horrible over the last couple of years & I’ve tried lots of (expensive) stuff to calm it down. In the end I just put it up in a bun or tie it back in a braid so no one sees it, because nothing worked. Then I came across your post while randomly surfing, tried it once and … it’s like magic! All I used was just a bottle of supermarket conditioner that I had in the cupboard, nothing special at all, and the difference was remarkable. Can’t thank you enough for this, you’re a genius!

  18. Melanie says

    I’m so glad I found your blog! I own horses and I go riding often after work. I find I’m always washing my hair to get rid of the horse smell, but my hair isn’t really dirty. If I don’t ride I usually go 3-4 days without washing so I hate to do it more often. It’s mid-back length and dyed and this winter has been particularly harsh on it. I didn’t want to shampoo my hair last night after I got home from the barn so I Googled to see if just conditioning it would be fine and found your blog. I used my regular conditioner (Tresemme) but couldn’t find anything that said it was silicone free so I may have to go pick some up! Regardless, my hair isn’t greasy or heavy like I thought it would be today. This seems like a great thing to try! Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      I’m so glad it worked for you! What’s nice is that my hair smells great even a couple of days after ‘washing’ it with coconut conditioner!

  19. Chrissy says

    Great to hear this is working for so many of you, I too have been noticing after
    washing that my hair will feel like straw and I loose a lot of strands! I know you can
    loose up to 100 a day but this seems excessive. I have not tried this yet but I break-out
    easily on my back and I think its from conditioner or its the shampoo but I think its
    the conditioner. But maybe its the shampoo it will dry your skin out not sure,
    because when you skin is over dried out and you take hot showers like I do you strip
    you skin of its good oils the oil you need and then you’re left with skin that is prone to
    break out so I’m not sure which it is to tell you the truth!?!

    I do color my hair a dark brown and my hair has felt dry often well with winter and
    this one being brutal it been even more drier than the norm. So I’ve been doing a lot of
    re-search on shampoos and conditioners it so happens before I came to this site that is.
    So, I have so input on what to use and what not to use well Suave is great for those
    who have fine thin or fine hair but a lot of it like me but for those with coarse hair or
    thick hair you might need something thicker. TRESemme NATURALS makes a
    SILICONE FREE conditioner and the ingredients aren’t that bad, it has Aloe and
    Avocado Oil in it and the price is under $5 bucks so that’s not bad. This is for the one’s
    who want to try something other then Suave or Vo5. I think Aussie might make a
    silicone free one not sure??

    But there’s also a all natural brand that you can get at Bed Bath and Beyond not sure
    if its carried else where its called RENPURE their line is really nice and if you get a
    coupon to save 20% it should be under $6 bucks their line is ALL natural. They made a
    a new addition to their line one is called CI for colored hair and a BB which it for
    moisture and balm and another I think its a CC not sure on that one what it stands for
    but they are all for your hair.

    Tips; Watch out for Sodium Chloride it is not good for the hair at all and it can be in
    both shampoo and conditioners so stay clear of that along with Parabens, Harsh Salts,
    Sultfates, Paraffins, Gluten, Mineral Oil, Propylene Glycol, PABA, DEA, Phthalates, Synthetic Fragrance and no animal testing if you can!?!
    But if you are looking for a conditioner or a shampoo that will provide all that and at
    a cost that isn’t to bad then try SHEA MOISTURE they carry this at Ulta, Bed Bath
    and Beyond,Walgreen’s, and Target and maybe SALLY’S, and CVS or a RITE-AID.

    This a great product and they make soaps that are fabulous to say the least and the lotions are great as well as their Baby Line which I’ve bought the Raw Shea
    Chamomile & Argan Oil, BABY head to toe wash and shampoo. I would use it as a
    face wash their line runs $10 bucks & if you get a coupon like for Bed Bath and Beyond
    it will save you some or sometimes you can get one on the bottle for a $1 off.

    There is also another one at Bed Bath and Beyond not sure if its somewhere else but I’m also not sure on the full name I know it’s named after a gal named LISA but I don’t
    have her last name and it’s kind of like the RENPURE line. Nice line price about the

    So I hope this has been helpful and I hope others can put some more info that can help
    us along our journeys with beautiful hair days to come!! Thank you so much for your
    time and listening. Hoppy Spring!!

  20. Chrissy says

    Oh and as if I didn’t add enough the SHEA MOISTURE LINE would be great for those who have thick or coarse hair and even those who don’t have either the “Retention Line” is great for us gals who color are hair.

  21. ginger says

    Hello. I have been co-washing since 2/2013. I have a lot of fine wavy hair that is down to the middle of my back. I have oily hair and pretty bad scalp psoriasis that does not respond to topical steroids or medicated shampoos. I have only co washed with the occasional washing of my hair line with Cetaphil facial soap when psoriasis is really bad. I have used mainly inexpensive brands-sauve, vo5, walmart knockoffs.

    I am noticing that my hair feels heavy and oily at times. I have also noticed that my hair smells dirty at times. I was wondering if anyone else had found this with co-washing? My hair itself feels great compared to past. Has not made a change in my psoriasis though. Thanks in advance.

  22. Tina says

    I am a junior in college and I haven’t used shampoo (well I have used it every now and then but that is only when I visit my parents and use their shower. Mom doesn’t use conditioner) since before my senior year of high school. When I tell people that I don’t use shampoo, the look of disgust on their face is hilarious and sometimes frustrating. People just jealous of my beautiful curls.

  23. Monique says

    Wow I always thought that you needed shampoo but now that I see you don’t I’m throwing out all the 20 bottles of shampoo I have in replacing them with Condtioner… Thanks a lot

  24. Beta says


    Great website and post. Just wanted to share my thoughts and experiences. I am a Guy in my late 20’s and I have always had short hair for most of my life. I started surfing and snowboarding a couple of years ago and I have always liked that long surfer hair look of some guys.

    I eventually came to the idea and conclusion that I would save my hair long to see what I would look like with a long surfer style hair before I get too old and eventually not doing it at all and regretting it. Its been 2 years and my hair is the longest its ever been in my whole life. Up until a few months ago…I knew that if I want to maintain and keep this long hair style…I would eventually have to find ways of maintaining it and taking care of it. Because…like everyone else on here…I too have many of the same problems. Dry, itchy, flaky scalp with dry crunchy poofy hair that I could never seem to style or manage the way I want. I would also lose a lot of hair in the shower and while combing/styling.

    These are some of the tips/tricks/advice I have come across on the internet in my search to keep my hair looking as healthy as possible:

    1. Use conditioner ONLY. I too gave up shampoo about 3 months ago and I have noticed my hair is WAY more healthy looking and feeling. Never going back to shampoo.
    2. Wash with cold water. Warm/hot water is bad for your hair.
    3. Air dry. Do not blow dry. Heat is the number 1 problem/issue for most peoples hair.
    4. Wash your hair every 2-3 days. You don’t need to wash your hair everyday. If you do…your just stripping the hair of its natural oils which is best for healthy hair. I used to wash my hair everyday as I shower everyday but have since gone to washing my hair about 2 times a week. This worked wonders for my hair as it does not feel so dry, crunchy and lifeless.
    5. Don’t touch/play/fix your hair if it doesn’t need it. The more you play/touch your hair…the more stress you are putting on it.
    6. Try and keep hair products to a minimum. I used to use so many types of gels/pastes/creams and it did nothing to make my hair healthy. Now…I only use a paste that I know works for me, is very clean and can be washed out with water plus lotion if I just need a little more hold or touch up.
    7. Don’t comb your hair when its wet. If you need to comb it when wet…use a wide toothed comb or brush. Your hair is very vulnerable/weakest when its wet.
    8. Take a daily multivitamin. Your hair needs vitamins to be at its optimal health.

    I started doing all of the above for about 4-5 months now and my hair feels healthier than its ever been in my entire life. Hope this helps out some people. Thanks.

  25. Mare says

    I’ve been co washing for 3 weeks now and at first I loved the results. But now my scalp is dry, itchy and flaky. I read somewhere that caucasian women are suppose to wash their hair once a week with a sulfate free shampoo. But as soon as I did my hair went back to being a dry Frizzy poofy mess. So what can I do to stop the itching? Also my hair falls out a lot and it’s a little greasy in certain areas. Help please.

  26. annie says

    has anyone tried organix conditioners? It is sulfate free and also cruelty free!
    I have only been shampoo free for one week and so far I am happy happy happy…. I spend less time in the shower, my hair is soft and shiny and having long hair down to the middle of my back can usually take a very long time to wash in the shower… now I am out in no time. Im 53 so im probably a lot older than most of the posters here. My kids think I am crazy but cant wait to see their reaction to my hair in a few weeks when its noticeable how my hair has changed!

  27. erica says

    I wash my hair everyday. I know that’s supposed to be bad. I started using the Shielo Hydrate Shampoo, my hair looks and feels so healthy. I barely need to use any shampoo, a quarter-size only, and I have a ton of hair. Typically I’ve had to rinse and repeat , but with Shielo – I use just the quarter-size and its perfect. Feels soooo good and its super hydrating.

    I would recommend this to any gal with thick hair prone to getting dry.

    • says

      I hate to be vague, but you’ll have to experiment a bit, probably. I’ve had GREAT luck with Suave Naturals Coconut, but haven’t tried many others.

  28. Jen says

    I’m so happy to see that I’m not the only one who gave up hair-washing all together! I have very thick and curly hair, and had nothing but issues with it, so about a year and a half ago I chopped it all off, and at the same time I stopped using both shampoo and conditioner. I didn’t even pick up any baking soda regimen or anything, and now my hair is absolutely great!

    However recently, I’ve been thinking about trying to grow my hair out again, and I’m afraid that it’ll go back to being it’s gross, frizzy, messy mess again. I’ve been considering picking up a conditioning regimen to try to keep it from drying out too much (alongside regular trimming), but I was afraid that it’d mess up my hair again. It makes me feel more confident to give this a go after reading your experience with conditioning only. (:

    My coworker recommended Tresemme Naturals, which is dye-free and silicone-free. It’s a pretty good deal in my opinion; it was $5-$6 at Walmart for a decent sized bottle, so it can be added to the list of reasonably-priced conditioner brands people can try out.

  29. says

    I’m a 16 year old girl. I have black, shoulder-length hair and no matter how hard I try, I can NEVER find anything that helps my ball of fluff stop being–well–a ball of fluff….
    I am native American so I have been trying to grow my hair out like many of my reletives, but im afraid to do so because my hair is so hard to take care of!! I can always brush through it but it’s always so frizzy. I have naturally straight hair, and I don’t use any heat (I.E. blow dryers, curling irons, flat irons) or chemicals like hairspray in my hair, but my hair is always dry and crunchy. echhhhh. I hate it. I forgot my original point now, but here’s a different question: if I start this co washing thing, and the tips of my hair is still frizzy like always, should I get them cut, and then continue to co-wash, or should I keep co-washing and it will fix my split ends? help please!!! thanks.

    • says

      Hi Tia- I’m not a hair dresser, just a lady who tried things out until she found what worked! I’d absolutely suggest you try this out and see what it does for you! Have you tried rubbing Argan Oil into the ends of your hair when you get out of the shower? That might be worth trying, too. You can get it inexpensively on (you can use the search box in the sidebar here to help look for it if you’d like! If you do buy through that link, I get a small commission.) I rub about 8 drops into the ends of my hair after conditioner washing it. I have waist length hair, so it takes a good bit to help me! Co-wash for a while, and maybe try the argan oil for a bit, too, if you’d like to avoid trimming it. A trim isn’t the end of the world, though! Hair always grows back!!!

    • Rebeccah says

      this sounds counter active but try to brush your hair as little as you can especialy as soon as it dries out of the shower. if you do itll frizz up faster. also shea butter. if you find a recipie where you can whip it with some vitamin e and coconut oil. i have some i use on my face and hair all the time and it dosnt leave it sticky or greasy. your hair will soak it right up and hold together more and be less frizzness

  30. Andrea says

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on no poo or co-only, trying to fins what works best for my thick, waist length hair. I stumbled onto your blog quite some time ago but never got to read this post. Absolutely love it and appreciate that you posted pictures of how great your hair looks. Going co-only is my next goal now that my current hair products are nearly gone. Thank you again for the post. It’s been super helpful.

  31. tanya says

    I started not using shampoo just as a fluke and was surprised that my hair was just as clean as if I’d done shampoo n conditioned… So that’s what I started doing consistently for about a month n a half now. I like it, my hair is not fly awaybdryand feels softer and kinda heavier,.. . like more solid. Anyway, I saw the Wen commercial thingy and felt a bit more justified since it seems like the same process. So I googled it and aaw your story. Thank you. Thank u, I was beginning to feel like I had a bad hygiene secret, but my hair really seems healthier already. I will try the suave or another silicone conditioner. Thanks again. I will check back soon, and maybe think about telling my friends…..

  32. Nikki says

    I’ve been using only Suave Naturals conditioner for a couple months now and my scalp still gets dry. Do you have any tips for combating the dry scalp issue without completely undoing all the time I’ve put into going without shampoo?

  33. Rebeccah says

    first off we have the same name witch is wicked awesome [=
    so about two weeks ago i started the no shampoo only water wash. I have had dandruff severly since the begining of high school up until two weeks ago. my dandruff is GONE! i would show u pics if i could. the hair near my scalp isnt greasy but its a little heavy? or thick? i know its a build up of sebum. my hair used to come out of the shower after shampoo and conditioing super light and frizzy and then the next day it would be greasy as all hell. well now when i get out of the shower its wet a little longer and then it magicaly is perfect! and the longer i go without washing the less heavy it feels. i got a boar bristle brush to distribute the oils and sebum my scalp naturaly makes. my hair feels healtier and looks longer somehow. i noticed the best way to do my routine is before showering seperate my hair like 10 times across my scalp in rows and each time brush from root to tip with the boar bristle brush. using a reglar brush inbetween to get the tangles. and then shower with it burshed back so theres not knots and clumps. then like they say scritch or scratch and massage that scalp. i do hot water cold water normal shower temp water then a cold rinse. ive been taking pics every day of my scalp and hair and im telling you the results are unbelieveable. i think i will try some conditioner in it just to see if it makes it a little less tangley. love your hair and your blog Rebecca!!

  34. Brooke says

    I stumbled across this post in May and decided to try going conditioner-only, even though I have extremely oily hair. As of today, I have YET to put shampoo on my hair. So after roughly five months of conditioner-only every day, my hair has suddenly begun to grow, it’s not nearly as frizzy as it was, it feels thicker and stronger, and it’s SO shiny. I can’t recommend this enough! I’ve used Suave Naturals the whole five months. I have noticed, however, that when I travel and go somewhere with harder or softer water, my hair gets “confused” and frizzes a little more. But it’s temporary and always goes back to normal. So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this post!!

  35. says

    Two days in to “washing” my hair with conditioner only…I love it! My hair is easier to blow dry, do NOT have to use a flat iron to smooth out the kinks of my somewhat wavy hair, and I do believe it dries faster…or maybe that’s just my imagination, but the last two mornings I have been ready and out the door at least 10 minutes sooner!! The best part, though, is that it has more body and no longer feels a bit like straw…very soft!! I am a believer!

    I love your website by the way…makes me laugh, teaches me a few things, and my husband has enjoyed all of the recipes I’ve pulled from this site. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  36. Bela says

    I too have gone the no-poo route. I know that not every product works the same for everyone, but for me I have found that VO5 works great on my hair and I love that they’re silicone free, don’t test on animals, and really inexpensive. It’s a win win win for me! :)

  37. Darla Desautel says

    hi, you’ve been an inspiration… I didn’t know anything about the no-poo or co-only crowd until reading your blog but I was intuitively about to do that very thing… I watched a television show one time when I was about 10 years old where a beauty queen confessed to not using soap… except in certain unmentionable parts, and I followed that advice ever since, and that was more than a few decades ago… when I tell people that I don’t use soap, they tell me that might be why my skin looks young for my age, which just means it’s not wrinkled like a prune… so all these years it never dawned on me to eliminate shampoo, and it’s an aha moment for sure reading your hilarious blog… I’m a convert… it’s late but I’m tempted to head across town to a 24-hour drugstore to buy some Suave conditioner… I’ll let you know how it goes… by the way, you probably have many talents (not to mention child-raising, to say the least) but I want to recommend that you write more funny stuff… your writing reminds me a lot of Erma Bombeck, and a few other humor writers I’ve been addicted to over the years. Yours was the FIRST EVER blog that had me laughing out loud! Thanks, Darla

  38. Victoria says

    SO HAPPY that I found this. My colorist just made me feel like a toad because I confessed that I had been co-only for six weeks. But guess what? No color fade, and my hair is soft and manageable. Which for someone with thick, curly hair is basically a miracle. THANK YOU!

  39. Daina says

    I’m going to definitely give this a try – my hair comes out in HANDFULS in the shower! I figured it was just aging and changing hormones. I don’t wash my hair daily either (it’s naturally curly so the longer between shampoos the better the curls), and I sometimes already just recondition it and skip the shampoo.

    Question – do you just do the conditioner thing on days you “wash” your hair, or is this daily since you stopped using shampoo?

  40. says

    I heard about conditioner only washing just recently. My hair is fine, straight and short. I am considering this because my hair ALWAYS looks greasy. We spent a year in Hawaii where I trained my hair to only need to be washed once a week (because Hawaii is the perfect place to have greasy unkempt hair) but then we moved back to the mainland and got a pixie cut, started shampooing regularly again and now those days are long gone. I have one question for you, do you ask your hairdresser to not shampoo your hair during appointments?

    • says

      I actually filled my hairdresser in on what I was doing AFTER I already had success with it. :D There was no way to argue with it at that point. She has used shampoo on my hair only a couple of times and those times were after I got my hair coloured and she needed to wash the remaining colour out. So shampoo has hit my head on the average of twice a year. :D

  41. Greer says

    White Rain Conditioner Apple Blossom with Active Botanicals does not contain silicon. I emailed the company to ask. I purchased it at the Dollar Tree. This morning I bathed our Golden Retriever using it; so far, so good!!

  42. Michelle Van Epps says

    I tried co-washing for the first time 2 weeks ago. I used Organix Coconut water conditioner because that was all I had. I have a full head of blonde highlights and thin hair. I have to wash my hair every day because it will look greasy. It started looking like straw on the ends after two years of highlighting and I either needed to stop highlighting so much or find something healthier for my hair. The Organix Coconut water conditioner worked great! Felt weird to “wash” with no suds, but I scrubbed my scalp and rinsed very well. My hair was clean, not greasy and soft. I’ve used shampoo only twice in two weeks. I think this is the way to go especially if you have treated hair! I was checking out your site to find other conditioners that I can try and appreciate the information!

  43. Bbett says

    You aren’t crwzy, I’ve been doing this for years. I have then type of hair that needs to be washed twice a day, so the people saying they can’t do this because of greasy hair just need to TRY it. I still wash my hair every day, but my hair isn’t getting damaged from it. My hair grows twice as fast, isn’t frizzy, has more volume than ever before, and feels AMAZING. Shampoo is awful for your hair.

  44. Julie says

    I don’t think you’re mad at all! Really enjoyed reading this post :-)) I used to have lovely hair (when I was a lot younger) but over the last 10 years it has been soooo thick and unruly and frizzy and only looks any good straight after going to the hairdressers. I have tried blow-drying, drying naturally, drying with a hat on (I know, desperate!) straightening, expensive products, non-SLS shampoos, washing with cold water (yikes!) nothing really works but THIS makes perfect sense! I like my hair 2 days after washing (for about 24 hours, then it needs washing again) so it stands to reason that the shampoos are stripping away the natural oils. Also, I never use soap on my face and my skin is smooth & non-greasy and non-dry. Why didn’t I think of this before?

    Thank you for writing this I sticking your neck out with your confession ;-)) Nice one!



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