cleanse your natural hair without shampoo

FTC: This post is not sponsored but does contain affiliate links that we collect a small commission on. My opinions and thoughts are my own.

Whether your are a strict follower of the curly girl method, or just experiencing negative results every time you shampoo your hair, there are a plethora of alternatives you can use to cleanse your natural hair without shampoo. Many people stick to a “no poo” regimen and their hair is fully thriving, but “no poo” doesn’t mean you just wet your hair and go. You still need to cleanse/clarify your hair for it to stay healthy, clean, and avoid giving off a smell. With the increase in natural hair prevalence many companies have started offering “no poo” options to help cleanse those tresses.

What is key to remember is that the ingredients in the products make all the difference. You don’t want to choose a “no poo” option that ends up stripping your hair of its natural oils and leaving your hair dry or half clean. That defeats the purpose of removing shampoo from your regimen in the first place. Instead lets jump into three different ways to cleans your natural hair without shampoo that get the job done, without harming your natural hair.

3 Ways To Cleanse Your Natural Hair Without Shampoo

1. Mud Masks/ Treatments: I’ve discussed the necessity of having mud in your natural hair regimen before. It is a gentle way to detox your hair and scalp, while offering cleansing and conditioning at the same time. Depending on your hair needs you can choose between the two heavy weights in the mud mask territory. Bentonite Clay can be found a lot easier than Rhassoul Clay but can be drying if you already have dry hair. Bentonite clay is best used for women who struggle with overly oily hair that needs tons of absorption and detoxification. Rhassoul Clay on the other hand is a bit gentler and is best used for extra moisturizing purposes. I have used both and had great results each time. Especially if you are a wash and go aficionado or want to start trying to complete wash and go’s, a mud mask/treatment is a great cleansing route to take.


For  the DIYer: If you would like to try a mud mask treatment and are a huge DIY natural hair person you’re in luck. Mud masks are super easy to put together and are very cost effective. You can purchase a 2LB container of Bentonite Clay for about 13 bucks (I’ve had mine for almost a year that’s how long it will last!) or a 1LB container of Rhassoul Clay for about 20bucks. You mix equal parts clay, ACV and water and you’ve got your hair mask ready! Apply the mix to your damp hair and spritz your hair with water during application to avoid your hair drying out. Also it is important to remember/note that if you are using Bentonite clay to avoid using any metal utensils or bowls because of Bentonite’s absorption properties. Plastic, wood or ceramic tools are best.

I’ve also started adding in some oils to help with moisturizing (my FAVE go to’s right now are Mint Almond Oil or Jojoba Oil). Leave the mix on your hair for about 20 minutes and rinse with cool water. There you have a clean scalp that is also now detoxified and pH balanced.

Step_1_KC_300x300For the store bought option: If you are not into DIY or sometimes need a break from mixing and experimenting you can buy a cleansing product that encompasses most of the ingredients you would include in your mud mask treatment without the extra crap ingredients. When I don’t feel like hitting up the DIY laboratory I use Naturalicious Morrocan Rhassoul 5-in 1 Clay treatment. 

INGREDIENTS: Moroccan Lava Rhassoul Clay, Deionized Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Vegetable Glycerin, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Olea europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Vitis Vinfera (Grape) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Phenoxyethanol

flytrap-vinegar12. Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinger has so many uses and benefits (10 benefits of Apple Cider vinegar For your Natural Hair) whether for your hair or for your overall well being, its no surprise that it can be used as a cleanser as well. It’s also easy to find (most health food stores or online) and fits my budget (I’ve had two bottles for almost a year).  ACV removes buildup from the scalp while balancing the pH of your hair too. It is a natural rinse that also assists in conditioning the scalp. I know I know but what about the smell? ACV’s odor fades very quickly after use and honestly I’ve smelled much worse so I just get over it. I use ACV in my mud mask treatments mostly, but when I protective style it is my go to cleanser to rinse buildup off my scalp (particularly when I have box braids, twists or faux locs).

MielleOrganics_DetanCowash-resized_1024x10243. Co-Washing: Co Washing is controversial for naturalistas as they feel that washing your hair with conditioner isn’t “washing” it at all. But that’s because they are using the wrong conditioner! A real co-washing conditioner is meant to cleanse your hair. You should not be using a regular rinse out conditioner if you are truly trying to cleanse the scalp. (CoWash Conditioner vs. Rinse Out Conditioner What’s The Difference?) My fave co-wash is Mielle Organics Detangling Cowash because of its slip and the ingredients. You can use code: TRESSES at checkout to get a discount on this and all Mielle Organics products as well.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cocos Nucifera(coconut) oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Cetyl Alcohol, Simmondsia Chinensis *(Organic Jojoba) Seed oil, Crambe Abyssinica (Abyssinia) Seed oil, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Kernal oil, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum, Hydrolyzed Silk( Silk Amino Acids), Potassium Sorbate, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Phthalate-Free Fragrance, Tocopherol, Citirc acid

What is your favorite cleansing method and how has it worked for you and your natural hair regimen? Share your thoughts/ answers with us in the comments below!

Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.

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One Response to 3 Ways To Cleanse Your Natural Hair Without Shampoo

  1. HI, My name is Karen and I’ve been natural for about 16 years now. But I’m restarting to twist my air again and I’m finding my scalp itching just about 1 week after I’ve gotten it retwisted. What do you suggest I use in between retwisting my hair and when I untwist my hair? Also, I have psoriasis and/or Dermatitis? Also, I do love the options that were suggested, so I’m going to try a few of them and see if they work. Thanks again. Karen