5 hacks for washing your hair without shampoo

It’s safe to say that shampoos are the standard when it comes to hair cleansing. It’s what we are familiar with and have used for years. We’ve never questioned the existence of shampoos or why we have this specific kind of liquid soap, especially for hair. There’s never been the need to, as each shampoo produced promised to deliver on all our hair care needs and, so far, have done a great job at doing that. 

Different cosmetic companies have produced different types of shampoos to address the varying needs of the public – from scalp care to moisture retention, colour correction, clarifying and more. The industry continues to expand to try and fit all the changing hair trends. As people become more concerned with their hair care and what is best for their individual hair types, companies produce as much as they can to satisfy these issues. 

Photo: Getty Images

However, while they are great for cleansing, there are some debates as to whether or not shampoos are truly good for your hair and if that’s the only way to get it properly cleaned. Many commercial shampoos have chemical formulas which can damage hair in the long term. Some chemicals found in shampoos are harsh and can, over time, damage hair and skin. Some of the chemicals in the products are drying, strip the hair of natural oils, cause breakage, and mask hair with substances that mirror a shine effect. 

With increasing knowledge of these harsh chemicals and their effects, one would argue if shampoos are really worth using and if they are actually safe. While the dosage of these chemicals per use may not be a large quantity, over time and with continued use, the effects can be seen. So what do we do now? We still want clean hair but we definitely don’t want the negative side effects!

The good news is, there are other methods for washing your hair and a few alternative products that are good for your hair’s health. Below are five alternatives to washing your hair with shampoo:  

Dry shampoo

Dry shampoos have the ability to remove grease without all the chemically produced suds and the threat of brittle hair. By spraying the contents at the roots of your hair, the alcohol or starch found in the aerosol products lifts oils and grease from your hair, giving it a refreshed look. While it’s not recommended to do this as your only method of cleansing your hair, this is a good swap out from regular shampoo every once in a while for your hair, particularly if you are in a rush and cannot do a full wash day routine. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Od.Alexandra Romero ✨🦋 (@alexandraromerog_) on


As the name suggests, co-washing is simply using conditioner to cleanse your hair and scalp while retaining moisture. Conditioners have less harmful and harsh chemicals than shampoos and are capable of cleansing the scalp just as well. It’s particularly good for curly, coil and kinky hair as it encourages moisture retention – something these hair types need. While you can generally use any conditioner, some are specifically formulated for cleansing or moisturizing so establish what you really need and choose the best conditioner to do the job.


Packed with nutrients that detoxify, cleanse, and condition hair and scalp, clays like bentonite, rhassoul and kaolin are good substitutes for chemical shampoos. Bentonite clay moisturizes and reduces frizz, rhassoul unblocks scalp pores, and kaolin helps to treat dandruff while encouraging hair growth. Other clays on the market produce good results as well, so the options are varied for shampoo free hair cleansing. The process to use these clays for maximum results involve mixing the dried clays with water, add an essential oil like lavender (if you so desire), and applying to your hair. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and you’ll be left with clean scalp and hair, ready for styling. 

Shampoo bar

Shampoo bars are soap bars specifically designed to cleanse hair and scalp. Though the name involves ‘shampoo’, it is less harsh than its liquid counterpart as many bars are made from all-natural ingredients. These include essential oils, many of which are good for hair growth and have antifungal and antibacterial properties as well as carrier oils like coconut and avocado oils which help strengthen hair strands and retain moisture.

Photo: Getty Images

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is renowned for its healing properties and its benefits in treating skin burns. However, it is far more than a skin treatment; aloe has properties that are beneficial for hair as well. Aloe vera is moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and can prevent or reduce the prevalence of dandruff. By applying the gel from the plant to your hair and scalp, massaging and letting it sit for a while before thoroughly rinsing, you can reap the benefits of this wonderful plant for your hair.

With all these different options for washing your hair, there’s really no need to stick to shampoos all the time. You can skip the chemicals found in shampoos and go for au natural methods of washing or less harmful cleansers. Mix it up a bit from time to time to maximize results for your hair whether it be growth, length retention, moisture retention or healthy scalp. Wash days just got better! 

More about Jamie Levi

“I’m a mom, movie buff, and pop culture fanatic. I also enjoy creating and sharing some of the web’s most interesting stories.”