Water-Only Hair Washing

“Wow, you have really pretty hair! What’s your secret?”

I don’t use any shampoo.

“Oh, so you only use conditioners?



No. Only water.

Yes, it’s true. I only use water on my hair. I went from the shampoo-condition norm, to breaking free and using kitchen supplies to clean my hair, and then to just ditching the whole thing and sticking with the main resource – water.

wateronlyI do not have any close up images of my hair, but this’ll give you an idea what it looks like everyday.

Pros and Cons of Water Only Hair Washing


  • Simple! Your bathroom won’t be filled with products (the water supply will thank you), and most of what you WILL buy is mostly permanent, and don’t run out!
  • Frugal. Since there’s no need for bottles of different cleansers, that means more money in your pocket! And since you don’t have all those products, that means less time in the shower, which means more money in your wallet!
  • Natural. I hate to over use that word, but it is true. While some cleansers can be natural, most of them aren’t even if they contain the words ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘environmentally friendly’, etc. With WO, you use water and sebum.
  • Self-Sufficient. All the above adds up to this. πŸ˜‰ Just add water!


  • You gotta get the hang of it. During this process, you will learn to get to know your hair better. You’ll have to get the hang of properly taking care of your hair without product, and learn what your hair likes and doesn’t like, without them. You’ll need to develop a routine, which..
  • Takes time. Like switching to No ‘Poo, there are transitional phases. There’s one at the beginning of it, then one that follows about two or three months after starting. (Typically.) Once you get the hang of it, and give it time, there won’t be many “cons”.

The Idea Behind Water Washing

Our hair naturally produces an oil called sebum. Sebum lubricates and protects the hair, preventing damage. It is a more waxy oil. With most people, when their hair gets oily it collects on their scalp and roots of their hair so they use detergents (like shampoo) to strip the oils, to “clean” the hair, and then use moisturizers (like conditioner) on the hair, to replace to natural moisturizer (sebum) that was lost by the initial washing. And after all this, the scalp will end up producing more oil to replace what was lost, causing oily hair, and the supposed need to wash it again.

The idea with Water Only washing is working WITH the oil, and not against it.

The idea is to distribute the oils down your hair, not just letting it collect at the top, and use water to wash out excess oil, and to clean the hair of dirt and debris. The act of using water is not just to get rid of the oil, but to also help distribute it down the hair.

Once you begin WO, there will be a transitional period. Your body will be trying to regulate and balance out the oil production. Your scalp may appear more dandruffy and dull at first. (However, most have reported that their hair feels extremely soft when they start. Something similar happened to me.) To quote someone else who explains it a little better,

“Normally, when you wash your hair with shampoo, it’s a detergent and it will strip the oils off your hair.Β  Hair is supposed to be a bit oily so your hair follicles produce additional oil to make up for the oil that’s been washed away and you end up getting greasy hair.Β  If you don’t wash it away, there seems to be some kind of feedback mechanism that means that the follicles will produce the right amount of oil, and you won’t end up with greasy hair.”

Why fight against what God gave ya, is my thought. πŸ˜‰

The Tools of Water Only Washing

(Or, tools for hair care in general.)

Boar Bristle Brush (BBB): a brush made out of boar bristles. It is excellent in distributing hair oil down the hair, picking up dust and lint in the hair, and smoothing the hair shaft. Some say that it gives them a good hair massage, which stimulates hair growth. This is almost a MUST HAVE for water only washers. I use a soft boar bristle brush, and also own a medium brush. I use the medium bristle brush on my scalp, and the soft on the body of my hair. Hard bristles, I feel, would be too much, and would damage my hair. I advise purchasing medium bristles and work your way from there. I have curly hair, so I only do this if I will not be wearing my hair with its natural curls, and will be wearing different hairstyles, such as braids, buns, etc. If you have straight hair, you may want to try this out!

Wooden Brushes: These brushes are excellent for massaging your scalp and stimulating hair growth. I love the way it feels on my scalp! It can also do a good job of distributing oil down the shaft, and cleaning your hair, although not NEARLY to the extent of a BBB brush. I feel like this is a nice accessory to have, regardless of what hair washing method you use. For the curlies out there, you could use this instead of the BBB brush, because it is much gentler on curls

Satin Hair Caps/Pillow Cases: This is necessary for ANYONE who has hair and wants to protect it. If you use pillowcases made from cotton, or polyester, for example, this can cause friction on your hair, resulting in damage, tangles, and dryness. With satin, it’s smooth enough to not cause friction on your hair. The material (from my understanding) does not absorb oils, like other materials do, so it doesn’t dry your hair out. Because of this, however, you may need to clean your pillowcase, since the oil rests on the pillowcase. Because of this, it is excellent for WO.

Sharp Hair Scissors: Do NOT just use any old pair of scissors to cut your hair! This can cause even MORE damage to your hair! You don’t want to waste all your work in cutting away damage to just create more. Spend a few bucks and buy some hair scissors. I find a smaller size works well for me, and makes it easier to trim my hair. You can trim your hair using these methods, or use the Search and Destroy Method (S&D), which I am partial to. (I’m cheap and spent $12 dollars on a pair of scissors at Sally’s Hair Salon. It said “super sharp”, so I’ll take it. If you want, take even more precaution and buy from a reliable brand.)

Oils: There is a controversy within the WO community on whether or not to supplement your hair with oils. My argument FOR them stems from the time period I did not moisturize my ends with oil, and it resulted in damage and split ends. I have curly hair, which tends to be more dry in the first place (it’s harder for curlies to distribute sebum down the hair shaft because of the curl on the hair), so that was not going to work. I am going to slowly work toward using less oils, and becoming independent from them. I would like to grow my hair out, so this will also prevent my hair from getting split ends. (Although the idea is to use sebum to do this.) So, choose what works for you. Coconut, jojoba, almond, apricot, etc. are some oils you can use. I use coconut and apricot. I hope to try jojoba, since this is very similar to sebum.

Cotton T-Shirt:Β For less damage and frizz, use a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair. It doesn’t bother the hair cuticles on the shaft, which allows your hair to become more shiny and manageable. Unlike terry cloth, it’s much more gentle on your hair. An alternative for this is microfiber cloth. But, I’m cheap, so I stick with t-shirts.

Cocoa Powder/Cornstarch: Dry shampoo. Because sometimes you just can’t work the oily look, or the washing didn’t work this time.

Steps Prior to Water Only Washing

Before you plunge into Water Only hair washing, you may want to take a few steps first. To help ease your transition, take these precautions.

The first step you may want to take is to clarify your hair, and level out your acidity level. You can do this with an ACV rinse. You may want to transition going No ‘Poo for a short while, using Baking Soda and ACV to cleanse your hair. But, if you’re like me and prefer to avoid the “slow kill”, you can just plunge into water only.

Now, I haven’t tried this, but the next step can be to detox your hair, specifically using bentonite clay. Bentonite clay is known to absorb toxins when taken internally, and this can be imitated on the hair. Basically, you create a somewhat watery paste using water with the bentonite clay, apply it to your hair (wet or dry), let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse out, following an ACV rinse. (About 1 cup ACV, straight or diluted in water.) This will naturally cleanse your hair, get rid of toxins, and build up. It does NOT strip your natural hair oils, so I believe this would be the perfect thing to attempt! You could continue to do this after going WO.

Repair your hair. Deep condition with oils, cleanse it with baking soda. Trim your hair.

Basically, start your journey fresh. Work out the problems before you dive in. You’ll have enough when you start. πŸ˜‰ (Haha, kidding.)

How to Wash Your Hair with Only Water


  1. Go a few days, and let your hair get “dirty”. Start off with something. Once you get into WO, you can practice this by stretching your washes.
  2. Massage your scalp. This will help break up anything on your scalp, the oils, stimulate your hair follicles, and actually (possibly) produce some more oil. Enjoy it. Relax, and pamper yourself. During this time you can “scritch“. Scratch at your scalp (gently) to break up dead skin cells and dirt.
  3. Detangle. Use your hands to brush the length of your hair. When you feel a tangle, work it out with your hands. If the tangle us bad, use a tad bit of oil, or ACV. If it’s really, really bad, consider cutting it out. (LAST RESORT.) Do not yank at the tangle. This will only cause breakage, which causes damage/split ends. It’s best to do this before using a brush (unless you have a Tangle Teezer) to prevent damage. Once you’ve got most of the tangles out, then you can move on to the next step.
  4. Β Distribute the oil down your hair. A method to do this is called “preening“, using your hands to move the oil. You can also use a BBB, or brush of choice, to do the job. You may want to section out your hair to get the best results. (PLEASE take note that before using your BBB, DETANGLE your hair. The BBB is NOT meant to detangle your hair. The BBB will cause damage if you do not ensure your hair is tangle free.)
  5. Shower. Warm to hot water does the best job at moving the oil, getting rid of the excess, and cleaning your hair. When you get in, wet your hair, and then move on to something else. This is my preference to allow the hair to absorb the water. I then wet my hair once more, and then “scrub” my scalp. Use a massage motion with the pads of your fingers to clean your hair. Do not pile your hair on top of your scalp. Do this all over, with water running down. I then run my hands down the body of my hair to clean the body. I normally do not have to do much with it, the water itself does enough. I then will part my hair, and with my head tilted to the water, detangle my hair and preen a little, to help move the oils. Repeat on other side. (This is good for curlies, because your hair will break into clumps. Doing this you can let your hair dry loose with it resulting in good curls, or plop your hair.) For both times, do not linger under the water long. You do not want to totally clear your head of oils, or take off too much. It may take time to find the right timing, but like most other hair cleansing methods, it’s all part of the process. If you are a curly, shorten your washing times, so you can do a final rinse with your hair upside down. Scrunch your hair to form clumps.
  6. Dry your hair. Grab your t-shirt/microfiber cloth, tilt your head, and gently squeeze the cloth around your hair. You want to pat it out, not scrub your hair dry. It’s best not to brush your hair wet, but if you do use a wide-tooth (preferably wooden) comb, tangle teezer, or your fingers. For curlies, don’t brush your hair at all once you get out of the shower, lest yourΒ  break up your clumps. If you plop, do not dry your hair beforehand. You can then apply an oily, lightly, on your ends or body of your hair. I use coconut oil.

Daily Maintenance

Alright, so you got the pre-WO, the actual WO, and now what about those in between times?

It’s best not to touch your hair too much. The oil from your hands can get on your hair, and it can also disturb the oils on your hair, giving your hair a fresh, greasy look.Β  I do touch my hair, fluff it, put it in hairstyles, and I’ve never met with this problem. Just a precaution so you are aware, in case you run into this issue.

Nightly, preen and brush your hair. (Either or, whichever is needed.) Move the oils down. Doing this every night will help avoid the whole oily look on the scalp in the first place, and will continually nourish your hair before your next wash. This will also help your hair balance out its oils, and stretch your washes. Keep in mind to clean your brush. You may need to do this before every use, or just when it gets dirty enough. Sleep on a satin pillowcase, satin hair cap, and/or put your hair in a protective do, such as a top bun or braid. (This will result in braid waves or bun waves.) If you wish, oil your ends very lightly.
As a curly, I give myself two days of curly hair. That means I do not brush or preen. (I may BBB my scalp.) I put my hair in a sleep cap, or a pineapple. I may scrunch some oil on my ends.

In the morning, let your hair down. You may want to wet the body of your hair just a tad bit, oil your ends, etc. Treat it normal! As a curly, follow curly precautions.

Monthly (or so) Maintenance

Trim your hair. I avoid salons like the plague, and trim my own. I listed some methods above. The basis of WO is using sebum to help protect your hair, so hopefully this won’t be as much of an issue.

Clean your supplies. Wash your brushes, satin caps, pillowcases, and t-shirt/microfiber cloth.

*OPTIONAL* Deep condition your hair in some way.Β  You can use coconut oil on your body, let it soak for a few days, hiding with with braids or different hairstyles. Then wash. (In my experience, it does come out, if I don’t over oil.) Be VERY careful doing this. Use honey, avacado, etc. to moisturize the body of your hair. I try to deep condition once in a while, but you do NOT have to follow this. This is completely optional. The idea behind WO is letting sebum do it all. Use at your own discretion.

Check your progress. Reflect on what you’ve been doing and where your hair is at. This can be used to encourage you on your journey, and/or fix some issues. Hair’s excessively oily? You may still be in a transition phase, and need to preen and brush your hair. Check the amount of time you are washing. Hair dry? You may be washing too much, and might want to do some hair massages, and condition the body of your hair in some way until you can distribute the sebum better. On and on it goes.


I do not excessively supplement, and try to get most of my nutrients through whole foods.

I do take biotin, but not regularly. You want to be careful taking this, because it’s a micronutrient. I make sure to drink a hearty amount of water when I take it. I don’t supplement with folic acid, because I believe the proper form is folate. I get these two nutrients by eating two eggs a day, which also supplies protein into my diet, which is good for hair health.

I try to consume gelatin daily. I would like to work up to 6 tbsp. a day. Right now, I’m lucky to get 1 or 2 tbsp. Wellness Mama has an article that lists good tips for healthy hair, including gelatin. Natural Mama just put out a video on gelatin and talks about the benefits it has to health; creating new hair growth, faster hair growth, and generally better hair health. I try to consume gelatin through homemade bone broths, jello, gummy treats, and adding it whatever foods I can manage. I have definitely noticed a difference in my hair, and overall health, since using gelatin, and definitely recommend it. (Below I have listed a topical use for gelatin on your hair.)

I am careful when hydrating. This seems to be a “secret” for healthy hair, but I do not try to consume a certain amount a day. I drink when I am thirsty. Sally Fallon states in her book “Nourishing Traditions”, on page 53 that, “Water is a by-product of carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Thus, a diet that is high in protein but low in fat and carbohydrates can lead to excessive thirst.” Get plenty of good fats (lard, tallow, coconut oil, palm oil, butter, etc.) and carbs (traditional grains, legumes, natural sweeteners, etc.) in your diet; realize that all liquids in your diet hydrate you, and you have to count those, too, not just the cups of water you consume. Use your head.

I supplement with Vitamin C. I try to use a buffered form, ascorbate powder, whole food based (such as Amla-C), or whole foods such as broccoli sprouts or rose hips. You can take as much as your body can handle. I typically take at least 2,000mg a day. 10,000mg if I am ill. I love Vitamin C.

Personal Extra’s

I have already stated that oiling your hair is somewhat controversial, and totally optional. It’s my choice to use some oils because I love the benefits of oil, and with curly hair I find that I need something extra. I hope, as I’ve already said, to become more independent from oils.

I do a protein treatment to my hair about twice a week. (edit: Now only once a month. 8/26) The treatment I use I found on Wellness Mama’s post on gelatin, point number 2. It’s not necessarily a protein treatment, but that’s the closest I get to one. I find it does strengthen my hair, lessens the appearance of any damage on my hair, and conditions my hair. I use it onΒ  my scalp, but it may strip some oils, so use discretion.

Gelatin Protein Treatment
1/2 cup of cool water
1 tbsp. of gelatin
1 tsp. ACV
1 tsp. honey
Apply to hair, dry or wet, and leave at least five minutes, rinse with cool water.

I am constantly wearing my hair down, because I have curly hair, and since I’m putting all this work into it, I want to reap my harvest! lol But the best method is, for the most part, to put your hair in protective hairstyles, such as braids and buns. This prevents friction, tangles, and damage from sun and wind. I tend to oil my length with coconut oil when I do, because my hair ends up absorbing it all before I get to my next wash, preventing the need to use any other sort of cleanser to get rid of excess oils. If you do practice the use of protective hairstyles, make sure you mix it up, alleviating the pressure around the scalp the hairstyle creates, preventing hair breakage. If you leave it down, just be gentle with it.

In Conclusion

I believe I have created a monster. A massive, bloated monster. But since I created it, I’ll be it’s master, and deal with it.

Water Only does take some work. It is healthier for your hair, and it is simple, but it does take time.

Basically, it has it’s pro’s and con’s.

Trust me, I do NOT like methods that take excessive work. That’s why I gave up on the Curly Girl method. It works, it’s gives great results, but I felt restricted and it was too time consuming. With WO, I have more freedom.

So while this is an excessive post, please do not be intimidated. I see a lot of questions, skepticism, and fear against WO-washing, so I felt the need to cover the bases and to give as much information as I could.

You have the ability to experiment. You have the freedom to pick and choose, and work what’s best with you.

Here’s the information, use it as you please.

And for all of those who were just curious, or feel that this isn’t the best method for them, do take some of the tips, because it’s not just only for those who practice Water-Only washing. Whatever style you use, some of the information here could possibly benefit you.

For now, I’m going to use the WO method. I may change in the future. I am forever experimenting. But I am content with where I am and what I’m doing.

I try not to be vain, but I try to take care of what God gave me. (Proverbs 31:30; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Peter 3:3) God created beauty, appreciates it, and we as humans have an appreciation for things that are beautiful. (Col. 1:16; Ecc. 3:11)Β  That’s why I take the effort I do, research the way I do, and inform the way I do.

I hope this post has benefited some, and been informative for the curious minded.

May you have happy hair days, regardless of how you take care if it! πŸ˜‰

Check out my Pinterest boardsΒ My Hair Routine, Hair Things, and A Glory To Her for hair information, tutorials, and inspiration. (Ex. 20:17)



  1. […] The ways I would try to consume gelatin is through drinking broths, eating jello, and adding it do different foods and drinks. I even began to use it topically, as described in my last post about Water Only Hair Washing! […]

    1. Ever since I was little, I’ve struggled with trying to keep my hair healthy. My hair has always tended to go very flat a day, or even a few hours after washing. For awhile I thought the only solution was to wash it every single day, and when that stopped working (the flatness and greasiness got worse) I chopped my waist length hair into a half inch pixie cut.
      It was instant relief. I didn’t have to worry about it being dirty, didn’t even have to think about it. For a long while, that huge chunk cut out of my stress made the pixie feel like heaven. But, not long after, people began to mistake me for my brother…it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. And I began to miss my hair, or rather, I missed the hope of having thick, healthy, non-greasy hair that wasn’t filled with static and didn’t go immediately stringy.

      So, hence I have found myself attempting to go WO. It’s the second day, and for a girl that has honestly been OBSESSED (to the point of tears…it’s bad) with being clean and smelling clean, it’s been extremely hard for me not to get out the soap. So far I’ve gotten by with just rinsing it out in the mornings, but it’s killing me. my hair is just above my shoulders; too short for me to braid, baaarely long enough to put in a pony tail.
      But I’m trying to hang on. I’ve been unhappy with my hair for a very long time, and while products like hairspray gave it volume, it ultimately felt disgusting and itchy. I’m praying that this is the path that will finally give me relief, otherwise I’m chopping it all into a pixie again and keeping it like that through the transition faze of this journey (or forever if this doesn’t work).

      I have just one question, since this article of yours is so well written and pretty much answers anything else I might have asked…do you have any hairstyles that hide the greasy look and don’t give you headaches? My hair is too short for a french braid, and high ponytails kill my scalp (migraine headaches almost), so that’s out. I can’t find anything that doesn’t require hairspray. I’ve thought about going in and getting cornrows, but that seems a wee extreme.

      1. Loose braids, and high-messy buns. The higher the bun, the less strain. The looser the braid, the better, and it’s fashionable!

        Do you have an update to share? Are you still on the method?

  2. Wow!!! I’ve been researching WO washing for a while and this is one of the best postings I’ve seen. Thank you sooo much!! I am also a big Wellness Mama and Nourshing Traditons fan!! πŸ™‚
    I’ve been no poo for a while, but it doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to. I’ve done 2 WO washings in the past 5 days and so far, not too bad. I do find that my hair is extremely tangled when wet, but diluted ACV sprayed on my hair acts as a pretty good detangler.
    Hope things keep improving and thanks again for the information and inspiration!!

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate the compliment and the feedback! πŸ˜€

      There will be some up and downs when doing any hair routine; you and your hair will have to be given time to adjust. As far as the tangling, try applying a little oil (not much to cause greasiness) before showering. I got the same issue when I first started. The best way to deal with it is to distribute the sebum down the hair shaft. The sebum prevents any major tangles for me (I have 3a hair and rarely get tangles now), and I no longer really depend on oil’s beforehand to help detangle. Be cautious when using ACV, as that can actually clean the sebum off the hair shaft! It’s more gentle than Baking Soda, but it still has some of that cleaning action to it.

      Thank you once again! I hope to post an update here soon; I have a few more tips and progress reports to share. Good luck on your hair journey! Feel free to ask questions anytime. :]

      Many Blessings,
      Moriah Jordan

  3. […] lack of washing, and then the oiliness when away and her hair was normal again. (Mentioned in my Water Only Hair Washing article as your hair finding its […]

  4. Thank you for this very informative post! I learned a lot and love your protein treatment recipe. Thanks for linking up at H2W this week!

    1. Thank you for checking out my post and commenting! πŸ˜€ I’m glad it was informative! It’s still a process, learning as I go.

      It was no problem; thank you for offering the chance to share posts via your link up! :]

  5. Halia · · Reply

    I’m so glad I found this website! This is my first day of WO technically. I’ve been poo-free for 3 years only using baking soda solution EVERY DAY! But, I became just as dependent on baking soda as I did with shampoo! Your advice is the best on the web and I will do the steps properly as you have outlined!! When I need to, I will consult this site again! I will consider you my personal coach and I will most likely succeed. It is getting hot and humid now and may present a challenge. I have straight, caucasian hair, but I will still see what works for me! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

    1. I am so glad this article has been so helpful for you!!

      My dependency on baking soda is what led me to seek alternatives as well! I love being WO, and only depending on WATER to cleanse my hair! Can’t get any better than that! πŸ˜€ haha

      Feel free to comment or message me for any questions, or to simply share your progress! I’m more than happy to help out in any way!

      My only advice for you, considering you have straight hair, is to put some oil (I believe I will forever recommend coconut oil) on your hands in the SMALLEST AMOUNT. It should barely make your hands oily! Then run your hands through the body of your hair (ears down) to moisturize your ends and to avoid fly aways and bad reactions to humidity.

      I haven’t had much problem with the humidity, as long as I keep my ends moisturized!

      Many blessings on your hair journey!! Thank you so much for the comments!

      1. Dear Longforthis, I do have one question. It is going on summer. HOT and HUMID causes my hair and scalp to turn into an OIL SPILL! It is so greasy, I look unkempt, sick and homeless in as little as 2 days! How can I do this WO with this much sebum production? As a Christian, I want to look like a Christian at ALL times. I am a minister! I must look my best in my ministry!! Please reply! THANK YOU SO MUCH! πŸ˜€

      2. Do you have a Boar Bristle Brush?
        Have you tried dry shampoo? (cornstarch and/or cocoa poweder)
        How long do you typically wash your hair while in the shower?

      3. Hello, Moriah! Thank you for your quick response! I have a type of boar bristle brush, but unsure if it is synthetic. I use ABUNDANT cornstarch! It, right now, is the only thing to soak up all that sebum (excess that is). Where I live it gets to be 90 to 105 fahrenheit with oppressive humidity. I may use at the end of washing my hair with water, to pour cold water on my head to close the pores some. Also, I put my hair up at night to keep grease from my face from touching my hair. THANKS AGAIN!!! πŸ˜€

      4. I would make sure your BBBrush is 100% natural before using it, because that can do more damage than good. If you’re unsure, then consider purchasing one online that is 100% authentic and natural. I bought mine for under $10, counting the shipping! It’ll do WONDERS. I do mine at night, and the next day my hair will look perfectly fine, as far as oil goes. I have curly hair, so my curls will be ruined, lol.

        It seems like you’re doing everything else right. I would just limit the amount of hair touching, and keep the hair in updo’s for the most part. That’s a good idea in the Summer, anyways, to protect the hair from damage. I would also use mostly cool water when washing your hair. Hot water removes more oil, which can be useful, but for yourself you may want to use cooler water to help you along with your scalp producing so much oil. Something to consider!

        If this is a transitional issue, it should get resolved sooner or later. Just give it time!

  6. I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in the goodness of nature, and it leads more or less to the same conclusions you came to:)
    I decided to start the WO-approach straight away, and haven’t washed my hair for 4 days now. It feels soft en greasy, but I can’t say I mind. I’m planning to go just a little longer without washing, and then really start the WO-approach. I normally wash my hair 2 times a week, and condition it. I have thick, wavy hair that tends to be oily. How long do you think it will take for my hair to get used to washing only with water? And when did your hair started feeling ‘normal’ again?
    Thanks for the great article,

    1. It all depends. It may take longer since you don’t wash your hair very often to begin with. It took a month or so to really start feeling “normal”, and before I got the hang of it. But I had already been No ‘Poo, so that helped.

      If you stick to it, and follow the tips and steps above, your transitional phase should go rather smoothly. Every person is different, so it’s hard to give it a time stamp.

      I will say, though, that since you have wavy hair the Boar Bristle Brush would be perfect for you! Many use the BBB to bring out the hair waves! And it makes your hair feel wonderful! (And aides with the soft factor!)

      I hope everything goes well for you. :]

  7. chalanta st.hilaire · · Reply

    Hello. Do you think that this method can work for a person like me who has African American hair? Because I have 4c hair which is tightly coiled and I’m a stickler when it comes to me having a clean scalp.

    1. I don’t see why not! You may need to practice closely to scritching, and be more methodological in your hair washing to ensure that your hair and scalp gets cleaned.

      If you began your WO journey, at first I would be sure to incorporate different oils, such as Moroccan/Argan or Coconut Oil, to moisturize your curls, and slowly work the sebum down your hair. You may also want to consider wrapping your hair for a period of time during your transition, if you experience dryness or excessive oiliness.

      How long is your hair?

      Traditionally, the African hair was shampoo’d with black soap, then heavily oiled, and then styled. Keeping WO in mind, the goal would be to cleanse your scalp (if you’re worried about a clean scalp, perhaps consider using homemade scalp scrubs) with water, but leaving it purely moisturized with the sebum, which is very protective in nature, and slowly weaning off of other oils, although, even for someone with 3a hair, I still use coconut oil.

      What is your current routine?

  8. Halia · · Reply

    Hello, Moriah! I needed to update you on the WO hair washing. I had real problems with this. I read on-line about WO and type 1 hair, which I have. I have no wave at all. It is very straight. This type of hair gets oily fast. I could not style my hair. After 8 days of WO my hair couldn’t take the regime. I’m back to baking soda and my hair was really thanking me for the luxury! My hair also took on environmental oders that maybe my grandmothers could have accepted, but I couldn’t. But, thank you for your support! I will be reading your entire site soon! You have some good ideas. I too experiment. I make my own deoderant. I find ways to conserve water, electric, etc. I make my own clothes by hand and facial oils with essential oils. I’m about to try a new environmentally friendly project. But, thanks again!!! πŸ˜€

    1. You’re quite welcome! :] I’m glad you gave it a try, but I have no beef with you. I’m satisfied with WO, but within the confines of WO I am always experimenting, lol!

      Thank you for your support. I’m looking forward to more feedback, and hope you’ll find some more use out of my site in the future. :]

  9. Michelle · · Reply

    How often do you wash with water only? That seems to be left out of posts a lot. Is it water only every day, every other day like when I used to shampoo, or like once a week?

    1. I thought I included it in the post but perhaps it was another one, but I wash 2 times a week. Wednesday and Sunday, or Tuesday and Saturday. I have church on Wednesday and Sunday, so it all depends on if I want first day or second day hair.

      You may or many not have to wash more or less than me; it all depends. At first, you may need to wash more frequently. But if you slowly stretch your washes, you’ll find yourself washing less and less.

      Having curly hair, I wash more frequently. Otherwise, I would probably wash my hair once a week, if that much.

  10. nice

    1. Thank you! :]

  11. Hannah · · Reply

    SUPER helpful post, thanks!
    I’m on my third week on WO and it’s been tough but I think the worst of the oil is over. Once (if?)
    my scalp settles down and gets used to the new routine, I really want to incorporate oils. I was thinking maybe castor oil to thicken my hair and macadamia nut to moisturize it. The thing is, these are quite heavy oils, so I’m not sure if they would come out with just WO.
    Have you any experience with these oils or ones similar to these?
    If not, are there any natural cleansing methods that would not disturb my scalps natural balance? Like ones that would preserve the oils?
    I’m thinking egg may be okay if I don’t do I too often.
    Thanks! πŸ™‚

    1. Castor oil is DEFINITELY too thick! When I was No ‘Poo it took two washings using baking soda, which is fairly harsh, to get all the oil out of my hair.

      I don’t use any oils on my scalp. With WO, my scalp is fairly well moisturized with sebum. I have found my hair growing fairly fast and my hair becoming thicker. Same results I found with castor oil, but with less trouble.

      When I do use oils, it’s always on the bottom of my hair, where there’s naturally less oil. I use coconut oil, and used to use apricot. These are fairly light oils, in my opinion. I don’t have much experience with other oils, but have heard great things about jojoba as well.

      If you were to apply oils to your hair, and you needed assistance in washing them out, ACV (apple cider vinegar), black tea rinses, and egg yolk can act as a gentle cleanser. But it may strip your hair some of its natural oils.

      When it comes to WO, there’s going to be a lot of experimentation. This seems to be more of a pioneer age for WO, lol. But that’s the fun of it all! And if your hair is stripped, you may go through a slight transitional phase, but in my experience, it’s just getting the sebum distributed once again.

  12. Hannah · · Reply

    Sorry, in the post above, I meant to ask if there were any cleansing methods that would get rid of the castor oil – or whatever I’m using in my hair – without stripping my natural oils and disrupting the whole WO cycle .

    1. It’s all good, lol! I hope I answered your question. :] Let me know if you have any other questions, or if I misunderstood anything!

      Please keep in touch! I would love to hear any updates from you! Let me know out it all goes, in which I hope it all goes well!

      1. Hi, just an update on the hair routine. I have WO my best and have no regrets, but after a couple months I decided that it wasn’t going to work long term because I have hard water and nothing was getting rid of the buildup good enough. I now use an organic natural shampoo twice a week (used to wash every day) and my hair is much healthier. WO was a great experience and If I ever move to a place with soft water, I will definitely give it another go. I know I would be prepared with all these wonderful tips from your site. Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

      2. I am so glad that you managed to find a routine that works for you! πŸ˜€ I understand completely. It was very hard to get clean hair while staying with a friend who had hard water. I only stayed for a week, so it wasn’t too bad. I may be staying with them longer next time, so I’ll have to find a solution, lol..

        It’s a relief to see that you don’t have any hard feelings for WO. πŸ˜‰ Maybe someday! lol

        Thank you for keeping in touch, I really appreciate it. :]

  13. Stephanie · · Reply

    I work out quite a bit. What would you suggest for a sweaty scalp? Should I rinse after a workout or should I just wait until my next water-only washing? I’m just worried about whether or not my scalp would smell odd. I just started no-poo about a month ago but I find myself wanting to switch to water-only already. One more question: Does hard water affect this process at all? Thanks in advance for your time! This is the best post on water-only washing that I’ve been able to find so far!

    1. Hey, Stephanie!

      I tend to wash my hair only when it feels like it needs washed. After a work out, if it feels oily or dirty, then I’ll wash it. But most of the time, once I give it some time to dry, it’ll be just fine.

      I would just experiment. See how your hair reacts. You may find yourself needing to wash, or rinse, your hair more often.

      What is your hair type?

      If you’re worried about a smell, always consider giving your scalp a spritz of flower or herbal water, like lavender, rose, or rosemary. Just enough to give your scalp some refreshment. I haven’t tried this out myself, since I don’t have the problem (I work out only a couple times a week, and normally on my wash days) but it shouldn’t hurt anything. Just make sure it’s pure and you don’t drench your hair. The only concern I can think of is your hair may appear more oily. If that’s the case, you can always apply some dry shampoo. (Cocoa powder, cornstarch.)

      Hard water does effect the process. I had been water only for a couple months, and stayed at a friends house where they had hard water. My hair became THICK. Like, when I was washing my hair, it felt hard, lol. I felt that next time, I may do a (very) diluted apple cider vinegar rinse next time, or perhaps a black tea hair rinse. Something, lol. But it all depends on the area, how hard the water is, and your hair type.

      I hope this all helps!

  14. I found your article through pinterest and had to try it. I am an older gal who covers her gray. As I have aged my hair has gotten thinner. I would wash it with typical shampoos and it would be fine and limp and would not hold any curl. So I would load up on products trying to make it look fuller and hold curl. All of this made it look dull and the curl would fall out within a few hours. Also my color would fade very quickly. Between the detergents and oils in products it strips color. I am so blessed to have found this article. I started cold turkey… WO right off. I could not believe the difference with the first washing. My hair dried full instead of fine and limp and weeks later it is still perfect in color, no fading. This is amazing to me. I don’t produce as much oil so I wash my hair 3 to 5 days as needed. Thank you so much!!!

    1. You’re so very welcome!! I am so glad it’s working so well for you!!

      I found that I saw results immediately after as well, didn’t have much of a transition phase! Although, I was no poo beforehand.

      If you have any more questions, or just want to chat, feel free to come back! I’d love to hear more updates!

      Many blessings!!

  15. hi! i love your blog and it’s good to read from a fellow Christian πŸ™‚ i haven’t showered for nearly a week and have not yet decided whether to do WO or low poo (shea butter). what do you recommend? my scalp gets oily but my hair is pretty dry.. i want my hair to be healthy and look good!

    1. Hello! Glad to see your comment. πŸ˜€

      I’m not very knowledgeable on the subject of low poo, specifically using shea butter, but from what I’ve seen you could probably go for low poo at first, see how your hair reacts, and then transition to water only, if you so desire.

      In my hair care journey, I basically went from shampooing, to “no poo”, to curly girl, to (I guess) low poo, then water only. (Essentially.) You have to keep in mind that with each different hair routine, your hair will have a transitional period. Your hair may become drier, oiler, or whatever for a little while, but eventually balance out later. It all depends on your will power and how far you are willing to go, lol!

      For what you described, I think going low poo first may be a good try. If it fits into your budget and lifestyle, it may work best for you! Although, as you know, I do love water only!

      1. Hello longforthis,
        I have been researching WO articles and yours is the best! πŸ™‚ thank you soo much for this, very informative
        I work out about 5 to 6 times a week. I live in an area where its hot and humid. I find that I wash (shampoo and condition) my hair every single day, after my workouts.. I have noticed that my hair is super dry (has no natural oils what-so-ever!!!) , especially at the ends. I have very thick hair (thanks to my father) a lot of volume, and not to mention very long hair. My question is, will my hair/scalp begin to smell weird since I don’t shampoo???? I know you mentioned using dry shampoo or to spray a mixture or water and lavender on the scalp. But will that actually help? Have you tried it.?

      2. I have thin hair, so when I work out, it’s normally not too big of a problem. I’ll spritz my hair, or work out on a wash day. But I have never noticed an odor, even when working out with my kettlebell and spending long days outside.

        I think it’s important to know whether or not you’re in your transitional phase, and if you are properly keeping your scalp clean. If you have excess skin cells stuck on your scalp, there’ll be a bigger chance for moisture and bacteria to be harbored. So if you scritch, massage, and brush on a regular basis, you should be able to prevent that.

        You may just have to try it out, and see how it works out. It may be hard during the transition, but the length of time for transitioning is different for everyone.

        Since your hair seems very dry, before attempting WO I would try and go slow and try out different methods of cleaning.

        How about trying to balance your pH level of your hair, and spending time conditioning it first?

        This is (coconut) milk based: http://almostexactlyblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/ph-balanced-no-poo-shampoo/
        This is honey based: http://empoweredsustenance.com/diy-honey-shampoo/

        I would try this out first and give it a couple months. Then later if you wish to try out WO, it may give you an easier transition. And since you have thick, long hair it may be important to pamper your hair first. πŸ˜‰ Especially considering the humidity.

        Hope this all helps!

  16. JBOBryn · · Reply

    High levels of ARSENIC AND LEAD have been discovered in mass produced BENTONITE.


    1. Thank you for the information!

      There have been issues with clays containing different metals. Some are naturally occurring, others are present due to the manufacturer. When ordering clay, make sure to order from a well trusted site.

      If anyone is concerned with metals in clays, I would ask that they do their own research; look at multiple sources; and perhaps test yourself through your doctor for metals.

      But if one is too concerned with bentonite, there are other clays that are considered safer, or you could skip it altogether. :]

  17. Minguer · · Reply

    Great amazing article.
    I am a dude, a man, a male with long curly hair. Lately my hair seems a lot more dry than before, and I’m seriously considering this. No matter what I do it’s always the same. A lot of great advices that I will consider in the next month or so and see what happens.

    Thanks again for all the info, I know it muist be weird to see a guy around, but hey! You have indeed beautiful hair.

    1. Thank you! I am so glad this was a help to you.

      Have you considered or tried WO yet? If you do give it a try, give it at LEAST three months. Heck, that may not be long enough, depending on how long your transition might take! You could always transition by switching to less detergents, or other methods of cleaning the hair. Many men I know seem to have no problem switching, since they typically use less products.

      Thank you so much! Due to going No ‘Poo (led to imbalanced pH levels), I had some damage and cut off a couple inches of my hair. So now I’m really trying to take care of it. Glad it’s noticeable! LOL

      Your quite welcome! Please feel free to comment or contact me, and let me know how it all works out for you! :]

      btw, in the mean time for your dry hair, you may want to try different conditioning methods and oils to moisturize your ends, especially since you have curly hair. Curly hair is always susceptible to dryness, even when doing WO. My hair loves coconut oil. I apply a tiny amount each day. It makes a great difference.

  18. Rosance · · Reply

    Wow…I don’t think you are completely aware of it Moriah, but this is THE MOST HELPFUL POST regarding WO! I have no questions now. You have made my journey through WO sound so much easier than I though and bearable. Today is my first WO day; I did this before reading your post and realized that I should’ve found it sooner. Thank you so much for such an abundant information πŸ™‚

    1. I keep hearing that sentiment, but it really isn’t sinking in. LOL

      My inspiration for writing this post was due to the lack of information out there, and that there wasn’t one solid source. It literally took a whole day total to write this post. (The hours; this took a lot of editing, lol.)

      People respond to WO in different ways. My transition was easier than most because I had transitioned to No Poo then was essentially following WO when I went full WO. It all depends on lifestyle and environment, I’ve found, however!

      I really hope WO works out for you! I love it, and wouldn’t go back to shampoo’s. As long as I don’t neglect scritching, preening, brushing, and moisturizing my ends (since it’s curly), it works like a dream. πŸ˜‰

      Please keep in touch with your progress! I learn a lot from people commenting on here, and love the community!

  19. Wow, your article is definitely the best you can find on this topic online. It answered absolutely all of my questions. Well done! I’ve been doing the Water Only Experiment for 20 days now, and I am documenting it on my blog. I’ve mentioned your post as a brilliant resourse, I would really recommend it to anyone (my blog is http://eccelavita.blogspot.com)So far the experiment is going well, apart from some flakiness and greasiness, but I guess it’s normal. Before this, I was doing the no-poo method for a while, so I guess that makes the transition as well- By the way, I’ve just bought hair scissors, and I’m going to try my own layers tonight. That’s the ultimate frugal test for me! πŸ™‚ Thank you for this super informative post!

  20. I’ve been washing my hair with only water for about 10 years… mine is short, about 2 1/2″, and I just rub my head vigorously under the shower with one of those 59 cent pocket combs (oval shape, short hard bristles, made for crew cuts I think) for a minute or so. Feels great, seems to have worked well all these years.

  21. thecrunchyfox · · Reply

    Hello there – do you have any advice for going no poo with hard water? I’ve been at it for a month now, and my hair is no where near the end of transition – it’s pretty much pasted to the back of my head with grease – mmmm, lovely! I was thinking of trying a soap nut shampoo bar and wondered if you or any of your readers had any experience with this?



    1. I had the same issue with the grease being in the back of my head. I think that’s still the transitional issue.

      Do you have a boar bristle brush?

      Here are some resources for the hard water!



      1. Hey – thanks for the response – I have a BBB and use it often. I’ve done some research on the issue of hard water and found that adding just a drop of lemon juice to the rinse water stops the minerals from building up on the hair shaft – since doing this each wash I’ve noticed a huge difference to my hair – I’ve also started to use a soapnut shampoo bar – whilst I will definitely get to washing with water only at some stage in my life, right now I need to be presentable every day, as I run a pub, and seeing the landlady with greasy hair puts the punters off their pints! πŸ˜‰

      2. That’s great that you found that out about lemon juice! I’ll have to try it next time I visit my friends who have hard water! πŸ˜‰ Also, I am glad that you found something that works for you! I’ve seen people use soapnut bars to wash their hair; glad to finally know someone who actually uses them! lol

        I don’t blame you. πŸ˜‰ Being presentable is an important thing! I do not hesitate to use dry shampoo if I need it! LOL

    2. @thecrunchyfox, when you say you added a drop of lemon juice to the rinse, you mean final rinse? I also have hard water and am having a little bit of problems with my transition to WO. If you are having better hair that is even presentable, I NEED TO KNOW!

      1. Hi Luisa – I take a big jug in the shower with me now, and rinse my hair a few times with the lemon water – I take a segment of lemon in there with me! And I also did an egg wash, you wouldn’t believe how good your hair is afterwards!

  22. First of all, I’d really like to thank you for writing such a thorough and informative article on washing with water only. I never knew that such a thing existed until I stumbled upon your site. You basically covered every possible question a person who might want to try this out could possibly have.

    I’ve been washing my hair with shampoo and conditioner twice a day (I have super thin, oily, straight Asian hair) and decided to drop everything – cold turkey – in order to try your WO method out. I’ve been under a lot of stress recently which has also caused a disturbingly awful breakout of painful / itchy acne on my scalp.

    This is my 5th day WO and so far so good. The first two days I got some dandruff, dryness and an increase in itchiness. Invested in a nice wooden scritching brush and nearly eliminated the itching and dandruff entirely. The acne has stopped getting worse… Hopefully it’ll quickly go away. I just have one question. After I wash my hair WO, it dries pretty quickly but kind of clumps together and still looks wet, especially towards the ends of the hair. Is this normal? Will it eventually start to look normal again?

    Okay, I lied. I have one more question. I separate my hair with my hands, scratch, and then use a BBB before showering. Is it better to comb my hair after the shower or just leave it because it wasn’t tangled going in?

    1. You’re so welcome! I am glad that you find my post so useful. :]

      How consistent are you in using your BBB brush? What is your routine with it?

      As for the scalp acne, consider incorporating essential oils like lavender, mint, and tea tree in a final rinse! Add five or so drops (or less) in a cup of water; rinse over your scalp; leave for at least five minutes; then rinse. If you wish to avoid the oils, consider rinsing your scalp with chamomile tea. Or both! lol I didn’t have any issues using EO’s in my hair using the WO method. I am using tea tree oil for dandruff.

      If there’s no need to comb your hair after a shower, then don’t do it! lol With you having straight hair, I would recommend brushing it after the shower, with a wooden comb or a BBB. The hair is more fragile when wet, so it’s best to leave it alone. If anything, just finger comb.

  23. Well, I’m back!!! This transition seems to be coming to its end, it’s been more than a month and I have noticed some changes. At least it doesn’t look worse! LOL I have heard a lot about coconut oil, but I have problems finding it. Maybe I’m going to the wrong stores.
    The other thing is that I moght be suffering from dandruff, or could it be just dry scalp? I don’t notice it when shaking my head, but sometimes there are little white pieces of stuff in my shoulders, not many but they are definitely there, would you recommend using one of those shampoos and then going back to WO? Or should I stop worrying (as I have done so far)? Thanks, your blog rules the WOrld.LOL

  24. What do you suggest for hard water? (like HARD water, I need to put vinegar in the water heater very often). Up till now I tried washing with soap, but it’s just not working out. I use so much water trying to rinse it out… and using distilled water means cold water since it comes directly from the dehumidifier, and while I don’t mind doing a final rinse with cold water, a whole shower just is not an option. I read on here about using lemon juice, or any other acidic thing really, but I’m wondering, if there’s really no way to make it work without having to juggle with bottles of water-mixed-with-this-and-that as I find it pretty impracticable.

    Buying a filter doesn’t really work, I don’t have the money. (also, a filter just ADDS components to the water to level it out, it doesn’t filter stuff away)

    Also, to all people interested in natural methods, please first read up on your chemistry. pH levels are so important. That’s why using soap/baking soda actually isn’t all that good, the pH level is too high. (skin is slightly acidic, soap and baking soda go over pH=8, pH being exponential). And leveling it out with an ACV rinse afterwards just makes it so that your hair goes from one extreme to the other.

    1. Sara, here are some links you might find useful:



      Here’s an interesting article just for the fun of it!


      It may help to have the pH levels of your water checked out. It may give you a good starting point.

      Unfortunately, with hard water, you may have to use something. Even in areas that do not have hard water, filters are almost a necessity due to the chemicals in the water. Even with WO, I supplement my hair care routine with tea tree oil, gelatin, tea rinses, etc. treatments. Experimentation is key; and you gotta do what you gotta do.

  25. […] The Long Hair Community Forum 2. Written For Our Learning Blog 3.Β Mint & Chilli […]

  26. Christyn · · Reply

    I am so excited to try this method out! Thank you for the all the detail! I have fine curly hair that looks similar to yours so I am hopeful it will turn out succesfull!

  27. Correct me if I am wrong but you say you have curly hair and use oils. Do you really think that water can remove oils? Not the case…and when you keep putting more oil on without sufficiently removing the previous, Ok let me speak for myself…how do you say SPLIT ENDS! The build up is very very drying.

    Cocamidopropyl betaine can remove oils, but the build up from these alternative cleansers also must be removed. Why not just shampoo less often? Your hair can be just as healthy if not healthier.

    1. If anyone is noticing damage from this routine, then I advise them to stop. The point of WO is to be independent of all products, using only the oil from your scalp; sebum. I find that my hair works best with additional oils. Occasionally, I’ll use tea rinses, gelatin protein treatments, and every blue moon an ACV rinse. I see my hair improve after this.

      Thanks for the tip, though. If anyone see’s an increase of damage, they can heed your warning. :]

  28. You have made my life much easier! It’s great to start something knew having someone, that has gone through the same thing, to give tips and encouragement. Thank you!!
    Just one question. Do you brush between washes? If so, how often? Thanks!

    1. Yes, I do.

      Depends on how my hair is acting! lol I may do it once, three times, or every night before my next wash. :]

      I’m glad you found this post to be helpful! πŸ˜€

    2. Yes, I do. How often I do so depends on how my hair is acting; sometimes once, three, or every night before my next wash. :]

      I’m glad you found this post to be useful for you!

  29. I’m really glad you posted this. I decided to go cold turkey 6 weeks ago (I was a 1-2x.wk washer). The first month, my hair was a sticky, greasy mess (very hard water here- nothing but ponytails to hide the grease for me!). I tried systematically going over every section of my hair and trying to move the oils down, but it didn’t seem to help (and I got a gross sticky film on my fingers). I broke down and used a small amount of shampoo twice the first month, just on the crown where there seemed to be no hope.

    Gradually, I started to see that around the edges my hair was not as greasy, but the crown was still horrible. I remembered you said not to linger under the water too long as it might remove too much of the oil (I had been trying really hard to get the back of my head clean with just the water!), so I started doing a very quick rinse in hot water and man, that has made all the difference!

    I brush out my hair, then flip my head over and scrub my scalp with my fingers, breaking up any oily clumps and pulling the oil away from my scalp. Then, a quick rinse in the shower, and once it dries I can wear my hair down. I have hair that is long, mostly straight (very long waves) and fine (but there’s a lot of it), so it tends to go flat, but since I went WO, and especially over the past week (week 6) I have so much volume in my hair it’s ridiculous. The stickiness is going away, and I’ve even been able to get a good french braid again.

    I’m really glad I didn’t give up on it. Thank you so much for your post (and above comments)!

    1. That is so awesome! What an encouragement! Thank you so, so much for sharing! πŸ˜€ I really do appreciate it!

      I hope this continues! It sounds like you found your groove! Keep in touch! :]

  30. Aphrodite · · Reply

    Hi there, I’ve been trying the WO method for about a week and a half now.
    I went cold-turky and I skipped the backing soda method.
    Currently my hair feels like a giant heavy greaseball, something alien on my head…
    But my hear is already very good-looking! It looks shiny and voluminous, and my individual hairs do feel really soft. At the moment, it’s hard to endure having a giant greaseball on my head.
    Hopefully it’ll improve in the future.

  31. Oh help. It’s been three weeks now and my head looks like something you could fry food on. I’ve only been using water to wash it, but it’s not getting any better. Horrible sticky mess. I’m making sure that I’m rinsing it properly with just water, but I’m wondering if I’m removing too much oil with the water? I’m not using any other products, just water. Is it just going to take a while longer?

    1. I’m sorry for the delay in responding to your comment! How have you been since leaving this comment! It sounds like you’re in the transitional phase. This could last a couple weeks, to a month or so. It’s different for every person. I would try using dry shampoos to help stretch washes, and use a cooler temperature when washing your hair if you believe your scalp is still putting out excess oils.

      God speed!

  32. First I want to thank you deeply for sharing your experience, and for this very enlightening post!
    Probably this is the best post about WO I’ve ever seen on the internet! Thank you very very much!
    I’m doing no poo been two months. I chose to use only bicarbonate and apple cider vinegar in ALL my washes hair rotine. These two elements together are really wonderful!
    But I began to notice dryness in hair length, then concludes that the frequency of this practice should be reduced, and if possible adopt WO as the only way to wash hair.
    It’s been a week since I’m doing WO, and so far it seems everything is normal, however it’s too early to draw conclusions.
    I really enjoyed WO since the first time, but I have two questions and I don’t know if you could help me with them, well……….
    My first question is about coconut oil: Can I moisten my hair with oil before WO? only warm water and brush can remove it?
    And second: I’m Brazilian, I live in SΓ£o Paulo, BUT unfortunately it’s very difficult to find a brush with boar bristles, and meeting some are always extremely expensive! I really don’t know why :/
    For this reason I bought the brush ‘Tangle Teezer’ model “aqua splash”, which is intended to be used in the bath, do you know this brush? Brush promises better spread products over the hair strands during washing (like shampoo, conditioner, etc), SO…… I thought……………………
    “probably the brush must be efficient to spread the sebum along the wires during washing and brushing”
    and a detail: I just bought the “aqua” model because I already have the traditional model, and the brush is really excellent for dry hair!
    So my dear…. what do you think about my questions?
    Anyway…… thanks a lot again! thank you very very much!
    Let’s go to destroy “the mafia cosmetics industry”!!!! hahahaha just kidding
    hugs and God bless you! πŸ™‚

    1. I would moisturize before washing your hair in the shower. Not too heavy, but you’ll have to experiment and see how much is too much, or too little, for you. Warm water and combing can remove some of the oil, but not all of it.

      What I prefer to do right now is have the last day before I wash my hair a “braid day.” I oil my length, braid it throughout the day and night. The morning I wash my hair, it’s already been thoroughly oiled and absorbed. Whatever is left on my length normally gets rinsed off.

      The brush should work! Perhaps not as well as a BBB or a wooden comb, but any brush will help distribute the oils on your hair! I use a tangle teezer in the shower and love it. :]

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad this post has helped you! Hearing that is a great encouragement to me. :] You’re so very welcome. I just wanted to share any information that might help others; it’s the information I wanted when I first started out.

      Hugs to you, and may God bless you, too! πŸ˜‰

      P.S. Yes, down with the cosmetic industry mafia! LOL

  33. Hi, Moriah!!! I’m still using the baking soda on my hair, but maybe less often because of something YOU possess–wavy hair! Every night I put my straight hair in a high ponytail and then put 3 or 4 pin curls on it. And, Voila! Thick, fluffy hair and less washing of it! But, that’s not all I’m posting about. Recently, people are tossing their body soaps in the trash going WATER ONLY SHOWERS! If this safe? I believe that the soap industry is telling us that if we don’t buy their product, we are dirty. But, what about all the harmful chemicals going into the body and the dry, flaky skin, and my allergies to soap? Moriah, is it clean to shower without soap? Thousands of people are ditching the soap and body gels!!! I need your input since you basically did this with your hair!!!!!!

    1. This is something I’ve been looking into as well. I don’t use a whole lot of soap when bathing, only where it’s necessary. As with your scalp, if you cleanse your skin too often your body will put out more excess oils, and/or you may find your skin becoming very dry. I think the important thing is exfoliating, yet there is a danger in doing that and irritating the skin.

      I believe it’s possible to ditch a lot of the cleansing products when it comes to your body, but I do think it’s important to use some sort of cleanser. For some, exfoliating with a rag or something may be all you need. For others, a very gentle soap may be best.

      I was a minimalist before hand. I never used a body wash. I always stuck with bars of soap, and only when necessary.

      I think, like with the WO method, people will just have to experiment and see what works best for them! Everyone is so different, and all have different needs. What works for one person may not work for the other. However, I do know that some people work too hard at being clean and only cause damage to themselves. So perhaps, at first, work with “less is more”? I think we saw this with the No ‘Poo method, which led to the WO method. :]

      If I find any information about it, I’ll let you know!

      Thank you for your comment! I’m so happy you’ve found something that works for you. :]

  34. Julian Plested · · Reply

    Hi there! This all seems like great advice, but I wonder if I can ask some specific questions? I am a middle aged man with a pretty good head of (wavy grey) hair, although it is receding a bit. I like to keep it short on the sides and longish on top. I want to do all I can to retain my hair and to keep it looking good. Can I adapt the WO method for my specific case? If so, how often should I wash it and what is the optimum temperature of the water? Oh, and I swim a couple of times a week in a pool but can’t bear to wear a cap. Is it ok just to wash in water after a swim, or maybe it won’t get all the chlorine out? What do you think? Thanks a lot!

    1. The WO method should work fine for you! You may find you don’t have to wash your hair very often at all, and it shouldn’t take long for you to clean your hair in the shower. Simply massage your scalp while rinsing your hair for a few minutes, if that long. That should be all you need to do! I would keep the temperature at a warm temperature. Cold is best for the hair and scalp, but I normally do a cold rinse at the end of the shower. I find warm water is more cleansing than cold.

      As for the chlorine, you may want to do a baking soda rinse every once in a while. It will help get the chlorine out of your hair. Technically, this should be done after every exposure to chlorine. Perhaps try using Club Soda, and rinse with that after swimming? Time will tell if that will effect you following the WO or not. Considering your length, it shouldn’t be an issue.

      You’re very welcome! Hope this helps!

  35. Anonymous · · Reply

    I’m on day 11 od WO method. Day 1 I did a cheap $1 clarifying shampoo on my hair with a tiny bit of baking soda mixed in it. I then finished off with ACV (organic kind). I did my first WO rinse on day 5 and so far I like what I’m seeing. I’ll be on day 12 tomorrow and that’s when I’ll do my 2nd rinse.

    I stayed clear from the baking soda and ACV method because I read that it can be more damaging to your hair in the long run. That’s when I did some research on something different and found the WO method. I am really glad I found this method. My hair is thanking me for it and my curly hair looks nicer now than they ever have. I usually flat iron my hair, but I think I will reduce the straight hair look once my hair gets longer than where it’s currently at. I went to Sally’s a couple of days ago to find a better heat protectant for my hair, but I ended up buying another bottle of what I already use which is alcohol free and has aloe vera and natural oils in it. That is the only hair product I put in my hair. I am contemplating on what I should do with all of my other hair products. I could give them to family or throw them out. I most likely will give them to my SO mom. Should I keep my hair products around for a little longer or just get rid of them since I no longer have a use for them?

    Thanks for the detailed blog. Very much appreciated.

    1. Hello! I’m glad this method seems to be working so well for you.

      Yes, the traditional No ‘Poo method tends to mess up the pH of your scalp and hair and can cause damage to your hair in the long run. That’s what I found to be the case for me. Those who have straight hair tend to get less damage from No ‘Poo, but those with curly hair tend to have hair that’s more dry and susceptible to damage.

      I would keep your products a little longer. I find myself experimenting every once in a while, so it may be worth to keep them for that purpose. However, if you really don’t think you’d use them, and they might only be a temptation for you, then I would either 1) give them away or 2) toss them. I’m a little frugal, so it is harder for me to get rid of things like that, but then again it normally only creates useless clutter. πŸ˜‰

      You’re very welcome! Thank you for sharing your experience!

  36. Anonymous · · Reply

    For those of you who have to deal with hard water you can always buy a shower head filter. If you’re traveling then you can use bottled water. Luckily for me I don’t have to deal with hard water.

  37. Anonymous · · Reply

    Halia, I have heard of and read about people throwing out their body wash and soap and only using water. I am curious to how that has worked for those who do it. I think your best bet is to Google about it.

  38. […] natural “no poo” methods used to periodically cleanse the hair, brushing was used to redistribute oils throughout the hair, keeping it soft and […]

  39. I found this after having been frustrated with years of horrid product allergies that I misdiagnosed as dandruff and greasy scalp. I have type 3a curls as well and have done the curly girl method or some mutation thereof for 2 years. I’m on day 10 and my grease seems to be slowing down, which is great.

    My question is about brushing: can the tangle teezer work as a substitute for the BBB in moving sebum down the hair? I’m finding that the BBB straightens/waves my curls. Not sure if I should invest in the wooden comb or the tangle teezer to keep my curls intact between washes.

    Thanks for the post! Great work!

    1. A wooden brush would work better for curls. But honestly, scritching and preening work best and avoiding brushes all together when you have curls.

      How did the method work for you? Are you still on it?

  40. […] which has recently led to the next phase after No-Poo Method (poo is referring to shampoo) into the Water Only Method. The other experiment is perfecting my needle felted mittens (which I’m likely to end up […]

  41. I am very interested in trying this method, but wondered if you had any thoughts on how the oil would disburse for short hair. I have a pixie cut and wonder if it would be possible to avoid the oily look.
    Also, I currently use product in my hair to give it some flare. I want to ween out of it to something less damaging. Have you come across anything in your research?

    1. Use some dry shampoo! You can make your own using cornstarch, and some cocoa powder if you’re a brunette. It should also give you some volume.

  42. Thankyou for posting this. I’m 36 years old & recently in the past month started this water only washing. I’ve been using my 2 in 1 combo shampoo product for a lnog time , but recently with my health up & down I found that my scalp was sensitive & felt like it burned,but left no reaction. When I went “cold turkey” my scalp feels better. Yes I could have switched products, but still didnt want to take the chance of a reaction. So thankyou for this post. Today was my second wash (I try to do it weekly) & so far so good.

  43. I’ve had this page bookmarked for quite a while. Decided today to go cold turkey and dive in. My hair looked and felt soooo great after just the first wash. This is the most comprehensive post on the WO method I’ve come across. The only thing I changed was I detangled my hair in four sections and braided each section after I was done. I left the braids in for the washing process until I was ready to wash the body of my hair. I have curly kinky hair so moving the sebum takes more work but I’m ready to give it a go for the long haul.

  44. I want to grow my hair another 6 inches so it will be to my hips,
    I want to try this because I hate shampoo, it makes my hair really dry!
    but does this really clean your hair? Make your hair sanitary I mean? I have ocd so that’s a big issue

    1. Yes, it does. This method is not for everyone. If you’re considered about cleanliness, look into gentle ways of cleansing, such as using natural products (egg yolk, for example) or diluted castile soap.

  45. rhodes95 · · Reply

    I am wanting to try the WO method, but I have a coupleof questions. Which BBB brush do you think would be good for a fine, but lots of it wavy haired gal, the soft or medium? Also, you said a wooden brush is good too, but I am confused bt what you mean, do you mean just a regular wooden handled brush? If you could post a link or pic so I can see what I am looking for, it would be great ! And I really enjoyed reading this and am excited to get started.

  46. I tried to post yesterday, but don’t know what happened, so please forgive me if this posts twice. I am interested in trying the water wash method, but had a couple of questions first. What type of BBB brush do you think would work best for fine (but a ton of it) wavy hair (soft or medium)? Also, you said a wooden brush would be good to have too, but I am confused as to what you mean by a wooden brush. Do you mean just a wooden handled brush? Thank you for your help and for writing the article, it is very good.

    1. I would start with soft, and break your hair into different sections and brush. If that’s not enough, purchase medium. It’s never a mistake to have a variety of brushes, especially good quality BBB. :]

      How did you do on the method? Are you still on it?

  47. Dear longforthis,

    I’ve been curious about this method of washing hair for a long time but I have never tried it. What you’ve posted is so detailed and informative that I would like to give it a try in a in the near future! However I have a few questions. How would this method work for shorter hair? Should I use any products during the transition and how should I hide my greasy hair during this? I have very thick wavy hair (2c) that is neck length which always tends to get sticky/waxy in the back after washing. I wash my hair 2 times a week using sulfate and paraben free moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Please help! I would really love to have healthier hair.

    1. People with short hair have the advantage: you should experience a shorter transition period, or at LEAST have your full length covered in sebum faster than someone with long hair. Since you don’t wash your hair often, you have a double advantage!

      Did you ever follow the method?

  48. Help! I decided to jump into water only after 2 weeks of no-‘poo with the “holy grail” shampoo from Almost Exactly (honey, Redmond clay, water, ACV) followed by an ACV rinse. The ends of my curly hair are soooooo dry! I thought water only might help that. Even though I’m a curly I use my BBB and brush at least a couple of times a week – usually right before bed and right before I’m planning to “wash” it. Thursday was my first water only wash and I love the way my hair went from grease ball to clean. I had previously washed it with that “holy grail” no-‘poo the previous Saturday night – so it had been a solid 5 days. In the shower my hair was super tangly and after I got out I even coconut oiled the ends and it’s still super dry feeling from about my ears down – and it only reaches my shoulders when it’s dry and curly. I’m trying to grow it out. I’m hesitant to do a coconut oil mask because I’m afraid to use anything to get the coconut oil out lest it dry it out even further. To be fair, my hair has been badly mistreated (coloring/heat styling) for years. I’m just not sure what to do to help it at this point. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

    1. This was probably part of the transition period. After a while the sebum on your scalp will travel to your ends. Oils, such as jojoba, would work best. Coconut oil may be more drying.

      How did it work for you? Are you still on the method?

  49. I haven’t reached a WO stage yet, but for about a month now I’ve been washing my hair with Shampoo or shower gel about twice a week (every 3-4 days) while washing it with just water other days, every day in between. I am male with wavy/soft curly textured caucasian hair, medium thickness.

    I used to condition my hair every day when I was school age, since I got into that revolving door situation of greasy hair – washing it because it was greasy and needed it, but therefore making it more greasy. On top of the greasiness issue my hair also looked very dry and wispy immediately after washing, especially in the front where I have it longer. Since starting university I went through a stage of washing with shower gel instead of shampoo or conditioner, but it basically has the same effect.

    I went partially WO for 3-4 days at a time about a month ago and already I can see and feel a difference. It looks healthier after washing and feels softer, and it actually feels cleaner since it isn’t getting so greasy as quickly. Not sure yet if I’ll go completely WO since I’m finding this current routine I have is working well, but might give it a go, nothing to lose really. Thanks for the advice πŸ™‚

  50. Courtney · · Reply

    I’ve done a LOT of research into natural hair care, but this is by far the most thorough write-up I’ve ever seen. Thank you! I’ve been using the no poo method for nearly a year (and used it for nearly two years once before), but I’ve been thinking about giving WO a try. This will be a fantastic guide to help get me started!

    I also wanted to comment for those who are questioning throwing away their soap and body wash products. DO IT! πŸ˜€ Aside from some experimentation here and there, I’ve never used soap or other products to clean my body because I’ve never seen the point. My body gets clean just from the water. Plus, those products typically have the same kinds of synthetic chemicals and yucky “fragrance” and “natural color” ingredients as hair products.

    I keep one bar of castile soap (nothing but goat milk and olive oil for ingredients) in the shower to shave my legs with, but that’s it. I don’t smell and I feel perfectly clean. Before you throw everything out, you can set it aside and try going without for a while. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! πŸ™‚

  51. Well! I never knew there was such a thing as WO. Ive been getting myself into knots trying different no-poo methods and different conditioners, with the latest experiment landing me in a bit of trouble and a sore scalp. So this evening I decided enough is enough, I’m going to wash my hair with water only and ACV when needed. But I thought I’d check to see if anyone has tried it and stumbled on this post. Thank you! It’s very informative and I will definitely give it a try tomorrow!

  52. Kyoung11 · · Reply

    I have oily hair, but still needed a conditioner at the same time to protect my color treated hair – and the Shielo Color Protect line works perfectly. Even if you do not put color in your hair. It makes my hair shine and the shampoo is not heavy. This is one of the first shampoos that has really worked for me, and the Shielo conditioner did not leave my hair oily at all.

  53. canarycreams · · Reply

    thanks for such an informative post!! i have straight, thick hair, and this is so helpful!

  54. Hi there! Great post, helped me a lot in my water only routine. One thing I’m wondering though is what kind of shampoo you use to clean your brushes with? I’m from Sweden so have been using a swedish brand, but now I’m in Canada and have no idea what shampoos are qualified and what’s not! Please help, I’m running out!

    1. You can use anything from diluted castile soap, to a drugstore shampoo. Anything will do. :]

  55. chantalncube · · Reply

    I’m very interested in trying this method on my Kinky 4b hair. I’ve been conditioner washing every week and shampoo washing every month and it seems to be working for me so I think I’ll gradually eliminate products cz it definitely isn’t cost effective! I’m going to college soon and the thought of washing my hair with water only sounds good to my pockets lol

  56. Thanks to my father who shared with me about this web site,
    this weblog is really remarkable.

  57. Hi! I am so happy I found your blog. I have read different articles and blogs on water only washing and I’ve found yours to be the most informative. I have been doing the no poo method for maybe a couple of months now and I don’t love it. I feel like I lose more hair in the shower than I did with my shampoo and conditioner. I am a curly myself. I started to think that maybe water only might work. Your info has convinced me to try it!

    I will say that I have gone no soap on my skin for the past three weeks now and my skin feels softer than ever, EVER! Every soap made me itch, no matter how natural and I finally gave it all up after reading several blogs for water only on the skin. I will say that I use a washcloth once or twice a week if I feel any grime (mostly after working up a good sweat). Even the hair on my legs grows back softer now. Amazing. I can go an extra day without shaving! lol

    I do use all natural henna to color my hair every four to six weeks. It is very difficult to rinse out, especially if one has curly hair. I wonder if the water only method would help with that or not. I would not even use henna if I did not have grey hairs. I am a very youthful 44! Anyway, thank you so much for sharing this information and your experiences. I can’t wait to give it a go.

  58. I have very curly hair and was a bit confused reading your curly comments – could you summarize your adaptation of this method for people with curly hair? Thank you!

    1. For curly hair, I would not use a boar bristle brush (unless your hair is just wavy), and would consistently oil the body if your hair daily. Ultimately, I left the method since my curly hair just wasn’t loving the method too much. It did work (I got some great curls!) but I wanted to nourish my hair a little better. Scritching and preening worked best, and watering the hair (spritzing with water, or scrunching) in the morning helped revive the curls. After two or three day hair, braiding and bunning with oil helped my hair to stay healthy, and look nice.

  59. Can I do this if I color my hair still?

    1. I would say yes, but I would use oils to help moisturize your hair. I’m not familiar with how hair dye works, but you may not be a “pure” WO depending on what is required when you dye your hair.

  60. Hayley · · Reply

    Thanks for all the info! I’ve got a question that I could use your expertise on..
    I’ve been using the water only methods for 3.5 weeks but my hair is still very waxy.. I tried using apple cider vinegar twice and it helped detangle my hair, but made it even more waxy- I was thinking maybe the vinegar is pushing the excess wax out? I usually put my hair in a bun on the top of my head while it’s still wet. How long do you think it’ll be before all the wax comes out and my hair starts to even out??

    1. I’ve been absent for quite some time. How did the method work for you? Are you still on it?

  61. I just wanted to let you know that I found this article a while back and really appreciated the info and what seemed like an unbiased description of your experience. I have been water only for about a year (Maybe a year and a half.) It has some good and some bad but it eliminated my cystic acne which could be incredibly painful and on occasion made my face swell to the point of disfigurement. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to shampoo even if the back of my head looks greasy once in a while and my showers take twice as long. Thanks for the information. Also, for others whose hair is straight and have issues with greasyness, I had to ditch the boar bristle brush. It made my hair soooooooo greasy. Now I just scritch with a comb to break up dead skin cells before I shower and use a wide tooth water comb under hot-warm running water.

  62. […] Water-Only Hair Washing Just Add Water (or How I Wash My […]

  63. […] Water-Only Hair WashingΒ – a really helpful and clear blog, my main go to resource! […]

  64. […] Water-Only Hair WashingΒ – a really helpful and clear blog, my main go to resource! […]

  65. How do you keep your hair from smelling?
    I am a mature at this I havent used shampoo for about 18 days.. I do the inversion method once a week once a month with teetree oil and occasionally will put olive oil on my ends. Also once a week ill do an egg. May and oilive oil mask. And once the next week ill do coffee. Once the next week ill do ACV/water and so on etc. Ill switch them around each week. I love it so far. I wanna eventually ween off to just water. But was curious if the smell “of inwaahed stinky hair” eventually goes away ? Thanks in advance . ~jami

    1. Amature*

    2. My hair lost its smell whenever I cleaned it consistently. Maybe reconsider some of the products that you are using; if they linger in your hair, they may catch scents, gather dust, etc. Oils can do this pretty bad. Maybe consider a fragrant natural essential oil.

  66. […] Water-Only Hair Washing from Written For Our Learning […]

  67. Cool!

  68. Doesn’t using acv in your hair make it smell like vinegar? I have not tried any of this, but I came across this blog and find it interesting. What if you have short hair? My hair has never grown beyond my shoulders, it is now collar length.

    1. Your hair will smell like ACV until it dries completely. If you have thick and/or curly hair, you may be smelling it for a while. Lol

  69. I did the gelatine protein treatment ,now my hair is full with white bits that I can’t wash off,please help…considering a big chop right now

    1. It sounds like the gelatin didn’t dissolve right, or that it wasn’t rinsed off properly. If you try it again I would rinse with hot water. That, or the gelatin hair treatment may not be for you. :] Keep me updated!

  70. shaneto1 · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Napturally Happy and commented:
    I will be trying the water only method soon. The pros to this method is awesome. This is the best blog I came across to addition to the YouTube channel Water Only Hair Washing https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw0jjBA8eh8qWwFHGYjHNHA Many places in Texas has hard water I will need to buy a water softner to have the full benefits of the Water Only Method. If you want the best for your hair, skin, and nails it is in the water you digest. I know a lot of people would say just water only? Shampoos are made to rid the scalp of sebum http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002407/. I will keep my blog updated on this method and when I will start it!

  71. shaneto1 · · Reply

    The best blog I read so far on WO. Thank you I cannot wait to start! πŸ™‚

  72. young living essential oils · · Reply

    Can you access a computer from the iPod touch without installing anything onto the computer?

    1. I have no idea. lol

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