Girl, that’s what I said.
A hair regimen that needs Water ONLY. As in, water only.
I first heard about the Water Only Washing method two years ago, and I was skeptical. Like how? Isn’t that just rinsing? What about hygral fatigue? Won’t this mean more breakage? More tangles? Haba now. Be serious.
But you know what they say. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. I haven’t tried Water Only Washing yet, but I eventually got over my shock and researched it. And surprise, surprise, it does make sense!
I’ve watched videos, read blogs, and threads in forums. I’ve also spoken to the two people I know that have tried, and actually like this method: Our Hairspiration, Glory and Stacey (of Yoga With Stacey)
WHAT IS THE REASONING BEHIND WATER ONLY WASHING?
A substance called sebum, is naturally produced by our sebaceous glands, in the scalp.
Sebum is supposed to travel down the length of your hair, moisturizing and lubricating it. This is easy to do when hair is straight. But when your hair is curly, every bend in your hair strand is an obstacle to the free flow. Sebum rarely makes it to the end of the strand. And with kinky hair being the tightest and technically speaking, curliest of hair, it is naturally drier than other textures because sebum can’t travel. (More about Hair Typing HERE)
So. When you wash your hair with a shampoo with sulfates, you take off all the dirt, AND all the sebum. That’s why your hair feels so dry. When you use conditioners, no matter how moisturizing, the surfactants in that conditioner also take off some of your sebum- but they have other moisturizing agents that (try to) make up for this.
When you throw in your gels, leave-ins, basically, your hair regimen is about trying to do what sebum is naturally supposed to.
SO, IN A NUTSHELL, HOW DOES THE WATER ONLY REGIMEN WORK?
You are product free, well almost. You wash your hair with water, and condition it with sebum. The steps are explained as follows:
You rinse your hair with warm water. This helps to cleanse your hair, moisturize it and distribute sebum. It is said that Sebum tends to balance at the nape, so leaning forward hekps distribute your sebum more easily. Like, imagine washing your hair over a sink. You’d be bending over, leaning forward.
Warm/hot water is best for this purpose, but not too hot. If the water is too hot, it could actually damage your hair and dry out your scalp, affecting sebum production.
This is simply massaging your scalp with the pads of your fingers, but you’re probably used to massaging your scalp wrong. When you massage your scalp, does your head move? Weird question, I know- LOL watch this video of Frotastic talking about it to see what I mean. She shows how to scritch/ massage properly at 0:29.
Scritching helps improve blood circulation which encourages growth, as well as sebum production. It also lifts dirt and debris from your scalp.
Now that you’ve scritched and your sebum is poppin’, remember what I said about kinky hair having obstacles? Help the sebum find its way down by running your fingers down the length of your hair.
To be honest, I cannot say I know what sebum exactly feels like, so, I guess you’ll know when you get to that bridge.
It wouldn’t be a bad time to finger detangle your hair, to work your fingers through it.
Some people scritch and preen daily or every other day. It all depends on you and your sebum production levels.
To clarify/ deep cleanse your hair while practicing this regimen, I’ve observed that people use natural products, that water can easily wash away. Yoga with Stacey uses ACV.
10 BENEFITS OF WATER ONLY WASHING
According to blogger WaterOnlyHairWash (WOHW) these are the benefits she enjoys from water only washing:
- Water Only Hair Washing doesn’t limit your styling options. Any style is possible
- Hair dries super fast
- Hair holds its shape after rain fall
- Hair appears thicker
- Hair is stronger
- Less shedding
- Rapid hair growth
- Hardly any single strand knots (if any)
- Easy to detangle
- Sebum behaves like a pomade or wax.
Hard water is definitely a challenge to any hair regimen, and is even more so, when your regimen is entirely water focused. Hard Water has high mineral content, and does not lather well with soap. Hair washed in hard water can feel somehow and look dull. A good way to combat this would be to install a filter.
Or you can always use bottled water to wash your hair if you’re bougie (I wouldn’t, sha.)
Also, if you go swimming, with your hair exposed, you may need to use chemical products (like regular shampoo/ conditioner) to lift the chlorine build-up from your hair.
IS WATER ONLY WASHING REALLY CRAZY??
No, not at all.
Yes, even with all the products you use right now, your hair may still be dry and hard to manage. This doesn’t mean that this product-free regimen is a scam. Maybe you should try it.
To be honest, I’m very curious about this, but I do not think this fits into my lifestyle right now. I may be trying it in the future, though. For now, I’m happy to scritch (that is, massage my scalp) more.
OTHER QUESTIONS I HAD ABOUT WATER ONLY WASHING
Can I pre-poo with this method?
Yes. With oils. No conditioner.
Won’t my hair smell?
No. Surprisingly, water only washers do not experience smelly hair with this method.
Can one do this on relaxed hair?
Yes, you can. It’s for all hair types- seriously, I read this Korean girl’s blog where she testified about it. Too bad I can’t find the link now. And, again, the thing about kinks being obstacles to sebum? Sebum would travel faster and easier down straightened hair than natural hair.
Styling without product? Yikes.
Glory says, ”I wore twists and twist outs and they were actually quite nice.”
SO. HOW CAN YOU GET STARTED??
Of course, it would be weird at first to just stop using products on your hair. The first 2 weeks are the hardest, I’ve been told.
How to start the Water Only Washing Regimen? It’s a one step process: Clarify and detangle.
Blogger, WOHW advises that you use any clarifying shampoo you like, to take off the products on your hair, and detangle. She says you can use a herbal conditioner as well. Then, put your hair in a protective style- 2 strand twists should be easy.
- Massage your scalp for a minimum of 5 mins.
- Water rinse hair daily.
- Once you start feeling a sticky or greasy feeling on your hair; usually the first few inches of hair will have the “sticky/greasy” sebum.
- Preen the sebum down your strands.
- Once your sebum comes in, it’s time to start scritching your scalp daily, so you will not get a build up of sebum.. These steps need to be done daily or almost daily until you have reached Total Sebum Coverage. Once you have Total Sebum Coverage, you can make your twist smaller or wear your hair loose. I strongly recommend using a natural oil or butter to supplement your hair if it’s needed. Remember to avoid none plant/food base products, as most commercial products will strip your hair’s natural oils and set you back.
I’m all about options. I may do the most with my hair, trying 1000 products but I do enjoy the process. I enjoy shopping for products, long product names tickle me and even better when they smell heavenly, and have my hair feeling pretty. BUT. I never forget that if I were to be stuck on a lonely Island and not have anything, I will still thrive in nature.
This Water Only Washing regimen is fantastic news for people looking to spend as little as possible on their hair care. For people who really want to be absolutely chemical free. For people who want a very simple regimen, or if you’re just sick and tired of single strand knots, I’m also happy I’ve found it because when recommending hair regimens to guys, I feel like I might be asking too much of them, because I know how minimalist they are about beauty.
MORE ABOUT WATER ONLY HAIR WASHING
While you will be dropping the non-natural parts of your hair regimen, you can retain some of the natural/ herbal ones while on this regimen. You can still Henna and Oil Rinse. You can also apply oils to your hair as needed, focus on your ends.
Hey, again. I’m not an expert. I’ve read about it, but I haven’t actually tried it. More links for you if you’re interested and would like to know more:
- Water Only Hair Washing Guide
- Minimalist Beauty
- The Pros and Cons of Water Only Washing
- Lavishly Natural: 5 Things I’ve Learned Using The Water Only Hair Washing Method
- Just Primal Things: Water-Only Troubleshooting: Still Experiencing Oily Hair?
- Long Hair Care Forum
- Water Only Hair Wash Youtube
This was a long read, but I hope it was worth it. If you have any questions about Water Washing? Ask and maybe we could work on a collab with Stacey or Glory. If you have tried this, please share your experience in the comments- and if you haven’t, I’d also love to know why you would or wouldn’t consider trying this regimen!