So I started incorporating water only hair washing into my curly hair regimen January 2014. Now that it has been well over a year, I have definitely experienced some pros and cons to water only hair washing. Just like anything else there are dual sides to the story.
(curls above… chunky twist & curl set)
1. No More Product Build-Up
When you are not putting commercial hair products filled with lab created chemicals into your hair, or even heavy natural butters and creams, you do not experience product build-up on your hair strands. You also become used to what your hair naturally feels like and are able to see the true health of your hair.
2. Ridiculously Cost Effective
With water only hair washing you are using the natural oils from your scalp’s sebaceous glands as well as water to moisturize, seal, condition, and protect your hair. I am still in awe that my scalp produces exactly what my hair has always needed, and my hair is extremely soft without conditioners. These natural oils are the BEST conditioner for your hair.
3. Learn To Truly Understand Your Hair
When caring for natural curly/coily hair and determining what works best, there is a focus on how products affect our hair. With water only hair washing the focus now becomes the hair care methods in which you care for your hair. After trying so many different things with my hair, I can say that I now understand more about my hair than I have ever before especially since incorporating water only hair washing into my regimen.
4. Less Tangles
Once you have full coverage of your natural oils on your hair strands you experience less tangles. Whether you wear your hair in a wash and go, braid/twist out, or a fluffy fro, managing your hair is so much easier.
(wash & go curls with no products)
5. No More Dry Hair
If you have curly/coily hair, having dry hair seems to just go with the territory. The focus on caring for your hair is solely reliant on keeping your hair moisturized. After you have full coverage of your natural oils on your hair strands, you will no longer experience dry hair again. This is one main reason I don’t plan on going back to traditional hair care.
6. The Softest Hair Ever
When I first started water only hair washing I couldn’t keep my hands out of my hair. I had no idea my hair could ever feel this soft without products, and it was also amazing that I had soft hair without it being heavily coated in oils and butters.
7. Easy Travel
I’m not sure about you, but I have always tried to figure out how I was going to bring all of my hair care needs with me when traveling. Using herbal hair care was pretty easy, yet I still was preparing DIY hair care products away from home. Now I travel with 3 ounces of oil and my wide tooth comb and I’m good.
8. Simple Daily Hair Care/Scalp Massages
Unlike those with an oily scalp, most curly/coily hair never experiences the true effect of sebum coating the hair strands. It is not until you stop stripping them away with products that you can even move them down your hair strands with water rinses and with scritching (a light scratching of the scalp), massaging, and preening.
Scritching, massaging, and preening the oils down the hair helps to keep the hair and scalp clean as well as evenly distribute these natural oils throughout your hair. These three steps need to be done daily. Some use wooden combs/brushes, horn combs, or other natural hair tools, and some just use their fingers. Some do these steps in the shower while others prefer to do them on dry/damp hair. Regardless you are also getting a daily scalp massage which promotes hair growth and is extremely relaxing.
(wash & go curls with no products + how hennaed hair can appear in different lighting)
1. You Are Not 100% Product-Free During The Transition
Every major change in your hair regimen will create a transition process. Also when I am referring to “products” in this case, I mean simple ingredients and DIY hair care such as carrier oils, DIY hair masks/deep conditioners, hair rinses, etc. These products help make this new regimen change possible.
I used apple cider vinegar rinses to keep my scalp happy. I mixed up DIY deep conditioner mixes in fear my hair would get dry which it never did unless I clarified my hair. I still use a carrier oil after a water rinse as well as on the ends of my hair as needed, yet only in small amounts. I also continue to use my beloved henna treatments in which I’ve used for years.
2. Sebum/Mineral Deposit Build-Up
There is no longer product build-up with water only hair washing, yet if you have hard water you will experience mineral build-up on your hair over time. This mineral build-up will make your sebum feel waxy, therefore making it a vicious challenge to detangle your hair. The whole purpose of water only hair washing is to have soft manageable healthy hair, yet here is a HUGE snag in the situation.
Here are a two options…
—Get a shower filter. A shower filter will remove most if not all of the minerals and chlorine from your tap water.
—Use distilled water, carbonated water, or an acidic rinse for your final rinse.
3. Clarifying & Proper Sebum Balance
Initially before beginning water only hair washing, you MUST clarify your hair of previous hair products. If you come across the mineral build-up snag, or have excess sebum on your strands in general, finding the right natural hair cleanser that will remove only a small amount of sebum without stripping your hair dry can be tricky. When I’ve had too much sebum on my strands I’ve used a clay wash to start fresh again. Using a concentrated amount of clay to liquid will have you at square one which can be frustrating. I’m still tweaking the right amount of clay best for my hair and creating a new regimen to avoid this all together. Once I’ve clarified, I am beyond clear with how valuable these natural oils are, yet having manageable hair is important too.
(hair super stretched with African threading technique & protective style updo)
After experimenting with water only hair washing, this has now become a bit of a norm for me. I can never see myself going back to traditional hair care. I enjoy the freedom on only using DIY hair care on occasion versus weekly and not being dependent on hair care products in general.
My hair feels incredibly soft and touchable, and just smells like hair. I do add essential oils to my hair oil for scent when I desire to though. I am again working out a new hair regimen, yet I have learned so much, and feel so incredibly liberated. For me the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
Check out my water only hair washing series…
…and My Zero Waste Curly Hair Regimen which makes the best of water rinses!
What has been your experience for those of you trying this hair care method?
(Images by Dawn Michelle)