At the end of this year I will have been in essence doing “water only hair washing” for two years. Actually it has never ever been water only. I’ve used natural cleansers, herbal hair rinses, deep conditioning treatments, and leave-ins that I’ve made from all natural ingredients pretty much the entire time, just not as often. It makes me wonder why I (as well as others) even call this hair care method water only!
As many of you know I have been using herbal and DIY hair care for years now. There are simple recipes throughout this entire website. When I started to experiment with water only hair washing, I literally thought I would be free of DIY herbal hair care forever more. Water only hair washing actually isn’t much different than herbal hair care outside of how much and how often of DIY hair care to use.
The main difference with water only hair washing compared to herbal hair care is a month or more of retraining your scalp to either produce more sebum if your hair is dry, or decrease the amount of sebum your scalp produces if your hair is oily, and using less products overall.
After that initial month’s time, I used herbal/vinegar rinses, herbal cleansers, Ayurvedic treatments such as henna, clay washes, oils/butters, natural hair gels, and other simple DIY concoctions, yet in moderation. I do believe that retraining your hair and scalp to balance can also be just as effective while using herbal hair rinses instead of just water. Yet by sticking to just water initially, you learn a lot about your hair as well as free yourself from all of stigmas we have around different hair care methods.
Those doing water only fear using certain DIY hair care products because they may strip their hair of sebum as if our scalp will never produce more. There tends to be a lot of anxiety around this. I had this same anxiety, yet I realized that many of my DIY hair care recipes don’t remove much sebum at all in the way commercial shampoos and conditioners can.
Water only hair washing is one of the best ways to create balance with scalp oil production for all hair types.
If you have excessively dry hair, water only hair washing will train your scalp to produce more of these natural oils. With a dry scalp, rinsing daily is how you encourage more sebum production. Daily scalp massages also help to increase sebum production. Daily preening helps to moves these oils down the strands of your hair. Do you have to rinse daily forever? No. It just depends upon your styling methods, how much sebum your scalp produces, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
Daily rinses initially help to retrain your scalp to produce more natural oils if you have a dry scalp.
If you have an oily scalp, stretching out your washes in general as well as incorporating water only rinses will encourage your scalp to stop overproducing these natural oils. The transition takes time and patience. If you are starting from using commercial shampoos and conditioners, your experience will be very different than someone who had been on a no ‘poo hair journey for sometime.
I personally transitioned to simple hair care methods over time. Just like many curly girls, I used conditioner only for awhile before deciding I wanted to use stick with only 100% natural hair care without any lab created ingredients. Most “organic” hair care on the market is not 100% natural. These “natural” products are filled with lab created ingredients and sometimes even toxic chemicals.
Later experimenting with herbal hair care and water rinses helped me to maximize the health of my hair while realizing that my hair didn’t need as many products that I initially believed that it did.
After a year and nine plus months of doing predominately water only, I have a new awareness with how to care for my hair that wasn’t there before. I’ve also learned that my dry scalp produces a lot of natural oils just like other hair types that help to condition my hair. Now I am at a place where I feel comfortable returning to DIY Herbal Hair Care full time. There are too many amazing herbs that promote healthy hair that I want to use again. Since I’ve experimented so much already, I do plan to keep my new regimen streamlined and extremely simple.
What has been your experience with simple DIY hair care or water only hair washing?
(Image by Dawn Michelle)