Water-only hair washing (whilst traveling the world): A 4 month experiment

by Alejandra

If you would have told me some years ago that I would be ditching shampoo altogether and end up washing my hair with water only, I would have probably laughed, and imagined myself desperately surviving in the middle of the jungle. Because, why else would I go through that?

But here I am, after a four month experiment to tell you that, spoiler alert, I’m a fan!

I’m no innovator. In fact, water-only hair washing is pretty popular, specially in the zero waste community (also how I got introduced to it). What I think is unique about my experience, and the reason I am sharing this, is that we are currently on a world trip. Therefore, my hair is exposed to new water types constantly; a situation not many other bloggers seem to share.

Trying no-poo methods

Note: no-poo refers to washing your hair without shampoo. Water-only washing is just one of the varied no-poo possibilities. No-poo methods are a widely covered topic in the zero waste community, and there are enough options out there to suit anyone. You can read more about them here, here, and here.

There are many reasons to ditch conventional shampoo, but for me it was all about ditching plastic! Oh, and the chemicals, of course.

When transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle, one of the first things I started to think about was how to substitute my shampoo and conditioner (even if I was already using a biodegradable and supposedly natural type). 

Knowing I don’t like wasting a lot of time on my “pampering” practices, I knew I needed something easy, readily accessible, and that wouldn’t require much of a change in my routine, if I was to be successful. So I went for the most obvious method I could think of: using a solid (natural) alternative. 

My transition to hair soap was pretty easy. I washed my hair every 5-7 days or so (had trained it for many months), and using a bar of hair soap, the only noticeable difference was that my hair felt a bit more coarse when washing. Otherwise, it worked just as well (or better, if you take into account that I was no longer lathering my hair with unnecessary chemicals and micro plastics).

I also stopped using conditioner altogether because the only solid alternative I could find was from Lush cosmetics, and I hated it (it left my hair so greasy and clumpy)! Instead I would put a bit of natural oil to my ends and go about my day. 

I also used DIY dry shampoo on the days my hair was a bit greasy. And once in a while made natural hair masks (normally involving oils) for extra hydration. 

My hair looked clean and healthy. Basically, I was set!

Why I wanted to try water-only hair washing?

When we started traveling full time, I worried about where we would be getting our solid shampoo in the future; It is not a common product all over the world. As an initial solution, we just stocked up and carried a couple of bars with us. But the hair oil, and other styling products I occasionally used, had to stay behind. 

The first months on the road, my hair was a bit more frizzy, and sometimes a bit less shiny, but still doing fine generally. However, our shampoo bars would not last us forever, and finding good natural options, that worked well with my hair type, wasn’t all that easy.

Around the same time, I came across a couple of bloggers who used only water to wash their hair. That got me wondering if transitioning to no products at all, would be easier for me too. 

But there were a couple important reasons I was specially intrigued:

1. The first and foremost, was that my hair had been falling drastically for a very long time. Some years ago it got to the point were I was genuinely scared I was balding. I had gone from having beautiful thick hair, to it thinning so much you could easily see my scalp.

I of course had freaked out and gone to the doctors. But I didn’t get any clear answers. My blood test results were fine, and most ended up suggesting it could just be stress, or the change of moving to the Netherlands.  

I tried every special shampoo and expensive serum I could get my hands across, but nothing really helped. I also took all sorts of supplements, thinking it could be because of deficiencies in my diet (again, my blood work was fine, but I wondered anyway), with no change. 

When I realised all the “specialised” chemicals couldn’t help me, I started to focus on just using healthy natural products, and not obsessing over it. It got a bit better with time, but mostly I just accepted that I was a person that lost a lot of hair.

When reading about water only hair washing, I came across some accounts mentioning how much healthier their hair was AND how it was a solution for hairfall. 

Could this be what I needed?

((Side note: I’ve never fully figured out what causes my hair fall, but now I know it definitely has to do, at leats in part, with how much exposure to sun I get. The more time I spend in sunny hot countries, the better my hair and nails do.))

2. The second reason I was intrigued was frizziness. Depending on where I am, I can have slightly wavy to properly curly hair. But whilst traveling through very hot and humid countries, with no styling products whatsoever, my hair had just transitioned into a non-defined frizz ball. I hated it! Tying my hair up was my go to, and I just avoided looking at myself in the mirror most of the time. 

Again, water-only hair washing seemed like the perfect solution. Reading over and over, all about the miracles (including forgetting about frizz, breakage, split-ends, hair loss, dry scalp, and dandruff) of achieving well-balanced hair, convinced me. 

I had to try it!

My worries before starting?

My biggest worry was of course that my hair was going to be disgusting. I have never appreciated Malfoys’ greasy look (any other Harry Potter fans out there?), and had no intention on feeling gross and self-conscious all the time. 

I also worried that the steps it requires of brushing, scritching and preening (more on that below), were going to be too much work for me to bother going through with them. Talking about something that takes 5-10 mins in your day as too much work, may sound precious, but I know myself, and I don’t have the patience or the discipline necessary for any self-care rituals. 

((This is the reason I don’t regularly do exercise, have never had a skin care ritual, and am mostly unsuccessful at any prolonged medical care. It sucks, and it is something I really want to change of myself.)) 

Finally, I worried it wouldn’t work. I know having luscious shiny locks with water-only hair washing, is possible, because of all the successful accounts out there (I mean, look at Ariana from Paris to Go). 

But everyone that seems to successfully use this method, and blog about it, appears to have a very different living situation to mine. Their lives are stable (not traveling all over the world), with constant access to good quality water (many use special filters etc). And the talk about swimming in the ocean (or other natural sources of water), and how that can affect, is minimal. What is up with that?

I basically had to try it for myself to see what it would really be like. 

The technique 

Let me start by clarifying that I’m obviously not an expert. I have only been trying this method out for 4 months, and my technique is based off of a couple of other blogs I read beforehand.

Here is the basic gist of what is important:

Key to this no poo method is the transition period. The transition period is different for everyone, and can range from a couple of weeks to multiple months. Patience will be key to getting your though these weeks.

Massaging, scritching and preening, need to become part of your routine. 

Massaging your head increases blood circulation and encourages sebum creation. Scritching refers to the act of scrubbing, or scratching, you scalp (when dry) to remove settled sebum and junk that may be clogging your pores. And preening is the act of distributing excess scalp oil and sebum down to you roots to nourish and hydrate your hair. 

You should massage, scritch and preen for 5-10 minutes a day. Start the process with your fingers and then introduce a hairbrush to aid you.

Although many claim that a boar bristle brush is absolutely necessary, many animal lovers, including myself, will not feel comfortable purchasing one for obvious reasons. So worry not, because it seems like all natural brushes with vegan bristles work well too, although the quality apparently makes a difference. 

You will also have to adjust the brush style to your hair type. I personally use a wooden simple brush and comb, as this is what I already had, and I have no intention of buying new ones until they are completely destroyed. But in case you are looking to buy a new brush, perhaps this guide can help you.

Some people recommend doing this process daily, or even multiple times a day, specially in the beginning and when you have more dry hair. Others, mainly those further along the adaptation process, only feel the need to do it a couple times a week.

I would advise to do it as part of your night routine, so your sebum can settle whilst you sleep, before going out in public. Trust me, even if you go to bed with your hair feeling greasy, you will wake up looking much better.

If you have curly hair, you may want to only do these steps with you fingers, and leave the brush only for washing days, to avoid breaking your curls. And, for those of you with specially dry hair, or very long hair, and having difficulty spreading your sebum all the way to the ends, you may have to supplement your routine with some natural oils to keep your hair hydrated.

Feel free to adapt the frequency and specifics to what works best for you. Everyone’s hair is different, and there is no one right way of doing this. Read others’ experiences for inspiration, and experiment until you develop a routine that suits you. 

I personally only massage, scratch and preen on the 2 days prior to washing my hair. Otherwise I feel like it makes my clean hair greasy more easily. Also, I’m lazy and I find the process a bit boring (whilst other talk about it like a glorious moment of self-care).

What is key, is to ALWAYS massage, scritch and preen, before washing your hair with water. Once in the shower, scrub your scalp and run your fingers through your hair thoroughly. Basically act like you would with shampoo, but a bit more intentionally. Like they do it in saloons!

You may find that warmer water helps spread you sebum better. But it is advisable to finish off with cold water to seal the cuticles, and make you hair shinier (I have to admit I can’t always bring myself to do this).

The frequency of washes will also depend entirely on your hair and what you are used to. Especially at the beginning, you may find yourself having to wash your hair with water everyday for it to look decent. Don’t worry, as your hair adapts, you will totally be able to increase the days between washes. 

I only wash my hair once every 5-7 days. This is (presumably) mainly due to the fact that I’ve been training my hair to not need as much washing for many years. Also, I don’t care if my hair is a bit greasy for a couple of days, as I’d rather prolong the time in between as much as possible (part of my training, not because I’m gross). 

Many suggest only trying this method if you have access to good quality water, the reasoning being that bad or hard water can actually leave your hair with more residue, or feeling dry. In case of not having great water flowing naturally out of your tap, there is always the option of getting a shower filtration system, doing the the last rinse with filtered or boiled water, or trying to counteract the effects of hard water with acidity.

Traveling all the time, I have zero knowledge or control over the quality of my water. This may be the cause of my adaptation period taking a bit longer, and the process being more inconsistent (more on that below), than I wished for. But I have still managed to achieve the desired results. 

This is just to say, don’t let the exact recommended technique scare you off, or hold you back. If you want to try water-only hair washing, you can find a way that suits you for sure, even if may require some adjustments!

Note: remember to also clean your brushes regularly, so you’re not spreading the gunk you get out back into your hair.

My process 

I actually started water only hair washing in the beginning of December 2018. We were in Spain (where I’m originally from) for a couple of months, and I thought the ‘stability’s being there would be just perfect to start. I had long hair then and was used to washing my hair once a week. 

I lasted almost two months using only water, and then I decided I was going to cut my hair short before leaving on our world trip again. I went with my greasy head to the hairdresser, convinced I could explain what I was doing, but then embarrassment creeped in, and I couldn’t bring myself to ask him to use only water. So he washed my hair thoroughly with whatever chemical shampoo that saloon uses.

I felt like I had to start all over. Not only was my hair now short, which apparently makes a difference in the adaptation period, but also, I had “cheated”.

But we were very busy with leaving Spain again and thinking about my hair was not a priority. Also, having used chemicals on my hair, I felt like I had to detoxify my hair first before starting again. So I decided to wash my hair with natural hair soap again for a while.

I properly re-started water-only hair washing on the 1st of March of 2019. Below I’m going to depict my observations throughout the journey:

Month 1

The positives:

  • My hair didn’t look nearly as bad as I thought it would. It never looked full on shiny clean, but it was mostly fine. And whenever I was feeling a bit self-conscious, I would just wash it again with water, even if it meant washing my hair more times in a week than I would normally.
  • It didn’t stink. I know many people worry about their hair smelling bad, but it doesn’t. Even in peak dirty days, it just smelled like sebum if you put your nose directly on my scalp (yes, I made Warner do that). It’s not an unpleasant smell, just smells like ‘human’. 
  • The frizz was so much better! My hair mostly just stayed however it was last shaped, and the huge puff ball was no longer. 
  • My hair immediately stopped falling as much! This was the biggest change and one that shocked me. It was seriously instant! Only after a week I could see my scalp less. I know this doesn’t sound credible but my mum and Warner also pointed this out. If I would have known this earlier, I would have definitely tried it when I was in peak balding period some years ago. 
  • I didn’t depend on anything to wash my hair. We could travel wherever we want, and I didn’t have to worry about whether we had shampoo with us. All I needed was water. This freed up space in my toiletry bag, and in my head. And it was cheaper, and better for the environment (as no extra resources are needed at all).

The negatives:

  • Terrible texture. My hair may not have looked bad, but it didn’t feel nice at all! It was not soft and silky. It felt like the morning after a night of partying in my early 20s, when I used too much styling product, and the gross residues of cigarette smoke (yes, back then that was the norm BARF) and sweat had stuck. I know this is part of the process, but touching my hair made me feel gross. So I just didn’t. 
  • My hair had no shape or form. I wouldn’t just flow, get wavy or curly. It was just kinda meh, staying in whatever form it has last shaped into. It was more like straw. And after a couple of days of not washing it could literally take off my ponytail and it would just stay in the same angle. My cute short haircut, which has always resulted in my hair shaping nicely around my head, suddenly was not cute anymore.
  • On those days where the texture was specially off and it didn’t look as nice, I felt very self-conscious and downright ugly. I took it as an exercise to re-evaluate my sources of self-worth, as I truly don’t want to depend on my looks to feel okay with myself, but I totally would understand not wanting to feel this way at all. 
  • My scalp seemed to have a layer of buildup (maybe a ton of sebum? I don’t know, I’m not a biologist), that whenever I scratched would accumulate under my long nails. It was white and thick. Sounds worse than it actually was, but still, I did not enjoy the feeling. *This can be a normal part of the process, but can also be accentuated when not massaging, scritching and preening, enough, or by being exposed to bad quality water (guilty as charged..).
  • The whole routine of massaging my scalp etc, was, as I had predicted, tedious and boring for me. Whilst other bloggers talk about it being a moment of self-care they enjoyed, I did not appreciate it. And if I’m completely honest, it’s still something I wish I could skip.
  • My hair didn’t smell “fresh”. Now, this is not a negative for me, but it may be for you if you’re used to the smell of washing your hair with regular shampoo. Having focused on only using natural products for some years now (the chemicals in conventional products are terrible for your health and the environment), I’m used to not having the strong smell of artificial flowers/fruits etc. emanating from me.
Months 2 & 3

I hoped my transition period would only last a month, and that I would magically have gorgeous hair afterwards. But this wasn’t the case.

As I had expected, traveling affected the process. The positives and negatives stated above, continued for the most part, with some of the negatives dissipating once in a while. Some weeks I would wash my hair and it would feel pretty good for many days, and suddenly I would wash it again, and it would go back to gross immediately. One week my hair was bouncy and nicely shaped, the next it would go back to being straw.

It was a bit frustrating to not see clear linear progress. But, I can only assume, that these changes came because of the different waters I used to wash my hair wherever we were at the moment.

As stated above, some bloggers suggest, that if you for some reason have less-than-perfect quality water coming out of your taps, to rinse your hair with filtered/boiled water (many use a shower filter). There are also some other “solutions”, like using an apple cider vinegar rinse to help counteract the effects of hard water.

However, I had no way of knowing how the water quality was in the places we were visiting, didn’t always have access to water filtering systems, and was not about to be using bottled water for my hair (obviously). Also, we don’t carry apple cider vinegar with us. So I basically had to make do.

I did consider quitting on some bad hair days. But ultimately, I had hope that my hair would improve (remember, the transition period can be months-long for some!). And even with the frustration, the positives outweighed the negatives. 

Note: Towards the end of the second month, we spent 8 days in Koh Kood, bathing in the ocean everyday. My hair got especially texturally gross here with the salt, sand and crappy brown tap water. I ended up washing it with hair soap on our last day there because it just didn’t feel like I could get rid off all the gunk with just water. 

If we ever spend an extended period of time near the sea, I would love to fully experiment if water-only hair washing is possible whilst swimming regularly in the ocean. If you happen to know of anyone that already does this, please do send the info through. I’m very curious!

Note 2: On my third month, I acquired a boar bristle brush second hand. I had previously only used my wooden brush as I did not want to purchase something with animal hair, but seeing as it was free and second hand, I decided to give it a go.

I don’t think it is necessary, as some claim, and cannot really tell you how much of an impact it has had (again, not a scientist here). But I will say that it works marvels at spreading your sebum from scalp to roots and reaching Malfoy status greasiness in record time. Since that is one of the aims in this process, I’m guessing that it’s a mayor positive. 

However, on those days you’re not washing your hair after scritching and preening, it makes your hair look worse. I therefore only use it before washing my hair, as opposed to everyday.  

Month 4

Yesterday marked 4 months since I fully started again, and two weeks since we’ve been in Jeju Island, South Korea. I do water only hair washing and my hair looks fantastic. 

It feels soft and clean. It isn’t frizzy despite the humidity (currently at 87%), and it’s also shaped nicely, with waves forming naturally. And it doesn’t fall worrying amounts. 

I basically love my hair. And that’s without using any products on it whatsoever!

Would I recommend water only hair washing?

Having tried the water-only hair washing method for four months now, I can guarantee that this no poo method can totally be successful. Furthermore, it comes with multiple perks (like less hair fall) that make it totally worth it.

However, I will say that, although not as bad as I expected, the adaptation period can be frustrating and disheartening at times. I would totally understand that, on those days where your hair gets specially greasy and funky looking, it would make some too self-conscious to continue. 

Also, it is not at straightforward and easy to adapt to if you’re constantly traveling, because of the exposure to different waters.

My recommendation would be to transition slowly, specially if you still use conventional hair products. Your “normal”  shampoo, conditioner, etc. is filled with chemicals that will take a while to get rid off. 

Consider detoxing your hair by only using natural products for some months (I did this for more than a year), or even stimulate the process by trying DYI clarifying or detoxing recipes (I haven’t tried this but here, here, here and here, are some people who have).

Even if you have been using only natural products for years, you may want to take it slow and let your scalp adapt gradually. Other no-poo methods, like using rye flour, may help you in the process.

Whatever you do, be patient as it will likely take time for your hair to adapt. Also, don’t be scared of trying different variations. Everyone’s hair is different and what works for others, may not work for you.

So, if you are curious, I would totally encourage you to try it out and feel the process for yourself. Just remember to use your own judgement, listen to what your hair is telling you, and try different things out. Eventually you are bound to find something that is perfect for you.

Is the no poo method for me?

For me, the journey to sustainability is not linear and strict. It’s one filled with trials, errors, changes and fluctuations. So whilst I can safely say I LOVE this no poo method, and certainly plan on continuing with it for now, this may not always be the case.

Going forward, I am going to continue water-only hair washing and hope that it continues to work as well as it is here in South Korea.

I could consider going back to hair soap if I notice that whilst traveling continuously, my hair just can’t fully adapt to the different waters quickly enough. Or I may be less strict, and just use the shampoo bar in those places where the water leaves my hair feeling icky.

I’m also considering taking it a step further and trying the sebum only method.. we’ll see. 

What this trial has shown me, is that water-only hair washing would be IDEAL for me if we were living somewhere for longer; it WORKS and its perks are seriously amazing. It has also proven that, even if it may not be for everyone, anyone can try it (don’t let not finding examples like yours stop you). I’m certainly glad I did!

If you like this type of content, and want updates on water only hair washing, please let us know in the comments (your feedback is crucial for us to know what content we should create). And feel free to shoot any questions or observations you have for us!

Four months of water-only hair washing

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Marlow January 1, 2020 - 8:55 pm

I have done the no shampoo lifestyle since summer of 2016. Between now and then i have only washed my hair 7 times. I had phases of swimming in salt water but nothing notable to act on the information. The end of 2019, December, I moved to Kenya, I have been swimming in the ocean every single day, twice a day for the last month. As someone who is doing the no shampoo with constant ocean swimming I can say that my hair is extremely textured with the salt and has a mild stickiness to it. I found that if I kept the routine of brushing my hair at least once a day (brushing at that rate already feels like trying to dragging a big heavy object through drying cement, let alone after a few days of no brushing), as well as putting oil in my hair at least every other day, my hair seems to be manageable for day to day. The oil I use is straight up pure coconut oil, it is the same oil I cook with haha.
The best part of this routine, is that I have the most beachy beach wave curls ever. I mean they are like pantene or loreal commercial ready. I too also have not the cleanest shower water or tap water either, the water that comes out of the shower and any faucet for that matter already has a lot of sodium in it as well.
My hair is also about down to my waist when fulled brushed, otherwise the curls keep it at around mid abdomen.

Alejandra January 20, 2020 - 8:10 am

Oh wow, that’s amazing! Thank you so much Marlow for sharing your experience. It’s great to know that this method is also manageable when swimming in the ocean on the daily, and you make me want to have a similar routine just to get those beach waves haha.

Melissa January 10, 2020 - 5:39 pm

Can I have an update on this process? Are you still only using water and does it work long term?
I am just over a month in and having a particularly bad hair day, there is just a constant build up of oil. I don’t know if I can stay like this for another 2 months.

Alejandra January 20, 2020 - 8:06 am

Hey Melissa! Thanks for your message. Totally get how horrible some days can feel when your hair is all oily. What I would recommend is just washing your hair with natural solid shampoo once in a while when you are feeling like its too discouraging. It may take longer for the adaptation period to finish, but who really cares when it has made you feel better along the way? I still mostly only wash my hair with water, and I’m happy with the results. However, I’ve decided not to be too strict about it and do use solid shampoo once in a while when I feel I need it (being in a new place where my hair is not adapted to the water, etc.). By taking the pressure of myself, I never have to be too worried about how my hair is. Just do what works for you, and good luck!

Anni January 21, 2020 - 11:51 pm

Very interesting reading your experiences with water only hair washing. I had been washing my hair with a sulphate-free bastile soap and diluted lemon juice rinse for 8 months. I went through the transition phase of waxy coarse hair for 3 weeks before it transformed into shiny soft hair. Using this method I would wash my hair 1-2 times per week. However 2 weeks ago I decided to try water only. So far it’s been really good, no difference to my previous soap hair washing method. I’m doing the scalp massaging and brushing before washing, and finishing with a cold water rinse. I’m intrigued if my hair will change – I’m hoping because I’ve gone through the angry hair phase when I changed to the soap method that it won’t deteriorate!

Alejandra January 24, 2020 - 7:24 am

Yay, so glad you are trying the water only method and that it’s working so far. And if it doesn’t, that’s fine too. Whats is important is that you find a no-poo method that works for you 🙂

Charlotte Tataryn February 8, 2020 - 10:08 pm

Hi! Approximately 4 years ago, following a lengthy bout of bad health, and multiples of surgeries, I decided it was time to change things up. I’ve also spent so much time reading about the ‘garbage/plastic’ piling up to the sky, and try to buy products that, if containerized, was in glass. Shampoo/conditioner does come in glass containers, and we don’t have a ‘refill’ station anywhere in the city. Besides, I am tired of reading the front of a bottle that contains the WOW FACTORS of the product, then turning it around and require, a) magnifying glass, print is so small, list is SO LONG, and IF there is something healthy in the product, it’s 2nd from the last means it’s essentially not worth mentioning.
NO POO came 1st, but after the transition, and about a year, the baking soda/vinegar wash was far too harsh on my hair and it felt like it was dying, and we know hair is essentially dead once it leaves the head, but it need not LOOK that way.
For a year or two, I tried making my own shampoo, from various recipes found on blogs, and websites, finally settling on one that seemed perfect, but alas, nothing last forever. One day, driving home, my head was itching and I started scratching, and then I had to stop, and do a two handed scratch until the itch went away. I was alone, thank goodness, because the flakes of dandruff all over my lap, my coat, and truck, in general, were in the billions. CHANGE is required. Having just touched on water wash only, I first used a clarifying shampoo (Neutrogena) which has been a staple since I was in my teens, long ago. Then, as hot a water as possible, following a two day scritch, and scratch, and not much preening, I washed the sebum away, rinsing with diluted ACV, and finally, the freezing cold last rinse. My hair, during all of these transitions was growing, filling in, and turning curly. Having had straight, at best slightly wavy, short hair all my life, unless I had a perm (don’t do that/talk about chemicals). It’s been almost a year since I stopped using anything but water, with 2 exceptions, and I think that was during that particular transition,, which happens, every time you do something different, and that your body isn’t familiar with.
My hair stylist, whom I now see every 6 months for a very minimal end trim, is absolutely amazed as he’s watched my hair go from almost a brush cut to way past my shoulders, and go from straight, to beautifully curly, and so very, very healthy. Typically, as you age, your hair does likewise, but not in this instance. Never has my hair been fuller, healthier, and happier, and me, with it.
I never use a brush. I used wide tooth combs, which eliminates pulling of hair, out, and struggling with knotted ends. When I initially run the water, I use the comb to comb the water through my hair, and then proceed to massage my scalp for maybe 5 minutes, and then I preen the lengths, from scalp to hair ends, to allow the waxy sebum to be washed away. The process takes about 10 minutes but I wash my hair only, every 6 to 8 days. Rinse with ACV, and cold water, comb, and dry naturally if time allows, and if not, I use a blow dryer, but just blow, no heat, and without using any instrument but my fingers to scrunch.
I no longer use soap in the shower either. I use the dry brush method, and find my skin is also healthier, and requires less moisturizing than it has before. If I’ve been gardening, then I use a surgical brush to brush away the dirt, as I’m washing, but without soap. I have NEVER used under arm deodorant or antiperspirant, since I was 15 when one gave me such a rash, I thought my arm pits would rot. I also don’t use any artificial scents, so I’m not hiding what some might believe would be a “you gotta smell bad” mentality. Our bodies were never intended to be washed, scrubbed, or cleansed of natural oils, sometimes TWICE A DAY!
In any event, I personally recommend this, especially to those of you who are environmentalists and want to pitch in, and save our planet. My new creed is if I COULDN’T ACTUALLY EAT THIS, why would I put it on my body.
Good luck, and THANK YOU, Alejandra for the blog. It’s the best read I’ve had in a long, long while. Happy trails.

Alejandra March 4, 2020 - 7:27 am

Thank you so much for sharing your experience; I’m sure it’ll be inspiring for many! So glad the water-only method has been so positive for you 🙂

Jordan March 8, 2020 - 5:20 am

Hey, I don’t know if anyone else who commented on here are men, (I believe possibly one), and I have not read anything from a man on this yet.

However, over the past couple months I have just been questioning widely accepted and perhaps ingrained routines/diets, etc. from a Christian standpoint.
I am a Christian, and I was wondering about all of the processed foods, chemicals, etc. that we just accept as normal and necessary. Conditioner wasn’t even introduced until 1900 and shampoos in the late 1920s (1927). Yet, many treat them as if they are unquestionable necessities for clean and healthy hair.

For teeth, (I do still use toothpaste and a toothbrush, as well as mouthwash at times—not excessively) I wondered about toothpaste and toothbrushes due to not having them until around 3,000-5,000BC with the Egyptians and finally a paste (what we now typically buy) in the 1850s and Colgate in 1873.
Looking at the Aborigines, (tribes), their teeth are white and healthy, without these things. What’s different? Their diet.
Processed grains, sugars, etc. act with certain bacteria in our mouths (we all have it) and becomes like an acidic paste for the enamel of our teeth.

With all of that said (thoroughly excessive intro), I am curious about men doing this. Admittedly, I am just desiring to pursue natural means because of how God created us, and His provision of what we need without the gamut of chemicals, etc. that we are told are necessary for our health and wellness (how did anyone live prior to these experts?)

Is it bad to wash every day, as a male, with just water?
I’ll be doing steel construction in CA for a while before I transition (Lord willing-James 4:15) to wild land firefighting in a year. I figure it would be best to wash daily haha
This all just struck me in the shower the other day, and I decided to look into it.

Anyway, if you cannot respond then I am not offended.
I appreciate your article, and I would say, 10 points to Gryffindor!

Alejandra April 6, 2020 - 3:56 am

Hey Jordan. Thanks for your comment and very interesting points. As to your general inquiry, it should be perfectly fine to try doing water-only hair washing on the daily basis. It is true that not many men seem to post on this topic (my partner is also doing the water-only but he has longer hair), but I don’t see why having short hair should make the results much different; it probably just requires less or no scritching, preening and brushing. Hope you try it out and that it works well for you. Good luck!

judy March 24, 2020 - 4:31 am

judy here. HERE’S A GREAT METHOD: I have not used shampoo for over 2 years now. I “wash” roughly 2 times a week with a thin paste made from organic light rye flour and water. Wet hair thorough with warm water (I bathe) massage the paste into the scalp – maybe put a tiny bit on the ends (I have long blond very tiny diameter hairs) and rinse out. I do use a little excellent conditioner on the ends only. I don’t use cold water because I need fullness for very fine blond hair completely staight hair – It is like I have spider web hair – so it can tangle easily). let dry naturally, do not comb until completely dry and then gently starting at the ends. I use a wide wale wooden comb only – NEVER brush. I will gently finger comb my hair before combing. I massage my scalp for a few seconds a few times a day. My hair is thicker, new hairs constantly coming, luxurious, amazing body. I can moisten a little, put in a scrunchy ’til dry and get waves! For all you out there it is a cheap easy non-toxic method. My hair is now below my bra strap in length – I trim a tiny bit every few months myself. I eat fruit, vegetables fish and chicken, I don’t drink anything but water all day long. I do exercise A LOT, hiking, tennis, Padel, walking, trampoline, weights, etc. and I am over 70 years old – no gray hair by the Grace of God. BLESSINGS TO ALL. (oh, email me if you wish to talk)

Alejandra April 6, 2020 - 3:58 am

That’s wonderful Judy! Thanks for sharing your method and experience with us.

Jane May 2, 2020 - 3:59 am

Im all about the no poo. Used to use water only and occasional vinegar when I had soft water. Moving jack to a state with hard water has wreaked havoc on my hair….been a real challenge and cant say i have found a great solution as it is continuously frustrating.

Im not surprised your hair stopped fallin out with less garbage n tap water. Just wanted to add that in TCM/ TRADITIONAL chinese medicine, hair loss can also be stagnation and yin deficiency. Nettle, black sesame, he shou wu, are some great things to add strength! Just passin on the info…should be free for all. Blessings!I

Alejandra May 9, 2020 - 3:26 am

Thank you for the recommendations! I’ll definitely look into stagnation and yin deficiency. As for hard water, yes, it definitely makes water-only hair washing so much harder. Hope you find something that works for you!

Judy Winterer May 4, 2020 - 10:51 pm

I have been doing water only hair washing since 2011 and i love how my hair feels and looks. I gave natural wavy hair which has become more curly. If i may make a suggestion, I would recommend you not giving up and going back tos a shampoo bar/soap or heaven forbid shamppo. Instead, try a vinegar rince once a week. You’ll notice a great deal of difference.

Alejandra May 9, 2020 - 3:22 am

Thanks Judy! I’m definitely not giving up as long as we live in areas with good water 🙂

Nelli June 9, 2020 - 7:08 pm

Hi, I’ve been doing water only for 2-3 months now and nothing has changed from when i first quit shampoo. I quit cold turkey, my hair is very greasy all the time so i just keep it in a braid all the time. I’m ashamed of it. I want to quit but i’m still hoping one day my hair will actually get better. I’ve tried baking soda and vinegar it did help for a day but my hair just returned back to the grease. I don’t know what i’m doing wrong or what i should do anymore. My mother has suggested i try using coconut oil and that it would clear out the excess oils but personally i dont really know how that would work. Is no-poo just not for me, should i try using natural shampoos, or will my hair understand that its producing too much sebum.

Alejandra September 15, 2020 - 10:03 pm

Hi Nelly! Sorry you’re having a bad experience and that I haven’t been of assistance earlier. The reality is that I only have my own experience to account for and cannot therefore give you a solution. I do think that when you switch to water only from having always used “normal” hair products, it may take longer for your hair to adapt. It could also have to do with your water quality, or with the amount of massaging, scritching and preening, you hair needs. The only way to figure this out is with trial an error I’m afraid.. I will say that I did on one occasion try to use coconut oil, as it was a hair ‘mask’ I had often used previously, and it was a disaster. I ended up having to use a shampoo bar to get it off, and still my hair was oily for days.

If by now you have seen that the water only method doesn’t work for you, why don’t you try other no poo methods?

Hope your hair gets better soon. Good luck!

Jennifer June 12, 2020 - 8:26 am

Hi! I am mid week 7 and my hair is so waxy. Not oily, waxy. What I pull out of my boars brush is white and thick and I swear I have lost an inch or more off the bottom of my hair. Having used more natural shampoos and having curly hair before starting this journey I could always go about a week without washing my hair easily, so since I started WO I went two weeks at first, and then a month. Washing it with water after the month of not (it’s covid nobody is seeing me which helped) made it feel MORE waxy! Kinda scared so much hair is breaking off at the ends. I brush or use my hands every few days. I don’t mind cutting it short if necessary to get “through” the transition but, should I be worried about the breakage and waxyness rounding out to 2 months in a few days? Everyone talks about more hair, not less!

Alejandra September 15, 2020 - 9:50 pm

Hi Jennifer! Sorry for not responding earlier, and also that you are having this distressing experience. The truth is that not being an expert I don’t really know how to help you. So please take everything I say with a pinch of salt..

I have definitely also experienced waxiness at many points, as well as the white and think gunk on my hairbrush. For me, this was part of the adaptation period, and I believe it was also related to the water quality I was exposed to at the time, but I can’t confirm. In moments of too much build up, I don’t see an issue with scrubbing your scalp with a shampoo bar without lathering the rest of the hair (so you don’t get rid of that healthy sebum on your ends etc). As for you hair feeling waxier after washing it with water, I also saw this, but realised that during my adaptation period I just had to “wash” my hair way more often than I was used to. The first time of washing it, it didn’t feel better, but yes if I repeated the process.

What I have never heard of is the breakage. And that would certainly worry me too. Could it be that your hair needs more hydration? Perhaps the preening is not enough for your hair, and it needs nourishment. Another reader says she puts a few drops of Argan oil on her ends. If this is not the cause, then perhaps your water quality is just not good, and by only using water you’re damaging your hair more than helping it..

Remember that at the end of the day what is important is that you find something that works for you! If using a shampoo bar (or other no-poo methods) gives you better results, do that instead. I hope that you find a solution soon, and please keep us updated on the process (if you wish). Good luck!

Liz June 14, 2020 - 12:15 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience. Starting out so looking for advice. Very helpful.

Alejandra September 15, 2020 - 9:33 pm

Thank you Liz! So glad this helped 🙂

Abby June 16, 2020 - 3:13 am

This is great! Thanks for sharing! Do you have an update on how it’s been the last several months? Still going well? I just started reading about this today. I currently use shampoo and my first response is to just jump in and not even use any soap, but I’m guessing I should start with some soap bar or something. It’d be nice to start some transition now because I’m on summer break from school and don’t have to look as nice, though, I don’t really care too much what others think. I just stopped shaving a few months ago and I use natural deodorant but don’t actually wear it that often.
Anyway, where would you suggest I start? Should I transition before going completely only water?

Alejandra September 15, 2020 - 9:33 pm

Hey Abby! Firstly, sorry for taking so long to respond, but I hope my answer is useful anyway. The way you choose to start is up to you. My only concern with the approach of just jumping into it is that normal hair products contain a lot of ingredients that cause build-up. I imagine that this can make the adaptation period longer and harder. But in any case, this is a trial and error process that mainly requires patience. So my best recommendation would be to start when you feel is right, and adapt along the process. Good luck!

Lian August 18, 2020 - 2:51 pm

Do you experience any hair regrowth?

Alejandra September 15, 2020 - 9:27 pm

Hey Lian! I have definitely experienced hair regrowth and I no longer feel like you can see my scalp as much as before. Hope this helps.

Ananya JR September 1, 2020 - 9:16 am

U r awesome.. I jave been binging on a lot of mediia. Google.. .. to try this method wch I always wanted to do.. but I was scared and not sure enough..if I can sustain… Cuz if in between I feel groz.. I wld just go back to my daily routine.. but u have given a full honest of it story.. thanks a lot.. 🙂

Alejandra September 15, 2020 - 9:16 pm

Aw thank you! It is so nice to know this is useful. I’ll try to do a even more detailed update at some point again 🙂

Yvonne September 1, 2020 - 1:21 pm

I’ve not washed my hair with anything other than water for 2 years now and my husband has been doing the same for even longer. I massage scritch and brush with a boar brush at night and comb through with a wooden comb or my fingers in the mornings. I wash once a week although I can go ten days at least now if I need to. After washing I use a few drops of argan oil in the ends as I’m not good at preening. My hair has gone from never growing past my shoulders to being half way down my back and from dead straight to having a soft wave. My husband brushes his hair in the morning and does nothing else at all. Neither of us would go back to using shampoo or conditioner again.

Alejandra September 15, 2020 - 9:15 pm

Ah that’s amazing! Thanks for sharing your experience with us, it is so encouraging. And the argan oil may be something I need to incorporate myself because I suspect I’m not too good at preening either 🙂


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