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Can You Wash Your Hair With Just Water & No Shampoo?

Can You Wash Your Hair With Just Water & No Shampoo?

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“Can you wash your hair with just water? Does washing your hair with just water make it greasy or soft? Is it a good shampoo alternative to wash hair with just water?”

This query popped up in my inbox a couple of weeks ago. I remember reading articles about how more and more naturalists are recommending the no-poo method.

So far I have tried the Co-washing method and conditioning before shampooing method in the past and after this query popped up, I decided to try the water-only hair washing technique. 

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical to try it, even had a lot of hesitations. And today after washing hair with just water without shampoo for a month, I am sharing my detailed hair story with you guys. 

You can then decide whether or not this washing hair with just water method works for you?

Can You Wash Your Hair With Just Water?

The simple answer is yes

You can wash your hair with just water and it is actually beneficial to protect your natural oils which shampoos with sulfates tend to strip out. But over washing your hair with just water does make your hair greasy over time.

This is because your scalp releases natural protective oils aka sebum which is necessary for your hair’s health. And when you make a drastic switch from using a regular shampoo to completely skipping it altogether, you will notice your hair getting greasy fast.

But don’t get alarmed. This dark cloud has a lot of silver lining to offer. There are lot of benefits of washing hair with just water.

Benefits Of Water-Only Washing Method

When you wash your hair with just water, it actually helps to protect the natural oils on your scalp. It also helps in better and farther travel of the natural oils to your entire hair length. This means your scalp and hair stay healthy and you encounter lesser split ends or hair breakage. 

Another benefit of washing hair with just water is that you don’t have to deal with harsh chemicals in shampoo and conditioner. This helps you better in your natural hair journey. 

How To Wash Your Hair With Just Water Without Shampoo?

can you wash your hair with just water

Phase Out Your Shampoo

To start washing hair with just water, start by phasing out the shampoo. I skipped this step but I would highly recommend that you don’t.

If you shampoo your hair two or three times a week, initially start by minimizing it to once a week for two weeks, then once every two weeks, and then once a month. 

Why are we phasing out the shampoo when we are washing hair with just water?

This is because your hair and scalp need to adjust to the natural route that you intend to follow. If you directly jump from shampooing every other day to skipping shampoo altogether, your hair will appear really greasy.

Phasing it out helps minimize the greasiness. 

And while you minimize your shampoo, you can rinse your hair with water in between. 

You can also check out the effects of shampoo on your hair shafts, in this study.

The Right Temperature Water

When you wash your hair with just water, to remove the dirt and oil from your hair and scalp, you need to use lukewarm temperature water. This helps remove greasiness, dirt, and excess oils (to a certain extent).

While rinsing hair with lukewarm water, use your fingers to gently massage your scalp for a better clean feel. If you prefer, using a wide-tooth helps get rid of excess greasiness. Do this for a minute or two.

Follow it up with a cold water rinse.

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Air-Dry Your Hair

Air drying is an extremely crucial step for water only method. 

And since you just used water, your hair dries a lot quicker. For better assistance, you can use a good microfiber towel.

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If you have dry hair like mine, a good idea is to use little argan oil as hair serum before you proceed to comb your hair.  Or you can try using coconut oil as leave-in.

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Hair Rinsing(Optional)

I just couldn’t do without my hair rinses. I already shared that hair rinses are one of the treasured long Indian hair secrets. So I did a fenugreek hair rinse or green tea hair rinse after every wash. I also did a fermented rice water rinse that helped a lot.

But this is an optional step and you can decide not to do it entirely.

Hard Water

If you live in a place where you only have access to hard water to wash your hair, then please check out this post on how to protect your hair with hard water?

Does Washing Your Hair With Just Water Make It Greasy?


Your hair will start appearing a lot more greasy than before while your hair and scalp adjust to the WO method of hair washing. Mine appeared greasy for more than three weeks, where I came real close to going back to my SLS free shampoo or washing my hair with eggs, but I resisted the urge. 

I won’t lie, the lemon hair rinse did help to keep the greasiness at bay. But the phasing out demanded a lot of patience. 

lemon hair rinse

Do Read: Oily hair care: how to get rid of oily hair and greasy scalp?

My Experience Of Washing Hair With Just Water Without Shampoo

I am gonna be real honest and detailed here. 

So bare with me. 

I only started this journey of washing hair with water because I like being your guinea pig and that query made me wanna try it out myself before sharing my two cents. 

So for the first few days, my hair and scalp started to rebel against this no-poo treatment.

My hair was so greasy and my scalp felt itchy. It appeared as my hair didn’t have any volume left. They appeared really flat.

I felt all the efforts that I put into my thin to thick hair journey had gone down the drain. I just couldn’t do it without a good lemon hair rinse.

This is why I mentioned you guys slowly phase out your shampoo. So that your hair and scalp can adapt better. 

My hair dried a lot faster but appeared extremely flat. The greasiness was a nightmare to deal with. I also did notice my skin break out due to excessive greasiness. 

And since I have thigh-length hair, my ends started to get tangled a lot. 

But after 3 weeks, my greasiness got less and my hair started to appear a bit voluminous. My hair ends behaved after using the argan oil as my hair serum. 

Now it’s been a month, and my hair is healthy than before. A lot less hair fall but the greasiness still is there. 

So far, I can say that washing hair with just water is good. Takes a while and a lot of patience and some skin troubles before you can get your hair, scalp, and skin to adjust. But the results are good. 

However, while following the routine of washing hair with just water, I couldn’t do a good ole hot oil treatment. Since water alone couldn’t remove the thicker hair oils that I use. And you don’t feel like adding even the lightweight hair oils to the greasy hair. 

I personally am not gonna continue the water-only washing method because I just miss my hot oil treatment. But if you don’t do hair oil masks, then washing your hair with just water would help your hair follow a no-poo method. 

If you are used to using shampoo or homemade cleanser or co-washing, then for the next couple of times, when you are just water rinsing, you will not feel satisfied. But don’t give up and continue it.

Eventually, your scalp will adjust and so will your hair.

Also Read: Why does my hair get greasy in a day?

Alternatives To Shampoo And Water-Only For Washing Hair

If you have decided to quit shampoo, follow the no-poo rule and washing your hair with just water isn’t getting the job done for you, then you can check out these alternatives:

I will like to add that opting for acv and baking soda method to clean your hair isn’t good in the long run. So I don’t recommend it. But if it works for you, you can continue with it.

Hope you found my two cents on can you wash your hair with just water helpful. If you have tried washing hair with just water or if you follow any other methods to do so, please do share via comments. I love to hear your hair stories. 

Have a lovely day.

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