Wash Hair Without Shampoo Just Water
Wash Hair Without Shampoo Just Water

Have You Ever Tried To Wash Hair Without Shampoo Just Water

Have you ever tried to wash hair without shampoo Just water? I went shampoo free for several weeks, but was very surprised with the results.

I was told that the scalp would over produce oil the first few weeks, until it became accustomed to the absence of shampoo.

Not the case for me. My hair was stringy, oily and limp. I have naturally dark, thick hair, which tends to get greasy fast, and therefore requires daily washing.

After struggling for some time, a friend recommended using just water as a shampoo substitute. I tried this, and it worked great! I now have bouncy, shiny hair like never before.

Previously, I also had problems with statically charged hair, but this problem disappeared immediately.
Once a week I use apple cider vinegar as conditioner, but otherwise I just use water.

I don’t smell, and it’s a cheap shampoo substitute. So in essence: natural conditioners are much better on both your hair, and your wallet.

One of the most important things I’ve learned over the last 25+ years in the hair care industry is the fact that there is no black or white.

Every single head of hair is unique. What works for one person may not work for anyone else.

For some people, depending upon their hair type, texture, length and current condition, it’s definitely better for them to wash their hair without shampoo.

Other people can’t Wash Hair Without Shampoo or use Just Water because it causes all kinds of challenges for them.

What Are The Parameters For Washing With Shampoo?

My own hip length hair is chemically highlighted. On top of that it’s naturally textured with waves and perimeter curls. It’s naturally dry and coarse, needing lots of hydration and/or conditioning.

I have found for me and my hair, it’s works best if I only wet wash only once every 5–7 days with a diluted hydrating shampoo.

Diluted Shampoo

When I say diluted, I mean using 1/8th to 1/4th teaspoon of shampoo mixed into one quart of lukewarm water and shaken into a suds.

I never use full strength shampoo on my hair. The only time it is used is when my hairstylist wet washes my hair and she uses sulfate free products.

You can use shampoo which is lo poo, no poo or sulfate free.

Or you can wet wash and use a conditioner instead of a shampoo.

Watch this video to learn more ways to Wash Hair Without Shampoo Just Water

Many Opinions Sprinkled With False Information

The hair care world is filled with many opinions by hair product chemists, manufacturers, professionals and consumers.

Sometimes the hair world gets filled with a lot of noise from influencers, social media and product marketing gurus.

You can’t believe everything you read or hear.

There’s a lot of false information and downright dangerous hair care myths constantly circling through the channels.

Do What’s Best For Your Hair

At the end of the day only you and your hair can make the ultimate decision regarding the best practices to take the best care of your strands.

Hopefully you will also do your research and consult with your hair care professional.

Is It Better To Wash Your Hair Without Shampoo?

There is no right or wrong answer. The answer depends completely on your hair type, texture, length, condition and hair needs.

Some people can keep their scalp and hair healthy by washing their hair with lukewarm water and a tiny bit of diluted shampoo.

Other people need full strength shampoo because their hair gets oily and more dirty than most other people.

Have You Ever Tried To Wash Hair Without Shampoo Just Water
Have You Ever Tried To Wash Hair Without Shampoo Just Water

Water Only Hair Washing Results

Using techniques to evenly distribute the oils from your scalp to your ends, hair will be moisturized by its own means.

Here are the results of what we found out about Washing Your Hair with just Water:

Advantages Of Washing Your Hair with just Water


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.


When you wash your hair without shampoo and use Just water, 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Disadvantages Of Washing Your Hair with just Water


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.


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.


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.

Will Washing Your Hair With Just Water Make It Greasy

Honestly, nothing wild. My hair does feel greasy around the roots, but anything that doesn’t touch my scalp feels normal and soft. I have curly thick hair and brushing it is a nightmare.

Washing hair with cold water, on the other hand, doesn’t do enough to melt out excess oils and dirt.

That’s why you should stick to the middle with warm water. It does enough to unclog dirt and melt away all the excess oil that makes your hair greasy.

Usually, I put conditioner on and then brush it in the shower and even then it can take literally 20 minutes. I was worried that without the conditioner I’d be rocking dreadlocks within a week.

However, I’ve actually found it surprisingly easy to brush my hair. This morning I brushed it while it was dry so I could braid it and it was, dare I say it, easy to brush.

Water Only Hair Washing Does The Hair Smell

There is a possibility that your hair/scalp may smell different but it should not really be a bad smell. A bad smell is likely to indicate that the natural bacterial population on your skin (scalp) in this case has changed.

It is generally safe to correlate a bad smell to a bad effect as bad smells are intended to alert us to possible problems. If this does happen, do reconsider moving to a less strict water only washing 

(e.g as with cowashing, the odd shampoo session will help with preventing build up and equally for water only washing, throwing in some shampoo or a co-wash on occasion may help control bacterial levels).

Final Thoughts

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.


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