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Can You Wash Hair With Just Water? | You Sure Can!

Have you been disappointed by your hair washing care products more than once? If so, you are not alone, as other naturalists bid goodbye to harsh hair care chemicals and lengthy hair routines.

Many people turn to the water-only (WO) hair washing method as their preferred routine. However, if you are wondering if it is a good option, you’re in the right place come to the right place. We’ll show you all you need to know below.

Can You Wash Your Hair With Just Water?

The water-only hair washing method involves using warm water to cleanse the hair scalp without the use of hair products such as shampoos and conditioners.

Typically, the practice acts as a quick refresh and allows your hair to maintain its natural oils ideal for nourishing your hair. However, it may not apply to many people.

Aside from the numerous hair care products available on the market, water is one of the rudimentary forms of hydration for hair. It helps restore moisture in your strands, making them healthier for longer.

Thus, suppose you are wondering whether washing your hair with just water is ideal. The simple answer is yes. You can choose this hair washing method as the last option when wanting to get rid of the different hair cleaning products and chemicals in your closet.

However, it’s not for everyone; we’ll show you why below.

Benefits of the WO Method

Eliminating hair care washing products such as shampoos and conditioners may have numerous positive effects. These include:

Retention of Natural Hair Oils

Washing your hair with only water, especially warm water, is ideal for removing dirt and sweat. Fortunately, during the process, it ensures your hair and scalp retain the needed natural oils to maintain the hair’s growth and development.

As a result, the natural oils can travel down from the roots to the shaft of hair strands, leaving your hair with a natural shine and gloss.

It Acts as a Natural Alternative

Although some people prefer using shampoos on their hair, they may contain harsh chemicals that may prove risky to your hair. Though great in cleansing your hair, these harsh chemicals may weaken the hair strands, translating to hair loss. Using only water reduces the chances of constant hair loss.

Improves Breakage Resistance

The water-only hair washing routine reduces the chances of your hair breaking while detangling because the existing natural oils still make it easier to comb your hair.

Reduces Drying

Water is the best form of hydration. The water-only hair washing method is the best form of moisturizing as it reduces the constant drying of your hair and scalp.

It is Cost Effective

It is only natural to view the water-only hair cleanse routine as more cost-effective. It helps you save money otherwise spent on buying expensive and numerous hair care products.

It Saves You Time

Some people believe that for your hair to thrive, you must spend hours doing a hair care routine. This process often involves a complex use of hair care products that may not necessarily do anything for your hair.

However, thirty minutes is all you need with the water-only hair washing method, and you can move on to doing other things. Talk about a time-saver!

How to Phase Out Shampoo

Because everyone grows up knowing that you should cleanse your hair using water and soapy products, using hair care products such as shampoos and conditioners has been the norm.  However, the good news is you can phase out using shampoo to achieve a more natural hair look and feel.

If you are willing to start this journey, consider the following steps:

  1. Stop washing your hair daily, and slowly add a few days between your cleanses.
  2. If your hair is stinky between the washes, consider rinsing your hair with warm water to preserve the natural oils in your scalp.
  3. Ensure you only use water during the cleansing breaks and add more days between your shampoo days.

While these few steps can work for you, they may not work for everyone. As a result, you might want to consider using a mild shampoo instead. This will still give you a good wash, but won’t expose you to harsh chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and surfactants.

Hair Types for the Water-Only Method

Woman using the water only method to wash her hair by rinsing it with a shower nozzle


Individuals with kinky, coarse, curly, natural, and dry hair may benefit most from the water-only hair wash routine. These specific hair types have high porosity and are more prone to dryness. As a result, they need extra moisturization, hydration, and natural oils.

The water-only hair wash method helps preserve moisture and natural oils and hydrates your hair more effectively. If you have wavy or straight hair, do not be disheartened; you can also use the water-only hair cleansing routine and still reap the benefits.

Water-Only Washing Downsides

Although washing your hair with just water has proven beneficial, the process has some known drawbacks. They include:

Sebum Build-up

When following the water-only hair cleansing method, most tend to wash their hair more often and regularly than when using washing products.

Unfortunately, while it helps retain the hair sebum, frequent water-only washes result in overproduction and overaccumulation of sebum. Without any use of soap to remove the extra oils, you may be left with some oily-looking hair.

Mineral Build-up

This issue only applies if you use hard water for washing. Hard water contains large amounts of calcium and magnesium. These minerals may build up over time on your hair, preventing moisture penetrations and leaving your hair dry and prone to breakage.

Chemical-Free Substitutes to Water-Only Washing

Unfortunately, not everyone can stick to washing their hair with just water. With the increasing use of styling products, they may need more than water to remove excessive greasy hair.

The good news is that you can avoid using harsh chemicals with shampoos or other hair-washing products by considering other chemical-free alternatives. Most include DIY hair care recipes and products with more natural ingredients.

They include:

  • Baking soda: Medical practitioners recommend naturalists use baking soda in place of shampoo. When dissolved in water, it is a great exfoliant that helps remove excess oil and neutralizes any odors in your hair and scalp.
  • Apple-cider vinegar: This popular condiment, containing rich minerals, is often used as a home remedy for washing hair. When used, it strengthens your hair and reduces itchiness and hair breakage. You can not go wrong with this product. It also acts as an antiseptic, great for killing fungus and bacteria hiding in your scalp.
  • Green tea and honey recipe: This DIY shampoo recipe helps get rid of dandruff, moisturize your hair, and promote hair growth. All you need is honey, green tea, favorable essential oil, aloe vera, olive oil, and castile soap to make the recipe.
  • Yogurt: Although most are familiar with yogurt as a delightful food item, it is packed with nutrients that may benefit your hair and scalp. You must apply your yogurt on dry hair, leave it for about 30 minutes, and rinse it out with warm water to get the best results.
  • Lime: If you add one lime’s juice to a bucket of water and use it to clean your scalp, it will leave your hair shinier, cleaner, odor-free and dandruff-free.

Read Next: How to Make a Natural Shampoo at Home

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman closing her eyes and wondering can you wash your hair with only water while letting her hair blow in the wind


Below are common FAQs about washing your hair with just water.

How regularly should you wash your hair with only water?

Individuals can wash their hair with only water as regularly as they can. However, you are advised not to overdo it with water. The goal is to let your scalp do what it has to do without interfering much.

What happens if you only have access to hard water in your area?

If you want to use the water-only hair cleaning method but only have access to hard water, consider installing a filtration system in your home to soften the water, which may aid in your water-only hair cleansing journey.

Should you use cold water when washing hair?

No, you should use warm water to wash your hair. Cold Water traps a lot of moisture in the hair making the hair look flat, dull, and non-voluminous. Warm water opens up the hair cuticles and easily removes dirt, sweat, and grease.

Are shampoos that bad for washing hair?

No, shampoos are great hair cleaning products designed to cleanse the scalp and remove excess hair oils. However, if overused, the present chemicals may react negatively, damaging your hair and scalp. Therefore, you should be careful what you apply to your hair or stick to the water-only hair washing method.

Are there instances when you have to use shampoo?

The only times that you have to use shampoo is if you have used a lot of styling and oily products in your hair. A thorough clean with a wet shampoo may help eliminate the oil and dirt build-up.

So, Can You Wash Hair with Just Water?

Gone are the days when one needed to spend hours putting on hair products and rinsing them out only on wash days. Today, if the water flowing from your tap is good, you can adopt the water-only hair cleansing routine.

Water naturally maintains neutral pH levels and moisture balance great for hydrating and cleansing your hair.

The water-only hair washing routine prompts you to reduce the use of shampoo with harsh chemicals to maintain the natural aspects of your hair, promoting further hair growth and development. Happy washing!