In previous posts, I’ve discussed ways you can help slow down your scalp’s natural oil production, including stretching the time between your hair washes. One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is, “How can I keep my hair clean between washes if I workout or get sweaty daily?” It’s a good question, and the answer applies to anyone who wants to keep their hair clean between hair washes. This post is all about how to keep your hair and scalp fresh, even after sweating, without doing anything that will interfere with your scalp’s natural oil production.
The best way I can explain this topic is to discuss the benefits you get from washing your hair, and then explain a combination of techniques that simulate washing your hair without requiring a full on hair wash. With these techniques you can still get the benefits of a hair wash (sweat-free/odor-free/clean/healthy scalp), without actually washing your hair or interfering with your scalp’s natural oil production.
How do I protect my hair from heat?
You may find that you don’t have to heat style as often on No Poo mainly because 1) your scalp’s oil production slows down so you don’t have to wash it as often, and therefore don’t have to style it as often, and 2) your hair should no longer be frizzy or dry, so using heat tools to manage unruly hair isn’t as necessary as it used to be. With shampoo, taming my natural waves used to be like taming a lion’s mane after each wash and blow dry, but now I only use a hair dryer occasionally and a flat iron about once per month. (I’d just like to note that this level of low maintenance was completely impossible back when I used shampoo.) Of course, never using heat on your hair is ideal for its health, and I recommend you avoid it if you can, but some of us aren’t willing to give up that much yet. ;) And since I’m not willing to forego ever protecting my hair from heat tools on No Poo, I had to find a silicone-free alternative that works.
Hi! I’ve received an overwhelming number of comments from so many of you asking questions and sharing your water-only hair washing experiences. It is wonderful to hear such positive feedback about the water-only method from so many of you! I’ve been trying to answer every question that I can in the comments, however I noticed there are a few questions that keep popping up regularly that I haven’t covered in my posts yet, so I will start making posts answering the most frequently asked questions you have to help as many of you as possible. At the time of this post, it has been over 11 months since I switched from low-poo (sulfate-free shampoo) to water-only hair care, and I swear it is the best thing that has ever happened to my hair! I still practice water-only hair washing, and I am even more thrilled with the results I get now than when I started. I hope I can help you be as thrilled with your results as I am with mine.
FAQ: “I have been water-only for a while, but my hair still feels oily or waxy!”
This can be frustrating! But there may be a quick and simple fix to what you are experiencing. The issue could be caused by a few different reasons, so let’s figure out where you are experiencing issues in the process.
First off, you should be getting very clean results immediately after water-washing your hair if you have been following all of the tips in my Ultimate Water-Only Hair Washing Routine post. If your hair doesn’t seem to get clean immediately after water-washing it, the issue could stem from either the actual washing process (see this post for tips), or caused by Reason #2 listed below. However, if you are getting clean hair immediately after water-washing it, but your hair becomes excessively oily after a day or two between washes, your hair could still be in the initial oily transition phase, and in that case, I recommend you follow the tips in my How to Transition to No-Poo Without Looking Oily post to get through the transition as quickly as possible. However, if you feel you should be out of the oily transitional phase by now, and you aren’t sure what’s going on, then this post is for you.
So you’re convinced you want to stop using shampoo and reap the benefits of natural hair care– great! But maybe you haven’t started yet because you’re dreading the daunting “initial oily transitional phase,” or maybe you’re already there but struggling through it. Maybe you have a day job or classes to look presentable for each day, and the whole point of over-washing your hair in the first place was to avoid looking oily. And maybe having a greasy-looking head for a month or two is out of the question… ain’t nobody got time for that.
Getting your scalp’s oil production under control is crucial for a successful no-poo routine. The benefits are well worth it: your hair will look cleaner for longer so you won’t have to wash it as often, and as a result you’ll spend less time and money on hair care and you won’t have to damage your hair with heat as often (if you use a hair dryer every time it’s wet). I promise you, anyone can do it, including you, and it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you’d think. I went from needing to wash my hair once per day to only once per week, many others have as well, and you can too!
Below are some tips I highly recommend you follow to get through the oily transitional phase as quickly, seamlessly, and as oil-free as possible– to get you closer to beautiful, truly healthy (and clean!) hair.
I finally got fed up with the damaging effects of shampoos and decided I wanted to take my hair to the next level by going shampoo-free. It was the greatest decision I ever made for my hair! If you’re curious as to why I would make such a crazy decision or if you aren’t familiar with the “no poo” movement, check out my other post about it. In the beginning, I did a lot of research on which “no poo” methods I should use in place of shampoo. I started with honey-washing and conditioner-only washing and had great results. I later transitioned to using the Water-Only hair washing method, where I use only warm water to wash my hair. I’ve been strictly water-only for over a month now and love it!! Update: I’m still going strong with this routine after 13 months!
When I first heard about using only water to wash hair, I assumed it’d be a pretty grungy ordeal, but it’s actually an incredibly effective, simple, and rewarding method if done right. There are a few essential techniques to follow that will help enormously in managing the oils on your head, getting the most out of your hair washes, and keeping your roots looking oil-free & your ends hydrated. Once you get the techniques down, (and your scalp’s oil production calms down), this hair care routine becomes almost effortless. I’ve included some easy & effective techniques below that can help give you the ultimate water-only hair, even if you are still going through the initial oily no poo phase (like I was in the pictures throughout this tutorial)– People didn’t even know I don’t use shampoo! And my hair has rewarded me with the best quality it’s ever been in. :)
BEFORE: This is 1 week of brushing “water-only” hair. Note the sebum buildup.
AFTER: I gave my brush a quick bath, and it’s like new! Follow the steps below to get the same results.
One of the most essential ways to keep your hair healthy is to invest in a boar bristle hair brush, preferably one with 100% boar bristles. You can also use a boar bristle/nylon bristle blend, just note that the higher concentration of boar bristles, the better. You can find affordable brushes for $10 – $30 at Shoppers, Sally’s or other beauty supply stores. Click here for links to brush/comb recommendations from one of our commenters.
What it does: A boar bristle brush (BBB) distributes your hair’s natural oils away from your roots and down to the ends of your hair. It allows you to coat the length of your hair with hydrating & protective oils created naturally by our scalps. We can’t reap the benefits of these naturally-produced oils when we strip them from our hair by washing daily with sulfates and detergents found in most commercial shampoos. A major key to healthy hair is to wash it less often (or eliminate harsh sulfates/detergents all together), and use a BBB between washes/rinses to pull the oils away from the roots & distribute them down to the ends. This process keeps your roots from looking oily, and it adds hydration to the ends of your hair which can otherwise be susceptible to dryness.
If you suffer from an oily scalp, dry ends, and/or frizzy hair, a BBB can be a complete game changer. One of the first times I used one, I had just started no poo and went seven days without washing or rinsing my hair. It was a greasy mess, but I used a BBB to pull the oils down to my ends, put it up in a high bun, and went to bed. When I woke up, I promptly rinsed out my hair, and it was incredibly soft, hydrated, bouncy, and frizz was no where to be found. It’s like using a hair mask, except it’s free and works better than any hair mask I’ve ever used.
No More Shampoo??
Tonight I tweeted that I stopped using shampoo on my hair. It’s been 4 weeks, and I’m having the greatest experience with it so far. I’d like to discuss this in more than 140 characters since I got many replies and questions about it, and maybe someone else out there can benefit from hearing my experience.
To be honest, hearing someone say they stopped using shampoo sounds really gross. It sounds like bad hygiene.
And you may be wondering, “Isn’t your hair oily, gross, and smelly?!”
Nope. In fact, it’s the opposite. (I’m shocked, too.)
I heard about the no-shampoo movement from others online. There are a bunch of YouTube videos, beauty blogs, and online communities full of people dedicated to stop using commercial shampoos. Many people go “no poo” for various reasons: they are vegan, they want to train their hair to stop producing as many oils, they want to cure a scalp condition, they want to limit the amount of harsh chemicals going down the drain and into the earth, or they want to avoid harsh chemicals affecting their bodies in unintentional, negative ways. These are all valid reasons, and I respect all of them. However, none of these reasons are why I decided to stop using shampoo.
I decided to stop using shampoo because I wanted truly healthy hair. All of the commercial products that promised they would give me healthy, hydrated, luscious hair just didn’t work, and I learned why: Shampoo is completely unnecessary and ultimately hinders the health of our hair. So I was willing to put down my expensive hair products and try something a little different to reach my healthy hair goal.
At the time of this post, it’s been 4 weeks since I stopped using shampoo, and to my surprise, I have CLEAN, nice smelling, completely low-maintenance, truly healthy hair for the first time in my life. And I’ll never go back. Here’s why: