Quick Trick To Getting Cleaner Water Only Hair Washes

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Hair Care, No Shampoo, Water Only Hair Washing
Girl running in meadow with natural hair

Today I want to share a very simple but SERIOUSLY effective trick I’ve found for getting cleaner Water Only hair washes. I think this tip can solve issues with oily residue or buildup on hair strands that can be caused by minerals in hard water or just oil buildup over time.

My Dry Shampoo Pre-Wash Trick

I’ve talked about dry shampoo in my previous posts. Dry shampoo is a powder that is applied to dry hair, absorbs oils, and makes hair look clean and fluffy as a refresher between hair washes. I’ve also mentioned that for the purposes of training scalp oil production, I consider applying dry shampoo as a hair “wash.” Since it absorbs oils and can make the scalp dry and produce more oils to compensate (like after a hair wash).

dry shampoo powder for no poo hair care

With this in mind, I discovered this tip by accident and realized it left my hair SUPER clean after a water wash. Basically, I applied dry shampoo about an hour before water washing my hair. It soaked up any excess oil buildup, and then I water washed my hair and it came out super fluffy and clean, and all oil buildup was washed away. The key was applying the dry shampoo just before a water hair wash and then washing it away, so that my scalp’s oil production was not interrupted more than a typical hair wash. In other words, if I applied dry shampoo and then the next day washed it, I would have been washing scalp oils away two days in a row. But applying dry shampoo shortly before water washing my hair (and washing it out) didn’t seem to mess with my regular oil production more than a typical water hair wash. (More about transitioning to No Poo without looking oily.) (More about keeping hair clean between washes.)

I hope this tip works for others, too! I’ve outlined some steps below to get cleaner hair washes from dry shampoo with the least amount of scalp oil production interruption.

Step 1: Pre-wash application

When hair is oily and needs to be water-washed, apply dry shampoo all over the hair. Get it on the roots and even down the first few inches of the length of the hair– basically apply it anywhere the hair looks stringy or has oil build up. Gently massage the dry shampoo into the hair, brush it into the hair– get it all in there. (I use a natural dry shampoo like arrowroot powder or unsweetened cocoa powder that doesn’t seem to dry out hair like the commercial stuff does.) To avoid interrupting the scalp’s oil production, I keep the dry shampoo away from the scalp, and only apply it to the actual hair strands.

Step 2: Wait for it to absorb

For best results, I wait about an hour for it to absorb into my hair. (This is a good time to wash my BBB so it’s clean, oil-free, and ready to be used on freshly washed hair!) It may also have the same effect after just a few minutes. If a lot of dry shampoo is left on hair for too long, I would count it as an extra hair wash since it may get on the scalp and encourage the scalp to produce oils which interrupt the progress for training scalp oil production. An hour seems to be enough time for it to absorb the oils from my hair, and not long enough to interrupt my scalp oil production.

Step 3: Wash as usual!

Water wash hair as usual. For me, the dry shampoo powder absorbed excess hair oils and buildup, and then the warm water from my water-only-hair-wash washed the powder away which took the oils with it. It’s sort of like a dry shampoo… shampoo. Again, I recommend using a natural dry shampoo that won’t dry out hair. I use arrowroot mixed with unsweetened cocoa powder! Dry shampoo is also one of my recommendations for how to make your hair smell good.

***For my dry shampoo recipe & more info about dry shampoo, see Tip #3 here.

***Check out the eBook that includes 20 DIY recipes for no poo hair care.***

I hope this helps some of you! As always, let me know your experience in the comments. Be well, and see you soon.

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  1. April

    Whoa. I was skeptical about your dry shampoo recipe. I have tried cocoa powder based beauty tricks in the past with lackluster results. But WOW. This trick totally works!! I love it! And it’s cheap as dirt (had the ingredients in my pantry!) I’ve been water only washing my curly hair for just over 7mos and the one thing I struggle with is scent. I wish I could get my hair smelling better. I spray essential oils, but that doesn’t last long. The dry shampoo is helping, but not much. Any other pointers on a fragrant boost??

  2. Flora

    Hi, thanks for your blog, i’m trying nopoo now. But I’m still not ready use water only, because my scalp was not really healthy, I want to use some nature recipies to wash it. How dose the Ghassoul wash hair? Wish you can see this, looking forward to your reply. And thank you again, I love your blog❤