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.
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.
I can’t believe it’s already been 4 months since I started “no poo,” and 3.5 months since I went water-only! I am definitely out of the oily transitional phase and still going strong on water-only, so figured it was time to post an update to my Ultimate Water-Only Hair Washing Routine.
These pictures were all taken in the same lighting, room, and with the same camera as they were in the Ultimate Water-Only Hair Washing Routine post for a more accurate assessment of progress.
How often do I wash my hair now? Once every 7-10 days with just water.
How long can I go between water-only hair washes before my hair looks oily now? My hair actually doesn’t get oily anymore, not even after 10 days of not washing it! :D
How long did the oily transitional phase last? / How did I get out of it? It took me approximately 2 weeks to stop looking excessively oily and about 2 months to get completely out of the initial oily phase to the point where my hair just doesn’t get oily anymore. I followed these tips from my other post to get through the oily transition as quickly as possible.
What does it feel like? My hair feels different… definitely healthier, soft and hydrated, slightly heavier, and it’s a little harder to run my fingers through my roots than if I used shampoo. But I really don’t mind the new texture! It gives my hair more body, thickness, and volume at the roots!
Do I still get split ends? I got my hair trimmed right before going no poo (~ 4 months before these pictures). With shampoo, my ends would definitely be split, dry, brittle, rough, scraggly, and in need of another trim at this point, but with water-only, they are just as healthy as the rest of my hair. They are soft, shiny (I’ve never had shiny ends), and I have very few split ends. (Pictured Below)
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-shampoo or “no poo” movement, check out my other post about it. In the beginning, I did a lot of reading 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 loved it so much that I’ve been strictly water-only for over a month now. Update: I’m still going strong with this routine after 13 months! — People didn’t even know I don’t use shampoo when I tell them! And my hair has rewarded me with the best quality it’s ever been in. :)
When I first heard about using only water to wash hair, I assumed it’d be a pretty grungy ordeal, but for me, it has been an incredibly effective, simple, and rewarding method – if done right. There are a few essential techniques that I follow that help enormously in managing the oils on my head, getting the most out of my hair washes, and keeping my roots looking oil-free & my ends hydrated. Once I got the techniques down, (and my scalp’s oil production calmed down), this hair care routine became almost effortless for me. If this is something you’re interested in trying, I’ve included some easy & effective techniques below that can help give you the ultimate water-only hair, including if you are still going through the initial oily no poo phase (like I was in the pictures throughout this tutorial).