The Water Only Washing Method, Is it for You?

black naps featured image-7When I first started my natural hair journey, I solely relied on information that I gained from natural hair blogs and forums to learn how to care for my textured hair. Over the years I’ve come across many types of ‘methods’ for natural hair care. The Curly Girl Method, the Kinky Curly Method, the Max Hydration Method, and most recently, I’ve heard the Water Only Washing Method gaining popularity. Now you might be saying, ‘Wait – water only? How does that work?’

The Water Only Washing method isn’t a new concept, but it started to gained notoriety on natural hair forums around 2013, and the premise is that our naturally occurring sebum is all the product we need. By eliminating all other products from your regimen, including natural oils and butters, you can simply use water to move the sebum down the hair shaft and eventually coat the hair completely. Once the hair is completely coated with sebum from your scalp, your hair is said to be soft and moisturized, easy to detangle, and your natural curls will pop.


To start the Water Only Washing method, you must first completely clarify your hair for any product build-up with either a clarifying shampoo, apple cider vinegar rinse, or clay wash. Then massage the scalp daily and doing daily water rinses, until the sebum has completely coated your hair strands from root to tip. This can take several weeks. Once your hair is fully coated, you can water wash n go each day, detangling with your fingers or a tool.

While you can find lots of people who’ve tried this method and sing its praises, there are also those who have tried this method, and experienced negative effects. Some report clogged hair follicles that result in slow hair growth, itchy scalp, and dryness. Others report waxy buildup, a grey tinge to their hair, and bad smelling hair and scalp. When these issues occur, many WOHW advocates recommend introducing some plant-based products into your regimen, like plant-based deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and hair rinses.


Many in the professional hair care arena do not recommend it. This is based on their training and expertise about the science of how the hair and scalp work. While the sebum itself is awesome, they would argue that there is so much other dirt and buildup that your hair and scalp is exposed to that need to be removed, and water just won’t do. Sweat, dirt, and pollen are just a few things in the environment that land and sit in our hair and scalps, that water alone may not remove. Also, there are many like myself who’s scalp produces an extremely excessive amount of sebum that this method would not be a good fit for.

While the Water Only Washing method is not recommended by the pros, it’s hard to deny the videos and blog posts describing hair bliss by following this regimen. Have you heard of the Water Only Washing method? Would you try it?

2 thoughts on “The Water Only Washing Method, Is it for You?”

  1. Although it says water only, it really also recommends using food based hair/natural/herbal cleansers/conditioners every few weeks.

    This is because it recognises that that other things eg pollen/dust gets in the hair/scalp and also because of excess sebum and effects of hard water minerals.

    SOme people may not produce enough sebum for various reasons, not drinking enough water or eating varied/balanced diet or not daily massaging/scritching/preening. I am in my sixth month and love it.

  2. I have tried it before and I loved how it worked on my hair. There are other things that you can incorporate into the water only wash. It can take 2 to 4 weeks for your sebum to cover your hair. You can wash your hair every other day and you can add oil to your ends or do an oil rinse, if your hair is to dry while waiting for your sebum coverage. You can do all natural conditioning. like an okra wash. You have to clarify your hair if you have a lot of sebum coverage. You have to make it work for you. When it is done right your hair is gorgeous. I learned how to do it and what to use by watching Water Only Wash, on YOUTube. Type in Water Only Washing and there are several bloggers with wonderful information about it.

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