I do not wash my hair. Yes, you read that right





How true is that! Just like Barbie gave me unrealistic expectations about my hips and thighs… but that is another story. Today, we talk about hair.

So another cat is coming out of the bag. I do not wash my hair. Yes, you heard (*read) that right, no shampoo or conditioners go on my hair. Just good ol’ water. If you have been following along, you know that earlier this year in attempt to get away from the dangerous chemicals in shampoo and conditioner, I switched to a natural alternative. I could not bear the idea that those chemicals were seeping into my skin! Read more about that here, it is a great option in my opinion – I just wanted to take it to another level.

So in March I decided to go ‘unwashed’. I read a series of articles (here, here and here) and as is typical with me, I decided to jump in and give it a go. Autumn, at the Beheld, was kind enough to give me some advice. And answer my many questions along the way. The first few weeks I kept my hair up, as I had been warned it was going to be an oily ‘break in’ period. Many people always say that their hair gets oily the next day, so they cannot imagine a week.. or even 2 days without shampoo. I thought the same thing too, growing up I was notorious for having greasy hair – My Dad can attest to it, it was always ‘Fonda wash your hair’ or ‘ Fonda, when was the last time you washed your hair’ or my favorite, ‘If you cannot remember when you last washed your hair it has been too long, go shower now’. Poor Dad, but maybe I was on to something as a teen : P.

You see, when you strip the natural oils off your hair everyday .. or every other day.. your scalp thinks that it needs to produce x amount of new oil every day to keep it healthy. So, you have to break your scalps habits. Which takes around 5-8 weeks – mine took 5 ish, while I have heard people say that theirs took more. There are a few tricks that I have picked up along the way.

  • For your ‘break in’ period, ponytails are great (and now that it is summer, you have a great excuse). If you wear your hair down it is going to be chunky – sorry I am not sure of another way to explain it, chunky seems to work best in this case. But that does go away with time..
  • Brush your hair as much as possible, every day if you can. Use a boar bristle brush, and work from the roots down to the ends. This helps distribute your oils and also massages your scalp. I have had two different boar bristle brushes. Make sure to test some out if you are not impressed. The first one I got was highly reviewed online, but I found it was not stiff enough to get through my hair, it just flattened on my head. But then my friend traveled to the UK and surprised me with a Diane brush, and it works so much better.
  • When you are having oily days, take some baby powder in your hands and run in into your scalp. Some days that are extra oily, I have sprinkled it right on my head and rubbed it (like a shampoo). I suggest to check this at night, then any ‘white residue’ while wear off in the night. If not, and you apply in the morning – just make sure you rub well or else you will appear to have greys. Oily days will continue even after the ‘break in’ they will just not be nearly as bad. Now I find most days are not oily.
  • Try to go as long as possible between rinses/washes. When you do ‘wash’ just do like normal but without the shampoo or conditioner. Scrub your scalp well, you do want to clean it and take care of the dead skin (sorry). I now try to ‘wash’ every 10 days. The reason I wait so long, is the day after a wash your hair … ok my hair.. freaks out. I think that my hair has gotten so used to the oils sticking around that when it gets ‘washed’ that it loses its bounce and looks icky – it is like it needs to dry out even after it is dry. I chatted with Autumn about this too, she agreed that it needs some breathing time after a wash. I find that it takes around 8 hours to do so. Also, I have found that it is much less ick if I ‘wash’ with warm and not hot water.

There are some great benefits to letting your hair go natural and take care of itself.

  • No more buying products that make tons of claims and drain the bank account. Water is free.
  • When your hair is naturally oiled up, you have this natural mouse like texture in it. It is rather hard to explain, but if you have long hair then think of the best mouse you have ever had in your hair. It is like that. If I want my hair to by curly, then it holds a curly. If I want straight hair, then it is straight. Without any products. Thats another thing Autumn over at The Beheld agrees with me about, she had the same realization too! I generally wear my hair down, wavy with abit of curl. I never need to do anything to it, it just stays and is light and airy. I think it is best described now as beach hair. But of course everyones will be different.
  • My hair is so healthy now, it feels healthy and it looks healthy! I would imagine yours would be too!
  • There is so much time saved. Not shampooing, no conditioning and waiting for the conditioner to soak in. No oil treatments. And, No getting up early to style – this obviously would not work if my hair did not have the tiny bit of curl I like and needed to curl my hair. But then again, that would be another world for me.
  • You use less water in the shower. Better on the hot water bill!
  • If you dont brush your hair for a few days (I tend to go like 5 sometimes, especially if I am really loving how it looks) you will be so surprised at how easily it brushes through. It is amazing. I always have had tangely hair, but now the natural oils keep it all apart. It is really great to just easily brush through it.

Then there are the cons, which I feel to be fair I need to point out. These don’t really bother me, but might bother you.

  • Your hair will smell like hair. Gasp! If you want a sweet or flowery smell, you can make a spray with some essential oils, but I have no desire too. For the first few weeks I had Ole regularly smell my hair (thanks for putting up with me!) and he said it is fine. He has been informed to say if it ever smells. So far 3 months in, no stink.
  • Yes, it can be greasy. Some days are more than others. But really just a bit of baby powder goes a long way. Apply it, brush it through if need be and the shiny oil is gone! Poof!
  • It is not exactly an easy or open topic to chat about. Kinda like with my ‘I don’t use toothpaste’ choice, you will get some odd looks if you talk about it. But really, who needs to know (unless like this post and you think it will help or inspire people).

This is definite something to consider. I am thrilled that I am not using chemicals and that I am saving loads of money. But if it is not for you, consider a more natural hair cleaning approach to avid the harsh chemicals – read this idea about ACV and Baking Soda. I will post an update in the future, in the meantime however- feel free to ask any questions you might have!



UPDATE Winter 2012:
I have now started to use (as I have talked about in the comments below) pure olive oil soap on my roots about once per week. I found that after some time, I just needed to get some of the ‘buildup’ of my scalp. I just was the roots/scalp and rinse it off, the rinsing part takes care of the rest of the hair – the soapish water runs over all my hair but does not dry it out. If I want to prolong the time between washes I just put a very small amount of baby powder on my roots and rub it in, not only does it take away any oily shine – it also is great for styling! It is still very easy to brush my hair, even if I have not brushed it for many days.

I have used the soap as a bar, just rubbing it on the scalp. While this worked for me, I wanted to have an option that was more ‘normal’ for Ole so I now liquidize it. I take around 700 ml of hot water and 1 block of soap (generally chopped up into smaller pieces, like 8). I leave this on the counter for a few days and shake it when I go past. This makes a nice thick creamy soap that we now use for ‘shampoo’, dish soap, and hand soap.

I have gotten many questions about dandurf. I do not seem to ever have dandurf anymore either. I see this as a bonus of this lifestyle of no/limited checmicals and eating how I do.



I have been using African Black Bar Soap from my local organic store and/or J.R. Liggetts shampoo bars for the last few years now. I bounce between them depending on what is in stock. We normally use 1 1/2 bars per year. 

I wash my hair around once per week, with just above cold water. I rise it with very cold water and most of the time let it air dry. 



87 Responses

  1. EcoCatLady June 3, 2011 / 22:40

    OMG – I am SOOO impressed! I tried to go “water only” but I just couldn’t hack it. I’ve got this funny cowlick on the back of my head, and when my hair gets too much sebum in it it doesn’t hang right and it ends up looking like I’ve got a bald spot on the back of my head (which I don’t). So, while I am willing to do many things for the environment, looking like I have a bald spot on my head is not one of them!

    I now use a system similar to baking soda and ACV. I use either citric acid or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) instead of vinegar because I just can’t stand the vinegar smell. My three year “no poo” anniversary is coming up and my hair has never looked (or felt) better!

    • Vulcan Princess November 30, 2015 / 02:50

      What kind of system and ratio do you use? If you replace vinegar with the citric/ascorbic acid, do you still use baking soda? Also, what type of hair do you have? Mine is thick and curly and it feels like nothing works.

    • Briona July 24, 2016 / 19:18

      Well there is a natural altinitive. It’s called lush cosmetics. The brand is all natural vegan and doesn’t animal test and has some really good products. A lot of them smell heavenly and there’s my actually have. Thing called shampoo bars and they are a way better alturnitive for your hair. Hope this helps:)

      • Heather November 11, 2017 / 06:00

        Lush is not all natural. They use SLF and dyes.

  2. Fonda LaShay June 4, 2011 / 16:23

    Thanks! While I do deeply care about the environment, my main concern was the chemicals. I have seen to many documentaries lately about chemicals.. ek. I think you are doing great chemical and environmental wise! Your system sounds great! It is not the best to feel your hair is doing great! 3 years, wow! congrats!

  3. EcoCatLady June 4, 2011 / 21:53

    Actually, I didn’t start out doing it for the environment either… it was because I was sick of having skin problems from the shampoo. It’s really horrible stuff.

  4. ConsciouslyFrugal June 6, 2011 / 20:38

    I keep wanting to do the baking soda & ACV thing, but I’m still putting this toxic crap on my head. Must. Do. It. Must. Do. It. The photo in the beginning of this post is just priceless. Oy!

  5. Eva @ Four Leaf Clover July 4, 2011 / 12:46

    I’m so glad I read through the comments on No More Dirty Looks and clicked on your link. It’s been almost two weeks of no more shampoo for me and I was beginning to wonder what needs to be done. I guess I just need to sit tight and wait for the “break in” moment and just not deal with the vinegar and baking soda. Thank you for this very helpful post! Hopefully I’ll be right there with you in a few weeks about loving my hair shampoo & pretty much everything free. : )

  6. Elena September 18, 2011 / 14:47

    I’ve gone (pretty much) shampoo free–I weaned myself off a sulfate/paraben free shampoo this summer, and I’ve been getting compliments on my hair, which usually tended towards frizzy but now is smooth and shiny–with my waves/curls intact! I put a little lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil in for scent. It does seem really oily at first, but I think that has a lot to do with our ridiculous idea of “clean” hair. I’ve also stopped using face washes–I wash my face with organic, local honey in the morning and sometimes put a little peppermint oil on it–I love the tingly feeling! At night, I just use warm water. I use sweet almond oil as a moisturizer and to remove my makeup (which I will admit, some of my lipsticks are not as clean as I’d like them to be). I use a squirt of Enessa blemish control and the cystic acne control if I need it (though I don’t need as much it now that I’ve quit using harsh cleansers and topical creams). The no-poo thing is amazing! I always want to reccomend it to people, but usually keep my mouth shut unless they come off as not easily grossed out or kind of granola.

    • Jamila December 10, 2015 / 03:05

      Totally off subject… However I’ve found my cystic acne was dairy related… If i eat dairy, cheese, milk, ice cream… A day or two later I get a big painful caustic pimple…

  7. Helka April 5, 2012 / 17:52

    I’ve been water-only poo-free for just over two months now, and my hair’s still really chunky (best description ever), tacky-feeling, greasy and lank. I’m wondering, does it ever go back to how it was before (i.e. will it ever be as light and fine)? Or is this the new normal? (I’m caucasian, and I’ve got fine hair with a slight wave.)

    • Tracy March 19, 2016 / 15:19

      I found the best way to clean ur hair when not shampooing is with a hair brush or comb. Clean hair brush and comb regularly to get the sebum residue off and then, when brushing, ur brush will collect more sebum and leave ur hair not so thick and waxy feeling. After I got my hair where I liked it, all I had to do wash wash my brush nightly (run it under hot water while brushing it with a l. Old toothbrush) for about 30 seconds a night.

      I went first to acv and baking soda. Did that for a year, then switched to water only. About a week into that I started washing my hair brush and my hair looks amazing compared to what it used to look like. It doesn’t feel oily or thick. Today I brush my hair 100 times before bed, wash my brush, and my hair seriously looks amazing. I used to have thin oily hair, now I have bouncy wavy hair that looks freshly washed and professionally done everyday.

      • Brigitte Goble April 20, 2016 / 15:45

        What hair brush do you use?

  8. Fonda LaShay April 5, 2012 / 22:19

    mine was chunky for a long time. Baby powder helped out.

    It never got back to the light and flow-y feeling, though it was the best the day after a water washing – and stayed good for 2 days. then i had to repeat.

    I have now modified my hair routine though. There was just to much build up that i was not getting out with just water. So I used a bar of castile soap on my hair some times now. It helps with the build up and chunkyness. Also, It comes in a paper box and is 100% natural oils 🙂

    • Jac Thomson March 18, 2015 / 10:40

      Try using Dr Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap – it comes in liquid form, and can be bought in many natural fragrancies.

      • emmadelle May 11, 2015 / 23:10

        Ditto that…I’m 65 and wash my hair every three days with Bronner’s and get more compliments than I ever did before on my hair. I usually trim my own (very straight!) hair, but the last time I went to a hairdresser for a trim, she called her colleagues over, pointed to my hair and said, “This is how an older woman’s hair looks if she doesn’t process it in any way. Isn’t it amazing?” They simply hadn’t seen healthy hair in a woman my age and I give the Bronners a lot of credit for that.

    • Justine September 17, 2015 / 15:32

      I’m so happy not using shampoo! My hair is on the thin side and after three weeks without shampoo it feels stronger and chemical free!

  9. Dennis June 4, 2012 / 15:25

    I am currently on this experiment and I have to say that it makes it much easier to style my hair. Although I do use hair products, I still shampoo it once every week or so because I don’t think water can wash it away alone.

  10. Christine September 29, 2012 / 03:06

    If I water-only wash my hair, how often should I do it? (Or not do it, as the case may be). I haven’t washed my hair in a couple of days (pure serendipity – and laziness) and it already feels quite soft. Running my fingers through it is entirely effortless. My scalp is a bit greasy, but not noticeably, and my hair looks perfectly normal. Will it get worse if I continue and THEN get better? And will it get worse if I consistently wash it with water? (Say, every two days). I’m hoping I might be a lucky rarity, in the sense that my hair won’t be so greasy for so long. But I’d like some experienced feedback! My hair is quite thick and lustrous – a lot of girls seem to envy it – and it’s quite long and wavy.

    • Fonda LaShay November 30, 2012 / 17:06

      it all depends person to person. I found every other day with just water was nice. but now I am using a small amount of pure olive oil soap every 6th ish day and loving it. good luck!

  11. Psipsina October 19, 2012 / 12:43

    I’m so pleased I found this! Not only am I about to write about my experiences but it’s so nice to find others who are doing the same and living my the same anti-chemical choices.

    I haven’t washed my hair in a couple of months now and am loving it (odd sentence). I agree about the ‘mousse’ affect; my curls stay as do my straight looks. In fact, my curls look better than ever- and even better after brushing, which used to make them look terrible.

    The only problem I’m experiencing is a dry scalp, but I think that’s down to me not oiling enough before I rinse. I’m rinsing every 5 days or so and have found in the 2 or so times I have shampooed (fell off the wagon!) my hair was horrible fluffy and looked terrible!

    The hairdresser told me ‘in a year, your hair will be exactly where you want it to be’ and I think he is bang on.

    Thanks for the thoughts!

    Going to try follow your blog- my kind of thing 🙂

    • Fonda LaShay November 30, 2012 / 17:10

      I think it takes awhile for your hair to bounce back after you “fall of the wagon” 🙂 I would say spread out the washing, maybe you are scrubbing your scalp to hard if it is drying out? But look into getting more vitamin D – really good for the skin, most people just dont seem to get enough and i am a huge believer in it! it does wonders. Also, you might need to get more natural fats… olive oil, butter, coconut oil, animal fats. They really really help the skin!

      best of luck!

  12. Janine November 2, 2012 / 01:10

    I have been doing it for over a month now and I am just wondering if any of you experienced really bad dandruff? I feel like my whole scalp is coming off? other than that I love the all natural smell and the way my hair looks and feels. it’s like beach hair for sure… with lots of flakes 🙁 please help!!

    • Fonda LaShay November 30, 2012 / 17:13

      I dont have the dandruff issue. I think it is mostly to due with my diet. I get lots of vitamins. I have had dandruff in the past.. and mind you I live in Norway where it should be easy to get dry skin since it is so cold! However, I have heard of people taking almond oil and massaging it into the scalp every so often.. leaving it overnight then washing it out with castile soap. .. might be worth a try

    • Jennifer September 19, 2016 / 15:25

      Real lemon juice and water helped clear my dandruff in two days.

  13. Emily Millward November 29, 2012 / 19:52

    Hey! SO impressed with your stuff – I have just had a read through a few of your blogs (this one, the one about not using toothpaste) and think what you’re doing is super-cool and very brave! You have inspired me to do the same 🙂 I’m now totally aware of all the products and plastic I own 🙁 (although I have always been one to try and be as natural as possible and use ‘organic’ products, it’s suprising they claim benefits but when it comes to being natural, it’s best to just go NATURAL and not use any products!!)
    One tip I recently heard, satin or silk pillowcases are good for your hair as they do less damage than other materials because there’s less friction on them! I have a satin pillowcase and it’s really nice.

    I was also just wondering: I have some Dr. Bronner’s soap, it has organic olive oil with RETAINED GLYCERIN in – is this okay to use on my teeth??

    Thanks!! 😀 xx

    • Fonda LaShay November 30, 2012 / 17:13

      thanks! Retained glycerin is ok 🙂 he says it is ok in the book.. and it is impossible to get without.. good luck!!

  14. Reno January 10, 2013 / 00:52

    I am a guy, and I have started to do the same thing.

    I just buzz my hair all around somewhere between a 2 and 6 whatever my mood is in. When it’s on the longer side (4+) and when I wash it with a shampoo, my hair freaks out and sticks up all over the place. I get really self conscious because I have a small area of about an inch in my temple where the hair literally grows the opposite way.

    I’ve gone a few weeks now without washing it, and it looks and FEELS so much better on my scalp, and the hair for some reason does not revert to its crazy outward bending position.

    Good advice, for anybody!

    • Fonda LaShay January 11, 2013 / 13:59

      Glad it has worked out so well for you! Welcome to the club!

  15. Sion January 10, 2013 / 07:04

    Hi, thanks partly to this blog, I decided to take the plunge before Christmas and stop washing my hair with anything except water. It’s been four and a half weeks now and, although my hair feels good, my dandruff has gone mental. I can alleviate this by scrubbing hard on my scalp during a wash with water, but this removes too much oil and leaves my hair feeling dry. I may try the almond oil suggestion above, and I also read that baking soda should work, so I may try that too, but does anyone have any success stories? It’s getting desperate as I want to continue with this but without dry hair or crazy dandruff. A the moment I have to hoover my pillows because there’s so much of it.

    • Fonda LaShay January 11, 2013 / 14:09

      How often are you washing it with water? Are you using really hot water.. try for a lower temperature.

    • Enola Alos April 27, 2014 / 03:05

      I realize this post is from 2013, but…Sion, how are doing now? Do you still have this problem? I’ve heard that scrubbing/scratching your scalp causes more dandruff to form; your scalp will gradually heal itself if you leave it alone, so I’ve read. I tried doing this, but I stopped because my scalp was becoming noticeably gross. 🙁 I’d love to give it (and the whole water washing thing) another go, though.

    • Jennifer September 19, 2016 / 15:21

      Real lemon juice with water got rid of my dandruff after day two.

  16. Natalie January 13, 2013 / 14:49

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It really helps me when I want to try something to see what others have done and what their experience was like.

    I had tried BS/ACV several years ago, and I tried co-washing also and using castille soap/natural soaps instead of shampoo for a couple of years before I decided to try water only. I just finished week 8 and am going into week 9. I didn’t try the baby powder, and maybe I should have. My hair seems to have taken all 8 weeks to transition. I had recently moved back to using organic shampoo and conditioner before I went water only.

    During this time, I broke down three times to wash with Baking Soda and ACV, including last night. My hair was so greasy at those times, that it didn’t make much difference in washing it. It would only cut some of the grease and it still looked horrid. That is until I did it last night. I woke up today with fluffy, normal looking hair. Up until today, my hair has felt and looked greasy and waxy. It looked wet/damp/stringy even when dry. So to wake up with normal hair today gives me hope that my transition period has finally ended.

    I was washing my hair once to twice per week or before special events since we just had the Holidays during this time period with water only. It did generally look better one to two days after a wash, but it never looked good.

    I read on another blog, that once the transition was over that blogger had to wash once with BS/ACV to get the excessive grease/wax/oil out of their hair, but then it was fine after that. That’s why I tried the BS/ACV wash three times during this transitional phase, to find out if my scalp had evened out but there was so much excess that it would take a while to brush it out and for my body to deal with it. My scalp started feeling better in week #4, but my ends and middle just never looked or felt right. I really, really hope that today is good indicator about the transition period being over.

    Also, two weeks ago, I chopped off a large part of my hair (18 inches). It was supposed to have been 8-10 inches, but the girl at the discount salon thought that I had so much hair that it would be okay to cut off more. (Yes, I cried after I saw it.) I removed that amount of hair for two reasons – send it to locks of love and to see if the ends were damaged and that’s why they were dry and tangly all the time and if my scalp was producing too much oil to try to fix the ends when they couldn’t be repaired. I did lose more than I wanted from my hair, but I am interested to see how the ends go once I grow it out using this method of washing only. I think I’ll try WO for a few more weeks and supplement with BS/ACV if it gets too bad.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience on your blog. And I am really interested in some of the other things you are trying with diet and other things. And I’m going to start on my diet changes this week – more natural, locally sourced food. 🙂

  17. Cate Allan January 28, 2013 / 14:31

    less to do with chemicals, etc and more the fact that my hair is fine and wavy and so to make it look and stay half decent, I need to either straighten it with irons or use a spinning brush hairdryer. Even then, just the slightest perspiration or contact with drizzle makes it all curl up again. I am growing it long for the first time in my life and long-and-curly doesn’t suit me – I’ve asked people and everyone thinks straighter is better for me now my hair is longer.

    My hair has always looked best after going to the hairdresser and having a blow dry to smooth and straighten it. Then it stays looking good for a week whereas when I dry it myself, it looks a mess after 3 or 4 days – not through grease but through frizz and waves starting to form in the wrong places! So I decided to wean myself off washing my hair so often. First a week without washing, then 2 weeks, then 3 weeks, etc.

    I have my hair trimmed every 6 weeks and last autumn I took the plunge and didn’t wash my hair at all between hairdresser visits. I used a light dusting of dry shampoo once a week massaged into the roots and my hair looked good the whole 6 weeks. My hairdresser was dumbfounded at how great my hair looked and was telling everyone in the shop about it!!! Since then, I’ve repeated the exercise 3 times.

    PROS: Provided I have it trimmed every 6 weeks (when I have to have a wash and blow-dry), my hair looks good all the time. It keeps it shape and style and doesn’t go curly when I perspire or have brief contact with water vapor. It just HAS to be good for my hair to stop straightening it with heated appliances!

    CONS: The major one is build up of natural scalp skin flakes. I can’t use the water wash method because then I’d have to dry it and either use straighteners on untreated hair (which damages my hair), OR put heat protection product on my hair before straightening, which would add to debris build-up. Another con is that although I can keep it looking clean with a light dusting of dry shampoo each week, the build up of crusty flakes occasionally makes my scalp itch. The scales come off OK if I massage my scalp with my fingertips, but that then leads to a lot of dandruff fall. My hairdresser warned me about scratching my scalp when it’s like this and said there’s a risk of getting a skin infection if I nick the skin’s surface at all.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to reduce the scalp flaking without using water washes? I had hoped that my scalp would just ‘get used to’ not being washed and stop shedding skin cells so much, but it’s not responding that way as yet.

    • Fonda LaShay January 29, 2013 / 13:46

      you might try using a boar bristle brush, and really working at the scalp areas. if you are having lots of skin build up, you will probably need to clean the brush lots too.

    • Jennifer September 19, 2016 / 15:49

      Real lemon juice and water helped rid my dandruff in two days.

  18. Cate Allan January 28, 2013 / 14:35

    My posting above somehow lost its first sentence. It should have started:

    JANUARY 2013: I’ve been doing this for around 6 months now. My motives were actually less to do with chemicals …………….. (etc, etc)

  19. HinLaLaLand February 4, 2013 / 09:47

    Thanks for such an informative post! I just finished washing my hair with water only. I added a bit of grapeseed oil and rubbed it into my dry hair (just a habit because I bought an organic shampoo/conditioner set for oily hair and my scalp was starting to feel dry).

    I was on day 4 of not washing my hair and tonight, I took the dive and washed it in water only. I brushed my hair with my Diane hairbrush before the shower and also yesterday. It was a vigorous brushing which got rid of all the skin flakes. I would usually wash my hair every day or every other day and still end up with dry flakes. I found out this weekend that not washing my hair as much, letting the sebum moisturize my hair and scalp, and brushing the dry flakes out of my hair was actually healthier.

    Your post has really inspired me. I am hoping I can do the water-washing technique. I am almost out of my shampoo conditioner set and do not want to buy another one (it lasted me about 6-8 months). If I can wash my hair with just water and follow up with ACv or lemon juice and water, I will be happy!

    For the ladies who have dead skin flakes, use a firm boar bristle/nylon mixed brush. The brush will get rid of the flakes and break up the oil. Your hair only smells because of the oil clumping your hair into a matted mess. I noticed that my hair stopped smelling after I kept brushing it.

  20. diana February 9, 2013 / 00:52

    Hey. I’ve been doing this for 8 weeks now and my hair looks like its really wet (about 30 min after the shower) when its actually dry (you mentioned this before). I noticed that sometimes it looks less ‘oily’ when I wash it for 10 minutes. My question is, how long do you usually spend washing your hair and how exactly do you do it? Do you just rinse it or I don’t know… Massage it? Its sort of working but even though its been 8 weeks nothing much has changed 🙁 thanks 🙂

    • Fonda LaShay February 13, 2013 / 10:30

      Hi Diana, Which version have you been doing? Just water? With Castile soap? I switched away from just water due to the ‘wet’ look. I now am just using castile on my scalp and brushing well.

  21. Niella February 17, 2013 / 08:17

    Hello Fonda,

    Would rinsing with cold water work just as well?6

    • Niella February 17, 2013 / 08:20

      Ignore the random 6.

    • Fonda LaShay March 24, 2013 / 17:09

      I have heard of many people just using cold water, not done it myself so I am not sure.. but I would think it would be a bit tougher to loosen up any gunk.

  22. Evy Star March 11, 2013 / 11:05

    Greets from the tropics of Australia. Any idea if something like this could work for someone living in humid/tropical climate? I also cycle to work every day. A good 29kms each way. So you can imagine that I do build up quite a sweat. I have very curly, unruly, fuzzy wuzzy hair. It used to be lush,wavy and shinning until the age of 13 or 14 and then it started to go pear shaped. I’m now 36. I constantly wear it up in a bun as it’s just too fuzzy for me to wear out. Esp in this humidity. I do notice that I when I go travelling down south to places like Melbourne it settles a bit and it’s more a wave then frizz and I can wear it out. Anyhoo. I’m mostly interested in your opinions on going poo-free and living in the tropics of Australia. Thanks

    Kind regards,

    • Fonda LaShay March 24, 2013 / 17:14

      I have heard of good reports for this helping with frizzy hair! I do not know about the humidity though.. we have some here.. but it is not like other places in the world like where you are – so I can no advise much about it. I would suggest testing it out. If you are already wearing it up in a bun then you are already ready for easily hiding the break in period.

      If you give it a try – report back to us! Would love to hear how it goes!

  23. Ken March 23, 2013 / 17:50

    Wow, I’ve been wondering! I have dry scalp issues, and since shampoo dries the scalp, I was wondering if shampooing was really all that important.

    I have a question, though. People often like to shampoo after going in pool water. Do/should you pay special attention when “washing” out pool chlorine (like spending more time/water), or does it not really matter?

    • Fonda LaShay March 24, 2013 / 17:16

      When I swim, I do make sure to wash off all the pool water well. But I don’t add anything extra to my routine. Just wash abit more and rinse longer. Good Luck!

    • Vulcan Princess November 30, 2015 / 03:17

      Wet hair before swimming so that it soaks in unchlorinated water. Then it won’t absorb as much chlorine, and also wash after as well!

  24. Lefty April 3, 2013 / 00:12

    I haven’t washed my hair in anything other than warm water for over 20 years and it’s grease free and soft. It’s so soft that a girl I know has to run her fingers through it everytime she sees me. It’ll be good to see if she’s been washing her hair normally as she’s been travelling through some pretty remote areas for the last 5 months.

  25. Proma April 8, 2013 / 10:13

    Hey 🙂
    I’ve been trying this not washing hair thing since about a month now. Well the problem is I live in a very hot and humid country so i kinda rinse my hair everyday with normal cold water. But recently I’m noticing that my scalp has become very dirty… (Thats another reason i’m washing my hair with water only to get out the dirt). No matter now many times i wash my comb, the moment i brush my hair…The comb becomes dirty again. Everywhere it is written about the grease but having the dirty scalp for the first few weeks/months normal? what should i do? I never had such a dirty scalp when i used shampoo.. 🙁 Please help..!!

    • Fonda LaShay April 26, 2013 / 14:00

      I had to start using soap (not shampoo) again for my scalp.. due to this. I wrote about it above in the comments and at the end of the post..

  26. Franie June 2, 2013 / 02:41

    i havent washed my hair with shampoo or conditioner for about a month now! and i absoultly love it, whenever i would use shampoo and conditioner my hair would be super oily the next day, but now that i wash with water only, it doest get oily for about 5 days, and thats when i water wash it again, it works wonders for me, so far : ) i have wavy semi-thick hair, and ive never been able to find products that work, who knew that water only was the answer! thanks for the article!

    • Fonda LaShay August 29, 2013 / 18:23

      so glad that it works so well for you 🙂

  27. Vita August 27, 2013 / 00:03

    Brilliant post! I started my water only experiment 20 days and I’m still going through a transition. For the last 6 months i’d been doing the no-poo method, so I hope it’s not going to be too difficult to transition to water only. My husband and I have been doing water only for the rest of the body for a while now, and it’s awesome, so I’m confident it’s going to work for my hair, too. I’m even going to cut layers in my own hair tonight for the first time. That’s ultimate frugal life for me! 🙂 By the way, I’m documenting my water only experiment on my blog, and I’ve mentioned your post as one of the best resources online. Well done and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us! Vita @ http://eccelavita.blogspot.com

    • Fonda LaShay August 29, 2013 / 18:26

      Thanks! Your hair looks great, you have a nice site – always nice to see other people documenting 😀

  28. Perrang Iam September 11, 2013 / 17:53

    I’ve been doing this now for about three months as well after coming to the conclusion myself. All but the twenty dollars shampoo’s and conditions had chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate. Being a minimalist and a boy I said to hell with it.

    America switched to a shampoo/conditioning culture not too long ago actually, in and around the 1970’s I believe.
    My mother actually told me my grandpa did the exact same thing, and just ran a bar of soap over his head. And this must have been a time before a bar of soap changed from something like animal fat.
    So on the topic for boys, the two month transition will go by a lot easier with shorter hair. You have to think when you start that all your current hair has been subjected to chemical exposure, and may not react in the same capacity as new hair. I found it a lot easier cutting my medium sized hair short when I started. And it’s the same comfort I have in cutting my own hair now. If I mess up, I can always cut it short.
    As having curly hair, I hated the day after feel matching with my minimalist lifestyle.

    And surprisingly when I stopped, I also found I preferred a cooler shower. And then just read that it’s better hair chemistry.

    The last part is the comb. Before styling, a comb had to be invented thousands of years ago for knots and just as important, redistributing oils. Why else does your brain send out dopamine when it’s combed? I’m a bed head outta bed person, and lazy as they come; so I had to reintroduce the comb and say hello. You might want to look at what will work best for your hairstyle, but I would comb your scalp to move around the oils. It seems to air shampoo your hair in a short notice.

    Isn’t it odd in the end how the Romans bathed almost daily and had a short hair culture (at least for men) and yet elsewhere wore long and probably only bathed when fishing or playing.
    Swimming in a lake, I found my hair felt better anyways than the day after a shower. In which case further promotes using cool water.
    All I know is there’s 8 hours to sleep, 8 hours to work, and 8 to recreation. And I’m not in the privy to spend the 1-3 hours in preparation a day when my body has done it itself for the longest time.
    And while I’m sensitive and touchy, hygiene is extremely important to me. In fact it’s why I started.
    I’ve found some of the most glossed people to be the dirtiest and some of the most outdoorsy to be the cleanest. As nature does its work.
    Even the other nasties like the armpits can be controlled better by the fabric you use in your clothing. The nasties are in fact a bacterial growth caused by an inability to breathe. And unfortunately also, many of our modern synthetic fabrics not only capture that funk but neither breathe it out.
    I also wear wool socks now which experiments have been done in wearing them for months. And much more conscious on a fabrics durability and its weaves breath ability.

    • Fonda LaShay March 26, 2014 / 17:07

      I too prefer a cooler shower, at least when washing my hair. I find that the cooler water is easier on the scalp and my hair look much nicer for longer with the cold water. Hot water probably aids in oil production.

  29. Sonya March 13, 2014 / 03:02

    I am just reading about this for the first time. I have curly, caucasian hair. I rely on styling products to prevent it from being frizzy and define the curl. What about styling hair? How does that work with water washing only? I always wet my hair to recur/style it.


    • Fonda LaShay March 26, 2014 / 17:04

      Rewetting is not a issue. I fond that my hair holds a much better shape and is not frizzy with this method! I have heard of many people with curly hair being able to get away from many products!

      best of luck! Would love to hear how it works for you!

  30. Andreas April 29, 2014 / 17:41

    i’ve been washing my hair with water only for quite a while now, starting back when i had short hair and back then i never had any problems. after having severe dandruff issues for so many years this solved the issues completely. all those years i’ve been using those anti-dandruff shampoos and by that was only mking it worse. but now that i’ve started growing my hair long about a year ago and after they’ve reached a certain length they first started feeling more and more stiff so i started using baking soda and vinegar about once a week. that worked for a while but after some time i started to get really bad dandruff again, which seemd to only get worse the longer my hair got. after reading up about it and about how to actually treat long hair (i did pretty much everything wrong you could do) i tried washing my hair only once a week after having washed it every day until then.

    so now i’ve been doing that for several weeks, with some exceptions in between, and the dandruff hasn’t really gotten any better. the last thing i changed recently was washing my hair with warm water. i’ve stopped doing that several years ago when i heard that it dries out your scalp. this has helped with reducing the build up, which seemed to continue infinitely until then, but so far the issue is still not gone.

    i read up about hard and soft water recently and wanted to get a water filter. since reading that i’ve been also assuming that this might have something to do with the water. people seem to have more success with no poo or WO if they have soft water and here it seems to be very hard. i really hope that changes something, otherwise i don’t know what else to do. washing often doesn’t help, washing rarely doesn’t help either, i’m at a loss.

    is there anything else i could try out to get rid of dandruff? i’m already taking cod liver oil and vitamin d, which has a noticable effect on skin and also hair, i’ve never had split ends so far, but it doesn’t seem to help with dandruff at all.

    • Fonda LaShay May 3, 2014 / 10:14

      I know this might sound like a stretch.. but do you eat Gluten?I have heard many people stopped having dandruff when they stopped eating gluten. I do not have a dandruff problem, but I have been gluten free for years now. However, my boyfriend is not and he is battling this problem now too. He does not have long hair though – with him, I’ve noticed that is tends to get worse around times he has more sugar and gluten – though he does not want to believe it! 😛 He is testing some oil based natural ‘shampoos’ now to see if any of them help. I will report back once he is 1/2 way through on of the bottles to let you know if it is helping.

      • Andreas May 3, 2014 / 13:01

        i try to avoid it but yeah, i eat it sometimes. i haven’t noticed any connection between those 2 though. i’ve always had dandruff and didn’t notice any change in that after i started avoiding gluten. like i said i already got rid of it but after my hair reached a certain length it came back.

        i’ve ordered a water filter now so maybe my situation will change in the next few weeks. the chlorine in our water is supposed to be a cause for dandruff and it dries out the skin, too. apart from being toxic in general. i’ll report back if there’s any change. and if i don’t forget it

        • Enola Alos June 15, 2014 / 08:32

          How’s the water filter going? I have dandruff, too, and I currently eat gluten and I don’t use a water filter when showering…

          • Andreas June 15, 2014 / 11:00

            i’ve been using the water filter for a few weeks now and it seems to have have had some effect. i noticed right after the first shower that my skin felt less dry and my hair felt softer, my father noticed a difference as well, but it wasn’t a huge difference. but regarding my dandruff: it seems to have improved or maybe it’s gone, depending on how you see it. basically i don’t really have any flakes falling off my head normally if i don’t mess around with my hair but i still get some build up on my scalp, which seems to have decreased but it doesn’t seem to go away either. my scalp’s also still itching sometimes but i’d say that has gotten less, too.

            i was hoping that i’d be able to get by with only rinsing my hair with water and that with a water filter or just soft water it would be doable but my hair tends to get greasy over time if i do that so i’ve still had to use baking soda + vinegar but right now i’m trying out an aleppo soap for hair. it gets rid of the greasiness but my hair also looks a bit dry now, a day after washing it. but i’ve also heard that there’s a transition period for that as well so maybe it’ll look better over the next weeks. or I’ll have to try out something else.

            nothing but transitioning periods with this stuff.

    • Woon Choong Seng June 10, 2015 / 04:58

      Try using calamansi or small green lime if you can find, this really helps to get rid of your dandruff in a week or 2. Cut the lime into half and rub it on your scalp and continue it every day and in one week’s time you should feel dandruff-free. It works very well for me.

  31. Enola Alos May 27, 2014 / 17:50

    I stopped after a week or so when I first tried this. I’ve managed to actually stick with it this time around. It’s been a little over thirty days since I last washed my hair with shampoo and it’s crazy seeing how normal my hair looks! My hair was super greasy (as usual) in the beginning; now it’s only moderately moisturized at the roots (last week it felt sticky). Not entirely sure if my dandruff has improved, but it seems like it has. Haven’t put anyone up to the task of smelling my hair, but I don’t smell anything and no one has complained when I’ve been around them. I am looking to do a self trim and get a boars hair brush. And I’d like to add that lately I’ve been using only cold water (heater issue).

  32. Anna June 14, 2014 / 22:20

    Omg thank you! Its been like 2 weeks now…been trying baking soda and vinegar but still hair just felt gross and I’m like skrew it…I won’t use anything. But it has looked and felt terrible! Glad to see this does really work…just need to give it some time:-) I have invested in hair tires and I’m going to give it some more time to normalize

    • Enola Alos June 15, 2014 / 08:16

      Water-only rinsing works perfectly, at least that’s been the case with me. I briefly tried washing my hair with apple cider vinegar and baking soda in the past, and it made my hair look and feel gross. Perhaps the results would’ve been better had I used a better quality vinegar (it was cheap White House vinegar), but I see the baking soda was what really did it. Baking soda is too harsh and hard to get out of hair. It actually is bad to regularly use it on hair and skin period because, obviously, it’s an irritant, but a reverse effect also takes place after some uses. So let’s say you’re using it for, say, an facial scrub, and you’ve been having good results with it; your skin will go from good to terrible after sometime. I only use it sometimes under my arms as a deodorant and I brush my teeth with it once a week. As for apple cider vinegar, I’ve heard it’s safe to use on hair every once in awhile, but regular use can make hair look brassy. I rinsed my hair with organic apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s) for the first time ever last week and my hair looked and felt soft and fantastic! I plan on rinsing my hair with this twice a month.
      Good luck!

      • Enola Alos June 15, 2014 / 08:29

        *a facial scrub
        *good to terrible after some time.

  33. Elizabeth October 7, 2014 / 08:06

    Love the no-poo movement, with the occasional castile soap wash. One thing, though – those of us who have dandruff, also known as “seborrhea”, get it from a type of fungus called “malassezia”, which feeds on the oil on your scalp, and creates waxy yellow flakes. Aceto-salicylic acid, otherwise known as aspirin, is derived from the bark of the willow tree, and is helpful in treating dandruff. Crumble up 2 or 3 aspirin tablets, mix them with a cup of water, and apply to your scalp. Let it sit on there for several minutes, then rinse it out. Tea tree oil, table salt, lemon juice, dried neem leaves, aloe vera, vinegar, and Listerine are all effective treatments for dandruff as well. Use them individually, mix with some water, and massage into your scalp. Leave on for 5 to 15 minutes.

    • Diane Kerner October 13, 2014 / 04:28

      I started the same thing this year, and it is great! I go as long as possible without washing. When I do wash, it is with water only. I do use coconut oil in my hair for styling and smoothing (on either wet or dry hair). My hair is so much healthier now. I get so many complements on my hair now. They say, “Your hair looks great! What are you doing?” I just tell them straight up, “Uhhh, I get out of bed, and don’t wash my hair, and smooth coconut oil in it, and that’s it.” They seem rather taken aback and look surprised and say, “Well, it work for you. It looks really good.”

  34. Jayne April 29, 2015 / 19:30

    I haven’t read everyone’s comments yet, which will make a good read when I get time! But, good for you! I’m working my way to water only on my hair. I’m trying something this week and will post later about it, but I’m going to try aloe vera gel and orange essential oil as a hair wash. But, one thing that REALLY helps me during this weird, greasy transition is to WEAR YOUR HAIR UP 24/7. Why? Keeps the scalp cool and let’s air come to the scalp! Less oil!! I want a wooden comb. That helps break up scalp grease and remove lint and junk from the air. Running a linen cloth down the length of the hair will absorb grease! One thing before I end here is NOT to use BABY POWDER! Because, baby powder has ASBESTOS IN IT! Try organic CORNSTARCH (or cornstarch if you cannot find the organic kind) Nice Post!!!!!! I’m glad I subscribed!! PS. I still use some baking soda now and then.

  35. Woon Choong Seng June 10, 2015 / 05:30

    Washing hair with just water instead of shampoo does make a difference to my hair and I had been doing it since a few weeks ago. Now my hair looks much better without the”poo” and I really notice the difference on my scalp.

    All the while before I go with just water washing my hair, I had been trying all sorts of shampoos, some with short term effect but later feel worse and it’s my or everyone’s nightmare to try different types of shampoos and feel worse off in the end.

    Washing with water does help and better still, there is no abnormal smell or adverse look from others around me. I am thankful to have read the article on using just normal water to wash the hair.

    Woon CS

  36. A guy June 23, 2015 / 01:05

    I just wanted to comment on dandruff, meaning non-itchy flakes of skin that show up whenever you decide to use a comb or brush. As I have not washed my hair with soap for over 2 years, my hair is very pleasant. I do use conditioner about once a month when it’s cool out and maybe weekly when warm. More often when warm because being at the beach, and being active and sweating, I use my hair to dry my hands or get the lotion/oil I used off my hands. Anyways, all the body gets touched with fabric except you have hair that protects your head. All the skin has to be refreshed over time and on the scalp it comes off in sections. I feel this is completely normal and remedied by a good brushing whenever you want. That’s all, but you might want to go outside if it’s a once a month thing.

  37. Jayne September 17, 2015 / 16:01

    Well, I promised an update of using aloe Vera on my hair as shampoo!!! I started back in late April. I use about one or 1 1/2 tablespoons of organic aloe vera gel and an 1/8 of a lemon. Mix. BEST SHAMPOO ON EARTH!!! If you want to try this, do a skin test to make sure you are not sensitive to either ingredient! Add essential oils if your hair has a tendency to be dry. I freeze my lemon wedges so I do not run out. Just take it out the night before and put it in the fridge to defrost. Enjoy!!! PS. I also use sugar water in a tiny spritz bottle as “mousse” and hairspray!! You do have to allow it to dry. But, that is better than all those chemicals in your eyes, nose and skin!!!!!

  38. Dee December 17, 2015 / 05:52

    Hi I’m unable to wash or even let water touch my head neck for a month now I bush it twice daily due to an rta but it’s so greasy now I have never washed my hair daily once a week twice at the most in 52 years my hair is lovely but I will not be able to let water on it for the foreseeable future what stages will my hair go through I can’t even rub any thing into my hair or scalp because it is far to dangerous for me thanks xxx

  39. Isabel Smith March 24, 2016 / 22:40

    Have you ever tried African black soap for washing your hair? Alaffia has some all-purpose african black soap that I found was pretty good for body wash as well as shampoo… Definitely au natural as well. 🙂

  40. memusite April 19, 2016 / 22:23

    It’s “dandruff” not dandurf! (just saying!) <3 great article, very interesting.

  41. Debra July 11, 2016 / 17:47

    I haven’t used commercial shampoo for over 2 years. I have tried all sorts of things the best one being rice water. This left my hair really clean and soft.
    Seven weeks ago I decided to stop washing my hair it went a little bit greasy and now is amazingly soft, smooth and shiny and my scalp is clear of dandruff .
    I rest my case!

  42. Zara July 23, 2016 / 17:15

    Dear Fonda,
    It’s been a year and a half with no shampoo, and things are pretty amazing with my hair. Agree in everything and appreciate your efort to pass the experience of healthy natural hair to every reader.
    I only have one question, have you ever took sulfur showers with your no shampooed hair? I go every once in a week to sulfure swimming pool, but oddor stays for more than two weeks, and I don’t want to use shampoo. Don’t know what else to do, because it’s a little bit anoying.
    Any advice from you or any reader could give would be appreciated.
    Thanks a lot! And have a super cool weekend 🙂

  43. Tamara August 12, 2016 / 00:49

    I still use a cleaning product to wash my hair, but NOT shampoo or conditioner…. I bought one of those camping bars of soap and used that originally… then wondered, can I use just a regular bar of soap? turns out yes, you can…. The hair will feel like it is not conditioned but when it dries it will be soft and clean. Why buy two extra products when I can use just one for both hair and body? I hate how it feels when I don’t wash it for long, my scalp gets VERY itchy after a few days, can’t stand it! So I doubt I’m going to stop washing it, but I don’t need shampoo or conditioner, just soap.

    I don’t know how regular soap (like Irish Springs or Ivory, which makes me itch) would affect hair, I’ve been using Soapworks soaps, even glycerin and goat’s milk (don’t really like the goat’s milk, though)…. So you’ll have to experiment with the others to be sure. I have used Dove and it worked, so the others probably do too.

    Am thrilled to reduce my costs to only one product… I also reduced my cost for deodorant by making my own… It always irked me throwing out the deodorant container so I make my own, a powder. It doesn’t leave a white mark on dark clothes and generally works all day – baking soda and corn starch (I use 50/50 but there are other ratios, info can be found online) and a powder puff. A batch lasts over a year and it is so cheap to make! it’s amazing how much money people are spending on things they could make for themselves, or extra products when one will do… Powder can be a bit messy but I was greatly pleased with the result once it is on and absorbed.

  44. Scott biales Biales September 18, 2017 / 14:35

    The olive oil soap (Castille Soap) has a PH of 9+ to 10, which strips the oils from your scalp. Cycling your hair from acidic to basic and back to acidic can do some real damage. You want to reconsider using such a harsh soap on your scalp.

  45. Jen June 12, 2018 / 03:59

    Hi there. I’ve been trying to water only wash for 3 months now and am still having problems. I think I’m well through the oily transition period, as my hair doesn’t get super oily for a week or so. But washing with water only doesn’t make my hair any cleaner than before I get in the shower. I’ve tried hot water, cold water, both, and nothing seems to clean it. I’ve tried rinsing with vinegar at the end. The best results I’ve had with it so far come from dry shampoo (usually arrowroot starch) sprinkled all over, brushed well, then water washing, but it still looks stringy when it dries. I’m suspecting that it’s the water – we have very hard water that is chlorine treated. Anyone else experience this? Suggestions?

  46. Lauren October 29, 2018 / 01:44

    Have you considered using a co-wash?

What do you think?