Is Washing Your Hair With Only Water Good?

Written by Arshiya Syeda

The “no-poo” trend of washing hair is spreading faster than the ice bucket challenge! If you haven’t caught up to it, let us explain. More and more people are now tossing away shampoos and washing their hair with only water (hence the name, “no-poo”). Given the rep of shampoos, especially those containing harsh chemicals, washing your hair with only water might seem to be a better solution. But is it? Or will your hair remain greasy and dirty? Find out the pros and cons of water-only washing before retrograding to the stone age!

What Washing Your Hair With Only Water Does

The hair follicles produce natural oils that moisturize the hair and keep it soft and shiny. Shampoos contain chemicals that strip away this natural moisture. This dries out the hair and makes it dull and brittle. It also encourages the follicles to produce excess natural oils, making the hair greasier.

Washing the hair with only water, on the other hand, does not strip the hair off the natural oils but removes the dirt and sweat. The neutral pH of water also prevents scalp infections. Basically, you can wash your hair without the so-called magic work of chemical-laden shampoos.

But unless you have traveled in time, you must be using shampoo to wash your hair all your life. Transitioning to a no-shampoo hair wash routine can take some time. Scroll down to know how to make the transition period smooth.

How To Transition To No-Poo Hair Washing

The best way to transition to a water-only hair washing routine is to decrease using shampoo gradually. For example, if you shampoo your hair twice a week, do it once a week. Alternatively, you can dilute the shampoo with water to minimize using shampoo. After 3-4 weeks, stop using shampoo at all.

Initially, your hair will feel greasy for a few weeks of transitioning to a no-poo routine. To tackle this “icky” feeling, use a dry shampoo to keep your hair going-out-ready. Most of all, be patient while you transition. But the most important question is, should you use hot water or cold to wash your hair? Find out below.

Should You Use Hot Or Cold Water?

Avoid washing the hair with hot water. Instead, use lukewarm and cold water (preferably room temperature water). Lukewarm water opens the hair cuticles and washes off the trapped dirt, dust, pollution, and sweat. Finish your hair wash with cold water to close the hair cuticles to prevent frizz and dryness. Ensure that you do not use ice-cold water as it may dry out the hair, make it appear lifeless, and make you fall sick.

Apart from not stripping the hair’s natural oils, what are the other benefits of washing hair with only water? Scroll down to find out.

Benefits Of Water-Only Wash

  • The hair remains moisturized and shiny.
  • No more dry and dull hair.
  • No more product buildup, including the shampoo residues.
  • The hair becomes softer.
  • No more tangles due to excessive dryness.
  • A cost-effective way to wash your hair.
  • Allows hassle-free travel.

But is it possible that only a specific hair type benefits the most from this hair washing method? Or does it work for all hair types? Let’s find out in the following section.

Which Type Of Hair Benefits The Most?

If you have natural or curly, kinky, dry, or coarse hair, you would probably benefit the most by avoiding shampoo. That’s because curly and kinky hair is porous and requires moisturization and natural oils. A water-only hair wash routine will help preserve the natural oils.

You can use lukewarm and cold water to wash off the dirt and dust and then follow it up with a good conditioner. However, don’t be discouraged if you have straight or wavy hair. You can also transition to washing your hair with only water and reap all the benefits it has to offer.

Now the golden question is, is there a flipside? Are there any cons of a water-only hair wash routine? What could avoiding shampoo do to your hair? Find out next.

What Can Avoiding Shampoo Do To Your Hair?

Before you get confused and think, “what am I supposed to do?” here’s an alternative solution to washing your hair with just water. Take a look.

Alternatives To Water-Only Wash

  • You can add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a bucket of water to cleanse your hair of dirt and grease.
  • Add the juice of one lime to a bucket of water. Wash your hair with the mixture to keep the scalp clean, hair shiny, and prevent smelly hair, lice, and dandruff.
  • You may use a clay mask to keep your hair clean.


Chemicals in the shampoos are harsh and harmful. Avoiding them is a brave call. However, washing your hair with just water can make your hair dry and greasy and will take a little while before you get used to it. The best way is to opt for water-only hair wash alternatives – using lime, apple cider vinegar, and clay to keep your hair clean, healthy, shiny, and dandruff-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you wash your hair with only water?

You can wash your hair with just water every other day, provided the water is not hard. If the water is hard, use a filter to soften it before using it.

Can I wash my hair with only cold water?

No, it is best not to use just cold water to wash your hair. It will make your hair dull and lifeless. Plus, it won’t remove any dirt and grease. Use lukewarm water to open the cuticles and wash away dirt, grease, and sweat. Then, use room temperature water to close the cuticles and prevent frizz.

Does wetting your hair everyday damage it?

Yes, if the water is hard. It can lead to mineral deposits and an itchy scalp. Use a filter if the water is hard no matter how many times you wash your hair.

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).