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The Evils of Water Washing

“Everything stated in this blog post should be taken with a grain of salt; as this is what works for my individual hair. You know your hair best.”

With that being said, Water Only Washing. A term that has been seen around hair boards since the beginning, more so on sites that cater to the straight haired women but has slowly been creeping towards the other realms of natural hair websites and blogs. Many people have strong opinions on it while others sit in the “maybe that would work”category. Comments such as “that’s just plain nasty,” “I can’t get with that, I NEED to shampoo,” and “maybe it would work for looser curl types or if you don’t use products” are usually thrown around. Don’t forget the emphatic high fives and e-likes.
Well you won’t know until you try.

Being natural four years and relaxer free for five I’ve learned quite a bit on this journey and I’m always learning more; keeping an open mind has served me well.

I’m going to give you the rundown of my scalp issues.
I never had too much trouble with my scalp, even as a relaxed head the most I dealt with is flakes from time to time.
(I think it was due to dry scalp)
When I finally big chopped I became a hardcore co-washer because that’s what had been working for me while transitioning. It went well for a little while then some months later it seemed like no matter how much I scrubbed my scalp or diluted the conditioner I had buildup. Even when I was started incorporating shampoo from time to time.
I finally decided to let cowashing go and realize that just because everyone else was having fantastic result it wasn’t benefiting me anymore at that time. I went back to shampooing after a while and it was going okay, but still having some issues with gunk being on scalp and flakes from time to time.

Then the biggest scalp problem I’ve ever had occurred.
Not flakes caused by a dehydrated scalp that people confuse with dandruff, but legit dandruff.

It wasn’t noticeable if I didn’t bother it, but if I parted my hair and scratched it was flakes galore…utterly disgusting.
I didn’t know what to do and even though other people couldn’t see it I felt awful. It didn’t itch or anything which was a good thing but left me more confused.

The only thing I could come up with is that I had a yeast overgrowth.
(My mom thought that was it too, since a lot of things in my body were out of wack at the time)
She suggested Nizoral’s medicated shampoo which I had already thought of getting, but was a bit salty about spending 9..10 dollars on a poo. I did it anyway and used it maybe twice…planning on using it again in a few weeks I paid attention to how my hair and scalp were doing being careful not to dry my hair out.
Weeks go by and I see I’ve had not ONE flake.. Not one in sight.

Leading up to that point of using the Nizoral and the subsequent weeks after I had already begun the process of weaning myself off of commercial shampoo, sulfate free shampoo, ALL SHAMPOO.
I occasionally co-washed and started noticing my hair and scalp were getting healthier and healthier. I started using shampoo bars again.
(Chagrin Valley Soaps: )

What I’ve noticed is…I really don’t ever seem to NEED them. But I feel like they work well for my hair and give me a good clean, start over feeling.

I have been doing this for a year now.

I use the soap bars when I want to use them or feel I need to. My scalp is the healthiest it’s ever been! Prior to this change I wouldn’t even allow conditioner to get close to my scalp when I was washing my hair because I would get gunked up yuck on my scalp that itched and seemed like it never got cleansed away.
But now…I rub conditioner into my scalp after I wash; I massage products into it…shea butter, coconut oil, aloe vera gel, creams, anything I’m using at the moment that isn’t gel.

So NO, water washing does not only work for looser or fine hair.
I use as many products as I want to use on my hair. I moisturize and seal whenever I need to.
I even use CONES sometimes!
…and I rarely have product buildup.

I believe that shampoo leaving behind a residue is true in some cases. I can’t see any other explanation behind why I could shampoo 2x and still have buildup underneath my nails when I scratched.

I also think the scalp has to relearn how to normalize itself after being subjected to shampoos time after time.
Your sebum has to regulate itself.

I just want to say that I am NOT against shampoo, I still like to break out my poo here and there. I’ve even broke out the Suave clarifying shampoo! ::gasp::
…What I really hope someone might gain from reading this entry is that there are alternative ways to doing things. Find out what works best for YOUR hair.

Remember, you won’t know until you try. There was a point in time when you were putting a relaxer on your hair/scalp every 6 to 8 weeks.
What the hell is a little water going to do?

If you try it…and find that it’s not for you and your hair isn’t getting clean like you would like it to..
Grab some damn shampoo. It’s not that serious.
~My Mom