2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.
[ check out UPDATE 1 (5/9/13), UPDATE 2 (5/24/13), UPDATE 3 (6/21/13), UPDATE 4 (8/15/13) ]
oh, readers… dear readers… i will be embarking on the journey to only “washing” my hair by rinsing it with water! that’s it! seriously.
what is water-only-washing/ the ROM?
it’s literally only washing your hair with water. it’s the ultimate low maintenance hair routine, but does require more elbow grease.
with this method, you’re not stripping your hair of its natural oils, but rather spreading them down the length of your hair with preening, and “washing” away the excess with water and scritching. aka, scritching and preening will be a necessity!
scritching and preening:
scritching – to scritch, gently “scratch” and rub your scalp all over to loosen up sebum and excess scalp oils
preening – to preen using your fingers,, take small sections of your hair and gently “pull” the oils/sebum from your roots down the length of your hair. you can also preen by brushing with your bbb.
*you want to scritch and preen DAILY!
other things you’ll need to do the ROM:
- boar bristle brush. make sure you keep it clean!
- wooden brush
- water-only friendly conditioner
- satin pillow case (i know i’ve already advised this for ALL hair routines and types, but i thought it needed stressed again)
- patience! a lot of patience.
who can/can’t try the ROM?
- anyone! fine hair, straight hair, curly hair, thick hair… anyone and everyone!
- if you’re already no-poo/low-poo, you won’t need to clarify your hair again. if you’re switching directly from using traditional store-bought shampoos and conditioners, you will need to clarify your hair to slough off the silicones and waxes. to clarify, you can pick up a cheap $1 shampoo and mix it with a little baking soda in your palm in the shower. wash your hair with that mix from root to tip, let it sit a few minutes, gently wash a little more, and then rinse very well. you may find that your hair is dry afterwards, without all the silicones coating your hair. you’ll need to deep condition after. you can do this by using any of these deep conditioners.
- wait a few days (after you clarify/after your last no-poo/low-poo wash) until your hair gets greasy. this will be your first water-only wash day! congrats!
- before you hop in the shower, scritch and preen! you can use your bbb and/or wooden brush to help.
- wet your hair in the shower with very warm water. do NOT use very hot water! heat damage is heat damage, no matter if it’s from a straightener, curling iron, or hot shower water!
- focus on small sections of your scalp, and scritch under the running water until you’ve gone over your whole scalp. this will most likely tire your arms. i know it did mine! lol. you can preen as well after you’ve scritched each section.
- done! gently squeeze the excess water from your hair and let air dry. wait until your hair is dry to detangle. your hair is more flexible and prone to breakage when wet, and you don’t want to stress it.
things you may notice when you start:
- greasy hair. you’ll be going through a transition phase just as you did going no-poo/low-poo. your hair will need time to adjust to not being stripped of anything. the grease production will level out anywhere between a few weeks to a few months. try not to let that scare ya off!
- dandruff looking stuff in your hair and/or itchy scalp. this is extra sebum and will calm down as you go through the transition phase – scritching/preening and using your bbb will help tremendously with this! but the transition phase is sadly unavoidable. keep your chin up buttercup! (check out my updates, linked above!)
- “heavy” hair. it’s from the excess grease. try to stick it out! it’ll calm down as you go through the transtion phase as well.
- you don’t feel a need for a conditioner – this is completely normal! your own scalp oils are the BEST conditioner for your hair, and it’s very likely you won’t need to condition, either at all or maybe once every few weeks.
i hope this post helped your learn all about the ROM ❤
UPDATE: i’ve created a post for ROM tips for success! i hope it helps!
has anyone tried the “rinse only method”? or want to?
what are your thoughts??? would YOU do it?!?
alrighty… here i go!!
121 thoughts on “rinse only method (ROM) / water only washing”
Hi! I very much want to try this method. I have very long wavy hair. It’s fairly thin, but I’ve got a TON of it, and it’s on the dry side. For the last couple years, I’ve only really been using shampoo on my bangs regularly (shampooing the rest of my hair maybe once a month or so) but I use conditioner almost daily to detangle my very, very tangly hair. I haven’t ever used any other products, dyes, or heat.
My main concern is that I am a hot yoga addict, and my hair is entirely drenched in sweat at some point almost every day. Do you know if copious amounts of sweat would screw up this method? I’m worried that maybe the water-only method isn’t recommended for someone like me…but honestly I don’t know if I could commit to anything much more complicated than that.
Thank you so much for your wonderful blog! I just ordered myself some new oils per your recommendations and I’m very excited about them!