rinse-only (water-only) method… update 5

hey crunchies! it’s been months since i’ve last updated you on my ROM journey, and i’ve gotten a few emails and comments asking how it’s going. i figured i should do a little update, and this will hopefully be the LAST update on my ROM journey! (that’s good news! lol)

if you’re new to ROM and/or the AE blog, i’ll give you a quick run-down:

the ROM (rinse-only method) is only washing your hair with water, and using your natural scalp oils to “condition” your hair. it’s a very tough transition for a lot of people at first (myself included) to get away from using anything but water to keep your hair clean. it took me about 4 months! and i think my arm muscles improved from all the scritching/preening i had to do to move the oils form my scalp to the ends of my hair.

but going water-only has proven (for me personally) to be the best option for my hair. even after the dye abuse my hair went through, it’s grown out to be soft and shiny and strong. long story short, me love da ROM.

water-only washing for hair

what i’ve been doing:

  • ditched the dry shampoo completely
  • use a shower head filter
  • scritch and preen about every 3 days (just being honest 😦 ), and then again very thoroughly before WO washes
  • use my bbb once a week to week and a half (…again, just bein honest)
  • gently comb and separate my hair into 4 sections before i hop in the shower, then preen under the running water
  • let my hair air dry (shower at night)
  • no oils and no conditioners of any kind
  • spray rose water into my hair just for scent (i’ve considered using the yummy smelling versions of alcohol-free witch hazel, too. we’ll see! has anyone tried??)

how it’s been:

it’s actually gotten much, much, much better than it used to be. i can now say strongly that i’m strictly water-only. and daggone it feels good!

20140331_223316 20140331_223212

my one huge problem with going WO (water-only) was the back of my head. for some reason it was always feeling heavy and greasy and just overall pretty gross. i had to REALLY focus on that area to scritch/preen/brush/wash. on select weekends, i’d stay at home allllll weekend and let it get as greasy as it wanted to. i think it helped out with not producing as much oil as before, but it was still a problem area. and now when i wash, it’s the back of my head and the underside of my hair that’s greasy. not so much the top parts. but no more heavy feeling!

one huge hiccup i had: i visited my best friend in phoenix one weekend, and he has hard water. as soon as i wet my hair in the shower, it felt sticky and heavy. i tried to preen as much as i could, but my hair felt heavy and weird/sticky after my shower. once my hair dried, it just looked weirdly greasy. needless to say, my hair was in a braid and a bun that entire weekend.
but other than that hiccup (i’ve traveled many, many times since, even out of the country) i haven’t had any issues with stickiness or being overly-greasy. i did notice that my scalp gets greasier around that time of month (yea, TMI). thanks, hormones.


my scalp definitely got drier this winter, but i’ve used the honey/witch hazel rinse a couple times and it’s been fine.

i think the biggest difference i’ve noticed in my hair is the way it feels. no matter what day i’m on between washing, it always feels so freakin soft and moisturized. the second biggest difference i’ve noticed is how much faster it dries after washing it. when i used conventional shampoo/conditioner, my hair would literally take hours to dry. we’re talking 3 or 4 hours or more. not exaggerating. now my hair dries in about an hour. it’s been a miracle! haha.  best of all, i don’t ever have that tacky, heavy, weird feeling in the back of my head anymore. my scalp has finally gotten its stuff together!


right now i’m washing every week, usually sundays. some weeks i wash sunday-ish and wednesday-ish.. i really have no set schedule, but that’s what tends to happen. i just kinda go with the flow. it’s usually something like “oh, good morning hair. are you lookin greasy? think we can wait to wash till tomorrow? ok, cool. good chat.”


… kind of.

hippie stamp Sig

61 thoughts on “rinse-only (water-only) method… update 5

  1. Your hair looks absolutely gorgeous! I don’t know if I have the patience to do ROM, I’m still tweaking my bs/acv routine 3 months into it lol. Keep up the amazing work, your blog seriously is such an inspiration!

  2. Hey Alex – Thanks so much for sharing your expertise! I believe it was seeing your blog on pinterest that inspired me to go no ‘poo back in January, and I am now about a week into ROM. My daily routine is to scritch for about 5 minutes and preen with my boar bristle brush for about 20 minutes, and I have “washed” my hair twice using water only. What I’m noticing is that the entire length of my hair is really oily, even immediately after it dries. If I go out in public I definitely need dry shampoo and my hair lives in a topknot. I do not have hard water.
    I guess I’m just wondering if, based on your experience, this is a normal part of the transition period? Does it mean that I’m not scritching & preening enough or too much? I have fine hair that’s about shoulder length, and while I did anticipate a transition period, I guess I didn’t think it would be quite this bad, even after reading all your posts (I might just be optimistically naive haha). Any reinforcement and/or encouragement would be really helpful….

    1. I’m no expert, I’m still new to the game myself, but I figured I’d give you a little advice in case Alex doesn’t get a chance to reply to each comment. 🙂
      It takes weeks and weeks of being a greaseball before you’ll see some change. It’s a slow process! I’ve been doing ROM since January and I still get a lot of greasiness in the back of my head–my process has been even slower since I never clarified. I definitely suggest you make your life easier and clarify before you go much further.
      If you have a chance, go back and read all of her ROM posts and updates. It is so worth your time! 😀

      1. Thanks Jamie. I clarified when I first started no-poo, and I had read all the posts and updates (including the comments), I just wasn’t sure whether I was doing it wrong because although I expected to be a greaseball during the transition, I thought that after “washing” with water only my hair would look less greasy. Is it your experience that even directly after a “wash” the entire length of your hair looks like you did a coconut oil mask?

  3. Yeah, back of the hair is a problem for me, too. I have hard-ish water, I don’t know if I should may be use a filter..haven’t got to this PERFECT routine or soluton yet..decisions, decisions:D but this update is encouraging, your hair are SOOOO beautiful!

  4. wow I have never heard about ROM before! it does sound tough for the first instance… my hair is naturally very dry and frizzy, so I don’t think I’d ever be able to get used to it 🙂 but looking at your beautiful hair, it does work out!

  5. I found AE about 3 months ago, it was suggested by someone who supplied my hair color. I’ve been doing ROM for 6 weeks now, it’s been up and down, but am sticking with it. I have very wavy hair, so am learning as I go how to best deal with the preening part and trying to keep the wave/curls that I love. Anyways…thank you for your blog, I love it, and thanks for the updates and tips for ROM.

    1. Just wanted to offer my curly hair ROM routine. Sunday nights I quickly scritch, spent 15-20 minutes brushing with a bamboo bristle brush (don’t use the boar bristle bc I’m vegan), quickly preen/”shake out” my hair in lukewarm shower water, “plop” my hair in a microfiber towel while I do my teeth routine, etc, take hair out of plop quickly “scrunch” it with a drop of essential oil for smell and “pineapple” it for bed. Wake up next morning, flip it upside down, scrunch it with another drop of essential oil and I’m ready to go with super voluminous and curly locks!
      I do not wet it again until Sunday when I repeat the process. I SHOULD probably pinneapple it every night to protect the curls, but I’m lazy and don’t and my hair is curly everyday when I wake up.
      I shift the schedule some if I want great hair Saturday or something. Day 1 hair is always the best, but every other day hair is still great, curly and all natural!!
      Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks Maria! This is great, it’s nice to know that not much can be done except wetting it again. It’s the same for me, looks best the first day, but then, for me, just gets…fuzzy. Right now I’ve been rinsing 2 times a week. (with the scritching and preening) I plop too, but am now off to google pineapple. Thanks again!

      2. Hey Maria, what kind of essential oils do you use? And do you use them full strength or mixed with something? And do you do that every day or just the day after the shower?

    2. Megan, what hair color do you use? I have been on ROM since the new year, I have dark brown hair dyed blonde 😦 damage damage damage.. BUT am finally seeing it get back to healthy. Anyway my premature grey/brown roots are growing out and I am wanting to tint the greys at least to match my natural color as it grows out. I’m only 23 And can’t be proud of my silvers yet.. I’m interested to know of a hair dye that wouldn’t effect the ROM process. I was thinking maybe henna?

  6. I’ve been water-only since February and I have the same problem–the back of my head! Literally an hour ago I was at lunch with my husband and told him I might try a bakingsoda rinse and here you come posting an update. I’m re-encouraged, thanks Alex!

  7. Thank you so much for this post!! I started ROM two weeks ago after the no poo was not working for me. So should i stop the dry poo all together? TIA 🙂 ps the OCM has changed my life…. I used to suffer from cystic acne and since switching to OCM i have had zero break outs!

  8. Do you work out? I’d love to be able to wash my hair less often, but I just don’t feel like I can go without when I sweat?

    1. Hey Annemarie, you should check out her section about staying no-poo and sweating:
      I do about 4 Hot Yoga classes a week and am dripping in sweat when I leave the studio!
      When I get home and into the shower I just put my hair in a high bun and try to get only my scalp wet under the shower water, then when I get out I spray some water mixed with 5-10 drops of a yummy smelling essential oil (sweet orange is nice) on my scalp and then let my hair down to dry.
      Hope this helps 🙂

  9. Alex Raye-
    Thanks so much for the update… I was wondering how it was going!
    I’ve been following you since July when I started the ACV/BS method, but I’ve never written you before – kind of a silent observer 😉
    It worked alright for a while, but I was still dependent on the “washing”… so, I went ROM a little over 2 months ago – I think I did three weeks ROM, then did BS/ACV one time, and now it’s been about 5-6 weeks ROM … and I love it!!! I haven’t been able to ditch the dry shampoo yet – I’m a teacher, so LOTS of people see me everyday… can’t get away with grease as easily, but maybe someday! I’ve traveled a few times and it still works fine – not to mention, it’s awesome that I don’t have a ton of bottles of shampoo, hairspray, ACV rinse, etc., etc…..
    Thank you soo soo soo much for being such an inspiration! I’m starting a blog myself, so if you’d like a guest ROM post, I’d LOVE to do it!

    Thanks again!!

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