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. Rae,
    I had the same problem….I went WO for 18 weeks…scritch and preen, BBB brush, and I didn’t have hard water. My head just did not work with WO. I now just wash and condition with the shea shampoo/conditioner she recommends 2x a week.

  2. Oh my goodness… I’ve been doing WO since April 6th and my head is still a big grease ball! I scritch, preen, and BBB for up to 2 hours daily, and I wash with only water once a week. Plus, I’ve done the hard water test and I’m pretty sure I don’t have hard water. I just want to cry, I have no idea what it is I’m doing wrong 😥

  3. So…….I’m pretty much sold on the idea of washing with water only, but it’s very trying right now. I’m 3 weeks into water washing only, and my hair….Well, my hair is matted together in a grease-happy way, and the root of my hair is covered in flakes. It’s pretty gross, and I am so tempted to wash it off D: I’ve try combing my hair with a BBB, but all it does is break up the flakes into small particles and spread them around. I’m not sure how long I can take this before I goes nutter and shave my head off (it would certainly be easier to manage then). Also, with the screech&preen, is that what make my scalp flaky?

  4. 3 questions:
    How long do you spend on scritching?

    How long do you spend on massaging?

    Do you ever preening on dry hair or would you have to damp it down?

  5. been doing this myself found two things really help me out 1. a few drops lavender oil in my bbb when doing my am or pm brush out (seems to help clean hair a bit and love the smell) 2. for any transition scalp itch i added some tea tree oil and clove oil to some aloe vera gel the liquid kind you can drink use it as a spray to dangle hair and on scalp when need a freshener seems to reduce the greasy look

  6. I have been water only for about 2 months. I went through the horrible transition period and about 2 weeks ago my hair was finally starting to even out and then for the last week I have developed horrible dandruff and my hair is feeling sticky again. It doesn’t look super greasy though like it did in the beginning. I though that maybe I was scritching too hard and irritating my scalp, but backing off of that for the last several days hasn’t seemed to help. Any suggestions??

  7. I found your blog only recently and I was very much inspired to try the ROM method!!

    I was completely into it without realizing that I already had a trip to the sea planned. I was in my first week of transition and went diving!
    Have you gone to the sea after going ROM? Do you have any suggestions at all? I have been ‘washing’ my hair every day, but I guess I should stop now that I am back to normal.
    I would also like to ask you what do you do after exercising?

    Thanks a lot for all your posts and updates! It definitely helps to know in advance what are you going into.

  8. How hard do you press your scalp when washing? And how vigorously do you scrub the scalp? I want to get my scalp clean, but I think I am pressing and scrubbing too hard because it is leaving my hair dry. Also, what temp water do you use (hot, warm, or cold)?

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