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

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

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

tips for ROM success

if you follow me, you know the ROM has been a long journey for me… and i was already a no-‘poo-er.

i thought i’d share some things i learned along the way that really helped my transition!

tips & benefits to using ONLY water to wash your hair!

  • make sure your hair has been clarified at some point before your ROM transition. it’ll help drastically! there’ll be no silicones for your hair to slowly slough off, and i mean slowwwllyyy. not to mention, the slow silicone sloughing (i love alliteration) will make your hair appear greasy, feel “heavy”, waxy, dull, and tangly. who wants that? no one.
  • don’t use hard water. i have hard water and learned to deal with it for no-‘poo. i thought it’d be okay for the ROM because i’d only be washing with water…but nope! either boil your water beforehand to wash and rinse (ain’t nobody got time fo dat), buy distilled water, or invest in a shower head filter. i vote shower head filter. it’ll be nicer on your skin too. oolala! your best bet would be to go to a lowe’s or home depot around you and search for a hard water filter. to filter out chlorine and sediment, these are expensive, but here’s a couple you can look into:
    – aquasana
    – heaven fresh (fixed head & hand held)
  • invest in a nice bbb. your boar bristle brush (bbb) will be your absolute best friend during this whole process! it’ll be the saving grace for your oily mop. for me personally, there was a huge difference in the “before & after” grease levels of my hair from brushing. after about 15-20 minutes of using my bbb, it seemed as though the oils had been thoroughly distributed and the grease almost “disappeared.”
  • dry shampoo is essential. if you’re going to be in public, at least. if you can go through the super oily transition phase and use water-only cold turkey, PROPS to you! you won’t need dry shampoo! i seriously wish i could’ve done that. however, corporate america doesn’t like to see greaseball hair. blegh. i wouldn’t suggest using it more than 2x between washes though. things can get cakey and weird.
  • steer clear of ‘poos. completely if you can manage. only use low/no-‘poo if you HAVE to. keep in mind it will prolong your transition. i learned the hard way. for example, i was already washing every week and a half to 2 weeks, and found out i’d be around my company’s CEO. i decided to wash with a low-‘poo and diluted it to 1 part ‘poo to about 5 or 6 parts water… then my hair got greasy again after 4 days! only 4! i was so so so upset!
  • don’t be afraid…  to have nasty, dirty hair. i mean dirrrrtyyyy. let your grease-flag fly!
  • watch the conditioning.  you might not need it, or you might only need it on the very ends of your hair. for me, the bbb coated my hair in my natural oils and my hair is now SUPER soft and shiny. when i first switched, i was really fond of using raw honey in my hair in the shower. after a few weeks, if i used the raw honey, it left my hair too heavy. my hair is now at a point where it doesn’t need conditioning at ALL. it’s just too much for it now. if you find you don’t need conditioning, then simply don’t. at the same time, make sure your hair is suffering from being too dry!
  • scritch and preen EVERY day!! yes, like a bird! this and not using hard water are the MOST important tips i could ever offer anyone that’s going water-only. to scritch, lightly use your fingernails, or a comb (like a wooden comb) to “scratch” your scalp all over, and loosen everything up.  then to preen, use your fingers to pull the oil from your roots down the hair shaft in small sections of hair at time. my bbb does a great job at doing the job! yes, this is quite time consuming, but it feels SO GOOD! and it’s very, very worth it! and bonus – the additional scalp stimulation increases blood flow and can help with faster hair growth! bam!
  • be patient. seriously. doesn’t that suck to hear? it’s like the worst piece of advice ever. but if you thought no-‘poo was tough, get ready for ROM. i’m a hardcore almost hippie and this transition made ME want to quit and go back to no-‘poo…. i consider myself a dedicated, tough cookie, but it was a rough ride for me.
  • find motivation and support. it’s great to have someone/people to reach out to for help, to swap stories/experiences, tips and tricks, etc. find those people. find that support.  and relish in the fact you aren’t dependent on commercial products and you’re letting your hair be as natural (and as healthy) as possible! i had this blog as an outlet to connect with you guys and you all really kept me going.

and don’t forget the benefits!

  • save money. you don’t need to buy products.
  • save space. going somewhere? no need to pack hair products! more room for clothes! 😉
  • & the most important benefit…. healthier hair! see the picture above? that was taken earlier today. my hair’s never been this soft and shiny before. and it’s all completely natural! no silicones; no products!

i personally feel great about going WO (water-only). but as with any natural or conventional beauty routine, the ROM is not for everyone.

anyone have some tips & tricks for going WO??

hippie stamp Sig

ROM (water-only) update #4

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

whew, it’s been AWHILE since i’ve updated everyone on how the ROM is goin for me.

the last time y’all heard about it from me, it was a bunch of frustration…..
now, long story short, i’m beginning to really, truly LOVE it.

it’s been about 6ish weeks since my last post, so i’ll do my best to sum up what my hair’s been going through:

  • i used only water to wash my hair every thursday or the following saturday (idk how i came to that conclusion, other than i was hoping my hair would be “nicer” for the weekend.. ha)
  • i used my BBB every other day (like a dummy. i got lazy)
  • i used my dry shampoo either every week or week and a half.
  • ……prepare yourselves for this one… i cheated!…. i used a diluted mix of shea moisture shampoo (1 part ‘poo to about 5 or 6 times water) the night before i was going to be around the CEO of my company. the C.E.O…

dear ROM, 
i’m sorry.

at least it was low-‘poo…right? Wrong! even though it was diluted, the shea moisture was way more cleaning power than my hair was used to at that point in time. so guess what happened…. my hair became grease city 4 days after! FOUR DAYS. i was NOT a happy hippie!
that started this nasty cycle where i was super greasy and used dry shampoo every 5 to 6 days. and when i tried to do water-only, it just wouldn’t work! i used an egg to wash and raw honey on the length of my hair a couple times, and that set me back on the ROM path. thank goodness!

i also took a week off of work (10 days total including weekends) to get my life together (i’m still between states.. the midwest and the east coast are fighting over me..haha) and decided it was the perfect time for me to not wash my hair at all! so i gave myself the completely-made-up-on-the-spot-10 day challenge.


  • no dry shampoo
  • no diluted shea moisture
  • no eggs
  • no honey
  • no ‘poo of ANY kind!
  • BBB every day
  • water only wash on day 1 and day 10
  • nothing else. nothing. else.


as amazed as i was that my hair turned greasy super fast after using ‘poo, i’m even more amazed at how fast my hair bounced back into the ROM swing of things. my hair’s done the BEST it’s ever done with water-only since i started. so now it’s been over 2 weeks since i’ve washed my hair, and 1 week since i’ve washed it with only water. and lemme tell ya, i’m so stinkin proud of my hair!! looky, looky!

2 days after my water-only wash –
(& before my daily BBB brushing… which was 8 days after my last diluted ‘poo…don’t remind me of that terrible mistake lol. sorry that i forgot to take pics with flash, too.)
20130813_101750 20130813_101641

& 1 week after my water-only wash –
(which is 2 weeks after my last ‘poo. these pics are after i used my BBB… with flash & without. idk if you can see the greasiness differently)
20130814_113844  20130814_113814 20130814_113331-1 20130814_113245

so greasy, but not as greasy as i thought it’d be! i still have 3ish days left for my 10 Day Challenge… but after tomorrow’s post, you’ll understand why i decided to post an update now 😉

dare i say i’m at the very end of the transition?!?

water-only washing is possible!

hippie stamp Sig

rinse only method (ROM) / water only washing

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. 

water-only washing for hair

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!!