Three Years of Water Only

  

Today we're going to talk about one of my favorite environmental subjects- my hair. Think how many bottles of conditioner, dry shampoo, and serum you've disposed of in your lifetime. If you're anything like me, and went through an Avril Lavigne-induced Tigi Bedhead phase in the early 2000s, that's a lot of waste sent to landfill or shipped overseas for recycling. In my case, that was also a ton of chemicals being dumped into water systems and soil, and a lot of innocent animals suffering so my hair could look good for a day, frizz, split at the cuticle, and smell. It wasn't worth it. I spent money I should have saved and ruined my hair in the process.

When I moved to Paris, I was struck at my new French friends' attitudes towards American beauty routines. Daily shampoos weren't a thing in a country where women still got blowouts weekly, then preserved them. My friends wore caps in the pool and rinsed their hair after class at Klay. They also rarely used conditioner, preferring masks twice a month, and were more apt to use kaolin or oils to enhance, not hide, their naturally fuzzy texture. It was freeing not having to shampoo everyday, but Paris' hard water wreaked havoc on my hair, as did an ill-advised Japanese straightening treatment that forced me to chop off most of its length. I was embarrassed to go out with scarecrow hair when everyone I saw was so beautiful, and ended up staying inside and wasting precious time in the city I love because I felt self conscious. 

So three years ago (well, in three months it'll be three years, but I need the content so just go with it) I got fed up and started scrubbing with water every week. That's it. No soap or baking soda or ACV. Three years of mermaid rinsing, scritching, and brushing later, I finally have hair like Gretchen Wieners. My hair doesn't shed in handfuls like it once did, and I don't ever need to brush it. My natural curls returned, and I can get a smooth or straight look without heat styling or products. I only wish I'd started sooner.

Hair is like a delicate garment- it wears out more quickly the more you wash it and loses softness and strength. So even if you can't do water washing, it's best to shampoo less frequently, if only for the health of your hair. If you're willing to try no poo methods, I don't recommend using baking soda, which is too alkaline and destroys the keratin in hair. Gram or rye flour, clay, aloe, a shampoo bar, or refillable soap free cleanser like Plaine Products would be bettern. I used to tell people to use bar soap, because my husband liked it, but others say it's too drying and coats their heads. Bar soap is far more alkaline than liquid. 

Start with little steps, like eliminating one product at a time. My friend Tori said she noticed split ends disappeared after she stopped using conditioner. My Parisian friends are very proud of never using it at all- only a little oil from Buly 1803 or Grand Cafe Tortoni before washing (in the US, you can get bulk oils from Refill Revolution). If you must use conditioner, apply before shampooing so it doesn't weigh hair down. That way you save water and wash less.

To start water only hair washing, dilute castile soap heavily in a spray bottle or color applicator so it reaches the scalp (I don't recommend buying clarifying shampoo for this purpose- castile soap strips silicone). After that, try either the mermaid method of water washing (dunking it in a basin or bucket, then scrubbing the scalp and running fingers through hair as if with shampoo) or simply scrub in the shower. Most people need to wash everyday at first. Gradually, with regular brushing and scalp massage, you can ease into every other day, then every four days, etc. Many can go a week without washing. The type of brush depends on hair texture- vegan tampico for fine hair, wooden pin brushes for thicker hair, and a fine toothed comb for curls seem to work best. Some people won't be able to brush- for instance, my curls get ruined if I brush them, so I part my hair with my fingers while it's wet, smooth out the baby hairs, and try not to touch it at all after (this is very important for textured hair. The less you touch it, the better, to prevent frizz). Try avoiding dry shampoo as much as possible, because the goal is to let your hair's natural oil production occur uninterrupted. Once hair is coated in sebum, it'll never be dry or smell again.

We're trained to prefer artificial fragrance over the natural non-scent of hair, so it's ok to spray essential oils or perfume when needed. You can also try lemon juice diluted in water in a spray bottle to refresh between cleansing. After working out, swimming, or pollution exposure, rinsing hair should be sufficient for most people to remove sweat, allergens, and odors. Just remember to tie up hair or protect with a cap or scarf beforehand. You may need to wear braids, a bun, or headbands a la Blair Waldorf to work for awhile, but my experience was no one really noticed my hair except me. Brushing oils, dragging sebum down the cuticle with your fingers, or using cornstarch, cocoa powder, and arrowroot can alleviate greasiness if it's really a problem. I've found that if I push through the oil one or two days, it disappears suddenly by day three (I don't get greasy anymore though). My hair doesn’t fall out in chunks anymore (it did when I used conventional hair products), but scalp massage or a circulation stimulating essential oil such as eucalyptus should strengthen hair (diet may play a role). NOTE: Hair falls out naturally, and the more you shampoo, the more regularly it falls out. If you decrease the frequency of shampoos, a few days' worth of hair may come out all at once. This is not necessarily cause for alarm, since this does not generally indicate excess hair loss.

The transition period varies for everyone. I think water only is suitable for all hair types, because people were water only for thousands of years, and we didn’t evolve to need Garnier Fructis over millennia. However, it’s not a quick fix by any means, typically requiring three months‘ transition. Some people, like my friend Helen, didn’t really have a transition period- they just quit cold turkey and their hair looked great automatically. Whatever your hair type, it requires a lot of patience, and you can’t psych yourself out and think someone will criticize your shampoo-free appearance. People for the most part don’t care. I even met hairdressers who supported my water only resolve. Two stylists recently told me it’s common for clients to bring their own products because of preference or allergies, and most blow dry bars I’ve been to are okay with simply wetting hair before styling. Shampoo chemically removes flakes, so you'll need to mechanically remove them with your fingertips (not your nails) if they're actual dandruff. If dryness is the issue, try drinking a spoonful of oil each day, or putting oil on your scalp the night before a wash. Eating lots of good fats and maintaining a plant based diet seems to help prevent greasiness, flaking, and hair loss, as does limiting sugar, if my Parisian friends are any indicator.

I don't own a hair straightener, blowdryer, brush, or curling iron. I like my hair's natural texture a lot, but it gets messed up after a few days, so heatless styling methods like my grandma's vintage velcro rollers or rag curls work best for me. When my hair is wet I can tie my hair in a bun or twist it all in one direction and secure with a ponytail holder to get a straight, smooth look. Pin curls are nice for tighter curls, but if I do them wrong, I look like Shirley Temple, and sometimes it takes days to loosen. Three years in, that’s the only major issue I’ve encountered, although now that I’m back in America, I psychologically feel compelled to wash more, and it’s making my hair drier than it ever was in Paris (I used to wash once a month- since August, I’ve been washing weekly or biweekly). But there’s no turning back now. Like I said, I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time coating my hair and obscuring my natural texture to solve imaginary problems. It’s so nice having one less thing to worry about in the morning, and everytime I toss my hair, it’s a giant, zero waste “told you so” to everyone who thought I was crazy for going water only. I am crazy, but for reasons completely unrelated to my hair.


59 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing - You inspired me this year to try water wash only. Since April 1 I've only shampooed when I'm at the hairdresser (I get highlights done to blend my greys)...so 3 times since April. Even my hairdresser comments on how healthy my hair is - it's stronger, thicker and never looks dirty. I water rinse 2x a week and use no products whatsoever. I wish I would have discovered this years ago - I could have saved a lot of trouble for myself and my hair and the environment. Thank you thank you thank you for "showing me the way".

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    1. That is amazing! I think I’m going to have to start doing henna to hide my greys. I wish we’d all found out sooner! So awesome it’s working for you ๐Ÿ’•

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  2. I've tried going water only twice in the last year and a half. Both times my mom (who is super nice and rarely complains about anything) begged me to wash my hair because it smelled (so did my sister, but she has an unusually strong sense of smell so idk). I'm determined to make it work, but my biggest problems are:

    Flakes, which might be dryness because if i scrub my scalp well with shampoo they go away, but that isn't the case with no poo or water only.
    Oil, when washing with Castile soap and an acv rinse, I can go 3 days max before it is an issue, 5 days if I'm really pushing it but by then it starts to smell a lot

    You are truly a huge inspiration for me and your determination to find a way to help the earth regardless of social or financial situation is really amazing. Also your style rocks and I wish I had your wardrobe ;)

    To anyone who reads this, I hope you have a good holidays (regardless of what you celebrate or if you don't celebrate) and I wish you all the best in 2018 :)

    Anna

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    1. Thank you Anna you too!! ❤️ Oh ACV gave me the same problems. I was skeptical but rinsing with just water does seem to neutralize odors. I love your determination !!!

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    2. Aw you're so sweet! It's really exciting to be independent of unnecessary modern inventions that waste money and save it for college or yummy food :)

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    3. Hi. I've been washing with just water for several months now. I actually rinse my hair daily, because I tend to have very oily hair. So maybe if you rinsed daily for a while and then you could ease off to every other day. I rinse daily now mostly because my hair is short and I often wake up with crazy bedhead. I've also started brushing my hair at bedtime and before I shower to distribute any oils to the ends. I hope this helps.

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    4. It has been almost a year since you posted, but I wanted to comment saying that a all natural boar bristle brush helps a lot with the smell and flakes. When I give my hair a good brushing and then do a warm to hot rinse flakes are not a issue. When I first started the smell would go down tremendously too.

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  3. I am a hair stylist in France. Guarding against chemicals is important but smell is more important. We kiss a lot. A "non smell" is not ok. Only water is fine but at least use l'huile de nuxe so you smell nice to those you meet. :)

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    1. These are great insights! At least I prefer the smell of Nuxe to Leonor Greyl

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    2. What is l’huile de nuxe?

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    3. https://fr.nuxe.com/huile-prodigieuse-huile-seche I think it is a pharmacy staple, I saw it in every one of my friends’ bathrooms pretty much!

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  4. I think I'll try eliminating conditioner like you suggested, then washing everyday with water to start. Also I might try putting a little essential oil to make it smell nice.
    Sorry about the super long comment....

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    1. Tell me how it works out for you! Just a few drops of essential oils make such a difference!

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    2. I actually just found a few essential oils I want to use in my cabinet :) i think they'll help

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  5. Hmm. I will give this a try. I don't use conditioner, and I have been using Plaine shampoo, which I love. I find that I don't need to shampoo very often anymore, though my bangs get greasy, and I just shampoo those sometimes. Unfortunately, my hair is a very different texture than yours. I find that the no poo or water only methods don't work as well with thinner, straight hair. Thick haired, Curly headed people seem to do the very best with your methods.

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    1. Everyone is saying the same thing about Plaine products, I want to try! I do think long hair like mine is much easier in general than short, it doesn’t get dirty as easily because its too coarse for dirt and oil to stick to. I’ve heard rave reviews of rye flour from people with really fine hair though!

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    2. Thanks for the tip about rye flour, Ariana! I’ll have to try that, as I share Rebecca’s plight of fine, straight hair. I went water only earlier this year, giving my scalp the full three months to adjust, but could never get the greasiness to ease up at my roots. Tried Bronner’s for another three months and while that left my hair plenty clean, a stylist said my hair was uncharacteristically dry and split. I’ve been using a vegan / more natural shampoo since throwing in the towel, and while I’m slightly disheartened to not have sworn off products entirely, I feel like I know a lot more about my hair!!

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    3. Thank you for sharing your journey! I agree Dr Bronner’s is very drying, if I use the liquid soap on my hands they dry and crack. I dilute it a ton but still!

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  6. Thank you for sharing this. I'm in the process of getting down to water only. I'm using diluted castile soap at the moment and diluting it more and more each time. For the last couple of years I'd been trying to buy more natural shampoos and conditioners but they were hard to find, usually had to be shipped from the US, and still came in plastic packaging so I just decided to give up on it and try just doing water only. Like you said, people were water only for thousands of years.

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    1. Your hair looks really lovely from the photos! You’re right, sometimes water only is just simpler than trying to find a natural, zero waste alternative.

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  7. I have missed you! I love your writing as always, you are my queen. I started water only just a month ago and I am now washing with rye flour. Works really great! Keep up with the good posts, there is nothing I enjoy more than a new post here!

    With love from Sweden <3

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    1. Fanny you are so sweet! Glad rye flour is working for you, I saw your hair on Instagram, it’s beautiful! A big hug, enjoy the time with your family this weekend ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’

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  8. I don't understand what changed with the hard-water havoc to successfully doing water-only. I've tried doing water-only washing but had issues with hard water making my hair almost sticky--and I haven't used traditional products in...I can't remember how long. I'd been using a shampoo bar in combination with hair masks, but since learning about lead contamination in clay have had to find a new system. I have to stay grain/gluten-free, too. Was it just persistence with the weekly water-only washes?

    I also thought dilute (not pure) ACV was meant to help return your scalp to a more natural, slightly acidic state after using alkaline products like soap. I'd hoped it might help with the hard water issue, too. Oh, well, I guess I need a better vehicle for EOs and to help with flakes until sugar-free eating shows those results, anyway!

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    1. I switched to distilled water. I detailed this in four previous posts- although when I lived in Arizona, the hard water didn’t have the same effect as in Paris, maybe because my hair was protected from deposits by sebum. I since moved to a place without hard water. When I return to Paris, the water is no longer a problem, at least not during my visit.

      I haven’t read a story about lead contamination that wasn’t sponsored by a neutral party. Even then, I thought the reports (from us fda) said lead was found in trace amounts and not bioavailable? I think dilute ACV is too acidic still- the blog Kanelstrand did great posts on the ph of ACV and baking soda, as well as soap. I don’t think we should be stripping out hair with overly alkaline detergents like soap at all.

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    2. Thank you for replying, Ariana! I'm not sure what you mean about being sponsored by a neutral party; which parties have you seen sponsoring lead contamination studies? My concern has been the response of companies claiming the safety of any lead content at all and going to far as to skew the numbers (claiming worse contamination in food crops--which is also a potential concern, so it's best to know where your food comes from, but the math is wrong) in their favor. Companies will typically do what they can for profits, advocacy groups advocate caution/awareness, and governments are influenced by businesses. It's your body, though, so if you're okay with its presence, great; however, I'm attempting to mitigate the sources I can control (I have enough issues).

      Yes, I started going through your previous posts, but there's a lot to go through (yay!). I have yet to encounter the distilled water description and was primarily going off your most recent account of water-only hair washing instead. I'll try to research your older posts for specific information on that change, even if you don't understand why you no longer feel the effects of Parisian tap water the same or why Arizona's tap water didn't have the same effects. Thank you for the potential lead.

      I'm in agreement with the alkalinity of baking soda and most soap (bar shampoo is supposed to be more balanced than regular soap, although I've admittedly never tested mine), but skin has a natural pH of approximately 4.5-5.5 or so (depending on your sources). Hard water is usually more alkaline, so a dilute vinegar rinse may help restore its protective pH when it wouldn't be as desirable for neutral or, especially, acidic water (which may be why some people do well using it while others don't). I had to search for the blog post you referred to (if it was linked in a previous post, I missed it--I swear, I have a billion tabs open already from your posts!), but I don't see anything disparaging about the acidity of ACV (or lemon juice), even without clarifying whether or not it's further rinsed after application (which has been my preference).

      Again, thank you. I have a great fondness for your blog and insights and appreciate these discussions. I think I'm going to go ahead and test out my water by itself again...as soon as I finish catching up on all your posts on it. I would prefer it if I could get away without needing anything else! ;)

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    3. I’m sorry my last comment sounded mean, I’m trying not to use “lol” anymore and I know I sound really harsh without it. I think once my hair wasn’t being dried out from products and styling, it could handle hard water, sun, and ocean a lot better. You’re right, dilute ACV is pretty close to our natural pH. I even recommend lemon, even though it’s acidic, to freshen hair. I guess what I think is harmful is, as Kanelstrand says, putting hair through a roller coaster, stripping it with something as alkaline as baking soda so it needs something affix to balance it out. That’s a good point, that it may help with hard water. It didn’t help me in Paris but I was using other stuff too that my hair didn’t need. At this stage though, no matter where I go in the world water quality doesn’t seem to affect the results, though I’m sure if I stayed for an extended period of time it would. Oh and the lead studies were L’Orรฉal and Proctor and Gamble sponsored, once there was an article that took something about kohl out of context and I tested it myself and there was no lead in what I was buying, but definitely if you’re not comfortable don’t use it, it’s true we are exposed to so many toxins these days so getting rid of what we can control makes sense. I myself don’t use clays.

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  9. Thank you for this post - I've very much enjoyed reading about your water-only experiment and seeing the amazing results. I tried it myself recently and had only one issue: I brushed my hair every night for three weeks, to spread the sebum to the roots, and was unpleasantly surprised by the amount of dust and dirt that collected in my long hair throughout the day, something I never noticed when I used shampoo once or twice a week. Is it normal to find the brush so dusty? Does this mean I need to rinse more often? Do you have any advice? Thank you!

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    1. Yes I definitely had to wash my brush often. Because the oils cost the bristles and once the oil gets on there everything sticks to them. Bea Johnson uses a metal bristle pet brush for this reason and washes it in the dishwasher I want to say? I think a metal brush would be too damaging for many hair types including mine but just washing the brush when you wash your hair or every other time you wash your hair should keep it clean (I hope)

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    2. Hi Ariana, how do you recommend to wash a wooden or bamboo hair brush to get oil off the bristles? Thanks!
      Laura x

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    3. I used to lather up bar soap on my fingers and scrub the bristles like that. Most people fill a basin with water and castile soap and swish the brushes through it. If the wood or bamboo splits / cracks, running it under cold water will seal it, and periodically you can oil the brush to keep the wood healthy. I never tried to do that though. Some people wash the brush in the shower too.

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    4. I’ll give that a go! Thanks :)

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    5. Bea made a youtube video where she talks about packing and she shows her hairbrush..it is essentially the same as the one in Ariana's past beauty posts

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    6. Bea Johnson doesn’t use a wooden brush anymore though - she showed an audience in Toronto recently a metal bristle one and said it was because the kind I use attracts too much dust

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  10. *coat the bristled sorry I’m doing these on my phone

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  11. Hi Ariana. I have a question that is proof of my limited deduction qualities... Sometimes you talk about a water only wash, and sometimes about a rinse... I seem to think these are two different things but I fail to fully understand the difference. Maybe it's the cold talking, but could you explain the difference if there is one.

    Also, my hair thrives on water only!!!! Has been for 3 years!!!
    As always thank you
    Emma

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    1. Hi Emma noooo the way I said it was confusing, just rinsing is just letting the water fall over the hair, whereas water only washing involves scrubbing the scalp and working the oils through your hair. So glad your hair is thriving!

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  12. What do you do to prevent bad breath? Also I noticed on instagram than you use castile soap to rush your teeth now... how do you keep them white? When I brush with baking soda or soap, they are pleasantly clean but not white at all

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    1. Just brush my teeth and oil pulling, sometimes a turmeric brushing (I drink a lot of turmeric tea). I don’t know if oil pulling has all those detoxifying benefits but it definitely whitens noticeably. I think diet plays more of a role and my dentist agrees... I drink a lot of water too. My friend recommended to eat more cooling foods instead of all the spicy stuff I usually do and that works too. I actually use a mix of Castile soap and myrrh tincture for my teeth. I don’t drink tea or coffee either. Siwak or neem sticks whiten too if you’re not allergic.

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  13. One of my goals for 2018 is to go zero waste with my hair. I managed to detox from deodorant and switch to just using baking soda - you inspired me to do that--and it worked so well I think I can do the switch to water only, too. I have a little bit of shampoo and conditioner left, which I will use up first. I've read a lot about brushes and some people who are water only (but not zero waste) recommend boar hair brushes. Thoughts? I do get pretty greasy between showers (i've gone from every other day washing to every 4 days!) and my brush I have now (a plastic version of the wood one you recommend, purchased before going zero-waste) and scalp massages aren't super helpful yet. FYI I seem to have the exact same hair as you based on your descriptions and pictures.

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    1. That’s awesome! So boar bristle brushes do clean and distribute oil but I prefer agave or plant based bristles because of my own values. I think they clean just as well, however they may be harder to find than a boar bristle brush. I found the pin brush worked oil through my hair just fine though (or maybe it was just the fact that I pulled the oil down my hair with my fingers). People like us can probably get away with washing less than most people. It seems like thick coarse hair just doesn’t get dirty as fast as silky, fine hair.

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    2. I was trying both, a bristle I bought before going vegan and an agave brush. I was not really satisfy, my hair is quite thin and weak and does not tolerate much brushing. I am not water only yet, but that is my ultimate goal. I use plastic brush to distribute oils and conditioner (already have stopped use shampoo), and wooden comb for daily use (love it). Scalp massage is much more important to me than brushing.

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  14. Happy New Year!
    Thank you for constantly updating us about your water-only hair care. All the information has been extremely helpful. I finally jumped on the water-only bandwagon after realizing that unless I have perfectly soft water (which means I have to live in NYC or Japan), shampoo and I just don't get along. I stopped believing in conditioner a while back, so that was one less hurdle to jump over to make the plunge.
    I'm almost done with week two since I started, and though I'm still managing the greasiness around my scalp, the length of my hair looks great. There is no more frizziness, which no amount of pre-shampoo olive oil treatment was able to prevent. It feels nice to massage my hair in the bath or shower and brush thoroughly everyday. Obviously I could have done all this before, but was simply lazy. Our travel plans for the summer will involve activities that aren't conducive to taking daily showers, so I'm looking forward to how water-only will prepare me for a minimal routine.

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  15. Hi there:)
    Always a treat to hear your voice, Ariana.

    Like some others— I did a one month water only experiment last year with my fine, light-ish hair and it didn’t work out. My hair looked dirty/ greasy and I didn’t care for the smell. I’m tempted to try again for the whole three months you recommend.
    However, does anyone have any experience with getting water-only hair colored? It’s vain, but I’m not willing to give up highlights. I’ve zero wasted so many parts of my grooming routine, including highlights. But coloring my hair just makes me feel happier and it’s back to stay:)
    If there is more sebum/oil on the hair will the color be able to penetrate? I don’t think I’d want to wash my hair when it gets colored bc I’d have to go back through the dreaded transition phase.

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  16. Where did that recent food post go? I love your food posts, and find them helpful for figuring out how to be more economical with my food

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  17. Your hair looks gorgeous! I actually tried to go water only over the summer because you spoke so highly of it. I found it didn't work so well for me, and switched by to rye flour, but maybe I was doing it wrong? I was using my (Southern Ontario) tap water, then added a water filter in the shower. I even tried rain water once. I think I tried for about two or three months, and it was always very heavy, held water like crazy (it took ages to dry completely), and turned greasy within a few days. I was washing it every three days. Ideally I'd love to switch back, so any tips would be great. I really admire you, and you're the reason I started going zero waste last year. :)

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    1. Aw Kate thank you ❤️๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’• so I’m not quite sure but usually the heaviness and reluctance to set is associated with silicone buildup. I didn’t experience this because I was using weird non shampoos on my hair for a long time but I found this website helpful to recommend to others: http://justprimalthings.com/2015/08/24/still-experiencing-oily-hair-water-only-troubleshooting/ however if you weren’t using silicone products before I’m not sure, my hair gets really big and heavy if I don’t seal the cuticle with cold water but it sounds like there’s more to it in your instance. I would love to try rain water !!

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  18. I found your blog by typing in "thrifted capsule" into Pinterest. I literally had no idea how your blog would seriously change my perspective on so many things, including the idea that you have to wash your hair every day (Actually all my friends and mom do it twice a day! but I live in Southern California where people are super shallow). I can attest that all the washing does not seem to have given us exceptionally good hair. I cannot believe that I have gone 45 years without knowing there was a different way. It pisses me off.

    Also, as someone of Korean descent who grew up in Southern California, I found your blog intriguing because it was very interesting to see how you handled growing up in Ohio. Although, I must admit, your family seems to be much smarter in their choices than mine was.

    I really like your science based background and I would personally love to see citations to publication you've read and liked, but I acknowledge that most of your audience would probably flee if you started doing that.

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  19. Oh and another thing that really upsets me is that I never heard of oil pulling or brushing with soap or baking soda until I read your blog. I used to have terrible morning breath and dentist did note that my teeth were super yellow and she wanted me to get my teeth bleached. My teeth! My breath! How did I go so many years not knowing any of this and racking up thousands of dollars in dental visits!!!!! It pisses me off.

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  20. I'm about a month into finally going no-poo after gradually slowing my usage for months. I love my texture, I love how much easier it is to get the curl. I use some simple products, but they rinse out just fine. <3

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  21. Thanks for your updates! Your blog and information has helped me make the transition to water only and I love it (one year in!). I have noticed this winter that I've been getting some dandruff which I've never had before, though I did start using a diluted ACV rinse over the past two months and what you wrote above makes me think that may be the culprit, not the winter!
    What type of oil do you use on your scalp before you wash your hair? I think you mention eucalyptus, and wanted to know if you've tried other oils for your scalp/conditioning?
    Thanks for all the inspiration (and great hair pics).

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    1. I use coconut oil generally, but it doesn’t seem to matter the type of oil- sometimes I use olive, Ive used jojoba and sweet almond and avocado oil too! I usually just pick whatever I have around that isn’t too expensive :)

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  22. Hello

    theres something i quite don't get, i think we are talking about water only, yet i see you mentioning using castile soap... Isnt that a washing agent, which would make it not water only ?

    i did not understand if it was just for transition or for later stages too, i'm not english so sometimes i can get confused.

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    1. The Castile soap is just to strip product and residue out of hair before starting water only, this helps with the transition and it won’t need to be used at later stages :)

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  23. Hi Ariana! Your hair is goals! �� I’ve been doing water only for about 3 months and am still transitioning. I still get flakes after washing and oily on the second day after washing and it stays oily all week even though I scritch, preen and boar bristle brush almost everyday. I think the hard water ( I live in California ) plays a big factor, my hair still gets a residue left behind after washing. ( when I went to Missouri for a month my hair didn’t have any of these issues) I tried buying a shower head filter which doesn’t work. I was thinking about washing with distilled water but wasn’t sure how, until I read your blog and you mentioned mermaid method washing. Did you do this with distilled water? You mentioned that Paris has hard water. Do you heat up the water before? I’m intrigued and would really like to try it , hoping this will help my issues. Any tips on mermaid washing would be appreciated! Can’t seem to find anything about it on the internet :)

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  24. Hello Ariana. I am water only for 3 months, I love your site and love your natural style of life. I haven't had a transition period really and I think it's because my hair is thick and dry. It looks like I have the same kind of hair you do. I water wash once a week scrubbing and i scritch and comb and brush with wooden comb and brush 3rd day after washing but i am getting tired of the scritching and brushing and i read on your site (3 years water only hair washing) that now you don't even own a brush. Does that mean that you never comb or brush? When were you able to stop scritching, preening and brushing with good results? I am wondering if I can start not scritching and brushing now after 3 months of water only washing. Thanks for all your insights.

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  25. I just found this blog post from Andrea of Seasons and Salt, and hey—I wrote that story for Refinery29 five years ago that you link to re: rag curls!! Made me so happy :)

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