The Water Only Washing method isn’t a new concept, but it started to gain notoriety on natural hair forums around 2013, and the premise is that our naturally occurring sebum is all the product we need. By eliminating all other products from your regimen, including natural oils and butters, you can simply use water to move the sebum down the hair shaft and eventually coat the hair completely. Once the hair is completely coated with sebum from your scalp, your hair is said to be soft and moisturized, easy to detangle, and your natural curls will pop.
While you can find lots of people who’ve tried this method and sing its praises, there are also those who have tried this method, and experienced negative effects. Some report clogged hair follicles that result in slow hair growth, itchy scalp, and dryness. Others report waxy buildup, a grey tinge to their hair, and bad smelling hair and scalp. When these issues occur, many WOW advocates recommend introducing some plant-based products into your regimen, like plant-based deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and hair rinses.
While the Water Only Washing method is not recommended by the pros, it’s hard to deny the videos and blog posts describing hair bliss by following this regimen.