My natural hair care routine (water only)

Melissa Lange
Latest posts by Melissa Lange (see all)

Lately I’ve been receiving questions on how I take care of my hair without making it look greasy. It has been a journey and I tried a lot of moisturizers, so I decided to write down all the things I’m doing to keep my hair long and healthy without shampoo and conditioner.

First of all, it’s was super hard for me to find some useful information about no poo and water only. It was unclear to me what’s rinsable with water and what isn’t. Some things that worked well for Samenda, didn’t work for me at all. An example: coconut oil in hair lenghts workes great on Samenda, but my hair gets heavy and looks greasy. So…. what do I do to keep my hair moist?



Natural conditioning

My basic rule for my hair: don’t use oils, don’t put moisturizers on your scalp.. Because basically every time I tried a moisturizer on my scalp, my hair ended up looking yikes. What natural moisturizers can you use as an alternative for store-bought conditioners? I really love the list on Almost Exaclty blog from Alex Raye. It’s a list of deep conditioning (natural) products without oils, which you can also use if you’re a water only washer. I will tell you more about my conditioner in the next paragraph



How often do I wash my hair? 

When I was still working out, I washed my hair every week. I cancelled my gym subscription lately so now I wash once every two weeks (yep, I’m literally not moving, so also not sweating). I prepare my scalp before going into the shower by scritching and preening very well. By doing this you make sure the dead skin cells and dirt are loosen up so you can rinse them out quickly during your shower session (yay, saving water). During my shower session I scritch my whole scalp again, while the handwarm water runs through my hair, taking all the dirt with it. I don’t use hot water because this can also damage the hair. Whenever I think my hair is “clean enough”, which is often after 5 or 10 minutes, I take the honey rinse and put it in my hair lenghts. I let it sit for 5 or 7 minutes while I complete the rest of my shower session (clean the rest of my body, shave, etc). And rinse it again with handwarm water. After that I rinse it one last time with cold water to close the hair cuticles. 




Once in like 3 months I use the gelatin mask I posted earlier. Using the same routine as I told you about in “how often do I wash my hair?” minus the honey rinse. This keeps my hair strong and shiny. Side note: don’t use it too much: there is such thing as too much protein for your hair. 



Adjustments I made since going water only

I treat silicones like I’m allergic to them: I reaaaaaally avoid them. I literally never want to go back to using shampoo. What does it mean for my daily life? I never use someone elses hairbrush or cable elastics or anything that goes into someone elses hair. If someone else uses my cable elastic, I let them keep it. Yep, my reaction might be too much, but I don’t want to risk getting a build up which is only removable with shampoo. I also sleep on my own pillow and avoid my hair touching the seats in public transport. 

Another thing I stopped doing since I went water only/no poo is blow drying my hair. This is very damaging for your hair, I let it air dry now.

Brushing is something I became more aware of since WO. I never realised how much you can damage with the wrong brush or plastic comb. I only brush my hair with my boar bristle brush and I detangle with my hands or wooden comb. I brush every day.

Remember the hair ties we all used, maybe you’re still using them, the ones with the little metal part to keep the elastic together? Yep, I tossed them. The metal part seriously damages your hair. I use cable elastics from Zenner or Hema,


Scritching and preening

I try to scritch and preen as often as possible, but since my busy working schedule I’m not always able to do it. In a perfect world I ‘d be doing it every day. It’s important to scritch and preen to stimulate the scalp to produce sebum, the natural miracle oils that keep your hair healthy. To spread them all over my hair lenghts I use my boar bristle brush. 



That’s it…

That’s actually it.. I’m still searching for a natural leave in conditioner. But for now, this is my routine. I’m not washing a lot or doing a lot with my hair. But the less, the better for my hair. My advice: look at your hair and look what it needs. Try out different masks, conditioners and see what works for you! Find a routine and let your hair get used to it.

The fact that you can’t use store-bought products anymore doesn’t mean water only washing is boring.





"My basic rule for my hair: don't use oils, don't put moisturizers on your scalp."