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Is It Effective to Wash Your Hair With Only Water?

Whether we’re in a rush or we don’t want to overdo it with the hair washing, there comes a time when we resort to rinsing our locks with only water.

But when we don’t do a thorough cleanse, are we benefitting at all? We wanted to get to the bottom of what happens when we wash our hair with only water, so we reached out to Feisal Qureshi, Raincry founder and creative director. Keep reading for what he told us!

Is there ever any real benefit to washing your hair with only water?

Feisal shares that “washing with water alone is like taking a shower without soap—great as a quick refresh, but probably not ideal for most of us to do all of the time. Water will only help rinse the hair’s surface of dust and debris, but will not do much else and especially won’t ‘wash’ your hair.”

However, if you have curly hair, that’s not always the case. “For those looking to re-blow dry or re-style, or for those with curly hair, a rinse is necessary to help reshape your dried locks and set them back to perfection,” he shares.

Person standing under a rain shower
(via Unsplash)

Are there ways to maximize a plain water hair rinse?

In order to make the most out of your only water hair rinse, Feisal urges that you “fully saturate your hair so that it is soaking wet. Some have said that cooler temperatures are better for the scalp and also claim to get more shine. However, my experience has been that water and temperature alone have not had a considerable impact on overall shine.”

He adds that sometimes it’s beneficial to add a little something extra to your water rinse—vinegar, to be exact. “Adding one part vinegar to 10 parts water would heighten the rinse experience from being benign to being [slightly more] beneficial. The added vinegar will adjust the pH balance of the rinse and help break down some residual oils, buildup and also help close the cuticle. It’s kind of like a ‘diet version of shampoo—some of the taste but with a fraction of the effectiveness,” Feisal notes.

Are there specific hair types that will benefit more from only using water?

“Thicker, coarser hair textures usually require less shampooing and would benefit from a bi-weekly water rinse,” Feisal says. “The re-wetting of your hair, however, would require re-styling, which would be necessary especially for those with curly hair.”

hair washing wrong
(via Unsplash)

Why is it important to use actual shampoo?

So using shampoo seems to be pretty important, but why? “Shampoo is designed to provide a deeper and proper clean to your hair,” shares Feisal. “Water alone cannot break down scalp oils, stubborn dirt, pollutants, and product buildup, nor will it adjust the cuticle—which is very important.”

He then adds that “without the removal of surface buildup, a barrier can form around your hair that will restrict nutrients from penetrating into the hair shaft where they’re most needed.”

What are some instances when you should absolutely use shampoo?

Feisal shares that “everyone should use a traditional wet shampoo at least once a week, regardless of their hair texture. The oilier your scalp (finer, thin textures) or heavier your styling products, this is especially important and the more frequent your shampoos should be.”

He does want you to note that shampoo, in this instance, does not include dry shampoo. “Dry shampoo’s primary function is to absorb oils through a powder base. Dry shampoos do not do any cleansing, and often require a thorough wet shampoo to properly cleanse and rid your scalp and hair of the powder buildup. They have their place but shouldn’t be confused with a cleansing shampoo.”

Anything else you want to add on this matter or RAINCRY in general?

“Traditional shampooing has received a bit of a renaissance in recent years after the trend of infrequent shampooing and dry shampoos have died down,” shares Feisal. “And rightfully so—nothing can beat the need to properly maintain your hair without a regular shampoo and condition.”

Additionally, he stresses the importance of your shampoo’s pH balance. “An ideal pH for a shampoo is 4.5 – 5.5 and will be much gentler on your hair (even with daily shampoos) and help reduce bond depletion, moisture loss, and overall damage. Rather than focus on shampoo frequency, pH should be the first thing one should consider before looking at your next shampoo.”

Now that you know more about properly washing your hair, HERE’s what to know about brushing your hair the right way!

2 minutes

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