This was the first method I tried, and I have to say it was also the one I really really really wanted to work. I mean, what’s not to love? It’s the cheapest, easiest, most portable method out there, and it doesn’t put any extra junk into our water supply. Win-win.
The method itself is about as straightforward as you can get: Get into shower. Wet hair. Scrub it a little with your fingers. Let it dry. That’s it.
I’ve since heard of other people who swear by this method, and I believe them. Unfortunately I cannot claim to be one of them.
You see, I have used this method in at least five different cities in two different countries. If I learned anything from that experience, it was that the quality of the water itself (and in some cases the quality of your shower head) is key if that’s all you’re washing your hair with. It makes sense, really. Most of the time we’re dumping so many chemicals into our hair that it would hardly notice what you’re using to wash them out.
I will tell you, I used this method for about six months before I gave it up, and the reasons I gave it up probably weren’t what you’d expect. (More on that later.) That convinced me that this method could work, and even work well. But the problem is, I live in a big city with big city water conveniently stolen from places that actually have water of their own. A friend of mine from out of state once took a big slurp of tap water and then looked up at me and said, “Ugh, I hate it when my water tastes like L.A.” And it does. Our water is — theoretically at least — quite drinkable, but it doesn’t exactly taste good. There’s a reason Brita filters are popular in this day and age.
That L.A. taste? It makes my hair cry. I’m not exaggerating. Nor am I even being metaphorical. The water in the greater metropolitan area of Los Angeles makes my hair excrete sad, greasy tears such that it can never quite get clean without something else added to the mix to cheer it up.
I also used this method for about twoish months of a five month stay in Paris. The verdict was similar, but made worse by the fact that my shower had practically zilch in the way of water pressure. Not only did the water make my hair sad, it didn’t even have the physical strength to remove any of the grit and grime that was accumulating there. Essentially, washing my hair there only made it dirtier than ever before.
But what gives me hope for this method (and why I do still believe in it quite strongly even if it doesn’t work for me personally) is the brief stint I spent at a cabin in the mountains. That shower delivered glorious mountain well water with just the right water pressure, and my hair was happy happy happy beyond belief. Admittedly this was already awhile after I had succumbed to putting Things That Aren’t Water in my hair, but that water was so beautiful I just had to give Water Only another shot. And oh my, was it beautiful. If I ever move to a place with nicer water, you can bet I’ll be using this method on a far more permanent basis. But for now, alas, geography is against me.
Ultimately, how well your hair will cope with this method is also somewhat dependent on your own hair. My sister also gave this a try using the same water I had available to me, and her curly, poofy, thick hair was far more willing to take whatever she threw at it than my thick-but-straight tresses. And as it was, it took several months of this before I gave up and tried something else.
The bottom line? This method is great, but only if you have the right water and the right hair. Thankfully for the rest of us, there are plenty of other options available. For next time: The Baking Soda and ACV Method