Water Washing, Week 3

Week 1
Week 2

A bit of a misnomer because I didn’t stick to water-only this week. Actually, a complete misnomer, because I didn’t do any water-only washing, period. 

Day 15: Didn’t wash hair today and didn’t use dry shampoo. Tossed it in a bun and felt that it was presentable enough to go hang out with a friend without bothering to explain the whole no-shampoo experiment.

Day 16: Hair was pretty oily but I didn’t need to go anywhere so I didn’t bother washing anyway.

Day 17: Fed up with how weighed-down my hair felt and washed with egg yolks. Didn’t do a good job of distributing the egg evenly across my scalp but the areas that got thoroughly egg-scrubbed (the front/top) feel as clean as if I had shampooed them. I mixed two egg yolks with a bit of hot water, scrubbed my scalp/roots thoroughly with hot water like I usually would for water-only washing, spread the egg yolks over my scalp/through my roots and massaged it in, then rinsed with lukewarm water.

Day 18: My hair felt cleaner this morning than it ever did when I washed with shampoo at night…except for the dandruff. There were a couple of oily patches, but I’m pretty sure those were just the spots I missed the previous night. After brushing, my hair feels well balanced – the roots aren’t oily and ends aren’t super dry/bushy – and feels very soft, almost fluffy.

Day 19: Dandruff was pretty bad. My scalp itched like crazy. Washed with egg yolks again. Was feeling sort of lazy post-workout and didn’t do a thorough water-only scrubbing before using the egg. Seems like two is not quite enough to get my whole scalp. Guess I’ll try 3 next time.

Day 20: Hair felt pretty clean today; a bit oilier than it was on day 18 (similarly one-night-post-egg-wash) but with no visible dandruff and no scalp itching.

I feel like photos of my part always make it look like I’m balding.

Day 21: Roots were oily again, with a little bit of dandruff. If I had to go out I’d use dry shampoo.

Pre-workout/egg-yolk wash. It ended up looking a bit better in terms of oil/stringiness after more brushing, but the brushing also dislodged some dandruff, so…tradeoffs.

Washed with three yolks after working out which seemed to be the right amount. Scalp and hair feel totally clean. No oily spots, dandruff or itching. Meant to take a photograph after it had dried but completely forgot.

I like the egg-yolk-washing thing but it’s slightly inconvenient, and I was hoping to cut out using hair product entirely, not just switch to a ~natural~ or otherwise non-shampoo option – I’m not convinced enough of the purported advantages of not using conventional shampoo to consistently pick an option that requires more work.

Honestly, this experiment so far is way higher maintenance than just washing my hair with shampoo every day or two. Even if I’m washing half or one third as often, it takes 2-3x longer to wash my hair with just water vs. shampoo (even longer than that for washing with egg yolks if you count prep time), and it takes wayyy longer to preen and brush it (vs. just detangling with a wide-tooth comb or Wet Brush). I have dandruff and scalp itching that I never used to have. Given that I’m shampooing my boar’s-hair brush every day, I’m not even cutting down on my shampoo usage. I haven’t seen any improvements in hair loss, and I think there’s actually been a slight increase in breakage. The only positives I’ve seen so far are that my ends are slightly less bushy than they would otherwise be in the absence of conditioner and/or leave-in product, probably thanks to using the boar’s-hair brush, and that the oiliness of second- or even third-day-hair is more bearable, which may be due to a decrease in sebum production from a no-longer-stripped scalp but may also be due in part to better distribution of oils with the boar’s-hair brush.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do now. I feel like I should give water-only another try – maybe another week, and if doesn’t seem sustainable in a time when I have to leave the house more frequently than 1-2x/week, then I’ll consider going back to shampoo. Anecdotally, it seems that people who successfully do water-only washing continue to see improvement over the course of a few months, and at this point I really only have two weeks of water-only. But switching back to conventional methods now is looking pretty tempting – if I use a gentler shampoo, continue to aim for 2-3 days or longer between washes, and continue to use the boar’s-hair brush, I don’t see why I couldn’t keep the benefits I’ve seen while mitigating some of the adverse effects.

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