Water Only Hair Washing- Using Commercial Products

Using Commercial Hair Products While On The WOHW Method (Water Only Hair Washing)

18 months without any commercial products!

18 months without any commercial products!

So, I get asked on a frequent basis, whether commercial products can be used while on the Water Only Hair Washing Regimen? The short answer to this is “YES” you can absolutely use commercial products within reason. As you know I absolutely do not use commercial products of any kind (pre-mixed hair products are what I mean by commercial products). I prefer using plant and food base products on my hair. When I decided to forego commercial products in favor of products I can eat, and grow myself (I know what’s in them). Choosing the water only hair washing method is meant to make your hair life easier and cost-effective. Simplicity is the key. Hair shouldn’t be difficult to manage and definitely shouldn’t cost a ton of money.

Most commercial hair products have so many ingredients in them you don’t know which product is doing what for your hair. However, although plant base, food base products are my choice, I am not suggesting that those of you who are new to this method can’t use a more natural commercial hair care product. I would however suggest trying to find a natural equivalent to whichever  product you want to use.

There are plenty of natural products you can use to help supplement your lack of sebum: ALL natural hair butters and oils are acceptable on the water only hair washing method (butters are preferable to the oils, because they will not rinse out as easily as the oils, allowing the sebum to mix easily with it. Oils, in my “opinion” are best used for cleaning the excess sebum, although if you use very little oil, you will be fine).

If there is no equivalent product (such as hair conditioner or even shampoo) that you can use or want to use, my suggestion would be to make sure you dilute the product and test it on a small section of hair before committing to the entire head of hair. This is totally up to each person. Customize this method to fit your personal needs.


A List Of The Natural Products I Have Used As A Shampoo & Conditioner:

  • Shampoo & conditioner- Amla Powder (Use when you have medium, full to excessive sebum coverage)
  • Shampoo & conditioner-Henna (Use when you have medium, full to excessive sebum coverage, not a light amount) Using henna when you have a light amount of sebum can and mostly likely strip your sebum entirely.
  • Shampoo & conditioner- Cassia Powder (Use when you have medium to full sebum coverage)
  • Shampoo & conditioner- Aritha Powder (Use when you have medium to full amount of sebum)
  • Shampoo & conditioner- Aloe Vera (Use when you have a very light amount of sebum coverage. Aloe Vera gel is very gentle and will only remove a small layer of sebum while also conditioning your hair) Aloe Vera gel can also be used as a leave in conditioner while on the WOHW method.
  • Shampoo & conditioner- Hibiscus (Use when you have light sebum coverage. Hibiscus conditioner is very gentle and will only remove a small layer of sebum while also conditioning your hair) The liquid left over from boiling the flowers and leaves can also be used as a leave in conditioner while on the WOHW method.
  • conditioner- Bananas (fresh or the baby food) Use when you have light sebum coverage. Removes a very small amount of sebum and adds incredible shine. “This is my go to conditioner for when I want shine.”
  • Conditioner-Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with distilled water (Use when you have light sebum coverage).
  • Shampoo & conditioner-Cactus Pads (Prickling Pear) This shampoo/conditioner can be used on light to medium sebum coverage. This is one of the most amazing natural products that can also be eaten as well as used for a softening/cleansing hair product.
  • Shampoo & conditioner fermented Rice Water (Use when you have a very light to medium sebum coverage).
  • Shampoo & conditioner – Cactus-Fenugreek (Use when you have a very light to medium sebum coverage). This absolute favorite conditioner to date!                                                               

Every conditioner and shampoo I list above, I have tried. They are all very good alternatives to shampoos and or conditioner (in my opinion). It’s been 18 months of water only hair washing, and I have been commercial product free. My hair is grows pretty fast without any real effort on my part. I simply keep it clean and moisturizer (I follow all the water only hair washing steps). I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS METHOD.

What Natural Products Are You Using?


  1. Thanks for this! I’m on my second week of water washing only and I’ve watched almost all your videos lol and I’ve noticed ACV doesn’t remove the excess sebum from my scalp. I have a lovely aloe vera plant so I am interested in how to cleanse my hair this way; can you explain how to do the aloe vera cleanse?

    • Wateronlyhairwash

      Hi Gibbie! You are very welcome. Okay, so for cleansing your hair with aloe vera only; cut one medium size aloe leaf and peel. I have found it best to peel the aloe on a plate so that most of the latex isn’t lost on the cutting bored. This is how I remove the gel: First slice the smallest end horizontally, do the same with the largest end as well. Next slice vertically down the sides to remove the thorns (use a sharp knife). Lay the aloe leaf flat on the plate, take a butter knife, run the butter knife directly under the aloe skin (putting the palm of your hand on top of the aloe while doing this helps) applying light pressure with your other hand helps this process to be less messy. Once you make it all the way to the end, you can either flip it over and repeat the same action, or pick it up (can be a lot messier) run the knife under the skin, while holding the sides. Once you remove the first three inches you can hold the leaf and continue removing the gel and latex. I really hop that made since. You probably have your own way of removing the gel. Sometimes I receive questions, that require step by step explanation. I have gotten used to breaking down each step, hope I didn’t offend with this breakdown on how to remove the gel.

      Once you remove the gel: cut the gel up as much as possible and put it into a bowl. Then add a small amount of distilled water and stir. Allow the gel to sit for five minutes, stirring and breaking down the allow pieces. You’ll start to notice how thick the water becomes (very thick and goopy). I you like you can also blend the aloe and distilled water to the blender. I don’t do it that way because your product at the end looks different; (works the same) it isn’t as thick and tends to be more of a liquid than a gel. Both ways will work, it’s a matter of preference.
      Apply the gel to your hair in any method you like. I tend to dip the ends of my hair in the bowl of gel; working it in by massaging an squeezing it in. I add the rest of the gel by scooping the gel out with my hands and applying it to my scalp and the rest of my hair. I do this until my hair is completely covered. Aloe vera also is a great detangler, so I use this time to also detangle my hair. You can rinse after you’re satisfied that you have thoroughly clean your hair, or cover your head with a plastic cap to add a bit of heat (10-20 mins is what I do) then rinse. Hope this helps. 😉

  2. I like to use homeade flaxseed gel to do my bantu knots. Is that okay for WOW?

    • Wateronlyhairwash

      Hi Denise P! Unfortunately flaxseed gel strips sebum, however if you choose to use it occasionally, I see no harm; you just have to observe you hair and figure out if using flaxseed gel works for you. But my experience has been that it strips the sebum from hair.

  3. Good morning,
    i hope every thing is well with your son. I want to start the water only method. I started 2 weeks ago, but I apply coconut oil before rinsing and I put avocado oil or shea butter in the hair. Hair is nice a bit hard, but dry fast. I havent notice anything on my scal and wondering if I have sebum coverage. I water 5 a week. and massage daily. when will I know if I have sebum? I was using apple cider vinegar rinse to keep itching at bay. Is that right?

    • Wateronlyhairwash

      Hi Poupee! My son is covering from his brain surgery. His doctor was able to remove the entire tumor, thank you for asking. I truly appreciate it. Sorry for the later response. Using coconut oil on you hair before rinsing is totally fine. The coconut oil will remove a small amount of sebum and debris. Remember not to use the coconut oil with every rinse, because doing so can eventually strip your sebum and or give the impression that you don’t have any sebum present. Try rinsing for a couple of weeks without adding coconut oil to your hair and you will see the evidence of sebum. It’s going to be difficult to tell if you have sebum on your hair and or scalp if you are adding oil to either your scalp or hair. Most likely you have sebum coverage already or at least some sebum, but because coconut oil mixes very well with sebum, it can be difficult to identify it (if the coconut oil feels slightly thicker than when you put it on your hair, that’s an indication that it’s mixing with you sebum). Sebum can feel very waxy and or oily. In both cases there is a very distinctive buttery soft feel to it. The water only hair washing method usually regulates an itchy scalp, so you will most likely not need to use the apple cider vinegar rinse unless you are conditioning your hair or cleansing your hair and or scalp, so that will be fine. Make sure not to use the ACV rinse to often, because you can actually cause your scalp to dry out and cause more itching…Also, try to limit how much oil and butter you add to your hair and avoid putting these oils and or butters directly on the scalp. Are you only adding avocado oil or the shea butter after your rinses? If so, limit it to just the last few inches of hair (if you can), this will help you see the difference in the oils you’re adding and your sebum. I really hope this will still be helpful to you.

  4. Hello,
    I have seen some of your videoa and have read your blogs and decided to started with the Water only washing method. After one and a half month my scalp is still dry, no trace of sebum production. I use to put a lot of oil on my scalp (castor, coconut …) but since sarting with the WOW, I haven’t put any I have a TWA and only use shea butter/oil on my ends. I rinse with warm water followed by cold water every 2 to 3 days.
    I would really like to adopt this method, as I am growing my hair, but it seems that it doesn’t work for me.

    Do you have any suggestions?



    • Wateronlyhairwash

      Hey Eden. SO sorry for the late response. Using oil on your hair can and does remove sebum from your hair. My suggestion is to start using shea butter primarily on your ends (shea butter will not rinse away your sebum like oils will).Even though you have been adding oils to only your ends; the oil can move up the strands if you add more than a small amount. For one week try using distilled water (soft water) for your rinses and inverting your head a few time a week to see if you see a difference.Inverting your head will help bring the sebum from the back of your head to the front and it also stimulates the hair follicles. Also, are you massaging your scalp on a regular basis? This is very important (this also stimulates the hair follicles encouraging good blood circulation, which can stimulate the secretion of sebum). If previously you oiled your scalp on a regular basis, your body may have gotten used to thinking it doesn’t need to produce much sebum. Since you have a twa make sure that after you rinse your hair with distilled water you tie your hair down with a scarf to help lock the water into your cuticles and to protect your scalp (it’s not necessary to leave the scarf on until your hair fully dries; just enough to let the water soak in). Hope this will still be helpful even though my response is late.

  5. If I use flaxseed gel or cactus gel to style my hair daily, will they strip the sebum from my

    • Wateronlyhairwash

      Hi Dee. If you want to put natural products in your hair for styling purposes that’s fine. There are a lot of ladies opting for a modified version of the wohw method. Flaxseed gel will strip your sebum. If you use more cactus gel than flaxseed gel you may be able to find the right consistency that will not strip your sebum. You’ll have to play around with your mix.

  6. Can I use flaxseed and cactus gel to style my hair daily? Will it strip my sebum?

  7. Hi, thank you so much for your videos and research on this topic. My dilemma is I am transitioning from relaxed for only two months now. How can I adopt this regimen to my routine. My twists unravel easily and tangle when I wet them. How can I maintain neat twists and keep my ends from drying out? When I was natural for years and wet my twists they would curl up and frizz out very quickly unless I used heavy gels on them. I have a medium to fine curly strand but its not particularly soft. I am hoping this routine will fix all my hair problems.
    Thank you

    • Hi Jasmine. Sorry for the late reply. I really hate having to say that; I try to get to all my messages…there’re just so many, it’s becoming time consuming. I really want to be able to answer them all…
      As for your dilemma; when you first begin this method, you’ll find that you will have to remove your twist every so many days to preen the sebum down the length, so your hair will not tangle. If you were wanting to do this method with relaxed hair I would not suggest the frequent rinsing, but since your plan is to eventually cut your hair, rinsing either daily or every so many days will be fine. To keep your twist from unraveling, try adding a bantu knots to the ends of each twist (just until you have sebum coverage). It’s also better to begin in medium twist, as smaller twist can become more tangled.

  8. Hi there, I started the WOW method a week ago, I know it can take a few weeks for sebum to come in. When I clarified I simply did an ACV rinse but ive noticed lately some white stuff on my hair near the top and I think it may be product left over (I used to use the curl enhancing smoothie); should I re-clarify? is the acv rinse good enough to clarify my hair or do I need to use something else? could I just use a Giovanni conditioner to co wash as a clarifying step? I am trying to avoid running out and buying anything if I can use what I have at home, thanks in advance.

    • Hi Jg. If you’ve used none natural products before starting the wohw method, it’s best to use a clarifying shampoo or and herbal powder mix that will remove product buildup. ACV rinsing will not remove product build up if you previously used none natural products. I’m not sure if the Giovanni conditioner has silicone or other ingredients that may sit on top of your hair; a clarifying shampoo would work best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.