by Barbara of Frotastic


Since going natural 3 years ago, I became sort of a mad hair scientist; mixing food items including peanut butter into my concoctions without a problem. Then out of the blue, my scalp decided enough was enough.

What happened you ask? A teensy bit of my sealing oil, rice bran, touched my scalp and it burned to pieces! The same thing happened with avocado, olive oil and hemp. So for the 4th time over the past year, I once again found myself racing towards the kitchen in a panic with shampoo and conditioner in hand.

Instead of simply giving up on experimenting with new products, concoctions and oils, I decided to take it a step further and eliminate all products. Yes, you did in fact read that last sentence correctly. All is in a-l-l. All as in no oils, no conditioner, no moisturizers, no leave ins…well, you get the point.

I’d love to say that I came to this water-only epiphany on my own, but the truth is it’s been all the rage on white hair boards. I’d routinely skim through threads of adulation then remind myself that these kinks need the whole nine yards plus another inch, that is, until the aforementioned incident.

Water-only does not equal “wet it and forget it.” In fact I had to devise a special regimen before embarking on this experiment. I committed to massaging my scalp everyday for at least 5 minutes in order to move sebum from my scalp to the length of my hair. Also, once a week, I rinsed with water and “scritched”– which is very, very lightly scratching the scalp to further loosen and distribute sebum.

Did my 4b/c hair survive on a water only regimen? There are 2 answers but first, a preface; As a long-term protective style wearer (braids or twists) I like to leave a small section in the front loose so I can “refresh” it while hiding the new growth in the back sections. This practice allowed me to compare loose 4b/c hair on a water only regimen versus twisted/braided hair.

Link to water only VIDEO:

The twisted/braided sections were amazingly soft as well as shiny and very easy to take down. My hair felt as if I’d sufficiently moisturized and sealed the day before.

The loose section held up fine but was not nearly as moisturized as the twisted sections. My theory is intertwined strands can better retain moisture from water rinsing sessions and sebum massages.

I was so beyond thrilled with my results that I now practice the “water-only” regime every other month.

This is what my hair looks like after 4 months of practicing the “water-only” regime every other month.


If you’re protective styling your own hair and can commit to sebum washing and massaging then perhaps water- only may be worth a try.

Ladies, would you try this?! And if you already have, please share your experience!!

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120 Comments on "True Life: I Tried a Water-Only, Zero-Product Regimen On My 4B/C Hair"

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I’ve tried this water-only regimen and it worked for me too. I started spritzing a lil bit of water on my hair everyday, and my hair feels softer, looks healthier and grew quite a bit. And that, with no other products!!!


i think it’s a summer thing for me. in the winter, i only use natural oils. mainly, coconut, castor oil, and spritz with water, and put box braids after work every. spritz with the water before bed. been natural since october 2013, very, very satisfactory results.

This is genius, the less products the better. We need to understand our hair is fragile, natural hair is not relaxed hair. We have everything we need all this extra stuff is a waste of time and money. The scalp naturally creates oil, ans the messages to get the oil to release down the strand is a genius technique. I only use conditioner and clay in my hair everything else ia water and oil. I can’t wait to try this method, but I wish more women would consider going against all these money stealing products. Less is best!
I have tried a version of this. I co-washed daily with As I Am coconut co-wash for several months, detangled with a cheapie conditioner, but I did not leave any product in my hair. After the co-washes I would braid my hair in about 7 braids. (My hair was mbl and the type is 4B, mostly medium thickness of strands/density and low porosity). After my hair was completely dry, I wore braid-outs. It worked fine for me, but I was not concerned about length retention and I ultimately moved onto something else because I don’t like dealing with my hair… Read more »
I tried water and olive oil only for a few months last year. I was totally surprised how much product rinsed out of my hair the first couple of times I washed with water only. By about the third wash my hair was shiny and light feeling. It also had stopped breaking (I had been using some non-protein conditioners but they still had made my hair brittle). It was a fast wash day – rinse and massage scalp well for about 5 minutes, towel dry enough to stop drips and apply about a tablespoon of oil. Style without products. I… Read more »

Her hair looks great. I may try the water only method in the summer. But I LOVE the massage technique.

Brittany. L

A water only method sound good, but at the same time it doesn’yt, the moisture isn’t been sealed in. I feel like my hair will look and start to feel super dry rather quickly. Like I feel like I would constantly have to apply water to my hair.

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I don’t think this would benefit me because my hair needs chemicals to stay in good shape. If I was to use this I would do that only as a temporary solution in case I was looking for a new hair regimen.
But, it’s an interesting idea regardless.


That afro is gorgeous! And how brave of you try this. Seems like a practice that could make life simpler if perfected.



hair is beautiful but, i am a wash and go product junkie with well water (i.e. hard water). Had I started my journey using this method, I may have had a chance, but too late now!!!


This…..must take some serious dedication.
I can tell you right now that this isn’t my cup of tea, but I have deep respect for Ms. Barbara for trying it and sticking with it! This doesn’t seem like the easiest thing in the world!

I would like to try it but I’d have trouble sticking with it, that’s the only problem. I just like the whole don’t use that many products regimen period. I actually think that most of us don’t need more than three or four products anyway and many of us certainly don’t need to use products every day. I just think that generally a simple regimen saves money and time. When I first became a loose natural (I had locs prior), my bathroom looked like a beauty supply store! Then I tried a more natural approach but I’m too lazy and… Read more »
Why wouldn’t it seem like the easiest thing in the world???? Is buying a crap load a products easier?? is finger combing easier? is twisting easier? is re-applying conditioner every dry moment easier? is wrapping your hair (which isn’t sexy) easier??? is learning what every f’n product does easier? Is being a natural who still alters their hair for convenience easier?? Is being natural (period) easier??? See where i am going here? I just had this chat with another natural blogger (Cipriana Quann) and she too agreed that the masculine approach is much easier…the masculine approach being, stop hoarding products… Read more »

Every time I wash my hair it’s get’s super dryer, even a co-wash. All the moisture is rinsed out. I don’t know if you do the method…. I have long type 4 hair. What do you do if the scalp just doesn’t produce a lot of oils and what it does produce just doesn’t get all the way down to my hair. I have a lot a questions about this method. Especially since my hair doesn’t get much natural moisture and is prone to being dry and brittle if I don’t moisturize everyday or every other day.


That may work for you but I suffer from dry skin and scalp and a cracked bleeding tight scalp is not easier. Oils and conditioner are easier for me just like body lotions and oils. So yes ignoring my ashy hair, legs, and scalp would take MAJOR dedication.


If its not a medical condition…drink more water. And that’s my point. Adjusting minor things in your everyday life that are essential to begin with should not have to take dedication, they should be natural. Life is too short to “dedicate” time to physical things. It all starts inside…very deep inside.

I wonder if me saying all this is even worth it?

Nappy4C Rocks

the ‘masculine approach’ wth?


I get you on the water intake. A few years ago I challenged myself to drink more water, in addition to making some other dietary changes (no red meat, soda and limit processed food). Anyway, from my standard 1 1/2 litres a day, I gradually increased to 2 1/2, drinking as much as 3 litres sometimes. The difference in my skin and hair has been remarkable. I also do this water only method when I wear braids and noticed that my hair is equally moisturized as when I use some manufactured spray.


Yea my water intake is not the issue. You obviously don’t know anything about skin care.

If you run around ashy, musty, hairy, and stanking bc personal hygiene is much easier when you don’t have any. But hey I’m not nocking you if that works for you. Just don’t stand up wind from me.


Oops, I did not mean to give you a thumbs up. I meant to thumbs down your angry, mean, aggressive, rude ass. Why are you so defensive and angry like it’s your fucking head? Bitch, if water only is easier for you then you do it! Don’t push it on others and force them to believe it is easier. And stop acting like you’re a holistic medical professional, some people actually have bodies that don’t utilize water efficiently like most other people, no matter how much they drink- the body just expels it. Look it the fuck up.


…angry much

cinn says...

Something like this seems like it would be a good idea to try in the hotter months. I am new to being natural and I am wondering how to handle all these products in the summer. I really want to go as light as possible when it gets hot.


I’m not big on products and concoctions either but water only method? Not happening over here lol. I’m into the keep is simple stupid method. Keep the scalp clean and the hair moisturized and conditioned. I have shampoo, conditioner, 1 oil, a leave in and coconut milk (for deep conditioning). Its interesting to see different regimes though! Glad it worked for you, your hair is gorgeous!




Naw I’m good on this one lol




Why are you always so mean?

Trainee Rapunzel

Interesting, she has great hair… I won’t be trying it though; I actually enjoy the palava of experimenting with different oils/butters/products and my regime works for me.

I do water and oil only. It has been working wonderfully for me. In this winter, I need the oils to help protect my hair, in the summer, I will be decreasing even potentially eliminating oils all together. I also do GHE with this method, and I have seen moisture results and length as well. Most important, I can finger untangle my hair with very little breakage, and only a slight fairy knots. Most of my hair like 95% is shed hair YES!!!! I’m very excited, and it has worked so well for me. I do use extensions, and there… Read more »
Ugonna Wosu

yes, I MnS daily with a water/olive oil spray bottle, and I dc with olive oil a lot of the time, then rinse off and seal damp hair with olive oil again. That’s almost my whole reggie.


I LOVE being natural, but when is it doing too much? Every time you turn around, there’s some new regimen, rule, routine, or concoction.


How much simple, can you get with water only tho?

Ugonna Wosu

you don’t have to try them ALL. lol, I always laugh when women say its too much, it only looks too much cause you keep thinking you have to try everything suggested. Its just different women telling you the different things they’ve done. Its up to YOU to pick and choose.


Great article!
I always use water only when my hair is in braids and it works well. I simply spray it with water in the morning and it keeps my hair soft and moisturized! But it is just not enough when I wear my hair loose.


Same for me, 24 hours WO with loose hair is my MAX!


Wow! I commend you….I keep it simple BUT the climate here…(Toronto, Canada) needs something I opt for a light coating of amla, coconut, olive or black castor at least!! If I was in a warm climate….I would go for water! Your hair looks great!!!


I agree with you 100%! I have to do a sealing with oil for this winter weather, how do you use amla?

Cece Danielle

Nah, I’ll just stick with what’s been working for me.


CeCe I agree. I admire her and anyone else for being able to use water only. I say this as well….do what works for you. The routine I have is best for me. I don’t think water only would help my hair, I have to have PRODUCT.

Great article, I recognize the author from YT! I’ve used the water-only and sebum-only method and really love it! I have mainly low-porosity, coarse hair. It ranges from loose curls to kinks. I seriously need to watch my ends for dryness and breakage, but I’ve done WO and SO on and off for decades and have had really great results retaining length and much-needed moisture. Moisture comes in a variety of different ways, you don’t have to dunk your hair in water to get moisture. Sebum lubricates hair and moisture is of course also internal; vitamins and minerals and nutrients.… Read more »

Your hair is just so beautiful and water only is something I’ve always wanted to try but I’ve been apprehensive to do it as my hair gets very dry. You’ve given me some courage to give a shot…just a trial of course. As I often say to myself “APPROACH HAIR WITH CAUTION”.


I’d suggest first reading the articles in the “getting started” tab on this website to kinda give you a clue of where to start..

the key to happy natural hair, imo, is moisture, and finding styles that reduce tangles and knots, then stay consistent..also health, that is important too, if you have a lot of breakage, then maybe there is a protein problem, that has helped me..

idk if I have helped but check first on the articles on that tab..


I am definitely trying this! 😀


Interesting article because I have been thinking of trying this since last week, so the timing of this article is great..

I’m going to give it a try with my ends and see..

Love your hair. I would really like a response, if at all possible. I am seriously going all the way. My hair is currently in braids and it is chemical-free for about five months. But I don’t know where/how to actually start. Why? Long story short: Mother started relaxing my hair at 6, “It was too thick.” 2007 it all fell out. Hairdresser nursed it back to health: 2.5 years w/o chemicals; texturized for 2 years; eventually a lot of breakage; back to no chemicals, braids, wigs or sew-ins. I fell in love with natural texture, which me hairdresser says… Read more »
Nappy4C Rocks

look into YouTube videos and natural hair blogs

JNice On the Mic

this is really interesting. Think I want to try it. I’m not big on all the products and concoctions I often see people make so this will be really cool to try out


I agree.


Your hair is beautiful! I think I tried this years ago when I was somewhat of a newbie. I remember it working out ok. Good experiment. I have always thought that 4b/c hair didn’t need a ton of product to look to stay healthy. I think the key to this is the scalp massages and the fact that you only wet your hair down once a week. If you wet your hair down more than this I think it would dry out.

Mlle Batifole

Just four months!!! Wow, your hair looks so lush! I might have to try this. 🙂

Ugonna Wosu

water only works fine on my hair too. I tried it by accident years ago and saw growth.


water only sound drastic. I can see it working on white hair but our natural kinks might need a little more than just “water only”. It seems cost efficient and from the pic your hair seemed to get longer and bigger. Seems like an ok ides but you don’t like it till you try it.




you sound stupid.