When it comes to washing natural hair, I thought we had pretty much covered it all. From co-washing to pre-pooing, I was sure that we secured all bases and nothing was left to the imagination…until I happened upon Dephne Madyara’s water only hair washing routine on YouTube. She claims that the water only method has made her hair much healthier and it’s even improved the way her wash and go’s. Previously, she was unable to wear a wash and go because it didn’t look attractive. Now that she’s switched to washing her hair with only water, she’s able to wear a defined wash and go on her 4C hair.

Dephne Maydyara’s wash and go using the water only washing method.
Dephne Maydyara’s wash and go using the water only washing method.

How It Works

Washing your hair with water only can be a little daunting at first. After all, how is water supposed to get your hair clean? The idea is to work with the natural oils in your hair. Instead of stripping your hair like shampoo does, water only washing distributes the natural oils in your hair down the shaft of your hair. This eliminates the need for you to replace oil that was stripped with shampoo via conditioners and other oils. In the process it can help get rid of dirt and buildup.

How To Wash

1. Massage your scalp and break up anything on your scalp. This will also stimulate your hair follicles.
2. Scrub your scalp with your finger nails (scratch) and break up dead skin cells and dirt.
3. Detangle
4. Preen – distribute the natural oil in your hair down your hair with your hands.
5. Wet your hair with warm to hot water and scrub your scalp. You can preen some more while doing this.
6. Dry your hair
7. Apply a small amount of carrier oil (optional)

The Benefits

The most obvious benefit is the money saved on shampoo. Naturals who employ this method also claim that their hair grows faster, is less tangly and knotty, is softer, and their curls pop and clump effortlessly. You can also see the true health of your hair and truly understand what you

The Challenges

Most admit that washing your hair with water only takes some getting used to. In fact, your hair and scalp may take several months to get used to the routine. Another con is that some people have hard water in their homes. If this is the case, then you will experience mineral build-up on your hair. Distilled water or an acidic rinse for your final rinse should cure this. Additionally, there is a possibility that you’ll produce too much sebum on your strands with this regimen. If this happens, you may need to clarify your hair before every water wash until you find the right balance.

Take a look at Dephne Maydyara’s tutorial on her water washing regimen.

 Would you consider washing your hair with water only?

Leave a Reply

29 Comments on "This 4C Natural Swears By Water-Only Washing For Curl Definition"

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Ossie Regan

I’m trying water only wash right now because my scalp was getting itchy. I did put some almond oil on my ends.

Christine Higgins-Reid
Christine Higgins-Reid

Thanks for replying. I was actually agreeing with you!

Whitney Bianca

Different things work for different people but this is a rinse treatment to be used with another method not alone. Water out the shower or sink is most likely hard water with chlorine and Flouride added to clean it and to leave that on your hair is irresponsible hair care. Our hair is notoriously dry, we need oil to seal and alcohol free gel or styler cream to seal the moisture in.

Ugonna Wosu

Who said she isn’t using a sealant? She’s talking only about how she washes her hair. Nice lecture though.

Christine Higgins-Reid
Christine Higgins-Reid

Just curious if you’re talking from experience or are you making assumption?

Whitney Bianca

Every time I speak its from experience not assumption, I’ve been a victim of people assuming with confidence and leading me the wrong way so I would not do that.

Christine Higgins-Reid
Christine Higgins-Reid
Thanks for responding. I have been doing WOW but I just wanted to share that you don’t need to use a sealer on this method once there is full sebum coverage, only in the beginning on the ends. However, like any method, it can be adapted to suit individual needs. I must admit that your response came across as a little defensive. I just want you to know that I was not ttying to evoke any negativity, but just genuinely asking a question. I do not know you so I cannot judge if you were making assumptions or talking from… Read more »
Ugonna Wosu

Her hair is clean. You think ppl had shampoo when the world started?

Christine Higgins-Reid
Christine Higgins-Reid

Shampoo and conditioner is a 20th century invention. Even the famous Mason and Pearson brush was originally created to smooth sebum throughout the hair to clean and condition the hair! Google their history. One of the most expensive brushes you’ll ever buy. And with good reason.

Ugonna Wosu

I’m not the one you should tell this to,but thanks.

Ugonna Wosu

I do this . I alternate. Some weeks I shampoo, some I cowash, and others I water wash.

Reina Benoir

Nope! I cannot. If she thinks it works for her that’s fine and all, but I no. I cannot.


It’s cool but it would never work for my hair. I need to cleanse at least twice a month.

I’ve been water-only washing off and on my entire life and have never used my fingernails to move sebum, just a light massaging with my fingers. Some are missing crucial elements with this ancient method, you do not add product, so there is no product build-up to remove or get caught in the hair. No added oils, conditioner, etc. Some oil their ends, but mine don’t need it. The method of scritching the scalp with a comb that many southern Blacks are familiar with, is a feature of this method, moving natural scalp oil down the hair to condition it… Read more »
Christine Higgins-Reid
Christine Higgins-Reid

Great explanation and love your ending!


I wish I could do the water only thing, but I’ve got the hardest water imaginable. I don’t think a filter will cut it. But I just bought an entire apothecary of essential and carrier oils so I’m just not ready to let all that go.


I love Daphe but her hair looks a matted mess and if she were to have a magnifying glass, she would see her hair is extremely filthy. She needs to clarify and deep condition at least once a month to deal with water-only washing.


That white stuff looks like dandruff or residue from hair products. Her hair needs shampoo or soap to wash her hair and clean it.


Except they’re clearly water droplets so maybe take your judgement elsewhere.


No my judgment is going to stay where it wants to be. Water droplets don’t look look like that. Her hair needs to be clean and it’s not like I said before. ?


They look like that in 4C hair because I have it, and I would know. Take your fuckery elsewhere *side eyes username*

britti the dub

I would recommend investing in a filtered showerhead or faucet for the mineral build-up issue. I bought a Sprite filtered water showerhead at Bed, Bath & Beyond and its changed my hair, skin, and nails dramatically. I know some people like Culligan but Sprite is the best and most reliable showerhead I’ve ever purchased.

Joy Miller-Lee

what about conditioner?


Was I the only one who noticed the white stuff in her hair? Is that the coconut oil? Shouldn’t it have melted?


At around the 4 minute mark she says her hair is only dry at the roots. I saw that white stuff as water and possibly unmelted coconut oil. I’ve had that happen occasionally when I was in a rush and not fully rubbing the coconut oil in.

Re water-only washing: Yeah, no. The products I use to get the look I want require more than just water to wash out.




I saw this clip a while ago and Naptural85 did a video on the subject as well. I can appreciate the theory. I’ve heard less frequent washing with straighter hair results in less oil. My misgivings lie in not knowing how much natural oil I produce and if it’s enough to coat my hair appreciably. There are times when I’d love to skip the time-consuming regimen, but I’d rather stick with cleansing conditioners or soap bars.


Her hair sure looks like it would be worth it. I have discovered in this natural with our overflow of products, that less is more. So how much less can you get than water?

Imade Iyamu

She started water washing after her hair got long.