Clean Better – Wash your Hair With Water First!

Shower head water sprayLike most, when I was a little girl my mother washed my hair.  One of the things I remember about those memorable hair days is that she used a ton of shampoo every single wash day.  I’d be lying on the counter with my head leaning over into the sink and she’d pour handful after handful of shampoo onto my hair and while rubbing vigorously she complained “Your hair takes forever to get a good lather!”

Remember, this was back in the time that more lather was equated to cleaner hair.  I always thought this to be true and concluded that thick, coarse, kinky hair was more difficult to clean.  As I grew we switched from countertop to leaning over the sink while standing on a stool.  In this position, the nape of my neck was the first to be reached by the water flowing from the faucet and I noticed that when my hair did finally lather, it was in the back first.

By the time I began washing my hair myself, I learned that my hair actually wasn’t difficult to clean and that using a half a bottle of shampoo wasn’t necessary with every wash.  The trick was to “clean” my hair before even adding any shampoo.  I’d “wash” my hair with water first.  By wash, I mean not only allow the water to rinse my hair thoroughly but I’d actually use my fingers to massage the water throughout my hair and scalp to remove and/or loosen any dirt or buildup. This would do the trick because once I began doing this, the first addition of shampoo would cause the best, most bubbly lather!  Granted, back then the goal was to get my hair squeaky clean, but this still is an important step in my hair regimen now.

By washing with water prior to shampooing, it means that my hair requires less washes to cleanse thoroughly, which means less stripping is done to the hair.  This is particularly important when using a sulfate-shampoo. Plus water is the ultimate moisturizer so this is actually a very healthy practice.

Other than weekly washes, water shampoos are important when I relax my hair.  I recently began self-relaxing as many women do and I was asked how I am able to rinse the relaxer completely without having a friend help me.  Well, the answer is water shampooing!  I wash for as long as it takes to remove all of the relaxer crème from my hair.  This is much better than adding the neutralizing shampoo because the shampoo only neutralizes the relaxer, it doesn’t actually remove the heavy crème from your hair.  I know that water rinsing works because my relaxer comes with a color indicator shampoo and by the time I am finished rinsing with water and actually neutralize, the lather is white – not pink.  After three shampoos, you can be certain that there are no traces of relaxer left in your hair.

So give it a try, wash your hair with water before you actually wash your hair and see if it doesn’t make a difference!

Originally posted 2012-05-16 19:00:02.

About EbonyCPrincess

EbonyCPrincess is a self proclaimed hair care enthusiast who began her quest for long healthy hair in 2009. Her hair is relaxed and type 4b (kinky, very tightly coiled). You can find more information about Ebony and her journey on her personal blog, or her YouTube channel

About EbonyCPrincess

EbonyCPrincess is a self proclaimed hair care enthusiast who began her quest for long healthy hair in 2009. Her hair is relaxed and type 4b (kinky, very tightly coiled). You can find more information about Ebony and her journey on her personal blog, or her YouTube channel


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  1. Ni-Ni Patterson

    I thought that was what you were supposed to do anyway. I’ve never known of any other way of washing hair.

  2. Jacqueline Rhett

    Is there a different way to wash your hair? I’m confused… I thought rinsing with water first was the only way to wash your hair….

    1. Trina Reid

      I’ve done it with a clarifying shampoo. I work it into my scalp first, then put it under the running water. Folks have a tendency to focus on the front of the hair while neglecting other parts of the head-like the top for instance. Once the water hits the scalp, the water runs down all over your head-including the shampoo. Then I proceed to shampoo like normal.

  3. Sharmane Smith

    It has nothing to do with putting shampoo in dry hair. When you put warm water in your hair and massage your scalp you allow your pores to open and rid you hair of some of the residue and dirt before actually washing it.

    1. Blaque Diamondz

      It just seems backwards to me like I’m just caking shampoo on dry hair. You’re right tho about the pores

    1. Malakah Angellia Gladston

      My thoughts exactly. You allow the water to saturate the hair then you apply the shampoo. But i just don’t see the point in spending extra time trying to “wash” my hair with plain water first because it does nothing. Would you wash your greasy dishes or clothes with plain water? Would it get the grease and build-ups out? I don’t pay much attention to most of the coonery i see on the web about natural hair.

  4. Brown Washington

    There is a difference between just running the water over your hair enough to apply shampoo than it is to actually massage “wash” your hair/scalp with water before applying the shampoo. No confusion…..the article stated just that. Good info blackhairinformation!

  5. Sharonda Anderson

    This is a much needed post despite the critics, I’ve heard all sorts of crazy things from curlies jumping in the shower, wetting the hair and throwing the shampoo on their hair to dry shampoo’ing. I typically wash my hair with water first, not soaking/wetting it with water, it’s a huge difference. Washing with water first includes manipulating the hair and scalp…not everyone does it and it may have benefits for some, not for others. The whole idea is for us to simply do what works for our tresses! Good post, can’t forget the basics!

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