View Full Version : Honest Talk about WO method

December 3rd, 2010, 01:26 PM
I'm curious and non-judgemental.
Of course I have some preconceived notions about WO (or SO), and I am hoping some of you will share your experience with me and dispell any myth or assumptions that are not accurate. I will say honestly that at this juncture I am not considering trying this method. I am just looking for stories direct from sources. It's intriguing that people have reverted sucessfully to what I consider 'the old ways'.

Sebum/grease level of scalp:

Smell of the hair:

Scalp itchies?:


Texture (coarse-ness):

Best benefit from switching to/using this method?

Thanks much yall! :cheese:

December 3rd, 2010, 02:28 PM
I hope you don't mind that I answer even though I don't do WO all the time anymore. I used to, but now I occasionally throw in a CO or shampoo. WO by itself wasn't very successful, though it didn't make things worse either. I'm also probably an unusual case and haven't had to go through what a lot of WO people do (the transition period).

Sebum/grease level of scalp: When I first started there was very little, and what was there was hard. Currently, none that I can tell. My hard little sebum balls have stopped appearing and I've developed psoriasis.

Smell of the hair: Nothing. At least I couldn't smell anything.

Scalp itchies?: Oh yeah. At least when I first started and was pure WO. But now after tweaking it a bit I rarely get the itchies.

Breakage: Not any more than I did before WO. Sometimes I get a little breakage just from combing gently.

Texture (coarse-ness): Fine

Best benefit from switching to/using this method? I guess just the act of experimenting and finding what works best and what doesn't. Also, I don't use as much product as I used to and save money.

I decided to try WO because of scalp problems from lacking sebum and it being hard in texture. Somehow it just dried me out even worse. But so did every method I tried if I used it consistently. So I tweaked it by heavily oiling my scalp with coconut oil the day before I wash, and oiling the scalp with jojoba oil after a wash/after my hair dries (one day later). And then continuing to oil the scalp with jojoba, usually 2-4 times a week until I do the coconut oil and wash again (which can be anywhere from 1 week to a month, but is usually 2 weeks). I also started to do CO and shampoo sometimes because my scalp doesn't seem to like repetition and gets dryer, though I still do WO for the majority of washes.

December 3rd, 2010, 03:17 PM
I think what puts people off of WO is the idea that if you aren't washing yourself with shampoo, you are dirty. It's not so much your own opinion you ('you' being someone contemplating WO) are hesitant about, but "What would people think?!" and "I don't want to be associated with poor personal hygiene".

I have very good personal hygiene! I shower every day in the summer and every 2 or 3 days in the winter, and I wash my body with soap every time. I brush my teeth and wash my face every day, always wear clean clothes, keep my nails and body hair appropriately manicured, etc. WO=Uncleanliness is a myth I'd like to dispel. HOWEVER, the people on this community are much more open-minded about it.

To be honest, I don't tell people (outside of long-hair communities) that I do WO. "Mainstream" people are very judgmental towards it. I told my mother and she tries to be supportive, but she also avoids letting my head touch her when we hug, and won't share a pillow with me (we went camping and I forgot to bring a pillow and she brought two, so she gave me one but she told me to keep it afterwards b/c she doesn't want it back). It's a little hurtful, but I accept it. My little sister (11) tries to use my WO as an excuse of why she shouldn't have to shower (She's going through a poor-hygiene spell) saying "Tori doesn't wash her hair! Why do I have to shower?!"

As for your questions specifically:

Sebum/grease level of scalp: When I first switched, my hair got WICKED GREASY. For almost a whole month, I looked horrible. My hair clumped together, so I looked like an anime character, with clumps of hair instead of individual strands. Since then, though, it settled down. In my opinion, my hair is NEVER greasy at all anymore. Even if I didn't shower at all for a week or so, I don't think very much oil from my scalp would accumulate, only whatever I put on (coconut oil). I don't think it looks greasy to other people, either. However, my sister has told me that my hair always looks wet. Perhaps she can see greasiness that I can not, or perhaps it's just because I have darker and healthier hair than anyone she knows, and it's pretty shiny.

Smell of the hair: There is none. Absolutely none. No good smell of shampoo/products, but no stinky smell either, as you may associate with 'unwashed body'. In the summer especially, I am very careful to completely wash sweat out of my hair. Occasionally you can smell a lingering coconut smell from the huge amounts of coconut oil I use.

Scalp itchies?: None. I do notice though that I have to take more care to remove dead skin than I used to before switching to WO, since the chemicals aren't removing it for me I have to gently 'scrub' my scalp with my fingertips in the shower. I tried a salt scrub once, but it totally didn't work.

Breakage: Very minimal. I almost never have breakage in general, the only time I get it is if I wear a hairtoy that snags, or if I comb a tangle out too roughly. However, I do have a very high shed rate. I have always had a very high shed rate, S/C-days and now.

Texture (coarse-ness): I haven't noticed any difference from before. I never had coarse hair, and do not now either.

Best benefit from switching to/using this method?: No friz! I used to have static, frizzy hair no matter how much conditioner I used. Now there is none Hallelujah! My hair is soooo soft now (not sure if this is only because of WO, or a combination of my new habits since joining LHC) and I never ever use any kind of products (hairspray, mouse, etc), I can get any kind of style to stay without it. Well "any kind" excluding teasing/curling which I won't do anyways.

December 3rd, 2010, 05:04 PM
My experience with WO may or may not answer your questions but I'll throw it out there anyway. I didn't do it for a long time - 2 months or so maybe, mostly out of curiousity - but I came to it from CO and didn't have any noticeable transition period.

My hair was...not exactly greasy, but kind of piecy. Definitely not that smooth clean and shiny look that we're all used to from commercial shampoos and such. I never felt like I couldn't leave the house without a headscarf but my hair definitely didn't look like what I was used to it looking like.

I didn't have a particularly itchy scalp. I think because my itchies come from overdrying the scalp with cleansers which WO doesn't do, and because I didn't have the "otter in an oil slick" transition where there was a lot of sebum hanging around making my scalp itch.

My hair dried super fast after showers with WO. Sebum on its own repels water, sort of like the lanolin on sheep's wool or something. So all the water just kind of beads off the hair and you're left with very little water left to air dry out, so it doesn't take long. I don't recall there being a particular smell though I know some people do get that, but if there was it was just sort of a natural skin smell...like smelling an animal's fur up close, which I think smells kind of good actually.

My husband never had any complaints (none that he voiced anyway - good man) and I never got any comments about it although I was working in a "people" job at the time. In the end I stopped because I just could never get into the routine of scritching and preening every day and as cool as I thought it was to be able to clean your hair with just water, the way my hair looked with it just wasn't what I wanted. I told myself that if nobody in the world had ever discovered shampoo we would all be WO and no one would think it was weird, but society has changed and the "shiny fluffy shampoo look" for better or for worse is what I wanted.

But don't let that discourage you if you want to try it! I had really a pretty pleasant experience with it, no negative comments, but I learned that it's just not for me (or more accurately I'm not suited for WO). Nothing wrong with that either :)

December 3rd, 2010, 05:12 PM
I really wanted it to work for me, and I did it for 4 months. It really didn't though, in fact, it was one of the worst things I ever did to my hair!

Sebum/grease level of scalp: started off quite bad for a few weeks, then became manageable, then bad again. Sebum leaves a grey film on things if you lean against them - very embarrassing when you lean against restaurant windows and leave a mark! :o

Smell of the hair: Not sure...

Scalp itchies?: I have seborrheic dermatitis, and it was honestly no better or worse than shampoo

Breakage: Lots

Texture (coarse-ness): It went very frizzy/dry (my hair is very fine)

Best benefit from switching to/using this method?

Obviously it's very cheap! Also, I shed a lot less. But my hair condition was so awful with it. I think with soft water it might be fine, but my water is very hard, and I now realise I constantly had a film of mineral deposits all over my hair, drying it out.

December 3rd, 2010, 06:21 PM
I did WO one winter. It was ok. My hair dried faster than usual, which was a great plus as I keep my house cool. I only rinsed my hair maybe every week or so, not every couple of days. I noticed no smell and nobody complained. My hair tends to be stringy no matter what, and this was just more of the same.

It didn't work so well in summer - I was so sweaty from the garden.

I wear my hair up always, so the fluffy shampoo look is not something I have.

This winter I'm going SO, just to see. So far so good from Oct 24. It's lovely not to ever have long dripping wet hair! I feared total greasiness but I brush more and have not seen greasy yet. Smell? No. Less static, so less tangles. Shedding seems to be irregular - some days almost none, other days it looks like a lot. Probably pretty normal. Itchy? At the beginning, not now.

My hair is fine, thin, and straight. (I am old and not as oily/greasy as I was. Probably SO and WO would have been total FAIL when I was young.)

December 3rd, 2010, 06:43 PM
Hope you don't mind if I answer twice ;)


Sebum/grease level of scalp: Occasionally a little dry sebum build-up, but my hair didn't look greasy.

Smell of the hair: Fine.

Scalp itchies?: Occasionally.

Breakage: Slightly more than on S&C due to lint and a bit of waxiness.

Texture (coarse-ness): Do you mean softness? Because it didn't change my texture... My hair was a bit stiff and waxy at the crown, but otherwise quite soft.

Best benefit from switching to/using this method? Much softer than on any detergent method that I have used (S&C, clay, or herbs).


Sebum/grease level of scalp: My scalp just feels like well-moisturized skin. My hair doesn't look greasy at all, not even my bangs.

Smell of the hair: Neutral to nice - I got confirmation from a variety of sources.

Scalp itchies?: None.

Breakage: Very little. No lint issues like with WO, and no waxies.

Texture (coarse-ness): Incredibly soft and shiny.

Best benefit from switching to/using this method? Ridiculously soft and shiny hair.

ETA: Ooooh, I get the texture question now...sorry, I'm a bit sleep-deprived :D My hair is mostly 2a/M with some 1a/F thrown in.

December 3rd, 2010, 07:15 PM
I wanted to try WO but I use oils and I don't think this method would work with the products I use. Also I think its easier for type 1 and 2 hairs because they are naturally more moisturized.

December 3rd, 2010, 07:59 PM
I'm not WO anymore, but this is what it was like when I was still doing WO:

Sebum/grease level of scalp: More sebum on the scalp than with sulphate shampoos, but (I seem to remember) less than when I use non-sulphate shampoo, which is what I use now. It could be because I don't massage my scalp anymore while I'm in the shower.

Smell of the hair: I suppose it just smelled of... me. There was a short while (a week, I think) during the transition period when I had smelly sebum, but after that it just smelled 'natural'. I was dating a guy who didn't know I was doing WO, and he told me he liked the smell of my hair.

Scalp itchies?: None! At all. And I didn't have flakes, like I do when I use shampoo.

Breakage: I didn't really notice any difference in breakage, but I shed a lot less.

Texture (coarse-ness): I have coarse hair, and while I was doing WO it was softer, not as dry and wiry.

Best benefit from switching to/using this method? I got completely rid of the flakes, my hair dried super fast, it was smooth and shiny (not greasy), and I didn't have to spend money on hair products.

There was one downside to it for me, and that was that the combination of WO and brushing with a BBB every day (which I had to do to distribute the sebum) made my waves something like 2a/b rather than 2c. Oh, and sebum builds up on brushes and combs, so they have to be cleaned quite often.

Milui Elenath
December 3rd, 2010, 08:24 PM
I will start by saying I have extremely extremely dry hair and was previously CWC once a week. I had no transition to WO. My hair was almost TB when I began and the ends of my hair not in the best shape. I WO wash once a week.

Sebum/grease level of scalp: I actually enjoyed a level of slip/strength but not greasiness. (with preening)

Smell of the hair: just hair most of the time. If my hair has been up constantly it might have a faint stale smell that dissippates quickly but others don't seem to be able to smell even that (ie. family members who I made smell my head :) )

Scalp itchies?: NONE - I used to have terrible dandruff and be a constant scratcher as well.

Breakage: My ends have suffered (bad splits) but I have not lost length. If I had WO with a shorter length to begin with I believe that they would have been more protected by the sebum. I should have oiled the ends and babied them more. I don't believe this will be necessary for the hair that is grown during WO as it won't be so dry/damaged.

Texture (coarse-ness): my hair is fine and with WO feels stronger-smooth-silky and less silky-fly-away

Best benefit from switching to/using this method? My scalp - very little dandruff almost none, less shedding (I wasn't a big shedder before however) no reliance on commercial products and the knowledge that I can have beautiful hair so long as I have access to water! :D

I'll add that the hardest thing with WO is that it is so individual, it's been difficult learning how to identify the source of hair/scalp problems and their solutions -waxiness, strange texture, greasiness, flakes, which can be anything from water hardness, lint, water temperature, lack of preening or build up, etc.

ETA sadly my hair doesn't dry any faster (not slower though)

December 4th, 2010, 10:59 AM
Well, I did WO for about 8 months a while back. Or maybe water-mostly. I still did vinegar rinses and oiled the ends, because sebum never made it down that far. Vinegar seems to help the sebum move more than water alone for me. Oddly, it seemed to work better for me when I lived in a fairly hard-water area. After I moved to super-hard-water land and got a softener, combined with me getting greasier in winter, I didn't have as much luck with getting the sebum off my scalp.

Sebum/grease level of scalp:
The first two months, it's pretty greasy. After that it calmed down a bit, but I wouldn't say it was ever as grease-less as when washing with CO. (For the record, CO makes my hair quite clean.) Sebum was light gray on my BBB for that initial period, then went white.

Smell of the hair:
Hair rarely had an odor, but my scalp had a bit of a sebumy smell, a little bitter. DH didn't like it; he's generally not fond of human smells (unlike many people who like the smell of their SOs) and seems to only think humans smell good when they smell of soap. So while it wasn't my favorite smell in the world, it didn't smell like armpit or anything, and it wasn't like anyone not sticking their nose in my scalp would notice.

Scalp itchies?:
Not really. My scalp gets itchy usually when it's over-dry, like if I start shampooing regularly.

Not really. My ends felt a little dry, though. I think they like conditioner. Then again, they respond better to oil these days than they did back then....

Texture (coarse-ness):
Hair felt a little coarser, perhaps. It feels different on WO than when it's all slicked up by conditioner. Less slippery, but not exactly coarse.

Best benefit from switching to/using this method?
Practically no shedding! Really!
No flyaways or frizz. I get tons with shampoo and plenty with CO.
Nothing to pack when you travel, which appeals to me.
Finally, after I adjusted I had my washes really stretched. Currently I need to wash about every 3 days or I get greasy; when I was WO-adjusted I could easily go a week before needing to wash.

December 4th, 2010, 11:30 AM
I was hardcore WO for a couple years, now I am mostly WO with a very dilute shampoo sometimes.

Sebum/grease level of scalp: At the beginning, oh yes, O/O (otter in an oil slick), after the adjustment period and learning what I had to do for the scalp (strong spray to get to the scalp and really clean it off) my scalp has been happier than when I was using products.

Smell of the hair: minor, especially if I am washing on the WO schedule that works best for me (every 4 days or so). If I am going longer it gets a not unpleasant "hairy" scent...and if I go over 10 days it starts getting manky.

Scalp itchies?: Turns out that my scalp doesn't like lots of product, so itchies and buildup is much reduced from when I was using product every time. The vinegar rinse at the end also helps.

Breakage/Shedding: No difference in the long run. When I went to WO, shedding dropped for a while, but eventually came back to the same level.

Texture (coarse-ness): Certainly not as fluffy as with regular shampoo, always a bit smooth feeling, also not the freaky slick feeling from having used cones. General texture and appearance is similar, but then, with coarse textured hair, this is to be expected.

Best benefit from switching to/using this method? Scalp is happier. Given that I use a special handheld sprayer I can't do my routine away from home...I'll do a water rinse or a light shampoo, but neither really keeps the scalp happy...the hair...just doesn't "care" so much.

December 4th, 2010, 12:35 PM
Sebum/grease level of scalp:
I was able to get the oil out with warm water and a boar bristle brush but I had a lot of trouble getting dust and soot out of my hair. That's why I went back to shampoo & conditioner - I missed having shiny hair even though I liked some of the other benefits of WO.

Smell of the hair:
Humanlike. Catlike. Not an unpleasant smell, but I did miss having essential oil scents in my hair.

Scalp itchies?:
Haven't experienced this with any washing method yet.

I don't really get breakage either way so can't comment on that.

Texture (coarse-ness):
My random coarse/curly hairs seemed much less noticeable. Everything was straighter and smoother. My hair was also very "pliable" -I could fluff it and it would stay fluffed, or smooth it and it would stay smooth. My hair was much less puffy - more like compact waves.

Best benefit from switching to/using this method?
My hair was able to DRY QUICKLY!! It was so fast. Usually my hair takes more than 8 hours to air dry, but with WO it was dry in an hour or less.

Anyway I only tried WO for 2 weeks before I went back to conditioner and shampoo.

December 4th, 2010, 03:03 PM
Aenflex, if you are not considering going WO I don't get it why would you start this topic? Because you're a journalist writing a piece on WO and are too lazy to read the WO thread?..

December 4th, 2010, 07:35 PM
Aenflex, if you are not considering going WO I don't get it why would you start this topic? Because you're a journalist writing a piece on WO and are too lazy to read the WO thread?..

That's not laziness, that's self-preservation.

December 4th, 2010, 07:42 PM
Aenflex, if you are not considering going WO I don't get it why would you start this topic? Because you're a journalist writing a piece on WO and are too lazy to read the WO thread?..

Maybe she's just curious ? anyways, I think it's a great thread idea :)

Me : I tried WO 2 weeks a while back, but I like babying my hair too much for WO :p

December 4th, 2010, 07:51 PM
Aenflex, if you are not considering going WO I don't get it why would you start this topic? Because you're a journalist writing a piece on WO and are too lazy to read the WO thread?..

Hello,mariika.No,I don't think it's lazziness.She just wants to know.I think it's great.It helps other members too.

December 4th, 2010, 08:14 PM
I'm so glad I found this thread. I'm a newbie to LHC and have been WO for about a week. I almost caved this morning because I had an event to go to and when I woke up, my scalp was completely O/O and my ends seemed drier and more crackly than ever :(. I prevailed however, and after preening, BBB, and a water wash, I put my hair in an updo I found on this site (think it's called a Gibson knot? Dunno, but it was super easy.). Anyway, ever person I saw today commented on how great my hair looked. I was shocked and pleased, and after that and reading this thread, I think I will stick with it.

December 5th, 2010, 12:55 PM
I've been doing WO since May, andI'd say the best thing about it is not getting greasy hair anymore. I can wash it less than once a week now, and it still looks and feels great.

Saving so much money is a major bonus, as well as the feel good feeling of knowing that my chemical footprint is so much less than everybody else's just because of this one thing.

I'll add that the hardest thing with WO is that it is so individual, it's been difficult learning how to identify the source of hair/scalp problems and their solutions -waxiness, strange texture, greasiness, flakes, which can be anything from water hardness, lint, water temperature, lack of preening or build up, etc.
That's true, every so often my hair goes crazy, and I have to try a couple of different things to get it to look nice, but it doesn't stay crazy for long. So weird...

For the first 6 weeks, my hair looked terrible down, but I could hide it really well in an updo. There is a lot of buildup on my hairbrush, but just taking an old toothbrush and rubbing it along the base of the spokes gets rid of it in seconds.

To be honest, I don't tell people (outside of long-hair communities) that I do WO. "Mainstream" people are very judgmental towards it.
See, that's strange, because I've told a lot of people. Very few people I know have long hair, so everybody always asks about it. No one has told me I'm disgusting yet, and my mother thinks I'm doolally, but when I told her, the first thing she said was that she'd read an article about it, and it was an interesting thing to try. It's actually funny telling the people with really fried and dyed hair that I'm WO, just to see the looks of shock on their faces :P

December 5th, 2010, 02:33 PM
I generally didn't tell people I was WO either, but then, I don't exactly announce that I do CO now, either. When I do tell someone (topic of caring for hair has come up), I start with something like, "I've found that I can get my hair clean washing with just ___. And it's not so dried out as it is when I shampoo, either." If you start with the fact that your hair is clean, I think people are much more receptive.

December 6th, 2010, 09:59 AM
Iracus I could tell you were from MA before I even read your info because you said Wicked!! I am from Amherst area so nice to meet anther MA person!
Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts about WO :) Very much learned.

So, what about volume? Anyone that use WO method notice 'flatter' hair, especially near the roots?
Also, are you able to use any oils in the WO/SO methods or no?

December 6th, 2010, 10:51 AM
So, what about volume? Anyone that use WO method notice 'flatter' hair, especially near the roots?
Also, are you able to use any oils in the WO/SO methods or no?
For me, it is the difference between softer (WO) and fluffier (poo). Scalp lift is the same so long as I follow my scalp washing part of my routine. The length tends to lay a bit flatter.

I typically don't oil much, and when I do I tend to use lighter oils. The heaviest oiling was a result of getting pine sap in my hair on a long backpacking trip...had to use Goo Gone (sticky label residue remover) to get the dried sap out on my return, then soaked with camellia oil to get the Goo Gone out...but that came out fine with WO.

December 6th, 2010, 11:55 AM
So, what about volume? Anyone that use WO method notice 'flatter' hair, especially near the roots?
Also, are you able to use any oils in the WO/SO methods or no?

I've actually noticed a lot more volume with WO and SO. My hair has always tended to be flat, so it was a welcome change.
Throughout WO, I used a bit of VCO whenever my ends got too dry. With SO, I don't find it necessary.

December 12th, 2010, 01:03 PM
Sebum/grease level of scalp: I find that it is even kind of drying for me so i have to use lots of oils and conditioning like AVG and leave ins.

Smell of the hair: Smells really fresh, none of the old scalp smell that i had expected.

Scalp itchies?: None

Breakage: havent noticed any difference from when i did CO

Texture (coarse-ness): Same as before, since its the same hair on my head as before i started.

Best benefit from switching to/using this method? Its cheap since i almost dont have to spend any money on products at all. And its natural, witch fits me and my way of living my life. Most of all its fresh, i feel good about not putting a lot of questionable chemicals on my head.

December 12th, 2010, 01:19 PM
Sebum/grease level of scalp: Sometimes a lot, sometimes not. The grease often comes after two days of no WO washing.

Smell of the hair: It smells actually quite nice, like a cat that has been outside.

Scalp itchies?: It reduces the itchies, that's one of the reasons I have periods of WO'ing.

Breakage: It seems to make the hair more tough too, so I would say it reduces it.

Texture (coarse-ness): My hair is very fine, and it seems to get more coarse and thick with WO, which is a nice change.

Best benefit from switching to/using this method? It gives my hair a break :) It reduces scalp problems, shedding, breakage etc.

I've actually noticed a lot more volume with WO and SO. My hair has always tended to be flat, so it was a welcome change.
Throughout WO, I used a bit of VCO whenever my ends got too dry. With SO, I don't find it necessary.
Me too! I really like the way my hair just looks so thick on good days, my bangs tend to look nicer too - unless my hair is too greasy.

I use mainly Indian herbs and oils now.
The reasons for why I don't WO constantly is because I tend to get a lot of build up which makes my hair more matted. And in the end it starts to look bit unruly unless I brush everyday. I also have to wash every second day or everyday, or otherwise my hair gets too greasy. So it takes a lot of water.
It might be the water that makes my hair less shiny from WO, it is kinda hard around here.

BUT, I do like occasional WO'ing, and in between washing with Indian herbs. It makes the hair softer and my scalp gets a nice break if I don't shampoo or use herbs every time I need to wash my hair.

Edit: I also forgot to mention that I like the benefits of oils, that's another reason I don't WO all the time. WO and oils don't mix well, because one gets really quickly a build up of oils because water just doesn't remove the excess.