The sebum only method; Let nature do its job!

The Sebum only method is really something different. Maybe you’ve heard of this method, or maybe you think: ‘Whaat?’ ‘What is this?’. 
The sebum only method is a part of the no-shampoo method. I personally find it a method for real hardcore no-shampoo’ers! Sebum only actually means in short: don’t wash your hair at all! No no water, no hair mask, no natural Products, no conditioner (because they can also be cleansing and you will have to rinse your hair) so literally; Nothing! Doesn’t your hair get greasy? Yeah probably though. But why would you try this method? I will explain this to you below.

Sebum only means ‘Only sebum’. 
Sebum is that ‘good’ stuff that keeps your scalp and hair healthy and protects it against external influences. I have put the word ‘good’ between quotation marks, because a lot of people are trying every week, sometimes daily, to remove this oil that your skin makes. Because nowadays we all want to have clean hair. In this society, clean hair stands ‘wel taken cared of’, neat, beauty and also ‘wealth’. 

Yet our body is made to produce sebum every day. And it is made this way for a reasong! The amount of sebum that your scalp produces is different for every person and can be influenced. But it depends on a number of factors:

  • How often you wash your hair; The more you wash your hair, and you strip all the sebum from your scalp, the quicker your hair will become greasy.
  • With which products you wash your hair; If you wash your hair with a strong product, such as shampoo with sulphates, this will stimulate the sebum glands to make more sebum
  • Whether you are a man or a woman; Women have more ups and downs in their hormone level than men. This is why the hair of men is often less greasy than the hair of women.
  • Hormones; During your menstruation and ovulation you have a spike in your hormones, this can provide greasy and flat hair. This is also the reason that many people get more pimples around that period. Your skin simply makes more sebum. Your age is a huge influence! For example, when you are 13 or 14 years old your hair will be much greasier than when you are 60 and you are done with the menopause.
  • Stress; Too much stress can cause greasy hair! Your whole body is more active, and so are the sebum glands.
  • How often you exercize; A high temperature on your scalp causes more active sweat glands. I read somewhere that if you sport, the sebum glands become so hot that they are completely emptying all the sebum inside. This is the reason that your hair is often greasy after exercising.
Whatever you do, your scalp will create sebum every day. The sebum only method can make sure that the amount of sebum and what kind of sebum your scalp produces changes.
Your hair and scalp are made in such a special way that it can handle itself. 
Leave your scalp and your hair alone, and I can guarantee that the condition of your scalp and hair will be much better!

What do you need?

Patience, inspiration for cute hair styles (use Google or Youtube), some nice haircloths or hair ties AND a really good hairbrush. I recommend buying a hairbrush that can spread sebum over your hair and remove dust from your hair. An example of this is a Boar Bristle Brush. You can read about the benefits of a Boar Bristle Brush on my blog.
Do you prefer a animal-friendly hairbrush? There are also vegan brushes with sisal, or buy a good hairbrush with wooden pins. 
It is important that you brush your hair at least one time every day, with a Boar Bistle Brush or other similar brushes. For this experiment I brushed my hair twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. 
Beside brushing your hair, you could also do some ‘preening’. This is a technique to divide the sebum from the roots to the ends, with your fingers.  This technique is explained in this video.
If your hair doesn’t absorb the oil and your hair is still very greasy after a few weeks, you can use some microfibre cloths to remove this exces oil. The microfibre cloths will remove the excess sebum that your hair doesn’t absorb. Your hair will not be stripped of its natural oils. There is a special way to do this. On this facebookpage you can see an instructional film about the Microfibre cloths method.

What can you expect?

Lots of free time and some more! This is the most easy (but mentally the most difficult) and least time consuming method for your hair. Think about all the hair mask you don’t have to make, apply on your hair and rinse out. You simply let nature do its work and brush from time to time.

In addition, of course, you can expect really greasy hair. And this makes this method mentally really hard. You will need to have a little bit of patience. 
The process to beautiful, shiny, soft, clean hair can last approximately between 6 weeks to 3 months. Do not start this method if you have a wedding or a big party soon.
In the transitional phase, your hair and scalp can go through different phases:
  • Your scalp will start to flake. (Dead skin cells will come loose)
  • In the beginning, your hair will hold a lot of dust (this can be brushed out your hair with a Boar Bristle Brush).
  • Your hair is going to smell
  • Your hair is really greasy
But after a few weeks, and again this is different for everyone, your hair will look less greasy. The sebum production will go down and your hair will begin to take up the excess sebum and you will see that your hair doesn’t smell anymore
What happened? 
The sebum changed. The sebum does not smell anymore, it gets a kind of a sweet scent. The sebum also get’s slightly thicker and it doesn’t look like you just poured a bottle of olive oil on your hair.
Your scalp and hair will balance out. ‘Nature does its job’. 
Different phases and hair styles during the Sebum only method

What is the result?

Result sebum only after I used the microfibre cloths.
From what I have experienced and what I have read or heard, you can assume that your silky, shiny clean hair doesn’t get greasy anymore and also does not smell so bad.
If you do not wash your hair anymore, don’t rinse it with water and only brush it every day, your scalp and hair will eventually balance out and will not produce any extra sebum.
Your hair will absorb all the excess sebum and be very soft, nourished and shiny. 
The little bit of sebum that your scalp does produce can be spread over your hair when you brush it or by preening. 

Side note.

When I started with this method, I often got the question: “How do you do that with your curls?”. If you need to brush your hair twice a day, you don’t have a lot of curls left. But this first period of brushing twice a day is temporary. The first few weeks you will indeed have to brush your hair every day or twice a day. Your hair is so greasy that maybe you don’t even want to wear it loose. I often put my hair up or I put a braid in it. When my hair got a little less greasy, I would wet the lengths of my hair with rainwater and create some curls.
The sebum only rule is: ‘You may use water, if it does not cleanse your hair or strip the natural oils’. I just used a little rain water in the lengths of my hair so that my curls would come back after I brushed it. In this way, I didn’t stripped my hair of its natural oils or cleaned it with the water.



In the end, after 10 weeks, I stopped with the sebum only method and got back to the no-poo method. The sebum only method is very personal. I have a very oily skin, and during hormone changes (menstruation) my skin get’s more oily and also my hair. Also, I just love clean hair. 
Some people are through the transition phase after 4 weeks, I tried it properly for 7 weeks. My mistake was that I used microfibre cloths for almost every day in the first 3 weeks. This way I didn’t got into the transition phase properly, my hair just did not started to balance out. After 10 weeks I was just done with it. I wanted clean hair. My tip: Start well and only use the Microfibre cloths if you almost want to give up!
Even though I finally caved for washing with the ayurvedic herbs, I am very happy that I have given this method a chance. 
My hair and scalp loved the fact that I just left it alone for a few weeks. During my sebum only trial I got a lot of new hair and I had almost no hair loss. After I stopped these results still remained. I still have very little hair loss, my hair grows well, my hair is fuller and very soft. It was also nice to have a few relaxing weeks with my hair and no worries about protein and moisture level.


Have you become curious, but would you like to read a bit more or can you use some support from some fellow people who also perform this method? There is a Facebook group about this method, there is also a Spanish Youtuber who explained some things about this method and there is a German blogger with a lot of pictures of the different phases in two different blogs. 
Good luck!

Do you want to stay inspired and receive nice tips or triqs? Or do you just want to be immediately informed when a new blog is online? You can follow me on my Facebook page @natuurlijkehaarverzorging or follow me via my Instagram account: @rachel_naturalhaircare

2 Replies to “The sebum only method; Let nature do its job!”

  1. Thank you SO much for this article. You truly are a sweet person for trying this hardcore method an sharing with us so bravely and in detail. May I add, you really are a beautiful lady with charming smile a sparkling eyes. Sending love !

  2. I had done a different approach. Over a year or so I have slowly increased the time between shampoos. Still, my moderate length fine hair was still dry on the ends. I started scratching and brushing twice daily with a good all boar bristle brush. I only use water every other wash, spending time to section. the next time I wash with water and then use a sulfate free shampoo, a very small amount, rubbing it between my hand and fingers any then massage it only on scalp and a couple of inches down. I thoroughly rinse this out, air dry my hair and then, when almost totally dry, put in in a high ponytail tail and sleep that way, sometimes with a single roller. this allows my scalp and hair to stay healthy and fresh smelling. My ends are vastly improved. I call it low poo hair maintenance. Get regular trims!

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