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How to wash hair without a shower

If you’re reading this, you must have been caught up in a situation where you’re wondering how to wash hair without a shower. We know that icky feeling signaling you’re in dire need of some serious hair shampooing. You can already feel the product build-up, and your scalp just feels weird! When that happens, you’re sure to pop in the shower for a much-needed wash. After all, there are just some days you have to wash your hair, right?

… But what if the shower isn’t working?

What an absolute horror!

With too much oil on the scalp and the hair, you may be resigned to believing that nothing else can remove that sticky, yucky feeling except a good wash with water and shampoo.

Good news: There are methods to help you achieve that refreshing feeling post-hair wash, without needing to spend so much time waiting for your plumber to fix the pipes!

Here’s everything you need to know to give your hair a thorough cleanse, even without an available shower at home!

How to wash hair without a shower at home

So, if you’re wondering how to wash hair without a shower (functional shower) at your home, there are a few options I’d suggest.


Going to the gym

If you have a gym near your house plus some time to spare, you can consider dropping by the gym for a quick wash.

Gyms usually have showers where gym-goers can wash right after a rigorous workout, so just wear your best gym attire and pack your essentials – shampoo, shower gel, change of clothes, and a towel – and you’re ready to go.

Of course, it will be a bit suspicious if you just go there for the sake of showering, so do a few reps before you head to the shower.

Remember to be quick, but rinse thoroughly if you plan on using shampoo!


Going to a friend or relative’s house

This is another option you can explore, especially if a good friend or relative lives in your neighborhood.

This works better if you don’t have the time to do a quick workout, and if you’d rather not pay to use the gym.

Just make sure to give them a call before you barge into the house.

In cases like this, it’s still best to bring your own essentials.

When we’re talking about hair, you know the kind of effect using a bad product can have, so better be safe!

Make it a point to thank them properly afterward, too!


Using dry shampoo

Dry shampoo is a godsend for people who are always on the go.

It also acts as a good buffer for days in between washing to avoid stripping the hair of its natural oils.

So, you can turn to your trusted dry shampoo if you can’t wash your hair, but are in need of relief from the greasiness on your scalp.

Dry shampoo is a kind of shampoo that, as the name suggests, can be used on dry hair.

In fact, it would be wise not to wet your hair if you plan on using dry shampoo – water and dry shampoo together isn’t a good combination.

This is because dry shampoo is typically powder in form.

how to wash hair without shower

You can imagine, what happens when you mix the two: water and powder together can lead to clumping, which can produce ugly results.

When used properly, though, dry shampoo does an amazing job at reducing the greasiness on the scalp.

It absorbs excess oil and dirt in the scalp, leaving you refreshed and looking fresh, too!

Dry shampoo also helps provide volume to the hair and can be a good addition for hair styling.

How to use dry shampoo

  • Pick a dry shampoo in a color that best matches your hair
  • Identify the greasiest parts of the hair, and section the hair so you can spray evenly on these parts
  • Shake the can well before use
  • Hold the can at least 8 to 12 inches away from your scalp – this is important because you don’t want to spray too close to the scalp and leave it looking all flaky!
  • Spray a small amount of shampoo on each section, ensuring to cover all sections of the hair
  • Let the dry shampoo sit for a while
  • Massage the scalp to distribute the dry shampoo evenly

Very simple, right?

Grab a can of dry shampoo the next time you shop – you never know when it’ll come in handy!


Trying out shampoo caps

Shampoo caps are another convenient alternative to washing hair with water.

It’s typically used in settings where access to a shower or sink is difficult, or washing with water is just inconvenient (such as during camping or in medical care facilities).

Shampoo caps have been designed with usability, as well as the comfort and convenience of their users in mind.

They generally look like shower caps – just big enough to fit snugly above the head and hold your hair.

But, the special thing with these caps is that it contains shampoo, and sometimes even conditioner, to cleanse the hair.

Shampoo caps typically use a mild, gentle shampoo, so the need for washing it out using water gets eliminated.

That also means that you don’t have to worry about the harsh effects on the hair and scalp.

They’re safe to use for adults and children alike, so irritation should be the least of your worries!

Some shampoo caps are also scented, which provides a very viable alternative to typical hair washing.

How to use a shampoo cap

Shampoo caps are very easy to use. This is all you need to do:

  • Warm the packet of shampoo cap for around 20 seconds or less for a more relaxing experience. Make sure not to make it too hot – you don’t want to risk scalding your hand or your scalp!
  • Put the cap on top of your head, making sure to fit your hair in the cap.
  • Massage the cap into the hair for around 3 minutes, to give enough time for the hair to absorb the shampoo and conditioner. Longer hair may need a longer time for this.
  • Once satisfied, remove the cap.
  • Dry the hair with a towel, and comb and style as necessary.

Shampoo caps can be lifesavers in some situations, so stock on some when you find the time!


Going for no-rinse shampoos

No-rinse shampoos generally follow the same philosophy that shampoo caps do.

These are shampoo formulas that you can apply directly to your hair and massage into your scalp, without the need to wet it first and rinse it off with water.

No-rinse shampoos are also typically used in settings where water is a limited resource, such as in camping sites or in outer space (NASA astronauts usually use no-rinse shampoos for long periods of time).

Like shampoo caps, no-rinse shampoos are very gentle.

In fact, they’re pH balanced, so you can be sure that irritation will not occur.

No-rinse shampoos usually contain a few ingredients.

Having more ingredients means more risk for residue and build-up on the scalp, so you’re sure these products are not bad for your scalp.

No-rinse shampoos usually come in a bottle.

How much shampoo you get is of course dependent on the length of your hair, so you can start with a small amount and add a bit if you feel like you need more.

No-rinse shampoos are applied just like actual shampoos, without the steps involving water.

How to use no-rinse shampoos

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Put a small amount of shampoo on your hand. The amount may increase depending on the length of hair.
  • Rub hands together and apply shampoo evenly to the hair and scalp.
  • Massage the hair for around 3 minutes for full absorption of the shampoo.
  • Dry hair with a towel, then style and comb hair as usual.

While no-rinse shampoos are safe to use for the hair, this is still not a complete substitute for washing with water and shampoo.

Using this regularly for an extended period of time may still lead to product build-up in the scalp, so make sure to use this sparingly, especially when you have access to a shower or sink.


Buying hair-washing equipment

If you fall under the falling three categories, you may also want to consider buying hair-washing equipment. 

  1. You don’t have access to a shower
  2. You’re tired of bending over the sink to wash your hair
  3. Or maybe you want to keep your body from being wet during the hair-washing process

The equipment is for long-term use, so you can wash your hair in peace at your sink without worrying about the mess that follows.


Portable shampoo bowl

Portable shampoo bowls are compact and can be carried around anywhere.

They come with a stand and a hose to drain the water elsewhere.

Good shampoo bowls are adjustable in height, which makes it possible for you to wash your hair in a position that works for you at any given time.

Using the portable shampoo bowl
  • Choose an ideal space to set up your shampoo bowl, making sure there is an available water source
  • Set up the shampoo bowl according to the instructions on the manual
  • Once set up, check if the shower attachment is working properly and if the water is draining without leaks from the hose
  • Prepare a towel for your hair
  • Position yourself in front of the bowl, with your neck resting on the designated area
  • Wash your hair as desired 
  • Clean up and dry the basin for easy storage


Shamp-ease comfort Cape

Shamp-ease comfort cape is generally made to be used near a source of water to wash your hair and drain it in the sink while keeping the water away from your body despite sitting upright.

This is a good choice if you don’t want to lean back to have your hair washed, and would rather be comfortable in your chair of choice.

It’s perfect for wheel-chair bound individuals because of its comfort and flexibility.

It also has support at the sides to make sure water travels straight down without leaking at the sides.

The comfort cape is made of water-resistant fabric.

That means you can maneuver it to accommodate your headrest’s design and structure, without having to worry about water spilling.

It can also be used alongside other shampoo basins for maximum comfort and portability – instead of having to lean back to the basin, you can wear this instead and have your hair washed as normal.

Using a Shamp-ease Comfort Cape
  • Connect a hand-held shower to your sink
  • Set up your chair of choice in front of the sink. Preferably, your neck and shoulders, where you will be attaching the cape, should be higher than the sink once you sit down. This ensures that the water travels down without problem to the sink.
  • Check if the comfort cape can reach the sink with no gaps or problems to avoid leakage
  • Position the cape from the sink to your chair’s headrest. Sit down, and fasten the cape securely to your neck. Check for comfort and adjust the position until you’re comfortable.
  • Wash hair as desired.



If you’ve been trying to figure out how to wash hair without a shower, these suggestions can help you out before the plumber fixes the pipes.

We’ve explored options from using a shower elsewhere, using alternatives to shampoo that don’t need washing and rinsing with water, and portable hair washing equipment.

Whichever option you try, it’ll help you get through cleaning your hair and scalp without the regular shower set-up.

Make sure to choose the option that works best and is most convenient for you!

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