Is it better to wash our hair in cold water?

Jeon Ji Hyun Asience

After discussing whether it’s good to wash our face with hot, warm or cold water, I thought I’ll cover the same for our hair.

I like to wash my hair in lukewarm water but on some days, I might end up with a rinse in cold water because I find this helps to control the grease on my scalp slightly better. In fact, this is recommended according to information about haircare in wiki.

Shampoo is helped by warm temperature water, which open the cuticle of the hair and release any oils or other substances beneath. Pure water has a pH of 7, and when shampoo has removed the slightly acidic sebum from the hair, the pH on the surface of the scalp is raised. Using cold water as a final rinse can help close the scales of the cuticle, and can help constrict the openings of the sebaceous glands to help moderate sebum production.

However, using cold water as a final rinse causes some problems as well. While some people have claimed that using cold water as a final rinse made their hair shinier as the cold water closes the hair cuticle, but personally, I noticed that my hair looks flatter when I rinse out with cold water compared to when I don’t. Because my hair is already quite limp, this isn’t very ideal for me. The good thing is that I always have my dry shampoo to save me from a bad hair day.

So if you want more volume for your hair, you might want to keep to warm water to rinse your hair. But if you want a less greasy scalp and your hair isn’t limp like mine, then a cold rinse maybe helpful. However, my feel is cold water may not work well with conditioner as the hair may look a lot flatter. As for hot water? OUCH!


  1. Karen says:

    Great post! I pay so much attention to the hair products I use but never think about the temperature of the water. Thanks! ?

    Karen: ?

  2. andrea says:

    thank you so much for posting this. I always rinsed my hair with warm water and i never thought that watre temperature can affect your hair cuticles. I think I’ll use cold water from now on. thanks ?

    andrea: You can experiment for fun. Some pple do not see much of a difference. It all depends on hair type too. Some also said that hotter water can make our hair more frizzy.

  3. prettybeautiful says:

    i have this experience. i have been using warm water to wash and rinse my hair for about a week, and my scalp is exceptionally greasy. so, now i switch back to cold water

    prettybeautiful: I think the warm weather also speeds up the sebum production on our scalps. Your hair condition sounds like mine…

  4. Kym says:

    I feel like it has a placebo effect, that it is a beauty myth. ?

    I don’t think warm water really matters that much because once you walk out the bathroom door, your hair cools pretty quickly.

    Kym: I know some pple say there’s not much difference. I guess it also depends on hair type. For me, there’s a noticeable difference maybe cos I have fairly oily scalp.

  5. kaitlin says:

    thank you soo much for posting this!! my mom says that using warm water helps control frizz and all my magazines said that cold water did, not warm. so we got in an argument and this prooved i was right!! =] thanks so much

    kaitlin: Haha…this is funny. But did you try it yourself? I guess the best way to prove is to test it.

  6. Heather says:

    My hairdresser who used to work in biggest salon brand company in Asia ( sorry, can’t drop names)told me that we should wash our hair wil warm water so that our hair shafts will expand. This way the hair can accomodate more conditioner molecules, we should rinse our hair with cold water as the hair shafts will contract and retain the conditioner. Greasy scalp can be controlled with a good shampoo, minimal massaging to the scalp as massaging encourages the scalp to secret more oil. Fizziness or limpness of hair can be controlled with conditioners, treatments creams and styling products. If you have fizzy hair or natural curls, it is best to blow dry or iron your hard when it is towelled dry. The direction ( curls & parting included) of the hair is determined by the direction of the hair roots.

    Heather: Hey, that’s interesting info about accomodating and retaining the conditioner. I do agree about the massaging. Overstimulating is bad for oily scalp.

  7. leilahh says:

    I really love your reviews on beauty products, they were unique and intelligent. I also love the products you choose to discuss, some that i diden’t know existed till i checked your site! keep it up and i look forward to more of your reviews =)

  8. sesame says:

    Hey thanks for the comment! I’m glad you enjoyed some of the info here. Come back often!

  9. MISS CHANDLER says:

    out of curiousity…

    It’s okay to wash hair with a normal shampoo such as kerastase then use organic treatments? I’m not sure if i should mix myne?

  10. sesame says:

    You mean for the hair or for the face? Better not to mix for face products for for hair, I’m inclined to be a bit more relaxed. But then again, if the organic treatment is supposed to do something, then the efficacy might not be as potent when mixed with chemical stuff.

  11. J says:

    Another thing to remember is water hardness. Some water is hard, some water is soft, and that affects the hair. Soft water is best for hair, but most places get hard water. That might have an effect.

    Also, I don’t use shampoo (don’t worry, its not gross), so that might have an effect also. (btw, if you want to know more about the no shampoo thing go to I usually just use warm water. I think the cold water rinses cause more frizz than actually helping.

  12. sesame says:

    You don’t use shampoo? That’s interesting! I have to use shampoo and I have to use those with SLS and specifically formulated for oily hair.

  13. Cath says:

    I have recently conducted an experiment (required for my Research class in school) on The Effect of Rinse Water Temperature on Luminosity of Human Hair (aka if hair is shinier using hot or cold water). I got 4 inches of my own hair cut at the hairdresser, and after treating 12 hair samples with cold water and 12 samples with hot water, (using a light sensor and LoggerPro) I was really surprised to see that hair was actually shinier when washed with hot water. Is this a possibility, or is my data probably faulty?

  14. sesame says:

    If you have done an experiment, then you should believe what you see. The claim that hair is shinier using cold water is said by some, but I can’t tell the difference really.

  15. claire_cemolina says:

    I use cold water and then rinse with the warm because i noticed with chemical products they do not wash out with cold as easily. Once my hair is fully rinsed i blast the cold and give my scalp a massage

  16. sesame says:

    Interesting…never knew that cold water can’t wash out the chemical stuff that well.

  17. Sandy says:

    Hi Sesame,
    Great blog you have here. Just want to drop a note to say i am very impressed that you actually take the trouble to reply to all readers ?
    really sweet of you


  18. Sesame says:

    Thanks Sandy. I do try because if I ask for the comments, then I should be replying. ?

    Come back often.

  19. Raymond T. says:

    i don’t agree this, hot water can open our head scalp and clean the over oil.

  20. Sesame says:

    It does but hot water also opens up hair cuticles and making it less smooth looking. So start with warm water but end off with a cold rinse is ideal.

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