Washing my hair in rain water

July 30, 2015

I read somewhere that washing your hair in rain water is a heavenly experience, and that your hair will feel beautifully silky soft and smooth.

Well, I thought that sounded like something I needed to try. But I kept forgetting to get a bucket out when it rained.

But yesterday, I remembered. It had been raining hard for about five minutes, and suddenly I remembered. I ran downstairs into the basement, looking for a bucket. There was one over by my husband's work bench, filled with some cleaning supplies. I dumped them out, ran upstairs, and shoved the bucket out on the deck. Voila!

It was really pouring.

When the rain stopped, I went out to gather up my rainwater,  and I noticed two things.

Number one. I only had a half inch of water. What?! I needed a whole bucketful. (Seriously? Did I really think we were going to get 20 inches of rain?! A flood of Biblical proportions?!)

Well, maybe I could do just a quick final rinse with the half inch of water.

But, no.

Number two. I had neglected to rinse out the bucket, and there was a layer of dust floating on top of the water.

So I had a half inch of dusty rain water to wash my hair with.


But that's not the end of the story . . . 

We had another heavy shower, and I got up to a total of one inch of water. (I googled yesterday's rainfall, and a neighboring town of ours got 4.57 inches of water!!) 

And the dust did settle to the bottom of the bucket.

So, in the spirit of true investigative journalism, I decided to go ahead and try a rainwater rinse this morning.

I washed my hair in the sink with regular tap water, put on conditioner, and rinsed in tap water as well. (That one inch was not going to do the job.) Then, carefully, as if the rain water was expensive and rare (and it felt that way!), I poured it over my head, collecting it in a bowl underneath. Then used a cup to scoop water again and again out of the bowl to rinse my hair well.

 Then I sat out on the deck, allowing the sun and light breeze to dry my hair. I tell you, it felt so luxurious and peaceful. I took a book out, but ended up closing my eyes and listening to bird song.

And pondering.

Where did Robert Redford get water to wash Meryl Streep's hair in Out of Africa? What did pioneer women do, especially in the winter? Melt snow? How long does it take to fill a rain barrel full of water? How does it feel to be a farmer and scan the sky, wondering when the rain clouds will appear? And what if we slowed down long enough to sit and dry our hair in the sun?

I don't think it's my imagination -- my hair really does feel very soft. Another benefit? I feel somehow more peaceful, more at ease, with a real gratefulness for how precious water really is.

It really was nicer than any visit to the salon.


  1. Well, it sounded like a relaxing day after shampooing and rinsing, then drying on the deck. I love how your mind took you away to all sorts of thoughts, and in the end, a deep appreciation.
    I was hoping for a glimpse of your hair, Deborah. When will you show us the progress again? I'll bet it's looking beautiful!

  2. Hi Deborah, We have rain barrels at our house and if you lived nearby I'd share some rainwater! The rain barrels have 55 gallon capacity, and 1/2 - 3/4 inch of rain can fill one! You see, the downspouts are diverted from down to the ground, to the rain barrel and collects the rain from the roof. I will have to give this a try. And again as I look at your header, I agree: the beautiful does matter. Hugs, Beth

  3. I had never thought of doing this! Your experience sounds delightful. I tend to take things for granted, like water. Thanks for the precious reminder! Would love to see your hair!

  4. During the summers at the lake, running water was a huge luxury so we washed everything that needed washing with the water collected in the rain barrel. I always thought my hair was in better shape. Here's a tip...forget the scrub bucket, grab one of your pans from the kitchen to gather your rainwater. I think you'll find it easier. Will you do it again?

  5. Dearest Deborah,
    You are quite a character and you caused a good laugh but you sure did persevere and got great results.
    Such things need to be planned ahead of time and yes, water needs to get filtered otherwise it is not clean-clean.
    I could have done that the day before yesterday when I climbed up the ladder to clean out the gutter and also for washing the windows of our veranda (+ arched window in living) and our kitchen bay window. I was soaking wet from using the hose in the gutter... All I did was washing my hair and body in the shower but rainwater would have been lovely too.
    When it is hot, I love to play with the hose, never mind getting soaking wet.
    Sending you hugs,

    On the 3rd my post about you will get launched...

  6. It rains a lot here in Greenock, so if I forget my umbrella then I my hair gets a rainwater rinse!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  7. We used to have a cistern with an electrical pump. One winter we were powerless for a few days..used the fireplace to stay warm. Anyway being a teen and my sis a pre teen we HAD to wash and especially our hair and we melted snow on the gas stove.

  8. Hi Deborah, what a special treat to rinse your hair in rain water and dry outside in the sunshine. Two benefits and like a spa treatment at home. So relaxing for the kick off to the weekend. I like what Vee said about collecting the rain water in a kitchen pan. Easier and no dust! Thanks for sharing. I have not done this in years. My mother had a little treatment using white vinegar as a rinse on occasion for shining silky hair and that really works too, but rinse again to not have the vinegar scent!!
    Enjoy the weekend and please stop by to enter my giveaway.
    Blessings, cm

  9. Thought provoking, you reminded us of how precious rainfall can be, I haven't stopped moaning about the showers all week. Love to see the progress on your hair.

  10. "..a real gratefulness for how precious water really is." I'll admit that I never really think about that. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

  11. It sounds like a beautiful, relaxing, and perfect day, my friend :) Next time it rains here I will have to put out a pan so that I can collect some water.

    Happy weekend. Hugs!

  12. My mother had very long hair and this was a normal thing for her to do. She always kept a bucket outside just for that purpose. She swore by it and I do think it helped her long strands be less tangled. After everything you went through to get the rain water, I'm so glad you finally was able to try it! She also did use vinegar as well:)

  13. The peace alone is worth the trouble. I'd say they didn't collect rainwater like that, but used brooks and streams, or if they hadn't settled near one, they would collect their rainwater off a roof and store it. But honestly people tended to settle near water for that very reason.

  14. I used to dry my hair outdoors all the time. These days, it's just too hot to do that in summer months, even in the shade. :(

    Sounds like you have a great experience though, overall. Made me want to try it.

  15. Hi Deborah, that must of felt so relaxing to rinse your hair in the rain water and let it air dry outside in the sun! It's fun to pamper yourself. Wishing you a wonderful weekend.
    Julie xo

  16. Haha I might have to try this. It's been raining a few hours a day, every day, for at least a month here. I should have a lot in no time. I could always use softer hair.

  17. Deborah~I couldn't help but laugh at the first part of your post! I love the dirty bucket problem..of course that is what would be found in our dear husband's work area. Well, mine anyway. :-)
    I like what M.K. Said, makes sense, so in going to try this worth the creek water next too out home. I never even thought about doing that before, although we do have spring water.
    I'm going to have a spa day anyway with that creek water and let it dry in the sun while I sit and ponder on the goodness of God.
    Thank you for the inspiration.

    It's good to visit with you~ Debbie

  18. I love the way you write - I laughed so loud my husband asked what was so funny.

    You have a wonderful outlook on life, Deborah that is an inspiration.

    I am reading a series of books that are historical fiction in early history of the US in the backlands, and - quite honestly- thinking about that very thing about water. And said a prayer of appreciation for modern plumbing and having fresh, clean water! : - )


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