18 months without soap or shampoo: success!

This week Sean Bonner reported on his success in staying clean and odorless by showering with water and not using soap or shampoo. Sean was inspired by a blog post I linked to on a site called free the animal. It's run by a fellow named Richard Nikoley, who self-experiments with various types of diet, nutrition, exercise, fitness, and health regimens, based on his research in evolutionary biology.

Here's a little of what Richard has to say about his soap and shampoo free experiment 18 months after starting it:

120940358_4d0204e1c5_o.jpgWhat I've found over these 18 months is that I never even thought of the money I was saving. Hell, a decent sized bottle of shampoo and body wash would last me months anyway. Oh, and then there's the travel size versions. No, what has made this experience oh so satisfying is that I don't have to worry about any of that anymore -- ever. Don't have to buy it. Don't have to carry it. Don't ever run out of it. Don't have to get it tossed in the dumpster by TSA goons.

So what it boils down to is that this has been such a tremendous experience on the pure grounds of liberation. Now, I can wash up anywhere, anytime there's a shower, lake, river or stream at hand and feel completely normal about it, not as though it's the best I can do because I don't have a big bag of "personal hygiene" products immediately at hand.

A Most Successful Self-Experiment: Over 18 Months Soap and Shampoo Free
Photo by Madaise. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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  1. Hee hee! Nice to see you kicking this particular hornets’ nest again, Mark. You must not have had enough fun with all the comments on the previous post aout this, huh? Back 4 more – yay!

  2. Whatever merit this idea has, the idea that it is “based on his research in evolutionary biology” falsely suggests that Richard Nikoley is some sort of evolutionary biologist. He is not (he’s a businessman), and he has published no research on evolutionary biology as far as I can tell.

    1. Because you can’t research evolutionary biology unless you have a piece of paper from a university that says you are an evolutionary biologist? If there’s one thing the internet is useful for, other than pictures of cats with silly captions, it’s the democratization of information that allows anyone, even a lowly “businessman,” to research any subject. You’re free to dismiss someone because they don’t have enough letters after their name, but I’d rather just evaluate ideas on their own merit regardless of who the source of the ideas are.

      1. If someone is going to claim that certain conclusions are based “on his research in evolutionary biology” then yes, I expect that actual research has been done and published by the person in question. Having a relevant doctorate is helpful in doing this but not strictly required (there have been successful amateur scientists). But if in fact “interest in evolutionary biology” or “reading of popular works on evolutionary biology” is meant (as I suspect it is), then that is what should be said, even if it sounds less impressive.

      2. “If there’s one thing the internet is useful for, other than pictures of cats with silly captions, it’s the democratization of information that allows anyone, even a lowly “businessman,” to research any subject. ”

        This is also one of the worst things about the internet. It has created a generation of self-styled experts. Just because you have access to information, does not mean you have the ability to properly analyze and draw conclusions from it.

    2. I don’t think the fact that Early man lacked shampoo is a publishable finding.

      I think his research might have been a literature review.

  3. look, my comment from the last article wasn’t approved due to the tmi ruling BUT someone seriously needs to answer the hairy butt question

  4. I don’t really use soap besides washing my hands, face occasionally, probably for the majority of the last ten years, I never seem to offend anyone with my b.o, in fact lots of people have told me that I smell good to them, I definitely wash (almost) everyday, I don’t re-wear clothes(no bueno…) I don’t eat meat or drink milk, my point is soap is over rated, over perfumed( I can’t stand the smell of Irish-spring,Dial etc. not to mention the burning rash it can cause…)
    It might not be for everyone, I have smelled people that make vomit come into my mouth with one whiff, not sure what those people eat, drink, smoke, snort…toxins escape through the skin. But for me, I like making a bar of soap last 6+ months.

    1. I could give up body soap the way I did Deodorant, but what about your hair? do you have perpetual greasy head or does somehting change about your scalp after months without shampoo?

      1. It depends on the person. Some have a permanent change and never experience grease again, others improve but find that they eventually still need to augment with baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) or vinegar or both. (I’ve also seen some mention coconut oil.)

        1. Thanks, I read a couple of posts and they say the same thing. But that leaves me with one quesiton.

          How does the barber react to cutting the shampoo free hair?

          1. @Redshirt 77:

            I’ve not used shampoo in the last nine months and my barber tells me my hair is just fine.

            By the way, since I gave up the shampoo my scalp is no longer itchy and dandruffy, and my hair softer and than ever.

      2. No, I keep my hair about an inch or two long… long hair gives me headaches, don’t know why but it does. Warm water with a scalp massage does wonders, raw coconut oil, apple cider vinegar with fresh rosemary steeped in it(it grows like wildfire in the Willamette valley.) is what my GF uses, she loves it more than a $40.00 bottle of Dr.Hauschka… That and it doesn’t cost 40 bucks.

  5. As a WOMAN who is considering doing this, I’d like to hear more takes on how the females have handled this.

    For example, women’s skin is naturally smoother, does this improve or stay the same after the experiment?

    Also, if you don’t use shampoo, do you occasionally use product? My rambunctious hair makes it nearly impossible to go out without some moisturizer to keep the frizz down. Any thoughts?

    1. I was wondering the same thing. Just about the only time I can get away without not putting anything in my hair is when I’ve been swimming in saltwater.

      As for the deodorant question, I’m sure some people do just fine without it (my dad has never used deodorant and smells just fine), but I’m not one of them.

    2. To answer a question from above about wanting to hear from a woman who’s done this..I have, for over a month now, and love it (no shampoo, that is…)I have longer hair, past my shoulders..it’s curly/wavy and tends to be dry.
      I stand under the warm water and let it run ro a few minutes, but i do use conditioner a my hair is very dry, and I’m noticing that I can use a lot less conditioner now..guess it’s true that soap really does strip oils from your hair..I do not smell, nor does my scalp (and I ‘wash’ myhair every 3-4 days..much shinier, too..

  6. I still see problems for those with seborrhoeic dermatitis, because plain water just ain’t gonna get rid of the Malassezia Globosa yeast.
    Going without sulfur, zinc, or other products may be okay for some, but you still need a little castile soap to help break down the dead sebum-rich skin in problem areas. I’ve tried to go without before, and after a few days, those areas wind up being cracked, oozy, festering sores.

    On another note, I would think the idea of giving up soap would want for a more noble cause…like say, helping reduce pollution in the waterways, rather than saving a few pennies or being more convenient.

  7. You people who refuse to scrape your skin with a strigil daily repulse me. Your hygiene must be appalling.

  8. All the people I’ve met who say they don’t use soap … have an odor. Now, they haven’t smelled vile, but it’s certainly noticeable.

    Do I tell them? Well, no. It’s part of our social system that you don’t tell people if they smell slightly bad, the same way you don’t tell them they have horrible taste in clothes, awful hairstyles or bad breath.

    Maybe the author is one of those magical people who can get away with not using soap. But I think I’m going to wait until someone puts out a double-blind study on the soap issue before going without myself.

    1. I agree. How many people regularly tell people they smell awful or repulsively?

      I’ve known a few people who have tried things similar to this (eg. not using shampoo) and from an outsiders perspective, their hair looks rank and is very unpleasant. Eventually they’ve all decided this of their own accord and then told me: I’ve then told them I agreed.

  9. Now, I can wash up anywhere, anytime there’s a shower, lake, river or stream at hand

    Hope those lakes, rivers, or streams don’t contain poisons or pollutants . . . especially from soap factories.

  10. “How does the barber react to cutting the shampoo free hair?”

    According to Sean he shampoos your greasy head before you have a chance to voice an objection.

  11. Soap is over rated. I was given one of these 7 years ago, and stopped using soap ever since. Seriously, the first time you use one and the dead skin & dirt & oil roll off your skin like grey worms you realize that soap does nothing. (Not a company rep, honest.) I also only shampoo my hair once a week or less depending on the weather. But don’t you dare touch my expensive face creams! :)

  12. Once, I was talking to an acquaintance who was going on and on about deodorant crystals, saying that he started using them and hasn’t smelled since. Guess what? He smelled.

    I was working with another person who was proud that they never used deodorant because their body stopped smelling after a while. Guess what? He stank.

    Moral of the story: some people can’t smell their own brew after a while. Frankly, I don’t buy this whole thing. I’m sure your skin and hair even out after a nice sebum coating sets in, but sebum has that stale, unwashed scent, and I can’t believe that anyone who doesn’t wash with soap doesn’t have at least a distinct scent on their pits, scalp, and crotch — whether some people find it pleasant/inoffensive or not.

    1. My peculiarly sensitive sniffer can be a curse: I’m always the first to notice the smell of smoke or chemicals, and I can say for certain that people who don’t use soap or deodorant have just desensitized themselves to their own funk. To me, they reek.

  13. I’m not impressed that the guy dind’t use soad and champoo for a year but I’d be if he managed to keep his girlfriend during that time.

  14. I wonder what these people do when they get truly dirty.

    I’ve got an old house, sometimes I really need to clean up. Usually I use LAVA because nothing else will get the crap off.

    Otherwise it’s an interesting point that things are SO clean these days that it’s almost a chore to get truly dirty.

    That being the case, do we REALLY need to wash as often as we often do by habit?

  15. First off, a big, juicy raspberry to doingdoing…

    Second, after seeing an earlier story on BB about no soap / no shampoo, I tried it. I ended up just switching to a baking powder solution for shampoo – something to do with the local water quality. But I still use soap – at least the better, natural ones – they’re fairly close to pure soap and not much at all like the industrial by-product that can ‘perfume’ one’s hands and body for hours after use.

  16. I find it hilarious that TSA screenings are a big selling point for not using soap anymore.

    “Man, those patdowns aren’t nearly so invasive since I castrated myself.”

  17. I tried this for 6 months, after the original article was published. My skin normalized, as was described in the article. I could get squeaky clean with no soap. I thought I had solved my “skin is dry and itchy” syndrome. But no. After my skin started feeling not-oily and winter hit, the itching came back.

    And frankly, I did not smell good. My girlfriend never said anything (she’s supportive!), but after I went back to soap, she exclaimed “Oh good!” I could tell I didn’t smell great. I didn’t smell strongly. Some days I think I smelled just fine. But others were not as good (perhaps determined by diet). So maybe I needed to change what I ate. Getting off meat would probably have helped.

    So yeah. I loved the idea, but some of us might be prone to needing soap to be socially acceptable. Also, I realized I like soap. Soap smells great. Washing with great-smelling stuff is nice to do.

  18. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say none of these anti soap pundits have ever done construction or worked on a pig farm…get a real job and try going soapless for a week then we’ll talk

    1. Or even so much as grown their own tomatoes. Ever get dirt on yourself?

      Yeah, in today’s ultra-sanitary society, maybe soap is superfluous. But I still enjoy bathing every day. I can’t even imagine dragging my ass out the door on a frigid winter morning without a hot shower to wake myself up. And what do you do in the shower if you aren’t lathering up? Rub yourself up and down with some kind of baseball glove? How do you know when you are done?

  19. My biggest beef with the original article’s author isn’t the lack of soap (I think it works for some, not for others; insert your personal pet theory here). My biggest problem is the advocacy of the “paleo” lifestyle. Jonathan is right, he hasn’t done research in evolutionary biology, he merely employs “common sense” about our ancestors in order to justify an unsustainable, meat-centered diet.

    If he did actual research, he would find that evidence exists that ancient hominids cooked grains as long as 30,000 years ago, and that evolutionary selection in response to diet can happen quite quickly (evolutionarily speaking): most humans 10,000 years ago were adult lactose intolerant.

  20. Huh – I’m a trend setter and didn’t know it.

    6 years ago when I went Freelance full time, a mixture of depression and laziness resulted in me skipping a shower or two. Or three or four. It got to the point I said, “All I do all day is sit here and type/draw in a climate controlled house. I don’t DO anything to get sweaty or dirty.”

    I still shower and use soap and shampoo, but much less often. I have found overall the skin on my face is clearer and healthier. My goatee/beard does get itchy after 4 or 5 days, as does parts of my scalp. I used T-Gel before, and still do, and it does a wonderful job.

    And if I do yard work or something like that I of course showered, with soap, after wards.

  21. I use soap (like most people), but I don’t use much shampoo — I may shampoo once every week or two). I do get my hair wet every day when I shower.

    Honestly, my hair seems a little healthier now than when I shampooed regularly. I have fairly dry, curly hair (which I keep pretty short), and it just seem healthier and more comfortable now.

    I do shampoo before haircuts, but I’m not sure it’s really necessary. Seriously, at least for hair like mine it doesn’t look oily or anything.

  22. If I stopped shampooing daily, Big Oil would be wanting to drill test wells in my scalp within a week.

    1. I found that my hair became oily less quickly after I tried to shampoo less often. I remember reading somewhere that over-shampooing actually causes more oiliness. I used to shampoo every day and then I just started trying to stretch it out (e.g., 36 hours, then 48 hours)and now I can sometimes go for 72 hours without shampooing, depending on activity level. Sometimes I will rinse my hair in that time period, but sometimes not. I do use product sometimes and that can shorten the time period as well.

  23. How does the barber react to cutting the shampoo free hair?

    Top stylists spend half their day trying to get their clients to stop shampooing regularly. Watch a few makeover shows. However, they will usually wash your hair before cutting it.

  24. Those who refuse soap are exactly like those who refuse vaccines: they enjoy our sanitized society (built by those who DO wash/vaccinate, killing germs and eradicating diseases) while at the same time they are actively working to undermine it.

    1. Those who refuse soap are exactly like those who refuse vaccines: they enjoy our sanitized society (built by those who DO wash/vaccinate, killing germs and eradicating diseases) while at the same time they are actively working to undermine it.

      Those who obsessively disinfect themselves are breeding superbugs.

      1. Antibiotic soap breeds superbugs, but normal soap doesn’t. Physically removing and killing bacteria are very different.

          1. “Unless you are doing surgery or preparing food, what harm is it leaving bacteria on your hands?”
            Touching things that might later be touched by immuno-compromised people is pretty harmful, I’d say. Even those who aren’t immuno-compromised can become ill after contact with your personal brand of bacteria, even if it doesn’t make YOU ill.

            I’m fully an advocate of quitting soap, if that’s a persons prerogative — but keep washing your hands, please.

          2. re: “Touching things that might later be touched by immuno-compromised people is pretty harmful, I’d say. Even those who aren’t immuno-compromised can become ill after contact with your personal brand of bacteria, even if it doesn’t make YOU ill.”

            Whaaaattt??? I have to exercise caution because maybe I might touch David, the Bubble Boy? I guess I can’t have peanut butter, or I might touch someone with allergies. Or wear latex – etc etc etc.

            First off – lets acknowledge that you and I can not live with out bacteria. Within and on our bodies is about 2-5lb of bacteria. They out number our human cells 10 to 1.

            Preparing food, working with the sick, being sick yourself, or coming in contact with raw meat or feces (etc) is a great reason to wash your hands. Nervously whipping out the Purell because someone used your phone is a bit much.

            Go out and play in the dirt.

            I am not even advocating not showering or using soap, but overall our germaphobia has brad ‘super bugs’ and our immune systems are under utilized, weak, and flabby.

      2. Those who obsessively disinfect themselves are breeding superbugs.

        Yeah, those straw men are also quite boring at parties.

        The others (i.e. the average folks who just wash regularly with soap and shampoo) just help keeping away all sorts of diseases that, in those mythical ancient times of Arcadian bliss, would have killed you before your 40th birthday.

      3. Actually, that is completely wrong. Anti-biotics stimulated the evolution resistant genes in bacteria. Neither soap nor disinfectant had any hand in it.

        http://www.brighthub.com/health/conditions-treatments/articles/26660.aspx

        It remains to be proven, but I suspect that “over-sanitization” could possibly compromise immune system… spread? Exposure? Efficiency? Basically, being exposed to fewer bacteria may mean you won’t fully develop and help evolve a good immune system (if you happen to pass on genes).

        Note: Not a doctor.

  25. Why must people be such extremists? Seriously. You don’t have to use anti-bacterial soap on everything or pour on the cologne, but neither do you have to seek the mythical health benefits of being a cave-person. You may not notice your reek, and your friends and family may act very supportive, but the rest of us are trying not to barf. Go take a shower. With soap. Please. Or stand down-wind.

  26. I was rolling in laughter at the linked article. All I kept thinking was “holy crap, this guy has never done a day of manual labor in his *whole life.*”

    I work with horses. I sweat, and get really really dirty, and I bathe with soap, because human sweat and bacteria build an almighty funk if left unscrubbed. Maybe my friends and family are just more frank than dear Richard’s, but if I didn’t wash up on a fairly regular basis (obsessively? with antibacterial or chemical soap? no. regularly? yes.), they wouldn’t let me in the damn house. With good reason.

    The fact of the matter is, most of us ARE in enclosed spaces with other people, none of us are living in trees or out on the pampas, and people who do not wash themselves regularly STINK. They might think they don’t. Their SOs might not tell them, or might even lie to them. But they do. Every single person I’ve met who’s gone soapless has reeked to high heaven. Anyone who doesn’t wash their hair (with shampoo or some other means) at least once a week? Their hair stinks, too.

    Now, I’m a girl, and might be more sensitive to such things. But I know from stink (see above: large animals and their emissions are a daily event for me), and to me, nothing beats a no-soaper for pure, unadulterated funk.

  27. (As an addendum, and lest you all think I’m some sort of Johnson & Johnson corporate shill or something: I don’t use soaps or shampoos with Sodium Laurel Sulfates, and only use locally made homemade soaps with no chemical additives. Since I’m sensitive to chemicals, I don’t use scented deodorants, perfumes, body sprays, powders, etc. of any kind. I also never ever use antibacterial or antimicrobial products, because I do want the healthy bacteria living on my skin. But though I’m willing to accept that there are folks out there who can go soapless, I’d also offer up my personal experience: everyone I’ve met who’s tried this has had a distinct and unpleasant personal odor. Even without the manual labor!)

  28. I’m sort of not OK with health care or food service people doing this, and I’d just as soon not shake your hand or eat in your home, mmmkay?

  29. Yet another personal anecdote:

    I shower every day, but i almost never use soap (I probably have about 10 times in my entire life). For some reason, my family just never taught me too. I also use shampoo only once every week or so. I know that it’s a common misconception that we need to use shampoo every day, and my hair feels much better when I don’t. I also use deodorant, and as of recently, a little cologne.

    I can honestly say that, without soap, I’ve never gotten a complaint about my smell when I’ve done everything in my normal routine (shower, deodorant, ect.) On top that evidence, I’m currently with a girl that has a hypersensitive sense of smell. She’s never said anything, and I’m pretty sure she would not be with me if she thought I smelled. So, that’s my support for no soap. I’ve done it my entire life, with no negative side effects.

  30. There are alternatives to sodium lauryl sulfate.

    They are kinder to the skin, and you can buy bars or body washes in these alternatives with shea butter and other skin healthy ingredients like oils.

    Whether or not you emit a ‘body fragrance’ is a moot point, since it has been proven that hand washing, with simple soap
    (alternatives included), active friction (and warm water), is the single most effective method of reducing the transmission of serious infectious diseases.

    So…if you aren’t going to use ‘soap’ on your body, please do so on your hands, for the sake of others. You aren’t helping the planet, or the bottom line, by spreading disease.

  31. Not really. There is a difference between a neurosurgeon and a person “familiar” with neurosurgery from extensive “research” on the web. The distinction is important.

  32. I don’t see washing my butt without soap, and I especially don’t see not using soap to clean my hand afterward. But using soap all over the skin coats it, making it more difficult for the skin to do one of its biggest jobs, eliminating toxins. I personally just wash the truly stinky places.

    The thing about oil: soap and shampoo/conditioner make it *worse*, not better. I use the baking soda-in-water solution, then I rinse, and then I use the apple cider vinegar-in-water solution (google it for details). If anything, my sebacious smell got worse only because I didn’t have to wash my hair nearly as often. My husband with the keen sense of smell told me so. Now I’ll bridge the gap by dabbing a very small amount of cocoa on the oily spots if I go a little long between washes. It soaks up the oil. Then I brush it out and smell great on two washes per week. I used to consider my hair oily and had to wash every day or every other day. Now that I don’t have shampoo stripping my scalp’s natural oils, my scalp doesn’t overproduce to compensate, setting up that cycle.

    There’s an adjustment period till your scalp produces less oil. So, use a little cocoa powder (or corn starch, or baking powder, if you have light hair). Works just great.

    PS Men, you WANT women to be able to smell your natural body odor. I don’t mean unwashed yuck. But that’s why most men don’t like cologne: on some level they know it interferes with women’s natural mate choice for highest attraction and best immunological match for healthy offspring. Maybe just wash pits with baking soda. This doubles as deodorant.

  33. What about conditioner? I have pretty curly hair. I am not willing to try the no soap thing because I don’t want to go through the period in between of being greasy and yucky and pimple-covered, and I think antibacterial soap is necessary for me in certain areas to prevent pimples. Maybe after a while I wouldn’t need it, but not willing to let go of that safety blanket.

    I think I could go without shampoo – my hair isn’t very greasy at all. I don’t think there would even be an abrupt change. But if I want to run a brush through my hair after a shower at all without excruciating pain and hair-ripping, I gotta have the conditioner.

  34. I think I will try this. I have already totally abandoned these two things as totally superfluous:

    1) Shaving Cream. I have never in my adult life used it; I just go over my hair repeatedly under hot water in the shower. A side benefit is that I can use a blade over and over..my current blade is 8 months old, and it still works fine.

    2) Dish Soap. I again just use running hot water and my hands. I only use a scouring pad on pots that something got burned on. The hot water cuts the grease, and I can simply feel where the dishes are not dirty and look carefully. It cuts my time to do dishes by at least 50%, and they are as clean as ever.

  35. It is quite interesting that amongst a crowd of people that clearly enjoys the latest technology has to offer, advancements in in Social Medicine are dismissed with such glib excuses (supergerms and I don’t know what other nonsense, people don’t even know that soap works in a *mechanical* fashion, so the only thing that happens to bugs is that they go elsewhere to spread disease).

    We learned that bacteria transmit all kind of nasty things. The evidence is in our life expectancy and quality of life as compared to people 100, 500 or 1000 years ago.

    The poster seems to be seriously suggesting that “Surface Bacteria Maintain Skin’s Healthy Balance”, but entirely forgets that if those same baceria spread disease, then in any sane risk assesment anybody should chose to wash with soap.

    I find this barbaric mindless technophobic tendency of people that are otherwise rational most disturbing (techies where they are comfortable, barbarians when they don’t understand something or wish it to be in a different way beacuse it is in convenient in a descontextualized siatuation).

    If your skin and hair are in a mess the solution is not stopping using soap, it is using something milder.

    1. Soap isn’t the main cause of our increased health and hygiene. Even with out soap –

      1) The knowledge to wash ones hands, with our with out soap

      2) The knowledge on how germs are transmitted

      3) The ability to wash in clean, uncontaminated water.

      Soap is a tool, but the health of western civilization is not hinged on it.

      And regular human flora isn’t a big culprit of disease.

  36. i started this yesterday and i immediately noticed a difference in my skin! feels lighter and soo much smoother.

    as for my hair i made sure i scrubbed my scalp just as i would with shampoo. my hair is more managable and i dont smell :D

  37. Got smelly body parts, under you arms, smelly arm pits? Just put some vinegar on it, why didn’t you think of that?

  38. The amount of close-minded unfounded hyperbole on here for a community of forward thinkers and progressives is laughable.

    First, everybody with personal experience is totally discounted instead of people saying “wow, that’s your experience? What’s it like?” Yeah it’s anecdotal, but it’s funny to me that all the “gee I tried it and it works” is met with a flat “you’re wrong, it doesn’t” or “you must smell and not know it”.

    1. “People who don’t use soap don’t bathe and are unwashed hippies” – PPOR. Nobody is saying go without soap AND don’t bathe. Of course we bathe. Bathe everyday! Use a washcloth, scrubbers, sand, a tree – whatever you need to to get the dead skins and funk off.

    2. “You don’t use soap for everything” – PPOR. Nobody is saying we don’t use soap in cases where just water doesn’t cut it, like food prep, grease, or other things water won’t remove. But even dirt, mud, or chlorine comes off with water if you scrub it.

    3. “You must smell and nobody is willing to tell you”. PPOR. Find someone who does this and smell for yourself. And not just someone – a wide sample.

    4. “No soap = No deodorant”. PPOR. I don’t use soap, and I have to use deodorant – after a few hours of exertion, I get some smell. But I used to need to use several daily applications of harsh, brain killing aluminum and now get away with a once a day spray of simple deodorant (not antiperspirant). But that’s me. Some people sweat and stink more than others. People, we’re talking about SOAP not deodorant.

    5. “Non-soapers must not do manual labor”. PPOR. I don’t suppose all you laughers bothered to check? Howabout a simple “does anybody not using soap do hard manual labor”? What about all the no-soapers who work out? If what you are saying is “without soap and tons of chemicals you don’t smell like a fake soap bar 100% of the time, even when doing manual labor” then yeah, yeah, that’s true. But why would you want that?

    Look, everybody’s personal chemistry is different. The point of the article is the saying “EVERYBODY MUST ALWAYS use soap” and it’s simply not true.

    In my case, I had tons of skin problems – itching, flaking, eczema, dandruff, cracking feet and elbows and hands, and more. I tried every expensive goo possible. I tried consuming extra and no-fat, tried vegetarian diets, tried tons of things. Going without soap fixed all my skins problems, saved me money, and more importantly (unless 100% of the people I surveyed are lying to me, which is what some folks want you to believe) nobody knew. Whenever I mention it the response is incredulous surprise. The only product I use is a little coconut oil when I need to get my hair manageable or need oil to shave with.

    Also, my scent from the women I’ve asked has gone from “you smell like ” which is better than smelling bad, but they may or may not like the brand, to “You – huh. You smell good. Not really sure…what is it?”

  39. I know a guy who goes to shows
    When he’s at home and he blows his nose
    He don’t use tissues or his sleeve
    He don’t use napkins or any of these
    He uses magazines…

  40. I’ve been experimenting with home-based soaps and shampoos for several years. I’ve also tried to use household items for cleaning agents whenever and where ever possible. Baking Soda, Vinegar, Cream of Tartar, Lime Juice, Honey, Salt, and tons of other things can come in real handy.

    For the last year or so, however, I’ve been researching and trying out the No ‘Poo, No Soap thing. I started with a baking soda/vinegar replacement for the carcinogen-laced, industrial detergent known as Regular Shampoo. Eventually, however, I started to transition towards using no shampoo at all.

    I absolutely love it! It took a while to transition, but my hair fills healthier than ever (and no, I don’t stink!).

    I’ve since researched a lot on the web about what is in shampoo and how others approach the no shampoo method. There is a lot of information out there!

    Every time there is a mention of No Poo somewhere, there are tons of questions and comments from experience. So, I thought it might be a good idea to set up a question and answer site to help beginners, and kind of let everyone discuss the No Shampoo/Soap lifestyle, and all the different experiences and experiments we are doing.

    I would like to invite you to come post on our forum to provide info and experiences.

    So, if you are interested, go check it out: http://beyondshampoo.com

    I’m not selling anything, and I would appreciate people participating in honest, good discussions.

  41. It has created a generation of self-styled experts. Just because you have access to information, does not mean you have the ability to properly analyze and draw conclusions from it.

    Having worked in every facet of high tech finance, industry, academia, and engineering over the last three decades, I have to say that the Internet has had no deleterious effect on the total number of people claiming to be experts in fields wherein they have absolutely no expertise.

    To put that more simply, now you have unqualified idiots on the Internet replacing unqualified idiots with “PhD” after their names.

    The Wizard of Oz was wrong; a diploma does not make you smarter, a medal doesn’t make you braver, and a testimonial does not make you benevolent. Everyone and everything should be judged as it is, and not by what somebody’s dogma claims they must be.

  42. For anyone still following along, I have decided to try and give something back for all the traffic I have received from Boing Boing last New Year, and then over this past week. And now, GIZMODO as well.

    It will be a 3-part series covering when and what to eat, when not to eat, how to exercise but also when to do absolutely nothing. The final post will cover a number of self-experiemtns I’ve undertaken (including no soap and shampoo), cold water therapy, supplementation, sun exposure, etc.

    You Animal: A Primer to Freeing Your Inner Beast – The Preface

    And here’s the story of a man who linked over from FARK on New Year’s Day, 2010, hungover, and to have a laugh about the no soap or shampoo deal. Then he proceeded to lose 65 ugly pounds

    Best wishes to all, even those who still think it’s some crazy reenactment of primitive living, which it surely isn’t.

  43. Good Lord, you people only just discovered this. I have not used soap for a decade on 95% of my body. (always wash under my arms and errrr…. well – you know!) And of course my hands all the time. Neither do I use anything on my hair.

    Prince Harry doesn’t wash his hair either, not sure about soap though.

    A small roll on deodorant lasts me between seven and ten years. There are occasions, in the summer, when I may need it as at 71 my skin is very dry and my doctor has told me not to bathe every day.

    And no, I don’t smell! I run a newspaper, and am always at meetings, press events and other types of get togethers where I am meeting with the types of people who would be very forthright if I did.

    Not sure how much I have saved, but my body feels a hell of a lot better.

  44. Okay, fair enough, early man didn’t have shampoo or hand sanitizer. But early man also wasn’t a voluntary medic for the red cross and he also didn’t regularily handle test tubes full of water samples of what could only be called water because raw sewage usually doesn’t form lakes under ideal circumstances. I wash my hands about 12-20 times a day at work, out of pure necessity, so as interesting as the whole concept is, it’s pretty incompatible with my lifestyle.

    Live without soap? Maybe. Live without personal disinfectants? Never. Cause you’d, y’know, catch a disease and die.

    Please stand by for the “But I’m a Microbiologist/Virologist/Voodoo Houngan MD and never need to use disinfectants!” post, predicted to appear with a probability of 47%.

  45. A) What happens if you want to have oral sex with your partner?
    and B) do you at least wash your hands with soap? Growing up with a G.P for a father may have swayed my judgement, but I always wash my hands with soap after I go to the toilet, and before I eat, and I would want other people around me to do the same!!! Water doesn’t get rid of parasites like giardia, or viruses like hep A, or E etc etc…

    I don’t use deoderant, don’t use shampoo, don’t wash most of my body with soap, but I do wash my hands and bottom!

  46. What happens if you want to have oral sex with your partner?

    Hmm, how to put this? A dick that doesn’t smell like dick sort of inevitably smells like dildo. I’d prefer natural smell to soap smell if I’m getting that close to it. Washing it afterward, on the other hand, is a really good idea. Human mouths are filthy.

  47. Yeah, Ok, I sort of agree with that. But I still think if you’re going to perform oral sex on a woman you will have wanted her to wash her bum.

  48. We can get used to almost anything. That’s the fact.
    Many years ago when I first started working around the world, it was interesting to learn how we smell to Asians, particularly Koreans and Japanese.
    The old saying “what you eat today walks and talks tomorrow” is pretty true and you could add “makes your smell”.

    The Koreans and Japanese were amazed at how little I smelled. But I ate very little meat and a lot of vegetables and being Australian, was a “2 showers a day” type.
    But as I realised, Asians pick up on the rank odour of “dying” perfumes like deodorants and aftershave. (Please note there is no such thing as 48 hour anti-perspirant and ANY perfume added on top of a 30 hour body smell is bad news for the olfactory senses around you)
    In France, in Paris, my landlady charged me 30% extra because of how “crazy Australians bathe all the time”.

    I think the key is how we tend to overdo things.

    The second factor is the deadly components of today’s “soaps” etc.

    Got “incurable dandruff”? Stop using municipal water! Wash you hair after good dry brushing, with warm distilled water. Brush with a good pig’s bristle type brush after drying.
    Really greasy hair? Squeeze quarter of a small lemon (lime is even better for the sexy after smell) into the water.

    Body scurf? (Dry skin) Dry brush your skin before you shower and use a brush on the body in your warm shower. No soap ever needed.

    Oh, you do of course have a quality filter on your shower-head?
    To remove the foul additions in the water supply like fluoride, sodium hypochlorite (chlorine – which accounts for a lot of your funny smell) and poisonous aluminium hydroxide.

    And finally, there is no better sex than from a pair of internally clean and a bit hungry bodies. Skip the last meal before the loving – makes a biiig difference if you are over 20. :-)

  49. For the last 2 months, Ive used soap sparingly, only for hands/armpits/junk/crack. Cut down the shampoo/conditioner ~ once a week. For everything else, I use handfuls of epsom salt in a hot shower. My skin has never looked better. My face used to get rather oily but thats not the case anymore. Tighter pores and way less whiteheads. Also, infected follicles are much less of an issue especially with the beard, and razorburn is non existent.

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