I’ve given up using soap & shampoo forever

Articles,Philosophy — Sean Bonner @ 5:22 pm
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Towards the end of December I came across an article written by a guy who had given up on using soap and was now washing himself with water alone. My immediate thought was this must be some dirty hippy and I felt sorry for anyone who lived or worked in close proximity to him – however I was interested in why someone would make a choice like this so I sat down and read both the article and the extremely long comment thread which made much more sense than I expected it to. If you have some time I recommend reading it though the author, Richard Nikoley, is active in the paleo-scene so a lot of the comments reference those ideas. But this post isn’t about that article, it’s about my own experiences.

The thing that stuck out to me the most, and resonated with my own philosophy was that it seemed silly that we would have evolved into creatures that needed a bunch of corporately produced and marketed chemicals smeared all over our bodies everyday just to get by. For the most part I’m kind of a “this happens for a reason” person and I don’t think every single things needs to be messed with. I very rarely take any kind of pain killers for headaches or cold medicine for sicknesses. Of course I very rarely get headaches or sick which helps. Maybe those two are related, the people I know who are always sick and always having headaches and always taking things to suppress those symptoms.

Long time readers know I also have a oft cited personal manta about regularly examining my actions and making sure I am doing things for the right reasons, and I decided, rather publicly a few years back, that just because I did something yesterday is not a good enough reason to do it today. As I was reading this article I started thinking that the only reason I was using soap was because I’d always done it and had always been told I needed to. I’d never questioned it, but now that I was questioning it I wasn’t coming up with very convincing answers. Maybe these chemicals were messing whith my body’s own chemistry and creating the need for themselves?

I was reminded of my experiment with some of those acne face pads in high school. I didn’t really have zits, but I saw the commercials for the pads and how they made sure you didn’t get zits and like any other kid in high school I didn’t want zits so I bought some an put them to use. within a few days I had more zits than ever. If I’d believed the hype I would have doubled up on them to get rid of this nasty zit problem but instead my first thought was that the pads had fucked up some kind balance on my face and caused the zits they were supposed to be preventing. So I stopped using them and the zits went away and I never had the problem again.

I wondered why I never used that rationale with soap. The same math was there. I have dry skin on my arms that gets flaky and itchy and dandruff. I’ve spent likely thousands of dollars over my lifespan on special soaps and shampoo to solve those problems, which they do for a day or two, but if I don’t keep up with them things go crazy. But I’d never considered that these things might be just as much at fault.

The article said that it took the author about 2 weeks for things to stabilize, and that before that things were nuts, so if you were going to try this you should give it a month just to be safe. I figured, what the hell, I’ve done weirder things for a month at a time, so this was worth a shot just to see. So for the entire month of January I haven’t used any soap or shampoo while showering. The results are freaking me out on a daily basis, and I’m actually a bit annoyed I didn’t think to try this sometime in the last 35 years.

If you are anything like me this is probably bringing up a ton of questions so let me try to answer some of the ones I’d have myself.

Do I stink? No. I didn’t say I stopped bathing you dillweed! I just stopped using soap and shampoo when I do. I still shower daily but now a long shower lasts about 5 minutes tops. I also still use deodorant but on a whole I actually smell better. Some people can not smell their own BO, I’ve always been hyper sensitive of mine and I smell better after a month of not using soap then I would missing one day of showering with soap. Tara also keeps pointing out how good I smell, even before I tipped her off to the experiment. Which by the way was almost 3 weeks into it.

Dandruff? Pretty much gone. Seriously. I’m shocked but it’s true. This was definitely something that went crazy during the adjustment time though, I’d say about 2 weeks into it I had bigger flakes than I’d ever seen in my life. That shit was like an avalanche. But they went away, and my head has been less dandruffy than it’s been my whole life. I do find if I rinse my hair with water every day I see a few little flakes, where as if I rinse it every other day or so I don’t see anything.

But that isn’t the only hair-benefit I’ve seen. I have pretty thick semi-curly hair which has always been a nightmare to maintain. Since starting this it’s become softer and more controllable than ever. I actually find myself touching it a lot without realizing it because it feels so different.

Dry skin? Gone. In fact not only is my dry skin gone, my skin as a whole feels softer and healthier than I can ever remember it feeling. Again this is something Tara keeps noticing totally unprovoked.

Adjustment time. The first two weeks were definitely weird. My skin was super dry, super oily, then dry again. As I mentioned I had super dandruff and in general it was a little nuts. But I chalked that up to my body trying to correct itself and get back in to balance since it weren’t involved in daily chemical warfare anymore. Today is the month marking point and I’d say I think things are pretty much in order. If you are going to try this yourself definitely give yourself a month. If you try it for a week things will be super wacky and you’ll think it isn’t working, but trust me – stick it out for the month.

Hands – I still wash my hands, especially before cooking and after using the bathroom. And I use soap for that. For some reason that actually makes a lot of sense.

Personally I’m just blown away by this and like I said I can’t believe it’s something I didn’t question earlier. I’m psyched on how it’s played out and can’t imagine using soap or shampoo again. Extra benefit I just realized: less crap to worry about when traveling!

(Photo by Somewhat Frank used under CC. I tried to find a better image for this post, but doing a google image search for “soapy” with safe search off didn’t really produce the results I was expecting. Try it yourself. Just not at work.)

UPDATE: ONE YEAR LATER I just wrote a year later update for BoingBoing – check it out if you are curious how this has played out so far.



  1. It’s true, he doesn’t stink, he actually smells really really good.

    I haven’t stopped using soap, but maybe when the baby gets here I won’t have time to do any lathering and I can give this experiment a go.

    Interestingly, our pediatrician said not to use soap on Baby Bonner…so why do we not use soap on a baby but we do on ourselves? At what point are we “supposed to” switch over?

    Comment by Tara (wife) — February 1, 2010 @ 5:47 pm
  2. I very rarely use soap and it is awesome. My hair doesn’t do well with nothing but water (or at least, I haven’t had the patience to let it detox) but I have done the baking soda/vinegar thing before and am thinking of switching back to it. I also wash my hands with soap, but only because I lack the patience to wash for a full 30 seconds to one minutes with just water (which is as effective as washing with soap).

    Comment by Annika — February 1, 2010 @ 6:16 pm
  3. Previously, did you soap your entire body when showering or just the crucial pits/ass/etc., areas? I only soap those certain areas so wonder how much effect this would have on overall skin health?

    also, you seem to imply that you’re showering for shorter periods of time now… could this actually be as much of the effect as the lack of soap? Long hot showers strip a lot of oils off your skin/scalp…

    Comment by ron b — February 1, 2010 @ 6:43 pm
  4. Harold is like you in that he never takes pain meds or really pills of any kind and he is rarely sick. This is all very interesting.

    Comment by Verdell — February 1, 2010 @ 7:05 pm
  5. Dude this is awesome. I’m totally going to try it starting today!

    Glad to see you using the iPhone theme. Looks great and easy to navigate.

    Comment by Clintus — February 1, 2010 @ 7:29 pm
  6. hair washing is definitely over-rated. I typically wash mine about twice a month. my body I wash with soap, moreso because I usually have hair stuck all over me and I want it off as quickly as possible. my face, I don’t wash. i’ve been fortunate to have good skin most of my life. I don’t often get pimples, my skin is ocassionally dry but rarely oily and more often than not it’s in good shape. I don’t think soap is necessary, not for any part of your body. as long as you are cleansing your body, chemicals definitely aren’t necessary – including deoderant. toothpaste however, I’ll never give up!

    Comment by steph — February 1, 2010 @ 7:34 pm
  7. I have used minimum soap for 25 years. I use only a mild soap under my arms and in my “nether regions” then rinse it very thoroughly. If I use more soap I get dry, itchy and at times I get eczema on my hands from soap and detergents.

    I don’t think I’ve ever tried not using shampoo for a whole month because when I’ve tried it for a few days, my head gets very itchy and I can’t sleep. Don’t think I have the patience and strength to last through 3-4 weeks until – if? – it balances out for me.

    I do, however, use a tiny bit of shampoo and conditioner.

    Comment by Jim — February 2, 2010 @ 12:18 am
  8. ps. I also rarely use deodorant and my wife does not think I smell. I use it if I’m going to an important meeting or the doctor or dentist, but not in my daily life. When I do use it I use Crystal natural type.

    Comment by Jim — February 2, 2010 @ 12:19 am
  9. @rob I didn’t use tons of soap before, but cutting out the little bit made a huge difference. I don’t think length of time in the water makes any difference as I don’t generally take super hot showers anyway.

    Comment by Sean Bonner — February 2, 2010 @ 12:28 am
  10. I think I read the same (or similar) article and started down that road a little bit. I tried the baking soda/ACV combo on my hair but I couldn’t stick with it – my hair is should-blade length and was just too.. icky using that alone. I have switched to much milder soap/shampoo/conditioner with the hopes of getting soap-free eventually. I also cut out facial cleanser and am using the oil cleansing method on my face – still transitioning but I really like it.

    Thanks for sharing – good to read about someone else’s experience…

    Comment by Jill — February 2, 2010 @ 4:27 am
  11. The critique you selected is very interesting. The idea of the personal hygiene industry as self-perpetuating and sinister is novel (yet distinct from other possible criticisms of the products as being inherently dangerous or merely a placebo).

    The self-perpetuating aspect reminds me of something Chris Rock talks about in terms of there being no money in finding a cure – it’s all about repeat customers.

    “The thing that stuck out to me the most, and resonated with my own philosophy was that it seemed silly that we would have evolved into creatures that needed a bunch of corporately produced and marketed chemicals smeared all over our bodies everyday just to get by.”

    Is there a difference when ingesting, injecting, or absorbing corporately produced and marketed chemicals (specifically medicines or medical treatments) with respect to our evolution?

    Comment by Luke — February 2, 2010 @ 1:14 pm
  12. Google alerts does its job yet again. I’d have been disappointed to miss this. Glad it’s working out.

    Comment by Richard Nikoley — February 2, 2010 @ 8:48 pm
  13. I’m on day 6 and so far it’s working out great. I smell just fine. Quite neutral actually and since the soap isn’t washing off all the natural oil on my skin it’s handling the dry winter air much better. My hair is slowly coming back to normal and it still thinks I’m Elvis on a regular basis but I give it another week. I found that super hot water and a clean daily washcloth make a lot of difference on how well my skin does. All in all great one!

    Comment by Jason DeFillippo — February 7, 2010 @ 12:06 am
  14. Just found this after following a link trail from 750words and had to comment.

    I have been soap and shampoo free for several years now with no ill effects. At first I was quite secretive about it, fearing ridicule, but that worry has long since gone away.

    For a while I did use shampoo whenever I had been swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool but I don’t even bother with that any more. My bodies defences have worked how to deal sensibly with that chemical attack too.

    What about shaving? A while ago I changed to shaving with a little bit of oil rather than shaving foam or lotion. Now I just use water. No problems there now either.

    Comment by Frank Carver — February 7, 2010 @ 8:25 pm
  15. No Soap or Poo Update | Free The Animal mentioned this Article on

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  16. These self-experiments that are revolving out from and around Free The Animal are interesting, but what can we really know from them? For example, how much physical labor do you do? Would you describe yourself as generally anxious or not?

    In the summer, if I go for a bike ride and get thoroughly drenched with sweat while I’m not wearing many clothes and am free to the open air, I get told I smell great. However, in the winter, when I go to the gym, lift weights, and then bundle up, I smell terrible.

    There has got to be a reason people started using body cleansers. Personal hygiene is not an invention of Johnson & Johnson. Also, there are historical accounts of distasteful body odor issues. For example, when Commodore Perry went to Japan, the Japanese thought the Europeans smelled like animal fats.

    We need more and broader information about this.

    Comment by Chris — February 11, 2010 @ 4:23 pm
  17. Chris – Not using soap doesn’t mean not washing. I think that is the crux of this, I still bath very regularly myself. As for how active I am, I commute by bicycle in Los Angeles so I’m fairly active and it hasn’t been an issue. And historical accounts of how people smelled likely doesn’t play into this at all, as what you eat has a huge impact on how you smell so two cultures meeting for the first time with largely different diets would notice a difference regardless of their bathing practices. That said, there are also cultures that were known to promote perfume rather than bathing.

    I don’t support any of that, just take a shower every day and you are good.

    Comment by Sean Bonner — February 11, 2010 @ 8:49 pm
  18. Sean – stopped by after seeing we were linked on Free the Animal.

    @Chris – Part of self-experimenting is to see for yourself what the results are. Comparing notes with others may confirm results. Also, as you point out, it may serve as an echo chamber for a pre-existing set of beliefs.

    For me, self-experiments are approached as adjusting dials (think of adjusting the H and C settings for your shower), rather than looking for fixed rules. You have to dial in what works for you, without being swayed by the hype – no matter where it is coming from. Richard at Free the Animal does a good job of pointing this out and sticking to this rule, by amplifying the signal on reports of negative results.

    One benefit of self-experiments like this is that if a particular experiment is not working for you or it’s just not fun anymore, you can always go back to your old method of doing things.

    Comment by Adam — February 12, 2010 @ 12:22 am
  19. Yay, Sean! I’ve been off soap and shampoo for about 6 weeks and I feel very clean. My wife says I smell fine. She’s surprised that I don’t stink, but it’s true. Soap and shampoo are a scam.

    Comment by Mark Frauenfelder — February 16, 2010 @ 6:57 am
  20. good work Sean. I’ve been rolling this way for a little over a year now… very minimal soap basically a small amount for hands… no moisturizers, shampoo or lotions but try a bit of olive oil for your hair if you are looking to keep it combed or “styled.” great article.

    Comment by roadblock — February 22, 2010 @ 6:35 pm
  21. also, if you cook a lot, as I do, you dont need dishwashing soap. You just need to employ the “rinse it as you use it” technique with some hot water.

    Comment by roadblock — February 22, 2010 @ 7:22 pm
  22. Bike grease defeats you!

    Pretty cool experiment, I’m not sure I have the stones to try though.

    Comment by Alex Thompson — February 22, 2010 @ 7:43 pm
  23. Always wondered about this. Bernard Moitessier wrote that during his 1968 solo circumnavigation he only bathed with sea water and his skin was never healthier.

    Comment by Peter — February 24, 2010 @ 9:10 pm
  24. 28 days later – Jason DeFillippo mentioned this Article on

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  25. Very interesting article…I suffer from super-sensitive skin and use oatmeal & sens. skin soap, but I’m thinking this may work for me as well! Definetely something to think about.


    Comment by Eves — March 5, 2010 @ 4:40 pm
  26. Congratulations.

    If you really want to take this seriously, you might consider buying natural deodorants that do not contain aluminum or parabens as most deodorants do. Or at least look into the ingredients on the deodorant that you do use.

    Deodorant can be very harmful because it is full of powerful chemicals and is soaked directly into your skin, not far from you heart. In fact, aluminum from deodorant can often be found in women’s breast milk. Just something to think about..

    Anyways, I could rant forever, but I’ll spare you..

    Good luck to you and congrats on the progress

    Comment by Kirsten — March 21, 2010 @ 11:43 pm
  27. Kristen-

    If I was using something and decided to not use anything, how is using something different taking it seriously? I think using nothing is taking it pretty damn seriously. And just for the record, almost 3 months now using nothing and it’s amazing.

    Comment by Sean Bonner — March 22, 2010 @ 12:54 am
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  29. Sean

    Was throwing this article around in my mind for a few months, before biting the bullet and giving it a shot. Actually we ran out of shampoo and I couldn’t be arsed to buy any more, which I guess was what tipped me over to trying this full on.

    I say full on – actually I’ve only cut out shampoo/conditioner for the month. I’m still using a little soap for privates.

    So I’m now 10 days into my no-shampoo experiment…

    To be honest, in the shower my hair feels like how a duck’s feathers would feel after it was caught in an oil slick… pretty gross on the whole.

    My girlfriend tells me it smells like wet dog, but only up close, I mean I haven’t noticed people actively moving away from me (any more than usual).

    Itchy scalp is completely gone but my forehead is getting greasy every day. Looking forward to seeing how this pans out after another 10 days :)

    Thanks for the idea!

    Comment by Joss — March 29, 2010 @ 9:51 pm
  30. From May 2009 to March 2010, I walked the length of Italy. On some days I was nearly drowning in my own sweat from 50+ kilometer walks. Never once did I use soap or shampoo. My body produces, just like everyone else’s, the perfect level of oils and salts needed for my skin to be perfectly healthy and to maintain a reasonable scent. Why mess with it and spend money on chemicals which only produce a need for even more chemicals?

    Frank Carver, I am agree also on no shaving cream, and my shaves are just as close and cut free as they were when I did use the stuff.

    I will add though, that diet plays an important part in the stinkyness equation, and I would be a bit more aware of my scent a day after chowing down a garlicy/cheesy pizza :)

    And still, most people think I am nuts. I am glad to see there are others out there!

    Comment by Roberto — April 14, 2010 @ 5:12 pm
  31. I’ve been shampoo/soap free for 6 weeks now. I enjoy showers a lot more because there’s no more work in it, it’s just time to relax and soak up the steam and hot water. I found the adjustment period was a bit difficult to deal with; as some others have pointed out, you start to feel pretty grungy and greasy, and have dandruff whereas you may not have before. If I recall correctly, it took about 2-3 weeks to pass that stage, and then everything is as should be, without pouring all your money down the drain to boot. The only problem I have is if I wait too long between showers, it’s like the readjustment period starts all over, and the grease and dandruff are back. One thing to take into consideration in my situation though, is that my hormones may still be out of whack as I just had a baby 4 months ago.

    Oh and one other thing I should mention, in case anybody is wondering – I dyed my hair a few months ago (before I started this new method) and it seems to work just fine regardless. I lose a TONNE of hair, but that started before I stopped using shampoo, so it’s more likely to be linked to the postnatal hormones than anything else.

    Comment by Mandie — May 6, 2010 @ 11:38 pm
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  33. Thanks for sharing your journey. I recently started experimenting with baking soda and vinegar in my hair, but I wonder if just water and a good scalp massage would do the trick…I’ll definitely stop using soap on my body and just see what happens. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Comment by Eco-Vegan Gal — May 25, 2010 @ 5:31 am
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  35. I have been using minimal soap and shampoo my whole life and have always had great hair and skin, much to the amazement of all my girlfriends over the years. They always had problems and they all used tons of chemicals, and now I hear the same from my wife. HA!

    Like eating Paleo, it all just makes so much damn sense!

    Comment by Jon — June 25, 2010 @ 2:17 am
  36. what kind of soap have you been using?
    i use a little natural olive oil soap on body and hair and havent had any problems :-)
    what about your water quality? i hear that the chlorine in the water is what is most dangerous for your skin expecially in a hot shower when all your pores are opened up…

    will try stopping olive oil soap to see if my skin gets even better 😉

    thank you for the xperiment and sharing

    Comment by benji — June 28, 2010 @ 10:10 pm
  37. I have just started not using soap and shampoo…My scalp has always been crazy and I have tried everything else. I have been washing my hair once a week or maybe twice every once in awhile, so I’m excited to try not using any at all. I also have only been using natural shampoos for over a year now. I like the concept. it seems to just make sense. here is my question, how do you shave? I’m nervous about not using any soap or shave lotion. I was thinking maybe a cleansing oil or something? Dose anyone have suggestions or what have you noticed?

    Comment by abigail — July 21, 2010 @ 4:18 pm
  38. wow… i think this is amazing… i always knew that soaps and shappoos were bad for you.. but just maybe 2 weeks ago.. this lady that i know saw some soap in our bathroom.. i think dial soap.. anyways she told me that our bodies dont need any antibacterials that are in soaps and that our bodies have natural antimicrobials that when we use soap all of that is washed away… she also said that she quit using soap many years ago and her skin is really soft.. so ever since then i tried it and i found that I actually stink less… to be completely honest i havent touched any soap since then (well for bath time anyways) only to wash my hands before i eat do I use soap.. but I kid you not.. i can sweat all day long and not smell like anything..I mean before I would sweat and smell like a man… no joke…. now my BO is nuetral… i was sooo surprised… and now i realize that soap actually makes you stink.. and i also find that i have less and less skin problems since i stopped using soap.. now as for the shappoo i guess I’ll have to give that another try because i have this dark thick spanish hair that gets really oily.. so i guess I’ll have to go without shappoo for a month and see what happens………..totally looking forward to it 😉 thank you for sharing!!! loved the article…

    Comment by zai — August 18, 2010 @ 4:35 pm
  39. I stopped and started this twice after really brief periods because of the dandruff but I’ve kept it going for a couple of months now and my hair and scalp are definitely better than before. I do have to say though that, in my case, it seems like Rob’s theory about the temperature and shower length affecting dandruff holds weight. Even one day standing in a hot shower for a while can bring about pretty significant dandruff that takes days to take care of. Perhaps the fact that I don’t have to lather and wait for two minutes for the shampoo to do it’s tingly magic is partly the cause for my scalp feeling better, but my actual hair feels way nicer now than it ever did before.

    Comment by Thomas — August 26, 2010 @ 9:09 am
  40. Another angle that I’ve just read about is that it can take something like 48 hours for vitamin D precursors to be absorbed after exposing your skin to the sun. So by using soap and shampoo you are limiting how much of this increasingly important vitamin you produce. Another good reason to limit the use of detergents – I try and use very sparingly now

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/05/12/shocking-update-sunshine-can-actually-decrease-your-vitamin-d-levels.aspx and go to the “What Does Showering Have to Do With Your Vitamin D Levels?” section

    Comment by Rob — September 13, 2010 @ 10:33 pm
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  42. Not to be gross but i have a serious question. My body has trouble digesting many foods and i often have diarrhea. Id like to try this no soap/shampoo thing but id be worried about smell down there after a battle with stomache troubles and no soap! Can you offer some insight into this type of issue in particular?

    Also, i have a serious ingrown facial hair problem, do any of you who dont use shaving cream or moisturizers know the cure to ingrowns?

    Comment by Chris — November 8, 2010 @ 1:23 am
  43. "…it seemed silly that we would have evolved into creatures that needed a bunch of corporately…" mentioned this Article on

  44. Your digestive concerns should be addressed by a specialist if that option is available to you. You might have to clean those areas more than once a day it sounds. You could use a clean wash cloth every day and very warm water with rinses in between if you did not want to use soap but most people would probably use soap to ensure that the suds from the soap were carrying those particles away with the water. The soap suds help to lift and carry the particles away with the water. I would recommend using soap in those areas. I gathered from the comments that most people were not using soap for the entire body in huge amounts on a consistent basis. Soap can be very drying.

    Another thing to consider when bathing is the type of soap, and the type of water you have. If you soften your water, soap will lather easier, soap will take longer to rinse from the skin and if it is not rinsed out all of the way it will sit further drying the skin. If you have hard water, the water itself can leave residue, and if you combine that with soap you have a cumulative effect.

    Comment by meranda — November 21, 2010 @ 5:12 am
  45. Take my word for it – this works! You stink some at the beginning as the body starts to regain normality after years of chemical abuse. I use a technique called preening, which only requires plain warm water and the palms of your hands. Preening is how birds keep their plumage clean, glossy and supple. They dab their beaks in their purcellin gland and then spread the oily secretions all over their body. Similarly, animals with fur lick themselves to spread certain oils in the fur all over their fuzzy coats. Your face and scalp are the largest sources of sebaceous secretions, followed by your armpits and groin/buttcrack. These are the areas with the densest concentration of hair follicles. In the shower, you use your palms in a gentle rubbing action to spread the body’s natural oils from these parts to drier bits: from face to hands, wrists and forearms; from scalp to ankles, shins, calves, knees, thighs and butt; from armpits to underarms, elbows, shoulders and flanks; from chest to midriff and back; and from buttcrack/groin to feet and between toes. The order is important because you finish with the dirtiest parts last. (You spend more time and water on these latter parts. The buttcrack and groin are best dealt with in squatting position.) You then step out of the shower and wash your palms with soap. You don’t use a towel to dry off. Instead, after standing outside the shower naked for a few moments (perhaps the time it takes to brush your teeth), you repeat the preening sequence again, using the little wetness on your skin that hasn’t evaporated as a light moisturizer. You leave your skin supple, hydrated and with most of its natural protective oil coating preserved. For nasty smells, povidone iodine solution (Betadine) works better than caustic soda, coconut oil, cider vinegar or anything else that might irritate your skin, smell or ruin your clothes. You rub it on the offending parts a few minutes before your shower. You preen it off with water in the shower. It leaves no smell, stains or greasiness and its powerful antimicrobial action gives you several days of protection before you have to worry about repeat application. Best of all, it doesn’t saponify the natural oils in your hairy parts. Over time, your natural oily secretions take over the antiseptic role, and you depend less and less on applying anything under your pits and bits. The benefits I have experienced with soapless are virtually everything everyone has said. But in my case, I have also noticed the healing of wounds and scratches at warp speed, and the conspicuous absence of groin itches and athlete’s foot.

    Comment by Gruesome — November 25, 2010 @ 11:55 am
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  47. Same experiment a success here.

    I read The Secret House when I was a teenager and it made me ask the same questions of most of everyday nonsense : what makes it do its thing and can I replace it ?

    The first thing I rid myself of was butter & margarine – I’m not living as a yak herder, I get too many calories, not need to find a way to concentrate them!

    Later was fancy soap & shampoo, then soap altogether.

    People look at me like I’m a dirty weirdo if I ever tell them (which I learned to stop doing!). But until then they have no idea. They do, however, usually remark I don’t look as old as my years when they ask me how old I am. I put that down to a soapless lifetime.

    Comment by maht — December 6, 2010 @ 3:24 pm
  48. Is washing with soap compatible with Paleo principles? - Quora mentioned this Article on

  49. Who here was complaining about dry skin when using soap and used 100% of the time quality soap? Hint: anything from j&j is not.

    My dry skin is gone if I bath with cocoa butter soap. I also take two baths a day -brazillian thing. And only use shampoo in the morning one. As for deodorant don’t use the aluminum suppressor, use real deodorant, the ones with potassium or orther stuff that kills bacterias and not your glands.

    Finally using soap is to make the bath quicker. Arguing that water only is quicker really triggered my shit-radar

    Comment by gabe — December 6, 2010 @ 4:30 pm
  50. do you use shaving creme? i guess we didn’t evolve to shave… oh what about toothpaste?

    Comment by andres — December 6, 2010 @ 5:07 pm
  51. Adam Carolla got me to stop using shampoo. He made the brilliant point that he’s never seen a bald homeless man.

    Comment by Ben — December 6, 2010 @ 8:33 pm
  52. re: shaving: King of Shaves makes a shaving oil. I know, the point of this is to stick it to the man, man, and not be scammed… so… likely you could use olive oil or whatever.

    Comment by nzc — December 6, 2010 @ 9:57 pm
  53. THANK YOU for continuing to wash your HANDS WITH SOAP.

    Lately there’s this really really effing weird thing where a lot of folks don’t wash their hands AT ALL. Either it’s laziness, stupidity, being poorly raised, or a general new-age thing about “not using soap.”

    Heck I’m totally cool with anyone not wanting to use soap, shampoo, etc, that’s your business. But unless you live and work by yourself, in a cave or garage in the boondocks or something, washing your HANDS isn’t about YOU – it’s about those around you!

    Comment by Justin D — December 6, 2010 @ 11:51 pm
  54. Have you tried Dr. Bronner’s magic soaps? Good stuff, ayurvedic doctors recommend to use soap sparingly. Can use occasionally.

    Comment by ankur sethi — December 7, 2010 @ 1:32 am
  55. “My wife says I don’t stink” is not science. I want a double blind sniff test of twins anuses before I believe it. The internet needs less anecdotes for anonymous weirdos and more science.

    Comment by Aaron — December 7, 2010 @ 2:04 pm
  56. I haven’t used soap or shampoo in a year, and it’s awesome: personal experiment update | Geek News and Musings mentioned this Article on

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  58. I’ve been soapless for quite a while and can attest that my skin looks better. It might be that less hot water washes over me, but I’m pretty sure that the soap thing is part of it, too. There’s something I haven’t figured out, though. Anybody know if a good old moisturizer will detract from the skin’s health if not using soap? Mixed results for me.

    Comment by halfway house — January 5, 2011 @ 5:21 am
  59. I haven’t used soap or shampoo in a year, and it’s awesome: personal experiment update · Bizarre – Oddities mentioned this Article on

  60. Something to think about when people mention Commodore Perry going to Japan and the Japanese thinking that Europeans (Westerners) smelled like animal fats is that at the time (1853 ) the Japanese were bathing daily. Frequently more than once a day when the situation called for it. Europeans/Westerners would typically set aside Saturday to clean off before Sunday church.

    In fact, It was the Europeans/Westerners that became intrigued with the bathing habits of the Japanese.

    That’s not to say that diet didn’t play a part how we smelled but the bathing habits of both civilizations were quite different at the time.

    Comment by Scott — January 5, 2011 @ 10:32 pm
  61. 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.

    Comment by Abe — January 5, 2011 @ 10:53 pm
  62. I haven’t gone quite as far as this guy has but more so than most. I use cheap shampoo and conditioner – my hair is long – but that’s it. No deodorant either. I thought the deodorant thing was a scam long ago but used Neutrogena bar soap for ages. I liked the smell. I ran out one day and just never bought another. I think it helps that I neither smoke nor drink. I do take some vitamins as well. I suspect the B-complex helps a lot. At home I use the ethanol/glycerin “soap” to wash my hands. I like the citrusy Froot Loops smell rather than of the perfumed hand soaps.

    Comment by Fred — January 6, 2011 @ 9:36 am
  63. Daily hygiene regimen with soap and shampoo is not strictly about skin care and odor prevention. It is an essential disease prevention step.

    Yes, humans survived for millennia without soap and shampoo, but humans also had an average life span less than half of today’s.

    The point of washing yourself is to help prevent the spread of communicable diseases like lice, skin fungus, bacteria, etc.

    It’s a bit like vaccination. A single person can fail to receive a vaccine and most likely be OK. Because everyone around them is vaccinated, there is little chance to encounter the disease. However, if a lot of people fail to receive the vaccine, then there is a larger chance that an outbreak will occur.

    If a couple of people stop using soap, we’ll probably all still be OK. But if a lot of people give up soap, don’t be surprised if there are widespread health repercussions involving some diseases that have been unfamiliar for a century.

    Realize that when you give up soap, you are taking advantage of the benefit provided by everyone else using soap.

    Comment by Robin — January 6, 2011 @ 5:02 pm
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  66. @Robin That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Comment by Sean Bonner — January 7, 2011 @ 4:34 am
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    Trackback by Quora — January 7, 2011 @ 6:07 am
  68. Hey Sean — I want to try this but just had a couple questions — Since you wash your hands with soap, do you also use lotion for your hands to replace the moisture? Also — What about sunscreen? I have found sunscreen — the good kind, like California Baby — can be tough to get off without soap. Sunscreen’s kind of a must in SoCal — but even the good kind is made with chemical-y stuff, which I would guess messes a bit with the body’s natural moisture-balancing act…. Do you just let some of the sunscreen residue sit or is there a secret for getting sunscreen off the body? Body brush maybe?

    Comment by green LA girl — January 7, 2011 @ 6:40 pm
  69. @greenLAgirl – I’ve never had a problem with dry hands so I don’t use anything actually, I know some people use lotion all the time but I never have so not advice there. And I generally avoid the sun unless I’m doing some specific activity and that usually results in needing a shower afterwards so I haven’t noticed this being an issue. I don’t wear sunscreen on a daily basis.

    Comment by Sean Bonner — January 7, 2011 @ 7:06 pm
  70. I’m interested in trying this because I have similar problems with dry skin and dandruff, BUT I also have very long hair that tends to get disgustingly stringy and greasy without shampoo. Any idea whether it would work on longer hair in the same way as yours? I have heard rumor that hair has a natural cleansing cycle after a certain period of time, but I’ve always been skeptical and reluctant to test it out… and I can’t wear hats to work every day.

    Comment by liney — January 7, 2011 @ 9:18 pm
  71. I haven’t used soap in 13 years. I only use it to wash my hands after touching things with potentially bad bacteria, like after using a toilet or touching raw meat. Since I stopped using soap I have never been sick – never had a cold, nothing. Your skin is covered with good bacteria, and if you upset the balance, it leaves room for bad bacteria to invade. It’s like keeping a good bacterial balance in your gut with pro-biotics, but it’s on your outside, which is just as important to keep safe and healthy.

    Warm water and a loofah is enough to get off sunscreen, although I sometimes use a soapless wash like cetaphil lotion to remove make-up.

    I have very long hair, but I only wash it once a month and make sure the shampoo doesn’t stay on my scalp long enough to dry it out, although I still condition my hair once a week. I have never had dandruff. I used to wash it more often and that made it greasy. After about one month of no washing it (I was in Africa with limited clean water) my scalp started to change the way it felt. Now after I towel dry it after the shower, I put a gentle body moisturizer in it (Vaseline intensive care body lotion) and it stays shiny and soft.

    Comment by Ani Lack — January 8, 2011 @ 3:48 am
  72. @Sean

    re: @Robin That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    MRSA. and try not to be such a close-minded asshole when someone makes a valid point.

    Comment by molecule — January 8, 2011 @ 5:57 am
  73. @molecule – It’s not a valid point, it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Comment by Sean Bonner — January 8, 2011 @ 8:21 pm
  74. @Sean

    re: @Robin That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    re:@molecule – It’s not a valid point, it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Man it’s a pretty valid point…even if it wasn’t that’s not the way to answer. You can disagree with whatever, just do it maturely.
    It makes me wonder if the article and the comment were written by the same person…big difference in idio(t)syncrasy.

    Comment by Ermis — January 9, 2011 @ 5:02 pm
  75. @Ermis – it’s not a valid point, it’s insulting and obnoxious. The smallest amount of research can show that argument is completely baseless. This is my personal blog, it’s like my house – there’s no reason to be respectful to someone who comes into your house and insults you.

    Comment by Sean Bonner — January 9, 2011 @ 6:04 pm
  76. In high school I tried using only water to wash my face for about a year. The result? I was **totally** zitty. Of course, I was zitty using soap and other stuff, too.

    Some people will be zitty naturally and some people will get sick more often and some people will have a higher pain tolerance. I don’t think there’s much we can do to change that.

    But I’m in complete agreement that we could all do with fewer “products.” Your entire torso is covered with clothing and almost all of your body is covered in the winter. So I don’t think that it needs to be disinfected with Dial daily to prevent some horrible disease pandemic.

    Comment by Andiscandis — January 9, 2011 @ 10:04 pm
  77. I worked at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh during the 70’s. The infection control department did a study of the effectiveness of just rinsing your hands well (nurses) and found that it worked as well as a quick handwash. Of course, that was before some of today’s nastier germs. But I’m sure that a general body rinsing does the same thing.

    Comment by Carole Leonardis — January 10, 2011 @ 2:51 am
  78. Hey Sean, great idea, I’m doing it too. Have a couple of questions, do you think it would affect in any way the use of hair gel? Do u use it? And for shaving, I’m doin it only with water, do u use something like an aftershave, or u just leave it like that? Thanks!

    Comment by Roger — January 10, 2011 @ 4:02 am
  79. Sean, I read your article on [deleted spammy content stealing site link] and want to share my experience with you. It is about four months that I have not used shampoo and conditioner. My experience is that my hair is more manageable (curly like yours) and there is less in my brush indicative of decreased hair loss (I am in my late forties). Also no unpleasant odors per wife and friends who thought I am using a new shampoo!
    I wanted to try not using body soap but was concerned about odor. Because of your success, I will start not using body soap from tomorrow.
    Thanks . . . . Pirooz

    Comment by Pirooz — January 10, 2011 @ 6:24 am
  80. on not using soap and shampoo mentioned this Article on

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  81. I haven’t used soap or shampoo in at least 25 years. That is a good start, Sean, as far as doing away with useless products. I also haven’t used toothpaste (i use hydrogen peroxide), shaving cream, deodorant, or any other form of creams or lotions in at least 25 years. The only things I put on my body are water, fresh aloe, fresh coconut oil, hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol. And, by the way, it’s impossible to be cleaner or more odor-free than I am!

    Comment by Doc Noss — January 10, 2011 @ 10:56 am
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  83. I stopped using shampoo and in 1 week my psoriasis type condition that I had for 25 years disappeared!
    I couldn’t believe it, I had been plagued by that nuisance that itched, bled and flaked for so long that I assumed that it was normal.
    Now when my hair gets a little oily, I just take a 1/2 cup of OJ or grapefruit juice in the shower and scrub my hair to remove excess oils.

    Comment by Dave — January 10, 2011 @ 1:16 pm
  84. @Sean

    re: @Ermis – it’s not a valid point, it’s insulting and obnoxious.

    It’s a valid point, and it’s enough respectfully put IMO.

    re: @Ermis – The smallest amount of research can show that argument is completely baseless.

    Really ? Then why not do it, to prove that you’re right once and for all ?

    re: @Ermis – This is my personal blog, it’s like my house – there’s no reason to be respectful to someone who comes into your house and insults you.

    You’re not in you house ; you’re at your front step with a loudspeaker making a claim. Here is the occasion to strenghten your point by countering your opponent with valid arguments. Why not take it seriously ?

    Comment by Aurel — January 10, 2011 @ 1:30 pm
  85. @Aurel

    It’s not a valid point because it’s bullshit. It would have to have some basis in fact to be a valid point. The numerous comments on this very post as well as the one on BoingBoing from medical professionals confirm that it’s completely baseless. I don’t need to prove anything, as I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’m talking about something I did, and my experience with it. I don’t care if you believe me or not, but I didn’t come into your house, you came into mine. You chose to come to my blog and to read my post, you opted in. I have all the proof I need.

    Comment by Sean Bonner — January 10, 2011 @ 3:50 pm
  86. I’ve cut way back on the amount of mild shampoo I use, but in the summer I’m more likely to use a little, winter way less .Some wash their hair daily can’t see doing that. Conditioners help, but will try to cut back. So much bathroom clutter and much thrown out so will try to use way less of it from now on. I really hate sunscreen and stay out of the sun during peak hours. I use creams and lotions (organic).

    Comment by laura m. — January 10, 2011 @ 8:42 pm
  87. Holy Cow!

    Thanks for sharing this and for the BoingBoing update.

    I can’t believe this. Why didn’t anyone tell me this sooner?
    The difference isn’t just okay or tolerable; it’s amazing.

    I agree Sean, I feel that I’ve been duped somehow for 30 + years!
    I started this 5 days ago and I’m stunned, positively stunned!
    And I’m not overstating this at all.

    [Sean, please feel free to delete this paragraph if it’s not completely kosher with you.
    I only just created this blog to post helpful links and my experience with going soap and shampoo free & not sure what else I’ll ever do with it.]
    Detail of my experience will be up on my blogger blog ( voxaudi dot blogspot dot com ).
    While there are many I’m reluctant to point here, there are more people I know – and anyone who wants to read – who should know about this.

    While the hair is a little weird and my scalp is going crazy – I will stick this out.
    …Because from day one I’ve had less than 20% – and some times less than 1% – of the BO I had using soap, shower get, etc.

    After reading Sean’s experience and the some of the linked “paleo” stuff, I assumed I’d be in for a few weeks of heavy and unpleasant smell while my body rebalanced. So, while the hair thing is still readjusting and I’ll see how that goes, the body and skin are loving this: Soft skin that doesn’t itch. Far fewer skin irritations, pimples, etc. – not that I ever had a lot.

    But, the biggest and most noticeable improvement and surprise is little or no body odor, far less than with soap: Now, at the end of a day – or the next morning before showering, when my odor was usually strongest – I’m estimating (and wife agrees)that it’s even less than half of what I used to have after an hour post shower with soap.

    My wife’s reaction is a little more mild; she actually likes me just a little bit smelly. And she’s not yet convinced that no soap is a good idea. But, in the with-soap days when I didn’t shower 1st thing in the morning or right after a work-out or hard physical work, she would point me to the shower – and I’d agree. Now, she doesn’t quite believe that I’m still showering only once a day and not smelling as much as I’m not.

    I didn’t tell her until day two. I hadn’t planned to tell her until wither things evened out or I gave up. But already the results are so dumbfoundingly positive I had to spill.

    This is great and why would I ever go back!? Five days in and two fairly hard work out days – one in the gym and one in the yard and I’m not only a convert, I’m quickly turning into an evangelist. Thanks again, Sean!

    …and @ Robin… …to Aurel: Yeah, that’s non sequitur nonsense. Is the only reason I’m having a good experience with this and not dying of – or spreading – some horrible disease because everyone else is so unhealthy with artificially skewed skin environments and biota that self-perpetuates the need for further artificial interventions that aren’t anywhere near as good or desirable as doing nothing (water only washing)? I still intend to wash my hands (and feet) when they are soiled with infection potential sources. Doesn’t mean I need to join the heard of corporate hygiene product consumer fodder. It’s equally valid to argue that deodorant, soap, shampoo and anti-bacterial products are responsible for the rise in MRSA-type super bugs. Come to think of it…

    @ the Vaccination analogy: Is that any reason to force those who are most sensitive and vulnerable to side-effects to get life-threatening (for them) vaccinations? No, it’s further justification that those few who shouldn’t, can’t or choose not to receive them will have some measure of protection too.

    Daren / VoxAudi

    Comment by VoxAudi — January 10, 2011 @ 9:16 pm
  88. Sean, thanks for sharing your experience. I still find it necessary to use cleansing agents to remove the buildup of oil, grease, and basic grime when I shower. However, it’s absolutely unnecessary to use the harmful, chemically-bloated products sold over the counter as “soap” and “shampoo”. For washing my hair, I do the baking soda and apple-cider vinegar routine, and for soap I use a basic olive-oil based castile soap. For those concerned about germs, lice, dirt, etc., this is all you need to achieve maximum cleanliness. The chemicals in most commerical products are harmful, counter-productive, and perpetuate the skin conditions they claim to cure (excessive dryness or oiliness, dandruff, etc.) just as Mr. Bonner remarked.

    And also, naysayers, if you actually read Sean’s article you’d see that he still washes his hands at the crucial times when harmful germs accumulate or need to be removed– before and after cooking, using the bathroom, etc. Using excess chemicals beyond those times harms your body’s natural defenses and is completely counter-productive. The dangers of anti-bacterial gels and sprays are well-documented and have given rise to extra-resilient harmful bacteria. The improvements in sanitation that have contributed to our longer life expectancy over the past hundred years have come from education and better refrigeration and waste-management systems, not from a proliferation of Pantene.

    Comment by Cristy — January 10, 2011 @ 10:05 pm
  89. just found this article – i have been using only oils to bathe with in the last few months, due to everything else i was allergic to, and my skin feels like new !!!…i felt like this was my weird secret, and feel weird teling people oh i bathe with olive oil, etc.. ..now i am reading so many others do this !!
    what do you use for your hair?? or what is the best ??


    Comment by debbie — January 10, 2011 @ 10:50 pm
  90. So what do you use to shave with, not shaving cream?
    Doc Noss: I also haven’t used toothpaste (i use hydrogen peroxide), shaving cream, deodorant, or any other form of creams or lotions in at least 25 years.
    Water only not shaving cream, thanks in think.

    Comment by Stephen R. Zimmett — January 11, 2011 @ 12:12 am
  91. You could also get rid of the pesky underarm deoderant as well. I have been usung baking soda(sodium bicarbonate) as deoderant for two years or so and have no BO problems what so ever. I use a light paste dabbed under my arms after showering and have zero odour. Bicarb lasts until I repeat the process at my next shower sometimes forty eight hours later. You will still perspire but it will have no bad smell and your body will be cooled naturally as nature intends.

    Comment by antihistrymeme — January 11, 2011 @ 1:10 am
  92. “Of course I very rarely get headaches or sick which helps. Maybe those two are related, the people I know who are always sick and always having headaches and always taking things to suppress those symptoms.”

    I recently was feeling a little congested, and just a tad under the weather. I took the generic brand of Claritin, and the next day it knocked me right on my ass. I didn’t leave my bed for about 2 days I was so sick. It took nearly a week to near a full recovery(I did 60 pull ups and 120 pushups) at which time I was still a bit congested. I took another Claritin, and once again I got knocked on my ass.

    Those pills are now in the trash.

    Comment by Rob — January 11, 2011 @ 3:42 pm
  93. For those concerned about soap and bath gel already purchased, you can use these for hand washing (even shampoo.) I have a couple of empty foam-producing pump jars, and I have been filling them 3/4 with water and the rest with shower gel, shampoo, or other washing products and I used them for handwashing in the kitchen and bath.

    Comment by Carole — January 11, 2011 @ 3:55 pm
  94. Does any one have an answer to this question:

    So what do you use to shave with, not shaving cream?
    Doc Noss: I also haven’t used toothpaste (i use hydrogen peroxide), shaving cream, deodorant, or any other form of creams or lotions in at least 25 years.
    Water only not shaving cream, thanks in think.

    I fear that just using water would somehow just damage my face, so what does anyone use??

    I guess I found my answer using Baby Oil:Tired of nicks and bleeding all over your face after each shave? Use baby oil. It acts as a shield and protects your face from nicks and irritation when used as shaving cream. The blade may not glide smoothly over baby oil, but you’ll finish shaving without a drop of blood on your face. Another drawback is that it may gunk up the razor, so removing hair from it is more difficult. You don’t need to apply any lotion or cream after you’re done shaving with baby oil, because you’ll find that your face is already sufficiently smooth and lubricated.

    Comment by Stephen R. Zimmett — January 11, 2011 @ 7:11 pm
  95. Mr. Zimmett, I have never used anything but water to shave with for decades now. I personally have never had any skin problems as a result of this, though I would imagine that everyone’s skin is different, and so I guess it’s possible that some might have a negative reaction. But I really don’t think so, because the skin might just require an adjustment period before it gets accustomed to this.

    Comment by Doc Noss — January 11, 2011 @ 7:56 pm
  96. For shaving, do it in the shower after a few minutes of the warm water and steam getting your skin soft. For men, get a shower mirror with anti-fog and use it to shave with a regular razor, but just use the hot water instead of any soap or shaving cream, and moisturize as soon as you get out and dry off.

    Comment by Ani Lack — January 12, 2011 @ 11:24 pm
  97. Again thanks for the comment. I tried this yesterday. Used hot water after showering. shaved, no cuts then put on some baby oil and shaved again. Skin felt soft and the shave was very close. Steve Zimmett

    Comment by Stephen R. Zimmett — January 12, 2011 @ 11:48 pm
  98. What is the purpose of the baby oil? It is known to cause dandruff when used in the scalp, which means it will dry out your skin. I don’t understand what good it can possibly do.

    Comment by Doc Noss — January 13, 2011 @ 12:12 am
  99. I find that if you put on oils or lotions, your skin will acclimate and will produce less oil, causing dependency on topical oils . . . . Pirooz

    Comment by Pirooz — January 13, 2011 @ 3:37 pm
  100. What about after a workout or a real hot sweaty day?

    Comment by ken — January 13, 2011 @ 11:18 pm
  101. Ken, if you have made your body used to expecting soap, then it’s going to need it after you sweat. Once the bacteria on your skin is in balance with your own oils and no added chemicals, then you won’t need soap anymore. I still use a mild deodorant, but that is just habit – I may not need it. I still sweat but it smells different – less acidic and not nearly as strong as before the change over. Maybe pick a month where you won’t be doing things that make you sweat so much and make the change then.

    Comment by Ani Lack — January 13, 2011 @ 11:58 pm
  102. What about after you swim?

    I want to try this, but I occasionally style my hair with products. Can that be washed out completely simply with water?

    Comment by curious — January 14, 2011 @ 12:42 am
  103. I’m afraid gel based or oil based products cannot come out with just water so you will need something stronger to break it down – try citrus juice. Just water is fine after swimming, although if you swim in a heavily chlorinated pool, the chlorine will soak into your skin and hair and you will need harsher chemicals to get those smells out. If you don’t mind the chlorine smell, then you will definitely be clean with warm water, but as a general rule I would try to avoid too much chlorine because it’s very damaging to cells and it soaks into your skin continuing to dry it out.

    Comment by Ani Lack — January 14, 2011 @ 12:16 pm
  104. All soap essentially does is lube your skin up to make the germs literally “slip” off. It sounds pretty gross, basic and simple all at the same time, but thats how it works. Unless it antibacterial, which most hand soaps or body washes are not. So having a long and effective rinse would work just as well as lubing up with soap. Your hair produces natural oils to do what all these shampoos try to replicate artificially yet not nearly as effectively. I do think Robin up top had some valid points but it is also a good idea to look at the times when all those plagues broke out, and the places. People do not generally live on farms and interact with potentially bacteria infested places as much as they used to since its 2011. So bathroom visits etc… should still be handled with some antibacterial soap but I believe you’d be alright with the no soap process. Also, note how all those shampoos and soaps always say “do not ingest, if swallowed seek immediate medical attention.”
    Anyone out there think of how your skin is porous and everything you put on your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream? How is that any different than swallowing some if it ends up in your bloodstream anyways? Think that might have anything to do with all of the increases in cancers? I’m not a doctor but a little questioning and common sense never required med school.

    Comment by Eric Angrest — January 16, 2011 @ 10:49 pm
  105. Hi Sean! I just read the article about your no-poo and soap project from Finnish paper and I think that’s great! I have never even thought about not using those chemicals into my hair and skin.
    Because I’m a woman and use make-up, what would be the most natural way to wash it off? I think using just water is not enough. And I’m not that pretty that I could be without :-). Has anyone any ideas since I want to try this.

    Comment by Outi Virtanen — January 19, 2011 @ 10:05 am
  106. @outi virtanen

    I use a non-soap cleanser on my face to remove makeup – Cetaphil or Philosophy Purity Made Simple. Works like a dream, no drying or other problem.

    No makeup? Warm water and a clean washcloth AM and PM.

    Comment by Carole — January 19, 2011 @ 8:36 pm
  107. I’m just curious about your actual showering practices. Do you still use a wash-cloth? Or do you just rinse? When you rinse your hair do you run a comb or brush through it?

    Comment by Gillis — January 20, 2011 @ 9:47 pm
  108. No washcloth, just hands and a loofah for the less sensitive areas. Fingers or comb through my hair.

    Comment by Ani Lack — January 20, 2011 @ 10:06 pm
  109. I haven’t used soap on my body for months now, and I don’t think I will ever go back. However, I had to start using shampoo/conditioner again because my hair got too oily and it started to smell unclean… like oily hair (sebum). So what do you people do?

    My job requires me to wear a hat all day long, so I think that that factor contributes to the smell of my hair. I tried diluting baking soda in water and using that to clean my hair/scalp, but it didn’t really help with the smell.

    Any ideas?

    Comment by Rick — January 21, 2011 @ 5:27 am
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  111. I have long hair and about two years I tried not using shampoo and conditioner for a month to see what happened.

    Now, I never use shampoo except when coming home from burning man (eeeww!) I don’t condition regularly either. My hair in fact does the very best when I do absolutely nothing to it. I don’t even style it any more with heat or products. I sometimes condition it after I scrub my scalp,but that mostly so it doesn’t get all tangly when its wet.

    I work a very respectable professional job and often people tell me that I smell good and that my hair smells good (when I get hugs!) I figure, if they’re not disgusted then I’m cool. My hair has this amazing wave and fluff, but not frizz, that I could never get it to do consistently before. Win!

    If my scalp starts to get flaky then I’ll scrub it under the shower. This maybe happens once every two weeks. Otherwise I scrub my body in the shower and shave with bronners soap – no chemicals and great slip. I found that shaving oil + leg hair just makes my razors gross. And most of the time I just twist my hair up into a bun when I shower, don’t even get it wet.

    I’m much happier with my hair and overall self image now that I don’t wash, blow dry, straighten, pomade, and spritz my hair every day. I feel better. I spend WAY less time in the bathroom! I feel like my appearance is not affected by my outward behavior so dramatically, and that people are seeing me the way I am- not how I spent an hour making myself, you know?

    Comment by Aurora — January 26, 2011 @ 12:03 am
  112. Well, I may hate you a little, but it is a good thing. Read BB, and am currently on day 2 of the ‘experiment’ my hair feels super oily, and my butt kinda icky, but maybe that is from riding in to work today.

    hot shower in the morning, with a washcloth.

    HOW long, again, does it take for everything to “balance”? and how long did it take you to stop saying “screw this, I want a shower with product NOW”???

    i am trying, trying man, and if successful, it will be your fault,. thank you, I think.


    Comment by Charles — February 1, 2011 @ 10:17 pm
  113. Hi Charles!

    Balance is different for everyone, some people said 2 weeks, some said 4 weeks, everyone seems to agree that by 6 weeks all is in order across the board so maybe somewhere between 2-4 weeks?

    Comment by Sean Bonner — February 2, 2011 @ 7:19 am
  114. Hello again!

    Well, I’m finishing off day 27 of my experiment.

    It’s not really an experiment any more. It’s how I’ll be from here on out.

    I took a week to get up the nerve to try and have a week of no big meetings with clients or important social events and wife was very busy too. Then I took another week to work out if I could stop the shampoo as my hair gets oily and ugly fast.

    So, the no soap, shower only with hot water and washcloth is a stark naked, raving, world-view altering success. I can’t even exaggerate here. From day one the smell of my body has been easily less than 10% of what it was with washing with deodorant soap, body wash, etc. My skin has never felt better, nor I in it. Wife agrees.

    Just like everyone, I do need to shower if I don’t want to stink. But I’ve missed two during the experiment and though I noticed, it was still far less than even at the end of one day when I was using soap.

    I’d never have believed it if I didn’t experience it myself. As I said: Never going back.

    The hair. Took a few days – three or four to really normalize. It got oily, then dry and wild. And my scalp itched on day two enough that my wife noticed. But, then everything mellowed out. Nice soft hair that actually smells great, according to the wife. Scalp is happy. Hair looks and feels better than it ever did.

    My only regret is that I didn’t know about this much, much sooner in my life. Wow! The thousands I’ve wasted on lathers and creams, soaps and shampoos. And the hours wasted buying, applying, packing and unpacking them.

    Thanks, Sean – and others whose experience and comments here, on BB and elsewhere have helped – for convincing me to give it a go. This changes and simplifies a lot of small but significant things in my life for the better. And gives me time and other resources for people and things that really matter.


    Comment by VoxAudi — February 2, 2011 @ 7:50 am
  115. Sean~ SO COOL! I think my husband and I will try this! I love it! I just had one question. Do you think washing with hard or soft water would make a difference? Here in E WA state we are plagued with HARD water. Just curious.

    Comment by Megan — February 12, 2011 @ 9:42 pm
  116. Is conditioner ok? My hair tangles when is wet, and I do spent a lot of time in the pool during the summer.

    Comment by Resmittaye — February 14, 2011 @ 4:02 am
  117. The type of water doesn’t make much difference.

    You can use conditioner but try to keep it away from your scalp.

    Comment by Ani Lack — February 14, 2011 @ 6:44 pm
  118. I’ve tried this for over a month now. Started shortly after this post. I usually use hot water (the kind that turns my skin into a lobster like color). I take a long shower (about 10 to 15 minutes). I scrub my hair thoroughly under the water for anywhere between 15 seconds to a couple minutes. I smell fine, according to my wife and children, with one exception. My hair stinks. It feels strange to run my fingers through-almost gummy and oily. I asked my wife and children how my hair smells (after my month point). I got three responses: 1) it smells like dog food inside a dirty sock. 2) it smells like vomit. 3) it smells like vanilla cream, that has been rotting outside in the sun. That’s the only thing that bothers me. It doesn’t emit a smell that radiates upon others, but others only smell it if they stick their nose in it and take a good sniff. Any thoughts? By the way, I sometimes go without deodorant, but not for more than a couple days. I had my wife smell my armpits, after a day of no deodorant, and she said, “it doesn’t have any smell.” So, I’m impressed, mostly. If I can fix the scent off the top of my head, I’d be really happy.

    Comment by Shane — February 15, 2011 @ 4:37 pm
  119. Liberate yourself from Soap and Shampoo! « Lunasea Life mentioned this Article on

  120. I’ve been curious about this for about a week now and just came across your blog. Perfect freaking timing! I do Crossfit 4-5 times a week, so I am one that definitely needs to shower on a regular basis. I also live in a mountain desert state (Idaho) that makes me have a very itchy scalp and bad dandruff. Well, I haven’t used soap or shampoo for the last 2 showers and I’ve already noticed a difference. Love it! My skin’s already softer and my hair seems thicker and the scalp’s a lot less itchy. I too wash my hands with soap when needed. I’m not, after all, an idiot. So thanks Sean, thanks for bringing this info to the world and not being a dirty, stinky hippy.

    Comment by Bobbi.A — February 17, 2011 @ 4:20 am
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    Pingback by How to Never Poo Again « Almost Bohemian — February 24, 2011 @ 11:29 pm
  122. This isn’t working. I’ve tried this for two months now, and my hair is oily and smells like crap. My dandruff is now out of control. Not sure what I could be doing wrong, but it’s failing me.

    Comment by Shane — February 28, 2011 @ 6:42 pm
  123. @Shane: I had the same problem. Well first, After 2-3 weeks my hair was insane. Then I had an interview so I pulled the trigger and washed it. Then I started to go again but realized something: Being winter I’m wearing hats ALL the time!. I think it’s just too much for my hair to handle. It can’t breath. So I’ve settled back to washing my hair every 2-3 days like i was before. I still haven’t used soap though (except on the nether regions) that has been fine.

    Comment by Gillis — February 28, 2011 @ 6:49 pm
  124. Hi!

    I Just started the Experiment a few days ago.
    Since I have very dry skin patches i used to put some ointments on it. Is it counterproductive to use these?
    How did you handle your skin when it got flaky?

    Comment by Heffer — March 14, 2011 @ 8:55 am
  125. Try to avoid ointments unless they are made from only natural ingredients. Instead, use natural oil on the dry patches, like coconut oil, or my favorite – Bio Oil http://www.bio-oil.com/

    Comment by Ani Lack — March 24, 2011 @ 10:46 pm
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    Pingback by To Bathe, or Not to Bathe? « magnoliachica — April 6, 2011 @ 3:08 am
  127. Hi, I started with this lifestyle as well, as it just gave the feeling of purity – using only water. How about shaving? Is it ok to use only water? I have to admit, that when it comes down to it, shaving is not so natural after all, or is it? I can go two weeks without shaving, but not forever.

    Comment by Laco — April 13, 2011 @ 10:01 am
  128. I tried this. Such a great thing to try. I will be trying again, because it did not work out for me. My hair is long and thick, and after 2 weeks I had one really good day, and then no change after that- my head felt like a dirty dog for 6 weeks. However- now that I am washing my hair again- my hair has never felt better- light, moveable, manageable, etc. I will be trying again in a different season.

    Comment by Megan — April 13, 2011 @ 1:59 pm
  129. @Megan, I’ve been trying various approaches since January. I’ll tell you what has worked for me. I have tried using water only, and I would scrub everything down with just my hands. I tried the same with a washcloth. Everything was fine except my hair smelled terrible, and felt as you described it. Then I tried water only on my head for the most part, but then using shampoo every couple of days. That worked out really nice, but deviates from the point of “no shampoo.” Now I literally don’t use any water on my head, except every couple of days (Wednesdays and Saturdays). When I do wash my hair (again, water only), I use a washcloth to scrub it down. My hair doesn’t smell terrible, nor does it feel terrible anymore.

    Comment by shane — April 13, 2011 @ 4:35 pm
  130. Olive oil soap for hair and body, and natural rock crystal deodorant.

    Comment by some internet dude — April 17, 2011 @ 1:34 am
  131. I tried this when I was 12 or 13 while on holiday at my aunt’s countryhouse. I spent there more than 1 month and tried to use just water and no soap. The smell of my hair was disgusting. And I couldn’t comb it because it was like a knot (I’m caucasian, with wavy hair). My face was full of zits and they worsened a lot. So it didn’t work for me in more than 1 month of try (when I went back home I needed a regular shower with shampoo and soap).
    Now I’m older and I started having skin problems. I tried all kinds of soaps, ointments, and anything worked. My eczema made my hands bleed. Until I started using home made soap (olive oil soap, without any other oil, even coconut oil). I bought some allegedly pure olive oil soaps but all of them have additives and they didn’t help me. But as soon as I started using my first homemade soap, my hands started looking better. In 2 weeks they were healthy. But the eczema strikes again each time I wash my hands or hair with commercial soap (at work, at my friends’ houses…). Even my doctor told me to bring him a piece of soap to try it.
    It’s easy to make it (just olive oil, water and NaOH, sodium hydroxide, but you can use KOH, potasium hydroxide to make it fluid instead of solid), not expensive (you can use other oils or animal fat, but olive oil is better) and the results are amazing. “Cooking your soap” is funny too (sorry for my English, I’m Spanish)

    Comment by Spain — June 24, 2011 @ 12:10 am
  132. @Spain: I’m interested in how much of each ingredient you are using, and how you put them together (are you just blending them all together, or heating, or cooking anything?). I’d like to try making your soap.

    Comment by Shane — June 28, 2011 @ 5:08 pm
  133. It’s easy: you take about 100 grams of cold water in a bowl (glass, clay or stainless steel, don’t use aluminum or copper). Then you solve 37.4 grams of NaOH (for solid soap) or you put 140 grams of water and 52.4 grams of KOH (for liquid soap).

    You can move it with a wood spoon. It will increase its temperature. When everything is solved, you add 300 grams of olive oil and you just need to move it with the spoon.

    If you used NaOH, you’ll notice 2 phases, on top is the soap, and down is glycerin and some water. You can separate both phases or mix them again with a mixer. Glycerin is good for the skin, but it reduces the amount of foam. Some people add salt to separate phases because soap is less soluble in salted water. Sometimes they add sugar (just a spoonful of sugar) to increase the foam, but it makes the soap softer. Never add salt and sugar to the same soap and don’t add salt to a KOH soap.

    Then you can put it in a mold and forget it about a month (to complete the chemical reaction).
    If you used KOH, it will be liquid but it also need a few weeks to end the chemical reaction.

    If you want to add some scent, you need to add it just before you put it in the mold. But olive oil soap smells good and some scents can cause some allergy problems.

    The KOH soap with olive oil needs more time to complete the chemical reaction. You can help it with some heat (better in a water bath but some people use microwave oven or regular oven at 50ºC for 2 hours). The chemical reaction doesn’t need heat to complete, it just need patience. But heat makes it a little faster.

    Before you use the soap, you need to try it. If you have some scratch or a small wound in your hands, and you touch it with the soap, if the soap is OK it won’t hurt. But if the soap needs more time or you added an excess of NaOH or KOH you’ll notice it. Then you’ll need to wait more time.

    In a solid soap, if you add excess of NaOH, it will appear on the surface of the soap. You just need to remove that crystals and try the soap.
    In a liquid soap, you need pH strips. You solve a drop of that soap in alcohol and if the pH is around 8 or at least less than 9 it’s OK.

    My hands were like these pictures or maybe worse (because I couldn’t bend my fingers):



    and now they are clean. It was 6 years of my life with my hands like that. I can’t count how much money I spent on soaps and ointments (and disposable gloves).

    Now if I don’t like the experiment (because I try different formulas), I use it for laundry or to clean the floors, or the car, or the dishes.

    Comment by Spain — June 28, 2011 @ 10:48 pm
  134. Your skin and hair is going to be so messed up when you get older that it’s not even funny. You “shower” with hot water and a wash cloth. That isn’t clean by any stretch of the imagination, it’s disgusting. Anyone telling you otherwise is just being nice.

    Soaps and ointments can be bought for a fucking dollar, but STICK IT TO THE MAN!!! Years down the road you are FUCKED.

    Comment by Chris — July 4, 2011 @ 3:31 am
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  136. My goodness, Chris, you sound angry. I could start a quiet screed on how many people just get angry with people they don’t agree with, instead of taking a “to each his own” attitude. I could point out that many cultures didn’t have soap until recently, and nobody died or had their skin fall off. And if they washed, like the ancient Romans did, they didn’t stink. And what do you expect to happen to people who have given up soap “years down the road”?

    Relax and do as you please.

    Comment by Carole — July 5, 2011 @ 12:19 pm
  137. Give me a break. I’ve been using this system for 6 months now and it works. I’m 62 years old and find that my scalp is a bit oiler but no other problems. I use a wash cloth with no soap. And have not used any shampoo. My wife does not know that I’m using this system but has never told me that I stink. I also use baby oil to shave although just using water works fine also.

    Comment by Stephen R. Zimmett — July 5, 2011 @ 5:32 pm
  138. I have never used soap in my life. My parents never told me to use it and it never occured to me that you needed soap unless you were covered in a sticky substance that could not come off with water. I also do not use deodorant. I have never smelled bad after I sweat, in fact I don’t really smell at all. I’m really glad to hear other people are starting to go soap-free!

    Comment by sage — July 8, 2011 @ 4:06 am
  139. You people are all so disgusting. Not using soap??? You must smell like shit, I feel sorry for anyone who has to sit by you on a bus/train/airplane.

    Even if it is against your stupid Anarchist philosophy, use soap/deodorant for the sake of others who have to smell you.

    Comment by Lex — July 22, 2011 @ 2:27 am
  140. You people are all so disgusting. Not using soap??? You must smell like shit, I feel sorry for anyone who has to sit by you on a bus/train/airplane.

    As I said before Lex, I’ve tried this and have not used soap or shampoo for over 6 months and no one ever told me I smell like SHIT

    Comment by Stephen R. Zimmett — July 22, 2011 @ 8:35 pm
  141. 7 Months and counting.
    Never going back – that’s for certain!

    I started this experiment back in January 2011. Read Sean’s piece on BoingBoing and then here and the paleo guy’s stuff and all your comments here. Had a few days on my own with no meetings or travel and no one else around the house. Some of the logic made sense. Thought, “Why not give it a try.”

    My results were nothing short of amazing. I really can’t overstate this or how pleased I am with the results or how surprised and even shocked my wife and I were and are yet.

    I’m probably one of the “lucky” few – if you call 30+ years of suffering with dry itching skin and scalp and an eternal search for the soap, shampoo, conditioner, powder or ointment that would fix my skin – who had little or no adjustment for my skin and odor. The hair took a few days but was not as rough as some others report.

    Except, I lie. There was and is a huge difference. My skin was almost immediately a lot softer, healthier, clearer, and more comfortable. My body odor – even after heavy hiking, hard physical work or vigorous activity – is far less – and I am not making this up – than it ever was before with soap and lotion and heavy deodorant or antiperspirant. This is true.

    My wife and her particularly acute nose confirm it. My mates and both women and men with whom I work and play confirm it. I’ve been asked several times while hiking – especially at the end of a long hard pull – why I don’t stink like everyone else and yet also don’t smell like a chemist’s shop or pharmacy.

    So, I’d say we would all be better off on planes and trains and in theatres and dance recitals and in our cars and offices and elevators and grocery checkout lines and in our own skin if more of us did chemical free hygiene and left out the soap and shampoo.

    For my part, I’d rather sit by someone who showers and bathes without soap than a latherer, a soapy, a chemical bather, an olfactory imposter… don’t we need a name or label for those who bathe with soap? If they’re going to call us by dirty epithets and try to equate hippies and chemical free bodies with dirt and stench and unwashed unhygienic health hazards?

    For what it’s worth here are a few details that might help others. (I’d intended to do a daily journal / blog with links to resources and my experience and its success or failure. But, the truth is, there was not much to report. Except this…)

    My shower time is easily 1/2 of what it was. I do use a homemade conditioner or lemon / vinegar about every 10 – 14 days as needed.

    I don’t buy all the body care bottles and bars I once did. I use that money on something worthy.

    I do wash with soap when and where I get greasy, oily or dirty. However, that’s usually just my hands.

    I use far less deodorant than I ever did before and can skip it before sports or hard physical work and still don’t stink unless I go for several hours or a day or more before showering.

    I find I can go longer before I *need* a shower because of odor or feeling oily or like I need to wash.

    This all makes camping, hiking, sports and travel a lot simpler.

    I have “slipped” in the shower a few times. By that, I mean that I got in the shower while still groggy from sleep and automatically grabbed the soap or shampoo and lathered up. And I quit doing that. Because I really paid for it for a day or three with itching skin and strong stinky body odor that my wife and I both noticed at the end of a day.

    So, thanks again Sean and all the others who wrote and shared their experience and logic enough for me to give it go. As, I said, “I’m never going back.”

    Comment by VoxAudi — July 22, 2011 @ 9:24 pm
  142. Hmm, seems like this thread has been singled out for some teen-trolling lately. What brave little soldiers they are. Bless.

    I believe that diet also affects how successful one can be when giving up chemical cleaners. I maintain a very low carb diet and the no-soaps thing came very naturally to me. I don’t use detergents either. Warm water’s all you need.

    OK, trolling teens. Back to you.

    Comment by MJR — July 25, 2011 @ 10:01 am
  143. It’s been 10 years since I stopped using soap. It wasn’t because I’ve read or knew the benefit of no soap, but it was because I had a pretty bad eczema and was difficult to use soap, which dried my skin out to a point where I couldn’t bend my fingers. I just had this feeling that soaps and other similar products were making things worse for my skin.

    Back then, I never told anyone that I was not using soaps when showering/bathing because I thought it was embarrassing. I exercise regularly, and I sweat quit a bit, but I don’t smell. Maybe it is my body type, but I know for sure I don’t need soap or other products on my skin to smell good.

    My skin is soft although I occasionally have patches of dry skin especially during the winter time. Other than that, my eczema is gone. My face used to feel really really tight without a heavy-duty cream after washing, but I don’t have that problem any longer either. I never really realized how soft my skin was until a massage therapist asked me what I use or do to make my skin so soft. He wanted to let his wife know. This was about 5 years ago now. I was embarrassed to say I hadn’t used soap of any kind for such a long time, so I just said “I do nothing”…which was true.

    Anyways, I am so glad to know there are many other people who are not using soaps when showering or trying not to. I really honestly believe our bodies are equipped to function fine or even better without those products.

    Comment by Almond — July 26, 2011 @ 8:48 am
  144. hes right! My skin was so flaky and dry i just couldn’t figure it out, being 56 years old and lost alot all my oil on my skin, it was every where even under my clothers. So as a last resort i tried not using soap and i was using dove nutrium. Absulote shock, it went away all of it. Now i use only cool water and a wash cloth and lotion afterwards. I could only figure god didn,t give us soap when he made us so!!! Oh my elbows were the worst part and they look good and I,m 56 and have sun wrinkled skin from living down south for 25 years.

    Comment by caryn clark — July 26, 2011 @ 4:24 pm
  145. I’ve been washing without shampoo and body soap and not using deodorant since January and my hair and skin and BO have never been under so much control. I take a tiny shower every morning and if I’m particularly hot all day and sweat much I change and take another small shower and everything’s normal again. I always sweated more than an average person and I got desperate and tried men’s deodorant but even sweated through that! (I’m female.) I still get stinky when I’m too hot or exercising, but it’s a lot milder than it used to be and it’s getting better all the time.
    I’ve taken things a couple of steps further too. I’ve stopped using detergent on my clothes. It does the same as shampoo – breaks down oils. But it’s not oil that gets stuck on my clothes. It’s sweat and food stains and dust from being out and about. Agitation cleans clothes, not detergent. Also, washing at 30º or 40º only allows bacteria to thrive. I wash in plain water at 90º for only 15 minutes, except for wool etc. It’s hot enough to kill bugs and properly remove stains so I don’t need to leave the wash on for ages to do that. My whites are getting whiter, including white socks. I think the detergent was just getting mushed into the material along with the stains before now. My clothes don’t smell of anything, and it now seems weird to me when people’s clothes smell like flowers and fruit!
    The other thing I’ve done is stopped using toothpaste. Another problem I used to have along with BO was bad breath, but that’s pretty much gone now too! Toothpaste rips the enamel from your teeth, but saliva has some ability to repair tooth enamel and its progress in doing so is hindered by constantly stripping teeth with toothpaste. My teeth are clean as ever and a bit of tooth sensitivity that I was developing is going away. I don’t do anything different to before other than just brush my teeth with the brush itself. To keep my brush from becoming a germ farm I wash it under hot water, again killing bugs without using chemicals.

    Comment by Niamh — July 28, 2011 @ 12:41 pm
  146. I’ve given up using soap for about a year now, and have never looked back. My complexion was a real disaster when I was using soap, and it was really emotionally troubling to me as a 40 year old professional – this kind of problem was supposed to only affect teenagers, right?

    I began by avoiding all detergent, including shampoo. But my hair felt greasy and stiff, and my girlfriend didn’t like the result. So after a few weeks I went back to regularly using a light “everyday” shampoo – but only every 2 or 3 days. Like others, I still wash my hands using soap, and wash the dishes using liquid detergent. In the home I still think hygiene and germ prevention are important – and detergents are helpful here. Water on it’s own will just spreads germs about when cleaning household surfaces.

    Similarly, I continue to wash clothes using commercial detergents (the enzymes break down stains at low temperatures, etc). For personal hygiene, I believe toothpaste is a must as it contains floride, among other things. I also believe using deodorant is mostly harmless, and using a stick type product. However, if I forget, I’ve not noticed any odours during the day. I shower daily, and again after any exercise. I just my hands to wash.

    I can recommend washing without soap to anyone, especially anyone with troubling complexions. As everyone says, we haven’t evolved to require expensive pharmaceutical products. They have their place, but we are all far too obsessed with them.

    As an aside, I also like to use natural household cleaning products whenever possible, like vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. But I use bleach too for some tasks. It’s about balance.

    Comment by Mike — August 18, 2011 @ 12:08 pm
  147. I started using an all natural soap and shampoo. I feel GREAT! I believe I have the benefits of the author, but I didn’t have to take the plunge!

    Comment by Rob — August 18, 2011 @ 6:35 pm
  148. I have not used soap or shampoo in the last year or so and I feel pretty good about it. I quit as kind of an experiment b/c I believe cancer to be caused by all the chemicals we are exposed to. Also, I am balding and wanted to see if quitting soap would slow that process. My hair is now softer and I don’t have to use styling gels and things to keep the hairs down. Also, my hair appears to be thicker than it was before I quit soap. If you are also experiencing balding I would also recommend not buzzing your hair. It seems to dry out the scalp and accelerate the process. Every once in a while I’ll use kosher salt to cleanse my skin (like a sanitizer) but that is pretty rare. I also use deodorant but it is a non-antiperspirant ( no aluminum carcinogens). Tom’s is pretty good. Another thing to think about if you are trying to quit soap and chemicals is what you you are drying off with. Does the towel you are using have chemicals on it that are just as bad for you like the soap you are avoiding? I try and use less detergent and more natural detergents to clean the towel and I like to put it through an extra rinse cycle. The natural oils on our skin ( if they have a chance to form) protect us from our environment. They also keep the skin moist naturally so you won’t experience dry skin as much anymore. I strongly recommend getting away from all the chemicals that you expose yourself to. Think of everything you put on your body as a topical medication (medicine applied directly to skin surface).

    Comment by Jake — September 3, 2011 @ 11:28 pm
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  150. I couldn’t bring myself to give up soap and shampoo completely so I compromised by using all natural soap and shampoo. My skin and hair feel A LOT better. I feel like I can take 2 or 3 showers a day whereas before I tried to limit my showering to right after working out before due to dry skin and flaking. I have no more flaking and my skin doesn’t feel so dry.

    My receding hair line doesn’t seem to be coming back, but I’m thinking it will when I get away from all the stressful socialists I work with!

    Comment by Rob — September 19, 2011 @ 4:43 am
  151. Sounds like something I deffinitely want to try out! One thing that might be a problem though: I get tattooed on a regular base, getting both arms inked from shoulders to wrists. Every 4 weeks, I go in for a session, and it takes about a week of healing, which means washing the tattooed area twice a day with antibacterial soap, then creaming it up and putting foil over it (this prevents colour coming out in the first week when it’s still pretty much a wound). So, if I go all no soap/no shampoo, except for the tattooed areas in those weeks, would that work?
    Another question I have: what do you people use as moisturizer? I have astma and always have had very sensitive/dry skin, after every shower I cream up my entire body. Could I (would I need it) still do that if I stop using soap in the shower or will it effect the positive results of no soap?
    Oh, and another question: I have a short, alternative hairstyle haircut, and need product to make it look okay, how does that work with using no shampoo? I mean, how would I get the product out every day?

    Comment by Csilla — September 21, 2011 @ 8:55 am
  152. @Csilla:
    I make exceptions for new ink. Its an investment and should be treated with utmost care at all times.

    To take a stab at the rest of your questions I think the best answer is to figure out what works best for you. It will be some trial and error though. I only suggest looking for natural products to use.

    ME? I use (natural) soap on the nether regions only. I use a washcloth, sans soap, on the rest of me. I wash my hair a couple time a week (depending on how long it is and how much I’m wearing a hat/helmet/etc) with natural shampoo/conditioner (from Trader Joes!). I tried going without shampoo for the first 2-3 months, but it was just gross because I wear a helmet almost daily (cycling, skateboarding).

    I buy one bottle of shampoo/conditioner a year at this rate, and I go through about 2-3 bars of soap a year.

    Comment by Gillis — October 7, 2011 @ 12:00 am
  153. Just washed the dog with cetaphil lotion instead of puppy shampoo. She smells better and she didn’t scratch straight after like she used to.

    Comment by Ani Lack — October 7, 2011 @ 12:30 am
  154. I dye my hair, so I can’t say anything about the shampoo, but I’ve always been against using harsh soaps every day. I tried not using it before, and I never found I smelled, but I didn’t like the way my skin reacted – I found without soaps, I got dry skin, and it didn’t feel as soft (I have very, very soft skin). So I decided to start using natural soaps instead of chemical ones, and I was amazed with what my skin did. It’s never been healthier, and it allows natural scents instead of chemical ones – I get complimented on how “good” I smell often, and on my skin as well. I also use natural, and often homemade, shampoos.

    Comment by LadyJackKnife — November 24, 2011 @ 12:21 am
  155. Ok good with it. But i use wax and styling products. I just can’t imagine my life without wax or gel on my hair. Is that false that i’m reading the article?

    Comment by Konstantinos — November 24, 2011 @ 8:01 pm
  156. ARGH my scalp is driving me nuts!! I went no shampoo/soap for almost a year and it was fantastic, hair was great, skin got better and better and I was able to start reducing the amount of showers per week – but then I had to get a haircut and the hairdresser had to wash my hair because I wanted to go from long to short, and my scalp is so itchy and getting really flaky and it’s driving me nuts, I can’t believe this is stuff I used to put in my hair every day!! How did my scalp stay intact?!

    Comment by Niamh — November 26, 2011 @ 1:19 am
  157. hey Im converting to no soap today or tomorrow if you dont answer me today. But i have a few questions first
    1. I wear make up, lots of it, Do I use soap on my face or just water to remove my make up?
    2. I also use a lot of product in my hair because boys, a girls hair is not going to stay curly for 12 hours if there is no product in it, or because i will no longer be using soap willl it just have a natural hold or something?
    3.I know for guys the private parts washing probly wont be a problem cause its on the outside….but what about girls?
    4. Okay last one I have very thick hair and conditioner is my life…would conditioner have to go too? or because I dont use it on my scalp will it be okay?

    very sorry for all the questions I just dont want to do this wrong and smell like a turd for a month for no reason thanks much appreciated

    Comment by Persephanie — December 4, 2011 @ 6:59 pm
  158. Persephaine: Why don’t you try to use home made soap? I posted a comment a few monts ago about it.

    I had so many skin problems, specially at my hands. And I started making my own soap with olive oil, water and NaOH, like it’s been done for centuries.

    But I also tried to do it with KOH instead of NaOH because it makes a jelly like soap instead of a bar. I like it a lot, and I almost forgot my eczemas after years of itchy hands.

    You can also try it to keep waves in your hair without other products. I think it’s because the natural glycerin it keeps after the process. I’m not so fluent in English to explain it properly.

    You mustn’t use chemicals to clean your “private parts”. They have their on barrier against infections, and using any kind of soap can destroy it. That’s one of the main causes of fungus or candida albicans infections (they can be STD but also appear when you use some medical treatment or when you don’t wash yourself or you wash yourself too much or with the wrong product).

    I tried hundreds of soaps until I started making mine and I just can tell it worked for me and my friends (all of them ask me for a piece or a bottle of soap). I didn’t like so much NaOH soap for my hair, but when I tried KOH soap it was great. It cleans it, doesn’t need conditioner (I have curly hair) to comb it, and stays clean for days (I’ve always needed to wash it everyday because it was so greasy).

    Comment by Spanish — December 5, 2011 @ 7:58 am
  159. I want to testify to my status of no soap or shampoo for 6 months.
    I love it. My skin feels much softer than before and my hair is very manageable. I never get any kind of complaint that I have an odor or that my hair looks nasty. I shower everyday with warm water. That is my complete skin and hair hygiene regimen. I am not going back to using soap and shampoo. Thank you to opening my mind up to this. I am much happier for it.

    Comment by ryan — December 6, 2011 @ 1:37 am
  160. Hi Persephaine
    1. Some make ups will wash off with warm water and a wash cloth. If they are oil based however, try citrus juice (watch the eye area) or cetaphil lotion
    2.If you stop using shampoo and product, your hair will go to its natural state, whatever that may be. Mine happens to be curly, but I do use conditione. After a while there gets to be a build up of natural oils that become your hair’s own product and your hair may reset every time you wet it and comb it out. I also moisturize my hair after I towel dry it because it helps keep the curls together, but it’s just a regular body moisturizer, as I don’t like the smell of any hair products and don’t want them touching the skin on my face.
    3.Never wash private parts with anything other than water. It’s all you need, otherwise you change the pH balance and upset the bacteria that are supposed to live there and make it all happy inside.
    4.As mentioned already, conditioner is fine and not in the same category as shampoo because it doesn;t strip oils away, it protects you hair from oils being stripped away. It can be used after the shower as well instead of harsh products. I actually wash with water and fingertips all over the scalp, then put in conditioner, leave it in while I shave my legs (no need for soap there either, just under running water and moisturize well after you dry off) then I wash out the conditioner. Out of the shower I towel dry my hair, moisturize my entire body including my hair, and I rub it into my scalp so I don;t get dandruff. Then I put baby oil on just the ends of my hair so I don;t get split ends, but I keep the oil about 6 inches away from my scalp so my scalp doesn’t get oily.
    There is no need for soap on any part of your body other than your hands after the toilet or when you are handling food. If you use soap, you train the bacteria on your skin to need it and you then have to maintain it otherwise you start to smell. This is why when you stop using soap, your skin goes into withdrawl and smells because the bacteria on your skin are not the ones you want. Eventually if you stop killing the good bacteria with chemicals, they will come back and protect you from other invaders.
    Hang in there, and winter is a good time to do it. I haven’t used soap in 13 years and don’t need deoderant any more. I have gotten my husband into the same thing and he has never smelt better.
    Good luck.

    Comment by Ani Lack — December 6, 2011 @ 3:48 am
  161. I haven’t read all the other posts but I hope someone pointed this out – the point of soap is not to smell good, it’s an antibacterial which kills off harmful substances that can latch on to your body. Kind of like when you go to the gym and get staph… it is due to not disinfecting the equipment or someone not bathing right and now you get to deal with their disgusting puss infected boils! please use soap everyone. And shampoo is mostly for someone who does have a chemical imbalance and has extra greasy hair.

    Comment by Brett — December 7, 2011 @ 2:54 pm
  162. I’m an almost 17 year old girl and I have not used soap while showering for years. I still use hand soap regularly and use soap when I shave my legs and armpits and use a facial cleanser on my face but other than that no soap use. People are always saying how soft my skin is and no one has ever complained about my odor but I have not sweated for about a year since I have hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating in my armpits) and got botox for it but even before that, I’ve never smelled bad. I have always still used shampoo. I know a lot of people might think it’s gross but its such a regular thing for me and has had no bad effects.

    Comment by T — December 9, 2011 @ 3:30 am
  163. hi i have just stopped using soap to wash my face. now im using facewash which is soap free, but the problem is that ny face is now itcthy. does anyone know what might be the problem?
    please reply to my email isaacgundani@yahoo.com

    Comment by isaac — December 21, 2011 @ 1:34 pm
  164. I have seborrheic dermatitis. I am on day 14 of my one month “no shampoo” experiment. My skin is worse than ever just like I expected. My scalp and face is itchy and dry. I have flakes the size of rice grains and dimes. I spend hours scratching off skin although I shouldn’t. A few hours later after I finish, my skin is dry, crusty, and scabby and I start scratching again. I have used dandruff shampoos
    for 25 years so I assume my body is adjusting to the change.

    I also think my hair smells like gasoline and skunks now, but my girlfriend says it smells fine.

    The most effective treatment I have ever found for my seborrheic dermatitis is living in warm tropical climates and swimming in the ocean.

    I am stubborn, however, so I plan to continue my experiment. I hope my dandruff disappears, but right now I am skeptical.

    Comment by dry — December 21, 2011 @ 5:57 pm
  165. This is the first time I’ve seen the don’t-wash-with-anything platform. Mostly, I’ve run across three camps– wash your hair with conditioner (seems to work well for people with thick and/or curly hair, but not so much for those with fine, straight hair), wash your hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar (works better for all hair types) and the cleanse with oils camp (for all face types and some hair types).

    The most sensible recommendations I’ve seen are for cleansing facial skin with 25% castor oil (which serves as a fairly effective, yet gentle detergent) and 75% other lightweight oil (like sunflower or jojoba). Massage in oil, steam off with a hot cloth, gently wipe off the rest. If skin feels tight, pat on a tiny bit more oil, then blot off excess.

    I think the key thing for a lot of the questions raised in above comments is the importance of exfoliating. Whether you use a washcloth or loofah or natural sponge when you shower, or whether you dry brush before bathing, exfoliation is probably more important than any cleansing agent. As far as I know, there are many cultures that have used sand to bathe instead of water.

    My biggest concern for not using any kind of cleanser (aside from washing hands) would be dealing with the bacteria that collects in the damp places, particularly armpits and feet, which lack the natural protective barrier in our more tender private parts. I think men would find better, healthier results if they shaved their underarms, and if hair in the leg crease (aka groin– not to be confused with private bits) was also kept at a minimum.

    If you’re particularly sweaty and active, I’d probably go ahead and cleanse pits, crease, and feet. Rather than go the oil cleanse route (like for facial skin or as an option for hair), it would probably be better to go the baking soda & apple cider vinegar route (with options for adding in honey, lemon, tea tree, etc.) that many people with fine straight hair use instead of washing hair with conditioner or with castor/olive oils.

    For women (whose facial skin has a different structure and generally less oil production than men’s), for people who don’t have thick and/or curly hair, or for anyone with major skin complaints, they probably won’t get the same results from a cleansing-free routine that the author of this article had. As I pointed out above, there are lots of options for still achieving good results with very few ingrediants (and no harsh chemicals), but it’s a bit more work than many people want to put into it, particularly when there are so many organic, 97% or more natural, free-range, cruelty-free, fairtrade, sls-free, lanolin-free, petroleum-byproduct-free, and paraben-free options out there, if you know where to look.

    Comment by charlie — December 27, 2011 @ 12:30 pm
  166. dry-

    Have you tried salt baths? I used them for my psoriasis and got a lot of benefit. Got bulk salt from Saltworks and took a warm 30 minute bath every day and saw improvements in about three weeks.
    Good luck.

    Comment by Carole — December 27, 2011 @ 3:45 pm
  167. Would you go to a doctor that follows the no shampoo rule?
    I’ve just discovered the no soap idea 30 minutes ago (via a reference to your Boing Boing article) sounds uplifting and I plan to try it myself. Still, I do have my doubts – concerning viruses & evil bacteria. Will they just go away with holy water? Thus the question.

    Comment by pax — January 1, 2012 @ 4:46 pm
  168. Never Use Soap Again - My Time as a Human mentioned this Article on

    Pingback by Never Use Soap Again - My Time as a Human — January 3, 2012 @ 4:22 am
  169. Lemony Arm Pits………………………
    I have been successfully applying lemon juice as underarm deodorant for 6 months now. It solves any odor problem because it inhibits bacterial growth that causes odor. You will still have perspiration or wetness, which are a normal & healthy function for the body). I am trying to avoid the chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants (like aluminum) One organic lemon, cut into wedges and refrigerated, lasts me one week. After shower (or just a clean wipe in between shower days or heavy exercise), squeeze a little juice into the palm of your hand and rub on underarm. Fan dry or air dry. Smells nice. Can sometimes feel a little sticky, so I dust on a little cornstarch (no talc) for that smooth dry feel. Doesn’t stain your clothing. If you have very sensitive skin or have just shaved, it may burn a little, so adjust your application accordingly. The lemon smell goes away and you just smell natural/nice. Maybe takes a few minutes longer than slathering on deodorant, but feels like I’m doing something better for my body. I have heard of people using lemon juice in the bottle, but I like the real lemon. If I have to travel, I’ll still use commercial deodorant, unless I’m staying in someones home and then it is still easy to accomplish the lemon gig.

    Comment by sue — January 3, 2012 @ 7:29 pm
  170. I’ve posted here a few times praising the benefits of the no soap lifestyle. I’ve been doing this for over a year now and I’m now without roommates and have noticed another welcome benefit: less soap scum=I have to clean the shower/bathtub less frequently. I still use (natural) soap in my nether regions and like shampoo/conditioner so there is some but it takes longer to notice the build up.

    Comment by Gillis — January 6, 2012 @ 2:23 am
  171. Hi there, this sounds very interesting, especially the fact that I also do believe that our body should naturally be able to take care of itself but these “chemicals” are getting in the way of it, so my body has to work worker than it needs to and is probably more counterproductive. I would really try this out but this month at my school, the whole month is swimming, so yup…that means a whole month of chlorine and other pesky chemicals on my skin…..should I wait until swimming is over to try this or can I start right away? I’m just worried about the chlorine that will remain on my skin, but I don’t think soap is helping it get away anyways. The dangers of chlorine are high, so I’m just worried. Well, awaiting reply, thank you for sharing this! :)

    Comment by Steven — January 8, 2012 @ 11:15 pm
  172. Hi STeven,
    Yes Chlorine is terrible and it soaks into your skin where soap won;t reach, so it’s probably not the best time to try going chemical free if you are going to replace it with another set of chemicals. While exposed to chlorine, maybe wash with cetaphil lotion instead of conventional soap because it has less chemicals, and makes your skin softer, which will counteract the dryness that chlorine will cause, and don;t forget to moisturize well. Also I would keep shampooing the chlorine out of your hair because that will dry it out if it stays in. Once you are done with the swimming, then you can start with the detox of your body and hair. Good luck

    Comment by Ani Lack — January 10, 2012 @ 7:16 am
  173. I have finished my 30 day “no shampoo” experiment. I must say this experiment
    wasn’t enjoyable. My hair became a blizzard when I ran my hand through it.
    The flakes in my hair became nearly the size of cornflakes. My head was constantly itchy and I could
    barely have sex, read, or sleep. I felt like a disgusting scumball.

    A few days ago, however, I noticed my scalp starting to improve. My dandruff did not disappear, but became more patchy. Since I was finished with the experiment and discovered that I have dandruff whether I use or don’t use shampoo, I decided to start using shampoo again. Basically I found that if I don’t use shampoo, I save money and have dandruff. If I use shampoo, I spend money and have dandruff, but I feel cleaner and have more self-esteem.

    My skin is sensitive to cold temperatures, but I personally wouldn’t advise anyone to give up on shampoo. Companies make shampoo because it’s better than nothing. I learned my lesson. This past month was torture for me.

    I think I will try having a salt bath next.

    Comment by dry — January 12, 2012 @ 10:03 am
  174. Oh, thank you Ani! A week or 2 left until swimming is over, really am looking forward to trying this out. I hope i didn’t harm my skin by not using shampoo/soap for a week with swimming. :/

    Comment by Steven — January 15, 2012 @ 4:37 pm
  175. I’m a 16 year old girl. My Aunt was actually the person to introduce this “no soap” concept to me. She explained to me that you don’t need to use commercial soaps to clean your body, as the chemicals do more harm to your skin than they do helping it. The chemicals used in commercial soaps and shampoos do kill bacteria, but they kill the good along with the bad. So when you stop using commercial soaps, you start to smell odd. The is because there are not enough of the good bacteria to fight off the bad, odor-causing bacteria.

    I started using the “no soap” experiment just no more than 2 weeks ago. I have very thick, long, and semi-curly hair. My skin is quite acne-prone to many facial cleaners and I always found myself breaking out after trying one skin care product after another. My skin and my hair tend to dry out quickly and I have always had a problem with frizz and split-ends since my hair is so difficult to manage.

    These are my results of the “no soap” experiment so far. My skin has been noticeably softer than before and my sister recently made a compliment on it. My acne has cleared up tremendously and I haven’t broke out severely since. With my hair, however, I found out that I still need to use conditioner, but otherwise, it’s been healthier as well! The frizz has gone down, no dandruff at all, and it’s also become a lot softer.

    So all in all, I think that this “no soap” concept is great. I’m actually going to recommend it to my boyfriend, who also has a bad problem with acne and dry skin. It really is great. And no, you won’t stink. Water is the most pure substance in the world, which is why it’s a great idea to wash only with water. Don’t harm your body with all those chemicals. Besides, it sure does save a great amount of money in the long run!

    Comment by Ellie — January 20, 2012 @ 8:41 am
  176. I too had the same epiphany. I’ve suffered from severe dandruff and dry skin throughout my teens. I’m 18 now, and recently became fed up with these seemingly trivial problems – so I took to google and came across a similar article.

    I feel like such a sucker for never even questioning the use of soaps/detergents/shampoos. Especially being a believer of reason myself. Of course our bodies don’t need it! But without giving it much thought, it just seems like the sensible thing to do. It can only make you cleaner, right? Wrong.

    I’m now on my fourth day of not using soap or shampoo, and my dandruff has significantly shrunk in size (I was showering at least once a day, sometimes twice, and always using some shampoo and soap). They were giant, itchy, oily flakes of dead skin. Now they are grain-sized and not nearly as abundant.

    And my left elbow, which was significantly more rough than my right, is healing. And when I give it some thought – I washed myself with my right hand, with cloth in hand … hence why my right elbow is nowhere near the scaliness of my left.

    Comment by Dave — January 29, 2012 @ 9:19 pm
  177. An interesting experiment that I may have to try. However, since no one has mentioned it, I thought I would chime in about water. If you’re going the “no chemicals” route, wouldn’t it be advisable to use a filter on your shower? Tap water has nasty chemicals like Floride, Chlorine, etc. Also the people that are having the worst time of it may have “hard” water, that could be fixed by using a shower filter. We have “soft” water here so I’m giving this a shot but I may buy a shower filter before doing so.

    Surprised no one has brought it up but hope this helps some that are having a bad time of it. Most cities have Safety reports online about their city or municipal water supply. If you don’t know what’s in yours, look it up. You’ll be shocked, I predict.

    Comment by Ann — January 29, 2012 @ 10:28 pm
  178. I tried it for 1.5 months now. The main difference was that showers take way longer, mostly scrubbing the head to remove the grease. I still wouldn’t feel 100% as clean as before while wet but afterwards my hair sticks nicer (probably some grease is still there) and feels clean. I kept using soap for hands though – I wouldn’t stop before I read a properly conducted research on this subject.

    I wasn’t able to sense a notably softer skin – I guess I’m not as sensitive as most people in the thread :) I didn’t have skin or hair problems before either – so it wasn’t really anything to be solved. The casual dandruff now and then – which it’s true, I didn’t get any in the trial period. But then again, this doesn’t happen that often either.

    Because I like the idea and wanted to get something out of my experiment I took upon a slightly more scientific approach and started using soap only on the left half of my body to see if I can notice anything. I haven’t. If anything, the half that I used soap on felt slightly softer and with a nicer smell – but the differences were minimal.

    At the end I decided to revert to using soap, mostly because it speeds up the process. It was interesting to learn that I can do without soap for a long time. Previously, a couple of times while traveling I found myself in a shower without soap – I always had to revert to toothpaste – it works but it stings a bit :) Now I know soap is not mandatory – all it takes is a bit more patience.

    It needs to be mentioned though, that I did my experiment during winter – when it’s rather safe, as I lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle, wear long sleeves / pants and generally I don’t ge that sweaty / dirty.

    Comment by pax — February 1, 2012 @ 7:00 am
  179. I am planning to try this out, but I am wondering about sunscreen. Would it mess with the results of using no soap? Is there a more natural alternative?

    Comment by Jennifer — February 19, 2012 @ 10:22 am
  180. To Jennifer: I use Nivea moisturizer with SPF15 every day and it seems to wash off fine with warm water and a facewash. It’s important to protect your skin from the sun and if you wear a heavy duty sunscreen, then you definitely need to wash it off. You shouldn’t be wearing any more than SPF 30 because it does more harm than good for your skin, but if the 30 is too thick to come off with just water, then try something mild like Cetaphil lotion. That’s all I ever use if warm water doesn’t work.

    Comment by Ani Lack — February 19, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
  181. I think it depends on the type of soap. I’ve discovered some soaps and body-washes have ingredients that make me stink in less than 24 hours. It’s a very specific smell. If I switch to another soap or stop using soap, I don’t have that issue. However, I like that clean soapy smell, so I still use it on occasion. I can’t give up shampoo though because I style my hair and water alone hasn’t been enough to remove the product; it requires some serious lather. *shrug*

    Comment by James — February 20, 2012 @ 8:39 pm
  182. Thanks for the great info Ani.

    My next question is about baking soda. I’ve been reading about using it to clean hair, but I’m wondering if it would be okay to use it for washing my face. I have really oily skin and using baking soda with water seems to get rid of some of what has accumulated throughout the day. Would baking soda strip the essential oils from my skin like soap does?

    Comment by Jennifer — February 20, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
  183. Ok so I am a girl, and lately i have been experiencing smelly issues down south. Will the no soap thing help with my issues down there? Also I have long hair. WHen will the greasy issues stop?

    Comment by Jennie O. — February 21, 2012 @ 4:33 pm
  184. To Jennifer: Honestly I have never used baking soda but so many people swear by it. Your skin will eventually adjust to whatever you do to it unless it’s bad for your skin. I don’t know if it will strip skin but if you are worried about it then be sure to moisturize after.

    To Jenny: Yes, stop using anything down there and the smell will stop. As for hair, mine is halfway down my back and I use shampoo once a month and that’s only because that’s as often as I color it and I need to wash the color out. I stopped using shampoo daily when I went on safari in Africa for a month and by the time I was done with that, the greasy issues stopped. It’s different for everybody and it may be hard for you to test it out while participating in civilized society. I wash with warm water and fingertips, and then use conditioner to get the knots out because my hair is curly and knots easily. I also don;t wet it every time I shower. Hope that helps

    Comment by Ani Lack — February 22, 2012 @ 7:14 am
  185. This is interesting. I may try it. What about your genitals? DoYou wash that with soap?

    Comment by Mike — February 26, 2012 @ 11:14 pm
  186. For me, this might work for some people, but not for everyone. If we’re talking about not putting anything chemically based products on our skin, what about the pollutants in our environment such as smoke or what you may call it? I think “good” companies started developing products to counteract the harmful effects caused by these pollutants which are hard to avoid. We are exposed with lots of germs, virus, bacteria, etc. the minute we leave our house. Maybe 1000 years ago or more, soap free might work, as the world back then was clean compared to our time today .

    I guess everybody’s challenge is finding the right product that gives us the benefit that we are looking for. While we have to bear in mind that there are companies that only manufacture such product like soap or shampoo to gain money. There are also good companies that make good products to actually deliver good results to us and make us HEALTHY. It’s like finding the right product that works for you. There are tons out there, it doesn’t cause us much harm to be skeptical and read reviews about the product first, reviews from people who actually used that product, before even trying out.

    Our body is very unique. Just because this and that works okay for some people, doesn’t already mean will work the same for everyone. It’s like an allergy. Some people develop allergy reactions just by eating a peanut. I guess same goes for every product out there that we can buy from different stores. That’s a good thing about SCIENCE. It improves our lives.

    Comment by Del — March 2, 2012 @ 11:35 pm
  187. After learning about all this I decided to try it. I’ve gone without shampoo for the past 18 days. At first I was a little wary because I have long hair that is prone to being greasy. However, I have been able to control the grease easily for years by dyeing my hair a couple times a year just to dry it out a little. I thought maybe trying this no shampoo thing out would help my hair find a better balance.
    Once I started this I was worried about having huge flakes like other people have written about, especially since I have dark hair. Luckily I had minimal flaking because I don’t have a problem with flakes typically and I don’t shampoo my hair daily anyway, so I guess it was kind of use to it.
    What I did notice was that I have had to brush my hair a lot more because it got messy easier and did not fall back into place like it use to. I also lost what little volume I had at the top of my hair, giving me a kind of wonky look if I were to wear my hair just straight down with nothing pinned up or pulled back.
    The whole process hasn’t been too bad, but I’m not sure if I will stick with it. I’m going to go awhile longer and then maybe try some other more natural things to see if it improves. Right now it seems kind of like a hassle. My hair is always greasy at the crown of my head and it still lacks volume. Seeing as my hair and scalp seemed more or less fine before this, I may go back to my old ways. We’ll see.

    Comment by Emily — March 5, 2012 @ 11:46 pm
  188. Wait a minute. We all have to poop 2-3 times daily. Correct? Doesn’t your butts smell? Even if you use only warm water. That smell has to naturally be there. I can’t imagine not using soap in my butt. All I know is that my butt gets soap daily and arm pits. I’m not sure about the not washing the butt.
    I was a nurses aide and saw what not washing with at least a gentle soap would do.
    I use baby shampoo.

    Comment by Shannon — March 15, 2012 @ 12:42 pm
  189. Why do people continue to think soaps kill bacteria? Only Antibacterial soaps do that, and they are not good for the skin. Antibacterial soaps are important for those in the medical field, such as before surgery. Over the counter, basic soaps do two things: clean dirt away and perfume the skin. That’s it. And that is one way to clean the skin, but not the ONLY way to do it.
    The human body naturally produces an oily secretion called Sebum, an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands that lubricates the hair and skin and gives some protection against bacteria. It’s like a natural film on your body designed to protect the skin. Dirt and dead skin cells are trapped in the skin oils. The chemical makeup of basic soap is that one part is attracted to oils, the other is repelled by water, hence when you lather on soap, it attaches to the oils (and thereby the dirt/dead skin cells trapped in it) on your body, and because it is also repelled by water, when you rinse your body, the soap molecules take away the oil and trapped dirt/dead skin cells. The problem with soap is that it also strips the skin of sebum, which takes the human body time to reproduce.
    Studies have been conducted that have shown that after showering with soap products, the skin is even more likely to contain more bacteria because the sebum, our natural protection, has been stripped away, so soap which is touted as cleaning us of harmful things, is actually making it even easier for those harmful things to thrive on the skin.
    The palms and feet do not really produce sebum, hands should still always be washed with warm water and soap after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing into your hands, and before making/serving food.
    Simply getting in the shower or tub and lightly rubbing down is not going to remove the oil trapped dirt. Warm to hot water (hot water within reason/safely) should be used along with some kind of item to exfoliate such as a washcloth, a loofah sponge or mitt, etc.. Doing so will remove the oily dirt, but will not strip the body of it’s natural oils completely. But taking care to not scrub too hard which could cause small fissures on the skin and hence a way for irritation or infection to enter.
    Not all dirt is created equal. If you had worked under a car and have engine oil on you, soap and water is better than just water, as soap will cut the grease and once again strip the skin of it. But sitting at a desk job, how dirty do you get?
    Personal opinion here, it might be better to use a 100% natural body wash on the anus at the very least as that part of the skin comes in contact with feces.

    Comment by Alyn — March 23, 2012 @ 8:53 am
  190. Actually you are wrong. All soap kills bacteria. It’s the detergent in it that breaks down the bacterial cell wall. Antibacterial products that don’t use detergent don’t always work. Some bacteria that causes dysentery is not broken down by alcohol based antibacterial products, but detergent based soap will kill 100% of bacteria. You may have noticed in some advertisements for antibacterial hand pumps, if it says kills 99.99% of all bacteria, it’s not killing the few that can potentially kill you, so soap is by far better than Lysol or Clorox type products because it will kill everything. And that’s why you shouldn’t use it on your body. You want to have a symbiotic relationship with the friendly bacteria on your skin that can protect you from the potentially harmful bacteria that can get in your skin when you keep killing the protective bacteria.

    Warm water will get rid of the dirt without removing the oils, and unless you have grease based dirt like car oil, t here is no need to strip your entire body of its essential oils just to g et rid of dirt that is water soluble.

    Detergent will break down your natural oils which also protect your skin, so unless you are dealing with food or after you use the bathroom, you dont need soap. The exception is if you have chronically bad diarrhea that wiping won’t remove then you need some kind of medical assistance to keep your anus clean, but if you have normal healthy bowel movements, your feces should come through cleanly and not leave remnants that stick to your skin. If it does, you have other problems that need to be addressed.

    Comment by Ani lack — March 28, 2012 @ 8:42 am
  191. Ani lack, Soap for cleaning is classified as a Surfactant, which is a compound that lowers the surface tension of liquid, not germ killing. Surfactants are amphiphilic which means they are both hydrophobic and hydrophilic, which basically means that they are attracted to oils and repelled by water at the same time (not germ killing). The chemical makeup of basic soap, a Surfactant, does not ‘kill’ anything, being amphiphilic soap molecules are attracted to oils and dirt and are repelled by water, hence when one bathes, soap picks up the dirt, and it gets repelled by water, washed down the drain.
    Soap removes germs/bacteria by lifting them off the surface of the skin, it does not ‘kill’ them. In order to ‘kill’ germs, an antibacterial would need to linger on the skin, such as when applying iodine or rubbing alcohol on wounds.

    Soap is achieved by mixing vegetable or animal oils and fats (these are not germ killing ingredients) with an alkaline solution such as lye (also not a germ killing ingredient since the lye is basically cooked out of the soap), in turn this creates a chemical reaction known as saponification (does not magically produce germ killing compounds), when left to cool and dry, you get a bar of soap.
    Soap can be made in anyone’s kitchen for that matter, with no ingredients that ‘kill’ germs.
    Antibacterial soaps on the other hand contain triclosan and triclocarban which are antibacterial chemicals meant to kill bacteria. However those two chemicals also kill the good bacteria on the skin and they also do not easily breakdown, which is why many rivers and streams are found to be polluted with these chemicals as people are over-using antibacterial soaps.
    This information can be found on WebMD, and several other sites.

    Comment by Alyn — March 29, 2012 @ 8:38 am
  192. Thanks for clearing that up

    Comment by Ani Lack — March 29, 2012 @ 2:20 pm
  193. Back before the blog days and the super information tubes, we used to have to cruise around, see people, meet up with them, and exchange information. When doing such an activity back in, oh, 1990 or so, I met a beautiful Australian woman in Amsterdam. She had, seriously, some of the nicest hair I’ve ever seen in my life. She and her boyfriend had been traveling for about 2 years, and had learned somewhere in North Africa that soap was bad for you and had ceased using it at all.

    Now, homeboy had dreds, so it was a bit difficult to judge. But I still, to this day, haven’t seen nicer hair than on this Australian lady.

    A few years later, I remembered what they had said and stopped using products myself. I still keep an all-natural, organic, hippy-dippy, slippery, unscented liquid soap around (I order it from German because I live in Austria) that I use when I really need something to get some real dirt off (as mentioned above, soap works for this). But, in general, I have been using nothing but water for over 15 years.

    I have two kids now (ages 4 and 8) and they have never used soap except for when overzealous grandparents insist or when they’ve drawn on themselves with markers and require a vigorous scrub down. I don’t use shampoo on them and never have. Once in a great while I use a cream rinse on my eldest daughters hair if it gets tangly (this has happened, I think, twice in her life). And I’ll admit to having used soap on their booties sometimes in the event of, um, soilage down there that is sort of, um, penetrating.

    OH, and I DO use soap to wash my hands, as does my whole family. This, it seems to me, is just basic good hygiene. We use the same, above-mentioned hippy-dippy soap for that. The reason I slip on this is because, in the case of hands, I actually DO want to fuck with the bacteria there — natural or not. My kids get into all kinds of stuff, touch their friends tongues with their fingers, drag their hands along subway walls, etc. This, it seems to me, is worth eradicating with some scrubbing, hot water and, yes, a bit of soap.

    My kids are socially accepted, they smell great, they are happy and, from what I can tell, they seem pretty clean.

    So that’s my experience with this over the last 20-some years.

    Comment by scotty — March 30, 2012 @ 12:02 pm
  194. I have tried to wash my (fortunately short) hair with only water for one month, each 2-3 days. At the beginning I had a benefit: the dirt made the work that commercial oil used to do before :-)
    But after 3 weeks my mom told me I shouldn’t use too much products for my hair! I told her I was doing the no-shampoo experiment… After some days she told me that watching my hair everyone could clearly see that they’re not washed (properly), and that they smelled bad.
    Maybe for me the right thing to do, at least for now, is washing my hair without shampoo every 2 days regularly, and wash them with shampoo every 1 or 2 weeks..

    Comment by Marco — April 18, 2012 @ 12:11 am
  195. Hi Marco, unfortunately it can take many weeks before your hair overcomes withdrawal from using the detergents and starts to go back to normal, so it gets worse before it gets better. If you want to try it again, maybe start wearing hats until everything gets back to normal. Washing with shampoo every 1 or 2 weeks is also a good way to start it by getting your hair less dependent on the chemicals before you stop using them altogether. I shampoo once every 6 to 8 weeks, and that’s only because that’s how often I color my hair and I need to wash the dye out. I have very long hair and I use conditioner more often, especially in the summer when I’m at the beach a lot, but I try to avoid using it too close to my scalp. As for the smell, try scrubbing your scalp with citrus juice (not lemon or your hair may go lighter) and then wash it out with conditioner to get your hair soft.

    Comment by Ani Lack — April 18, 2012 @ 10:25 pm
  196. Hi Marco!
    Great article! Very informative. For about two weeks now, I have not used body wash in the shower, and my skin is slowly getting better. For a while, it had been dry, flaky, and acne prone. Now, almost all acne is gone; it’s no longer itchy; and it is actually brighter and younger looking!
    Yet despite all that, I still get funny looks when I tell people that I don’t use soap. I guess they just assume I am a crazy hippie to do such a thing! (btw, I AM a hippie, albeit not too much of a “crazy” one, and that has partially affected my decision to not use soap. I try to use a few chemicals on my body as possible, and always opt for natural alternatives.)
    Anyway, I was wondering if you use any kind of lotion or moisturizer after you shower without soap. Even without the soaps washing away the natural body oils, is it still necessary to moisturize? Thanks in advance! :)

    Comment by Lizzie — April 21, 2012 @ 7:29 am
  197. I’ve had dandruff issues on my scalp for years especially in the winter. I tried a bunch of dandruff shampoos, but only the all natural ones. They didn’t work. But what does work is tea tree oil. Once I started using a shampoo with tea tree oil in it the dandruff is gone. I wash my hair once a week. You could also buy tea tree oil and add it to any shampoo, or probably just rub some in to your scalp. Tea tree oil (and lemon oil) are natural anti bacterials that you can also use to make your own household cleaning products (if you want to talk about saving money, all you need to clean your house is a lemon, baking soda, vinegar and a few essential oils not all the crap that’s out there). Last time I got my hair cut the hairdresser said “You’re hair is really well balanced, you must only wash once a week”. Also curious if anyone bathes with Dr. Bronners liquid soaps the way he recommends? Which is not showering but just wiping yourself off with a warm damp cloth with his diluted soap? Also much more simpler and money saving.

    Comment by Kate — May 15, 2012 @ 5:45 am
  198. Hi, I have just stumbled upon your post while looking for a good sulfate-free shampoo. I read it with much attention. Even though I haven’t given up shampoo or soap –not once and for all, at least, I must agree with you. I do shower everyday, but use shampoo just once a week (for several reasons, mainly because I cannot allow myself going to the office with oily hair or so, while my body adjusts to the “new situation”). From time to time, I spray some (closest-thing-to-organic-I’ve-found) leave-in conditioner on my hair, and I must say that my hair and my skin have never been better. I don’t stink, everyone praises my “new” hair (it was frizzy and lifeless before), and my skin is softer. I still use a moisturiser cream, or an aloe gel after going to the beach, but putting a limit on the number of cosmetics I use was the best decision I’ve ever made.

    Comment by Solveig — June 15, 2012 @ 1:17 am
  199. I have a q that seems to have came up often on this post and doesnt seem to have a response. How do you wash your butt? Do you use soap there? I can’t imagine washing there with just water and your hands, and then touching other objects. Please explain what you use there if anything?

    Comment by julie — June 19, 2012 @ 11:20 pm
  200. @Julie: A million times yes. I won’t speak for others, but the one place(s) I use soap is my nether regions. One can never bee too clean down there imo. I still use all natural bar soap, and only about 3 a year. I also make exceptions for new tattoos.

    Comment by Gillis — June 20, 2012 @ 3:28 pm
  201. So i’m the opposite. I never use anything down there, but don’t naturally have a smell issue. I guess it depends on your own personal ecology. For female parts, as long as you are healthy and there is a good bacterial balance, there should be no smell. With your butt, if you have less than ideal bowel movements which when wiping show up on the toilet paper, then you probably need more than water until you have fixed whatever digestive problem that needs to be addressed. If you are producing enough intestinal mucos that bowel movemnts slide out cleanly, then there is no need to mess up the ecology by selectively breeding certain other bacteria by using soap.

    Comment by Ani Lack — June 21, 2012 @ 5:14 pm
  202. I just ran across your article while looking for some info about not using soap. I’ve just read an article about the poisons that are in cosmetics and body washes. A major cosmetic says they will eliminate poisons from their products by 2015. Gee thanks. I posted this on my Facebook page and mentioned that I don’t use soap. I got a lot of comments on that. People could not get it. I have not used soap for years. I soak in the tub and scrub with a cloth or brush. I am the healthist member of my family. Plus years ago I would get rashes on my legs especially the back of my knees. I started air drying and the rash went away. I read where our skin needs the moisture to regenerate oil. It works for me. I use to get really bad dry cracking knuckles in the winter. I decided to try not to completely dry them after washing them. It worked. Even in the warm months I never completely dry my hands. They air dry in seconds and the painful dry skin is gone. Plus we don’t need all the soap chemicals in our septic system.

    Comment by Bennie B — August 19, 2012 @ 1:37 pm
  203. I have OCD, a big fear of germs, bodily waste, etc. yes, I have tried to get treatment, but It did not help in understanding how it’s ok to not use soap. I started googling to see what others think about not using soap and ran across this article. To me it seem impossible to take a shower without soap, mainly to not use it on the genital region. But this article shows how so many ppl don’t use soap and they are more than ok. Thank all of you, this encourages me to keep trying harder and maybe one day I will also be able to eliminate soap and be ok :). I have one question, how do you not bathe after having a bowel movement, and when you do bathe you don’t use soap even down there? Thank you.

    Comment by Julie — August 19, 2012 @ 11:06 pm
  204. Hi julie, congratulations on trying to break out of your OCD comfort zone. Basically, it’s all about having a healthy symbiotic relationship with the bactaeria that has evolved to protect you. Just like in your intestines you need a healthy balance of bacteria to protect you from bad things that you eat, your skin is the same. Using detergents will kill off most of the good bacteria and leave you vulnerable to the bad stuff invading. Once to allow your skin ( which is technically an organ) to detox from the detergents and bacterial imbalance, the healthy bacteria will form a protective layer and stop bad bacteria invading. The exceptions are washing your hands when touching food and using the bathroom. If you have a regular bowel movement, there should be enough healthy bacteria inside your gut to create enough mucos to surround the stool and make it so it comes out clean and there is nothing when you wipe. If you are OCD about germs then you may have an ungealthy gut which means your bowel movements will be looser and leave stuff on your skin around your anus. In this case, you should wipe and if necessary wash until it is clean, however using detergents in your underpants area will create a bacterial inbalance, and unless the bowel movement is not water soluble, you should avoid using detergents or chemicals to remove them. Because you are starting with an inbalance, your skin will feel uncomfortable and will smell if you go cold turkey fron using soap a lt to completely removing it, so I recommend replacing soap with something mild like cetaphil lotion until you feel that your skin is softer and cleaner, and then try eliminating the detergents altogether. It is also advisable to do this last step in the winter months when you tend to sweat less. Good luck

    Comment by Ani Lack — August 20, 2012 @ 11:15 am
  205. I haven’t used soap in years. A shower everyday is enough to keep me clean and not smelly. At some point I looked at my dog and thought “How the hell is it possible that she never baths let alone use soap and she isn’t dirty or smelly and her hair looks all shiny and beautiful”, then I did some research and realized its unnecessary. And why would you need soap? Soap is a recent invention, people in the wild don’t use soap and they don’t smell bad, atleast not the people I was with. It actually just ruins your bodies natural oil and bacteria levels. I haven’t used soap in years and my skin is just as soft, I don’t smell and I feel really clean. Next step is get rid of shampoo cause it really just messes my hair up, it looks weird and feels weird when I shampoo. The only problem I still have is that I get itchy and get some dandruff after a week or more without shampoo. Going to try using baking soda and apple vinegar.

    Comment by Philla — September 16, 2012 @ 8:56 am
  206. I’ve been shampoo, soap, and deodorant free for six years now. My doctor strongly suggested it after major surgery which included removing several lymphnodes under each arm pit. I shower every second day and I make sure it’s on a gym day. I scrub my scalp and wash my hair with my fingers to loosen dirt and grease. I used a wash cloth for the rest of my body including face and then privates. Since I live in a semi-arid climate, my face and heels of my feet are the only parts that need a little moisture and for that I use a dab of olive oil. My skin and body are healthier since there are no chemicals causing allergic reactions, etc. It also makes for easier traveling. After so long of being shampoo and soap free, I can’t imagine being any other way!

    Comment by GardenGal — September 24, 2012 @ 6:18 am
  207. I an understand most of your argument, and agree with it. I too, have a septic system and find that using phosphate-free septic-safe soap not only has no effect on the tank bacteria but also cleans me in a more healthy way – similarly with shampoo, dishwasher, and washing-machine use. I had an itchy, flaking skin problem on my face that is virtually gone now – previously I could only control it by applying moisturiser. The only situations where soap is absolutely essential, and the septic-safe stuff is as good as the commercial rubbish, is in removing fat on cookware and oil from cleaning my bike. This is because fat and oils simply do not dissolve in water, but do in soap.

    Comment by Tom — September 26, 2012 @ 3:03 pm
  208. all very good and sensible. I believe what people really need to know and understand, to come to terms with, is that all things in previous comments are bodily functions. Bodily functions are nothing to be afraid of, they are there for a purpose, if you think they are gross, get over it. No matter how yucky you make think they are, they will never go away. It is nature, you must work with nature, not against it.

    Comment by Dawn Smith — October 5, 2012 @ 7:25 am
  209. I just read your blog and loved it! I have a few questions for you. Did your research cover handmade soaps (those that contain sodium hydroxide and natural oils)? Have you ever tried them or did you go from store bought to cold turkey? My son has eczema and even washing with those hypoallergenic soaps made his skin worse. After using a homemade body wash with saponified olive oil, oatmeal, honey, and turmeric his skin cleared up after one wash. I’ve thrown out all my store bought washes and now I’m trying not to wash my hair with shampoo (I have extremely long, thick, wavy hair). Did your scalp itch like crazy? Did it all lay down flat on your scalp?

    Comment by Lesley — January 15, 2013 @ 9:23 am
  210. If i need to use something to remove oil based dirt, like make up, iuse cetaphil lotion. I havent tried store bought natural soaps, but if they work for you, then great. I also have thick wavy hair and go into the ocean a lot. I have found to avoid itchy scalp, after i wash my hair, i moisturize with a regular body moisturizer ( vaseline intensive care) and rub that into my scalp after towel drying. I still use conventional shampoo and conditioner once every 6 weeks only after i color my hair to get all the excess color out. The other times i scrub with water and fingernails instead of shampoo, and still use conditioner,but not nearmyscalp, and then towel dry and moisturize. Everyone’s hair is different, so what works for me may not work for you.

    Comment by Ani Lack — January 16, 2013 @ 12:17 am
  211. Sean,

    I’m so glad you’ve changed your opinion about the shampoo and soap world. I was forced to give up both due to the interaction it caused with my chemo and radiation therapy. In fact, my doctor recommended not using commercial deodorant for the same reason. Instead, I dissolve 1 tsp of baking soda in a spray bottle, shake to dissolve, spray 3 – 5 squirts in the palm of my hand and pat it on my underarms. It’s natural and very effective, even after a heavy workout.

    As for my hair, I also have thick wavy hair which has become curlier since using only water for washing. I don’t even towel dry my hair just sort of squeeze the ends out as I really like the curlier look.

    I’m glad you tried this natural method of washing body and hair. It’s so much healthier not to mention it makes traveling especially camping a whole lot easier and more environmentally friendly.

    Comment by GardenGal — January 16, 2013 @ 7:52 am
  212. Ani,

    To remove oil based dirt from hair, use 1 tbsp of baking soda in warm water in a squeeze bottle. Pour a bit at a time on your hair and massage your scalp with your fingertips. Be sure to use hot (not scalding) water to dissolve the oil. Then follow up with a white vinegar rinse (1 tsp vinegar to 8 oz water). If your hair still feels oily once dry, try this method again. Your hair should be fine after that.

    Good luck and let me know how this works for you.

    Comment by GardenGal — January 16, 2013 @ 7:57 am
  213. Ani,

    To remove oil base dirt from your face, saturate a cotton ball with olive oil (yes, you heard me – olive oil) and run it over your entire face until the cotton ball comes clean. You may need to use several cotton balls to remove the dirt, but trust me on this, olive oil is the best thing you can use. After you’ve achieved a clean cotton ball, take a hot, wet wash cloth and leave it on your face until it cools off. The wet hot cloth acts as a steamer to release whatever dirt and oil is left on your face. Your face will not feel greasy, but clean, you won’t need a moisturizer, and best of all you won’t have or get acne if you wash your face this way every other day. I wash my face this way every couple of days and my skin has a healthy glow and never dry.

    Comment by GardenGal — January 16, 2013 @ 8:04 am
  214. Thanks, I’ll try that, although i have never had a problem with dry or oily hair, my nose does get dry in the winter.

    Comment by Ani Lack — January 16, 2013 @ 8:09 am
  215. Ani,

    A dab of olive oil on your finger then into your nose (or use a Q-tip, but don’t go too high up) will solve the dry nose problems. I live in semi-arid climate and used to suffer from nose bleeds all the time, but they’ve stopped since I use the olive oil in my nose before bed.

    Comment by GardenGal — January 16, 2013 @ 8:27 am
  216. I have not used soap in over twenty years, and have healthy skin – the only problem I ever have is mild eczema in response to food sensitivities – and I am glad to see that I’m not alone. I do use shampoo as I am a swimming instructor and need to get the chlorine out of my hair. The SLS in the anti chlorine shampoo gives me an irritable scalp and I am presently researching how I might make my own. The anti chlorine ingredient is harmless and is available on eBay, any bright ideas where I might get natural soap base in the UK would be appreciated. Oh, and by the way, I stopped using commercial toothpaste six years ago, and when I did, the mouth ulcers that plagued me ceased entirely. I practice oil pulling and use an ionic toothbrush, with great results.

    Comment by Joy Walter — January 20, 2013 @ 10:23 am
  217. Hello, i’m planning to try this too because i realize soap and shampoo products do harm not only our health but also our planet. However, do i still need body lotion / sun block to protect my skin after using no soap? and do you use perfume in your daily life?

    Thank you.

    Comment by Bennita — January 28, 2013 @ 4:43 am
  218. Bennita,

    Once your body gets used to being soap and lotion free, it will produce its own oils, which means there will not be a need for commercial lotions. Continue to use sun block, but when you shower or bath, use a wash cloth and give yourself a good rub to remove the sun block. I do not use perfume at all since I’m allergic to scents.

    Good luck.

    Comment by GardenGal — January 29, 2013 @ 9:14 am
  219. Your hair and skin are to be treated the same. If soap is bad for your hair then it’s bad for your skin. As a black male I KNOW about dry skin, believe me we have it the WORST! However I do use it on my hands and feet as they are the most disgusting parts of your body. Your hands touch EVERYTHING and EVERYONE that has most likely been touched by EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Your feet touch THE FLOOR then go INTO YOUR SHOES that allow your feet to receive ZERO OXYGEN with HEAT AND MOISTURE. The bacteria on your hands and feet are mostly EXTERNAL. The bacteria on your skin is mostly INTERNAL. What goes in comes out. Your body is transparent sort of like a zip lock, the plastic being the skin. Pour dirt on a zip lock and then pull it up. Your can clean the outside as much as you want but the bag will never clear up. You have to clean the inside as well and notice the inside is where almost all of the filth is held. Diet majorly affects the you look, feel, taste and smell. Greens, citrus, berries, algae, herbs and water are great for your health. Good income means good outcome and good inside means good outside. I bath twice a day not only to cleanse but to warm up/cool down depending on the season and rehydrate. Oil doesn’t hydrate you, hydrogen does. The oil is what keeps the water locked and your oils rub off over time allowing oxygen to dry you out. I use plain water and my bare hands to clean my hair. The ruffness of my hair scrubs again each other and the scalp. I use plain water and a facecloth for my skin. The cloth loosens and picks up the bulk of the oils, bacteria and dead skin as the water removes the remainder. Hands and feet get the same treatment of the skin but lathered with soap AFTER scrubbing, not before and not with. The oils protects your skin from being irritated and/or damaged by the ruffness. The soap removes the remainder with more power than water alone. I use almond oil on my skin and hair. I use cocoa butter on my hands and feet. I don’t use lotions because they contain too much ingredients that aren’t even great for you, less is more. I use sea salt deoderant under my arms. Being as healthy and as natural as I could be, I still love my fancy fragrances and use them. I like that the almond oil has no smell and doesn’t mix with my fragrance. Knowledge and the use of it is so much power.

    Comment by sofreshsoclean — January 29, 2013 @ 2:10 pm
  220. Thank you for answering my question. i told my friends about this and they are all think i am crazy. Well, let’s see how it works.

    Comment by Bennita — January 30, 2013 @ 6:39 am
  221. Sofreshsoclean,

    You are so right about “good income means good outcome”. Ever since I’ve become vegan, I my skin and body are so much healthier. My doctor didn’t know I changed my diet and last time I saw her she commented on how my eczema clear up. Also, as my name implies, I spend a lot of time in the garden and causing my hands and feet to get pretty dirty. I follow your method of cleaning those areas with little effort and great success.

    I have tried salt deodorant which caused a huge allergic reaction. I now used 1 tsp of baking soda dissolved in 8 oz warm water in a spray bottle for deodorant, which was recommended by my surgeon after my double mastectomy. The aluminum and other chemicals in commercial deodorants affect the lymph nodes under my arms which could cause adverse reaction to the meds I take.

    It’s great to hear and share other people’s success stories. We have to continue to spread the word!

    Comment by GardenGal — January 30, 2013 @ 9:08 am
  222. Bennita,

    Your friends will be envious of your beautiful and healthy skin and hair. Just remember that some people’s body takes longer to adjust to changes in care, so please don’t give up. I almost did after 5 weeks, but now that I’ve my skin and hair care regiment is working, I would never, never go back.

    Comment by GardenGal — January 30, 2013 @ 9:11 am
  223. I’ve also heard people who go shampoo free still want to use styling aids such as clear aloe vera gel. I’ve recently learned that the gel contains harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde. The addition of the perservatives/antimicrobials DMDM Hydantoin and Diazolidinyl Urea chemical works by releasing Formaldehyde into the product, which kills any microbes and is great for the product but not so great for you, because Formaldehyde is a potent carcinogen as well as an irritant that can cause allergic reactions.

    Just one more reason to stick to the basics.

    Comment by GardenGal — January 31, 2013 @ 9:05 am
  224. Thanks to all of you for the information and experience. I’m 2 1/2 weeks into avoiding shampoo on my hair and it’s looking better every day. The unbelievable amount of oil on my scalp was making it impossible to comb out either wet or dry. So, I started doing a rinse with a little bit of diluted lemon juice in the shower (I just poured a little in a cup and filled it with warm water afterwards and rinsed it out. I looked through a hair styling mag. and read that if you soaked your hair 120 seconds under running water it allowed your hair to absorb the water instead of the chemicals in the shampoo (I’ve been doing that for the past six months and it made my hair soft and smooth). Now, I’m shampoo free and its looking better still! I still use my own handmade soap, however, I’ve adopted the mantra, “If you can’t eat it, it stays off my skin.” The only ingredient that is inedible is the sodium hydroxide and even then I super-fat the soap. After it’s finished I only put things like honey, turmeric, vitamin E, grapeseed oil, rosemary, cinnamon, or whatever strikes my fancy! My skin has never felt better and I no longer need lotions (my feet and hands looked horrible). My sons’ eczema has disappeared with the turmeric wash and soon I’m going to try eliminating deodorant, which I usually don’t need anymore. Thank you guys for everything!!

    Comment by Lesley — February 1, 2013 @ 9:28 am
  225. On the deodorant theme, I have not used a mainstream deodorant for well over 20 years either. I used to use Weleda’s sage deodorant, but now they’ve priced themselves out of the market, I use a crystal one (Alum salts) and find it more than adequate with no health problems, plus very economical. I have heard you can use magnesium oil to do the job, which makes sense. Couple of ideas for you, Lesley

    Comment by Joy Walter — February 1, 2013 @ 11:12 am
  226. Hi, i’ve been stop using soap for more than one month, i realize that my skin feels better than before. my skin doesn’t feel sticky after sweating a lot and the acne disappears. however for some parts of my legs such as my calfs & knees become a little bit dry. is it still part of the process or there’s something wrong with my skin? thank you

    Comment by Bennita — March 18, 2013 @ 8:40 am
  227. Bennita, you may just have dry skin there. Moisturize with olive oil or anything that is natural. Dry skin may be seasonal and might go away eventually.

    Comment by Ani Lack — March 18, 2013 @ 9:58 am
  228. I’ve been showering with just water and a washcloth for 3 months now. it was great the first two months in maryland (during summer), but now that I’m in miami where it’s much more humid, I’m starting to get white specs in my hair. How can I prevent this?

    Comment by George — September 8, 2013 @ 9:36 am
  229. Green gram powder is best for cleaning both body and hair. Removes dirt and makes her and skin soft and shiny.

    Comment by Priya — September 11, 2013 @ 7:00 am
  230. oops! ‘hair’ not ‘her’

    Comment by Priya — September 11, 2013 @ 7:01 am
  231. Have fun getting the plague because you aren’t washing your body.

    Comment by some guy — September 13, 2013 @ 6:42 am
  232. Lesley, i would love to know more about the turmeric wash. Both of my children has eczema, I would love to see that go away. My son doesn’t like lotion and he said it feels funny. Any advice you can give me would be great. Thanks. Not to be stupid or anything, so what do you sub for soap? Just baking soda and vinegar? I would love to stop using soap on my face but the oil gets into my eyes and really burns at the end of the day.

    Comment by Wendy — September 26, 2013 @ 7:28 pm
  233. What a revelation, no soap and no shampoo. We have been shampoo free for over a year and began the journey with bicarb wash followed by vinegar rinse. Recently we have reduced the bicarb rinse to water only followed by a tad of argan oil to condition. Works really, really well. We have just started on no soap. We dry brush the skin and follow with a shower and cloth rub. Amazing. The skin is silken soft and rough spots have vanished. Dry, cracking heels are now soft and healthy looking. No bad odour either, consequently haven’t been using deodorant. The added bonus is that I don’t have to clean soap scum off shower glass. We’re on a winner here.

    Comment by JANE — December 25, 2014 @ 3:38 pm
  234. Haha, I started no poo during winter period, took me almost half a year to adjust, I have very sensitive skin. The came no face wash. And now no body soap.

    Comment by shernjr — January 3, 2015 @ 3:27 pm
  235. i have to tell you guys, in all honesty, i havent had a problem with my skin all my life.

    I didnt wash my hands with soap for a few months until yesterday, and before that, i did it rarely. Its my lifestyle, and i never got more sick than anyone, more vunerable, more diarhea. Nothing,

    At the age of 6 i disliked using handsoap, so i quitted. Im used to it now. I have this wierd feeling for weeks if i did wash my hands with soap. So, i have a quite healthy lifestyle, and rarely wash my handswith soap. Of course i wash my hands with water, im not that unhealthy. Everyday i drink some water, i let my hands get drained. Everytime i go to the public toilet i just wash my hands with water. If i shower, i take my body lotion and wash my hands (kinda) with it.

    I am amazed by how many ppl do this. I might also consider using the “no shower soap thing”

    Question!: Doo you guys use wax or gel or nothing to style your hair?

    Now tell me, what would you rather do? Be afraid of a few bacteria that out of ten thousands can get you real sick in one single day? Or not to worry at all and just wash your hands whenever you feel like it?

    Comment by Breemony — January 11, 2015 @ 12:56 pm
  236. Well, this is a new journey for me. I stopped using shampoo a year or so ago and used bicarb and apple cider vinegar instead. A few months ago I stopped the bicarb washes and now only wash my hair in the shower. Afterwards I give my hair a very gentle touch of argan oil as conditioner. My hair is clean, shiny and soft. And, it never looks greasy or dirty! About two months ago I also stopped using soap in the shower. Now I just use a face washer to give my skin a thorough rub. The change to my skin has been incredible. I no longer have dry elbows or dry heels. My skin is super smooth and soft and I do not need body moisturiser. I argan oil and rosemary oil on my face. For a hand wash we use castile liquid foam and again we don’t need moisturiser. I have also stopped using deodorant. That was a tricky decision because no one wants to smell and put people off. But, I have no body odour. Quite amazing. If I sweat after exercise and suspect body odour I just wipe the sweat and odour away with a damp cloth and I am good to go. I will never ever go back to using chemicals on my body and will feign allergy issues if anyone questions me about seemingly ‘poor hygiene’.

    Comment by JANE — February 3, 2015 @ 11:21 am
  237. A few questions:
    1. Do you have hard or soft water? Do techniques need to be adjusted depending on someone’s hard water levels? I tried the no poo thing, but hard water ruined it. I want to try no-soap, but am afraid of negative hard water effects again.
    2. Do you put any lotions on your akin? Have you ever felt the need to? I put lotion on after every shower and bath for the past 15 or so years. My skin is way too dry not to, but I wonder how that would change if I were to stop using soap. I also wonder if using lotion would effect the no-soap routine.
    PS the boing boing link lead to a 404 page

    Comment by Christina — February 19, 2015 @ 1:26 pm
  238. Christina, I stopped using soap, shampoo, lotions or anything regularly on my body (except antiperspirant) since this article came out few years ago. This is my hypothesis: we have evolved without using soap on our body, therefore the body is well equipped to deal with the environment without using soap. I use only water, cold/warm/hot and on rare occasions i will use soap, and lotion afterwards to replace the oils that were taken out with soap. It does take a month or so for your body stop excreting excess oils, so you will feel extra greasy hair and oily skin in the beginning. I take a shower almost every morning. I find that body odors from sweat are water soluble but antiperspirant can not be left out. to sat fresh all day.

    my water is somewhat hard and it is harder to stay clean when using soap/ less lather. Although washing with water alone does not seem to make much difference.

    Your questions on use of lotion are very important because our skin will sense oil/moisture from the lotion and produce less oil. Therefore the more lotion you use, the more your skin will need lotion and it will become dry. If you stop using lotion, your skin will initially become greasy and eventually equalize to become normal.

    you should go at your own pace and do use soap, shampoo and lotion if you feel the need. It does feel great when your body id no longer dependent on soap and shampoo . . . . ;p)

    Comment by Pirooz — April 26, 2015 @ 8:20 pm
  239. I am teenager. I have lot of problem of pimples and dandruff. I have tried almost everything for these problem. I am thinking of skiping soap and shampoo.
    Few questions:
    Will this process reduce or remove pimples? or I should continue using face wash and creams for face? and what about sunscreen lotions for body?
    Any suggestions

    Comment by jyoti — May 16, 2015 @ 9:07 pm
  240. My oldest has recently been diagnosed with early psoriasis and my youngest is allergic to an unknown chemical (still to be determined) in soaps and shampoos. I’ve been doing some research and it only makes sense to at least try this Soapless wash process.

    My biggest question that I cant seem to find any answer to is -sunscreen! How do I wash the sunscreen off the kids. Or what do I use as an alternative to sunscreen?

    Comment by sierra French — May 24, 2015 @ 6:08 pm
  241. Comments to #115, 122, 237, 239 and 240.

    #115 – regarding hard or soft water. I found hard water to be a bit of a problem until I started a vinegar rinse. I use 1/4 vinegar with 2 cups of water in a squeeze bottle. The vinegar softens the hair as well as detangles it. Alternately, I steep 3 bags of chamomile tea overnight in boiling water, pour it into a squeeze bottle and rinse my hair with that. It works as a conditioner with the added bonus of putting natural highlights in your hair. I also keep a spray bottle of the chamomile mix to spray on my hair just before I go outside for extra highlighting benefits.

    #122 – Neither your hair nor body will not smell bad by not using shampoo or soap. It will have a natural smell. If the smell really bothers you, try a vinegar or chamomile rinse in your hair. I use 1/4 vinegar with 2 cups of water in a squeeze bottle. The vinegar softens the hair as well as detangles it. Alternately, I steep 3 bags of chamomile tea overnight in boiling water, pour it into a squeeze bottle and rinse my hair with that. It works as a conditioner with the added bonus of putting natural highlights in your hair. I also keep a spray bottle of the chamomile mix to spray on my hair just before I go outside for extra highlighting benefits.

    #237 – Using a vinegar or chamomile tea rinse will eliminate odor. I use 1/4 vinegar with 2 cups of water in a squeeze bottle. The vinegar softens the hair as well as detangles it. Alternately, I steep 3 bags of chamomile tea overnight in boiling water, pour it into a squeeze bottle and rinse my hair with that. It works as a conditioner with the added bonus of putting natural highlights in your hair. I also keep a spray bottle of the chamomile mix to spray on my hair just before I go outside for extra highlighting benefits.

    As for moisturizing your skin, try rubbing olive oil or sunflower oil on straight out of the shower. The little bit of water left of your skin will act as a carrier for the oil and make it absorb quickly. You will be left with soft, moist skin.

    #239 – Rubbing the area with pimples with a warm, wet washcloth, may help “scrub” off the pimples. As for the sunscreen, it should dissolve when washed with a warm, wet washcloth (it works for me).

    #240 – A wet, warm washcloth works wonders on removing dirty, grime, sunscreen, etc., from skin without soap.

    Comment by Judy — May 26, 2015 @ 8:26 am
  242. Anyone concerned with body odor due to not using commercial deodorant, should try lemons or a spray of chamomile tea under the arm. Both work really well. I personally prefer the tea since it leaves no scent at all. I let 3 – 4 chamomile tea bags steep overnight in 2 cups of boiled water and in the morning pour it into a squeeze bottle I keep in the shower. I rinse my hair with it as well as squeeze some onto a washcloth and wash my underarms with it. Drinking 2 or 3 cups of chamomile tea throughout the day can also help with body odors since odors come from inside the body. I’ve been using the tea as a hair conditioner and deodorant replacement for years and it works very well.

    P.S. The chamomile tea hair rinse really helps with hard water, and it’s great for highlighting hair naturally.

    Comment by Judy — May 26, 2015 @ 8:36 am
  243. I am a female from a mixed ancestry of Latino/African, I only mention this because many people with my kind of hair think they have to put oil on their hair to keep it healthy and prevent it from drying out. I stopped using shampoo and any additional products on my hair. I wash with baking soda and rinse with water and apple cider vinegar. My hair only took about 1 week to adjust and now it is soft and so easy to care for. I stopped using soap on any part of my body except hands. I use baking soda to exfoliate my entire body and again rinse with apple cider vinegar to put back the acid mantle. For under arms I use Magnesium Chloride (magnesium oil) and I absolutely never have an order problem even if I skip one or two days. All of the above is healthy and you save a lot of money, not to mention better for the planet. One more thing about cleaning your face with baking soda. I mix baking soda with a few drops of olive oil or jojoba oil or even a bit of honey, what a wonderful cleanser and rinse with, you guessed, apple cider vinegar. I live in the western desert of US, so I know dry when I see it. My skin is healthy and wrinkle free for a 54 year old. In regards to psoriasis, which I once became a victim of, due to mold and chemical overload, the only thing that got rid of it permanently was turmeric and bromelain along with a healthy diet of a lot of greens and water, water, water.

    Good luck

    Comment by mozele — June 6, 2015 @ 4:04 pm
  244. I started this in 2011 after Sean’s post to BoingBoing. Kind of a lark and as an experiment. I’ve always had combination dry / oily skin that’s always been itchy and unhappy. And my hair is curly and got crazy after one day if I didn’t wash it.

    Now this is the norm for me. No soap except for hands and “tackle” and feet once in a while when they’re dirty.

    I can’t really express how grateful I am to have found this and tried it. I started a blog to record progress, but there wasn’t much to report. I started feeling and smelling better right away.

    Yes it took about two weeks for my hair to settle down and for my skin to even out all the way.

    But, the results are astounding! My savings on soap and shampoo and conditioner and hair product and lotion are also nice. But the way my skin and hair feel is truly great for me.

    My wife also confirms that I used to smell after a few hours post shower, even with deodorant. By the end of the day or post workout I always needed another shower and usually showered before bed just to get rid of the smell.

    Now, even after working in the yard or garden or workout or heavy physical activity there is hardly any smell at all. After a full day working and meetings and then home time and chores, I still smell great according to my wife. I used to get comments all the time when I’d smell after working out or at the end of the day. Now, I get comments about how I can do a full day in hot Dallas or Phoenix or Shreveport or Miami or Manhattan in the Summer and not have BO to crinkle the nose.

    At first I really overdid the scrubbing thinking I needed to compensate for not using soap.

    Now I shower off in a couple of minutes. Feel and smell great all day and my skin and hair are so happy I can’t believe it.

    My wife still comments on how nice I smell and feel and look.

    Just try it! Noting to loose! If it doesn’t work or you don’t like it, just go back. But, you might find that it’s a whole new way of living in your bod like I did.

    Thanks again, Sean and all who convinced me to give this a shot.

    I was a guy who really liked showering and getting lathered up and clean. But now, I can’t even imagine going back.

    Comment by VoxAudi — July 14, 2015 @ 8:41 pm

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