My no soap – no shampoo experiment.

Five weeks ago, I was a normal, shower every day kind of guy.  There’s nothing like a hot shower after a killer workout, and I’ve always been partial to that ‘born-anew’ feeling right after a rough scrub down.  Up until five weeks ago, I’d even managed to learn a thing or two about personal hygiene under the tutelage of my loving fiancée.  I’d finally come to grips with the fact that hair/skin care was a lot more complicated than I had originally thought.  Not only did you have to scrub and shampoo, but choosing the right conditioner, applying some face wash, and amassing an array of post-shower lotions (light for face, heavy for hands) were all part of the world of keeping yourself looking fresh and your skin/scalp healthy. (Who knew?)

I’d finally mastered this world when a little innocent internet browsing by my better half sparked a change. “Honey, have you ever heard about this guy who doesn’t use soap or shampoo?” No.  No, I hadn’t.  But my interest was piqued.  Why would ANYONE want to go through the terror of greasy hair, smelly pits, and dry skin?  They must be crazy.  For the next 30 minutes, I read several testimonials from around the blogosphere citing no soap/no shampoo as a great way to healthier hair and a better-smelling self.

I was skeptical at first, but then I started thinking:  humans haven’t always had soap and shampoo. Did we walk around smelling awful with tiny creatures living in our hair 100,000 years ago?  (If so, that would be a pretty good reason to use shampoo nowadays.)  Soon, this was turning from a funny internet article to an interesting evolutionary-lifestyle theory.  Do we need to use shampoo to attain that lustrous, healthy shine?  Do we need soap to stay/smell clean?

The no soap/shampoo idea seemed so counterintuitive to everything we’ve been taught growing up, that I decided the only way to know for certain one way or the other was to try it out for myself.  Here’s my weekly running journal of what took place.

Week 1

The first week actually went pretty well. I asked for several second opinions, and was told that I “smell great!”  My hair is a little greasier than normal, but not bad at all.  If this is the worst of it, then I might never use shampoo again!

Me, 3 days in.

Smell = 1  Grease = 2+

*note*(ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, 1 being good and 5 being “this reminds me of that time a raccoon got caught in the copier.”)

Week 2

Ummm…yea.  About all that non-greasiness?  I was wrong.  Week two has a mean left hook.  I’ve got Joel Osteen-grease going on here.  On the plus side, I don’t need any kind of hair products for styling.

Me doing my best Wolverine impression. Not pretty.

Luckily, smell still hasn’t been a problem at all. (Yes, this was verified by a 3rd party.)  I’ve been scrubbing in the shower, but just with a cloth, and I still wear deodorant, though no antiperspirant.  Hopefully this keeps up.

Smell = 1   Grease = 4

Week 3

Had to have an emergency procedure this week down at the local barbershop. The greasy hair was getting unsightly, and just plain gross to deal with in the morning.  Getting a hair-cut was just the thing I needed.  Now, it’s much more difficult to tell that my hair’s greasy, and it doesn’t bother me so much.  Might not be the best solution for some of you who prefer longer hair, but it did the trick for me.

Other bloggers have said it takes 2 weeks to get over the hump. It’s been 3 weeks for me, with no end to the grease in sight.  But, I still smell good, which is making me think that at least this portion of the experiment is a success.

Angry Monkey

A bad hair day can ruin anyone's mood.

Smell = 1   Grease = 5+

Week 4

I turned the corner! My hair has been getting progressively ‘cleaner’ every day since the hair-pocalypse that was week 3.  Will have to wait and see if it continues to improve, or if this is as good as it’s gonna get.

Smell = 1  Grease = 3

Week 5

After 5 weeks of no-soap, no-shampoo, here are the results.

  • I smell better than ever.  (Judged by multiple 3rd parties.)
  • My hair, though slightly greasier than it was WITH shampoo, is shiny and healthy.
  • I still enjoy taking hot showers – though they don’t take nearly as long as they used to. (#waterconservation)
  • Have had no issues with infection, skin irritation, etc.
5-week results.

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, I’d say that this little experiment has been a great success! My scalp started to regulate the amount of oil it produced, I smell better than ever, and I’ll be able to save a few bucks on toiletries going forward.  However, it did take a bit of patience to get through the first 3-4 weeks of grease-buildup before things started happening.  I only made it because I was able to cut my hair short – and am not sure that’s such an appealing option to some of you out there.

And before you throw your soap away, be warned that there have been other experimenters who didn’t fare as well as I did in that department.  This blogger found that he had to use soap under his armpits to combat the smell, though he continues NOT to use it on the rest of his body.

Would I recommend no-soap/no-shampoo to everyone? No.  I think that results will probably vary from person to person, though eventually your hair should start regulating itself.  The smell-factor seems to be individualized too, though I didn’t have an issue with it.

That being said, if you are looking for a no-hassle approach to hair/skin health, want to save a bit of money, or are interested in reducing your environmental footprint, No-soap/No-shampoo could be for you!

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UPDATE:  

After several more months of my no soap, no shampoo regimen, I started having dandruff issues.  Not horrible, but there all the same.  It started with the hot summer weather.  Eventually I decided to try a natural alternative to shampoo recommended by this blogger on Nature Mom‘s:  baking soda and lemon juice.

So far (2 months +) my experience has been great.  I wash my hair twice a week by taking about 2 Tbs of baking soda, adding a splash of water, and scrubbing the resulting paste into my roots.  After you rinse it out, your hair will feel, for lack of a better term, “waxy”.  This is where the lemon juice comes in.  I take a table spoon or two, pour it into a small cup, and fill the rest with water.  Pour the lemon juice over your head and scrub one more time, and then rinse thoroughly.  Now I come out smelling good and no more dandruff problems!  Plus you still avoid all those nasty chemicals that can be found in shampoo.  Check out the Nature Mom’s post for other natural solutions to combat frizzy hair, greasy hair, and itchy scalp.

Still no body soap necessary.  Just a bath towel to scrub with.

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What are you thoughts about no-soap/no-shampoo?  Would you ever try it?  If you did, what were your experiences with it?

For more stories and info about going soap/shampoo free, check out noshampoo.org.

-Stay healthy everybody.


2 thoughts on “My no soap – no shampoo experiment.

  1. Jaimie

    Yeah, I have to admit I rarely use soap due to allergies, and I usually get complimented on my pleasant aroma. I don’t think I’d have the balls to stop with shampoo, though. Intriguing experiment.

  2. Pingback: UPDATE: No soap, no shampoo experiment |

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