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Going poo-less: No Shampoo/Soap in the Shower  RSS feed

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

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

I absolutely love it!  It took a while to transition, but my hair fills healthier than ever.

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

One of the best starting points seems to be: http://beyondshampoo.com. ; You can read about the basic and the toxins in shampoo.  Plus, you can post questions.  It seems to be a growing community.
 
                      
Posts: 76
Location: Austin,TX
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Nice. Will have to try some of these alternatives to soap/'poo

Have been making really effective psoriasis 'poo by boiling up chinaberries (in the neem family), straining then using.
Works soooo much better than any store bought 'poos, even all then natural ones and it's effects last days longer.
Doesn't seem to keep well (week without refrig) but I just make smaller batches.

Everyone around here hates the chinaberry (invasive) but I'm finding many uses for it. Nice wood that cures up very light and is strong. Coppices and pollards like crazy and super fast grower.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melia_azedarach
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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@ape99 - Could you add your recipe to the beyondshampoo.com discussion, I think that might help a lot of people.  I had never heard of that before.
 
Brenda Groth
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there is a brand of shampoo and conditioner as well as a shower gel that I use religiously..when I don't use it I have problems with my scalp, hair and skin, as well as hair loss..so I don't fool around with my brands..or using something "natural"..last time I did that I lost a lot of hair, and scalp and skin health..so whether or not it is natural, it is working for my health
 
jacque greenleaf
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I quit using regular shampoo and conditioner several years ago. I have curly hair, and the silicone in most shampoos/conditioners is not good for curls.

I thoroughly "wash" my hair every two or three days with plain water in the shower. About every week or ten days, when the oil builds up, I use some Dr. Bronner's liquid soap on it. I've never had so many curls with so much body.

I've used Dr. Bronner's for showering for years, I buy it by the gallon and dilute it. And do I ever love not having my shower cluttered up with numerous plastic bottles of various goops.

 
                    
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Eventually, however, I started to transition towards using no shampoo at all.

I absolutely love it!  It took a while to transition, but my hair fills healthier than ever.


What do you mean by transition?  Like your hair was really oily for awhile?  Or....?  I just can't imagine not using soap or shampoo at all.....but I'm a pretty greasy girl, always have been.   

I'm not to the point of making my own or completely forgoing soap quite yet, but I love JT Liggets bar shampoo.  One bar lasts a long time, it comes in a small paper wrapper, not terribly smelly, and has basic ingredients.  I only need to use it once every ten days or so, mostly on my scalp, and I don't need to use conditioner.  Sometimes in the summer I'll put a little bit of oil on the ends. 

I get compliments on my "great hair" all the time, and people are usually surprised that I don't use any "products" other than that bar.  My scalp eventually does get really oily and I like washing it away.  But everyday?  I don't see how people's hair doesn't just fall right out! 

Dr. Bronners made my hair too dry and frizzy, even with occasional use.

My mom has been a hairstylist for about as long as I've been alive.  Every year or two, when she gives me a hair cut, she HAS to wash my hair TWICE with her hardcore laurel sulphate stuff and it takes weeks for my hair to recover from being dry as a popcorn fart.  And I hate the way my whole head smells afterward.  Good thing she gives a really good haircut! 
 
jacque greenleaf
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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"Like your hair was really oily for awhile?"

Yes. Many people experience this. The received wisdom is that, in an effort to replace the oil you lose by shampooing every day, your sebum glands work overtime, and it takes a while for them to calm down.

Another option that works for some people is to wash your hair with conditioner, rather than shampoo. Apparently conditioners have surfactants that work well enough without the sulfates that are in shampoo. That's called co-washing rather than no-poo.

Google around, you will find lots of people discussing this. And of course, there are truckloads of new "products" springing up to address these issues. I am so glad just plain water works for me!
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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I quit using shampoo and conditioner about two months ago.  I add 1 TBSP Borax to a cup of hot water, let it cool and poured it into a little ketchup bottle that I had around here.  I used diluted apple cider vinegar (4 or 5 parts water to one part ACV) for conditioner replacement.  That too, is in a little ketchup bottle.  Easy delivery system that way! 

The first time I tried this, I thought it wasn't doing anything.  Wasn't I surprised!  Real soft, shiny hair with no tangles.  We have really hard water, and this works for me!  Love it!  My hair is rather curly too, so this doesn't weigh it down.  Also healed up the little sore/itchy bump on my scalp.  It quit itching right after the first wash job.

The next batch I make, I'm going to cut back on the Borax and see how that does.
 
                      
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Location: Austin,TX
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OK Vela,

I tried (and lost) my post on beyondshampoo so I'll just post it here. That site is oddly done...feel free to repost there if you wish.

Psoriasis 'poo:
Just take about 10-20 of the Melia berries and boil for 15-20 minutes. Then mash the flesh off the hard seeds and let cool. Strain the skins and seeds leaving you with a nice light brown liquor with lots of suspended pulp...smells somewhat of almonds...somewhat.

Just shampoo, let sit for 5-10 minutes then rinse and repeat. Add soap if you want suds.

I do small batches as it doesn't seem to keep well unless you stick it in the frig.

Keeps me flake and itch free for 2-3 days. Last longer and works better than anything else I've bought and tried.

Also use it on my eyebrows/face. If I don't use it (or something from the store) I get flaky and very itchy.


There you go...easy peasy.

 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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What do you mean by transition?  Like your hair was really oily for awhile?  Or....?  I just can't imagine not using soap or shampoo at all.....but I'm a pretty greasy girl, always have been. 

By transition, I mean I gradually changed.  I used a shampoo substitute (Baking soda/vinegar) for a while, and then slowly started using less and less between shampoos.  Eventually, I was shampoo free.  I didn't have much of an oil period, and I used to have super greasy hair.  Now, my hair seems fine, not too greasy, not too dry.

I tried (and lost) my post on beyondshampoo so I'll just post it here. That site is oddly done...feel free to repost there if you wish.

I did post your recipe there, because I think it is an interesting one, and folks might find it useful.  Just out of curiousity, what did you find that was odd about the site?  I find it easy to use, very simple.

http://www.beyondshampoo.com/qa/8/natural-shampoo-recipes#a34
 
Kahty Chen
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Location: Southern Oregon
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I've been experimenting with this for a couple of years, too. I have yet to break through that "transition stage".

I found baking soda too harsh. Salt water didn't do much. I used mild bar soaps like Dr. Kirk's coconut oil soap for a while. I think I'll try Marianne's borax to see how that works. Our water is very alkaline, so I need to get the chemistry right.

I've been using water-only for the past 3 weeks, and it's going better this time because I learned about brushing! I never used to brush my hair, just ran my fingers through it - had that tousled tangled look. Turns out that brushing is a great way to knock dust and dirt out of your hair. Also helps transport the hair oil (sebum) to the ends of your hair, where it's most needed (especially for longer hair).

Staying off product has reduced the amount of dry/flaky scalp I used to get. Especially with water only, I'm not having any scalp issues at all. My hair still feels coated (from the sebum). If my scalp follows the theory, and adjusts to the lack of product by producing less sebum, then I'll be good to go. In the meantime, while I'm wearing all these hats, I think brushing all that natural hair oil through my hair (which is A LOT of work with long, thick hair) will leave me with healthier hair in the long run.

Oh, and raw honey makes a great face wash. In the winter, when some of it crystalizes around the edges, it also makes a great scrub. I've been using a blend of aloe juice, avocado oil, shea butter and oils for face/body lotion.

What body soap alternatives can you suggest? I'm still using bars of natural stuff like Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap.
 
                            
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Location: Abilene, KS
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I'm surprised that no one has chimed in on the body wash/soap, so here's what I used to do - I'm not a soap maker, try not to order much that has to be shipped, buy close to home, use what's in my kitchen, etc.  SO, I used to grate a bar of Pure and Natural soap, put it in my slow cooker with some water.  After it all was pretty soft and melty, I would add cooked instant or processed oatmeal, some honey, sometimes add a capsule of Vit E.  If you use raw oats, you end up with dry, poking chunks when you're done.

It's been so many years since I did this, I'm kind of sketchy on the details now.  But it seems like I got several 'bars' of soap from this glop.  I just put it in some small containers until it set up, then popped the bars out on an old cooling rack until they dried.  No curing involved since it's a rebatched type soap.  My skin was always really soft when I was using this.

One thing I just remembered!  When I was a kid (back in black and white TV days!), my mom had the foot from an old pair of panty hose with oatmeal in it.  She tied the open end shut with string, somehow made a loop so it hung over the water handle to dry.  Then we just soaked it in the bath water to soften it, then used it in place of soap.

I don't remember ever having a molding issue. but with 4 females bathing, we probably used it fast enough.  Maybe she had soap slivers in there, too?  The 'oatmeal' soap that I made never got moldly.  I sewed little muslin bags for each bar and gave them as gifts one year with a tag that said 'Annie's Ugly Oatmeal Soap'.
 
Mariah Wallener
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I, too, use shampoo bars (bars of natural soap specially for hair). Have been doing so for 2 years now and my hair has never looked better. I buy them from a local company that makes natural, handmade soaps. One bar is about $7 (Cdn) and lasts us for 2 - 3 months.

I no longer need conditioner since I switched to the shampoo bars. I just rinse with a 1:1 vinegar:water solution. No plastic bottles, no nasty chemicals, and when we get our greywater system set up I won't have to worry about what's going down my drain (we use only natural body soaps too).
 
Brian Bales
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I've been using the baking soda and apple cider vinegar for about a month now. My hair seems to be much healthier. Does not feel as soft as it used to be but my scalp isn't as irritated as it use to either.
 
T. Joy
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jacque g wrote:
I thoroughly "wash" my hair every two or three days with plain water in the shower. About every week or ten days, when the oil builds up, I use some Dr. Bronner's liquid soap on it. I've never had so many curls with so much body.


I too have very curly hair but it is super fine and Dr Bronner's is way too harsh for me. I'm always happy to hear about others with curls doing no-poo though. I go for a while between washings so shampoo is neccessary to get my scalp clean, maybe I'll start water washing or co-washing it more often and see if that changes things a bit.
 
Marie Meglic
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I've wanted to go to no shampoo, but I swim in a chlorine pool almost daily and want to make sure I get the chlorine out of my hair and off my skin.  Does anyone have experience with this or some information that can help neutralize the chlorine.  I think it will be a while before they change to a salt-water pool where I swim.  (They do have solar water heat, however!)

Also, I have really fine hair, but a lot of it.  So, gets matted instantly and I can't imagine trying to comb it without a little condition.  Okay, I admit, I've tried no conditioner and it takes forever with a lot of hair loss with all the knots!
 
travis laduke
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Any ideas about what to do after I go into the Pacific Ocean? I've rinsed with fresh water, but my hair still feels gross. I'm just waiting it out for now...
 
Marie Meglic
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I'm not sure about salt water, but a little internet research seems to bring up that either aspirin made into a paste in water or baking soda in water will remove the chlorine from your hair. 

I would think that salt water and sun might dry your hair out, so you might want to try a couple washes with baking soda to get the gunk out.....and maybe a less toxic clarifying shampoo if it doesn't work.  And then follow with the vinegar rinse.  In addition,  I just found some information on using glycerine to help retain moisture in one's hair I haven't tried it yet. 

I actually tried the baking soda wash and vinegar rinse today and it seemed to work surprisingly well after the pool.  I'll let you know what happens in a couple of weeks, however!

Recipes I've found are below:



Hair Remedy Ingredients:
- 1 cup Distilled Water (or boiled water)
- 1 cup Vegetable Glycerin
How to Make Hair Leave-In Spray:
Looking for a quick boost to add some instant shine to your dull hair? This quick home remedy will leave your hair shiny and healthy.
1. Mix together the water and vegetable glycerin.
2. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
3. Spray your hair as needed.
Pantry Tip:
Add lavender essential oil or other scented oils to make your hair smell amazing too!
http://www.pantryspa.com/beauty-remedies/hair-remedies/homemade-shine-boosting-hair-leave-in-spray-hair-home-remedy/



Simple Baking Soda and Vinegar Shampoo
Mix up 1 part Baking Soda to 5 parts water. It's best to mix this before hand, and keep it in an old shampoo bottle.  Mix 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic White Vinegar is fine, too) with 8 parts water. You can add some essential oils or herbs for a nice smell.  Keep this mixture separate from the Baking Soda mixture.

Apply the Baking Soda mixture first. Shake well, and apply this to your scalp.  Don't worry about getting it into the rest of your hair, this is just for your roots.  Leave this in for a minute or two, and then rinse.

Apply the Vinegar mixture to your hair itself, and leave in for about 15 seconds.  Rinse completely, and you are all done!
 
Marie Meglic
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Okay, everyone.  I have been doing the baking soda wash and vinegar rinse all week.  My hair honestly looks no different than when I used shampoo and I have had no trouble combing tangles out.  Fascinating.  Perhaps, since I swim and rinse it daily with these methods, I'm not having trouble with any build-up at all.  Yay!  Why bother with the shampoo.
 
Brian Bales
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I wash my hair about once a week now with the 2 part baking soda and apple cider vinegar method. My hair is doing great. Its so healthy in fact yesterday when I got my hair cut the barber was questioning me on what I used. When I told him he couldn't believe it and now intends to try it himself.
 
travis laduke
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You know, I've read to use baking soda + vinegar to clean clogged drains; Drains get clogged by hair. I'd be kind of nervous about putting the smae solution onto my head......
 
Brian Bales
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well my hair has never been so healthy and I've been doing it a month now. Important detail is that
1. You are using the products seperately.
2. Both are deluted in water.
 
T. Joy
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PapaBear wrote:
well my hair has never been so healthy and I've been doing it a month now. Important detail is that
1. You are using the products seperately.
2. Both are deluted in water.


Soak some hair in a solution of vinegar and baking soda. You'll see that nothing much happens, even undiluted. It unclogs gunk from the drain, not the hair  .
 
paul wheaton
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I'm trying this. 

Today is day four. 

I shower every day, but I don't use any soap or shampoo.  I'm thinking that 98% of whatever might make me dirty would be rinsed away with nothing more than water. 

I was using VERY expensive organic shampoo and soap.  The thing I liked about them is that they seemed to last forever.  I think my bar of soap ($ is about eight months old.  And my tiny bottle of $20 shampoo is probably about the same.  Both are getting to the end of their lifespan.

I can see using soap if I got a bunch of nasty oil on me.

I know that I use very little detergent when washing my clothes - I think of the function of detergent is to counter oils.  I think my stuff dries faster when I use less detergent.

So far, my showers are much shorter.




 
jacque greenleaf
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I'm a big fan of Dr Bronner's. I dilute it down to 1/5 (4 parts water, 1 part Dr Bronner's) but it can be diluted even farther. Lasts a long time, and, diluted, will not completely strip the oils from either your hair or skin. So if it turns out that you do need soap or shampoo on occasion, it's economical and easy on your bod.
 
Caleb Larson
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I had dreadlocks for several years.  I never washed my hair during that time.  I went swimming a lot in the summer and rinsed them really well with hot water in the winter.
They never smelled, you can even ask my wife, she tells me when I smell bad.

hot water a quality cleansing product.
 
Jordan Lowery
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i use nettles as a shampoo, works amazing and after your hair is super smooth.
 
jacque greenleaf
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Hubert, how do you do it?
 
Tabatha Mic
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Another vote for baking soda & vinegar.
I've been using it for over a year now. My formerly greasy, needing to be washed every day hair has calmed down a LOT. I can go 3-4 days now without shampooing.

I take a couple of tablespoons baking soda, add warm water & pour on my scalp. Then I scrub gently & rinse with water.
Then, I rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar (the cheap stuff, the good Braggs & homemade goes in food ) I do not rinse the ACV out.
I've also simply sprayed on a diluted ACV mix & let it dry without rinsing. The vinegar smell goes away very quickly.
 
John Polk
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If we continuously wash our natural oils from our skins and hair, we are forcing our bodies to manufacture more to replace it.  Daily use of oil solvents on our bodies is contrary to nature's course.

If we are overhauling an old tractor engine, then we may need to use something to cut the oil/grease.  If it is just garden soil and sweat, warm water will suffice (assuming we have not added chemicals to our soil).
 
eliza mahoney
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I went no 'poo about a year ago.  I used baking soda for a while with no ACV (only washing once a week or so I didn't need it).  I tried Dr. Bronner's and found the same thing that many other people are saying... it really dried my hair out and made my curly hair super frizzy.

At some point, I decided I no longer wanted to use baking soda and I wanted to find something more soothing and with other properties.  I found out about soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) and realized it grows all over the place, and isn't difficult to make a simple "soap" out of it.  Here is the recipe I use:

2 cups distilled water
1 1/2 tablespoons dried soapwort root (chopped)
2 teaspoons Lemon Verbena or 2 teaspoons Catnip (optional)
(the Lemon verbena is used for citrus fragrance and/or catnip is thought promote healthy growth.)

Soak the soapwort (and optional herbs) overnight in the water.  Then bring to a boil and immediately lower heat to a low simmer.  Simmer for 20 or so minutes and remove from heat.  Let cool, then strain.  Use the liquid to wash hair & skin. 

I've experimented with all sorts of other fragrances and herbs... lemon lavender sage is my favorite.

There is another thread with more information on soapwort:  http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=2173.0. ; I was suprised no one else mentioned it on this thread.
 
Lee Einer
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velacreations wrote:

One of the best starting points seems to be: http://beyondshampoo.com.  You can read about the basic and the toxins in shampoo.  Plus, you can post questions.  It seems to be a growing community.


Thank you for this link. Most unfortunate, though, that some are trying to brand it as "No poo."

Most of us like a good poo. A good poo is nothing like a sham poo. I think people who are on a "no poo" regimen are probably pretty cranky.
 
Andreas Brevitz
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Location: Sweden, Stockholm
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I shower maybe once every third day and then I don't even soak my hair. I am one of those doing the NO poo.  I "wash" my hair with water only maybe once every two weeks. It works great. If you try this you will experience a "transition period" like that described above. Oily hair and you should also expect some itching. After a while it feels great. I am not cranky.  I had no trouble going cold turkey, I guess because I had this grungy long hair thing going on anyways.
Don't get me wrong, if you use this method there will be people who think you look dirty. It probably won't ever be as if you used shampoo. In my view that's a good thing. It's all a matter of perspective, nowadays I look at shampooed hair and I think to myself; "Ew! That's unhealthy!"I also think that oily hair is not to be confused with dirty hair. The body produces these oils for a reason and when you get all obsessive about getting it out your scalp probably won't thank you. This irrational fear of oily hair is something people need to work on. Despite all of this my hair does not stink. People often tell me I smell nice.

I have one problem with my personal hygien. I've heard about people who stopped using soap on their bodies and instead scrubs with water and salt. Apparently after a while the body odor issues dissappear. This sounds almost like the method Paul is talking about. Water does the trick! My issue is swetty armpits. I have always been a "hot" person, no pun intended. In the winter I wear less clothes than others and in the summer I sweat more than others. On top of this I take a medicine and one of the side-effects is it makes me sweat even more. The thing is I can't seem to get rid of the need for deodorant. The deodorants I've found contain all kinds of nasty heavy metals and perfumes and shit. A bit of advice would be appreciated!
 
Len Ovens
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AndreasBrevitz wrote:
I have one problem with my personal hygien. I've heard about people who stopped using soap on their bodies and instead scrubs with water and salt. Apparently after a while the body odor issues dissappear. This sounds almost like the method Paul is talking about. Water does the trick! My issue is swetty armpits. I have always been a "hot" person, no pun intended. In the winter I wear less clothes than others and in the summer I sweat more than others. On top of this I take a medicine and one of the side-effects is it makes me sweat even more. The thing is I can't seem to get rid of the need for deodorant. The deodorants I've found contain all kinds of nasty heavy metals and perfumes and shit. A bit of advice would be appreciated!


Stay away from synthetic clothing. I wear a uniform   The shirts are 100% polyester... at the end of the day I stink (ask my Yf). I do have some 100% cotton uniform shirts... but they are almost impossible to iron the wrinkles out of so I don't use them much.... but when I do, I don't smell near as bad. This isn't just me, other co-workers have found the same with their clothes. I guess the sweat and the plastic react with each other.
 
T. Joy
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There are tons of recipes online for making your own deodorant with combos of baking soda, corn starch, essential oils and something to bind it all together (coconut oil, beeswax etc).
I just use a bit of baking soda myself, just dip fingers in and apply to armpit. Maybe a bit of essential oil sometimes too.
Then again, I am a vegetarian and we typically have less stinky sweat. Try increasing greens in your diet and take it easy with coffee and alcohol, those cause smelly body odors.
 
paul wheaton
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It's now been the better part of a month without soap or shampoo for me.  All appears to be well.  Nothing to report.  I feel exactly the same.  I thought I would feel greasy, but I don't. 

I have been using a washrag more than before. 

I don't seem to have experienced any transition.  My hair is curly - so it has never looked greasy or product-ified.

I will use soap when washing the dishes to get oils off of things.  But I don't think that counts.  And if I do something like put bacon in the pan and get grease on my fingers, I will wash the grease off of my hands with soap.

So far, I would call this a big success.  I like the idea of using less stuff.  I feel like less of a consumer.  And I like that my showers are shorter. 





 
Savannah Thomerson
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Location: zone 6
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Very nice.

This is my personal experience with the aforementioned:

I make my own soaps, and I have such a large stockpile that I don't see us needing to buy soap for the next decade (yes, really). I make them all out of amaaaazing organic ingredients that I would eat (aside from the lye which is transformed and cancelled out during saponification anyways).

I don't wash my hair often. Maybe once a week. I wear bandanas and things of that sort, with my long hair pulled up into a ponytail underneath.

I don't wear deodorant and I actually have grown to LIKE the smell of people - a real, earthy, organic smell which doesn't have an undertone of chemical. I'm mostly on a raw food diet, and I've noticed this has entirely altered the way my body smells. No more morning breath, and not bathing for days at a time produces at most an underarm smell that is similar to grapefruits (which...yes....I like).

I keep tea tree essential oil around for cleaning countertops, dishes, and mopping the hardwood floors.

Seems to all be working fine....here at Zen Forest we feel clean, healthy, and are never sick (with the exception of a few sneezes if I work with hay or straw). When others visit (such as our traditional and conventional family and/or neighbors) they seem a bit perturbed (though they try not to show it) by certain aspects, but I suppose we're used to this by now
 
T. Joy
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tyffdavi wrote:
... not bathing for days at a time produces at most an underarm smell that is similar to grapefruits (which...yes....I like).


I smell like celery. Weird but true.
 
Savannah Thomerson
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T. Joy wrote:
I smell like celery. Weird but true.


Haha awesome! I believe it. We have grapefruit and celery - I suppose we need an avocado and we'll have ourselves a meal then
 
Andreas Brevitz
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Location: Sweden, Stockholm
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T. Joy wrote:
There are tons of recipes online for making your own deodorant with combos of baking soda, corn starch, essential oils and something to bind it all together (coconut oil, beeswax etc).
I just use a bit of baking soda myself, just dip fingers in and apply to armpit. Maybe a bit of essential oil sometimes too.
Then again, I am a vegetarian and we typically have less stinky sweat. Try increasing greens in your diet and take it easy with coffee and alcohol, those cause smelly body odors.


Thanks! I will try some of that out! As far as diet goes, I eat mostly vegan, definitley no meat, alcohol maybe a few times a year and caffein I try to stay away from as well.


Len wrote:
Stay away from synthetic clothing. I wear a uniform   The shirts are 100% polyester... at the end of the day I stink (ask my Yf). I do have some 100% cotton uniform shirts... but they are almost impossible to iron the wrinkles out of so I don't use them much.... but when I do, I don't smell near as bad. This isn't just me, other co-workers have found the same with their clothes. I guess the sweat and the plastic react with each other.


Wow, cool! I didn't know that! Seems logical though! I will try it out!
 
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