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Have any of you stopped using soap/shampoo?  RSS feed

 
Lisa Gergets
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
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I'm thinking that people went without soap or shampoos for a long time, so what would happen if you just cleaned using water and your hands? Kind of scrub your scalp with your fingers, and do the same to all your "parts".

Have you ever tried it?
 
Sam White
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I've not used shampoo for about two and a half years now. And I only wash my (fairly long) hair about once a week. As far as I can tell there have been no adverse effects; my hair isn't greasy or smelly, and seems to be in good health (despite my complete lack of care).

I do use soap and shower gel however. I have a physical day job so I never made the transition to just washing with a flannel and water... When I wash rather than shower I just use water, again to no obvious I'll effect. I have very healthy skin.

There is a fairly comprehensive thread here on Permies that was my original inspiration for going 'pooless. I seem to recall some discussion regarding alternatives or substitutions for shampoo discussed in the same thread.
 
Tom Gauthier
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Location: U.P., Michigan
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Humans have been using soap since about 2800 B.C. The use of shampoo (detergent) to clean hair is relatively knew.

I have been using baking soda wash and vinegar rinse for my longish hair for more than five years now and I like it.
I would really like to use homemade, lye soap for washing, but I don't always have that available, so I use the simplest soap I can buy ... something like Ivory.

I couldn't find the original permies post about going "poo-less", but it was there about five years ago.

-Peace

 
r ranson
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I’m nearly no-poo (except when the chickens exercise their own idea of what that means). It wasn’t intentional, it just sort of happened.

I have ridiculously long hair and far too much of it. When I lived in town, I was washing my hair with shampoo and conditioner at least once every 48 hours, usually two or three times in two days. I wash my hair whenever it felt greasy or started to look really icky. Which was pretty much a few hours after it dried. I don’t need perfect looking hair, I just want hair that doesn’t look like I slept in a bath of oil.

Then I started getting a very itchy, dry rash on my head. This was pretty nasty so I turned to the internet to learn how to make it better. There was this treatment where you massage sesame oil into the scalp an hour before washing it. I tried that and it felt so much better. Very soon, I didn’t need conditioner. And after a couple of months, I noticed that I wasn’t washing my hair everyday. I was only washing it every 4th day. This was a huge difference and cut my shampoo cost by three-quarters.

What the oil does, is a bit like drinking vinegar when you have heartburn. Antacids tell your stomach to make more acid which gives you more heartburn. Drinking vinegar tells your stomach that it’s got enough acid, we can stop making so much now. Same with massaging oil into the scalp. Shampoo strips the oils away from the skin and the skin thinks it has to make more to make up the difference. This is very popular, I’m told, in traditional India. They have beautiful hair in India, so it’s worth a try.

After about 6 months, I was just too lazy to massage my scalp each time I wanted to wash my hair. I was down to about once every 10 days. Then I saw a documentary which mentioned how people used to care for their hair in Medieval England. They didn’t use soap on their hair, and very seldom rinsed it with water. What they did do was to comb it very well with a very fine, wooden, comb and then an even finer tooth wooden comb. This got the tangles out and the finer comb helped to spread the oils evenly throughout the hair and remove any dust particles. This works really, really well, especially for long hair.



I still use shampoo from time to time for getting smells (like when I’ve been smoking bacon) and chicken muck out of it, but most of the time the fine wooden comb and water are enough to keep my hair looking and feeling clean
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I stopped using shampoos, body soaps, deodorants, perfumes, detergents, laundry chemicals, dish-soaps, and other cleaning products about 5 years ago, because a friend was allergic to them. Now, water is my only cleaning agent. I make a couple of exceptions: If I have been mechaniking and have greasy hands. If I have a deep flesh wound. She was a popular gal within my tribe, and even before then, my tribe tends towards  not associating with mega-companies or their products. Therefore even though the lady with the allergies has gone away, we still keep ourselves pure by  abstaining from the use of cleaning chemicals. One of the things that I like hearing most from members of my tribe is "You smell great". It's our way of saying to each other, "I honor you for living a pure and wholesome life."
 
Libbie Hawker
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I have curly hair and it looks a lot better when I don't use shampoo. I "co-wash" (conditioner-wash), which is exactly what it sounds like. I just use conditioner, which is almost entirely oils anyway. That keeps my scalp from getting oily and flaky, just as shampoo would, but it makes my hair look (and feel) a lot healthier and less frizzy than it looks with shampoo. There's no reason why people who have straight hair can't co-wash too! I would definitely use conditioner, not straight oils, simply because oils will make the shower slick and dangerous to move around in. Conditioner is emulsified so that it rinses away and doesn't cling to everything.

I definitely use soap. I like soap. But I use pretty simple, vegetable-based soap (my neighbor makes it and it's amazing!) that doesn't have any harsh processing or drying ingredients.
 
Bill Hinkley
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I also don't use shampoo, body wash or deodorant. I do use a grey water safe detergent.

Like Joseph, I will use soap for a deep cut to keep it from getting infected, but that is it.

I manage a warehouse, so I am physically working half the day and in the office the other half of the day, and I never hear complaints about smell.  It's seems counter intuitive but I feel that I may get more of a funk in the winter. Wearing multiple layers makes it harder for my body to breathe, and keeps the sweat from evaporating.
 
Judith Browning
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I think I'm going on three of four years with no shampoo and definitely was inspired by the 'pooless' thread here at permies https://permies.com/t/6347/personal-care/purity/poo-Shampoo-Soap-Shower (I don't see that thread in the 'similar topics' at the bottom of this thread). 

I use just hot shower water mostly and occasionally a bit of baking soda dissolved in hot water, massaged in and then rinsed out.  My hair has always been thick and has just gotten more so since I quit using shampoo and is still shiny and healthy looking...I like a little coconut oil in the winter when it's dry. 

I've mostly quit using soap also except for some hand washing and I have to admit I love using a luffa and Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap every once in awhile.  We've used it for more than forty years and I like to support a company that is using hemp...that's my excuse 
 
Regan Dixon
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Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
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Now, maybe I'm a dirt magnet, but I'm always washing grease, soot, chicken poop, etc. off my hands, and don't know how I would not transfer whatever was on my hands, to whatever I might touch next, that might not benefit from applications of same.  Just rinsing doesn't get everything off, as I remember my mother was always on my case about getting the towels dirty, after not washing my hands thoroughly enough.  I'm fine to shower without soap unless I've been manhandling the bucks, for example, but am I the only person who would leave greasy, grimy fingerprints all over everything if I didn't use soap?
 
Andrew Rule
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I think the last time I used shampoo was about seven and a half years ago.  I think I haven't really thought of it for years.  Really what I use is hot water as soap.  Although, when I normally shower, I use soap other places.

Also, sometimes I use a hot bath for medical reasons, to induce a fever in me, sometimes up to 103 degrees.  I don't have any soap.  I will have Epsom Salts, and maybe a little Lavender Oil, or some such.  I also might have a Ozone Bubbler. I also drink a lot of water, too.   At the end, I always use a coarse towel to scrap all the skin off me.  Then I rinse off under the shower.  I feel really clean for a few days afterwards.  So, I think it is dead skin that needs to come off, not so much what soap takes away, although that does a job, too. 

But, before you shower/bathe you might want to do dry brushing.  There is a proceedure that aids the Lymphatic System.  This proceedure I also do with the wet towel at the end of my bath.  You can see a chart here:

https://greensmoothiegirl.com/articles/healthy-habits/skin-brushing/

Video here:




P.S.  I don't drain the tub right away.  I let it cool to room temperature, to warm the rooms around it.  That is free 1,000 BTUs or so.  Another thing is that you can see the piles of dead skin at the bottom.  After a while of sitting, make some waves in the water, and let it settle down.  The skin will accumulate in lumps. 







 
Julia Winter
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Regan Dixon wrote:I'm fine to shower without soap unless I've been manhandling the bucks, for example, but am I the only person who would leave greasy, grimy fingerprints all over everything if I didn't use soap?


No, you're not!  I'm a pediatrician, so at work I wash my hands, with soap, 15-20 times a day at least. (I hate the hand sanitizer gel.) This totally strips the oils from my hands, so I will wash my hands and then apply Bag Balm (a mix of petroleum jelly and lanolin) or a more natural mix of oils and beeswax at home.  At work, I slather on the Bag Balm, rub it in and then use paper towels to wipe my finger pads, so I don't get goo all over the keyboard of my computer, and everything else I touch.  The lanolin will last through several washings, I don't have to apply Bag Balm more than once a day, usually.  I tend to put it on as a demonstration to someone whose kid has eczema.  After I've applied it, I run my hand through the water and show them how the water drops are beaded up on the back of my hand.  I say "I look like a waxed car!"

When I'm cooking and I have lard or coconut oil all over my hands, I need some soap (probably dish soap, because that's what's in the kitchen) to get that off, else everything in my kitchen would end up coated in grime.

I've cut way down on my use of soap and shampoo, and I think my face is much better for just being scrubbed with water, but I use soap on my hands all the time.  I also shave my armpits once a week or so, and use soap as a shaving cream.  Generally, though it's amazing what water will dissolve and remove.  They called it the universal solvent in chemistry class.
 
bob day
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Location: Central Virginia USA
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Haven't used soap or shampoo for a long time--if I'm sweaty I take a hot water shower--or cold in summer,,sometimes several times a day

Sometimes I use olive oil on my scalp (and skin) when I think of it
 
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