Showering Without Soap or Shampoo: My 3-Month Experiment

 

Read this article in other languages: Italiano

So back at the start of February I read this article by a lad named Sean Bonner, who had been showering with nothing but water for a month. Sounds crazy, right? Why would anyone do that? Sean’s words…

…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.

Hmm. That actually made a lot of sense to me, and there was Sean reporting lots of good results from his experiment. I decided I’d have to try it for myself, and so I stopped using soap and shampoo the very next day. That was over three months ago now, and I’m still going strong showering with plain old water and none of the fancy stuff.

Let me be clear though: I continue to use deodorant every day, and I still wash my hands with soap after I use the toilet or when I’m about to go into surgery prepare food. But when I’m in the shower, nothing touches my body pero el agua.

Here’s how my hair looked yesterday morning:

Not too shabby, right?

The benefits

For me, the main benefits of showering without soap and shampoo are as follows:

1) It really doesn’t make much difference to my hair or skin.

Since I started with this back in February, I’ve found reports from several other people online who have tried the same experiment. Many of them report their hair feeling softer and their skin feeling amazing after the change. Can’t say I’ve noticed a big difference with that, personally.

Washing my hair only with water gets it about 90% as clean as shampoo ever did, but then it doesn’t get dirty as fast. With shampoo, it seemed like my hair would smell all nice and peachy right after washing, but then it would pick up dirt and grime faster and look kinda shitty by the end of the day. With the no-shampoo approach, my hair will look good right after washing, and then it still looks good at the end of the day, and even fairly decent when I get out of bed the next morning. It’s also a bit more manageable methinks, not flopping around as much.

As for odor, that hasn’t been a problem at all. Even when I get all sweaty from working out for a few hours at the gym, I’ll shower right after, spray on my usual dose of deodorant, and come away feeling perfectly clean, no lingering B.O.

I was in a relationship for a couple of months back in Ireland, and only told m’lady about the experiment after six weeks or so. She was surprised that I hadn’t been using shampoo at all during that time. To her, nothing seemed amiss.

2) I save a good chunk of money.

Shampoo in particular ain’t always cheap, especially if you insist on buying some that hasn’t been tested on animals (like I try to do).

3) I can shower much faster.

I still like taking a long shower every now and then, but it’s easier for me to rush through the process if I’m in a hurry. Just 3-4 mintes and I’m done. Screw lather, rinse, repeat.

4) Easier to travel.

This is actually a bigger deal than you might think. I no longer have to carry a bottle of shampoo with me and worry about them binning it at the airport. USA airport security especially loved to throw my shampoo bottles, even when they weren’t making a ticking sound.

It’s a little handier going to the gym now, too. No need to bring soap or shampoo along. No chance of the bottle opening in my bag and spilling all over my jeans (and you know that when that happens, nobody ever believes it’s a shampoo stain).

The downside

Many people (like Vlad) report a brief transition period after giving up shampoo where their hair becomes greasy for a while until it figures out how to look after itself and gets all its natural oils working. Apparently this takes about two weeks. Personally, I didn’t have to worry about that since my hair was extremely short at first, having just shaved my head for Random Acts of Courage.

Beyond that though, there really doesn’t seem to be any downside to giving up soap and shampoo. Unless you really like having your hair smell like grapefruit or ylang-ylang.

A female perspective

I wanted to get a female take on all this since I’ve only found guys writing about it online. Luckily, I discovered that my buddy Spyros Heniadis and his wife Kim had also stopped using shampoo a few months back, and Kim was happy to write up a quick note about her experience (emphasis mine):

I have short(er) curly hair. There was a few days of transition where it felt like straw and oily on the crown. Some days it still feels oily to me but it doesn’t look oily, and Spyros tells me it feels softer. It feels a little less soft to me now that I don’t use shampoo or conditioner. My hair is easier to manage without any product than it was before. It styles easier, and since I don’t add anything it’s more efficient as well.

I have naturally curly hair, so there may be a difference for people with straight hair.

I decided to stop using soap and shampoo because of all of the toxins and chemicals in them. Now when I browse through magazines I see all of the “natural” products and read the ingredient list and see just how unnatural all of it is.

I still use deodorant and lotions so I don’t smell like an unwashed hippie :-D. It’s natural deodorant and lotion from Bubble and Bee.

I have a very sensitive nose and I don’t like stinky things. If Spyros forgets to put on his deodorant he gets smelly and I have to remind him to put some on, but when he uses deodorant he smells good (unless he’s just done an hour of his naked yoga, and then he’s all sweaty and smelly anyway!)

Overall I like not using shampoo and soap. Unless I tell people no one else knows because I don’t smell or look greasy. The Bubble and Bee products are more expensive, but without buying soap and shampoo the costs are even or maybe less since the lotions and deodorants last quite a while.

Muchas gracias, Kim!

So, is this for keeps?

Yeah, I really don’t see the point of showering with soap or shampoo any more, so I plan to continue with this indefinitely. It’s no longer an experiment for me, as I’ve proven to myself that it works well. The only way I could see myself using shampoo in future would be to get something nasty out of my hair. Like ectoplasm.

Testing assumptions

I believe this whole experiment is a great example of why it’s important to test our assumptions. We grow up doing things a certain way (like washing our hair with shampoo) and believing that’s just how it’s supposed to be done. But it’s important to stop and ask why every now and then.

Why do we put all this weird shit in our hair to keep it clean? Didn’t humans get along just fine for thousands of years without it? Why did we suddenly start spending all this money on hair product? What would happen if we stopped?

I came across a short TED Talk recently that made me reconsider something else I thought I had all figured out: How to tie your shoes.

What assumptions have you tested?

Thinking of trying your own no-shampoo experiment? Or have you ever abandoned conventional wisdom and found yourself better off? Share in los comentarios, por favor.

P.S. My latest, monthly traffic report drops this weekend, but it’s only available to email subscribers. If you want to see exactly what I’m doing to build my audience, and what the latest numbers look like, scroll down to the subscribe bit and pop in your email address. I must warn you though that I intend to eventually print out all those email addresses on little slips of paper, cover myself in almond butter, then roll around in them. Hope you’re cool with that.

146 Comments

  1. Great experiment Niall ! This is helpful as i couldn’t figure how to manage my hair. I tried getting rid of shampoo once, but couldn’t get past “the transition period” but reading your article i realize it must be like any other change you do in your life : you go through a bit of pain before seeing the good results.

    I guess after a while without using anything my hair will be normal again.

    • Apparently so, Baptiste. Like I said, I can’t vouch for that personally, but it seems to have been the experience of others who’ve tried it. If you’re not opposed to shaving your head, I recommend doing that first to make the transition easier.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • That’s a no-no, i like my hair too much for that !

      • Hello Nial,

        GO SHAMPOOSOAPLESS!

        I have shared my experiment before: i quit using shampoo and soap on June 14th, 2012 after reading one of your post.. I will never go back since everything is alright with my hair and skin… i am FREE from all the marketing, the false claims, having to select products, having to spend the time and money… I am FREE. But more importantly I want to share another experiment, just as good. I will post it separately next.

  2. Hi Niall,

    I started washing my hair every 2 weeks after reading this post. I changed a month ago and completely stop washing my hair.

    I always had dandruff problem before. I tried *everything* and it never worked. Now that I don’t use shampoo anymore I don’t have any dandruff. Yeah I know… wtf?

    Also like you say my hair is more manageable and simply prettier.

    After reading your post I think I am going to stop soap too.

    • Wow, that’s great that it cured your dandruff. I’ve heard that from other people, too. How ironic that the very stuff supposed to prevent dandruff actually makes it worse!

    • If you go no soap, find a microfibre wash cloth. It wicks dirt off your skin and body so you get clean without soap. I went no soap but was worried about still not gettin clean, or feeling greasy as some people said. So i used one of these instead and i am probably cleaner than i used to be with soap because of it. Microfibre, or microdermabrasion cloth. I swear by it and couldn’t go no soap without it. Especially good for underarms and sweaty places you need to make sure you get :).

      • I think it’s good old “elbow grease” that gets the dirt off!! ;) And a good rub with a proper rough towel afterwards…

  3. Reminds me of when I read in a book on ayurvedic medicine about not drying off after a shower. Just go put your clothes on. Curious, I tried it. (I’ll try anything that doesn’t involve motorcycles, explosives, or eating things that shouldn’t be eaten.) Felt weird at first, but this is trivially true of anything done the first time. There’s an interesting feeling of warmth, and in minutes you’re dry anyway. Kinda fun, actually.

    It wasn’t as much fun in Florida, where the high humidity kept me from drying off.

    Now I live in New Mexico where everything dries out very quickly. Don’t need a towel in any case!

    The reward: if I ever forget to bring a towel to the shower, it’s just no problem. Or, if I’m in a hurry but want to take a quickie shower, I can easily skip the towel step.

    • Hey, thanks for that, Daren! I’d never heard of drying off like that. I might give it a try some time :-)

      Learning so much from you folks in the comments. Love it!

  4. What have I tested?

    1. I grew my hair long and I shaved it short. The easier and more comfortable seemed to be the short hair, so I kept it that way.

    2. I no longer have a bed or a mattress. I just sleep on 2 thin camping mats on the floor. I never slept better. My mattress was getting old and in stead of replacing it, I questioned the need for one. Now I sleep better and I don’t have a big bed that takes up a lot of space.

    3. I grew a full beard, inspired by the beards.org site. It’s been an interesting experience and I haven’t shaved it yet.

    4. I’m currently trying to get rid of my furniture, because I think it will be better for my back if I sit on the floor like the Japanese used to do (and often still do).

    5. I questioned my eating habits and now I try to follow the paleonu diet. I don’t follow it to the letter, but it’s been going great. My weight stays constant and under control. And I learnt that breakfast is NOT the most important meal of the day.

    6. I’m now questioning the need for shampoo and soap. =)

    • Brilliant stuff, Andy. I love #2 and #4 on your list especially. I’ll have to experiment with those things myself in future.

  5. Hi Niall (and Cocopop),

    So yeh… ok … first things first…. it was you who taught me how to tie my shoelaces at sports day back in St. Declans! I think it was before the 3 legged race! I am seriously not making this up…. Up until this point I had no idea how to tie my own laces!! But apparently you taught me wrong – yet now here you are coming full circle… teaching me again!

    As for trying and testing assumptions… I know what you are saying and I agree with you in principal… but there is a different to machivellian style marketing campaigns that sell you the product that is making the thing it is trying to fix – worse, and genuine improvements in life due to advances in science. Sometimes the product does actually do “what it says on the tin”!!

    I suppose call me cynical but I firmly believe that the very guys making computer viruses are the guys selling us the anti-virus software… just saying… as I’m sure there are sickos out there who get a kick from deleting everybody’s personal photos etc., from their computer, I do believe that there is something in there that is just a bit convenient for the anti-virus makers!

    I suppose my attempt of going against the assumptions is that I had a good job in Dublin, and it was only going up – but with inevitably more working hours and less of a life! I realised that this is actually not what I want – I took a step back… moved down to Waterford, got a nice place – and a more reasonable job and thought you know – this slower pace of living isnt a bad thing at all – until the recession gave me an inevitable slap in the face and I have had to emigrate to Germany – where I have been now for almost 18 months… so I now know what it is I want – but its just a matter of getting back there… and when I say there I mean more about that state of mind and pace of life.

    Also, I feel your pain trying to learn a language!! Just dive in is the only way to go. Working through German can be challenging but I would say that I feel in the last couple of months I have reached a place where I can talk over the phone about anything I need to – be that for my job – ordering a pizza – or booking a restaurant etc. There is a moment where the German word comes to mind faster than the English one and you can end up with a muddle in your mind – but this is a great thing. It just shows that your brain is re-programming itself to be able to think in both languages. – saying that though my written German is shite. Seriously. German grammer is a killer.

    Sorry about the long post…. just got a bit carried away… and fair play to you!

    • Hey Marc, great to hear from you. Thanks for the comment.

      I agree 100% that products often do exactly what they say on the tin. I’m sure there are even some great, natural shampoos out there. You could be right about those anti-virus folks. I never much liked anti-virus software. When I had a PC I found that as long as I stayed away from porn sites and ran Ad-Aware every so often, there was nothing to worry about. I’m on a Mac now, and have yet to have any virus or spyware issues (although the hard drive did crash a few months back).

      Pretty cool that you abandoned the rat race up in Dublin. You might want to check out this book by Michael Kelly, methinks it will resonate with you a lot.

      And thanks for the language tips/encouragement! Much appreciated.

      • Working for a security company, I can tell you that cyber criminals have plenty of other ways of getting to you besides porn sites and ads so having some anti-virus, anti-phishing, or other intrusion prevention software does not hurt. We only write some of the viruses. ;-P But there are real cyber criminals who want to do real damage.

        Anyway, as for not using shampoo or soap, kudos to you Niall. Great experiment about testing assumptions . . . I’ll have to try some other type of test for me, though. I get invigorated by shampoo and soap aromas, and I really really dislike having oily skin, natural or not. Water does not clean off oils very well at all. As for shampoo and soap costs, I’ve been able to defer those for years. Due to my frequent job travels I’ve accumulated enough shampoo and soap from hotels to last me quite a long time. In fact, I haven’t bought soap or shampoo for the last three years. :-)

      • Hey Ilya! Thanks for the comment, man.

        Re: oily skin, I haven’t had to deal with that at all. I’m not sure if I’m just lucky that I have naturally unoily skin or if washing with water is enough to take care of it.

        • Greetings my brother,

          It was great to discover your website and I really love your philosophy because it speaks of my own heart; which is to question everything in order to find the truth. You can add another female’s perspective on showering and bathing with only water to your repertoire. The water is hard where I live, so a small investment in a shower head filter (around $20) was very essential. I alternate between using exfoliating gloves and a wash cloth to aid in the removal of dead skin. I ensure that my genital area and feet are thoroughly dry while keeping the rest of my body wet; then, I apply grapeseed oil to my body to retain moisture without the use of un-natural lotions. I also use shea butter to seal in the moisture and for sun protection; I live in Florida. I am 39 yrs old and am consistently told that I look very young and oil is the key. If you have ever heard the expression “black don’t crack” that refers to an opinion that black people don’t get wrinkles; but truthfully everyone gets wrinkles with age, but not everyone gets the accompanying saggy skin. Oil has been used in my culture for generations to maintain elasticity which results in youthful looking skin. When I suggested this remedy to my husband, who is fair skinned, his use of this method has made him maintain his youthful appearance at age 43. IMO oil can be a friend and foe, so it’s important to learn about the oils the body produces to better understand their purpose. Another philosophy that I working to perfect is “if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin” because the skin is the largest organ in the human body so we must take care of it on the inside and outside, as well.

          Love & Shalom Aleichem

  6. I’m all for challenging assumptions with experimentation. This is a good one, think I might give it a try. Do you ever have any experiments that you don’t publicly share (online or even with friends) because it’s just not worth the effort to explain, justify or rationalize?

    Riley

    • Hey Riley. Great question. There have been a few experiments that I haven’t shared yet. Some are ongoing and I’m waiting to figure out if they’re worth sharing, and others simply proved to be a waste of time. For example, along with not using shampoo, I was also experimenting with using baby oil in place of shaving foam. I can’t remember where I read it, but someone online claimed that baby oil worked great. I tried it and was disappointed. Not a good substitute.

      There has been on big experiment I’ve been dipping in and out of for the past six months or so that I hope to eventually share, but it will surely take some explaining ;-)

  7. I have been without soap or shampoo for a little over a year now. I didn’t have any transistion period for my hair because I wear it very short as well. My skin used to get really dry but I found that if I take a luke warm instead of a hot shower it doesn’t dry out.

  8. I tried showering without shampoo this morning and just using a minimal amount of soap. So far so good– my hair does seem easier to manage. Looking forward to experimenting more with this. I do like how showering becomes more efficient, and like the idea of using less chemicals. Thanks for the tip!

  9. Thanks for bringing this to my mind, Niall. Sometimes it’s hard to tell people about your minimalist lifestyle, when you can’t remember what you’re actually doing different. Your article reminded me that I’m not using shower gel for months. It’s something that really most people do different, but it was completely “out of sight – out of mind”. :-)

    • Nice one, Alex. It seems quite a few people are already doing this. It’s not as unusual as I thought. Or maybe it’s just the people who read blogs like mine are more likely to be living experimentally ;-)

  10. This message, that we need to test and experiment with so called “conventional wisdom”, is one that I feel very strongly about and I love how you’ve brought attention to it with this great experiment that anyone can try!

    It is so important to question everything, especially, I think, when it comes from a person we would deem as an authority figure. When I was young my mum would take me to the Dr everytime I had a sore throat (once a year or so as the school bugs went around). The Dr would take a look and within minutes prescribe antibiotics. We’d buy them at the chemist and I’d start taking them when we got home.

    In my late teens I read an article saying that when we are ill there is a difference between a virus and bacterial infection and antibiotics only addresses the latter. To determine whether one suffers from a bacterial infection, more than an inspection is required. So I decided to not see a Dr next time I was ill and to just see what happened.

    As I suspected I got better after a few days of rest anyway. I’m a teacher and am around plenty of illnesses as they do the rounds, and these days I barely get a sniffle, and I’ve never taken antibiotics since.

    We all need to experiment.

    • Wow, cool story, Mirella. I also tend to stay away from doctor’s and medication when I’m sick. Whenever I feel myself getting a sore throat, I start eating more raw food and resting more. That’s done the trick every time since I started doing it two years ago.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Well done, i don’t go to the Dr unless i think it’s really serious, eg. pain past my unusually high threshold, thinking i might actually be dying lol, etc. I think i haven’t taken antibiotics in over 10 years. Don’t get me wrong, i would if i needed to, but i just do what you have found, sleep it off, if it gets worse i’d go, but mostly you just heal and get better.

  11. Hi everyone :-)

    Interesting debate. Many years ago I had a really itchy back, turns out it was extremely dry skin, so I stopped washing it with stuff and just let it get wet in the shower (water only) within a few months it was better. I tried just washing my hair with water a while ago but it didn’t really work. I wondered if this was maybe because it had gone a few days and really needed a wash. I thought I might try it again after only washing it 2 days ago and see what happens. My hair is thick, wavy and quite coarse… so I could do with more ‘oils’ in it. When you mention transition, do you get your hair wet every time you shower and if so how often? Many thanks x

    • Hey Debbie, thanks for your comment.

      Yes, I get my hair wet every time. I still shower pretty much the same way, just without shampoo. I give my scalp a good scrub.

  12. Great post. I am interested in minimalism but myself more of a simplifier, I like to find simpler ways of doing things so this is something I really want to try. I will try it while I am at our holiday home for 2 weeks in July – as a female with longer hair, I’m a bit cautious about trying it out and the transition period. I have heard of curly-haired girls (like me!) not using shampoo and only conditioner but not just water. It could well regulate any skin/scalp problems I have. I will also be recommending it to my husband, who has always suffered with dandruff and wears his hair 1/4 inch long!

    I usually only use water for other cleaning jobs so it should be fine. As long as it’s warm/h0t water and can dissolve any greasiness, it works. Just this morning in the grocery store I was thinking how few cleaning products I use and how rarely I need to buy any. Occasionally some dish soap and some cheap vinegar.

    Some of the other suggestions are really good, too. I am keen to change our bed. We have never slept so badly since we took our cheap Ikea bed to the holiday place and replaced it with an expensive one – duh. Also as I am getting rid of stuff, I am beginning to get rid of furniture, too, that is becoming superfluous. Not sure if the family will go along with this completely, but for my part, yay!

    As for language – persevere! There comes a point, usually after wanting to give it all up in disgust, where there’s a sudden click and the new language spills out quicker than your mothertongue in some situation, to surprise you ;)) It gets massively better from there! If I’m wanting to learn a new language I find myself talking to myself in my head, describing what I’m doing, going to do, have been doing, carrying on imaginary conversations etc. which trains my mind to the point that I can check up on things with the teacher where I got stuck and have “practised” enough for it come out right when I actually get into a given situation. I am terrible at just learning vocabulary and such, but have achieved great results in several languages this way (sadly I don’t get chance to use them as much as I’d like!).

    Anyway, sorry for hijacking you with a long comment…

    • Hey Mel, no need to apologize, loved your comment! Let me know how the no-shampoo experiment works out for you, and thanks for the language tips :-)

  13. Oh man, you too? I’m on day 16 of no shampoo. I picked up the idea from @AlmostBohemian. My first week was bad. I have very oily hair and it looked and felt so greasy. But now the oil has seemed to have balanced out. I can’t get over how soft my hair is. I told my mom about it today. I asked her to feel my hair and tell me what she thought. She was like wow it’s really soft what are you using? LOL When I told her I haven’t washed my hair in 16 days she looked at me like I was joking! My little sister was like cool, does that mean I don’t have to use shampoo anymore? Oops. Yeah my mom won’t be giving up her hair products anytime soon but I’m sold! This saves me $9 a bottle on the stuff I was getting at the natural food store! :) Next I’ll experiment with the soap. I’ve had eczema my whole life so I’m hoping that it will help with that.

  14. No downsides…yeah, except for bacteria and the thousands and thousands of diseases out there.

    And if a girl I knew did this shit, she’d be kicked out the goddamn door. This is disgusting. There is a fucking reason we’ve EVOLVED as a society from a caveman. Ever wonder why cavemen drawings always have them looking filthy? It’s because they had no choice but to put up with this. Humans didn’t get by because they chose to, they had no choice. Science was hundreds, possibly thousands of years away from being where we are now. They didn’t know about the kind of bacteria and diseases in the world that we now know of.

    YOU and people that are always around you get used to the terrible smell coming off of you because they’re used to you. “I SMELL GREAT WHEN I DUN USE NUFFIN!” doesn’t count here.

    • Thanks for the comment, Chris.

      I respectfully disagree with you. No smell, no disease. If you ever met me without knowing that I don’t use shampoo, you’d never be able to tell.

      This post isn’t intended to bash science. I’m appreciative of lots of the medicines and cosmetics we have nowadays. But not all of them are necessary for everyone.

    • “And if a girl I knew did this shit, she’d be kicked out the goddamn door. This is disgusting.”

      The feeling is mutual. Most women I know wouldn’t want a guy who is this angry.

  15. Like to get tip about everything here.

    Just a question YOU never ever use some kind of soap??

    But what kind/BRAND of deodorant? OR are you making it yourself?

    Morningshowers are they including the hair??EVERY DAY??

    Keep up the good work!

    NIKKI

    • Hey Nikki, thanks for the comment.

      I do use soap, but not in the shower. I wash my hands with soap after using the toilet, for example. In the shower I only use water to wash myself, and yes, I shower every day, including my hair.

      As for deodorant, I just use regular stuff, don’t really have a favorite. Currently I’m working with an Old Spice roll-on. Does the trick :-)

      Cheers!

      • You might want to try using baking soda instead of deodorant. Put it on before you are fully dry. I think it works better for sweat. Sometimes I wipe my armpits with vinegar and rinse and it kills any odors.

    • I have been shampoo and soap free for 6 years. I mostly just wash my hair with water, but if I’ve been out gardening and feel really dirty/grimey, I wash my hair with baking soda (1 tablespoon dissolved in 2 cups of water). Sometimes, I wash my body with that solution as well.

      As for deodorant, due to a double mastectomy 6 years ago, I was instructed by my surgeon NEVER to use deodorant due to the chemicals and how it would react to my incission as well as the fact that I have fewer lymphnodes in my arm pits. The doc recommended the same baking soda solution mentioned about. I keep it in a squirt bottle and use it daily. I also drink a cup of warm water with a tsp of lemon juice every morning (before eating) as a cleanse. I find this also helps with controlling underarm and BO in general.

      I’ve been doing this successfully now for 6 years and won’t ever go back to toxic commercial products!

  16. About 6 months ago I gave up shampoo and soap for BAKING SODA. Discovered that I only need to wash my hair every 2 weeks or so, the horrible dandruff went away, and my hair looked better than ever (it’s long and thick). Baking soda does a nice job of defoliating skin, is a powerful deodorant, and is very cheap, nontoxic, and easy to find anywhere. I’ll try not using it on my hair, but I’m sold on it for a deodorizing wash. There is a funny transition period for hair, but it helps to rinse afterward with apple cider vinegar about once a month.

  17. Thanks for this post, I will try the no shampoo experiment first and then probably try to go without soap. I started recently to take cold showers every morning, it feels awesome and I have nothing but good things to say about it. (for those interested: http://gettingstronger.org/2010/03/cold-showers/ ).

    I also stumbled into this article ( http://artofmanliness.com/2010/03/24/cold-water-shaving/ ) that introduced me to the crazy idea that I could cold shave. I have been doing it for the past two weeks and my skin feels good, I shave while I’m in my cold shower and I don’t even use any shaving cream.

    Right now I’m still using soap and shampoo, but I’m wondering if using shampoo in cold water is any good ? My hair is currently very short but I’m making it grow so I can try a fancier haircut. My question is, if I use a gel for my hair, would it still be ok to go without shampoo ? Thanks! :)

    • Hey Ludovic,

      Thanks for the comment, and the links. Interesting stuff. I may experiment with cold water shaving myself. I like the idea of not having to use shaving cream.

      I don’t know about using shampoo in cold water. And I don’t use gel either so I’m not sure how that works without shampoo. I expect shampoo helps get the gel out when you shower, better than water alone.

      Interested to hear how it works out for you.

      Cheers.

  18. One day I ran out of soap so I showered without it. Never thought about it again and haven’t gone back since. I’ve seen absolutely no differences whatsoever. Hell, I couldn’t even give you an estimate as to when it was that I stopped using it, the difference was so little.

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

  20. Who knew my two young sons had it right all along? So many wasted hours yelling about how they didnt use soap!

  21. 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 improving. 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.

    • Sorry to hear it didn’t work out well for you, Lee. But fair play for giving it a shot.

      I think your experience just goes to show that there’s no one right way for everyone.

      Cheers for the comment.

  22. So happy to come across this! I have tried so many soaps and lotions over the years to help combat dry itchy skin. So, you wash your skin just to slather on lotion and feel all sticky within 5 mins. of taking a shower?! Tonight was my first soap/shampooless shower and I’m very excited. I am hoping my shoulder length fine hair doesn’t go completely cavewoman on me, but I am prepairing mentally and with hat in hand for that. And your explaination of good bacteria needing a chance to thrive vs. the bad bugs makes complete sense. And my kids will be happy for the soap/poo free change. My youngest who is 4 already takes plain water baths and has never smelled like anything but a clean kidlet. Now I can quit the shampoo torture; he is so smart!

  23. A couple of years ago here in Australia I heard a DJ on the radio about washing his hair without soaps or shampoos. Never forgot it and then mid last year decided to give it a go. I’ve never looked back.

    I had dandruff since, well since my early teens, and used all sorts of nasty shampoos to control it. In the end I was using a highly promoted brand of dandruff shampoo on a daily basis. Hair smelt great, no scalp scratching, no flakes of “snow’ on my suit, no embarrassment. But I was getting sick of forking out money on chemicals.

    I decided to ditch the shampoo and only wash with water. I also had my haircut fairly short, a number 5 clipper allround. After about a 4 week transition of fairly oily hair and scalp it settled down to, I guess, it’s natural state of balance. Hair is now softer, shinier and zero dandruff (sounds like an ad, eh).

  24. If I were to try this, would I simply take a shower every single day except only use water? And do we use hot, lukewarm, or cold water? Or does that even make a difference? My hair has been the bane of me existence for the past couple of months. It has been matte and getting oily rather fast, so I am contemplating giving this a try when I get a few days off of school to help ease myself into the transition period without feeling too gross. Thank you in advance xx

    • Hey Kamila. Yeah, water temperature doesn’t seem to matter much. In the last few weeks I’ve stayed in places with first only cold water, and then only hot water. I didn’t notice any difference with my hair after washing.

      And yeah, every day with water only. That’s what’s been working well for me.

      Best of luck!

  25. I’ve gone 3 weeks without using soap and shampoo in my showers. I use Toms Of Maine deodorant, the unscented kind. I also changed my diet. I eat all natural, and nothing fried. I tested this out to see how strong my pheromones can get, and I must say I get a lot of attention, and I don’t smell bad. I have some liquid soap sitting here in my bedroom, which I don’t even use.

    Thanks for posting this topic on your site.

  26. Cool article. I have’t used soap for most of my life. I figured out as a kid that it didn’t really matter. I have issues with dandruff, I want to try and see if cutting out shampoo will help.

    Another interesting assumption that is false is brushing your teeth and tooth paste. I spoke with a dentist about this after I figured out this assumption was false and he verified it but some what grudgingly.

    But, to explain, your tendency to getting cavities in your teeth is mostly related to the thickness of your enamel and your diet. High sugar foods such as starches and candy will increase the likely hood of dental problems. I personally have thick enamel and as a result do not have cavities. I also eat a normal american diet and almost never brush. I only brush my teeth if they feel dirty, maybe twice a month, depending on what I am eating. I hate toothpaste, it literally has no benefits but it does cause abrasion on your teeth and thins your enamel.

    • Oh, also I notice a lot of men use deodorant. Why? I haven’t been able to figure out the benefits of that yet either.

      • I wonder if you have a body odor that you don’t notice because you’re so used to it. The only people I have known who didn’t wear deodorant smelled strongly like BO so maybe they didn’t shower either. I have strong BO personally even with deodorant on after waking up in the morning.

        I also wonder about the lack of brushing. Do you not have plaque on your teeth and foul breath? Think about dogs who don’t get their teeth brushed- like mine- they get plaque buildup and bad breath and need to have their teeth cleaned under anesthesia regularly. I guess if you went to have your teeth professionally cleaned regularly, l guess it wouldn’t be so gross, but I prefer to keep up the maintenance myself.

        I have been no shampoo since Oct 2011 and have struggled with dry, flaking scalp and oily crown so I use dilute baking soda wash about twice a week followed by dilute vinegar rinse. Maybe I’ll try just water for a while and see how it goes.

        This week I tried just washing with water and so far have been pleased. I still have pretty dry skin but will see if that improves over time. I am worried about my face though getting dirty/oily and breaking out so I’ll see if wiping it down with a rag helps.

        Thanks for sharing.

        • Well its been a few months now and no shampoo is working out just fine. My hair is very healthy, it actually seems exactly like it use to.

          Stephanie, I was worried about bo and badbreath so I started asking around. Everyone I talk to including my girlfriend say I am fine. I do smell a little after I work out and sweat alot, but that’s normal for everyone, just a little rinse in the shower and I am good and clean.

          I have been a very lazy tooth brusher my whole life and never have had bad breath problems. I got a little obsessive about what if I have bad breath and no one is telling me so I asked lots of close friends who would’t mind being honest with me and no, I do not have bad breath. There are times when I feel like brushing my teeth though, so, I do when it feels grimy.

          I do not have any plaque problems. I think there is an epidemic of over-obsessiveness with regards to cleaning in our culture.

          I wonder, is laundry detergent really needed?

          • Hi Todd,

            I’ve been a lazy brusher for most of my childhood since my parents didn’t insist on it…

            I’m 21, and never had cavities.
            That being said, as a child when I used to not brush my teeth at all I would get really bad breath and kids would comment on it.

            Since I grew up I tried to persist with brushing, though a lot of times I forget.
            My teeth do accumulate plaque, and in the morning I have a taste of death in my mouth.
            Sometimes we assume we’re the same more than we actually are, I guess..

    • I would have disagreed with you completely a few years ago, but last year my dentist started dissuading his patients from using toothpaste because of its abrasive drawbacks. But his instructions were to still brush, just without any paste.

      The act of brushing and flossing is what is cleaning your teeth and tongue of plaque and of any food that gets caught between your teeth before begins to rot, not the toothpaste. And then, when I went back to him this year, he said that most of his patients that had complained of sensitive teeth had reported to him that their sensitivity had either improved dramatically or disappeared altogether.

      So please keep brushing and flossing regularly, but do screw the paste.

  27. i tried putting shampoo on one side of my head, and no shampoo on the other side. the no shampoo side feels nicer, and now i know why.
    \i’m gonna try this experiment for about a month, just to see if the natural oils do make a difference, i think they will.I’m looking forward to handling my hair in a great way that doesnt feel like i woke up in the morning after drying out.
    ew. chemicals. i figured they were the ones ruining my hair in the first place.

  28. A little late to this particular party although its something I’ve been doing myself now for a couple of years, the ‘poo free thing, not the soap thing. I started thinking about a lot of the things we do that are “unnatural” a couple of years ago and shampoo was at the top of my list. To be specific the whole shampoo/conditioner swindle and the essence of ylang ylang thing. I couldn’t understand why we use a shampoo to clean our hair and then have to use a conditioner to put back all the natural goodness that we just stripped out? I also couldn’t understand where all these exotic essence of badger nipple ingredients fitted into the picture. So I did some research and came across ridiculouslyextraordinary.com I haven’t used shampoo for years now and as a direct result of sharing this information with my girlfriend neither her nor her two children use shampoo anymore either. And they all have nice shiny clean hair. There is a transition period but once you get past that your hair will never have felt so soft.
    I did recently start thinking about the soap thing so I guess thats the next thing for me to try, thanks for letting me know it should be a breeze.

  29. Hi Niall and friends! I am a big fan of testing “conventional wisdom”, so to speak, so I naturally enjoyed this post. For me, I don’t use deodorant/antiperspirant. I was never a fan of the stuff growing up, even though my mom insisted that I use it. I started wearing it during high school, but then when university rolled around I quit using it. Maybe it was because of the influx of hipsters at my campus or a slight reversion to my former rebellious ways, but I kicked the forced habit. I noticed the difference at first (smell, a little sweaty), but soon that all faded away. I have read online that antiperspirant may be linked to breast cancer, so that is another reason why I don’t use it. After the gym, I just change my clothes, spray a little perfume, and I am good to go. Everyone produces different amounts of oil and sweat, but giving up the stick is a good thing to try. Cheers!

  30. I’ll agree with you on some aspects of this, but I’m not ready to give you a cigar quite yet.

    I am ready to hand you approval for your results as far as short hair goes, but I would like to differ on long hair.

    Mine is long and curly, a little longer than half way down my back, and when pulled taught it is nearly at my butt.

    Because my hair is curly I very rarely poo on it, and since curly hair is more brittle than straight hair, the poo can really dry my hair out if I use it with any frequency (I use it maybe once a month, if that).

    But conditioner! Conditioner is indeed something I need. The poo-ditioner cycle is truly a drying one, and while leaving poo and conditioner out of a hair washing regimen does allow for the natural oils to take over and care for my hair… it tends to only happen on my scalp and a few inches out. This then causes the rest of my hair to further dry out since it is being wetted and dried (think of washing your hands with water and not using lotion in winter). Thus my hair frizzes, splits (split ends with split ends with split ends I kid you not), tangle to a greater degree and ultimately back talks to me when I try to command it.

    So POO… is unnecessary, but a good strong conditioner, without harsh chemicals like silicone or alcohol, used primarily on the ends of the hair can do wonders.

    Now if only I could find a decent hair dresser. I asked the last one for a trim and ended up like Shirley Temple, whose hair I loath, and now it’s been so long that my hair is nearly as long as the distance from my butt to my head.

    • Hence the old adage to brush your hair 100 strokes each night…to distribute the oils. Still, probably a tough thing to do with very curly hair.

  31. Hey,

    I stopped using soap in 1985 and only use it to wash my hands and in the shower if I have actual dirt in my hair. Just 5 minutes of hot water and I’m done. I still wear antiperspirant and a touch of cologne.

    I do were clean cloths every day. Dirty cloths stink.

    Blair.

  32. I am on second week water only hair wash. Will try to wash with cold or cool water only – I think that is the way most people around the word do, who wash with water only.
    Yes, and I use soap for my hands only, for a long time. After stinking from all kinds of natural and unatural deodorants or antiperspirants I gave them up about half a year ago. As my mother anyways complained about the smell. But about month ago I tried using soap on one of my underarm only and wash the other with water only – the result – the water only did not stink and the other did. All the unbelievers try it yourself. Now I do not stink even if I am swetting after half an hour exercise. I think it has to do with good bacterias taking over, which otherwise would be killed by soap and then bad ones would trive.
    100% agree that teeth need only brushing and flosing – no toothpaste, soda, mud, soap or any other thing needed. Rising after eating would be good too. Most toothpastes contain glicerin which coats teeth and does not let it to reminerilise.
    And I do not sugest using parfumes as they contain more chemicals as all other things mentioned in this blog. Use better little essential oil diluted in oil.
    For dry ichy skin stopping the use of soap might not be enough as that can be caused by hard water or/and central heating. Use when needed some oil – coconut or olive and/or some butter ( shea, cocoa).

  33. You’ve lost a ton of hair since you started this experiment I don’t think that’s a coincidence shampoo washes away dht, the ingredient which cause male pattern baldness

    • Ah Ron, you so silly.

      Check the video on this page, from around the same time I stopped using shampoo. My hair looks exactly the same then as it does now.

      It looks like I have more hair in the above video and image because I hadn’t had one of those haircut things in a while.

      Appreciate your concern though :-)

  34. Hello my friend, let me add a small hint, try using COLD water and not hot, it sounds terrible but just google cold shower benefits and you’ll see. As for me, I take a cold 5 minutes shower every morning and never felt cleaner or better!

  35. What about lice? Aren’t you afraid you might get them and that a simple water shower won’t kill them? I am trying this experiment for 2 weeks now and I’m just curious.
    About the stupid common wisdom, pillows are BAD for one’s back, it would be a good idea to kick the pillow habit, I am sleeping like this for 2 months and it’s just great!

    • Hey Michael. If I get lice then I’ll take appropriate action, no big deal. I doubt I’m any more likely to get them though just because I don’t use shampoo. I’m still washing my hair every day.

      • Cool man, a very “natural” answer, thanks

  36. I am glad I found your post’s online. Reading through all the responses is making me wonder if we even need clothes soap for our clothing. I have a friend who stopped using all chemicals, even in her dishwasher. She seems clean and fine to me. Think of all the harsh things we are putting in our bodies when we wear clothing washed in bleach and tide. When we sweat we soak in them.
    I just tried my first shower with no soap or shampoo. I have long straight and oily hair. Let’s hope the transition is fast, I am not brave enough to shave my hair. LOL
    Thanks for sharing your experiment.

  37. This post gave me some inspiration Niall! In the past, I have dabbled in mini no shampoo/soap experiments but chickened out well before I could see the results. Last night marked the end of a two month test but the results weren’t as spectacular as I would have liked. I’ve always had dry hair and used to use lots of conditioner. During most of the test, my body produced more oils and my hair was definitely not dry, maybe a little too oily but I was happy with the result.
    Yesterday was my day of defeat. I had noticed that it was starting to get a bit dry (I wasn’t too worried about it), but I decided that I would change the oil and filter on my car. Long story short, I struggled and got dirty car oil on my face and hair.

    I now have shampooed hair again…

    My hair is of medium length of the moment, so I will try again next time I cut it all off. I haven’t given up yet!

  38. Niall, I discovered your blog through this very post. I am curious as to the technique you use while showering. Do you use a washcloth, sponge, or something similar? I have been showering with only water and simply massaging the surface of my skin with my hands.

    Is something else necessary? I used to use a brush or sponge with soap, but if the cleaning products are unnecessary, then I must wonder if the tools associated with them are also.

    • Hey Leo. Thanks for the comment. I don’t use a sponge or anything like that. Just me, my hands and the water. If I got especially dirty though I’d use soap and some kind of scrubber.

  39. Haven’t used soap or shampoo in over a month now… neither for any part of my body. I am as clean as a whistle, as much as before. I started after listening to yet another shampoo commercial that promises the same incredible shiny and silky hair as did the first ones on television 50+ years ago. This time I had enough. I remembered one of my sister had lived on a farm without running water and did not wash their hair other than swimming in local stream or small lakes…. I remember her hair and outlook being perfectly fine. So I am done with chemicals, phoney organic shampoo with a hundred listed ingredients and expensive price tag. PS I have not used tooth paste as well… that I had started a long time before, but now I am committed. FREEDOM! I do floss and brush daily and all is well after many months…. FREEDOM!

  40. hey Niall,i am going to tried the no soap or shampoo diet(smile)i thought about this a few years back and it makes a lot of sense to me,but u know how the media hype effects us,,they say u cant get clean without soap ect ect ect i am in colombia right now and the heat here is something else,and i been getting real dry itchy irritated skin,i thought it was from the heat but i really think that the soap is playing a super big role in this ,i say this because i notice once i finish showering with soap after a few minutes my skin gets dry and irritated,and i only started having this problem recently..anyway just want to say that your blog and all of the comments from different peole really inspired me,so i will give it a try and really feel that it will work for me also,i will write after a few weeks an give u an update thanks,,also i would like to know how i can keep up on your so called experiments(smile)later bro stay healthy CARLOS

    • Hey Carlos. Thanks for the comment. Definitely let us know how it goes for you. And to keep up with my so called experiments, you can subscribe via email. Scroll up and check the sidebar for a subscribe form.

      Cheers!

      • Hey Carlos… congratulations! I am on week four of soap no shampoo, zero, nada, and i feel clean, and i have no itching on my scalp, minor psoriasis is not getting worse like it use to. Let’s start a movement, let’s boycott those large soap manufacturer… its a waste of money and its full of chemicals, and not needed…. I also do no longer use tooth paste going on a few months and i floss and brush just with water and all looks great and clean and shiny as usual… i am done with colgate and the likes.

  41. Hey Niall

    So are you still off the soap and shampoo?

    I gave up both for 5 weeks but decided I missed soap in the shower!

    Soap is now reinstated, but I’m still not using shampoo. It really doesn’t seem to make any difference. In fact, I prefer it because I can rinse my hair in my morning shower and again after my run or workout later in the day without worrying about drying out my hair and scalp with too many chemicals.

    Pete

    • Hey Pete,

      Yeah, still off it. I use soap for washing my hands, but only water in the shower.

      Glad the no-shampoo is working for you. Thanks for the comment!

  42. Each person’s body produces natural oils which are perfectly tailored to their bodies special needs. It seems odd that we go through great lengths to wash those oils off and then replace them with industrially produced products.

    I haven’t used shampoo or soap (except for hands) for 3 years now. I do also use deodorant (but not an anti-persperant) and I’ll douse my bosy with baby powder. My skin always feels fresh and moist. A big benefit is that when I am out camping and can’t hit the shower for a week or so, my body doesn’t get that icky feeling which others complain about. Evolution made our bodies to operate without soap and for me, that’s the best way to go!

  43. Thanks for this, very interesting. Also for the female perspective – I do believe there are some differences between us, although these could just be differences between human individuals, not sure! I don’t have much intimate experience of anyone apart from my husband and kids!!

    However, even if this might seem extreme to some, it is definitely the right direction to be going, in my view. For far too long (and my eldest daughter is your age) I have just gone along with the norm, and finally beginning to actually question a lot of things. As far as washing bodies and clothes is concerned, we do live in an area of very hard water, and I really notice the difference when I’m in England (Midlands) where the water is very soft – my curly hair is softer and curlier when there. More scum hangs around in hard water. I have probably tried every hair and face product under the sun, well a lot anyway, and more recently have basically discovered that the less, the better. I do still use shampoo (one made locally here in Switzerland with natural extracts but honestly, still shampoo), but tiny amounts and only about twice a week and my hair is better than ever. I know hairdressers all groaned when the silicone shampoos came in about 10 yrs ago because of the way they coated the hair, deadly for a straight-haired or fine-haired person and a devil to remove/strip again without damaging the hair. As far as body washing goes, I have always relied more on the warm water than the soap (same as with house cleaning), but have also reverted to the simple soaps my grandmother used and thereby also don’t have to worry about airport regulations when travelling, as there is no liquid. Also took your tip about the hard deodorant, excellent for travelling for the same reason. I think my toilet bag must be one of the smallest for a woman, as I need very little indeed – I always remind myself that my grandparents travelled with a toothbrush, powder and soap… my granny (96) still prefers talcum to deodorant, she smells great.
    The other thing I have learnt the hard way is that what seems simpler for clothes washing, well, seemed simpler to me, was liquid detergent (always in small amounts). Then I had a problem with stinky washing machine and couldn’t get the smell out, it kept coming back and the clothes didn’t smell too good, either. I was then told that the machine parts need the abrasive quality of the powder detergents to keep “clean” and since I went back to using powder, no problems at all. I use about 1/4 of the recommended dosage. It’s also not necessarily good for the machine to run on the short and quick programmes and low temps all the time – I was advised to run a 90°C cycle once a month, just to keep everything in good working order. Of course, none of this applies unless you have a machine…!
    Now I need to learn that fewer words are better, too. Sigh.

  44. Going on two months without soap, shampoo and toothpaste – so far I am enjoying it tremendously and my skin feels better then before as do my mouth. I floss and brush as usual, but just with water.

  45. I am so glad this has worked out for you – I am hesitant about washing my hair with just water (might try the baking soda and acv rinse), but I am going to go soapless on my body! Let’s see if anyone around me notices haha! I read in this really neat book “The Dirt on Clean” that we live in a time when we have never needed to wash ourselves less, but actually wash ourselves more than any of our ancestors (esp. in North America). For those people who are going toothpasteless have you heard of Oil Pulling? – look it up on Earth Clinic. Also, hot water is supposed to dry out your skin so cold/lukewarm showers are probably better. Thanks for sharing!

  46. I use nothing in a shower but hot water very long time and feel myself and look very good. The same with deodorants and perfume. It seems, If you eat clean and healthy, you smell good.
    My wife can confirm it.

  47. Can you use natural styling products when going without shampoo?

  48. I have gradually been weening myself off hair products for the better part of 15 years because the chemicals have the same effect on my scalp as athlete’s foot does to people feet. I was getting reallly nasty sores on my head.

    First I tried all the sensitive scalp shampoos, and they would work for a week and then stop working. I tried Indian soap nut (aritha powder), which was worse than regular shampoos. I tried bar soaps, and they also were terrible.

    Then a lady told me to use coconut based bar soaps, and things were much, much better, but when I moved the brands were no available, so I was always miserable till I found a suitable replacement, and while some coconut based soaps appeared benign in their ingredient lists, they still caused me some problems.

    For a long while I was using Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap, and it was working fine, but I guess they decided to save some money on ingredients and changed their formula or something because now it’s killing my scalp too. Tried Tom’s sensitive soap, but it was not sensitive enough. Most of the sensitive and coconut soaps aren’t adequate.

    Consequently I just started rinsing with apple cidar vinegar water, and the sores are going away. Perhaps if the vinegar is not necessary, then I will just go to straight water, although it does seem to soften the hair some and remove buildup, so maybe I will use it occasionally.

    But for some of us it is not simple economics. Shampoo seriously injures my scalp and most bars are not much better. The expensive bar soaps work for a time or two sometimes, but in the long run the results have always been unpleasant.

    Anyway, it is interesting to see that people are doing without soap altogether without adverse effects. Thanks for the post.

    • Sheryl

      I am starting fourth month without any hair or soap, and i gave up tooth paste too. the only thing i started using last week just because i know its clean is a drop of tea tree oil when i brush my teeth.

      So far all is well, my hair, the little that i have are as good or better than befoe, my scalp is in top shape as are my teeth and my mouth. I will be seeing a hygienist for my teeth in November and i can’t wait to report back.

      keep it up – let us grow this movement for better health and less waste of resource….

      Chemicaless Roland

      • Despite the fact i have very healthy teeth, i used to had bad breath problems no matter how often i would brush my teeth, then i discovered the reason was the tongue. “Tongue bacteria produce malodorous compounds and fatty acids, and account for 80 to 90% of all cases of mouth-related bad breath” – Wikipedia, on the topic “Halitosis”. A good tongue cleaner and thoroughly cleaning the back of my tongue eliminated all my breath problems.

  49. Hi there….i have not used shampoo or soap since 2009….I have been shaving with Vitamin e oil and i have to say that my skin, hair has improved alot….I also air dry, instead of using a towel… intead of lotion i use vitamin e oil…note: in put the vitamin e oil while by body still wet. I used to have really dry feet and dont any more. As far as my hair….its grown so much….when i first started it was shoulder lengh…now its touches my butt….hahaha

  50. I have removed shampoo and soap about a month ago and my hair smells great. As long as I shave under my arms (using aloe) there is no odor. I removed shoes from my life about 2 months ago to “treat” plantar fasciitis and my feet are healing. I have removed cooked dog kibble from my dog’s diet and replaced it with raw meats and bones to see a healthy, happy dog. I’m thinking it’s time for me to remove processed foods from my own diet asap. I have removed toothpaste in the last 5 days and only use water to find my teeth are already healthier and my breath smells wonderful, my gums look pinker. On a private note, my daughter and I use sanitary pads and no more tampons..ever. Now there is not even a “feminine odor” accompanying us during our menstrual cycles. Our society is hooked on so many beliefs that we require so much stuff. I do have to say I will NEVER give up water or toilet paper. I prefer to stay slightly spoiled.

    • congratulations – i have not used soap, shampoo and tooth paste since june 14 or about. i started adding one drop of tea tree essential oil when i brush my teeth after flossing at night – my teeth feel great as my scalp, my hair and my skin. i am free, i am delivered from the HOLD of the soap dance industries… freedom. we also moved away from kibbles and even canned foods to raw food for our cats and dog and they have never been better – their weight, their hair, their poop, and mood is just wonderful.. viva natural the way things should be…keep up freeing yourself from the societal and business lies…

      • thanks for the advice on the tea tree oil. i think i will give it a shot if i find the need but for now water seems to be the miracle cure. my husband says i smell like the beach and my breath tastes like cookies (?) ~kie

  51. Hey there..Ummm well this is kinda weird to be saying in public but….I havent used soap on my self in over 10 YEARS!!! Especially my private bits! I do however wash and condition my hair once a week.
    Recently during a conversation where my husband was going on and on about how much he loves the smell of my body everywhere..How I have the most pleasant intimate smell he has ever experienced..blah blah..
    Sooo I thought id let him in on the secret.(truth)…I said “Would you believe that i dont use soap babe?” “At all..”I said..
    Well you can imagine how amazed he was. That was only two days ago, so thats why this sort of thing is fresh in my mind. ..
    It is definatley not crucial to use soap. I have personally proved that i dont need it…Saying that…There are many who do!
    Fantastic site mate….
    Kirsty

  52. I’ve been completely soap, shamo and shaving foam free for almost a year now. I used to have a problem with spots on my face, particularly around my hair line and under my chin from shaving. I also had some persistent eczema between my legs. Within a couple of weeks of going chemical free, my skin cleared up and I haven’t suffered from spots or eczema since. My skin also feels much softer and cleaner. I have very short hair, but I have noticed it is softer and doesn’t get greasy as quickly. My dandruff has cleared up too.

    I am convinced now that many skin problems are actually caused by soap. I know it was causing some for me.

    Another thing I noticed is that I smell better. Girls have actually commented on how I don’t smell at all.

  53. Okay so ive been having dandruff problems the last few weeks, ive had very occasional problems in the past, but this time i googled what to do. I keep reading and seeing all these articles about people who stop shampooing and about how amazing it is. So i thought id give my opinion and perspective. It simply is a load of crap. It doesn’t work. If you have dandruff and are wanting a solution, by all means try it if you don’t believe me. I tried it and it was simply a nightmare. A couple weeks in your hair is so easy to style because its just gross. The dandruff i experienced… It is unbearable, it makes it 50 times worse. Imagine touching your head and its basically just slime where white powder falls. And get ready to constantly(literally) scratch your head or have an insane urge to itch. Which makes it snow dead skin wherever you are! If you need to go out in public you’ll just gross people out. Also i tried a full month and it just gets worse as time goes on. Just find a different shampoo and wash more/less depending on your problem. Theres a reason people use shampoo…

  54. Hey man, I’ve tried every shampoo known to man to get rid of dandruff and I am now about to try this soap free method. It sounds good on paper but I have some questions regarding the no soap on your body. When you dont use soap does your balls or ass crack feel clean? I feel like if I only used water it would feel swampy down there around mid day and that would be uncomfotable. Thanks

      • i never gave it a thought since i stopped using soap/shampoo June 14 2012… I feel FREE. My hair feel good, my skin is always soft… soap only is an abrasives while you use it… it cannot prevent mid day sweat… if you are sweaty than wash again :-)

  55. I totally agree about this. No need to use soap and shampoos for washing. I very rarely do when i am travelling and also at home now too. So much money is wasted on these products.
    As for deodorant, after showering i use VCO…virgin coconut oil, which acts as a deodorant,and is also hand and body oil, i shave with it too and also eat it for my health see

    http://www.scoop.it/t/bicol-coconuts

    for more details about its benefits.

  56. I tested this a few years ago for several months. My hair stayed pretty greasy though. Now I have very short hair (2-3 centimeters) and stopped using shampoo a few weeks ago. It’s starting to look okay. However, I don’t know what will happen as soon as they become a little longer.
    The advantage I have now: I’m vegan – and my scalp is a lot less greasy when I am. So maybe this time I can stick to it.

  57. Niall, this is the best blog ever! The industries for all those products are a money scam! I was functionally blind for 4 years from soap and shampoo! I literally could not see my own friends or read or be in bright light. For 2 and a half years I have used baking soda on my hair.WONDERFUL!!! For 4 months I now shower with water. As for my feminine area, I spray white vinegar on and rinse. For deoderant I spray white vinegar under my arms.After it dries I pat corn flour (starch) on. Niall, I got my sight back and I never felt cleaner. I’m going to try just water on my hair and see how it goes THANKS!! Halia

  58. I tried washing my hair once without shampoo because I didn’t have shampoo on hand and ended up feeling unclean. I have to wash my hair daily or it gets really oily, itchy and then starts to flake… Yucks!!!
    Anyhow, for some unknown reason, I started to develop adult acne at 27 and now at 34, it’s bugging the HELL OUTA ME. I have to wear makeup everyday and using proactive which hasn’t helped. My capillaries are broken. I did heaps of microdermabrasion thinking it would help but my skin is just rubbish now.
    So anyhow, today I’ve been trolling the website and I found this “cavemen regime” which is exactly like what you’re doing. So tomorrow, I’m gonna brave my bare un-made up face with acne to work and not use any cleansers other than water. It’s supposed to heal the skin from within. I am that desperate!!! I was thinking just my face without cleansers for now. Once I finish my shower foam, I’ll go soap less. Only problem is, my hair is long.

  59. Hey Niall,

    I found your post earlier this year, back in January, and at the time, I was studying abroad in Thailand and your logic made sense, so I decided to just do it. I have really dry skin and I’ve had bad dandruff problems all my life. For a long time, it was one of the better decisions I’ve made in a while, no dandruff, my skin felt amazing, etc.

    But for some reason, when I returned home to St Louis (which has very good water) my hair has reached a point where it’s really oily AND dandruffy, too. And when I say dandruffy, I mean SUPER DUPER dandruffy. Way worse than before. And no matter what I do, it hasn’t stopped. It’s so frustrating and annoying and I was just wondering if you or anyone else on this blog has any tips?

    I haven’t gone to a dermatologist yet, but I wanted to save that as a last resort.

    Oh and another strange thing is that my skin feels fine. Even for mid-October and the air starting to get fairly dry.

    Thanks!

    -Dave

    • Hey Dave,

      That is strange. I haven’t experienced any noticeable difference with my hair despite traveling to many different countries this past year. But I think someone else above made a comment about hard vs. soft water and how that can cause issues.

    • Hi, Dave!! If you are still in St.Louis go to CHERYL’S HERBS on Manchester Rd in the Maplewood area. There is a natural alternative most likely available there. Please talk to Cheryl herself. I’m sure she has dealt with peoples dandrufff issues through the years and there are essential oils that might work on your scalp. She may suggest a dietary adjustment to complement the external treatment. I wish you the best in a more natural approach to good health!!! Halia :-)

      • Hey, I looked up some info and I decided to get a carbon filter for my shower head and it basically fixed all the problems I’ve been having. Yay science!

  60. I’ve been at this for a few days now. I am trying the no shampoo for dandruff reasons. I had read about both using a shampoo brush, and not using shampoo, both as solutions for dandruff, so I decided to try them both. I’m four days in with the no shampoo, and two days in for the shampoo brush with water. I used the brush dry once before using it in the shower to get a baseline for the flakes a day and a half into the water only.

    My hair is oilier still, and it’s pretty short, just over an inch long. However, the brush seems to be helping me out to make the transition quicker. It helps rub my scalp to remove any unneeded dead skin and distribute the oil that I was having trouble doing with just my hands. Scratching my scalp now gives me a few flakes still, but almost none on the top of my head. I need to work on my scrubbing technique on the sides a bit more, but overall, I can say my dandruff is 80% gone in about half a week. I imagine in a whole week, I’ll be dandruff free.

    I haven’t decided if I want to try the no-soap yet. I might try it for a week or two before Thanksgiving and see if my girlfriend notices that I smell either bad or good. I think I might want a loofah to help convince myself that I’m still washing.

    By the way, I bought the Marvy Shampoo Brush and Invigorator. I recommend it if anyone is having trouble with dandruff.

  61. Hi Mike! Glad your brush is working on your scalp issues. I cannot use soap because I’m allergic to it! I shower with water and a spritz bottle of undiluted white vinegar with a coarse wash cloth. I’m very clean! I use undiluted white vinegar as underarm deoderant and pat cornstarch on after it dries. As an update to using water only on my hair for 16 days, this did not work on my shoulder length hair. I went back to baking soda and that works like a miracle!!! Try water and white vinegar for your next shower routines. Ask your girl-friend to be honest with you and be your nose for the experiment GO NATURAL! BEST WISHES! HALIA

  62. I came to here to look at the no-soap thing; maybe I’ll try it out.

    Want another money saver? Give up on those many-bladed razors for shaving. Go back to single edge or double-edge razors and make the switch to “wetshaving”.

    A double-edge sampler pack of 100 razors on Amazon will cost you $25.

    The cost for a shaving brush and a new razor will be offset by how cheap the blades are.

    Plus converting to wetshaving is better for your skin (those creams in the cans are full of stuff that dries out your skin).

    • I also shave with a double edge razor. Sometimes I use a straight. My razor of choice is a Muhle R41, and my blade of choice that I like the most are Personna Super blades, which can be had on Amazon for $18 per hundred, or on Ebay for $13 per hundred.

      Other blades can be as cheap as $6 per hundred if ordered in bulk from a Turkish shaving supply.

      I get a closer, smoother shave with these, and they’re cheaper. I still waste my money on great smelling soaps, but now that I have 10 different types, I imagine I’ll use these up before needing to purchase any more.

      • Does the Turkish company have a website? I’m currently using a razor that seems to only take gem blades, which aren’t easy to find. I’ll probably have to change razors.

        • The website is bestshave.net . They don’t have any single edge blades like that. My preferred cheap blade from them are Rapiras for my double edge razor.

          If you join the forum Badger and Blade, sometimes they have grop buys on single edge blades to reduce prices

  63. I came across a youtube video ya know, clicking on the side bar and you think “how did I get here?” Well the video was about how to keep your female area clean and the girl suggested just water. I have a background in science and I started to think about it. I have been anti anti-bacterial soap for a long time (it is so hard to find!) So I started thinking about all the good bacteria I was potentially washing away. After I thought I came up with this idea I googled and that is how I found this website. And I am glad I did!

    I have been soap free for probably about 3 months or so. In the beginning it was awesome. I stopped using lotion to really get a true feel. I was in Georgia where it was humid and my skin was great and I am now back in dry New Mexico where I chose to start using lotion again to help acclimate. I am not sure if it is helping or making things worse, but I will go back to my normal routine once I get back to Georgia. I am afraid to stop the lotion now and trying to re-acclimate to the dry desert in the cold months.

    As far as deodorant I actually find that I am less stinky if I use a deodorant only or an unscented antiperspirant. I am interested in the baking soda suggestion mentioned above. I tried vinegar when I was younger and when I went to the hair salon they could smell it and commented that it smelled like Ketchup and I realized it was me! ha! That was the end of that. I was attempting to lighten the shade of my hair naturally.

    Being female I couldn’t imagine not using shampoo but after finding this site I tried it and after a few days maybe a week I couldn’t handle the look and feel of my hair not to mention I felt like my head was stinky. So I do still use shampoo and conditioner but only every other day or so.

    • The lotion problem and discussion is an interesting one. I haven’t researched the benefits / costs of using lotion.

      Considering humans developed in a warm humid climate it and generally always lived in humid climates, its no surprise your having trouble in New Mexico. I wonder what the natives of New Mexico do about dry skin.

      Anyway, I live in the Southern California desert and what I do about dry skin is just blast a humidifier next to my bed when I sleep. It greatly helps with dry skin and makes my lungs feel good too.

  64. Hi Janae!! Enjoyed your comments! Were you using apple cider vinegar or white vinegar as deoderant? Use white vinegar and blow dry it or air dry. Then pat cornstarch under the arms to further dissipate any vinegar smell. Don’t use commercial lotions. That is A LOT of factory toxins that instantly goes into body via the skin! Try using extra virgin olive oil! I even scent my oil with cinnamon and cloves for 4 weeks and filter it into a small bottle! Smells soooo good and revives dry skin! I use it after I wash my hands too!!

    • Todd I am actually from NM and back for 2.5 months just to work. We typically use lotions/creams/oils to keep our skin from being so dry. It would have been interesting to try the experiment out here w/o lotion but it is so dry here that my skin would feel like it cracks/hurts on my back/hip area and static drives me crazy. A humidifier would be a great option and some people do use them. We have swamp coolers typically out here for summer months.

      Halia I like the idea of olive oil and have tried it on my hands but it seems to rub off on to clothes if you are not patient. How do you deal with that issue? I really like the natural scent idea! I have been trying to get away from scents and I do use a lotion I got Kirkland brand that seems pretty good and is unscented. IMO costco seems to try and do good with products and foods being more organic and “natural”

      My comment was a bit confusing. I meant that I used vinegar in my hair. I have never tried it as deodorant but might give it a try again when I am back in NM. I am a dental hygienist so you KNOW how important it is to make sure that I do not smell bad with my job. Take that skeptics! :D haha

      • Dang typos! I need an edit button! I will go back to personal hygiene experimentation when I leave NM and head back home to GA. When I am not going to be nose distance from people’s faces.

  65. I’ve just started doing this, I haven’t used shampoo for two weeks now.
    I have long straight hair and it has been brilliant.
    The second half of the first week was a bit grim – very greasy hair! I didn’t go out for three days! But then it calmed down and how it looks just like it used to.
    I haven’t really noticed any improvements to the condition of my hair but at the same time it isn’t worse so I’ll be sticking to saving money, time and the environment by not using shampoo from now on.

  66. I went cold turkey for about a month and a half and i mean i didnt use water or nothing; i realized through me drinking lots of water dehydration wasnt an issue.i have been doing a fasting ritual so that i let my body restore its natural oils etc. And a deep cleansing.I know this might seem like a bold attempt but there has been links where our ancestors went sereval days without eating by letting the body eat off fat that was was stored by a nice feast prior… not to get off subject :p I fount my self to be more alert odorless more .. how ironic? and my compliments on my skin has been tremendously amazing. I never really had bad skin- i really respect the fact in letting the body be free and let nature take its course … the no shampoo issue isnt a big deal in that i wash my hair once a month and i have curly thick hair !! Thanks for posting this blog really informal :) im bouh to start taking my first shower in about weeks .. btw im a girl and i hear no complaints :)

    • Hello All

      GO SHAMPOO&SOAP-LESS!

      I have shared my experiment before: i quit using shampoo and soap on June 14th, 2012 after reading one of your post.. I will never go back since everything is alright with my hair and skin… well actually my skin and scalp feel soft the hair on my arms and head (very few on the head) are also feeling silky and alive rather than dry and dead from shampoo.. i am FREE from all the marketing, the false claims, having to select products, having to spend the time and money… I am FREE.

  67. Ok here is my other experiment. As you know I went shampoo and soap less on June 14th, 2012 and will continue soap and shampoo less for life since my experience is positive. BUT I also quit using toothpaste a few days later in June and have not used any since. Mind you, I do floss and brush daily and that is important. So I was curious as to the results,a s was my skeptical and lovely spouse. So yesterday, over 5 months later, I had my six months dental cleansing appointment, and Diane the expert hygienist told me that I was doing a great job with my teeth and to keep up the good work. She does not know I do not use any toothpaste or fluorides. PS I am 63 years old and had terrible teeth due to improper discipline, that is when I was younger in my teens and early 20′s. So go toothpaste-less and be FREE. PS I have begun using a small drop of peppermint essential oil when i brush my teeth… it leaves me with that good clean feeling. Cheers

    • CONGRATULATIONS ROLAND ON BEING FREE! It feels so good to be liberated! I now only shower 2 times a week and scrub with water. (for honesty, I’m a girl and use soap in an unspoken region). I tried to use water only on my hair but, I have thick straight hair that is to my shoulders. Water only wasn’t going to be my friend, so I returned to baking soda and water solution which I’ve washed my hair with for 2 1/2 years! No toxic neuclear shampoo for me! I too cut out toothpaste–Fluoride was used by the Nazis and never should it go in your mouth!! I brush with baking soda. Thanks for the tip of using peppermint essential oil! I will try that! Yours, Halia :-)

      • Halia, its good to know we are not alone.. though i would keep up in any case. i do have very short hair and near bald head so its easy there and its easier for a guy and the unspoken region.. i am thinking just for the pleasure of it to introduce some mix of essential oil for my shower.. but i never get to it and it is not a priority… plus it feels good to need nothing but water when i get in the shower.. interestingly after six months my mind my hands still look for soap or something to hang on to when i shower… old habits die slowly. i shower every two days, and only because i don’t live alone… i think i could shower once a week or less and be quite happy… have a chemical free day my friend, Roland :-)

  68. I stopped using shampoo in 2006 and have never regretted it. My decision started as an experiment that turned into just an issue of practicality. I couldn’t understand why we wash our hair and then cover it with conditioner to replenish the oils we’ve just stripped away. I have used shampoo a few times since after spending a lot of time over a smoky grill or other occasions where I feel like I’m probably covered with some smell.

    But I don’t see abandoning soap anytime soon. I actually relish scrubbing my body clean and have several types of loofahs etc. to strip everything away. I spent some time in my life where showering regularly wasn’t an option and it didn’t stick.

  69. This comment is (obviously) a bit late, but I can safely say that through my laziness, I rarely use soap. I’m not that dirty. I still use deodorant and shampoo a few times a week (once to thrice because I am a female with long, thick hair and gunk really gets in there), and it works. I felt guilty about this before, but no shame now. :)

  70. No soap? Dirty! I shower twice a day on most days, each time with soap or shower gel. I use a shampoo too, unless I run out of them.

  71. And, deodorants are not meant to do the job of soaps. Ever heard of the expression, “stinking sweet”? That’s what you are when you use deodorant to cover up the smell of dead cells on the surface of your body.
    And, in case you didn’t realize this, your nose tends to get used to your body odor over time, such that you can’t really smell any bad odor coming from you for lack of proper hygiene. But the people around you continue to smell those odors, even if they don’t say so.

    • Not so, John. The men in our family still use soaps and shampoos. My daughter and I stopped using both back in September of this year and I will admit, it took a few months of me wondering WTF was I doing?! However, after the first few months, I couldn’t take my own BO anymore (even though all family and friends and even co-workers were saying I smelled nice), so I mixed up about 4 tablespoons of baking soda and water to a fine, milky substance and poured it all over my hair and body. I have never smelled so good. Several people have commented that I “smell like a cool day on the beach” or “a rainy spring-summer day”. I do not use anything other than the baking soda about every 5 weeks and of course water every day. I have stopped using toothpaste and the most recent checkup had my dentist commenting how well I’m “finally” doing on the care of my teeth. My eyes are brighter blue than they’ve been in a long time and when I brush my hair, no more hairbrush full of “pulled hair”. My face doesn’t break out anymore EVER (never was a big problem anyway but I haven’t had a pimple in over a month now). The only thing I’ve noticed that I didn’t like was my socks seemed a little stinky (something I had never dealt with before), but after the first month, my husband pointed out to me that he used to spray our shoes with odor stuff late at night whenever he put his boots down next to mine by the back door. He has since stopped spraying my boots and the odor has gone away. I not only do not need odor eaters of any kind, they actually cause an imbalance and they don’t smell as good as me so the fresheners stink when next to me or my body. It’s no joke, it’s no lie. Stick it out and you will find it’s well worth it. No more SHAM or CON for me.

  72. Guys, If you have an active sex life, please wash your penis with soap … *sign* don’t over do it with this no soap thing please.

  73. I am a 36 year old female and have never washed with soap. Growing up my mother taught me not to tamper with my natural skin by applying man made chemicals to it. She always emphasized Especially to avoid the genital region. Why would you mess with natures lubrication system? I also do not use deotorant. My husband is opposite of me and a soap freak. Hens isn’t that I have a sweet sent and is amazed that I don’t smell.

  74. Done this before, well with the hair any way. Now going to try it without shower gel as well.

    My hair definitely looks nicer when I just wet it in the shower. If I’m going on a night out on a saturday I would wash my hair on the friday because it was a pain in the arse and had way too much volume.

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