No soap or shampoo?

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plaidcat
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No soap or shampoo?

Postby plaidcat » 31 Dec 2009, 23:27

I read an interesting blog/article today.
http://freetheanimal.com/2009/12/paleo- ... ampoo.html
(also, incidentally, an interesting site on "animalistic" type living)

Its about a fellow who has foregone soap and shampoo for going on six months. I've heard of folks doing this; women, specifically, ceasing use of shampoo for their hair.
Have any of you ever tried it? What were your results? How long did you stick with it, or do you still?

I don't know if I could do it :shrug:

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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby Cosmic Ash » 01 Jan 2010, 00:07

My sister only uses soapnuts for washing her hair. She says that since she started using them her hair has been really soft and in great condition. I haven't seen the results for myself as she lives on the other side of the planet from me, but she's really happy. Personally I only use shampoo that I buy from the health food shop, made without nasty chemicals and scented with essential oils. It costs me a bit more but years of dying my hair means I need to take more care of it now (and I do worry about those chemicals).
Years ago, when I was married, my then husband decided he was going to 'go natural' and didn't wash his hair for over six months. It was constantly a lank greasy mess. But then he never washed it at all. Maybe rinsing it through with warm water occasionally might have helped control the greasiness whilst the natural balance was being restored...

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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby katie bridgewater » 01 Jan 2010, 00:53

I haven't used any shampoo or cosmetic products for over a decade now apart from soap containing only saponified olive oil, salt toothpaste and occasioanally, a mineral salt deodorant.
I don't miss shampoo at all - my hair is in better condition than it ever was even with the so-called 'natural' products (which still usually contain unnecessary synthesised perfumes and foaming agents). My acne cleared up everywhere except around my mouth and once I switched to a toothpaste without a foaming agent in that went too. My scalp no longer itches or burns madly like it used to after shampooing. I have fewer split ends, my hair only smells faintly of hair,and I don't have to put any sodium laurel sulphate into the water cycle or any used shampoo bottles into a landfill now.
I get my hair wet in the shower sometimes, but I find this makes my scalp produce more oil so I generally only do so if I have been doing something to get dust or dirt in my hair. Daily brushing is good, and keeps hair clean and well conditioned. I brushed religiously every day for the first few weeks and found my hair adjusted quickly and without excessive greasiness to the new regime. I just brush it every couple of days now. I never even think about having to wash my hair these days - it seems like an alien concept after so long without.

Hope this helps.

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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby plaidcat » 01 Jan 2010, 05:04

Wow, really interesting. I think I'm more curious than anything. Its a nice goal. How long did it take to transition into the lifestyle, Katie?

I gotta get off the coloring first... i had a brief affair with henna, but its such a pain. Sigh!

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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby katie bridgewater » 01 Jan 2010, 21:10

Hi again Plaidcat! To be honest, it wasn't really much of a transition. I had always felt uncomfortable about cosmetic products and their effect on my body and the environment and I had been using the minimum shampoo I could get away with for several years. But it was really a split decision one day after taking a shower and feeling overwhelmed by the fumes of my 'natural' shampoo and realising that my skin just felt like it had been covered in irritant, not cleansed and soothed! I just stopped washing my hair from then on and started brushing it daily. It took about 2 weeks for the hotness of my scalp to go, about 6 weeks for the brushing to work its magic (I stopped brushing so fervently after that), about 3 months before my scalp and hair stopped smelling of shampoo when it got wet (the things they use get absorbed into your skin and hair and from there into the blood and ultimately stored in body fat) and about 6 months for the increased strength and improved split ends to make a difference to the thickness and quality of my hair. But the reduced life-hassle-factor is the best thing - I highly recommend giving it a go.

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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby Aurora » 03 Jan 2010, 04:08

Hi Katie,

I've tried previously to forgo the shampoo or at least reduce its use (used to only wash it once a week when i was younger), but found it gets very oily to the point i can't stand it. But i've noticed your comment about brushing it helping with the process. Would you be able to tell me what kind of brush you used? Natural or synthetic bristles kind of thing :)

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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby katie bridgewater » 03 Jan 2010, 18:08

Hi Aurora. I guess if you are washing your hair more than once a week then your follicles are going crazy trying to replace the oil that gets stripped off, so some greasiness is inevitable. I was only washing my hair about once a week when I gave up all together, so I suppose I had an advantage. I am pretty sure that the oil production settles once the follicles have had time to calm down, although the time this takes is bound to vary. After the initial greasiness, a natural cycle of drier times and greasier times develops, but never to the point where I have considered using shampoo or conditioner. Another thing worth saying is that my hair is very long, and that gives the grease somewhere to go when brushing. It also means that I can tie it back or plait it if it gets out of hand. At first I used a large brush with natural bristles but I lost it after a couple of years and now I have a couple of different ones - I even have an ultralight plastic one with ball ends for trekking, for example!

I would advise avoiding any brush with those little balls on the end of the bristles, and a softer brush is more gentle on your adjusting hairs. Also a large paddle brush which makes contact with a lot of hair at once is better than a little one. Brush from right up on the scalp the whole length of your hair, in smooth and unhurried strokes, for at least several minutes each day. You need to draw the oils from the scalp to the ends of the hair which will both keep your scalp clear and your hair conditioned. It is worth considering the time of year (in my experience, hair seems to be greasier in cold weather), diet (too much greasy food and your skin and hair will feel different), menstrual cycle (girls only! - hair naturally varies across the month and by shampooing we become oblivious to these natural cycles) etc, as all these things affect the greasiness as you and your hair adapt.

But whatever you do, I think you may just have to butch it out for a few weeks and wait, keep brushing, keep your head dry, and trust your body to adapt, and in the long run your little overworked follicles will thank you for putting up with wearing a hat for a few weeks :tiphat: Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby Aurora » 05 Jan 2010, 03:51

thanks for the advice Katie. I wash about twice a week and my hair is shoulder length, so we'll just have to sit it out and see how it goes. looks like bandana's will be my new friends (it's summer here and to hot for anything other than a sun hat which still makes your head all sweaty).
thanks again :D
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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby chadly » 06 Jan 2010, 05:05

I don't think I could do it. I'm a bit OCD on cleanliness, for one thing. I wash my hair at least every other day - about as often as I shower. For another thing, my hair is quite curly if I don't keep it short - with or without shampoo, I have to wet it to keep it from looking like Kramer from Seinfeld. x.x

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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby Nicholaas » 06 Jan 2010, 07:40

If I don't get my daily shower, I'm not a happy camper. It's as vital to my daily routine as brushing my teeth.
"Everything is right for me, which is right for you, O Universe. Nothing for me is too early or too late, which comes in due time for you. Everything is fruit to me which your seasons bring, O Nature. From you are all things, in you are all things, to you all things return."
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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby katie bridgewater » 06 Jan 2010, 10:47

I take plenty of showers too, and I use olive oil soap in small quantities on my body, but I guess it comes down to definitions of dirt - I find the ingredients in most shampoo's are not things I consider safe or clean for me or the other beings they will also affect, and the natural oils made by my hair follicles as perfectly clean. My hair is as clean as anyone who uses shampoo, but it costs me nothing, and the world is a tiny bit cleaner too. I realise it's not for everyone though, although I have to say it's nice that here, at least, there is a conversation about it. Most people in the developed world are now so dependent on personal hygiene products made by pharmaceutical companies that in over a decade of not using shampoo, I have had no more than 3 conversations with people who didn't automatically assume that I must use the stuff. I suppose that alone indicates that my hair must look perfectly clean! :)

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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby Oran_ap_Beith » 06 Jan 2010, 10:49

Just recently i have been using arrowroot powder on my hair,
I have read that sometimes people mix it with osha root powder as well
I cover my scalp with it and leave it for 30 mins or so then brush it out then rinse.
it absorbs all the grease and works very well
even for very long hair like mine.
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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby Corwen » 06 Jan 2010, 11:11

Just recently i have been using arrowroot powder on my hair,
I have read that sometimes people mix it with osha root powder as well
I cover my scalp with it and leave it for 30 mins or so then brush it out then rinse.
it absorbs all the grease and works very well
even for very long hair like mine.
That's really interesting. a lot of more primal cultures than ours wash in dust or smoke rather than water. Animals wash with dust too.

IMHO we are all too hung up on personal cleanliness. When I was a kid showers were still a rarity in working class English homes, bath time was once a week and it had been that way for generations. Deodorants and conditioners were new products and far from everyone used them, simple soap, shampoo (though many washed their hair with soap) and water was what we all used. I don't remember everyone smelling bad!

I reckon that the more you wash the more you strip off friendly bacteria from your skin, encouraging the fast growing stinky ones. Plus of course the energy use and water use associated with daily or twice daily showering and the creation, transport and disposal of all those chemicals must be enormous.

I live out in the middle of nowhere and don't see that many people, but when I do and I'm in an enclosed space I really notice the overpowering artificial scents many people smell of, I can't imagine all those chemicals are doing us all any good. They make it hard for me to breathe sometimes or give me a hay-fever type response and I'm sure I can't be the only one so affected. In Canada I noticed 10 years ago some establishments like Student Union bars had signs saying 'For the sake of our workers, please no strong artificial scents', which seemed to me a great step forward though it isn't something I've ever seen here.

I've even met people who are literally handicapped by their addiction to cleanliness, who won't go camping, couldn't go on a long distance walk or a pilgrimage because they might have to go a few days between showers. I think that's really sad, that the businesses who would sell us all this filthy chemical soup, by telling us that our natural state is unacceptably dirty and we need their products to make us clean, have indoctrinated many of us to that degree.
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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby plaidcat » 07 Jan 2010, 04:14

It is certainly an interesting cultural phenomenon, the addiction to cleanliness. I would never say I'm "handicapped" by it, but I do shower regularly, and use "regular" deodorant. I use chemical dyes. I don't use perfumes, because a) I get headaches with intense smells due to my allergies, and b) my husband has no sense of smell so who cares?

Oddly enough, I actually rather enjoy cleanliness-ritual hiatus times, such as camping. I don't mind my hair getting greasy, and boy does it.
I don't think men in modern society are nearly as pressured as women to maintain a certain "level" of "cleanliness." We even have things marketed to us to make sure our lady bits smell like flowers (I want my lady bits smelling like healthy lady bits, thank you. Not perfume.) All in all, I think it definitely projects poor self-image on young people if they don't measure up to these standards. Naturally oily hair, for example; we react by hyper-washing our hair, instead of letting it relax and adjust itself.

Very cool responses from everyone, thank you.
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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby Nicholaas » 07 Jan 2010, 04:58

Right, I would not consider it an addiction any more than brushing my teeth or wearing pants (both of which I am accustomed to ;))

I like to feel clean, smell clean, and look clean. It's vital to my career, and something I personally enjoy. Do I use tons of harsh chemicals? Far from it. Goat's milk soap and minimum-chemical shampoo are all I need. Do I think those chemicals are going to cause eventual harm? It's possible. Show me the cause and effect; show me the science and I'll accept it. Until then, I'll happily lather up on a daily basis. :) I don't think either way is the better way to go; to each his/her own.

(By the way, I've made a habit out of taking "sailor's showers" to address water usage.)
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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby Corwen » 07 Jan 2010, 12:38

Show me the cause and effect; show me the science and I'll accept it. Until then, I'll happily lather up on a daily basis. :) I don't think either way is the better way to go; to each his/her own.
It sounds like your regime is relatively non toxic, but many people use a battery of products every day each containing many chemicals with known toxic effects such as parabens, cocamide, sodium laureth sulphate, propylene glycol (antifreeze), pthalates etc. According to the Ecologist (a reputable UK 'Green' campaigning mag) on average Brits use 9 cosmetic products per day with 126 different chemical components between them. I find that an absolutely terrifying statistic. And those are the chemicals which are meant to be there! Many chemicals like these are difficult to make completely pure or can combine in the bottle in undesirable ways, thus consumer products are routinely found to be contaminated with dioxins and nitrosamines among others.

Here are a few articles to have a look at:

From the Ecologist Magazine:
http://www.theecologist.org/green_green ... clean.html
http://www.theecologist.org/green_green ... gents.html
http://www.theecologist.org/green_green ... ances.html

There was also a TV programme about this issue a couple of years ago, looks like the video clips are gone but the website is still up, the full programme might be archived on Channel 4's site somewhere.
http://www.channel4.com/health/microsit ... als_1.html

We in the 'developed' world have an epidemic of cancer and many other diseases both mental and physical for which the cocktail of mutagenic, allergy causing and otherwise biologically active chemicals might be responsible.

If we define 'dirt' as a substance that exists somewhere it shouldn't, then the products we use to remove our scent and the grime of day to day life are themselves 'dirty' as we don't really want them in our body fat and cached in our internal organs, exuded with our breast milk etc. Not only that but while cleaning products may make the inside of our houses appear clean they make the rest of the world outside our houses dirty. The waste water from our homes contains all sorts of nasties like phosphates which cause problems like eutrophication (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutrophication), gender altering chemicals which are causing problems for other species, and others like ammonia, soaps, surfactants, parabens, plasticisers, fire retardents, solvents, fungicides etc etc with unpredictable negative consequences.

That isn't even to touch on the issues connected with the production and transport of all this unnecessary stuff. Assuming we don't really want a world full of chemical plants (though obviously we will need some to produce necessary pharmaceuticals etc) we sure do use a lot of chemicals for no good reason...
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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby Explorer » 08 Jan 2010, 19:29

Day 3 of the experiment...
"Dear diary...
The May Queen just asked me if I realise how my hair looks from behind. In this household Hair is a Big Thing, for her and her kids. But I rebel against it. I fight my fight, trying not to crack under the pressure of the girls trying to get me to the hairdresser. So far I managed to stick to my rule of no more than 2 haircuts a year. I lost one personal battle though, I refused to look in the mirror how my Hair looks from behind. I said I didn't care. This experiment is for Glory and Nature. But I am ashamed to admit, that once the May Queen left the room, I took my digital camera and took a picture of the back of my head. But I discovered that it was only manipulation, my hair looks the same as from the front. Greasy and wild.
But I will persevere... at least till day 4. I even extended the experiment by not combing it (because I lost my comb) and not shaving (because I'm too lazy), and no deodorant (but I never used that anyway). I was thinking about 'no toilet paper' also, but that was vetoed.
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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby lughna » 12 Jan 2010, 05:08

I find all of this facinating and would like find out more. Are there any books on the topic?

Dragonray and I have started this week trying to go without Shampoo. Is it important to rinse your hair underwater even without the shampoo or is it detrimental to the oils that the folicles produce?

Cheers,
Lughna.
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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby Corwen » 12 Jan 2010, 10:21

I find all of this facinating and would like find out more. Are there any books on the topic?

Dragonray and I have started this week trying to go without Shampoo. Is it important to rinse your hair underwater even without the shampoo or is it detrimental to the oils that the folicles produce?

Cheers,
Lughna.
I haven't read any books on living without cosmetics and chemicals, but they must be out there. There are a couple of books on the Permaculture magazine website, (http://www.green-shopping.co.uk/books/b ... ealth.html) but they look like recipe books for natural cosmetics rather than a critique of the chemical/beauty industry, so I guess it depends on what you are looking for.

Good luck with kicking the shampoo habit! Regarding rinsing, I'd advise the opposite, your hair will probably get too oily when you stop using shampoo, because it has got into a cycle where all the oil is regularly stripped off. If you keep getting your hair wet it will make even more oil so its best not to wash your hair at all for a week or two, and instead brush lots. Brush brush brush! Brush with a relatively soft brush, as a very hard brush will stimulate your scalp to make more oil. Brushing will clean your hair and pull oils away from your scalp, spreading them evenly down the hair and removing excess oil on the brush. Once your hair has settled down a little then its possible to rinse it through every so often, but its probably best even then not to wet it too often, though everyone's hair is different and you'll find out how often you can get it wet without it getting too oily.

I'm assuming you have relatively normal hair here, if you have dreadlocks, if you are black and have long hair, or just have tangly semi-afro gypsy hair like mine which makes daily brushing impossible you may need to adopt a different strategy!
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Re: No soap or shampoo?

Postby lughna » 12 Jan 2010, 10:50

Thanks for the informative reply Corwen!

My ethnic origins are immeadiately from Scotland, but if you believe the hype my red hair is likely the result of viking invasion :) So short answer is my hair is normal I think :)

Dragonray on the other hand is part Lebanese so her hair is more like the african's but no wear near as coarse (correct adjective??) :P

Again thanks heaps!

Cheers,
Lughna.
But whether a lad be sober or sad, Or mellow with wine from the horn, He will take no wrong when he lieth along, 'Neath Oak, and Ash, and Thorn! - Rudyard Kipling

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