Filed under: 100 Thing Challenge, Examples, Food, Luddite, Minimalist Experiment, Personal.
When I announced the 100 Thing Challenge, Rebecca commented about the lack of soap or shampoo on my list. (Toothpaste I share with my wife.) Instead of responding in a comment, I thought that this topic deserved its own post.
Some time ago, I ran across this article about not using soap or shampoo. That made me think. And so I dug a little deeper. After reading numerous articles about the subject, including this one, I decided to try out this experiment for myself.
Since the end of June, I haven’t been using soap or shampoo. I shower daily, but simply don’t add man-made chemicals to the process. I have continued to use deodorant. Washing of hands with soap occurs after using the restroom and before any food preparation.
My first reaction after reading about the concept was that it would end with me feeling dirty, and those around me agreeing. However, this was never the case. My wife didn’t even realize that I had started the experiment (though I’d told her about it) for at least three weeks. I feel just as clean, if not more-so, than before.
The articles above both mentioned a normalization period of about two weeks (a time for your body to adjust to the lack of chemicals that attack it). I think it took me about three days. My hair felt greasy for couple of days, dry for one, then felt better than normal. Nice, soft and almost never greasy.
This experiment was not conducted while working in an office, then spending the remainder of my day in my apartment. Instead, I spent the month of July living and working outside at a summer camp. 28 of those days saw record-setting highs. We swam in pools and lakes, went rock climbing, spent a night a week in a tent, and generally had a great time. I sweated, a lot.
I noticed only three times when I needed to use something extra in the shower, each time on my hair. I skipped a shower one day, and the next day I only felt better after washing twice, using shampoo the second time. After spending an absurd amount of time in a chlorinated pool each day for nearly a week, I noticed my hair drying out and threw some conditioner in there for two days.
After having avoided showering with soap and shampoo for over three months now, I doubt that I will return to using it. Not only have I saved money, but I can now shower faster. More importantly, I actually feel cleaner. My hair stays clean-feeling throughout the day, and doesn’t scream for attention after only a few hours. My skin has become less oily (which was always an issue before). I am generally cleaner-feeling over all.
This simple experiment has shown me not to blindly follow life rules just “because I always have” or “because you should” or any other reason that is not meant to be questioned. Make your own decisions and test things out. See what works for you, and do that. See what doesn’t work for you, and stop doing that. For me, soap and poo don’t work.