Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
24 Jun

Pooh-Poohing the ‘Poo

shampooModern life presents endless deviations from our primal beginnings. Some clearly have no place in the success of our species (e.g. Ding Dongs). Others may present unprecedented, welcome benefits (e.g. year round access to a veritable cornucopia of Primal goodies like macadamia nuts – my personal favorite). Finally, there are those “additions,” current customs really, that feel idiosyncratic but relatively innocuous. The contemporary obsession with hair might qualify for this eccentric but harmless category – or maybe not. What about the goop we slather on our noggins? Is it another case of sanitizing ourselves into an unhealthy existence? Will I become an eternal greaseball without my daily indulgence in froth and foam? There’s a movement afoot – “poo-less,” as it’s often called – that has something to say about it. Kicking the suds habit, poo-less advocates suggest, not only allows for less toxic, less expensive living but opens the door to a better head of hair itself.

Even the most committed product junkie has to admit that our culture’s fixation on perfect tresses has long since morphed into a marketing frenzy. Products and services galore seek to manipulate every hair into strict submission. Somehow it’s never enough though. There’s always another product to fix something else – likely the problem the first one caused. Increasingly, we’re realizing that we pay a bigger price than the receipts would indicate (although they’re nothing to shake a stick at either!). Conventional shampoos are universally riddled with noxious but unregulated chemicals that have been linked to everything from endocrine system disruption to neurological and immune system damage. Among the biggest offenders, according to the Environmental Working Group, include the ubiquitous phthalates (for fragrance), parabens (for preservatives), coal tar (for dyes and dandruff) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (for lather and de-greasing power). Other risky chemicals include 1,4-Dioxane and methylisothiazolinone.

Our bodies take quite a beating for the sake of our hair. (Hey, but that woman in the jungle shower on the commercial looked like she was having fun. I’ll have what she’s having – poisons be damned!

But put aside the toxins for a minute. What about natural, toxin-free shampoos? What’s wrong with them? (First off, some aren’t as natural as they claim.) According to poo-less advocates, though, even the “best” shampoos strip and damage our hair. We feel like greaseballs after a couple days without a wash because our scalps are constantly on overdrive trying to compensate for the persistent dryness caused by – the shampoo! The need for a cascade of other hair products (e.g. the conditioners, the gel, the hair spray, the detanglers, etc.) is the consequence of the shampoo’s initial damage. Talk about digging a hole to use a ladder to wash the basement window!

When you read the stories of the poo-less, I have to say that the anecdotal evidence is pretty convincing. After the initial transition of 2-6 weeks (hint: scarves, bandanas, ponytails), people say they have unprecedented softness, volume, natural shape and style. No more frizzies or fly aways or whatever else plagued them before. Several folks on the forum have shared their experiences, and I’d definitely recommend checking out Richard’s experiment at Free the Animal. The poo-less movement has caught enough media attention that even more conventionally-minded publications have called upon their own staff people to give it a whirl and then share their stories. Although a few folks eventually throw up their hands, the vast majority give it a thumbs up. Many even say it’s the best thing that ever happened to their hair.

So, what does a poo-less routine look like exactly? Although every fan has his/her own take, there seem to be a few common routines. Some people gradually wean themselves off by increasing the number of days between shampoos. Others rinse the roots with warm water and use a little conditioner on the ends. Still others use a hot towel method by stroking their hair repeatedly with a hot, soaked towel to distribute their scalp’s natural oils throughout the hair. A large portion of the poo-less group seems to use some combination of baking soda-water mix as a daily/occasional poo-less wash. Many in this camp then do a vinegar rinse (apple cider being the most commonly mentioned version) to “condition” hair. Another basic kitchen combo used is cornstarch and lemon juice. Simple, cheap and healthy, they say. For those who want something a little more than baking soda, there are specially formulated (and marketed) poo-less products like the well-known Deva line. I know a lot of folks use Dr. Bronner’s as well.

For those of us who don’t want to go poo-less, what Primal perspective is there to be gleaned from these folks’ efforts? Their satisfaction, I think, is a reminder that modern living suggests “needs” that really don’t exist. Our bodies, left to their own devices, really can take care of themselves. There’s something to that natural beauty concept. The truth is, Grok probably wasn’t the stinky, disheveled, unsightly figure many imagine him to have been.

Asking whether we really need shampoo begs the question of whether we really need any of the personal products that line our medicine cabinets. If we ditched the creams, conditioners, gels, cosmetics, deodorants, sprays, and powders for a week, would our lives fall apart? Would anyone else even notice? (Probably not.) Would we eventually get used to the simplified routine? Would we end up enjoying it like the poo-less proponents? One thing’s for sure: we’d probably have a little more money in our pockets and little more time on our hands. As for our bodies, after their transition period is over and the dust finally settles, they’d likely be grateful to get back to doing what they’re built to do.

Have your own poo-less stories or tips you’d like to add? Questions or commentary on going au naturale? Thanks for reading, everybody. Have a great day!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Man, I stopped using anti-perspirants a year after I was old enough to start using them. I probably ruined about five tee shirts that way. I got sick of deodorant, too–I hated the smell–so now I just cut the armpit hair short and splash some Dr. Bronner’s (or any soap, really) on there when the funk gets noticeable. Other than that, no poo and no soap for a few months now, and no big problems! Dandruff is gone.

    Cullen wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • I should add that I still shower daily as well. Water alone is fine, but without it I still get stinky. Found that out the hard way over the last few semesters. Thanks, college!

      Cullen wrote on June 24th, 2010
  2. I have been using baking soda for over a year now. Just a couple teaspoons wet to make a paste, though my hair is short. I rub it in and then keep going and use it as a facial scrub to keep my face from getting too oily.

    I use Dr Bronner’s liquid soap, diluted to 25% strength in an empty foaming soap dispenser. Only on the important parts though. Perhaps I could stop this and just use it as a hand wash.

    My hair is always oily, so I use the baking soda daily and the oiliness has diminished. I think I will try skipping days to see how things look. I have diluted apple cider vinegar ready to use, but only use it 1-2 times a month as a rinse to clear any build-up.

    Rodney wrote on June 24th, 2010
  3. Long-haired guy here. I’ve been shampoo-free and largely soap-free for months and my hair has never been healthier. I didn’t realize there was a movement afoot; I just got curious about whether I really needed to be stripping my natural oils every day. Since dropping shampoo I’ve also dropped the need for hair gel; the natural oils seem to keep it as smooth and glossy as I want it.

    I still condition, however. With a head of long, thick, fine hair I don’t think I’d ever get it combed out in the morning without the help of conditioner.

    Avdi Grimm wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Try using a boar bristle brush and start at the ends. Gradually work your way up to the scalp and then brush normally to distribute the oils to the ends. :)

      Unamused Mouse wrote on June 24th, 2010
  4. What about shaving my legs? For those of you that have ditched the products, what do you use for that?

    I’m willing to give up everything else, but I am still going to be shaving these legs!!! I’m not yet ready to take THAT step! :)

    Sally wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • I “wax” with a home-made sugaring. It comes out just like the “Moom” product that sells for $8 or more a jar. I think it costs me 50 cents to make 2 jars. You only need to do this about once a month too! So a batch lasts several months.
      Steep some chamomile tea in 1 cup boiling water. Remove tea, add 1 1/2 c sugar (white or organic) & 2tsp lemon juice & a few drops tea tree oil. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour or so. It should be golden in colour. Cool. It will be the consistency of thick honey. warm up as needed. Schmeer & remove with (reusable!) strips of muslin.

      Peggy wrote on June 24th, 2010
      • oops! forgot to add that you can “dust” with cornstarch beforehand. That way the sugar only sticks to hair, not skin.

        Also, make your strips using pinking shears. The strips wash easy in warm water. Everything is reusable! No disposing of razors, no expensive refills… If you want, by a Moom starter-pak at local healthfood store. Then you have a jar, some strips, spreader sticks, and you can try it out. Plus you’ll get a feel for what your homemade stuff should look like.

        Peggy wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Sally, I haven’t used any shaving cream for about 10 years. All I do is shave under the shower with the water running over my legs and I’m good to go. No problems.

      Patsy wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • There’s an instructables about shaving with baking soda, but I just use a tiny-tiny-tiny bit of regular hand soap on my legs and make sure to sharpen my disposable razor on the towel when I’m done shaving. As long as you keep the razor sharp and dry you won’t have issues while shaving your legs, even if you have a pelt like me.

      Katie wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Awesome suggestions! I will try both… shaving with no cream and the homemade sugaring. I do make sure to sharpen my razor on a towel- it lasts so much longer that way!

      Sally wrote on June 24th, 2010
      • How exactly does one sharpen a razor on a towel?

        Unamused Mouse wrote on June 24th, 2010
        • Like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ADaRIqy0Dc

          Except that you run the razor backwards up the towel instead of your forearm. I like to use the “knubby/crochetted/faux fancy” part of the towel or the seamed edge.

          Katie wrote on June 27th, 2010
  5. My husband and I have been using the crystal deodorant for years. Even with a physical job, my husband doesn’t smell at all. Best change I ever made.

    cathyx wrote on June 24th, 2010
  6. Question – does anyone still blow dry their hair or use flat irons with the no-poo method? Does it make any difference?

    Amy wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • I do, no difference noticed.

      Kat wrote on June 24th, 2010
      • Do you continue to use mousse/gel/etc. for that extra body/texture/etc. or just go completely natural? I have shoulder-length, layered hair. Don’t use a lot of goo, but I’m afraid I would feel and look “unfinished”.

        Monica wrote on June 24th, 2010
        • hee hee, I’m sure Kat, the one-woman coconut oil advocate would agree: I found that the blow dryer helps “spread” any residue from the coconut oil. My hair behaved & I thought it looked as good or better than with the other products.
          I love coconut oil! it reminds me of those old SNL commercials: “it’s a floor polish! it’s a dessert topping!”

          Peggy wrote on June 24th, 2010
        • Monica: I used a body styling mousse once and it rinsed out pretty easily in just water. I don’t use any product regularly though.

          Peggy: haha I love coconut oil! I have never tried to use it in my hair, but want to try it for styling/shine sometime. Since I use coconut oil for just about everything else (toothpaste even) I should probably give that a try!

          Kat wrote on June 24th, 2010
        • As it turns out, shampoo was stripping my hair of its volume. When I quit the shampoo, I gained height & volume everywhere and need no product, really. My dh (short hair) uses coconut oil where he used to use gel. Works perfectly.

          MamaGrok wrote on July 19th, 2010
  7. For those of you who don’t “wash” your hair every day – do you still rinse it with just water every day? Or do you completely keep it dry inbetween “washes”?

    Suzy wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • I rinse it every time I shower. And I shower as needed (when I feel dirty or stink).

      Mark Rose wrote on June 24th, 2010
  8. Going along with the hygiene subject, what is everyone’s thoughts about toothpaste and the sodium laureth sulfate, saccharine and other goodies in that?

    I’ve been using a fluoride-free toothpaste but have been looking to switch to an even more natural fluoride & SLS-free alternative once this tube runs out.

    My thought is that if you switch to a Paleo/Primal diet you’re cutting out the junk that lends itself to tooth decay and consequently the chemical detergents and such are rendered more unnecessary for good hygiene.

    Allen wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Fluoride is a neural toxin. It really has no business in your body. Sadly, it’s often in the water you drink, which is silly, as it’s only effective in strengthening your teeth when applied topically. Once your teeth have grown, fluoride doesn’t have much effect anyway.

      Mark Rose wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Alas, I haven’t gotten the courage to give up toothpaste yet. I do polish with baking soda twice a week in addition to water-flossing and my sonic toothbrush, but I’m not ready yet to give up the paste.

      Katie wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • i don’t use tooth paste and my teeth and gums are getting better then they used to be, i just brush them with water and my tooth brush

      JUPITER wrote on June 24th, 2010
      • I switched to using fluoride-free Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. And I only brush my teeth at night before bed. Also, after reading Seth Robert’s (and subsequently Mark’s) ideas about beneficial bacteria and how they’re being decimated by conventional wisdom practices, I’ve given up mouthwash as well. I still floss deeply every night. My breath is actually better than ever (so says my wife) and what little inflammation that had remained after going primal is finally gone! I think Mark may need to do a post on oral hygiene and primal health soon.

        Aaron Blaisdell wrote on June 24th, 2010
        • I wasn’t specific enough. I meant to say “what little inflammation of the gums still remained is now gone.”

          Aaron Blaisdell wrote on June 24th, 2010
  9. This post and these comments have opened up a whole new can of worms for me. No shampoo? No soap? No deodorant? It just boggles my mind. And makes me want to give it a try! (All that money and time I could be saving….)

    Patsy wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Try it!! You won’t regret it.
      Just think that man evolved without soaps and shampoos and got along fine for 100s of 1000s of years. It’s amazing when you try this to find that, after a short period whilst your body adjusts, odours are not a problem

      Grokker wrote on June 24th, 2010
  10. What about shaving foams?

    I’ve started using an old school safety razor and switched to shaving soaps with an ingredient label I can pronounce, but are there any products you all have tried?

    mike wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • I’ve always used a 30-40-year-old Hoffritz safety razor (that I bought new) with a cake of shaving soap and a badger brush. lately I’ve been washing my bod and hair, and shaving, with plain old cheap Ivory soap, brushing the soap lather on my face with my badger brush, all every other day. It works fine.

      Have heard about olive oil for shaving, and my late friend swore by “dry shaving” he learned in the Navy. (That’s not what killed him.) I’m going to try losing the Ivory, and washing, shampooing and shaving with water only (which is even cheaper than Ivory).

      I don’t think Grok used expensive “natural” products, somehow.

      PeteH wrote on June 24th, 2010
      • Looking across the room at a friend, I’m thinking cat-spit must be pretty good; his hair looks great!

        PeteH wrote on June 24th, 2010
        • Meow!

          Peggy wrote on June 24th, 2010
        • That has to be comment of the week! :)

          Jamie wrote on June 25th, 2010
  11. I’m eager to try this but am curious – I swim in pools with chlorine. How does chlorinated water affect the hair if one goes poo-less? or would something like baking soda be sufficient for that?

    Carolyn wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Caroylyn: I swim twice a week in a public swimming pool and I’ve noticed that it doesn’t seem to have much effect on my hair. I DO use a bathing cap (swim cap) though, so that probably helps. I just figured that the natural build-up of oils would be enough protection for my hair and I haven’t found that to be wrong yet. I’ve been ‘poo-less for over 6 months.

      Ben wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • You’ve touched on the one “downside” we’ve found to being poo-free. Chlorine makes dh’s poo-free short hair NASTY. It’s no friend to my long hair.

      I read long ago to rinse in cool water before and after swimming in chlorine. I *think* it helps. Even better is getting more and more neighborhood & community pools to go saline instead of chlorine!

      MamaGrok wrote on July 19th, 2010
      • Chiming in on an old post here, but for the record “saline” pools use chlorine the same as traditional pools. The only difference is that there is salt in the pool and a salt water generator is able to convert salt this into chlorine instead of you having to manually add chlorine.

        Marcus wrote on October 5th, 2013
  12. A few years ago my best friend was touting the benefits of natural oils over chemical-laden shampoo. I thought it was a bit out there; I tried it anyway, but not long enough to get past the grease stage. Now I realize he was actually on to something. Time to try again.

    Andrew wrote on June 24th, 2010
  13. for shaving foams Dr bronner reckons his gear is suitable for the job, but i haven’t tried it for shaving yet (but will soon just to see if i get skin irritations or a clean shave). For now I use Nivea sensitive for men.

    Oliver wrote on June 24th, 2010
  14. For everyone asking about shaving gels, try baby oil. Works great.

    Art wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Ick! Petrochemical, no thank you! Wherever you see “baby” oil or “mineral” oil, think unrefined olive or coconut oil instead.

      MamaGrok wrote on July 19th, 2010
  15. For toothpaste, I put some baking soda into an empty spice shaker container and add about 25 drops of peppermint essential oil. I just sprinkle some out on my hand, get my toothbrush wet, and scrape it up out of my hand. Minty fresh!

    Lori wrote on June 24th, 2010
  16. Wait a sec! Anyone afraid you’ll smell like Poo without using any Poo? For those with dry hair, like me, I fear the wait until the oils kick in. How long has everyone seen this resolve itself?

    Jeff wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • I have dry hair too- about 15 inches of it! (Especially in the summer..) Just use some coconut oil and you’ll be fine! Smells soo good too, better than any conditioner :)

      Cam wrote on June 25th, 2010
  17. Man I love this blog.

    I used to chronically wash my hair (I couldn’t start my day without a shamp and conditioner), but then college came around and I only showered when I had something important to do (fraternal matters).

    I’ll be giving up shampoo, about, now.

    I already gave up deoderant last summer, and I’ve yet to hear a complaint. I told my family about this and they thought it was mind boggling to say the least.

    I will no longer use shaving cream either, and resort to warm water.

    As far as toothpaste goes, I’m using TOMS natural no-flouride toothpaste and I’m at the point where I don’t think you need to brush teeth if you eat paleo (all the tooth-decaying culprits are in bread, starch, sugar ect). I think i’ll save toothbrushing for those severely rare days where I indulge.

    Flossing is a must though, monkeys do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeXg0M1KBG4

    P.S. Carolyn above me stated that she goes swimming in chlorine alot, and thus has chlorine in her hair — is a warm water rinse enough to deal with this or other chemical intrusions?

    The College Caveman wrote on June 24th, 2010
  18. @ Heather & Heidi- I have naturally drk brwn hair (used to use Sun In product) & use only 3 things to lighten it up: freshly squeeze strained lemon juice, water & lots of daily sun lol. It really does work :)

    I use about 6 strained lemon juice to about 1 cup of water & put it in a spray bottle. (More lemons means stronger strength) Spray all over hair/strands you want or roots for touchup & just go out to the sun. (The longer in the sun daily the faster the highlights/color develops) Once you achieve the color you want you can stop applying it & just do the roots. Patience is the key lol.

    I use virgen coconut oil to keep hair moisturized & from sun damage after its out. Lemon is a natural lightener & its cheap too. ;)

    madeline wrote on June 24th, 2010
  19. I quit using shampoo and conditioner years ago, switched to a non toxic body bar, 2 times a week. Will now see if I can phase that out, as well. My hair always tended to dryness, but now is fine.

    My hair is SO happy with Kombucha tea as a rinse (dilute approx 5 to 1). I use it as a skin toner, too.

    Coconut oil/baking soda = the best deo I’ve ever used.

    (Baby oil is anything but natural!)

    Blessings!

    Ann Duncan wrote on June 24th, 2010
  20. I’ve been shampoo-less for 4 weeks now. I’ve used Dr. Bronners 3 times when I was excessively dirty, this mainly happened in the beginning. I usually do a hot/cold shower… rinsing my hair and scalp with cold water which seems to help a great deal. I happen to also live in a town that doesn’t use chlorine in the water – but have heard that if you use a filter that can help a great deal. (Chlorine seems to ’cause’ problems with drying my hair out).

    I would go deoderant free as well – but I am still losing weigh, ala sweating out toxins which still leaves me a tad onionie. Lastly, I find Tea Tree oil to be really helpful with cleansing skin and hair, hopefully once the toxins are gone that’s all I’ll need for deoderant. Tea Tree oil acts as an anti bacterial, so it helpful for things like mosquito bites, rashes, dry skin, etc.

    Mike Wootini wrote on June 24th, 2010
  21. I am deployed to the desert and it is in the 120s. I don’t use soap or shampoo but still use deodorant. I don’t stink and my hair fells great. I may have used shampoo twice in the last 7 months. Twice when i was home on leave, got my hair cut and when I came home just to make sure nothing came home with me for the family!!

    Dennis wrote on June 24th, 2010
  22. Marc,

    Regarding your quote:

    “…our scalps are constantly on overdrive trying to compensate for the persistent dryness caused by – the shampoo”

    Washing your skin does NOT effect sebum production one way or the other (although washing will certainly remove sebum from the skin surface).

    This has been studied. There is also no proposed mechanism for your body to produce more oil in response to being washed regularly or being “too dry”.

    I have seen this mistake all over the place, but it is an old wive’s tale that washing your skin makes your body produce extra oil to “compensate” in some way.

    http://www.acne.org/messageboard/myth-skin-washing-sebu-t35818.html

    Logi wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • This is a weird one. I used to think it was an old wives’ tale too. I also used to have to shampoo my hair every single day or I’d look like a total greaseball. Now I barely shampoo once a week and my hair is not greasy. So… maybe it’s a neat magic trick, or maybe the old wives’ tale is true. I do also wonder if maybe the change in my diet (which basically cured my acne, and happened around the same time I quit shampooing so much) also just made my scalp less irritated, and less prone to secreting tons of oil.

      I would not imagine many scientists to be interested in the question.

      Bess wrote on June 24th, 2010
      • Bess,

        I’m sorry but you are nuts. Oil production does not depend on washing. I linked to a dermatological study that tested this idea. Maybe you got used to more oily hair, maybe the oil rubs off on clothing etc., maybe hormones somehow changed oil production coincidentally at the same time you stopped shampooing…I have no idea.

        All I know is if I read comments that claim oil production is linked to washing one more time my head will explode and I won’t need shampoo either.

        Logi wrote on June 25th, 2010
        • I have never claimed that oil production was dependent on the amount of oil already on the skin. That’s silly. But I do think that it has something to do with skin irritation. For people who naturally have nice skin (including, very likely, the people in the study you cite– such studies generally weed out any subjects with pre-existing skin problems), it may not make any difference at all. For me, detergents and perfumes are major skin irritants, and eliminating the irritation led to skin that was not only less red, and less prone to acne, but also less oily. The diet has helped, too, but that would not account for the large number of other people who have the same experience when giving up shampoo (not all of them change their diet). But removing an irritant might account for it. The standard explanation may be incorrect (i.e. washing causes more oil production). But that does not make the original observation invalid (i.e. “I stopped using shampoo, and now my skin and hair look better than ever, and my hair seems less greasy after x time”).

          Bess wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • Sebum production might not ‘up-regulate’ further in response to more washing – particularly if it is already at its maximum level. It may however be able to down-regulate when not faced with regular insult and this may take longer than the four 4 weeks referred to in one of the comments in your link. There is also the slight difference in that the references you point to say nothing about being done in conjunction with a primal diet. If the test subjects were still consuming a typical SAD, there might be distinct differences.

      But overall I think the point is that you are stripping away something that is there for a reason. Secretions via the skin are part of the body’s acid mantle:

      http://www.smartskincare.com/skinbiology/sebum.html

      Jamie wrote on June 25th, 2010
  23. @Hannah

    “I realize it takes a while for your hair to re-regulate it’s oil producing schedule”

    @Mark Rose

    “let your body adapt to producing less oil”

    @Kat

    ” I think one time is not enough to dry out your skin so much that your body thinks it has to make more oil”

    Please provide a link to research that shows oil production changes in response to how much oil is on the skin’s surface.

    Logi wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • lol, I’m not really interested in what research says about oil production. Maybe I should say this instead:

      “I get my hair shampooed when I cut it maybe 3 times a year. I don’t notice any difference from having it shampooed once, and have no trouble in the days after that not using shampoo.”

      Just go for it! Another plus is it makes traveling and camping a lot easier. No carrying messy bottles around.

      Kat wrote on June 24th, 2010
  24. I started going with no soap (still use it to wash my hands though), no shampoo since I read the Free the Animal articles back in January. It initially was just to try it for a few months, but I don’t think I am going to switch back.

    I have always showered in hot water, so I rinse my hair with the water while agitating it with my fingers. I switched from brush to washcloth because I felt like I could scrub better with the terry cloth. I also stopped using hair product (so I don’t need to wash it out), but since my hair is a little oilier (not greasy) it styles just fine with water.

    It took ~3 weeks to adjust, in which time I had a bit of chest acne and the hair felt a bit oily, when it got bad I hit it with a little soap (much less than I would usually use), but after the 3 weeks I didn’t need it. I went to the South Pacific for work, it is very hot and humid there, I got the chest acne again hit it with a little vegetable soap, cleared up, I was fine for the rest of the trip.

    I still have the old detergent laden soap and shampoo in my shower in case I do something that gets me dirtier than water can easily clean. I am going to try this stuff out because I have mild dry scalp/dandruff http://www.grandpabrands.com/curios800.html. Maybe the people around me are just super polite, but no once has noticed. If I have learned anything its we don’t need as much soap as the people selling soap have convinced us we need.

    KRG wrote on June 24th, 2010
  25. What in the…? I was just feeling good about how “Primal” I am and now this?
    I’m sure this has it’s merits, but I think I’m going to pass on this part.

    I’m content being Metro-Grok. You will find me in the high-rise cave with the good scents coming out of it…

    Clint White wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • that. was. hilarious.

      Julie wrote on June 24th, 2010
      • It was..

        JD wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • Amen.

      Joanna wrote on June 25th, 2010
  26. For the past couple months I’ve gone pretty primal with my beauty routine, and the results have been even better than I expected!! My fiancee, who is very picky about hair, even commented recently that my hair looks better than it ever has!!! YAY! :D

    My beauty routines:

    *Rinse hair with water, massage oils down hairs with fingers in the shower, and then a wooden-quilled brush. Rinse with ~2TBSP ACV mixed with water for conditioning. I really didn’t have much of a “transition” period, either!

    *My fiance uses either Nettle or Rosemary Lavendar Aloe shampoo bars from Chagrin Valley Soap, since he spikes his hair and needs something to wash out the glue with so it doesn’t build up.

    *Scrub body with a hemp exfoliating mitt, with just water. Dr. Bronner’s soap for my feet, hands and the lady bits though, hehe! :P

    *Epilate legs and armpits for hair removal.

    *Coconut oil for moisturizer on knees and elbows, tea tree oil and/or neem oil for cuts and zits. “E plus High C” deoderent from Aubrey Organics (all natural ingredients and works great!)

    *Oil Cleansing Method every night with 1/2 jojoba and 1/2 castor oil for cleaning face.

    *Only use mineral makeup from Aromaleigh.com and mascara from Aveda (pretty much all natural ingredients, nothing toxic).

    *The conventional beauty products that I DO use, I try to use the most natural kind possible (naturtint hair dye, sometimes switch off with henna and indigo, and zoya nail polish)

    Ika wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Thanks for giving the whole rundown- very helpful! I’m going to check out the mineral makeup. I’ve been getting tired of the “bare minerals” b/c I don’t really like the way it makes my skin look (kind of dry/cakey). Also, re your husbands rosemary lavender aloe shampoo bars- I have heard to use caution with lavender, especially for me, because it has phytoestrogens- similar to soy. just a thought.

      Heather wrote on July 6th, 2010
      • and when i said “especially for me” i meant “especially for men***”

        Heather wrote on July 6th, 2010
    • 1/2 castor? that seems like a lot

      mm wrote on August 4th, 2010
  27. I’ve been soapless since February and even though it’s getting hot here now (I live in Italy and it’s regularly 30°) I’ve not had any problems with BO.
    It took it bit more courage to go shampooless as I’ve always washed my hair everyday and those rare times that I didn’t I used to get a really oily, itchy scalp.
    I finally decided get a crew cut and take it from there and it’s now been 2 months without the poo. Things are going well, my hair is definitely thicker and only slightly greasy. I’m having a period of dandruff of the moment but reading the other comments here I think that may pass. I shall get my hair cut short again and see if that helps.
    As for cleaning I just use warm water, I don’t seem to have any problems with odour at all.

    Grokker wrote on June 24th, 2010
  28. After reading Richard’s piece on it some time back, I thought it was a bit loony. Then someone at work – a non-primal friend – mentioned that it was better for the scalp and hair to wash only every 3 days or so. I figured if people from very different viewpoints shared similar thoughts, maybe there was something to it.

    Well, me being me I decided that if I was going to try it, I’d do it all the way. So, I just stopped using shampoo entirely. That was about 2 or 3 months ago. There was an initial oily phase, where I’d have to lather my hands with castille soap and run them through my hair just once, but even that is gone now. My dandruff is gone and my hair no longer requires “product” in the mornings just to get it to sit down. Call me a convert.

    ToddBS wrote on June 24th, 2010
  29. I just wanted to add because it may not be obvious to everyone. There was a Dove soap bar mentioned at some point. Dove and similar brands are not soap, they are detergents. Most liquid soaps are detergents too. The cheapest and most available soap is probably Ivory. Most products on store shelves are detergents and I find it really hard to locate soaps. I’ve also seen an increase in soaps made in China. They look and smell wonderful, but I wouldn’t risk it.

    My recommendation would be for an olive oil soap or at least a true vegetable soap. An olive oil soap contains olive oil, washing soda, water and salt and you can’t get something more pure than that. Some people are putt off the smell. I think this happens only because we’re conditioned to want soaps that smell fancy.

    I found Dr. Bronner’s too be to drying and I always had the feeling that I had some residue left on the skin. It is certainly a good option if it works for you.

    Sonia wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • That would be me lol. Thanks Sonia for the advice. I know just where to buy the natural olive oil soap too.

      madeline wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • I buy olive oil soap from my local middle eastern market and love it. With all these posts though I may even give that up. I will still use it to lather up for shaving though.

      Cat wrote on June 26th, 2010
  30. I’ve been using the crystal roll-on deodorant for the last few months, and since going Primal I notice that I almost don’t even need that – my BO is pretty much gone. I worry about going ‘poo-less since I’m growing out my hair and have no idea how it would look without something to tame it…but I’m intrigued enough that I might try it. I’m just about out of body wash anyway, seems like as good a time as any to try going without! Right now my shower routine is to scrub with body wash and a scrubbie, and then apply lavender-scented almond oil and towel off. I’ll see how it goes without the soap…

    Maggie wrote on June 24th, 2010
  31. I would imagine that Grok and Grokette had dreadlocks. I’m certain Grok and Grokette didn’t shave his or her legs or pits.
    This would seem to be the next step in primal devo. (de-evolution)
    Who’s on board?

    John wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Eliminating potentially harmful chemicals from peoples’ grooming and hygiene habits is all in the name of health (just like everything on MDA). I don’t see that connection with body hair…

      Andrew wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • I’d be on board with you, but all you really have to worry about is your facial hair. It’s much harder for a woman to stop shaving her legs/arm pits and not be ridiculed by everyone.

      I really, really, really DESPISE having to shave my legs. I think it’s a ridiculous practice.

      Unamused Mouse wrote on June 24th, 2010
      • Then stop, or cut down to only special occasions. It’s your life, your body, you do with it as you please – don’t let ‘society’ tell you how you need to be.

        John wrote on June 25th, 2010
        • Oh trust me, I don’t shave them very often, but I do when I need to wear shorts. Thankfully my man doesn’t mind, though I sure don’t feel sexy in a thong with hairy legs. :(

          Unamused Mouse wrote on June 26th, 2010
      • I do too. I went for a long time without shaving my legs, but it just caused more trouble than it was worth. I still stop shaving in winter though when I wear long pants all the time.

        shannon wrote on June 26th, 2011
  32. I’m in the no shampoo camp as well. Tried it after a nasty bout of dandruff in December 09.

    Hair is fuller, holds natural shape without product, and does not appear greasy. And it did fix the dandruff issue.

    I give my scalp a good workout with a stiff brush periodically, and usually rinse with hot water in my daily shower. I have super fine hair and find I need to wet it daily for volume to return.

    Jeffery wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Oops, and my hair is a good 3-4 inches longer than in this picture!

      Jeffery wrote on June 24th, 2010
  33. Anyone thought that, perhaps our hair and skin was MEANT to be a bit oily? And the idea that it should be soft, silky and smooth is contrived by modern-day media and marketing? Along the same lines, maybe our teeth weren’t meant to be pearly white, but Crest wants us to believe it looks better…

    Andrew wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • I strongly disagree!
      You always have to keep in mind, why certain attributes are attractive. Humans are attracted to everything that signals health and fertility, I think this shouldn’t be news to anyone reading this blog.
      People are attracted to white teeth and soft hair for a simple reason. It’s an indicator of health. So, if you are looking to get your teeth as white as possible and your hair as soft and smooth as possible, the first thing you should care about is health. Not putting anything on your hair is without a doubt healthier than putting a highly toxic chemical cocktail on it, so it only would make sense that not using any hair products will also “beautify” the hair.

      Matthias wrote on June 25th, 2010
  34. “Baby oil is anything but natural!”
    - – -

    Thanks! I guess I hadn’t thought that through, but it makes sense. One more toxic thing eliminated from my life!

    I assume the same goes for vaseline (petrolatum)?

    Art wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • YUCK! petrolatum = petroleum product. I stear clear of anything with petroleum in it, as far as HABA products go (Health And Beauty Aids)

      Peggy wrote on June 25th, 2010
  35. Good read. It’s funny, because just the other day I was pondering about oral hygiene i.e. tooth paste, floss, mouth wash. If Mark has not already written a post regarding this feild, perhaps it could be an interesting topic to look into.

    I assume that grok probably had an excellent smile, becuase the primal diet encompasses teeth friendly foods; with the exception of some fruits. Never the less, I’m sure there is more to it then that.

    Any one know

    Austin wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • ignore the “any one know”
      that was definately a typo

      Austin wrote on June 24th, 2010
  36. I am happily “poo-less.” I can’t remember for how long… 6 months or so I think.

    All my life I’ve had very fine, thin hair. It was impossible to do anything with. After ditching the shampoo I found my hair had a much thicker, manageable texture. I really like it.

    Since then, I’ve once again chopped my hair “boy” short, which makes being poo-less that much easier. I definitely feel like my hair and scalp are healthier, plus I save a ton on shampoo. =)

    Deanna (Diana Renata) wrote on June 24th, 2010
  37. I must have been living in a cave, because I never heard of this! I do however recall one time when I was thinking about other things while in the shower and forgot to wash my hair. It was blow dried mostly dry by the time I realized my mistake and I did not have time to go back and rewash. So I showed up at work with styled but unwashed hair and was surprised to get not one but TWO compliments about how good my hair looked! Hmm..

    Eva wrote on June 24th, 2010
  38. Haha. ‘Poo. :D

    Stabby wrote on June 24th, 2010
  39. Grokette ride 52 miles on bicycle today…very fast…become horrible, terrible, no-good-bad very filthy, dirty, greasy, bug-covered grokette! Grokette thank God in shower tonight for (organic)soap and ‘poo!!! Maybe this winter…not in summer…I think my passengers thank God for my soap and ‘poo too! HAHAHAHAHA! nite-nite!

    Cj wrote on June 24th, 2010
  40. Put me in the camp for best thing I’ve done for my hair.

    Have to admit the transition period was scary. It was winter, so I caught a break there w/ holidays away from work, dry weather, hats, etc. Once I got through the transition period, my hair was better than ever.

    I don’t use any shampoo. Rinsing thoroughly 2x’s with warm/cold water does the trick for me. Definitely encourage others to try it…I was skeptical at first, but now I won’t go back to ‘poo.

    Adam wrote on June 24th, 2010

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