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

Pooh-Poohing the ‘Poo

Modern 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. I wash my hair once a week with a commercial poo. Should switch to a natural one when this runs out. Also use commercial conditioner. It’s more about washing my head than my hair. The hair is excellent between poos and after too. I think I have a bit more hair now (not saying much.) I don’t believe that pooing once a week is going to do any harm.

    For my teeth, I use a tiny dab of Tom’s Natural toothpaste. I wear a beard, but when I shaved, I just used hot water. But I wasn’t going for a totally smooth look. Deodorant – yes.

    Harry wrote on June 24th, 2010
  2. Just want to say I saw Nikoleys post about going soapless and shmpooless and took it up about 2 months ago. I wear a thick beard but not much head hair. Best thing I’ve ever done (other than living Primally).

    Another thing to look into: I’ve had bad acne since age 15 and tried everything, including Accutane. I even tried heavy amounts of benzoyl peroxide, which worked pretty well, but bleached my beard and clothes when I sweat. Since going without soap on my face, my acne initially worsened (day 5 or 6) and then completely cleared up. Barely any acne at all to this day, and for this reason will never go back to soap.

    And about the shaving deal. I have very coarse thick facial hair that made me go from disposables to a safety razor and some upscale shaving cream my girlfriend got me a while back. Even then, I could only shave after or during a hot shower. After going soapless, I use the safety razor with nothing at all (or sometimes a few drops of oil) and my Neanderthal facial hair shaves better than ever. I’m a believer haha.

    I sometimes use natural oil in my beard (a few drops) after it’s dry from a shower, and I comb it in. This has made my beard look fuller and cleaner, and I’ve had nothing but compliments from the ladies so far haha. Any other guys had similar experiences?

    Kyle wrote on June 24th, 2010
  3. Tom’s Natural toothpaste contains glycerin, which, as I understand, interferes with your teeth re-enamelizing. Can you guess which Big Corp toothpaste folk bought out Tom’s :/

    Ann Duncan wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • Wow, that’s scary!!!

      mm wrote on August 4th, 2010
  4. Wow… I was born in 1951. Not really all that long ago when you think about it…

    I grew up in a time when washing your hair once a week was considered the height of modern cleanliness, and there was even a belief that washing your hair daily was a scary and dangerous thing to do, not to mention being frivolously expensive to boot.

    I remember a newspaper interview in the 60s with an actress playing the lead female romance character in a production of “South Pacific”, where the principal concern was did she find washing her hair every night on stage and twice on Sundays with matinee performances was ruining her hair…

    And now I’m here reading all these comments from people saying that if they don’t wash their hair everyday they worry about excessive greasiness and dandruff and smell and gosh knows what else, and thinking they might risk being daringly uber-modern if they shampoo less often. Wow… How did such ideas take root?

    I’m in awe of the power of the advertising media to make culture twist around so much just to vacuum money from young people’s pockets. Of course, no one young wants to do what their mom or their grandma does, that’s just too ridiculously old fashioned to be borne. After all, us old hags can’t possibly know anything about health or beauty, right? If we did, we’d be health and beautiful, and sadly, most of us are not. The world is a very strange place indeed…

    Gisela wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • It is funny how times have changed. When I was 6 years old, “bath night” was on Sunday. But now with my own 6-yr old, I feel like a horrible mother if she doesn’t get a bath in at least every other day.

      Patsy wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • I guess it’s hard to see the reality of a culture when you are in the midst of it going along with the flow. But as you clearly point out, and as is the case with bottled water, companies create a new need along with a new product. The sad thing is that most of us buy into it. Here’s hoping the next generation become mindful consumers.
      But, great comment!

      Squirrel Jo wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • Today’s adults are more outdoor-active than in the fifties…did your mom go to a gym and work out and lift weights, or go outside and run six miles everyday (when I started running in the late sixties, people would hang out their car windows and scream obscene things at me..and there were NO running shoes), or inline skate twenty to thrity miles a day, or play tennis, or bike 60 miles at a crack…we just simply get a LOT more dirty than the folks of the fifties…I DO remember women doing housework while wearing dresses, just like June Cleaver…they stayed home, minded their own business, took care of the house, and watched everyone else (children) have what we now call fun…now we “little women” are having….FUN…and get dirty doing it all. I was covered with sunscreen, bugs and asphalt yesterday…and it was fun…and I needed soap and ‘poo when finished…I know people in their nineties who are very healthy and who use soap and ‘poo…I think the words here are…organic and stuff is wild-crafted…now…let’s get out from behind these silly screens…and go outside and be healthy out there…YEEHAW!!!

      Cj wrote on June 25th, 2010
      • Women in the 50s & 60s didn’t go out for athletics, but they carried kids and groceries up and down the stairs in the tenements, walked to the grocery store blocks away, and lugged their own purchases back from the store, sometimes with a little fold-up cart, sometimes just in shopping bags. They hung their laundry on lines strung between the buildings. If they had gardens they would can tons of food. If not, they wished they could. They wore full makeup every single day and used hairspray along with teasing their hair for really stiff hair styles, and there were few vacuum cleaners or automatic dishwashers around. So those ladies didn’t do sports, but they were quite physically active.

        Gisela wrote on June 25th, 2010
      • Right… and of course we all know men of that same era were protected by their y-chromosones which made them immune to all that dirt you speak of, hence why they also washed less often than we do now but never had any of the problems you speak of.

        mm wrote on August 4th, 2010
      • Wow. I remember that too. People thought I was really weird running in the late sixties. I ran in my saddle shoes.

        shannon wrote on June 26th, 2011
    • Hi Gisela, do you remember if men back then washed their hair once a week even if they wore pomade? And how often did they apply it? Thanks!

      Alain wrote on June 25th, 2010
      • Sure, that was standard. Pomade every day and shampoo once a week. They used a tiny bit of pomade every day to comb their hair the way they wanted it to go. Some guys, more “hick” like, would use olive oil instead of store bought, but men didn’t run around without slicked up hair unless they wore military crew cuts.

        Gisela wrote on June 25th, 2010
        • That’s always been my dilemma. How natural is it to leave pomade on for so many days? Is it still a better option that washing your hair every day? Would the product buildup not clog pores?

          Alain wrote on June 26th, 2010
    • Fascinating! My mother was born in 1953 and we washed our hair once a week until puberty, but had to bathe *every* day and wash our hair daily once we hit puberty. She thinks I’m insane b/c I don’t bathe my children (7mo to 12yo) daily. I got the impression she always bathed/showered daily from her attitude. Maybe she just wanted really badly to be as up to date as possible in every decade?

      MamaGrok wrote on July 19th, 2010
  5. What about smelling good? Does anybody mix certain natural oils to smell good all over? I haven’t worn perfume for months now & want to leave the occasional body spray. Ideas anyone? Thanks :)

    madeline wrote on June 24th, 2010
    • lavender oil… my favourite scent since I was a child.
      Vanilla? or any essential oil (blend) you fancy! I also like the Indian ones you get in “hippy” stores. Some are solid & some are liquid. Natural/health food stores also have lots to offer. There’s some solid ones in little metal tins (flower pots?). I like the one that smells like nag champa incense.

      Peggy wrote on June 25th, 2010
  6. @Gisela – I am approximately same vintage as you. My mother taught me the ACV rinse. Rosemary essential oil was the choice for added shine, dandruff or itchiness. Also remember a neighbor teaching all the little girls to gather rainwater and rinse our hair with it.

    I’ve given up all that stuff in plastic bottles. Can’t stand the chemical smells or the plastic bottle clutter. Have been using fancy bar soap about every other day. Not sure I’m ready to give that up, but, we’ll see. Going to try the deodorant crystal and will be glad to see one more plastic container out of the house.

    I make my own tooth scrub with diluted mint Dr Bronner’s and some drops of an herbal tincture mouthwash. I read somewhere that the length of time you spend brushing is far more important than what you use to do it. Longer brushing with plain water or baking soda is better than shorter with the fanciest paste.

    slacker wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • We also had a “folklore” that if you brushed your hair with 100 strokes every night before bed (with a natural boar bristle brush, of course) to distribute the natural oils, your hair would be long, strong, lustrous, soft, and absolutely beautiful. It actually worked for those who were diligent, but most girls wouldn’t be all that diligent most of the time.

      Gisela wrote on June 25th, 2010
  7. Haven’t used shampoo for over two years. Wash every day with just warm water. Hair is silky smooth, no sign of oilyness. Only issue has been dandruff

    peril wrote on June 25th, 2010
  8. Check out Aveda products…

    Louise wrote on June 25th, 2010
  9. This is great! I’ve been deodorant-free since college (25 yrs ago) when an old girlfriend commented (as I applied my “speed stick”) that she’d rather I smelled like a man, and not an avocado! Been using a little talcum powder ever since. Need to be careful to avoid the scented stuff. Don’t really notice when I periodically forget.

    Rich wrote on June 25th, 2010
  10. For hair removal, you can invest in a home epilator. Mine was about $60 (Canadian) at Walmart several years ago. I use it for legs, armpits and bikini area. Takes some getting used to, especially at first, as it hurts in the delicate areas. But once you’ve done it a few times, only a few hairs return and you only need to do it once every few weeks. I haven’t shaved legs, pits or bikini area in years. Save on razors and save tons of time. Especially great for vacations, nothing to take with you or fuss with in possible third world showers.

    I’ve only showered and washed my hair every 3-4 days for years now. I do use shampoo, but may rethink that after reading here. Soap only on pits and groin and face, rest is water only. I’m going to investigate an alternative for my face.

    I have great skin, I’m 50, get compliments all the time. That’s mainly good genetic heritage and clean living, I figure.

    marthat wrote on June 25th, 2010
  11. This is so interesting! Can someone give me advice please! (KAT!) Here’s my tale of woe:

    A few months ago I tried just water, or just conditioner and only shampooed once a week. I developed a terrible scalp condition – like eczema – and I tried to wait it out but it worsened and when I’d try to remove it (in shower or with fingers) these hard gunky pieces, my scalp would bleed.

    So I went to the dermatologist and she had me use a salicylic acid shampoo and hydrocotrisone cream for a week. Cleared right up and I started washing every other day with regular shampoo (out of fear!).

    My hair is a disaster! I don’t even recognize it. It’s dry as hell, poofy, split, a big mess.

    I’d love to try the natural route again (I never used baking soda or ACV) – just the water and/or conditioner route.

    Would love suggestions as to a regime that might prevent that horrible scalp issue and regain my old hair – which was dry but a lot better than what it is now.

    Many thanks!!

    Kelly wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • Try Ojon wild-crafted shampoos, available on QVC (one of the shopping channels). The hair mask is very good, and will repair your hair. It really works. See well…the anti-fungal program works very well on skin and hair…and is similar to the Primal Blueprint. But…go get the Ojon stuff…you will LOVE it.

      Cj wrote on June 25th, 2010
      • Thanks for the tip! I tried an Ojon product and thought it smelled like cigars! But I have heard the mask is excellent. I’ll either get that or the Morrocan Oil Hydrating Mask – also gets rave reviews. But I have to say – coconut, olive or jojoba in the hair overnight works well. I like that you put oils on dry hair, not wet.

        Kelly wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • When I first went poo-free I did get a lot of buildup that irritated my scalp. It doesn’t sound as bad as yours though. Once I did the baking soda (really massage your scalp gently but thoroughly) and ACV rinse, my scalp felt better. I also am prone to getting sores on my scalp (better but not gone since giving up shampoo) and tea tree oil helps a lot. Just add a few drops to the ACV rinse. It would sting if you have open sores but doesn’t last too long. The tea tree oil seems to prevent them from getting inflamed.

      Also for scalp issues, it’s best to use cooler water and not blow-dry your hair.

      Kat wrote on June 25th, 2010
  12. I stopped using shampoo about ten years ago. For a while before that I used only Dr. Bronners in my hair, then conditioner. After about two weeks of really oily hair, everything normalized out. I used conditioner during the transition, and still do occasionally these days. I’ve probably used shampoo 4-5 times/year over the past ten years, usually after working on some nasty construction project (like putting fiberglass insulation in a crawlspace…). Incidentally, I also stopped using soap on my face, too, and greasiness problems went away there as well. A good warm rinse in the shower and it’s right as rain — I’ve had no pimples or acne problems since I switched from soap to just plain water.

    Shane wrote on June 25th, 2010
  13. If you want some amazing bath and body products (no hair products) that are all natural, check out Her products are fabulous and totally chem-free.

    KettlebellWitch wrote on June 25th, 2010
  14. ref hunter-gatherer stinky..compared to us modern homo’s he was assuredly stinky.
    There aren’t many bushmen who live a trad way of life but relative to how we moderns smell they are stinkers

    Simon Fellows wrote on June 25th, 2010
  15. I’ve been shampoo and conditioner free for several months now. Best thing i have done to my hair! If you’re considering it, try easing in. I cut out the shampoo at first and only conditioned a couple times a week before eventually cutting that out too. As for post workout sweaty hair; sweat and water are the same consistency. I thoroughly rinse my hair out with warm water post workout and have no issues with stench. As for hair styling products, if you use one, look for something water based (instead of oil). It makes for an easier rinse later.

    Dan wrote on June 25th, 2010
  16. PS to my post – I have been using coconut oil in my hair overnight but I guess the benefits are negated by the conventional shampoo.

    For a deodorant success story…I’ve been using Bob’s Red Mill Aluminum Free Baking Soda (aluminum in Arm & Hammer not good due to breast cancer associations with aluminum) and I’ve never smelled better! I keep it in a grated cheese shaker, put tape over a few of the holes inside the cap. I just shake into the palm of my hand and slap it under my armpits. No oil, just the powder. If it gets on black clothes it comes right off with a towel or just my hand. Love it!

    Kelly wrote on June 25th, 2010
  17. When I quit using soap and shampoo, I also quit using shaving creams or oils. The secret is to hae a very sharp blade so that you don’t have to exert any pressure but let the weight of the razor carry the blade. I use a double edged safety razor and feather brand blades.

    dlmoak wrote on June 25th, 2010
  18. Thanks! I just got out of the shower and I used baking soda and ACV (I have the Bragg’s and the smell is really lingering – any tips?)

    My boyfriend came in and thought we were having salad – lol. But I have to say…my hair looks pretty darn good!

    Kelly wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • did you use straight ACV or did you dilute it?? Kat suggested 1T ACV to 1c water…

      Peggy wrote on June 25th, 2010
      • I did Kat’s measurements exactly…1T to 1 Cup water. Maybe because its Bragg’s? That’s potent stuff. I also have Heinz (grocery store) brand ACV – maybe that’s less strong. My hair really reeked. I put some Morrocan Oil in it and now that it’s dry it’s much better.

        Kelly wrote on June 25th, 2010
        • Lol it does smell potent when you first come out of the shower. After that I don’t really notice it. Once dry it won’t smell at all.

          If you rinse out the ACV well enough it probably would smell less, but some say your hair will look better if you just pour through the ACV and leave it. Any vinegar will have the same effect so you can choose any one that you like the smell of.

          Kat wrote on June 25th, 2010
        • Try rinsing it really well with warm to somewhat hot water. Failing that, it will improve (usually goes away for me) once it dries.

          If I remember correctly, the Heinz ACV isn’t really ACV, it’s flavored and colored white vinegar. I’ll have to take a look again.

          Ginger wrote on July 3rd, 2010
  19. Hmm, I don’t really know what to make of this. I’m all for natural haircare (or no haircare for that matter) but I just do not think that I will be comfortable without using any styling products when going out at the weekend. I guess it partly also has something to do with my haircut, but I really think that going completely unstyled would be a good option for me.
    This is kind of a problem, because you often can’t get commercial styling products out of the hair that easily.

    So, does anyone have any suggestions? A good, natural way to remove hair styling products, or even better a recipe for a decent natural hair styling product alternative?

    Matthias wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • As mentioned above: aloe vera gel…

      Peggy wrote on June 25th, 2010
      • Hmm, I will have to try that out. Will it make the hair shiny? I usually prefer hairspray or some mouse which gives my hair a nice matte look.
        Well, whatever, thanks for the suggestion and if some people still have other suggestions, I’d be thrilled to hear them.

        Matthias wrote on June 25th, 2010
        • I’ve got a nice styling product made of bees’ wax. Smells like honey and is extremely matte-inducing.

          Erik Cisler wrote on June 25th, 2010
        • @Erik Cisler:
          Interesting. So is it just made of beeswax? And how do you get it out of the hair again?

          Matthias wrote on June 26th, 2010
  20. i’m convinced! i’m going to try the shampooless route — but i’ve got a question i haven’t seen covered in the previous posts. i’m a bather, not a showerer: it’s my version of “sweat lodge”. does anyone else go that route? how will it affect my results?


    tess wrote on June 25th, 2010
  21. I was having achne issues, and stopped washing my face to see what would happen. My face has never been better.

    Shawn wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • Same here! A lot of factors go into becoming acne free. My face started to get better ever since I went primal. My diet, stress levels played a big role.

      But, one dramatic change I made was I completely stopped putting anything on my face. I simply splash water on my face while taking a shower… that’s it!

      Bam, less than 2 months into being primal and my face is 100% acne free. Even my scars are fading away quickly.

      I get the occasional teeny tiny whitehead or pimple. When I do I think back to my lifestyle over the past few days and it is ALWAYS because of lack of sleep, excessive stress, or poor eating, etc.

      But, with that said, they go away quickly. I firmly believe that if I were to put something on my face that they would stick around for a little longer and would pop up more frequently. My body knows what to do – chemicals do NOT! Take that dermatologists!

      Primal Toad wrote on June 25th, 2010
  22. So, is using Bonners considered being po-less?

    Mike wrote on June 25th, 2010
  23. @Tess: “i’m a bather, not a showerer … how will it affect my results?” Well, I can’t see what difference it would make. Though I usually shower, I also like to boil myself in the bath now and then, and refraining from both shampoo and soap works just as well in the bath. When I shower I take a cold rinse afterwards, and that might also be a good thing to do after a bath.

    Valda Redfern wrote on June 25th, 2010
  24. Talking of going “poo less” begs the question..what’s the Grok approved bog roll?

    (personally, since falling into the ‘primal groove’, I’ve noticed I only need to wash about once every 2 weeks and then just a hot water soak.)Mrs G says I’m very ‘manly’ these days. She seems to like the primal thang!!

    George wrote on June 25th, 2010
  25. This guy has put vegetable oils to good use:

    I like it. No detergents or nasty chemicals.

    zach wrote on June 25th, 2010
  26. I wonder how not using soap would work for stinky feet. My feet aren’t usually stinky but after climbing in rock climbing shoes my foot smells like death…

    Byung wrote on June 25th, 2010
  27. ‘poo-less day one….been at work all day, in and out of the 90 degree weather and not one of my co workers has noticed. I even tried to “look” for a smell and couldn’t find anything more than the natural smell of my skin. Think I can get use to this. :) thanks for all the good advice

    Mitch wrote on June 25th, 2010
  28. Going pooless as of now and also I didn’t put on deodorant today. Had a really heavy day – dragged my three year old round town all morning, then a hot afternoon at the park, then digging the allotment in the evening – then I asked my husband to tell me the honest truth and he told me he couldn’t smell a thing! Honestly, the crap we feel pressured to put on ourselves…

    PaleoMum wrote on June 25th, 2010
  29. Hi all,

    I have never posted here before, so I hope nobody minds my offering some suggestions, but since I’ve rarely used shampoo in the last six or so years, I thought I’d mention Ayurveda for cleansing your hair. It’s really simple; just mix the powders (best mixes are cleaning + conditioning)in hot water to make a paste or a tea, whichever you find easier, apply the mixture to your scalp/hair and depending on your cleansing needs, let it sit anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour. Once you rinse it out, your hair feels/looks/is clean and the whole process is chemical free. I do it once a week or so and it works beautifully. If you have dry hair, it’s better to apply the coconut oil first. If anyone has no idea what I’m talking about and is interested, I’d be happy to go into further detail.

    Diezel wrote on June 25th, 2010
  30. I hesitated to follow the shampoo-less lifestyle that Richard Nikoley posted about back in January, but his post did draw my attention and curiousity. My dermatologist insists that I use a combination of salycic acid and coal tar shampoos because of the psoriasis I have on my scalp. I am still hesitant at the idea, but am glad that Mark suggested that coal tar is a dangerous chemical. It got me connecting the dots… if conventional wisdom regarding a healthy diet is wrong what else is it wrong about? I had hoped that when I stopped eating grains it would help my psoriasis go into remission. So far it has not. Anyone else out there with psoriasis see improvement after going primal… or have success going ‘poo-less?

    Alicia W. wrote on June 25th, 2010
  31. Hey, does anyone have any information on oral health? i.e. mouth wash, tooth paste, floss and etc. I know this question is headed in a slightly different direction, but has some of the same prinsciples.

    Austin wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • *principles*

      Austin wrote on June 25th, 2010
    • HI Austin – I have a few tips – I had really bad tooth sensitivity – ice in drinks, cold foods, even smiling outside on a winter day was painful. After trying and failing with conventional wisdom – I now follow this routine and NO sensitivity any more! (not sure if you have it too, but just thought I’d mention). It’s all about the glycerin (and someone else mentioned this early on in this thread as well, it doesn’t allow for remineralization which is the problem).

      Morning – I brush with Miessence mint toothpaste- wonderful product – no glycerine and leaves teeth feeling super clean. I can only find it online. My boyfriend, an Aquafresh kind of guy, now loves this too and looks for it in every health food store (I don’t think he’s gonna find it).

      Night – I use tooth soap! Another great product – it’s just what it sounds like -little shreds of soap. Not cheap but the jar I have has lasted me almost 2 years! I get it from

      And floss, definitely, some natural doctors think it’s vital in anti-aging. I’d love any suggestions on mouth wash – although I generally just use a tongue scraper after brushing and rinse a lot with warm water.

      Kelly wrote on June 25th, 2010
      • Hey, sorry Ive been out of town, but thank you so much for the info. I dont know about mouth wash, but I have heard sesame oil works wounders for your gums.

        Austin wrote on July 6th, 2010
  32. Wow..long thread!

    JD wrote on June 25th, 2010
  33. I. Want. To. Believe.

    I have an acute sense of smell and the “dirty hair” smell (or “dirty scalp” smell, as it were) makes me nauseous. I also have a fear of my husband recoiling in horror if my hair isn’t shampoo fresh. Out of necessity (I was in the hospital) I had to go a few days without washing my hair. I never felt so unclean and disgusting. One day without a shampoo and I’m oily and itchy. I can’t even stand the smell my skin carries on a hot, humid day – even if it’s temporary.

    I’m a two-shower-one-shampoo-a-day girl. I use natural products, for the most part, but I definitely use “products”. I am otherwise completely into the Primal lifestyle. But – but – unless every single other human being on earth ditches the ‘poo and soap and deodorant there is no way on earth I am brave enough to go THAT primal. My husband always tells me how good I smell and I totally thrive on that. (He’s a cleanie, too.)

    I did once try an herbal (veggie-based) shampoo bar with ACV rinses for about a month. Turned my hair to straw (and I have oily-ish hair)- and my hair smelled like straw.

    I really wish I could be like all of you (and there are so many here!) brave souls and do what I know to be better for my body. But I’m just too much of a primal girly-girl to make the leap.

    G.G. wrote on June 25th, 2010
  34. Not washing your hair with shampoo and not washing at all is two vastly different subjects. Anyone who does not wash their privates with some kind of soap (Bonners, etc.) does not have a love life with another human being. Get real people.

    Mike wrote on June 25th, 2010
  35. I’ve had the fine fortune to travel to Papua New Guinea. Wonderful people, amazing experiences and the hill tribe people are just about as close to Groks as you will find in the modern day. But man, did they stink to high heaven.

    Sorry, but I’m way the hell not on board with this part. I can certainly see cutting back on the amount of products used (heck, I only use coconut oil now for a skin moisturizer – that’s been a big change and I really like it) but I strongly consider much of the hygiene we enjoy in modern times to be a good thing.

    Julie wrote on June 25th, 2010
  36. I too need to disagree with this. I went six months without washing my hair (I washed it in water and with conditioner ocassionally, but never shampoo.) At that time I had shoulder length hair. It tangled up like nothing else.
    To be fair … look, I have horrendously greasy hair, but after a week of not washing it (or, indeed, six months), it looked like I hadn’t washed it for about three days. No one could tell it was much longer. But. Three days of extremely greasy hair is bad enough.
    I like my hair clean. By the way, it’s a myth that your skin or scalp ‘normalizes’ oil production if you stop cleaning it. Oil production is related to hormones and thus (partially and indirectly) diet.

    Eric wrote on June 26th, 2010
  37. Oh yeah, and by the way, the original inhabitants of the place from which I hail, Tasmania, coated their hair in red ochre, a practice that dates back thousands of years. Obviously they didn’t like the idea of leaving it just the way it was. Ochre-coated dreads were better than hair au natural. Maybe they would have jumped at soap or shampoo, too?

    Eric wrote on June 26th, 2010
  38. It’s good old Dr. Bronners liquid and bar soap for me…it meets all my needs!

    Phil-SC wrote on June 26th, 2010
  39. Been pooless for years now and my hair is really healthy. do it!

    Keith wrote on June 26th, 2010

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