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!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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462 thoughts on “Pooh-Poohing the ‘Poo”

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    1. I found that warm water, then rinse, maybe a couple times…the campfire smell has cleared out.

      For one, my hair is softer, easier to manage than ever before.

      Great post!

    2. 1 tbsp baking soda, mix with 1 cup water, pour through your hair and then rub around a bit. Rinse with warm water. Baking soda seems to get rid of any smells. You can rinse with apple cider vinegar (again I do 1tbsp per cup water).

      1. No one has mentioned shaving yet. While going shampoo-less seems perfectly natural and easy, how do you all recommend shaving without some soap? Oils again? what kind?

        1. I wear a beard, but I do trim the neckline occasionally. I’ve had no trouble using a Mach 3 and very hot water. I go with the grain and don’t pass over the same spot too many times.

        2. Coconut oil is all you need for shaving. Rub a lot of it in before shaving. Rinse after shaving and pat dry. Apply a small amount as after shave to moisturize. It helps prevent cuts and nics too.

        3. I suffered with post shave spots for many years until I discovered that by shaving in the shower there is sufficient water to act as a lubricant and creams and soaps and gels are no longer necessary. I have very hard bristles so if it works for me then I can imagine it working well for pretty much anyone. I have to admit that those times I cannot have a shower and I shave from the sink then it’s a little harder as you need the water running constantly on your face for the best results.

        4. Natural aloe vera gel works great for shaving, at least for legs. Might be interesting to get some feedback from some guys. No need to be tied to the tub either. Wet the skin a bit, put AV gel on it, shave away. Finish off with a bit of coconut oil to calm down the skin after. Perfect.

        5. I’ve been shaving with olive oil for several months now. Works fine. I just have to wash the towels a little more often. Note: if you try this in the shower, remember that tiny bit of oil goes a looong way. If you use too much you make the tub dangerously slippery for the next person.

          On the plus side, the remaining shampoo that I’m no longer using takes the olive oil right off the tub!

        6. Several companies (anthony, the art of shaving, and sharps to name just a few) make pre-shave oils. The idea is to coat your face with the oil before applying the cream. Many have found that you can shave with the oil alone (as long as you dont have several days growth). With that said, I don’t know what the difference between the shave oils and every day cooking oils are. Someone said they have been shaving with coconut oil. that sounds interesting!

        7. I have a beard now, but before I stopped shaving I only used shaving cream half a dozen times. You don’t need it. Hot water is good enough.

          If you shower beforehand then the steam will open your pores up and make it easier.

        8. I’m 23 and started shaving pry when I was about 14 or 15… I have always just rubbed a little bit of hot water on my face and ran the blade under it for a sec, then just shave! People always have told me “Oh you have to use shaving cream or you’re gonna cut yourself!”…. bah! No one taught me this I just did it and it worked for me, I think after just a little bit of time it would work for anyone (I rock a beard now and clean shave below the jaw line and after a few times, I can even make a straight line with my Mach3)

        9. Trader Joes Has an AWESOME moisturizing cream shave called “Shave” in Honey Mango with aloe vera & Vitamin E – good for men or women.
          This stuff makes legs, pits and faces (and I guess anywhere else you might shave) super soft – it is my new fav!

        10. It’s perfectly possible to shave with just water after your skin is conditioned to it.

      2. I wear a beard as well these days. I haven’t shaved in almost 2 months and people love it. My goal is to go the entire summer but we will see…

        When I do shave again I will have to use the coconut oil technique. I guess I can toss my shaving cream right away.

        1. people love it? don’t ever go back man! i shaved it off a few years ago and people were like dude your blinding me with that baby face, grow your beard back. if it works stick with it, more natural right?

        2. @ Mike

          Exactly! My mother has always wanted me to grow my head hair out but I always told her no, no, no. I wanted it cut like every 6 weeks. I enjoyed the buzz cut for a few years.

          Ever since I went primal I decided to go all out as much as possible. Not cutting my hair and not shaving has been one of those things…

          My goal is through the end of the summer, but we will see. That is 3 months, lol.

      3. I prefer normal vinegar to over-priced cider vinegar, they both have 5% acetic acid which is all that matters

        1. If you are talking distilled, fitered acetic acid, there is much more to it. Natural ACV is food – the other stuff is a chemical reagent, like refined salt (use sea salt only). If you use natural ACV in food you WILL taste the difference.

      4. Do NOT use baking soda in your hair, at least not on a regular basis! It will strip your hair and make the whole idea of healthier “no-poo” hair obsolete!

    3. Why would you want to wash out that most glorious of odors, the campfire smell?

  1. I went “poo-less” and deodorant less a few weeks back. Other than a little more sweating, I have noticed no side effects, and feel a lot better. Would recommend to all.

    1. There’s a whole no-poo community on LiveJournal with a bunch of different shampoo/conditioner substitutes. (so if baking soda is too harsh on your hair for example which is something some people have problems with you can switch so omething else like salt…)

  2. I’ve followed the “no-pooing it” thread on the forums a few times, though I haven’t actually been brave enough to try it. The most I feel comfortable not washing my hair is to skip one day, and by the end of that day it’s looking pretty greasy. I realize it takes a while for your hair to re-regulate it’s oil producing schedule, but it’s not so easy to wait it out when you work in an office environment!

    1. To resolve this, just rinse your hair daily in warm water (as warm as you can handle it) and then in cooler water. I also recommend using a wet face cloth to distribute the natural oils from the scalp to the ends. Or, you can try the baking soda/ACV method instead.

      I work in an office as well and if you’re feeling self-conscious about it, just tie it back.

      1. brushing it a lot with a bristle brush really helps to distribute the oils too. It’s what the medieval babes used to do.

    2. if ur hair gets a lil greasy at the roots just put a lil baby powder in it …hairstylist use it all the time when they do hair

      1. and for us dark-haired beauties, instead of baby powder, use cocoa powder…works great and you get a little hint of chocolate fragrance!

  3. YES! I’ve actually gone without shampoo and soap for about 4 or 5 months now. My hair is great and I don’t have any offensive body-odors on a daily basis. If I plan to sweat a lot on a particular day, I just splash some tea tree oil in my ‘pits and I’m good to go!

    No stink, no chemicals, more money, and more time. I ask you, can it get any better?!

    1. tea tree oil… hmmm I’m not so fond of that since it’s a natural non-penicilin based anti-biotic and oversuing it can lead to more anti-biotic resistant microbes.

      Why not go with the Oil Cleansing Method? I use a slightly modified version with olive oil mixed in with my castor oil solution

      1. A lot of folks use baking soda mixed with a bit of your choice of oil for their pits. Personally, I’m au natural, but I’m lucky that I’ve never really had a smell problem. Several folks (e.g. Richard at FreetheAnimal.com) say after an adjustment, they smell sweeter!

        1. Those mineral salt deodorant sticks work great for me. Thai Crytals is one popular brand…they really work and are truly natural.

  4. So what about dandruff? I’ve definitely gone long periods with little to no poo-ing, and it never seems to cease unless i’m using some sort of toxic-laden anti dandruff shampoo.

    1. Just be patient. The dandruff will usually disappear eventually. Give your skin some time to recreate.

      1. I went ‘poo-less’ almost two years ago, and found that my dandruff did not go away. Someone mentioned using apple cider vinegar, in an article I read online, to get rid of dandruff (in my case to kill some bacteria that I think was causing my dandruff); after two vinegar rinses in four weeks I haven’t seen a flake – going on four months now.

        I do agree that just giving it time will get rid of dandruff in most cases, I just think my case was a bit worse than most.

        1. Add about 10 drops of tea tree oil to your baking soda…it makes all the difference in the world!

    2. The dandruff is nothing more than the dead skin (our skin sheds naturally) clumping in the excess oiliness of your scalp/hair. I would gradually ween yourself off of using shampoo, and let your body adapt to producing less oil. You’re not likely to encounter dandruff problems that way.

      1. Actually, things – esp. fungi & yeasts – can live in & off of the dead skin cells. That’s probably why ACV is necessary for some people (good anti-yeast product).

    3. I discovered vinegar for my dandruff, way back before I ever heard about paleo/primal and it worked wonders. It also makes the hair softer. Dandruff is caused by a fungus we all have but some of us are highly sensitive or allergic so it irritates the scalp cause skin to shed at an accelerated rate.

      I use it at full strength, but most people dilute it. It will sting like hell at the beginning but as your scalp heals it will hurt less and less. Now it doesn’t hurt at all and my scalp feels great for the first time in years.

      At full strength (8%), you wan to be careful not to get any in your eyes. I scrunch up my eyes pour it on liberally, let sit for a minute or so, then rinse off. Be sure to rinse your face quite well before you open your eyes.

      I still very occasionally use a shampoo, perhaps every 9 or 10 days. Vinegar rinse after shampooing as the acid restores the ph left from base shampoo. If I go for more than week without vinegar I can feel the symptoms start to return.

      1. I spray my hair with a little water mixed lavender oil after the vingar rinse so it doesn’t smell. Then when it dries it still smells like lavender and not vinegar

      2. I went poo-less for a couple of months and loved the results, but then my dandruff came back. Thanks for the vinegar suggestion–now I can give it another try!

  5. This is something I have thinking about lately. Thanks for the post. I think I will take a look at natural ways to do it.

  6. I’ve been poo-less in about 3month now. Recently I got problems with dandruff wich I can’t seem to get rid off.. I cut my hair wich have helped in the past. I’ve tried apple cider vinegar rinses with some results but I can’t stand the vile smell (it dries and don’t smell but after a while and after I get warm and sweaty the stench re appear).

    I don’t use deodorant either and I can testify that I haven’t had any odor problems! No BO what so ever.

    1. use normal vinegar, or lemons, etc… but most importantly make sure it is all rinsed off in the shower (i.e. can’t smell it anymore when you’ve still got water running) before stepping out. Use the coldest water possible to rinse.

    2. Have you always not used deodorant or did it take a while when you switched from deodorant to no deodorant to not have BO? I’m trying, but when I raise my armpits, not good. I’ve been putting lavender oil on but it works for only half the day.

  7. I rarely use shampoo, so I am convinced to stop that easily. However, soap and deodorant make me a little more uneasy. I shower at least once a day with soap and I notice on days that I forget deodorant, I get pretty ripe. Does your body also begin to regulate this. I love being primal, but I don’t want to stink to high heaven. I know my wife wouldn’t appreciate that either.

    1. In my experience, it does begin to regulate this, but that doesn’t mean you won’t smell. The good news is that a simple cold shower after you exert yourself particularly hard, to wash off the stink, and maybe some soap on your armpits should take care of it.

    2. I have been using a baking soda solution followed by a vinegar solution on my underarms for 5 months now. No underarm odor at all now — even two days after a shower. When I used soap I had a constant odor that never went away — even immediately after a shower.

      Use the same thing on my hair. No dandruff, not oily and softer than shampoo left it.

      1. Amazing deodorant that also helps keep you dry: 1/4 cup each corn starch and baking soda, mixed with 4-5 TB coconut oil. Keep it in the fridge when it’s hot out (you’ll have to kind of chip it off and melt it under your arms). Simply amazing. Got this from someone on the Paleo Hacks site.

        Milk of Magnesia is also a great deodorant!

    3. Personally I used to shower every other day with soap, as it dries out my skin. My mother did sometimes tell me I smelled. Then I got the idea to stop using soap and wash with just water every day… no comments, and I’m soap-free for 3 years now.

      As for deodorants, I find that they make me perspire MORE. I never really started using them in the first place because of that.

      Anyway, give it a try, and have your wife (or someone else you trust to not lie about it) tell you if you start stinking.

  8. For the dandruff thing, try rubbing some tea tree oil on your scalp, you can mix it with the vinegar, water or use it straight out of the bottle.

    I’ve been doing the no poo thing since about January. It’s really great cuz I like the low maintenance of it. I just scrub my scalp every other day and comb it out in the shower.

  9. I’ve been going without shampoo for a year now. With long hair I thought it would be tough but honestly it was fine. I use an egg now and then if the grease builds up at all. Baking soda works well to get smells out. And apple cider vinegar really makes it shiny.

    For deodorant, absolutely nothing beats coconut oil + baking soda.

      1. I just apply some coconut oil with my fingertips and then dab on baking soda over top. I don’t mix them or measure any amount, just whatever bit you can pick up on a fingertip basically.

      2. A simple one to one ratio works to make your own deodorant. i do a 1/4 cup of both coconut oil and baking soda. No need to add anything else.

    1. Just curious – how do you deal with tangles? i used to have long hair, and I always let it get longer in the winter, but past a certain length my hair seems to really tangle badly, which is why I have to use conditioners. Does your hair tangle as well, or has the tangling decreased as well? Thanks for your input, Kerstin:-)

      1. It used to tangle a LOT when using shampoo and conditioner. I always thought I needed conditioner more than anything else.

        Going without shampoo, I have no tangles at all. Apple cider vinegar rinse does seem to get rid of any as well. Makes the hair shiny and smooth.

      2. I thought this would be a really big deal because I’ve had waist length hair for years, and back when I shampooed it daily, it was a total rat’s nest and required gobs of conditioner just to get a brush through it. Now I’m down to just a tiny, tiny, bit of shampoo once a week, and hardly ever need conditioner– and my hair now is the longest it has ever been, a few inches past waist. A couple of times during the week, I give my scalp a really good scrub in the shower with just water (lukewarm or cold, not hot), which seems to take care of any grease buildup. Basically, the less I mess with my hair, the happier it seems to be. Extra bonus: now, once I’m a few days out from a shampooing, updos are really, really easy. I have superfine hair that used to shed barettes and ponytail elastics in minutes. Now it has some “grab” to it, and I can put it up with a stick and have it stay all day without the flyaways. YMMV

        1. I have very thick, very curly, very long hair. I shampoo once a month. In between, I do rinse it, and that seems to be enough. But what I do to prevent tangles is brush it out completely with a paddle brush before I jump in the shower. I also have a big comb in the shower that I comb through my hair while I’m under the water stream. I don’t have a problem with tangles!

    2. So Kat, how do you keep your hair from becoming greasy? And how do you condition your hair? If I don’t wash my hair after one day it becomes greasy. If I dont use conditioner I can’t comb through it.

      1. It doesn’t get greasy anymore and I can easily comb through it so really just rinsing with water most days is enough.

        The initial transition period of 2-3 weeks can be tough. An egg will cut through all the grease without drying so that will help with the initial build-up. I also recommend using baking soda and apple cider vinegar as needed throughout that period. Apple cider vinegar basically acts like a conditioner, smoothing out the hair and reducing tangles. Try the ACV as conditioner and see if it’s enough to be able to comb your hair now. Then as you go shampoo-less for a few weeks you can rely on that.

        1. I have to try that egg thing. How does that work, exactly? Do you just scramble an egg and scrub it into your scalp? On wet hair or dry hair? how long do you leave it before rinsing it out?

        2. For the egg I usually crack it into a cup before getting into the shower. Get your hair fully wet. Then grab the yolk with one hand and smush it around on top of your head. Massage it in and then rinse out in COLD water. You can use the whites too I just don’t find I need to. If you rinse with hot water, you might have some cooked scrambled eggs pieces in your hair.

        3. Kat, I think you’re the expert here! I just started using coconut oil before “washing” my hair. I just rinse it and use ACV. My hair is colored (for now), so I didn’t use the baking soda (heard it will strip the color). My hair is still oily after blow drying. It looks wet. I did sprinkle a little baby powder on it and brush it through. That took care of it. Is there anything that I can use in the shower that will take care of that? I’d like to be able to skip the blow drying once in a while.

        4. Hi Jenny – I’m not Kat – but would like to chime in. I use coconut oil on my hair overnight all the time. After reading this post, I used 1 T baking soda in 1 C water (I didn’t boil the water but will next time – I have hard water) and the ACV (same ratio) rinse the next morning.

          My hair was perfect and not oily – I think you need the baking soda (or something) to get the oil out, just ACV won’t do it. I researched around re the color treated issue (mine is too) and there are some that say it strips color, others that say it lightens color and others that say there’s no effect at all to color.

          I don’t know so I plan to do the coconut oil overnight and those 2 in the morning maybe once every 2 weeks and see what happens. As everyone is different, so it their hair, their salon’s products, their water, etc – that’s why it’s good to experiment.

        5. Kelly,

          Thanks for the response. I’m thinking that I’ll go ahead with the baking soda. It can’t be any worse than the salt that they put in commercial shampoos. It’s even in the stuff for color-treated hair, even though the sodium strips the color.

        6. I would try an egg. It cuts the oil while not drying at all. I usually use one egg yolk to get rid of bad greasiness, but you can try a whole egg too.

        7. you have to watch out when putting oil in your hair – follicles can only absorb so much, if you put too much it’ll stay outside the hair and in addition to being hard to remove will make you look really greasy.

        8. ” I’m thinking that I’ll go ahead with the baking soda. It can’t be any worse than the salt that they put in commercial shampoos ”

          actually, if you are referring to possible hair damage it is worse than washing your hair with salt – some people using baking soda report hair damage, even when diluting the BS, which is why some people prefer to use salt which is not as harsh (but might not be as effective).

          If you’ve ever swimmed in the ocean you’ll know just how good salt is to clean your body.

    3. Dude! Glad I’m not the only one :))) I discovered this after reading that coconut oil was a good deal, deodorant-wise but trying to find something to get rid of the very-slight smell that still happened every once in a while, esp in the crazy heat here… Now all is good, even if it skip a day here and there… From what I see, it doesn’t stop sweating, but it definitely does the de-odor part well!

      1. Lifeless? Her hair looks nice. Great volume and shape with a nice shine.

    4. How exactly are you using that egg? I have long hair too and am nervous about going poo-less. I’ve always been aware that shampooing too often is bad for my hair, so I often go without for 2-3 weeks but I can’t imagine quitting entirely.
      So yeah, what’s your routine? Your hair looks great in this photo.

  10. I’ve been soapless (Shampoo and regular body soap) since Christmas (other than handwashing for food preparation) and I’ve had no issues. I told my co-workers of my plan and told them to tell me if there was any unpleasantness and so far I’ve heard nothing. I even reminded some of them two weeks ago and they had forgotten and noticed no body odor.

  11. I’m not poo-less, but I only wash my hair twice a week and I’m working my way to even less. I definitely don’t use soap anymore. I put a light coating of coconut oil all over before I go to bed at night (no, it doesn’t grease the sheets), and then just rinse in the morning shower, and my skin is soft and ready to go. I also switched from an antiperspirant to an organic deodorant and actually smell better than when I was using the super-antiperspirant. Needless to say, I’ll never go back to that. As for completely deodorant-free, though, that’ll take a little to work up to.

  12. after reading the free the animal post on going soapless i gave it a try, that was 6 months ago, this includes deodarent, i didn’t tell my wife for the frist month to see if she would notice, she didn’t, so i told her and she was fine about it, to this day none of my friends know, and no, my armpits, feet and fun parts smell fine, my skin is less dry and i only have to spent 2-3 min in the shower. you don’t need any of that stuff to keep clean, a clean diet and some warm water and you will be fine.

  13. I just started using coconut oil with a little grapefruit oil on my hair before showering. It definitely takes something to cut the oil when “washing.” I will be trying the baking soda. I may be moving half of my kitchen up to the bathroom.

  14. I used to only wash my hair with shampoo about once or twice a week, using Dr. Bronner’s shampoo. After reading Richard’s post about going poo-less on Free The Animal I realized that shampoo is probably aptly named and ditched it altogether (in mid January). I don’t put anything in my hair, but shower about every 2-3 days and rub my fingers vigorously through my hair and over my scalp while standing under the water stream to redistribute the oils. Works like a charm. I haven’t told my wife ’cause I don’t want her to fuss about it, but she hasn’t noticed anything amiss. 🙂 I did take about a month for my hair to normalize, and had some excessive dandruff for about two weeks after a week into the experiment. But by a month the dandruff was gone and the hair has been fine ever since.

    I also ditched the soap at the same time, except on my hands.

    1. Similar story here. I haven’t used soap on anything but my hands since late December 2009 – although I did use some super-mild facial cleanser after an intensely chlorine-y pool in May – and I’ve gone up to 2 months without shampoo at a time. Every now and then I use a wee bit, and let the full treatment happen when I get my hair cut, every 6 weeks.

      I still shave nearly daily, using a safety razor and high-end creams/soaps. I am curious about distilling that down to coconut oil, might give that a shot next week.

      On the body, I still use Tom’s of Maine deodorant, and some Gold Bond on the bits, but my skin is in better shape than it’s ever been, general BO is down (pits still ripen in warm weather, hence the deodorant), and my athlete’s foot has essentially disappeared.

      Showers are nice and quick now, too!

  15. Question Mark sais “I know a lot of folks use Dr. Bronner’s as well.”

    Is Dr. Bronner’s good? I use it all the time as my parents got me hooked on it when I was a kid.

    1. I use Dr. Bronners for a very long time. I diluted it for washing my hair. I use it full strength for shaving. You have to work it out for yourself. It is quite good.

    2. Awsome stuff. It’s cheap – give it a try. I’m hooked on the peppermint, but the others are good too.

  16. Been waiting for a post like this as people ask me about it a lot. I for one havent shampooed my hair in over 6 months – and it’s perfectly healthy as far as I can tell.

    Im not even sure why I stopped. Maybe I just realized it was a total waste of money? Don’t wear much deodorant either which always makes for an interesting response! haha

  17. I’m slowly weaning myself off.

    A couple months ago, I started shampooing only every other day. Once my hair was no longer greasy on the second day, I went to three. Now I’m at every four days, and it’s improving much faster.

    I also use only organic shampoos, as I was getting skin reactions to the poison shampoos.

  18. I will try the baking soda too. I live in the UK and I have been using the “Simple” and “Naked” brands that don’t have sulphates and parabens. I am not sure what should I be using as a conditioner for the ends… Coconut oil? I will not be able to brush my hair if I don’t apply anything!

  19. Forgot to say that I am a personal trainer and I have to have a wash everyday sometimes twice a day!

    1. I was looking for a post like this! I am training for a triathlon and I end up showering usually twice a day and often after swimming in indoor pools. Any suggestions?

  20. I’m a hairdresser by trade, and shampoo my hair one to two times per week as it stands. I get a lot of strange reaction when I tell my clients this, and much disbelief. After reading this article, I’m convinced I’ll stop shampooing altogether. I consider myself somewhat of a naturalist and hardly see the point in many of the daily “grooming” habits, this being one of them. I absolutely cannot wait to try it out and report my results to my coworkers and clients (though my retails sales would surely diminish if I gave my secret!)!

    1. My hairdresser was horrified when I told her 🙂 She keeps trying to convince me to use something “natural” and has mentioned that my hair (or, more correctly, the build-up of sebum(?)) will blunt her scissors!

      I mentioned this to another friend who is also a hairdresser and he said the scissors thing was rubbish.

      1. I’ll have to agree with the latter stylist. If anything, I’d think the sebum would act as a lubricant!

    2. What do you do about styling your hair? My hair has some funky wave going on, which requires product to be either presentably curly or straight. Are there natural alternatives to conventional styling products? Call me shallow, but I can’t bring myself to run around looking like I don’t care enough to take the time to make my hair look attractive. I can handle giving up conventional beauty products everywhere else, but the hair is a tough one for me!

      1. I have very curly hair (Bernadette Peters curly), and while I’ll never consider giving up conditioner (I think anyone who suggests that’s possible must have straight and/or short hair), I recently started making my own gel that works really, really well. I make it by boiling whole flax seeds, straining, and, since by itself it doesn’t have enough hold for my curls, I add various other ingredients. I’ve been playing around with different things, but so far the best combo has been a bit of coconut oil (for moisture) and a tiny bit honey (for hold…too much will make your hair rock hard). I’ve also heard good things about adding epsom salt before boiling, and post straining adding aloe vera and various types of oils.

        There’s a youtube video on how to make it.

        1. I’m a guy with long very curly hair, and I can say that not only is it possible to live without conditioner, but it’s preferable. As Jamie stated above, going poo-less, and conditioner-less, my hair has become much more manageable – I no longer look like Gene Simmons on a bad hair day.

      2. Also, you can make gel if you are so inclined… Mix about a teaspoon of gelatin (notice the “gel” prefix :)))) into a cup of near-boiling water, put it in the fridge to set and leave it there when you’re not using it… The only thing I noticed when using it is that if you don’t sorta distribute it out right (I towel-dry my hair, work it in, lightly re-towel my hair to make sure it hasn’t clumped up) it’ll get hard-ish and will be wet-looking…

  21. Boy do I feel a little guilty lol. I just washed my hair last night w/ Organix tea tree mint shamp & cond & used Dove go fresh energize soap & then put on virgen coconut oil in my hair before bed. But after reading this post along w/ some great tips, ( thanks guys 😀 ) It just might be the last time. lol. As for deodorant, baking soda & fresh squeezed lemon juice does the trick. You can make it into a paste & seal it in a container.

    My grandmother taught me this yrs ago. Now I’m starting to apply it. (She was semi primal & lived up to 97 yrs old, never ate out or ate processed foods). I too will have to move some kitchen pantry items to the bathroom lol. This is a great post & timely too. Thanks Mark 🙂

    1. I wouldn’t feel guilty. I haven’t started any sort of no poo or no soap alternative yet. However, this post has really got me thinking. I just stopped showering twice a day a month or two ago.

      So I have lots of room for improvement. lol But seriously. I do want to start reducing the chemicals I use for daily grooming. I detail cars for a living, so showering after work is a necessary to get rid of the chemicals. However, if I can go no poo and no soap with that job, I can do it for any job.

      1. wow, if you get actual engine oil on your hair that’s about the only time you’ll actually need to use shampoo (since its grease/oil-removing powers are so strong). I don’t know about the other chemicals but yes indeed, if you can go no poo and no soap with that job, you can do it for any job.

  22. If you go pooless, when you get your haircut, do you request that they not wash your hair?

    1. I let them use whatever. Doesn’t seem to affect anything, as in I don’t have to go through that period of 2-3 weeks of greasiness again. I think one time is not enough to dry out your skin so much that your body thinks it has to make more oil.

    2. My hairdresser (a man) commented on how nice and healthy my hair was looking so I told him my secret. Of course he’d heard of being poo-free before so understood and hasn’t washed my hair since.

  23. Witch hazel works amazingly well as a deodorant. I spray it under my arms and can run around after my toddlers in the very hot and humid outdoors for hours without the slightest smell. It doesn’t keep me from sweating, though.

  24. Having hair buzzed short seems to make it easier to transition to no shampoo. Done it back and forth a few times, don’t notice the oil buildup as much. Currently only using shampoo once/week or so, rest of the time just rinsing.

    For deodorant though I dropped the commercial stuff a few years ago. Especially the anti-perspirants. *shudder* Been using Deodorant Crystal since then. Easy, lasts forever, and no crazy chemicals. Love it.

  25. I’m tempted. I’ve always needed to wash my hair every morning to avoid the greasy look. I’ve tried weaning myself off, but day two is always too gross for a work environment. Any “organic” brands that people have found helpful? (EWG doesn’t always tell you about the strong scents/effectiveness)…

  26. I’m all about Primal, but I am going to have to draw the line at Primal hygiene. I have to believe that the Groks would have embraced soap and deodorant if they were available (tampons too, for that matter.) I’m all for living a longer and happier life, but if I have to smell “natural” to be natural, I think I’m out.

    Try Wen.

    Seriously, I’m gagging.

    1. Every try a Diva Cup? SO MUCH better than tampons. Seriously. I loved tampons until I found out exactly what chemicals I was shoving up there. Then I found the Diva Cup (and Moon Cup and Luna) and haven’t looked back yet.

      1. I really have to second this! I use to swear by tampons (I could never stand the surfoard alternatives). But since getting a mooncup three years ago, I can’t imagine ever having been comfortable with tampons.

      2. one more for the Diva cup! that thing is out of this world amazing.

      3. I bought a mooncup two years ago and used it for a while, but having an overactive bladder and what may have been IC did NOT agree with it. I went back to tampons but I still have the cup. Might try again next time the ol’ fun time rolls around.

    2. Amen! I’m keeping my deodorant and shampoo and soap, and toothpaste, and shaving and getting regular haircuts. Primal diet, primal workouts, MODERN HYGEIENE. Damn hippies… 😉

    3. Seems a little odd to put comments like “seriously, I’m gagging” smwhere where a people are doing the thing that makes you gag…

      Either way, it’s not as bad as you think it is, like has been noted by MANY people on here, you don’t “smell natural”… I, for example, use coconut oil+ baking soda for deodorant cuz it works as such… if it didn’t, I agree, I’d prob switch back… not the type of person that would be able to mentally ignore what I would be convinced people are thinking, besides the fact that I just don’t enjoy that smell… Anyways, point of all that is that switching to a more natural way doesn’t mean comprimising anything in the hygiene/freshness sense

    4. If you wash your hair, it won’t smell.
      You just don’t need the chemical bath to get it clean is all.

      I find that crusty hair smell almost as bad as B.O. I now think it comes from people who never touch their hair in any way. I wash mine for a solid amount of time every time I shower; I just use water and my hands.

      I get hair comments often. It looks and feels great. About 6 months now, no “hair smell”. (I routinely bug friends and girlfriend to smell-check it.)

      On rare occasion, I’ll use some Dr. Bronners on it.

  27. Oh, and anyone else dealing with “color treated” hair? The salons are always pushing the heavy chemical shampoos to help “protect” your hair from fading and environmental stressors. I have highlighted hair, and I don’t know how that will react with the baking powder/lemon/vinegar concoctions…

    1. I have lots of pale blonde (salon created!) highlights in my hair. I was so scared that the baking soda, etc would fry my hair! How silly is that, considering I feel completely comfortable going to the salon for treatment with harsh chemicals every six weeks?! Anyway, after two months without shampoo, my hair is healthy and looking great. I’m even growing out the unnatural highlights because the re-growth looks really good.

    2. Try henna… it conditions your hair while coloring it and they’ve even got “colorless” henna. It takes a little longer than chemical dyes and it’s a little messier but not by much.

      1. Have just gone ‘pooless’ in the past two weeks, although I very seldom would use much shampoo anyway, I have severe allergies to all of them! Anyway, now I’m looking at using Henna to color my greys, any advice on where to look for it? What should I be looking for in a good henna?

    3. If you use henna, be sure to inform any future stylists that you’ve used it. It causes some funky (and usually very unpleasant) chemical processes when mixed with salon-versions of color.

      1. HAHA! I second that one! I put chemical colour on for a “touch up” after a henna. The part with the henna came out a pretty funny colour! I think that was the summer I ended up with a buzz cut

        1. And never use those henna kits. They are no better than regular hair coloring kits as they use lower quality henna and chemicals. I have been using body art quality henna for 5 months now and I love it! My hair is stronger and healthier (scalp too!) and since it is 100% natural, I tell people, yes I am a natural redhead!

  28. i’ve been no poo and not using soap for about over a week now. now, i didn’t do anything to prep my hair, so i just kinda stopped washing it, so i had a bit of a buildup. i use baking soda to wash it, ACV to rinse, and just did so for the first time this morning, actually.

    and wow, what a difference. i have extremely curly hair, and its back to the tight spirals i had as a kid. its still a little dry, but i am sure that will be cured in time.

    i have had absolutely no issues with going soapless. no smells, no BO. i actually just use a little bit of vinegar in the pits if necessary.

    why did i do it? i really don’t know. but my chronically dry elbows and ankles are gone, and the regular body breakouts i’ve had have disappeared. i feel much better!

    and i swear i was just going to post about this in my primal journal….

  29. I am now into week 4 of being shampoo free, I have long hair. I think I am still in transition, but I must say, it really has not been that bad. I use the baking soda & ACV routine about every 3rd or 4th day, and I do a few drops of an essential oil in my ACV (rosemary, tea trea, etc).

    I am still using a ‘bit’ of all natural soap but only when and where needed. My skin has been MUCH less dry, no smells, and even in the dry climate I live in I am not needing constant lotion anymore. I dropped deodorant this week and changed toothpastes again (not quite ready to lose that all together, alternating with plain baking soda and a natural salt/soda toothpaste). Right now my bathroom is seriously starting to look like a kitchen, but I could not be happier!

  30. Himalaya USA sells chemical free soaps, shampoo, chap sticks etc. The ingredients are mainly natural oils.

  31. I’ve not used shampoo in 10 years, but I have only 2 millimeters long hairs, so that explains a lot.

    I’ve stopped using soap or shower-gels or whatever for 2 years now. Skin is great, not dry, soft. And nobody noticed a thing (trust me, I asked it, more than once).

    I also take almost all my showers as cold as I can. I think my skin likes this better too. And the rush of the cold water, mmmm, great!

  32. Surprised none of the poo-less camp advocate “cold water” somewhere in their philosophy as its said to be healthy for the hair (amongst many other things) to which i can vouch for.

    Also mark, have you personally field tested any of these of just done the research? Are you planning on practicing what you wrote about here?

  33. WOW! I think I’ll finish the transition. I’ve been shampooing less; 2 or 3 times a week. My problem isn’t oil, it’s “straw”. My ends get dry dry dry. I’ve starting to experiment with coconut oil at night, brush through, rinse out next morning. It’s so easy when you’re cooking! Grease the pan, rub excess through hair, on feet…
    So it looks like I need to be patient for a couple weeks or so & my hair should “even out”. This will be sweet if this cures by straw-head!

  34. I went ‘poo-less for almost 2 years, and it was at a time when my curly/wavy hair was down to the middle of my back (very Grok!). The first couple of weeks were bad, as I’m prone to scaliness anyway. After I readjusted, my hair had never and has never been so healthy. My hair stylist friend asked what products I use and was shocked when I said ‘tap water’.

  35. Great post Mark. I’ve been using a hand soap that only contains olive oil and sodium chloride for my body and hair for about two years. But I may just bump it up a notch and give this a try!

  36. I 100% agree, man. Great Post. ‘Unnatural’ products which cannot be found out in nature have absolutely no place in our personal hygiene.

    I use an all-natural toothpaste, no deodorant (healthy diet and I smell fresh!), and coconut + “antibacterial” soap w/ no more than two- three ingredients, on my body, and hair about daily.

    Clean, Healthy, Sexy, and Strong!


    Jeff Yost.

  37. I have been shampoo and soap free thanks to Richard Nikoley post at free the animal. Is been like 6 months now. Before that post i tried everything to get away from dandruf and regrowth my hair, I must admit i was a product junkie. So as i have tried everything before i give a try to the no poo experience. Firts week was a nigthmare, greesy hair and red scalps and skin lot of dandruf, it took me like 2 months for my hair to readapt.
    But now i feel really good I only wash 1 day a week, almost no dandruff, softer and brigther hair and even hair regrowth. I use clay to wash my hair. Also thanks to that post i make the transition to primal eating and living

    1. Me too, regarding Richard’s no-poo post. 🙂

      While on vacation in the Caribbean I had to use shampoo to get the sea smell out of my hair and soap to get the sunscreen and insect repellent off my skin, but I’m back to being free of all that crap.

      Anyone know of any natural insect repellent recipes that are tried and true?

      1. I have no idea what you mean by washing the “sea smell” out of your hair – mine has none, even after a week in the Atlantic or Gulf or Caribbean – but I can address the other questions!

        Sunscreen = olive oil or coconut oil. They MUST be unrefined (extra virgin) and they have an SPF of about 4, so if you can do 15 minutes in the solstice noon sun before burning, these’ll get you an hour. There are some details on my website. (For instance, re-applying at the end of the hour doesn’t get you another hour. You have to get some shade time to re-build first.)

        And insect repellant – Burt’s Bees makes an excellent one. I also have California Baby and a few small WAHM-made ones, but BB is most accessible and really works. Also, since cutting sugar out of our diets, either we get bitten less or we react less; I’m not sure which, but the itchy legs are way, WAY down here!

  38. I stopped using shampoo, conditioner and soap soon after reading Richard’s post at Free the Animal six months ago. I have mid-length, fine blond hair, and it took several weeks for that to normalise; but now it has much more body and never tangles. I use egg white if grease does build up (tends to happen after hair cuts).
    @Jamie: does no shampoo make hair harder to cut?

    No soap was no problem at all – amazingly, I think I’m actually cleaner without it. Water alone is all I seem to need, but I don’t like to go for more than a day without showering.

    For deodorant, I mix baking soda and coconut oil – I just stir in as much baking soda as the oil can absorb.

    1. I’ve been ‘poo-less for two months now and loving it! I have fine, highlighted, collarbone length, blonde hair. The first month was pretty difficult–one day without shampoo and I was REALLY greasy, but I managed to stick it out. Now I use a baking soda in water solution with an ACV rinse twice a week. I haven’t told anyone for fear of being called a hippie-do-gooder, but have received lots of compliments on the body and health of my hair. Will never shampoo or chemically highlight again!

    2. I can’t forsee any reasons why ‘poo-less would present any problems. Except one…that you’d need to see me less or purchase retail from me! I’d be out of a job if this caught on! Maybe a career change wouldn’t be so bad 🙂

  39. 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.

    1. 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!

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  42. 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! 🙂

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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!

  43. 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.

  44. Question – does anyone still blow dry their hair or use flat irons with the no-poo method? Does it make any difference?

      1. 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”.

        1. 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!”

        2. 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!

        3. 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.

  45. 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”?

    1. I rinse it every time I shower. And I shower as needed (when I feel dirty or stink).

  46. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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

      1. 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.

  47. 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….)

    1. 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

  48. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. Looking across the room at a friend, I’m thinking cat-spit must be pretty good; his hair looks great!

  49. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

      1. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

    1. Ick! Petrochemical, no thank you! Wherever you see “baby” oil or “mineral” oil, think unrefined olive or coconut oil instead.

  52. 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!

  53. 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?

    1. 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 🙂

  54. 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: https://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?

  55. @ 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. 😉

  56. 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!)


  57. 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.

  58. 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!!

  59. 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.


    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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”).

    2. 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:


  60. @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”


    ” 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.

    1. 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.

  61. 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 https://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.

  62. 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…

  63. 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! 😀

    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! 😛

    *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)

    1. 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.

      1. and when i said “especially for me” i meant “especially for men***”

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

    1. That would be me lol. Thanks Sonia for the advice. I know just where to buy the natural olive oil soap too.

    2. 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.

  67. 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…

  68. 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?

    1. 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…

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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. 🙁

      2. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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…

    1. 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.

  71. “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)?

    1. YUCK! petrolatum = petroleum product. I stear clear of anything with petroleum in it, as far as HABA products go (Health And Beauty Aids)

  72. 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

  73. 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. =)

  74. 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..

  75. 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!

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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?

  79. 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 :/

  80. 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…

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

    3. 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 quality..my stuff is wild-crafted…now…let’s get out from behind these silly screens…and go outside and be healthy out there…YEEHAW!!!

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. Wow. I remember that too. People thought I was really weird running in the late sixties. I ran in my saddle shoes.

    4. 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!

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

    5. 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?

  81. 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 🙂

    1. 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.

  82. @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.

    1. 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.

  83. 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

  84. 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.

  85. 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.

  86. 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!!

    1. 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 http://www.knowthecause.com..as 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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

  89. 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.

  90. 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!

  91. 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.

  92. 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!

    1. did you use straight ACV or did you dilute it?? Kat suggested 1T ACV to 1c water…

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

  93. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. I’ve got a nice styling product made of bees’ wax. Smells like honey and is extremely matte-inducing.

        2. @Erik Cisler:
          Interesting. So is it just made of beeswax? And how do you get it out of the hair again?

  94. 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?


  95. I was having achne issues, and stopped washing my face to see what would happen. My face has never been better.

    1. 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!

  96. @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.

  97. 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!!

  98. 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…

  99. ‘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

  100. 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…

  101. 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.

  102. 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?

  103. 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.

    1. 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 http://www.drbenkim.com.

      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.

      1. 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.

  104. 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.

  105. 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.

  106. 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.

  107. 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.

  108. 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?

  109. It’s good old Dr. Bronners liquid and bar soap for me…it meets all my needs!

  110. FYI: If you use baking soda and/or ACV, you can’t use them everyday or they will dry out your hair, especially baking soda. When you wash with baking soda, you should always follow with an ACV rinse because the alkalinity of the soda will do a number on your hair. If you color your hair you shouldn’t use baking soda at all, since it will strip the color.

    I’ve been ‘poo-less for years except for when I go to the salon. I use an acv rinse to wash once a week, and every other day I “wash” with just water and good old fashioned friction. Rubbing you fingers into your scalp does a lot more than you think it would. (Just like using a loofah or body brush to exfoliate skin will do a lot without using much – or any, for some – soap.)

    Again, I have very curly hair so my needs are very different. I have the weird combo of an oily scalp and dry hair-because of my hair texture, the sebum from my scalp can’t travel down the hair shaft, so it tends to be dry, hence the necessity of conditioner. If I had straight hair I probably would use the kind of mild shampoo/soap once in a while, because the oil from my scalp would become visibly obvious, but just washing with water and friction should still be enough for a a few days, at least.

    Check out message boards and blogs dedicated to haircare, especially curly hair. You’ll find a lot of information on going ‘poo-less.

  111. Hey what do you think about NowFoods stone deodorant?Also what do you people use for washing your private parts lol?

  112. Okay, I’m doing the “poo-less” experiment…It’s been since Tuesday night when I lasted washed my hair with shampoo. My scalp does feel a bit greasy, but it’s not noticable like I thought it’d be. One thing I really do like that I didn’t plan on happening is my hair now has loose curls to it (very cool!). Oh, and I can use a scrunchy as a ponytail holder without it falling out after a few minutes (stays on all day).

    When I told my husband that I was thinking of ditching shampoo, he “forbid” me. LOL. I think I’ll wait a month and then reveal to him what I’ve been up to (that is, if my hair doesn’t turn into a rat’s nest or something).

  113. I’ve been using baking soda and water for the past 1.5 years. I rinse with fresh brewed green tea (cooled to room temp)and acv.I would highly recommend green tea for anyone’s hair. If you have scalp problems (dandruff, dermatitis, psoriasis), green tea is a magic potion.

  114. A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away, Andy Rooney once did a spot on shampoos for 60 Minutes. After ridiculing all the marketing claims of the different shampoo products, he finally praised Prell, because they just called their product, “shampoo”, nothing more. At the end, he revealed his own chosen product, a bar of soap.

  115. Didn’t work for me. Went 3 months without poo, body soap, and deodorant, hair was greasy and stiff. I came back from college and parents complained about BO from 10 feet away. Unless 3 months isn’t enough, I would say this isn’t for everyone.

    Granted my hair is more oily a day without poo than it was 3 months without poo, it’s still too oily going no-poo for me to stick with it.

  116. I thought this was going to be an article about how cleaning ourselves after number 2 is not primal, or should be done with green leafy vegetables.

  117. Interesting. I could see trying the poo-less thing, but no deodorant? I don’t know. I went to the University of California Santa Cruz, a school a lot of naturalists attend. My English class was right after a Zen of Something class and oh, my god, the stench from the students before us was so bad, we had to start class late every time in order to air out the room. One day it was so bad we held class outside. I think most people don’t realize they really stink. It’s called accommodation. People just get used to their smell. Most smokers don’t realize they smell horrible. So, I am hesitant to believe a lot of these “I don’t where deodorant and I smell good” stories.

  118. I’m down with the primal eating but you are going to have to pry my shampoo/soap/deodorant out of my cold, dead hands. Anyone who thinks they can go without soap/deodorant and *not* stink is fooling themselves. I’ve worked out next to you at the gym and you do smell. A lot.

    Now, I do think that using the purest and least chemical-filled products is common sense, but going without? Not gonna happen.

  119. This is so fascinating! All this time my husband has been right! He always said I should forego soap on my face and that it was making my acne worse. I wear make up and have to use something to get it off. I sprinkle some powdered milk in my hands, dilute it and use it for soap. It works wonders and does not have a funky smell. Then coconut oil for moisture. Way better than the acne soap I was using and far less expensive.

    I heard from someone about redistributing oils but never had the guts to try it because of my greasy scalp–very noticeable after one day But now that I think about it, I’m always scratching my scalp and touching it all day because it’s irritated. Perhaps that’s part of the grease issue. I will be experimenting and weaning. It’s a drag having to always shampoo.

    What about glycerine soap for occasional washing? I love an oil based, great smelling soap that I found. I know the lady who makes it and it’s 100% natural so I’ll stick with that as a luxury item, because it is expensive. I’m sure dried milk would work as a body cleanser too, but occasionally.

    Deodorant–tried the crystal and every natural brand out there, and does not help. On another note I’d be interested to hear about natural tooth whitening through diet…and do the same things that cause yellow teeth also cause body odor?

  120. ps, I was also wondering about what our ancestors used for cleanser…obviously when they did use cleansers it was far less often than us, but I believe they made soaps out of tallow?

  121. You could ask them but they all already died from infections and blood poisoning.

    Okay, I kid, but really? Soap is not the enemy. For sure, people go way overboard with products and over-wash and strip their skin and hair of oils but cleaning your body and hair is not going to poison or kill you.

  122. I tried to shave with coconut oil as a shaving foam, but I found that my razor got all clogged up from the grease, which reduces it’s ability to shave.

    Anyone else had this experience?

    Coconut oil as an after-shave works fine though!

  123. Been reading loads of shampoo (and other ‘beauty’ products) bottles since reading this post … scarry … trying no-poo, day 5, tried the bicarb soda and CV rinse but hair does feel like it’s sitting on my head! Have come across this range for UK readers – have ordered some to see but check out the ingredients, I reckon this is as close as you can get for natural ingredients other than going poo-less.

    http://www.greenpeople.co.uk they do toothpaste too.

  124. It’s been a week since I’ve lasted used shampoo in my hair and soap on my face. I’m happy so far with the results. My scalp is a little bit more greasier than normal, but the dandruff is gone and my hair has more body to it (if that makes any sense).

    With my face, I’ve always had a problem with blackheads. Tried just about everything under the sun to get rid of them, but it’s not washing with soap that’s actually getting rid of those nasties. The blackheads on my nose are almost all gone. Still waiting for the ones on my chin to go. All in good time, I guess.

    One problem I’m having with going soapless on my face is for some reason I’m getting lots of dry skin there. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, so facial dry skin is nothing new to me, but it’s quite bad right now (kinda painful). I’m also wondering if this could have something to do with me eating a fast food pizza the other day because I did get a headache shortly after eating it. I gave up all grains and dairy some time ago, so maybe my body is rebelling?

  125. Since Sunday I have gone without shampoo or conditioner or shower gel, and started using coconut oil and baking soda for deodorant. So far so good. I did use baking soda on my hair and face this morning, and my hair is doing well. I have used several different brands of antiperspirant, and always had odor problems by afternoon. With the coconut oil and baking soda, I have not had this problem. I sweat but don’t stink. I’m amazed.

  126. I tried the baking soda and apple cider vinegar a couple of days ago after reading this… it was definitely different! But my scalp seems to have gotten ever drier and my hair went a bit static and fuzzy. 🙁

  127. I have been eating natural since last August, and along with that, have switched to natural hygene products. During that time, I have tried a lot of different things to try to get rid of my dandruff, my latest effort being shampoo bars and ACV (prior to last August I have used a lot of medicated shampoo). Since Monday, I have been rinsing my hair with water only, then ACV, then rinsing it out again, scrubbing my scalp with each step. It seems to be working.

    I love it when my hair smells like flowers as much as anyone else, but if shampoo is what has been irritating my scalp since high school, then I am going to do without and it will be worth it. I don’t stink, I shower everyday, I will still use natural skin soap and I will still use some form of deodorant. I would recommend as natural products as possible, but if your hair is healthy and you love your shampoo and don’t mind spending the money, then more power to you. Those of us who have skin problems are grateful that we have finally found a solution, so be happy for us! :o) Also, everyone is different, just because it didn’t work for you and you went back to shampooing, doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else.

    1. every tried rosewater to get your hair to smell like flowers (well, like roses) again?

  128. Hi, about the Crystal deodorant I been using it for about a week and it has been working great. I work on an AC environment but I also do some rock climbing at the local gym and outdoors.
    Also I think for the daily amount I use everyday it should last for several months, maybe a year!

    1. Because the crystal deodorant keeps popping up in this thread – has anybody had a problem with extreme dryness and/or irritation using it on a regular basis?

      I think the stuff works great and I’d love to use it, but my underarms became (and stayed) RAW – and flaming red – after using it for a few days. FWIW, I shave my underarms daily and it’s possible that that contributed to the irritation.

      1. Yes! I had real problems with the crystal deodorant. Not so bad if clothes were covering the area but as soon as I put on strappy summer tops & my underarms were uncovered, my skin would go so red & sore (painful actually, constantly felt as if I’d just waxed!). I dreaded the summer because of it, not realising that the deodorant was responsible!

        Answer… stopped using it. Now I use Toms of Maine deodorant sticks (the rose scented one) and it’s great & moisturising. Lets you sweat freely but leaves you smelling sweet as…well… roses! & has lasted me over 4 months so far & still going! Perhaps there are ones even more natural but I’ve never got on with any other ones so far. NB: I wax though so not sure if it stings after shaving or not..

        If I ever go back to the crystal one I react in the same way after a couple of days. But I do keep the travel one I have in my bag for ’emergencys’ if I stay anywhere & forget my usual deodorant! (rather than just throwing it in the bin!).


  129. Just want to chime in about the deodorant – I used to be one of those people who couldn’t hide the stink no matter which deodorant I used. I had to use antiperspirant, and then that crap would bleach all the armpits of my clothes. Since following PB I just…don’t…stink. I don’t. I use the Crystal Rock roll-on stuff just to be safe, but unless I exercise really heavily I am stink-free. Same goes for my feet, and I have been running around in flats with no socks most days. I am amazed!

    Oh – and after going 1 week poo-less and mostly soap-less, for some weird reason I got freaked out and used both this morning. My hair feels so dry and unmanageable! I just don’t think my body needs or wants this stuff. So I’m going with ACV for my hair from now on. After showering (really just rinsing off) I’ve been putting almond oil on my skin, and it’s been great. The oil (I scent it with lavender essential oil) is great for moisturizing and gives me a little sweet scent. But I do still worry about not “washing” my armpits, feet or privates over the long term. What do others use for that, if anything? I don’t want to go the Dr. Bronner’s route – that stuff has always dried me out horribly. I’ve rather go with something like ACV/baking soda/vegetable oils/etc.

  130. I wash my hair 2 maybe 3 times a week and have noticed a considerable difference. My only concern would be the deodorant suggestion. Thats one aspect of modern life I will nto give up. After spending two years in the Middle Eastern desert I have come to realize this is an important factor in our evolutiona nd should be safe gaurded.

    1. …as long as whatever deodorant you use doesn’t cause your body to overcompensate by oversweating… which is what most deos seem to do to varying degrees to people

  131. The crystal deodorant tore my underarms up pretty good. I let them heal and tried again. Still the same issue. i don’t shave my underarms, so shaving might not be the issue. I think it is the salt drying the skin causing irritation. What brand of coconut oil? Is it the same stuff you use to cook with? I have not shampooed for the las three days and stopped using soap, save for the under arms and the nether region. no issues yet. I am using plain baking soda for deodorant. working outside and 2 workouts a day and no issues.

  132. hmmmmm…tried going poo-less about a year ago but gave up in the transition period as I couldn’t get the bs/acv mixture right for my hair. After reading this, I might try it again…

    I have used coconut oil/baking soda with a couple of drops of tea tree oil for deodorant for over a year. I used to sweat A LOT and now, I barely sweat at all unless I’m working out.

  133. I shave with a mustache and beard trimmer (small set of rechargeable clippers, basically) with the guard removed. I go against the grain and am able to get a pretty close shave that way w/o any irritation. no product of any kind needed at all. Plus I prefer the look of a ‘5 0’clock shadow’ to a perfectly close shave, which has always looked unnatural to me.

  134. Been poo-less for a week and seems like my hair is already adapted! Very little grease and looks shinier than ever.
    Nobody seems to have noticed my poo-less life. And when I tell people they are surprised!
    I still use body wash sparingly for certain body parts though.
    Also I think I will still use deodorant for those intense climbing days.
    Now what to do with all the shampoo I have…

  135. “But I do still worry about not “washing” my armpits, feet or privates over the long term. What do others use for that, if anything?”

    I’ve found, over the last six months, that water alone works just fine (actually *better* than soap etc.). A thorough daily rinse is all one needs to stay clean.

    I think a paleo diet also helps reduce unpleasant body odour.

  136. “I’m keeping my deodorant and shampoo and soap, and toothpaste, and shaving and getting regular haircuts. Primal diet, primal workouts, MODERN HYGEIENE. Damn hippies… ;)”

    And no one is stopping you from choosing all that!

    Lots of us are extremely pleased with our results in forgoing the “modern” 🙂

  137. Did 2.5 months of no-poohing and hated it. My hair never felt soft or had volume, or smelled great like it always did before. Yes, after a while it is no longer as greasy as you when you start, but there’s always a layer of some sort of build-up that doesn’t go away no matter how much you try to wash it off with soda and vinegar.
    I was so happy when I finally washed it with some organic shampoo.

  138. CMT – I like Mountain Rose Herbs for coconut oil. 1 gallon refined is $21 – cheap enough for body use. 1 gallon unrefined (better for cooking/food applications) is $37. You can use unrefined oil for the body, though, it just isn’t as cost-effective.

    Tropical Traditions is also a good source of coconut products (as well as palm oil).

  139. This feels totally redundant, given the length of comments, but I’m going to chime in anyway…

    I have butt-length hair. I have used only baking soda for well over a year, with an occasional ACV rinse.

    I mix baking soda and water in a bowl to a paste, use that in the shower to scrub my scalp. I use a pure soap (made by ex-roommate, no additives) in shower. I shower about 2x week. No deoderant, a dash of baking soda if I feel smelly.

    I let my hair mostly dry naturally, then use my fingers to “rake out” the tangles. Once dry, I use a detangler comb (cuz it’s what I have!) to comb it. I braid my hair to sleep at night since I toss a lot in my hammock and the length gets caught under me.

    I LOVE being able to skip all the HBA aisles in the grocery. These days, I pretty much only shop the perimeter and the baking aisle… [g]

  140. Quick question for those who are soapless: Do you use a washrag/washcloth or nothing while showering? I’m trying to figure out if there’s a scrub factor that exfoliates dead skin and dirt or if your body takes care of that naturally, too.

      1. I use lots of stuff like brushes to exfoliate any excess dead skin cells that are still clinging onto me, it seems to work

  141. My husband and I tossed all our chem-laden HABA products about 2 years ago and haven’t looked back since.

    We use 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle as deodorant and it works like a charm. The crystal never took the odor away for me…

    For everything else, if I can’t EAT it, I don’t put it on my body! (it doesn’t have to taste good, the point is, it’s got to be food-grade)

    So…three companies I love for products: BubbleAndBee.com, http://www.keys-soap.com and 100percentPure.com (no affiliation), also . So many products and they are all good and totally chem-free.

    I use lavender essential oil from Young Living essential oils for my face first and then organic coconut oil (1 bought a gallon from mt rose herbals, although I am boycotting them because they ripped me off for shipping and wouldn’t allow me to cancel my order, even though I emailed them within 2 minutes of placing the order, so I am going with tropical traditions next time). I use the coconut oil on my entire body instead of lotion and it is HEAVEN.

    I use Braggs ACV as conditioner, but now I am also going to try the aloe vera gel method mentioned above as well, as I have gray hair and it gets quite dry.

    Aveda products are NOT natural, they use SOME natural ingredients, but they also load their stuff up with CRAP, read the labels. Same with Tom’s of Maine. CRAP. Try drbenkim.com, he is great and has the only tooth soap that doesn’t make my husband’s mouth break out in sores.

    My hair and skin look great and I feel so much better since we kicked the chemicals out of our cabinets!

    1. I suggest you follow your own food grade rule and switch to ethyl alcohol.

  142. Hi everyone, first time poster.

    this is great. I’ve just started trying to follow the paleo diet and exercise from a previously good diet position and poor exercise one but before that I had got rid of all nasties from the bathroom and stopped with the poo. I have thinning hair and I really think that it is thickening up and sprouting new ones in receded areas. It won’t come back but I think I may have halted it. I think I was allergic to SLS and Parabens because my skin has cleared up a lot too. I use Aloe vera as a moisturiser and that is superb and is closing up pores left right and centre.

    It’s nice to meet like minded people.


    Anthony in London UK

  143. Does anyone who showers feel the use of a water filter is the best way to go also? I don’t like to feel I am showering in chlorinated water, so I do use a filter. Have learned much from others posts as I am very new to Mark’s daily apple. Thanks

  144. I’ve been shampooing 2-3 times a week for the past couple years (rinsing and using conditioner on alternate days); I thought it seemed to be working pretty well, but my scalp would often be itchy, mostly in the morning. This post inspired me to take things to the next level, so I went the past week without shampoo (did one shower sans soap, but figured I’ll just take baby steps!). My scalp wasn’t itchy, hair wasn’t greasy (probably because I have weaned off the shampoo already)! I also have been putting a little coconut oil on my dry hair as a de-frizzer- it works great!

    Well, I washed my hair with my regular shampoo last night (Redken Blond Glam) and my scalp was all itchy this morning; poo-less is the way to go for me! The next step will be ACV and no conditioner, and maybe no soap.

    *Bonus use for coconut oil- I haven’t done this consistently enough to say whether it really works, but swishing around the oil in your mouth (called “oil-pulling”) for about ten minutes is said to be great for healthy gums. It seems like a long time, but I do it while doing my makeup, etc. in the morning, then spit it out, brush my teeth, then take my probiotic. Ah coconut oil, is there anything you can’t do?

  145. Oil pulling with coconut makes your teeth so white.

    I haven’t used deodorant for about 15 years and love it. Sometimes after working out, if I feel I need protection, I just use tea tree oil.


  146. I am considering trying baking soda+ water shampoo and the ACV as conditioner.
    Do you guys use a hair dryer after using these ingridients or do you let your hair dry by itself? I cant really leave it be, seeing as its quite cold where I live. Would it affect my hair if I used a hair dryer?
    Also, how long does it take to adjust to this routine? Will my hair look horrible for the first few weeks? My hair is on the straighter side and doesnt tangle much as it is.

  147. Hi Kalps – I tried it a bunch this past week and a half – and I have to say – my (VERY) dry hair got drier. I tried overnight coconut oil twice and still, dry as straw.

    You said you have straight hair so you might be ok and love it as much as others have mentioned…but as a wavy girl, I just need more moisture. So, I’m not quite ready to try water only (which intrigues me and gives my boyfriend GORGEOUS hair) and have settled on conditioner only. At least until whatever damage I must’ve done with my heat styling tools has subsided.

    I’m air dry only for now, until I can get some health back! From what I understand, in addition to the BS/ACV protocol, there is also water only, conditioner only and sebum only (the last one sure to turn a few stomachs!)

    I “washed” my hair with conditioner last night…and it squeaked! As in squeaky clean…what the heck do they put in conditioner?!?

    1. Hi Guys,

      I’m on day 8 poo-less – the second day my hair did feel greasy although it looked ok, by day 4/5 I tried the once through with a bicarb of soda rinse followed by CV rinse, haven’t done that since as it did seem to dry my hair out a bit. Since day 6 my hair has felt fine, before that it felt like it was sitting on my head a bit (if you know what I mean!). It looks really good now – not unwashed or dirty and it doesn’t smell, it does feel different, slightly waxy to run my fingers through it (but to be honest it often used to feel like that after a visit to the salon with all the ‘product’ they would use in styling!).

      I have a shower each morning (plus after exercise) when I throughly ‘wash’ my hair with just the warm shower water and I rub my scalp with my fingers as if I was using shampoo. Yesterday in the bath I let my hair soak in the warm water for a while and used a tiny amount of lavender oil to rub through the ends. I’ve tried both using a drier and just letting it dry – no difference to the feel, obviously I can style it more if I use the drier. You don’t need styling products either my hair seems to ‘stay put’ now all by itself!

      My hair was pretty much straight, but this no-poo routine is creating curls – this is a good thing! I have mostly naturally white hair, the remaining dark (10% or so) is bleached out and I have wild coloured streaks (currently blue and red) in it. Not sure whether I’ll keep up the regime of having the roots bleached every couple of months or not now I’ve gone all non-chemical!

      I’m in the process of growing my hair, it was uber short in January but has been uncut since then, aiming for flowing Grokkette tresses LOL! How great it will feel unshampooed when much longer I don’t know … watch this space I guess!

      I’ve also ditched soap (or mostly – have found a natural product with lavender oil for when I feel the need), I’m just using a face cloth to wash myself in the warm water. Also stopped using deodrant although I was never a massive user before. I have found a 100% natural one which I will be using on occasion if required.

      So far natural beats everything – my skin is much less dry, is looking healthier. Oh yes, cut out the conventional toothpaste too (reading labels was sure an eye-opener), just dip toothbrush in bicarb soda powder – makes them feel really clean. I do have some natural toothpaste ordered though as I miss the minty flavour in my mouth!

        1. Well nearly two weeks in and the totally natural shampoo from the above link arrived today along with some conditioner. The ingredients are awesome, and natural and they smell great.

          My hair has continued to feel ‘waxy’ and with the amount of swimming I do has become somewhat unruly so I just used the natural stuff and it felt great and my hair feels really clean and soft without me feeling bad about the ingredients therein!

          The link I gave further up includes an ingredient that although naturally derived seems to be one handmadenaturals make a point of saying they don’t have. The natural toothpaste works ok too.

          It’s been a really interesting exercise and made me MUCH more aware of the horrible chemicals I was using and that are abound in various ‘beauty’ products.

      1. Just put the baking soda in a small container and drip about 25 drops or so of peppermint essential oil into it and mix/shake it around. You can add more if you need it to be more minty, but this is pretty minty for me!

    2. I tend to have very dry ends, even with using a bristle brush regularly (shampoo/conditioner or no). One thing that I find helps is to use a SMALL amount of oil (which oil would depend on the time of year and your hair type – I’ll use jojoba, avocado, camellia, or coconut) on my hair while it’s still wet. Just enough to very thinly coat the dry areas and hold a bit of water in the shaft. I like to add a bit of rosemary and lavender (no more than 10% total volume) to it for smell and shine.

      One other thing that helps with the dryness is spritzing rosewater on anything and everything. As long as it’s actual hydrosol and not “flavor” added to water (what you’ll find at most food shops), it works nicely for a little boost.

      Even better is a bit of hydrosol (or distilled water) followed up by a bit of oil to hold the moisture in.

  148. i’m a week into the ‘pooless life, and i’m delighted. i put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in a cup and enter the shower — use about a tablespoon scubbing pits and privates. then i dilute the rest in water and pour over my shoulder-length-plus hair and massage in. i rinse well, then put about a tablespoon of lemonjuice in it, refill with water and use it to re-acidify myself.

    the chemistry works THUS: acid (body oils) + alkaline (baking soda) = SOAP. that cleans the skin and hair. since the body wants an acid mantle, rinsing in vinegar or lemon juice makes it happy.

    in addition, i’ve been without deodorant for a week also. i asked my husband to tell me if he smells anything obnoxious, and he hasn’t noticed. i do use a tiny bit of baking soda in my pits after bathing, i believe that the “clean diet” of primalism gives the stinky bacteria less material to feed on!

  149. Okay, here’s something that may shock a minority of you.

    Some people can go without deodorant (or washing, but that FEELS gross even if it doesn’t smell). It’s probably a defect of some sort, but we do exist.

    It’s one of those little things that makes you feel like an alien. Especially when people find out and look at you bug-eyed and say “but you don’t smell”.

    I keep some spray crystal deodorant around, but it’s strictly for my friend for when she puts her feet up right next to me. It stinks, and that fact alone mystifies and fascinates me. It usually results in my sticking my own foot to my nose to see whether I’m just missing something…

    Yes. I’m weird.

  150. I figure Grok pretty early on figured out grooming helped in a few key areas:

    1) Using some sort of botanical/sap/oil/dust etc in your hair body helped control lice, fleas and other parasites
    2) Helped alter his appereance to better identify with his tribe/clan
    3) Altered his odor towards predators & prey
    4) Social grooming strenghtened family bonds

    but most importantly,

    5) It helped him attract future Mrs. Grok

    Ultimately #5 is still the driver of grooming habits today. Do we need poo from a health standpoint? Perhaps not, but finding a mate almost always trumps all other drivers.

    Bottomline is if you can score without poo, great, but if the you can’t, poo probably is pretty damn primal for you.



    1. Hair generally improves once you’re over the transition period and find a combination/no-poo method that works for you.

      Stripping hair of all its oils with a chemical laden shampoo that could strip off engine oil (and then adding artificial oils and gunky silicones with conditioners) will force your hair to excrete mass quantities of sebum to re-achieve homeostasis and to try and fight some of the damage you’re doing to your hair.

  151. I’ll never go back to poo!

    I started by using baking soda and cider vinegar, but after only 2 uses I found it made things worse – it stripped my hair and left it dry and unmanagable.

    Now my routine is – scrub under hot running water every day. Run a fine comb through once a week. I don’t use ANY hair products including styling products and my hair has never been in better condition.

    That’s it. I will never use shampoo again. its horrible. its pointless. its a marketing ploy!

    (p.s. I’m a male with shortish hair so i guess I have it easy from the styling side.)

  152. Yeah I went didn’t use shampoo for ten days and I was told my hair smelled terrible. My mom told me it was pretty “gnarly”

  153. But I won’t lie. Although I smelled rank, my hair did feel good, and it looked good. I guess I just need to figure out how to espounge the offensive odor

  154. I think the idea isn’t to forego “washing” completely, just do it with something less unnatural than detergent based shampoo.

  155. Now on day 6 of no poo. Started over long 4th of July weekend and just kept going. First day of work today and already 2 compliments on hair. I did use baking soda and ACV today and head definately does not stink. My fine hair actually has some texture. Used to use 4 separate products to achieve this!
    Not quite ready to tell hubbby yet though…..

  156. Really? Gross! Gross! Gross! I can eat like a caveman, but I’ll be darned if I want to smell like one. Or let my hair go. Or my teeth.

    I like some of life’s modern conveniences, shampoo and toothpaste are my friends.

  157. Inspired by this blog, I decided to give poo-less-ness a try and haven´t washed my hair for a week now. For me that´s a long time. I have waist-lebght hair and exercise and therefore sweat a lot every day, so I would wash it every day. I(thought I) had very oily hair, and yes, the second day my hair looked greasy. But to my surprise, by day three and four, my hair started looking washed again–all on its own! All I´ve done is rinse it out with warm and cold water. Amazing. Can´t wait to see what the results will be in another week´s and–why not?–month´s time!

  158. I am trying ‘no-poo’ at the moment & am in week 3. I don’t use ACV or baking soda & (though I did for the first week) I haven’t rinsed my hair at all in 2 weeks…

    To those of you who are squeemish about the whole ‘no-poo’ thing are are screwing up your nose at the thought of a bad smell wafting your way….. & for those of you who are interested in trying or haven’t been sucessful with ACV / Baking Soda this is what I have been doing:

    It’s called ‘sebum-only cleansing’. https://haircare.suite101.com/article.cfm/sebum-only-hair-washing-method

    I bought a boar-bristle brush & wash the bristles in warm water with a natural essential oil soap (no chemicals) every time I use it (I don’t count how many but I do the whole ‘100 strokes’ thing when brushing (this spreads the sebum through the hair. Then I wash the brush & dry it as best I can on a clean towel. Then I comb my hair to get any finer bits of dust etc. Then brush again with the clean bristle brush… THEN I shake my head upside-down to fluff it all up again!

    My hair is getting better each day & smells like essential oils (due to ALWAYS brushing with a clean bristle brush!). I think it will take a good few weeks minimum to get to a stage where I’m comfortable wearing my hair down but I’m growing my hair out anyway so I’m happy tying it back for now! A friend said that my hair looks shiny & in good condition (she’s only seen it tied up) & at most it looks like I have product in but def. doesn’t look greasy.

    My hair is a darker, richer colour & the red tones I have that usually only sparkle in the sun can now be seen all the time! I really hope my hair continues to look better.

    There is something very grounding about ‘grooming’ without having to use chemicals & water. & knowing that the brush cleans your hair (as long as the brush is clean of course!). Boar bristles (like human hair) has a fish-scale-like texture so if ‘picks up’ dirt & excess oil. Basically, use the time you’d usually use to wash your hair to ‘groom’ 😉

    Rather long post & bashed it out very quickly (as at work!) so hopefully makes enough sense! 😉

    1. I went to my hairdresser for a trim today and spoke to her about my experiment and the ‘waxy’ feel it had. She said that when sebum combines with water it helps to solidfy the natural oils and leads to a waxy feel which then requires some form of detergent (whether that be naturally derived or otherwise) to clean off the hair. Her recommendation was to go without getting your hair wet, which fits well with Liz experience and why for me it wasn’t going to work as I’m a swimmer, so it’s impossible to keep my hair dry.

      As for smell, if you are out and about in the fresh air each day this deodorizes the hair – apparently this is also true of natural made woollen jumpers which are best not washed but left out on the washing line during a breezy day – early on when there is a little dew is best apparently!

      Amazing what information you pick up just having your hair trimmed!

      1. umm… when sebum combines with water it can also get washed out of your hair. Some people do fine with water-only washing (and a BBB – Boar Bristle Brush)

        seems like weird advice that you *HAVE* to use a man-made detergent – hairdresser’s CW perhaps?

  159. Wow!! lotsa comments! I’m pretty sure no one will ever see this (and I def didn’t have time to look at all that so sorry if I repeat) but I’m glad this subject was touched on and I’ve been wondering about the effects of so many things since going primal… I have about an eighth inch of hair so I’ve been poo-less for about a year and it couldn’t be to important for me lol. but what about things like cosmetics; chapstick, moisturizing lotion? De-odorant, even things like Neosporin I suppose… what ever happened to ‘throw some dirt on it’… did anyone stop to think that maybe a hard-ass little league coach might have had some of the best advice ever without knowing it? Also something I’m very curious about is soap? Between my favorite old spice bottle and the bar of dove that I hated for drying out my skin, but after a couple of weeks it has stopped doing that, I don’t know what to think about soap!! I’ve never been big on deoderant, a stick will last me a good year or three if I don’t lose it and very seldom to people bitch about BO 😉 but who knows, maybe I smell like roses, maybe ppl are just to nice, idunno… I gotta go but I’m seriously curious how much we may be destroying our skin, hair and other organs with all of our products (how about eyedrops anybody? or… idunno… everything)… thanks for reading my ramble!!

    1. Good questions. You will find most of your answers here: https://ewg.org/
      Along the sidebar go to toxics- then cosmetics database. Look up the stuff you use, and it will show you the ingredients and give it a “rating” 0 being best, 10 being most toxic. You can also search for less toxic brands, and start using those instead. That’s what I did. When I found this site I sorta obsessively replaced all of my cosmetics with safer ones.

      1. Thanks for posting this site. It turns out that the Organix shampoo that I had been using (prior to going poo-less) isn’t so good after all!

      2. Ditto! I threw out everything last week once I’d read the ingredients lists. Even one company I found on line and quoted above (the greenpeople) had a couple of ingredients that weren’t as gentle as I’d have liked.

        However the handmadenaturals.co.uk link above is 100% from all I can see. Using your link is a great way of checking out all the chemicals involved.

        This is from the shampoo I’m now using as you can see quite often ingredients are listed with their latin names which makes them appear ‘artificial’ when they are not!

        Ingredients: purified water (aqua), coco glucose (coco glucoside), organic aloe vera* (aloe barbadensis), glyceryl oleate (fatty acid from sunflower), apple cider vinegar (acetum pyrus malus), chamomile, sage, xanthan gum, vitamin e (tocopherol), grapefruit seed extract, jojoba oil (simmondsia chinensis), virgin organic coconut oil* (cocus nucifera), glycerine, essential oils of rosemary, lemon & lemongrass

        * certified organic ingredient

        The conditioner – INGREDIENTS: purified water, virgin organic olive oil*, organic aloe vera*, jojoba oil, provitamin B5, glycerine, emulsifying wax, virgin shea butter, vitamin E, essential oils of lavender, geranium, palmarosa & orange.

        * certified organic ingredient

        They have a big range of products, toothpaste, face cream, aftershaving balms, soap etc – the shampoo and conditioner are great, lovely natural smell. They seem to do international delivery too!

        I think this is good compromise from going totally Caveperson but still living in a modern world.

        Great thread, seems to have really captured lots of people’s imagination.

      3. Thank you for the link heather!! I have been really focusing on these odds and ends lately and so far my best experience has been ‘none is more’… No chapstick=lips in better shape than ever and so forth. Still on to more research!!!

        1. Interesting. do you protect your lips with something with at least SPF15? like lipstick?

    2. instead of soap you can use the Oil Cleansing Method (google it; basically a varyong mix of a moisturizing oil and 5-15% Castor Oil), also exfoliate your skin to gte it healthier with special body brushes and things like loofahs

      most of the dirt is water-based sweat anyways which washes off easily with a water-only shower. (as for oils, that’s what OCM is for)

  160. Hi y’all.

    Well, I guess it’s been about a year now and neither soap no shampoo has touched me anywhere except hand washing for meal prep.

    I can’t even think of bothering with it anymore. So liberating, especially when packing for a trip.

    Glad to see so many gave it a try after my post last December and that it’s worked well for so many.

  161. Love this post!!! I went poo-free three years ago; you can see the before/after pics here, with some of the story in the second page of comments: https://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?blogid=46&entry_id=37186 .

    The gist is that I (long hair) rinse w/ water 1x/wk; hubby (short hair, lawyer) rinses every day. I had a 2-3wk transition where I just wore it up; his was 2 days. I massage & finger-comb my hair daily to get the oils moved down the length (will try the towel thing!); he does nothing.

    I feel like my hair requires the daily preening or it does start to show a line where the oils are. His is truly maintenance-free. He has a suit-wearing job and no one can tell he doesn’t wash his hair. It’s been 3 years! His biggest pro: no hat hair. Seriously! And no more gel; he uses coconut oil to keep it in place.

    (He’s so not into all this natural stuff like I am; I never thought he’d do this. I asked him to try it out while we were out of the country and he never looked back!) DH also found that by giving up after shave, he stopped needing after shave. Weird!

    If I ever feel like I “need” a shampoo b/c I’ve missed a few days of preening, I just do a baking soda wash w/ ACV rinse – 1TB of soda in a cup of water followed by 1TB of ACV in a cup of water.

    (I’m still having struggles w/ being deodorant-free – it usually works, but there are times it flat out DOESN’T. Can’t wait to read all the suggestions here.)

    One downside: Now that my hair has body, I totally cannot do an emo ‘do. Dang!

    1. Meant to mention that since we stopped using shampoo & body wash in the shower, we have no more mildew or … duh … soap scum! No more shower scrubbing!

  162. OK, since 6/24/10, I’ve gone without the natural body bar I’d been using to shampoo my hair.

    Sometimes using Kombucha (5:1) as a rinse, sometimes not. Not using any baking soda on my hair.

    My husband is VERY happy with my hair and so am I! I cannot believe how full it is, how soft, and how shiny.

    It is still a bit on the dry side, so am using a tiny bit of coconut oil on the ends.

    Still very happy with using coconut oil as a deodorant. Sometimes I add a bit of baking soda after applying the oil.
    Has been very effective, more so than anything else I’ve ever used.

    Appreciating many of the comments.


  163. I bought some soap nuts for laundry. I wonder how a few of those in a bag would work as a shampoo. I’ll try it over the next few days and let you know.

    Another thought for managing the shampoo to no ‘poo transition: Why does it have to be eliminated in one shot? Could you do it gradually over a month by diluting your shampoo more each week? This might avoid the bandana/hat/scarf phase.

    1. This is just like tapering off grains vs going cold turkey. The adjustment phase will be less severe but will last longer

  164. I tried the baking soda thing for a while, but it seemed to cause some pretty extreme dandruff, and my hair didn’t feel particularly clean. Yes, I kept it up for a while, about a month and a half, but the dandruff problem didn’t go away.

    When traveling to Europe I tried out a solid shampoo bar from Lush (to avoid the ridiculous airline restrictions on liquids), and I’m in love with it. They disclose all ingredients, and from what I can tell everything in there makes sense. You rub the bar on your head, it lathers up fine, and there you go. I do that about once a week, and then just rinse the rest of the time.

    I’ll occasionally use a bit of a vinegar rinse (diluted vinegar with a cinnamon stick and some vanilla) on the ends, but since I started using the Lush bar I’ve found that for the first time in my life I don’t really need conditioner! I have very fine, long hair and usually had to use handfuls of the goop just to be able to brush it at all. Now it’s no problem, and my hair is very healthy. Even my fiancé was game to try my regimen out, and he’s switched from from the toxic goo as well.

    I’m interested in all the suggestions about coconut oil, and I’ll be experimenting with that.

    1. maybe you put too much BS and your scalp doesn’t like it? It can take a lot of experimenting with various ingredients to get it right at first…
      I use white vinegar (same as ACV only cheaper) and occasionally salt/sea salt.
      My dandruf went away after a few weeks; 6 weeks of dandruff seems like a long time

  165. HAIR GEL.

    I’d be all for not using it, but my natural haircut resemble the anti-hero guy’s in Dinner For Schmucks.

    Tried coconut oil. Nice oil but smells alot (the exact same smell as the vapors when heated in a pan) … not a winner.

    I also remember Paul Chek saying that one should never put on his skin what one would never eat/ingest (compound on skin eventually makes it to the liver for detox). So the shorter the ingredient list, the better.

    Any suggestions?

    1. My husband uses coconut oil (unrefined, so it hasn’t be de-odor-ized). Not much, and I can’t smell it unless I put my nose in his hair! I don’t know if he can smell it or not, and I don’t know if you’re bothered by the smell, or just concerned that others will be.

  166. I recently moved from a very dry climate (Nevada) back to a much more humid climate (Texas). I started going poo-less in Nevada and it worked great. As soon as I moved back to Texas though my hair has become super greasy very soon after I shower. I use a baking soda/water rinse and then a small amount of conditioner on the ends. Is there any way to fix this problem? I really don’t want to go back to using shampoo.

  167. Anyone have recommendations of what brand of to buy for all these products?

  168. Sachit – What do you mean what brand to buy for ‘all these products’? Most/many of us are simply using water.

    I wash my hair with just water, alternating between very warm and very cool, several times, each hair washing.

    Then I put on a rinse of my homemade kombucha, diluted in water, for a few minutes before rinsing with water.

    A full 3 months now of no shampoo and getting compliments like never before. Seriously. I did not get people mentioning my hair before this.

    When I told my hair stylist she could not get over it. “But, but your hair is so clean!”


  169. Since reading this article many months ago I realized it made perfect sense not to use shampoo anymore. I have not washed my hair in anything but warm water since then.
    My scalp feels great, no dandruff issues anymore, and I do not have problems with oiliness. If anything the ends need some oiling as I have long hair. I am going to treat them with coconut oil to prevent or at least minimize split ends.
    I love that I am saving money and more importantly TIME not having to rinse shampoo, then leave in conditioner, then rinse that.
    Thanks for writing about this!

  170. I have really enjoyed reading all the comments. I have very curly hair and I have used Deva hair products for 7 years. She makes a no poo and a low poo, but I usually use the conditioner. I plan to try the ACV. I make my own toothpaste, deodorant, and laundry detergent. It started out as a fun project, but they work so well we are hooked.


    3 T coconut oil ( got it at whole foods)
    2 T arrow root powder (bob’s red mill)
    4 T baking soda
    1 tsp pepermint oil ( got it at whole foods)
    20 + drops pepermint flavoring
    10 drops spearmint flavoring 
    1 pkt stevia

    I melt the oil for about 30 sec and then mix everything together. I got the flavoring at a cake decorating store because the pepermint oil was just not minty enough – you can play with the drop amount depending on your taste. The amount of baking soda can also be increased if you want more abrasive paste. I pour it in a container and place it in the fridge to set up. Then to the bathroom counter. I want to figure out a better dispensing method- because if you have multiple people dipping their toothbrush into the jar to paste up it can get gross 🙂

    I read a lot of recipies- watched some videos- and came up with my own paste based on my research. You can also add milk thistle for improving the overall “decrease in gum inflammation” if you have issues with this

    I would love to know what you think – and if you have any ways to improve it

  171. I can get behind a shampoo-less (I’m sorry, I find the “poo” shorthand utterly cringe-inducing) or, at the very least, -cone- and SLS-free. This is an INCREDIBLY girly alternative, but CocoaPink makes excellent products.

    But as for that “modern” convention of makeup? You can pry it from my cold, dead hands. Nuh-uh. Can’t make me.

  172. Every time there is a mention of No Poo somewhere, there are tons of questions and comments from experience. So, I thought it might be a good idea to set up a question and answer site to help beginners, and kind of let everyone discuss the No Shampoo/Soap lifestyle, and all the different experiences and experiments we are doing.

    I would like to invite you to come post on our forum to provide info and experiences.

    So, if you are interested, go check it out: https://beyondshampoo.com

    I’m not selling anything, and I would appreciate people participating in honest, good discussions.

  173. I haven’t used shampoo, soap (except after I use the toilet), and shaving cream in over a year now. My hair has been fine. I don’t smell, either. I just recently got rid of toothpaste. I haven’t done the research, but based on the fact that every other product is designed to want to make you use it more (like chapstick), I don’t see a reason to trust toothpaste either. Now all I have left to get rid of in my life is deodorant, brushing altogether (destroys enamel, right?), and using cologne.

  174. I haven’t used shampoo, soap (except after I use the toilet), and shaving cream in over a year now. My hair has been fine. I don’t smell, either. I just recently got rid of toothpaste. I haven’t done the research, but based on the fact that every other product is designed to want to make you use it more (like chapstick), I don’t see a reason to trust toothpaste either. Now all I have left to get rid of in my life is deodorant (do tribal people stink?), brushing altogether (destroys enamel, right?), and using cologne.

  175. Brian, once you do the research, you’ll know for sure you’re on track to ditch the toothpaste. Not sure about ditching brushing altogether, tho probably best not to brush after acidic food.

    Deo? Smearing on coconut oil has worked amazingly well for a lot of us. Some add a dusting of baking soda, as well, tho just baking soda can be too harsh.


    1. I’ve heard that acidic food weakens the tooth enamel for a number of hours after eating it.. best to rinse mouth with water during that period.

      The question with deodorant, is if we would need it on an ideal diet. I’ve heard rumors that a couple tribal cultures don’t have body odor, but I have no idea if this is true or not.

  176. After trying to ditch shampoo for 2.5 months on the first go-round and not having any success with it, I’ve decided to tri it again almost a year later.
    I’ve used nothing but baking soda and vinegar to try to get rid of the build-up, but it wasn’t helping at all. My hair felt so heavy and greasy for a full month. I then decided to find this topic again and re-read all the comments to see if I could find something that would help de-grease my hair:)
    Kat’s suggestion about egg yolk wash was sooo helpful. I did it this morning and my hair finally feels clean. I didn’t have to put it in a pony-tail today. I don’t know how much this is going to last, but I kind of feel like using egg yolks instead of a shampoo is still way better:)

    Next project – home-made deodorant. Man, I can save myself so much money in the long run:)

  177. A big shout-out thank you to Kat for her egg yolk suggestion.

    I had been working on going shampoo-less for about a month and still couldn’t seem to get a certain level of greasiness out of my hair except by excessive brushing. Tried the egg yolk thing and – voila! – I think my hair is now perfect!

    I haven’t yet tried any baking soda/apple cider vinegar or sea salt/white vinegar washes yet. I may do that in the future, but right now, and for the foreseeable future, my hair care is coming out of the dairy section!

  178. I just stumbled upon your site and have been hopping from one post to another through links inside them. I know this is an older post, but I couldn’t help but share that I use Dr. Bronner’s for my hair. I really only wash my hair every couple of days (every other in the summer, third day in winter), but I use Dr. Bronner to wash and then, two or three times a month, a citrus rinse. As for deodorant, I use a salt crystal that prevents body odor bacteria, but allows me to sweat as I was intended.

  179. not using shampoo seems pretty stupid. The air quality today is much different than pre-industrial revolution. I dont think that just water would be enough to get all the daily build up of gunk from pollutants out of the hair. I’ve known plenty of people with great thick heads of hair that shampoo daily.

    1. Rubbing a bunch of chemicals into your hair and onto your scalp “seems” more stupid.

  180. how can you wash all the modern day pollutants and grime (car exhaust etc.) out of the hair with just water?

    1. Can you tell me which pollutants get stuck in hair in the first place (in its natural form, without hairspray or gel)? Can these pollutants not be washed out with water? If not, then what chemicals in shampoo are actually needed to rid of the pollutants? If you can answer that, then maybe I’ll believe shampoo to be benificial.

      1. shampoo isn’t going to kill you. I’m more afraid of a tsunami or earthquake than my bottle of shampoo.

  181. I stopped using shampoo and soap, except for my hands when handling food or after using the bathroom but haven’t told anyone, especially my mate. I think he would be horrified, but in fact my hair is fine, and I don’t smell! (Except yesterday when I climbed the hill back from the nude beach.) When I shower, I use a scrubby (or what ever you call those plastic things) on both my head and my skin – I think it helps get the loose skin that we normally shed off my body. And I feel clean and my skin looks good. Also had my haircut yesterday and felt that the barber had no idea he was cutting unwashed hair. I like this.

  182. I have also quit using shave cream for my face. I just shave dry, believe it or not and think I do a better job of getting smooth. It can tend to burn though, so i sometimes use water – they always say to wet your face with water to soften your beard hair first. I don’t put any lotions on either. I have used lotions very rarely when my skin was dry. I think that without the soap, my skin is starting to be less scaly (I mean on my legs, not my face. lol.)

  183. Regarding the comment about body odour; I’ve only recently gone Primal, and struggling with carbs (damned things are in EVERYTHING!!! Lol ;)) – I’ve noticed on my good days where carb intake is right down, I tend to have either no noticeable body odour, or if I do smell, it’s of something I’ve eaten a lot of (the other day for example, I noticed the pits were pleasantly smelling of strawberries, because I’d had strawberries on two occasions during that day). On bad days, when I just can’t resist the carbs I shouldn’t be eating, a very acidic smelling BO returns with a vengance. I have been using a natural deodorant for years now, as conventional products kept causing cysts under my arms, just rock salt in a spray bottle with water – shake, spray and go! I sometimes add a drop or two of lavender oil, usually if I’m going out, just for girly-perfume’s sake 😉 as I don’t use any perfumes whatsoever. But this nukes the bacteria feeding on my dead skin cells and sweat, and so thus nukes any smells 🙂

    Been trying to wean myself off of soap, shampoo and all the other gunk we’re supposed to use in the name of hygiene for a while. I’m now down to: no toothpaste just brushing with water and occasionally chewing on a stick in the oral hygiene department (results so far: sweet breath on good carb days, cleaner tongue and at least as clean if not cleaner teeth – have to wait for the dentist’s verdict on that one); an all-natural, all-organic, lavender soap for hand-washing and if I feel the need in the shower; aloe vera for moisturising (mainly the stubborn dry areas on my face, and for my hands after work) – result: skin is still adjusting but already feels amazing, the dry areas on my face and my cracked elbows are healing nicely. I never have showered more than twice a week, so no problem with over-washing, it’s just what I was washing with.

    Shampoo is going to be the biggie. Again, made the change from conventional to a good quality natural product a while back, but still had grease issues, dandruff issues and my curls were still basically rebellious frizz. I only wash my hair once a week, so again, it’s not over-washing, but what I’m washing it with that’s causing the problem. It’s now 4 weeks since I last washed my hair, and OK it looks a bit greasy, but the curls are actual curls and the dandruff, although still there is reduced. After reading through all the tips and advice here, I’m going to give some things a try, and hopefully I’ll be going shampoo-less too 😀

  184. this is the first time i have ever heard of this and i think i’ll be giving it a try. but i style my hair A LOT with hairspray (it’s my best friend). any ideas as to what to use instead?

  185. I used Apple cider vinegar diluted in water to clean my hair and it worked really well. You have to be very thorough with the scalp massage and you have to let it sit for a few minutes. I did it twice in one shower. I used a spray bottle instead of dumping it in my head. The spray bottle works much better. i used 1 tablespoon mixed with 8oz of distilled water.

  186. Very cool subject. I’ve been unemployed for over a year, so I ditched the morning shower thing as a habit. I’ve got a pool and a hot tub and I love em both and I’m in em alot. It’s pretty obvious that just getting wet on a regular basis keeps you darn clean. What else did Grok have? And that would be cold water only on most of the planet. As far as the “smell” goes, what you exude is determined by what you take in. When you clean up your diet and get hydrated, the body does not have to slough off tons of crap through your skin. I think it’s like a lot of Primal stuff – you just can’t imagine it’s RIGHT. Then you try it, and whaddaya know…..

  187. I’ve been water-only for about six months now. Before then, I was baking soda-only for a few months. At the beginning of W/O I just didn’t get my hair wet at all. I was going for dry brush-only, but I gave up before I gave it a chance to get through the transition period. It was oily for weeks, and I kept it in french braids and such. I got impatient and rinsed with water and everything was good. I’ve been W/O since then. I may try no-water in the future, but W/O is working for now.

    I’ve stretched it to one rinse a week (W/O on my body too, except sometimes I decide to use soap in some *ahem* areas) and I use a deodorant crystal/rock on my pits every morning.

    I’m sure I smell more like a human than modern people are used to, but even my most honest of friends haven’t mentioned an offensive smell.

    I rinse my face daily with warm water, and I find that dries it out.
    I use soap on my hands.

    As for my hair, it’s not as manageable as I’d like (better since I cut it shorter), and I think that’s mostly due to my neglecting to brush it with boar bristle brush (vegan alternative) on a daily basis coupled with the hard water. I’ve heard that lemon juice-rinse-ACV-rinse takes care of hard water residue and restores the natural pH, but I haven’t tried.

  188. I haven’t shampooed my hair for 2 months. I’ve used baking soda and vinegar ad directed. I have thick wavy hair and I use to use a lot of product (mousse and gel). Needless to say if I leave it alone I will look like carrot top or someone with really poofy hair. I scrolled down this article and learned about the fascinating replacement for “gel”, aloe vera! What I love about aloe Vera is for one it’s not sticking and as gooey as “gel”. You can use it on dry hair ( the next day after washing it ) bc it almost works like water to rewet your hair. All at the same time you will get marvelous curls and it will have you saying sayanara to those chemically processed products. Your hair won’t get as crispy or shiny as it will with “gel” so that’s a goody too!

  189. I am struggling with the third week of being poo-free. I have read the numerous posts about the transition being difficult, but the results being worth it.

    I am willing to stick it out, but my biggest issue right now is static. I have long, naturally wavy hair, and I’m going crazy trying to tame it. Can anyone offer recommendations to reduce static electricity? Has anyone else experienced this during the poo phase-out period?

    1. I’ve been poo-less (water only) for a couple of years now, thrilled with the results, my long hair does not tangle.

      However, I notice awful static when away from home, if I have to wash my hair in hard water.

  190. I feel weird saying this, but I’ve never liked showering… I never felt “better” like people said I would, and I did get made fun of it at camp where I would put up a fight to take a shower because I didn’t feel dirty one day (I had been sick and hadn’t been doing what everyone else had been doing)… My hair usually goes 1-2 weeks without being washed (yes with shampoo, but I’ve recently decided to switch to No-Poo baking soda/ACV) as does my body.

    I shave my pits every time I shower year round. I only shave my legs between late April/Early November (at the latest) because I cover my legs completely during the cold months.

    I only wear makeup for special occasions and I only use deodorant when I know I’m going to be doing something more active than usual.

    My body is used to this. It doesn’t start to stink as fast as others do because it’s not “cleaned” as often. At the first sign that I’m starting to stink (I can tell and my family starts telling me) I shower. This can take 1-2 weeks depending on what I do.

    Life is really very simple when you don’t do much to yourself. You have more money, the products that you do buy last a lot longer and you have a lot more time.

  191. i have just recently graduated from cosmetology school last December(beauty school it sounds more fancy though when you say cosmetology)any way i am licensed now and when i started school i never knew or understood the risks of the products we use in our industry. it was not until i became aware of the high amounts of formaldehyde and other toxic preservatives in products. that is when i started questioning the intentions of the big cosmetics company. it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look up products names and their ingredients. however in the consumers defense not many of them know how bad it is getting out there.

    first let me say our industry is not regulated by the F.D.A we can use and abuse words like “organic” or “natural” but the whole concoction can be a mess of detergents, preservatives, and only god knows what else. second anything that is “formaldehyde free” is an illusion. shocker right i mean why would the big companies lie about what they put in there products?? the point is have knowledge about what you are putting in and on your body and also your childrens bodies as well. ever hear of a “baby friendly” company called Johnson & Johnson? guess what they are the worst! just read the lable as your reading the baby shampoo and body wash read down until you see the words
    quaternium 15,
    imidazolidinyl urea,
    diazolidinyl urea
    Methyl aldehyde
    Methylene oxide
    Morbicid acid

    my point is people please read your labels!! and always research!

  192. i tried the poo-less shampoo last night – a little over a tablespoon of baking soda in about 300 odd mills of water. wonderful. didnt need a conditioner – and my hair feels like silk. i only usually wash it once a week anyway (with a low toxin shampoo – but i always need conditioner after that) and have been trying to do it less and less often. btw, female, 45, shoulder blade length, fine, vaguely wavy hair, last 4 inches of which are colour treated

  193. I have had success eliminating commercial hair products and been “poo-less” for 4 years. In the shower, use 1 T baking soda in 8 oz water to wash, then 1 T apple cider vinegar in 8 oz water to rinse, followed by quick plain water rinse from the showerhead. Do this 1-2x per week; just rinse with water when not “washing” it. My shoulder-length thick hair with slight waves is soft and luxurious, never dry, never oily (no vinegar smell, either). Bronners never worked for me, but my husband likes it for his much shorter hair.

  194. Does that combination of baking soda in water really work? Any side effects? sounds scary……

  195. Sometime this summer I stopped showering every day. I told myself I would shower after doing something to get sweaty, and would then fail to do that something, and not shower. Got in the habit of showering every 4 or 5 days with no smell comments.
    Saw a link to this post at some point, but continued using shampoo every shower (so like 3 times every 2 weeks). Since college started in August I have showered without shampoo more often than with.
    Water and finger-scrubbing works just as well as shampoo as far as I can tell. Never have used soap in the shower. Last shower: November 4. Smell: Fine.

  196. Hi, if trialling ‘poo-less’, what’s the deal with conditioner – I’m guessing you stop using that too, do you?


  197. I sure agree for many reasons that poo-less and soapless are the ways to go, however, my personal experience is that all four of our adult children have greasy, stinky hair that I prefer not to be anywhere near. Maybe they haven’t tried ACV and baking soda and such, so I’ll make some gentle suggestions. Then maybe its my turn…..