The short answer: no. The long answer: not at all.
I still can’t believe I’ve spent my whole life – almost 3 decades – washing my entire body with soap every single day. Sad to say my obsession for cleanliness was blurring my judgement. The reality is, doing so is achieving nothing more than stripping out all the protective oils and killing off the good bacteria that makes us healthy… which is complete non sense! I am not even talking about the insane amount of packaging used to produce these products, neither the chemicals leaked in grey water leading to ocean pollution. Don’t even get me started on the whole range of beauty products billions of people use on a daily basis…Humans have been using some kind of “soap” for hundreds of years, but certainly not on a daily basis and not packed with dozen of chemicals. So when even the most basic one (soap/detergent), is so over used that we don’t even know what a human smells like anymore, I call BS.
How did we evolve in a specie that can’t auto-clean itself?
We didn’t. Alright, I can hear you saying we’re not animals (yes we are), or that living in society requires to eliminate naturally occurring body odors (what is wrong with us?). Chances are you’ve been brainwashed just like me into thinking you need these products to live a healthy, non-smelly, proper life. You might think you’d be an outcast if you don’t use tons of soap, deodorant and perfumes, or that you’ll catch some kind or disgusting disease. This is just not true. While washing our hands with soap after going to the bathroom is definitely a good idea, we certainly don’t need to wash our whole selves on a daily basis with detergents. Let’s think about the consequences of our futile efforts to blend in this sick society, our impact on the planet and our health. When we use soap/shower gel/whatever, we strip our skin from its natural protection. Then our skin feels dry, so we put a nice layer of moisturizer, then our shower are full of scum , so we use more products to clean the mess. When exactly did water and natural raw products stop doing their job? You guessed it, it all started with Procter & Gamble and the first mass marketing campaigns.
Because you know what? Showering with water only is actually enough to be clean ourselves. It is in fact the best way of dealing with acne, eczema, or dry prone skins. Because most of us don’t roll in dog’s poo every day, 99% of the time there is absolutely no use for soap at all. And even when we work out hard and sweat like hell, water along with a good scrub will get rid of the salt and excess oils very well. Because… our skin is meant to handle that. So we did evolve in humans that can live healthy and clean without the help of Unilever marketers.
Screw the system, save the planet.
So what are you waiting for to try it? You have nothing to loose, on the contrary you’ll save money, your skin’s health and the environment. It will simplify and lighten your travels, and make you feel awesome. There is no better feeling than giving a finger to those damn marketers. After my epiphany, I ditched soap and shampoo altogether and no one around me complained. I still use alum crystal deodorant (that lasts a year or more) and that’s it, no middle age smell is following me all around and I don’t have to dip myself in moisturizer. My partner stopped using soap all over as well and we both feel we’ll never get soap and store bought shampoo back in our life.
You might wonder (I know you do!) about these dreadful armpits and groin areas, which are a bacteria’s paradise and surely deserves soap. Well it happens nature has done a good job there too, and water only will clearly do the job without transforming you into in a smelly dirty sickly human. If you’re still repulsed by the idea of not using soap in the groin area, check out this reddit thread about this 2 males 2 little girls family experience. They report having reduced body odors (yes, REDUCED as compared to washing with soap, after a day’s work). But if you can’t handle it, using just a tiny bit of soap for armpits and/or groin is already a huge improvement to your overall health and so much more considerate on the environment. Less is more when it comes to soap!
And what about hair?
You can absolutely go water only for your hair as well, if you can get past the transition phase where you feel like you dipped your head in an oil jar. Strong determination is de rigueur but it’s possible. If you go that route, simply do the same massage routine you’d do with shampoo but without shampoo (massaging / lightly scrubbing your scalp for a minute or so), with warm water to help remove excess oils. While I only use water for my body (and sometimes a tiny tiny bit of natural chemical free soap) I still use some kind of home made “hair cleaner”, which is simply rye flour mixed with water, followed by a rinse with apple cider vinegar diluted in water. I had no idea before I started looking into this, but there is a movement called going “no poo”, where you have people using just water, and some other using rye or chickpea flour or baking soda followed by vinegar based rinses. This “no poo” thing is a bit controversial but for me it works very well. Check out my new hair cleaning routine that does not involve any kind of detergent.