February 16, 2024

Presenting Kathleen: Dirty Hippie

So I'm undertaking yet another wacked-out thing to cause my parents to wonder how in the world they ever wound up with me as their spawn.  I'm giving up shampoo.

In fact, I just might be giving up soap too.  Well, not entirely.  Just on my head and most of my body---hands and um, lady parts, excluded (TMI, I know. Apologies especially to the in-real-life friends who are readers).

I've read quite a bit of blog posts, forum discussions, and other articles about giving up shampoo (sometimes referred to the no 'poo challenge), and even soap, and dare I say, I'm intrigued.  I have fussy, sensitive skin that breaks out easily, as well as hair that just seems oilier as of late.  Why not try this out for 2 weeks and see how it goes?  I'm up for a challenge, especially one that's not so risky or dramatic, and can be abandoned at any time via a hot, soapy shower.

My showering routine already was on that path to this--washing my hair every other day or every 3 days, using a vinegar rinse, and only using soap on my body (arms, legs, torso) once a week, which seemed to help a lot with dry skin (hey, it's not like I'm digging ditches and running marathons around here, sweatin' it up). I also don't use hair products or makeup (only on special occasions), and let my hair air-dry all the time, so I wasn't concerned about having to wash product build-up out of my hair without soap.

Today was my first non-shampoo shower.  Rather than just go cold-turkey and shower with only water, I massaged some baking soda into my wet hair, then poured apple cider vinegar over it as a rinse.  I also washed my face with a baking soda paste, rather than soap, which Chris has been doing too with great success for the occasional eczema on his face.

The results of day 1? I'm actually pretty impressed.  I was concerned that I'd look like one of The Outsiders, without the jean jacket, however my hair feels softer and has more curl in it.
It does feel a tad greasy, but if all goes according to plan, the natural oils in my hair will calm down once my scalp adjusts over a week or two.  But in the photo above, it really looks fine, at least to me.

My face feels a lot softer and less dry too. I just used baking soda, then patted it dry and added a drop of Weleda Pomegranate Oil to it, and it's really feeling soft and clean.  And according to Chris, I don't smell, though my hair does look a little greasy (I beg your pardon!).

The key to this method of hygiene is that it's not reveling in stink and dirt and avoiding showers (a la the hippies of the past) but keeping clean with water.  I'm not quite ready to give up baking soda and vinegar just yet, but am hoping to try it sometime soon. 

I plan on updating my progress through the challenge, in case you might be interested in seeing the results.

So am I crazy? Would you do this?


  1. If I had nice straight hair like yours, I might go for it. With mine, ain't no way.

  2. Sure, if I had sensitive skin and scalp couldn't find a product to use.

    Think I'd go natural first though.

  3. The hair's oily stage will balance out again. It takes a few days :)

    Hmm I'm not sure I'd be able to use just water though. But heck, 2 years ago I'd probably say "I'm not sure I'd be able to just use baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair"... ;) Never say never I guess!

    Looking forward to seeing how it works for ya.

  4. You crazy hippie, you! Naw. I would totally consider banning soap. (I hardly ever use it on my face and extremities, and like you I avoid makeup and hair products most of the time.) It's a great way to let your body naturally moisturize itself. Personally, I'm not ready to stop using shampoo. I have dry, flyaway hair and a sensitive scalp. I use conditioner to make it brushable. An then shampoo to take out the conditioner build up the next day. ;) Vicious cycle, eh?

  5. That is awesome! I'm looking forward to the results.

  6. I never use soap on my face. Ever, ever, ever. Just a washcloth and water. When I was pregnant, and for the five years following the last child, I only needed to wash my hair once a week at most - I had hair down to my elbows and it was so thick I couldn't put it all in the largest size pony tail band. It took much shampoo and time to wash. My hair has thinned a LOT in the last two years; I have to wash it twice a week because it looks oily if I don't. I will try your baking soda and vinegar rinse, though, because I'd like to get away from the shampoo... I like my dove moisturizer bars for when I shave, too much to give those up.

    Xa Lynn

  7. Keep us posted...I want to try this, but I'm nervous!

  8. Would love to see how this continues! I have always tried to stay away from soaps, especially on my face - might have to try this on my hair one of these days.

  9. No way are you crazy Kathleen! In fact, I envy you for trying these new and adventurous things :)

    Seriously, how are we going to know what works and what doesn't if we don't try? And trying involves everything-The good, the bad, the seemingly crazy, etc etc etc.

    I can't wait to see how this experiment proceeds!

  10. You're very courageous. I don't think I would be able to give up shampoo. I have very dry skin/scalp and that would be a disaster if I went off the treatment stuff I use. Good luck though, I can't wait to hear about your journey with it.

  11. I tried this a couple of years ago and did it for awhile. I found that it would work a lot of them time but then all the sudden my hair would go into a funk and it was hard to get it back to normal. I would like to try it again because shampoo really does strip the oils and make my scalp more oily in the long run.

    As far as soap goes, since college I've learned to only wash the "hot spots" to keep my skin from drying out so much (unless I'm diggin' in the dirt or something like that). On my face I use the oil control method in the winter and just water in the summer.

    You're not crazy! I like trying new things too!

  12. I've read alittle about rosemary rinses, too. Do you know anything about that. I can't wait to hear about your success!

  13. I think it's a great idea though I haven't been brave enough to try it myself. I HATE having greasy hair. And I really don't like the smell of apple cider vinegar so I wouldn't use that. But it really is a terrific thing to do and I'll be interested in hearing your progress!

  14. well, I don't think you are crazy at all. I think it is interesting to try natural methods. Baking soda is just one of those things that is so useful for many things.

  15. No, I'm one of those weirdos who has to shampoo every day. I'm curious to see how you fare, though! Just don't start dreading it, okay?

  16. At one point, I was debating on doing the same. I read so much online about it and I am not sure why I decided not to give it a shot. So many people really like the result they get. Keep us updated!

  17. I don't think I could do it. I love my hot, soapy shower. I do have to really moisturize after to keep my skin soft. I'll be interested to see how you do. I've read about others that loved it. I use a pure soap from Japan on my face. The company (www.dhccare.com) sells a pure olive oil to wash your face with. Women swear by it and I guess it's what most Japanese woman use. I tried it, but hated the way it felt on my skin while and after washing!

  18. I only wash my hair twice a week and rarely use soap either. (Hands and my l**y parts too). My skin breaks out like crazy if I use soap and I end up so itchy. My hair is happier but I do need to find something better to wash it with than shampoo.


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