Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Washing sans soap or shampoo

with 3 comments

This post in Boing Boing caught my eye. I haven’t used soap in the shower for years, ever since I read a comment by a Brit that Americans are crazy about soap.  He said that you need soap in the shower only if you are really dirty, with ground-in dirt, grease, and the like. Otherwise, if it’s just sweat and the daily grind for an office worker, water is plenty.

I tried it, and he’s right. What caught my eye in the story is that shampoo can similar be put aside, though it takes one’s hair a while to get right. I do know that some people don’t use shampoo except once a week or fortnight, and simply use conditioner.

I got a haircut today and made it short because I want to try the no-shampoo approach.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 January 2010 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Daily life

3 Responses

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  1. I am curious. Do you have any authoritative reasons for this practice? In the wintertime, in particular, I have to use CETAPHIL or the like almost full body to control itch. I have a feeling that eliminating soap would make this unnecessary. Can I hope to go “no soap” without my wife knowing about it?

    Bob Slaughter

    4 January 2010 at 8:22 pm

  2. For what it’s worth, I have very long hair for a guy (at one point past the shoulder blades, currently to the shoulders), and since it’s so thick (and I can’t find a shampoo that doesn’t “add body” or “volumize” anywhere in the city, meaning a one-way ticket to hair big enough for an 80s club) I can get by with one shampoo a week – not even water on the intervening days.At one point (camping, with no access to water), it went nearly two months between shampoos, with the occasional water-cleaning in between. In all cases it worked fine.

    Just adding in that long(er) hair isn’t necessarily a barrier to this. (With all of the caveats, of course – no two mens’ hair is identical, and I’m not totally shampoo-free.)


    By the way, on a related note more relevant to your interests: I’ve found that since I can shower much faster if I’m not washing my hair, and since about March I’ve challenged myself by taking every shower where I don’t wash my hair as a Navy shower (wiki the term if you’re unfamiliar). It’s surprisingly easy, and cut my water bill down tremendously while encouraging me to move quickly in the mornings (helps wake up).

    However, thanks to your blog and book (and Mantic’s vids), I’ve recently discovered wet shaving. This has led to a dilemma – since hot water’s required, and the hotter it is the faster it cools, I’ve found myself running a lot more hot water than usual. Before this adds up to a lot of waste, and while I’m still forming DE-shaving habits, have you any advice on cutting down water usage while wet-shaving without sacrificing too much in terms of quality or comfort? (This’d probably be of great interest to travelers, too.) (And yes, I have searched some of the forums on this. It doesn’t seem to be a major concern – or maybe there’s a term experienced shavers use for it that I’m not acquainted with.)

    Brian D

    4 January 2010 at 10:30 pm

  3. @Bob: I had no reasons to try it other than the observation of the Brit. Still it seemed worthwhile. Regarding the winter: I live in Monterey, so I don’t have to deal with the excessively dry air of wintertime. I imagine that this method would require significant adjustments for a winter in upstate New York.

    @Brian: It’s possible to use a Sunbeam Hot Shot or (say) the Adagio UtiliTEA kettle to heat the water: pour it into the sink, add enough cold to make it tolerable, and use that. What I do is run water at the sink until it’s hot (which takes very little water when I do this post-shower) and then turn on water only when I need it—i.e., I don’t let it just run. I have a single-handle Delta faucet, so this is easy. Also, with more time and more experience, you’ll find that your shaves go faster.

    Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.


    5 January 2010 at 8:20 am

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