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It all started, rather stopped, in Movember of 2010. Or, no soap no shampoo

Posted on December 19th, 2011 by Matt Schoeneberger

It was a little over a year ago when, in observance of Movember, I went on a hiatus from shaving. This doesn’t really mean much since I don’t grow much of a beard so an entire month of not shaving pretty much resembles that of any other man purposely sporting a well-groomed goatee. In any event, something about not shaving caused me to feel a bit primal, as the paleos call it.

Around the same time I was struggling to find a soap I could use that didn’t have a ton of chemicals I couldn’t pronounce but also didn’t make me break out. I had tried several “natural” soaps but I had adverse reactions to them. Out of frustration one day I showered with only water. There I was standing in the shower with nothing to do, no soap to lather, no shaving to be done. This continued for a few days, as it was still Movember and I felt no urgency to find a soap that met my requirements.

Skip to now. I haven’t used soap or shampoo for over a year, except for a few occasions where I felt it was absolutely necessary in order to re-join society (read: after weekend camping trips or weekend-long dodgeball tournaments). The benefits?

  • I don’t need product to sculpt my hair, not that I care to most of the time anyway.
  • My skin does not dry out in the winter months like it used to.
  • I save however much money people normally spend on soap and shampoo and hair stuff
  • My skin is soft to the touch, according my girlfriend anyway (suck on that metrosexuals!)

I’m not here to proselytize, just sharing my experience. But for what it’s worth Richard Nikoley at has been going without soap or shampoo for quite a while now and he likes it so you should too. No, seriously, he gets a lot more action in the comments section than we currently do, so head over there if you’re interested in reading more of others’ experiences. Or share your experience there, here, or wherever the hell you want to.





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6 Responses to “It all started, rather stopped, in Movember of 2010. Or, no soap no shampoo”

  1. Armi Legge says:

    Great post.

    I’ve been without soap/shampoo for over a year, and here’s what I found:

    - I smell the same
    - my hair used to be a little dry and wiry, now it’s much smoother and thicker
    - i don’t get split ends anymore
    - my skin feels healthier and less dry
    - i don’t have to spend money on soap and shampoo
    - i don’t have to spend time soaping up

    All benefits, no downsides :)

    Thanks guys!

  2. Luann says:

    Here, here! Commercial soaps have all the glycerin stripped out because the companies can make more money on the glycerin than the soap itself. Shampoos, like laundry detergent, are detergents, not soap, and not only strip the oils they are alkaline whereas your skin is acidic. I make my own laundry soap because detergents are hard on the cloth and bad for the environment—besides the fact I spend about $4 for a batch of laundry soap that lasts me about 6 months. Some don’t like to go that far because it is a bit fussy but here is a quick and easy tip to save money and the environment. Instead of fabric softener use a ¼ cup of white vinegar. The vinegar removes the last bits of soap and leaves your clothes static free, besides being a heck of a lot cheaper than fabric softener. I am all about fewer chemicals in my life.


  3. Luann says:

    Found it on the web–Google is my friend :)

    Homemade Laundry Soap
    By Crystal Miller –

    1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap like Zote or Ivory
    ½ cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (Washing soda is sodium carbonate or soda ash, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate).
    ½ cup 20 Mule Team borax powder
    ~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~

    Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.

    **A few things to note about the soap**

    ~The finished soap will not be a solid gel. It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an “egg noodle soup” look.

    ~The soap is a low sudsing soap. So if you don’t see suds, that is ok. Suds are not what do the cleaning; it is the ingredients in the soap.

    Optional: If you want your soap to have some sort of scent you can scent this with ½ to 1 oz. of essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice.

    Personal Notes: I have found that Ivory doesn’t have the cleaning power if you get grubby, which I do. If you have a heavily soiled spot you can use the soap as a pre-treat.

    Grating the soap is the biggest pain. I found a salad shooter on eBay for $5 which makes the job much easier. I would also suggest a dust mask so you don’t breath the soap dust. And since I am going to the trouble of grating I use the whole thing and make a triple batch.

    The Walmart up here carries all the ingredients–grocery stores are hit or miss.

    I use an old kitty litter bucket with a lid that snaps tight so the soap doesn’t dry out or crud doesn’t fall in.

    The vinegar leaves no smell behind at all, in fact the clothes just smell clean. The thing I really noticed was the total lack of static, even less than with fabric softener. I live in CO with low humidity and absolutely hate static cling!



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