I Haven't Used Soap or Shampoo in a Year, and It's Awesome

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I stopped using
soap a year ago. It was easily one of the best moves I’ve ever made
in my entire flippin’ life.

About this
time last year I read
an article
(which Mark
mentioned here as well
) extolling the virtues of a soap-free
bathing experience. TL;DR version: Your body is designed to regulate
itself. Smearing chemicals all over it wrecks its own built-in processes,
and screws with naturally balanced pH levels. This made sense to
me and I thought I’d give it a shot for a month.

At the beginning
of February 2010, I
blogged about the results I’d seen so far.
I didn’t stink at
all (confirmed by friends, family and random people I ended up sitting
next to on various forms of public transit), my skin felt better,
oily and dry patches had all but disappeared and the light dandruff
I’d had my entire life was almost gone. I was pleased with the results
of my month experiment and decided I’d run with it for a while longer.
As of January 1, 2011: it’s been a year now, and I can’t imagine
ever going back.

More on the
results I’ve seen: As I just mentioned, my skin feels better than
ever before. Not that it ever felt bad, really, but it feels
awesome now. Still no stink at all, I swear even when I’m really
active and sweating I don’t notice any B.O., and I used to be über
self-conscious about this and would think I was stinking if I walked
up a flight of stairs too quickly. So this is a huge improvement
for sure. And with the exception of changing climates drastically,
even the dandruff is history. My previously wavy and mostly unmanageable
hair now seems much more willing to bend to my will, a dream of
mine since I first looked in a mirror, brush in hand, then tried
and failed to make any sense of that monster. So I approve for sure.

And speaking
of hair, that was actually a perfect test. Sometime mid-summer I
stopped by a barber and before I’d realized it he’d squirted a glob
of shampoo onto my head. It was too late to protest, so I just sat
through the scrubbing. For the following 2 weeks my hair was a mess:
full of dandruff and totally uncontrollable. Once things balanced
back out to the previously established no-soap norms, all was good

bonus: travel is much easier. Now that I’m not lugging shampoo and
conditioner with me on the road, there’s that much less for TSA
to hassle me about and more room in my luggage (which I quickly
with coffee stuff
, natch). Not that I always carried lots of
liquid toiletries with me, but now I don’t even have to think about
what the hotel I’m going to might provide, or worry about having
to borrow something from a friend until I can get to a store and
buy my own stuff. Those details are gone. I love it.

The future?
I will definitely be sticking with this. I’m still annoyed it took
me 35 years to learn what I clearly already knew as a baby kicking
and screaming when my parents tried to wash my hair. At least that’s
what I want to assume I knew back then. I know now, but I’d still
rather not think about how much I spent on soap and shampoo and
related products over the years when they were likely causing all
the problems I was trying to protect against.

If you don’t
believe me, you can totally smell me when you see me in public.
Really. Just ask. It won’t be weird at all. Okay, maybe a little

from Boing

10, 2011

Bonner has been involved with blogs and hackerspaces and art galleries
and record labels of the punk rock variety. Visit
his website
. Now he’s on Twitter.

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