Exactly 4 weeks ago I decided to do some hygiene hacking and see how my body reacts if I entirely cut out soap & shampoo out of my life for 4 weeks. Here are some of the lessons I learned along the way while experimenting with this kind of soap-free lifestyle:
1. Neither Dirty Nor Stinky
Universially, the first reaction I got from people I told about my experiment prompted the question: „Are you not going to be dirty and smelly from not using soap?“
After 4 weeks, I have to disappoint anybody who wouldn’t bear being around me. During the first two weeks, I felt like my skin and hair needed time to re-calibrate and adjust to the fact that there wasn’t going to be anymore soap or shampoo. Especially, it felt like my thick hair was a bit more reluctant to stay the way I wanted. But this pretty much stopped around the 2-week mark and I noticed how it had developed its own kind of natural oily layer.
For those who would like to try going soap-free and are concerned about the hygiene of pubic area, I can say that I never felt dirty or unhygienic. The „water-only-showers“ I was having each day or so were more than enough to keep everything fresh and clean.
2. Developing a Natural Smell
We have been so conditioned to think that the only way to keep the exterior of our body „clean“ so to speak is through the regular exposure to industrially produced soap. To think that people for millenia have never used soap seems inconceivable in today’s oversterilised Western world.
With that in mind, I was curious to find out what natural smell my body gravitates towards if I don’t smother it with the dominant smell of artificial soap & shampoo. Many animals mutually attract each other via their smell. I am sure that smell also plays a vital factor when human beings instinctively feel attracted or repelled by other people.
One thing I noticed is that my skin developed a very pleasant smell I had not known before. I am not sure whether it will become more poignant in the coming months. But at least I have a good idea what my body smells like naturally.
3. No Compulsion to Wash Myself All the Time
This is the most positive result about this experiment. I remember how every time I came home, the first thing I would do is to go wash the shit out of my hands with soap. Not only do I think that this unncecessary, I think it shows signs of compulsive behaviorial pattern.
Just because I came in contact with some form of non-life threatening bacteria in the outside world shouldn’t justify the need to wash my hands/face several times a day. Similarly, if my hair feels clean and not smelly, why would I need to shampoo it every morning I enter the shower? Often times before the experiment, I would soap my entire body under the shower just because that’s what I had always been doing under the shower for years. Talk about compulsive behaviour.
Now that I have gotten rid of this compulsion, I have more time in the shower. Instead of soaping, I can focus on burning fat under the shower by doing super cold showers.
Continuing with No Soap & Shampoo
I see no reason why I would want to go back to using soap or shampoo. During the 4 week experiment, I used apple cider vinegar ONCE to wash my hair and skin. For all those not using soap & shampoo, washing yourself with apple cider vinegar every now and then is a good way to feel fresh and ultra clean without the toxic load of liquid soap. I also discovered using medicinal clay on my skin to cleanse the pores and provide valuable silica to my skin.
In any case, I am not forcing myself not to use soap & shampoo but right now it feels right not to use any and I will continue going without for the coming months.