As an Experiment Man Goes without Soap or Shampoo for a Year

Sean Bonner reasoned that human beings have evolved without soap, and therefore it's unnatural to strip away the dirt, oil, and grime of daily life with it. As an experiment, he stopped using soap and shampoo for a year. Although Bonner still showers on a regular basis, he uses just water. He's written about his experience so far, and why he's decided to give up on soap permanently:

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 again.


Link | Bonner's Website | Photo by Flickr user aonecrafts used under Creative Commons license

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Newest 5 Comments

It's weird to me, but whatever. I jut hope you folks who don't use shampoo or soap really don't smell.
My husband's aunt uses soap, uses shampoo and showers every single day, but she doesn't wear deoderant and BOY can you tell.
I know that's not exactly the same, but just another incident of someone being used to their own funk.

I could never go without soap or shampoo. I've had incidents where I couldn't shampoo my hair (but still shower), and you know what happened? I had gross greasy stringy hair.
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mmm very interesting, this post got LOTS of comments. And a lot of very judgmental ones at that. I understand that hygiene is a very sensitive topic but some comments are down right mean and judgmental.

For some people, if you don't work in the food or medical field there is no reason for you to bath so much. It is very damaging to your skin when you are forced to use city water. It is a good idea not to bath but every 2 weeks. But for those of us working in the med and food field sorry sorry get scrubbing every day lol.
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Hmmmm...I have a roommate who drains the hot water heater (40 gal) which is set pretty damn hot, with every shower. Sometimes she showers twice a day. Her hair smells like head all the time. (She lets her chiweeny sleep on her pillow at night.) Regardless of her dog codependency (her dog being relatively non-offensive in odor), her head still smells like hippie-head.

I believe that it is her body's pheromones that are offensive, not her grooming habits. I also believe that if the water bill is $250 dollars a month again one more time, that the bitch bees payin' half of it!!

Oh yeah, and you people who don't use soap ever????..Your effulgence, while generally unnoticeable to yourself, distinguishes you to the rest of the civilized herd, as a Mc.Stinky-Butt.
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I'm with you all the way, John. Anyone that thinks that they can tell a person who isn't using soap, is confusing them with a person that Eisn't using water. I stopped using different 'personal' products at differnt times and my life, and now smell better, my skin feels better, my body functions better and I save money. I am now soap, shampoo, deodorant (more on that later, for those who want to judge), and tampon free. Soap does not make a difference, smelling like 'an irish spring' vs smelling like skin. No one knows, and if they do who cares? I do not stink nor am I odorous, which can be as offensive to some as BO. It is also crazy to compare 'the smelly kid in class' to a person who bathes without soap. That smelly kid probably also wore clothes multiple times and was living in unfortunate circcumsstances, real classy to make fun.
I dance, a lot, and I sweated more and smelled terribly after when I used deodorant. Due to the fact that deodorant clogs your pores to stop the sweat so when it comes out it really flows and it also contains chemicals and poisons. It works the same way that a perfume that smells great on your friend, smells terribly on you. Once a body purges itself of the POISONS (you do not need aluminum under your arms, it causes cancer...) it finds a natural balance, that has been in humans since we've existed.
Shampoo and soap operate the same way, they strip away the oils that your body is producing. Your body already knows what it needs. My skin is clearer, softer, closer to the ideal that I'd prefer. And the same goes for my hair. Curly hair especially needs less stripping of oils. I have less dandruff and I started using Cade Oil to combat the lil flakies I had left. Dandruff is now a thing of the past for me.
*Spoiler Alert* Im going to discuss femine issues, if you are immature, please stop reading.
I switched from tampons to disposable cups. Tampons have BLEACH in them. My period is now, lighter with NO cramping. And its because tampons suck your natural 'juices' out, and introduces chemicals that make you cramp and make, your period last longer, so they can sell you more tampons and more products for cramps.
*End Spolier*
Long story short, don't knock if it you don't try it. It may not be for you, maybe you have a fabulous shampoo and who am I to tell you not to use it. But for me, and lots of other people (who you can't smell, stop being an idiot) this saves money, and it goes beyond 'working' into being 'the best thing I've ever done for my body'.
You should also try vegetables, sheeple.
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