My Year Without Soap


no soap for a year

Escaping a man made prison.

Most people that know me will tell you that I love ideas that challenge the norm. They don’t have to be massive world changing events. They just have to question what we believe is normal.

And apparently using chemicals to wash all our naturally produced oils from our bodies, so that we can replace them with even more chemicals is normal. So it was natural that I would fall in love with the “No ‘Poo” Programme. No Poo means No Shampoo, but extends to other personal cleaning products.

No Poo

The No Poo programme is an extension of the caveman lifestyle, which in turn is an extension of the Paleo diet. Every diet or lifestyle programme has participants at different ranges of incorporation. The caveman lifestyle is right up the other end of the extreme range for most people. Which means there’s probably a lot to be learned from it’s adherants.

For people that are unfamiliar with the Paleo diet, it’s about only eating foods in their natural state. For example, eating whole foods such as fruit and vegetables, mostly raw while avoiding manufactured products such as bread and 90% of the junk that you buy at a supermarket.

No Poo is one of the easiest programmes to adopt into your life because all you do is stop using soap and shampoo. And you get to start looking at ads for these products through different eyes. This isn’t about chemical versus natural. This is about being in control of what you expose your body to.

What I did

Like a diet or budget, any lifestyle change is more likely to succeed the easier it fits to your current method of living. For example, my brother in-law works with big heavy machinery all day so he gets grease and oil all up his arms. If he stopped using soap to wash that muck off, my sister would probably banish him to the backyard.

I adapted the programme to fit my life in the following ways. I;

  • stopped using soap to wash my body;
  • stopped using hair products such as shampoo, conditioner;
  • replaced shaving gel with coconut oil;
  • started using my loofah more regularly;
  • shower with hot water to open the pores and wash and then use colder water to close them again;
  • use soap only to wash my hands and;
  • use roll on anti perspirant and
  • use my after shave as it’s something I love.

What you can expect

Almost immediately I noticed my skin felt softer as did my hair. But I think that’s because I have short hair. They say that for people with longer hair such as the ladies, it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks for your hair to settle down as you’ve spent your entire lifetime stripping the oils from your hair and your body has to relearn to no produce it such large quantities.

The No Poo programme is not for everyone but I’m just glad to have found another way to do my little bit to reduce the amount of chemicals that are used on my body and in my home.

11 thoughts on “My Year Without Soap

  1. Embrace Ordinary

    It is far easier to stop using them all together rather than finding organic and natural ones to replace it with, I was looking for ways to reduce my usage of SLS Sodium laure…. sulphate or something like that. It is in everything and is what makes it froth up and from a lot of accounts it is not a very good ingredient. I stopped using soap ages ago too and swapped to a few drops of essential oil for my perfume. Congrats on your milestone 🙂

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    1. rodneybukuya Post author

      Thanks Jenni, you really do start to question the way the Unilevers of the world market don’t you. they’ve been very effective at convincing us all that we can’t survive without buying truck loads of their product each year.

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  2. Caitlin Grace

    Oh Rodney you are a man after my own heart!
    I am a follower of the WeSton A Price eating style which is similar to the Paleo though we do dairy in all its raw and fermented glory.
    But on to all things smelly. While I still love my girly facial cleansers and hair produst I have …… shhhh don’t tell anyone……. given up deodorant !. I never used antiperspirant as I couldnt understand why you would want to block off perspiration as it is one of the body’s best detoxing tools. for years I used the deodorant crystal which helps kill off the bacteria that cause the smell. and then one day I just …. stopped . No deodorant. No crystal. I do shower everyday and as I am not outside doing heavy manual labour but sitting at my computer crafting fabulous blogs and products I don’t feel like I need it. And no I don’t wear it even when I go out to socialise.
    what I have noticed is that I have started loving my natural smell and I fully believe that our natural scent is part of our signature and we are meant to sniff each other out. Not artifical scents crafted to smell like flowers or musky odours.
    Plus the cleaner you eat ( no junk food, lots of plant foods, drink lots of water and not addictive coffee and alcohol) your smell becomes cleaner too.

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    1. rodneybukuya Post author

      Hmmm you’ve got me re-thinking the anti perspirant now!! I feel I still need something as my work puts me around other people a lot and I often work long days and my excuses are starting to run into each other Hmmmmm!

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      1. Caitlin Grace

        Lol I would shift to a natural deodorant first to ease your way into it and allow all your pores to unclog from years of antiperspirant use. Its all a process and we take what steps we are comfortable with and if you are eating “clean” your sweat will not be strong anyway.

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  3. Pauline

    I tend to use the natural products, but I don’t use the bodywash every day, usually it’s just a rinse in hot water. Even if I’ve been gardening that usually takes care of everything. I use natural shampoo, but only wash my hair about once a week, sometimes once every two weeks.

    For deodourant, which I use only when I’m going out to visit clients or similar, (and then only if I remember) I use tea tree spray which I get from the supermarket. That kills the bacteria. If you don’t want to use the spray (it’s a personal choice) then you can just use tea tree oil straight from the bottle. This is anti-bacterial, so it’ll kill those smell-making bacteria. I personally love it because it smells so fresh and clean, but because I don’t use many chemicals at all and my nose is quite sensitive to smells, it’s still good! I also visit clients who are chemically sensitive, and they don’t have an issue with it, so it’s obviously not strong.

    I personally would be very careful with the coconut oil – is it ethically sourced? I’d hate to be part of the orangutan thing, even trying to be healthy. However, you’re a good bloke, so I’m sure you’re on top of that one. 🙂

    Jenni, you are completely correct, sodium laurel / laureth sulphate is not good for you. It’s one of the hundred odd products in personal care products which are toxic to humans, animals and the planet… I’d tell you some others, but the list is very long, and it’d make your hair curl, and some people don’t want curly hair. 🙂

    Good for you, Rod, I’m very impressed with your lifestyle changes, and the fact that you’re willing to share and open your life for us to learn with / from you. Thanks!!!

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  4. Kathryn Hodges

    Aaaah yes – the unveiling of another mandatory item that we actually don’t need!! Love it.

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