A Most Successful Self-Experiement: Over 18 Months Soap and Shampoo Free

01/04/11: Well it happened again. While Boing Boing didn’t link up this post, Sean Bonner linked up the original one. Bless his heart. And do read his post because he describes his own success with the experiment over the last year, calling it "easily one of the best moves I’ve ever made in my entire flippin’ life." And so I’ve added an update at the original post from a year ago to alert boingboing readers to this post as well as to promise them a primer on the other aspects of the paleo lifeway by this Friday, 1/7.

01/06/11: Welcome Boing Boing readers from Mark Frauenfelder’s additional feature, as well as GIZMODO readers (Thanks Kat Hannaford). Please don’t go away without checking out some of the basics of what you might be increasingly hearing about as the paleo diet, caveman diet, and so on. See how many it has helped lose lots of fat, get stronger, sleep better and get off meds. And, no this is not about reenactment or being unsociable. And please check back. By tomorrow, 1/7 I will kick off a 3-part series on all the basics of the paleo/primal path based on evolutionary biology.

01/08/11: OK, the first post in the series is up: You Animal: A Primer to Freeing Your Inner Beast – The Preface. Also, just this morning, one man’s story since linking over here from FARK on New Year’s Day, 2010: Man Comes Here to Have a Laugh; Losses 65 Pounds.


Yesterday, December 28, marked the one year point since I posted about having washed with nothing but water over the preceding six months. To my amazement, a post I was loath to do in the first place garnered 302 comments. Then boingboing picks up on it with 170 comments there, and FARK as well, clocking in at 147 comments.

And suddenly, on the very last day of the year this blog went from a respectable 40,000 average visits per month to over 80,000 in December, and it carried over to January where there were about 125,000 visits and a quarter of a million page views. But the best part of it is that somehow, I managed to not squander the opportunity. Some way, some how, average visits and page views more than doubled month to month to over 80,000 and 150,000. And now, the average over the last three months has climbed to over 100,000 and nearly 200,000 monthly (which is why I just love getting whiny complaints about my No Bullshit, vitriolic style from anonymous commenters).

A month later I did an update post and even provided photographic evidence that my hair looked pretty normal. That one generated another 158 comments.

But even better than all that are the many comments whenever Real Results are reported, or emails I’ve received that mention that they first learned of the blog because of the no soap, no shampoo post, had stuck around and had results of their own to show for it in terms of improved body composition and health.

Earlier today I posted a primer of sorts on self-experimentation which could be considered a bit of a prerequisite to this post, because after 18 months now of spectacular success with this experiment, my focus on it has changed quite a bit. That is to say, I don’t need to go into what the results are — what I’ve already written — as the results are unchanged or, even better.

And it’s not just us Paleoish who’re interested in all this, at least the shampoo part (which to me, is the lesser in importance). There’s definitely interest in the mainstream. Perhaps that’s why my post ended up bridging the gap to some extent.

Comments are of course open for any old or new hands to relay their experiences but what I’m most interested in for this post is why, when in the context of Paleoish we speak of clean, organic, whole and real foods and of various supplements for the health of this bodily organ or that, so many go right ahead and daily slather all manner of industrial, synthetic, chemical products (to include cosmetics) on their very largest organ of all: their skin?

Riddle me that.

I must confess that I watched the various comment threads from those other posts with some degree of amusement at the extra trouble so many would go through to come up with a substitute for the admittedly very convenient store-bought stuff in a bottle. Vinegar. Baking soda. Coconut oil. …Or some combination and on and on. Or multiple layers and steps. Hell, I’d not be surprised if the self-experiment didn’t work on grounds of pure selection bias: as in pain-in-the-ass.

Or, let me put it this way. What I’ve found over these 18 months is that I never even thought of the money I was saving. Hell, a decent sized bottle of shampoo and body wash would last me months anyway. Oh, and then there’s the travel size versions. No, what has made this experience oh so satisfying is that I don’t have to worry about any of that anymore — ever. Don’t have to buy it. Don’t have to carry it. Don’t ever run out of it. Don’t have to get it tossed in the dumpster by TSA goons.

So what it boils down to is that this has been such a tremendous experience on the pure grounds of liberation. Now, I can wash up anywhere, anytime there’s a shower, lake, river or stream at hand and feel completely normal about it, not as though it’s the best I can do because I don’t have a big bag of "personal hygiene" products immediately at hand.

The other time I was amused in all of this was at the MovNat experience this summer. Here we were doing a pretty good job of simulating a number of aspects of, when not a complete existence in the wild, at least a minimal one. This included, among other things, going barefoot most of the time, shirtless, real food only, with only water to drink (no coffee, tea, alcohol), minimal lighting at night…

Me? When I went to shower I took a towel. That’s it and I even had to borrow it from Erwan because I’d simply forgotten to pack one. And yet here were all these other folks marching off to the showers with their large bags in tote and in a couple of cases — surprising enough for guys in itself — there was a cornucopia of hygiene products from shaving materials to shampoos, body washes, scrubs, conditioners, lotions…and on and on.

Far from being close to a wild human experience, it wasn’t even close to minimalist.

As a final aspect I’d thought of — but not seen addressed yet that I could recall — I looked at the comments on the boingboing post yesterday and found this one, posted months later.

For the most part of what i’ve read of these comments, it seems that no-one has yet addressed that a persons state of health and diet is the major contributer to body odours. You can be a person that bathes, shampoos and deodorises regularly but still stink offensively to high heaven from poor food choices, lack of fruit and veg, too much processed junk and the degenerative diseases developed. On the other hand, you can be a person who is physically active on a daily basis, eats only fresh food, lightly cooked meats and seafoods, avoids grain foods (because we are NOT birds) and smell perfectly fine from not using cosmetics and soaps, etc. To determine/decide if another potential mates’ odour was offensive or not is one of many important evolutionary ‘tools’ to ensure that humans mated with other humans who were in good health with good genes. Cosmetics were originally developed to mask a persons poor health, rather than making the effort to improve their health (more like ignorance in the face of decadence). We almighty Human Beings forget that we are just another animal on this planet, and how many of them (animals) do you see using processed foods, soaps and clothing? Compare the health of a chimpanzee (our closest biological relative) to most humans, these chimps are much better off than we are without our modern vices. We apply chemicals to our skin, eat food from sources that are not digestable in their natural state, technology that does all our moving/movement for us, yet still have it in our heads that we are ‘smarter’ than other living organisms on this planet. Our sense of ‘smart’ seems like a hell of a lot of ‘stupid’ to me. If our animal friends shared the same voice and could point and laugh, we would never hear the end of it, except we are HARMING THEM in all these processes.

Interesting, logical line of thought. As animals who were clearly fecund enough throughout eons to survive, do you imagine that noses were being held all the while? And if so, why; and if not, why not?

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  1. Becky on December 30, 2010 at 08:12

    I was one of the baking soda/vinegar commentors from the last go-round. Since then, I’ve read a little more and decided to get over the “chemical warfare” hump. My hair went through a few days of extreme oiliness, but now it’s back to normal. Giving up any kind of surfacant was much harder for me than hubby – I have shoulder length hair (often longer) and he keeps a good military buzz cut going – but I did find that combing a lot reduces the nasties. My kids are also poo-less, so the girls and I groom each other likes chimps (minus the bug eating, praise be).

    It’s hard to get used to smelling like something and having hair that isn’t squeaky clean. For 25 years I shampoo’d my hair on an almost daily basis, switching products constantly: if I washed daily it got dry (moisturizing shampoo!) and if I skipped a day it got really oily (oil stripping shampoo!) and if I switched brands I turned into a poorly groomed poodle (anti-frizz products!). Never-ending merry-go-round!

  2. CPorter on December 29, 2010 at 19:02

    I actually found your blog via the no poo post as I was googling for information. I accidentally washed my hair with conditioner for several days and it actually looked better so I started investigating and landed here.

    I stuck around because I like the meat/cooking posts. However, as I mentioned before, I think what you are advocating is something more akin to a shepherds diet than a “primitive” man.

    (Sorry, don’t believe in evolution, can’t even bring myself to write Neanderthal!” Don’t hate me.)

    I’ve only used baking soda about 4 times and shampoo once in the past month or so. My hair looks much better for it, curly instead of frizzy now. However, I can’t quite quit soap, I love it’s smell.

    • rob on December 30, 2010 at 09:34

      Nothing wrong in not believing in evolution but it does make me curious how you feel about gravity … do you buy into it at all?

      • CPorter on December 31, 2010 at 10:57

        Of course I believe in gravity, don’t you?

        Job 26:7  He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

        I also believe the earth is round.

        Isaiah 40:21  Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

        22  It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in


      • Inane on January 5, 2011 at 12:28

        What about Leviticus 20:10

        ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death”

        Cheaters die?

      • Susan on January 9, 2011 at 06:07

        Yes. That’s what it says.

      • timma on January 5, 2011 at 14:16

        1:1 quoting fantasy books is fun, actually learning something is better.

      • Gene on January 5, 2011 at 14:22

        I personally extract all my beliefs from Lord of the Rings.

      • timma on January 5, 2011 at 14:24

        “I personally extract all my beliefs from Lord of the Rings.”


        I follow the wheel of time teachings myself :-P

      • meatymeat on January 6, 2011 at 15:07

        Gandalf died for your sins.

      • Gene on January 6, 2011 at 15:33

        As the great prophet Bilbo said, ““Not all those who wander are lost.”

      • Pat on January 21, 2011 at 13:29

        Do your holy garments include vibrams with fuzzy tops?

  3. Richard Nikoley on December 29, 2010 at 19:06

    “Don’t hate me.”

    Not really possible. That probably doesn’t come off so well in how I write, but it would be an excruciatingly boring world if everyone thought the same way/thing.

    I sure wouldn’t stick around to see how things turned out.

    • CPorter on December 29, 2010 at 19:21

      Thanks! I’m probably too defensive about being a creationist after about ten years of internet wars. (fFom which I have retired to raise a child!) I do enjoy your blog and they way you write. I don’t always agree with conclusions you arrive at, but I like your no hold barred method of speaking your mind.

      • OYE on January 6, 2011 at 06:38

        I applaud your effort. I hope like me, fellow Christian, you have gone all the way, as God intended us to, and shunned the heretic lies of Science . Their lies hidden in elaborate language disguise Satan’s voice. These so called doctors and their scientific medicine distracts from the fact that it’s God who decides whether I live or die. I put my faith in God and stay at home and pray when I’m sick. I wear simple cotton clothing, ride a simple bicycle, live in the country, do everything to avoid anything with science in it because science tells us there is no God and to accept it’s fruits is to agree with it.

      • Holy Crap on January 6, 2011 at 07:18

        Holy crap, holy whackos, holy batman tights!

        I am Christian and I also believe in Science. If there is a God, then he hopefully wants humans to figure things out for themselves, otherwise it would be like parents having to do everything for their kids!

        Stop thumping the bible like they did in the Crusades and open up your mind to ALL OF GODS GLORY! Then you will actually evolve to understand why science is one of Gods many gifts and stop wrongfully labeling people as heretics.

        Once again – Holy Crap, holy whackos, holy batman tights.

      • LMFAO on January 7, 2011 at 15:00

        Wow… Have any of you ever in your mind considered this:
        Lets take into account (or pretend) for a second that there is a creator whom engineered (created) mankind. Lets take into account there are scientists that practice “science”. Well if you read the stories of creationism, it sounds like somebody doing quite a bit of engineering work. Wow engineering is one of those evil science words…

        The creator is also known as an architect in some faiths. That is another “scientific” field to mankind.

        To get to the point, you are all idiots. If a man/woman were to create a human (clone) or splice two or more species together you would call that science. If you were to create a new life form from another life form, you call that science. When mankind tunnels and moves mountains, we call that engineering. Keep applying that ideal to different things…. Now someone also did a lot of creating…

        Some would say we are created in the Creator’s image. I would agree. IT DOES NOT SAY WE ARE BUILT EXACTLY LIKE THE CREATOR. It is also said that we were raised from the dust (metaphor) of this earth, which means we are of this planet too. Which in my SCIENTIFIC AND CREATIONIST mind says that we are a splice of the Creator and things or something of this world. I challenge you to disprove this legitimately. You cannot. There is no hard evidence either way on that. And I mean hard “scientific” evidence. Many churches and other religions shun science when in fact they should be embracing it to become closer to the Creator.

        How’s that for a third theory of evolution. Mix ’em together and shake. Many answers will become clear.

        Remember, not all scientists are out on a rampage to disprove creationism. Many of us just enjoy figuring out how our universe works.

        And a bit of wisdom. STOP CALLING THE CREATOR GOD. Now read this carefully… It is said in the bible how our creator loves to be called by his name. Now there is a problem… No one will tell anyone how to say his name so we are in a bit of a pickle right? Now here is the wisdom…

        The Creator in the ten commandments stated that we will have no other GODS (that is PLURAL) before the Creator. Now that is said because humanity has some stupid problem with worshiping anything that fly’s down from the sky and drops a tart. Are you ready for this…

        Now imagine you are in a group of guards. In fact, you created the group, the town, and engineered the population. Your name is Joseph. Well even though you are the leader of the guards and have supreme knowledge and ability, other guards have similar powers and the such. Now when it comes to the public, it really doesn’t matter who the guard is, unless educated properly, they just see the grandeur and fancy uniform, and they fall and do the guard’s bidding. When the public addresses you they use the word GUARD now matter which one you are.

        Well I, Joseph who created the guards, town, and population, and are the Supreme Guard would like to be addressed as Joseph and not as part of the other guards. For it is I Joseph whom created and housed you all. Please just call me by my name. For Joseph does not want to be called that because he is “due his respect”, I feel it was a way for mankind to communicate with him so he can help you if you truly need it.

        But mankind are sinners by nature and would have naturally misused the gift causing this name to be “forgotten” as to not be abused. That is sad. RELIGION IS CONTROLLING YOU AND YOUR ABILITY TO HAVE AN HONEST RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CREATOR. STOP LETTING PREACHERS “TELL” YOU HOW TO BELIEVE AND START RESEARCHING ALL THE AVAILABLE INFORMATION AND MATERIALS (BIBLE, TORAH, etc..) FOR YOURSELF. LOOK EVERYWHERE. EVEN READ THE BAD STUFF SO YOU KNOW THEIR VIEWPOINT AS WELL. EVER WONDER WHY THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHURCHES AND CONGREGATIONS? Boy, lol… that is for another time… I will not include that one here… NOW STOP BEING TOLD HOW TO BELIEVE AND TAKE YOUR SPIRITUALITY INTO YOUR OWN HANDS LIKE A BUNCH OF BIG BOYS AND GIRLS. If you don’t, you will always remain weak and blinded. And I hope most of you know that a lot of the Bible is written in metaphor because civilization was not equipped to understand when the prophets, etc., were explaining current-day concepts, like in Revelation, etc.. How else would you log an important message for future advanced generations? Look at Nostradamus’ writings as well.

        Interesting way to think of that eh? I prefer to use Creator instead of God. It is more fitting. The word God and gods, have a ring of control to them. It is not our creator’s intention to have to control us. In fact we are free to do what we will, though we would have to pay for hurting others in the end. Creator is a more appreciative term which implies respect for building something so wonderful and beautiful as the human race, though the world is an ugly place as of late.

        I know many of you are going to want to rip me apart for this post, but I am tired of the “religion/science” war. We are all supposed to work together for a common good right?

        And I also laugh when people reply with comments like “Satan must have created the keyboard and computer that you typed that message…” I could probably guess the denomination of religion you believe in after reading that post. People like that are the most blinded of all. These are people that blindly and faithfully worship their church.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 7, 2011 at 17:36


        Get help.

      • JM on January 6, 2011 at 07:44

        Satan must have created the keyboard and computer that you used to type that message on this blog. Maybe Satan is even the one who typed it.

      • LSTAR on January 6, 2011 at 09:01

        Damn it, why do some people have to be such absolute pricks all the goddamn time…
        A wise man is he who constantly ridicules and insults the opinions of others, eh?

      • hehe on January 6, 2011 at 08:47

        Relax guys, it’s a joke. It’s always funny when people chose to accept products of science selectively.
        Saying I believe airplanes fly, computers work, cars run, electricity is used to light bulbs, BUT, I do not believe all that other stuff about Earth’s age that was deduced using the exact same tools and reasoning, is like saying addition works for 2+2, but not for 3+4. It’s crazy.

        Choose your side people. If you believe in the Bible literally, give up your pleasures and indulgences to feed the poor. Actually love your neighbors like you love yourself, and also stone your children for misbehaving, as the Bible tells you to. Oh, and deny the fact that anything produced by science is wrong. Otherwise, you’re a hypocrite and a non believer who is going to hell.

      • LSTAR on January 6, 2011 at 09:09

        Yes, because every scientific discipline works in exactly the same way, uses the same techniques and is infallible because of that. Q.E.D. Blind faith in science is such a beautiful thing…

        Hehe indeed.

      • hehe on January 6, 2011 at 09:13

        “Yes, because every scientific discipline works in exactly the same way, uses the same techniques ”

        There is only one scientific discipline.

      • LSTAR on January 6, 2011 at 09:51

        The one thing I hate more than a Religious fundie is a Science fundie…
        Seriously, what training do you have? What fieldwork have you performed? Or did you just read it all in a book?

      • meatymeat on January 6, 2011 at 15:10

        Science does not tell us there is no God.

        Science tells us nothing. It is merely the pursuit of truth in an empirical manner. How someone chooses to interpret the results, well now, that’s a whole other story.

        Science and true religion are the same thing, the pursuit of truth — just from different angles. Only bigots and those who wish to control you will attempt to create conflict where there need be none and philosophical education will fill in the void.

      • lefthandedmonkey on February 3, 2011 at 21:50

        > Science does not tell us there is no God.
        > Science tells us nothing. It is merely the pursuit of truth in an empirical manner. How
        > someone chooses to interpret the results, well now, that’s a whole other story.

        Amen, Brother meatymeat.

        I don’t know why Atheists and Christians don’t get along better, they have so much in common. As Ricky Gervais pointed out, Atheists don’t believe in 2,870 gods, and Christians don’t believe in 2,869.

        Statistically that’s no difference at all. Nobody reading this could look at two bowls of M&Ms and tell the difference between the one with 2,870 M&Ms or the one with 2,869 M&Ms.

        I personally am going full hog the other way, and have decided to believe equally in all 2,780 gods. I will do this in even cycles of 2,872 seconds, with of the additional seconds for being an Atheist, and the second extra second to have a sip of water, or eat a TicTac.

  4. Jeremy on December 29, 2010 at 19:27

    I don’t remember where I found your blog Richard, possibly from a Robb Wolf or Mark Sisson link? But I keep coming back cuz of your no bullshit posts and great food porn pics.
    It doesn’t hurt that I’m a paleo atheist, anarchist so I agree with almost everything you rant about.

  5. Grok on December 29, 2010 at 20:19

    I quit I think in June 09 I believe, so its been about the same duration. I’ve used Dr Bronner’s to spot clean when I get greasy chainring legs from the bike or before a haircut (so she doesn’t think I’m a grease ball). Ditched toothpaste, mouthwash and deodorant about the same time or before as well. Used deodorant once before a date LOL!

    Never been happier! It is indeed liberating.

    • BendB on December 30, 2010 at 16:29

      So I read Richard’s amusement regarding substitutes for shampoo. I’ve been poo-less six months and tried several of the mentioned items: baking soda, vinegar, coconut oil, etc. Today I just washed my long, straight hair in water. Can’t even call that “washing” as I just rinsed. And you know what? It’s just fine: looking, smelling, styling.

      Why did conventional wisdom continue to coax me to find “candy cigarettes” for my external chemical substitutes? Don’t need ’em.

      The best part of this blog is that it challenges me to consider why we do the things we have always done. And to try my own experiment to see what’s best for me.

  6. Derrick on December 29, 2010 at 20:25

    What do you do about combs getting dirty? Even though my hair doesn’t feel dirty, the comb mechanically removes some of the residual oils and is a pain to get looking clean.

    Maybe I shouldn’t care, burnt super dirty comb sitting in the bathroom is embarrassing. I’ve started using shampoo a few times a week because of this, but the comb is still building crushed and my hair doesn’t style as easily, so I think I am going to cut out shampoo again.


    • Brandon Thomson on December 29, 2010 at 20:36

      Soak it in detergent for a while and then scrub with something abrasive. The oils come off.

      • Becky on December 30, 2010 at 08:02

        Dawn soap and an old toothbrush or a nailbrush works well. Skipping the soap and just scrubbing works, too, but takes a little longer. My problem is not oils, but the little fuzzies that stick to the oils from clothes/pets/kids.

    • Jennifer Calloway on December 29, 2010 at 21:56

      Use your fingers as a comb. Works beautifully and it’s one less thing you have to worry about.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2010 at 10:19

      I keep my hair short enough that I never need to use a comb. Fingers work fine for me.

      • Jennifer Calloway on December 31, 2010 at 14:15

        It works for long hair as well. My hair is half-way down my back…

    • Derrick on December 31, 2010 at 01:21

      Wow, just read this and noticed quite a few errors that I missed while typing that on my phone. So sorry.

      By the way, my idea to stop using shampoo didn’t come from reading paleo-lifestyle sites, it came from a real world example. I was visiting a friend, and his dog was rubbing on me and everything around it. He said that she was all itchy because she kept getting muddy at their new house and he had to give her a bath every day, and the soap was removing all her natural oils, or something like that.

      So that got me to thinking about my hair and how it got so awfully greasy if I went a day without shampooing, and how maybe it was because the soap was removing the natural oils. I had already quit using soap in the shower, so trying out the no shampoo thing wasn’t a huge leap for me to take.

      I HATE perfumes. Ok, I smell a tasteful one every so often, but for the most part, I find them disgusting. So I was glad at the ability to remove one more thing that is always scented, in shampoo.

    • tiranda on September 9, 2016 at 10:06

      Late, so late, but put about a tablespoon of baking soda in a sinkful of water and add all combs and hairbrushes (with loose hair removed ) and soak 20 minutes or so. The dirt will fall to the bottom or can easily be removed with an old toothbrush, repurposed for that.

  7. roland on December 29, 2010 at 20:38

    I haven’t used schampoo in 25 (!) years. Have most of the time longish (maybe between 3 and 6 inch) hair. Use water exclusively. Had plenty of girlfriends, found a wife, still look sexy at 47 (so I was told by her… :) ). No grease, no lice, no dandruff whatsoever. Still have all my hair despite early balding of my my grand dad and my father, who started loosing it at 25.

    • Tim on January 6, 2011 at 04:59

      Balding gene(s) are inherited from the mother

      • Nick on January 10, 2011 at 10:18

        According to Art Devany, balding is caused by follicle inflammation.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 10, 2011 at 10:30

        There’s a well established genetic component, I believe. If your mother’s father is/was bald, you have a high chance. I think what Art’s getting at is how those genes express.

        My maternal grandfather died at about 80 from leukemia. His hair grew back in full after his last round of chemotherapy. And for what it’s worth, my own dad has a full head of hair at 73.

  8. Liz Downunder on December 29, 2010 at 21:29

    Hi Richard, I found your blog when I started researching paleo about 18 months ago and it’s one of my faves.
    Personally I ditched the ‘poo almost 5 years ago while I was getting rid of most of the chemicals in our home, and have washed my hair just with water ever since. And liberating is exactly how I have described it too. Couple of other points – my hair is never greasy anymore (I wash it once a week), and young hairdressers recoil in horror when I tell them! One, more experienced, hairdresser just nodded knowingly and offered up that hair is self-cleaning (but don’t tell anyone). If I was a guy I guess I’d ditch the trips to the hairdresser too…
    I only shower once a week, and the rest of the time I wash with water and a drop of tea-tree or lavender oil (can’t seem to de-stink my armpits without something, unfortunately. A friend calls this a whore’s bath, lol). I’ve been doing this for years, partly because we were in drought for quite a few years (showers are such a waste of water) and I figure we’re all just a bit too precious about washing anyway!
    House-cleaning is just as simple – hot water, a bit of elbow grease and the occasional drop of tea-tree or euc oil if i feel it’s necessary. We also have 2 dogs living with us and 2 very healthy unvaccinated children. We rarely get sick.
    Massive industries would fall in a heap if everyone were to catch on to this way of living.
    cheers :o)
    PS Derrick clean your comb with a scrubbing brush and some water.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2010 at 10:21


      That’s another thing. While I enjoy my showers anyway I often feel as though I don’t need one.

  9. Anand Srivastava on December 29, 2010 at 22:04

    Forgetting your towel, that is an absolute no no. You are not a seasoned hitchhiker.

  10. Glenn Whitney on December 29, 2010 at 22:39

    How about thoughts on going without toothpaste? I find this tough – but what seems to work is aggressive brushing without paste as well as aggressive flossing. There’s lots of blood involved; means I don’t have to donate it to keep my iron levels down ;-)

    • Laurett on December 30, 2010 at 04:36

      I’ve been brushing my teeth without toothpaste too for a couple of months now, but no blood involved.
      I am curious to hear what Richard’s has to say about it.
      Richard, did you try it ? If yes, what are your feelings about it ? If no, do you plan on trying it ?

      • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2010 at 10:24

        I use toothpaste sometimes, but a minimal amount. I like this one brand I can get at WF that’s some sort of tree oil flavored with anise.

        Best way to brush without is a completely dry brush.

        Interesting about bleeding gums. Mine used to but since dropping pro-inflammatory agents they never bleed anymore.

      • jon w on December 30, 2010 at 12:55

        I find toothpick once or twice a day works great, floss once in awhile if there is something I can’t get to. After the toothpick point is mushed, use the blunt ends to polish all surfaces.

    • Dentist on January 6, 2011 at 05:09

      Bleeding gums almost always is a sign of inflammation caused plaque not reached by tooth bristles/floss. Wouldn’t recommend brushing that ‘hard’, that will cause premature wear of enamel and eventual tooth sensitivity.

  11. Flying Burrito on December 29, 2010 at 22:51

    Yea, what’s up with the no toothpaste paradigm…just use a brush & water and that’s it? Have had mixed results with the no shampoo thing…my hair is very fine…I have quite a bit of it but it’s like baby hair and it didn’t seem to take well to the no shampooing as it got long. Worked great when hair was short but not long. Thoughts anyone?

    • Liz Downunder on December 30, 2010 at 00:14

      Mine’s fine and dead straight, and there’s a lot of it. Nothing changed when I stopped using products. It initially took a few weeks to feel normal again when I first stopped shampoo.

      Also forgot to say that our kids also have an intermittent bathing habit and anyone who’s tried shampooing a youngster will have no probs ditching the ‘poo for the kids too. My kids have never had shampoo in their hair and rarely use soap.

      • Flying Burrito on January 5, 2011 at 14:35

        Thanks Liz, I’ll give it another geaux (as they say down in New Orleans)…

  12. Alan M on December 30, 2010 at 06:17

    It was the article at Boing Boing that lead here and then to the whole paleo/primal thing. I’m now 42 to 45 pounds lighter, no longer take prilosec, and feel better than ever. I gave up soap for a more than a few months last year until a couple of friends complained during the sweatier months. I may give it a go again now that I’m healthier.

  13. John on December 30, 2010 at 06:30

    I just wash and brush teeth with baking soda–maybe I use shampoo once a month or so. I use coconut oil afterward. My hair is very soft and shiny, yet not too oily. It used to be more dry.

  14. green on December 30, 2010 at 06:34

    Left the soap and shampoo behind 5 months ago. Just another one of the many steps away from conventional wisdumb I’ve taken since discovering Paleo. No toothpaste either, just water and the occasional baking soda. Makes life simpler. Like Bruce Lee said “It’s not about the daily increase, but the daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” Defy culture and thrive.

  15. Dave Fish on December 30, 2010 at 07:41

    I haven’t used shampoo since November 2nd. Never had any problems or oily hair after I stopped. After six weeks I mentioned it to my wife. Obviously she hadn’t noticed. It passed the smell test but my daughter thinks it is part of my mid-life crisis. :).

    As for toothbrushing I’m definitely not Paleo. I use a SonicCare toothbrush and have greatly improved my checkups though that is probably more due to the two minutes that it runs vs. the 30 seconds I was probably doing with a conventional toothbrush. I use just a dab of toothpaste and can go a whole year on one tube.

  16. Phil on December 30, 2010 at 08:57

    Why did you need a towel? Was there no sun?

    • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2010 at 10:35

      Not much sun. Rained the first couple of days and was overcast much of the rest of the time. But I often don’t use a towel and would have been fine had I not had one. Never took one along n my pack when we went to the lake.

  17. Paul C on December 30, 2010 at 09:06


    Interesting that you picked T. Colin Campbell as an example, as he is someone that pisses on people in Internet forums like he is 12 years old, often losing track of who he is addressing (makes you wonder about vegan mind-fog), and uses the PCRM as a front to cowardly vote down cookbooks authored by his perceived meat-eating enemies.

  18. rob on December 30, 2010 at 09:32

    Toilet paper. Our remote ancestors lived tens of thousands of years without it. But these days if we run out of it we are tempted to call 911.

    I’m jumping off the toilet paper bandwagon, myself. Going au naturale … commando style … no more wiping myself with perfumed processed dead trees.

    • Derek S. on December 30, 2010 at 10:18

      Okay…the ridiculous toilet paper comment was the last straw…

      Hell, if you’re gonna return to your Lucy & Ardi roots why not walk in a hunched-over manner with your arms hanging below your knees? Or even better, go back further and start living in a damn tree. You can just squat on a branch and let it fall where it may, then move on and continue your daily never-ending search for fruit & bugs. Oh, and don’t forget, you’ll need to cannibalize other primates from time to time as the opportunity presents itself. Don’t be chicken shit…go all the way with it. The further back, the better…right? Why stop with Paleo-man when you can get ever-closer to your roots?

      Of course, in order to go as far back as some of you geniuses would like you’ll first need to scoop out about 1/3 to 1/2 of your brain matter in order to get back that far (judging by a few of the comments, some of you may have already taken that step).

      Even better…let’s all get genetically modified so we can regress back to some slimy salamander-like creature and just crawl back into the ocean. That’s what some of you Einstein’s believe we came from if you go back far enough, right? Life would be so simple and we could all be free of culture, toilet paper and all manner of burdensome aspects of the modern homo sapiens.

      Of course, there would still be “neolithic” people around who wouldn’t be so enlightened as to make such an obviously superior choice to return to their roots. The ultimate irony would be one of these dumb, unenlightened non-Paleo oafs capturing your slimy ass from the local pond, sticking you in a fish tank and feeding you bread & sugar for the remainder of your 2-5 year life span. Ha!

      • skitterling on December 30, 2010 at 10:43

        Wow, way to miss a joke…

      • Al Ciampa on December 30, 2010 at 13:49

        “The ultimate irony would be one of these dumb, unenlightened non-Paleo oafs capturing your slimy ass from the local pond, sticking you in a fish tank and feeding you bread & sugar for the remainder of your 2-5 year life span. Ha!”

        I don’t care who you are… that was fuckin’ funny!!!

      • Carlos on December 30, 2010 at 22:28

        “he ultimate irony would be one of these dumb, unenlightened non-Paleo oafs capturing your slimy ass from the local pond, sticking you in a fish tank and feeding you bread & sugar for the remainder of your 2-5 year life span.”

        LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hilarious! Happy New Year, my new best friend!

    • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2010 at 10:41


      To be perfectly clear, my no soap and no shampoo is not about reenactment. It’s an experiment I tried to see if I would feel better and I did. Not only is my hair nice & soft, but my skin too and what’s more, I never get dry itchy skin as I used to. And I also feel better from a liberating standpoint.

      But I’m pretty sure that dropping TP would be a negative experience judging by how animals often have to rub their itchy bungholes on the ground or a tree.

      • Bill on December 30, 2010 at 19:22

        Squatting (for 5 years now), virtually eliminates the need for wiping. The western toilet position is unnatural and not healthy.

        Are you a sitter or a squatter, Richard?

      • Gruesome on December 31, 2010 at 06:20

        Joke or whatever, I have to agree with you Dick on this. Chucking the TP would most certainly be retrogressing on the evolutionary continuum. However, you might be wrong about animals rubbing their anus on tree bark. Except for relieving a very rare severe itch perhaps, it would seem very uncomfortable to clean your ass this way on a regular basis. I’d bet most animals would simply go for the much more bearable solution of licking their asshole the way your dog, cat or cow does. The upright walking human animal is disadvantaged as far as this more common (to other animals) ablution method is concerned, hence in the course of human progress TP has come to be. I find that a little saliva on the TP to finish off the cleaning job (I call it spit and shine) is a wonderful, chemical-free, close-to-Paleo-as-possible way to ensure that you can go completely soapless in that important region and therefore genuinely claim 100% certified soapless status (I recall from your journals that you still use soap on your bits and bits). Bill (see below) is dead right on squatting (see naturesplatform.com) – TP consumption drops drastically as a result.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 31, 2010 at 09:23

        “(I recall from your journals that you still use soap on your bits and bits”

        Nope, water only for 18 months. Prior to that I was only using it on the bits, and shampoo. That point marked not using it at all and as pointed out in my first post on it last year, the bits was the most surprising aspect.

      • Kevin Cowart on January 1, 2011 at 16:08

        Has anyone every noticed with the right kind of diet your excrement will be solid enough to not even need a wipe? especially if you pull your cheeks a little before you sit? I find I need to just do a “check wipe” once before I go back to whatever I was doing.

        This is disgusting topic by the way but what the hell.

      • Forty2 on January 1, 2011 at 16:46

        Here’s the thing about eating a human-correct diet: I don’t need TP anymore. Grunt, splash, flush. I still use TP for a final polish but I don’t NEED it. On the typical “approved” diet I’d wipe til I was raw and there’d still be a mark on it. Yech.

      • jose marti on March 28, 2011 at 08:16

        Yes is true. Without the carbohydrates in the diet the feces are hard solid and no trace whatsoever is seen in the TP. Even the smell is like vinegar and not offensive at all.

  19. Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2010 at 10:32

    “Would you call Colin T Campbell an asshole if you met him?”

    Probably not. “Fuckhead” would be far more likely. …Maybe “douchebag,” but I’ve never been particularly given to that one.

    LOL. You really don’t know me at all. I am who I am everywhere, at all times. An asshole’s an asshole and they’re going to get it from me both barrels regardless, from a keyboard or in person.

    My grandmother didn’t endearingly call me “the smartass” for nothing.

    See, folks like you and the other guy who commented are just projecting. I’m not you. I’m not afraid of a fight, not afraid of litigation, not afraid of public scorn.

    The whole world can go right ahead and fuck themselves with my compliments and I’ll be just fine and dandy.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2010 at 11:23

      “Well you see I find that unlikely.”

      And you believe I care about that?

      “Say for example, you were to suggest to me that you penis is bigger then mine, as you seem to be doing here, in person.”

      Bullshit. I am not in the slightest suggesting that you or anyone else _ought_ to behave like me. I’m telling you that you’re not like me.

      You’re the one suggesting that I’m somehow lesser because I toss shit on the Internet and you don’t.

      “So no, you wouldnt call Colin T Campbell a fuckhead, because if you were the type to do so then you would have learnt through multiple chin checks that being so aggressive in the real world isnt condusive to a full set of teeth.”

      More total bullshit. I pick my fights. The only reason I have to attack Cambell or some idiot journalist or some grant whore or expert is because of their roles in PUBLIC.

      It’s only those in the public health field I go after because of their whoring to conventional bullshit, and because they deserve it. And I think it _ought_ to be done. I leave the cold scientific analysis to those better equipped, like Minger, Guyenet, Masterjohn, Eades, et at, all of whom I might add I have a fine relationship with in email or, in the case of Dr Mike, in person. They seem to have a sense that there’s a role to play for what I’m up to. I don’t begrudge their approach and they don’t begrudge mine.

      And nobody else has a thing to worry about from me.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 31, 2010 at 09:20

        “but leave their graves/fat asses/whatever else that is entirelly unrelated to the topic out of it.”

        You mean like the fat-assed surgeon general? No way.

        “Why wouldnt it be intimidating?”

        Fine by me if it is. Bonus, even. Like I said, this is what they deserve.

        “Tell me the difference with your behavior with others?”

        Colpo is being _dishonest_. Mike has never said or even implied that calories don’t count at all, and in fact has clarified what he means by a metabolic advantage many times (he thinks it’s about 300 kcal per day, max, on very low carb). And Colpo knows this because when Mike made that clarification, instead of Colpo saying OK, I still disagree, but it’s no big deal, I assumed he meant an unlimited or much greater met advantage and so it’s not worth the continued time & effort. Instead, he dishonestly attempted to claim that Eades was admitting that Colpo was right and that he, Eades, was wrong.

        The other thing is that I always go after those I believe are doing GREAT harm to the public. This is why I never criticize even those in the paleo/LC realm even though I have disagreements. In fact, I defend them against the petty criticisms levelled by others — as I am doing this instant in my draft review of De Vany’s book and as I have done with Jimmy Moore many times. Has Colpo ever claimed that Eades is doing great harm to people? If he has, then he’s a vicious liar as well.

        So, to sum it up, no amount of intimidating vitriol is too much or even enough for the targets I go after — those doing great harm to others and society (look around you; where do you think this is coming from, if not those I go after). And when I do, I’m honest about it.

  20. Jerry on December 30, 2010 at 10:39

    Yeah Derek, whatever. No point in even fighthing with you people who think we are crazy for living this way. It might be a long slow battle, but 30 years from now when we arent dying of heart disease, losing limbs from diabetes, and our dicks still work, and you can no longer say the same for yourself, then we win.

    • Derek S. on December 30, 2010 at 11:21

      Jerry…FYI, I’ve eaten a whole foods diet (no grains, sugars or modern seed oils) for the past 8 months and have gone from 240 to 205 in that span. I’ve also followed a similar workout routine to Richard and added 8 pounds of muscle in the process. My A1C went from 5.5 to 4.8. Fasting blood sugar from 110 to 90. Resting heard rate dropped from 95 to 65. Heart rate during intense exercise went from 180 to 145. I went from being able to run 1/4 mile without stopping to being able to now run 5-10 miles no problem, and also went from 1-2 wind sprints to 20 of them now. My bench press went from 135 to 210, leg press 225 to 495, squat 155 to 275, deadlift 185 to 310.

      Oh, and my dick still works, no heart disease, no diabetes, no lost limbs and I feel like a rejuvenated man. However, I don’t idolize Paleo-man or any other species or sub-species and I don’t want to “return” to anything whatsoever. I don’t want to stop cleaning myself, stop wiping my ass, start foraging for food in trees, cannibalize my neighbors for the protein contained in their muscles & organs, kill my rivals or screw any and all available females because the smell of their junk makes me lose my mind. We can eat scientifically without idolizing Otzi the ice-man in the process (oh, and BTW, they found einkorn grain in Otzi’s stomach contents as well as on his clothing).

      • Derek S. on December 30, 2010 at 11:28

        Yes, I realize Otzi was neolithic but wanted to make a point about demonizing all grains.

      • mm on January 2, 2011 at 13:54

        You know, just because someone on a paleo blog tries something new and gets good results doesn’t mean they did it only because our ancestors did it, or that they’ll now try something totally illogical only because early homo sapiens did it, or that you absolutely must do it. So why post in a panic, as if you think they’ll soon be talking about carving stone fertility statues to help people conceive the paleo way…

  21. Aaron Griffin on December 30, 2010 at 10:46

    I did the no-poo thing for about a year. I had dandruff issues I couldn’t get passed, so now I’m back with Head and Shoulders :(

    Did anyone else have dandruff issues with the no-poo thing?

    • Bonnie on December 30, 2010 at 11:38

      Yeah, it’s okay for my hair but terrible for my scalp. I washed with conditioner for many years, then tried nothing at all – failure. I didn’t have awful dandruff but my scalp itched all the time, smelled bad, and had a thick sticky build-up of sebum that no amount of manual scrubbing, baking soda, or brown sugar scrubs could get rid of. I also seemed to lose more hair.

      I don’t use SLS shampoos, but I do clean my scalp and condition my (long, curly) hair regularly with a mild ‘natural’ shampoo.

      • Helen on December 31, 2010 at 14:20

        That sounds like a yeast infection that you are describing. I’m wondering if vinegar rinses (half vinegar/half water) might help.

    • Gruesome on December 31, 2010 at 06:32

      I had dandruff issues initially, but I solved it by scrubbing the scalp occasionally with a soft-bristled plastic handbrush – the same one I used for my armpits, groin and ass when they became smelly. This enabled me remain 100% soapless (except after using the toilet, gripping grimy subway rails and before handling food).

  22. jon w on December 30, 2010 at 11:01

    >> “You can be a person…”

    Yeah, it’s not that simple. You can also be a person who is physically active, eats fresh real food and still gets the natural body odor produced by the bacteria that live in armpit sweat. In America today, zoo people have learned to be offended by that odor, just as they are offended by body hair, breastfeeding, urinating on trees, and many other natural practices. To say that sexual reproduction depended on having no smells makes about as much sense as saying it depended on being silent or invisible. It’s just that we have let ourselves be trained that possessing a natural body smell is a bad thing.

    I have been doing no soap/shampoo over a year. I get lots of skin flaking off from beard and scalp. My solution is to keep the hair very short. Occasionally I use a bit of homemade fat soap when I get muddy. A dab of baking soda on the armpits and toothbrush is the extent of my hygiene products.

    • Monica on December 30, 2010 at 17:05

      Totally agree, jon. I knew a guy in grad school who claimed he loved the way his girlfriend’s pits stank after they’d been camping without a shower for a week. My guess is that she didn’t smell like she was wearing Estee Lauder, if you get my drift.

      My diet is great from a paleo perspective yet I get pretty stinky. I haven’t used soap or toothpaste in almost a year? but I do shower with water and a washcloth and I use deodorant and shampoo. I would like to not use shampoo or deodorant, but can’t really do it for a number of reasons. I do go “au naturel” on the deodorant and that works OK so long as I don’t work up an enormous sweat or during wintertime. As for skin dryness, I live at high altitude and just cutting out the soap doesn’t cut it… I also need to topically apply coconut oil. Vast improvement from your typical commercial moisturizers, though.

      Back to the BO. I’ve dated many men that have rank BO or no BO, and am married to one of those men now whose diet is far from perfect in a paleo sense, yet he has no BO and doesn’t use deodorant. I think it’s an oversimplification to insinuate that diet or even the way one washes is the major determinant of body odor for everyone. You can certainly influence your body odor through diet and the use of herbs (orally or topically), but it’s a minor determinant of BO, in my experience.

      I would guess that any hunter gatherer tribe that doesn’t have access to water (the Kung, for instance) doesn’t smell terribly nice (using a zoo human standard). Would be interesting to know if early explorers or even modern day anthropologists have some account of this and whether their perceptions changed after spending time with the tribe. I haven’t looked into it. But a lot of primates smell so I don’t think it would be unusual for an unwashed human to smell, nor do I think that a “bad” smell would necessarily be a deterrent to sexual activity. See this article:

      A quote from the article: “While Hadza have a word for body odor, the men tell me that they prefer their women not to bathe—the longer they go between baths, they say, the more attractive they are. Nduku, my Hadza language teacher, said she sometimes waits months between baths, though she can’t understand why her husband wants her that way. “

      • Derrick on December 31, 2010 at 01:31

        Diet is definitely huge here. When I eat crap, my pits stink and I am forced to wash them with soap and use deodorant until I get my diet back in order. Eating the occasional starch doesn’t seem to change my smell, but consumption of fructose and alcohol do.

      • Matt on December 31, 2010 at 07:30

        I’ve experienced this too. I can’t pinpoint what it is, but something makes my pits rancid. I’m leaning toward garlic but I just haven’t nailed it down yet.

      • Flying Burrtio on January 5, 2011 at 14:47

        I’m at high altitudes too and it can get dry up here in the mountains and my skin leaves something to be desired during the Winter months…also, there seems to be a very high iron content in the water here, which may somehow adversely effect [affect?] the idea of no shampooing and using just water…I’m not sure what the problem is but I can’t seem to dial in on the same results Richard has achieved…maybe it’s the occasional cheat?

  23. Mark T. on December 30, 2010 at 11:39

    Hello dear Richard,
    I stumbled across your blog after I started questioning all the crap that we put in our skin , so I googled washing without soap and came here ( It seems to be your most popular post)
    The internet has helped me find lots of information on anything that interests me and it does contain a plethora of good and bad information.
    I have always tried to find the truth about thing and can’t stand ignorance.
    I was wondering how would this paleo lifestyle suit a young person and by young, I mean my age (15 years old) Would it be suitable? Would I experience any problems or would things like fasting hamper my growth at all? I would supposed that offspring in the paleolithic era were better fed than adults but I need your opinion.So my question is this: If I were to start this lifestyle should I fast, and is their anything else that I should do differently about diet exercise and such.
    I wish your blog to continue going well and may you be a beacon of enlightenment in this age of misinformation ( that sounds kewl)
    I hope you respond ( and anyone else that cares to aid me)
    Best Regards

    • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2010 at 13:39

      Hi Mark:

      Certainly eating meat, fish, fowl, vegetables, fruits and nuts would suit anyone beyond infants. Just eat enough.

      Fasting isn’t a method of eating less calories overall, unless someone is attempting to lose weight, in which case the deficit will be made up by their own body fat (all fat loss diets are high fat diets, even so-called “low-fat” diets, it’s just the fat is coming from within instead of without). Fasting for a person of normal weight is merely treating one’s body to more of a wild existence where 3 squares per day is not assured. So, you’re getting the same overall intake, but just making it more random and episodic. Also, fasting doesn’t need to be for a whole day. It can be just skipping a meal, maybe two, and eating more when you do eat.

      So, bottom line is that if you make sure to get enough food so that you aren’t losing weight if you don’t need to, it’s no big deal to go hungry sometimes and is likely beneficial for cell repair and gene expression.

  24. Gabe on December 30, 2010 at 12:35

    I’ll admit, this is one leap I have not been able to make. However, I ditched the soaps and hair care products with all the 11-syllable ingredients and have been using Dr. Bronner’s exclusively for the last 5.5 years. It seems to get the job done. Any other Dr. Bronner’s patients in the house?

    • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2010 at 13:33

      If I were to use anything it would probably be that. I like the peppermint, I think it is. Nice & tingly.

      • Flying Burrito on January 5, 2011 at 14:49

        That’s the one soap I use…sparingly. And it’s always the peppermint.

  25. Corwin on December 30, 2010 at 13:53

    Hi Richard,

    Interestingly, it will be one year on January 1 that I went no chemical on my person (mostly). I occasionally will use soap or shampoo if I’m particularly covered with petroleum products (grease, gasoline, etc). I didn’t tell my wife until March figuring that she would be the first one to comment if she noticed anything. But one of the most interesting things that has come out of this is that she can tell what I’m eating now by my body oder or lack thereof.

    I’d been on a mostly meat only diet with some raw vegetables for about a year prior to finding your blog (due to a long story involving a diagnosis of Celiac Disease, and a neurological intolerance to any form of soy and a severe reaction to beta-casein protein), so the body oder thing didn’t show up for a while until I fell off the wagon and went on a four day ‘carb eating’ bing. Nothing horrible for the most part, but I was eating a consistent amount of grains. And lo and behold, I started to stink! I had to begin using deodorant. It took a couple rounds of deliberate testing and I found that an average of 150 grams of grains over a three day period causes my BO to get quite acrid for a period of about a week. Fascinating I thought.

    Just goes to show you that the old cliche, “You are what you eat,” is more true that most realize.


  26. Shelly on December 30, 2010 at 15:06

    I stopped using soap this winter. It’s winter! Soap will just make my skin dry.
    That part is going fine. I smell fine. My skin is clean and clear. I haven’t had any acne issues since going paleo, anyway.

    My hair is waist-length and wavy. Years ago when I lived in a land of soft water, I did the no-shampoo thing and my hair was great. Just baking soda + vinegar every now and then to clarify.

    Now I live in the land of VERY hard water and I don’t think I can manage. The hard water gunks up my hair and even when I de-gunk it with a baking soda rinse it’s really unmanageable. My scalp is dry and my hair is dry and it’s just not good.

    I’m posting this to see if anyone will comment with some miraculous insight (other than moving to a better location — I’m doing that in a couple months) that will help me. I used to have good results with jojoba oil on the ends but jojoba oil + hard water is ALSO not working out.

    • Helen on December 31, 2010 at 14:29

      I live with wretched hard water, too, and I deal with it by rinsing my hair with a mix of half water/half vinegar or citric acid crystals dissolved in water…about 1/2 teaspoonful of citric acid crystals to 16oz of water…every couple of days or whenever my hair feels like it needs it. Just wet your hair and scalp, massage the acid rinse through your hair and then rinse it out.

    • Flying Burrito on January 5, 2011 at 14:51

      Yes, it’s not exactly like washing your hair in a natural, spring-fed mountain stream, is it? There’s the rub…no pun intended.

      • Helen on January 5, 2011 at 15:10

        Around here its the spring water that is hard water because its full of minerals from the rocks that it flows through.* This year we are planning on setting up a rain barrel under one of the downspouts and then I’ll have rain water to use on my hair :)

        *Our little town gets its water from natural springs that feed the towns two wells. They add chlorine, of course, but thats a separate issue.

      • Flying Burrito on January 6, 2011 at 19:01

        My birth mother was and still is European and very old world…she would always use rain water for her hair…like it was the utmost of luxuries, so I think you may be onto something!

  27. CPorter on December 30, 2010 at 16:43

    Kevin, really, if someone posting their opinion on a website intimidates you, you have a serious problem. And it isn’t with the guy spouting his opinion, if you know what I mean.

  28. Henry Willis on December 30, 2010 at 16:47

    Some time ago I read about a man who invented a soap in the 1930s with only 2 ingredients – palm oil and olive oil (very paleo ingredients). He called it Palmolive. Since then virtually all soaps are detergent-based. I have since found soap with only these 2 oils as ingredients in normal supermarkets. I find it a great paleo alternative if you need a bit more than water.

  29. Sonagi on December 30, 2010 at 17:46

    I quit soaping up in the shower years ago when I figured I wasn’t any dirtier without it. I still use soap after handling raw meat or doing my daily business. I still use shampoo but wash my hair only twice a week. I’ve noticed that my hair is softer and doesn’t need a no-rinse conditioner anymore. I suppose the natural oils have improved the condition of the hair shaft.

  30. wilberfan on December 30, 2010 at 18:02

    Happy Anniversary to us! I stopped showering with soap (and shampoo) on Dec 31st as a direct result of reading your post. (I started using some of that ‘crystal’ deodorant, too.)

    Tomorrow will be one year soap free! Thanks, Dude!

  31. Tserb on December 30, 2010 at 18:32

    Very good info. Thank you!

  32. PK on December 30, 2010 at 20:55

    Does anyone have any advice for someone trying to get through the no-poo adjustment period? My hair got so oily after a week that I had to put a stop to the experiment, lest I get fired from my job for looking unbathed. Baking soda/apple cider vinegar didn’t help much.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 31, 2010 at 08:51


      How about go very short hair through the adjustment?

    • TheMightyQuinn on January 3, 2011 at 13:07

      How about washing only when it looks like you’re “unbathed?” You should be able to extend the time between washings until you hit the two-week period when many people (including myself) report that the greasiness subsides.

    • Catharina on January 14, 2011 at 11:02

      I would suggest cornstarch rubbed into your hair and then either brushed or washed off. If you have dark brown or black hair, then cocoa powder, same thing, rub, wait until it soaks up the grease, and wash it out.

  33. Susan on December 30, 2010 at 20:56

    I don’t use soap, and when my pits get stinky, I love the smell of it. I don’t know if society can handle that!

    The no shampoo thing I have not gotten to work. I have very fine, long hair and it gets super tangled if I don’t put conditioner on it. I end up ripping out half my hair to get a brush through it. And then it gets to looking limp after 4 days of no washing. Question: when you no pooers are washing with water, are you just rinsing or are you massaging the scalp, and for how long, and do you use warm water or cold water?

    • Monica on December 30, 2010 at 23:39

      You mean, like Mary Katherine Gallagher from SNL? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHL39pkcqZU


    • Gruesome on December 31, 2010 at 06:55

      Cold water is best so as not to melt off your natural sebum secretions and leave your skin chapped (among other immunological benefits). A gentle scalp massage while running fingers through the hair under a warm running shower can spread your natural oils from the scalp to your hair and help untangle it. A gentle scrub with a soft brush of the scalp and hair under a warm running shower can also help. Avoid hot water. It melts off all the natural oils on your scalp and hair and leaves a disaster waiting to happen when your hair finally dries out.

    • Helen on December 31, 2010 at 14:37

      I have lots of fine, waist-length hair. I use warm water and massage my scalp. I also use my hands and fingers to move the oils that have been softened by the warm water down to the tips of the hair shafts.

  34. JLL on December 31, 2010 at 00:54

    Funny, this is the same experiment that was the inspiration for my blog (see the first posts on my blog).

    I think altogether I went six months without using shampoo. But I never quite got to that mythical point where the “hair begins to clean itself” — my hair was pretty dirty for those six months. Maybe the fact that you have short hair helps; long, blonde hair may not be the best idea for this experiment.

    • Helen on December 31, 2010 at 14:43

      People might want to think about trying soapwort if their hair needs actual washing, which sometimes happens. It would be very paleo, I think. Soapwort (Bouncing Bet) is easy to grow and not hard to use. Another natural source of saponins is yucca root. Yuccas are also easy to grow. Come to think of it, ceanothus flowers are another source of natural “shampoo”, too, and easy to grow if you live in the right climate zone.

    • Flying Burrito on January 5, 2011 at 14:55

      Similar results for me–my hair is long and blond and fine. Just never consistently reached that “self-cleaning” state either…worked well when it was short but not long…I think maybe we need water in its general organic outdoor state somehow, I’m not sure…

  35. Gene on December 31, 2010 at 01:11


    I wanted to get your thoughts on sunscreen. Do you use any at all?
    And if so, anything in particular?

    • Richard Nikoley on December 31, 2010 at 09:06

      Nope, no sunscreen. Since supping with vitamin D I never burn. I try to have some on hand for the nose & tops of the ears but have yet to need it.

      • Gene on December 31, 2010 at 13:48

        Looks like it’s something I will have to self-experiment with.
        How does Vitamin D prevents burns?
        I live near San Jose as well, and find myself covering my body in that oily crap for most of the summer.
        I figure it’s better than the risk of skin cancer and sunburn, but I would be willing to give Vitamin D supplements a try if it gets me out of using sunscreen.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 31, 2010 at 14:05


        I don’t _know_ that it does protect against, only that it has been my experience and over the years I have seen the very same thing reported by many others. Couple of ears back I spent a week in Puerto Vallarta and was in the sun every day from 10-11 to 3-4 and while I got a pretty dark tan did not even get a hint of a burn anywhere. But, also, I try not to “sunbathe” too much as that seems unnatural to me for anything but brief periods. Rather, I try to move around a lot, and in and out of the water frequently.

        As to sunscreen and risk of melanoma, you definitely want to check this out:


        Seems that the more sunscreen, the more cancer.

      • Justin on January 4, 2011 at 19:09


        I don’t know about the vitamin D supplements, but the advice to avoid sunbathing and making sure to move around probably would be a great help to those who tend to burn. But as far as the “more sunscreen, the more cancer” comment is concerned… if there’s a correlation it probably has more to do with people’s assumption that sunscreen protects them totally, rather than the sunscreen attributing to the cancer. Meaning, “hey, I can stay out in the sun as long as I want because I’ve got sunscreen on!”

        I’m really interested in your no-poo thing you’ve got going on though. If you wouldn’t mind, I haven’t found any comments from you yet as to how you wash. Do you use a washcloth or do you just use your hand?

      • Richard Nikoley on January 4, 2011 at 20:58

        Just the hands, always. At least I don;t use the tongue, like my animals do. And no, I don;t wash my hands with soap after.

        Jesus, already. :)

      • Richard Nikoley on January 4, 2011 at 20:59

        “At least I don;t use the tongue, like my animals do.”

        Of course, only because I can’t. :)

      • Gruesome on January 1, 2011 at 05:00

        Dr. Mercola claims taking astaxanthin supplements will eliminate sunburn. Never tried, so can’t say for sure. But again, you just need to be smart about sun exposure. Most expert believe 20 minutes of full body summer sun exposure in the Northern hemisphere is enough for you daily Vitamin D ration (about 20k IUs; after this any excess in your skin starts to naturally breakdown – kinda like the body’s internal short circuit against Vitamin D toxicity). You must be sensitive to what your skin is telling you. Don’t overdo it. Toast for 15 minutes at a time front and back. And if you feel roasted at any point, just get into the shade (or water) already. Grok had lots of common sense too.

  36. Lynn on December 31, 2010 at 07:10

    I was having good success with just using water on hair and skin until I was sanding drywall. No amount of washing with water and a cloth and brush could stop my skin from feeling waxy and my hair from feeling stiff. Since I have started to use a soap which is neither anti-bacterial nor deodorant and body odor seems to have diminished. I will probably try using the same soap on the hair when I run out of shampoo. Does anyone have any opinions on occasional use of soap and shampoo when needed as cleaning aids or other suggestions for those who work in dirty and oily environments?

    • Corwin on December 31, 2010 at 21:35

      Hi Lynn,

      I occasionally use a hypoallergenic Dove when I’m covered grease/oil/gasoline. It usually takes my skin a couple days to recover and stop itching and flaking.

  37. Debbie on December 31, 2010 at 08:49

    So how long does it take for people to be happy with no shampoo? I have not used body soap (except for washing hands every so often) in several years now – but I still do shampoo. It there is an adustment period I just can’t get through it. First time I lasted 2 weeks without shampoo, and my hair felt and looked so dreadful I finally caved and washed it again with shampoo and conditioner. Bliss!

    Then I decided to give it another go. This time I pushed through, and lasted about 5 weeks, but my hair just continued to look and feel worse and worse. I could hardly bear to touch it after 5 weeks, it just felt so awful, and it LOOKED dreadful too. So after 5 weeks I caved again.

    At this point I’m not seeing a need to go “no poo”. My hair is short. I buy shampoo for 97 cents plus sales tax at an outlet store, and that one bottle probably lasts almost a year, so hardly a financial incentive to give it up. (conditioner is also 97 cents though I use that more often, 3-4 bottles a year).

    • Richard Nikoley on December 31, 2010 at 09:27

      FWIW, I think no soap is by far the bigger issue in terms of volume of skin being slathered in detergents or chemicals. I happen to be lucky enough that the no-poo thing works for me.

    • Liz Downunder on January 1, 2011 at 03:00

      It probably took about 6 weeks for me, and in that time I mostly had it tied up in a pony tail (which I do a lot anyway). Then it was back to normal, that is it didn’t feel any different to my shampoo days. A friend who I inspired to try it couldn’t handle it and after a few weeks was trying baking soda etc. She then tried a raw egg which made her hair feel soft and silky and she raved about it. I never needed anything other than water but after hearing her egg success that’s what I’d try if I felt the need.
      PS forgot to say earlier that the hairdressers always say I have clean hair in good condition.

  38. Zach on December 31, 2010 at 10:16

    Rich, great update post. I went completely chemical cosmetic free after reading your first post and never looked back. I have also been going a bit further since then because i have been interested in the idea of just how many times we put different chemicals on or in our body. I want to share a few thoughs with you and others.

    First of course is food. Easy enough, eat organic, wild, free range, cage free whole foods.

    Second, water is a huge one that i dont think many realize. All these cosmetics and soaps that people use go into our water supplies, many of which have chemicals like parabans that cannot be completely removed from the drinking supply, not to mention the chemicals the government puts into the supply like chlorine and floride, or if you drink bottled water, you are basically drinking plastic tea. Solution, in home Reverse Osmosifier. A good unit costs as little as $350 dollars and removes virtually everything from the water.

    Another is laundry detergent, the clothes you wear daily and sheets you sleep on could all have harsh chemicals depending on the detergent you use. I found a good solution, Soap Nuts. They are a nut grown on trees that have been used for centuries to clean clothes. Best of all they are very cheap and work great without leaving a gross smell.

    Finally there is the “other” cleaners, not for body but for the house, frabreeze, windex, dish soap, its all garbage we dont need that gives the allusion of a clean house when really you are just wiping chemicals all over everything. Give them up for less polluting alternatives.

    These are the big things i have changed in my life, i would like to hear from others, their thoughts about more ideas or elaborate on the ones i just wrote.


  39. Joseph Dantes on December 31, 2010 at 14:47

    This is true. I’ve been soap free for months and months. It works fine.

    I eventually realized that soap use was directly correlated with my acne, along with diet, stress and sleep, and facial touching. There were no other causes, and diet dominated the last 3.

    Ironic, I always thought my genetics were to blame. Nope.

  40. PaleoGuy on December 31, 2010 at 18:21

    Hi Richard,

    I’m enticed to try the no soap thing however I have a question regarding #2, number twom poo, shit, caca, crap. I’m the kinda guy that wipes with half roll until im spotless. After that I like to shower and power spray my ass with lots of soap. If I were to rid of the soap I would feel kinda dirty in that area. Is this not the case? How much do you wipe? How do you clean your anus? Any tips?

    • Gruesome on January 1, 2011 at 05:59

      This is not as hard as it looks. Anal cleaning should be gentle and methodical. Don’t abrade your delicate skin and lining with frequent wipes using dry tissue. You will only irritate and eventually injure this delicate region, and create opportunities for infection. To avoid this and still remain soapless, you should:

      1) Use pinching action to get rid of most of the waste around the anus. Place your tissue directly underneath your asshole and squeeze from the outside inward. Wiping just slathers shit around.

      2) Squat when you use your toilet as well as when using tissue to clean yourself. If you’ve never squatshitted before, look up naturesplatform.com for more info. Squatting prevents shit from smudging between your butt cheeks. You’ll use less tissue as a result. Cleaning from the frontside (rather than reaching backwards) seems to be more effective and less irritating.

      3) Your last few wipes should be spit and shine. That means putting a little saliva on your tissue and using gentle circular strokes to ensure you get a spotless finish. Cats and dogs lick themselves often. You can’t (unless you are a contortionist). Water can also help, but it is less ideal than saliva, which has a more mucous texture (and therefore more comfortable application, not to mention beneficial natural enzymes). You can also spit and shine whenever you feel itchy or dirty, not only after crapping. Spit and shine also helps if you suffer soreness, bleeding or piles (squatting eventually eliminates this).

      This procedure will consume 12 to 15 2-ply squares (that’s 4 to 5 wipes, 3 squares at a time). 3 squares can be used twice by folding, especially for later wipes when most of the waste has been cleaned off.

      For the actual bath, use a clean cotton towel, if you’re not comfortable with your bare hands. Many cultures and religions still use their hands to bath (although I wouldn’t recommend it directly after the toilet like in Islam without doing the above spit and shine procedure first – after that, bare hands bath is no problem at all for me). A white towel reveals just how clean your backside is.

      You can also use povidone iodine (Betadine) solution as a periodic disinfectant for washing your anus, groin and armpits. It is incredibly powerful against odor-causing bacteria and other microbes in sensitive areas and renders deodorant virtually redundant. It leaves no smell, stain or stickiness because it is water soluble.

      • Reiko on January 6, 2011 at 11:42

        What do you suggest for short people or even children? There’s no obvious way to squat over a normal-height toilet because my feet barely touch the floor when I’m sitting on it.

      • Bill on January 6, 2011 at 12:07

        You place your feet on each top of the toilet ring, not on the floor when you squat. Short or long, it makes no difference. Just position your backside so you hit the target.

      • Reiko on January 6, 2011 at 12:26

        Right, so either I put my shoes on a place where other people are expecting to place their bare rear, or I put my socks on a place where other people have already placed their bare rears? (Obviously this is primarily an issue with public toilets; I’m not concerned about that at home.) Either way…not appealing. Not to mention the difficulty of balancing on a narrow seat with a hole in the middle that wasn’t designed to be used that way (this is true at home too). If a foot slips on a smooth plastic seat, for instance…either way the foot goes, things are likely to get quite messy and/or dangerous.

        I’m not opposed to the squat idea in general. People in Japan have known its benefits for centuries, and in fact, I would have a far easier time using it if I were still living in Japan for two reasons: there are still squat toilets set into the floor available in most places, and people there are shorter on average than Westerners. I just don’t see it as workable for me when using most standard toilets.

      • wilberfan on January 6, 2011 at 13:19



        You can also sit in a conventional fashion and elevate your feet with a box or other such object.

  41. Bushrat on December 31, 2010 at 23:57

    I gave up using shampoo months ago and my hair went from dirty brown to blond and fine. I let it grow out long and hippy but cut it short a few weeks ago. I tried the baking soda but its pointless. It doesn’t help. Water is all you need. All I need to do is get my hair wet and dry it off or let it dry slowly and it comes out great, short or long. Swimming in the ocean seems to be the best thing for my hair (and skin and acne).

    Before I switched to paleo I used to go for long periods without washing my hair and it would always end up terrible. So diet obviously has a big effect.

    I also have almost no BO. Finally, if I have been eating clean paleo then if I don’t brush my teeth at night when I wake up the next day I don’t have a fuzzy mouth or bad breath. Even a little non paleo food or drink and I get the fuzzy mouth feel and bad breath when I wake up.

    @ Derek S: Paleo man didn’t walk hunched over. Its modern man who has poor posture from sitting in chairs all day and doing no exercise. Paleo man walked upright and held his his head high. I’d rather live that way.

  42. Christian on January 2, 2011 at 12:05

    I’m with you Richard. I followed the link from Fark and went no-soap no-shampoo for a month, but gave up when my hair got too oily. I tried again in March and haven’t looked back since. No soap or shampoo, no toothpaste… nothing. Hell, I haven’t been able to shave with a razor because of the really bad razor bumps I’d get after – had to go with a trimmer instead. But I’ve started shaving with a razor in the shower, but no soap or foam. The first time was a bit uncomfortable, but now it works perfectly – no discomfort, no razor bumps. Not sure how it relates, but it was the lack of shampoo that made me think of it.

  43. Alan on January 2, 2011 at 20:36

    i’m not so sure that Reverse Osmosis is the optimal way to filter drinking water.

    it was invented for de-salinization of sea water. Sodium ions ARE too large to pass through
    the pores of the RO membrane. Many other toxic contaminants have a small molecular size, and pass
    through just fine.

  44. […] the many comments and emails. At any rate, I had tweeted Mark Frauenfelder and emailed him about an update post I did just a few days ago, so this is opportune and coincidental. Here it is: A Most Successful […]

  45. Abe on January 5, 2011 at 14:50

    Every time there is a mention of No Poo somewhere, there are tons of questions and comments from experience. So, I thought it might be a good idea to set up a question and answer site to help beginners, and kind of let everyone discuss the No Shampoo/Soap lifestyle, and all the different experiences and experiments we are doing.

    So, if you are interested, go check it out:

    I’m not selling anything, and I would appreciate people participating in honest, good discussions.

  46. Curious Lady on January 5, 2011 at 01:08


    I saw something on Boing Boing about this, and jumped over here via the link provided. I have to say that I am seriously planning on trying this out. I don’t shower daily, but I do at least shower at least four times a week (a little less if I’m not as active). I thought that doing that would cut out my skin problems, but turns out the soap and shampoo is the culprit.

    I’ve been a long time sufferer of very dry, oily skin and oily, unmanageable hair. I’ve got a lot of sensitivities to chemicals like fragrances, so that’s why I just don’t shower much. I thought that if I don’t shower as often, I wouldn’t have to deal with the skin and hair problems. Turns out I was slightly wrong!

    My boyfriend kept telling me to switch off of soaps and shampoos completely, except for before meals, when I’m at work and after using the restroom, and I just wasn’t convinced, seeing as I’m a lady, I’m concerned about smelling weird.

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated :)

    • Curious Lady on January 5, 2011 at 01:34

      I’ve got another quick question.

      If people dye their hair, do they have to do anything special to treat their hair, or can you still just use water and nothing else?

      • Richard Nikoley on January 5, 2011 at 09:10

        hair dying is out of my league and I can’t recall anyone addressing that before. But I’d imagine you need to use whatever is standard to get the initial dying chemicals out, then just give a try from then out.

    • Helen on January 5, 2011 at 09:15

      What’s your diet like? Do you eat alot of grains, sugar, soy or other legumes? Do you eat animal fats or is your diet heavy in seed oils like corn, soy and canola? When I was eating the SAD, my hair and skin were terrible…weirdly oily and dry at the same time…and I was always breaking out. If you eat the SAD, or are vegetarian or vegan, get yourself on a paleo diet and see what happens.

      • Helen on January 5, 2011 at 10:46

        p.s. And ditch the hair dye…the only person that kind of thing fools is one’s self.

      • Curious Lady on January 5, 2011 at 23:29

        Nah I’m not vegan, lol. I couldn’t give up meat, even if I tried.

        But I’m allergic to a lot of different grains (wheat, barley, rice, etc), soy, corn, and a few other things. It’s really hard to avoid corn, seeing as it’s literally in just about everything. I know I should go organic, but I’m slowly changing my diet so my body doesn’t get pissed off at me, haha.

        My usual diet:

        I’ve pretty much cut out soda, in place of that I drink a daily glass of V8, then after that it’s water or tea if I need the caffeine. It’s still kinda hard to cut out grains, because I just don’t have the money for the expensive alternatives, but I’ve been researching how to go about it without spending an arm and a leg. Meat-wise, I eat lean beef, turkey, and ham, and plain chicken (not breaded) on occasion because I’m allergic to it, too, but I love it a little to much to cut out completely. I would eat more fish, but I’m allergic to that too, save for shellfish. I hardly eat any sweets, on on occasion because of the whole corn/wheat/soy-is-in-everything dilemma.

        Would I be able to purchase the Paleo Cook Book in a Barnes and Noble, perhaps?

        And true on the hair dye, I don’t dye my hair regularly. I’ve really only dyed it once. And I don’t plan on dying my hair every month, haha. I just meant on those random, totally impulsive incidences.

      • Liz Downunder on January 6, 2011 at 03:33

        I get my hair dyed at the hairdresser once or twice a year (it makes me feel as though it improves my looks, and I don’t care if I’m not fooling anyone else!!). The hairdresser washes it with shampoo and conditioner afterwards (I initially protested but figured it couldn’t hurt – plus the head massage is to die for) then I go back to my usual water-only washing. It takes a few washes after the hairdresser’s to feel normal again.

      • Curious Lady on January 6, 2011 at 21:51

        Alright :) Sounds good! Thank you! I kinda figured it can’t be helped at the salon, but at least you wouldn’t have to treat it much after words.

      • Helen on January 7, 2011 at 08:54

        See, now, I actually *like* my grey hair…its coming in a beautiful silvery-white and giving me white wings at my temples, and its coarser than my other hair, which is delightful to me because my hair is so fine.

        p.s. Although I have lots of hair, it has always been so fine that it drives me nuts, so I really like that the way the grey is coarser :)

      • Helen on January 7, 2011 at 09:39

        p.p.s. Btw, I didn’t say “ditch the hair dye” because of moralistic reasons. From the way your post read, Curious Lady, it sounded like you are troubled by your hair’s texture, and I was picturing chemical damage possibly compounded by poor diet.

      • Curious Lady on January 9, 2011 at 23:16

        Yeah, I didn’t mean to sound like I was being rude, sorry!

        But, I have been having a little trouble with my diet, seeing as I still live with the parents, and they try to have healthy food in the house, but they never seem to supply fruits of any kind. So I can really only get it from things like V8 Fusion, or whatever it’s called. I know it’s not the best source, but it’s the best I can do until I can supply myself with a healthier alternative.

        I, also, still eat some wheat, which is probably the culprit, but it’s really hard being the only person in the family, and in my boyfriend’s family. I’ve been looking in stores for alternative foods to what they eat, so I can at least prepare a meal similar to what they eat, but the gluten-free foods are so expensive. I wish it was cheaper to be allergic to something -_- Not to make such a rude comparrason (sp), but it’s kinda like how obese people have to pay extra for clothes and plane tickets… absolutely unfair >_<

  47. Derek on January 5, 2011 at 21:05

    I guess a “thank you” is overdue. It’s been a year since I read your post. I was so intrigued that I did some research and took the plunge. It’s been 12 months without soap or shampoo, and it’s all true: healthier hair and skin and no B.O. – not too mention the financial and environmental benefits. Thanks, Richard – you’ve actually changed peoples lives for the better.

  48. Gary S on January 5, 2011 at 08:03

    Anyone out there going soap free, but using a hot tub? After reading the article I am considering giving this a try, but wonder if my hot tub use (couple times per week) will mess it up.

  49. The Reviewer on January 5, 2011 at 11:56

    My question is about sunscreen, especially for the face, do you recommend using this based on your behaviors. I hear from my doctor use Sunscreen, not just TV. Do you feel like this is something that still should be used, I usually use a Neutragenia Sunscreen/Moisturizer.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 6, 2011 at 07:44

      There’s some comments above near the top that address the sunscreen issue. In short, I don’t use it because I found I don’t need it. But everyone’s mileage may vary.

  50. casketsalesman on January 5, 2011 at 12:17

    well, if it works, its rad

  51. Andrew on January 5, 2011 at 12:49

    Serious questions, not a jab at your lifestyle choices:
    Grains are kind of the foundation of modern civilization and are necessary to ensure the nearly 7 billion people on earth get fed, overpopulation issues aside, is there a way to eliminate them and feed everyone?
    What modern ideas do you maintain? Paleolithic man didn’t make it out of his 30s for the most part without modern medicine and other technologies, is the occasional use of things like anti-biotic drugs acceptable?

    • Helen on January 5, 2011 at 14:14

      Your questions are such a package deal of unexamined beliefs and assumptions that they are too much of a pain in the ass for me, at least, to try to answer. Take those same questions, get on the internet, and start finding the answers yourself. Just the blog roll on this site is a good place for you to start and you can branch out from there.

      • Viellektric on January 5, 2011 at 18:08

        Unfortunately overpopulation of earth is another issue; grains made it possible…

    • michaelf on January 6, 2011 at 06:41

      Read Lierre Keiths Vegetarian Myth. She makes a good case for future generations and how to make it happen, but the population is going to be a problem no matter how much grain we produce.

      Antibiotics are completely uneccesary with the right diet. I’m sure there would be a case in a traumatic event with exposure to lots of bad shit but for your everyday walking around stuff antibiotics are absolutely unecessary. When you don’t get sick, and for me its been 6 years since I needed a doctor for anything other than sports injuries, antibiotics are just not needed. The paleolithic men that didn’t make it out of their 30’s were not dying because they got an infection. The were dying because a fucking bear or other large carnivore ate their asses, or they died testing how big a ditch they could jump over, not because they got the fucking flu and died. The flu is a mythical creature like unicorns that doesnt exist for people who eat real food, atleast for this guy and his family who eat real food.

      My 3 year old is a very active child who never gets sick, never gets vacinated and never eats cheerios, grahm crackers, goldfish or anything else made with any of the garbage the cereal companies are peddling. We don’t sanitize every 30 seconds, we don’t wash hands except at bathtime, and we don’t have to see the pediatrician. His friends sneeze, cough, spit, drool, piss, shit and puke all over the places he plays and he stays well. Most modern shit is just broken science peddled off to the masses.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 6, 2011 at 07:53


      “Grains are kind of the foundation of modern civilization and are necessary to ensure the nearly 7 billion people on earth get fed, overpopulation issues aside, is there a way to eliminate them and feed everyone?”

      While they are indeed the foundation (along with starch) of what built a world of 7 billion, I have seen things here and there suggestion if all the land used to grow these crops were used for grazing we’d be fine. But I’m no expert. I think Pollan has addressed the issue somewhere.

      For me, however, I do what works best and it’s not my obligation to worry about others in that way.

      “What modern ideas do you maintain?”

      I’m an atheist, anarcho-capitalist, individualist. I don’t vote. I’m an entrepreneur that employs other people and I do love my modern conveniences.

      “Paleolithic man didn’t make it out of his 30s for the most part without modern medicine and other technologies, is the occasional use of things like anti-biotic drugs acceptable?”

      That 30 years is an average made low by infant mortality, trauma, accidents, etc. I fully support the idea of modern medicine on principal. I think there’s a lot of quackery in terms of the drug companies and they way they market through bogus research and doctors, but things like anti-biotics, vaccines, surgury and many other things are wonders and we should not be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      Last night I took 600mg ibuprophen ’cause i injured my shoulder at the gym.

  52. Viellektric on January 5, 2011 at 18:05

    Hi, tío months without soap now, just some aloe vera oil sometimes, and clean, shining and not smelly at all!!!!

  53. Glory on January 5, 2011 at 18:15

    I’ve only gone through this page and it’s comments so far and i think i agree with the basis for the no poo or soap, for my job as a nurse i am required to scrub but as i only work 3 days a week its a non issue the rest of the week.
    Some of the comments though leave me with concern. Do you advocate not vaccinating children? What’s your stance on oral hygiene? Are you aware that poor oral hygiene can lead to heart disease?

    • Richard Nikoley on January 6, 2011 at 07:55

      Let me be very clear, Glory: I am not anti vaccination and never have been. While there may be some legitimate questions as to efficacy and potential harm for some, there’s certainly not enough to convince me that whatever small risk there is is not far outweighed by the benefits.

      That said, no one should be forced to have a vaccination.

  54. Henry Willis on January 5, 2011 at 19:35

    Sheesh, Richard! 130 comments and climbing. I am always amazed when you bring this up, how much interest it gets. Maybe because there is not really any other forum for this type of conversation!

    • Abe on January 5, 2011 at 20:14

      Do to the enormous interest in the subject, we’ve set up a simple question and answer forum at

      Come help get the community going!

    • Richard Nikoley on January 5, 2011 at 21:12

      I know what you mean, Henry. It’s an aspect of “paleo” I just stumbled upon, was reluctant to blog about, but I did anyway cause that’s me, and here we are. 10k visits yesterday, approaching 30k today.

      And, many get interested in other aspects, which is the huge bonus for me.

  55. Shelby on January 5, 2011 at 22:57

    I was looking at guinea pig care a few days ago and found that they don’t need to bathe–ever–because they can regulate their natural oils and all of that aforementioned. As a citizen concerned about her hair, I decided to look into this because I’ve been slowly cutting back on shampoo use lately anyway and I think it’s an experiment that’s worth a try.
    As a slightly unrelated idea, does anyone have any idea as to why humans started using shampoo, soap, conditioner, etc.? I imagine there must be a somewhat beneficial reason for the addition of chemicals. I haven’t looked into this idea very much but I wanted to hear the opinion of a person who had done away with all of it, too.

    • Gary S on January 6, 2011 at 04:45

      With a limited volume of water (especially when the water starts off not being 100% clean) soap would be necessary to get your body clean. When more people started living together that would have been a problem., so soap was introduced. Now that we have large volumes of clean water, it shouldn’t be a problem. In today’s society you would also end up using less water by not using soap…

    • Richard Nikoley on January 6, 2011 at 07:58

      Probably soaps and shampoos originated out of the idea of perfumes. What really made people used to stink was wearing the same clothes, not washing them, and they hid the stench with various perfumes.

  56. sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 05:01

    I just went on a date last night with a girl who smelled like a locker room. I really hope she hasn’t been reading this asinine blog. Our health is comparable to animals? We live twice as long as most primates and have far fewer incidence of chronic disease. We also don’t wipe our asses with our hands. People also spent a time not using toothpaste.. Coincidentally it was a time when nearly everyone over 40 had wooden teeth. If anyone buys into this shit you had better be retarded or homeless, because this is perhaps the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 6, 2011 at 08:01


      I usually just delete a post from a newcomer who just goes off with something like “asinine blog” or the like. However, I’m letting it pass because in a subsequent comment I agree with much of your criticisms.

      At any rate, don’t get the wrong impression. This is merely a self experiment I tried, it worked and I wanted more than six months to share it out of fear people would just think it too bizarre. Much to my surprise there is lots of interest and while it does not work for all, it works for many.

      But this is not at all about primitive reenactment, hippy, or any of that bullshit. Please read this:


      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 08:07

        I appreciate your reply and your clarifying above that you do not advocate people not getting vaccinated. I actually think the Paleo diet is a great idea (I have Celiac disease and come pretty close in my own experience) and while I doubt I’ll ever try not using soap and shampoo, I can respect the notion. I just find it a little shocking that this has turned into a discussion about avoiding safe medical practices and I would hate for your ideas to be marred with the notion that people should be avoiding good dental hygiene and vaccines, among other safe and practiced medical practices.

      • CPorter on January 6, 2011 at 12:30

        Way to go Richard! “A soft answer turneth away wrath.”

  57. ppafford on January 6, 2011 at 05:55

    Kudos to you man!!! About three months ago I read an article about people who gave up deodorant and only shower two to three times a week. I liked the idea and thought I might give it a try. Well three months later I still have the same job, same friends and no one knew. I really don’t smell any different (Well to me at least), but I can tell if I ate something like garlic the night before, LOL. Another reason I’m trying this is I have psoriasis and wanted to see if my symptoms got any better. After reading your story I wanted to know if you have met anyone with psoriasis that is not showering or taking treatment(s) for their condition and what were the results (if any)?

    • Richard Nikoley on January 6, 2011 at 08:03


      Can’t recal about psoriasis specifically, but certainly some skin conditions. There are 300+ comments at the original post that’s linked in this post. You might open it up and then use your find function on your browser to see if anyone addressed it, so you don’t have to wade through all the comments.

  58. sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 06:45

    And the talk of no medicine and no vaccinations? If anyone has followed advice like this, you ought to have your children taken from you.

    • CPorter on January 6, 2011 at 12:34

      Our family has a record of a few vaccines for an older child (now adult) and a record of no vaccines for a younger child, now 6.

      He exhibited some signs of autism as an infant/crawling baby such as a fascination/obsession with door hinges and tags on his blankie and assorted stuffed animals. So we skipped the vaccines until he was older.

      He never developed any further indications of autism and is now a brilliant unvaccinated and totally normal 6 year old. We’ll get around to getting some (select few) vaccines one day.

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 12:37

        It has been shown that studies linking vaccines to autism were based on fraudulently conducted research. There was no reason for you to skip vaccines. The doctor who did most of this “research” had his license taken away.

      • Helen on January 6, 2011 at 12:58

        I saw that article. But the vaccine avoidance stance not just about autism. The evidence showing that vaccines are not efficatious goes back decades…if fact, right back to Jenner and his cowpox, as the websites I posted show. And I disagree with you…there is every reason for me to skip vaccines. I simply do not want my body pumped full of those witch’s brews called vaccines…full of god-knows-what “adjuvants”…and contaminated with other, unknown viruses as well, due to dirty, sloppy lab conditions, manufacturing short-cuts, just plain greed and/or human error/stupidity, etc. Skipping vaccines is my personal choice. I am not trying to pursuade you to NOT get vaccinated…go ahead, get jabbed if you want to. But this girl is going to skip them.

      • Catharina on January 14, 2011 at 11:16

        Interesting. In my country, skipping vaccines is still a criminal offence AND children with no vaccines are not allowed to go to kindergarten or school until they have received the vaccines. (And I fully agree with that.)

  59. johnnydrz on January 6, 2011 at 06:54

    sirrix, you’re in the wrong place…

  60. sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 07:04

    No, I don’t think I am. If I help just one person to second-guess this nonsense, I’ve done a good thing. If you don’t want to use soap, fine. But no deodorant, toothpaste, and people commenting here about no medicine and no vaccinations for their children? That is downright dangerous and shame on the authors here for allowing discussions like that to go on. If you don’t brush your teeth you have a significantly increased risk for heart disease and other illnesses. If you don’t vaccinate your children they have a significantly increased risk for a number of deadly or crippling diseases. I think the authors have a duty to clarify their lifestyle choices as it seems to me the only thing that they’re really advocating is not using soap or shampoo but still rinsing with water or other products. That’s a far cry from shunning oral hygiene and vaccines.

    • michaelf on January 6, 2011 at 07:35

      Buddy you’ve entered into a conversation with a number of people who have significant experience with affecting change in their lives with the things we put into them, whether that be food, soap, or vaccines. Its folks like you, trying to stamp out conversations about things that work, that just really convinces me we’re throughly fucked in this world. Dental hygiene entered the frey when the amount of sugar we as humans consumed starting giving us glorious wooden teeth. I’m sure you are a perfectly intelligent human, but I tend to disagree with your foundation of health because of self examination. The things I have tried have worked. If what you have tried for yourself has worked and you are happy with that good. Don’t come to a place where lives are changed for the better preaching about nonsense as you see it. I mean you will anyway because I’m sure you’re that guy, but if I can help just one asshole, who thinks he needs to stop the masses from taking advice from sites like this, second guess his choice to voice his worthless opinion here I’ve done a good thing.

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 08:13


        Dental hygiene entered the fray when people wanted to stop losing their teeth. Processed sugar was not too popular in George Washington’s time, and though he enjoyed a good lifestyle and had a good disposable income, he had severe dental problems in his early twenties, which was common at the time. When he was elected president he had one real tooth remaining in his mouth. He was dead at the age of 67, a veritable triumph of longevity for his time. Vaccines have never been shown to be harmful to anyone and a recent study released has debunked all of the “research” on which people have based their claims that vaccines are linked to autism.

        If your lives have been changed for the better by not using soap and chemicals in cleaning yourselves, then I salute you. But if you are not cleaning your teeth and if you are not vaccinating your children, you’re really hurting yourself and others. I find it unlikely that it is true that not using vaccines is a notion included in your definition of “things that work.” I hope your children do not get smallpox or rubella.

      • michaelf on January 6, 2011 at 08:35

        People didn’t start losing their teeth until sugar and grains entered the picture. That was a lot longer ago than when good old George suffered for our “freedoms”. If you’re as you said even slightly interested in this Paleo experiement as you said above then you would have probably read somewhere that the bread too turns to simple sugars in your mouth that destroys your teeth. General Washington didn’t need to sweeten his tea then to lose his teeth.

        I am not saying that vaccinations are something everyone should choose not to do. I choose it because I’m not concerned with my child “catching” smallpox or rubella. You don’t “catch” viruses if your body is properly supported by nutrition. Many parents need to give their child every chance for survival by vaccinating because they leave their children succeptable to virus intake. I feel fairly confident at this point that my child is not suceptible to those viruses. I feel sorry for those that don’t get it, but I understand why theres so much hostility towards it as well.

        I could make the same argument for any virus, from the common cold to AIDS, but it would be a worthless arguement.

        Nowhere in my arguements will you find me saying I don’t clean my teeth. I don’t do it with the same garbage peddled down to the masses, but they’re clean anyway.

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 08:46

        My concern for good dental hygiene isn’t so much for cosmetic reasons as it is the bacteria that live in your mouth. There is a very strong correlation between oral bacteria and heart disease, and I would hate for people to get early-stage myocardial infarctions or strokes due to a disdain for modern dental practices.

        I’m honestly shocked to read your theories about how viruses work because you seem like a moderately intelligent guy. Human beings are susceptible to the smallpox virus because 99.9% of human beings lack the immunity made up of certain proteins. Your diet has no effect whatsoever on your body’s ability to protect you from smallpox or any other disease for which there is a vaccine, with the obvious exception of the cold or the flu, which the body can fight on its own. There is no cure for many diseases for which there are vaccines – your body simply cannot fight polio or HIV, for instance. There are some people in the world who are naturally immune but again, that has nothing to do with your diet. It’s your body so do what you want, but please consider immunizing your children. They’ll have to do it anyway if they want to go to college – nearly every state in the Union requires it. P.S., will you instruct your children to use condoms when they have sex? If their immune systems bolstered by good nutrition what would they have to worry about?

      • Helen on January 6, 2011 at 09:22

        Here is some information about vaccines that you all might find interesting.



        I have no problem with people *choosing* vaccinations for themselves or their children, but when they forced into doing it by the state, that is when I call a huge, loud BULLSHIT. Human beings are not livestock, to be vaccinated and medicated at the dictate of the state.

      • michaelf on January 6, 2011 at 09:06

        You are absolutely wrong about what your body can do with a proper diet.

        Google Dr. Benjamin Sandler and Polio and read. Its old, simple and downright devastating to modern science.

        The same priciples hold for all viruses. When you’re blood sugar is stable your body is pretty safe.

        I fear the onslaught of vaccines for small children more than the actual vaccine themselves. Babies are just slammed with “dead” viruses as tiny little things and that is scary to me.

        I agree, with a system bolstered by proper nutrition, you haven’t much to worry about but crabs and babies. Most young men have to make their own choices about what they do with their thing at that point in their life though. All I can do is educate them about what is safe, what will keep them safe, and how much money it takes to raise a baby. As a young adult it will be their choice whether I’m a handicapper or not.

        Condoms are for people who dont like sex, they just do it because thats what everyone tells them makes them full grown men.

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 09:12

        Michael, there’s simply nothing left to be said. I encourage you to finish your college education and speak with a few doctors. I hope your children don’t heed your advice about sexually transmitted illness.

      • MichaelF on January 6, 2011 at 09:26

        Haha and there we have it folks he finishes with the insult to my education and hope for my kids. Thanks bud.

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 09:33

        I don’t mean it as an insult. Please, correct me if I’m wrong about your education. I just find it hard to believe that it’s 2011 and someone who has fathered children thinks that a good diet will protect them from the Herpes virus.

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 10:06

        Wow those websites look legitimate. And I am definitely convinced by the argument that Polio is now redefined as meningitis so that’s why we shouldn’t believe in vaccines. /sarcasm.

      • Helen on January 6, 2011 at 10:52

        I’m not trying to convince you, or anyone, of anything. I posted those sites because I thought people might find them interesting. If you want to vaccinate yourself and your children, that is fine. But please, don’t threaten those who disagree with you with the power of the state to take their children away. Your posts are starting to look more and more like fanatasism and not reasoned arguments or even passionately held beliefs. You know what Carl Jung said about fanatasism…it is over-compensated doubt.

      • Gene on January 6, 2011 at 10:59

        Those of you discussing vaccines would probably be interested in this article –

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 11:01


        There’s a difference between something that is debatable and something that is fact. Arguing against vaccines is like arguing that the Earth is flat. It isn’t fanaticism, it’s a well-established fact that pertains directly to the safety and well-being of children. I’m saying the state should vaccinate your children just the same way that the state makes sure that you feed them enough or that they are required to wear seat belts in cars. This guy is admitting in a public forum that he’s going to teach his children that they can’t get HIV as long as they eat well. That doesn’t bother you at all? I don’t even see how you can defend behavior like that.

      • michaelf on January 6, 2011 at 11:08

        My education is not relevant to this conversation. It is completed though not a long term investment on my part. You are like every fucking vegetarian I ever argue with. You argue to the point where people make you look like you might not know what you’re talking about, or where you disagree so vehemently that the next thing to attack is their education and to stress your overall hope that their children may survive such a horrible parent.

        You should have surely left it at there is surely nothing left to be said. I find you an irritant that I no longer wish to converse with. I live my life like a constant science experiement. When someone brings something to me, I educate mayself about it, question it, use or discard and then move on.

        I find it hard to believe that in 2011 another grown man thinks it his fucking responsiblity to “hope” for my fucking children. I have more than enough “hope” and “fear” and love, that I nor them need anything from some shithead on the other side of the internet. Hope yourself to a grave. I’m done.

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 11:14

        Michael – I’m not trying to attack anything here. The fact is that you have not been properly educated about how viruses infect the human body. You are wrong, there is no argument to be had. I’m hoping because you are risking your children’s lives and you’ve said that you’re going to tell them that they will not be susceptible to infection from HIV if they maintain a healthy diet. This is not only wrong, but dangerous. You can call me a shithead and get all defensive until you’re blue in the face, but it won’t make your theories about viral infection any truer. Best of luck.

      • Helen on January 6, 2011 at 11:41

        And I am trying to tell you that the debate isn’t about the efficacy, or non-efficacy of vaccines…the debate is about *freedom* and the sovereignty of the individual. Since human beings are not livestock and the state doesnt own us, the state should have no power to mandate vaccinations. Parents, not the state, are responsible for the upbringing of their children. It is parents who make sure that children are properly fed, clothed and housed, not the state. Is it illegal to starve a child? Of course, but starving a child is a *criminal* act, and then the state should have the power to step in. But you seem to think that it is only the threat of state intervention that motivates parents to properly feed, clothe and house their children. Who cares more for a child? His parents or the state? Who has more motivation to see that the child is raised to a happy, healthy adulthood? His parents or the state? The fact that a very few parents do not properly take care of their children is no reason to assume that state intervention is a pre-requisit to the proper care of *all* children. To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate, comes under this heading, because contrary to what you and the vaccine makers would like us to believe, the efficacy of vaccinations has not been proven at all and can cause harm…enough children have died of DPT shots to show that. If a parent does not want to risk his child’s health to the possible harm a vaccine can cause, he needs to be free to do so. If you want to vaccinate yourself and your children, that is your right and you should be free to do so. But you should *not* be free to impose your beliefs on other parents, and threaten them with police action because they disagree with you. Being free means being free to make mistakes. It does not mean being free to impose your will on others simply because you think that you are in the right.

      • jose marti on March 28, 2011 at 11:28

        “He was dead at the age 67, a veritable triumph of longevity for his time”. Well, let’s see: Franklin,84: Madison 85: Samuel Adams 83; John Jay 84; Marshall 80 and ;John Adams 91, Jefferson 83(both the same day, a 4th of July!).

    • Richard Nikoley on January 6, 2011 at 08:11


      I agree with the general thrust of your criticisms. I addressed the vaccination question above. In short, while there may be legit questions I am far from convinced that vaccinations are anything but a huge benefit.

      The tooth brushing issue you’re way off on. Check out Nutrition and Physical Degeneration


      Price was a dentist who travelled the world in the 1930s documenting the excellent dental health of native people’s the world over who had little contact with modern society and its flour and sugar.


      I myself had gum disease and two surgeries and had to have deep cleanings 4 times per year. Once I dropped grains, sugar, vegetable/seed oils and processed foods in general and ate paleoish, my gum inflammation cleared right up and now I can go a year between cleanings and they’re quick.

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 08:22


        Interesting stuff. I’ll read more of his publication when I have some time to absorb it but I am noticing that his research is met with stiff criticism (though I suppose this is true of almost anything.)

        I’m wondering, though, are you saying that you do not brush or floss? It’s clear that you do go to a dentist every year (I also only go once per year and have had no cavities, so I’m not advocating for insane dental practices) but it seems that some people here are advocating abandoning dental hygiene altogether and I think that is dangerous and foolish. At the very, very least, people should be flossing as the teeth of modern man are simply too closely packed to remove food products and dangerous bacteria (such as those which have been strongly linked to heart disease).

      • gallier2 on January 6, 2011 at 09:34

        While you’re at it, check out Stephan Guyenet’s blog about dental health, it’s one of the sources of Richard’s experience. Don’t be afraid, he’s a real science guy and really far from dogmatic:

        PS: I noticed one thing in several of your post and it is the archetypical mistake on which many, many, many misconceptions and errors lay in modern science (reporting).

        CORRELATION =/= CAUSATION it’s important, I repeat, correlation doesn’t imply causation. Mouth bacteria may correlate with heart disease, but that doesn’t mean that mout bacteria cause heart disease, it can equally mean that heart disease causes bacterial overgrow in the mouth or that the same (unaccounted for) factor causes both (it could be the same poor diet that causes both but multi-daily tooth-brushing hiding the bacterial grow).

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 09:40

        Fair point. I have no doubt that diet can effect tooth decay, but the bacteria I’m concerned with. I’ll be interested to see what the studies reveal as they progress.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 6, 2011 at 10:04


        More on the tooth decay issue, and then I’ll give you more of my anectodal experience, having suffered gum disease requiring surgery in 2001.

        “Weston Price was primarily interested in Activator X because of its ability to control dental caries. By studying the remains of human skeletons from past eras, he estimated that there had been more dental caries in the preceding hundred years than there had been in any previous thousand-year period and suggested that Activator X was a key substance that people of the past obtained but that modern nutrition did not adequately provide. Price used the combination of high-vitamin cod liver oil and high-Activator X butter oil as the cornerstone of his protocol for reversing dental caries. This protocol not only stopped the progression of tooth decay, but completely reversed it without the need for oral surgery by causing the dentin to grow and remineralize, sealing what were once active caries with a glassy finish. One 14-year-old girl completely healed 42 open cavities in 24 teeth by taking capsules of the high-vitamin cod liver oil and Activator X concentrate three times a day for seven months.

        “Activator X also influences the composition of saliva. Price found that if he collected the saliva of individuals immune to dental caries and shook it with powdered bone or tooth meal, phosphorus would move from the saliva to the powder; by contrast, if he conducted the same procedure with the saliva of individuals susceptible to dental caries, the phosphorus would move in the opposite direction from the powder to the saliva. Administration of the Activator X concentrate to his patients consistently changed the chemical behavior of their saliva from phosphorus-accepting to phosphorus-donating. The Activator X concentrate also reduced the bacterial count of their saliva. In a group of six patients, administration of the concentrate reduced the Lactobacillus acidophilus count from 323,000 to 15,000. In one individual, the combination of cod liver oil and Activator X concentrate reduced the L. acidophilus count from 680,000 to 0.”

        And guess what, some of this cavity reversal through what is essentially dietary intervantioin was even documented in medical journals in the 1920s.


        For myself, once I began supplementing with vitamins D and K2 (Mk-4) menatetrenone, I found that within days, calculus and plaque stopped forming and some that existed even dissolved. My teeth are now smooth as pearls at all times, I have no more gum inflammation and they never bleed when I brush (used to, all the time). Probably dropping grains helped as well.

        While I do brush, I’m not fanatic about it. What I do do quite regularly is use wooden toothpicks to remove trapped food between teeth after eating which is course is a food source for bacteria.

      • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 10:54

        Very interesting stuff – glad to hear that the toothpicks do the trick. I used to keep a bunch of tea tree oil-soaked toothpicks with me at all times and I don’t know why I stopped that. I appreciate the clarification.

      • Helen on January 6, 2011 at 12:39

        Out of curiosity, how much K-2 do you take a day, Richard? Like everything else, I figure that the RDA for K-2 is much too low…assuming that there even is an RDA for K-2, that is.

      • Richard Nikoley on January 6, 2011 at 12:48

        No RDA I’me aware of. Currently, I take the LEF Super K complex. As I recall, it has some k-1, 5mg K2 MK-4 and 100mg K2 MK-7

      • Jennifer on January 7, 2011 at 12:20

        Ever heard of autophagy? Paleo diets are almost always ketogenic (unless you eat alot of potatoes), and ketogenic diets turn on this very important bacteria fighting process in the body.

        Autophagy is the garbage collection and recycling process of human cells. When resources are scarce, cells turn on recycling programs and send garbage collectors known as lysosomes to engulf and digest junk proteins and damaged organelles, enabling re-use of their amino and fatty acids.

        Autophagy is a key part of the immune defense against parasitic bacteria. Lysosomes not only digest human junk, they seek out bacteria and digest them.

        Autophagy is strongly turned after about 16 hours of fasting. The longer one fasts, the more parasitic bacteria are destroyed in lysosomes. Fasting is an easy way to improve the relative balance of power between your body and intracellular pathogens. Fasting strongly promotes autophagy in neurons, and is of therapeutic value for Alzheimer’s.

        Two dangers of fasting are that it can lead to loss of muscle tissue as protein is consumed to generate ketones and glucose, and that neurons may be put under stress by glucose deprivation.

        Both dangers can be ameliorated by eating ketogenic fats during the fast. “Ketogenic” means generative of ketone bodies. Ketone bodies, which are generated from fats or some proteins during fasting, are the only neuronal energy source that bacteria can’t steal. There is a large literature showing that high circulating ketone levels are neuroprotective, and ketogenic diets have been successfully tested as Alzheimer’s therapies.

        The most ketogenic fats are the short- and medium-chain fats found abundantly in coconut oil. Taking plentiful fat calories from coconut oil, but no carb or protein calories and few other fats, can enable fasts to be extended substantially longer with minimal loss of muscle tissue or neuronal stress.

        Check out these websites for more information:


        Or simply Google “ketogenic diets and autophagy.”

      • Richard Nikoley on January 7, 2011 at 12:40

        Jennifer. I’ve been blogging about autophagy for about three years. Use the search function. You’ll see.

        Otherwise, thanks for that. I agree, mostly.

        I disagree about ingesting ketone producing fats (MCT oil, medium chain trygs), as that’s simply not a fast. (Just like “juice fasts” are uniformly Bullshit).

        If you are lowish carb, your body will know how to produce copius ketones during a fast, so one can then get the full benefit of burning the fat in one’s body over the fat one is ingesting in order to get the energy to metabolize that fat.

  61. johnnydrz on January 6, 2011 at 07:57

    Thank you michaelf, I didn’t think sirrix was going to reply… Most people think that vaccination, dental care, medicine, soap, (and other things) exist for a good reason…. where I think they only exist for a (not good) reason…

    • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 08:35


      I know this seems like a crazy request but I’m actually quite serious: if you have a will, can you add a sentence to it where you ask the administrator of your estate to send an email to sirrix at gmail.com on the event of your passing? I’m interested to see how your experiment works, how long you live, and what ends up being the cause of your death. If you email me with your info, I’ll do the same. Might be an interesting idea for a website, actually.

  62. johnnydrz on January 6, 2011 at 09:35

    Sirrix, sorry to disappoint you but nobody will be sending emails in my name. Second thing is, because of the research and reading I do on a daily basis, to learn more and more, with the help of blogs like this one, Dr Mike Eades’, William Davis, Whole Health Source, Mark Sisson, Hyperlipid and others, I would be sending an email to an expired account…

    • sirrix on January 6, 2011 at 09:37

      Suit yourself but I think it would be an interesting experiment and possibly a trend to start. I’ll even include a provision to give the password to the account to someone upon my demise!

      • johnnydrz on January 6, 2011 at 10:14

        Yeah, who knows? Future generations would learn from us…

  63. […] “Free the Animal” post: https://freetheanimal.com/2010/12/a-most-successful-self-experiement-over-18-months-soap-and-shampoo-… See more progress on: don’t use soap or shampoo for 30 days This entry was posted on […]

  64. […] Would your girlfriend ditch you? Friends loathe having to invite you ’round? Or, like Richard Nikoley and Sean Bonner, would life just… go […]

    • Gene on January 6, 2011 at 16:54

      Nice! Gizmodo picked it up – if only in Australia.

  65. Homem consegue passar 18 meses sem usar sabonete – você conseguiria? | Gizmodo Brasil on January 7, 2011 at 04:42

    […] xampu? Sua namorada ia te deixar? Os amigos não iriam mais querer te convidar pra sair? Ou, como Richard Nikoley e Sean Bonner, sua vida simplesmente… […]

  66. Technohippy on January 7, 2011 at 03:52

    Came across your post a year ago via boing boing. I had been using a stone deoderant for a few years and was interested in the no soap thing. was converted a year today(ish) and was surprised at the transistion, it was so easy, now all i take is a clean flannel to the shower. I wash my hands with soap after using the toilet and before food prep, but thats it! And no more smells than if i’d used soap… ACE!

    So thanks you for posting your efforts, it is so much appreciated.

  67. Rafael on January 7, 2011 at 07:59

    No soap, no shampoo and no deodorant? Thank God I don’t live with you cause you must smell like sh*t lol.

    • Helen on January 7, 2011 at 08:43

      No, people who don’t use soap, shampoo and deodorant don’t smell like shit. It is the use of those products that knocks the body’s natural flora out of whack so that using them becomes “necessary”. After the adjustment period…after the body’s natural flora reaches equilibrium…there is no odor, no greasiness, etc.

  68. Jack on January 7, 2011 at 09:17

    I think it’s awesome that all you google ads on the side of the page are for soap and shampoo products. Don’t know how much money you actually earn from it but it’s hilarious.

  69. Kirk on January 7, 2011 at 14:39

    I stopped using shampoo about a year ago after reading your original post. I still used a tiny bit of soap on my pits & privates and started using a little Cetaphil on my face. In that time, my face is almost never oily and I rarely have any acne problems at all. Now, I’m going soap-free (except for washing my hands)

  70. WeeMike on January 7, 2011 at 19:36

    Ha! Love it, absolutely love it – the post and all the comments, can’t believe some peoples responses.

    Thought I’d share over on my own blog my experience of not washing with soap or shampoo’s — it’s been going on for 6 years now.

    Anyhoo, love the blog, it’s one of the best on the interweb for alternative health info!

  71. Mr. Topp and the Big Bad Blog » This weekend coffee has plenty of animals on January 8, 2011 at 03:14

    […] at the Big Bad Blog, we have read several articles like this one, in which the author has given up soap and shampoo. We might imagine trying such a thing, but are […]

  72. Aya McCabre on January 8, 2011 at 14:09

    Giving this a go….. but I’m not willing to give up makeup or hairdye, and going without sunblock is not an option here. It will be interesting to see how this works out…….

  73. Jon on January 9, 2011 at 17:04

    Reading this I just realized that I have been completely shampoo free for two years, since I got dreadlocks. Though I still use Dr. Bronners in my hair about once a week, I’ve found that it never seems to smell or get overly greasy. Now I’m curious about whether the soap is really necessary at all.

    • Curious Lady on January 9, 2011 at 23:31

      Couldn’t hurt to give it a shot :P That’s what I’m gonna do starting tomorrow!

  74. Jon on January 9, 2011 at 19:16

    I’m curious of what everybody’s ideas on shaving are.

    • MichaelF on January 9, 2011 at 19:25

      I just get in the warm shower with a sharp razor. Works great. Close shave and no bumps or bleeding. I always had very sensitive skin and shaving always hurt until now.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 9, 2011 at 19:30

      Answered this a couple time in email so might as well do it here. I use an adjustable electric trimmer (very paleo :) and set it to #2, which leaves about 1/16″ stubble, and I do that once per week or so.

      About twice per year, while up at the cabin I’ll do a clean shave with a razor, in which case I do so after a hot shower and I just use plain jane Barabasol shaving cream.

    • Curious Lady on January 9, 2011 at 23:30

      I can’t answer for guys, but for me, I’ve never shaved with the aid of soap or creams. I just shave with only water on my legs and underarms. I’ve never really had a problem with it. I get sliiiight bumps when I shave my underarms, but they don’t really feel irritated or itchy, so I imagine it would be the same for guys on their faces.

      • wilberfan on January 10, 2011 at 07:38

        Getting tired of paying big bucks for those plastic quintuple bladed “Mach 12” jobs, I decided to try “Old School”. I remembered watching my Dad shave with one of those beautiful old safety razors… Turns out that’s one of the “best” ways to shave–closer, cheaper…better.

        I asked Santa for a good-quality, German-made razor, a high-quality boar’s hair brush, some well-made blades, and some shaving soap (no more canned stuff!) made in London since 1863, or something. A somewhat large up-front cost, but my 20 blades will probably last me a couple of years? (I carefully dry and oil the blade when I’m done….)

        It’s *definitely* an acquired skill–my first attempt left the bathroom looking like a crime scene, but this mornings shave was the best yet–only one tiny little nick on my ‘apple’–and smooooooooth.

        There are lot’s of good websites with “wet shaving” advice, like this one: http://artofmanliness.com/2008/01/04/how-to-shave-like-your-grandpa/

      • JoeBentley on February 5, 2011 at 20:14

        I agree. I invested about 200 hundred bucks in a basic but high quality 5/8 Carbon Steel Dovo Straight Razor, a Badger Hair Brush, shaving soap, and a strop a few years back and will never go back to a cartridge blade or electric razor.

  75. Liz Downunder on January 10, 2011 at 20:27

    Oops. :(
    My apologies, Richard, for raising the ‘v’ word (no, not vegan, the other one) and some readers taking that to mean you advocate non-vaccination. Can’t even remember exactly why I felt the need to mention my kids are unvaccinated, I guess I was just making the point that they’re very healthy despite us going against the mainstream/CW on many health and personal care issues.

    I personally advocate for informed choice and when researching vaccination I came to the conclusion it wasn’t necessary for my children. I don’t buy into the horror stories on either side of the debate and instead spent (and continue to spend) hours devouring any data I can get my hands on.

    Luckily we still have the right to choose here in Australia (for now).

  76. Tracy on January 14, 2011 at 08:29

    In case anyone’s interested in a homemade deoderant, I found a recipe on Paleo Hacks that works really, really well.

    5tb coconut oil
    1/4 c corn starch
    1/4 baking soda

    You can use less baking soda/more corn starch if you find it irritating (which I do). Anyway, works great if you need it, and your pits stay nice and soft. And you don’t need a lot, so it lasts for ages.

  77. The No ‘Poo Experiment « Life is dynamite on January 17, 2011 at 11:38

    […] and was having great results with it. Not only was his hair in great shape and looking normal, but he felt liberated from not needing shampoo: So what it boils down to is that this has been such a tremendous experience on the pure grounds of […]

  78. mike on January 19, 2011 at 10:53

    kicked soap and shampoo and i’ve been clean since i read this article on Jan 4 2011. my hair is awesome now, thanks dude.

  79. Aaron on February 4, 2011 at 06:33

    Oddly enough my comment mirrors the previous poster’s– I found this article exactly a month ago (via BoingBoing), got curious about it and have been shampoo-free ever since. I’ll never use shampoo again, because my hair has never looked or felt better. Thank you so much for sharing your story and inspiring me and others!

  80. The Future of Blogs is Paid Access on February 4, 2011 at 08:09

    […] thinking of Richard Nikoley. His (successful) experiment with not washing his hair for two years has led to articles in the Chicago Tribune and other places. He can’t handle the emails he […]

  81. […] thinking of Richard Nikoley. His (successful) experiment with not washing his hair for two years has led to articles in the Chicago Tribune and other places. He can’t handle the emails he gets […]

  82. […] this out: A man named Richard Nikoley has gone almost two years without using soap or […]

  83. Soap and Shampoo Free For Over A Year | Pure Spontaneity on February 22, 2011 at 18:46

    […] Richard gives a follow up. […]

  84. […] a couple of months ago IIRC, I ran across an update post at Free the Animal, A Most Successful Self-Experiement: Over 18 Months Soap and Shampoo Free (which is more meta/philosophical). In the comments, some interesting discussion of vitamin D came […]

  85. » I’m Out of Shampoo engrevo on April 8, 2011 at 14:21

    […] shampoo soap” and you’ll get plenty. I do recommend Free The Animal’s 6 month and 18 month posts on the […]

  86. Rejected: Soap and Shampoo « BATSHITE on April 16, 2011 at 08:39

    […] shampoo at the very least–often an assortment of other products as well. But bloggers like Richard Nikoley, Sean Bonner and Wendy Jehanara  have discovered that foregoing these products means better skin, […]

  87. Kviseeeer.. uren hud on May 26, 2011 at 06:15

    […] […]

  88. Whilst I’m working on another post… | Anika Nelson on November 21, 2011 at 16:22

    […] over the summer, I went no shampoo and no soap. I stumbled upon freetheanimal’s post a few weeks after my contract expired and was up for […]

  89. Shaun on December 28, 2014 at 08:51

    Just an observation doctor, I’ve gone soap and shampoo-free for over a month now. Too early to describe how I feel but based on your experience, what is the reaction of the opposite sex?

    I read somewhere that human females are attracted to natural male body odor for all the pheromones. Clearly going shampoo and soap-free for six months of a year would make you more irrestible to women, not?

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