A Valuable Lesson in Just About Everything

I got an email from Nancy Redd this morning. She’s the nice and capable host at Huffington Post Live who did my interview on Friday about not using soap or shampoo for nearly 5 years, now.

She emailed to tell me that a clip and writeup had just hit the front page of AOL. Shortly after, I was contacted by CBS for one of their shows. I’ll withhold any more info until it becomes a reality, if it does. At this point, assistant producer looking for show material, so I haven’t made the cut, yet. Sure hoping to, though.


Richard Nikoley showers every day, but it’s been more than four years since his showers came with soap and shampoo.

HuffPost Live’s Nancy Redd hosted a discussion about personal hygiene, tackling long-debated questions like whether a washcloth or loofah is best or how important soap actually is. Nikoley, who blogs for FreeTheAnimal.com, said he’s doing just fine without most body-cleansing products.

“I have been over four years now, almost going on five, with not using any shampoo on my hair nor soap on my body, just water,” he said. “I may take several showers a day, but it’s only with water, and it has been the most liberating thing of my life. Travel is easy.”

Nikoley has continued using deodorant, which he said is important because of the “social aspect” that comes along with wearing it. But he still travels incredibly light when it comes to personal products.

“When I travel, it’s a toothbrush and my Old Spice,” he said. “In fact, I usually don’t even use toothpaste because just the dry brush actually cleans your teeth way better than using paste.”

That’s the mundane to you, because you know this story and I wouldn’t tax you again, except for the huge numbers of comments under the post. You really, really have to take a look, especially those who’ve known me for a long while, met me in person, etc.

This is a very rare opportunity to understand how seriously deluded people are in general on the slightest pretense. [Especially on the Internet?] I really can’t even begin with the 300+ comments at this point, 99% negative, many just “me too.” I did post one though, as serendipitously, it was right up at top when I scooted over first time. Ajtlawyer:

Me Democrat

You’re welcome, Democrats, liberals, commies. Now you have proof of just how stupid Republicans can be. I replied.

Hey Ajtlawyer.

I’m actually a-political in terms of practical politics. I think Republicans are frauds, but Democrats are liars, and I lean towards the former if I have to.

My favorite quote is HL Menken:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed—and hence clamorous to be led to safety—by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Just in case you’re interested.

And in the words of George Carlin, “if you vote, you have no right to complain.”

Alright. Between Marie, Tatertot, and now this, pretty interesting Tuesday. 1:36pm and I haven’t eaten yet. Better get to that. Hungry.

…Can you imagine the comments on a post like that referenced above, where I’m describing how I don’t actually eat any day until I’m actually HUNGRY?! …which typically happens 10a-1p, daily? Can you imagine? Think and chew for a minute. Now, imagine other scenarios and then imagine what’s behind all of it; because, as I told you: this is A Valuable Lesson in Just About Everything.

How many times…How. Many. Many. Times…have I told you that I live in a world of abject, hopeless morons? How many times? Are you believin’ me, yet?

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. rob on September 24, 2013 at 14:09

    My latest discovery is the benefit of avoiding hot water, especially on the face. Men are conditioned to wash their faces with hot water in the morning to get a good shave. Then they wonder why their faces look somewhat inflamed. Want to look ten years younger? Avoid hot water, go with room temperature water or cooler.

    A source of hot water is very rare in a natural setting, people wash in rivers, and the water in a river isn’t going to get to much higher than 80F if it is going to support life.

    Washing with hot water is a form of flagellation, your skin is not toxic no need to treat it like a biohazard.

  2. Zac on September 24, 2013 at 15:24

    Richard, I’ve ditched deodorant as well: Baking soda. A pinch under each armpit and you’re good to go.

    My favorite thing to say to my hippie friends: “I have a smaller carbon footprint than you and I don’t even give a shit.”

  3. Steven on September 24, 2013 at 15:31

    I have no stomach for politics as well. I loath government. In general anytime anyone has to use force to enact their “great idea” it is a bad idea. Period.

    As far as soap. It has been almost 2 years for me. I do not use deodorant. I use lime juice or baking soda on occasion. I do like a hot shower but I don’t always shower hot. I always finish cold though. Plus I no longer shave with a razor unless absolutely necessary. I bought detailing clippers and what a great feeling of being set free. If I do shave I use coconut oil. The only place soap ever gets used by me is my hands when I am dealing with a serious mess.

    I do use tooth paste but again not every time I brush. Floss is a must though.

  4. LeonRover on September 24, 2013 at 15:40

    The Anglo Indian author Rudyard Kipling’s hero Kim used a freshly chewed twig each morning to clean his teeth.
    It is thought by many that loofah is of Anglo-Indian origin. No, it derives from Luffa Aegyptiaca, the name of the plant whose fruit is the exfoliant gourd.

    The original Aegyptiaca was Cleopatra who engaged Mark Antony to exfoliate her with the words : ” Here Ant’ny, I likes a bit o’ rough from my Rough.”

    This lends a certain irony to the following advice I found online : “Be gentle but firm when using a loofah to exfoliate.” Hmm.

    In this regard I note that William S Burroughs preferred the loofah to the facecloth when having his ‘ho’s wash following his frequent Naked Lunches.


  5. Todd on September 24, 2013 at 18:06

    Cold water and my hands only in the shower, thanks. Grew a beard May 1st and only use a razor once or twice a week on the neck & cheek lines. I used to get a lot of skin agitation when I would shave every other day. Razor burn, read bumps, the whole 9 yards. All I use when I do shave is a double safety razor and a little warm water. Can’t understand why anything other than water is needed after being pooless for a year and a half. Showers take 5 minutes if I get a little carried away.

  6. Brad on September 24, 2013 at 20:03

    @Rob, I find the exact opposite. Warm water on my face, some of it absorbs, to make my skin softer and less wrinkled. Then I follow that up with a moisturizer to lock in that moisture. This makes my skin less dry and looks better not worse. Besides I can’t get a good shave without letting the warm (not hot) water soften up the hair.

  7. La Frite on September 25, 2013 at 01:35

    Been washing my face with cold water only since the age of … 4 or 5 maybe (I am 39). Nothing wrong with that.

    Yes, the world is full of “morons” but it’s because they prefer not using 2/3 of their available brains and act by reflex. Einstein said it once about marching soldiers: remove the high brains of these guys and they could do exactly the same …

  8. ad ligtvoet on September 25, 2013 at 01:41

    I haven’t used shampoo or soap for over 2 years now and love it.I washed my hear with baking soda but stopped that recently.So now it’s just water.
    Shaving is done with just water and the only thing I use under my armpits is also baking soda.No smells regardless what I do.
    Brushing theeth only with seasalt(keltic) and twice a week with baking soda also.
    When talking to people about these things they shy away but then I ask how I smell.Seems actually to be neutral and woman ,I guess, react to neropherones(ofcourse unconcious).
    Regarding politics we can shake hands too.Voted once many moons ago.After that just saw that things repeat regardless what I would vote.
    What my washing method or yours has to do with politics,I don’t know.But I do know that washing everyday but with shampoo and soap will bring skin problems and toxication of the body and that also increases costs(healthcare).If that was the issue!!

  9. La Frite on September 25, 2013 at 01:51

    Allow me to elaborate on my hygiene too:
    – I don’t use soap
    – I do use some shampoo because I have very long and thick hair but I wash it maybe every 2 weeks only
    – I don’t take showers every day because I don’t feel the need. it is pleasant and all but man, water is not exactly for free and I am not a big sweaty guy at all, even when I work out, my sweat is very discreet.
    – I do wash my butt and groin everyday, armpits as well, usually with water only and cold
    – I take a shower when I can smell myself and that takes some days

    My skin is super smooth and rather spotless, but I attribute that to diet as well. I do not care much if people can smell me (I usually smell myself before they can), it is a social convention that I find a little absurd. I remember I was visiting my bro in Scotland, there was a bum covered with rags made of leather and some other rather obscure material that looked organic but jeeze!! was he smelly (almost puked right in front of the guy …). I know bad smells and there is absolutely NO comparison whatsoever with this extreme. My wife likes it when I smell a little, it reminds her of some eastern spice or so :)

  10. LeonRover on September 25, 2013 at 03:24

    PS to LeonRover @ 1540 above.

    In 1960’s middle class Dublin, this process was called “a lick and a promise” while Brendan Behan’s protagonists called it “the ‘hoor’s wash”. I wonder if the middle class had better insight than the proles?

  11. Brad on September 25, 2013 at 04:52

    @LaFrite and all, I really need some help in this area. My skin is super dry, especially when I wake up in the morning. Pisses me off. I’m in great shape physically for my age but my skin is the main thing, besides some grey hairs, that keeps me from looking a lot younger. Vanity, yes! I’ve started eating more red palm oil and avocado for the high quality vitamin-E, but it’s had marginal help, if at all.

    Do you guys drink lots of water? Is it mostly the lack of soap or are there other things that you attribute to good skin? What is your diet like? Lots of veggies? Do you guys drink coffee?

    Some days my skin looks good, but most days it looks dry, and I haven’t been able to figure out what I’m doing different on the good days. I don’t shower every day and don’t wash my face with soap every day either.

  12. La Frite on September 25, 2013 at 05:05

    @Brad: I have no clue why my skin looks that good. It was not always so, I had lots of pimples and shit on my back.

    But I can make some guesses:
    – I eat a lot of fish (note: I did not say fish oil … that would make me gag)
    – I eat a lot of fermented dairy but preferably from A2 type cows, and sheep and goat
    – I am very often in T-shirt or top-less. A shame I cannot do that in winter though.
    – I don’t drink water all day long, only when I feel thirsty (my pee is quite yellow when I have to empty my bladder)
    – I drink coffee but only in the AM and I have some dark chocolate almost every day, often when I come back home after work
    – I am not following a 3+ meal / day eating schedules. It varies between max 2 and oftentimes only one in the evening (but I spread it over a time window, can be 2 hours or 5). I am loose about it, and during the week-end, I may have an “early” brunch because I like to be social as well :)

    So really, I mostly avoid known toxic crap in my diet and I let my skin breath a lot. I also try to take sunshine as soon as I can do it (like today at work, nobody went outside due to temperature but it is very sunny so I was alone getting as much UV as I could for like 20mn).

    I also think sweat is playing a role. I am not a heavy “sweater” even during work out and I don’t wash it off right away with a shower (unless I smell myself).

    Maybe you can find something in my babbling that will help you! Good luck :)

  13. ad ligtvoet on September 25, 2013 at 05:19

    Only drinking enough doesn’t make good skin.You must supply the body with ample collagen and vitamine C so the skin can hold the water in the tissue(short explanation).
    Further, eat enough cholesterol and fats.Make sure you get enough minerals and fat soluble vitamines too.
    If you eat a lot of protein you must make sure to get enough vitamine A(organ meat) because A will be used in absortion and use of protein.
    reduce AGE’s as much as possible.
    Put only on your body what you also can eat e.g coconut oil. Ditch the soap if it is regular soap.Seems that olive oil soap works fine.
    Good luck,

  14. La Frite on September 25, 2013 at 05:38

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I eat a substantial amount of fruits (bananas, oranges, kiwis, apples, plums, melons, peaches in season, etc, I am not hot on tropical fruits because well, I don’t live in such a place, so I usually eat those only once a while – they are delicious, don’t get me wrong!)

  15. Brad Baker on September 25, 2013 at 06:59

    @LaFrite, well the fish could be a big reason for me. I currently eat none. So that whole omega-3/omega-6 ratio might have something to do with it. I know other people who eat a fair amount of fish who have great skin. I don’t eat a great variety of fruit, but most days I eat papaya to make sure I get my Vitamin-C, and green-ish bananas.
    Just one more reason for me to try to eat fish. I’m not crazy about it, so it takes effort.

  16. Nils on September 25, 2013 at 07:21

    Hah, I always knew you were a democrat inside, Richard. Someone that instead of using expensive chemicals uses copious amounts of (nearly free) water does sound like someone that loves wasting resources, which is typical of democrats??

    On a more serious note, I’ve been off the soap and shampoo for about two years because of you now, and although I almost never get comments on how I smell, the ones I do get are more as follows “hm you smell good, what soap is that? “.

    Maybe after all our natural smell isn’t something disgusting but rather something pleasing (given that you do rince off the very smelly stuff every day with water)?

  17. Sean on September 25, 2013 at 07:40

    I saw your tweet last night and took a brief look at the comments. A real sea of stupid. A veritable ocean of idiocy. Not stunningly stupid or wondrously stupid, simply a sea of banal stupid, which is inextricably linked to banal evil. Did I just Godwin those idiots? Oh yes, yes I did.

  18. Paul on September 25, 2013 at 08:16

    I like how people will defend the use of a massive chain of products that are all trying to fix a problem the other product created instead of just trying no soap for a bit. It must be tough to live with that little mental inflexibility. It’s hard to learn when you can’t admit you are wrong. No wonder people end up stressed out all the time. It seems like most people are incapable of handling a situation that doesn’t meet their view of the world by adjusting their incorrect perceptions.

  19. Claire on September 25, 2013 at 08:39

    I have been using less and less soap all the time…but I can’t seem to cut it out completely. I do only use castile soap though. And I tell my kids to only use water when they are away from home…not that toxic smelly, colourful shit thats in all public washrooms.

  20. Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2013 at 08:56


    You talking about Dr. Bronner’s?

    If I ever did go back to using soap, it would be to have something funny to read while in the shower.

  21. Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2013 at 09:06


    I was astounded at the number of comments that took the PC route: wasting resources. Actually, that was a misstep on my part in the initial interview. Out of an abundance of caution, because of the original Boing Boing piece and the commenters who didn’t get it, I wanted it explicitly clear I’m not advocating not washing at all, just: WATER ONLY. In fact, hummingbirds take hovering showers when my lawn sprinklers are on all the time—got to see if I can vid that. Truly wonderful to watch. Then, they go perch in a tree and preen themselves.

    Newsflash: the only animals that get “products” slathered in wash are pets. It’s probably the life-shortening Yang to the life-extending domestication Yin.

    Free the Animal. Someone said that, once.


    I can always count on you for a Good Win.

  22. Richard Nikoley on September 25, 2013 at 09:12

    …Oh, and Sean. Rumor has it—and I’m still doing my research—that there was no soap or shampoo in the Führerbunker in 1945.

  23. Graham on September 26, 2013 at 06:59

    Inspired by you–I’ve not used soap, lotion, hot water, or deodorant for ~8 months. Yes, it involves lots of short rinses, and at first the no-deodorant thing got a bit ripe, but I adapted, and now my wife sys I smell “awesome.” Also, the nasty skin tags I used to have have disappeared as a result, I assume, of no more aluminum….since eating ancestrally, I haven’t been much of a deodorant user anyway.

  24. LeonRover on September 28, 2013 at 21:59

    All who interact here intuit that FTA “really” means Fuck the Animal.

    Who we kiddin’ ??


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.