Four days ago, I embarked in an adventure that I never thought I’d take before. Armed with little more than a handful of resources and a crazy idea, I embarked on a 60-day journey of soap-free bathing, In this post, I’m going to share with you what I’m doing, Why I’m doing it, what I’m using now and the results that I’ve had so far. Get ready – you may just be surprised!
I’m not going to update this post daily. Instead I’ll probably just aim for a weekly update, depending. I’m also going to keep it PG as much as I can, although I apologise if any of this grosses you out. I can only be honest in this experiment!
What Is Water-Only Bathing?
Simply explained, water-only bathing means washing your hair and body with only water. It follows the trend of the ‘No Poo’ movement, but takes it one step further by forgoing body soap, too. You could do one or the other if you like, or take the plunge and do both.
What Inspired You To Try It?
It started off when I was thinking about my facial skincare routine. Compared to a lot of young people today, my routine was frighteningly simple: Facial scrub, water and moisturizer – that’s it. I did some reading, and I found out that you should just use water on your face, or even – not wash your face at all!
While I’m not personally ready to forgo washing my face, I did notice something else on a few of my Google search results, the mention of ‘No Poo’. Curious and concerned, I decided to investigate further.
The ‘No Poo’ movement encourages individuals to go a few days without hair washes, use natural ingredients or forego shampoo and conditioner altogether. It sounded crazy to me, but I like water. I like water for it’s pure simplicity and so I wondered, how far could this go? Could I really stay clean and feel clean for sixty whole days using plain ol’ H2O alone? As daft as it sounds, I was at least willing to give it a go.
Isn’t Water-Only Bathing Pointless? Won’t You Still Be Dirty?
This is the interesting thing. according to Healthline, then no. Water on it’s own is plenty, or again, even nothing at all. The human dependency on soaps and body washes, it seems, is a bit of a marketing ploy. While I don’t recommend (and am not) forgoing handwashing during the current pandemic, the rest of your body might just be okay without it.
What Did You Use Before?
- Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp 2-in-1
- Mane & Tail Deep Moisturising Conditioner
- Dove Deeply Nourishing body wash
- Exfoliating body puff
- Bamboo & boar bristle back brush
- Tesco Kind And Pure Refreshing facial scrub
- Neutrogena Deep Moisture fast absorbing comfort balm
What Are You Using Now?
- Exfoliating body puff
- Bamboo & boar bristle back brush
- Vibrating silicone facial exfoliating massager
(I’m also continuing to use my trusted Colgate Total throughout this experiment – gotta keep my puppies shiny!)
The Results So Far
Day 1: I woke up after a very bizarre and vivid dream. Did my vivid dream happen because of my water-only shower or because of my taking on something new? I had to wonder. Around me, I notice that there’s no smell to my body, not wet skin, not shower gel, not shampoo or conditioner, nothing. Nada. I feel like a blank canvas, basic and ready to start my day. I’m not stressed and focused, and that is notable. I have an almost calm air about me.
There is a slight whiff coming from my hair, and it is a bit discerning. I hope it’s not too obvious. It’s cheesy and vinegary, somewhat sulphuric. Gross.
I did note a pimple on my back and I put some Savlon cream on it. I don’t think it’s related to this experience, I think it is something that was probably pretty much already there before I begun..
In himself, Matt is not sold out on my absence of shower gel. To sell him out on the idea, I present an arm for him to sniff. Inhaling my femininity with a force that could put a Dyson vacuum cleaner to shame, he seems at least relieved that I don’t stink. According to him I smell, bizarrely enough, completely human. I’ll take what I can get.
Evening Thoughts: I’m no stressed, and keeping clean feels easier. I bathed myself in couscous tonight, and I no longer smell of it. This is crazy.
Day 2: Nope, still no stink, though paradoxically, my lack of stink is bothering me. It’s not that I stink, but rather, I feel as though I should smell, of something, anything!. If you imagine trying to explain the taste of water, then that’s pretty much what my skin smells like. Not herbal, not floral, not spicy, just me. Watery human? It’s a thing now..
My hair stink seems to have subdued a bit, though that may just be me. They do say that you don’t know how bad you smell, which is a bit concerning. Do I smell? I asked Matt, apparently I don’t. I started combing my hair through today post shower, and I wanted to see how an absence of product in my regimen would change things. Where the f*ck did all of this dead hair come from?! Did this experiment cause my hair to fall out overnight? I look in the mirror and I’m relieved to see a full head of hair. That leaves me with one conclusion, was leftover product somehow gluing dead hair in? Doubly gross.
Evening Thoughts: “What the f*ck are you doing walking around bare feet? You never go bare feet”. My new bathing habits were affecting me in peculiar ways, it seems.
Day 3: After a round of bedroom athletics this morning, I skipped off for my water-only wash. I always notice a smell afterwards so how would I fare against it without my beloved Dove? I’m anxious, I’m expecting my mother in an hour or two, I don’t want to smell like a cheap city harlot. Maybe this experiment was a bad idea…
Because of time, I opted for a water-only strip wash instead of a shower. It was simple and somehow effective. The heck? How did water get rid of that smell?! I washed and exfoliated with water like usual and once again, that fresh spa feeling is back. I also exfoliated my face. Granted, that does feel a little more aggressive without some bubbles.
Before my mother’s arrival, I did a little more work on my hair. What the hell is that… stuff?! There are huge clumps of grey sticky stuff in my hair and it STINKS! I’m almost frightened at this point, is everything okay up there? Apparently, it’s dead skin cells, natural oils and hair product remnants. Fortunately, I’m able to slide it out using my fingernails when I come across it, but still, gross. I’m still losing dead hairs, too.
I opted for a stone grey cotton t-shirt for today, and bizarrely, that too feels fitting with this new lifestyle – Simple. classy, timeless. I can dress it up or wind it down how I want to. From here, it’s all up for me to decide.
Today I dared enough to tell my mother about this crazy experiment. I was terrified that she would judge me and tell me to go and shower properly at once, so I was relieved to find that she was largely accommodating to the idea. I don’t say that she approved of it, but when I offered her an arm to sniff (not so much suction, don’t recommend) she too was surprised. I don’t smell, of anything, at all. I feel cool to the touch, but I definitely don’t smell.
Okay, so this afternoon I managed to give myself a slight odour of cool Doritos, but hey, we needed snacks for the Germany-England game. It was my own fault, I rubbed my Dorito hand against my exposed forearm. Cool, I now smell slightly of Doritos… yay?
My Dorito odour didn’t last long, and I’m back to smelling like nothing again. Okay.. something, but what? Even fresh air smells more than I do. I smell, but it’s not unpleasant, perhaps a bit like the laminated desk that I’ve been working at? I have some underarm odour (sorry) too, but it’s nothing severe. I might look at natural anti-deodorants when I can (see: when I next remember).
One drawback, my face is seriously oily, and to be honest, I am a bit grossed out by it. I’m not sure whether this will be the start of a breakout or what, but I did read up on ideas for what to do about it. “Wash your face” was a common recommendation. It seems simple enough.
Evening Thoughts: Tomorrow promises to be a hectic day. If I don’t stink after that, I might have to draft a break-up letter for Dove.
Day 4 – I’ve found one of the culprit areas for the mass product build-up in my hair – just above the left ear – though I’m not sure why. I’ve been combing it almost until it threatened to bleed. Now that I know it’s there, I’ve been trying to see it gone. The dead hair seemed to stop for a while, but then appeared to start again. I do think my hair is starting to stink a little it less, but it still has a slight smell. Not of shampoo or perfume by any means, but not foul, either. Just neutral.
The oily facial skin is bordering onto the obscene now. Apparently, moisturising can help. I’m wondering about letting the moisture balm slip back in before I relive my teenage skin again. It’s a step back I know, but I feel almost as though I’m ready for the roasting tin in my current state. I’ve ordered some biodegradable blotting paper for now, which is something that I’ve never thought that I’d say before.
Today, my portable bidet showed up, which is something else I never thought I’d say, but if we’re improving our carbon footprint then less loo paper is just another way to go. Suffice to say, normal bidets are a thousand times better. As quaint as it is, it is also dangerous. Questions get asked if you wash your nose with a standard bidet yet with my new gadget, I managed the stunt first time. I also learned the hard way that warm water is a matter of necessity, not a matter of personal choice.
Evening Thoughts: How in everything holy do I still not stink? I’ve had to haul four 90-litre bags of bark chippings today, split them open, shoved their contents about (it wasn’t nearly as graphic as it sounds, I promise) and still I smell like… maybe air? Oh maybe a tough of aquarium water too, but mostly normal water, not stinky water. I smell a little bit, but you’d really have to sniff me to notice, and given how late it is, it’s nothing that I can’t fix with a cool shower in the morning. The fresh water novelty smell is washing off (ha) now, too. I’m contemplating sneaking a quick squirt of perfume for social occasions, if only so that I at least have some sort of smell.
That’s it from me for now, but stay tuned for an update next week. What do you think, will you be brave enough to join me in going soap-free for sixty days? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,
Stay safe and have fun,
Helen & Matt xx