Is Shampoo Really Necessary?

Ha! Wild animals do not have “fine manes,” they may look okay from a distance but they look and smell awful up close, and have skin parasites. If you’re thinking of the gleaming coats of horses kept by people, they most certainly do use shampoo. When I had horses they were washed every week or two, and got mangy if they weren’t. Pet dogs are also soaped regularly, and I have been around enough “outdoor” dogs to know that the natrual way doesn’t produce great results. My hair starts to get stinky after a day w/o shampoo, I can’t even fathom a month. Ugh.

Go to a zoo with chimpanzees.

Get a big, deep breath of the air wafting over you from the area where they live.

THAT is what unwashed/unshampooed human resembles in the “natural” state

I should also point out that wild animals DO get washed - as often as it rains, which can be pretty frequent at times.

Some folks are going to need washin’ more than others, and some folks will need more powerful washin’ up stuff than others, but we all need washin’. Water counts. Someone with naturally low oil production and not much hair or sweat might find plain water adequate. Heavy oil producers and folks who get sweaty a lot might need a little more than that, and more frequently.

Other cultures have used oils, powders, and mechanical action to soak up old skin/hair oil and remove them. But pretty much everybody has some notion cleaning up the body. So you have to wonder about this sudden “discovery” that the natural state is so much better.

Okay, we can go without shampoo if we have to, but why? I, too, like the nice smell and feel of my hair after a good shampoo. It feels good in the shower too, when your hair is dirty and the water hits it, I can just feel the oils dissolving and washing away. If you’re using products on your hair for styling, that crap really will build up, icky-up the texture and attract things into your hair, such as lots of dust and maybe small bugs. Ewww. I don’t want to see little face flies stuck in my hairspray TYVM.

What about body cleansing? I read somewhere that it was better for your skin to NOT shower/bathe every day because of said natural oil stripping. I took that and ran…laziness allows me to feel comfortable w/o a shower every day. If I miss that second-day shower (laziness, again) I can sure tell the difference. Water sheets off me like a windshield.

I think body oils are yucky if left to their own devices. Your own yuckiness will vary, of course.

I have two dogs - both pugs. They’re mostly indoor dogs, but do have a yard they play in during the warm months. I rarely to never bathe them - it’s probably been a year. They’re never outside in the rain because they’re wussy dogs who won’t even think of going outside if it’s the least bit wet.

One smells like a dog. He doesn’t smell horrible, just doggy.

The other, my little girl Edith, smells like a combination of corn tortillas and fresh-baked muffins. All the time. She never smells dirty or doggy or anything, even if you stick your nose right down in her fur. Just that fresh baked smell.

I have no explanations for any of this, other than to demonstrate that at least in the pug world, it is possible to never bathe or shower and smell pretty damn good, at least if you’re Edith.

Just a question, did your hair become beautiful as soon as you stopped shampooing or did it take a while. I notice that when I don’t wash my hair, even for a day, it becomes oily and “tired” looking.
By the way, why the gel if you want a natural look?

Who said I wanted a natural look? It’s other people in this thread that are bringing up organic powders, crystals, happy furry animals and other garbage like that. I didn’t say I don’t wash my hair. All I said is that I don’t use shampoo. If I use anything other than water and friction, it will be just some regular soap.
I used to wash my hair with shampoo almost everyday. When I had to shave my head bald for the Army 4 years ago, obviously shampoo wasn’t needed. So that’s about the time I just stopped using it. I got used to just using water or soap and water.

Eventually my hair grew back and has even gotten pretty long. But I still don’t buy shampoo. Water and friction (my hands and later, the towel) seems to do just fine.

Maybe putting in gel and rinsing it out in the shower every few days (as needed) has some kind of washing effect of it’s own. I don’t know. All I am claiming is that my hair doesn’t smell bad and is not full of dirty chunks.

Oh God! The filth!!!

Most shampoos are loaded with detergents and, seemingly paradoxally, waxes. Most women, who tend to let their hair get longer and thicker than men, will tell you that they have to change shampoos occasionally to avoid too much build-up.

As Bear_Nenno’s experience bears out (:)), it is entirely possible to have clean hair without shampoo. Personally, I think that the gel he describes wearing undoubtably helps, but I don’t think it’s necessary either. Certainly when I was active in the military, my hair was short enough that I would just scrub my fingers through it most days and have it clean enough. With longer hair, I wouldn’t dare go out of the house without a thorough washing of my hair, so oily does it get just while I’m asleep.

FWIW hair gels often contain copious amounts of alcohol that will tend to dissolve hair oils off the hair shaft, and the polymers in the gel matrix grab them and are washed away when you shower. So your assumption that nothing but water is cleaning your fabulous, all natural 'do may not be entirely correct.

That was never my assumption.

I still can’t figure out how I’m getting misrepresented as having or wanting an “all natural” anything. Does, “No, I don’t use shampoo” somehow equate to “I don’t use anything unnatural. I bathe in crystals, and buy my toothepaste at the Nature Store.” What’s the deal with that?

You bathe in crystals?

Not me. My hair is oily and if I don’t wash it with a cleansing shampoo it becomes very thick, itchy and annoying. I have no idea if there is an odor but it wouldn’t suprise me.

Verifying that Bear_Nenno quite possibly doesn’t stink, and that one needn’t use gel in order to go shampoo-less, may I present…

My buddy, who also hasn’t washed his hair in 4 years (and uses no styling products). Last week I mentioned this to his new girlfriend, and she was shocked.

IOW, a non-hippie, well-maintained girl has been dating/sleeping with a shampoo-less guy and didn’t notice. I think it’s officially fair to conclude that one can go shampoo-less w/o stinking or having their hair be greasy (he rinses it daily).

That’s basically a myth. Shampoos tend to contain conditioning agents (even ones that aren’t sold as 2-in-1s) but the shampoo is perfectly capable of washing off whatever remains on your hair until the next day.

Judging by his picture, he keeps his hair fairly well cemented into place. If my hair was thoroughly gelled into place, then the mats and greasiness wouldn’t be obvious either - after all, it doesn’t matter if your hair is greasy-looking and weighed down when it’s not capable of moving and looks shiny from all the hair gel.

And no doubt some people simply produce less oil, and maybe Bear_Nenno is one of those people. So what works for him might not extrapolate well to the rest of us.

I had my head shaved bald for a play once. Afterwards, I didn’t wash or cut it for two years. I rinsed it with clean water daily, but didn’t do anything to screw with the oils or the pH. It grew long and looked great. Glossy, shiny, healthy, no dandruff.

Then, one day, I had been working in a really fume-filled environment for a few days, it started to stink, so I washed it with shampoo. I put the plug in the bath just to see what would transpire.

The water that came out of my hair was black. Jet black, like ink. Afterwards, my hair was in condition that made the ladies swoon, and clearly the self-conditioning mechanism works, but “self cleaning” is bullshit.

I have extreeeemly oily hair. If I don’t wash my hair once a day–sometimes twice–my pillowcases have a very short life. They get stiff and unpleasant in a matter of weeks, even if I wash them weekly, and I have to replace them. That’s even with frequent rinses of my hair.

Since you mentioned not cutting for two years. It’s also worth mentioning that I cut my hair once a week. The top may go as long as 3 weeks without getting cut, but that’s about max. So in less than a month, the back and sides have been cut about 4 times, and the top has been cut 1 or 2 times.
So constant cutting may also play a role.

If I recall correctly, shampoo originated in the 1930’s or thereabout. Before that, people used soap, if they had access to it. A well-known beauty secret was to rinse the hair after the soapuse with something mildly acidig, like diluted vinegar, stale beer or cider or lemon juice. This would get the ph of the scalp down to about 6.5 again, as soap in itself is slightly alcalic.

Judging from pictures from before 1920, I’d say people had thicker hair, less shiney, more vulume. Of course, when judging the pictures I have to allow for the fact women had much longer hair then. But even so: more volume.

I can’t imagine holding my hair in place with a comb or pin, like in those olden pictures. My hair is just too sleek and slippery and thin. Maybe that thick coarse hair is the result of not shampooing.

Shampooing is a process that removes the oils and emollients from your hair and scalp. So in that way, it does detract from the hair’s natural condition, and shampooed hair is a bit drier, limper, and more fragile than hair that doesn’t get shampooed. That’s why we use conditioner… it basically puts that stuff right back in (but clean stuff).

As others have pointed out, go to a zoo or observe wild animals sometimes… guaranteed their hair is full, shiny, and strong. But it’s also matted and nasty. Smell the odor, see the skin problems… that’s what the natural condition looks like. If you want to go natural, nobody’s stopping you, but please do it far far from me.

Personally I use nothing but Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (eucalyptus-scented), as a body soap and shampoo, for 10 years now. Great stuff.

That and hair pieces were more common. Most women probably owned tails or switches to add to their hair and make it look fuller.

Good luck with that stuff. It’s tremendously irritating to the skin (hence the ouch when you get it on your naughty bits.) But, you know, it’s “natural”, which makes it automatically healthier! Like strychnine!