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How Getting Dirty Can Save You Money

We're thrilled to present this smart LearnVest story here on Savvy!

We’ve discovered some pretty interesting ways people try to save money, from crazy coupon clipping to reusing teabags for months. But once in a while, we come across a money-saving strategy that makes us take notice. Not lathering up, for example. OK, hear us out.

A movement has been spreading (spawned in the green community, of course) called “no ‘poo” — no, not that kind of poo. It refers to people who have opted to cut down or forgo use of shampoos and soaps in their daily hygiene routine. This trend has been making waves through the country, and fans include celebs like Jessica Simpson (who only shampoos two or three times a month), Robert Pattinson (who rarely shampoos, if ever) and Prince Harry (who hasn’t shampooed since 2007). Here’s why proponents think this practice is great.

  • You’ll save money on all the extra products. The movement claims that Americans spend $10 billion on beauty and personal care products needlessly, creating a domino effect: Shampoo strips hair of its natural nutrients, so we also need conditioner, de-frizzer, leave-ins, and other products to make up for it.
  • Your hair will be more balanced–naturally. Guido Palau, who does hair for clients including Prada and Marc Jacobs, says it keeps hair shinier and healthier. “The theory goes that when you strip your scalp’s natural oils, you’re actually signaling those glands to overproduce, which then requires more washing,” says Alexandra Spunt, author of No More Dirty Looks. “But when you stop using harsh shampoos, your scalp adjusts and everything balances out.”
  • Your skin will be more moisturized. Scientists posit that going soap-free can actually help skin keep its moisture by letting it hang on to necessary, healthy bacteria (which may even decrease signs of aging).
  • Going soap-less can help with skin inflammation. Siobhan O’Connor, co-author of No More Dirty Looks told us that her eczema cleared up once she ditched all the products.
  • It’s green-friendly. Not only are you using fewer products, contributing to less waste, but you also won’t have to worry about toxins in your products. For now, “organic” beauty products aren’t regulated as stringently as food. Going without allows you to skip the whole hassle entirely.
  • OK, it’s not actually dirty. Hygiene may be your biggest concern, but surprisingly, according to users, making cleansing soap-free doesn’t seem to have an effect on anything like odor or cleanliness. We have friends who have tried this, with no detectable difference. You can read more personal accounts here.

How to Get Down And Dirty

If you’re not prepared to shampoo a mere twice a month, there are still ways to ease into this trend and see how it works for you. By following these techniques, you can still save $45 to $200 per year (depending on the cost of your products) and reap the health benefits of this approach:

  • Don’t rinse and repeat. Yes, we know it tells you to on the bottle, but there’s been speculation that this is a marketing ploy to make you buy double the shampoo. Just massage a quarter-sized dollop into your roots (and don’t waste any on the ends, since the suds will clean hair tips as they rinse out).
  • Skip a day–or two or three. To give your hair time to recover from the day before, step in the shower and wet down your hair, but resist the urge to lather up. As you push shampoos further apart, your hair will start to adjust. Start with skipping a day in your usual routine, and allow four to six weeks for your hair to adjust, then consider adding on another day.
  • Maintain. Not washing your hair doesn’t mean you should skip grooming altogether–you should still rinse your hair with water in the shower, and style as you usually do. Dry shampoo products like Klorane and Bumble and Bumble are great for maintenance on non-shampoo days, and are a longstanding secret in the beauty industry for creating models’ tousled tresses.
  • Scrub strategically. Spare soap on your legs and arms, where it can dry out your skin. Try an exfoliating body brush or washcloth for the same clean feeling without the oil-stripping products.
  • Don’t be germy. Keep using that soap religiously during flu season, around public transportation, gyms, sweaty nightclubs, and anywhere you come into contact with serious germs.

Thinking Of Trying It Out?

According to a writer at W Magazine who tried going without shampoo for six weeks—and had relatively fine, straight hair—the results can be mixed. All the same, we’ve heard that going shampoo-less can work well for people with thick, curly hair by making it more manageable without the grease factor. Every person is different, so start with a trial run to see how your hair reacts.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Join The Conversation
runswimmerrun runswimmerrun 4 years
I have to add that, at least at this moment, one of the ads on this page is for Nivea. I just found that humorous.
runswimmerrun runswimmerrun 4 years
I don't use antiperspirant. I condition daily, but shampoo 1-2 times a week. Body soap? I dunno. I'll think about it.
snarkypants snarkypants 4 years
i just have to wash my hair daily or almost daily, but due to an allergy, i have not bathed with soap in almost 20 years. when i tell people this, they are shocked, because it's not like i look robert pattinson dirty or anything. my skin is soft and i don't smell. i also love that i save money by not buying those ridiculous body washes that my friends all seem to love.
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