The art of soap dodging

Soap Bar with SudsCould you use less soap and skip your morning shower? We’re not talking about bad hygiene, but a movement affectionately named ‘Soap Dodging’. Soap dodging favours fewer showers or baths per week – with dodgers having a quick sink wash on their off-shower days. One of the reasons for the dodging is to avoid over-processing our skin and hair, which disrupts our natural oil and moisture balance. Unless we work up quite a sweat, we generally don’t really need to wash our skin daily – and sometimes even a simple rinse is enough to dislodge the accumulated grime.

Before you start wrinkling your nose, consider that most commercial soaps are actually quite bad for the skin and severely disrupt its pH – daily use of harsh soap can lead to irritation and even premature ageing (our skin effectively having to work double-time to right itself again after being stripped of its protective acid mantle). And as far as shampoo goes, our hair can usually do just fine without a daily wash. Some people have gone a decade without shampooing their hair – and aren’t walking around with a tangled smelly mop: the consensus being that un-shampooed hair is soft, shiny, and has reestablished good moisture balance. And there’s the added eco-friendliness of soap dodging, which greatly reduces daily water consumption…

So what should we make of soap dodging? An interesting aspect of cleanliness is how ritualistic it is: we don’t feel clean unless we have showered with foamy soap and lathered our hair. We don’t have much faith in simple ‘non-soap’ natural products (like pure aloe vera gel or even milk) being effective skin cleansers, or we don’t think down this path altogether and rely on what we’ve always used. Should we be more open-minded? Definitely. Is soap dodging for everyone? Probably not – but as an experiment, why not try the following:

  • When you’re next due for a shampoo, try massaging your scalp just with water in the shower – but condition as normal.
  • Wash your face with honey on a week-end when you’re just hanging around the house.
  • Take a salt or clay bath, then rinse but skip the soap (in case you need a refresher: all about salt baths here and clay baths here).

All of the above are mild examples of soap dodging, and you might be surprised by the results! To read more about soap dodging, have a look at the Guardian’s great article about it. And if soap dodging is really not for you, make sure you use gentle all natural soap with mild cleansing agents.

Are you a soap dodger already? How is it working for your skin and hair?

(Image credit Naturally Made Soaps Blog)