water-only washing

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

welcome back to SKIN WEEK! day TWO! & yep, you read that title correctly. i’ve ditched my castile soap body wash. i’ve gone more hippie than i ever thought i’d go!

*cue confusion*

water-only washing (don't be scared!)

first, let’s get one thing straight – I STILL SHOWER! okay. let’s go-

why switch to water-only washing? or at least try?

skin’s ph is normally acidic, ranging in ph values of 4–6, while the body’s internal environment maintains a near-neutral ph (7–9). this creates a steep ph gradient of 2–3 units between the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin, consisting of dead or peeling cells) and underlying epidermis and dermis. the physiologic role of an acidic skin surface is to be a defense mechanism against invading organisms. it has been demonstrated that several key enzymes involved in the synthesis and maintenance of a competent skin barrier are largely impacted by ph. soap cleansers are typically alkaline in nature (ph 10), and have a higher potential to irritate skin (source). [and since we’ll be getting into acne-based subjects later in the week, note this for future reference – acne flourishes well at ph values between 6 and 6.5, and is drastically reduced at ph values less than 6. what does that mean? do. not. use. soap. on. your. face.   OCM, anyone?!] the stratum corneum makes up a very thin, slightly acidic film called the “acid mantle” that is secreted from the skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands.  this is the barrier that prevents unwanted materials (bacteria, viruses, contaminants) from entering, and excessive loss of water from exiting the body. when we wash with soap, the acid mantle is stripped away, leaving the skin and body vulnerable (source). 

*i do NOT have issues with organic soaps. i actually have a slight obsession with buying them that i’m trying to curb…. as in, i currently have 7 bottles of dr bronners liquid castile soaps sitting in my room because those are the ones that haven’t even been used yet. i keep finding them on sale! seriously

20130425_144732#1 20130603_142004

what to do instead:

water-only washing! i already water-only wash my face on the days between the OCM method, so going soap-free for my body wasn’t a big deal to me personally. i knew i’d be okay.

so how do i do it?

  • pull my hair up (i do NOT get it wet in the hot water. heat damage is heat damage. doesn’t matter if it’s water or a blow dryer)
  • run a pretty warm/hot-ish shower
  • let the water run all over my body for a couple minutes (feels so relaxing!). i honestly just spin around very slowly.
  • grab my washcloth, wet it, and scrub, scrub every inch of my skin!
  • spin around again in the  water
  • turn the water to “cool” and rinse off my body, helping to close my pores

…and that’s my shower! very uneventful. & i only wash my hair every 2ish weeks now, so showers are very short and i save lots of water! woohoo!

i think mixing water and some EOs of your choice would be great, too! you’d get the benefits of water washing, with the smell-goods of the EOs. sounds like a WIN in my book!

your skin (as with no-‘poo & the OCM) will need time to normalize and learn to take care of itself.

also, you HAVE to eat properly and get enough water. that drastically impacts your smell. i can tell from my armpits when i’ve strayed from my organic foods or ate a lot of red meat. sorry if that’s tmi. welcome to my blog! haha.

how it’s been so far:

honestly, pinky promise- pretty well!! i don’t stink to high heaven or anything (which i’m sure would be the #1 question if i didn’t explicitly state it, haha).

but, my upper back broke out at first. i’m not sure if that’s because washing up there without a back brush thing is pretty darn difficult to scrub, or what. but with dry brushing and using apple cider vinegar (posting on both for SkinWeek; don’t worry), it’s okay now. i’d say it took about a week and a half for it to get its stuff together. but to me, it was worth it to be able to be even more crunchy than i ever though i’d be!

no, i don’t water-only shave. or dry shave. but i will let you in on my shaving things tomorrow!

i know water-only washing isn’t even remotely an option for some. my matt is a mechanic and there’s no way in the boohockey he could do this. he comes home covered in car grease. but oh, i love a hard workin’ man… 😉 we’ll be talkin about soaps later today!

ok. let’s talk armpits & private parts…SKIP THIS SECTION if it’s TMI!


you may totally skip this part, but i know some people are probably wondering how the heck it’s all staying clean and not smelly. i for one scoured for other people’s experiences with these bits and going soap-free. i’m going to assume that if i was worried about it, chances are i’m not the only one. so here goes the TMI section of this post-
i already make my own deodorant, and found i smell AND sweat WAY less than i used to. i give my armpits a twice-over with the washcloth to clean them, and they’ve been okay! promise! if i miss showering one day, i’m not terribly stinky, even in this heat & humidity. okay…. about private parts… i was raised to keep that stuff private. so naturally i’ll tell you about it (if you’re a coworker/family member/etc, stop reading NOW. i order you! haha). i was terrified of how water-only washing was gonna go. absolutely terrified. i alternated every other wash between my castile soap mix and water only, doing that about 3-4 times each before i abandoned soap altogether… and it honestly hasn’t been terrible in the slightest. as every female should know, soaps shouldn’t be down there in the first place (guilty as charged). it’s way too delicate of a place to be stripped down with soaps. i was really paranoid everyone around me would know i’m not using body wash in general, and this one area only magnified my paranoia. but honestly ladies (& guys, too i guess!), it’s fine. everything’s fine and dandy! partner approved! haha. oh goodness. please don’t unfollow my blog now, haha! i did warn you… so Your fault!

TMI OVER! it’s safe to read now…

besides you awesome readers, those that know me personally know my hippie ways all too well. at first some were horrified/disgusted, and others were really genuinely intrigued. either way, by embarking on my crunchy lifestyle, i’ve found that i don’t care what anyone else thinks because i’m doing this for ME and MY health. right? 🙂 they can keep their sulfates & parabens. i’ll keep my water & coconut oil!

generally speaking though, if anyone knocks your crunchy lifestyle, don’t worry. those close-minded people are the ones that have ZERO idea of what they’re really putting on their skin, in their bodies, and the REAL dangers of it all.

anyone out there who’s ditched soap? or tried it for a bit? or even interested? haha. what do you think??


Published by


almostexactlyblog.com // alexandraraye.com

90 thoughts on “water-only washing”

  1. I was raised without body wash and until my teens I didn’t relize it was a thing to use. I have never changed though! Literally do not waste your money on that crap! I feel clean, I never smell like others, I have no body acne (I have to cleanse my face with the acne on it,) and so on. AND NEVER USE SOAP DOWN THERE!! I have looked it up in the past and tons of people get infections because they do so, your natural oils and such shouldn’t be messed with. As for the rest of my body, I feel clean, and I almost never get sick or get body acne, so why the heck would I use soap. Maybe I am turning into a hippie: but the no body WOW life is where it is at.

  2. Hi! I have been cleaning my face with water only for about a month now, and has been working great! Just tonight i bave tried foor the 1st time OCM wwith only coconhf oil, lets give it a go and see how it does 😊Although I have hard water, and maybe still too harsh on my skin which has become with age, increasingly sensitive… I have had eczema, or eczema prone skin, and have used for some years now, only pharmacy expensive products… I never forgot a dermatologist who told be, regarding my eczemas in an appointment, that we should all shower EVery other day, or even sparselier, and use water alone – only using soap on body areas that sweat, like armpits, feet, back, private parts, and groins. The rest would be clean just by the draining of the soap going through the body. But I believe water should be enough and I definitely will try this!! My city water is hard, and also, being treated, already has some chlorine, so it’s plenty enough… Have been sparseling my hair wash and have been amazed at the results and how our bodies adapt!! It proves to me know that is the natural and right way to do things… Thanks, will follow your blog which only now got to know 😊

  3. Hey Alex, im not completely surprised that there were people who water showered only since I know people who dont at all and there Must have been some happy medium in there!
    Im a male 23, I have always used soap on my skin when in the shower. However over the past 3 years I wined myself off of shampoo almost entirely. Maybe once every 3 months I use a light shampooing or just conditioner. Im in a band and found my hair do was better off a little natural rugged. I have hair to my shoulders, and really no one would guess I don’t use shampoo.
    Almost 2 weeks ago on thanksgiving I stopped using all soap entirely except when washing my hands. Cold turkey! WATER ONLY. And Im really surprised.. I told myself I would hold off until Christmas before I “cleaned up” but I actually think I could make this part of my healthy life style. Would love to share my experience so far, some things iv run into so far, and the way i counteracted those things, but I feel like Im just going on and on now.
    Glad I found your thread ill be looking out for more of your thread.

  4. Hey, just started this yesterday! My hair will go wild for sure for a little bit… I’ve tried no poo many times before, but for my body I’m worried about the private area, not the lady parts, you get what I mean? Also is there an essential oil or herbal water that can be used for smell that’s not anti bacterial? Thanks, so glad you wrote about it!

  5. It definitely works I have been doing it for my whole entire body and I have had no problems and my skin as well has been clearing up and not irritated as usual. Thank you for the share not much of this is shared on YouTube except for the hair. Now people will try that with no problem and be like oh yeah that works but not so much for the body. I started out with my hair first I was like let me get rid of products may incorporate some oils every now and then and that’s it and let me see what this water does to my hair like God gave it to me. I found it works just like it works on flowers so why not my body. What’s that saying if its good for your hair should be good for your body. Or what’s good for your body should be good for your hair. Lol one thing about it we can not live our lives base on what people feel or think about us because to do that would be to kill us. God put us here to live our lives not others.

  6. We’ve been doing water only for our daughter since she was born, only adding bath oil to the water (it has thyme and calendula extracts, smells really good). Now that she’s bigger, I can actually take my bath with her, so we just both splish splash in the bath, and that’s it. But I’ve notice that I develop more acne, and I don’t scrub. So I’m going to add a bit of scrubbing tonight!

  7. Alex, it has been 9 days of water only washing (but, must be honest about the fact that I still wash the “unspoken region” with soap). The rest of my body is washed with water and a washcloth. My skin feels Sooo silky and cleaner than I have ever known! It is not really “crunchy” or “hippy”. This has been done for thousands of years! A friend of mine thinks that over these thousands of years, people exfoliated their skin with sand and then rinsed. Well, sand in the shower is not advisable!! LOL! So, any cloth or brush will can exfoliate just as well. I also sponge bathe with water only in between the showers!!

  8. Really love this blog! I’m encouraged by many people going “water only washing”! I’m going to give it a try! In the last 2 years I have not used toilet paper. I rinse with water after I go and pat dry! Saves the environment too! I wash my hair with one Tbs of organic aloe Vera gel and the juice of half a lemon! Best shampoo ever!! I do wash my hands with soap and warm water however! As for deo, I pat cornstarch under my arms! It works!

  9. Wow… That all sounds a bit creepy… but I’m already doing the no-poo method for my hair and it’s perfectly fine (even better than before) so I guess it could be something to try out eventually.

leave your comments and questions below -

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s