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!
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…
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??