April 17, 2010
Iâ€™d always suspected that nearly every personal-care product peddled to the public was a preposterous put-on, sold to us through mass advertising and insinuating that were it not for the dozen bottles of chemically questionable concoctions crowding our counters, we would walk around smelling like dung, shedding dry flaky skin at all turns, with brittle hair, fungus ridden fingernails, oozing zits, noxious armpits and genitals and oh thank god for modern chemistry (and chemical companies!) that we can tolerate being in the same room as each other! Our very DEMOCRACY is at stake after all!
I had my first thought about this when I was a teenager and had a case of really bad acne. I tried every product on the shelf, and some not on the shelf over the course of at least two years. I finally got either sick of it or lazy and just stopped. Almost instantly, my acne cleared up substantially. I thought, wouldnâ€™t it be funny if the products that were supposed to be our salvation were really an alternative form of chemical dependency, causing the very problems we were trying to solve by using them in the first place, all for the purpose of keeping us buying them. Nah, that would be conspiratorial and anti-capitalist, and I was a budding fan of the free-market hopped up on Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises. Capitalism is good! and so are the things produced under it!
Now that Iâ€™m older, Iâ€™m a little more conspiratorial and much more aware that our watered down hamstrung version of capitalism is only slightly more retarded than our countryâ€™s cultural values. The point of this is that the version of capitalism I advocate is not the same as the â€œconsumer capitalismâ€ we have today, and therefore I donâ€™t feel there is any inconsistency in criticizing products of the latter while upholding the former.
That brings me to soap and shampoo. When Richard first published his post, a light switched on immediately. THIS is correct and I always knew it, and now I had the commiseration and impetus to immediately act on it. So since Dec 30th I have used soap in the shower 3 times (primarily from bouts of paranoia) and shampoo twice (both before haircuts, on the premise that the hairdressers might be accustomed to working on freshly shampooed hair). And I havenâ€™t used any of it in the last 6 weeks.
Does that mean I donâ€™t shower? No I shower every day, scrubbing really well with a washcloth and vigorously scrubbing my hair with my hands.
Do I smell? Nope. Although everyone around me smells like the detergent aisle at Target. Itâ€™s amazing to me how de-sensitized I had become to the chemical smell everyone exudes. Itâ€™s really rather disgusting. I smell likeâ€¦nothing. Like a person.
Is my hair oily? It was for a long while, but it has been gradually getting better. There are now days where my hair is just as soft as it was before, although it actually seems a bit thicker. How funny is it that we use chemicals that strip out the natural oils in our hair, and then other products to put oils back in.
Is my skin all nasty? On the contrary, my skin has never been better. Acne breakouts are nearly non-occurring unless I eat particularly poorly the day before, whereas before I always had some pimples somewhere. The bit of eczema that I developed in the corner of my eye about 4 years ago has diminished in severity by about half. My skin is not oily or dry, itâ€™s justâ€¦normal.
What about after I use the bathroom or before I make dinner? Yeah I still wash my hands with soap. Soap does â€œmake water wetterâ€ and nature had no idea what kinds of nasty crap modern human hands would come in contact with so Iâ€™m happy to leverage the power of soap in those circumstances, plus in the case of food preparation, especially for others, I feel hand-washing is part of the social contract.
Is my â€œprivateâ€ area all grody and nasty? Nope. In fact it is WAAAY better than it was. Any kind ofâ€¦errâ€¦cheeseâ€¦ is made up of soap, sweat, and oil. Well soap is out of the equation, and now that my skin doesnâ€™t have to overcompensate for my chemically stripping it of its oils every day by over-producing it, the oil is out of the equation as well. My balls are virtually â€œcheese-freeâ€. As Nikoley says in his post, â€œIf for nothing else, Iâ€™m soap free for life on this point alone.â€
Nikoley also says: â€œI feel as though Iâ€™ve been scammed â€” and liberated.â€
Yeah, me too.
There was definitely a period of adjustment, but then again any chemical dependency has its ugly detox period. But I stuck through it and definitely reaping the benefits now.
If you google â€œnikoleyâ€ and â€œsoapâ€ youâ€™ll find links to more personal experiences and discussion, but as for me and soap, we are barely on speaking terms. And that goes for any other skin-care products as well.