“Men Don’t Need Shampoo.”

Marlene and Me in 1977

The above photo is 46 years old. It’s a fuzzy snapshot but you can see that I was something of a longhair in those days. It was, after all, the 1970s.

Believe it or not, I didn’t use any shampoo when that picture was taken, and I rarely do now. That’s because, as you are about to learn, men don’t need shampoo. I’ll explain…

It was my Junior year of high school. I was living at home with my parents. In retrospect, my life was pretty good back then. But my world was rocked one fateful day when I realized there was no shampoo in the bathroom.

As far back as I can remember, there had always been shampoo in the bathroom. It was a dependable resource, so to speak. But on that day there was no shampoo to be found… anywhere.

I confronted my stepfather with the shocking reality…

“We’re out of shampoo! We need to get some shampoo!”

He didn’t seem concerned. He said to me (and I remember his exact words)…

“Men don’t need shampoo.”

I was taken aback by that reply. It made no logical sense to me. Was he kidding? My exasperated response…

“Well, how am I supposed to wash my hair without shampoo?”

It was then that my stepfather said something life changing; something that opened my eyes to another path…

“You don’t need shampoo to wash your hair. Just use a bar of soap. I never use shampoo. Men don’t need shampoo.”

I had grown up watching a lot of television in my younger life. I had seen a lot of shampoo commercials. Thus it was that I had been effectively taught that I needed to use shampoo to wash my hair. It never occurred to me that I didn’t need shampoo to wash my hair; that a simple bar of soap would do the job! It was a revolutionary concept.

So I started washing my hair with just a bar of soap. No shampoo. A bar of soap has kept my hair clean now for nearly 50 years.

I will admit to occasionally using some liquid shampoo, and even some conditioner afterwards. I have that option because my wife buys all kinds of shampoo and conditioner. There are, I kid you not, at least a dozen colorful bottles of shampoo and conditioner in our bathroom right now. That’s because women need shampoo! Don’t think for one second that I’m suggesting in this blog post that women don’t need shampoo. Women are different than men.

Noticing that women are different than men is not a popular thing to do in our current reality-optional culture. But I don’t care if “USA Today named a man as woman of the year.” That’s nonsense. The inmates are running the asylum. But I digress. Back to shampoo…

When I use some of my wife’s specially formulated store-bought shampoo, it does leave my hair smelling nice. And the conditioner does leave my hair silky smooth. But it just doesn’t seem right. A bar of soap serves the purpose perfectly well. I know this from experience.

And then there is the matter of all those chemicals in all those shampoos and conditioners. A bar of soap is far less…. potentially toxic.

When I started using bar soap to wash my hair, the soap was store-bought. My mother liked ZEST soap. I’ve used others. They all work. But 23 years ago Marlene started making soap, and we have not bought a bar of mass-produced, factory-made soap since then.

In the early years of soap-making, Marlene crafted many batches of soap to sell at the farm market. Now she makes one big batch a year for our own use. Her soap is “cold process” soap. She uses a natural fat (i.e. coconut oil) and lye, with a bit of scent. The saponification process yields bars of soap that contain natural glycerine. Glycerine is good.

But glycerine has been removed from most store-bought soaps. That is the way it goes so often in the industrial economy… remove the good stuff before you sell your product to the masses.

Homemade, cold-process soaps lather up and clean just fine. There are even shampoo bar soap formulations. I’m sure many people reading this use homemade soaps, not the store-bought soap imitations.

So that’s my story. But wait… there’s more.

After realizing that I didn’t need shampoo to wash my hair, I discovered over time that I didn’t need a lot of other personal grooming concoctions! I have gone far beyond my stepfather’s advice.

Take, for example, shaving cream. Men don’t need shaving cream. Shaving cream is fun, but bar soap works just fine.

Likewise, men don’t need aftershave, or cologne, or antiperspirant (sweat is good!), or mouthwash.

When I walk down the aisle of a store, looking at the vast selection of men’s grooming products, I see nothing I need. Nothing.

But toothpaste is another story. I understand that some people brush their teeth with soap. That’s just too hardcore for me.

P.S. I did a little internet searching on this subject and found this wonderfully contrarian article: I Haven’t Washed My Hair Since I Was 12. Here’s Why.

11 thoughts on ““Men Don’t Need Shampoo.””

    1. No I haven’t. There are so many YouTubes and other soap-making how to on the internet on the subject. 👍


  1. Love this post! You’re correct, we’re inundated with “junk” products that we don’t really need. Would love if you would post your wife’s soap recipe. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This brought back a wonderful memory for me. My dad used a bar of soap to wash his hair also. I too would love to know how Marlene makes soap.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your viewpoint is interesting to me. I am a contra mundum kind of guy myself. I stopped buying shaving supplies long ago; because God provided me with a mark of sexual distinction; and it would be wrong for me to efface it. I don’t want to support an industry whose existence is a mark of disrespect for God’s created order. And shaving wastes time. I don’t use barbers either; but that is more a matter of financial stewardship. I tie my hair back: and when it starts to get too long, I cut it myself. You may want to glance at my article, “God’s Law and the Beard”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Howard. I just read your article and appreciate your sentiments. I agree that God wants men to look like he intended men to look…. with facial hair. 👍 ❤️


  4. Kinda the same issue, but maybe not. Our son does not use shampoo or soap. While in China, he decided to use only hot water in the shower. When he goes to his sister for a hair cut, she forces him to wash his hair. In spite, his hair cuts have ruined 2 electric hair cutters; the oil and gunk are so thick and imbedded on his hair follicles.

    Liked by 1 person

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