Even though we gals beg Justin to keep his black locks long, he insists on a hair cut once a month (well, sometimes he goes two)

For over 20 years now, our family has cut its own hair. Well, not that we cut own our hair ourselves but haircutting is done in house – saving us loads of money over the years. Of course, there are 2 choices: we could adopt a longer hair style to save money or learn to cut or own hair. Hair Cuts for guys around here are about $25 bucks and for women, well they can go as high at $45. So home hair cuts are saving our family nearly $1,000 dollars a year and over 20 years that figure certainly adds up. A $1,000 which goes towards investing in sustainable projects like rain barrels, and urban homestead supplies.

Hair cutting is not that hard if you wear simple styles and don’t intend to look like a movie star. And, to start, you don’t have to invest much. All you need is a good hair scissors and comb.

Care to share your home cutting experiences?

Last January, Justin went on a no-poo challenge and more about being soapless here meaning, he wasn’t going to use any shampoo (even natural, sulfite free kind) on his lovely locks. I had forgotten his declaration and he reminded us this week that it’s been a year since he’s washed his hair with shampoo. I asked him “notice anything different — “good or bad” and Justin, being a bit of a macho man who doesn’t really like to discuss his personal grooming habits, matter of factly answered “doing fine.” Yeah, thank you very much for such a in-depth and insightful answer. Now if I had asked a woman that question I’d have much more to post!

Actually, people do wash their hair and skin too much these days. My European grandmother once remarked “You Americans take too many baths.” She’s right. Grandma’s “old fashioned” practical wisdom has something to it. Instead of doing good, this excessive obsession with cleanliness may be doing more harm to the environment and personal health.

There are many studies and articles that point to this on the web – which, if any readers care to share, that would be great. Lookie here, I just found a related article when I typed in my grandmother’s “too many baths” saying.

But from our personal experience, we urban homesteaders take baths (unless really, really dirty) once a week. Just like our pioneer counterparts, the Ingalls family, Laura described their weekly Saturday bath ritual in her ‘Little House‘ book. Here on the modern urban homestead we follow the same weekly bathing ritual using as little water as possible with natural or homemade soaps. In the summer we enjoy taking showers in our outdoor solar shower which drains the used water into the surrounding edible landscape.

This actor and this actor have similar water conscious & natural hygiene practices which have their peers wrinkling their noses. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we stink (our friends could back me up on this) or that you want to smell (cleanliness is good… it’s “next to godliness”), but the American obsession with clean and obscene amount of chemical hygiene products has changed our perception of what it’s like to be a natural human being.

Any other “Nose-Wrinklers” out there?


  1. mary says:

    I have been cutting my husbands hair since our engagement days 18 years ago. As each child came along I have cut their hair as needed also. I have no formal training in this skill. I have read a few books, and watched a couple of how-to videos from the library. We also could estimate $1000s of dollars not spent on hair cuts for the six of us. Now I am just waiting for one of my familiy members to find the confidence to cut my curly locks for me – until then I’m a DIY girl. It seems silly to shell out hard earned cash for something that simple that we can do well enough at home. We have three sons and one daughter – and our homestead lifestyle does not include TV or a bunch of glossy magazines to tell us what we “should” look like. So my amateur skills have sufficed for us.

  2. Beany says:

    I’ve been using a buzzer on my husband’s head ever since we first met. He asked me to use it on our third or fourth date. I thought it was a strange request…but I complied and was pleased that I didn’t cause any bleeding. So its been about 8 years now since that date.

    I began cutting my own hair last year. I don’t do anything fancy with my hair – just trim it when it gets too long and heavy. But the nice people at Supercuts always messed it up! It drove me mad and I started cutting my own hair. I tie my hair into a tight pony tail and snip away.

    My husband and I have also been going without showering for as long as possible. I wash my face, hands and sometimes my feet just to feel a bit fresh. I think I go for about 3 days without showering and my husband can go indefinetly..until I start to complain.

    I just began using baking soda as a deodorant and I’m so pleased that it works so well.

    I usually shower when I feel really smelly. My love for onions contributes to that odour.

  3. R. says:

    I started cutting my hair because it literally takes HOURS for someone to cut it because it’s very thick. Also, I don’t have the money for a decent cut.

    Here’s my method:
    Put your hair (dry) into a low ponytail.
    Take another hairband and put it about an inch from the base of the ponytail (or further away if you want your hair longer.
    With sharp scissors, cut straight across inbetween to the two hairbands.

    If you have thinner hair, you could probably use a couple snips and be done with it. I have to kind of hack away at it though. The second hairband keeps all the hair from flying all over the place. After that, just take your hair out of the ponytail and take a look at it and if you find spots that need to be a little shorter, twist the hair and then cut a little bit off the bottom of the twists (this makes it so you don’t get huge chunks missing).

    You’ll end up with more of an a-line cut the higher the ponytail is on your head. Mine ends up looking sort of like a messy 1920’s ‘do.

    Good luck and go for it! It’ll always grow back!

  4. LaVonne says:

    I get terrible migraines from fragrances and other chemicals, and had to give up going to salons for that reason a couple of years ago. Until then, I wore my hair very short; now it’s below my shoulders. I tried the ponytail method of trimming a few months ago and really like the look.

    As for shampoos, once again, the fragrances and chemicals they put in most commercial products make me very sick. I finally discovered that Seventh Generation Free & Clear DISH soap, of all things, was the only soap that both did a good job of cleaning my hair as well as leaving me with no headache. I use it for pretty much everything now–shampoo/shower soap, cleaning, laundry, and of course, dishes. I read the article you posted about 7th Gen and other natural products containing a carcinogen, and I am not happy. It’s the only product I’ve been able to tolerate. Oy!

    p.s. I shower a couple of times a week, whenever I start to smell myself. Beany, thanks for the tip about baking soda for deodorant. I haven’t been able to use commercial deodorant in years. Maybe I can cut down to one shower a week now. :o]

  5. Talithia says:

    I could not agree with you more. I have always loved my Husbands natural smell yet, you tell another person that and they thinks your a weirdo. I mean aren’t we attracted to the scent of our partners. Pheromones? Why should we cover this up. I do wear perfume on special days but every day care is lavender oil or nothing. Do you have any good receipes for soap? I hate the store bought over scented soaps. I have never made but have bought the Lye and olive oil. What kind do ya’ll use??

  6. Amy says:

    My husband has been cutting our boy’s hair for as long as I can remember and does a very good job. I handle my daughter. My mother (who’s just down the street) cuts mine, but I’m going to get my husband to do it soon.

    I have very long hair (almost waist length when pulled straight, it’s quite curly) and I haven’t used shampoo for two years (curly heads have fewer hair follicles and therefore produce much less sebum, tending on the “dry” side so shampoo just makes the hair more frizzy). I do use a basic conditioner but would like to find a more natural alternative. My hair never looks dirty or oily, though at the beginning there was an adjustment period of about two weeks.

    Instead of gel or mousse I scrunch in pure aloe vera gel – it works perfectly and is a natural moisturiser. Without it I tend to look like I have a lion’s mane 🙂

  7. stephanie says:

    No poo? I am a member of a forum (the long hair community) that has many proponents of no poo, conditioner only, oil washes, water only and absolutely nada on hair. There are also several DIY cut instructions and lots of facts on the ingredients of many hair products. Anyone interested in “alternative hair care” will find a lot of information.

    (you may not want to post my website, it’s not on a related subject – I’m bookmarking yours though!)

  8. Evelyn says:

    I am from Hispanic. Even if we have to collect water and shower with a cup, we shower in the morning and in the afternoon and sometimes more. Sometimes in our countries we do not have water from the county in days. I was making fun of a friend that she and her other friend shower before they go to the gym because they do not want to smell. I have a poor sense of smell or no sense at all, so God didn’t give me a strong body smell. I do not use perfumes or deodorant but I have to shower at least ones a day. I cannot imagine not cleaning my “V” everyday even if I do not do anything during the whole day. What do you do not to smell funny after all day in the backyard?

  9. Devin Quince says:

    I shower usually once a week and the funny thing is that I ride over 100 miles a week to and from work by bicycle and never have anyone say anything about my “odors”. My Wife cuts all our hair, which for me is an electric razor down to .25 in the Winter and an 1/8 in the Summer. My boys are are 3/8 all year. My Wife is the same way as most here in wearing her hair short and easy, but not plain 🙂

  10. Sue says:

    I’ve been cutting my family’s hair for years and years. I used to do it with a scissors and comb, but once I got a buzzer it was all so much easier (to do the men). Before I married I cut my brother’s hair and my dad’s hair. I have no training and those first few haircuts on my little brother were bad. But they were patient (and cheap!) and they let me learn. There are plenty of books in the library that will teach you the basics. If you have a buzzer cutting men’s hair is soooo easy. Now women tend to have more opinions. I am good at giving my daughters trims and “bob” cuts but I’m not confident enough to do really styled hair. I give them a choice: free haircut from mom or pay for it yourself somewhere else. Usually they choose mom. I must say the worst haircut I’ve ever seen came from one of those hair saloons. Everything I do is a decent, basic haircut. And save money? I have seven kids and a husband. I’ve been doing this for over 25 years. I have saved us an enormous amount of money.

  11. Wendy says:

    When my, now adult, son was a baby, I was so obsessed with making sure he was clean, I actually dried out his skin to the point that he had a flaky scalp. The doctor let me know that he didn’t need to be bathed with soap EVERY day, and I relaxed a bit. I never bathed my other four children with the same obsessiveness, and none of them seem to have suffered – and they are all clean! And none of them had excessively dry skin :).

    I switched to real soap (as opposed to the detergent most of us believe is “soap”) a couple of years ago, and use that head to toe now. I’m in the process of switching my kids, and I hope to get my husband on board soon. For a guy who never wears cologne, aftershave or deodorant, he sure is committed to his shampoos and soaps :).

    As for hair cuts, until I was in college, all of my cuts were done at home. I even learned to cut my own hair in high school. I got out of the habit, but in an effort to be more frugal, I dusted off my hair scissors the other day and trimmed my lengthening locks. It was great, and I’m going to start doing it myself again. In fact, I think we’ll be investing in a pair of clippers, and hubby will be bowing his head to me … so that I can trim his hair :).

  12. Stephanie Griffith says:

    Well, as a friend of yours, I’m here to back you up. You don’t stink. I never would have known that you bathe once a week if you hadn’t mentioned it, so I definitely think you are bathing often enough. You’re hair looks great too!

    I cut Bella’s hair myself and Cheyenne has never had her hair cut. I still get my hair cut somewhere else, though. I only go 3 times a year though and around here it’s $25 a pop for women’s hair. Zach goes about three times a year for $11.

  13. mary says:

    I have often wondered if our culture’s modern “foods” increase the amount of odor in sweat. Generations past did not have the level of personal hygiene obsession that Americans have now – and they also did not have many of the modern conveniences to make work easier. I am sure they were a sweaty bunch! So what else was different? No modern ‘food products’ either.

    My husband and I rarely use deodorant and never perfumes and such. We also have eliminated all processed and refined foods from our diet. I wonder how much that affects overall body odor.

    Just thinking out loud and hoping someone else can comment with a more educated perspective about these thoughts.

    [also can the person who mentioned using baking soda as deoderant please comment on that – in what manner to you apply it? just straight like a powder??]

  14. marie says:

    I have used baking soda for a deodorant and just use it straight. However, at first, the baking soda seemed to irritate my skin but now it doesn’t. Perhaps it may be helpful to mix it with cornstarch or such to eliminate this problem in case.

    No daily bathing is great for the skin and face. Just water spashed over any area will suffice and I have heard that some ladies with very nice complexions do not wash their faces except for maybe once a week with water rinses perhaps mixed with apple cider vinegar only when needed. (Using hot water , as hot as your hands can stand, mixed with ac vinegar in a bowl will bring out the natural oils to the skin if splashed about 20 times on the face, reusing the same water over and over again. I love it!) Some are too embarrassed to tell others their beauty secret. I suggest trying it–works for me. Of course, I am speaking for those of us who don’t wear foundation or toehr face makeup. In any event, weekly bathings is a great idea ( I do it) and perhaps may be a natural birth control device *wink*! People who eat natural foods usually don’t have a bad smell to them, though.

  15. Anais says:

    To all…

    Great comments and tips everyone!

    This post certainly generated quite a response…. more about natural hygiene and beauty coming next weeks. Stay tuned.


  16. Anais says:

    Hey Stephanie

    Thanks for confirming my post – that “we don’t stink”. 😉 So nice to hear from you. Hope you, Zack and the kiddos are well.

    Love from all,

  17. Beany says:

    As marie mentioned, I use baking soda straight on my armpits. I do not have sensitive skin so I have no problems with irritation.

  18. Mike says:

    We are also a deodorant-free household and have been for over 16 years.

    For underarm odor control we use plain ol’ rubbing alcohol. We appreciate the lack of perfumes, the lack of cakey residue, and the low, low cost. A capful per ‘pit per day seems to do the trick for me.

  19. kristine says:

    i’ve been no poo, no deo for several years. in the winter, i bathe every week or so, in the summer a bit more, mostly to help cool off in this sticky humid climate we live in w/o a/c.

    i cut my hair, my husband’s hair and my kids’ hair too.

    we make our own soap…i don’t even use that every time i bathe. if we need stink control in the summer, we freshen our pits with patchouli essential oil.

    needless to say, no one has ever complained of how we smell, in fact, i’ve been followed through the store and asked what i was wearing because i smelled GOOD.

    i cannot stand the smell of detergents and other chemical perfumes. i won’t let anyone who is wearing perfume hold my babies because they smell afterwards and i don’t want to subject them to those horrible smells.

  20. Lucy says:

    Since your post last year, I have been doing the dilute baking soda wash and a/c vinegar rinse most of the time, with shampoo only about 6-7 times. I have been told my hair looks amazingly healthy, and my sweetie likes the way I smell. 🙂

  21. dianna says:

    hi – i am a water only hair washer. to do this method you do have to brush your hair very well every day. the way i do it is to rinse my hair and scrub my scalp very good with warm water first and then finish with cold.
    it has worked very well for me.
    if i want some scent to my hair i spray it afterwards with a water and herbal oil mixture like patchouli or lavender.

  22. Jan says:

    OUr family has not paid for a hair cut in over 10 years. My MIL is a beautician but works on the farm. SO she gives hair cuts to all of us at no charge!!

  23. WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE LOCKS | Little Homestead in the City says:

    […] Since we cut our hair at home (and have been for the last 20 plus years) we normally just put our hair in the compost bins.  Why? Because hair contains 30 times more nitrogen than manure! […]

  24. Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings says:

    I cut my hubby’s and the boys’ hair and trim mine and the girls’. It really saves a lot of money.

  25. AROUND THE URBAN HOMESTEAD | Little Homestead in the City says:

    […] spiffy and some in home barbering services.  I believe I did a post a few years about about our hair cutting ventures.  We gals cut the guys and us gals cut each […]

  26. Rebecca says:

    I was introduced to the diluted vinegar/water rinse to my washed hair, when I was 9 years old.
    an aunt was visiting and rinsed my hair that way, in the bathroom sink.
    I went to school that morning and the kids all commented on how beautiful and shiny my hair was.
    it left an impression on me and now, in my 60’s, I’m getting
    the same seems to bring out a sparkle, in whitening hair…I love it.
    and trimming my own hair, by lifting it up, trimming the ends, to take the weight off the sides mostly.
    it lays back, with just running my fingers through freshly washed and rinsed hair. it dries natural and there is so much less damage…
    makes it much easier to live with long hair, minus headaches from the weight.
    (long hair in summer is better, to be able to roll it up in a ‘granny bun’,…or braids, so it’s off the neck, being much cooler than having short hair and miserable…)
    gardening is then much more fun…
    someone else will need to support the hair salons……

  27. mama lieveheersbeestje says:

    Hi! I just LOOOVVVEEE your beautiful site about your homestead and I wished that we could do this at our small rented house too. We are trying…
    I am allergic and when I use chemicals on my skin and in my food, so I stopped using everything three years ago. No shampoo, no deodorant, no creams, no soap, no eyeshadow or mascara, nothing… The only thing left was coconutoil, kohl for my eyes and toothpaste (still have not find a good substitute for this) and water!
    I seem to look healthy and smell good, although when people tell me this and I tell them my secret, they think I am dirty and weird… We shower (pa, ma, four kids) two times a week, and wash ourselves very good with water each morning. Some boys need soap for their knees and feet and of cource their hands, and therefor I use natural soap.
    My housedoctor (yes we have them overhere in the Netherlands!) advised me to shower or bath the children only ones or twice a week with some oil. That’s it. They are very healthy, look beautiful and are very intelligent and social, so that was a very good advice!
    Still, these beauty-and-hygenic things are a big taboe overhere and that is why you never hear about it…
    Thank you for publishing about natural beaty, you sure all look very healty and beautiful to me!

    • Anais says:

      @mama lieveheersbeestje: A warm welcome to you! Thank you so much for sharing, I loved reading your comment and how your family is dealing with the over washed/hygenic generation. That’s neat that you still have house doctors – sounds you have a good one at that. When you tell folks you shower/bath once or twice a week they look at you like you are crazy – well, maybe it’s them that are! 😉 Anyhow, thanks for commenting. Stay tuned for more health and beauty posts in the future. All the best to you and your family

  28. More posts about hair?! – TheOrganicSister says:

    […] reading on Path To Freedom’s blog about their Justin’s experiment of using no shampoo, my Justin decided to give this a try. He’s shampooed exactly once since […]

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