Listen- I'm a veterinarian. My experience with animals shows that unless your dog is a total mud bucket, most of them do not require baths. The ones that are bathed often need to be continuously bathed- because the natural oils on their coats are stripped off! Sure, you have exceptions (who makes more grease than a Yorkie?) but mostly, I only bathed my dogs once or twice a year. They were clean, healthy, and had lovely coats- and swam in the ocean on a regular basis. I never stripped their coats.
Take cats, for example. It's outright betrayal to them if you stick them in a tub, and soap them up. I have never, ever bathed my cats. I love the way their skin and fur smell. I feed them good, grain free, high protein food to ensure they're in great health; they have the nicest coats I've come across. What do cats to do keep clean? They groom. They never dunk in water, never need a bath.
What about people? I believe we can do the same. Do I mean never shower? Of course not; we have sweat glands and all sorts of fun things located in our pits and crotches, and we lack the bendability to groom properly anywhere. Honestly though, I use very little soap and my body is healthier for it. What do I mean?
My face used to break out constantly. I was a never ending pimple. I bought washes, creams, masks, and toners to try and "clean" up the problem. Then I'd follow up with makeup- cover up, foundation, powder and so forth- to cover up the mess. One day, I realized that I was making extra pimples near where I applied the cover up. In a move of utter boldness (I was only 17 or 18) I thought, that's it. I'm just not wearing this anymore. I had a rough period of a couple of weeks as my face readjusted (oh the horror!) but I stuck with it, and lo and behold- a severe and notable reduction in pimples. All this, after all that Retin-A and the works! All it took was to stop touching my face! These days, I rinse my face with water, exfoliate with a wash cloth, and I'm good to go. I rarely wear makeup and my skin looks great.
Another lesson I learned was that I was developing yeasty beasties all the time, much to my embarrassment and discomfort. I talked to my OB-GYN about that and she suggested to quit putting such harsh soaps in close contact with sensitive skin. Viola- a dramatic reduction in problems. These days, the soap does not touch my girl bits; just around it. No more problems.
Well, that got me to thinking. Are we stripping our bodies too much? People who over bathe their dogs get dogs with skin problems. I myself am healthier since I stick to using soap in just a few choice areas. What have I been doing to my hair?
It's worth thinking about. I am hopeful to switch to just rinsing my hair with water, eventually. Just like cats, though, grooming is the key. Our ancestors weren't showering all the time, and didn't have gross hair; trust me. The key is to use a firm brush or your nails to massage your scalp, loosening skin cells and stimulating the follicles and sebum glands. Those are the oil glands. They're your friend. Then, you want to help the oil get all the way down the shaft of the hair. A boar bristle brush works great, as well as clean hands; a combination of the two is even better. That's where the 100 strokes every night comes from. Groom yourself, rinse with water, keep yourself clean- that's all you need to do. No need to strip yourself with harsh cleansers all the time. Most of us barely get dirty anyway.
I'll be posting a photographic journey so you can see what it takes to transition.
Here's some links to helpful websites that have inspired me (some do recommend baking soda which I most strongly urge you to avoid):
Water wash only
Great blog on hair history
Conditioner only method
Coconut milk pH balanced "shampoo"
Why baking soda damages hair
There are plenty more out there, enjoy the research!