How did paleolithic humans cleanse their skin and hair?

by (30)
Asked on August 21, 2014
Created August 21, 2014 at 5:14 AM

I'm referring to the Stone Age. They didn't have things like soap and all these fancy oil cleansers, so what was the method? Was it just scrubbing themselves with water? If so, what tools did they use? I'd imagine if they lived by the sea, they might find sea sponges but what about the others? And did they use anything in terms of moisturizers, or was it pretty much just wash and go?

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4 Answers

10 · August 21, 2014 at 5:40 AM

I'm not sure they used anything or even bathed. Bathing wasn't done regularly even just a few hundred years ago unless you were wealthy. So 10,000 years ago, I doubt it was done at all. 

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626 · August 24, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Due to tribal/cultural variation I'm not sure there is a single answer. Some groups probably used botanical or animal products while others just used water or mud. Many didn't really have a bathing routine.


What's clear is my skin does better with infrequent use of conventional cleaning products. I hardly use the stuff unless I feel gross from a day in the inner city or travels. My usual daily routine at home includes a shower and soap used on one part of my body, rotating so each thing gets soap once or twice a week.

Maybe I'd be better off with no soap at all but feeling clean and civilized has its own benefits.

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167 · August 24, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Paleolithic humans probably didn't need moisturizer. Modern cleansing products dry out your skin, and most people who stop using them start producing enough oil to moisturize themselves.

I've seen documentaries about traditional cultures that still exist today, and they usually just bathe with water in creeks and stuff. Humans naturally want to bathe, they don't just stay stinky.

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113 · August 21, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Humans naturally gravitated to live around water, the sea, rivers, streams etc... they need water to survive, so i guess they would've cleaned their bodies in that water aswell.

When i shower i just rub cold water on myself, i never use soap anymore, and i don't even use the water on my face as i find my skin is best when i've exercised/sweated and then just leave it alone, of course i have to shower my crevices or i would smell but I find the longer i leave my hair/face unwashed the better it looks, maybe the natural oils having time to replenish.

For moisturizer (which imo is only needed because tap water is crap quality) i use coconut oil or butter oil once a week after a shower, dry myself with a towel, then use continue using that towel everyday after showers.

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